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Enlighten My Darkness

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~1~

-When Opposites Meet-

Crisp winds rush past the lone demon perched precariously on the ledge of the topmost tower of an ancient obsidian castle. Resting not too far behind him is a single spire that juts proudly into the sky. Hoisted proudly at its peak is a rich red flag embroidered with an intricate swirl, declaring the castle to be under the rule of the demonic bloodline. The single demon sits idle with his pitch-black eyes coolly gazing ahead. The wind swiftly races by once more, tussling his wild blond locks before they settle back in place.

He grips the rough bricks beneath him as his eyes narrow. Once again he's been forced into stillness upon exhausting a great deal of their army in a simple spar. "So weak," he scoffs lowly as his eyes seek something he can possibly use to hold his attention.

Peace. The world has been much too quiet as of late, allotting him nothing to do in terms of chaos and destruction. A slow curve to his lips arises as a thought comes to mind. "Perhaps I should stir things up? Massacre a few villages, or even torment those pesky fairies."

Anything would be better than standing in that stuffy throne room and listening to reports and complaints from the lower class. That's the King's job. He ignores the fact that one day soon he'll be taking over and it'll be his job. The blond grimaces. "I have no intentions of our race continuing the way it does now. No. We'll rise up once more and bring terror upon this world." An ominous chuckle vibrates through the air as his dark eyes gain a menacing gleam. "If I have to, I'll persuade those goddesses to turn a blind eye."

An approaching energy interrupts him from his musings. The maniacal look that colors his visage washes away into one of blank loathing. A second later someone lands on the roof behind him. Their shoes click smartly as they approach him. "General Meliodas, may I have a word?"

The velvety smooth texture of the female's voice grates roughly on his nerves. Does no one understand the consequences of disturbing him unnecessarily? Meliodas pulls himself slowly from the edge as he rises. The dark crimson longcoat he adorns clings to his chest and flares out around his legs, giving him a regal look as he turns to face the ignorant demon. She gazes at him with confidence, but he can see the subtle shifts in her posture. Reading people has become second nature over the years and it's come in handy as well. This busty female is cautious. She's wary of his reaction.

He feels a growl form in his throat at her pitiful display. What is his race becoming? "What is it?"

Her back straightens. "His Highness, he wishes to see you immediately."

Meliodas curses viciously as he marches past the woman whose head hangs low. "Damn servants and their inability to be efficient." He's about to take a leap off the tower when the sound of her voice causes his ire to rise further.

"General, wait!"

The withering stare he gives her causes her to tremble. An instant later however the ravenette seems to gain her nerve. "I was actually hoping to see if you would join me later this evening…?" As courage begins to slip more firmly into her veins, her eyes become hooded with unspoken words. Her hand reaches up for the buttons of her blouse and, brazenly, she begins to unbutton them as if to give him an idea of her intentions.

Meliodas raises an eyebrow insultingly. This isn't the first nor will it be the last someone throws themselves at his feet for his attentions. It's only gotten worse as his ascension to the throne grows closer. They wish to be his Queen and gain power they haven't rightfully earned. Demons are all devious in their ways and, if he were a few thousand years younger, he certainly would have taken advantage of the surplus amount of available woman. But seeing the bare skin of this desperate demon now…

Meliodas' smile turns cruel as he strides towards the hopeful woman. His hands cross over his chest as he stands just shy of her. He stares directly into her eyes, wanting to see how his next words affect her. "It's women like you, women with no fight in them, that positively disgust me. You'd let me do anything to you and you wouldn't care so long as you ended up with what you wanted in the end."

Her eyes lower in submission as she begins to close her blouse, much to his amusement. Meliodas doesn't spare her another glance as he takes his leave. "Maybe you'll have better luck with my younger brothers. Although Zeldris seems pretty taken with that vampire Gelda." As he leaps from the tower's edge and the wind presses against him fiercely, his eyes gleam maliciously. "Although he wouldn't admit it with his dying breath."

~.~.~

Meliodas' hands shoot forward, thrusting the throne room doors open with a bang. Subtlety was never apart of his qualities. He strides forward without a care. The room is decorated with floor to ceiling crimson wall-hangings depicting Kings long since passed in all of their glory. The elevated throne made in thick stone is occupied by a towering male. Black strands cascade upon his shoulders and sprout from his chin. His eyes betray his agitation towards Meliodas' appalling behavior.

Meliodas merely shrugs as he crosses his arms. "I apologize for being late. Your servant insisted upon holding my attention after informing me of your summons."

The King raises a hand to brush his beard in considerations. "Really now? I'll take care of it later. What I must speak with you of holds great importance, General. We've been getting a significant number of reports telling of the same thing."

A blond eyebrow raises. "And what is this?"

The King seems uncertain about his next choice of words, although fury seems to overpower that emotion rather quickly. "Something has been decreasing our numbers. Whatever it is attacks at random and disappears before we can capture and eliminate it." His fist slams roughly into the arm of his throne denting it severely.

Meliodas only stares.

"Whoever's behind this, I want them found and I want their body brought to me in slaughtered pieces!" the King roars, nearly shaking the room in his display of rage.

Now this interests the blond. 'Maybe I won't have to stir things up after all…' "I'll get right on it."

"Wait."

Meliodas turns back with agitation stirring in his veins. The wish to thrust himself into the thrills of battle is quickly beginning to consume his mind. His bloodlust is awakening once more after lying dormant for much too long. He longs for the feel of an enemy's life draining before his eyes, the feel of their blood as it slicks across his skin in a warm spray. It grows and festers inside him like a raging storm and the King wants him to wait?

Sensing the growing wrath in his General, the King knows his next piece of information will only set the demon into an explosive frenzy. "These attacks have not just been happening to us. They've affected the goddesses as well."

Meliodas' eyes narrow to thin slits. "What does that have to do with this?" His tone is low, menacing. Those holy beings are beneath him. If they can't handle this on their own then let them perish.

"You know we have an agreement with them. It has kept our numbers stable and growing…" The King's gaze grows severe as he stares down his General. Meliodas may soon take his place, but for now he is still King. "This is an order, General Meliodas. Upon agreement with the leader of the goddesses you will set off with their top goddess in search of the cause of these attacks and put a stop of it."

Certainly he's mistaken. He didn't just speak those words with such seriousness. Heat begins to flash beneath his skin, spiking sporadically as he stares unflinchingly into the King's unrelenting eyes. "You can't be serious." His voice is gravelly as his arms begin to tremble under the force of his clenched fists.

"This is an order." The King only repeats.

No. Does the King actually believe he'll work willingly with someone of purity, someone so below him? His teeth grind as a cold flame begins to burn within his eyes. His energy skyrockets, causing the room to tremble viciously. Cracks form in the stone walls, racing up the stones and causing rubble to clatter to the ground.

The King's fists clench as his eyes narrow frigidly. "Do you plan to go against my word, General?"

Meliodas does not answer. His eyes gain a soulless appearance as the floor beneath them slowly begins to heat, then bursts with twisting flames. The dark flames suck the color from the room as they grow in mass, throwing radiant purple shadows fleetingly across the walls. Meliodas stands in the center of it all as his flames rise around him, licking across his flesh with seemingly no effects. The King knows however if he were to touch those flames they'd char him to ashes.

"Do you doubt my abilities?" The blond's voice echoes eerily around the room. His searing eyes never leave the King's form. "Do you really believe I'll allow a goddess to survive in my presence? Must I prove again why I'll be the next King… and just how far I've surpassed you?" His flames begin to crawl up the walls, eating away at the precious wall-hangings.

The demonic leader rises to his feet as his voice thunders out, "Stop this madness! You will do as I say until your time has come!"

The choking oppression in the room seems to multiply infinitely forcing the King's knees to buckle. In an instant, everything vanishes leaving the room in shambles. Meliodas swivels in his efforts to leave the room in his fury. The snarl upon his face is enough to cause his two brothers rushing towards the throne room to stay out of his warpath.

Meliodas can hardly contain the rage writhing within him as he races from the castle like a shadowy streak. "That bastard! He expects me to comply nicely with his orders. Not this time. Whoever this sorry excuse for a goddess is… she'll wish she hadn't agreed to this by the time I'm through with her," he hisses darkly. He knows precisely where goddesses tend to appear after departing their realm. It won't be long until he can take out his frustrations on the unsuspecting divine being. Then he can begin to do things his way once more.

~.~.~

Constant ringing fills the air again and again as grunts and fierce cries follow each vibrating resonance. Two goddesses clash brutally, darting from place to place in a wide clearing nestled deeply within a great forest. One bears lengthy silver tresses and an elegant longsword. Her opponent wears her purple hair cropped as she too carries a refined blade.

The silverette's power far surpasses the other's. But she was the only goddess willing to battle her in hopes of easing the silverette's frustrations. "Elizabeth, are you… feeling any better?" her friend asks as she raises her sword to block Elizabeth's strike. The force causes her to skid and she backflips to regain her bearings.

Elizabeth's brows lower further as she growls. "Not even close, Veronica." She charges her friend without any restraint as her arm draws in. With speed Veronica cannot match, Elizabeth slashes her blade through the air and feels the rough vibrations as she relentlessly meets the metal of Veronica's sword. With a war cry, she slams her sword into Veronica's futile block, sending her friend's blade soaring. In seconds, the airborne sword vanishes and Veronica is forced to surrender.

On her knees as Elizabeth points the tip of her sword in her direction, Veronica submits. "You win. But did we really believe anything otherwise?" She adds with a chuckle.

Elizabeth doesn't laugh. She merely releases her sword, allowing it to disappear from sight. She's still to angered, too pissed, at what her leader ordered her to do. So when she turns away from her friend, her voice is a low grate, "Thank you for fighting me. It… helped."

Veronica rises from her position as she rubs the dirt from her leather pants with a scoff. "It didn't, but I'll take that thanks. It's never fun having your ass handed to you so thoroughly." Her chocolate brown eyes gaze at her friend in sympathy. "This was a foolish decision of our leader. I'm sorry you're forced to go through with this."

Elizabeth doesn't respond as her anger begins to rise once more. Veronica sees this and decides to quietly take her leave. Once alone, Elizabeth's hands call forth small daggers with glimmering handles. The evening air is frigid against her skin, or perhaps it's her heated skin making it seem colder. With a twirl, she sends her blades flying. They lodge harshly in the bark of trees before vanishing seconds later.

"A demon of all things. What was she thinking?" She cartwheels as two more daggers form in her palms. Without looking, she sends them outward once more when her feet find the ground again and she thrusts herself in the air in a spin. They find their marks perfectly.

"Does she think I'm weak? That I need some putrid being of darkness to handle this situation?" She hisses as four daggers come to her hand. Elizabeth touches the ground then shifts into a tumble. Coming to a crouch she grunts as her right arm arcs in a wide swing sending her miniature blades through the air. She takes in the dull thuds of their impacts with a victorious hum. "I'll prove her wrong. I am the next leader. No demon will push me down and treat me as some dainty being while he takes all the glory."

Slowly she stands as the wind begins to pick up, tousling her silver hair more than her motions already have. "Whatever has been raiding our people must be stopped. He'll just want to kill it. Destroy it with a simple mindedness that runs like a virus through that race. But I'll heal it." Her tone grows soft, solemn. "I'll save it."

The wind begins to settle the moment she senses a heavy darkness coming from behind her. Her eyes widen subtly, but she does not react rashly. Instead, she raises a hand to smooth behind her neck beneath her hair. She stealthily uses her tresses as a shield as she forms her dagger. When she senses the darkness in a prime position, Elizabeth spins. Her hair whips around in a wide sweep opposite to the one her arm moves in as she thrusts out her blade.

She watches with satisfaction as it flies through the air in a blur. The demon won't be able to react in time before it deeply embeds itself within his chest, giving way to the light it wields. The smirk dissolves from her face the instant her blade halts in place mere inches from him by nothing but the thumb and pointer finger of her would-be target.

Shock radiates from her skull to her toes, completely baffling her as she finally observes the male who stopped her attack effortlessly. The first thing that comes to mind is his stature. Even with their distance it is obvious to her she bests him in height. That doesn't draw her attention long as she takes in his… finer details. From his tousled blond hair to his rippling muscles displayed by the regal coat that clings to his torso like a second skin. She finds her eyes lingering on his posture and the power it presents. His smirk and the confidence it holds. Then she finds his eyes. They're cold, like lifeless voids. But what she finds there is interest. He sees something in her worth holding his attention.

She doesn't know if that's good or not.

Elizabeth straightens as she realizes the scrutiny of his gaze. It draws a small flush to her cheeks much to her annoyance. With narrowed blue eyes she marches towards him. "What do you want? If you couldn't already tell, demon, I'm not in the mood."

His teeth gleam in the moonlight as he allows his grip on her dagger to loosen. It disappears, but neither pay it any mind as their focus is solely on each other. "I noticed. You seemed rather fiery in your attacks. Something upset you, goddess?" His tone is low and mocking. It agitates her ire and stokes a building warmth in her blood as he draws closer.

"It's none of your business," she states coldly. The heat of his form is much closer than she's ever been to a demon she hasn't converted. It causes her heart to thud faster in anticipation. Anticipation of what, she can't seem to figure out.

"Hmm." The low rumbling in his throat brings about a gasp from her motionless form. Their bodies are practically touching. Why are her thoughts beginning to fog over? "Now that's where I think you're wrong."

This causes a surge of clarity to return to her as her lips curve downward. "And why is that?"

That smirk arises again as he raises his hand to trail a finger slowly along her jaw, leaving a burning path in his wake. She wishes she can say her gasp comes from the audacity of his motion rather than the thrilling sensation it causes her. "Because I'm pretty sure you and I are being forced into a pretty disastrous situation, don't you agree?"

'…You and I? Forced…?' The words circle through her mind again and again until it all become clear. And then her anger flares like an icy inferno. Her arms rise quickly to forcefully shove against his chest. It merely infuriates her further that he stumbles back at his own will. "You're him? You're the demon I'm being forced to work with!" she shouts maliciously as her cheeks flare a brilliant crimson in her rage.

His eyes seem to skim along her form, drinking her in before he mutters lowly, "Yeah… just like that…"

A growl of frustration rips through her throat as the wind throws her hair into chaos. "What are you going on about? Never mind." Without further notice she extends her hand and her enchanted sword appears more than ready to aid her in taking out this vile demon.

Before she can even blink she finds her wrist being gripped tightly as he bores his eyes into hers with a coldness she can't breathe under. "I wouldn't do that if I were you, goddess…. Or, if you really want to, we can dance with swords…"

She has to find the strength to tear her eyes from his to see what his hand holds. Then the entirety of her form wilts in terror as her heart completely halts within her chest. Massive is an appropriate term in describing the stature of his sword. The clearing stretches several yards and his sword covers nearly all of it. How is it possible? How could he fight with such a thing? And yet his power… His power was already colossal before, but with that thing… It's gargantuan.

Shivering Elizabeth turns her eyes back to him to see that self-satisfied smirk painted across his features. "Changed your mind yet?"

Upon witnessing that look and his attitude, the goddess grits her teeth. He may be stronger than her, but she will not let him belittle her. And she'll be sure to let him know it every chance she gets. She steadies her form and gives him a piercing stare. She's happy to see his expression smooth over as his eyebrow raises. "I don't see much of a choice."

Her grip on her sword releases and she allows him to study her form for however long he wishes. He won't find any sign of weakness where he seeks. She feels the warmth of his breath across her face as he huffs and it causes her eyes to flutter slightly in remembrance to their proximity. It's a relief when he steps back and relinquishes his own weapon. He gives her a look out of the corner of his eye before abruptly turning and striding away.

Her thin brows knit and it doesn't take her long to catch up to his side, albeit uncertainly. "Where are you going?" She's not sure of this demon's motives. So far everything he's done has either left her incensed, or… flustered.

"I'm positive we were tasked with finding the cause of our dwindling numbers. I thought it smart to get started immediately instead of just standing around," he tells her curtly.

The goddess purses her lips as she keeps pace with him through the uneven path in the forest. Nibbling her lip a bit, Elizabeth feels her curiosity rise just slightly. Enough to actually get her to voice her question. "So demon, what is your name?" It doesn't matter if he tells her. She's perfectly fine with referring to him as "demon" for as long as they're forced to deal with each other. She's mildly surprised however when he does answer her question not long after she voices it.

"Meliodas."

'Meliodas…' She turns her eyes to him for a moment and sighs almost grudgingly. "I'm Elizabeth."

He doesn't react. For all it's worth she could have been talking to a stone. Sharply she turns her gaze forward once more as her thoughts flood back to their current situation. She's traveling with one of the most vicious creatures of Britannia. Demons crave nothing but death and chaos. Meliodas will want nothing more than to lay waste to their common enemy. Elizabeth tightens her hands into fists at her sides. Well, she won't allow it. If she has to, she'll race against death's abominable reach. She will ensure the lives of all those she can before Meliodas gets the chance to mercilessly steal them away. He won't be able to selfishly relish in the deaths of others.

'I'll make sure of it.'

 

Chapter Text

~2~

-Searching For Answers The Demonic Way-

Tap-tap, tap-tap, tap, tap.

He's been listening to their out of synch footsteps for hours now as his senses spread wide in search of oddities. The goddess beside him has been quiet since they'd exchanged names. Although the tension between them is still thicker than tar, keeping them at a constant distance. Meliodas chances a glance at her and once again notes her brilliant radiance and the purity that seems to drip from her abundantly. At the sickly sweet sight, his eyes turn back to the clustered path before them.

His plan when he'd set out was to find this unfortunate goddess and forcefully convince her to let go of any ideas she had of joining him in this journey had abruptly changed. He'd reached the clearing as intended with his power suppressed enough in order to sneak up on her unwittingly. However he noticed there were not one, but two goddesses there. One shining so brightly it was obvious her purity was firmly intact, while the other was dim, less divine in her appearance.

He'd kept his eyes on the radiant one, the silverette.

It was clear to him who the superior of the two was as the silverette easily unarmed her companion. Her fierceness and strength enticed him greatly. Seeing her alone as she raged through battle strikes merely attracted him further. But why was this goddess of all things infuriated, when usually they're so… gentle? The thought had caused him to sneer, repulsed, until her words reached his ears. Then it all became clear to him.

This is the goddess he'd been seeking.

Somehow the idea of convincing her to back down from their task began to diminish. Especially when she fought against him despite clearly understanding her chances of winning. Being close to her then as they minced words had stirred his blood in ways he hadn't felt in centuries. He desired to ensnare her, tangle her in his darkness as he smothered that heavenly light from her form.

As the two walk now, his hands begin to burn with the idea, but he shrugs it off. She's… tolerable. Her fiery strength and will are the most alluring he's encountered in a woman in much too long. But goddesses are weak creatures. Beneath him. Having her on this journey will only be a form of mild entertainment as she battles him with her words alone. She's of no use to him otherwise. His main focus is getting this taken care of and on the night of the blood moon, claiming his title as the King of demons.

When that day comes, then she may move up on his list of important factors as he plans on unleashing his wrath upon the goddesses first.

"Demon, do you even know where you're going?" Her sweet voice cuts through his musings curtly.

He hears her steps slightly lag and realize that she's growing tired. He would mock her for her lack of strength, but they have traveled the entirety of the night and she hasn't once questioned him. Until now that is. Meliodas shrugs as he crosses his arms. "No," is his short response.

The goddess' steps pick up some so that she can unleash a glower in his direction. He hides his grin of satisfaction from her reaction. "What do you mean no?"

"Simple. They attack at random. I was hoping the once in a lifetime sighting of a goddess and demon would draw their attention. Maybe we'd be able to find some clues then." He shrugs once more as his expression remains a cold display.

He sees out of the corner of his vision a slight flush bloom across her cheeks. He doesn't stop the steady smirk from rising to his face nor the way his eyes devour her form from top to bottom. She's a goddess, yes, but even he can't deny the heat that flashes through him in seeing the large swell of her chest, or the sharp dip in her waist as her hips flare out voluptuously. Her fierce attitude and the way she struggles against him despite his power might just be enough to let him turn a blind eye and satiate his growing desires one day.

"I suppose that makes sense," she grudgingly responds. "But it's sunrise. I think we should rest now." It's not a suggestion as she stops and begins to search for a place to sleep.

After a moment, Meliodas comes to a stop. He watches her as she searches the area with her blue eyes, finally landing upon a hidden spot between a group of trees and bushes. He raises an eyebrow with slight skepticism. Doe she expect him to be her lookout? Or does she simply not care for his opinion? The idea both infuriates and slowly enthralls him. She is definitely bold, he will allow her that, as she lays down without as much as a word to him.

He could very well leave her and keep going. He's been leading them through the forest a short distance from gatherings of humans after all and he can just continue on his way. Meliodas shifts his stance as he considers. Perhaps he should go, even if it's shortly, and corner a few feeble humans. He can question if they've seen anything suspicious lately. That way he won't just be sitting around and waiting for this goddess to get her fill of rest.

He lets his eyes roam her figure one last time before he whirls around in his leave.

~.~.~

A vacant hallway within the obsidian demonic castle stretches on. It's only used when one wishes to take the long way around the castle and many niches line the walls. It's usually quiet and rather eerie as only so many travel through it every so often; however, now muffled moans and rough grunts echo lively throughout the hall.

Zeldris grips the hips of the ravaged vampire Gelda as he pins her forcefully against an alcove's wall. He groans as his lips find her neck, nipping and biting against her skin as he marks her thoroughly. Gelda's legs tighten around his waist as a high pleasured sound rushes past her throat. Her hands tightly grip his raven locks, causing his hips to thrust sharply within her. The air between them is positively searing as he lifts his head and kisses her swollen lips intensely with a desperation their encounters always manage to bring out in him.

Taking her out in the open always thrills him. The vampire of royalty he stole for his own. No one can have her, no one can touch her. No one except him. She's his and he'll do with her what he pleases.

His breathing grows hoarse as he pulls his lips from her, nipping the swollen flesh with a roughness she loves. Gelda shudders and he growls at her slick walls tightening sporadically around him. Her end is only seconds away and he begins to thrust into her with an almost savage strength.

She chokes on her scream.

Continuously delving into her constricting heat, Zeldris gasps around a groan and drinks in her face entirely disheveled from her powerful orgasm. Her silky blond strands fall into her face as her head is thrown back. A luscious red hue takes over her skin, bathing her in a flushed radiance. Her lips, so plush and cherry red from his abuse, form a wide circle as she gasps and cries his name.

The sight is beyond addicting as he begins to lose himself in her burning flesh. His thrusts begin to stutter and he knows he's about to release. Gelda surprises him when she uses her grip in his hair to smash their lips together for a frenzied kiss. He squeezes his eyes shut as he growls her name against her lips, spilling himself deeply inside her with lazy strokes.

As the harsh pounding of blood in his ears begins to fade, Zeldris gives a languid stroke of his tongue against hers. She hums softly just as he pulls back, trailing his lips across her jaw and down her neck. "Gelda… all mine…" The lethargy of their activities draws the words from him easily and he feels her sigh breathlessly against his ministrations.

Finally he slips from her, but moves his arms to tightly encircle her waist as her feet come to rest on the ground. In an instant, however, he comes to his senses and takes a step back as he begins to refasten his pants stoically. When he straps on his scabbard he addresses her coolly, keeping his eyes locked on her figure as she straightens out her flowing skirt and attempts to fix the stray strands that managed to fall from her plaited hair. "My brother nearly destroyed the throne room. Again. His temper is one that knows no bounds. He'll make a brilliant King." He feels a smidgen of pride deep inside him at the idea. He would feel the bitter anger of jealousy if not for his other news he wishes to share with her.

Why does he want to speak with her about these things anyway? She's just his way of seeking relief. His vampire to use. The vampires were forced into submission long ago by the demon clan. And this princess is nothing more than an interesting way of disgracing their race further.

Gelda gazes up at him with brilliant blue eyes. It only takes him a moment to see that her expression is guarded. This causes his brows to lower slightly. He's used to seeing a range of emotions from her. Desire, need, contentment, loneliness… But this has never occurred before. Her tone is soft, lacking any inflections. "You demons are ruthless."

His eyes are hard as he searches her for signs of what makes her this way. Eventually his anger flares as he bites out, "What's wrong?"

She jumps, startled, and her arms form a cross as she turns her gaze away from him. "N-nothing, I..." Her thin brows crease as she squeezes her eyes closed briefly. "I must go." She tries to flee the alcove they stand in, but he catches her arm in a tight grip.

She's hiding something and it infuriates him. He jerks her to him and brings his face closer to hers in order to stare deeply into her wide, frightened eyes. "Where are you going, Gelda?"

She places a hand on his chest as if to push away and her expression grows pained. "My father has asked me to return h-home."

He growls as he pushes her to the wall forcing the air to rush from her lungs. "Must I remind you who you belong to? Who you must never betray?"

As he pushes his body against hers, she tells him clearly, "You, Zeldris. You."

His blood burns in satisfaction at hearing those words, but the question still remains. "Then why are you lying?"

Her breathing trembles for a moment before her eyes fill with determination. "Zeldris. I must leave." Before he can go about getting answers from her one way or another, she pushes her lips against his, shocking his senses enough to loosen his hold on her.

Gelda slips past him like a slithering shadow.

With a furious growl he darts after her, but he isn't quick enough. The moment she reaches a pocket of shadows she vanishes. "Fuck!" Irritation hangs over him like a thick coat as he storms down the hall. He'll teach her. Next time he gets his hands on her, he'll make sure she learns never to lie to him. Disappointment presses on his shoulders as he recalls he never got to tell her how after Meliodas takes the throne on the coming blood moon, the blond plans on making him the leader of the Ten Commandments.

Zeldris hisses at his own foolishness as he nears the corner of the hall. He can't believe he actually wanted to hear her response upon telling her the news. That vampire is beginning to affect him too greatly when it should be the other way around. Perhaps he should be more aggressive in their meetings. Reinforce his dominance and control over her.

The moment he rounds the corner a vicious sneer crosses his face. Estarossa leans against the stoned wall, with a lax expression, but knowing coal-black eyes. "Can't keep that girl under your control can you, little brother?"

Zeldris snarls as he rapidly strides off. "It's none of your damn business."

Estarossa merely chuckles in amusement.

~.~.~

Meliodas comes to the edge of the forest with his power suppressed. It won't do any good of course with his outward appearance, but the way he sees it is they'll believe he's weak. Therefore make blundering mistakes and give things away in their overconfident bravados. Idly leaning one hand against the rough bark of a tree, he sees humans just beginning to make their appearances in the early morning light. It's peaceful and quiet. Something he's about to change in an instant.

He walks out calmly with his hands poised at his sides. At first no one notices him. Then like deer sensing the looming threat, their eyes spy him. The wild curve of darkness that expands across his forehead and the darkness of his eyes is all they need to know to understand their danger.

Woman and children flee in terror, knocking over baskets and carts full of food in their stampede. Men brave enough to stay behind and attempt to die in a show of courageousness arm themselves with swords. Their teeth bare in fierce displays of anger, a petty show of their resolution.

Meliodas simply shows a small, cruel smile.

He stops in front of the small crowd of knights just as they begin to advance towards him. His smile remains as he raises a palm. In it forms black flames that dance around, throwing off flares of purple light. His tone stops them dead in their tracks. "I would not do that if I were you. You wouldn't want this whole village to go up in flames, now would you?"

The knights tremble in restrained rage. "What do you want?" one demands heatedly.

"That's nice of you to ask," Meliodas voices sweetly as the frigid air about him continuously drops in degrees. "I was hoping for some answers." His tone lowers considerably as he narrows his eyes, giving each of them a piercing stare, one by one. "What have you heard about mysterious sightings recently?"

They all remain frozen in terror for much longer than his patience can handle. Until one steps forward. The knight's eyes are narrowed as his sword begins to charge with vibrant power. 'So we have our first offering.' Meliodas notes gleefully.

"Who are you trying to fool, demon. You don't have the strength to overpower us. We don't have to tell you a thing!"

And just like that, word of mouth begins to spread amongst the knights and they begin to regain their nerve. Meliodas internally rejoices at his chance to spill blood as he adopts a worried expression. "Oh, so you noticed… What should I do now?" The flames within his palm begins to grow rapidly however, and, without a second thought, he vanishes from his position, reappearing before the knight who spoke out with his hand around his throat. The foolish knight can't even scream as his flames rise up and devour his form, charring him to gory bits, then reducing him to ashes.

The area grows ominously silent in the wake of the knight's death. Meliodas merely lowers his hand and flexes his fingers as he gives an easy sigh. Allowing his eyes to roam over the remaining knights, he calmly voices once more. "Now, do any of you know anything about mysterious sightings? I'd be happy to do similar things like this to all of you… Torment this village too while I'm at it."

"W-we don't know!" One immediately voices for them all.

His teeth show in his smile as he slowly approaches them. "Oh, really?"

They all scramble backwards at his predatory gait. It doesn't make sense to them. How could someone so weak, be positively terrifying? Monstrous? Then they feel it as he begins to close the gap between them. It was a trap. The power that swells from him presses down on the village like a crushing force. The men begin to cry out. "Please! We speak the truth!"

Meliodas chuckles maliciously as he reaches them. "I have no reason to believe you." With that he quickly snags the sword of a knight as they all attempt to flee. He thrusts his right hand out towards them and tendrils of shadows shoot out, circling around their ankles like tethers. They all crash to the ground and thoughts of escape are forced to disappear from their minds.

With the knight's sword, Meliodas strolls to the first knight he finds. The sight of him shivering like the weak creature he is pleases the demon greatly. "Speak the truth and I just might consider letting you all survive."

The male looks as if he's going through the suffering of a heart attack by his gasping breaths and the amount of sweat that lines his skin. "I-I don't know w-what you're looking for!"

Meliodas raises his sword decisively, but the man screams in protest.

"WAIT!"

The blond raises an eyebrow with thinning patience.

"I d-did see something strange a-a day or two ago. A goddess c-conversing with a female." The knight's eyes are desperate as he rushes to try and explain. "T-that never happens. Y-you higher ups never speak t-to us!"

Meliodas considers. 'True. And it is a strange sighting… Not what I'm looking for though.' "You haven't seen anything else? None of you have?" he voices out menacingly as his eyes roam around the bound men.

They practically snivel under his powerful demeanor, but none further comment. He sighs as if he's inconvenienced. He can't risk them hiding something under this single knight's admission. He'll leave this one alone, but he'll go through the same process with the rest. It's hard to hide the pleasure that arises at the idea of being able to torture a few humans.

Casually striding over to the next knight in line, Meliodas doesn't even ask him the question. If the male wants to save himself the pain, he'll speak up. As he raises the sword, thinking it a fun idea to harshly chop off the male's right arm, an outraged voice demands sharply from behind him.

"Let them go!"

Meliodas bristles at being interrupted from his interrogation. He knows the voice and her audacity irritates him.

When he doesn't lower his sword, he feels her power rises with the strength in her voice. That annoying light she wields is aimed right at him, too. "I said let them go!"

She certainly has the gall. Meliodas' blood begins to pump faster in anticipation. He looks forward to putting her in her place. Without a word he drops the sword and relinquishes his shadows over the pathetic knights. Once freed, they stares for only a moment in bafflement between the two before streaking off in search of safety. Meliodas rolls his shoulders to get the tension out. His full attention is on the goddess, despite her not being in his immediate sights.

"Why did you do this?" she demands harshly, and by the sound of it through gritted teeth.

"I wanted answers—"

"That's not how you get them! You killed someone," she hisses like a fierce lion after cutting him off.

Meliodas' blood burns with his wish to get ahold of her and show her why she is not to speak to him in such a way. Her boldness is captivating, but at the moment, after she interrupted his moment of bloodlust, he's looking for payback. And she's his only target. "For a demon, it is." Before she can dare speak against him further, he reaches her with a speed she can only dream of and knocks the arrow from her hand. She recovers when he reaches for her throat by blocking his hand with her right arm and swinging forcefully with her left.

Meliodas recoils as her fist smashes into his jaw, causing tender flesh within his mouth to tear against his teeth. His eyes turn murderous as he tastes his own blood. The thrill of her actions is unfortunately overshadowed by his insatiable desire to rip of few screams from her. He surges towards her once more, but she somehow manages to slip beneath him in a tumble. His blood thrums in rage. She's far slicker than he gave her credit for.

His knees collapse from under him the moment she sharply kicks them from behind and he decides he is about done playing around. When her leg swings towards his head, he catches the limb and pulls her roughly to her back. Like a raging dragon whose dominance has just been challenged, he's upon her, pinning her down by her throat viciously.

Elizabeth attempts to claw at his hand as he strangles her painfully, but he only tilts his head to the side slightly as he watches her struggle. Rising to stand he lifts her effortlessly in the air in order to better view her fruitless struggles. "Perhaps you should not have slept. Maybe you could have prevented this scenario otherwise…" he coos to her weak protests condescendingly.

She tries to kick him, but her attacks barely reach his senses. He simply watches her as her hands weaken in their grasp on him, as her body's jerks begin to slow, and finally as her eyes begin to close. After a few ticks he drops her to the ground and watches her gasp for air weakly as a hand shakily goes up to her neck. Standing over her, Meliodas leans down enough so that her fear-ridden mind can still pick up on the words he wishes to convey to her. "Never forget who you are dealing with, goddess. I am your superior, the next demon to take the throne. I can easily snap your neck if you so much as step out of line again. Just remember, I'm allowing you to accompany me. That can easily change."

At this, her fearful eyes grow tempered by her teeming rage. "Say what you will, demon, but I am going to be the next leader of the goddesses. I will be there to challenge you every step of the way. I will be your opposition, the one who defies your every rule. I will be your enemy for a long time. You'll never be rid of me," she snarls through a voice sore from strangulation.

Meliodas draws closer to her as if pulled by an invisible thread. His blood ignites to unbearable levels. This goddess is proving to be more of a possible conquest than he at first assumed. Looking at her now as she gazes at him with her head held high despite her hand clutching her bruising neck only attests this further. He wants her, definitely. And then after, he'll crush that lively spirit beneath his boots.

He pulls away from her slowly as he turns to head back into the forest, the furies inside him begin to ease with each step. Meliodas expects the goddess to stay behind or go off on her own in search of this mysterious threat against their clans. He did try to kill her after all. Even her bravery cannot overlook that. So after a while of brushing stray branches loaded with leaves out of his path, the sound of out of synch footsteps returning to his ears is almost a surprising noise.

He doesn't acknowledge her, but her reappearance is highly appealing. Her strength seemingly has no limits and he's looking forward to seeing just how far this goddess can be pushed.

Chapter Text

~3~

-What Lurks In The Dark-

She hadn't even gotten to rest for very long before she discovered the demon's absence. The sudden lack of foreboding darkness disturbed her greatly. If he wasn't with her then he was most likely off causing terrible things to happen which is common to their nature.

She hadn't been wrong.

Things escalated rapidly into a losing fight on her side after she realized he murdered an innocent human. There was absolutely no remorse in his appearance. None in his eyes. He was only enraged at her disruption and that had pissed her off more than he'll ever know. As the two walk deeply in the depths of a muggy forest her shoulders sag under remorse.

She failed.

She was supposed to protect the innocents from him and what was she doing while it all happened? Sleeping away without a care. How pathetic can she be? She's the next clan leader. She can't make foolish mistakes like that whilst in the presence of the most powerful demon in all of Britannia. It will certainly get her killed. It nearly has a few times already. As her thoughts run wild, she rubs a hand against her throat. It's still a bit sore, and it radiated agony after he'd dropped her at first, but thanks to her healing abilities, it's beginning to soothe nicely.

Not paying too much attention, Elizabeth almost crashes into Meliodas when he stops abruptly. She seethes internally as she burns holes into his back with her eyes. This demon tried to kill her. He could have done it easily and that alone twists her gut with failure and resentment. Her only reason for being here with him now is because she doesn't trust him enough to get the job done. She doesn't know him. For all she knows he can just be a demon who eventually shrugs his responsibilities when no results present themselves. She also doesn't believe he'll do it without killing anyone else and she'll try with every ounce of will she has to prevent him from doing so.

She holds in a growl as she watches him slowly wander to a tree close by. 'What is he doing? He insisted upon walking without a break and now he's stopping to enjoy the scenery?' Her hands fist on her hips as her foot begins to tap in agitation. Meliodas doesn't notice or care as he deftly jumps into the tree. Seconds later, peaches begin to rain down in thuds.

Elizabeth hops back in order to avoid being hit. Then Meliodas reappears as he takes a seat with his back propped against the tree. He snatches one of the last peaches to fall from the air and savagely bites it like a piece of meat. Elizabeth watches avidly, the path his tongue takes across his lips as he licks the juice from them. Something swelling in intensity begins to stir low in her belly.

His voice snaps her out of her trance. "I would have preferred something meatier, but this'll have to do."

Elizabeth unwillingly comes to her knees and pushes down her anger towards him for the moment, while picking up a ripe fruit. She is rather hungry... "What's the meaning of this, demon? I thought we weren't allowed rest?"

She feels his eyes on her like slow burn, but decides to focus on eating the fruit instead. "I never said such a thing. Besides, I thought it time to take a break as I have an idea of where we should go next." His tone is low and uninterested, forcing her to look up to find out the emotion on his face for herself.

His eyes are as cold as ever and that smirk is once again on his face, causing her cheeks to warm in indignation. "And where exactly is that?"

He raises a finger and wags it derisively. Her grip on the piece becomes brutal. "Ah, ah, ah. We wouldn't want you to run off on your own now would we?"

~.~.~

Time passes, but she does not sleep. The demon doesn't seem to have any trouble finding rest amongst the remaining bunches of peaches he knocked from the tree. The sun is much lower in the sky as Elizabeth sits across from him with her arms wrapped around her legs. Her eyes burn into his form with a fierce hatred. He has absolutely no shame for what he does, and why would he? Demons care for nothing. They only find ways to use others to their advantage and it sickens her.

"You killed him. Killed an innocent man," she whispers scathingly to the slumbering demon. The injustice of it, of his actions against those people, against her as well, begins to consume her mind. Poison her thoughts. Maybe she should do something to him… Make him feel a fraction of what he's done to others.

Her blue eyes lock on him with a burning intensity as she begins to crawl towards him in a slinking fashion. He's on his back as his chest rises and falls evenly in his sleep. The heat of his form reaches her as she comes upon him. Something wicked begins to fill her uncontrollably as she slowly moves her leg over his waist to straddle him. As she sits atop him gingerly and her hands lower towards his neck, a maddened smile overcomes her lips. "An eye for an eye, eh, demon?" Her hands snap to his neck, crushing in their grip as rage boils inside her unbridled.

Rationality is gone. All her morality has vanished as she seizes him with eyes bright with revenge. The consequences of hurting or possibly killing a member of the demon clan doesn't even come to mind. She wouldn't care if it did. She must make him pay. Meliodas begins to struggle beneath her as his eyes snap open. They hold skepticism rather than surprise or even fear as she hoped. It only fuels her fury even more. His hands land on her wrists, but she refuses to let go. She won't.

In realizing this, his eyes widen in amusement, heightening her seething blood as it thrums inside her. The air is forced from her lungs temporarily as he flips them over. His hands remove hers, but she snatches them from him quickly as she smacks him viciously across the face. From there she devolves into a shrieking, hissing woman scorned. She jabs him in the face twice drawing blood before he catches her hand. Meliodas doesn't get angry though. He only laughs openly at her antics.

They begin to tumble around then as she loses control of her senses and actions. Her legs kick whatever she can find. Again she uses her free hand to punch at his face drawing more blood out as her knuckles begin to bruise. His amused laughter and mocking smile only drive her mad. He shouldn't be enjoying this! He should be filled to the brim with the outrage she's showering thoughtfully upon him! Damn it why isn't this working?

As her face goes from pink, to red, to the beginnings of a beet, her knee nails him right between his legs and his chortles are interrupted by a choking cough. Elation fills her as his joyous sounds dim. But then his hands find her wrists and his legs swiftly move between hers as he shoves her harshly on her back, effectively ending their tussle. The two pant heatedly for seconds that bleed into charged minutes as his eyes drag sluggishly over her surely more than disheveled form.

When he speaks his voice is hushed as it rumbles through his chest which is tightly pressed against hers. Elizabeth shudders against her will and begins to nibble against her lower lip. It's suddenly a lot hotter than it was moments ago. "If you wanted to rouse me, all you had to do was climb on my lap and give me a little shove. I would have been delighted to give you a bit of attention. No need to be so dramatic, goddess."

He climbs off of her before she can decide whether he's insulting her or implying something more than her mind can handle right now. She bolts up right then, positively mortified as reasoning begins to flood her veins in icy masses. How could she have done that? A leader doesn't be have so... so uncouth! Humiliation paints her cheeks darkly. She hasn't felt so low since she was a bumbling adolescent thousands of years ago.

She barely hears Meliodas wiping the dirt from his clothes over the pounding shame that echoes in her mind. "Night should fall soon. We need to get going." The clear order isn't missed in his tone.

His clear shrugging off of her efforts causes irritation to flash across her skin, something that's a bit harder to shrug off as she attempts to pull herself together. She stands to her feet then moves slightly beside him as she lowers her brows. "…And where exactly are we going?"

He doesn't answer for a while, feeding her irritation until finally he gives her a fleeting look. "Look ahead. There's a small mountain that lies further on. It feels… off."

She does turn her eyes forward then, to see just above the treetops a rather… unnaturally structured mountain. It's a bland grey in color with a slanted top, but the ridges and bumps all seem calculated. Manmade. And upon inspecting it closer a sort of eerie feeling begins to seep into her veins. 'He's right. What could be coming from that?' Elizabeth doesn't question his judgement in checking it out. She follows along diligently wondering if this place has anything to do with the unexplained attacks.

~.~.~

The last of daylight has just leached from the sky by the time they reach the mountain. Now standing before it, the ominous presence of it becomes overwhelming. The seemingly artificial mountain has a long stretching crack through its from. The gap in it spreads wide enough for people to slip through. Elizabeth, so lost in her observations, nearly misses Meliodas beginning to stride casually into the opening. Her silver boots crunch heavily in the grass as she rushes to catch up.

Her fingers graze the rough material of the opening as she slides between the two walls. The minimal light from outdoors begins to shrink then meld away as a low blue light begins to surround them. Her breathing seems too loud as she creeps further in. This place is wrong. She can feel it in her bones. The instant she slips through the small gap of an entrance is when she figures out why.

"Our power is being forcefully suppressed. We don't have access to it here," Meliodas voices nonchalant as he coolly observes their surroundings.

Elizabeth desperately tries to bring up her energy, but she feels empty. Like a barren river. "What could be causing this?" she ponders as she steps further in the room of sorts. Her blue eyes swivel slowly around, trying to look for anything that might give this place's origins away. In the dim blue lighting, it's hard to see much, but the area is small, cramped almost, with a bumpy wall in front of them. Upon looking up she swallows hard. It seems never ending as pure darkness begins to eat away at the faded blue light.

"Dark magic. Maybe this place is mixed up with the killings. Only one way to find out." With that Meliodas wanders to the bumpy rock clustered wall and begins to scale it slowly.

Elizabeth's eyes widen. "Wait, you're going up there?"

She can feel his irritation as he grates out an answer. "It's shrouded in darkness. Something someone is obviously is trying to hide is here. Darkness is my element." He doesn't comment further as he slowly hoists himself further up the wall.

Elizabeth tightens her fists beside her. It's a logical explanation and, judging by his tone, he thinks she'll just slow him down. 'I'll show him.' She moves to the wall and finds a firm grip. Holding on until her hands turn white against the strain, she begins to steadily climb up. One foot into a nook, then moving her hand up to grasp another rock. The other foot into a higher cranny, then the other hand up to grab another rock. One step at a time, she tells herself. She's climbed trees, cliffs, and mountains before. But she doesn't have her power here. The added strength and the added reassurance that if she screws up she can save herself with her wings isn't here. Just pushing herself higher and higher has sweat beading upon her brow and gathering along her palms.

She chances a look up to see she's right where the darkness begins to suck the color from the room. Meliodas is surprisingly glancing down at her with a mocking grin. She puffs her cheeks out and turns her eyes back to the rock face before her. 'One hand up, one foot higher…'

"Afraid of a little climbing, goddess?"

The darkness swells around her, blocking out her vision and speeding up her heart. She's so high up now… If she loses her footing… "N-no." Her hand slips briefly causing her throat to tighten around a muffled squeal. She can't see properly. The difficulty just multiplied tenfold.

"Good, because there's still a ways to go," he responds, almost too pleased with the idea.

How does he even know this? Her breathing is slightly labored, but she keeps her mind focused. Following her pattern, she scales higher and higher, breathing slowly and steadily to keep a somewhat semblance of calm. Then her foot slips and she can't regain her grip in time. Her shriek echoes over and over in the vast expanse of the mountain as she falls. The rapid way her heart plunges in her chest is more frightening than the image she pictures of her impact with the ground.

A strong, calloused hand snags her wrist, then swings her entire form up and roughly onto a flat surface. Over the thudding of her heart and the ache of being jerked so harshly by her arm, Elizabeth hears Meliodas' voice tinged with derision. "Choking on the final stretch?"

She swallows her moan of pain as she rubs her shoulder, happy to feel it wasn't jerked out of its socket. That is never fun to put back in place. Instead of commenting however, she slowly rises as her sense of sight is lost to her. The area is beyond pitch black. They could very well walk into a death trap and not even know it with how shrouded the place is. Why is it that she let this demon lead her to a place like this again?

"How are we supposed to know where we're headed?" Her voice light and hesitant, barely enough to cause ripples to disturb water. This place more than puts her on edge and she hardly even wants to take a step forward. She could end up walking right over the edge of the wall they just climbed.

The thudding of boots can be heard as Meliodas begins to stride away. "Follow me."

But should she really? He seems... confident. And she doesn't have any clue of where to go from there. It appears she has no other choice. Listening solely to his steps, Elizabeth attempts to keep pace. They walk for a while and the sound of their steps become almost soothing to her shaken nerves.

Tap-tap, tap-tap, tap-tap, splat!

Elizabeth halts at the odd sound causing Meliodas to do so after he trails ahead a few steps.

"What is it?" The irritation is obvious in his tone as well as his impatience.

She ignores him for a moment as she listens closely.

Silence.

"Nothing. I just thought I heard something…" she informs before she continues to walk. Meliodas follows suit after a harsh sigh and Elizabeth relaxes back in the comforting tones of their steps.

Tap-tap, tap-tap, splat! Splat!

She draws up short as her head whips around in hopes of being able to see something. "Something is here. I know it," she voices with certainty.

Meliodas stops as well, but he doesn't say anything. Elizabeth tries to conjure up her magic once more, but nothing comes forth like fruitless strikes of a wet match against stone. Something's there and it could be about to attack and she doesn't have a weapon or light.

The room grows so thick with silence, Elizabeth swears she's drowning in it. She can't breathe. The pressure is too much. Then Meliodas voices sharply in a hushed tone something that makes her skin clammy as her blood chills. "Run."

"W-Wha—?

"Run!"

She stumbles forward at the command having no way of knowing where to go, but she has no choice. Meliodas is beside her as she pants in alarm. Her ears hear it though, quite clearly what tried to hide. The sound of a slimy substance dripping behind them from many different areas. They're being chased by a horde, and the sounds that begin to fill the air scrape down her nerves viciously. Whatever the beings are howl and moan, salivating in her mind as they snap at the heels of the running pair.

What are they going to do? They can't fight without their powers and they don't even know where they're heading! Her heart becomes a drumming resonance in her chest. She almost wishes to whimper, to crumple under fear, but that's beneath her. She'll figure something out. Whatever's here won't take her down so easily.

"There!" Meliodas suddenly yells, startling her briefly.

Elizabeth looks forward and sees nothing. "Where? What?"

He growls in furious frustration before she feels something tight gripping her hand. Her heart stops completely for an instant when she realizes it's his hand. She doesn't have much time to think it through before he's swinging her forward again and she's tumbling roughly through a tight spot. She attempts to right herself in order to push forward when suddenly he's behind her. His hands are burning as he presses on her rear, shoving her forward insistently as he squeezes behind her.

Her breathing comes out rasping and she forgets for a second they're in danger just from his forceful touches. Why does he even care if she escapes? Why is he putting her first?

With a final shove she tumbles out head over heels and the scrapes from that small opening start to make themselves known. Meliodas falls out after her with a terse breath. The howling and hisses behind them stay where they are. Whatever they are must be too big to fit through the opening. The very thought causes Elizabeth's heart to still. What would it have been like if Meliodas hadn't seen their way of escape? Why had he anyway? Then she remembers… Darkness is his element.

She moves to her feet when she hears him beginning to walk forward calmly, as if they hadn't just run for their lives just moments ago. "You're starting to be more of a burden than you're worth," he hisses angrily when she tries to find his side.

Her own ire flares at his implication. "Just because I'm not a creature of darkness doesn't mean I'm not competent otherwise."

He scoffs. "Yeah, says the one who needed to be shoved through a hole when we were being chased by man-eating creatures."

Her cheeks flare, but she's grateful he can't see. Or can he…? Her eyes turn down as she relies on his footsteps as guidance. "What were those things anyway?"

She can imagine him shrugging. "No idea. But I'd bet your life on it that those are the things that have been after our clans."

She whips her head in the direction of his voice as she bears her teeth, infuriated. Bet her life? Of course he would. A throaty chuckle sounds from him as he takes pleasure in her irritation.

After the "excitement" of the chase begins to wear off with the fading sounds of the creatures, Elizabeth lets her mind settle in the darkness as the only sounds around are her breathing, her heartbeats, and their steady steps. Is this place endless? Will they find a way out? More importantly, who made it? They certainly went through the trouble of keeping things hidden and making sure whoever enters can't use their abilities.

The goddess brings a finger between her teeth to nibble just the slightest as she considers things deeply. Something halts her thoughts though. A slight warm sensation brushes against her leg. Her heart leaps slightly as she imagines what it could be. A bug? A spider? She's averse to killing any creatures, but she doesn't think being poisoned by one right now without her healing abilities would be a bright idea. It only lasted a fleeting moment, but her mind still whirls with the possibilities. A few steps later it comes back, but higher. It's a passing sensation and it unnerves her. 'What is it?' Very soon it disappears again like a quick breeze, but it's much too warm. Too heavy.

She comes to realize what it is after Meliodas' heavily teasing tone reaches her ears. "Having a problem there, goddess?"

It's his hand. And suddenly it's beneath her skirt grasping roughly and snaking lower. Several things happen in a span of mere seconds. Elizabeth gasps sharply as her face floods with blood. Her thighs clench together, trapping his hand from further exploration. And finally her ire blazes like an inferno as her right fist draws back. Even without sight she manages to sock him sharply in the jaw.

Meliodas hisses as he pulls his hand free and recoils from her. What he says next causes her civility to flee. "Bitch."

She lunges for him.

The two crash to the ground as she begins to beat whatever place her hands can reach. They go tumbling with her frenzied motions and an instant later the ground falls from beneath them. The loss of structure below them has Elizabeth shrieking. She barely even realizes it when she clings to Meliodas for dear life.

Not a second later something slanted comes underneath them. They slide along it easily with the rushing water that runs across it as an aid. Elizabeth splutters from the constant splashing of the water while Meliodas cushions her from it all. Whether purposely or by chance is unknown.

A second later the light from evening, the scent of nature, sudden freedom bathes over the two as they soar through the air. Their speed and trajectory are much faster than the rushing water, so they miss the cushion of the small pooling of water and instead land on moist grass in a tumble. As air rushes to her lungs, Elizabeth peels her eyes open and spies Meliodas, once again, above her as he pins her down. His grin is smug. "We keep ending up like this. Are you trying to tell me something…?"

Her anger still remains from earlier. So with swift movement, she knocks one of his arms away as she rolls out from under him, leaving him to crash painfully to the ground. She doesn't leave it at that. The moment he sits up, she lets her hand fly across his face.

She strides a small distance from him as annoyance clings to her like a second skin after that. That demon is going to drive her insane. He has no humility. He actually touched her with vile intentions. The thought of it makes her want to run a dagger through his throat. Her fist clenches forcefully and the handle of said weapon appears in her grasp. She brings it towards her face in astonishment. "My powers… they're back!" she breathes in utter relief.

The feeling is short-lived however when a familiar dread dwarfs the area in a heavy smog. Time seems to slow down as she whirls around. Meliodas stands there with his immaculate sword in hand already pulled back in preparation. Her heart stills as she begins to race towards him, but her motions feel sluggish. It doesn't even feel as if she's moving at all.

"NO!" Her scream of protest is overshadowed by the swing of his blade.

Nothing visible comes from it, until a moment later the entirety of the mountain implodes, sending bits of rocks rocketing in all directions. The power wave is immense and sends Elizabeth to her hands and knees. Her ears ring as her stomach churns. The screeches of the beings inside nearly deafen her as she imagines their horrendous deaths. He killed them without a thought. Not a second's notice to even think it over. Their lives were meaningless in his mind and easily labeled as expendable.

She could have saved them. She should have saved them. Mended the darkness inside them and given them a warm light. But she wasn't fast enough. She let the demon win.

When sound begins to return to her again, the occasional clacks of rocks of rocks falling against each other, Elizabeth whispers coldly. "Why did you do that?"

"I'm pretty sure they were the creatures attacking our clans." He tells her simply.

Her head snaps up to look at him in a quiet rage. "That wasn't my question. Why did you kill them? They could have been saved!"

Meliodas openly stares at her as if her words are the most ridiculous thing he's ever heard. Then he gives a single, tiny, cold smile. "I'll advise you, goddess, not to rely on that light of yours. You just might regret it one day."

Her hands tremble under her in the moist grass. The anger inside her is too hot in her chest. She can barely contain it. "You don't know what you're saying, but it doesn't matter. You're a vile demon. We'll never see eye to eye, but just know this." She rises to her feet as she stares him down hatefully. "I will never stop fighting. Even if it's until my last breath, I will make sure that one day every demon has been enlightened. You will all come to a day where you're forced to change your ways. I swear it."

It's silent between them as her words settle in the air. A cold wind passes through, chilling her skin and making the burning fury inside her very much apparent. She watches Meliodas as his eyes seem to brighten with excitement and, slowly, he walks closer to her. His intent is unclear, but she doesn't back down. If she has to, she'll make him the first demon she converts. When he stops, he's right before her. She can feel the heat from his body beginning to burn into her.

He raises a hand and she expects him to strike her. Surprisingly, his rough palm only captures her chin and slowly his thumb begins to rub along her jaw. She feels nothing but disdain in his motions. "I look forward to battling you along the way, goddess. It shall be… thrilling showing you your place…"

Chapter Text

~4~

-I'll Have You-

The past week had been bland and uneventful. Traveling with the goddess in search of more creatures seems to be turning into a complete waste as no more seem to be around. What's worse, the tension between the two is so copious and noxious, it's a wonder how they haven't managed to kill each other yet.

Meliodas turns his eyes in Elizabeth's direction as they stride slowly through an exposed valley. The sky is clear with only a few puffy clouds blotting the cerulean blue. Grass brushes the ankles of their boots with each step. Occasionally, Meliodas feels the need to crush the petals of a sprouting yellow flower, annoyed by their brightness. He can tell Elizabeth knows he's doing it deliberately by the waves of agitation that waft off of her, but she does not comment on it. Steep walls with blotchy shrubbery upon them stand on each side of them, allowing for cool winds to sweep through occasionally.

Elizabeth had suggested that maybe if they were out in the open, something would appear. He decided to give the idea a shot since they hadn't run into anything after several days. However as time goes on, he's starting to believe perhaps they destroyed all of the dark creatures after all, and maybe they'll have to separate and return to their clans with the news. It's a displeasing thought, the idea of having to leave her without having yet toyed with that spirit of hers.

As he watches her now, her blue eyes hard and her full, cerise lips set in a scowl, he thinks she knows their next move as well.

So as he comes to a stop as they reach the end of the valley, he resolves to finally voice what they both know. "Goddess, I believe it's time we part and head back to our clans. Tell them the news of the creatures' destruction."

She stops and for a moment, he thinks she will disagree from the stiffness in her stance. Then she turns to face him as she nods. "Okay. There's no use in wasting anymore time out here together."

His lips thin at her choice of words. Of course. She's right. The thought of not seeing her until she's a true enemy on the battlefield is an arresting thought however. Before he can analyze the odd weight of the idea, his senses capture the feeling of something dark and malicious. Demons. A small number of them are not too far ahead. But the odd feeling isn't coming from them. It feels more like what he and Elizabeth encountered before…

His eyes flick from hers as he gazes around her. Meliodas' expression smooths as he see them. The large entirely black, opaque creatures from before. They don't seem to have a definitive form as they create sharp protrusions from their bodies. And just like before, he notices their slimy texture. The odd way the substance drips from them and begins to burn whatever it lands upon. It's quite a few of them, actually, and they seem be overpowering the demons.

A sense of apathy washes over him as he watches the demons struggle. 'They're pathetic.' The lower class demons always have been. If they can't even handle themselves against these creatures then they don't deserve to carry on.

He feels Elizabeth's eyes on him in questioning before she whirls to face the direction he's looking. A horrified gasp tumbles past her lips as she watches his brethren struggle against the man-eaters. "We have to do something! Why didn't you say anything?"

Again with that righteous anger of hers. Meliodas crosses his arms, appearing bored. "They're weak. If they can't—"

Elizabeth doesn't even wait for him to finish as she takes off full speed in the direction of the battling beings. Meliodas takes in a deep breath as he closes his eyes. The anger inside him storms savagely for a wild moment as he dwells in her clear dismissal. In the next moment as he exhales the storm calms and he's able to open his eyes without seeing red tinging the edges of his vision.

As he focuses on the battle, he sees she's already taking action. Her body moves like a graceful river, cutting through the air as she dives into fluid kicks and swiping strikes as her body glimmers in the shining sun. She's relentless in her moves to stand up for the demons, beings she hates, and that surprises him as his eyebrows raise. His eyes glue to her figure. The way her muscles beneath the soft skin of her belly flex as she twists and springs out of the lunging attacks of the creatures, holds his attention for some time before he gazes at her face.

Her cheeks are flushed with determination as she cries out with each of her deadly twirls. She attacks strategically behind her opponents, forcefully striking them until they're "unconscious". He'd seen her practicing battle tactics before when they first met, but this… Seeing her in action as her hair flows around her in an elegant halo makes him want to snatch her away as he shows her pleasures she can only dream of.

He's never seen her so capable, so competent, as she relieves the poor excuses for demons from the dark beings, one by one. They begin to fall with heavy splats, and he sees a wave of unsettlement ease over the mysterious creatures. There are only a few left among the demons and she swiftly darts towards them with her hair whipping behind her. Two flee at a surprisingly fast pace towards the thicket of trees catching her attention before she can attack her sole target.

He watches her as she leaps into the air then. Her rich green skirt, slit high on both sides, and the sleeveless shirt that clings to her chest and billows out shortly above her waist, flaps in the wind as she takes a pose in the air. An elegant bow forms in her hand as she takes aim with a hardened expression.

The vibrant light she fires in the fleeing creatures' direction is precise, and even if they aren't seen anymore, he doesn't doubt that she hit her marks. Elizabeth releases her bow, as she flips once in the air, then lands in a crouch. Again she charges for the remaining creature and Meliodas decides that he should go check to make sure those last two are fully taken care of or risk drowning in the carnal appeal of the goddess.

Meliodas has never felt so mesmerized.

The way she moved, her body so supple, so delectable, took a firm grip of his desire and plunged it into the fiery depths of lava, alighting it in a wave of heat as she became a vivid target in his mind. Something simmers in his chest as he smirks. He realizes after a moment, it's a hint of pride as he recalls her striking fear in those creatures. Again, she managed to astonish him. Feeling prideful for her… What are the odds?

As he strides quickly by them, he can already hear the complaints of the demons.

"Having to be saved by a female and a goddess of all things," one mutters pissed as they give Elizabeth bitter looks.

"She probably thinks she's better than us. She thinks just because she saved us that we should lower ourselves before her. The very thought makes me ill," another hisses with a tight sneer.

"I'm starting to think death would have been better."

Their disdain for being saved by a goddess is almost palpable in the air. Meliodas snickers as he disappears between the trees. Elizabeth certainly won't like their "gratefulness".

His mirth withers away however when he begins to hear agonized screeches. His eyebrows lower as he strides a little quicker into the trees, actually curious as to what could be causing them.

Meliodas slows to a stop, then he casually crosses his arms over his chest as he watches the interesting development unravel before his eyes. The beings that scattered into the forest are writhing in absolute torment as pure light arrows stick through their opaque forms. The demon truly enjoys the sight of their suffering as they slowly begin to melt, diminishing from view as their sopping remains slowly, like sand being blown away in the wind, disappear.

The blond approaches the grass where they once were with a critical eye. The area is slightly singed, but otherwise, there's no signs of what used to be those dark beings. He feels no surprised at their agonized deaths though. He told that goddess, don't rely on her light too much. She'll eventually learn.

Fast footsteps come from behind him and he doesn't even have to turn around to know that it's Elizabeth. "Those annoying, ungrateful, bastards." She mutters harshly under her breath, which is slightly labored from strenuous activity. "I guess it doesn't matter… I got to save them."

Meliodas has to turn to face her upon hearing the utter content in her tone, something he has yet to see in her in the time they've spent together. She's positively glowing with happiness. It both sickens him and causes a coarse grin to smooth over his mouth to see it.

When that happiness begins to flow from her flushed face, plunging her in a dark cloud of incredulity, Meliodas regards her through a cold wall of indifference.

"You did it… again." She doesn't sound surprised or angered. More like quiet and heavily disappointed.

He turns away from her as something courses through his system. The idea of telling her that it wasn't him, but her foolish light that caused these being to die a slow, agonized death runs through him vividly. But when his lips open, something entirely different comes out. "I'm a demon. What did you expect?"

What? He wanted to see her face as she shattered from the realization. Even the rage as she argued relentlessly that he was lying. That he just wanted to trick her as some cruel joke. So why… why was he shielding her from harm? The pain that he'd warned her of?

"No, you're right. I should never have thought for even an instance you would leave this alone," she mutters crossly and he can imagine her fists tightening until the rosy flush in her skin was pushed back, leaving a pale tinge.

He pushes all the oddities of the situation aside as he strides carelessly over where the creatures' remains are. "This proves that more of the creatures are out there," he eventually says, ignoring her statement. "We still have a long way to go before we solve this situation, goddess." A twisted sort of delight begins to fill him at the idea. She's not free from his side yet. He still has time then.

Her footsteps slowly begin to pick up as she comes to his side. "Unfortunately, you're right, demon. Oh, how I wish you weren't."

He chuckles darkly. "Afraid something might happen that you might regret?" he prods as he cuts his eyes in her direction.

She turns to him as her eyes narrow. "Yes. I just might end up slitting your throat in your sleep."

His eyes turn forward as he grins, entirely satisfied with her answer.

~.~.~

Warmth and a comfort she greedily absorbs settles over her as she gazes into the sleeping face of Zeldris, a rare sight to see. She'd angered him before. It hurts to see him like that but it's a necessity. She couldn't imagine his reaction if he discovered… The moment she returned to the demonic castle after days of absence, Zeldris cornered her with a violent passion. As he crushed her to his chest and dragged her to his chambers, she was ripped of her dress and left vulnerable to his aggressive desires. It was wild, and ferocious, and entirely gratifying as he marked her and claimed her again and again, drilling it into her mind that she was his and his alone.

He's the most possessive creature she's ever encountered. His hold on her, even now in sleep, gives off the impression that no one is to come near. Gelda feels her chest tighten in love and despair. Zeldris may be cold, he may be scathing, but she knows deep down somewhere he must care for her. Which is why it hurts her so deeply to leave him in such a way.

Gelda shifts closer in his hold as her hand smooths over the heat of his bare chest. With regret she kisses his lips softly, then murmurs against them, "I'm sorry…" The vampire slips from his hold tentatively. The heat from his scorching form drains from her rapidly, leaving her trembling. Her dress was ripped in their frenzied passion, but a number of clothes for her are held within the wardrobe near the door. When she opens it she carelessly snatches a beige slip to go beneath the pale blue dress she picks to wear. As soon as she's fully clothed she grasps the wooden handle upon the door with the heavy thought of where she must go.

A rough hand slams against the door beside her face holding it in place and jolting her heart. She shudders as Zeldris' heat begins to burn into her from behind. She tries to keep her breathing steady when he moves his lips to her ear and hisses harshly, "You're leaving again?"

He wasn't supposed to wake! She was silent as she moves, something her nature grants her above all others, so why…? She inhales, then tightens her grip on the doors handle, resolute in leaving. "I must go. I have to… hunt."

He laughs loudly, mockingly as his free arm wraps around her waist. He jerks her back into him, his opinion on the matter clear with that action. "A little late to be doing that, don't you think?" His arm around her squeezes roughly causing her to gasp sharply. "What have I told you about lying to me, Gelda? Your betrayal will not be accepted!"

Her heart begins to hammer in her chest as her hands scramble to brace against the stones of the wall as he pulls her waist back and up. "Zeldris! This isn't—"

His hands quickly pull sharply at her clothing, forcing them up above her waist. One hand keeps her waist firmly in place while the other snakes between her legs callously, easily finding her folds. The way his fingers begin to move against her has a throaty moan rushing past her lips as her front leans heavily against the wall before her.

Zeldris' voice is a rough growl as his fingers work her core to a hot slickness. "Do I have to keep reminding you, Gelda? I'll do it if I must. I'll do it for as long as it takes to get you to understand that you belong to me. That you can't leave me." His last words are tight with something Gelda recognizes with a trembling gasp.

Pain.

So when his fingers leave her to grip her waist to a near painful hold and he thrusts into her in one swift motion, Gelda's toes curl as she gives a shuddering mewl. The two tears she shed are thankfully missed as the desire and passion between them easily begin to consume her mind. She must leave. But for now it can wait until a later time.

She doesn't want to hurt Zeldris anymore than she already has. It's killing her enough already with what she's doing.

~.~.~

The roasted carcass of a boar sits above a fire in front of him run through with a stick. He'd offered Elizabeth some of it, his small attempt at being "courteous". A foreign concept to him, but there was plenty of it, so it didn't matter to him if she had any. But she'd refused, saying she was fine with fruit. He didn't blame her really. She despises him and his cooking isn't really the best. She might have actually saw it as a way of trying to kill her on his part.

Night is heavy over the sky as he gazes at her over the flickers of the bright yellow flames of fire. She lays silently in the soft grass in sleep with her back to him. Meliodas shamelessly allows his eyes to roam over the dips and curves of her form as his mind wanders and settles on her and her alone. She's enticing. Positively thrilling to his senses. More than he believed she would be when he first laid eyes on her luminescent figure.

It's… peculiar to him to think of her, a goddess, in such a way. Those divine beings are too heavenly, too good, too pure for him to take before the thought of snapping necks and gouging out hearts begins to overtake his mind. But Elizabeth… She's different. Tolerable. Never once has she backed down from him. She always fights back even when she knows she'll lose if he truly gives his all. Her spirit is like a raging inferno every time he picks at her relentlessly. It's thrilling, encountering someone who doesn't care that he can kill them before they even realize what happened. And her power is remarkable. Seeing her in battle set his blood ablaze in ways he can't begin to name. She took charge with a fierceness meant to entice him surely. Nothing stood in her way as she fearlessly faced creatures that could have easily rendered her nothing but a memory.

He's absolutely spellbound by her and he plans on exploiting that to the fullest of his abilities.

This goddess is affecting him more than he expected and that is unacceptable. He finds his mind wandering to her much too often. Affecting his thoughts and judgement. He's a cold hearted, ruthless bastard and this sweet, angelic, fiery creature is somehow managing to blot out his focus with her simmering light. She's ensnaring him when it should be the other way around. He can't let that happen. What if others discovered just how easy it is to actually manipulate him? The shame that would befall him isn't near the amount of rage he feels for letting such a thing happen. The fury is not only on himself, but her for even daring to attempt and seemingly succeed at doing such a thing.

He's already done something foolish because of her alluring appeal when he shielded her from the knowledge of her mistakes. No… He has to go about changing things. And he has a very pleasing idea of how to do that. One that will fully satisfy his raging desires for the enchanting goddess and put her back in her place rightfully beneath him.

She's gotten his full attention and that won't change for a long time. Not until he's done with her. He's slid his eyes over her form again and again so many times he's lost count. Her buxom curves beg for his hands to grip them roughly. Her ample breasts demand to be squeezed and her nipples sucked. And those plush lips call out to him asking, pleading for him to kiss, lick, and bite them to swollen lusciousness. Meliodas' eyes hood as he gazes at her form turned from his. He'll grant those wishes certainly. Elizabeth will be under him, writhing in the sweating passionate carnality of their joining. It will happen. And then after, he'll look her in the eye and tell her how he won. How she abandoned her morals, her values, for a single night of submission to him.

The devastation when she realizes that it was all a plan, a twisted plan to break her will be just as satisfying as having her beneath him.

The demon watches her with a growing maniacal grin. It's such a marvelous plan, he nearly chuckles at the brilliance of it. But then something comes to mind. It slowly causes the grin to seep from his place as a scowl replaces it. That plan would work beautifully if Elizabeth didn't despise him so. He's seen her interest in him. He knows she wants him. He knows. But her hatred for him overshadows it. Meliodas shifts to where a leg is bent so that he can rest an arm over it. In order for him to proceed, he needs to turn that beautiful hatred for him into something else. Something more tender.

The thought causes him to grimace, but it's the only way. She's a goddess. It's in her nature to be more accommodating with warmer emotions. So he must get her to like him somehow. An impossible feat, but when has he never been up to the challenge?

His smirk is renewed as his eyes bore into the being that captures his interest more completely than anything has in thousands of years. "I'll have you, Elizabeth… And then, I will crush you."

Chapter Text

~5~

-Getting To Know You My Way-

The mission must go on, Elizabeth tells herself, but she finds it incredibly difficult to continue traveling with Meliodas. There is absolutely no light within him. Those creatures would have been healed and given light. But he deliberately went after them and took their lives away. And for what? To get a rise out of her? Well she won't stoop that low any more. She's done playing his games. She'll travel with him to find out who's doing this. And she'll make it so that they aren't brutally murdered by his hands. Then after that, when she can finally take her place as the goddesses' leader, she'll go after him with everything she has.

They walk through another forest where an array of flora and plant life thrive. It smells completely refreshing as the blues, pinks, and yellows of various flowers hang from trees and grow from various bushes. It almost reminds her of the beauty of the Fairy King's Forest. A tiny smile warms her face at the reminder. The air is warm, and dim lighting from the sun struggles to reach them through the vibrant leaves of the canopies. Sounds invade her ears. From the chirps of baby birds, to the singing of insects. She sighs blissful as her feet tread through the uneven path they take. It's utter heaven to be in such a healthy, lively place. For a moment, she feels herself glowing with delight. This of course is about the time when she feels eyes gluing to her form.

It's not a feeling she hasn't come to know since she's started this journey with Meliodas. She doesn't know whether it causes a fiercely compelling sensation to run low in her belly when she realizes or a flare of displeasure that a demon is observing her in such an open way. Elizabeth crosses her arms self-consciously as a frown turns down her lips. Whenever she does let her mind think about it, she finds it ridiculous that even for the briefest of moments she enjoys his attentions. She even wants it. How ludicrous. How silly indeed…

After a while, the feeling doesn't leave. She gives a harsh exhale, but she refuses to look. She knows what she'll find if she does.

His eventual question astonishes her. "I was thinking, goddess, if we're going to be traveling together for a while we should… learn more of each other. Don't you agree?"

Her head turns in his direction in utter cluelessness. She finds a cold mask of indifference embedded deeply into his expression. It doesn't take away from the striking way his chiseled jaw clenches in frustration or the way his wild locks fall attractively over his face. "What?" She utters forcefully, hoping to cover the slight pink that comes to her cheeks.

He raises an eyebrow. "Okay, since you can't take a hint, what do you despise that isn't me, or demons, or dark beings?"

That hot flaring inside her rises once more at his pompous attitude. Elizabeth grits her teeth lightly as she turns her face away. She could not answer. Show him that he can't just talk to her like that. But slight curiosity dwells inside of her. She wants to know why he would actually take the time to get to know her. To pass the time maybe? Fill the silence perhaps? Either way, she blows out air, inadvertently blowing a stray piece of hair from in front of her face at the same time. Then she answers honestly. "I hate seeing people upset and hurt."

He simply hums in response. That's it? She expected him to mock her for weakness. He's doing it in his head most likely then… Without turning to gaze at him, she decides to turn the question back at him. "What about you? What do you hate that isn't me, goddesses, purity, and light?"

She can tell he's smirking without having to even look. His tone doesn't fit the expression though, which actually causes her to face him when he answers. "I hate losing and… being unable to do things I set out to do." He's staring at his hands as if something from long ago is flashing through his mind. Bothering him.

Elizabeth hasn't seen him in such a way. It actually causes a strange sensations to flow through her. To combat the weirdness, she decides to tease him with poor results coming to mind. "So you're a sore loser and an overachiever. Nice qualities for a demon."

When his gaze shifts to her, she's actually relieved to see that insufferable smirk back in place. "How sweet of you to say, goddess." His chuckle is devious as he slowly inches closer to her in their walk.

Elizabeth stiffens as her heart thuds in preparation. What will he do? Grab her roughly? Threaten her life again? She doesn't know, but she also doesn't care. She'll fight back if necessary as she always does. When he merely stops slightly closer than their wide places from each other, she blinks a few times in surprise. She shrugs it off, however. Maybe he's just trying to mess with her and confuse her…

"Now this one's a lot harder. You can say the other one was just a warm up. Are you ready, goddess?"

The condescending tone has her turn her eyes to him in an icy glare.

He only laughs. "Okay then…" It's said in a low, pleased rumble. She can't help the way her hands fidget slightly and a hot thrum settles deeply within her at the sound. "So what does a sweet goddess like you find desirable in a man?"

This draws her up short as she nearly stops walking completely. She regains her footing, but it's impossible for him to have missed her fumble. What is he thinking? Asking her such a question! Her cheeks are more than red as he refuses to remove his gaze from her.

"So?"

"So nothing. I don't have to answer," She answers loudly and clearly. She even crosses her arms tightly over her chest as her eyes begin to wander over the various plants once more. A tall tree, bushy shrubs, nice flowers… anything so she doesn't have to look at him.

He sighs dramatically. "I guess it was too hard for an innocent goddess like you…"

Damn him. "Fine!" She will not look over to see the smug grin he wears in his victory. "I like someone who has power and is highly skilled in battle. I also l-like them to be really toned—"

"So you can trail kisses all over their physique," Meliodas interrupts with a gleeful laugh.

Her face explodes in crimson. Without thinking she turns and shoves him as the crimson continues to take over her face, going over her ears. "Shut up!"

His laugh is enchanting to her ears which doesn't make her embarrassment any better. She said she wasn't going to stoop down to such a petty level anymore. And look what he's made her do! Elizabeth can't find it in her to look at the amusement in his eyes at her expense.

"Does height matter?"

"No," she answers immediately. The cycling embarrassment that flashes through her mind allowed the answer to slip through too quickly. She finds herself nibbling her lower lip as she wonders how he'll take that. Why is he so easily able to get a reaction from her? She's usually so poised and professional. Since being around him however, she's become some wild woman.

The goddess purses her lips. "Ha. Ha. You've had your laugh, demon. What about you? What do you find enticing in a woman?"

Out of the corner her vision she sees Meliodas stride a bit forward until he's in perfect view. She won't be able to avoid looking at him unless she turns her gaze to the side. He's planning something…

His eyes are dead serious, but the tiny curve of his lips tells her what he plans will be entirely too satisfying in his mind. "Well, that's easy… I like a challenge. They have to be skilled. Competent." His eyes hood slightly as he gives her a slow once over. Her heart begins to tremble as she attempts to remain stoic beneath those burning eyes. "A nice set of tits and a round ass is good too. Flowing hair, soft lips…" He trails off with a rough husky tone.

Elizabeth finds her steps slightly faltering as her breathing becomes uneven. It's much too hot now and an annoying throb is beginning to let itself be known between her legs. When she's sure her heart won't jumble her speech, she responds as coolly as she can. "That's rather specific."

His eyes lock on hers and hold almost unbearably. "Yeah. It is."

She's falling into a heady daze the longer she gazes at him. It's starting to become too much to her quickly heating blood. She takes a shaky step forward and that's when things happen much too quickly in her mind.

Something snaps up and encircles her ankle with a relentless force. Before she can even react, it's pulling. Her body crashes into the ground harshly as she cries out. Abrasions viciously form along her skin. Sticky crimson and clinging dirt cover her form as she's dragged over roots, twigs, and sharp sticks. Elizabeth coughs as she tries to regain her breathing and think. The speed is so rapid the forest is a blur as she whizzes past, but whatever has her needs to let go. Even if she has to forcefully make it.

Her hair now a complete mess as she bears her teeth in a grimace, Elizabeth calls forth a single dagger. She clutches the shimmering hilt as she uses all of her strength to angle her body to face her ankle. The goddess now sees what's pulling her as large leaves roughly smack across her face, occasionally impairing her vision. A thick rough rope.

Using a hand to grab her own leg, Elizabeth begins to extend her hand holding the blade. Just when she's about to cut it, something captures her attention. The rope reeling her in is seemingly vanishing into solid ground. The goddess doesn't have time to react quickly enough before she's being pulled under it too.

The only thing left of her is her dagger before that too disappears from sight.

~.~.~

The moment she reopens her eyes again her new surrounds begin to flood her mind, overwhelming her. Her vision is upside down as her body is suspended in the air. The room, in a word, is gargantuan. If she were to fall now, her chances of surviving are slim, even with her healing powers. There seems to be some type of unnatural light that she can't find the source of, bathing the room in a pale blue. It's hard to make out from her distance, but she can see various wooden tables here and there as well as immense cells lining a single wall. There are other things, but it's simply too hard to make out with the lighting and distance.

"What is this place?" she whispers softly in the eerie silence.

She doesn't dwell on it for too much longer as her blood rushing to her head is starting to give her a headache. She glances up at her foot being restrained by the rope and, once again, conjures a dagger. Elizabeth figures the easiest and safest way to get free is to materialize her large, downy wings. She pushes the energy inside her sharply. They appear, fluttering between her shoulder blades. They stretch far, giving her comfort that she'll easily get out of this situation in no time.

For a brief instance her mind flicks to Meliodas. Where is he exactly? Did he laugh his ass off when she was caught in a snare? When she never came back, did he decide to leave her behind with the idea of her being useless?

Elizabeth's eyes narrow. "I'll prove to you I'm anything but useless…"

A second later however, something smothered in dripping shadows appears on either side of her. They snap to her wings painfully and she holds in a scream. The goddess gazes at the strange clamps with trepidation as they seemingly have nothing holding them or controlling them. When she feels each begin to pull, her heart jumpstarts in her chest painfully. She has seconds.

Elizabeth lets her power go as her wings fade away. Right after, the clamps jerk back with such force, she knows they would have ripped her wings cruelly from her body.

Her breathing is haggard as she watches the dark clamps vanish. That wasn't a coincidence. They only appeared when her wings were present. Was that… their purpose? To rip out wings? She shudders violently as her stomach churns. Who would do such a thing?

Now that she can't use her wings with those wing seeking clamps around, she has to figure another way out of this. Too much blood has already gone to her head and she might pass out soon. She can't give up though. She can't let Meliodas be right.

With renewed strength, Elizabeth begins to swing herself back and forth. Eventually she gains a bit of momentum. If she can swing high enough she'll be able to grab her leg. Back, then forth. Higher and higher. She sees her chance and snatches her leg. The position is a bit stretching, but she doesn't care. She calls her dagger and begins to drag it roughly over the rope.

The rope tears, then splits abruptly, sending her plummeting hundreds of feet to the ground.

She should have thought first before cutting the rope… With rapid breaths, she panics. Her wings appear behind her and stop her fall mere feet before her deathly encounter with the floor. Her blue eyes are wide as she stares beneath her. Something begins to seep into her mind the longer she stares. There's an awful lot of dried blood…

A painful tugging against her wings sharply regains her focus. Those things are back and they're about to pull. She tries to let her power go. She inhales harshly and nearly screams when she realizes she can't.

Time slows down as she sees them bunching in preparation. She gives a course glare as daggers fill her hands. 'They aren't taking my wings.' She throws her arms out and the blades dig deeply into the clamps, halting them in place. Then they begin to fizzle out of sight in dark speckles.

She drops the remaining distance to the ground roughly on her hands and knees. "That was... too close."

Elizabeth isn't given a moment of reprieve as her ears pick up on the sounds of moaning. Sad, painful, and dreadfully haunting in the way they seem to bounce lightly around the room. They form a heavy smog over the area that presses against the goddess' lungs as she trembles under the anguish of them. "What is that? What is this place?" She finally begins to look around after the horrible noises.

Instantly, she regrets doing so.

The wooden tables aren't normal ones. They have cuffs on them meant for holding people down. Blood stains them all and lines the floor like a second coating of paint. Various tools, sharp objects, and impaling spears are in ample supply near each. Her shaky vision turns to the gigantic cells and she nearly pukes at the sight of dried guts and gore splattered thoroughly throughout each. The image of those clamps come to mind. The horrifying moaning of lost souls tells her what she doesn't want to know.

This place was used to torture.

She scrambles to her feet, sick with the idea of being in the dried blood of victims. She stumbles back as her head swivels around for some way to get out. She can't stand the idea of people having been cruelly put through such acts.

But as her eyes turn wildly left and right, it becomes rather clear that there is no way out. She very well may be trapped here. "No. I'm getting out. This place... it won't keep me." She's terribly sorry for what the people trapped here went through, and she wants whoever did this to pay, but staying here with these tormented souls is not an option.

Elizabeth takes to the air, almost expecting those dark clamps to reappear. When they don't, she exhales, relieved, and begins to search the rocky roof for some way out. She flits against it, pressing her hands for any illusions she can possibly pass through. Only solid texture brushes against her palms after circling around several times.

Frustration and anxiety begin to shred through her veins at the development. Her weapons on it would be useless. They aren't meant for destruction, so they would only do so much. As the moaning begins to press against her ears more, Elizabeth decides a different course of action is at hand. "Fine then. I'll use brute force to get out if I have to." She has a shield as well… Maybe that'll come in handy.

Her power begins to gather in preparation to surround her. She nearly drops out of the air however, as a massive force begins to build rapidly above her. It's like nothing she's ever felt. Entirely menacing, burning in rage, and swelling in strength. Something she can only describe as pure wrath settles atop the roof. Her heart tumbles in its sharp drop in her chest at the sheer malevolence that begins to soak into the room like a poisonous smog. Her instincts tell her to run.

She darts down through the air towards the ground as she forms a vibrant shield around her. It was a smart move as seconds later the entire roof explodes in black flames. Rocks and dirt speed in all directions, disintegrating under the heat of the flames that cling to them. Vibrant light invades from above, warming the cold, desolate atmosphere thickly. Elizabeth turns her readjusting eyes up in the direction of the massive hole to see what caused it, when a figure fearlessly jumps through it.

Her body shoots up in alarm as a scream tears through her throat. "NO!" They'll die. That fall is too much of a distance.

The person's body impacts with the ground harshly as she expected and she nearly screams again. She does end up yelping only because the force in which they land causes a power wave to flare out, knocking her onto her back. She breathes deeply as she steadies herself. Then she quickly pushes up to her knees. Her breath hitches with the sight of Meliodas standing casually before her. 'It was him? The power does match. Why did he come for me, though?'

"So this is where you are. Sitting on the ground, goddess?" His careless tone centers her.

She doesn't feel anger rise in her however, as the room's horrible presence still rests with her. She merely disperses her shield, then stands as she wipes the dust from her form. She must be a right mess. Dried blood, dirt, and goddess knows what all over her.

When she doesn't answer, Meliodas walks slowly around her with a soft hum. "This place is clearly abandoned. You must have gotten caught in a leftover snare…"

She whirls on him with a hint of suspicion in her tone. "Do you know something about this place?"

He doesn't appear bothered by her tone as he gazes indifferently around the room. "No. We demons don't feel the need to hide torturing like this."

She grimaces at the thought of him openly admitting to such vile acts, but he's being honest. She can tell. "So… who did this? Who did such cruel things…?" She voices softly as her eyes turn to the floor. Her hands fist at her sides as anger surges inside her and irrational tears begin to brim in her eyes. If she sheds them, he'll only think she's weak.

Meliodas doesn't answer for a long while. "I'm not sure. There are cruel people out in the world. You know this, goddess."

Right. She does. She's standing next to one of them right now. So why does she still feel overwhelmed by the prospect?

"Come on. We've already wasted enough time here," Meliodas tells her curtly. He leaps against a far wall then uses it as a rebound to get out of the roof's opening.

Elizabeth shakily inhales as she pushes the tears away. Whoever did this… one day, she'll find them. And on that day she'll show them the error of their ways before healing the darkness inside them.

She conjures her wings and flies after Meliodas, leaving this wicked place behind.

Chapter Text

~6~

-Taken By Surprise-

He watches the goddess plop a violet grape between her plump lips with keen eyes. They'd stopped for lunch and once again Elizabeth had insisted upon simply eating bunches of fruits. He's finding he doesn't mind. He's rather entranced by the way her lips become covered in sticky juices and the way her pink tongue darts out to swipe over them slowly. Behind his back he's already crushed several rocks to dust in his attempts to keep himself restrained.

This goddess is tempting him on purpose. He needs to turn the tables, like yesterday when her eyes were filled with growing lust and the scent of arousal began it emanate from her. If she hadn't been caught in that snare, he's unsure of how he would have managed himself. But in a way, he's grateful. It would have been much too soon. He wants to draw this out, pull her in completely until the thought of retreating from him is preposterous in her mind. Then he'll take her hard and slow as they're consumed by the sweltering flames of their desires.

Fuck, he can't wait until that day.

"So what would your perfect day be like, goddess?" his voices flows out calmly as he finally turns his gaze away from her seductive lips.

She raises an eyebrow in surprise. She must be thinking it's a rather deep thought for a demon like him. He feels his lips spread just a little wider, showing a glimmer of teeth at the idea. She has no idea how crafty he'll be just to get her to open up entirely for him.

After mulling the thought around for a little while, Elizabeth finally gives him an answer. "Well… I guess my perfect day would consist of no harm occurring anywhere in the world. People would be happy and filled with warmth. On that single day, there would be no worries. And—" She cuts herself with tightly sealed lips.

He raises a single eyebrow mischievously. "And?"

"A-and I would finally g-get to be with someone special," she mutters quietly before throwing a grape into her mouth. Her excuse not to say any more.

He chuckles deeply as he watches crimson slowly crawl up her neck and begin to blossom over her cheeks. Ah, such a delicious sight. "You finally get to be with someone, hmm? What's stopping you now, goddess?"

Her blue eyes are vicious as she glares at him sideways. "Unlike you, I've focused hard on getting to where I am. Never once going astray."

He breathes slowly for a moment nonplussed as he lets his eyes run over her figure openly. "So you've never had any fun, is what you're saying?" They both know what he's implying and the answer is obvious by the radiant glow that clings to her like a second skin. But she chooses to answer anyway.

"I do have fun. Defeating dark creatures like you is more fun than I'll ever need," She defends through gritted teeth.

His gaze holds firmly on her as she struggles to remain unaffected. "We'll see about that…"

The angry flash that goes through her eyes is invigorating to the desire running beneath his skin.

"What a delusional dream of yours, demon..." She turns her face away from him as her voice begins to wash over him like a hectic blizzard. "What about you then? I suppose you're going to tell me that the world lying in ruin as demons rise up to full power is your idea of a perfect day?" she scoffs, then grumbles under her throat. "So typical."

His grin turns cheeky as he goes to answer. The image she projected into his mind is completely worthy of being labeled the perfect day. But something stops him and the grin on his face turns to down in confusion. 'The perfect day?' He tries to picture it, what that day might be. His mind comes up blank, like an empty canvas free of the splatters of blood he's used to envisioning.

The atmosphere grows stale with his hesitation. He never hesitates. Meliodas turns his gaze onto Elizabeth's eyes as the perfect day continues to elude him. Almost instantly the empty canvas in his mind begins to fill with an image full of life and color. And he realizes, with waves upon crushing waves of incredulity, what it features. Elizabeth. The perfect day centers around her. Holding her. No, clutching her in his arms as he kisses her fervidly with… what? 'Feelings? Emotions? Is this some kind of illusion?'

He feels his teeth grind in fury as he pushes the image away forcefully. Without even realizing it, Meliodas focuses his attention on her once more. The anger inside him nearly explodes at what he sees of her. Her eyes narrow as she looks at him closely. She seems to roll a grape between her fingers as she considers him. Reading him. It grates on his nerves, the thought of her seeing through him so easily. She's doing something to him damn it. There's no way that strange image of them would be a coincidence otherwise.

As his resentment and frustration rises, Meliodas decides to take forceful control of the situation. He needs to put her back in place. Moving from his place across from Elizabeth, he crawls towards her causing her to stiffen. Her regarding look changes into one of unease, which pulls a sly grin from him. He wants to change her unease though. Make it into something more pleasing.

~.~.~

His hand grasps her chin and every muscle in her body stiffens from shock. She tightens her expression at his proximity as her mind whirls in astonishment. 'What is he planning?' His touch is hot causing her heart to stutter. She hides it behind a bitter scowl. As he slowly begins to run a thumb along her jaw she feels herself locked in place by his forwardness. "What's the matter? See something you don't like?" she tells him cynically in hopes of gaining control of her whirling thoughts.

His grin only spreads in answer as his hand slides along her neck. She can't suppress her shiver as an undeniable thrill goes through her at his touch. "Is my light too much for you? Sorry. I can't turn it off for you." She pouts unapologetic in hopes of seeing his anger once more. She prays seeing it will help calm the stirring want she has for the demon leaning much too closely to her.

"Quite the opposite actually," he finally tells her as his hand crawls sluggishly down her neck, tickling her collarbone and drawing closer to her slightly heaving chest. Elizabeth's breathing stills as her hand tenses in preparation of striking him. There's no way she'll let him touch her in such a way. No matter how much her body desires it right now. "How do you feel, goddess?"

"Hot," she breathes instantly and watches as a knowing smile stretches across his face. Her cheeks begin to warm. She hardens her expression as her tone turns to ice. "From fury. Remove your hand or risk having it cut off."

Meliodas relents, but the expression he wears, one that says he knows something she doesn't, only causes a churning shame to come to her gut. 'That insufferable, vile, gorgeous demon!' Wait, gorgeous? Elizabeth blanches at the thought. That sick creature is anything but appealing in her eyes. She denies the way her thighs come together in remembrance of his heat pressing over her just moments before.

With a silent snarl she turns her gaze back in his direction to see him gazing at her with clear smugness in his expression. What is the point of all the questions he's been asking her anyway? Certainly he doesn't actually want to get to know her. They're enemies after all. Perhaps he's using them to his advantage somehow. That's the only logical explanation. 'Well then,' she decides as she smooths out her clothing in hopes of regaining her coolness, 'there's no reason to continue on with his farce.'

Her lips form a thin line. "Demon—"

Meliodas turns away sharply as his entire form tenses. A second later she realizes why when she sense a nearing group of goddesses approaching their spot in the woods. Her blue eyes land back on Meliodas to see his muscles taut and his jaw clenched in clear agitation and contempt. Concern swells inside her as she realizes the danger her fellow clan members are in. She tries to stand and possibly warn them to leave, when the screaming starts.

Her skin pales in alarm.

Meliodas shoots up and darts in their direction faster than she can comprehend what's truly happening. Elizabeth sucks in a horrified breath as she rushes to her feet. "No! Stop!" Her power flourishes as she goes after the demon with the heart wrenching thought of many lives at stake. She's the only one who'll be able to save them from him.

~.~.~

The feeling of a gathering of sickly sweet goddesses is more than irritating. But that's not what catches his attention. Those damn creatures are back and apparently they have their sights set on the divine beings. He wouldn't mind letting them proceed without hindrance. A few less goody-two-shoes hanging around would make the world a much better place, but a very tempting idea comes to mind with their appearance. One he can't help to follow through with.

Meliodas pushes through a set of trees and spies an interesting warzone before him. Light and darkness clashing at its finest. But light is losing at a fairly high margin by the looks of skin melting painfully off bones and deep gouging wounds. He can't let the odds continue as such. Not if he wants to get on Elizabeth's good side.

He considers summoning his sword, but really? Will he need it for these pesky annoyances? With a devilish smirk, Meliodas leaps into the writhing fray. His hands become alight in black twisted flames. The goddesses take notice on him pretty quickly, but he ignores them in favor of the slimy creatures. Dashing in front of a goddess, his hand forces itself deeply into the center of the dark being. It positively screeches in agony drawing forth a maniacal grin to his face. He doesn't stay to watch it disintegrate.

He quickly dives through the air as his coat flares out slightly. Landing in a crouch before two wounded women, he sends his flames forward. They encircle the creatures encasing them in a slow roasting death. The demon disappears in a show of speed quickly after, reappearing again and again behind each being as his fists slam into them with such force, their bodies explode into sticky bits.

These creatures are absolute pushovers. How weak are these goddesses to not be able to run a sword through them? Repulsion runs through him being surrounded by such weak people, but it gives him a chance to have his fun. As he tears through these monsters he's a bit disappointed that they don't have blood. It would have been nice to at least be covered in the show of his miniscule victory. A brief thought comes to mind as his fists come together to smash down on top of a monster's head. 'How good would Elizabeth look covered in her victim's blood?' The image is far too appealing in his mind.

As the last creatures begin to fade into an excruciating oblivion, Meliodas can feel the goddesses' eyes on him. He allows the flames around his hands to distinguish as he silently scoffs. He doesn't expect any of their gratitude. He only did this for one person, and she should be the one practically groveling at his feet. His brows furrow slightly as something occurs to him. 'Where is she anyway?'

His eyes search around until they spot her standing at the line of trees where he first emerged. Her expression is not one of eternal thanks. Nor one of appreciation. Her eyebrows are lowered and her lips are pursed. The color in her face is gone, leaving her ashen. Her usually light blue eyes are hard as cold ice. She looks as if she can't stand the sight of him. And for some reason that bothers him some.

"You're no better than them. You're a monster." She hisses with absolute loathing.

The painful twisting inside him quickly morphs into rage as he glares at her. "Perhaps I should have just killed your friends here as well. It would have been simple enough," his voice low, beyond dark as he stresses the seriousness of his words.

Her form stiffens entirely. Then her right hand begins to quake in a tight fist before her sword appears. The heat inside him explodes at her challenge and he extends his hand out, ready to cut her down.

"Elizabeth! Stop! He saved us. Let it be," one of the goddesses calls out calmingly to her friend as she ruses up to her. Through his blinding rage, he sees it's the one from before. The dimmer one with purple hair.

Elizabeth still glares daggers of retribution in his direction, but she releases her sword. Meliodas can no longer stand to be in her presence, in the presence of such lower beings. Without a word, he sweeps from the area and begins to stride purposely through the trees. His insides still tremble with violent furry.

He set out to accomplish something and failed. Utterly failed.

~.~.~

Elizabeth lets Veronica pull her to the side as the silverette tries to calm her souring stomach. The bloodlust she just witnessed glued her to her spot. Elizabeth could only watch in growing revulsion as he completely annihilated the enemy without so much as a second thought. He enjoyed every second of it. He wanted their deaths. Craved for it. And this is the person she's been traveling with for over a week now? Been allowing to watch over her as she slept at night? She feels completely aghast at the thought.

"Are you alright?" Veronica demands as she begins to check over the silverette to answer her own question.

Elizabeth kindly grabs her friend's hands to stop her from going over her form. "I'm fine. Are you okay? That monster could have easily killed you."

Veronica pulls back to gaze seriously into her eyes. "I'm fine. Those… things just caught us by surprise." Her friend raises an eyebrow, but Elizabeth can tell that she's slightly tense. The silverette doesn't feel as if she, herself, will ever feel relaxed again after witnessing that. "So that's the demon you've been assigned to work with, huh?"

Elizabeth clenches her teeth harshly. "That demon is nothing but a vile, putrid bastard. I don't care what was ordered of me. I refuse to work with him anymore," she tells her friend severely.

Now Veronica stares at her skeptically. "I'm no fan of demons either, Elizabeth, but I think you should give him just a bit of slack."

Her friend must have surely gone insane. "What? Did you not see what he just did? I refuse!"

Veronica crosses her arms and gazes at her as if regarding a petulant child. Elizabeth feels her face go red in fury. "Now this may come as a shock to you, but… He saved us." She says it slowly as if Elizabeth will misunderstand her words.

"Yes, but—"

"Nothing. He may have done it in a gruesome show, but look around."

And Elizabeth does. She sees her fellow goddess all gathered together with relieved expressions. Even with some losses, they look as if they're elated to be seeing another day. Her silver brows crease as she gazes down at her tense fists. She doesn't want to accept the truth, but Veronica's right. He did save those goddesses.

"You know what you have to do right?" Veronica's voice brings her attention back.

Elizabeth looks at her confused and Veronica rolls her eyes.

"Go to him. Shove that obnoxious pride of your aside aaannnd…?" She draws out waiting for Elizabeth to comprehend.

It takes a long while of staring into her friend's increasingly frustrated visage before it occurs to her. Elizabeth draws back in horror. "You can't be serious! Apologize?"

Veronica looks smug. "It's hard to believe, but he deserves it."

Elizabeth sucks in a sharp breath through her teeth. 'Apologize? To him?' "… Fine. I'll go find him. And then we'll stop these creatures and whoever's behind this, I suppose." The prospect of what she has to do has her shoulders sagging as she begins to walk in the direction he went off in.

"Oh, by the way, I was wondering how your search has been going with the demon? Have you found anything on the cause of these creatures?" Veronica asks, halting her in her tracks.

Elizabeth turns to face her again with a furrowed brow. "Well, it's only been just over a week, Veronica," she decides to tell her with an offhanded shrug. She turns once more with the intent of finding Meliodas.

"That's still enough time to have found something. So…?" Veronica insists, sounding slightly annoyed.

Elizabeth gives her an odd look, but then she realizes it's probably because she brushed her off. Still, she feels there's no need to divulge what's happened in her time with the demon thus far. "Yes, but I wish to tell the clan leader of our findings myself, alright?" She doesn't wait any further in leaving. She calls out over her shoulder before she can get too far away, however, "Be safe, Veronica!"

"Yeah… You, too!"

Her boots crunch stubbornly over the path she takes. She lets her mind go over what happened before. How quick, efficient, and merciless Meliodas was in his attacks. His ability was simply amazing, but the way he used it was what saddened her greatly. But she can't blame him, she has to force herself to understand. He's a demonic being. What other way would he have gone about getting rid of those creatures?

Elizabeth nearly startles in her steps when she sees the wreckage of trees and shrubbery that give the demon's anger away. She lets out a heavy sigh and continues forward, determined to find him. It hurts her deeply to see him do all these terrible things, but he can't help it. It's the only way he knows how to deal with things. "Why did he do it anyway? He hates goddesses. He even stood back to watch his own people fall, so why did he help them…?" Her voice flows out gently like a soft wind.

She recalls the brief flashing of hurt she saw in his eyes when he'd turned to see her after his handy work. It was so short, she almost felt like she imagined it as it was quickly swallowed into the darkness of loathing and fury that's so normal of him. "Maybe he did it for me?" Her voice is almost a squeak of skepticism as she considers. "That's ridiculous!" She laughs at herself, entirely shrugging it off as she comes to a completely intact area of the woods. She stops to puzzle his whereabouts from there. He must be around somewhere…

But even as she strides deeper into the tightly packed area, the thought manages to flow like a forbidden wisp through her mind. 'But why else would he have that kind of reaction, then?'

~.~.~

She followed him. The goddess that believes him a monster, and despises him more than anything, followed him. Meliodas shudders in restrained rage. 'So she came for a showdown, perhaps? Or maybe to shove some more of those delightful words of hers down my throat?' He growls like a rabid wolf as he spies her from amidst his place in the trees. 'I'm done playing games with her. My patience with her has run thin and my tolerance for her has withered away. I think it's time to finally end this.'

The demon is silent as he stalks through the trees. He observes her like his most precious prey, waiting for the perfect time to strike. She hesitates in her investigation and he sees his opportunity. Dropping from the tree more silent than night's approaching, Meliodas gazes at her back with absolute hatred. This sole goddess has made him jump through hoops, and for what? To be able to draw her in, claim her more thoroughly than she'd ever dream of, then crush her very soul shortly after? It's a marvelous plan and he still wishes he could go through with it, but enough is enough.

Even for a chance to destroy one of the world's most enchanting creatures he refuses to lower himself anymore for the opportunity.

He sees her back tense as she senses him, but it's much too late. He appears behind her as he wraps an arm brutally around her torso in order to hold her tightly against him while his other catches her neck. She thrashes in his hold then attempts to use her legs to kick his. He only laughs at her attempts before deliberately tilting them off balance so that they fall forward. Elizabeth takes the force of their landing as she moans around the tightening of his hand on her throat.

His expression smooths as he tightens his hand further. He'll end this. Once and for all.

She continues to fight. "…op! P..ase!" she wheezes out.

Ire storms violently through him at her pathetic begging. "You're going to plead for your life now, goddess?"

She tries to get out of his hold, but he has her pinned down. She won't be escaping. "…ant… poli…ze…"

He wants her dead this instant, but at the same time… A few last words might possibly be allotted. He loosens his hold on her throat enough for her to inhale enough to speak. But the threat remains. He can still strangle her to death, or even better, snap her neck.

She coughs roughly as she tries to catch her breath. Elizabeth doesn't give herself the chance as she rushes out frantically, "I w-want to apologize!"

He chuckles cruelly right into her ear, wanting her to know he doesn't believe any of the bull she's spewing. "Oh, sure—"

"It's t-true!" Her voice shrills sounding adamant in her words as her strength surges forth once more. Fine, if she's that desperate, he'll let her speak. "Y-you saved them. You did. I o-over…reacted." Then her voice takes on a quality of softness, brimmed with such sincerity the demon finds his mind dazed in confusion. "I'm sorry."

'Sorry... She's sorry.' He stares at the side of her head with a blank expression. The gears in his mind spin fruitlessly as he attempts to understand her meaning behind those two words. She isn't lying. He feels her honesty seeping from her strongly as she takes in slow breaths. "Sorry. You're sorry…" He voices quietly as his head sinks forward to rest gently against the back of hers. His eyes stare without seeing as he feels himself go numb.

Elizabeth stiffens under him, but eventually murmurs just as quietly, "Yes…"

He doesn't understand. Someone apologizing to him and actually meaning it? The possibility of that happening is below zero and yet, here's the impossibility right in front of him, crushed in his grasp. The shock of hearing those two words said so warmly and so honestly to him is more than overwhelming to his system. 'What is she doing to me? I should kill her! She deserves it! But… But I…' he grits his teeth against the hesitation. The realization that comes to him. He nearly hides his face in her floral scented hair at the stark answer.

' I can't.'

His arms loosen around her as he instead coils her in a protective hold. His breathing is much too loud in his ears as Elizabeth begins to relax in his arms. For a moment, he feels as if he could just rest there for an unmeasurable amount of time with her. Just cradling her in his arms… He moves, as the idea begins to sound perfect in his mind, hoping to make her more comfortable… When Elizabeth shifts once more his eyes snap open. He releases her from his hold as if she were some kind of demon repellant, then moves completely away from her. Hoping to clear his head of the thoughts that were beginning to invade his mind, Meliodas starts to cling to what's familiar. What he knows is right and normal. And eventually his muscles begin to loosen from their strained positions as his mind eases from its thrown state. He begins to feel normal, himself, the more he basks in the darkness inside him.

Elizabeth slowly pulls herself to her knees. "Stop strangling me."

"Stop angering me," he responds without a beat. It feels good to have his reasoning back again. He looks down on her as she rises and steadies herself. "So, goddess, after that stunt of yours do you plan on sticking with me? Even with the consequences that can befall you?"

The air between them is tense. But it shifts into something more awkward as she begins to look at him as if seeing something he doesn't want her to. His eyes narrow as his lips pull up to show his clenched teeth. "Well?" he demands roughly. He's getting sick and tired of her contemplative looks.

Her hand rises up to rub along her throat. "I'll… stay. We still have to figure out all this strangeness after all." She turns away from him then as she begins to walk slowly forward, deeper into the forest.

His hands shudder beside them within tightly clutched fists as he strides beside her. Her words… He gets the feeling there's a double meaning behind them and it pisses him off to explosive levels.

Chapter Text

~7~

-Toxic Influence-

Another week passes and nothing of interest happens. They haven't sighted any more creatures, but this time they aren't foolish enough to think they are gone. Meliodas has been more cold and distant with her over this time however. His words, or orders, have been emotionless and lacking their cynical bite, which leads her to believe something is bothering him. Elizabeth may not know him well, besides the questions they asked each other, but even she knows he's attempting to figure something out that's troubling him.

With their added distance, she's been able to think more about their situation. Like what happened with the goddesses before. Without immediately letting her mind jump to the negative, it began to dawn on her the lengths Meliodas went through to save the members of her clan. He didn't have to, and she's sure he didn't want to, but something made him do it. Something she's hesitant in letting herself believe. As these thoughts continue to plague her day after day, Elizabeth finds her heart beating more rapidly every time her blue gaze turns in the demon's direction.

'Maybe he did it for me.'

With these fluttering thoughts of ridiculousness and her constantly warring emotions, she finds herself watching him more often than usual. It's become almost addicting to run her eyes along him and absorb the various appealing qualities he has. She knows it's horribly shameful of her to find pleasure in eyeing a demon of all things. But she feels practically helpless against it as he's virtually everything she's desired in a male… and his recent act of "kindness" has made it easier to look past his vile acts against others.

She'd find herself ogling him as he skins an animal completely bare from the waist up. She'd think he was doing it on purpose—allowing her eyes to run along his flawlessly toned torso as his muscles flex with his motions—but he never looks at her. His attitude during those times is completely cold and indifferent. She has to tell herself, through her desire clouded mind, that he doesn't want any unnecessary amount of gore on his rather regal looking longcoat, as an excuse. Although she's sure he wouldn't mind it if it was a worthy victim he'd just slaughtered.

Tonight she's being put through an entirely different level of sinful torment. She is supposed to be asleep as it is Meliodas' turn to stay vigilant, but she is having a harder time than usual drifting off. Meliodas must have assumed she'd drifted off, however, as he'd wandered over to the spring behind the bushes she lies in front of. Her eyes now stare wide open at the sounds behind her. He's in the water behind her and that can only mean one thing.

Elizabeth is helpless to the pulsating sear through her form that flushes her skin to rosy hue. The slickness that forms between her legs from the constant way she clenches her thighs as she imagines him entirely unclothed is becoming overwhelming.

'Why is this so difficult for me? He's a sick, cruel, murdering, volatile monster!' She tries fruitlessly to tell herself against her consuming desire. But her mind wanders to the way his blond locks fall over his forehead branded with a flaming curve, and the way his eyes burn with a strength that seems to tell of ages of determination. She has to bite her lip against a feeble whimper. 'He's also strong, powerful, cunning, witty, and so handsome….' She nearly swoons as his regal image flits tantalizing before her eyes.

Her body internally wars against her instincts and desires. This is wrong. She can't be with a demon. She won't be with one. Even as she decides this with absolute resolution, she ends up turning to face the bush that blocks her view of what she longs to see. She raises a shaking hand to them to pull a gap for her to see through slowly. When her vision is granted, her blue eyes glaze over as she moans lowly.

She watches in a trance as water drips over every dip in his toned form and imagines her tongue running along those same paths. She wants him. She needs him so badly it hurts. She could easily go to him and she knows he'd take her without a second thought. Their joining would be hot, powerful, and deliciously rough.

Her body trembles in desperate need as she lets the bushes go and turns away from her desires. She needs to cool down and think. She doesn't care how much she wants Meliodas. She won't give into such a desire and ruin herself over the likes of him. A demon. She's had temptation over the years. Nothing as strong as this. But all those times she turned away, determined to earn her place as goddess leader. And she'll do the same now with every ounce of will she has.

She pretends to sleep once more as she ignores her body's shrill cries for satisfaction from the enticingly complex blond haired demon. Long after Meliodas has returned, she still finds herself imagining what it would be like to be held in his arms, tightly to his form, as his body holds her legs open for him to thrust vigorously inside her.

~.~.~

The silence between them as they traverse through the forest is beginning to drive her mad. She hates to admit it, but she's somewhat starting to miss his sharp tongue. He's been all business since he last strangled her. She slightly raises a hand to her neck in recollection before lowering with a furrowed brow. 'Come to think of it… He did seem off after I apologized. He seemed almost shocked… Wait,' She turns her eyes to her left where he walks. Meliodas walks surely with confidence as he looks ahead. But his hair is blocking his eyes, not allowing her to see his expression well. She doesn't need to see however, as she's been staring at him long enough to tell from his clenched jaw that he's thinking about something frustrating.

'That couldn't have been the first time someone genuinely apologized to him right? Afterwards when he held me it was…' Her face begins to grow warm as she looks down at the rugged path beneath her. 'I kind of wish the moment could have been different, and I…' She begins to shake her head at the thought spiraling from out of her control, 'NO. I will not be with him. You are stronger than this Elizabeth. Hold on to that strength. Don't give in to temptation…'

"Goddess."

The sudden address causes her head to whirl in his direction and she feels her ears burn from the heat surely warming her face. She keeps her expression stoic despite this however. "Yes?"

It takes him a moment to respond as they stroll slowly forward. He still hasn't looked at her. "I think we should split up. Scout the area for anything strange. Then meet back up in a few hours."

She feels something in her chest sting before it's brushed aside. Elizabeth's eyes are cold as she responds simply, "What's the matter? Tired of me already?"

Something flashes in his eyes as he finally turns to face her. She's surprised to see a bit of his old cruel self returning there as a smirk comes to his face. "If I was tired of you, you'd certainly know it by now."

A small flash of heat tingles across her skin as her eyes stay locked with his. Her voice flows out like an even warmth, "Well, then. I guess I'll see you in a few hours."

Meliodas' chuckle abruptly halts in his throat as she watches the amusement in his eyes morph into biting seriousness. She doesn't have time to wonder why the change occurs before his hand juts forward and shoves into her chest. She stumbles backwards a few steps before regaining her balance. Anger flares hot and irrational inside her until she sees it. A long dart of bleeding colors, red, green, and black, sticking up from the ground where she once stood.

Her senses skyrocket as she picks up on the presence of dozens of beings surrounding them. Where did they come from? That question quickly loses its importance as darts begin to whiz through the air, aiming for her and Meliodas. They both dash forward simultaneously as they begin to perform intricate maneuvers to avoid being stuck with the projectiles.

Elizabeth leaps sideways as Meliodas dives below her. Three darts zip past, on either side of her, narrowly missing her. Immediately she tumbles then springs towards a tree with such speed the recoil is enough to send her blazing past a plethora of mini arrows. Her hands snag a tree branch and she flips into dizzying twirls, the sounds of darts just skimming past her ears has her heart skipping beats. 'Why are we being attacked? Who's attacking us? We weren't doing anything to anyone, so why…?'

She lands on the ground and jets forward momentarily looking for Meliodas. He's just ahead of her and just as dexterous as she in evading the darts. But it's becoming clear to her that even he knows they can only do this for so long before one of them gets hit. What exactly is in these darts and who's shooting them? She can easily heal them if it's some kind of poison, but she gets the sinking feeling that it might be otherwise…

Her foot catches on a root for an instant causing her to stumble. Her breath stops completely as a dart tears through her shirt and just skims along her skin, not tearing through. But it's enough to tell her that they need to do something or eventually they'll become pincushions. Her heart is blaring in her ears like the worst alarm. Her breathing is labored, telling of how long they've been at this game of cat and mouse. The darts are so fast. There's no chance to retaliate as she and Meliodas evade the attacks. And as she twirls around a tree, hearing what sounds like a thousand thuds slamming into the bark, she realizes alarmingly that she's beginning to grow tired.

"Enough!" A thunderous voice yells for everyone to hear.

Elizabeth gasps as a rough hand jerks her forwards and she glances up to see an absolute murderous expression upon Meliodas' face. He drags her forward, nearly slamming her into his chest before a low, sadistic voice begins to echo hauntingly throughout the forest. "Vortex of Flames." She realizes it Meliodas himself when she feels the rumbles in his chest inciting a shiver along her form.

In an instant, black flames erupt around them at a violent speed, causing Elizabeth's hair to whip around wildly. The light and color from before die away as vibrant purple pulsates around them, casting eerie shadows across their outlines. Elizabeth realizes, with a start, how close she stands to Meliodas still when his hand releases hers. She takes a small step back, not wanting to get incinerated by his flames. She's sure the darts are from outside as they attempt to penetrate his barrier.

She finds herself looking briefly into his eyes and shudders under the power that blazes there. He holds back so much… She herself does too, but this… The power that swirls around them now in hectic, uncontrollable surges is awe-inspiring yet daunting. And the way Meliodas looks at her, as if he'd devour her, has her knees buckling. But she hides it well under the guise of an unwavering gaze.

The demon turns from her as he makes to walk straight through his flames. As if the charring heat she feels from them is a refreshing breeze. "Stay here. I'll handle them."

His words chase away the dazed fog that was beginning to cloud her mind. "What? I'm not going to let you—!"

"I've seen those darts before. I know what they can do. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't want to be hit by one, goddess," he tells her ominously. He strides forward, melding through the burning flames without so much as a flinch.

Elizabeth growls indignantly, even going so far as to stomp her foot, before calming down. "Okay. I need to get out of here before her murders all of them. And if this power is anything to go by… They might already be dead by now…" Her stomach twists fitfully at the thought before she squeezes her eyes closed.

With a calming breath she reopens them, then looks around. There's no visible ways out except up. It's so far up however it looks like a spec of light, a representation of her chances of escape. And the chances of those people surviving. "Urgh! Come on! Think! How else can I get out of here…?" Her mind spins, and twirls in a frenzied panic. Those people's bloody cries for help are things she imagines, but they spur her on to form a solution.

With a sharp intake of breath, she realizes her way of escape. In fact, it could have saved them all the trouble of Meliodas stepping in in the first place. Her power surges outwards to form a vibrant circular shield around her. She darts forward without hesitation and nearly feels overwhelmed by the sudden change of radiance and color. Elizabeth flicks her eyes around for Meliodas and immediately spots the bloodied and bruised forms of fairies scattered about in haphazard positions. Her stomach churns, as she doesn't know whether or not they're all dead, but she sprints forward in search of Meliodas before he can inflict his torment upon them all.

A great distance forward, she can tell these are the last few. And Meliodas is going after them with an unusually mad gleam in his eyes. She can't even think straight with how loud her rage thrums her blood in her ears. Quickly dispelling her shield, Elizabeth hurtles through the air with her leg extended. Her foot slams into his side sending him careening a rough distance. She doesn't give him a second look as darts begin to sail through the air once more.

Rolling out of their path, her hand shoots outward. In it forms her elegant beige wooden bow. She pulls on the string once, then twice as her targets become clear. The light arrows hit their marks, causing the fairies to gasp. Then golden light begins to radiate from them in pulsating warmth as her power heals the darkness that's affecting them. The goddess rolls forward into a standing position as a dart flies over her. Her arrow is held regally before her as her expression demonstrates the determination to finally end this. Her last arrow darts forward and meets with the possessed fairy, halting him in his tracks and allowing her light to surge through him.

Elizabeth lets out a haggard breath. The danger has passed. A second later her eyes shoot open and she falls to her knees as she allows her weapon to disappear for now. She clasps her hands in front of her then seeks the golden energy inside her. 'I must heal those that were hurt…' At first it trickles forth gently, spreading outward in a soft breeze.

With her next breath, it explodes.

The forest becomes enveloped in a blinding glow. Her power races over the rocks, leaves, and bushes searching, seeking, any and all ailing from wounds that can be mended by its touch. Elizabeth's silken strands billow out in elegant gusts, caressing her form. Her snow white, downy wings flutter gently behind her as Elizabeth's eyes remain closed and her head remains bowed. She concentrates on those she finds, healing them with a kindness and warmth she's always been natural with.

Finally when she feels all the damage has been healed, she sucks in a breath then lets go of her power with an ease of years and years of practice. The forest settles back into its softly lit radiance just as Elizabeth rises to her feet. She feels happy that no one has died and a tiny smile even works its way to her face. That is until she recalls Meliodas. 'That demon could have killed them.' A frown easily replaces the brightness that once shone on her face. She squares her shoulders then and marches quickly in the direction she sent him, intent on giving him a piece of her mind on once again mistreating the lives of others.

She spies him lying flat on his back chuckling softly to himself. She feels a flash of guilt come to her as she remembers specifically choosing not to heal him. She shoves the emotion away quickly when she strides to stand before him. Hunkering down, she gets right on his lap, grabs fistfuls of his coat, then pulls him up so that he can see how displeased she is with him. "Listen, demon, I won't stand for—eeh!"

Much too quickly for her to process his hands are beneath her skirt, gripping her bottom as he pulls her flush against him. Her face may as well be on fire from the sting of heat she feels from it. Her hands release his longcoat in favor of steadying herself on his shoulders. That's when she feels a slight wetness beneath her right palm. She takes a fleeting look down below her hand just as he voices in a thrilled tone. "That was such a rush!"

She ignores his words for just the moment as she watches in amazement as the slice in his shoulder seals up with his own power. Leaving only his blood behind. 'He must have been hit by a dart…' When she turns to look into his expression, she sees his face colored in excitement and his eyes still thrumming with that mad gleam she saw before. She hasn't seen him this animated before and the way his hands are gripping her... She gasp and swallows a moan as he gives a particularly rough squeeze. She needs to get out of his hold before she does something stupid. Uncaring of how breathless she sounds, she demands sharply, "What was in those darts, demon?"

As if hearing her worries, one hand moves from beneath her skirt and smooths along the exposed skin of her lower back. His hand trails up her back, shocking wonderfully along her flesh. She gasps loudly under the fanning flames of desire. "It's some kind of chemical used to increase the bloodlust in someone. Basically whoever sent this attack wanted us to kill each other," he explains darkly in a hushed tone. Meliodas laughs throatily as his hand moves even higher and suddenly she's jerked forward, pressed tight against his chest. Her heart's completely off rhythm now and a startled moan forms in her throat when she feels his lips just grazing the skin of her neck. "You should have been there, goddess. But I guess I can still show you how excited I am, hmm?" he murmurs lowly against her skin.

Her arms tremble against his shoulders as she tries to breathe. Without her notice she finds her hands working up into the coarse strands of his hair. Elizabeth breaths out a high agreeing noise when he begins to nip and suck along her neck. Unconsciously she tighten the hands in his hair and holds him in place as she tilts her head to the side, exposing herself for him to do with her as he pleases. He takes the offer with a deep growl that has her legs clenching around him.

"Mel—" She sucks a breath in sharply when she realizes what she nearly moaned.

Her action wasn't quick enough as the heat of his lips against her neck leaves much too soon. She bites her lip roughly in dismay. She wants him. Oh she wants him so much. But she tries to calm down as he brings his gaze to her. She can see it in his eyes as he watches her like prey. He knows he's affecting her and the idea that he does infuriates her.

She tries to speak, and hopefully to distract him. But then he uses his grip on her rear to force her to rub against the hardness growing beneath her. Her eyes flutter at the sensation as she throws her head back slightly. She does it again without thinking and has to bite her lip to stop from moaning aloud. She's mindlessly thrusting against him now, as her core begins to dampen in need for what's hot and rigid beneath her. And the feel of his frisky hands on her skin only adds to the madness of this situation spinning wildly out of control. She inhales shakily and feels herself leaning closer to him at the sound of his pleased chuckle. 'No! Stay focused, damn it!' she urges herself desperately.

His eyes are hooded now and she finds she can't look away from them. The mad gleam is slowly fading from them, but the excitement from before still colors his face. She feels his hands tickle along the ribs of her back as he begins to wrap his arm around her, slowly inching his hand towards the side of her breast. His fingers beneath her skirt begin to trail along the line of her underwear. They grip them and pull the dainty material down slowly, which causes a tiny whimper to form in her throat. 'N-no, don't let him…' Don't let him do what exactly? She's starting to forget with how close they've become.

She's lost, so lost within his gaze that when he starts to lean towards her, she doesn't stop him. The heat of his breath washes along her lips, fluttering her heart madly. She watches, in a heated daze, Meliodas' eyes begin to slide closed as he leans forward to close the tiny gap between them.

Her heart thuds sporadically, drowning out her hearing. She whispers something desperately just as she uses her hold in his hair to push his lips against hers urgently.

But then her brain finally kicks in.

With a strength she feels she'd lost by being in his arms, Elizabeth halts her thrusting hips and breaks away from him just as she feels the slightest graze of his warm lips against hers. His hands slide from her shirt and under her skirt leaving her frigid. She stumbles to her feet with loud breaths and backs up until her hand touches the roughness of a tree. Taking the chance, she swivels around it, pressing her back to it as she attempts to grasp onto the remnants of her sanity.

'What… was that? I nearly—!' Elizabeth brings her hands up to cover her face, entirely shaded in crimson, as she shakily sinks down to rest on her trembling legs. 'I nearly gave in! I would have given in! I wanted to give in!' her mind screams to her as she tries to come down from the blazing heat of his touches. 'What is wrong with me? Is he that much of a temptation? Have I lost sight of everything now? And because of what? Because… B-because I—' She refuses to allow herself to think of the reason, because she knows deep down it'll be something that'll shatter her entirely.

Her heart is still thudding much too loudly and she's about done trying to calm her ragged breaths. With how tightly her thighs are clenched, she's sure she looks like some bedraggled woman left to wallow upon the forest floor. She takes in a few deep, calming breaths before lowering her hands firmly. Her eyes narrow determinedly as she uses to tree to help her stand on shaky legs. Elizabeth straightens out her shirt and skirt as dignified as she can. But she can't help the embarrassed feeling that goes through her when pulling back up her panties Meliodas would most certainly have removed had she given him the time.

Just as his name crosses her mind, she feels slight movement behind her. 'Oh no, he's coming!' What will he do? Will he be upset with her for leaving when they both clearly wanted to go forward? Will he try to corner her, then pull her back into his seemingly hypnotizing hold? Her hands shake at either idea. She can't deal with this right now. Not so soon after.

The goddess moves in an effort to slip away as light as a breeze, looking for something to distract her and ground her after that dizzying encounter with Meliodas. But a hand grabs ahold of hers, keeping her right in place. Her heart lodges in her throat in it's sudden lurch in speed.

"Goddess," Meliodas says in a smooth tone that has her trembling in nerves regardless.

She tries to pull her arm free, not looking at him. "Shouldn't we discuss those darts?"

"I really don't think there's a need. You already made me feel much better, goddess," he cuts in with a teasing lilt to his tone.

Steeling her nerves she nods, showing that she won't run off if he releases her. Having his touch move away is a noticeable pressure off her senses and she finds she can even turn to look him in the eye. The sudden wobbly feeling in her knees as she does so tells her otherwise. But she persists. "S-so you said they increased the bloodlust in people?"

He hasn't looked away from her once and it's unnerving. Although she can't see that mad gleam in his eyes anymore, something must still be flowing through his veins. "Yes. But I guess I should go into more specifics, right?" He offers her a slow grin as he edges closer to her.

Alarms bells go off in her mind and she begins to slowly turn away and walk at a steady pace to his movements. Keep him close but not too close. Something's off and she's afraid if he gets ahold of her he won't be letting her go for quite some time. "Yes… that would be helpful."

She blinks and he's unexpectedly walking at her side as if he was there the whole time. The sheer smugness in his eyes does nothing to calm the quivers that begin to zip along her skin. "It was something that was used long ago to temporarily disable those without darkness in them. Those who already have darkness in them however just feel an unusual surge in bloodlust. If you had gotten hit with one of them, you would have found yourself paralyzed, goddess."

The knowledge weighs heavily on her mind for a moment, making her forget the demon's proximity beside her for the moment. "So you demons created it?"

She gasps as she feels his hand skim over her shoulder. Her eyes glance to see him gazing at her "innocently" as he brushes her hair behind her shoulder. An excuse for touching her. "Not exactly… We created it with the help of the Vampires in our temporary alliance centuries ago…" he admits in a low voice.

Her heart jitters in her chest as she tries to remain calm. Like a sneaky devil he's trying to slowly ease his way into her personal space without raising any alarms, however his plan simply won't work with her. She shrugs off his hand and gazes at him with a stern expression that'll hopefully tell him to get ahold of himself and shrug off whatever's messing with him. They're talking of serious business! And yet he's looking at her as if… As if he could pounce any minute!

Her cheeks flood with blood as she hastens her steps just slightly. Not if she can put a stop to it. "Do you think this has anything to do with the creatures?" It's a good question and she's starting to believe it might be true. It's not a coincidence that those fairies were being controlled in such a way. Something had to subdue them. But still what exactly could tie them to the creatures besides coincidence?

Elizabeth puzzles this, expecting to hear an inquisitive answer from Meliodas. What she gets are his hands upon her waist, holding her in place as he begins to encircle her. "Goddess…"

Crack!

Her eyes widen briefly at the sound. She's almost grateful for it because even Meliodas stills. She takes the chance to escape from his hold, placing much needed distance between the two. She then whirls towards where the noise came from with her hand extended, ready to summon a weapon if necessary. When she spies the culprit, her stance shifts into a relaxed one and her eyes turn sympathetic. It's a fairy with bright green hair and piercing orange eyes. He looks as if he were left behind after the fairies she healed most likely fled the area. He stares at her warily as she gingerly approaches. Elizabeth makes sure to hold her hands out to the sides as a sign of peace. "It's alright. Are you okay?"

The fairy's expression changes drastically from one of caution to one of bitter loathing as his upper lip curls. "What's it to you?"

"This goddess is the one that saved your life. I suggestion you be more accommodating or I can easily put you back in a state of near death," Meliodas' voice drawls casually with sinister undertones weighing each word.

Elizabeth spins around sharply. Meliodas stands right behind her. His eyes don't leave the fairy immediately, but then they shift to her ever so slowly. The deep mirth in his eyes makes her wonder if he finds her reactions to his presence laughable.

She turns back towards the fairy before he can see her face redden once more. Clearing her throat, Elizabeth voices kindly to the fairy seemingly frozen in fear. "Do you know what happened to you and the others? You all just attacked out of nowhere."

The fairy shifts his piercing eyes between the two swiftly, not comprehending their almost companionable relationship. Elizabeth doesn't blame him, but she's happy he decides to ignore it in favor of answering. "I… don't know. We were taken after something lead us astray from our forest. I hardly remember much but those sounds. Those god awful sounds," his voice nearly breaks as he looks down and his shoulders begin to tremble.

Elizabeth's back straightens as she feels her skin grow cold, very cold. 'No… he can't be referring to…'

"I'll never be able to forget. N-never."

Elizabeth's mind reels as she tries to come to terms with the realization. He and those fairies must be involved with that torture business from before, which means whoever's out there is still doing it.

Meliodas walks to stand beside her, but she doesn't look towards him. Her mind is too focused on what monster could be doing such terrible things. "Do you know who did this?" His tone is sharp, straightforward and to the point. No sympathy whatsoever.

This does causes her eyes to glare over in his direction, but the demon seems intent on ignoring her for answers.

The fairy calms enough to give Meliodas a withering stare. "It wasn't a demon, if that's what you mean?"

Her eyes flick towards the fairy in surprise. "So you know who did this to you?" Then they can go after them and put a stop to all this sick madness!

Meliodas' voice easily cuts over her budding enthusiasm towards finding the culprit with his calculating words. "I thought you said you didn't remember much? How is it you know that it wasn't a demon then?"

He's right. And she hates to admit that she let her kind nature get in the way of her better judgement. This fairy could be lying for all they know. Steeling her wildly fluctuating emotions, she gives the fairy a steely stare. She wants him to know that she won't be fooled by whatever he's trying to pull.

The winged creature seems to tense under their combined strength, but surprisingly he doesn't back down. "I was… shocked that it wasn't a demon at first. The feeling was one I couldn't forget. The power was unusual. One mixed between two races. That's all I remember of our capture," he tells them through bared teeth.

Elizabeth watches him for a long moment, before finally turning her gaze away. He's telling the truth. They won't find out much more from him and it saddens her.

"You can leave now, fairy," Meliodas jeers to the poor creature.

She nearly swats Meliodas for taunting him after he'd been through so much already. Elizabeth doesn't get the chance to apologize on the demon's behalf before the fairy's a tiny dot in the sky, speeding back to his forest.

Beside her Meliodas laughs mockingly as he too watches the fairly leave. "Such a pathetic little thing."

Her hand does fly out and swat him harshly against his arm then. He hardly even flinches as he turns his eyes in her direction and raises an eyebrow. Through gritted teeth she hisses, "Don't be so insensitive! Oh why am I even trying to get you of all people to understand! You don't even have a caring bone in your body, I'm sure!"

He holds her eyes for a long moment before shrugging. Entirely agreeing with her.

"Urgh! You're so unbelievable demon!" Elizabeth rants as she turns away from him to lead them ahead. She clings to the familiar burn of irritation that rises with his presence. Yes. This is normal and all she needed to get her head on straight and hopefully put things back to normal between them again.

"That's my fiery goddess…" His voice thrums lowly through the air as he follows right behind her.

She squeaks completely undignified at his words and her powerful, purposeful walk falters horribly. "W-what?"

Meliodas merely chuckles as he strides smoothly on ahead. "Hmm, nothing."

She blinks rapidly as she feels her cheeks begin to burn. Did she imagine it? Surely she had to. He didn't just call her his…? She shakes her head furiously as she increases her steps to catch up to walk a nice distance from his side. At least he seems to be back to normal… Just to be sure, Elizabeth glances discreetly to her side, slowly sinking back into her game of watching Meliodas once more.

And just when she thought she'd gotten her focus back, too.

Chapter Text

~8~

-Desires Unfulfilled-

The morning is early, just barely giving way to brighter blues. Zeldris hardly pays it any mind as his hand clenches the sheets beside Gelda's head while his other weave's deeply into her pale tresses, holding her head in place as he kisses her with a slow languid passion. They both shudder as he grinds his hips against hers, drawing out the last of the morning's passion. When his hips finally still Gelda hums softly into his mouth and he swallows her satisfaction claiming it as his own. Then he slowly pulls his lips from hers and trails them along her cheek until he reaches her ear where he sighs deeply. "My Gelda…" As he lies there against her with her hands lazily brushing through his hair, he feels content.

Utterly content.

'…Wait. What?' His entire form stiffens and Gelda freezes in response. His mind whirls with the night's events, over the past week's events, and he begins to realize his mistakes and his slips ups. She'd been obedient as he'd wanted. Staying with him as he'd demanded. Not sneaking away, much to his delight. He'd began to believe that she was finally learning her place and understanding that she belonged to him. And with her constant presence he'd gotten lost in her. Fallen victim to his seemingly insatiable need for her. Her warmth, her smell, her voice, her touch, the list goes on.

This vampire has consumed his every thought to the point of madness. This can't be some coincidence, how it keeps happening again and again. She must be doing something. Otherwise he wouldn't feel so dependent on her presences being a constant factor in his life.

"Zeldris?" her soothing voice hesitantly breaks the heavy silence in the room.

And just like that the spiraling madness in his mind is settled into the calm storm he's familiar with. Narrowing his eyes as he raises his head to look down at her, he regards her with apathy, "I'll be leaving for my meeting with the King shortly. You'll be fine on your own of course?" He doesn't wait for her answer as he slides from her. He creates distance as he moves off the bed.

He moves around the room, slipping on his clothes and securing his scabbard, as he awaits her response. When things become too silent, his eyes snap to her. He knows somethings wrong. She sits on the edge of the bed with her back to him. The bed sheets pool around her waist in gentle waves. Zeldris finds his eyes trailing down the flawlessly pale skin of her back to the flare of her hips just hidden by the sheets. His hands burn with the want to hold her again. To feel her heat against him as he breathes her scent in. Why is she so addicting?

Fisting his hands against his budding desires, Zeldris calls out sharply, "Gelda."

She does not flinch. But he does see her shoulders tense. "I must be…" For a moment she yawns tiredly and he remembers how fatigued she's been lately with a slightly furrowed brow. Her next words wipe that thought from his mind completely. "I have to go, Zeldris."

His hands tremble furiously at his sides. "Gelda." He tells her in warning as he slowly stalks closer to her. "Why must you continue to do this?" he demands darkly as he finally rounds on her.

Her crystal blue eyes glare up in defiance at him and he feels himself shake with rage. "I'm doing what I must!"

His hands seize her arms as he glares into her eyes, "It's nearly light out and you're tired! I see through your excuses, Gelda. You have no reason to go."

She closes her eyes to him and turns her face away. "Zeldris…"

"Gelda—"

"My father is having me meet a possible suitor today!"

Her words shatter his mind in a way he'd never expect. And for a moment, he feels as if he can't breathe around a crushing pain. It consumes his chest as he stares at her through befuddled eyes. But in the next, it's all gone, and replaced with an all too familiar sense of absolute rage. It flares brightly as it numbs him to the pain. Gelda stares at him with wide startled eyes as if realizing what she just said. But it's too late. His fury has been provoked and someone has to pay the consequences.

"Is this what you've been doing, Gelda? Sneaking off and meeting with someone behind my back?" He whispers to her menacingly as his hold on her arms grows unbearably tight and he begins to push her back on the bed.

She gasps then squirms in his hold with bared teeth. Her eyes sharpen as she hisses with a viciousness known to her race, "Of course not, Zeldris! Never!"

"How am I to know that's true with all the secrecy you've been keeping!?" he counters as he shakes her, pressing harder against her. "You're mine, Gelda! Mine!"

"If that's true then put a stop to this!" she shouts with a face flushed in anger as her bare chest heaves against his.

He stills at her words as his eyes hold hers steadily.

She jumps on the chance to continue in his silence with shuddering breaths, "I'm yours, Zeldris. Do y-you wish for another to have me? To claim me as their wife?"

"No." The word burns past his lips with vehemence.

He watches in awe as her eyes seem to gain a sliver of happiness he's never seen before. "W-what do you want, Zeldris? F-for the future? For us…" She whispers the last words so quietly he has to stain himself to hear.

'What…' Those three questions cause his mind to completely shut down as he stares at her blankly. His hands loosens their hold on her as he tries to think, to understand what she's implying. But he's lost. 'The future? What do I want?'

In his silence he doesn't notice the happiness in Gelda's eyes begin to dim before vanishing altogether.

"Prince Erickson will take care of me…" The almost heartbroken voice brings everything into clarity.

Zeldris regards her coldly and instead twists his lips up cruelly. "I don't know, Gelda. Maybe after I take you to your father and tell him what I've done to you, we'll see about those suitors of yours."

Her eyes widen drastically as she begins to shake in his hold. "N-no, no please! Zeldris I—"

He begins to laugh callously as he watches her struggle. This is what he wants. To see her scared. To see her begging. "I'm sure your father will be so proud of his little princess. He'll be delighted to hear how you've submitted to my every whim, Gelda!" He release one of her arms in order to cup her cheek roughly, forcing her to stare into the fury that burns deep within his eyes. "He'll want to know how you've given yourself to me! He'll need to know that you're mine!"

"Zeldris don't!" She pleads as her free hand reaches up and shakily presses against his chest.

He shakes her once as she gasps clinging to him in fear. The anger he feels causes his blood to sound loudly in his ears. But seeing her below him completely sapped of her earlier boldness causes it to dull some. His thoughts clear just enough for his voice to come out in a calm menace, "Don't what, Gelda? Sully your name? I'm sure the prince or any other suitor would love to know what I know about you. It would certainly be a selling point that the princess would want him in every position, in every part of the castle," he informs her gently with a wicked smile.

Her breaths begin to come in hitches as she struggles in futile against him. Her cheeks redden as her eyes narrow in pleading. "Zeldris! No! Y-you mustn't—!"

His voice grows softer almost delicate as he carves his next words into her. His body presses tightly to her vulnerable one. She has nowhere to go and no chance of escape. She will be subjected to his torment. He'll make sure of it. "Tell me, will you squirm and moan under him as you do with me? Are you going to play the innocent, or will you spread your legs as easily with him as you did for me?"

"Please!" she nearly screams as her chest begins to tremble giving way to her inner pain.

But he persists with a maddened glee as he watches her break. Finally she sees. Finally she understands. She is beneath him. And she always will be. "Maybe one of these days I should take you in your father's throne room, and show everyone exactly what you are," he whispers scathingly to her.

His eyes roam over her face as tremors run through her form. A sneer creeps across his expression when he realizes she's holding back tears. Such a weak creature she is! And to think he nearly let himself get lost in her allure. Well he corrected the situation. It won't happen again.

His smirk is vicious as he leans down and steals a forceful kiss from her lips. "You're mine, Gelda, to do with as I please. Never forget that."

At this her entire form sags against the bed and she just stares at him. Her crystal eyes rimmed in red, seem shattered with twisted emotions. Zeldris feels entirely pleased with himself, easily brushing away the slight twinge in his chest as he begins to release his hold on her.

The sudden opening of his chamber door causes him to bristle as his eyes snap to Gelda's naked form lying in front of him. Zeldris wraps his arms around her and pulls her flush against him, without thinking, to conceal her modesty. He feels her breaths against his neck and her hands against his chest.

"So this is what you've been up to, little brother." The smooth tone filters calmly through the room.

"Estarossa," Zeldris growls in a quickly rising fury, "What the hell makes you think you can enter my chambers without admission?"

His older sibling only chuckles and it causes his blood to boil hotter in rage. "You seem to have forgotten the meeting with the King, have you?"

Zeldris stills before a hissed curse speeds past his lips. He nearly moves to leave before the warmth in his arms causes him to remember. "Get the hell out. I'll be there in a second."

"Don't get distracted again, Zeldris," Estarossa warns lightly before the wooden door clangs closed.

Zeldris sighs as he releases Gelda intent on leaving quickly. But not before… In a flash, he grips the vampire's startled face and captures her lips quickly, giving them a nip before pulling back. She blinks rapidly under his sudden advance but his voice reaches her seconds later, "Get some rest. I'll be back soon." With that Zeldris sweeps from the room in his usual menacing manner.

~.~.~

His eyes stare impassively at the twinkling stars above him. Their celestial show has nothing on the parade of thoughts that go on in his head right now. After his unforgivable show of vulnerability to Elizabeth after her apology, he'd decided to distance himself from her and abandon his plan. But his mind kept wandering back to her. And that hasn't stopped once. It's absolutely maddening.

He fights the urge now to turn over on his side to look past the cooling embers of the fire and roam his eyes along her slumbering form. Clenching the fist he has resting over his stomach in restraint, he focuses his mind on the important things. Like the fairy's clue. He said it wasn't a demon who was doing this. So that leaves five other possible races. He immediately crosses off the lowest forms of life on Britannia. No way would the humans be crafty enough to pull something like this. The fairies couldn't pull it off either, he immediately deduces with a silent scoff, as they were the ones being controlled in that attack.

A long sigh flows from the goddess and his thoughts instantly sidetrack as he unwittingly turns his gaze to Elizabeth. He was certain she'd gone to sleep on her side, but now as he gazes at her with tense muscles and a clenched jaw, she lies flat on her back. He's mesmerized by the way the silvery light from above highlights her visage even more so that her natural glow. Her silver strands are pooled beneath her in soft flowing curls. Slowly his eyes follow the path of her neck and he remembers the taste of her skin on his tongue with a thick swallow. He wants to taste her again. To taste all of her. And he was certainly close to doing so before. She'd been practically writhing in his lap.

Meliodas moves to his side with a growing need to get closer to her. Perhaps he could just…

The demon snaps out of his trance with a growl of frustration. Turning his back to her, he feels angered that once again she managed to consume his thoughts with nothing but a breathy sigh. She's starting to become the bane of his thoughts, of his existence. How will he ever get anything done if she's all he can think of?

When she'd climbed in his lap before, the raw bloodlust was still flowing freely through his veins. His thoughts were a rapid blur through his mind and suddenly having her enchanting form right in front of him was more tantalizing than any spilling of blood ever could be. He couldn't help himself with the uncontrollable need he'd had for her then. Or what's starting to become constantly. When she'd pulled away it became a harsh struggle to keep himself in check and not pin her down, intent on giving them what they both want. This night is starting to show his loss in that fight.

Meliodas inhales forcefully, then attempts to refocus his thoughts again. "Giants, goddesses, or vampires," he mutters quietly to himself as his eyes stare at the bland bush before him. He instantly gets rid of the giants. Although they're of decent strength, they're nowhere near crafty enough to pull something like this off.

"So goddesses or vampires," he decides with a smirk. "I'm fairly certain it wouldn't be the goddesses since they wouldn't risk losing their own numbers. So… the vampires have decided to try and settle the old score, hmm?" He chuckles deviously with a sinister glint beginning to manifest in his eyes. The idea that those blood suckers have risen up to oppose the demon clan causes his blood to burn in anticipation. Because there is no other answer. They are beings of mixed powers, being that of weaker demonic blood and that of humans. The vampires are most likely using the goddesses as a cover so attention wouldn't be immediately drawn to them. But he sees right through their plans.

Meliodas sits up with the intention of setting things in motion when a slight hitching in breath reels in his attention. Again his eyes snap to Elizabeth as if she's the most captivating creature he's laid eyes on. And he watches as she shifts just slightly with her in taking of breath. Then she exhales slowly as a soft relieved moan eases past her lips.

Meliodas can't look away from her as his previous thoughts begin to fade into oblivion. That soft sound, so reminiscent to the ones she made before as he'd lavished her neck in kisses and clutched her tightly as she thrusted against his straining need, has his blood racing again for her. She's practically laying there now in offering. And, as his lips curve up slowly as he crawls over to her, he knows this delicious proposal would be foolish to pass up on.

Unhurriedly, he settles at her feet and lets his gaze graze up her tantalizing figure for only a moment. Then his hands reach forward and settle on her shins. Her skin is warm and smooth beneath his rough hands and he shudders an exhale as he lets his hands gradually climb up her curvy limbs. Briefly he flicks his gaze up to her face to see if she notices his touches. But she hasn't shifted, so he continues his motions. Gently clenching his fingers in the fleshy skin of her warm thighs, Meliodas begins to steadily pull them apart.

His breathing increases slightly at her sheer exquisiteness. He even feels his hands slightly shaking in his feat to keep himself in check. Moving his hands back down, he lifts her leg slightly and begins to leave open mouth kisses along the skin available to him. He moves up her form, stopping at her thigh where he gives extra attention. As he sucks on the skin almost greedily, once again drawn in by her mouthwatering taste, he begins to hear her breathing increase slightly. His hooded eyes gaze up her form to see her chest slightly heaving and a small flush dusting her cheeks.

Meliodas hums in satisfaction as his desire steadily rises. He needs more, much more from this goddess beneath him. Removing his lips from her thigh after trailing his tongue sluggishly over a forming mark, the demon slowly brings her leg to wrap around his waist as he leans over her. He stares for a moment at her finally under him. The sight alone has him gritting his teeth as his pants become unbearably tight. His pulse is throbbing in his head, drowning out his thoughts. He nearly gasps for breath as his arms quake in his struggle for control. But she's simply so enthralling, he finds his thoughts of restraint slipping away with each second as his hunger for her rapidly fills its place.

With a shaky breath, he dips his head down and begins to kiss along the exposed skin of her stomach, nipping the delicate flesh every so often when soft breathy sounds begin to form in her throat. His breathing is heavy as his mind begins to cloud. 'Elizabeth…' He dips his tongue into her belly button briefly as his lips trail up her stomach. Abruptly her shirt obstructs his path and he growls irritated with it, considering possibly ripping it from its place. When Elizabeth gives a soft needy sound, his chest forms a deep rumble in response. Lifting his hands up, he instead smooths them along the soft skin of her stomach in lieu of her shirt. He's pleased with the way her breathing seems to hitch some before she shifts slightly against him.

Unexpectedly, he groans at the feel of her clothed core grazing against his throbbing erection, but he tells himself to focus. Or attempts to. When his hands finally reach the swell of her breasts, he leans forward and gives in to the need to rub against the heat he feels between her legs. All at once, she arches into his hold and gentle thrusting with a full fledged moan.

His eyes glaze over as a fierce flash of heat courses under his skin. "Fuck."

Her cheeks are a crimson hue as her plump lips lay apart a sliver, allowing delicate whimpers to fill his ears as he grinds against her core damp with need and squeezes her ample breasts increasingly harder. He can't think of anything else. Nothing exists except this heavenly creature beneath him responding so delectably to his touches. He needs her and he intends to have her this night.

With an insatiable desire, he lowers his lips to her collarbones as his hands continue their work. He nibbles the skin there with a soft hum, sucking her flesh as he urgently works his way up and across her neck. As her voice continuously penetrates his ears, drowning him in fresh waves of desire again and again, he begins to feel her stir against him.

The demon chuckles against a particularly sensitive spot behind her ear and relishes in the way her leg tightens around him on her own. Completely tangled around her form, Meliodas lets his breath wash over her ear heatedly as he speaks in a low husky murmur. "Wake up… We have things to finish…"

She seems to gasp sharply as her hands shoot to his shoulders in her waking, but Meliodas doesn't stop his movements against her. In fact, he moves a hand from one of her cushiony swells and deliberately drags it down her stomach and past her waist in order to trail it up her thigh beneath her skirt... When she feels his hands tugging at her panties with the intent to rip them clean off, he hears her whimper desperately against him.

Again he chuckles as his lips begin to trail kisses along her cheek until he sees her eyes. He sinks into their depths as they both breathe heavily against each other. He watches as anger flashes into her eyes, before disappointment claims its place. Then resolution briefly settles before a heavy surge of desire darkens her eyes to a midnight blue. He groans deeply when her fingers dig into his hair and pull his face up enough for her to place her delicate lips along his chin. They practically burn into him as she tentatively works her way along his neck, almost unsure of her actions.

It's not even a conscious thought as his hand rips her underwear off, eliciting a little yelp from her. He pulls back enough just to see her wide eyes and crimson face as she trembles beneath him, more exposed than ever before. He stills his hips, despite the scorching need to dispose of his own clothing and sink into her searing flesh, and instead begins to trail his hand towards her moist center. Her breaths come in quick puffs against his lips as he brings his head towards her. "Are you finally ready to give in, goddess?" he rasps deeply even as she clenches her fingers within his hair just right and starts to lift her head towards his.

She gives a sharp cry of desire when his fingers dip into the hot slickness of her folds. Meliodas seeks her lips in hopes of swallowing her wanton calls that fry his every thought and consume him in the most sinful of flames.

But the sound of multiple feet pressing forward around them forces him to jerk back. His body is doused in the icy waters of awareness just as he realizes they've been surrounded. He breathes harshly now in boiling rage as he takes in his mistake and the reality of its consequence. He moves back from Elizabeth, expecting her to get up and take action. She does not immediately and it dawns on him just how affected she is by their touches.

"Damn it!" Before the curse even passes his lips the beings spring towards them with vicious precision.

Meliodas darts forward to meet them head on just as he recognizes exactly what's attacking them. The raving figures of vampires. If he wasn't pissed before by the interruption, this discovery sends his fury skyrocketing. His power radiates off of him in a deadly aura as he sets his eyes on a group of targets. He expects them to turn to him, to recognize who he is and what exactly he'll do to them when he gets his hand on them, but surprisingly they don't flinch. They actually seem prepared as they flit from him, never coming close enough for him to wrap his hands around their necks and squeeze until there's no life left.

His patience is so very little however. So just when he decides to give up the bullshit of drawing this out, he hears the sounds of a fleetingly struggle. He stops in his tracks all together as Elizabeth fills his entire vision. With his next blink he's running back to her as his sight steadily begins to fill with the bloody red of his spiking, savage fury. These vampires tricked him and they will not get away with it. The vampires around him begin to shriek in agony as his power rapidly spills forth, puncturing them with gaping holes until there's nothing left but bloody unrecognizable messes.

He's the picture of Death's sanguinary bloodlust when he finally arrives where Elizabeth once rested. The entire area is deserted with no traces of the vampires or the goddess having been there. Only the shredded cloth he tore from her remains on the ground where they both were seemingly second's ago, proving to him that he isn't going mad. The exquisite creature he'd held in his arms was simply snatched away as a slight against him.

His head bows as his shoulders shake with the almost crazed laughter that rises in his chest. A second later, it erupts into a murderous roar as he throws his head back. And with his cry the area around him bursts into hellish flames that rise higher and higher as his eyes take on an otherworldly violet glow. The flames incinerate everything in their path. They don't stop until there's nothing left with the fading of his cry.

His head leisurely lowers as his eyes regain their bottomless hue with the settling of his power and the chilling calm of his mind. "So the vampires have come out in the open and taken my precious toy," he laughs softly for a moment while shaking his head. Then he sighs almost exasperatedly as he begins to stroll forward over the black sooty remains of what used to be a vast portion of a flourishing forest. "I guess I'll have to remind them exactly why they lost against us. And more importantly… why you never get on my bad side. It might result in a bit of… extermination."

Chapter Text

~9~

-There In The End-

Her body is ablaze in delicious flames. That's what her senses tell her as she sluggishly begins to come into awareness. She's shocked at first in her slow waking by the thrumming sensations that bombard her, but that quickly fades away as the feeling of strong hands gripping and massage her breasts oh so wonderfully begin to pull soft titillating noises from her lips effortlessly. She can feel lips burning across the skin of her collarbones and up her neck. The sharp nips and suckling of her skin has her mind already fogging in a heavy cloak of need, blocking out any and everything else. Oh and the friction against her painfully throbbing core…

Elizabeth moans sinfully low as her leg tightens around the hip thrusting against her, completely welcoming the attention. From the heavy heat of the weight above her, her desire addled mind can put two and two together about who would be lecherous enough to touch her in her sleep. And when his throaty chuckle sounds against the sensitive spot behind her ear causing her breath to stutter around a shaky whimper, his next words confirms it. "Wake up, goddess… We have things to finish…"

Her hands shoot up to clutch his shoulders as she presses her chest up against his gripping hands. She gives a breathy moan as he squeezes her just right before one hand begins to trail hotly down her stomach and waist… Just being in his hold is everything she's fantasized about. She should stop this. It goes against everything she's fought for and holds in high belief. But, just thinking of leaving from where she is now causes her to tighten her hold on him in refusal. Her thoughts are clear as she decides she can't leave his carnal touches and warm kisses. As she decides that she won't. And she's both angry and disappointed in herself at giving in so easily. But how could she not? Even she's not strong enough to fight off the want they both share for each other…

She stills for the briefest of seconds when his hand smooths up her thigh then grasps the thin material of her panties. At the feel of his tugging she thrusts her hips against him as a whimper falls past her lips. 'Please…' Oh she wants to feels his skin against hers as they move together in tandem. She can practically see the sweat evaporating from their heated flesh as not a sliver of space separates them in their passionate joining. The image simply drives her mad with need.

He chuckles against her neck and works his wonderful lips across her cheek in response to her delight. When his eyes meet hers, she briefly recalls the ire and displeasure she feels towards herself. But then she pushes that away as she gazes into his hungered visage absolutely entranced by the way his hair falls in a wayward mess around his face. When she reaches up to bury her fingers deeply into his blond tresses, he groans intensely, further dampening her core he continuously thrusts against.

With a shuddering breath, Elizabeth pulls his head up enough for her lips to linger across the skin of his chiseled jaw and down his neck. She has no experience here, but by the way his breathing catches at her tentative kisses causing a budding warmth to fill her chest and a scorching coil to tighten sharply inside her, he most definitely likes her efforts.

Her panties are gone before she can even realize what happened as she yelps. Meliodas pulls back enough to stare into her surely burning visage, but what catches her attention the most is the halting of his hips against her. And then the feeling of his hand trailing slowly towards her needy center. She pants shallowly as his face begins to near towards hers. His words come out as a deep rasp as she clenches her fingers within his hair. "Are you ready to give in, goddess?"

Her answer is in the way she leans her head up in hopes of meeting his lips. The sudden sensation of his fingers delving between her slick folds has her eyes squeezing closed as she coats her voice in low litlting erotic tones, only for him. His teasing fingers has her chest heaving as she moans and whimpers in desperation. But as she feels the heat of his breath wash over her parted lips, he jerks back from her.

That's when things begin to spin wildly out of control.

The attack had happened much too fast for her to regain her bearings. Waking up to Meliodas' form over hers had been absolutely impossible to resist. But instead of receiving mind collapsing pleasure as he thoroughly fulfilled her every desire, now she's being dragged roughly by the cool hands of vampires.

They're traveling through shadows at such a fast pace her mind is being rendered to a fuzzy mess. Twists and turns, then sudden sharp dashes are all she can make out. Elizabeth tries to at least figure out how many are gathered, but they're silent and swift in their actions. And sensing energies through all the hectic traversing is simply impossible for her.

Then suddenly everything stops and a sharp kick is given to her back. The goddess grunts in pain as her skin roughly skids across the harsh stones of the floor she lands on. Before she can roll over and leap into action, cool hands grip her wrists, then pull them quickly behind her back. Another comes and suddenly she feels the cold roughness of thick cuffs clasping around her wrists. The second they're secure she inhales sharply as she feels her energy begin to bleed from her like the draining of blood.

She tries to struggle against them and break free from the metal, but the suddenness of her power deserting her leaves her trembling. Her head sags against the cold floor below her as her mind reels. "What h-have you done!? What do you want?" She cries out fiercely. Her eyes struggle for focus as her body tries to adjust from the lack of strength.

The vampires move from her when they realize what they've done is taking effect. Seconds pass and no one answers as she inhales almost raggedly. A brutal kick to her side sends her on her back and forces a shrill cry to escape her throat before she can swallow it back. Elizabeth shudders against the pain of the bones in her ribs being so easily broken. She won't let them see her pain if she can help it however. These vampires are after something. And she's determined to find out and then escape.

A hand roughly weaves into her hair, jerking her into a sitting position. She can't breathe as her vision spots over for a moment. She feels as if she's boiling on the inside, but her skin's as cold as ice. This pain is nothing however. She's dealt with torture before and she'll deal with this just as well. When the hand in her hair abruptly jerks her head sideways, she sucks in air through her teeth and squeezes her eyes closed. Whoever holds her hisses softly and she feels their breath wash along her neck as their teeth lightly graze her skin. This causes her to blink her eyes open as anger flares hotly inside her. "So, what? Are you going to drink me dry? Or attempt to change me?" She demands unflinchingly.

The vampire holding her merely chuckles, but does not answer as he moves from her neck. As she inhales deeply in an attempt to fight past the agony that radiates inside her, Elizabeth finally sees the male who holds her brutally. And she stares the vampire directly in his face. His hair was the darkest she'd ever seen as it fell straight strands around his face and shoulders. His eyes are muddy brown and confident, but she can see the demented gleam buried deep within his piercing stare. "You should not be so cross with us, goddess. We happened up on you under the General's capture… We saved you actually," He tells her sweetly with a poisonous smile.

Her eyes flick across his face, delving deeper for his hidden meaning, but he's as closed off as a bitter stone. She then turns her gaze from him and tries to gauge her situation for a moment. From her limited view she can tell they're in a cave of sorts. The air is musty and shadows cloak the corners heavily. In those dark depths, she can see many forms and feel their eyes burning across her glowing visage. She's utterly surrounded. But that doesn't necessarily mean she can't escape. That simply means it'll be harder. Her eyes return to the vampire before her with a burning determination. "What do you mean by saved?"

At this he lets her hair go and instead chooses to circle her. His gait is slow, purposeful. He must be the leader of this group of ruffians. Another answers for him, however, surprising her. "Demons seek out goddesses." The male answer crisply and her eyes quickly find him. His short pale blond hair matches the paleness of his skin.

Her mind circles in confusion as she breathes shallowly against her internal injury. Demons hate goddesses and usually avoid them unless they're asking for a fight. "What do you mean?"

"Never you mind…" The leader tells her smoothly as he circles around to stand in front of her. "But since you seem of such value to him—"

"I mean nothing to that demon," She corrects instantly with a sharp curling of her lip.

The leader regards her for a long while before he raises an eyebrow mockingly. His lips curve up in some kind of internal amusement which causes Elizabeth to growl softly in anger.

"The rather explosive response he gave once he figured out our motives speaks otherwise," Again the blond one speaks up coldly and she decides he's the right hand man. His words once again stir up confusion within her mind. Meliodas doesn't give a damn about her, so why must they try and weave such lies?

The leader's black boots thud softly as he stalks closer to her slowly. Elizabeth keeps her head held high as she holds his baleful gaze. When he stands before her his hand reaches out and begins to smooth over her hair in a demeaning manner. She jerks away from his touch despite the pain it causes her. He persists however, and when she continues to fight his motions he simply grips her hair then jerks her head back brutally. She whimpers quietly as her breaths come in gasps, but her eyes remain hard as he looks down on her.

"You'll come in handy, goddess, alive that is. We'll contact the General of the demon clan as his word carries almost equal power to that of the King with his coming ascension to the throne drawing nearer. We'll use your… heavenly figure as a form persuasion." His tone is nice and easy, the beginning of some masterful plan she's sure.

Still claiming she'll be of some importance? Her expression turns indignant at their thoughtless conclusions. "What for?" She hisses through gritted teeth.

"Well we wish to claim our own land of course! We are sick and tired of the rule of Izraf! Our power is mighty and our numbers are great. If we can claim a place of our own, we can rise up and show that weak ruler what we have become!" His voice booms out wildly, invoking ruckus cries and cheers from the vampires she thought were as lifeless as the stones around them. This is the madness she saw before in his eyes coming out in stark clarity.

"We will surpass Edinburgh in strength and reverence and then Izraf will fall," he laughs wickedly as his grip in her hair grows tighter, causing her to groan. "I will even take that daughter of his as my Queen as a final snuff. And then we vampires will reclaim our status in this world once more!"

The cheers around them are near deafening, but all Elizabeth feels is a burning umbrage for their plans. She will not be used as a pawn in their mutiny. As a sign of exactly what she thinks of their pathetic scheme, Elizabeth spits on the dark cloak of her captor, not at all regretful of her choice. "You are all fools!"

The silence that follows presses loudly on her ears more forcefully than any outburst. Then she barely sees his hand delve into his cloak before a piercing pain explodes across her cheek. Her body recoils against his slash and she crashes against the floor painfully on her stomach. She screeches as her ribs are further tormented and her vision dances in and out of clarity. The sensation of warm blood slowly trailing along her cheek barely captures her attention.

The leader pockets the small dagger as he turns away from the fallen goddess impassively. "You all are free to lay into her, but I advise you to keep her alive."

She feels her breathing stutter for a moment at the prospect of every single vampire in this room coming at her in such a defenseless position. Her eyes catch the movement of multiple bodies and she tenses in preparation. But in the next moment her entire form quakes as a power like no other begins to fill the room like a killing smog. It's crushing in its oppression as it thrums in fury.

"I would not do that if I were you."

Instantly she knows it's Meliodas as his words seem to penetrate her from all sides, vibrate her insides, and dissolve her sensible thoughts. 'He c-came for me…?'

It doesn't take long after his words fill the room for the vampires to turn their focus on the wrathful demon. All except one, that is. The leader snatches Elizabeth from the ground and begins to drag her back towards the far end of the cavern. The goddess moans in searing pain at his rough handling, but her eyes are focused entirely on Meliodas and the vampires that attack him.

The battle is purely one sided. Elizabeth watches with a mounting horror as the vampires wield magic of devastating proportions. Vibrant blues, yellows, and reds erupt in the cave again and again. Over and over they attack Meliodas with the intent to take him down. No, with the goal of killing him. And the goddess shudders under the vibrations that wrack the entire structure they're in. Rocks begin to fall, nearly hitting her as her captor clutches her with a bruising grip. But she does not look away.

Because Meliodas merely stands poised like a god as winds with no visible source gently tousle his hair about and thrusts the long end of his coat around. The massive sword he uses is held across the back of his shoulders in an almost casual pose. And every single attack of the vampires ricochets with the invisible force of his sword. She sees it in his eyes, filled with the unnatural glow of violet, what he intends to do before the wicked smirk even rises to his face.

"Don't!" She screams as loud as she can over the one sided battle raging on.

But Meliodas ignores her and raises a hand palm face up. The vampires appear to catch on to their abysmal chances of survival a little too late. In the blink of an eye, shadowy spikes shoot up from the cavern's floor in a rippling wave, racing forward in Elizabeth's direction with seemingly no intentions of stopping. The vampires' cries are cut off abruptly by the wet crunching of their bodies being impaled a thousand times over. And Elizabeth can only watch.

Her heart shutters in her chest as an unmistakable pain begins to resonate throughout her. The torment of failure. Her failure at saving yet another batch of lives. She blinks and is startled to feel two tears race down her cheeks. She bows her head as the vampire holding her begins to panic as he truly grasps the wrath he just unleashed upon the people he once lead.

But Elizabeth doesn't focus on him or even the spikes that have overtaken the floor in their steady pace and are now nearly upon them. She keeps her head bowed as a few more tears slip along her cheeks. Meliodas will think her weak if he sees her shedding tears of grief over the fallen. She doesn't want him to see her as weak. If she is to die here at his hand, she at least wants to appear strong.

When the rapid sound of breaking rocks becomes thunderous in her ears, she knows the time has come and braces herself. The vampire cries out behind her in a vicious fury. "You want your precious goddess back demon? Fine! Take her!" Suddenly she's jerked from her silent resolution as her body is roughly sent hurtling in the direction of the moving spikes. Elizabeth's eyes widen as her face nears them, but not a sound of fright works its way up her throat.

Instead of seeing the pitch black spikes jutting towards her face, dark crimson fills her vision. Her body writhes for a moment in blinding agony with the sudden impact of a warm body. Her muffled screech is drowned out by the wave of magic that washes across the cavern in the next moment. Then she shivers at the gurgled scream her captor gives before all goes silent and still.

Her heart is thudding rapidly in her chest as she tries to breathe and make sense of things. But before she can shift in the hold upon her so her vision isn't blocked out, they're suddenly moving. Dizziness overcomes her and she moans softly against the person holding her. She exhales shakily when their arm wrapped around her torso gently squeezes in seemingly comfort.

When things begin to slow down, Elizabeth is relieved by the sensation of cool, fresh air brushing across her skin. It's far better than the dankness of the cave they were previously in. As she inhales the wonderful scent of a woodsy kind, she's nearly startled when she feels the cuffs holding her hands prisoner behind her back are immediately removed. It's as if she's coming back up from being underwater for too long after that. She no longer struggles as if something's leeching the power from her in painful pulls and she gives a delighted hum at the sensation.

She's placed on her feet without notice as she simply dwells in the feeling of her returning strength and the healing power that quickly begins to work on her wounds. A warm hand unexpectedly grips her chin causing her eyes to open and remember the situation.

Meliodas stands before her, his face entirely devoid of emotion as he looks over her visage slowly. Elizabeth swallows around the mixture of resentment and attraction that swarms inside her. This is the demon who killed an entire cavern of vampires in cold blood. This is the demon she's sworn to fight against one day. This is the demon who searched for her, found her, and saved her. How has she gotten so conflicted over him in no time at all? She wants him so badly, it's more than a simple burning need. It's starting to be more than that. And that's what's truly worrying her.

In her mind's musings, she misses the subtle flash in Meliodas' eyes as he moves closer to her. She inhales quickly as she feels the heat of his hand skimming along her surely bruised skin of her ribs as light as a breeze. Then he's pulling her face down and she's absolutely certain he's going to kiss her by the way her heart's fluttering in a frenzy. She should stop him. Should, but she doesn't. Her eyes drift closed under the silent power of his gaze. And then she feels something that makes her hiss in a mixture of pain and bliss. His tongue takes a sensual path up her cheek and along the slash the dagger made.

When he pulls back she gazes at him through hazy eyes as she pants softly. As he steps away from her, taking with him his hypnotizing presence, his words bring back the final clarity she needs in her mind. "You taste pretty sweet, goddess."

She raises a hand to her cheek and feels herself unwillingly flush. Elizabeth narrows her eyes bitterly. What is he playing at? "Do you taste the blood of all of your enemies?"

His eyes are emotionless stones as he regards her coldly. The teasing smirk that pulls at his lips is the only thing that tells her he finds her words amusing. "What? No "Thank you" for saving your life, goddess? That's pretty rude of you…" He comments instead, completely ignoring her question.

Her lips press together tightly as her cheeks warm further. She flicks her blue eyes in the direction of the thick line of trees not too far away from where they stand. Then she voices softly, "Thank you…"

He doesn't respond immediately and it causes her gaze to turn back to him. Only he's already turned away as he walks towards the line of trees in a pointed path. She huffs as she's forced to catch up with his retreating form. "Why did you come after me?" She demands when she reaches his side.

His pace is even as he stares ahead with a set gaze. "Would you have enjoyed dying then, goddess? I would happily grant you that wish…" he tells her darkly, silently implying that she should stop questioning him.

But when has she ever backed down? "You didn't have to kill them. You could have simply knocked them out and then t-took me," She tells him in an aggrieved tone.

"They did this." He tells her plainly, but she notices his hands fist at his sides.

"What?"

"They are behind this and I am going to put a stop to it," he tells her ominously as he turns his gaze to her briefly before looking away.

But she saw the murderous glint lying heavily in that one look. He intends to destroy their entire race. She stops walking as she silently begins to tremble in waves of outrage. "No."

Meliodas halts. Slowly he turns to her and she watches as a cruel smile works its way across his face. His eyes speak of punishment however for her continued disobedience. "No? This is not up for discussion, goddess. They are the only ones stupid enough to try and pull something like this off." His eyes narrow in loathing as his words turn rough, "Your clan is nothing but a cover they use to go after us demons. Their act against me just now proves it."

"And that is where you're wrong," She tells him strongly as she draws closer to him unflinchingly. Uncaring of the way his eyes burn through her in vicious fury, she speaks of what she knows is true, "They only wanted to use me as leverage in order to gain land. They simply wanted to rise up against the king of the vampires and claim his place. It was a simply case of mutiny in their race. Nothing more, nothing less," she punctuates cleanly as glares at her.

"That may be the case for them, but you do not know if that is true of their King." His words are low as anger practically has him trembling. His eyes dare her to speak again.

She simply raises an eyebrow cheekily. "And neither do you."

"You pathetic little—!"

Elizabeth reacts quickly as she twirls away from his reaching hands, making it a point to smack him in the face with her hair as she goes. Oh she knows she's poking a demon with the likes of a dragon, but she's sick and tired of him thinking he can win every argument they have. She stops when she's a good distance from him and observes him in satisfaction as his face glows with rage. Her voice comes out sassily however when she decides to dig into him. "Oh I'm the pathetic one when you're the one who had to come onto me in my sleep?" Her voice grows serious despite the insincerity that fills her with her next words, "Touch me again and I'll make sure you pay."

He stills completely at her words and she's uncertain how he'll respond for a moment. So she braces herself for anything. Then with his next breath, all the anger she brought out of him is gone. And a biting chill seems to rise up and take its place. "You did seems to enjoy it if I recall…" he plays dumb for a moment as he rubs his chin as if in thought. Elizabeth turns her face away to hide the growing flush that rises to her cheeks so she misses the broad grin he soon adorns. "In fact, you seemed so lost in the things I did to you that you managed to get yourself kidnapped by those blood suckers."

She nearly splutters indignantly as she turns her view sharply in his direction. He's laughing at her with his eyes! That cunning bastard! Turning this back on her without so much as a second thought! Elizabeth growls in irritation as she stomps past him, intent on going ahead. Silently she hopes that he follows and doesn't go after the vampires. She still doesn't believe fully that they're behind this. Not without something concrete that is. So she still wants to search and find something before they attack.

After moments of not hearing anything behind her, she begins to grow cold in worry. But then he's there as cold as ever without a word to her. Elizabeth doesn't say anything but her mind is a buzz of surprise. 'Did he actually give my view a chance…?' But that's impossible! He's not one to go along with others when he's adamant in his ideas from what she learned of his possibility. So why…?

As the two carry on deeper into the forest, Elizabeth puzzles over the plethora of possibilities that makes up the mystifying demon she travels with.

~.~.~

Zeldris races through the long halls of the castle, taking every shortcut he can to get back to his chamber. The sound of war cries outside of the castle ring loudly in his ears. The meeting with the King was abruptly cut short by the sudden arrival of what they've been trying to put a stop to for weeks now. It was a surprise attack and no one saw it coming. The ravenette should be out there now, cleaving his way through the pathetic creatures. But instead his heart pounds with something entirely different from the excited thrill of battle he's used to. And it causes his eyes to narrow determinedly in response.

He doesn't know why he wants to reach her so quickly. His duties come first, not that pale beauty of a vampire. And yet as he rounds the final turn that leads to his chamber, he can't seem to reach the door fast enough. The door bangs open as he rushes in. "Gelda—" his words cut off as his eyes circle the room again and again. But the conclusion still remains the same. His chamber is empty, entirely devoid of his Gelda.

He forces himself to enter the room anyway as disbelief fills him like a heavy weight. Nothing appears ransacked. In fact, the bed looks entirely made up, which means…

The demon bows his head as the aura around him becomes positively livid. He roars as he spins to his side, gripping the wardrobe as he thrusts it across the room. Wood shatters and speeds in all directions as the clothes within it fall into a messy heap. She abandoned him once again to go to this suitor of hers, Prince Erickson. That proves that she was lying before about not having been going behind his back. How could she…? "How could you!?" Zeldris shouts as he next sends the dresser flying. "You're MINE!"

Nothing is left unscathed in his sudden rampage and quickly his room is left in utter chaos. As Zeldris breathes harshly while his eyes scan the destruction of his room, the demon unsheathes his sword from his scabbard, intent on taking out his escalating rage on the beings attacking the castle. He strides from his room without looking back as Gelda's image flashes before his eyes repeatedly. His chest aches, but he ignores it, and the preposterous idea that he didn't really give her a reason to stay.

Chapter Text

~10~

-Disrupting New Territory-

Early signs of morning are beginning to present themselves in the dark sky as Elizabeth wanders in the dragging depths of her weighty thoughts. 'Seek out a goddess? Maybe they were onto something when they said that?' She puzzles as she lets her eyes rest on Meliodas a distance beside her. He's completely stoic as he marches ahead with his arms crossed, completely uninterested in any and everything going on around him currently. Her brows furrow as she considers. 'They were… right about him somewhat being attached to me. Otherwise he would have never come to rescue me, right?' Her cheeks begin to warm slightly as she turns her gaze away in remembering the way he'd held her as he took her away from that cavern. He wasn't brutal or cold, he was almost comforting. She nearly raises her hands up to cover her cheeks from how warm they've gotten. 'But why? He hates me!'

She lets herself breathe and urges herself to focus back on the main clue. 'Perhaps it has to do with this seeking out business. Whatever that is, it can't spell good news.' She glances towards Meliodas once more as she comes to a decision. Her hands tighten at her sides as her resolve settles her raging emotions. 'He's up to something. This can't be a coincidence. I can't suddenly be so… s-so entranced by him out of nowhere. He's a demon of all things. It's never happened before.'

A sudden thought comes to her at the thought. It makes her consider the idea of what she and Meliodas have nearly ended up doing on multiple occasions and connects it with what those vampires implied heavily before. 'Is that what that means? Seeking out goddesses. Do demons and goddesses…?' She's positively mystified and horrified at the idea. 'If that's true then… wouldn't there be… wouldn't they have children together?'

She turns her eyes to face Meliodas as her mind runs wild with the possibilities and the implications. 'Is he seeking me out? Is that his goal?' She sighs softly in understanding as her shoulders sag and she looks away. 'So I'll keep my wits about me from now on then. No more falling into his allure. I'm done.'

The goddess squares her shoulders as she strides with a sudden purpose that captures Meliodas' attention. His even tone flows pleasantly through her ears, but she won't look at him. No more unnecessary eye contact. "So have you figured out where you want to lead us, goddess?"

She blows out an even breath. "I was thinking… Perhaps we should try and figure out the means in which those creatures are made. It might give us a better idea of who could be behind this."

"Besides the vampires."

She clenches her teeth. "Yes. Besides them."

She hears him inhale slowly and imagines he's gazing at her with a patronizing smirk. Elizabeth keeps her gaze forward and her emotions level. She will not get angry over something so petty any longer. "And how do you think we should go about doing this, goddess?"

Her clenched fists twitch before she relaxes them. "Well who has the most access to dark magic?"

In an instant, the easy air about them becomes strained with the rapid spiking of his palpable ire. Elizabeth whirls her head in his direction and meets the cool flames that flicker in his eyes with a steady gaze of her own. "I don't believe a demon did this. I'm just thinking that maybe someone could have stolen a spell you all might have access to."

He allows his eyes to bore into hers for a long moment as if to assess her truthfulness, and she lets him. Even with her new resolve, staring into such an overbearing gaze makes it hard for her to keep her breathing steady. When the pressure around them finally begins to abate, Elizabeth gratefully takes the chance to turn her head away. As she subtly brings a hand to her chest, she realizes in their stare off they came to a sudden halt in their progression.

"I suppose you could be onto something there, goddess," his sudden presence beside her almost causes her to jump.

She glares at him out of habit as she turns to face him completely. She purses her lips in hopes of regaining her composure. "So will we be making the journey to the demon realm?"

Suddenly his hands circle around her waist as he jerks her flush against his firm, warm chest. He gazes up at her with a wide grin. "What better time than to head there now, hmm?"

Her cheeks puff out as she places her hands on his shoulders, about ready to push out of his hold. Then his power begins to rush forth at an alarming rate as she watches his eyes gain that unnatural glow of an eerie purple. The words he speak are low and rumbling, resonating throughout her form in the most pleasing of ways. Before she can shout at him to stop whatever the hell he's doing to her because she's sick of his devious ways, a persistent pulling begins to let itself be known. Then, all at once, her vision goes dark, and all she has to rely on is the demon holding her tightly in his grasp.

~.~.~

He lets out a breath the moment he feels the presence of demonic energy in abundance. It's almost a relief to be back among his own kind with the feel of his goddess held tightly in his grasp… His eyes snap open at the abnormal thought. 'His goddess? Yeah, his to toy with, of course.' He clears up with a few blinks as Elizabeth's visage begins to become distinct before his eyes.

Her eyes are squeezed shut as her hands, once upon his shoulders, now encircle his neck as she practically shoves herself closer to him in an anxious grasp. The added tightness in their hold allows her wonderfully plump bosom to press closer to his face. With a shameless grin, Meliodas lowers his tone to a deep rumble as he questions, "Offering yourself up to me now, goddess?"

Her eyes shoot open just as he grasps a tight hold of her ample rear. He holds in a groan as he allows her to feel just how excited he's becoming at the prospect. She bites her plump lip tantalizingly and the demon nearly loses it right there. But, in the next second, Elizabeth pushes out of his hold and glares at him with deep-seated indignation. "No. Whatever you're playing at, demon, I won't allow it," She hisses in a quiet fury that somehow manages to entice him further.

Just when he intends to close the gap between them again and perhaps convince her to change her mind, several shouts begin to draw his attention. He allows his focus to shift from the glowing goddess to their surroundings. The sight of the imposing demonic castle is dwarfed by a dozen demons converging upon their location. He doesn't let his eyes stay on them for too long as the state of the area begins to seep into his mind with a sharpness that that douses his mind of any thoughts of indulging in the goddess for now. It looks as if a small battle had just taken place by the state of smashed stones of the high castle walls and spilled blood darkening the already blackened tint of the castle.

When his cool gaze lands back on the nearing soldiers, he notes exasperatedly whom their target is, despite his clear presence beside her. Elizabeth conjures her brilliant sword with simmering eyes, further riling the demons. All it takes is a single pointed step forward from him to halt their advance and draw their enraged gazes in his direction.

They rightfully hesitate at noticing the dark intent buried under the hard features that mask his thoughts. "I want word spread around the castle that this goddess here is not to be touched… unless, of course, you wish to deal with me personally…"

A wave of unease passes through them. Just seeing their reactions causes a chilling smile to grace his features. One nods before speaking, "Y-yes of course, General."

Before they can scatter off like spineless cowards, Elizabeth whirls on him with an expression reddened in outrage as her lips curl in displeasure. "I can take care of myself, demon, if that's alright with you?" Her voice is cutting as she releases her weapon. She doesn't give him a chance to respond as she turns from him. The prideful goddess stomps forward through the throng of sneering demons into the ominous castle.

He simply looks after her with hands continuously tightening at his sides to the point where his bones begin to protest greatly. Only when a familiar voice and towering sensation make themselves known beside him, does he snap out of his incensed trance. "So is that the goddess you've been tasked to work with?"

He doesn't answer Estarossa as it's very clear who she is. Instead he strides forward as the soldiers begin to disperse. He'll need to debrief him on what went on here surely. Then he'll go and find that fiery goddess. She challenged him in front of members of his race… That certainly can't go unpunished…

He walks briskly through the familiar halls with servants nodding in respect to his passing. Estarossa speaks up beside him, letting him realize the taller is still following beside him. "You two seemed pretty companionable for being enemies."

This causes him to draw up short as his jaw tenses. That casual, even tone the younger uses is simply a disguise. He saw something. Something he shouldn't have. Meliodas doesn't look at him, but the depth of his voice speaks volumes in the way the hall begins to vacate of passing servants just by feeling alone. "What about that situation was "companionable", Estarossa?"

It's silent, eerie, for a moment before the grey haired demon voices as calmly as the breeze. "I wasn't speaking of before when she… defied you. I meant before she jumped out of your hold as if burnt…"

Of course he'd seen. His younger sibling held far too much interest in him. Always has. His silent observation today might just lead to quite the bit of trouble however. Meliodas slowly turns to face Estarossa and gazes up at him as if there's no height difference at all. The silent warning in the blond's eyes is enough urges Estarossa to drop the subject, or else. "What I do to her is none of your concern."

Estarossa merely nods then looks away as if bored. But it's more than clear to Meliodas that the younger was simply beginning to feel unnerved under his glare. "Understood. I simply never thought you would be interested in that kind of behavior…"

Pushing. The younger simply keeps pushing. Meliodas turns away and continues to walk forward with Estarossa trailing at his heels. "And what behavior is that?" He bites out.

"Purposely seeking out goddesses in order to demean them, of course. I thought that was below you."

Meliodas whirls on him so fast, his longcoat flares out in a sharp wave. "What will be below me is your body in a six foot grave if you don't stop questioning this matter," He hisses with such venom Estarossa stills momentarily before regaining his composure. "What I do to her is none of your concern. Understand?"

"Yes."

His expression is a storm of fury as he turns swiftly from his brother and continues on his trek with no destination in mind. Estarossa still follows him respectfully and for the moment he's glad because he still need to find out what happened at the front entrance. "Who attacked?" he demands tersely.

"The creatures we've been trying to find the source of," Estarossa tells him concisely.

"Any casualties?" Meliodas wonders briefly as he dimly wonders where Zeldris is. He's usually very active in battles and quite helpful in planning counter attacks. Perhaps he should locate Zeldris and find out for himself. He is pretty close to Zeldris' chambers.

"No. only injuries."

Meliodas scoffs. "Good. If you all couldn't handle those things then you're nothing but a pathetic waste of warriors." Just then they round a sharp turn and Meliodas raises a brow at the peculiar sight of servants bustling in and out of the youngest' room. Destroyed furniture is taken out and new furniture is swiftly brought in. "What the hell happened here?"

Estarossa casually leans against the wall nearest to Zeldris' chambers. "Gelda is the only reason he seems to get pissed nowadays."

Meliodas' mouth forms a hard line. That vampire. His youngest brother is clearly smitten with her. It's highly unusual for demons to feel so strongly for anything. Zeldris had spotted her in Edinburgh only one time and that was all it took. The younger visited her to a near obsessive degree before he simply snatched her away for his own. When she chose to come willingly she was accepting her fate to be with him. Zeldris thought he was hiding his activities very well in stealing off to see her, but Meliodas had his suspicions. When Zeldris arrived at the castle with her clasped possessively in his hold, Meliodas' inklings were confirmed. Zeldris had found a mate. Of course, he'd never admit it. Hell, he probably doesn't even realize it himself.

Meliodas stares into the renovations the ravenette made to his room. It's that demonic pride of his that leads to situations like this to happen. It can't be helped, however. Demons aren't meant to be caring and loving as the other races tend to be. What truly bothers Meliodas is what he might possibly have to do that mate of Zeldris'. It'd probably be best to talk to Zeldris first before he goes off and kills his lover. It's a simple plan really and surely Zeldris will come to understand once he comes to know what the vampires have done.

"I'm off to find Zeldris," Is all he states before continuing down the hall.

"What about that goddess of yours?" Estarossa points out blithely.

Meliodas nearly halts at the phrasing. 'Goddess of mine? What his he implying…?' "I'll find her after. We came here with a specific plan in mind and most likely she's off in seek of it." 'No one better have laid a hand on her either. They should know I always follow through with my word…'

Estarossa doesn't comment further as Meliodas strides out of sight.

~.~.~

The force in which she strides down the enormous halls has her hair jostling around her face, forcing her to brush it away with a huff every so often. Meliodas thinks she can't handle herself around these demons. She turns her blue eyes to the few soldiers lingering around, glaring at her bitterly. Her eyes flash sharply as she imagines burning them into steaming crisps. The satisfaction that courses through her as they grudgingly look away from her causes a smirk to curl across her lips. She would have been fine without his threat to his people. Just the thought of him stepping up and pretending to "protect" her is enough to cause a bitter filling to churn her stomach. It's just some scheme of his surely. And whatever it is, she won't let him reach his end goal.

Elizabeth slows her pace once she begins to realize exactly how many doors there are in this castle. She stops completely in the hall and does a small revolution. Nothing looks particularly distinct, which doesn't help much. It's all just a drab grey, with occasional flashes of crimson lining the walls or flooring here and there. Nothing to point out a library, a washroom, or someone's personal chambers. Her hands go to her hips. "Well, great. This is going to turn into a long morning, isn't it?"

Resigning herself to her task, the goddess heads over to the first wooden door on her right. She knocks first to see if anyone will answer and tenses herself in preparation of anyone does. After a long moment, the area remains silent. Taking the handle in hand, she pushes into the room. Her eyes adjust slowly to the darkness of the area. Soon she realizes the objects masked in shadow belong to that of a storage room. But there's another figure that sits in the center of the decently spaced out room. Her quivering form immediately catches Elizabeth's attention causing the goddess to rush forward as the door swings shut behind her.

Her hands rest on the blond's shoulders lightly. "Are you alright? What are you doing in here?" She makes her voice low and calm.

The distressed woman turns to her with frightened blue eyes that make Elizabeth pull away from her thinking she's doing more bad than good. "I'm f-fine. It's just…" She trails off and Elizabeth sees her curl slightly into herself as her face wavers briefly in a show of turmoil. Before Elizabeth can comment, the blond asks instead, "What are you doing here? A goddess?"

Elizabeth blinks a few times as she studies the woman a bit more closely. From the slight accent in her tone to the elegant strands of her hair. This woman seems of high importance and not only that, but she's a vampire. That energy is unmistakable. What is one doing here? Was Meliodas right? Is she here to steal more from the demons? No reason to immediately jump to conclusions. She does look a bit on edge. "I'm with the General. We're searching for something. But that's not important right now. Are you hurt? I can help," Elizabeth offers.

The vampire shrugs her off as her eyes widen. "Meliodas is back?"

Now Elizabeth is even more confused. "You know him?"

"Not really… His brother, Zeldris is… Well, I am his." She says it in such a way it's impossible to miss the sadness and longing that weighs in her tone.

Elizabeth takes a chance to slowly place her hand on the vampire's shoulder. "His…? You don't seem happy about it," She notes kindly.

Startled blue eyes turn in her direction as the vampire begins to shake her head rapidly despite the gathering of tears in her eyes. "No! That's not what I mean at all! I'm very happy with him! It's just… I wish he wanted me, he wanted a future with me the way I want with him. And now that I-" She cuts herself off as a choked cry comes to her throat. "He'll never forgive me! Never!"

Elizabeth is shocked by her rapid dissolve into tears, but she immediately pulls the weeping woman into a hug. Even if she doesn't know her, she shouldn't be so upset over this. "It's alright… I'm sure he cares for you. Whatever it is you think he won't forgive you for, I'm sure he'll surprise you in the end," Elizabeth tries to reassure her.

The vampire sniffs and then Elizabeth hears her say something confusing. "You're not like the other goddess I know."

"What?" Elizabeth inquires lightly as she pulls back from the blond.

Elizabeth doesn't receive an answer though as something seems to cause the vampire to pale even more than her natural complexion. She moves to stand quickly entirely tense as she rushes for the door. "I-I'm sorry, but I must be going."

Elizabeth stands as well as she tries to reach for her. "W-wait, what's your name at least?"

"Gelda," The name is rushed out as the vampire disappears through the door.

When Elizabeth exits to see where she's headed, Gelda is nowhere in sight. After searching for the mysterious vampire a little longer, Elizabeth is forced to give into the fact that she's gone.

She hunches her shoulders and continues on. The next room she finds is insignificant as it's a miniscule washroom. The next door opens, then swiftly slams in her face. And the next refuses to budge. She growls in frustration as she continues on her tedious task, coming up empty again, and again, and again. By the time she's about ready to pull out her hair in pure vexation of her task, she bursts through a door, uncaring if she walks in on someone unannounced. She's about done caring after spending what could be hours walking these long, boring halls.

The room she enters is, unsurprisingly empty. 'Why have so many damn rooms if they're almost never occupied!?' She screams internally. She nearly walks back out in a silent tantrum. But then something captures her attention. A scent. A familiar scent of that of pungent woods. "Meliodas…" She whispers it aloud. Promptly her hand covers her mouth. Her eyes flicker around, expecting him to come out of nowhere and smirk smugly at her slip up. His name isn't to be spoken. He doesn't deserve such recognition from her.

When she's sure he isn't around, she stealthy snoops further into his room. It must be his. Otherwise, it wouldn't smell so strongly of him, she decides. Just to be sure… She looks briefly around the rather spacious, but barren room in search of the wardrobe. She spies it, in the corner to the left of his bed. Striding to it on light feet, she eases it open. Inside is quite a few of the regal looking coats she's seen him wear only in different colors. "Probably based on his mood," She grumbles under her breath. He must have been in a rather murderous mood on the day they met then.

She decides to close it back up when curiosity gets the best of her. Gently pawing through the clothing, she searches for different clothing choices he wears and can't help but imagine him in the various items her fingers skim across. It's when she reaches the end of his clothes that she notices something forced deeply into the wooden wardrobe as if it was hidden and long forgotten.

She pulls it out gently and gazes at it with confusion. It's simple, but the most beautiful and elegant dress she's laid eyes on. The shoulders are frilly and the waist is tapered. The dress drops down to the floor in length, possibly pooling around one's ankles. She takes in the soft bluish hue that seems to shimmer gently across the soft satiny material with as tender smile. She absolutely loves the color choice and design overall. It looks of a much older style than she's seen nowadays, so he's most likely had it for quite some time. It doesn't even look worn. "I wonder who this was for…? Perhaps a relative of sorts?"

She decides to push the dress back in place and investigate further into the room. Her eyes land on the rather immaculate bed that stands in the center of the room. She instinctively avoided it at first due to its… implications, but now she draws closer to it. Her hand reaches out and brushes across the soft, plush crimson sheets that line it in thick layers, then graze up to the plump pillows. What would it be like to lay in this four poster bed? What would it be like to lay in it with Meliodas…?

Her stomach begins to tingle pleasantly at the thought and she snatches her hand away. Turning her back away from the burning image that presents itself in the forefront of her mind, Elizabeth notices a desk right across from the bed and wanders to it. Her blue eyes trail up the stone wall the desk is backed up against and notices the line of pristine swords mounted upon it. They look highly valuable, like relics. Elizabeth wonders if perhaps he's a collector.

Turning her gaze down, she skims her hand over the dark wood desk and doesn't see anything of interest upon it. She opens up the drawers and sees various parchments, ink bottles, and feather pins, but nothing much else. She sighs as she stands up straight. This room doesn't give her much on his personality. It's just as closed off as he.

Suddenly, she hears a sound and her heart jumps in alarm. She looks around anxiously, expecting to see Meliodas standing there with a murderous glare upon his face. But nothing is there, she realizes after looking around repeatedly. Once her heart stops racing, she decides to leave. She doesn't wish to push her luck in being in his chambers when she shouldn't be. Who knows what he would do to her if he found her there alone?

She closes the door behind her. Elizabeth feels she knows exactly what he'd do to her and that makes her flee from the area all the more faster. She places enough distance between her and that room before she lets herself work out her situation. "Okay… In the goddess realm, the texts of our clan are on a lower level. So perhaps it's the same here… But where are the damn stairs in this place?"

Admittedly she wanders around like a lost child in a big maze for a bit longer. Then, finally, she finds them nestled in a shadowed corner. The warm golden rays of the sun shine in through the windows high above the hallway walls. It's the last of the light she sees just before she takes her decent. Her glow provides her with a bit of illumination, but otherwise the area is murky.

"Perhaps this place is meant to confuse those who aren't used to darkness…" She reasons as she eases forward in search of an entrance of sorts. It comes to her unexpectedly as her face mashes rather harshly into a set of wooden doors. Cursing under her breath, she steps back and rubs a hand across her face.

She brings her hands forward like a lantern in order to look for the handle. In finding it, she pulls the door open into yet another room full of darkness. Only this one is completely pitch-black. "Well, great. They do a good job in making this difficult." She wishes she'd brought a torch of some kind instead of just her own radiance which only spreads out so far. The darkness seems to consume any light that enters the room. Upon realizing this, she understands that this is the protection put upon the area. Unless darkness is your element, you won't be able to see.

"Damn it!" Now she wishes Meliodas was with her, simply to go over the spells here to reassure her that no one stole anything from here. "How am I supposed to do this now?"

"Perhaps you should consider leaving this place as an option," A sudden voice responds startling her completely. She hadn't felt them at all! She's tries to asses them now that their energy is revealed to her. She'd have to say they're quite powerful, but she believes she can take them. And their voice… Well she can only think of one person she could compare it to surprisingly enough. Their voice is slightly higher than Meliodas', but courser.

She squares her shoulders and stares unflinchingly into the darkness. "Who are you?"

It's a few moments before she feels their presence right in front of her. "No, the question is: Why would Meliodas allow you to wander around unwatched…?"

Whoever they are is possibly of the same height as him as well. Odd... "I don't need to be watched like some disgruntled teenager. I'm looking for answers. He knows this," she tells the demon crossly.

"And what answers are those?"

"How those creatures are created." She tells him defiantly.

Before she can even take her next breath, rough hands grasp ahold of her shirt. He shoves her backwards, bending her painfully onto a table as he bears over her. "You think we did this!?"

Her hands dig into the table behind her as she snarls at the demon who clearly has a temper. "No. Clearly you act just like him. Jumping to conclusions without even giving things a second thought."

"And what does that mean? My brother's judgments are always diligent and get things taken care of efficiently." The demon presses her further back and she wonders if he intends to break her in two with how relentless he is.

The moment he says his relation to Meliodas though, she realizes exactly why he's so volatile. It must run in the family. "I suggest you take your hands off of me. You wouldn't want to upset your brother, would you?" She bite out scathingly. The moment those words escape her lips however she wishes she'd have never said them. She can easily get herself out of this situation without the threat Meliodas made.

He holds his position for a while longer, then shoves off of her. She straightens herself out and subtly rubs the soreness that resides across her lower spine from being pressed so harshly against the wooden edge of the table behind her. She looks in his direction, or where she thinks he is, before she huffs in exasperation. "Can you do something about the darkness? I won't be able to get any work done like this."

She hears a low growling and the muttered words of, "I don't see why he's kept you alive for so long," before his tongue changes. A power washes over the room in waves, chilling her to the bone. She raises her arms in order to rub her hands over them for warmth. When she thinks the temperature can't possibly get any lower, everything lets up. And to her relief, she can see. Whatever spell he'd cast, must have been of an extremely high caliber. She shouldn't be surprised though. He is Meliodas' brother.

When she finally sees him, she nearly recoils in shock. He's so similar in appearance to Meliodas, only more youthful. Meliodas has that youthful appearance to him too, but it's so hidden under the bitter anger he wears all the time, it's easily overlooked. This demon here looks as if he's attempting to follow in his brother's footsteps by the scowl harshly embedded in his face. The raven hair that curves messily from his head is eye catching as well as the intricate spiral that brands the left side of his forehead.

After silently inspecting him for a while, she turns her eyes to the rows upon rows of never ending books. "Oh goddesses," She moans in dismay to herself. She'll never complete this task.

"So what's your name? And what have you found with Meliodas so far? I haven't run into him yet, otherwise I'd be asking him, rather than… you." His hostile tone drags her from her daunting task.

She eyes him coolly before answering stoically. "Elizabeth. We've encountered a few things so far on our travels," She starts off as she grabs a random book and opens it. Gibberish. That might as well be what she's looking at as the words bleed together in some form she can't understand. She silently curses under her breath once more and hears the demon snickering behind her. He's just as irritating as Meliodas too… "Most notably are the creatures, strange torturings that involved someone sending a specific attack against us, and the vampires."

He's standing before her in her next blink with a severe expression as he snatches the book from her hand and tosses it carelessly away. The way he stares at her as if she holds all the answers to his world, is unnerving. "What about the vampires? What did you find out?"

Her eyebrows shoot up in surprise. It must be something important if he's demanding the information from her so… desperately? And then it clicks. Vampire. Gelda. This must be Zeldris. "Meliodas thinks they're behind this, but I'm trying to prove that they're not."

Emotions flash behind his eyes so rapidly she feels dizzy for even trying to figure them out. His tone come out lower, dangerous as his eyes hold hers unyieldingly. "What happened?"

Her lips form a thin line at his rashness. "Your brother's ego lead him to believe that the vampires would be the only ones capable of pulling off such attacks on our clans. He thinks attacking the goddesses is just a cover to come after the demons," She scoffs. "And he thinks them coming after us was them making their first direct move."

His eyes narrow into slits as the information sinks in. "My brother's pretty smart when it comes to reading people. What move did they make in the open?"

Now she loses her nerve some as she turns her gaze away from the coldness of his gaze that's so much like Meliodas'. "They led him away and used the chance to take me."

A huff of laughter turns her eyes back in his direction. The mocking is heavy in his gaze. "So you let yourself get kidnapped?"

'Just like his damn brother!' "Look I could have handled myself just fine if he hadn't climbed onto me in my sleep!" She shouts infuriated at their likeness and being considered incompetent over something that wasn't entirely her fault.

The moment those words come out of her mouth though, sends the atmosphere into a slightly awkward one as he gazes at her with an unreadable emotion. His eyes flicker across her so fast she thinks it's her imagination before a mask of indifference settles upon his visage. "So what makes you think they're not behind this? It seems pretty clear to me," He finally voices in something close to resentment and… inner turmoil?

She brushes away her embarrassment then regards him with a puzzled expression. "When they had me captive, they only spoke of wanting to use me as leverage against Meliodas to gain land of their own. They wanted to prove their worth and strength over Edinburgh. They wanted to overthrow the King and take his daughter as their Queen."

Once again he has her in a tight hold as a madden fury burns brightly within his eyes, throwing her completely. "They wanted to do what with Gelda?"

'I told her he cared. There's no way he'd react this way if he didn't.' As he breathes harshly, she notices those flashing emotions within his eyes again, confirming her suspicions.

"Are they dead? I'll go kill them myself if they're not," His vicious hiss brings her into focus.

Her blue eyes harden as she swipes his hands off of her shirt. They stare at each other in a fierce contest as she answers. "Yes. Your brother murdered them all. I actually ran into Gelda earlier in my search for this place."

Something flares within his eyes bright, hot and urgent as he stares her down. "Where is she!?"

It doesn't seem like he'll release her until she answers so she tries to tell him what he wants to hear. "She seemed really upset. I couldn't get her to stay however. She's gone." She waits a moment for him to absorb her words before speaking up once more. "Now don't touch me again or I'll be forced to show you what I can do when provoked," She threatens with a serious edge to her tone.

He stares for a long moment as his mind seems to run through her words in a continuous cycle. But his muscles slowly begin to ease. And then a familiar insulting smirk rises to his lips, incensing her further. "Oh, really? I'd love to see that actually."

She laughs darkly. "Perhaps we can spar sometime and you'll truly see that I am not to be underestimated."

He raises an eyebrow slightly as his smirk lightens some. "I think I can see why you're still alive now…"

This confuses her as she watches him stroll towards the thick stone staircase leading upward. "The name's Zeldris, by the way. You can try and read through this stuff if you want, but unless you understand demonic tongue, you won't get very far. I'll probably get Estarossa to do it. The bastard owes me a favor…" And with that Zeldris disappears from the area altogether.

Elizabeth stands there staring for a moment longer at the oddness of Meliodas' brother. 'He honestly isn't too bad, I'll admit'. And then she blanches as she realizes what she just thought. Raising a hand to her head she slowly shakes it. "I've been around demons too long. I'm starting to get used to them…"

Even with his warning, Elizabeth feels determined to try and leaf through these books to find answers on her own. If she doesn't find anything by the time this "Estarossa" person shows up, then she'll leave with her head held high, having completely failed.

Chapter Text

~11~

-Playing With Fire-

Patience is not a quality of his, so searching the castle for apparent hours in seek of a single demon more than grates on his nerves. Oh, everyone made sure to inform him on their thoughts of the goddess roaming the halls as he was on his search. Meliodas growls viciously as he rounds the corner leading once more to Zeldris’ chamber. He’ll wait for his brother here if it’ll keep him away from the annoyances of the castle. Even he realizes blowing away his fellow kinsmen wouldn’t be such a good idea, but the idea is starting to sound better and better with each passing minute.

He sees a servant sweeping out of Zeldris’ chamber with the door on its way shut behind her. He catches it before it closes and enters the room. The sight of his brother standing by the window is both a relief and highly irritating. ‘Where the hell has he been this whole time? The enormity of this castle can be fucking annoying at times.’

“I’ve been looking for you all day, Zeldris, and if I have to hear about that goddess one more time…” He trails off as he his hands clench as if prepared to strangle someone to death. “She’s certainly made her presence known by knocking on people’s damn doors and poking her nose where it doesn’t go,” he mutters savagely.

Zeldris turns to him with an amused smirk. “I spent a little time with her actually…”

Meliodas glares at him through narrowed eyes as he feels ire rise inside like an erupting volcano. “Don’t.”

Zeldris barks a laugh as he leans against the window pane. “Oh, I don’t have any complaints. Despite being a goddess, I think she’s… adequate.”

Meliodas stares at him with raised eyebrows as he regards his brother thoroughly. “And you’ve come to that conclusion after just meeting her…?” The younger must be joking. Unlike Estarossa, Zeldris is more like him and there’s no way he can be telling the truth if they’re talking about the same goddess.

“Oh, yeah. She said we should actually spar. Can you believe that? That one’s got guts. I like that,” the younger tells him with a vicious smirk.

For a second, a snarling, rabid anger struggles to set itself free from inside him. The feeling is so intense as he growls at the idea of anyone trying to move in on what’s his! “Why were you with her anyway?” He demands rigidly. And then with his next breath he’s able to calm himself with the remembrance of a single thing. Gelda, Zeldris’ mate. The strain in his chest begins to ease significantly. ‘The vampire. Right.’ That’s what he wanted to see his brother about in the first place.

“You mean ‘Elizabeth’?” The ravenette stresses with a mocking chuckle. Meliodas’ eyes thin to slits in Zeldris’ direction as the anger inside him begins to coil once more. “She told me some things, and I did notice she never said your name either. This is rich.”

Meliodas closes his eyes as he clenches his jaw much too tightly. ‘Relax…’ he stresses as his power steadily tries to rise against his struggling control. But his brother learned from the best when it comes to pissing off others. “What exactly did you two talk about, Zeldris?” His rage towards her grows at her continued transgressions. He finds yet another reason to punish her when he finds her later…

Zeldris’ smirk is simply devious. “Oh, nothing. Just that you tried to fuck her in her sleep…”

That is not—!” His words explode from him like a devastating blow. He has to wrangle in his wrath otherwise risk sending the room into chaos once more. He lets out a forceful breath as his body trembles just slightly under the restraint. He squeezes the bridge of his nose as he closes his eyes. Then he rasps between clenched teeth. “Zeldris… I strongly advise you to stop trying to piss me off. You know how this can end up, don’t you?”

When Meliodas feels himself calm enough to reopen his eyes and look at Zeldris without seeing red, he notes all the mocking gone from the younger’s visage. Zeldris pushes himself off the stone wall and strides towards him with a seriousness he quickly matches. “You think the vampires did this. I got Elizabeth to tell me.” Zeldris turns his hard gaze away. “If whatever spell you both are looking for is found here… Gelda most likely…”

Meliodas watches Zeldris grit his teeth in silent rage, feels the power inside him rising and falling with the torrent of emotions warring inside him, and for once Meliodas doesn’t know whether he should simply speak the cold, bitter truth, or stay silent.

“She and I don’t agree on this, of course. I know the vampires are behind this, but I’m letting her find her little proof so she won’t complain when I wipe them out.” Meliodas’ voice is thick with vengeance. Mercy may as well be a foreign concept in his mind as he decides their fate without another thought.

The ravenette finally returns his gaze. Meliodas recognizes the resolve that lies deeply within it and the pain that attempts to hide beneath it all. “If they’re found guilty, I want to be the one to do it. I want to…” The frustrated huff of air that escapes Zeldris is enough for Meliodas to decide something.

“Fine. You handle her and I’ll take care of the rest.”

A flash of understanding goes through Zeldris’ eyes before it’s suppressed beneath an inner fury and loathing. He watches Zeldris nod swiftly before he turns and heads back to his spot beside the window. Meliodas looks down at his tense fists. He had to grant Zeldris that much. The chance to deal with his mate personally. And yet he feels as if the whole situation resonates with him somehow. As if he understands it somehow. But that can’t be. There is nothing at all he can relate with in this situation. He and Elizabeth aren’t—

Meliodas’ head snaps up as his eyes widen just slightly. What is he doing thinking of her? She’s not his mate. She’s just a woman he plans to demean and destroy. Nothing more.

“If you’re looking for Elizabeth, I sent Estarossa to help her with the texts a while ago. There’s no way she can read through them on her own,” Zeldris informs him suddenly in a cool voice.

Meliodas inhales sharply as his blood begins to heat in a simmering rage. Estarossa with her? Meliodas only affords a grunt of confirmation before he exits from the room. His insides tremble with the idea of what his brother could be doing to her.

~.~.~

A treacherous hurricane would turn away in cowering fear just from the devastating storm that seems to curl from his form. His pace is controlled as he sweeps through the halls, searing everything in his sight with his narrowed gaze. He doesn’t yell, or utter a single word, but the servants simply know. They push against the walls and keep their eyes away from his gaze that promises you something far worse than simply being wiped from existence. They know that if they’re even so much as one inch in his path, he’ll show them what true hell feels like.

So Meliodas continues on, undisturbed as liquid molten rolls just beneath his skin, heating his insides in his quaking rage. “Estarossa…” The course growl merely causes his hands to shake in a bid for control at his sides. The resulting fluctuation of his power causes the stones he strides across to buckle, then crack inward upon themselves. The taller doesn’t know when to quit. He’d warned him. Warned him to drop the matter and leave this alone. But if Meliodas knows him, Estarossa is definitely going to be doing something to Elizabeth… And the thought simply drives a sword more deeply through the threads of his restraint. It urges him to get there quickly and he doesn’t fight the sensation in the slightest. ‘Elizabeth…’ Her name flows through his mind like the most soothing of breezes.  He wants her away from Estarossa. No, needs her away. The thought of the things the taller can do to her spurs his pace on and stirs a budding anxiety in stomach.

It doesn’t take long for his eyes to land on the cloaked stairs leading to the room filled with all of their important texts. His boots thud against the thick stones of the stairs as he approaches the wooden doors briskly. He can sense her sickly sweetness clearly. But he also feels Estarossa there as well. This causes him to thrust the doors open brusquely. They bang sharply against the walls beside them, kicking up a bit of dust from the ancient room. He doesn’t notice this, however, for his eyes are stuck to the sight poised in the center of the room.

Estarossa and Elizabeth don’t seem to notice his presence. Or Estarossa simply ignores him as he draws closer to the goddess, hovering over her with his overwhelming presence. Meliodas watches them as his hearing quickly begins to become drowned out by the sound of his own blood beating in his ears. Elizabeth is resting comfortably in a seat with books sprawled before her. She’s facing his brother with a soft smile painted across her pink lips. Meliodas can’t ignore the choking heat that washes over his neck at seeing such a look upon her. She’s never smiled that way towards him. For some reason, the thought causes the muscles in his jaw to tighten and he wants to look away.

Her blue eyes are cloudy, completely dazed, as she looks up in a trance at Estarossa. His brother runs a hand through her satin strands. He pulls them towards his face slowly as they slip like silken water through his fingers. His brother speaks to her, but Meliodas can’t hear. The thumping rage in his ears is deafening. But it’s easy to tell he’s charming her, purring his words as he reaches out to touch her. To lay his hand upon her cheek where it does not belong. Elizabeth doesn’t fight him as she sighs and leans closer to him. It’s as if she wants his attention. As if she wants his touch.

Meliodas has never felt so sick with envy as his gut churns and twists beyond comprehension. So fueled by intense waves upon crushing waves of possessiveness. And as his body streaks forward without another thought to release Elizabeth from underneath Estarossa’s control, from her own foolishness at being drawn in so easily, he subtly feels shocks of protectiveness course through his veins.

She’s right in front of him when he comes to a stop. Her back is to him as Estarossa works his magic easily throughout her. Meliodas doesn’t even think. He jerks her from the chair roughly in order to pull her away from Estarossa’s influence. Only when he feels the heat of her body and her supple curves pressed tightly against him is he able to force down his anger enough to not obscure his hearing. Elizabeth’s form jerks as he moves further away and that’s when she begins to struggle futilely in his hold.

“What are you doing!? Let me go!!”

Her fighting only makes him that much more enraged with the situation.

And then his eyes turn to Estarossa when he dares to speak up.

“What’s the matter, brother? Elizabeth and I were just becoming acquainted.”

The mark upon his forehead seems to burn against his skin with a sensation akin to hot iron in his blistering wrath. When he raises his eyes slowly to meet those of Estarossa, he only barely contains it by tightening his hold on the glowing goddess within his arms. “What’s wrong?” he laughs softly in disbelief. The sound is haunting in the colossal room. “What’s wrong, Estarossa, is your inability to follow orders.”

The taller has the nerve to stare at him confused. “I do not know what you mean.”

His voice his low and his words are heavy, carrying with them the severity of his message and the promise that there will be no third chance. “You are to stay here and search for anything relating to the creatures we’ve encountered. I don’t want to see your face again while I’m still here. If I do I just might lose it.” Meliodas turns from his brother’s slightly cringing expression as he begins to make towards the exit. “And if you come near her again, you’re death will be the price you pay.”

Meliodas tugs Elizabeth out of the room as she continues to thrash. A whirlwind of thoughts plow through his mind, threatening to overwhelm him.

~.~.~

The door to his chamber closes behind him with a dull thud. “Let go of me! What is wrong with you!?” she demands harshly as he effortlessly contains her.  Meliodas allows his eyes to wander his room as he attempts to even his breathing and calm the raging storm inside him. Everything is exactly as he left it the day he left to find Elizabeth. As he steps briskly into the room with a sole plan in mind, his nose twitches. He decides to rescind that thought. His eyes burn along Elizabeth as he marches straight towards the bed. She’s been in his room as well, hmm?

He deposits her there with force and she bounces slightly with the motion. She attempts to right herself, but he quickly follows. He grips her wrists and forces her onto her back as her eyes narrow and she gives it her all to try and overpower him. But he will not be deterred. She’s overstepped here one too many times and he will not allow her to go unpunished any longer.

His darkness quickly encircles her wrists chilling her flesh as she visibly shivers, then the snare is attached to the head of the bed.

“Untie me right now you demonic bastard!!”

She’s already yelling, vibrating his blood with her passionate voice. But he ignores her as he moves impassively down her thrashing legs and grasps them with enough force to hold them still. His power stretches out once more and connects each limb to opposite bedposts. She’s left spread for him in a panting fury and the sight entices him greatly.

When she can no longer move, he finally looks at her face and relishes in the burning hatred there. Her fire is what drives him to do this. It’s what stirs the heat deep within him better than any woman thus far ever has. He slowly begins to crawl around her, to her side, not letting his intentions be known. Even though he’s certain she has plenty of ideas of what’s about to happen.

“So this is your ultimate plan then? Tie me up and have your way with me?” She spits out bitterly as her eyes follow him like a hawk. He notes her limbs tremble slightly and he wonders if it’s from fear or anticipation.

As he settles beside her and catches a whiff of the air, he decides it’s a bit of both. The conclusion pulls his lips up into a pleased grin. He does not give her an answer to her urgent demand however. Instead he locks his gaze with her as his hands move sluggishly to the buttons of his coat. One by one he loosens the tight material from his torso and inwardly revels at the way her eyes break away from his in order to mold to his revealed flesh. He’s almost saddened that this encounter is in fact a punishment for her. If not for that fact he’d follow through with her suggestion, only he’s certain she wouldn’t be complaining.

When the sturdy material lands on the floor he wastes no time in laying his hand on her exposed thigh. Smooth as silk and warm and springy under his touch. He lets his eyes trail down to her open thighs as he allows a single finger to slowly tracing random patterns along her flesh. Random patterns he would like to make with his tongue.

Elizabeth shivers. And it’s a marvelous sight.

His voice then flows out smoothly, veiling the anger that rests in tangled swirls deep inside his chest from her many defiant provocations. “Did you think you would get away with mouthing off to me before?” He drags the roughness of his hand up her thigh only an inch, still tracing patterns. Just enough for her breath to catch and her eyes to flick down briefly before her hard composure resurfaces.

“Did you think your behavior in this castle would go unchecked? That you could snoop around in my room without my say so?” his voice comes out low, grazing her lightly with its sharpness. When he sluggishly pulls his hand up again, he feels her pulse beneath her velvety skin pick up.

The harsh tone she takes with him is simply a catalyst to his devious plan. “I don’t care how offended you feel about my so called behavior. I’m warning you now, demon. If you don’t remove your hand from me this instant, I’ll make you regret it. I swear it.”

He hears it in her uneven breathing. Despite the flush upon her cheeks she tries to pass for anger, the way his hand trails up teasingly along her thigh excites her. “And how do you plan to do that, goddess? Tied to my bed, completely spread, and ready for me to fuck?” He counters through a biting grin.

Elizabeth gazes at him with a look he can’t quite make out from beneath the fringe of her bangs. “So that was your plan all along.”

“You don’t know what I have in mind, you pesky little creature,” he breathes darkly as he nears her face, glaring right into her eyes while his hand on her thigh clenches around her flesh. “Though letting you think of all the possible ways I can play with you in this position only makes this all the more delicious.” He takes his gaze from her for just a moment to focus on the shallow rise and fall of her chest. The swell of her breasts strains against her shirt again and again, slowly causing a hitching in his own breathing as a low heat begins to fill his chest. He concentrates once more on her fierce eyes and swallows against the dryness of his throat at the subtle darkening he finds there.

His tone is impossibly darker, rougher, when he adds her last grievance while drawing back from her slightly. “And your pathetic show with Estarossa. What did you think you would accomplish with my brother, goddess? Are you really so weak, that you’d let yourself fall victim to just anyone?” Her eyes flutter briefly as her plump lips part around a heavy breath at his tone. The air escapes his lungs hot and damp from the sight as a sharp twist of excitement from her display tingles along his nerves. “You’ll pay for your actions today, goddess. Don’t think anything otherwise.” His hand skims just beneath her skirt, nearly reaching his goal.

Stop!” The word is forced past her lips as the muscles in her thighs twitch sporadically. Her belly trembles as her chest heaves and he devours her image with a tenseness in his body only touching her can relieve. Her face is the picture of defiance as she continues her struggle and his veins flood with a swelling surge of anticipation just from the sight.

He pulls his hand back just before he sees her about to shout another protest. The flustered puff of her cheeks as he chuckles derisively at her is utterly delightful. “This won’t be that easy, goddess. I am going to push you until you bend, buckle, then finally…” He pushes close to her until their chests are barely touching. Her hard, unwavering gaze is locked with his knowing one as his lips curve up slowly. “Break.” He purrs the word as the delicious aspects run through his mind of her finally bending to his will. The moment this strong goddess finally gives in to his dominance over her.

“You’re going to be waiting a very long time for that day, demon,” she responds bitterly after a long moment of keeping her gaze to his.

He hums deep and low. Then he lets his hand run up her thigh over the coarse texture of her skirt to pass along the creamy skin of her belly in a sensually slow graze. Elizabeth jolts just the slightest and then he feels it. The slight pressing up of her torso into his rough palm. His bangs are wild as he looks at her from under them, his eyes smoldering. “I have a feeling it won’t be that long at all.”

He eases back gradually from her and the shallow dips in her chest as she breathed becomes even more noticeable despite her attempts at hiding it. “So what do you plan to do?”

What does he plan to do, indeed? Many things have run through his mind throughout the day as her actions piled up against her one after another. But he hadn’t quite settled on one. His eyes linger on her form stretched out and spread enticingly upon his bed, the faintest scent of arousal emanates from her as she glares at him viciously, and he decides. Meliodas turns his hungered gaze from her enthralling form and instead settles it on a place right in front of the bed. The perfect view for her to see…

His darkness begins to crawl up from its nestled place within his center, edging out across his skin as he calls upon it. Elizabeth takes in a startled breath, but he continues, focusing on creating the object he’s most certain will play a huge role in breaking her this night. It only takes a few verses of his demonic language to rumble deeply from his chest and a shiny, reflective mirror appears with deep spiraling shadows floating about its edges.

“A-a mirror?” Elizabeth questions once his power begins to recede and the room settles back into it’s calm yet tense atmosphere.

Meliodas smirks as he slowly shifts to sit at her side in order to tower over her. “It’s not just any mirror, but you’ll pick up on that very soon…”

He watches as her mouth slips open to question him once more, but then her eyes settle behind him and he can see by the way her pupils dilate that she’s been drawn in. The mortified squeak that sounds from her throat soon after only confirms it. “What is this? Make it s-stop!”

He turns to look just to be certain that his suspicions are confirmed, but Elizabeth practically hurtles out her next words, “No don’t look!!” But he’s already facing the mirror and his grin can’t possibly get any bigger. The mirror is supposed to show one’s deepest, darkest desires and slowly entrance the victim by them. It’s also meant to slowly drive the person mad with their desire. But knowing this fiery goddess, he assumed her only possible darkest hidden want would involve a certain sinful act between he and her.

He was not wrong.

So he knows he won’t be wrong in believing that she’ll be driven mad with her need for her desire to be fulfilled. He will get her to admit to her grievances and then he will have her beg for him in submission. His pants are getting tight just thinking of it.

He turns away from the mirror with the knowledge it provided to use against her for the moment. He absorbs the way her face heats steadily as she can’t help but stare entranced at the projections. The faint sounds that begin to fill the room from the depictions only make her squirm more. He doesn’t even realize when his hands find their way to her chest, sluggishly gripping and massaging her through the material of her shirt, but she seems to enjoy it from the way she arches into him. It takes a second of his thumbs rubbing across her nipples straining against the material as she shudders for her eyes to reopen and lock onto him, dazed but still holding that flame of spite in them.

He growls ravenously. He’s going to enjoy taking that away from her.

“Turn this o-off! It’s doing something to me…” She has to bite her lip when her eyes are unwittingly drawn back to the mirror just as he rolls her nipples between his fingers. Her jaw falls open and she moans breathlessly sending searing steam almost torturously through his veins as he swallows back a groan.

One hand makes haste in slipping down in order to glide beneath her shirt as he grasps the warm, silky skin of her breast in his palm while pressing into her side. She’s responding already and it’s heating him up fiercely, but he wants her to wallow a bit before her relieves them both. He needs to see her writhing to his will. Meliodas brings his lips to her ear as she pants wildly to his rough fondly of her chest and the mirror he has her drawn into. “It’s meant to do that to you, goddess, and you know why?”

When she doesn’t respond in a quick enough time frame in his mind, only soft whines and pleasured noises escaping her throat he nips her ear and pulls her nipples taut. This gets him the desired results as she calls out in a wavering tone that resonates with something dark and wild inside of him, “N-no!”

“I want you to burn. I want you to be so consumed by your desires that you can’t even think straight, goddess. You do not go against me without being punished, I’ll make sure you understand that! You will be so dizzy with need, so drunk with arousal you’ll be begging me, and me alone, to help you.” He lets his mouth run hotly along her neck in lengthy kisses as she quivers and her scent all but plows into his scenes as her arousal soars with her moans. “Isn’t that what the mirror is telling you?’

Not letting her answer as his hands begin to tingle with his festering need to toy with her, he pulls back in order to straddle her. Fuck doing things neatly and orderly. When was that ever his style? Her eyes flick from the mirror to him in a haze as his hands reach for her shirt. He rips it down the middle, exposing her breasts and dusty nipples to the cool air of the room.

Elizabeth stiffens beneath him and her jaw seems to tighten despite the heated flush that runs from her cheeks down her neck like a delicious rosy spread. “S-Stop! This… this isn’t supposed to happen!”

He smirks and leans down over her, his mouth poised over one of her mouthwatering breasts. “But this is what you want, isn’t it?”

Her eyes harden as she tries to resist with the strength he’s known her for. Hell, it’s what always keeps him coming back for more… “No. Never,” she hisses breathless.

He only gives her a devious grin before letting his tongue glide slowly over the hardened nipple before him. Her breathing stifles and her eyes flutter as he stops. “Are you sure?” He does it again lighter this time just to tease her. He has to pull back quickly as she tries to push up into his mouth. He laughs lightly as she grits her teeth and watches with mirth as her eyes flit between him and the mirror behind him, no doubt watching as he effortlessly gives her what she wants there and yet he continues to tease her here, with frustration.

He lets his mouth go to the side of her breast lightly kissing every so often before slowly traveling closer and closer to her taut nipple, before deviating away as she huffs and whines desperately. He does the same with her other breast lightly flicking his tongue across her nipple and then ignoring it in favor of traversing around it with nips and sucks as she fidgets and twists fitfully beneath him.

Meliodas hums with a pleasured delight at her irritation as he rests his head between her breasts, kissing and nipping there as he tells her in a deep gravel, “Keeping your wants in gets you nowhere, goddess… I bet you wish you hadn’t went so far out of your way just to prove something to me today.” He punctuates this with a sharp bite to the side of her breast that has her voice twisting in a mix of anger and bliss.

Without warning he finally gives her a bit of what she wants as he focuses solely on sucking her nipple into his mouth. The way she moans out low and urgent as she arches into him is something to be savored as his loins tighten in need. He’s slow and deliberate in his actions as he tastes her flesh. He’s shameless in the way he takes as much of her into his mouth as he can and sucks just to hear her gasp and cry out in high tones. His tongue assaults her tender flesh viciously and he makes sure to gnaw on her until she chokes on her screams.

He admits he gets lost in the give and take of this act. Just a simple touch from him and she opens up more and more to receiving his darkest intentions. He pushes and she pushes back only it’s a lot more rewarding this time around. By the time he gets a handle over himself and has the right mind to pull back from her breasts there’s a fine sheen over them with a few marks across them that’ll stick for a while. A cruel chuckle burns in his chest. He can’t help but enjoy the idea of her looking in the mirror for days to come and seeing what he’s done to her.

A buck from Elizabeth beneath him draws him from his musings and he gazes to see her glancing almost in distress at the mirror as her thighs tremble and she breaths out a quiet, “No.” He almost turns back to see what plays now but the soft wet slapping noises and the faint almost slurred moans coming from behind him tells him all he needs to know. He knows Elizabeth has tried desperately not to give in to the mirror’s effects, but she must have slipped and it’s quite clear what she wants now.

But he simply can’t just give it to her now can he?

Meliodas glides slowly down her form until he rests between her legs. Oh looking at her now as she pants, bare chested as her breasts jostle like twin mounds meant to feast and fondle… Her face is a deep flush, cringing as she holds in her sounds of desire. Soaking in her needy visage  is like willingly allowing hot coals to be pressed into him. He’s a damn sadist in torturing himself with something he could have so easily…

He allows his hands, so rough compared to her skin, to go to the insides of her thighs. Damn, she’s so hot already. How long exactly has he been playing with her already? Surely she’s ready for him to begin pressing into her resistance, ready for him to break it? “Tell me what you see,” he demands making sure to keep his voice low and persuasive as his fingers dance across her quivering thighs sensually.

Her mouth seems to open and close as she fights, always fighting. But she loses this time as she squeezes her eyes closed and the words seem to pour out like a glorious gush of victory. “I’ve tried so hard not to think… not to let my mind go there, but you,” she sucks in a deep shaky breath as her hips roll slowly against her will and he lets his hands glide up higher, his fingers just resting underneath her skirt. “You do what no others have.”

Her eyes blink open and he can see something that tightens his chest considerably in a surprisingly painful way as she gasps out and a sheen forms over her darkened blues. Her lips wobble as anguish burns savagely in her eyes, devouring her up from the inside in destructive bursts. “It’s us. You’re thrusting into me over and over… it looks so good it nearly drives me insane! It m-makes me feel so hot and I just,” she sucks in a gasping breath, “I just want to know what it feels like! I’ve dreamt of it for so long. Too long and the images keep coming.”

Meliodas observes her silently as she shivers and lies back with jitteriness about her that only comes from the rawest of need and he wonders if he’s pushed her too far. If he let the dark magic of the mirror seep too deeply into her mind. She is a goddess after all. One of purity. But that’s what he craves. To draw her in, only her, and let his very essence fill her up until she’s left shattered in its wake. So, no, he decides with a firm grip of her skirt, he has not gone far enough yet.

She must see something coiling inside him as his jaw tightens with the tension that rises inside of him. Her eyelids lower just the slightest making her black lashes shadow the blue of her eyes deliciously. “Please.”

He rips her skirt off with hardly any effort and gives a rasp at the true state of her arousal. She’s positively soaked and the folds of her slit are flushed and swollen as all of her blood is rushing and pulsating there like a beacon, calling out to him.  He hears a salvation growl in his ears and has to grit his teeth as he wavers just slightly. ‘Calm down. Breathe. I will not lose myself.’ His shoulders are tense as he attempts to keep his plans in mind instead of slipping into the beast that would gladly just dip his head down and taste her until she gives him his reward, then sink into her right after for hell knows how long...

“Where do you need me, goddess?”

She bites her lip and gazes at him pleadingly. Not an answer. He sighs out exasperatedly and lets his hand crawl up her thigh until two fingers find her slit. When he traces her slick heat all the way up to her clit she nearly thrashes in her binds as her chest struggles around her broken moans. “You need me here?” he asks darkly.

“Yes!” The word seems almost unconscious as her hazy eyes stare up to meet his.

He nods with a hum as his fingers begin to play with her gently, stroking her as she breathes out long, loud moans. He loves the sound. “But I thought you would never stop fighting against me? Isn’t that right? You certainly made a point of that earlier today. In front of my soldiers, knocking on doors, searching my room... You even made a fool of yourself with my brother. You let him touch you,” he spits out as his strokes against her sex stay steady, drawing her up higher as her body rocks lewdly into his hand.

“I’m... aahh… sorry!

He bends his head down and lets his tongue trail along the moist skin of her belly as satisfaction flares through him. “For what?”

“I s-shouldn’t have gone through your ahh room! And ohh… I was t-too tired to kn-ohh!-ow what was going o-on with your brother,” she whimpers and cries out between her rushed explanation as he feels her beginning to twitch. His open mouthed kisses along her pubic mound draws up short as he slows his hand to a stop. ‘She smells so perfect.’ But he can’t let himself go any further. Not until she admits her wrong doings for everything.

But it’s more difficult than he imagined as he continuously inhales her intoxicating scent while gazing at her from between her legs. “Is that all?” he demands roughly as she whines from his stop in motions.

He sees her draw her lip almost painfully between her teeth as she turns her eyes away. Something hot and malicious sears down his spine as he glares rigidly at her. ‘Okay. If she still wants to fight until the very end, I’ll have to teach her the hard way.

He falls into his plan with a determined vigor, moving his mouth to her skin once more. His tongue swirls in random patterns slowly as he tastes her. Occasionally he sucks along her skin as his hands tighten against the bed at her pleased hums. His head trails down, but her skirt stops him, forcing him to skip over it as he finds the apex of her thigh. She gives a little whimper that causes his blood to pound rapidly beneath his skin as he groans against her. He allows his tongue to dart out briefly along the area before he suctions his lips to it once more at her long moans and breathless sighs.

He rolls her flesh teasingly between his teeth, making sure there’ll be a mark there for her to look at for days to come as she twitches sporadically. His thoughts drift slightly under the haze of her scent and he finds his lips trailing across her pubic mound. His breathing is more ragged as her scent invades his system like a drug he welcomes. Elizabeth squirms beneath him and the squeal she makes as he trails his tongue along the smooth skin before dipping his wet muscle downward is the only thing that keeps him afloat.

And then his tongue slips between her folds and everything seems to fade away from his mind, one by one, except the sheer exquisiteness of her flavor.

His tongue laps against her greedily, sliding languidly against her pulsing heat as he swallows slowly, savoring more and more of her taste. His mouth roams across her slit, letting his tongue slide here or delve deeply there as he inhales her in slow drags. ‘Delicious. Perfect. More. Need More…’ His eyes are squeezed closed as he devours her on instinct. Swallowing every wave of sickness she offers him as his tongue glides upwards and to the place that pulses needily.

Her hips are rocking, he realizes dully. That just won’t do. ‘Still. Still as I work.’ One of his hands rises up to press against her lower belly and her waist arches upwards perfectly for him. ‘Nice. Open.’ A deep growl of approval brushes up his throat vibrating against her and he feels her shudder as the heat under his lips swells more. She gets wetter much to his delight. But he still does not wish for her to move. His other hand moves to grip her thigh to keep her steady. Once she’s right where he wants her, he kisses a slow path up to her clit. He knows that if he focuses his attentions just right, she’ll reward him with a flood of her wonderfully sweet release.

Trembles with the power of strong forceful waves begin to race throughout his prey captured tightly within his hold as he lets his tongue flick and swirl wetly across the place she likes desperately. He growls, harshly and lowly in his chest when he opens his eyes and gains a bit of focus to them. He can see her from this angle as she stares blissfully down at him. The sight is mesmerizing and beyond thrilling to his blood as he slinks closer to her and lets his straining need rubs against her lower leg. The pressure built up there is so intense, he’s hoping to find some relief with her soon...

It’s about when the roaring of his blood in his ears begins to lessen with the more of her taste he takes in that he begins to notice several things severely wrong with this situation as he rapidly struggles to regain his senses over his instincts. But it’s much too late to backpedal and attempt to salvage any of his plans the moment his tongue slides against her in three quick strokes.

Her entire body quakes as her back arches with her euphoric shriek. “Meli-Ooohh-YEESS~”

The wind is forced from his lungs as he watches her ride through the mind shattering orgasm he unwittingly gave her just from slipping into a baser state. His loins tighten to the point of agony, as her body grows taut, then she rocks against his mouth sluggishly, provocatively, with the waves of her first full-fledged orgasm. His chest constricts around a flooding heat as she whimpers and cries in rapture. ‘I did this. No one else…’ But it was not supposed to happen this way, the thought flares viciously in his mind. Even as he lets his tongue draw in her release and he places light kisses against her relaxing mound, the sear of his failure singes him smartly. ‘How could I let her control me again, when this was to be her punishment? She was not to receive her satisfaction!’

Elizabeth is lying flat, her chest shuddering as she tries to regain her breathing. Her eyes are shut. So she does not notice when he conjures a ball of flames in his palm the wind from the heat of it throwing his hair around wildly before he thrusts it behind him, shattering the mirror in an instant. She opens her eyes then at the sound of crashing glass only to recoil slightly when he crawls above her, moving his hands on either side of her. He stares down at her with an intensity that could cut through the strongest of barriers. The alarmed flecks in her eyes are easily seen at this proximity. And he notes her catch in breath with a minute tightening of his fists in the sheets.

“So tell me… did you like that goddess? Answer honestly. I’m well versed in the ways of torment… I could very well find different ways to draw this out. For hours, if I must,” he warns her as a wave of fury rolls through him in a quiet storm.

He feels her tremble and it feeds his loathing like gas to flames. Her head turns from his and he watches her eyelids lower halfway. “I…”

He presses atop of her like a demanding weight as she jolts. “You what?” His mouth is against her ear as his nose tickles against her tresses. Meliodas squeezes his hands until he hears the threads of his sheets rip in his ears.

“You should already know my answer, demon,” she states quietly in a tone that just slightly wavers with something he can’t name.

But her cheek is what causes him to chuckle in a smooth, menacing resonance. He releases his hold on her bounds and her limbs fall limply as she regains her sense in them. For a moment, she’s powerless to stop him from running his hand through her hair, pausing at the base of her skull where he grips, holding her head steady so she’s forced to stare up into his measured gaze. “You’re right. I do…” He doesn’t wait for her response. Instead he brings his lips to her neck while his other hand moves to wrap under her waist, holding her to him as he begins to kiss her purposely slow.

His hand slips from her hair and goes sluggishly down her collarbone only to brazenly lets his hand cup one of her soft swells when he reaches it’s warmth. They both softly breathe out sounds of need when his fingers glide along her nipple which quickly hardens to his touch. His mind is drawn to the feel of her as he lets his hand play with her succulent swell.  He trails his tongue against the spot behind her ear as she moans quietly, responding.

His smirk is hidden against her skin. “I’ll give you what you want… More, right?” He rolls his hips against her core and her breath stutters in her chest as a tiny cry forms in her throat. His need is beyond apparent at this point and the feel of control slipping back into his hands as Elizabeth glides her hands up and around his shoulders, then her legs around his waist is like being presented the finest delicacy ever to come into existence. He settles against her, letting her know of his intentions. Dangling it before her tantalizingly. He just needs a bit more…

His fingers move from her thoroughly fondled breast up to cup her cheek as he shifts to see her expression. He keeps his tone dark and dripping sinful promises when her blue eyes move to stare into his. “Now I need to know, goddess, did you like it or not? Do you wish to experience what more can be like?” He lowers his head until their noses brush and he can feel the shallow way her breasts repeatedly presses against his chest in her rapid breathing. “Do you want me to satisfy you once more?”

Her fingers coil deeply into his hair and she grips her fingers almost hesitantly as she searches his gaze. The strain inside him is a taut coil ready to snap, soaked in the hottest of flames he’s ever had to endure. His need to subdue her, to have her under his control once again, after her withering away his restraint in such an effortless way, is relentless in his mind. But the way she gazes at him as her warm breath fans against his lips causes him to still. He sees something, in her eyes, that gradually shifts the pounding pressure in his mind into something else. Something just as urgent, but in a passionate sort of way.

Meliodas looks deeply into her hooded eyes and sees her want, her need, and that emotion that intoxicates him in a heady wonder. He recognizes it as something that burns like hot embers deep inside himself as well. He just doesn’t know what. But he ignores it as he gains his answer in the way she coils more tightly around him, her arousal heavy in the air like a heavenly fragrance. It’s barely a conscious decision when he leans his head down to capture her lips just as she, almost tiredly, stretches her head up to do the same.

 

 

Chapter Text

~12~

-You're Bound To Get Burnt-

Knock. Knock. Knock.

Meliodas turns his head to the right to face his chamber door in annoyance. He shudders a gasp at the burning feel of Elizabeth's delectable lips molding against his cheek. Then she does it again and again and again as she sluggishly travels along his jaw, then down his neck. He can hardly breathe from the searing presses that graze so wonderfully across his skin, nor can he hide his breathless groans.

His pulse is quick beneath his skin and he's sure she can feel it. And when her tongue darts out to press hard against it, his harsh curse only makes her chuckle like a delighted vixen.

His blood all but boils in a blazing want as his need becomes too great. His arm around her waist clenches more securely as he settles more tightly between her legs to which she hums pleasantly against his throat. His mind spins in a heady desire which quickly urges his free hand to the fastening in his pants. He easily begins to make quick work of it.

His breathing is off, but he doesn't care. Elizabeth is driving him nuts with her fleeting touches along his chest and her peppered kisses beneath his chin. He can't possibly think straight under the pressure coiled so tightly inside him he's practically ready to burst.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

It comes again just when he's finally freed from his pants and ready to delve into her wet, relieving heat.

"General? I have an important message for you!" A feminine voice rings out uncertainly.

A new kind of heat begins to fill his body. One that tightens all the muscles in his body and causes his teeth to mash together. Elizabeth can immediately sense the change in him. He tries to latch onto the way her hands rub slowly along his shoulders when he opens his mouth to speak. "Go away." It's plain and simple and the heavy threat that slips seamlessly within it is a plus too.

"But, General, this is urgent," her voice is interrupted by the cringing sound of his door opening.

No amount of sweet touches from the goddess below him can curb him from the simmering rage that bursts within him at the servant's audacity. He has to quickly reach for the crimson sheets, torn from his desire and stained in Elizabeth's juices, and pull them over the two in order to hide the goddess' exposed flesh and his straining erection. Elizabeth gives a little gasp as she pushes herself further down beneath him, unintentionally pressing tighter against his rigid length. He hisses in a mixture of searing pleasure and drowning need, and nearly forgets the interruption in favor of taking Elizabeth right now.

But then a stuttered apology brings his eyes to the woman who dared enter his room. "I a-apologize. I didn't realize you held such company."

The muscles in his arms twitch as he begins to rise from above Elizabeth. His sights set on the ravenette. "Who said you could enter my chamber?" He asks her quietly as his eyes narrow perceptively and his mouth draws down into a sneer. He crawls from over Elizabeth and exits the comfort of his bed, making sure she's still covered behind him.

The ravenette, one he remembers as a cold fury twists inside his form, turns her gaze to him with wide eyes. Then she looks away with a furious blush as her lips purse and her hands clench at her sides. He knows that expression anywhere. She's jealous. His sneer turns into a cruel smirk as he casually pulls his pants back shut. His words remain just as poisonous as his back stays at the side of the bed, attempting to hide Elizabeth as much from view as possible. "Answer my question!" But then he thinks further and adds to his words with a sick idea of tormenting her in mind. "Or was that your plan all along? You find out I'm back and take whatever order the King has for you to me with plans of being the one winding up in my bed. Right?"

He hears a soft inhaling of breath behind him but disregards it when the servant turns a glare in his direction. That only makes the chilly inferno inside him surge quicker and stronger as his hands tighten into fists. But when she looks around him instead, at Elizabeth, all ideas of drawing this out flee from his mind in the torrent of rage that quakes his form and blazes in his eyes. "Look at me when I'm talking to you!"

She jumps, frightened, as her hands come in a clasp over her bust, but that indignation is still there. She's still a demon. She still hates what he has over her. "So you'd choose to fuck that over your own kind. Over me?"

He doesn't even hold back the scornful laugh that builds up past his throat and spills out into the room like a demented resonance. Of course, he's quick to begin striding towards her with delicious thoughts in mind of how he'll rip her to shreds and bathe in her innards for daring to question him in such a way. The only thing, and really it's the only thing that holds him in place, is the little warm hand that lands upon the small of his back. She doesn't tell him to stop, not with her voice. But with that single motion, he feels his muscles relaxing some as the boiling rage inside him recedes slightly.

Meliodas rolls his shoulders as he breathes deeply. Then he turns his eyes back on the cowering servant, wanting her out of his sight before he changes his mind. "What did the King want?"

"He wanted to see you and her immediately." She manages as a bit of derision still manages to drip over her tone.

"Get out," He tells her crisply.

She spins without another word, her lengthy hair flowing with the movement. His chamber doors thankfully closes right behind her.

Meliodas rotates to face the bed just as her hand flees from his back. She's clutching his sheets tightly to her chest and refusing to make eye contact with him. Her button nose twitches just slightly as she frowns in deep thought. The demon wants things back the way they were what feels like ages ago. When she was so wrapped up in his hold and so willing to give herself to him.

He lowers his voice as he presses his hands against the cushion of the bed preparing to climb back into in hopes of starting things anew. "We can ignore the order until later…" And then he realizes what he just said and how desperate he sounds, which makes him cringe in disgust. The moment is gone and it's because of that wench of a servant. He'll have to find her one day and show her just why he wouldn't touch her in a million years.

"So that was some partner of yours before me then?" Elizabeth voices as that look of concentration never leaves her face. And as he reads more deeply into it he sees a bit of resentment there as well. Whether it's towards himself, herself, or both doesn't matter. She's slipping further from his grasp once again and that drives an agonizing wedge deep through his chest.

"I wouldn't touch such scum if my life depended on it," he bites out as he leans towards her on the bed. Then he blinks rapidly against the hot defensive flare that froths in his chest. 'What the fuck am I doing? I don't have to defend myself to her!'

"But you would touch me? A goddess?" She asks in the same tone, not having flinched from his rise of tone. Probably used to it by now.

His teeth clench as he refuses to answer. She doesn't need to know that answer.

But her eyes turn to him in his silence as a twisted hatred curls within her eyes like the thrashing flames of hades. "I knew it. You are up to something. I don't want you to touch me again. Never again, do you hear me?"

He meets her glare head on as she makes her stand. That can't happen. He won't allow it to. He doesn't give a damn what she says. If he wants to touch her, he will. If he wants to kiss her, he will. And if he wants to fuck her, he sure as hell will. And she'll enjoy it. Every damn minute of it until he decides otherwise. His goal is still the same and no amount of resistance will keep him from that salacious outcome. "Whatever you say, goddess." He purrs out lowly as his gaze grazes over her hidden form slowly and deliberately.

Her hands tighten around the sheets as her legs shift. When he meets her gaze she's just turning away from him with a deep frown. Then she shifts out of the bed from the other side. And he's forced to swallows slowly around the sudden dryness in his throat at seeing the smooth skin of her back interrupted by her silken strands that fall messily across it all the way down to the curvaceous swell of her ass so clearly. But then she's walking towards his washroom before he can snap out of his heady daze in an attempt to wrap his arms around her waist and snake his hand between those shapely legs of hers. "What are you doing?" It sounds like an attempt to stop her from going behind a barrier even in his ears.

"It's only fair that I get to freshen up after this session of torment, right? He's not my King. I can certainly keep him waiting," she declares before she slams the door behind her decisively, ending their conversation.

He stares at the dry wood for only a moment before a violent wave of ire roughly runs along his skin. "Fuck!" His fist slams into his bed, causing it to quake and nearly buckle before he pulls his punch. Turning swiftly, he takes a seat as his head bows and his hands works their way into the blond strands of his hair. Not for the first time, he wonders what that goddess is doing to him.

~.~.~

Her knees are drawn up to her chin in order to wrap her arms around her legs and sit in an overall sulking position within the bath. So much has happened since arriving here and she doesn't even know how her mind can absorb it all. The most notable thing is what Meliodas just did to her. She doesn't even know how she got in that position. The last thing she remembers is struggle to keep herself awake as she tried to take in the gibberish that is the demon language. That was when Estarossa came in. She hadn't quite understood who he was at first. Simply calling out hesitantly his name. After that, things began to get hazy and the feeling of prodding magic began to tingle along her skin and push forcefully into her person.

She knew he was doing something, but she was so exhausted. She just didn't have the strength to fight back.

Then the next time she opened her eyes, her limbs were bound and a shirtless Meliodas was reading her the riot act. Of course Meliodas is never one to just give warnings without doling out some form of punishment. She never in her right state of mind would have imagined he would have done such sinfully arousing things to her in such a way as punishment.

Elizabeth shivers as she glares fiercely at the wall across from her, wishing to ignite it in flames. "That demonic bastard! I told him not to touch me again." She turns her gaze down to stare at her bare knees. 'He made me appear so weak. Begging and pleading as my most desperate wants played on in the background? He probably thinks I'm pathetic.' Her bathing water has long since shifted into a cooler temperature from her whirling thoughts and her wish to stay away from Meliodas for just a bit longer.

'It was torture. Pure torture. And then… it was such bliss. I'd never felt so hot, so good, and so surrounded by such an overwhelming presence and not felt as if I'd be crushed in the slightest. It was absolutely heaven and hell in harmony. I enjoyed it. I loved it...' Her hands begin to tighten upon her legs to the point where her nails begin to dig harshly into her flesh. 'No. That's not true. That wasn't real. None of it was genuine. It had something to do with that mirror's effects. It was dark magic after all... My body c-couldn't help but react. It was forced. It wasn't anything more.'

Sharp raps on her door pull her from her gloomy thoughts. Meliodas doesn't say anything and she's surprised he doesn't simply just come in. But she knows it's his warning that she better come out soon. Her jaw tightens furiously. He thinks he can just demand anything of her and tell her what to do. He still doesn't seem to understand that no matter what he says or does to her, she'll always stand right back up to meet him head on.

So Elizabeth rises from the bath and steps out. She no longer has items to adorn. Meliodas made sure to rip her free of every stitch… The thoughts brings back too many reminders of what Meliodas just did to her and not just this time. So thinking quickly, she reaches for the facet and allows the cool, fresh water to run into the palm of her hand. The golden energy nestled inside her stretches out and connects with the flowing water, allowing Elizabeth to mold it to her will.

With a few twirls of her wrist, a new outfit adorns her skin. Her white blouse hugs her torso like a second skin, buttoning right up the center in opposite curves so that her belly is exposed. Her silver skirt is crimped and ends just at her mid-thigh. Elizabeth leans down to slightly adjust her skiver knee high leather boots before marching towards the door.

She flings it open with an impassive expression and feels a slight twitch at her lips as she notices Meliodas adorns a silver longcoat now over similar silver pants. The moment his eyes land on her however, she turns her gaze away and makes towards the door of his chamber. "So you're in a neutral mood now?" She asks offhandedly. She hears him coming up behind her as her hand extends towards the handle of the door.

"What's that supposed to mean?" his voice is tense as if he's struggling to keep himself controlled.

Now in the dark hall Elizabeth allows a thin smirk to grace her face in thinking back to his color choices and what they might mean. "Oh, nothing."

Meliodas softly growls as he moves slightly ahead of her, being the one who knows where the throne room is. She keeps her eyes straight and gives the impression of having a complete lack of emotion towards the situation. For once, being able to enjoy as Meliodas stews over her clean cut words. She is serious this time. She's given up her irrational fantasy of spending a night with him. She no longer wants anything to do with him. This task is the only thing keeping them together.

"So the power of creation? That's pretty impressive, goddess," He mutters almost grudgingly as she sees his hands flex repeatedly at his sides.

She only shrugs. "I suppose." They turn a few corners, passing scrambling servants before she hears him speak up again.

"You look damn sexy. It should be a sin," His words course though her so forcefully, with a twisted fiery edge.

A violent shiver races up her spine and she has to look down to force away the heat that blazes down her stomach. She'd forgotten that even if she did tell him not to touch her, that wouldn't stop him from messing with her in his wicked ways. She finds the ability to lift her head up when she's sure she's pushed past all the effects he's caused her. And that's when she sees two substantial, ornate wooden doors standing behind her.

That's also when she feels a large, warm palm cup her derriere right beneath her skirt and squeeze.

She turns her head in a slow, murderous fashion in Meliodas' direction. And if looks could kill, he'd be but a forgotten memory by now.

His eyes are purely devious as he slowly rubs around the shape of her blatantly, ignoring the hellish air that begins to emanate from her like a noxious smog. His chuckle is velvety in his throat. "Not wearing any panties when you could have made them easily? I'm starting to see through your words, goddess…"

A million thoughts of how to cut that smile right off of his face flash through her mind in a second's time. Her dagger would work nicely as she slowly drags it across his flesh over and over. Or perhaps she could use her sword to hack of his limbs in an agonizingly slow pace. Or even better, she can use her bare hands and just lay into him as her rage races forth in the most glorious of ways.

Oh, goddesses his fingers just slipped down where they most definitely shouldn't be.

She's closing the space between them before he can do anything more, with an absolutely crazed look in her eyes as her hands reach for his throat.

Of course that's when the large wooden doors are pulled open by two helpful servants to put them on display before the King of the demon realm.

She goes completely still with her hands around Meliodas' neck. And one of Meliodas' hands is cupping her bottom crudely, holding her close, while the other pauses in exploring her teasingly, as if he didn't care about her threat. As if he didn't think she'd be one. The idea drives her insane with rage. But she keeps herself still as humiliation colors her cheeks at the way the King stares at the two. It gives her a feeling of being looked upon as the most disgraceful of children.

"Punctual as usual, General," his deep rumbling tone cuts through the air and the ineptness clinging in to it ruthlessly.

Meliodas doesn't seem bothered in the least by the King's displeasure as he moves smoothly beneath her hold and stiff posture with a final, shameless, squeeze to her rear. "I would like to blame that favorite servant of yours, but our delay was all this one's fault."

And pinning the entire thing on her. Well, they were late because of her, but she'll admit that with her last breath. Elizabeth finally straightens herself out with rigid movements and moves to stand beside Meliodas before the towering King. Her cheeks may be aflame as she turns her gaze up to meet his powerful glare, but she'll keep what dignity she has left before him and behave with grace. "I apologize. A matter arose and I simply couldn't overlook it." Sure it's mostly a lie. But she needed a bit of downtime after the torment Meliodas put her through.

The King raises a hand to his beard, a possible habit, as his eyes narrow in skepticism. His piercing stare lands upon Meliodas next as his voice rolls out over the room, heavy and grave. "So, General, what news do you bring me of your search for this spineless enemy behind this matter?"

She turns her eyes from the ruler at this and instead watches Meliodas with a growing sense of dread. The vampires. Meliodas will surely tell him about them and his suspicions. If he does, there's almost no chance the King would simply allow extra time to see proof, especially not if she's the one asking for it. She's honestly lucky Meliodas has held back for so long. But now her blue eye bore into him in worry as her heart cringes in the most wrenching of pains.

A tingle rushes down her spine when his eyes turn to her for a split second as he smirks. It's brief before he's turning back to the King to give his answer, but she saw a promise there. One that spells nothing but trouble as she turns her eyes forward once more with trembling hands.

"There have been a few leads. But everything's come up empty so far."

His confident tone is anything but comforting. He's only keeping quiet in return for something from her. Once again, she's locked into some kind of never ending cycle with him.

"That's rather displeasing."

Meliodas crosses his arms as his tone infers boredom. "We're still looking into it obviously."

Elizabeth watches as the King lowers his hands to grip the arms of his throne marginally. Then his eyes flick to her in a surprisingly tense manner. "I see you haven't killed her. I was sure that was what you set out to do when I told you of the news that day…"

Elizabeth feels an icy chill trickles into her veins as she flicks her gaze in Meliodas' direction. It shouldn't surprise her really. Why wouldn't he have set out to kill the enemy he was forced to work with? But as she continues to let her gaze bore into him as he stares at the King with a frigid calm, she wonders why he decided not to go through with it.

"I was ordered to work with her. I wouldn't want to be the cause of a war do to some petty hatred, now would I?" The way he poses the question so deliberately leads her to believe that maybe that was something he wanted to do at some point. In fact, she knows it's true.

"Finally maturing, Meliodas? It's about time you stopped blowing up at every little thing. Maybe now you'll be able to fully fulfill the requirements of those with demands."

'Stop blowing up at things?' She doesn't think that day will ever happen. But the King's right. He'll have to learn how to take care of his people's issues if he's going to become King soon. So why does Meliodas look so tense as his jaw clenches and his eyes stare down the King with absolute loathing? She blinks confusedly, then turns her eyes back at the King to see him staring right at her once more. Elizabeth brings her hands to her skirt, straightening wrinkles that aren't there as she tries to remain completely diplomatic in this situation.

"So, goddess…?"

"Elizabeth, your highness," She answers for him.

He leans forward slightly as a light smirk comes to his face. "Yes, Elizabeth… I've heard you've been searching my castle for something. Stirring up a raucous with the demons, actually…"

Her cheeks warm considerably as she looks down. "I do apologize for that, your highness."

She misses the way he waves her off with a delighted gleam in his eyes and the way Meliodas shakes in a silent fury. "Don't worry yourself, Elizabeth. Did you by chance find what you were looking for?"

She looks up now as she brings a hand up to fiddle with her hair. Rolling it around her finger as she tries not to let her eyes turn in Meliodas' direction. Or her face might heat further as she remembers how hot she felt as she gazed down at Meliodas between her legs as his mouth worked laboriously to bring her such an explosive rapture. "U-um," She clears her throat lightly as an excuse to calm her racing heart. "No, I didn't, sire."

The King's teeth gleam in the low candle lights that hover upon the walls in the room. His smile seems smug and she doesn't understand why as he turns his gaze to her left where Meliodas stands. "It seems like she was left unfulfilled in her search, General."

The look in Meliodas' eyes is positively lethal and Elizabeth begins to believe there's much more going on then there's being let on. "Her search isn't over. And I can guarantee you, she was left anything but displeased today, sire."

The King brushes him off with an impish smile and Elizabeth feels unnerved by his interpretation of a kind gaze in her direction. "Did my soldier here leave you to do things all by yourself, Elizabeth? Did he assist you at all in achieving your combined goal?"

Elizabeth lightly narrows her eyes at his implication. "I can assure you, I really do not need his help in finishing anything I start. Do not take me lightly, your highness."

The King raises his eyebrows just the slightest before she sees something dark beginning to unfold behind his eyes. "Oh, I don't doubt your ability, Elizabeth. I'm sure you're purely magnificent… I simply wished to make sure the guest of this realm was taken care of entirely. And the General here is really my worst soldier in many fashions. But power and fear gets you anything in the demon realm," The King shakes his head almost exasperatedly.

The sudden power rise beside her is really hard to ignore. The King is still addressing her, so she attempts to keep herself steady and pray that Meliodas is smart enough to not attack his own leader.

"The point is, I was wondering if you would like my assistance instead while you're here, Elizabeth. I most definitely know how to keep my people pleased, unlike Meliodas here…"

Before she can open her mouth to politely decline, she really doesn't need anyone's help here, Meliodas is suddenly standing in front of her like a living barrier as his power fluctuates throughout his form in quaking waves. "No." His voice is quiet, yet it carries across the room with a lethal threat that speaks volumes.

Now she sees the King lose the light air about him as he leans forward with tensing muscles. "I did not ask you, General. I asked the goddess."

"And I'm speaking for her. No."

Elizabeth rapidly runs her gaze between the two as the atmosphere begins to grow unbearably thick with a fiery heat. Why is he so angry? She could have easily told the King no herself!

The King ominously begins to rise from his seat to reach his full, intimidating height. "If I say she is to stay here with me then my word is final, Meliodas."

Wait. What? Her brows crease in utter confusion before an explosion of flames from the blond in front of her forces her onto her rear. Her hands tremble on the cold stones beneath her as she stares in a stunned awe at the elegant way purple flames dance across his figure in a graceful outline. It's magnificent.

"And I told you NO!" His voice bounces off the walls and vibrates her entire form, but she doesn't fight the sheer power of it. She only sinks further upon the floor as her thoughts begin to race as to how to stop the chaos unraveling before her.

The King laughs, cold and mockingly, as he looks down at the enraged demon before him. "Is this how you plan to react every time you don't get your way? At this rate, you'll never succeed in getting what you want. And I'm sure what you want is compliant to your every whim. So why don't you take a step back and let me claim what you clearly can't."

Elizabeth's heart is racing much too fast in her ears. Meliodas will kill him. She knows it. This kind of anger only ends in death. But she can't just sit back and let it happen! He's not to take the throne this way. She wants him to take it with honor and grace when the time comes. She has no clue why she cares, but she knows this is not the way to do it.

She pushes herself to her feet as she thinks of a way to stop him. He won't listen to her. He never does. But maybe there's one way that'll work. It surprised her the first time when she attempted it not long ago. But he's alight in demonic flames, for goodness sake! How can she reach him?

Her blue eyes widen anxiously as she sees Meliodas' muscles bunching in preparation. Without another thought, she sends her power outward, just along her skin like a shield. She rushes to stand before him as her palm lands on his chest. She looks fleetingly at the fuming King, before returning her worried gaze to the wrathful demon. She ignores the entire stiffening in his form at her sudden proximity in order to rush out her plea. "Stop this madness! You'll get us both killed!"

The twitches in his muscles as he struggles with himself, sends her stomach plummeting as alarm tightens her chest painfully. Then the King's sharp tone draws her gaze back and removes the little work her touch managed to accomplish in her task. "You wouldn't dare, General, attack your King now would you? I could banish you right now. Then what power would you have to stop me?"

"There'd be nothing holding me back then from killing you right now," Meliodas thunders as his power spikes in a flare.

Elizabeth yelps as the power nearly sends her flying back, but strong hands upon her waist keep her in place. With a heart nearly beating out of her chest, her gaze turns imploring, "You can't kill him. Your time as King has not come yet, demon. Don't do this."

She hears Meliodas breathing harshly as he struggles to calm down. Elizabeth lets her hands slowly glide along his tense muscles to help aid him while she turns her head in the King's direction. The hateful flames within his eyes that promise a savage, vindictive demise causes her to turn her eyes back to Meliodas with a soft swallow. Maybe she avoided having to see his death, but the King seems rather intent on seeking their gory ends.

Elizabeth allows herself a deep exhale when she finally senses Meliodas regaining control. His flames relinquish and the oppressive way the air pressed against her finally releases. In an instant, he turns as he wraps a firm arm around her waist. It's so sudden she doesn't even have time to protest as he practically drags her from the room with gravely words leaving his mouth. "We're leaving."

The King immediately begins to bark a protest, but Meliodas flicks the wrist of his free hand and a powerful gust sweeps up behind them. She cringes as the throne room doors slam behind them, barring any words the King may have had to say. And then his arm is gone from her waist as he storms down the hallway leaving her shell shocked as her eyes stay on him.

It's only when an obnoxious clearing of their throat is heard next to her that she realizes Zeldris stands beside her. "I suggest we keep up with him. When he's like this, bad things do tend to happen," He tells her, sounding not at all displeased with the idea.

She nods uncertainly as she begins to walk with him while Meliodas keeps his single march up ahead.

"You know that was pretty insane of you." Zeldris comments offhandedly before he chuckles darkly at seeing Meliodas bowl over a few servants that weren't even in his path.

Elizabeth's brows furrow as she bites her lip in displeasure. That demon is so reckless. And then she recalls Zeldris' statement as she takes her eyes off the innocent people picking themselves off the ground. "What do you mean?"

She turns to see Zeldris give her a knowing smirk before his gaze turns forward again, interested in what his brother does next. "That little barrier of yours wouldn't have worked on his flames. Your ass, or anyone else who'd touched him then, would have been incinerated."

Elizabeth sucks in a breath as her hands grip together in shock. "What…? But I..?"

Zeldris merely shrugs against her confusion. "He didn't want you hurt."

Elizabeth stares ahead blankly as her mind tries to comprehend. 'He didn't… what?' That's not possible. That demon couldn't care less if some creature came to her this instant and tore into her with brutal savagery. But her heart flutters regardless as her cheeks continuously warm. 'That vortex from before… Was that the same as well? But why?' She bites her lip harshly as conflicts clash dizzyingly inside her.

When her vision regains focus, she's not at all composed enough to walk towards Meliodas who stands, the perfect image of a pissed off demon, in front of his chamber door. Zeldris turns to her with a gleeful smirk. She can only imagine the dark things that are swirling around in his head to make him appear so delighted. And she finds his presence pleasant… why?

"I'll see you around, goddess. Don't die out there. You're a pretty viable form of entertainment around here." As he turns his back to leave, she pauses from heading in Meliodas' direction at the sudden tension in his form. "And Elizabeth? Estarossa reported no signs of any spells that could have created those creatures. You and Meliodas still have an enemy to catch."

He strides off solemnly after that, leaving her no less overwhelmed.

Chapter Text

~13~

-When Pushed To The Limit-

He nearly lost it.

That bastard of a King challenged him, insulted his abilities in more than one sense, and threatened to steal his Elizabeth right before his eyes.

And that damn goddess just stood there, oblivious to it all.

Meliodas struggles against the tremors that quake his form as he glares at her approaching form sidled next to his brother. He would have killed the King. Would have thoroughly rejoiced in every single moment he cause the ruler’s dark, crimson blood to spill across the stone floors in a glorious display of his dominance. No one would have stood in his way. Their death would have come swiftly had they even dared. No one was to survive in that moment the King set him off. And yet…

His wrath was pushed back. Contained in a soothing warmth that can only exist in a single pair of soft, gentle hands. Elizabeth. That fiery goddess with absolutely no knowledge of the situation, the dangers that were obviously there, and how quickly he could have, would have, cut through her just to reach his goal. But she somehow reached him with an effortless that shouldn’t exist. A strangling tightness that works its way up through his chest to his neck in a heated twist has his muscles tensing until they’re entirely taut.

He glowers at her now as she tentatively approaches him from his brother’s side only makes the rage and uncertainty inside him thrash harder. She controlled him then. Told him to stop, willed him to. That shouldn’t be. He’s the most powerful demon that has risen thus far. No one dictates his actions. Not truly. He’ll always find a way to undermine them or show them exactly why he can’t be constrained. His hands positively burn with the urge to reach her, force her down, and then make her realize exactly why his freedom is to be left alone while groaning his success up to the heavens.

Her blue eyes are bright and blink openly at him when the heat of her body finally reaches him. Meliodas thrusts his arms around her waist as fury, confusion, unease, and a flurry of overwhelming emotions continue to force tension throughout his form and bog down his mind. This never used to happen before when he was the bloodthirsty, ruthless, vile demon the demon world knows and fears. He still is actually. So why is it that there’s a sense of something off about him? He growls softly as Elizabeth’s form stiffens in his hold and her arms rest indecisively upon his shoulders. It’s this damn goddess. It always is. And he’s starting to dread the fact that it always will be.

He just doesn’t understand what the hell is going on inside his head. Or his chest, as a matter of fact, as he pulls Elizabeth almost brutally close so that his head rests above her chest when his power begins to flow around them. Taking them from the demonic realm and out of the reach of the demonic lord.

~.~.~

When his power curls back inside of him and the sense of abundant demonic energy eases away, Meliodas allows his eyes to open once more. His teeth clench as his fingers twitch at Elizabeth’s back. Her hands on his shoulders tense as she tries to push away from him, incensing him a notch higher.

“What happened back there, demon? Why did you try to attack him over something simple?” Her voice comes out slowly, but the demanding tone is there. She wants answers. And she thinks she'll have them with the effortless use of her lovely voice.

Meliodas’ eyes slit in a look of piercing blades as he forces her back and into a tree. His body quickly crushes hers as he pins her there. “You’re beyond idiotic if you think you’ll keep that attitude of yours with me.”

Elizabeth’s blue eyes widen at his sudden motion before they turn as cold as ice in her stare. She shoves him harshly, but his arms come near bruising in their hold on her arms, keeping him right in place. “What the hell do you mean? You already tortured me once. You will not do it again.”

His chest strains with the force of his laugh. With the force of his rage. “You still don’t get it do you. You don’t realize what danger you put us in back there.”

“Me??” Her voice blares in his ears.

“Yes, you!!” He yells back, getting closer to her reddening face. His blood begins to boil, turning into a hum within his ears from how quick it’s pounding. “You practically flaunted yourself before the King. Calling his attention like some common wench.”

Her lips form a circle so wide it’s nearly comical if not for the situation. But then her pearly whites clench so hard he can almost feel the pain of her strain. “How dare you!!? You’re the one who grabbed me in front of the throne room doors. You made me look like one!! I told you again and again, you bastard, not to touch me!!” She’s nearly shrieking in her outrage.

His body presses so close to her they both struggle to breath with the constriction. “You’re so damn stupid!!”

I am??”

“YES!” He bellows, “You knew nothing of what was going on there. Nothing. You continue to be a nuisance. No, a plague.” His voice grinds into her as they share a murderous stare off.

“If you hate me so much, why haven’t you killed me already then? That was your plan from the beginning after all.” She hisses scathingly.

His head shakes only a fraction as the roaring heat of their argument sizzles around them in choking wafts. His hands clenched around her arms as he presses tightly to her smooth down to settle around her waist. The movement causes her to look beyond scandalized. “Believe it or not, the King would have done far worse things to you than I ever would. And you just kept going on and on in self offering.”

When? I never did such a thing, you vile pig,” She spits her words in his face. She’s daring him to prove his words as lies. That he’s definitely done things to her far worse than the King.

But his frown only deepens and the fire in his chest becomes painful as he imagines her with the King. Her crying and begging in an entirely different way than she had earlier that night. “You’re so damn clueless.” His voice grows louder as she tries to talk over him, “He wanted you!”

She blinks once then twice, before she’s shaking her head. Thinking he’s lying. Never believing him when he’s doing something right. “He only wanted to help me.”

“He wanted to fuck you. Screw you until you were screaming bloody murder, but I saved you.” He gives a cold humorless laugh. “I saved you.

A range of things flare through her gorgeous pool of eyes and never truly seem to settle even as she speaks in a biting tone. “Like you don’t wish to do the same if today’s events is anything to go by. You didn’t save me. You’re a demon. Blood, pain, hate, and anger. That’s what you crave. You don’t have it in you to save someone genuinely,” She mutters cuttingly as her eyes flick away from him.

Meliodas starts quaking as his head bows in the turbulent flood of emotions that begin to overcome him. Elizabeth tries to struggle in his hold, but he merely holds her closer, if possible, as his voice flows out in a quiet rumble. “Why?”

She stills, momentarily. “Why what?” Her voice is cold. Uncaring in her inquiry.

And then his eyes snap up as he all but roars in her startled face, “Why do I give a damn??” His head nearly explodes under the weight of the whirling sensations trying to make themselves known in his mind, but remaining unclear as he stares into her crystal blue eyes. “You’re a fucking worthless goddess, not fit to even be in my presence. So WHY??”

Elizabeth stares wide eyed into his infuriated gaze and he glares back, hatefully. Because she is the reason. She is the cause for everything!! Her pathetic form trembles like a feeble leaf in his arms as he heaves for breath, feeling more than hot, more than searing in this ridiculous situation. He should have let her go with the King. Let him do with her heinous things, so that she’d learn to listen to him and learn that her words and her knowledge is not above his. That she is not above him. But picturing her with him, the image of her out of his hold and control, is maddening.

Meliodas sucks in a sharp breath as he raises a hand to seize her stunned visage. Cupping her cheek coarsely as he leans up and his nose brushes hers. But then they both freeze under the painful chill of multiple beings converging on them.

~.~.~

It happens so abruptly, even their highly trained senses aren’t quick enough to pick up on it in time. Meliodas is the first to spring into action as a horde of entirely black masses slink from the shadows. Elizabeth’s mind is too overwhelmed from her and Meliodas’ argument to consider whether or not she should back him up as a group of the beasts converge upon her.

The goddess pushes it to the back of her mind for later dissection as their current situation calls for her attention. Her muscles tense as she backflips out of their springing range. As she lands, her palm braces against the moist dirt of the forest floor. Her blue eyes narrow into icy slits as she takes in the monsters appearances their shapeless forms. She cringes inwardly at the high pitched howls they make every once in a while as they writhe around in twitching motions.

Her observation is interrupted as her back twinges from an uncomfortable sensation. She twirls to her left and one of the creatures lands right where she was previous. Elizabeth extends her right hand as she stands erect. A long sword glowing of otherworldly light materializes in her palm. The hilt bares sacred markings of the goddesses with the cross guard resembling angelic wings.

She ignores the sound of battle from Meliodas’ scuffle and charges into the throng of creatures waiting for her. With a battle cry she swipes her blade at a lunging mass. The light from her blade slams into the creature and extends into a brief wave. She nearly smirks at her successful strike until the sounds start.

Earsplitting screeches of agony.

Elizabeth’s footing falters for a moment as her eyes widen in horror. Never before has she seen something like this happen. The creatures her light managed to touch are thrashing about in torture while emitting inhuman wails. Their forms begin to dissolve, melting into sopping blotches of goo before instantly evaporating. “W-what?” Her power doesn’t kill. It never has. It’s only ever turned the darkness inside one into pure light. So what…?

She’s jolted roughly from her spiraling thoughts as a sharp hiss of pain is forced between her lips with the strength of a monster’s strike. She spins away from it as warm blood begins to trail down her arm. Her features harden once more as she raises her blade and begins to swipe at the rapidly approaching beasts. She can’t let her thoughts dwell on this oddity. Not in the heat of battle.

The monsters snarl and howl as sharp protrusions extend from their formless bodies. They are relentless as they come for her. That is until her sword begins to cut through them. Then the forest Meliodas’ power brought them to begins to swell with agonized cries once more, tearing viciously at her heart. She doesn’t stop however. She can’t. These are the things that have been taking out the demon and goddesses’ clan in droves. They must be stopped, no matter how torturous to her soul it might feel.

But as she places her sword sharply through the center of the last shadowy monster, a curious thought comes to her mind. Rising about all the turmoil and swirling pain that hangs above her relentlessly. Why is it that these creatures seemed to come so quickly to their location when they just arrived? Surely no one should know where they are...?

Elizabeth slowly lowers her sword and marches to the place the last creature was. She kneels at the spot and lowers her hand to the tarnished ground in search of any evidence to their odd reactions. Her ears pick up distant sounds. Meliodas is much further away than before. ‘Meliodas is still fighting? He’s… stronger than me,’ a grimace worms across her lips as her fingers claw slightly at the ground, ‘So why is he still…?’

The ground beneath her feet begins to rumble viciously taking her attention away from investigating the monster’s disappearance. She whirls to face what’s coming and feels her hand beginning to tremble against the hilt of her blade.

Elizabeth has to crane her neck rigidly just to see the top of the opaque black mass. It more than towers over the trees and greatly resembles a small building in width. The sludge that leaks from it tears a small trench in the ground below it. The goddess doesn’t see its eyes, but she knows it’s boring a hole into her body. It’s only a matter of time before it envelops her, pulling her into a torturous grave. The sheer power it emits… This is why their clans have been falling.

Thin brows lower as her grip tightens upon her weapon. “I won’t let you continue. You’re not going to kill anyone else!” The goddess darts through the air with her sword drawn back. Rapidly she slashes into the monster as her heart pounds ferociously. The dripping blackness sweeps off to the sides with her strikes and her hair flicks across her face with her motions. For the first time in nearly 2,000 years, pure dread begins to seep into her veins as she slowly comes to a realization.

Her light… it’s not affecting the monster at all.

There’s no expanding warmth as it heals and morphs into a pure being. There’s not screeching like before. No thrashing. Nothing. So when she lifts her hand to strike once more, her pupils dilate at the powerful impact she takes to her stomach. Her body careens backwards as she’s sent tumbling through the dirt and grass. She slams sideways into a tree while her sword flies from her hand. As soon as it lies still, the otherworldly sword vanishes, leaving her weaponless.

Elizabeth moans in pain as she struggles to get up. ‘I have to… move or it’ll… be too late.’ She can’t even breathe properly as the torment from that blow still radiates through her system. Barely on hands and knees as her hair matted in dirt and sweat curtains her face, she feels tiny droplets of blood drip from her stomach and slip past her lips.

The rumbling of the monster’s motion alerts her once more and another emotion she hasn’t felt in a long time encompasses her. Fear.

With a raspy gasp she forces her power outward. Not a second later the monster crashes against her vibrant shield. It encircles her entirely, but it’s a strain to keep it up as the monster again and again slams itself against it.

With shaky limbs from her wounds Elizabeth flops into a sitting position against the tree and breathes harshly. Her blue eyes, wide and disbelieving, lock onto the beast as it comes at her with unstoppable force. The way she sees it, that thing will not stop until she’s dissolved into a bloody pile of bones at its feet. And with a grimace as it crashes against her slowly fracturing shield, it’ll soon have its wish.

“I don’t… understand. My shield is… light. It should work against that t-thing!” She’s feeling desperation grip her as the fractures become harsh cracks, tearing at her insides in a way that makes her whimper in her throat.

It’s going to get through. She only has one last shot to try and stop it. Elizabeth raises her bloody right hand that once covered her stomach. In it materializes a beige wooden bow glowing golden in light. On the tips of the bow rest beautiful white roses whose petals occasionally fall off and float lazily through the air, only for another petal to take its place. She shakily lifts her other hand to pull back the string as a massive golden arrow of light forms.

Her blue eyes harden in resign as her hair messily clings to her face. “If I’m going down…. I’m taking you with me.”

The tortuous crashing against her barrier stops the moment it breaks through. Elizabeth closes her eyes and lets her arrow fly. It whizzes through the air with the heat of a burning sun, lodging itself deeply into the creature’s gut. Seconds pass. Then a minute before she opens her eyes to bear witness to her work.

It stands in place mere inches from her form with her arrow firmly in place. The creature doesn’t make a move. Her breath is shaky as she hesitantly shifts. “D-did it work…?”

She lowers her bow as she begins to try and wriggle from her position.

The monster twitches then lunges for her crazed in its intent. Elizabeth doesn’t even have time to scream.

With eyes peeled wide to watch her demise befall her, her heart lurches at the sight of a massive sword delving straight though the monstrosity from behind. A beating heart of sorts dangles crudely in front of her face for a few moments before it stops its motions. Then the mass begins to slowly hiss as it dissolves, taking the once lively heart with it.

Her petrified eyes take in Meliodas’ form standing quite a distance away as his massive sword extends the gap between them. His silver pants are burned through in some places and the longcoat he adorns looks as if he was forced to rip the high collar off at some point. She watches him slowly bring his sword back down to his side before he releases his grip on it. The massive blade vanishes, awaiting to be called on when he needs it again.

His dark gaze is penetrating as his slow gait pulls him nearer to where she rests. Elizabeth looks away as her cheeks redden in shame. She should have handled that better. She’s going to be the next leader of the goddesses. How could she let herself nearly get taken down and have to be saved by a demon of all things?

His boots softly press against the ground with his steps and she decides to watch his approach out of the corner of her eye. No matter how many times she denies it to herself, the way his muscles mold against his coat and flexes subtly beneath his arms entices her. It’s sinful to think of a demon in such away, but his strength and prowess are captivating. Even the way he challenges her at every turn causes her blood to heat unwantedly. But still…

He saved her. Something his cold black eyes tell her is something he never does.

Her brows furrow as she recalls his earlier words. And then her heart swells and flutters against her will as she recalls that yes, he has saved her. Time and time again. It’s something he never does, but he’s done it… for her. Her eyes are turned down as she rises to stand. She wants to be able to meet him eye to eye when he reaches her. It’s odd, but even if he is shorter than her, he always seems to manage to look down on her as some type of scum he wishes he’d never encountered. Her hands slightly twitch before curling to stop her fidgeting. “Thank you.” It sounds quiet in the night air, but Meliodas deserves it.

Elizabeth gasps as a hand suddenly grips her chin forcing her to meet twin bottomless voids in the face of handsome evil. His smirk is cold. Cruel. “You couldn’t even handle one beast on your own.” He tsks patronizingly while rubbing a thumb slowly along her jaw. Hatred and desire war viciously in her system. She wants to claw the mirth clean off his face. But she knows him. Their argument before weighs as heavily on him as it does on her. Anger is the way he deals with things, so she can’t let him get to her.

“You know, goddess, I had to take out three while you were over here offering yourself up like a hapless fool.” The cutting tone is back as his eyes narrow on her form. It’s so hard to not let him get to her, however when he says things like that. She tries not to let him force her into submission. She won’t let him demean her in such away.

Her bloody arm raises and smacks his hand away forcefully. Ice nearly forms between the two as her tone lowers in loathing. “That thing was unaffected by my attacks. I would have taken it down just fine otherwise.” She hisses as she lowers her face towards his to get her point across. He always angers her so easily. Her heart blares in her ears as she tries not to summon her sword to slash his throat. Wouldn’t it be nice, she thinks, if his pretty little head no longer sat atop his body?

Meliodas merely glowers at her as the intricate mark that brands the expanse of his forehead writhes briefly before settling. Then that maddening smirk is back as he audaciously settles his hand back along her chin. Her fists clench as the power inside her rises. “That’s the thing. You rely on that healing ability of yours too much. Can I tell you a secret?” He asks rhetorically as his teeth gleam.

She’s much too seethed to respond.

Using his hold on her chin, he lowers her face so that his mouth is at her ear. The heat of his breath causes a stirring flare to pollute her veins, but the words he speaks next quickly ices her blood over. “That light of yours won’t always work on opponents. In fact, you just might end up, say… killing them.”

When he pulls back he seems much too pleased with himself for sharing his tidbit. Elizabeth can only stare at him with vacant eyes as she remembers the screeches of agony those creatures let out before they vanished, never to return. ‘Kill them. I killed them.’ Never has she killed someone before. Wounded at most, but she’s always strived to convert all those she’s encountered in battle. But now she’s…

She’s a murderer.

Meliodas watches her through frigid eyes. His thumb strokes across her jaw slowly as she internally struggles with his revelation. The feeling is anything but comforting as she practically struggles for breath. When his voice idly floats out to reach her ears once more, for once she decides to listen instead of allowing herself to wallow on the horrid thoughts swirling in her mind.

“You know… I always thought you’d look good covered in blood. Too bad it’s yours and not an enemy’s.”

Her breath gets caught in her throat as he holds her gaze for a long moment. “W-what?”

He drops her jaw and turns around smoothly. “Let’s go, goddess.”

She stands there for a moment in shock and to allow herself to heal her wounds. ‘What the hell was that? A… a complement of sorts?’ Her skin flushes without pause, but she can’t tell whether it’s from that ever present desire she feels from his sinful manner or embarrassment for having it pointed out again that she couldn’t handle herself in battle for once.

The goddess shoves the thoughts away in favor of striding confidently a respectable distance to the side of the demon. One slip up won’t bring her down. She may have killed those things, but it was a life or death scenario. She won’t hold it against herself. Not for long anyway. There’s more going on here that needs to be considered. Elizabeth looks at the stony demon beside her as her heart beats unsteadily. That explosion during their argument had to mean something. Zeldris said he didn’t want her hurt. So does that mean he cares?

The goddess turns her face away as her cheeks become unbearably hot. No. If she starts letting herself believe that, then she’ll begin to get crazy ideas and that simply can’t happen. And there are more important things happening anyway. Like her light. It killed those things and Meliodas seemed to know… Her hand flies to her mouth in horror, unknowingly catching Meliodas’ attention as her eyes begin to sting. She remembers. What seems like forever ago when she first saved those demons from the creatures. She’d blamed Meliodas for killing them, but she… ‘I was the one!! And he took the blame! Why? Why would he…?’ Her heart thuds erratically in her chest as she tries to stable her breathing. She’d thought such horrible things of him and he’d been innocent.

“What’s your problem, goddess?” The bored drawl comes forth as her vision becomes slightly blurred with tears.

Settling her shaking hands down by her sides as she inhales, Elizabeth speaks as calmly as possible. Or tries to. It sounds rather wobbly to her own ears. But wholeheartedly genuine. “I’m sorry. So sorry.” Because she is. More than he’ll ever know.

The demon doesn’t speak. And she turns to face him with a tiny watery smile to convey her words. What she doesn’t expect to see is his eyes widen as he seems to take in a breath completely in awe. The pure reverence in his eyes as he gazes at her now, cause her to swallow thickly as her breathing becomes shallow and her hands begin to shake.

When he continues to look at her with the closest thing she can consider to a tender look deep within his coal-black gaze Elizabeth just about feels her heart lodge within her throat. ‘Why is he… staring at me in such a way?’ And then she realizes her expression. Her blushing cheeks and her softly curved lips. ‘I’m smiling at him. I’ve never done it before… have I?’ Elizabeth feels an overwhelming need to turn her gaze away, overcome with the helpless way her heart beats in her chest at his continued stare.

Her eyes land on her feet as she realizes they’ve stopped walking. Her voice comes out quiet, stuttering as she tries to push them back on track. “W-we should continue…”

It takes a moment, but she refuses to look up and meet his gaze once more. “R-right.”

At the unsteady answer her head snaps up, but Meliodas has already taken the lead, leaving her to gaze imploringly at his back. She quickly catches up though and they make brief eye contact. His face is a mask of indifference once more, leaving her to feel a slight sinking feeling. But then she notices just the slightest smirk that rises to his face and the understanding that settles in his features.

Her heart soothes in steady warmth as she looks forward once more. For once she feels truly closer to him. It’s both chilling and beyond pleasing to her.

 

Chapter Text

~14~

-A Time For Change-

Elizabeth gazes in a chilling sense of confusion at the old rickety house. It stands nestled crookedly between trees that seem to stretch up in the air endlessly. The goddess slowly cranes her neck back in the frigid air of night just to see if her assumption is true. Darkness. That's all she sees as fog casually drifts in sluggish billows across the ground and high up in the air between the trees. She looks around as she slowly begins to walk forward, unsure of where to go. The dead silence is paralyzing as she places one foot in front of the other towards the house. There's not a single soul around. Not even Meliodas who she's gotten unreasonably comfortable with having at her side.

'Where is he?' She ponders with unease as her heart makes little frightened leaps in her chest. She jumps, startled, when her foot lands on the first step of the house's porch, taking her from her thoughts. The terrible screech it lets out is what causes her to shakily hurry her steps along, not wishing to have such a noise break the silence around her.

When her eyes peer forward at the aged wooden door in front of her, an insatiable urge to rush in suddenly grips her. It tugs at her senses harshly until her hand is gripping the handle. A loud squeaking resounds as she enters the heavy darkness inside, which forces her to hasten her entry. Clinging dust, aged must, and sheets eaten through by moths are what catches her eyes first. "What is this place?" she breathes quietly as her eyes roam around. It's beyond unnerving, this eerie house calling to her, but she continues her inspection as if guided by some invisible presence. There's a staircase in the back and as she creeps in further, what looks like multiple doors downstairs and up.

She doesn't know where to go or why she's here. She's never seen this place before and she should be out looking for the creatures with Meliodas anyway. The goddess lowers her head sullenly as her hands rise up to rub along her chilling arms. The thought comes again only so strong it has her heart spasming in her chest. 'Where is he? Did he decide to leave? To abandon me here?' Her throat constricts as she enters a random room on her left with no true goals set in mind.

The sudden slobbering snarls is what causes her head to snap up as her heart jumps in her throat. Entirely filling the decrepit room is those creatures. The very ones they've been seeking. And they all have her in their sights.

Elizabeth stills for a second too long as they lunge as one like lethal black streaks. She shrieks as their slime lands on her. It easily cuts into her tender flesh and sends a searing hot agony straight through her nerves as her blood seeps out, hot and warm against her skin. She struggles back as they begin to slash her skin, rip her clothes, and paint her in vibrant crimson. Elizabeth painfully conjures her sword as a defense against them.

But then their howls of agony begin to bleed over hers.

Their pain pours into her relentlessly like a slimy thick tar, forcing her hands to tremble violently under the weight. They see her weakening, and she's sure her eyes have begun to go hollow as her thoughts screech in horror. They pounce at the opportunity. They tear into her from her left and her right, under her, over her, from every direction she can fathom, until she's forced to the ground in a pathetic bloody heap. Her chest heaves as she wails loudly. She cries from her deserved suffering. She screams from the sorrow of their pain. She sobs from their brutal murders.

She's killed them. Tortured them in their deaths. And this… this is what she deserves. They pile on top of her, smothering her as she lets her weapon go. Her vision is filled with darkness as she begins to fade away. Saddened screams fill her throat as she lets them take her from this plane. But the sense of utter torment never leaves her as she convulses with the force of their assault. All she can think of is how sorry she is. And how she'll stay like this forever, frozen in repentance if it'll make up for her atrocious acts against them.

'I'm sorry...' The thought floats mournfully in her mind. 'I'm so sorry.'

But as a darkness so thick begins to force its way down her throat, halting her breathing as her eyes roll back and begin to lose what little life in them, Elizabeth senses an undeniable warmth to her left. It seems to push everything back in a forceful wave briefly as her head sluggishly tilts in that direction. Then it leaves her. She feels empty, on the verge of death once more as the darkness and creatures crawl over her again. She forgets what warmth even feels like as she lets her mind sink back into the torrent waves of her inner hatred.

Then it comes again, stronger this time and closer as she doesn't have to move her head as much. She breathes in feeling near boneless in her recollection of what the sensation feels like. Gradually, she remembers the weightless feeling of life, freedom from this torment, and even a budding happiness is like. Her eyes flood with tears as she blinks again and again, trying to see beyond the darkness. Wishing to know what lively color looks like that isn't the leaching of darkness, and gut wrenching crimson.

She's beyond terrified as sensations begin to make themselves known to her again. She hates herself for what she did to them, but she no longer wishes to be here. She gives a helpless sob as pain slams into her over and over as the creatures continue to try and pull her down into their death cycle once more. She doesn't know how to leave this place she realizes with violent wails. And she's much too weak now. She just can't...

The warmth comes back one more time. It circles her tightly and she clings to it as it begins to pulls her away, never wanting to let go.

Elizabeth opens her eyes with a terrible gasp. Her heart thuds strongly in her chest, so loud she's sure the world can hear it. She looks around widely as the soft trickling blues of early morning shimmer past the leaves above her. She shivers as she turns to her side wishing for the warmth that saved her to surround her again. Her heart skips several beats before settling into a relieved pattern when her eyes land on Meliodas. For a moment, she thought he was gone like in that terrible nightmare, but he's here. He hasn't left her. He's still with her…

She lets her breathing calm as her eyes stay locked on the demon who lays with his back to her only so far away. She hates those dreams. They've started to plague her for the past few days. Tormenting her over her crimes against those creatures. She's never murdered before, so she doesn't exactly know how to deal with it. The dreams are her punishment she decides as her hands settle in a tight clasp before her chest. She only wishes she could talk to someone about them.

She thinks of possibly broaching the subject to Meliodas, but then she shakes his head. Her eyes lid in sadness as she knows he wouldn't take her seriously. He doesn't have nightmares over the terrible things he does, so he'll just think her pathetic. Her shoulders sag.

With a heavy sigh, she lets her eyes study Meliodas as she thinks of her dreams. They're all the same way with the same house. It doesn't matter what door she goes to she'll always end up being attacked for her crimes. But then a warmth comes to her and saves her. Every single time. She wonders what that is. In the end, it always feels as if something's clinging to her, holding her close in comfort. And she holds onto it with dear life. But when she wakes up, it's gone and she's left feeling cold and alone. Until her eyes find Meliodas, then that feeling begins to fade away.

' I guess it doesn't matter. Just so long as it keeps watching over me. I'll be fine. I'll be safe…'

~.~.~

Later that day, Elizabeth brings a hand cradling an apple tentatively to her lips as her mind whirls gently with various thoughts. She almost feels numb as the nutrition eases down her throat in a tart burst. Meliodas sits across from her in a familiar fashion. His hair is slightly tussled and eye catching as the cool morning breeze rustles through the leaves. He seems deep in thought as he leans back rigidly against the tree behind him.

He captivates her without even trying as she silently eats. The goddess allows his overbearing presence to replace the numbness inside her as she breathes in slowly. When she sits down the core of her fruit in the cool grass beneath her, Elizabeth lets her lips part in a soft question. Dare say it she wants to know more about the demon before her. And after learning about his silent feats in protecting her, the sudden urge to get closer to him sounds wonderful in her mind.

"Are your brothers soldiers like you?" She wonders when remembering Zeldris and Estarossa. They both seem the type to be apart of the demonic army. And they were in the castle, which means they had to be of some importance.

The demon seems to become as hard as stone with her inquiry. "Why do you want to know?" He demands stiffly as his eyes pin her in place.

She inhales much too quickly at his rather angered response. Then she gives a mental shake at her reaction. Meliodas is volatile. Even with just a simple question, he's likely to blow his top for no discernable reason. So she gives a soft shrug as she answers simply, "I was just wondering about demons… Is mating with other races accepted among your kind?" She takes a quick bite from her apple to hide the blush that begins to color her cheeks at such a question.

She can practically hear the bones in his hands creak as he squeezes them much too tightly. Just seeing the color drain from them making them a sickly white, makes her want to ease her hands over them and smooth his fingers out into a relaxed position within her palm. The image causes an uncomfortable sensation to blossom in her stomach as flutters swarm there wildly. "Why do you want to know?" he demands in a dark tone.

She keeps her eyes on his tense fists instead of his face. "I met Gelda and I know Zeldris is with her."

"And?" he demands rudely.

Gaining her nerve with a huff she looks him in the eye and practically melts under the heat of the anger she finds there. "I was wondering if you've ever met someone the result of a goddess and demon being together? Our races are enemies so…?"

The air swells with emptiness as her questions remain unanswered. She just wants desperately for these blanks to be filled. To get a better understanding of what this desire for him could possible mean. But silence is all that greets her. And instead of the dregs of disappointment filling her and weighing her down, Elizabeth slowly becomes pervaded with the hot air of annoyance. The two stare each other down for a long while before she watches in astonishment as Meliodas seems to blow everything off, turning away from her. It's as if she's not even there as he stares off to the side with a bored gaze. Her jaw tenses slightly as she becomes appalled at his response. 'Okay then. If you want to ignore me, then I'll find a different way to get some answers…'

The goddess gathers a long silky lock of hair around her finger and twirls it in an outward appearance of indifference. Her mind is sharp, however, as she watches Meliodas out of the corner of her gaze when her voice swirls out in an innocent croon. "That raven haired servant from before was pretty interested in you… And it's odd that you didn't seem to like her as well," She gives a small fake laugh as Meliodas turns his head in her direction with a rapidly darkening visage. "She even seemed your type. What was it? Flowing hair and plump lips. And something about a generous bust and a round rear?"

Elizabeth briefly brings her hand up to her chin as if in thought as the angered sound of a repulsed growl resonates from Meliodas. She acts as if she doesn't hear though when she lets her hand drop as well as her hold on her hair. Then her blue eyes fully look upon the demon as mischief burns bright in her gaze. Her lips smooth into a challenging smirk as she dares to say, "Surely you've had to have taken her at least once. She wouldn't be that desperate otherwise. Don't be afraid. You can admit it."

His entire focus is on her which is exactly what she wanted. It's rather unfortunate that he's absolutely livid with her. But even she can't deny the way his enraged stare makes it hard to find her next breath as her heart attempts to escape her chest.

"I told you before. I never touched that wench. She's utterly pathetic," He states lowly as he stares her down.

She doesn't let it derail her thoughts or cause a flaring of anger to run beneath her skin. She simply keeps the smirk on her lips, pleased that it's driving him mad with annoyance and keeping his attention on her. "But I'm not…?" She wonders almost confusedly, hinting at his continued attempts to touch her, kiss her, and force her beneath him…

His eyes seem to burn with a wild inferno as his hands grow tense beside him in the grass. But then it washes away as a crisp mask falls in place. The smug look that forms in his eyes as his teeth show in a wide grin slowly force a bit of uncertainty down her throat. "You spoke of desperation before, goddess. Are you desperate? Dying to have what others have had? You seem to think you know what it's like to want me after having an experience with me."

"We've done nothing," Elizabeth immediately denies as her cheeks flare and her mouth turns down into a scowl.

Meliodas raises his eyebrows slightly in befuddlement, but she sees right through him. "That's funny. You didn't seem so displeased with me before that desperate servant walked in on us."

"That's because I—" She seals her lips as her anger threatens to burst forth in a sudden careless display.

"Because what?"

Her teeth are tight in a clench as her eyes steel in his direction. "Because you forced me!"

Now he barks a laugh that has her blood simmering. She can't seem to keep her hands still with her wish to shoot forward and choke the mocking out of him. "I didn't place your lips on me. Nor did I wrap your arms around my shoulders as I held you."

Elizabeth looks away for fear of her emotions showing too clearly in her eyes. She doesn't want him to know how much she'd wanted him in that moment. How she practically prayed to the heavens that he'd finally join them together in one of the closest ways imaginable.

"Now that's pathetic." His scoff reaches her clearly.

"What is?" She demands lowly as her eyes remain away from his prying gaze.

"You can't even admit it. And that's not the only pitiful thing about you either," He tells her deliberately.

Now she finally turns to him as her heart begins to twinge downright painfully as her hands fist at her sides in visible trembles. "What else do you find disappointing in me, demon? Might as well lay it all out for me."

He's staring at her with a perceptiveness that unnerves her greatly, but she holds his gaze, refusing to back down. "You lost to that creature before. Let yourself get beaten and bloodied. It wasn't even your blood, goddess. I thought you were stronger than that." He turns his eyes from her then as if suddenly growing bored with her. The thought makes her throat tighten as she gasps.

Elizabeth pushes herself to her feet as a million thoughts begin to tumble through her mind. Is he really displeased with her or is he just trying to rile her up as always? Does he really think she's weak and therefore doesn't deserve hardly an ounce of his attention? It certainly appears that way as he stares dully at the scenery, not even noticing her rising form.

Their relationship has always been a give and take kind. They push and they push, always at each other's throats. If he suddenly doesn't think she's worthy anymore, then where will that leave them? Her hands quiver as a grimace stretches across her face. The most logical thing, in her mind, is to prove the demon wrong, as always. And she can think of only one full bodied endeavor they can attempt, to do so.

Elizabeth strides forward with sure steps, not in the least bit bothered by his lack of notice. She stops right before him with her hands upon her hips as she stares down at him. "If you think I'm so weak, let me prove it to you."

He gaze turns up only the slightest and she can see he's considering her seriousness in the way his thoughts speed past his eyes. He's uncertain of her words as he shifts just slightly with the way he leans against the tree.

She needs to convince him that she's serious. Otherwise he'll pull away again and she'll be left in the dark. So she says in an equally coy tone, "I'll even let you have the first hit."

Before she can even blink she's crossing her arms from the sudden movement he makes. His fist connects with her arms directly forcing her to skid back slightly with the force. She knows his punch was pulled back considerably, but she still winces slightly in pain.

He stares at her then with a slight curve up of his lips as he looks at her from beneath his wayward bangs. The flames in his eyes are playful and she feels herself flushing at the excitement such a look sends through her. "Are you serious about this, goddess? I won't stop until you submit…" he warns with a mischievous growl in his voice.

She decides to give him a daring smirk. "Oh, I'm dead serious. And I won't be the one who submits here, demon."

~.~.~

Elizabeth flits back from him, but he follows quickly throwing rapid punches as she dodges speedily left and right. He raises a hand to catch her fist aimed at his nose, then his leg as she aims a kick at his side. They share a tense look for a moment before he uses his hold on her fist to jerk her forward in order to lift her then tosses her over his head with not nearly the amount of force he would normally use. He turns in time to see her land on her back as the air flees her lungs. He chuckles as he draws near her quickly.

Meliodas' eyes round considerably as two feet connect forcefully into his stomach. Elizabeth lets her feet return to the ground as he attempts to regain his breath. The goddess seems to vanish before his eyes, while he painfully sucks in a breath, in a show of speed. Then he's forced to his knees with a quick hiss as her foot digs sharply into his side.

"Too quick for you?" Her voice lilts playfully.

Meliodas' laugh comes out a bit rough as he rises to his feet once more, allowing that to be his only answer. She's in his sights once more and they trade quick blows, his glancing her arms and hers digging into his chest. They weave between the trees as loud shouts and playful taunts go back and forth between them. She keeps slipping away from him, nailing him from behind and kicking his knees. He's been on high guard since she landed that blow to his gut, but she's been surprising him. And that sends excited thrills through his blood as he grins widely.

Putting more effort into this game, Meliodas swipes her legs from under her when she goes for a jab at his jaw. There's not many places he's willing to hit, her face being one of them. And she seems to have noticed, which is why she's been trying extra hard to land blows on his. The cheeky goddess.

Catching her foot as she aims it towards his groin, Meliodas impishly smirks while looking down at her. "I wouldn't do that if I were you."

She laughs, then rolls slightly to her side so that she has enough force to jerk her leg free. Then she uses it to dig the toe of her boot acutely into his thigh, so that he winces. It's enough of a drop in his guard for her to spring up and put some distance between them. Her teeth gleam in her toothy smile. He finds himself at a loss of breath for an entirely different reason at this. "Of course, you wouldn't. You know how painful it feels."

He swallows slowly, then smooths on a cunning smirk as he dashes towards her. She slips from his grasp and he feels the sharp pangs of her fists digging into his lower back before she's gone again. He has to calm himself or he just might lose it in an entirely different way. Fighting her is proving to be more rousing to the heat beneath his skin than he thought it would be. Meliodas feels her presence to his right and turns his head sideways, keeping his body tense for any sudden movements. "You're pretty damn slippery, I'll give you that."

She tilts her head slightly as a smirk paints across her cerise lips. "Thank you."

The low way her voice flows through him is enough to make his palms tingle. He needs to step it up a notch if he wants to capture her properly. She's clearly more skilled than he thought. "But, I can pretty much assume you don't have any finishing moves from the way you dance away with each attack…"

Her plump lips form a pout as she huffs lightheartedly and that's when he moves. His arms pull hers in a cross behind her back, effectively keeping those out of this as he pulls her close, flush against his chest. She breathes harshly as she tries to wriggle free. He feels the frantic beating of her heart flow right into him. She doesn't look at all put off that he has her beat by the lively fire that still flares in her eyes. Meliodas still grins his victory as he allows his head to tilt towards her neck as he inhales the smell of her exertion deeply. "Got you…" he practically purrs as he prepares to mold his lips across her neck.

And then he remembers that he didn't do anything about those damn legs of hers.

Meliodas releases her with a painful groan, but refuses to hold the throbbing area of his loins as her knee pulls back from him.

"I'm sorry." She's not. "You're pretty powerful, demon. I really like that," Damn, if he wasn't in so much pain right now, he'd be holding himself back from that sultry tone of hers. "But you seem to only have one trick to use up your sleeve. It's kind of predictable…" She tries to sound apologetic, but the laughter in her eyes is all too clear to him.

He respects her for letting him regain his strength after that kneeing. But the moment he gazes at her with a slightly lifted eyebrow, she races off with a giggle, knowing he's coming after her a lot stronger than before. The thuds in his chest can't seem to settle down as they parry blows in flurried blurs. It's positively exhilarating to him to be able to fight someone in an entirely different way. Her kicks become quicker as he attempts to study her pattern. The fierceness in her gaze enthralls him as he throws two quick punches, pushing her back as her guard opens up.

By now they're both wearing a few nice set of bruises that smart deeply, but that doesn't stop them from fighting into the brighter hues of afternoon. Elizabeth's panting as sweat trails tantalizingly across her exposed skin. She's getting tired and he is too, but only one can come out on top. And he'll make sure it's him. When her fist connects with his cheek just before she spins in preparation of a high kick, he sees his chance. Meliodas uses the split second her back is to him to quickly settle behind her as his arms encircle her tightly.

She freezes entirely as he holds her in place. He lets the charge that travels through him almost painfully from the fight guide his hands. One easily slips beneath the opening of her shirt at her lower belly gliding downwards and the other slides up along her shirt to grasp her breast as he shudders against her. She feels so damn good. So hot and slippery from the sweat that coats her. It's just when his lips graze her neck hungrily, causing a shiver to course through her form, that she jerks out of his hold and turns to face him.

He expects to see her angry and more than prepared for a serious fight in protest of his actions. The thought darkens his mood considerably, until he notices the almost coquettish smile she wears. He groans softly as he struggles to keep himself in check. She's teasing him. She has to know that's not the wisest choice with a demon like him.

"Fight's over, demon. That's the second time you've been naughty. I can't have a third..."

He's not ashamed of the desire that most definitely burns in his eyes at her simpering tone. He strides towards her like a predator as his softly growls, "Goddess…"

She holds up a finger and wags it in his face. Wags it. As if he's misbehaving and needs a damn time out. "Ah, ah. I'm sure it's past lunch time and I'm definitely starving. Come on. Let's go find something to eat," And then she walks away with an ease he most definitely does not feel with how tightly she's wound him.

He ends up striving to keep his walk steady and smooth, so as not to give away how easily she's affected him. He somehow feels he has no choice but to follow behind her like a sullen adolescent.

Chapter Text

~15~

-The Difference Between Us-

She sits just close enough next to him where they can just barely feel each other's warmth. A roaring fire of flickering oranges and popping yellows sits ahead of them. Day has bled into night and Elizabeth is more than happy to admit that it's been one of the best she's had in a long while.

After lunch, she had to deceive Meliodas a bit by saying she was going to search for a bit of drinking water. Of course, he wanted to come along, but she'd learned that, surprisingly, all she had to do was tell him in a very sweet tone "no" and he'd grudgingly give in. She did promise to bring him back some as a peace offering. Her true goal was to wash the sweat of their fight off and to take her mind off the heat of his touches. She hadn't been lying when she said she didn't need another instance for his naughty behavior. She didn't think she'd be able to stop herself from letting him do what he pleased with her if it had happened again. And she knew if he'd come along, he more than definitely would have joined her. And the outcome of that is what she's still trying to avoid with her ever weakening will.

When she'd returned with the promised water, he'd immediately known she'd taken a dip to clean up. The heavy disappointment as he'd gruffly taken her offering of water and drank it alone a clear distance from her, had almost made her regret her choice. Almost.

But now she sits as close as she dares beside him over dinner with thoughts of how to make it up to the temperamental demon. She looks openly at the demon beside her as he digs into the meat of the deer he picked off. Her lips form a pout at the idea of such a poor animal being scavenged, but she pushes it away. She knows he has to eat one way or another. Instead, she lets herself think of how to call his attention in the most subtle way possible.

Her eyes trail along his neck, down his shoulder, and to his nicely toned arm… Her eyes light up as she extends her finger. Then…

Poke.

Meliodas stills with his stick lined with skewered meat an inch from his mouth. She sees his eyes turn to her questioningly before he raises an eyebrow. She gives him a tiny smile as she attempts to contain her giggles. And the way he seems to falter while staring at her, his expression opening as his lips part slightly, but no words come out, is something she's really starting to like seeing in him. She doesn't know why smiling at him seems to throw him so far, but she'll do it as much as she can just to see him in this new light.

A little laugh escapes before she forcefully gains her composure. She straightens her face, despite how much she feels her lips trying to press up, while making her voice sound casual. "So, how does it taste?"

The demon regains himself a moment later as he lowers his stick with an impassive shrug. She enjoys the careless way he answers, seemingly forgetting or forgiving her earlier deception. "It tastes terrible actually. I'd rather be tasting something sweeter right now."

She arches an eyebrow as she allows the smile to return to her face. Her finger extends again and she aims a bit lower and on his torso…

Poke.

Her eyes shoot up as she hears a soft chuckle. One not full of mocking or hatred. Meliodas seems completely at ease with her as he laughs at her antics. Even if she's heard the sound of his laughter, earlier in the afternoon actually, she still can't help the way her heart picks up as her face subconsciously reddens. She bites her lip briefly before she manages to ask her question curiously, "And what would that be?" Now his easy going look turns into a familiar devious one. She gets the sudden feeling that her fluster is only going to increase tenfold.

He reaches out a hand and catches a few strands of her hair with his fingers. The feel of his warm touch as he brushes them behind her ear is beyond mesmerizing. The look on his face never changes as his hand lingers. The complete confidence in his eyes and the deep satisfaction of his actions burns like a hypnotizing fire within them. She can't look away. "You." Is all he says in a tone full of huskiness and a want that can't be hidden, no matter how hard he tries.

The moment his hand moves away she turns her eyes away from his and towards the crackling fire, hoping it'll burn his dazzling image from her mind. She doesn't even try to hide the embarrassment that overtakes her when she raises her shaking hands to her crimson face. She breathes unsteadily as her head shakes from side to side, trying to wipe the image of him tasting her before as he'd punished her so exquisitely.

His amused laughs fill her ears and stir the warmth inside her that much more, to where it begins to morph into a flaring fire. "Stop that!" She chastises in a too high, flustered tone.

"Why?" He demands lightly, clear teasing in his tone. "I'm making you too hot?"

And then he does something that causes her to squeak.

Poke. Right on the side of her breast.

Her hands leave her face as she whirls her vision in his direction. He's not facing her direction. The stick with his meat is back at his mouth as he appears as if he's been eating the whole time. When he feels her eyes boring into him, he gives her a sideways look and a raised eyebrow. "…What?"

She doesn't even hesitate. She pounces on him, causing the stick to fly from his hand as her fingers begin poking every place she can find. They're both laughing so hard, while she blatantly swats away his fingers that try to retaliate. It's a pure delight as she dishes out her sweet revenge.

~.~.~

Zeldris reaches his chamber door with various thoughts speeding through his mind more quickly than he's sliced through opposition. He'd heard word in the castle of "the mysterious vampire's return" and knew instantly who the pathetic help was gossiping about. His Gelda. She's finally returned after days of absence. And he intends to find out what she's really been up to one way or another.

He opens the door forcibly and his eyes catch sight of Gelda squeaking as she stumbles away from something upon his bedside table. His eyes only look to see what she was messing with briefly. An empty platter… Something about it seems odd, but his eyes then find themselves on her once again. And the sight of her nervous guilt washes away any other thoughts that don't surround the vampire.

His boots carry him forward slowly as he lets the door shut behind him loudly. She gazes at him warily as her hands fiddle with the hem of her loose white blouse that drapes nicely over the tight silver pants she wears. It's not an attire she'd normally wear when visiting Edinburgh and definitely not something she'd adorn while seeing a possible suitor. So unless she changed when coming back to him, there's a high possibility she wasn't where she said she was in the first place.

Her clear blue eyes, wide and obscured by a few strands of pale blond hair that's fallen free from her intricate twist that lies upon her shoulder, gape at him like a doe ready to flee. "Zeldris?"

However he lets himself slightly relax at seeing her after so long, and hearing her tender voice. Even if she is deceiving him, having her back where she belongs is enough to urge him towards her in three quick strides. She stiffens in fear, expecting him to unleash his fury upon her, but instead his hands slip around her waist as he pulls her tightly to his chest.

Gelda shudders as a nervous little hum leaves her. Then he feels her hands almost shakily smooth up his arms and around his shoulders. He lets his face dip down to the junction of her neck and shoulder. And the taste of her is wonderful as his lips meld against her skin slowly. She stills shortly as her breath catches. The idea to run his hand up the smooth skin of her back to soothe her runs through his mind.

He inhales slowly as his nose skims along her skin while his lips continue his work. The feel of her soft curves pressing so deliciously into him has his blood heating rapidly. Gelda whimpers softly as his hands burn smooth paths along her flesh and he finds himself steadily guiding her back until she's pressed into the bed beneath him.

Zeldris moves his face to hover above hers. He gives himself a moment to study the rapid glazing of her eyes as she gently shifts beneath him. The way her cheeks become painted in the softest of pinks. And her lips seem redder, catching his attention and making him lick his own in anticipation. He leans towards her gradually, building up their want when he speaks, "Gelda…" HIs lips press against hers almost needily as his skin begins to prickle in the insistent flames of desire.

Gelda whimpers softly into his mouth as her body quakes, but she presses back eagerly despite the shakiness of her hands as they settle upon his shoulders. He doesn't give it a thought, simply devouring her flavor, having longed for it in the time she was gone. One of his arms slide beneath her body with his palm pressing flat against the small of her back in order to keep her close as he slowly rocks his hips against her. He groans deeply into her mouth when she shudders and whimpers, sending her wonderful vibration straight through him and to his rapidly heating loins.

He slowly shifts his lips, slanting them over hers in order to kiss her more deeply as his chest begins to fill with his brimming desire. His free hand fleetingly skims her collarbone, then trails down to the buttons of her shirt where he begins to undo them, one by one. He relishes in her breathy moan as her hands tighten around his shoulders. For a moment, he almost laughs at himself for drawing this out. For taking this slow. But it's necessary, he decides as he slowly guides her shirt apart, for the look on her face when he gradually separates from the kiss in order to gaze down at her with a calm expression.

"Gelda… I know your secret."

Her eyes round as her lips part and begin to tremble. The sheer pain in her eyes, shattering her beautiful gems, isn't quite what he expected. Nor the crystalline tears that begin to trail down her pale cheeks as her voice comes out in the softest whisper, "Zeldris, please… Please d-don't leave me." She speaks as if she's already lost. As if there's no hope at all as her lips continue to tremble and her eyes glimmer like shattered glass.

Zeldris feels an agony wedge itself deeply into his chest. He fears he won't be able to find his next breath simply from seeing how quickly she crumbled. How easily she broke. He's never seen her this way before. Never has she shed tears of loss, of sorrow, before him just from something he's told her.

"Please," Her voice beseeches once more as he feels her hands tightening gently against his back.

But then he realizes what her begging means as a swift, violent heat whirls around him. It must be true then. Her involvement with those creatures must be the secret she's been keeping. All those excuses she gave him about leaving. Lies. She's been plotting with her father, most likely, behind his back to take out the demonic clan. His race's enemy has been right under his nose, sleeping right in his bed. And he's been so blinded by his insatiable need for her to dig deeper into her mysterious disappearances.

She's made a fool of him.

"You've been lying to me, this whole time, Gelda. When did you become such a liar!?" He whispers so the force of his words still travel viciously through her. His calm demeanor gone as he lowers his face towards hers, giving her a closer view of the twisted sneer upon his face. "You even gained a new friend. When did you plan on telling me about your meeting with her? With that goddess? So much you've been keeping from me, Gelda!"

She squeezes her eyes closed as more tears travel down her cheeks, heartbroken. "I'm sorry! P-please, Zeldris—"

He pulls away from her in disgust as his chest twists with pangs and his body trembles in fury. "You're so pathetic, Gelda! Shedding tears of all things? And for what? You're own treachery!"

Gelda's chest quivers as she takes in shuddered breaths. She turns her gaze to his and he hates the glassy sheen of her eyes that give away her salty tears. "It wasn't— I couldn't—"

He snarls as pure scorching rage eats away at his thoughts and reason. He presses over her as he captures her wrists in one hand while moving his other to her neck. He needs to tighten his hold on her neck, to quickly end her existence and be over with this. This pathetic weakling has done nothing but drag him down. Bog his mind with nothing but her. He said he would kill her. She's the enemy! But his hand trembles against her the fragile skin of her neck as his eyes stare wildly into her visage. She looks so frightened as she gazes up at him. Still pleading, still wanting him and it tears at his insides in a way that forces his eyes shut. He can't bear to see her face anymore. He can't stand to feel this turmoil anymore.

"I told him I would kill you. I said I would," He says harshly, trying to will himself to follow through.

He gasps quietly as soft lips take the opportunity to press tentatively to his. He goes completely still as the warm press holds steady, then moves away before returning. Stronger. Again and again she kisses him, until his breathing turns ragged as his thoughts begin to numb.

Gelda pushes forward more insistently as she becomes more impassioned. "Please, don't kill me," She breathes softly against his mouth. Her tongue slips forward to glide along his lips with a slow intensity that has his mouth opening in a pleased groan. Her hands begin to wriggle in his hold and he lets her go, unthinkingly. His mind becomes lost to the way her tongue rubs sensually against his and the teasing way she nibbles his lips with her teeth. Her hands suddenly reach into his hair and grip hard as she presses their mouths together fiercely. She kisses him then until he's sure her lips are swollen, and his mind spins at the feel of one of her hands snaking in between them to rub firmly between his legs. Her boldness is becoming maddening as he finds himself sucking in breaths desperately as her palms release his hair and move away from her hypnotic caresses. They smooth along the skin of his chest then as she shoves him back, following quickly with little moans of her own.

Her hands tug ruthlessly at his coat as she settles her legs quickly over his lap, and his hands can't seem to follow her frantic movements quickly enough as he tries to hold onto her and hold her close. "I need you…" She tells him undeniably before her lips are back against his, her tongue quickly finding its way into his mouth. Gelda gives a displeased hum when she realizes she has to pull back from sucking gently on his tongue if she wants to get his clothes over his head. His laugh is breathless when she finally pulls away, deciding to do it himself in a swift motion.

By the time the material is over his head, returning his vision, Gelda sits before him free of her shirt as well. Something sears a slow, wonderfully torturous path from his skull all the way to his toes as a groan stirs in his chest so deep it resembles a carnal growl. His muscles begin to tighten as his eyes trail slowly along her soft, flawless skin. The length of her neck he craves to mark. Her pert breasts he wishes to lick, and kiss, and suck as his tongue flicks against those dusty nipples of hers. And her taut stomach he wants to nuzzle his face against as he tongue traces patterns sluggishly across. He wants his Gelda writhing in a slow torment beneath him and his hands reach out to make that a reality.

But then she's moving. Her warm palms grasp his cheeks tenderly as she meshes their lips together over and over, letting him taste her desperation. She pulls back when his lungs are filled with the heat of her and his hands tense with the need to caress her. Her heartfelt voice brings his eyes up to hers. "Please, let me show you how sorry I am. And how much I want you, Zeldris…" And he can only sit there in a trance as she pulls back and lets her hand reach up to the pale tie that keeps her hair in place. She releases it and shakes out her pale tresses, letting him see her as it falls in a beautiful disarray around her face and smooth shoulders. Zeldris finds his chest is too tight as he attempts to inhale deeply around the sudden flood of heat that nearly destroys him in his desire for her. Her eyes are ablaze with her want for him, but instead of going to him and letting him take her as they both wish, she lets her hands slowly trail along her own flesh.

He watches with a dry throat as her hands slowly move down her chest stopping to grasp her own breasts. The way her eyes flutter as she jerks into her own hold with a soft whimper has his hands tightening against the dark sheets beneath them, tearing them easily. Pleasure causes his muscles to tremble, even if he isn't the one touching her in such a sensual way. He's never seen her behave in such a way in all their encounters and seeing her show herself to him in such a provocative manner is captivating. She's driving him crazy with need and with this little show of hers. He doesn't know how long he'll be able to contain himself.

Her hands move away once her face is red and she's left panting. Quickly they find the hem of her pants as her eyes stare at him emblazoned in passion. She opens them slowly, then eases the material down her skin, exposing her creamy flesh for him bit by bit, until he's sure his mind has been turned to ash under the scorching flames she's kindled inside him.

Gelda throws herself around him the moment her clothes are gone. He shudders as if burned when her bare flesh rubs against him so suddenly. Her mouth attacks his skin in frenzied caresses. His pulse is thudding so quickly, hammering against his skull as her hands smooth slowly over his shoulder as her mouth travels down his neck and along his collarbones.

His head lolls back in a daze as his hands roam along her back, her hips, and her curvaceous ass hungrily. "Gelda…" Oh he groans, when her teeth roughly nip his chest and her tongue presses hard into the dips between his muscles. She mumbles "I'm sorry" and "Please forgive me" with each breath she takes between her ardent kisses, heartfelt words repeated in earnest with her passion driven actions. Zeldris exhales shakily as his hands smooth around her and finds her hot, slick slit.

Her moans reverberate through his torso as he begins to slowly stroke her, up and down, before pressing two fingers inside of her. He groans when she shivers harshly, loving the way her hands squeeze into his sides as she presses back onto his curling fingers. "I want you so much, Zeldris," She whimpers in a way that has his teeth clenched as he hisses. "I'm all yours. Yours to do with as you wish," She purrs lustfully as she pushes back and forth on his fingers. He relishes in the heat of her clenching around them. It's enough to make him pull his fingers back in favor of trying to get her into his lap so he can feel her around his throbbing length instead.

HIs arms tremble as he sucks in hot breaths, trying to regain his senses so he can think enough to get a handle on her. But then she's pushing open his pants, pulling them down enough to where his painful erection is free. He can't find the strength to keep himself from leaning back when her hands press demandingly upon his chest.

Gelda quickly climbs into his lap as one of her arms weave behind his shoulder as her hand weaves roughly into his hair. Zeldris gazes up at her blushing face and her fiery eyes, pumping the blood more hotly through his veins. He's sure the need is clear up his face more desperate than he's ever felt before. Her hips slam down then and Zeldris is certain his insides have shattered from the sheer heat of his curse. Gelda's squeal turns into a scream as she leans into him. She rolls her hips lewdly against him as her breaths escape loudly in the air.

The wet heat of her is suffocating as she bounces in his lap like an erotic vision. She quickly grasps his hand, smoothing it up to her breast as her moans begin to stutter in her chest. "Zeldris, p-please touch me… Do whatever you wish... W-whatever you want," She pleads earnestly as she throws her head back with the increase of her motions.

Zeldris growls throatily as fire continues to cycle within him repeatedly, burning hotter and tightening painfully as he plunges deeply inside her clutching wetness. He savors the feel of her as his hand tightens over her breast and his mouth fastens onto her other. He drags his teeth across her pebbled nipple, savoring her mouthwatering skin and her salacious keens. Gelda vibrates in his lap then as she clings to him with wanton wails. He lets his other hand slip coarsely to her plump ass as her movements become wild.

He feels himself getting closer, rushing towards that devastating end as her hips ground harder, and gyrate faster. He drags his tongue ravenously against her skin, tasting her sweat and groaning deeply as he fills her deeply again and again. They grip each other tightly as their breathing become labored, and he's certain his mind's melted, because the air around them is too thick from the heat around them.

Then her moans turn to shattered screams of his name when she begins to quiver against him just as her pulsing core convulses. He pulls his mouth back as his mind falls into utter bliss. His hips slam up into her, impaling her, as his essence spills forth in thick gushes. He tries to moan her name, but it comes out breathless. And he's much too weak from the pleasure, too weary from the almost painful way he grounds into her, milking the last of his release. So when her hands cup his cheeks and pulls him into an overwhelming kiss, he simply falls apart into a satiated mess in the warm palms of her hands.

He's still breathing heavily when the sound of her soft pleading voice reaches his ears once more.

"I'm sorry. So sorry, Zeldris. Don't leave me. Please don't go," She whispers again and again as her lips gently brush over his face as she presses close to him.

He can feel tremors inside her easily and his hold automatically tightens. Every touch, every kiss, every rock of her hips was all for him. To appease him. His eyes find hers as his insides twist with bitter emotion. How is he to forgive her when she's done such things to his clan willingly? He doesn't understand. "Why would you do it?" he finds himself asking, wanting to know. To hear it from her. "Why did you send those creatures after my race?"

He watches, far colder than he's ever felt before, as her face morphs into utter shame. But then she stills completely as her eyebrows lower and her eyes shift in confusion. The piercing stare she gives him as her eyes rapidly begin to display a dawning horror doesn't warm him any. It only makes him more desperate to know what's going on inside that head of hers as her trembles increase in strength.

"Well?" he bites out.

"I di- I don't—" She looks as if she doesn't want to complete her sentence. Her hands seem to grow colder against him with the steady loss of color in her face. "I didn't do it, Zeldris."

'What the hell is wrong with her? She practically broke down when I told her I knew! Made a hell of an effort to earn my forgiveness, and now she looks—' It occurs to him what she looks like as she bites her lower lip fretfully, once again pleading with her eyes for some kind of understanding. 'It looks as if she doesn't know what the hell I'm talking about. Which means… Which means whatever it is she's hiding isn't what I thought it was. She isn't responsible for these creatures.'

"Z-Zeldris?" She forces out. The sound of her wobbly voice close to tears once more annoys him greatly.

"Then what do you need my forgiveness for, if you were not the one?" He questions instead as the thought of what she could be keeping from him whirls vividly through his mind.

Her anxiety seems nearly palpable as she gazes at him frightened. Then she seems to find a shaky resolve as her voice comes out quietly. "Those suitors from before… Prince Erickson... I only pretended to be interested in marrying him to make you jealous. I wanted to make you want me as yours forever, Zeldris."

His grip on her waist tightens minutely as anger floods him thickly. "You tried to manipulate me, Gelda?" She gasps in slight pain as she pulls back from him, but his hold on her keeps her in place. "I'm not your toy! I can't be controlled!"

Those tears she tried to hold back begin to track her cheeks in small rivulets, standing out against the moonlight that pours into the room. "I'm sorry, Zeldris! I just— I only want to be with you. I don't wish to lose you," Her voice grows so quiet as her eyes closed he has to move close to hear.

He sits back and watches as she continues to shed tears shamefully. It's utterly pathetic and he lets his disgust show in his expression when she looks at him imploringly. As he lets the thought of how she attempted to play him in such a way roll through his mind, he inwardly finds it satisfying in a way. She went through such trouble to try and keep his interest. His Gelda is far cleverer than he's given her credit for.

With a huff, he raises a hand to cup her cheek in order to bring her face to his. He kisses her languidly, swallowing her soft gasp. Warm water falls against his hand anyway, causing him to sigh into her mouth, exasperated. Such a weak creature he has. But she did not do this crime. He wants to believe that for some reason.

Zeldris eases her back until they're lying upon the bed and she's held to his chest in a huddled ball of soft skin and pale silken tresses. Gradually his mind eases in the quiet of the night with Gelda tucked so warmly against him. 'It's strange… Why would she look so devastated, as if she'd lost everything, if I'd only found out about her lying about her suitors?' His brows furrow as he holds the snoozing vampire tightly.

The thought rings truthful in his mind however. He doesn't let Gelda's presence try and shake off the feeling either. Something's off with her words. She may have been telling the truth about her wish to make him jealous, but there's something more going on here. There's no way should would have looked that way before otherwise. 'So she's still hiding something then…' He lets the thought float through his mind in a deadly calm. Something that makes her terrified she'll lose him. Another though snaps into place suddenly as well. Elizabeth. She never did answer him about that.

His grin is positively cruel as he holds her close, idly letting his anger stew. He's not done with her yet, so that shouldn't be her biggest fear. Whatever secret she's keeping, he'll find out. And that's really what she should be terrified of.

Chapter Text

~16~

-One Step Forward. What Happened To The Rest?-

She cries out pitifully.

Her lips wobble as tears roll down her cheeks like fragile rivers. Meliodas’ hands twitch at his side as he watches her in her sleep for what feels like the millionth time. The look of pure pain and sorrow etched into her expression seems to press in on him tremendously. His chest hurts and he goes to look away, because she’s being ridiculous. Murder isn’t that tormenting to one’s soul. But then she whimpers like a frightened child. The sound is painful to his ears as he sucks in a quick breath against the shock that runs through him.

He grounds his teeth then and forces the weird sensations her pain instills in him away as he glares down at her. Even with such an angered countenance, the way his hand reaches out to smooth across her soaked cheek is entirely tender. And though the sound of his voice is quiet and harsh, the way the pad of his thumb runs along her cheek, collecting her shameful tears, is almost solicitous. “Stop being stupid, goddess. You’re stronger than this.”

Elizabeth nuzzles briefly into his hand causing something to jolt within his chest. He pulls his hand away quickly as he turns his eyes away, hoping and praying that that’s all that’s needed. That this foolish show of weakness on her behalf is done with, even though he knows it’s not over. Whatever she dreams of, never seems to leave her alone.

It’s not long after he turns his eyes away with a resolution to stare at the bland trees and steadily brightening atmosphere that he hears her give a tiny wail that grows in volume in the back of her throat. He’s tense, so tense as he tries to ignore it. What she’s doing is more than pathetic. If she can’t deal with petty nightmares then suffering through them will toughen her up. She’s sobbing now however, and mumbling almost incoherently about how sorry she is and how she deserves it. His stomach lurches as he tries to block it out. He will not be controlled by the nonsense beside him. He will not sink low for her again!

Meliodas’ body seems to move on its own as he lowers himself beside her and swiftly moves his arms to wrap around her tightly. Her head is pressed to his chest as he moves to encircle her, urged by the sharp twisting that seems lodged into his chest. When her arms cling to him desperately in response, something throbs relentlessly in his skull, telling him that once again she somehow managed to control him with an effortlessness that simply shouldn’t exist. He needs to put a stop to this unacceptable behavior. The sooner he destroys her and gets her out of his system, the better.

~.~.~

“Where did you get your sword from?” She asks curiously later that afternoon with a subtle tilt to her head. They’ve finally gotten back on track in terms of trying to find the source of the creatures. And he’d hoped she’d stop with her attempts at finding out more about him. Apparently he was mistaken.

He ignores how cute the expression is in favor of firing the question back at her. "Where did you get your weapons?"

Her brows furrow as she brings a finger to her lips. “Well...”

He ends up laughing lightly despite himself. “Only certain beings have the ability to call on weapons. And whatever comes to them is meant specifically for them.”

Her head is held high while she nods knowledgeably, as if she knew all along. But he knows better. “Right. But it's so...” Her erudite manner is lost in favor of a clueless one as she trails off.

“Magnificent.” He finishes for her with a cheeky smile. The little glare she gives him simply causes him to chuckle.

Her hands move to cross under her ample breasts, immediately drawing his eyes to them, as she stares him down in seriousness. “Why is it so big? And powerful?” She add as an afterthought.

The question is simple, but steadily causes something to drain within him. He turns his gaze from her as he looks ahead into the thicket of the forest. The lightheartedness that once surrounded him flees as he grows solemn. “I'm evil.”

He hears her scoff. “Every demon is evil.”

His voice is cool yet flat without emotion as his mood quickly dwindles. “I enjoy other's suffering. Relish in it. Seek it out and cause it of I have to. I paint towns in blood and fill them to the brim with screams and terror. I don't take “no” lightly. I kill ruthlessly, brutally, and savagely. Without hesitation. I'm the vilest demon that has come to exist. My soul wouldn’t be worth saving if given the choice. I’m so powerful, because I’m evil.” His voice never wavers as he points out his “qualities”, the reasons why he excels where other demons fall short. But for some reason, hearing it out loud makes it seem... different. He's proud of who he is, who he's fought to become. But the thought of Elizabeth hearing it so plainly is... unsettling.

It's dead silent for a while. Even the chitter of the animals doesn't disturb it enough. He refuses to look at her.

“What about me?” She eventually voices quietly.

His jaw tenses. “What about you?” It comes out harsh at her quiet inquiry.

“You haven't killed me.” When he turns to look at her, she's gazing at him steadily with a certainty in her eyes he can't accept. “Why?”

He turns away as he stands, then begins to stride away as he answers. Keeping still is making him agitated. At least that's the reason for it he wants to believe. “We have a mission to complete.”

She's right behind him. “What about after?”

He's never felt so cold before. “We'll become enemies like we said before.”

It's silent for so long, he wonders if she'll answer. And then her voice sounds softly, delicately, on the verge of cracking.

“Right.”

A strange sensation runs through him at the sound, but the bitter cold inside him easily numbs it away.

~.~.~

‘How can he say that?’ She thinks glumly as she trails behind Meliodas deep in thought, letting the sound of his footsteps be her guide. She shakes her head not a second later. ‘No, he’s right. It was absolutely amazing, our time together yesterday. But that was simply a one time thing. The releasing of tension from all the stress between us.’ She gazes at his back now as he walks purposefully forward without so much as a glance back to see if she’s following. Elizabeth sighs. ‘Now that it’s over, we’re back to business. Which is how it should be. I just wish I didn’t feel like there was some invisible barrier between us now that I know the other side of, but he won’t let me reach it again.’

As they walk in tense silence, her dejection, turns to frustration, which shifts to annoyance towards Meliodas. Her stance becomes straighter as her arms pull tightly across her chest. She marches to stand right beside him, intending on letting him have a piece of her mind, irrational as that is. If he wants to make things hard between them once more, then fine. She’ll take everything he gives her and throw it back in his face.

“Demon—”

“I think we should decide on a place to find that spell next,” Meliodas cuts her off.

Her cheeks redden as her anger slowly begins to rise. “What other place could we look? Besides I’m thinking maybe we should find more of the torture chambers to see if we can discover anything more there.”

He scoffs shaking his head. Brushing off her efforts as ridiculous. It’s suddenly a lot harder to imagine him as the laughing and joking person he was the day before. “I thought you hated seeing people upset and hurt. Now you’re willing to go and find a place that was devoted solely to that?”

Her voice is forced to remain level as she glowers at him. “Yes. If it’ll make sure this never happens again, I’m willing to suffer through the anguish of seeing such things.”

He gives her a side look that makes her feel tiny in comparison to her despite her best efforts. “The fact that you feel anything at all for those who were weak enough to fall into those traps, once again, makes me question your worth.”

The feeling of something twinging excruciatingly inside her doesn’t distract her from the words that burst from her lips. “Despite what you believe, demon, my feelings make me strong. They give me the power I need to protect those who need it.”

They stop in a face off as he smiles at her. The feel of it entirely cold and unfeeling. It’s as if they’re a million miles away from each other compared to how they were the day before. And the sudden frigidness of their separation is agonizing to Elizabeth. “You see that’s where you and I differ. My power is unrestrained. Nothing holds me back from doing what I want.”

She shakes her head sadly. “That’s why I feel sorry for you.”

Meliodas doesn’t get to respond as a sudden screech pulls them up short. “HELP!!” It has Elizabeth’s heart racing as her head turns from left and right in search of the source of the call.

“SOMEBODY PLEASE!!” The voice is small like that of a child’s. It has Elizabeth rushing forward without a thought with a weak protest from Meliodas sounding at her back.

She pushes through limp branches, and stumbles past thick bushes as her breathing picks up in her chest. ‘Where are they?? What’s wrong!?’ She sucks in a panicked breath in order to cry out, ‘Where are you!?”

Nothing but various shades of green and splashes of color here and there from flowers or fruits catch her eyes. The voice doesn’t sound again. She’s terrified that perhaps something was chasing the kid, caught them, and now… Elizabeth pulls her lip between her teeth as she increases her frantic searching. “Please!! If you’re there, I’ll help you!!”

She weaves around a wide tree, scraping her hand on the bark as she stumbles and catches her balance. Something grabs ahold of her arm tightly and she screams from being so tightly wound up. The hold doesn’t let go however and her eyes finally take in the person grabbing her. It’s a little human girl. Maybe 7 or 8 years old. Her brown hair is caked with dirt and leaves, and soot looks to cover a lot of her pale skin. Elizabeth turns to her fully as she observes the tears in the girl's clothing with a critical eye.

“Please, help me!!” She cries, increasing her hold on Elizabeth further.

The goddess feels her chest tighten as she watches tears stream down the little one’s face. She pulls the girl up and against her hip as she tries to ask her as calmly as possible. “What’s wrong?” Elizabeth discreetly lets her eyes wander around for any signs of danger, but there’s nothing there. Well, except for Meliodas who’s just arriving through a thick cluster of trees, but she won’t let him scare this little girl.

The girl’s chin begins to wobble, tearing Elizabeth’s heart to ribbons at such a devastated look. “My v-village is burning!! Please, save them!!”

Meliodas speaks up from behind her. “Goddess, don’t waste your time. Stuff like this happens all the time.”

His words only bring up her annoyance with him and strengthens her resolve to do whatever she can to help. “So what? I’m just supposed to stand back and let them all die?” She doesn’t even turn to look at him. She dashes ahead at the girl’s insistence, following her small hand’s guidance to find the village.

Guidance is no longer needed when she begins to see smoke billowing in the afternoon sky in thick grey clouds. Elizabeth speeds up her run as she hears the sound of people screaming and hollering as they no doubt become consumed in flames. Her heart’s racing nonstop by the time she exits the forest and it’s more than easy to understand why as the true devastation becomes clear to her.

There’s planks of wood littered about, charged from the flames that eat away all the homes and stalls that make up this town. Roofs are collapsed in and stones from some buildings have toppled over, blocking paths and trapping people in the burning death of their homes. Men that aren’t too badly burned, scramble around in desperation to find water to try and put out the flames. But it becomes obvious their efforts are in vain as the water evaporates before it does any good. Woman and men lie screaming, covered in blood, missing limbs, and writhing from burns. Children shriek as their parents tell them to run, to find safety. But their bodies lay amongst the dead as well. Gazing into nothingness with agony etched into their expressions forevermore.

Elizabeth’s eyes well in tears as she raises a hand to hold back a sob. This is her weakness. Seeing such torment and anguish, it kills her inside. But it also gives her the strength to try and put a stop to it, no matter what. Even if she has to trade her own life. Sucking in a shaky breath, she turns to the little girl in her arms, who hasn’t stopped crying, and begins to set her on her feet. “Stay here. I promise, I’ll save all I can.”

The girl clings to her for seconds longer before her hands loosen. Elizabeth takes that chance to rush headfirst into the chaos as the warm power inside her swirls anxiously, wanting to heal. She doesn’t know whether she should heal the people wounded first or try and save those trapped. Her blue eyes swivel around the area as the people slowly begin to notice her and beg for her help. She decides then, that she’ll trying and find all those trapped and free them. Then she’ll work on everyone who has wounds.

The air is hot and thick, filled to bursting with the smell of death and smoke. Her skin already has a sheen of sweat and she’s sure her hair is beginning to singe the closer she moves to the hellish flames, but she perseveres. As she approaches a crumbling stone structure where the sound of screams can be heard, she begins to cough harshly. She lifts her arms and squints her eyes against the blinding light of the vibrant flames. “It’s okay! I’ll save you!!”

She forces her power out to run along her skin like a shield as she takes a step back. Raising a foot she kicks the wooden door with a brutal force, once, twice, then three times before it gives. Flames roar out in a fury forcing her to raise her arms as the heat rushes past her, ruffling her hair and causing a slight sense of warmth to touch her skin. She’s sure if she hadn’t had her shield, she would have gotten severely burned then.

She’s about to take a step into the glowing house when hands grip her waist firmly, stopping her. She turns her head to the side to see Meliodas standing there with a hard look across his features. She lowers her arms in question, “What...?”

“I’ll get the people out, toss them to you or whatever. You just focus on healing,” He informs her rigidly, not looking at her.

“But—” Her voice is soft as she tries to understand.

“Get going, goddess. People need you.” And then he walks forward without precaution.

Her brows furrow as she tries to follow, but that’s when the stone of the front entrance makes a deafening crack and begin to collapse, sealing the entrance entirely. Her heart squeezes in fear so tightly until she’s fallen to her knees. “NO!!!”

The world seems to spin before her eyes as she struggles to regain her breathing. ‘He’s fine. He’s fine. H-he wouldn’t die that easily to something as simple as this.’ The words cycle through her head over and over as she stares at the soot covered ground, but sees nothing. As her sweat and tears fall in delicate drops unhindered. Then hands are pulling her up as someone begins to plead for her assistance. She inhales shallowly and nods as they lead her away. This is what he told her to do. To help people, save them. This is what she’ll get lost in as she counts the seconds, minutes, and hours until she sees him again. Until she knows he’s alright.

Because if he isn’t, well, frankly she doesn’t know what she’ll do.

~.~.~

She’s so damn self-sacrificing. It’s almost painful to watch really. But he’s known this for a while about her now, so it shouldn’t surprise him that she would want to jump in, no questions asked, to help a little girl do whatever it is she was yapping about. He could have left her, should have left her, but leaving behind Elizabeth is strangely not an option within his mind anymore. He’s searched himself thoroughly and the motivation is not there. He’s bitter about it, but having the goddess around brings a feeling to his chest that he can’t explain. He… likes it, perhaps, but he never lets his mind dwell on such insignificant things for long. Of course, he wants her crushed by his hands, that’s a thing too. But he’s also starting to get a sense of wanting her around regardless. Crushed spirit and all.

So that’s why he chooses to follow her on this silly mission of hers. It leads to classic devastation, something he’s been the cause of quite often actually, so it doesn’t even cause him to flinch. People are moaning and crying about this and that, becoming highly annoying really. He blocks them out in favor of trying to decide how little or how much he’ll offer his hand here.

He hears an explosion of flames not far to his left and it causes something to burst, erupting in the air. His eyes turn to spot it, but it only looks like some sort of pale dust as it settles into the air. He ignores it in favor of heading forward and that’s when he sees her, about to rush into a burning building.

He crosses the distance between the two in a split second, holding her waist tight so she doesn’t risk herself in this place that’s surely about to collapse. He couldn't risk his goddess dying like that.

Of course, she’s confused by his sudden appearance, but he brushes her off, telling her to go help people. Or in other words, go do things that won’t get her killed, while he handles the more life threatening stuff. It’s relatively simple walking past the scorching flames unhindered with the use of his power. Flames are something he can bend to his will as they reside deeply within him. So they’re easily pushed aside as he squints past the bright flickerings that fills the house.

The ground vibrates beneath his feet as he catches the sound of a crash behind him. Just as he suspected. She would have been trapped had he not stopped her. His boots thud on the creaking wood beneath him. The power inside him swirls in a circle around him to his will, allowing him to breathe easily and the heat to be more manageable. Around and around his eyes search the house filled with flaming stones and fallen beams, but he can’t seem to find anything of interest that Elizabeth could have wanted to go in here for.

There are no dead bodies, no ashes to represent them if they’d been burned to bits. In fact… He tilts his head to the side as he wanders in further as much as he can into the destroyed house. It looks as if no one even stayed here before hand. He takes a step forward in confusion, when a sudden vicious cough attacks his lungs. His hand goes to his chest momentarily as he blinks rapidly in bewilderment. He feels something slip inside him as he tries to catch his breath. That’s when his skin begins to singe and his eyes begin to water from the intense strength of the smoke.

He falls to one knee as his hand on his chest tightens. Then the feeling of grappling inside him goes away and he’s able to breathe again as his power becomes even once more. His eyes are wide as he keeps his gaze downward. “What... the fuck was that?” He dares to breathe as he pushes himself to stand again.

It boggles his mind, the strange occurrence, but he pushes it away, deciding to get out of the worthless place. Perhaps put out the flames and find some useless weaklings to save for Elizabeth. The entrance is kicked out of his way effortlessly and he steps out unfalteringly with no signs of what affected him showing up again. He doesn’t see Elizabeth so he assumes she followed his advice. So with her out of the way, he lifts a hand to the building wrapped in inferno as his eyes attain and unnatural glow.

An intense pressure begins to surround the building as his cold darkness slinks forward, coming in contact with the heated flames. He wears a dark smile as violet glows from his extended hand. With a curl of his fingers he wills his power to begin engulfing the blaze so that it can be his to wield and his to disperse.

But nothing happens.

Meliodas’ expression turns from darkly amused to boorishly vexed. He thrusts more of his power outward but the results remain the same. The hellish flames thrash onwards unhindered, silently mocking his efforts. He snatches his hand back with a snarl and turns away. He doesn’t even know why he’s trying to help in the first place. He told Elizabeth this stuff happens all the time. But still…

He gazes down at his hand as the glow in his eyes gradually dims and his power recedes, curling almost angrily inside himself once more. He should have been able to control those flames with ease. Something prickles his senses about the oddities he’s noticed, but he shrugs it off carelessly. He’ll try again with the next house.

This one’s empty anyway.

 

 

Chapter Text

~17~

-What Pain Helps You See-

She comes to realize there are more people here wounded than she originally assumed.

A single man practically drags her into the crowd of mortally wounded with a desperate look upon his face. Usually humans aren't so assertive towards goddesses and especially not demons, but she gets the feeling that these people only see two options: life or death. So their brash behaviors are easily looked over as she kneels down where he's taken her. The sounds of painful moans swell and shift all around her, like a mournful song. It chills her insides and quickly urges her to clasp her hands together before her in seek of the warmth inside her.

It comes to her easily like a pleasant blaze. Surprised shouts sound around her as she surely begins to glow brighter and exhibit a pair of downy wings. She pays it no mind as she gets lost within the nurturing of her nature however. "Please, it'll be alright. I'll heal you all," she breathes out as soothingly as a calming wind to the heat of their wounds. She stays at ease as her power begins to shoot outward, rushing to those she sense are in dire need of assistance. Vivid points in her mind tell her of where they are and she easily guides her energy towards them with a soft smile for the ending of their suffering.

She's harshly thrust out of her tranquil state by the abrupt sound of wails piercing her ears from all sides. Her hands fall to her sides as her eyes snap open. What she sees more than causes her grief. It causes her very spirit to dissolve into a broken mess.

Her light settles over the ailing people like a haze, just barely touching them as she didn't truly have a chance to guide it into them. But they all seem to recoil from it in sheer torment, writhing like never before with tortured screams. Elizabeth doesn't understand why they're reacting in such a way. She's only trying to help them!

As she stands in trembling fear, her hold on her power slips and the haze of magic over the people disappears, much to their apparent relief.

"Help! Please help us!" They still screech as they weakly claw at their aggravated wounds. Their loved ones beside them, the few that aren't too badly injured, turn pleading eyes in her direction. She's instantly falling to her knees beside a woman who looks as if she'd been eaten slowly by the flames.

Elizabeth pushed past the doubt that creeps up inside her as she lightly places her hands over the twitching woman. Even with such a light touch, the woman begins to scream in agony. And Elizabeth can no longer hold back her tears. "It's a-alright. I'll help." She closes her eyes as her magic pushes forward. Elizabeth prays for this woman's suffering to end from the depths of her heart. However her eyes are forced open as the woman's twitching turns to thrashing, and she begins to cry out in a pained throat, "HEELLP!"

Elizabeth's shoulders shake as she closes her eyes against the image of the woman's skin beginning to blister instead of mend. "I'm s-sorry! I'm trying!" She sounds tiny as she pleads, but she grits her teeth against the shattering inside of her. She can't give up! She won't let her die! She knows she can help! That's what she's meant to do. But why isn't it working then? Why does she feel the warm touch of her power sinking into the woman pleasantly and yet the sheer pain she hears is enough to tear her apart?

The woman's voice rises, higher and higher, until it turns into sickening hacks. Elizabeth doesn't abate her power, but she does open her eyes, no matter how blurry her vision. Elizabeth shrieks at the sight right in front of her and stumbles back onto her rear like a frightened child. The woman is nothing more than open skin and oozing blood rushing towards her agonized death. Elizabeth watches, petrified, as the woman takes her last slow, pained breaths.

Then she ceases to move.

Elizabeth can't look away. Those screams continue to play back in her mind, over and over. She killed her. Tortured her. Forced her magic inside the suffering woman, which ate away at her insides, tore through her skin, and melted her flesh like some kind of vile acid. Elizabeth brings her hands to her face as he insides lurch. She's strangled by the hands of guilt without a fight. She'll gladly let them pull her down if it'll make this horrible feeling inside her go away. That woman had a chance to live, but Elizabeth took it away. She took it all away.

Hands abruptly grab her quaking shoulders and hall her to her feet as she sobs. But they do not bring comfort as they shove her down. They only force the oppressive sounds of the dying more painfully onto her as they demand, "Save my daughter!"

Elizabeth jerks back with a horrified shriek, but the hands keep her in place, making her look through tear stained eyes at the little blond girl missing a leg and bleeding out profusely. Her heart twists as her body shakes with the force of her terror. She never used to be afraid of her power, but maybe... maybe it's her doubt that's causing all this then?

"Please!" The man who dragged her begs from behind her.

Elizabeth swallows back everything. The image of the woman's death, the pleading screams, her worries, her fears, and her reservations, even her wish for someone to tell her she's worrying for nothing... For that someone to be Meliodas.

Elizabeth runs a gentle hand through the girl's hair, seeing that she's unconscious, but still hoping to sooth her. Then she takes a deep breath, bolstering her courage and moves her hands over the girl's leg. She pushes her power out slowly, thinking that maybe she forced it too quickly before which had adverse effects. Her heart is in the right place as usual, so she just knows this is going to work this time.

So the moment her warmth trickles right into the girl's wound, Elizabeth doesn't let herself falter as the girl begins to whimper. She keeps her power steady, her breathing even, her heart from breaking as she wills herself to believe that this one will be saved. After a little more time and her shaky resolve holds, she decides to open her eyes. Just in time for the girl to start crying and to see the wound worse than before. The shock that goes through her heart is like an instinct that urges her power out quicker than she wants. And the girl's crying all but morphs into screaming as she opens her green eyes.

Elizabeth's breathing slips from out of her control as she watches in horror as the wound begins to slowly crawl up the child's leg in thick gashes. "No! S-stop!" Elizabeth whimpers as she tries to get everything back under her power.

"D-daddy!" The little girl wails as her body begins to struggle, trying to move away from the pain. The shaggy haired man rests right behind her suddenly as he tries to comfort her with shaking hands.

Elizabeth turns away from the heartbreaking sight as her power comes out in fluctuations. Pushing outwards more and more with the panic that causes her heart to lodge into her throat and envelopes the girl in a glimmering glow. 'Please. Please! PLEASE!' The words pounds in her mind like a desperate beat as she watches with a pallor as the girl's leg begins to turn a sickly purple so dark Elizabeth's certain it's black, and it begins to feel as if she's sitting in a deep pool of warm blood.

"Help her!" The startling command from the father only makes her crumble into herself more. She can only do so much with the way her hands are shivering. And with how hard her heart's straining, it feels as if she won't be able to go on watching these people's suffering. Elizabeth can't let herself be that way though, because if she gives into the utter devastation creeping up in her, these people will have no hope at all.

But then why is it that she can almost feel the little girl's heart as it stutters and splutters its last beats? She's forced to glance up from the dire wound that leaks unhindered and into the blond's face as her green eyes begin to go hazy. The shallow way her chest used to rise up and down quickly, now coming to a steady stop, causes Elizabeth's own breathing to cease as burning trails of sorrow rush down her pale cheeks. The sound of the father's anguish is what halts Elizabeth's powers in their tracks and she just slumps.

The girl… didn't make it. No. She was killed. And by her very own hands again. Elizabeth doesn't even feel the destruction that wreaks havoc inside her. Nor the abysmal heartache or the bottomless grief. She simply feels numb, as hot tears leak from her eyes in a never ending cycle.

She doesn't know how long she sits there like an empty shell of a former goddess, but when hands grasp her again and pull her to her next victim, she dimly wonders if this is something she brought onto herself. If she'll be stuck, forced to kill helpless innocents, for the rest of eternity. By then she's sure there'll be nothing left of her to salvage.

~.~.~

Meliodas tosses a man to the ground ignoring his pained grunt as he turns back towards the house. The man had been rather annoying to get being stuck on the second floor, backing away from Meliodas who regretted even wasting his time more and more with each pathetic person her runs into. He'd finally grabbed the insufferable human entirely filled to the brim with impatience by then. That's when things became tricky. It was as if his very insides wavered and he couldn't even find the strength to lift the guy let alone stand on his own two feet.

In that time he'd wondered why. Why was he doing this? It would have been more than fine to stand back and watch the wretched human burn, but instead something inside him was reduced to a shivering mess as coughs once again attacked him. Freezing and burning hot he'd felt in that terrible moment. Not once has he been sick before, but then he'd known what it felt like to be rendered completely helpless as something tore through your system.

And then it was gone. As if it'd never been there before.

Meliodas regards the crumbling house critically as the man he'd spared from death attempts to slink away like a coward behind him. Something is wrong here. His fists tighten as he watches the flames and they reflect brightly within his coal black eyes. It can't be ignored this time either. "But what is it?" He mutters severely. What could be affecting him in such a way that he's starting to feel, even now, the trickling of chills in his blood that causes shivers to run along his form imperceptibly?

"I don't know what's wrong here, but I'm going to find it and crush it," he decides as he thrusts his hand out to face the inferno consuming the building. Using a different tactic as his eyes begin to glow, Meliodas stands erect as winds begin to pick up around him. Steadily rising in speed as they pick up dust and throw stray boards around, Meliodas guides the demonic winds to encircle the house expertly. The grey twister with flickers of violet spin rapidly in place as Meliodas wishes it.

He stands firm as his eyes grow steely. He'll smother those flames then, if they refuse to bend to his will. Slowly his fingers curl as the deafening winds tussles his appearance wildly and the twister begins to contract around the house, giving no room for air to fuel the inferno. He's certain his idea is working as his power fluctuates gleefully within him. That's when he hears an explosion a distance to his right. He doesn't look, barely acknowledge it.

Until his next breath refuses to come to him.

All forms of control are gone as his hand twitches then races to his chest. Meliodas falls to his knees as his twister disperses and the vibrant flames reclaim their place bigger and stronger than before. His skin burns as the fury of the house blazes outward in a vicious roar. The pain washes through him easily though as his mind's fully occupied with the way his insides are jittering. And how it's taking a ridiculous amount of effort to keep himself from collapsing fully.

He can't place it no matter how many times his mind runs over the facts. There shouldn't be anything able to affect him like this. His fists clench and claw at the dry and dead dirt as he feels something suck his power from him in tiny, but notable pulls. It's like noticing a leak that can't be sealed no matter how hard you try. Truly maddening to the demon who forces himself to stand anyway because he refuses to be rendered weak.

His breathing is labored and his hands shake regardless of his efforts to stop them. In spite of all this he gazes around murderously for some source of all of this. But he only sees a dying village and it dying people filing it. But, to him, this begins to feel odd as well. Sweat runs along his skin as he freezes on the inside, but Meliodas fight against it as he walks towards two wounded. He disregards their reactions of terror at his appearance and instead inspects them closely as the sense of wrong continues to nag him about the place.

They don't seem much different than usual. Pathetic, weak, dying, but then something twinges inside him as a sort of realization. He almost brushes it off as the tight way his chest seizes as another fit of coughs takes him, but no it's something else. It's so tiny one would easily look past it and it's a mistake on his part that he did.

Just to be sure... Meliodas extends his hand towards the cowering couple as his voice grows dark and his tongue changes to that of the demonic clan. His darkness punctures them easily as they give strangled cries, but he doesn't intend on killing them exactly. No, he's seeking something that'll prove to him whether his gut is right. And as he harshly jerks his darkness back, expecting to see their white fluffy souls, only to come up empty handed, he knows his assumption is right.

This village is all some kind of illusion. Some sort of a hellish trap.

Meliodas, enraged, begins to march, or more like stumble despite his best efforts, in the direction of the town's center where most of the people have gathered to die. And where Elizabeth most likely is. How could he have let himself get pulled into this insanity? He's better than this, smarter than this. But that damn goddess, it always leads to her in the end. She's the reason they're in this mess. The reason why he's stumbling like some weakling because he can't fight past the chill that courses inside him.

The center of town is filled exactly as he imagined it and reeking of death too. He only cares about reaching one person though and he doesn't care if he has to kill his way to get to her. These people aren't real, aren't alive, so it doesn't really matter one way or another to him. He can see her now, her expression beyond pained as tears streak down her exhausted face. She's foolish for trying to save them. Just as he thought before.

His steps are less than graceful as he picks his way through the people to her. She doesn't seem to notice him as she cries harshly over a man who refuses to heal. Something seems familiar about that too. "Goddess, we—" The words barely make it past his lips before her head snaps up in complete disbelief. Then he's momentarily stunned by the look of utter relief that washes across her features. And then she's throwing her arms around him, nearly toppling him over from his lack of strength. His mind reels. 'What the hell is wrong with her? This place's driving her mad or something?'

"You're alive! I thought you were dead…" She tells him and her voice sounds so sore, as if she's been crying for ages.

He remains stiff, but then his mind spins in a dizzying way and he's sure he'd stumble if her arms weren't around him. Whatever's draining his power is getting strong. They don't have time for all of this. "You actually thought I'd die in a place like this?" he bites out harshly even if his breathing is a bit rough.

She pulls back then as if remembering herself and he sees the way her expression twists in torment from the things she's no doubt had to go through. "People keep dying! I c-can't help them! I don't know… I don't know why!" She tells him weakly with a hint of hysteria creeping into her voice.

His lips frowns in a scowl. "Elizabeth. Don't be stupid. You can't save these things."

She all but recoils as she draws further back from him. "Things!? These things are people! And they are hurt and need help!"

"They aren't—" He tries to tell her as his anger rises.

"I wouldn't expect you to understand, but everyone deserves a chance to live, to be saved. It's cold hearted monsters like you that I have to try and protect these people from."

He musters up a sneer. "Look at yourself! Why are you letting these things drag you down!? You're so damn useless!"

Shock flashes through her by the way her eyes widen. And then she's cold, hard, and unreachable to him as she lets herself be dragged down to another puppet in this craziness. "Just leave. You'll only make things worse here anyway." She snaps out cuttingly as her eyes go back to the blood and death that rises up to swallow her.

Meliodas stares at her with an unreadable expression as his eyes unwillingly turn down. He did all of this for her. His hands fist uncomfortably at his sides as the coiling heat of anger begins to rush beneath his skin, mixing uneasily with the sick twisting that still runs rampant inside him. Why did he even waste his time on this worthless goddess of all things? He let her get her way here and this is what she does. She thinks she has the right to treat him anyway she pleases. Well, he'll show her. He'll leave her here, let this place chew her up and spit her out. Then he'll collect her shattered pieces and break them, as many times as it takes, until there's nothing left of her "righteous attitude".

He marches through the people, uncaring of much of anything anymore as his arm wraps around his torso to try and hold the unstableness he feels inside together. His sights are solely set on the forest's edge as he takes one breath at a time, hating the feel of the cold sweat that layers his skin. It's when his hand reaches out to steady himself upon a tree that a terrible sensation washes over the area like an omen. Meliodas inhales deeply as he spins around, still leaning on the tree and simply watches as everything that was the crumbling village begins to melt away.

The houses, the fire, the dying people, begin to vanish before his eyes. It doesn't surprise him in the slightest. But the sight of more than a small army of those creatures standing where the people once were, causes his stomach to sink. They're of varying sizes and he's chagrined to see more of those towering creatures they'd dealt with before, and Elizabeth only just managed to escape. His eyes flick to her then and he forces himself to stand straight in seeing her scrambling back from the creatures that were once people she strived to save. He shakes his head as another thing clicks. That's why they were so adverse to her light. Of course.

Whoever managed to set this up sure went through a hell of a lot of trouble just for them. And then he wonders, 'Could it be the same person behind the creatures?'

Elizabeth's on her feet with her sword in her hand, but even from here he can see her hands shaking. He steels himself as his arm extends out to his side and the familiar sensation of his sword's hilt resting in his hand comes to him. Ignoring the impurities in his system, Meliodas dashes forward with an expression born from years of slaughter. His immense blade is as light as a feather in his hold as he slashes it horizontally through the air. The shockwave sends the smaller creatures that surround Elizabeth flying back with howls. Those massive bastards in the back only seem to become agitated however, which causes him to grimace.

Elizabeth's knocked to her knees, and he only gives her a brief look before he turns back to the battle ahead of them. "Handle yourself, goddess. Take care of the little nuisances. Or was all that power before just for show?" He bates her. They only have seconds. 'Get up damn it!'

She finally rises and he can see her expression smoothing into a determined one, but the way she holds her weapon gives her away. She's still affected by these creatures, but he doesn't have time to worry about that. Meliodas is light on his feet when he engages the hulking creatures in battle.

He leaps at them and the sound of their infuriated howls as he slashes his sword across one, then stabs another in his descent, cause him to twitch in annoyance. He lands roughly on his feet as the feel of exhaustion weighing on him merely agitates him more. They aren't supposed to get angry, they're supposed to be in pain and he hates to admit he knows why they aren't trembling before him as they should.

He feels a movement behind him and dashes forward to avoid an attack, only his feet seem to get tangled under him as his vision wavers for a second too long. He cries out as one of them brutally swipes at his back, easily tearing through his skin with the substance that drips from them in heaps. The force sends him tumbling across the harsh ground. His world is spinning a lot more than it should so he decides to rely on his other senses more heavily as he quickly rises to his feet.

He dodges to his left, just barely getting sliced upon his arm as the creatures move around him, attempting to surround him. He laughs breathlessly and cruelly as he eyes them intensely. "Just because something's sapping me of my power doesn't mean I'll let you all take me down so easily." he growls darkly as he extends his sword forward. Violet flames race along it in a violent surge. "I'll prove it to you."

The beings all charge at him at once forcing him to jump straight up in the air to avoid an untimely demise. With his sword raised, he swipes his blade in a circle, forcing massive balls of inferno to embed themselves into more than half of the creatures. "Death's Eruption." He declares in a menacing voice. Instantly the balls of flames explode, causing fire and deadly black ooze to rain from the sky.

As he descends a frown rises to his face as he notices that he conjure fewer balls of flames than he normally can. It's a fleeting thought as he delves inside himself for the darkness that'll cause his dark wings to emerge. The rush of the ground becomes more imperative to his mind as he realizes he used up more power than he assumed and he won't be able to spare himself in that way. "Shit!"

He's saved from the crushing impact of the ground only by the savage blow of one of his opponents sending him soaring. He can't even cry out as the breath was viciously knocked out him. His left hand grows slack and his sword vanishes from his grip leaving him utterly helpless. He feels more than a sense of disgust towards himself as he lands no better than a weak creature upon the ground.

How could he let himself be tossed around so easily? He's the next fucking demon king and this is what he's reduced to? Meliodas breathes haggardly on hands and knees, quivering in both loss of strength and rage at this pitiful situation. The sound of howls and screeches from the creatures as Elizabeth undoubtedly sends them through a fiery hell of an ending doesn't even cause him to stir from his incensed state.

Even his anger which usually brings about his power in unstoppable waves doesn't stop him from falling forward into a crumpled heap when his chest tightens to the point of sheer agony. He hears them then, as they approach to finish him off. With a bitter laugh he forces himself to his side so that he can see them in all their snarling glory. Except his eyes land on her. And it becomes clear to him that she put herself through the very depths of hell to take out every one of those minuscule creatures.

But as one of the massive beasts loom over her with a killing intent, the petrified look she wears fills him with something indescribable.

One of the creatures left that surrounds him blocks his view of Elizabeth as it gives a screeching howl of bloodthirsty desire for his end. Meliodas finds himself rising as everything is forced back, everything but the frightened image of Elizabeth. Something bursts forth from him in a fierce wave, the last of his reserves maybe. He hardly gives it a thought as his path becomes clear and the feel of those beasts begin to wash away.

She returns to his view once more and it causes that feeling inside him to swell. He can see the beast about to strike, its formless body shifting wildly as something begins to protrude from it: a thick spear like shape. Elizabeth doesn't move. Meliodas pushes himself towards her as fast as he can. Against the winded feel of his lungs, against the lead weight of his limbs, against the dizzy sense in his mind, he runs.

'Move damn it! Move! MOVE!' His mind screams at her as he sees Elizabeth close her eyes in loss of hope.

The creature moves far faster than he wants to believe and he can imagine her life ending, right there. His mind shatters. 'No. No!' "NO!" He bellows overwhelmingly.

And then he's right in front of her as something jolts his body violently. The extreme pain that radiates throughout him is almost a relief. It means that he didn't fail. Elizabeth is alive.

Chapter Text

~18~

-The Blaze Of Their Challenge-

'So this is how I die.’ She gives an unsteady exhale, ‘By the hands of a creature. I really am pathetic. I couldn't even save those people.' Elizabeth shudders as she closes her eyes, seeing the massive beast preparing to strike. She doesn't put up a resistance knowing that she simply doesn't have it in her to take it down; all of her determination, her hope, her force of will withered away with each death she’s had to see, with each death by her hand. ‘Meliodas was right... I am useless. I'm not even worth saving anymore. At least... At least he's safe and he'll make it out of this.'

She breathes a little easier in knowing this. She may not have been able to save anything here today, but at least she won't take Meliodas down with her. The creature gives a terrifying roar that washes over her as the last thing she'll ever hear. The air grows tense with the counting down of her life emphasized by the weary beats of her heart. Then there's the sound of a wet crunch mixed with a grunt.

And she opens her eyes and wishes for it all to be a nightmare, because her heart can't possibly remain beating with the sight of Meliodas' chest torn clean through.

She doesn't even notice the tears falling as she gapes in horror at how much deep crimson there is spreading out from the thick spear protruding from his chest. Her eyes trail to his mouth where more of the vivid red trails sluggishly. And then she catches his eyes. They look almost—She clutches a quaking hand over her mouth, muffling the sob that threatens to escape as her emotions build and build and build—He looks relieved. There’s no disguising the wail that burns her throat and causes her fingers to tremble over her lips damp in salty moisture.

The beast gives a seemingly pleased howl as it pulls its spear free, spraying the darkening world in a vivid show of crimson. She sees Meliodas' face cringe as the only thing keeping him up is yanked free leaving him to fall forward. But Elizabeth bursts forward to catch him, making their descent to the ground under his weight as painless as possible for him. She clings to him tightly, pulling him to her chest as her tears no doubt begin to rain down on him. With a helpless little cry she reaches inside herself for her power and conjures her wings. It takes a bit of effort, but she gets them both into the sky just as the monster takes another swipe at them.

“I won't let you hurt him. Not again.” She whispers somberly into the locks of Meliodas’ head that’s tousled by the wind. Trees pass below them in a rapid blur, but her focus is on the demon she holds as securely to her chest as she can. Panic swirls through her as she tries to understand his thought process. Why? Why would he do such a thing for her? She sniffs harshly as the setting sun clipping past the treetops does nothing to warm her. Nothing at all.

Fear steals her breaths and tightens her throat as she tries to find a place for them to land.  She can already feel his blood starting to soak through her clothes and cling to her skin. Why isn't he healing himself? It’s a chilling realization that causes her to grip him tighter as her eyes swirl for a place in desperation. There! A lake catches her eyes and she immediately flies them towards it without another thought.

She feels his face slightly nuzzle against her as the evening air turns slightly biting in her rapid descent. His entire body gives a violent shiver that has her sobbing in pain for him. “...lizabeth...”

The word is soft, almost carried away by the wind when she finally lands, and she's surprised he even managed to say it. It actually causes the panic inside her to still for just a moment and she can truly think. "M-Meliodas?" She breathes into his ear as she brings them to the ground beside the water. She’s terrified to look at his wound but she forces herself because if his demonic power hasn’t kicked in to begin sealing it, then she’ll have to do something about it.

She musters the courage and her watery blue eyes glance at his chest and she nearly breaks down. There’s so much blood! There’s no way, no way he should still be alive. The thought causes something inside her to crack and then crumble completely as her hands grow terribly cold. She presses them to his face, begging him silently to open his eyes. Because if she opens her mouth, she knows she’ll be reduced to a weeping mess.

Her eyes flick to the water beside them and the idea to try and use it to clean his wounds comes to mind. She quickly leans down and takes off his boots and quickly kicks off hers. She grips him under his arms, hating the way he stays limp in her hold, and begins to pull him into the water after her. The water is chilling and she hopes it doesn’t make him worse with how much blood he’s already lost.

She wraps an arm around his torso and presses his head to her shoulder. She breathes shakily as she notices quite quickly the amount of red that begins to dissolves into the water around them. Using her free hand, she rubs her hands as gently along his burns then the gaping wound in his chest. She gives a little cry that she tries to hide in his hair at the grotesque feel of it. There’s no way this water is going to help that.

She needs to heal him, that’s clear. But she’s afraid it’ll do the same thing to him as it did to the others and she’d never be able to forgive herself if he died such a horrendous death. But she can’t sit back and do nothing. She won’t. Elizabeth swims them out of the lake, making sure to pull Meliodas snug to her chest.  They’re sopping wet and the night air isn’t exactly the warmest, but she’ll keep him warm with her body heat if that’s what it takes.

Even though her heart’s a fragile mess in her chest, something inside her begins to burn, hotter and hotter until it can no longer be contained with her desire to see him safe. In a fiery eruption, it surges forth from beneath her skin, enveloping her in a golden reminiscent to that of the sun. She pushes the warmth of her healing inside him and prays for his survival. Prays for his life.

She begs for him to live.

Meliodas... D-Don't die!” She whimpers as she feels her heart quickly beginning to break. Her body quivers as she curls as much as she can around him. ‘What am I going to do if I lose him over my own weakness?’

“Urgh…”

The sound causes her head to shoot up. She stares down at Meliodas’ face with keen eyes and feels her heart beginning to pick up pace at noticing the more lively color there and the little twitches in his expression as he scrunches his nose from time to time. She doesn’t dare breathe. With a shaking hand she runs it along the side of his face and he reacts by leaning into it, turning his face into it almost entirely actually. “M-Meliodas?” She calls out with a watery smile.

“...Why the hell is it so bright? And so cold...” He responds almost groggily, his words sticking together in some places.

She inhales quickly in such relief she nearly feels dizzy. She doesn’t care about his brash question of all things, in fact it causes her to laugh breathlessly. She lets her power sink back into her and it becomes dimmer as evening begins to settle in more around them. And then finally, finally, Meliodas begins to open his eyes. She only realizes tears are flooding down her cheeks again, when Meliodas gives her an exasperated look as his hand reaches up and brushes them away. “What are you crying for now? It’s such a disgusting habit you know.”

Her arms encircle his shoulders quickly, causing him to stiffen as her emotions begin to run wild. She can’t even think straight from the bursts of relief that flood through her, or the pure elation that warms her skin at having him back exactly as he should be. “You almost died, Meliodas! You could have died…” She says the words quietly into his shoulder as the knowledge seeps into her. He’s the most powerful being she’s come across, but he can still be hurt. She can still lose him.

And then she hears him scoff as his hands grip her sides. His fingers twitch as if he doesn’t know whether to hold her close or push her back. Either way, the feel of his finger burning through her shirt and into her chilled skin is more than a pleasing sensation to Elizabeth. “You thought I would die to that? It takes more than that to take me out. It didn’t even hurt too much,” He tries to play it off with a confident laugh as she pulls back to look into his eyes. He’s just as haughty as always as he smirks at her. “You worry too much over the silliest things.”

“Silly…” She barely manages to bring herself to whisper as her eyes continue to stare at him in rapidly forming clarity. He believes her worry over the lives of others is silly, foolish even. He thinks her worry for him is laughable. Her grip on his soggy coat turns strangling as her knuckles pale to a bony white hue. All of her dizzying relief shifts and changes into something more tense, more sharp as it runs beneath her skin. She peers into Meliodas’ bottomless pools for eyes and feels a distinct feeling of rage beginning to rise within her. “You, Meliodas, are absolutely the biggest ass I have ever had the disgrace to encounter,” Her teeth grit as her words blaze outward, emphasizing the sear of her glare into his eyes.

At her verbal attack, Meliodas’ atmosphere drops below that of freezing, and his hands gripping her sides become biting. “Oh, really? Why is it, then, that I find myself having to witness your ridiculous antics again and again.”

“Ridiculous antics?” Elizabeth visibly quavers in her wavering restraint. Once again he’s dismissing her actions as pointless, weak, and inane. She’s fucking had enough of him.

“Oh, yeah. Did you not just lay your defenses down before an enemy? You are pathetic and a disgrace to your race, goddess.” He sneers with a smugness that only makes the rising storm inside her that much harder to control.

“That’s because of you, you damn demon!” She shouts positively enraged. Her face fills with the heat of her seething emotions. “I never used to make mistakes like this until you came along!! Everything that’s happened is because of you!!”

Me?” He gazes at her with pure derision, the sneer of his lips nearly causing her to see red.

She uses her hold to shake him as a muffled growl escapes her throat. “Yes, damn it!! I can’t believe how absolutely stupid I was to try and save you!!”

“That’s something we can agree on.” Something flashes in his eyes as they narrow to the bitter tone of his voice.

Her reaction is instantaneous as she lifts a hand and smacks it across his face. The anger is pounding so hard in her head she can’t even begin to form a rational thought. The fury she sees in his expression as his eyes burn into her does nothing to calm her down. Using the same hand she used to hit him with, she points it right in his face. “That right there! That’s what I can’t stand the most! I saved you and you don’t even have the decency to be grateful!”

What? You expect me to be grateful? The only reason I was even hurt was trying to save your useless existence,” he retorts in a volume that crashes into her roughly.

She shakes her head slowly as her emotions begin to sink in her weighing her down heavily when she draws back from him. “Why do I even bother with you? You’ll only bring me down.”

Something in his expression changes imperceptibly, but the seriousness in his tone is definitely noticeable. “No, you are responsible for your own downfall, your own failures, your own fears. I’ll admit you do have a considerable strength, but what you lack is the nerve.”

Her eyes narrow as she eyes him critically. “The nerve? I’ve never once hesitated in battle!” The words taste sour on her tongue but she boasts them strongly.

“That’s a damn lie and you know it,” His face is suddenly before hers as he speaks smoothly, darkly, forcing her broken truths and shameful lies down her throat painfully. She tries to look away, but then his lips curve up and she can see the superiority rising once more in his expression. It causes something to twist inside her unpleasantly. “You act so confident, so brave before everyone else, but I know better. When push comes to shove, when it’s something you can’t fight your way out of, you crumble under the pressure.”

His chuckle echoes in her ears as she gazes at him with wide stricken eyes. But he’s not finished with her. He never is.

“Even if it’s something you want you can’t even find the courage to go after it. Even with us, in our most intimate moments... you never had the nerve to kiss me.

She recoils back in shock as her face flares. “What??”

He laughs cruelly, stirring that inner sensation inside her once more, and she realizes it’s that dreaded sense of pure want and loathing all mixed up. “You’re afraid of me. You’re too weak. You’d never have the gall to do it, goddess.” He taunts her with a vicious gleam in his eyes at having come out on top once again.

Elizabeth stares down as her hands slip down his shoulders and onto the tatters of his coat covering his chest where they hold on tightly until her fingers begin to numb. Again and again he’s tried to demean her and lower her beneath him. And over and over she’s tried to rise up and show him that he’s dead wrong. That she’s powerful, she’s strong. She can put him in his place. But is that really true? Shouldn’t she have felt accomplished by now? At least some sense that she can overcome whatever he throws at her? ‘Prove him wrong…’ something whispers in her mind suddenly, jolting every sense in her body.

Her breathing begins to pick up slightly as the idea runs wildly in her mind. Would it be so bad if she just…? Her eyes glance down for the slightest of moments. And then she’s pushing herself forward, with a fierce determination, sealing their lips together as if it’s the last moment of their lives. Tingles race along her skin like a burning shock, stealing her breath away and fluttering her heart. She shivers at the feel of Meliodas’ hands tightening on her sides as he sucks in a slow breath through his nose, before guiding their lips together again more firmly. Her hands slip back up to his shoulders to brace herself at the feel of his tongue gliding along the seam of her lips. His teeth then send a jolt of heat through her when they pull her lower lip into his mouth, sucking and nipping on her tender flesh, slowly, patiently, as if he’s in no rush. He could spend as long as he needs mapping out every inch of her mouth sensually.

The very thought tugs a moan from her, low and eager. Surely she’s losing her mind?

Elizabeth peels her eyes open, which she hadn’t even realized were closed, just a sliver to see Meliodas gazing at her through dark hooded eyes. She finds a heated promise there that pulls her in like the overwhelming draw of a black hole. She’d be helpless to resist him. Then his pull on her relinquishes temporarily as his eyes slide shut. The deep guttural groan he makes as he slants his mouth over hers is simply erotic. And the sudden sensation of his tongue delving into her mouth has her clinging to him, desperate for support.

His hands easily lift her up and place her onto his lap as his mouth becomes more aggressive on hers. She shudders as his tongue becomes more demanding, pressing into her as he works her mouth in a way that has her moaning for him, wanting, no needing, more. His deep chuckle rumbles in his throat, sending vibrations through her pleasantly. It also causes something to click in her mind when she feels his hand slide down and grip her backside with a roughness that sets her on fire.

Even though she took the initiative, he’s still winning.

She gives a passionate hum as she thrusts a hand up and in the back of his wild locks. ‘Not for long…’ She grips and tugs his hair harshly as she begins to suck on his tongue positioned so deeply in her mouth. The pleased groan he gives is only the beginning as she uses her free hand to quickly undo the remaining buttons on his coat, pushing the material open to expose his firm torso. Her hand splays against the warm skin she finds, tracking her fingers down the ridges of his muscles teasingly. In an instant she decides, pulling back as she slowly trails her tongue across his lower lip. His mouth tastes wonderful and is so addicting… She needs to compare that flavor to the rest of him.

Elizabeth is quick to drag her mouth across the hard edge of his jaw before he can regain the upper hand. Her kisses become forceful as the thrill of touching Meliodas in such a way sends sharp pulses straight between her twitching legs. Her tongue presses and swirls and her teeth nip and bite as she moves down the curve of his neck to his shoulder marking as much of his skin as she can. She lets her tongue tease a particularly sensitive spot on his collar bone, and at that precise moment he rewards her with a sound she’s sure will play in her dreams for nights to come. Her entire body goes rigid and she has to force down the need to beg him, to plead with him, to have her screaming beneath him.

Instead she uses the sudden burst of raw lust fraying at her nerves to shove his coat back until he’s forced to let her go in order to get it off. That’s the split second window she needs to completely take control. Before he can reclaim her in his grasp, Elizabeth gives him a devious look as fire stirs in her belly wildly. “Let me show you who’s on top here…” she purrs seductively.

Quickly her hands push his shoulders until he’s lying flat on the moist grassy ground. The heated shock in his eyes fills her lungs rapidly with an insatiable need that drives her lips down to his taut chest. She moans against him as her hands tense against his shoulders, her legs spread on either side of his waist as she sucks against his flesh, ravenous. Meliodas shudders beneath her and she whimpers as her need for him begins to moisten her core at the sound of his breathy groan. “Mmm… Elizabeth…”

She drags her teeth across his nipples, getting lost in the consuming sensations his tiny twitches and silent curses forcefully send through her body. Her panting breaths wash across his heated skin as she moves downward. The desire clouding her mind urges her further and further towards the hardness she can feel pressing rigidly up against his pants. With a wanton moan her hands reach the hem of the material.

And that’s when her world suddenly spins as he grips her at her sides and forces her onto her back with a breathy chuckle of his own. His mouth his hot and moist as it kisses her ear, teasing the sensitive flesh with his tongue as he traces it slowly around the shell. She has to bite her lip in a failed attempt to muffle her pleased whimper. He lets her feel him as he slides up between her legs against her heated mound. Her hands shoot up to his shoulders as she squeals.

“I think it’s time I prove who’ll be on top here, Elizabeth.” The dark coil of his voice is enough to have her desire seep from her readily. She gazes up at Meliodas through lustful eyes when he moves to loom over her. She’s more than ready when his mouth crashes against hers, the pure aggression of him rendering her completely breathless. Her hands slowly trail along the tight muscle of his arms, shivering at the wonderful feel. She tilts her head, letting him have his way with her... For now. This is what she’s wanted... For so very long. Nothing is going to stop her from having him this time.

Nothing.

His hands push lightly along her stomach on their way up, causing her to take slow breaths or risk becoming overwhelmed. It’s a lost effort however. The moment he reaches her breasts, her mouth moves a hair’s breadth from his as she squeaks at him ripping her shirt open and then off her form. She feels his lips curve up against hers as he laughs softly and she can only stare up with a mouth slightly agape at his brashness. She can’t deny, however, that it makes her thighs clench around his legs as heat continues to pulse through her increasingly higher with every move they make.

Now bare to him, Meliodas wastes no time in trailing his lips down, down, until her breaths begin to hitch in anticipation as he reaches the top of her breasts. She gives a long sigh when she feels his tongue trail just a bit further until finally he reaches her peak. Elizabeth quivers as she allows herself to gaze down. And it’s as if he was waiting for her eyes to meet his, because at that moment she watches him suck her nipple into his mouth as he groans as if it’s the most sublime thing he’s ever done. She raises a shaking hand to cover her moan, whimpering as she uses her leg’s hold on his waist to roll her aching core against him.

His hand immediately goes to her hip to keep her still, much to her rising frustration. Then he raises an eyebrow and she feels his tongue flick repeatedly against her sensitive bud. Her eyes slide closed as she gives in with a broken moan. Then his teeth are tugging against her flesh with just the right amount of pressure to have her head falling back as she tries desperately to buck against him. Her chest heaves into his mouth and the grip of his other hand massages and kneads her roughly, until the pulsing flame inside her is all she can think of. And it’s simply driving her crazy.

Her face is flushed when she feels his moist lips begin to glide down her twitching belly. “Meliodas… ohh…”

He gives her bellybutton a deep kiss as he laughs and her mind clears for long enough to remember. She’s losing. Damn it! She releases her grip on the grass beside her and tries to clear her hazy vision. That’s when she notices he has a hold on her skirt. ‘I’m not going to lose that easily, demon…’ She sits up, surprising him enough to give her the opening to slide her hand between them and palm his length through his pants. He goes completely still as his eyes grow cloudy with crippling need.

Sliding from beneath him as she slowly rubs her hand along him, pulling out a deep groan from his throat, is surprisingly easy. Elizabeth pushes him to his back and doesn’t squander a second longer in undoing his pants. She tugs them down enough until his length springs free causing her mouth to go dry and the moisture between her legs to begin spreading down her thighs. Being so close nearly short circuits her thought process as her body slides closer instinctively; it nearly derails her restraint as she hums in pure satisfaction. She takes him in hand and gasps at the sheer heat of him, the smoothness that rests over such hardness. Gripping him in both hands, Elizabeth stares in absolute fascination as she moves her hands up and down his entire length, nearly feeling her insides crumble into a messy pool of pleasure at the long groan Meliodas gives at such a simple motion.

Her heart's hammering against her ribs as she moves her face closer and she nearly becomes dizzy with desire at the smell of his arousal, at the sheer masculinity of his scent. Driven by her want to please him and display her power over this situation, Elizabeth darts her tongue out and licks a clean path from the base all the way to the tip. Meliodas bucks with a curse, eliciting a provocative giggle from the goddess. She releases one of her hands on him as she gazes at his length as a new challenge. Something she’ll definitely conquer.

Her lips leave hot kisses all the way up his shaft, triggering hisses from the demon beneath her. With eager eyes as the heat in her belly begins to coil painfully tight, Elizabeth stares the head down before her eyes turn to Meliodas. He’s on his elbows looking at her with such a burning gaze she almost melts as a shuddering breath leaves her. She swallows back the way his want for her makes her core clench and gives him a simpering smile. The growl that thrums deep in his chest is absolutely worth it. Especially when she lowers her head down to take the weeping head into her mouth, causing him to choke on a moan as he jolts.

His taste washes into her mouth instantly at which she moans deeply in her throat. It’s ridiculous how quickly she concludes his flavor is something unparalleled; she’d be devastated if she were to never have access to it again. As she feels him tense, then takes in the steady addicting motion of him pressing into her yielding mouth, she lets herself cling to the insanity this demon has driven her to. She sinks into the enjoyable rhythm of bobbing her head down into his upward thrusts. Her tongue pushes against the underside of his impressive length often, loving the little sounds that escape his throat that he desperately tries to hide at her forwardness. How loud he groans whenever she swallows is always the best as it causes her heart to still in excitement at being able to make him respond in such a way.

One of her hands rests neatly on his thigh, slowly rubbing circles against the twitching limb as her other palm slides from the very base of his shaft to grasp the sac beneath it. Her nimble fingers are intrigued by the feel in her hands as her mind becomes lost to the inferno erupting from her clenching core. When Meliodas’ steady thrusts become a bit more aggressive, his sudden roughness is more than enough to make her moan around him.

She feels him tense below her.

“Elizabeth!” The sudden desperate shout of her name only spurs her on further, making her throat clench around him harder, her tongue swirl around him more wildly, and her hand massage him more thoroughly. She wants him to be pleased with her. She wants him to be so incoherent from pleasure his only thought is her. She wants him to lose control.

His strangled breath is the only warning she has before he’s pulling her head back and smashing their lips together with a feral groan. She finds herself on her back and without a skirt before she can truly understand what’s happening. And then his fingers are slipping between her folds, teasing her apart. Preparing her. His teeth nip and pull at her lips as she whimpers and writhes beneath him, trying to get her senses back as her body quakes with the surges of pleasure his fingers give her. Then they’re delving into her and she’s squealing in delight.

His breath washes across her swollen lips as he pumps them into her, stretching and curling them every few thrusts with such exquisiteness she sees stars more dazzling than those in the sky dance before her vision. “I need you now, Elizabeth. Fuck, you drive me crazy, goddess.” He sounds breathless himself as he roughly twists his fingers and Elizabeth’s back arches clean off the ground.

Meliodas~ M-More!” she pleads through clenched eyes.

He laughs in her ear as his fingers slide from her, leaving her feeling empty. Until she feels the head of his length prodding against her. “Oh, I’ll give you more…”

For a split second she seizes up, as the reality of the situation comes back to her. Is she really ready? Can she really do this?

Meliodas’ lips at hers, soft and slow, cause her to take a deep breath when he pulls back. She opens her eyes to see him gazing at her with that fiery smirk of his. “Afraid I’ll hurt you?” One of his hands grips her waist and the other settles beside her head as the implication of his question runs through her. He’s testing her again. Saying that she’ll run away as she always does. Her eyes narrow as her hands rise up to smooth along the skin of his shoulders. She opens her mouth to retort smartly.

But a long breathless moan brushes past her lips instead.

The blazing heat of him slips into her, in a long, slow stroke that has her blood racing through her veins so quickly she’s delirious from the shock of it. Her eyes flutter closed as she tries to breathe, feeling more dazed than she ever has in her life. Her legs are so twitchy from the feel of him so deep inside of her, she has to force herself to gain some kind of control over her system. But when she shifts her hips against him with soft pleased whimpers, it only causes him to slide in deeper and she chokes on a cry. Meliodas presses his mouth to the bend of her neck and shoulder to muffle his groan and the pure electricity of his coarse hands sliding along the sensitive skin of her thighs in order to pull them up and around his waist sends her into helpless mewls.

Her mind is aflame with the slow way he draws from her, only to thrust back in with a power that leaves her weak and breathless. She feels she can only cling to him as her body jerks with the blissful torment he gives her, with the connection they suddenly share. His mouth moves slowly across the skin of her neck until he reaches her ear where he tells her with a voice rough with need, “You’re so wet, Elizabeth. So hot as you clench around me.” He thrusts sharply into her then and her back arches, pressing them more tightly together as she squeals. Her vision becomes awash of colors more mesmerizing than a kaleidoscope at the inferno he just sent straight to her pulsing core. “Makes fucking you so good.”

Her moans sound like cries as their skin stick and slide forcefully against each other from the heat of their sweat. The pure vulgarity of his words shouldn’t possibly arouse her so, but her toes end up curling as her legs clench around him, trying to keep him filling her urgently. But he’s not going fast enough! The blaze inside her is a swirling force to be reckoned with. The long deep strokes he’s giving her has her so wound up, she’s sure she’ll lose her mind if he doesn’t become true to his words and fuck her.

His lips graze hers, sending sparks through her as she gazes up into his amused eyes. Then his lips seal over hers for a long moment, letting their tongues dance briefly as her heart skips several beats. It’s obvious to her they both can’t get enough of each other’s taste when Meliodas sucks her lower lip in before drawing away from her. But the daze of his kiss washes away when his words become clear in her mind. “You seem a little tense, goddess,” and then they both groan as he gives a particularly harsh thrust between her spread legs. He somehow manages to keep his smug look despite the flush across his cheeks. “This doesn’t satisfy you enough?”

It’s hard to muster up an ounce of anger as he thrusts inside her again and again with enough passion to leave her trembling. But the fact that he always has to make things a challenge is what ends up causing her to move. Her limbs feel like weighted jelly, but she somehow finds the strength to twist them in one forceful motion that has her on top of him. She sucks in quick breaths as she gazes down at his chagrined expression with a smirk of her own. And then her hands lay on his chest as she raises her hips. Then she slams them down in a way that has her head falling back as she squeals and Meliodas shouts out.

Her hips become quick, desperate, and hungry for him to fill her aching core again and again as she gyrates against him. The dazed look in his eyes mirrors her own as she feels her pleasure steadily build and build until she’s certain flames are licking her skin. Her hair is wild across her bare flesh, tickling and teasing as she bounces on his pelvis. Her moans and whimpers are loud and fill the night air as she gazes down at Meliodas’ flushed face, the way sweat coats his skin, and how fast his chest is heaving beneath her palms.

“Mmm… Meliodas, you feel so good, so deep inside me,” she tells him in a low erotic purr as she lowers her front towards him, but keeps the speed and force of her hips going. “I’m so hot… Oooh you make me so hot, demon.” Her tongue slides sluggishly across his lips and he shudders as his eyes slip closed. “D-don’t let this end,” she begs. Her own eyes squeeze closed as her core begins to twitch wildly despite her wish. She sucks in ragged breaths trying so hard to keep it in, “P-please d-don’t let it—”

Meliodas wraps his arms around her waist tightly as he flips them over and then he’s pounding into her with a strength that has her wailing as she rushes towards an explosion she doesn’t want, but she can’t help but fall into. His hips slap against hers again and again, over and over, as pleasure, turns to bliss, which surges into white hot ecstasy. And she screams. Her arms encircle his shoulders as her voice becomes a satisfied wail to the spasming shudders of her core. And Meliodas just keeps going, sending her blazing height soaring as he grunts and groans, soaking her in the drops of sweat of his exertion. Elizabeth feels herself trembling when she thinks she can’t take it anymore. And then the muscles beneath her hands tense and he’s moaning. Moaning long and hard the sound of her name before he’s slanting his lips with hers. And they kiss desperately as his hips grind against hers in unsteady jerks that sends her mind whirling. Then she feels something spill deeply inside her in forcefully, the sensation of it causing her toes to curl as her cheeks flush softly.

When his hips slow, then press against hers for a final time, they stay tense against each other for some time, just existing together. In this single, tranquil moment beneath the watching stars and moon. Then he pulls his lips from hers, giving her one last chaste kiss before slipping from her entirely. She lays there completely exhausted, but more than filled with gratification as Meliodas lies beside her with a hand almost possessively on her waist. A soft breath leaves her as her eyes flutter closed. That was positively incredible. No, breathtaking, their joining. She’s wanted it for so long and now that she’s experienced it, had him.... Right here, right now in this moment…

She can’t say that she regrets it.

 

Chapter Text

~19~

-Be Better For You-

Elizabeth scrunches her nose as she slowly rouses. She notes that her body's sore, but in a good way. She can't seem to remember immediately how she got that way as her eyes begin to lift open. Her right hand twitches and she squeezes gently around the warmth in her palm. The moment her vision clears, she stifles a gasp and all the blood in her body begins to pump widely in astonishment. Meliodas rests a short distance before her, fast asleep. His golden locks are far messier than usual and his calloused palm, she realizes, rests beneath her hand right upon her cheek.

'How did it get there?' She wonders as panic begins to swirl inside her faster and faster. He looks so tranquil as he sleeps, but the sight of him just makes her stomach twist in all the wrong ways. Something happened. And she's starting to fear what that is with each passing moment. Elizabeth gasps for breath as she tries to figure out how they got this close, why he's touching her, and why is she holding his hand? Then her eyes begin to widen dramatically as images begin to flash before her vision. Memories.

"No…" She recalls his scorching touches as his rough hands gripped and caressed her curves. The sheer exquisiteness of his taste was divine across her tongue. The way her desire seeped from her in readiness draws a sharp breath from her as her skin warms in mortification. Her fingers curl and her hands tremble as the echoes of her voice, high and so very desperate pleaded for their joining to never end. Elizabeth's chest shudders as she recalls the low rumbling resonance of Meliodas' voice sounding her name as he finally reached his end. And his lips… the way they felt on hers was purely addicting, she can't deny. Neither could get enough.

The goddess blinks rapidly as her eyes begin to sting. "No. No." She moves from beneath his hand, scooting a distance away as the images from the night before continue to assault her mind. Elizabeth shakes her head rapidly as her hands rise to her hair where they grip tightly as if in punishment. "How could I have given in? How could I—" Terror flashes through her as she suddenly gazes down at herself searching desperately for the sign she knows will no longer be there. Her arms tremble as she gazes at them. The glow that used to shine vibrantly from her form, now only outlines her in a dim radiance. Her purity was lost. Now every goddess who looks at her will know. Not only that, they'll know exactly who she slept with.

Elizabeth quickly covers her mouth with both hands to muffle the sob that races up her throat. Meliodas still sleeps peacefully before her. Completely oblivious to the utter destruction he just unleashed into her life. She can't look at him anymore. She simply can't.

The silverette stumbles to her feet and hurries the short distance to the lake the she dragged them into before everything happened the previous night. The morning air chills her skin as silent tears roll down her cheeks. She wants to wash it away. Even if it doesn't bring what she lost back, she wants to be rid of his touch. Elizabeth dives into the water and allows the shock of the cold water to focus her thoughts. She wishes she could say it was forced. It would be so much easier. But she knows as well as he does that she wanted it more than she should have. Now though, the goddesses will surely shun her. Willingly sleeping with a demon? That might possibly be one of the top rules you should never break in their culture.

Elizabeth kicks her feet and cuts through the surface. Despair hangs over her greatly and she's happy the water can disguise her tears. She worked so hard for over 2,000 years to get to where she is now. Never once has she strayed to worthy warriors to satisfy her needs. Never has she been interested. She only focused on getting stronger so that she might one day be able to spread hope and peace across the lands of Britannia undaunted. But this single demon, this single insufferably tempting demon ruined all of that work in one single night of glorious passion. "Now how will I ever make them understand that… that it was a mistake?"

The pale sun rises slightly higher, growing brighter with time and Elizabeth allows her eyes to flick in the direction Meliodas lies. He still rests in the same position, with his arm extended towards where she used to be. Maybe it's the grief of her life suddenly shattering right beneath her feet, but an idea slowly begins to form within her mind. "Maybe if I… maybe if I convert him, they'll be willing to ignore my lapse in judgement? I'll have taken down the most powerful demon in all of Britannia. They'll have to give me another chance," she whispers reassuringly to herself as she slips out of the lake.

Water falls from her form, rolling along the dips and curves of her figure. With a mind that's quickly beginning to numb, shielding her from what she knows is right, Elizabeth bends down and gathers some of the lake water within her hand. The energy inside her extends out and she lifts her hand up as she rises, guiding the water through the air to slowly circle her. Once entirely encased in the transparent water floating to her will, she flares her magic sharply. The gel like water snaps to her body in the form of tight brown sleeveless blouse, a black short flowing skirt, and brown boots that reach her calves.

She tries not to allow herself to recall why she needed to create new clothing as it'll draw her mind to the way Meliodas wasn't so patient with getting her out of the ones she wore before in order to press her beneath him and show her a heaven she's never seen before. At least she had the decency to frantically undo the buttons of his longcoat, not that he'd ever share any appreciation for her.

Elizabeth stands rigidly as bitter thoughts and feelings swarm her. This is the demon she plans to change. "It's for the best." She whispers quietly as she slowly extends her hand. In it forms her familiar beige wooden bow. It feels like lead, weighing her limbs down as she lifts her arm and takes aim. He's right in her line of sight, perfectly still. An easy target.

Her eyes begin to burn.

"It's f-for the best. You'll feel b-better after. I p-promise." Elizabeth doesn't know whether she's trying to soothe him or herself. She pulls the string back as her arrow forms. 'Okay, Elizabeth, just release the string. This will solve all of your problems,' she tells herself. Her hand begins to shake. She watches him as her heart begins to slowly work its way into her throat. She has to do this. It's necessary. So why can't she let go of the string?

He'll change, she knows. He'll be different, he'll be good. She squeezes her eyes tightly as tears begin to flow down her cheeks.

"I-I'm sorry." She finally lets her arrow fly.

Elizabeth cries out as her eyes fly open. A hand grips her left from behind and the burning heat of a figure pressing against her nearly gives her a heart attack. Her blue eyes scan the area Meliodas was lying with wild eyes. He's no longer there. Her arrow rests plainly in the grassy earth and all around it flowers begin to blossom rapidly. 'He… Was he even sleep? Did he know what I planned to do?' she swallows thickly as Meliodas begins to move behind her. 'Certainly he'll kill me now. I attempted to use my power against him. He won't stand for it.'

Out of the corner of her eye she sees him move closer to her bow with a thin smile. His hand wrapped around hers holding it begins to squeeze slowly, urging her to drop it. She resists for a moment, studying his topless form for signs of any treachery.

She can't read him.

In the end, she drops it. In a cold, frightened place in her mind, she wonders if he would have broken her wrist if she hadn't otherwise.

Then his bottomless pools turn to her. She holds her breath, waiting for his response. A cold smirk begins to twist the corners of his lips before he raises a hand to her chin. "What do we have here, hmm?" He waits for her answer with a raised eyebrow.

She does not speak. She can't bear to tell him what she'd planned to do to him.

When she doesn't respond he moves closer to her, pulling her face down enough for him to reach. She feels her heart skip several beats as his lips brush against her cheek. He pulls back only to stare frigidly into her eyes. She tries to understand his actions, but they contradict each other too much for her to even begin to rationalize. Why is she letting him do this to her? He took everything from her and still she allows him to continue to toy with her mind!

"You shed tears for me. How sweet of you." He murmurs lowly. She realizes what he was doing as that smirk begins to reform on his face. He was tasting her sorrow. She can see quite clearly in his eyes now that he knew. He knew what he was doing when he showed her a side of herself she wishes would never have surfaced. He knew what sleeping with her would do and how it would ruin her status.

He planned this. It was the ultimate way to destroy her without laying a hand upon her.

"So how are you feeling, goddess? You seem a bit on the dull side…" That mocking tone. The fake empathy in his eyes as he carelessly caresses her face. She can't stand it anymore.

Her power flares out so quickly even he doesn't react fast enough. A dagger with a glimmering handle is poised in her hand, blazing with pure light across the blade. Without hesitation, she slashes him, uncaring of where she strikes. She simply wants to make him suffer.

Blood flows through the air in a gory spray. Elizabeth darts from her position with a racing heart. The demon will retaliate quickly, so she has to be ready. Too many seconds pass, however, as she braces herself for anything. After a moment of continued running, she stops. Standing tense amongst the dense trees, she listens and spreads her senses for him in the brightening forest. That's when she hears a sound that causes her heart to implode in horror.

Elizabeth spins around and sprints in the direction she once was with a franticness that begins to overrun her mind. 'No. Please, NO!' But as she comes to a shaky halt, there's no denying the sight before her. Meliodas lies on his back as he arches and writhes in a painful display of excruciating agony. Sweat already clings to his form as cries tear viciously through his throat already beginning to wear raw. His veins are clearly visible beneath his skin as he rips and tears at the ground beneath him in pure strain. He's struggling. He's… dying.

Elizabeth screams as she falls to her knees beside him. "M-Meliodas! No, please! I d-didn't mean to!" She tries to grasp his arm where she slashed him, but he's so strong. She can't hold him still! "Meliodas, stop!" He only thrashes harder as the scorching light erodes through his system, tearing him apart from the inside out.

This wasn't supposed to happen! She never wanted him dead. But now… The goddess cries harshly as she moves her legs to straddle him. She uses her weight to try and keep him still, but his movements are still jerky and strong. She leans over him and grips his slashed arm tightly. Her tears drop onto him, mixing with the sweat that drapes his form. "Meliodas, I'm sorry. So s-sorry." She sobs in the utmost sincerity.

She feels her light within him, but has no idea of how to retract it. She's never had to. Meliodas suddenly gives a strangled wail and she feels as if her heart is being mangled within her chest. She shouldn't care about him. He's done nothing but make her life as miserable as he could since they first met, but…

He doesn't deserve to die like this.

Her magic surges out in a warm glow and seals the wound on his arm, leaving the sticky residue of his blood behind. Elizabeth hopes it'll help, but when Meliodas shows no signs of calming, she lets the limb go as her form sags down. Loss presses down on her heavier than the weight of the world. She can't do anything. It's over. The goddess sniffles as she begins to feel Meliodas' struggles gradually lighten. This would be a relief if his breathing wasn't slowing down as well.

Her lips tremble as she brings them to his forehead, kissing him there tenderly. Slowly she lifts a hand and runs it through his sweat matted hair. She pulls back and leans her forehead against his as her heart frost over with grief. "Please… forgive me." Her last tears roll down his face and finally he goes still.

~.~.~

He pulls in a sharp breath as the hearts within his chest shudder in relief. Never before has he experienced such torture. He's gone through pain and suffering for a great deal of his life. It was necessary to get stronger and to get to where he is today, but that… That was an agony he'd only wish upon his most bitter enemy. His muscles still twitch as if he were electrocuted in remembrance. Wave after wave the light cycled through him. Attempting to change what made him him. When it couldn't, it changed its nature. It began punishing him for not bending to its will.

Something made it stop however. Something soft and warm. Familiar. He's now gratefully taking in lungfuls of air as an almost comforting weight rests atop his form. When he's finally able to open his eyes, they immediately narrow at the sight of her. Her face is directly above his, covered in shameful tears. No matter how much they add to her beauty, the sight of such weakness still makes him scoff. The blond sits up abruptly, startling the girl into awareness.

Her blue eyes glimmer in the sun and he focuses on that instead of the way she sits warmly in his lap.

"M-Meliodas? How are… Are you okay?" She doesn't allow the words to fully fly past her lips before she's thrusting her arms around his neck in a chokehold others might consider a "hug". He's entirely stiff as she holds him. Simply feeling her warmth as it encircles him. She never says his name. Not until last night anyway. Seeing her this way is like a reminder of why he goaded her in the first place to begin with. She's too easily riled, but that also makes her an effortless target to his dark needs. He feels a malicious smirk come to his face. Finally he feels lighter. Free. After taking her last night and seeing her reaction this morning, he finally feels as if he won. No longer can she control him. No longer can she affect his judgements, or taint his demonic ways. He has officially been unearthed from the tarnished demon her divine presence was beginning to turn him into.

He inwardly rejoices as Elizabeth presses closer to him, unaware of the wickedness flowing so freely beneath his skin after what felt like years of being held under control. It's almost annoying when his mind takes him out of his vicious glee and begins to point something else out to him though. Something very important to their situation.

She was the cause of his torment not long ago.

He'd only been poking at her psyche as he normally does, trying to get a rise out of her. He knows what his actions most likely caused her and he's proud of his accomplishment. He was the first to ever lay eyes on her creamy skin entirely bare of clothing. He was the first to touch her in ways she could only dream of. He was the first to enter her. He will be the only. And he will most definitely be the last. Possession slithers through his veins mingled with the flaring warmth of… something he can't quite name. It does not matter to him, however, as he decided his claim upon her the moment she submitted her body to him.

But, still, punishment is in order for nearly managing to kill him. Some others have strived to do the same for centuries.

Meliodas blinks a few times before raising his hands to grasp the arms encircling his neck. He jerks her from his form, thoroughly jostling her from whatever daydream she'd woven herself into by the look of clarity reforming in her crystal blue eyes. Keeping his grip on her arms tight, his voice reaches a level of bite she's never before heard from him. "Do you think you'll get away so easily with that stunt you pulled, Elizabeth?" He doesn't know whether his insides revel in her shiver of fright or twist fitfully from it.

Fear flashes through her eyes before she attempts to bury it deeply behind justified bravado. "I'm sorry. I was only—"

His left hand releases her arm in order to fly sharply towards her face. He imagines the outcome vividly in his mind. Her beautiful flesh splitting and bruising, allowing crimson to flow rapidly from the wound. Her blood would mingle with the few tears she'd surely shed. It's common to discipline one's chosen in demon culture. He's seen it for years and years.

So why is it that his hand stills just shy of her face, trembling in an emotion he can't pinpoint?

She looks so shaken. So weak as she flinches back from him. And yet the sight of it curdles his stomach and furrows his brows. His trembling hand instead gently cups her cheek and she looks just as shocked as he feels when she reopens her eyes to gaze at him. It doesn't last long, however, as she begins to fiercely struggle to free herself from his grasp. The fire inside her burns just as brightly as ever, something he's been drawn to from the start. But he doesn't want her to flee from him. He can't have that.

His hands work to quickly snatch up hers with an emotion he can clearly describe. Desperation. His teeth clench as he realizes how much she's truly starting to affect him. Never before would he ever consider lowering himself enough to have relations with a goddess of all things. There are a few demons who prey on them. Enjoying the idea of tainting their innocence, but he had no such interests. Goddesses are holy beings. They disgust him. And yet here he is, desperate of all things to try and figure out a way to get her to stay close to him.

Now he's disgusted with himself.

"Elizabeth." He utters her name quietly. Something he's not used to. He's always strong, confident and sure of himself. But this girl here is starting to unravel him from the inside out. Uncovering things he's buried for thousands of years.

She halts in her motions and burns him with a withering glower. Something inside him says he deserves it. He chooses to ignore that something for the moment. "I told you before didn't I? You rely too much on that light of yours. Some things can't be forced to change. They… they have to want to." He refuses to look at her face. Instead, he keeps his eyes on her hands. They're small, delicate compared to his.

"M-Meliodas, I…" He takes a moment to regroup in the silence she offers him. She's apologetic, he knows. She doesn't have a killing nature as he does. She's amazing in battle, but she'll never win every fight simply because she doesn't have the heart to kill. Maybe that's a good thing… Maybe he can persuade her to fight by his side and in turn protect her when things become too much for her…

He feels his eyes widen uncharacteristically as his breath catches in his throat. 'No.' This is about possession. Claiming her as his and allowing no one else to touch her divine form. So why is he having such ludicrous thoughts? Why is he feeling of all things?

Schooling his features once more into an icy mask, Meliodas finally gazes up at Elizabeth. Her teeth seem to gnaw at her lower lip as she studies him for his next move. He finds his eyes darting to that plump lip with a sudden urge to taste the sweetness of her mouth once more. Instead he bores his eyes into hers and lowers his tone condescendingly. "You wouldn't want to change me now would you, goddess?" He knows she does. That was her whole point in pulling off that stunt form before. He just needs to get things back to normal. Regain control of his senses once more.

He releases one of her hands while waiting for her answer in order to trail it along her thigh. She'll hate this, he's certain, especially after her reaction to remembering their encounter this morning. The moment she speaks after a stuttering gasp flees her lips, however, throws his world into chaos.

"No, Meliodas. I… don't wish to change you. Not anymore."

His eyes flash up to her face in disbelief. She's lying. She must be. But the open honesty he reads across her features only makes the strange warmth within his chest fester and spread rapidly. She doesn't want him to be different. She doesn't care about his darkness anymore. She… accepts him.

"What?" He rasps as if there's suddenly no air around for him to breathe, as if there's nothing around him to ground himself on. No one has ever said anything like that to him. Demons are all the same. They lust for power, control, and the submission of others. They don't care what anyone thinks of them or their behavior and yet just those simple words...

He finds himself perhaps wanting… wanting to be better. He wants to be better for her.

He's gasping. He can't breathe. These feelings, these thoughts. It's too much. How can one simple goddess turn his world upside down so completely? Drowning in the fires of his mind dissolving under the pressure, Meliodas feels himself inhale deeply the moment two small, delicate hands cup his cheeks.

"It's okay. You're okay…"

But he's not. She's ruined him. She's crafted a key to the lock to his emotions and set them free upon the world. How can he go on like this? How can he go on feeling? "What… have you done to me?" He demands of her when she begins to pull herself back at seeing his clearing features.

Her eyebrows lift. "What do you mean?"

He wants to throttle her for being oblivious, but he feels sick at the idea of laying a hand on her in such a way. "Is this some kind of payback for me claiming your purity?" He bites out coldly as he slides from beneath her.

Now her brows furrow tightly in anger. "I told you I was sorry. I will not repeat myself again."

A sharp hiss slips between his teeth as he rises, then marches purposely to where they drifted off the previous night. He hears her following behind him and attempts to ignore the relief that washes through him at her continued presence. When he finds his torn longcoat, he slips it on, deftly buttoning it up. He appreciates her not tearing through it as he did with her clothes. It would have been rather bothersome to stride around in just pants. "It doesn't matter. We should go now. The killings won't stop if we continue to waste time rolling around like animals in heat." It's actually not a bad idea in his mind, but business comes first. He didn't get to where he is now by dallying in his duties.

Elizabeth doesn't say a word as she keeps pace beside him. Inwardly, his emotions battle between some form of content and displeasure when he automatically begins to walk closer to her than what's been normal for them. This goddess is poisoning his mind and body. Be better for her? Could he really be considering that of all things? He glances at her out of the corner of his eye and watches as if in a trance as the wind sweeps her silky tresses backwards giving him full access to roam across her visage.

The thumping of his hearts in his chest stutters and his eyes snap forward. His fists tremble at his sides in fury. It's true. He can't deny it. He got too close to her. The whole time he thought he was toying with her and keeping her beneath him, when, really, he was being ensnared by her very being. He allowed her to slip past his impenetrable barriers, and now his hearts thrive with emotion. He doesn't know what to think of this new development or how to even go on like this. Maybe he can… ask her for help?

He flicks his gaze to Elizabeth fleetingly before glowering down at the ground. No. Instead, he'll just keep this to himself. There's no reason anyone should know that he's being affected by such pitiful emotions after thousands of years. Yeah, that's what he'll do. No one will ever know.

Chapter Text

~20~

-This Unsuspected Connection Is Simply Irresistible-

Meliodas tries to keep his gaze from her, but he finds it almost futile after the hundredth time his eyes drift to her divine form. So instead, he allows himself to watch her with a contentment he tries to squash within himself. She moves through the throng of humans searching for any traces of darkness inside them like they’d encountered beforehand. He’d promised to stay back within the trees, not helping with the task, and he’s still infuriated with himself for doing so. He should be out there causing chaos and spreading fear and despair. That’s what he wanted to do, the moment they reached this tiny settlement. But the moment she asked him with that pleading tone of hers and those wide and hopeful eyes, there was no question of what he was going to do. No fight in him at all. And then she’d smiled in gratefulness when he’d agreed, making him feel so warm and satisfied.

“What have you done to me, Elizabeth?” he asks no one in particular from his place leaning against the rough bark of a tree. The night they’d shared together was simply magnificent. Surprising in ways, but absolutely perfect in his mind. He’d thought he’d have her beneath him writhing to his touch, begging and pleading for him to satisfy her. But of course he found himself faced with that defiant spirit of hers that lead them to that point. Like always, she managed to turn the tables and their night of passion flourished to unbelievable heights because of it. Fuck, he can still remember her mouth on him, how gorgeous she looked between his legs as she strived to try and quite literally blow his mind.

And when he’d finally taken her, his body taut with need and barely contained restraint, hers shuddering with feelings newly awoken as they blazed from the tips of her fingertips to where heat had pooled low inside of her… Meliodas finds himself leaning heavily against the tree beside him in remembrance. He tried to not to let it show just how overwhelmed he was in that moment, but the sensation of her tightness, her heat, just being with her finally, it was like nothing he could ever explain. He’s had a few partners in his past, none he can truly recall, but Elizabeth... Elizabeth is unforgettable. Having her struggle her way on top as she rode him was one of the most glorifying sights he’ll ever witness. His fiery goddess Elizabeth...

He has to shake his head to break free of the sudden daze he feels himself rapidly slipping into. He needs to snap out of whatever this is. It’s sickening of him to behave in such a way. If the demons were to see him now, he’d be a disgrace. His eyes glued to Elizabeth’s moving form shift to glare harshly towards the ground. He needs to turn things around on her. Make her feel small and insignificant with the weight of shame once more. Her reaction from before was not enough. His fluctuating emotions begin to steady as he forms a plan that will certainly leave her shattered.

His muscles ease from their rigid position as he relaxes against the tree with an easy smirk. Relief more than rolls fluidly into his stance as his ill intentions begin to circulate through his form. This is who he is. A demon who plots the downfall of others and absolutely take pleasure in the idea of it.

“Meliodas?” The honeyed voice glides along him smoothly and carefully, but he still finds himself jolted from his thoughts as his mouth purses against the sudden tingling sensation that travels beneath his skin.

Elizabeth is right before him with curious eyes as she regards him. She’s no longer as vibrant in her glow as she used to be, something he can tell she’s uncomfortable about as she occasionally glances down at herself only to frown sadly in response. He can’t help but wonder if she regrets it, what they shared the night before. But then his eyes steel in answer. Of course she does. There’s no doubt about it. The demon turns his gaze from her searching one with a cold indifference. Even if she feels ashamed of herself, and even if that was his plan all along, no matter what… He’ll always think of her as radiant regardless.

He forces away the horrid tingling sensation that almost feels like a breathless fluttering in his gut and instead strives to put his plans in motion. “Did you find anything?” He inquires with a forceful bite.

He makes sure to turn back to see how his words affect her, needing her pain and anger to help calm the rising emotions inside him. Her eyes narrow only the slightest as she looks down. Her tone is low with far less life than it had before. “No, I didn’t. They all seemed perfectly normal. No signs of what effected the people we encountered before showed up here.”

He merely nods curtly as he pushes himself from the tree wanting to show his control over the situation. He stares her directly in her blue eyes as his lips twist up darkly. His voice grows cutting in its rapid falling of temperature. “I had a different idea of which direction we should go anyway, Elizabeth.” The unease that seems to swell around her only spurs him on as he slowly draws nearer to her. “You remember how we searched for the spell that might be the cause of this in my realm before? Well, I just recalled that another race has forbidden magic as well… Do you know which one I’m speaking of?” He prods with a gleeful grin as he reaches her and his hand stretches forward to cup her cheek. He never gets enough of touching her in some way. In his moment of triumph, he’s easily able to brush off the twinge in his chest at seeing her growing terror beneath his touch.

“No…” The sound is like a dying breeze from her lips.

He keeps their eyes locked as he watches the minute changes in her expression. How the skin beneath her eyes seem to redden as she struggle desperately to keep her tears in, the way her cheeks seem to lose all their lovely color, even as he strokes his thumb across one with a tenderness he can’t help, and how her nose twitches she sniffs softly, holding in her emotions. She’s so beautiful, so fragile, and so strong all at once. Falling back into his confused and overwhelmed state beneath such a pitiful look is simply ridiculous in how effortless it happens. He’s clueless as to how he winds up with his lips brushing against her trembling ones, so softly it’s like he’s not even there. His throat becomes tight with the thudding that creeps up from his chest and he’s breathless as he whispers her name lowly against her sweet mouth. “Elizabeth…”

But then she’s pushing from him as her inner torment storms through her more wretched than he’s ever seen. Her eyes seem to glow with her rage despite the drops of anguish that slip down her cheeks. “No! Haven’t you done enough already!?”

He comes back to himself completely stunned before his actions instill a deep loathing towards himself tightly within him. He slipped so quickly. He’d gotten too close. It’s with a bitter frown that he realizes he won’t be able to get close to her anymore, to touch her at all, if he wants to remain in control. He’ll still keep her that decision will never change. He’ll stop any others from trying to lay claim to what’s his. No one else will be able to touch her intimately in such a way. Not even himself.

“It’s only fair, goddess. We must cover all grounds if we’re going to find this person.” He manages to spit out as he keeps his gaze from her. He knows if he sees her in such a riled state he’ll only be more drawn to her.

“I refuse!” She blare out at him with a voice strangled in tears.

“You have no choice!” He lets his power slip just slightly so she can feel just how serious he is in this case. “I’ll go up there on my own if I have to. Either you stay down here and let me do as I please with those fellow goddesses of yours, or you come with me and handle things yourself as the supposed leader you are to become.” His eyes stay locked onto his trembling fists at his sides as he awaits her answer. If she chooses to stay, he’ll just drag her up there. He’s not leaving her alone and out of his sights. Anything can happen to his goddess if she’s not under his guard.

He feels foolish for even thinking that way about her not a second later.

He hears he take in a deep, shuddered breath in an attempt to calm herself and that pushes him to give her a look. There’s no fight left in her stance. Only a cold, hard, resentment as she resigns herself to their journey and the consequences it’ll lead to. But she makes sure to stare him down when she sees his eyes once more. And the utter detestation that lies there causes something to crumble painfully inside him. “I don’t like to hold grudges, because I feel like everyone can be forgiven at some point. But what you’ve done to me, what you’re still doing to me,” She shakes her head slowly as she turns away from him. A slow breeze passes by, brushing her hair with its passing and nearly taking with it the soft finality of her words. “I’ll never forgive you for it.”

Meliodas wonders why it’s suddenly much harder to breathe. But then he realizes it’s because she just tore through his chest more thoroughly than that beast’s fatal blow ever could.

~.~.~

The journey to the goddess realm is a simple one. Settling the nerves that churn so violently in her stomach she feels ill is really the only issue. Meliodas flies steadily beside her as they ascend through the sky with large shadowy black wings that sprout from his shoulders. As they get closer to the point where she knows they have to make the transition between realms, her heart refuses to allow her steady breaths. She’s not given enough time to calm however as something prickles across her skin, her instincts telling her that now is the time. With her eyes squeezed tightly her hand extends to her side almost shakily as she grips Meliodas’ hand. She tells herself it’s so he doesn’t get left behind in Britannia, but it’s hard to deny the strength in his hold that causes her to steady. And with a final breath of acceptance white begins to wash over the two, tugging and pulling them to the land of deities.

When she next opens her eyes the golden gates that act as the official entrance into the realm stand a distance before them. She feels herself begin to tremble once more at the idea of her people seeing her in such a sullied state. Then the warmth that surrounds her hand squeezes briefly and the stuttering in her chest begins to ease. Elizabeth stares down as she breathes deeply. Her hair curtains her face so he won’t see her gazing at their connected hands. Why hasn’t he let go? Why hasn’t she? The slight pain of biting her lip harshly as she recalls her words to him before brings the conflict inside her back to the surface in full force.

She can’t decide if she was too harsh with him before. She knows he only wanted to come here so she would be publicly shamed by her people. But… it’s him. Of course he would do something so cruel. She shouldn’t even be surprised by it. It’s apart of who he is, apart of him she accepts. So why did she go and say something so harsh? She lets out a sigh as she briefly allows her thumb to run across the back of his in a thoughtful caress. The hand within hers seems to spasm lightly as she hears him inhale suddenly.

She smiles sadly as she prepares herself for what’s to come, but the idea that Meliodas with this simple handhold is trying to comfort her or even encourage fills her with a great strength. She can handle this. She can do this.

Elizabeth slowly eases her hand from his grasp as she begins to stride forward upon the cloud covered ground with the grace her new confidence has infused in her.

“Elizabeth.”

She stops just short of the towering gates as her skin begins to warm with the softness of his tone. When she turns to face him, he isn’t looking at her, but at the palm of his hand she once held as if it holds answers only he can discover. His blond bangs cover his expression well, and it bothers her for some reason that she can’t see his face properly. That he won’t look at her much anymore. She wanted to at least try and convey how apologetic she is from before and how thankful she is for him holding her hand and not calling her weak as she knows he thinks she is.

But then he continues with words that travel through her like the most pleasant of electric shocks straight to her pounding heart. “You’ll be fine. Remind them of why you are to be their leader, goddess. You’ll be fine…”

It’s not even a conscious thought to glide over to him in quick steps as her arms fling around his shoulders and her head nuzzles beside his. She can tell he’s dealing with something difficult and he has been since she told him she accepted him earlier that day. It means so much that he would push past all his loathing towards her just to give her some reassurance. For some strange reason she wants him to know that whatever’s bothering him, she’ll be there for him. She just wants to be.

Meliodas is tense in her hold as always and she wonders if he’s ever been hugged properly in his life by his response. It doesn’t matter to her really as she begins to pull back with a warm heart. His eyes are so lost as he gazes up at her, making it effortless for her to give in to the urge to soothe him. One of her hands caresses his cheek as the other runs through the wild bangs of his hair, brushing them back in their slow path through his hair. She finds her gaze lingering on the way his expression is so exposed this way, his eyes appearing wider, almost unsure, with the curl of his demonic mark branded across his forehead like spilled ink. Wild, yet somehow elegant. He’s absolutely enchanting.

“You’ll be fine too, Meliodas. I promise,” She says slowly as their steady gaze rapidly begins to fill with a charged tension that forces her to swallow.

His hands grasp her hips then, slow and fluid as they begin to glide up her waist. She lets him feel the pleased shiver that travels through her as her eyes become lidded. She knows she shouldn’t do this. Where they are is indicator enough of why this is wrong. But then she remembers the fleeting way he’d brushed his lips against hers before. That touch wasn’t enough, no matter how much she’d denied it to herself. She wants to taste him fully again. And it’s clear he does as well as his face draws closer to hers.

She presses her mouth to his and it becomes a challenge to pull away with the way their lips keep finding their way back together, again and again, moving in a sensual twist that has her belly twinging in a dizzying warmth. His hands encircle her waist and crush her to his unyielding form as his tongue glides slowly across her rapidly swelling lips. She’s quick to open her mouth to him as a heady moan vibrates in the back of her throat.

“Elizabeth!”

Meliodas disappears from beneath her desperate clutch before she can even take her next breath, leaving her dazed, weak kneed, and filled with a growing terror at the prospect of what might have been seen. She curses her ability to lose herself to him over and over, even with such a dire situation like this hanging over her head. Meliodas is standing a distance from her looking tenser than before she’d laid her hands on him. Her eyes are quickly drawn away however as hands settle on her shoulders from behind turning her to face her old friend, Veronica.

“Elizabeth, are you alright? What are you doing here with a demon of all things?” The deep concern that dwells within her friend’s gaze begins to waver as Veronica begins to take a closer look at her.

Elizabeth doesn’t want to see it in her face once Veronica realizes what has become of her. Instead her eyes trail further into the realm where more goddesses are gathered and looking at her with the same growing realization in their eyes. She bites her tender lip as shame slowly begins to fill her cheeks. ‘This is it. I have to face it.’

“Elizabeth… did you? Who…? What happened?” Veronica’s probing questions bring Elizabeth’s attention back to her. Veronica steps back as she lets her hands fall from Elizabeth’s shoulders and the silverette begins to feel herself freeze under the sense of humiliation that begins to circle around her ribs and squeeze until she’s cringing from the pain of it.

She tries to open her lips and say something at her friend’s furrowed brows and the various looks of disappointment that line the other goddesses’ faces. But her tongue is like lead in her mouth, too heavy to move.

That’s when Veronica’s eyes flicker to something behind Elizabeth and the silverette instantly sees the mixed look of disgust and loathing that surfaces in Veronica’s eyes which quickly turn on her. “Was it him? Did he force himself on you!?”

Elizabeth’s mouth gapes as she tries to find the words. Again the thought of saying that it was forced would make this so much easier surfaces in her mind. But she couldn’t do that. Not to him. So with a wobbly breath she looks down to avoid all of their judgmental gazes and allows a single word to travel past her lips. “No.”

“No, it wasn’t him, or no, it wasn’t forced?” Veronica demands loudly in a tight voice.

Elizabeth can hear the murmurs of the others beginning to build as the crowd grows to watch her disgrace. She steels herself, but does not look up. “No, it wasn’t forced.”

The collective gasp of the others is short lived as they begin to spew their displeasure, their absolute disgust with her actions.

“She willingly committed an atrocity! Her being is tainted!!”

“Our next leader has betrayed us! What shall we do??”

“This means she is a traitor!!  She has chosen a demon to take her innocence!!”

She tries to block out their horrible slights against her, but they begin to grow in volume and number. The force of their swelling outrage lands on top of her like a crushing blow she can’t struggle past. Looking into Veronica’s face laden with a heavy loss of respect only makes her distress rise as her form begins to quiver.

“I told you to apologize to him, not to go and sleep with him, Elizabeth. How could you?” Veronica hisses with a slow shake of her head.

Elizabeth inhales quickly, but she still feels out of breath against the painful racing of her heart. “It wasn’t supposed to happen. It was not planned!!” She finally yells out over the screeching voices that threaten to drown her in an anguished sorrow. Her face feels hot against the stinging of her eyes, but she keeps her hands tightly clenched as her voice extends out over them, demanding their understanding and silently pleading for their forgiveness. “It happened once, okay? Once. We’ve been traveling together for over a month now and I let myself fall into temptation. That does not mean I’ve betrayed you all. That does not mean I ever plan to. My plans to try to bring the suffering of the world to an end still holds true. Just because I’m no longer p-pure does not mean I’ve lost my sense of morality.”

She keeps her gaze firm as she regards them all with a pained heart. They all seem to hold on to their disappointment towards her, but the look of wanting to shun her from this realm begins to ebb away, for which she’s grateful. She’s no longer perfect in their eyes, but if she can maintain her strength, power, and unshakable will to keep her goals before them, maybe, after some years, they’ll be able to look past this slip of hers.

“You say it only happened once, but if given the chance, would you do it again?” Veronica’s voice punctures her well made speech cleanly. Elizabeth starts to see doubt begin to creep into the other goddesses’ expressions once more.

Elizabeth only allows a slightly slip in her expression to show. It happens so quickly no one notices, thankfully. Because if they had, they’d know the answer she’s about to give is a complete lie. “No, I would not.”

The air is too tense and swollen with silence as she gauges their belief in her words. She allows their eyes to slide over her tarnished form as many times as they want. She keeps her head held high with a confidence she tries desperately to feel. The knot in her stomach is terribly harsh in its tightness upon their scrutiny, however, and she worries they’ll see the worry within her eyes.

She finally lets a relieved breath rush out of her when they gradually begin to wander away after what feels like hours of a silent stare down. They leave behind terse looks that promise they’ll be watching her more closely, nevertheless.

Elizabeth almost turns in seek of Meliodas when Veronica’s voice reaches her with a tinge to it she can’t quite place. “So I guess we’re the same now, huh? Dull with the loss.” Elizabeth gives Veronica an uncertain look as she nods slowly. The purple haired one then gives Elizabeth a serious look as she once again gazes around Elizabeth’s shoulder briefly. “So why’d you bring him here? You could easily have hidden it had he not come with you.”

Elizabeth takes a while to find her response as she’s unsure of how to answer. “We needed to search for something here. We’re still assigned together on this mission. So there really was no choice.”

Veronica is stern in her expression then. “Don’t let what happen before become a repeated offense. I’m sure the people won’t give you another chance.”

All Elizabeth can do is nod before her friend drifts into the scenic cluster of clouds and soaring buildings that make up the prestigious borough of the realm. Her hand rises up to cover her trembling heart as she finally begins to breathe easier. Her back stiffens as she jolts with the sudden feel of a warm palm lightly pressing against the small of her back. It happens so shortly she wonders if it was real, but then his voice sounds, low and surprisingly supportive. “I told you you could do it.”

She tries to not let herself outwardly react to his words for fear of anyone still watching. It’s rather hard not to feel overwhelmed with a sense of joy at his actions though.

But then he continues. “They were nothing but pathetic wenches anyway. If you couldn’t put them in their place, I would have joined them in tearing into you.”

Her lips thin as all the fuzzy sensations inside her begin to fade away. ‘Don’t forget, Elizabeth, he’s cruel. But why does it have to get to me so much?’ She wonders glumly. She truly begins to question how she’ll survive her time in this realm with so many people against her.

Meliodas begins to stride forward, seemingly impassive which only dampens her mood further. Until she feels his hand catches hers that is. He squeezes her hand gently in passing and then he’s blending into the crowd of goddesses like a sore thumb as they begin to swerve around him like he’s some kind of living disease. She stares after him for a long while as she brings the hand he just held to her chest with care.

She abruptly doesn’t give a damn if her cheeks are filled with a hot warmth as she follows in after him. She just wants to reach Meliodas’ side as discreetly yet as quickly as possible. She can’t let him go unsupervised in this realm now can she? It’s a poor excuse to herself if she ever heard one.

 

Chapter Text

~21~

-My Urge To Protect Your Shaken Trust-

Meliodas stands beside her with a cold expression as goddesses look back and forth between them openly. Elizabeth hates the attention, but she has to maintain her stoic appearance no matter what. Meliodas never seems to have a problem with it, so she has to learn how to shake off their judgements with ease too. She leads them without a direction in mind through the winding depressions in the clouds that weave through pale stoned structures with glimmering glass windows. Pillars spiral up towards the sky as they hold up the roofs of the more colossal buildings that seem to emit their importance in their impressive stances.

She turns her gaze to Meliodas as her voice comes out light and soft, so no one passing by can really hear what she’s saying. “So where do we go from here?”

Meliodas gives her a sidelong look as his lips curve up slightly in an amused smirk. She can’t imagine what could be so funny. “You’re going to go look for the spell and leave me to my devices.”

She raises an eyebrow as someone brushes past her and she’s forced to scoot closer to Meliodas in their walk. She feels his arm brush against hers with every step. “So the same situation that happened in the demon realm can arise here as well? I don’t think so.”

Now his eyes seem to glow with a slightly darker emotion that causes her skin to tingle in the sudden awareness of his proximity. “Are you implying that you’ll have to punish me?”

“W-What?” She breathes under a hushed breath. That’s not at all what came to mind when she’d said that! More like he’d get into trouble with the goddesses. But suddenly the idea of being able to tie him down and let her most hidden desires run wild sounds all too pleasing to her mind. Still she ends up hissing out in a flustered tone. “Meliodas!”

He chuckles softly as he turns his gaze away. The smirk that draws up on his face causes an intense rushing sensation in her stomach that’s hard to ignore. She puffs her cheeks out momentarily, attempting to wash away the emotions he roused in her in that single breath. “What’s wrong with simply accompanying me, demon?”

She watches as he gives a little shrug. His gaze is bored again as he stares around the various set ups that line the “streets” of the realm. But when he looks at her, a tiny glimmer of appreciativeness rests within his gaze. It makes her look away as she senses her cheeks warm. She just ends up gazing right into the watching eyes of the goddesses that wander about however. Instantly, she attempts to rein in her comfortable posture beside him, knowing that it shouldn’t be so normal to be this at ease beside a demon.

His tone is low and reasonable, bringing her eyes back to him immediately. “I just want to explore the place. Never actually been. Besides, I don’t think these goddesses would appreciate us two being in a secluded area alone for a long period of time, don’t you think?”

No, they wouldn’t. She still can’t help the subtle pout that pushes out her lips. ”Fine. Just please don’t cause any harm,” She begs of him quietly.

He stares into her eyes for a long moment seeming to search for something before he looks ahead. She wants to smooth her thumb along his jaw in hopes of easing the tension she sees rise there. “I can do anything else then?”

She pauses in thought. What could anything else entail? She sees the tension in him beginning to spread further throughout him rapidly in her hesitation and finally decides to give in. “Yes. Just don’t hurt anyone.” She almost whines.

“Fine. I won’t.” It’s a rather brusque response, but she’s still pleased with it.

She only wishes others weren’t around so she could show him how much.

~.~.~

The great part about being a demon in the goddess realm, Meliodas finds, is that everyone moves out of your way so you don’t have to watch where you’re going. Of course, he realizes, that’s usually the case for him even in the demonic realm. But for here, it’s not out of fear and respect. It’s out of pure loathing and disgust. His eyes glance duly around at the light colored stands filled to the brim with absolutely pure fruits. The silver fountains that depict goddess pouring water in elegant poses. The thin rivers, he wanders closer to, that seem to run off into glowing white nothingness. He stares harder at this and wonders what would happen if someone were to fall down there. He chuckles darkly as he strides away from it with a silent plan to perhaps push a goody two shoes down there if they bother him enough.

He decides it’s a decent civilization, but far too perfect, too pure. He finds a tree on the outskirts of “town” and leans against it. The ground is covered in clouds and he wonders how it is the trees can grow in such a way. He takes a seat and runs his hands through the wispy like substance, only to find a bit of dirt underneath. He smirks slightly. “Not so perfect after all.” The bark may be extremely light as well as the pale leaves, but not everything can be perfect. He aims his elbow at the wood behind him, then jerks it back with the right amount of pressure. He holds his palm out precisely to catch one of the falling apples casually.

As he eats, he studies the goddesses with a critical eye. It’s obvious there’s a nice blend of dull and bright ones, so perhaps they aren’t trying to be perfect. But they do expect you to live up to certain squeaky clean standards. “And Elizabeth has fallen short to them, hmm?” He comments with a trace of bitterness at them thinking her as anything but immaculate. His hand encircles another apple and begins to clutch it much too tightly. ‘Didn’t I just say nothing’s perfect? She’s not an exception damn it!’ But as he pictures her smiling visage surrounded by long, beautiful silver strands of hair, he finds himself believing undeniably that she is the exception. She is his perfect goddess. He won’t accept anyone thinking otherwise.

The red apple he strangles in his hold is pretty reflective. In fact, he manages to catch sight of a certain goddess headed right his way. He only wishes it was Elizabeth and not her lackluster friend. He doesn’t look up when she stands before him. “What do you want?” he inquires as impassively as he can muster.

“Let’s get this straight, demon. I don’t trust you. No one here does,” She whispers crossly.

“You don’t have to,” He interrupts the beginning of her little spiel as he begins to idly toss the abused apple up in his palm. “In fact, I advise you not to.”

This is what I mean. You think you’re so high and mighty! As if you don’t even have to look at the person talking to you because we’re all “beneath you”. That makes me sick.” The ire just rolls off of her and bounces right off of him.

But Meliodas decides to humor her with a glance. She’s just as unremarkable as always. Short purple hair, dark brown eyes, and a pitiful power compared to his Elizabeth. Nothing at all impressive about her. He gives her a mocking smirk. “That’s because you all are below me.”

Her teeth bear in a vicious grimace. “Elizabeth is foolish for even letting you come near her! I know it was a plan. All demons have that sick drive inside them to hunt goddesses down and take from them what’s precious. She was just goal on your list to conquer. And now you have,” She tells him knowingly with a frigid frown that hardens the features upon her face.

Meliodas lets the apple in his palm drop as anger begins to run along the back of his neck with a demanding he can’t brush off. He rises in a slow menace as all the amusement in his features wash away as a deadly warning replaces it. “What I do with Elizabeth is none of your damn business.”

“Oh really?” She cuts in with a smugness that only pisses him off further. “And why is that? You have more plans for her then? Was I right? Is she going to end up in bed with you again, like a common wench?”

He snarls as his hand snatches her throat so quickly it’s impossible to fight back the rage that writhes frantically beneath his skin. He jerks her down to her knees as his hold remains firm. The heat in his skull tells him to squeeze, to make her pay for her slight against Elizabeth. But then he remembers his silverette’s pleading and he only just manages to keep himself from strangling her. The goddess grips his wrists, attempting to get him to release her, but he’s not done with her just yet. “You dare speak of your next leader in such a way!? To call her a whore!!? She’s well above you and all the rest of these weak bitches who believe they can just gather together to try and bring her down!” He brings her face filled with bitter hatred closer to hers. His tone begins to lower to that of a chilling darkness, “Elizabeth is everything you all should aspire to be, but will never achieve, because she’s absolutely resplendent.”

Veronica forces out a cold laugh once she gives up on trying to escape. “What are you? Her little advocate? She’s been touched by the hands of a demon. If she actually let that happen, wanted it to happen, then she’s far from perfect. She’ll never be a good leader. I don’t think she’ll even be given the chance anymore.”

His fury cycles in his chest in a maddened roar. Meliodas tosses her to the ground, catching all the eyes of the goddesses passing by on the edge of town in doing so. But he does not care. This little bitch continues to push. Continues to try and run Elizabeth’s name through grime. He won’t hear it. He won’t stand for it. “You all can think whatever the hell you want about me. I don’t give a damn. But when it comes to her, to Elizabeth, you will watch what you say in front of me. Or I swear it, you will most assuredly come to regret that unwise decision of yours.”

His eyes burn into every goddess he sees standing tense as they watch the scene unfold. He means every word. If he hears something like this again, he’ll regretfully have to break his promise to her to not harm anyone.

Veronica rises as her hand slightly runs across her neck. She stares him down with a bravery she’ll soon be sorry for. “She got you to fight her battles? How pa—”

“Complete that sentence and you won’t draw your next breath,” He cuts her off deadly calm. “She didn’t put me up to anything. I make my own decisions.”

Veronica shakes her head in disbelief. “I’ll take your advice then. I won’t ever trust a word you say.”

He shrugs uncaringly. Let her this be her death wish then. Veronica turns from him abruptly and pushes past the crowd of goddesses with forceful steps. He’s more than glad to have her out of his sight. He didn’t know how much longer he could hold himself back from forcefully silencing her. Meliodas strides back into the town, pleased to note that the goddesses back away from him at his approach. As he weaves through the lengthy streets with his eyes sliding from left to right, observing the houses in hopes of perhaps being able to pick out Elizabeth’s, he hears their quiet chatter. How they speak of him and his defense of Elizabeth.

His expression remains smooth, but his thoughts begin to buzz. It happened so quickly he hadn’t give it a thought, but now as he inspects it further, the emotion that welled up inside him then wasn’t only a blind fury. It was a fierce protectiveness. She’d threatened what was his and it was only logical that he rise up to protect Elizabeth. It still leaves him a bit off balance as he wanders through the buildings. He has to come to a stop when he turns down a narrow passage, just to lean against the cool stones of a plainly shaped building. He’d protected her instinctively once more and he doesn’t regret it. Should he?

As he sinks to rest against the house, he decides that no, he doesn’t. He wants to be able to be her shield if she ever needs it. Meliodas swallows as a shiver travels through him with the new realization. He leans his head back against the support behind him and just lets himself take in this new prospect slowly, so he can adjust. He’s grateful for the time and silence this little pocket of seclusion allows him as he doesn’t need those disparaging goddesses witnessing him in such a vulnerable state. Only one person should ever see him like this and she’s the very cause of it in the first place.

~.~.~

A line of books lie before her, all open to various pages as she tries to find something similar to what she and Meliodas has encountered multiple times. Magic hums through the air as she sighs softly, turning an aged page when she finds nothing. The room she’s in is large yet hidden far below the public library up above. She looks around momentarily at the softly glowing candles with a slight curve to her lips. At least total darkness isn’t what keeps this place protected like in the demon realm.

The twists and curves of the lettering in these books make much more sense to her than the harsh texts she tried so desperately to decipher before. Elizabeth sighs as she leans over her current book and runs a hand listlessly over the page. Her eyes drift to the empty seat beside her before snapping back to what’s in front of her. She keeps thinking of that realm. She can’t seem to help it. And as she does, her mind wanders to Meliodas. She wishes he were down here with her. Even if he were just complaining about how boring it was and how their writing was too elegant, it would have still made the place feel less empty. It would have made this more fun. He seems to make everything more interesting nowadays. She can’t seem to fathom how that is.

As her eyes scan the pages, taking in information that means nothing to her, her hand reaches up to twist a lock of her hair mindlessly. “What are you doing right now, Meliodas?” She voices wistfully.

Harsh thumps from the stairs behind her cause her to jump, startled as her question becomes answer for her. “Oh, I’d be delighted to tell you, Elizabeth. He’s out strangling people willy nilly.”

Elizabeth jumps up from her seat to spin around to face Veronica in shock. “What!? He wouldn’t--”

Look at me!” Her friend cries as she points at her neck which is certainly showing light bruising.

A sick feeling begins to form in Elizabeth’s stomach as she draws nearer to her friend. Her hand extends out tentatively to touch the inflamed area. She tries to steel her expression when she realizes her hand is shaking. Her eyes lock on Veronica’s enraged browns as her voice comes out somber. “He wouldn’t… I asked him not to…”

“And you believed him!?” Veronica angrily pushes her hand away as she begins to shake her head in utter disbelief. “You really are under some kind of spell. You’ve been stuck with a demon for over a month and now you somehow think that what? Just because he fucked you he’ll change for you!?”

Elizabeth recoils back as if slapped. Her eyes turn down as she once again feels the weighted feeling of shame begin to drag her down. “Don’t be crass, Veronica.” She forces herself to speak past the sour taste in her mouth.

“You’re the one sitting here thinking about a demon of all things. Elizabeth, what have you become? Why have you fallen so far?” Her friend berates her.

Elizabeth tries to wield that strength she had before when Meliodas told her she could handle the goddesses before. But... he lied to her. He hurt her friend. The evidence is right in front of her. A new sensation begins to flood her then. One that burns painfully as it causes her eyes to sting, but she fights the sensation. She trusted him. That was stupid. She’s done too many foolish things when it’s come to him already. And the bitter anger of this situation is not only turned on him, but herself as well.

“I thought that since we’d been “partners” for this mission, he’d at least listen to this one thing I’d asked of him. I guess I was wrong.” She turns her cold eyes to Veronica, who has the common sense to flinch back, “That does not mean I will make that mistake again. Not again. We will find what we’re looking for and then we’ll part ways. We’ll be true enemies then. And I’ll… I’ll go after him with everything I have.”

Even as she says this, she has a hard time believing she’ll be able to do it. She doesn’t know if she can hold a weapon towards Meliodas with the intent of harming him. Not after what she’d done before. She almost squeezes her eyes closed against the twinging of her heart as the memory forces its way into her mind again. No, she can’t. She won’t be able to. It nearly brings tears to her eyes as she realizes Meliodas probably wouldn’t have a single problem harming her however. ‘Veronica’s right. What have I become?’

She keeps her expression serious nevertheless, as her friend gauges her for her truthfulness. It’s a slight relief when she realizes she’s passed as Veronica turns away from her and begins to gaze around at all the books she has lined on the table. Her friend wanders towards them with curious eyes. “Why are you searching through all these anyway? If I wasn’t so good at somehow knowing where you always are, it would have taken me forever to find you.”

Elizabeth almost smiles at her older friend’s words and the nostalgia it brings up. Veronica always seemed to come to her when she needed her friendship the most when they were younger. But as Elizabeth set out to become stronger on her own, she became less dependent on her friend. “We’re just trying to find a certain spell. I didn’t make too much head way however. I’m going to have to come back tomorrow though. I have a demon to deal with right now,” her light tone shifts to a darker one as Meliodas’ image flashes through her mind and she tightens her fists.

“Okay, just be careful. He’s… unstable.”

Elizabeth doesn’t comment as she takes her leave in search of a certain blond.

~.~.~

It takes a bit of wondering and lots of open staring from the other goddesses, but she eventually finds him, asleep against the side of her house. She wants to be angry, well she still is, but seeing him in such a way brings a little smile to her lips as she approaches him. The world is dark blue as the clouds glow in the light of the moon. As she kneels beside him, she finds that he looks peaceful… But such a look does not exempt him from her disappointment and the ire that resides in her.

So after she runs a hand slowly through his hair and gently caresses his check, she takes a firm hold of his ear and yanks.

Shit!” He exclaims loudly in waking.

She isn’t quick enough to draw her hand back before his catches the offender preparing to do it brutal harm, until his infuriated eyes land on her and he stills. She keeps herself steady, even if her heart is racing wildly in nervousness of what he’ll do. His hold on her wrist remains light as his brows slowly furrow. “What the hell was that for?” He asks lowly.

She merely raises an eyebrow as if that’s all the answer she needs to give before she releases his abused ear and slips her hand easily from his. She rises and begins to walk around the house. Elizabeth walks up the few steps of her porch as she sees him following behind her from the corner of her eyes. “Come, demon. I have much to discuss with you about your behavior today.”

 

Chapter Text

~22~

-Would You Love Me-

He stands in the corner of her bedroom with his arms crossed, unsure of what to do with himself for once. The way she’s looking at him as she marches around in a furious tempest, throwing open drawers and snatching out clothing, makes him feel tight and uncomfortable.

“I told you not to hurt anyone,” She throws her voice out more forcefully than the top she flings from her dresser. Clearly it displeased her.

Meliodas tightens his arms in their crossed position over his chest as he casts his eyes towards the window allowing soft silvery light to stream in peacefully. “And I didn’t,” He answers honestly.

“I saw her neck! It had a familiar set of bruises if I recall,” She hisses through her teeth as she gathers a few items. The poor things are strangled in her hold.

He shrugs. “It was a firm hold. I didn’t technically strangle her. I don’t count that as hurting. Just getting a point across,” He dares to look at her before he continues. She’s the definition of a pissed off vixen. Highly attractive, but also entirely deadly. He turns his eyes away once more to keep the rising swell of warmth that begins to flood his system from overpowering his reason. “If she couldn’t handle the trouble she brought onto herself by threatening me, then I don’t know what to tell you.”

A muffled growl of frustration builds in the back of her throat before she storms to her washroom with her limp clothes in hand. The door is closed partially behind her, so her voice is perfectly clear when she begins to rant. “You are so insufferable at times! Is it really that hard to be civil? Couldn’t you have just listened!?”

He sighs as his chest starts to get that annoying feeling of tightening up again. Why is she angry with him when that dull friend of hers seemed unsupportive of Elizabeth? In fact, she thought Elizabeth would end up in bed with him again. And yet he’s the one getting the heat? Meliodas looks towards the pale wood of the washroom intent on telling her his thoughts. His eyes catch sight of Elizabeth lifting her top right over her head, allowing her tresses to fall messily around her. He’s frozen in place as his words die on his tongue. The image the bare skin of her back presents is simply wondrous. It gets worse, or unbelievably better, when she bends down and pulls her skirt right down her curvy legs.

He hears her voice again as she stands up, but it sounds like it’s coming through a tunnel as he stares at her bare flesh in a daze. It’s something about possibly getting in trouble with the current goddess leader. But he could care less with her feminine wiles presented to him in such a delicious display. He knows what rouses his blood and hurries his breathing is the familiar heat of pure want for what’s his. But the sensation that prickles his palms, floods his chest, and makes it impossible to swallow past the thudding in his chest is entirely new.

Then she’s slipping a pale blue nightgown over her head, covering her creamy beauty and releasing him from his spellbound state. He lets himself sink to the ground as his mind continues to replay her short display repeatedly through his mind. He’s certain when she exits the washroom, the sight he presents is one of deep longing that he refuses to allow himself to give into. It’ll only make whatever’s poisoning his system much, much worse and he needs to get better. He needs to be himself again. Not this demon who can’t seem to think of life past this gorgeous goddess.

He watches as her eyes seem to regard him confusedly and even a bit shyly as she climbs into the plush white bed right below the circular window. Her eyes seem to get lost in thought as her fingers contract and release around the sheets covering her. He can already tell where her thoughts are headed just by the way her eyes flick to the space beside her and the deep contemplation in her eyes.

He leans his skull against the smooth stone of the wall beside him to try and cool down. It also gives him the help needed to put a stop to her words. “I’ll be fine here.”

Elizabeth gives him a thoughtful look as her lips slightly turn down. “I was a bit harsh before. You don’t have to—”

“I want to. I’m fine,” He answers concisely, then lets his eyes drift to the wall beside him.

He misses how her expression turns downtrodden. “Okay then. Here,” A plump pillow is tossed to him as well as an extra sheet. “So you can be somewhat comfortable.”

He accepts them for her benefit, but he doesn’t plan on sleeping. He doesn’t think he’ll be able to with all the thoughts and emotions that swirl through him in a stomach churning way. It becomes quiet after that and slowly he lets his eyes wander to her again. She’s facing him in her sleep and he feels a soft twinge in his chest that he’ll be able to see her peaceful face throughout the night. He even lets himself believe foolishly that perhaps she wanted him to be the last thing she saw before she fell asleep.

His hands tighten around the sheet he threw over himself as the idea passes through his mind. That right there is what he needs to put a stop to. He claimed her as his and he’s certain he won’t ever be able to let her go. But she’s starting to overwhelm him completely in the most pleasing of ways imaginable. He’s never felt like this before. It’s unnatural. It’s wrong. But it feels somewhat right as well. It’s a strange conflict in his mind that he tries to ignore the more often it arises. But now as he thinks on it… he’s starting to fear he won’t be able to break free from whatever she’s unleashed within him.

He can still remember his words from before with a sour taste in his mouth. Be better for her. Why would he ever want to do something so preposterous for her? Why would he want to see her happy? To make her smile for him? His hand rubs tiredly over his face before he stares at her almost helplessly. She’d said he’d be alright in such a heartfelt tone. And he wants to believe her and that beautiful smile of hers, but how can he? How can he, when he feels as if his world has been turned upside down and he doesn’t even understand who he is anymore?

He doesn’t know how long it’s been since his gaze locked on her form glowing breathtakingly in the moonlight turned defeated. But he does recognize the changes in Elizabeth the moment a tiny whimper sounds in her throat as her face begins to contort. He studies her closely as his throat begins to tighten. ‘Don’t let this be another damn nightmare.’ He silently begs as his eyes stay locked on her more fretful than he knows he should be.

Of course there’s no one out there who’d grant his prayers as her face grows more frightened the tighter she clutches the sheets tugged under her chin. When he sees the first tears fall with the sound of a distressing cry, it takes a surprising amount of force to look away. Pangs go through him relentlessly regardless of his efforts with each sound of her heart-rending cries. His chest becomes hot with the pain he feels for her. She shouldn’t be forced to go through this over something as simple as ending those creatures’ existences.

He hears the distinct sound of rustling sheets and turns in time to see her kicking her feet in the tangle of her sheets and shaking her head as her chest heaves with her sobs. “No! N-No!!” The words tumble from her lips like gut wrenching pleas. He’s seen this all before. Heard her terror, watched as she shook and trembled, then crumble under the weight of her trauma. But this just feels worse somehow as he watches her hands quiver and her lips wobble as she tries to curl into herself.

He should be strong enough to let her go through this on her own damn it!

M-Mel-iodas!” Her voice is tiny and so pleading as she whimpers.

The movement to her side is purely unconscious as he gazes down at her with shaky breaths of his own. ‘She said my name. Why? I don’t…’ The thought trails off as he raises a hand to her cheek covered in fresh tears and begins to caress it in what he hopes is a soothing manner. He’s about done with trying to keep himself from comforting her at this point. It always ends the same way anyway. The shakiness in his chest slightly settles as she leans into him, but she still won’t stop crying. His lips purse as his brows furrow in thought. He takes a closer look at her fragile appearance as ideas begin to form. Is her nightmare about him? Is he… hurting her this time?

His hand begins to slip away from her at the sickening thought. She’s afraid of him, being hurt by him, and that alone makes him feel the lowest he’s ever had in his long existence. It’s a ridiculous sensation, he tries to tell himself. He’s a demon. He should rejoice at the idea that she’s finally starting to understand his power over her. But those thoughts are starting to feel hollower each time he tries to use them to convince himself. And he really only ends up feeling disgusted with himself. Like he should never lay a hand on her again.

Elizabeth’s cries seem to grow louder as he moves away from her. The heaving of her breathing’s downright painful as more words try to escape from her throat. “D-don’t… die!!”

His entire frame stills completely. He watches her more than dazed, entirely baffled as he tries to understand her words. Her meaning behind them. The jolting in his chest doesn’t help the rapid brimming of warmth that seems to consume him. “What…?” The air is forced from his chest as he imagines the possibilities, of what this might mean.

As soon as he sees her hand reaching out desperately, he throws all the confusion inside him away. In this moment, he just lets himself feel. He climbs in beside her and pulls her into his arms, hoping to protect her from whatever causes her terror. Her quivering warmth settles against him perfectly and he accepts the way her arms clutch against his back when she pulls herself closer to him. This is something he can do.

Letting himself sink into this dizzying moment, he finds his hand reaching behind her to brush slowly down the length of her hair again and again. He doesn’t allow himself to pull back when she begins to relax in his hold with easing breaths. He just goes with the gentle urging that travels through is veins, telling him to run his lips along her forehead, and to softly caress the skin of her thigh in a consoling manner.

Being tangled with her in such a way is positively peaceful. She’s his and for once he’s truly doing what’s necessary to care for her.

His mind is calm the moment he feels her stretching slightly in his hold. For an instant, he nearly springs back from her as usual in his desperate attempt to retain what’s “normal” for him. But he fights it and instead, stays where his is, even though he knows her reaction most likely will be less than impressed.

She seems to still for a second. Then he feels her heartbeat pick up. “M-Meliodas?” her breath is against his neck and then her head is pulling back to stare at him with wide astonished eyes.

He keeps his expression neutral, even as he lifts a hand to cup her cheek and rub his thumb along her skin slowly. Hearing her rise in breathing as she leans into his touch causes his stomach to twist in anticipation. He looks away from her almost hopeful gaze in favor of watching the way the moonlight dances across her exposed skin. He cares more about her than he should. Even before he realized what the weird feeling was, he still went out of his way to protect her. It’s almost painful to admit, but she means a great deal to him. She’s not affecting him against his will. He’s letting her and he doesn’t know how to feel about it just yet.

“So you were the one watching over me this whole time?” She whispers earnestly with a shaky undertone.

Her warm, delicate hand forces his gaze back up to hers gently. The look in her eyes tells him she’s not looking for an answer as she already knows. The tender way she peers at him through glimmering eyes and an incredibly affectionate smile makes him feel more than weak as he tries to breathe past the sudden rushing of blood beneath his skin. “Elizabeth…”

Her hand on his cheek gradually shifts closer to his mouth until he feels her thumb run along his bottom lip in a slow stroke. His breath is shaky as he lets his lips kiss her thumb carefully. She moves it back slightly and his eyes find hers watching him with that same look that matches the volatile emotions that festers inside of him this very moment. Her soft curves and warmth pressed against him is already debilitating to his strength at holding himself at bay when so close to her. But hearing her next words spoken without hesitation or even a single care for its possible consequences causes his barriers to shatter like fragile glass. He knows then, whatever she wants of him, he’ll do it. No matter what.

“Meliodas, can you kiss me?”

His hands reach up to grasp her face as if she’ll break if he holds her too tightly. Then he brings her face to his without pause and seals their lips together slowly, delicately. Inhaling deeply through his nose, he gently guides her lips with his, brushing them in feather light kisses until she’s shaking from the tendrils of warmth that travels between them like electric sparks. When she hums a desperate tune as he presses another whisper of a kiss against her, he finally leads their mouths together in a breathtaking joining in the steady rising of temperature between them.

He works her mouth with a slow passion, shivering at the way her finger curls into his coat at his back and the way her leg wraps over his waist to tangle them further. His hand keeps steady on her cheek as his breath shudders. He pulls away only slightly enough to slant his mouth over hers. He hums at the smooth feel of her lip beneath his tongue as he urges her to open up for him. Then he swallows the heat of her moan as it pushes into his mouth when his tongue finally gains access to her.

Her hand on his cheek twitches as he sucks her lower lip, then he twists his tongue against hers. The warmth of the little palm of hers travels down to his chest as they begin to press tighter together and he kisses her languidly. The way he feels now, fervidly meshes their lips together as his skin dances with the fluttering of his emotions, he feels as if he could stay like this for the rest of his life.

She pulls back slightly with gasping breaths, but he can’t help the little kisses he steals from her plump lips as she tries to catch her breath. The feeling of kissing her smile makes his chest warm considerably, especially when she begins to giggle.

“Meli...odas…” She laughs breathlessly as he continues to capture her lips. He can’t get enough of her taste or hearing her say his name.

“Hmm…” He responds before pulling her in for another consuming kiss.

Her fingers curl against his chest as his mouth becomes firmer, hungrier in his caress. He devours her mouth and the whimper that sounds at the back of her throat as her leg over his tightens. Elizabeth’s hands press against his chest pushing him to lie on his back as she climbs atop him. Her hands work quickly to unbutton his coat and he leans up to recapture her mouth as her hands hastily push it off his shoulders. Her lips become slow against his as her smooth palms slide up the length of his arms with fleeting touches, causing his breath to hitch. Her teeth catch his bottom lip as her touch circles his shoulders, then works painfully slow down his chest where she finally allows pressure.

He wants so badly to place his hands over hers and guide them along his skin, but the sheer anticipation of what she’ll do keeps him in place. It easily riles his blood and buzzes his mind. She pulls her plump lips from his and gives him a playful look that dances with delight at his steady response before she ducks her head down. He jumps slightly at the feel of her tongue running along his collarbone. He closes his eyes and tries to imagine, with shuddering breaths, how she looks as her lips suck against his skin and her teeth roll his flesh teasingly between them. He has to clutch the sheets to keep himself still. To simply let himself drown in the captivating sensations she instills within him.

Sluggishly she glides down his torso and her scorching touch presses along his sides as her mouth begins to burn pleasantly against his chest. He’s certain she can feel the mess of thuds that reside there all from her curvaceous body gliding along his as she kisses and caresses him. He jerks into her with a startled hiss when her teeth nip his nipple, only to groan as the flat of her tongue presses against it firmly afterwards. He’s put through the same wonderful torment when she places open mouthed kisses on her way to his other one, leaving him panting and his pants more than tight.

The sheets are torn by now as he struggles with trying to figure out what he should do in this situation. But when he hears her moan as her tongue swirls between the dips in his muscles, he no longer waits. He lets his hands roam along her back as she arches against him with a heady moan. She’s quick to kiss her way back up his body to capture his lips as his hands smooth around her front heatedly. The squeal she passes through him as his palms cup her luscious breasts is more than delicious. He massages her thoroughly and unhurriedly, feeling himself become hotter the more she moans into his mouth.

Her sitting squarely in his lap makes it easier for him to pull away from the kiss in order to move his mouth to kiss her breasts through her thin nightgown. She whimpers as she arches into him and he makes sure to flick his tongue over her hardening nipples.

Not a second later her hips begin to roll amorous against his pelvis in an agonizingly sluggish rhythm. She throws her head back panting as her hand slides up to his hair where she begins to run her fingers through it. His mouth gives her breasts a few nips more before trailing up to her collarbone, his breaths shallow with the pleasurable shocks that run through him from the sound of her pleased hums that travel right to his hard length. Elizabeth stumbles his name past soft moans as the passion of her grinding picks up.

His hands move to circle her waist and hold her just right so she can roll her hips right against his stiffness. He buries his face in the crook of her neck and lays an open mouth kiss there as she trembles. He manages to groan out as he feels sweat begin to form along his skin.

Their breathing is harsh as she stops for a brief moment to hike her nightgown up to her hips. Then she settles directly over his clothed length once more. Even with the barrier her heat burns along him with enough force to have him thrust upward against her. She falls forward against him as they begin moving as one in sensually slow movements. Her low moan echoes soundly around the room.

His mind is a whirl of heat and confusion, his motions driven by the desire to please for once. His arms twitch around her, trying to pull her closer in doing so. He groans loudly as she rubs her core along the entire length of him deliberately in blissful reaction. Her lips meld over his as he lets her control how fast or slow they go. He sinks into her power, her will over the situation, and moans deeply into her mouth at the relieving feel that washes through him at doing so. He’ll do whatever she wants, give her whatever she needs, so long as he gets to keep her as his.

Her lips slip from his and work sluggishly along his jaw to his neck as he feels her body twitch from the jolts of pleasure and as he himself, relishes in the vibrations of her delighted whimpers. “Meliodas~” She cries softly against his neck.

He sucks in a breath as his jaw tightens against the coil of scorching heat that begins to grow taut in his lower belly from the sound. He crushes her closer and lets his hands trail along her back as he gets lost in everything her. “Elizabeth.”

Her hips become faster and firmer against him as her breathing begins to stutter, but he can see the determination in her eyes as she gazes down at him under her wild silver hair.  

He pulls her head down and crashes their lips together without a thought as it becomes almost impossible to think with the sharp rising of bliss blazing inside of him like an inferno. Their tongues slip and slide against each other as they twist their heads in frantic kisses. By the way her hands claw at his shoulders and the twitching of her thighs around his waist, it becomes clear to him in their vehement kisses that she’s close to her peak.

When she pulls back to moan loudly against his lips, he begins to thrust his hips faster, working hard to get her to her end and completely uncaring of his own. His eyes roam hungrily over her face colored a beautiful rosy tint. And the way her breaths rush across his lips sends sharp tingles through him that are only amplified with every roll of his hips.

He knows she’s there when her impassioned moan rises in volume in pitch. Her hips begin to jerk in a slow rocking motion, causing him to grit his teeth as he watches and feels her wallow in ecstasy. He thrusts slowly with her with tight grunts, knowing he’s so close but he needs just a bit more. Her eyes open in a satisfied daze as she slows against him and that look alone is enough for him to shrug off the frustration inside him, no matter how bothersome it is. But her hand squeezing against this shoulder begins to make a path downward between them, completely startling him as his breath catches in his throat.

Her little hand pushes past the waist of his pants and he feels a moan stick in his throat as she grips him firmly. Elizabeth’s smile is full of many emotions, but the one that stands out as she leans down to kiss his bottom lip chastely is practically adoring. “I know this is s-silly, but… can I ask of you something?

“Anything… you want,” He groans past gritted teeth as she teasingly trails her hand in a too light touch.

Her hand tightens marginally and she seems to glow with the satisfaction that vibrates in his chest. “Could you… hold my hand whenever I want you to?”

The answer comes from him heedlessly. “Yes.” His hips begin to slowly jerk into her still slight hold. Just a bit more...

“Can you… kiss me w-when I ask?” She whispers in earnest as she finally gets a firm grip on him.

He nods his head rapidly as his chest expands and contracts rapidly against the pleasure beginning to shoot through him forcefully. ‘Anything… Anything for you, Elizabeth.’ He thinks in a daze.

“Would you love me if I asked you to?”

His mouth goes dry as his mind runs blank, and then the heat of her hand begins to rub up and down his throbbing shaft quickly, further obliterating his senses. She sends jolts through his body again and again with ease through her nimble fingers, smooth palm, and affectionate gaze. The moment her thumb rubs along the weeping head of him, he’s a goner. He cries her name as he jerks unsteadily with the shattering waves of ecstasy. Elizabeth keeps her place above him, never taking her eyes off his face as she lets him thrust into the tight hold of her hand as many times as he needs, until, finally, he falls limp beneath her, entirely weary as he tries to find his breath.

He doesn’t notice her retracting her hand, nor the way she licks it clean as he hears her question repeat in his mind in a hypnotizing way. ‘Love her? Could I love her?’ His eyes only regain their clarity when he feels her soft lips brush the corner of his. And then she’s pushing his coat out of the bed as she pulls the covers over them. He can’t help the pleased sigh he gives when she settles nicely on top of him, tangling their legs beneath the covers.

“I’m sorry. That was… strange of me to ask. I guess I got caught up in the moment,” She voices quietly in the tranquility of the night. He doesn’t answer and instead pulls her closer, still trying to catch up with how quickly things escalated.

But still, as she drifts off into a peaceful slumber in his arms, he lets the thought run wild in his mind. ‘Can I love her?’

 

Chapter Text

~23~

-Coming To Terms With The Heart-

Three days she’s been entirely too tense around Zeldris. She’s been waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak. It certainly is a miracle that he’s given her another chance, for which she’s very grateful. She doesn’t know what she’d do if she lost him. Gelda stares forlornly at her white boots as she sits on the side of his bed. He was so furious that evening. She’d felt as if her heart would simply cease functioning as he told her almost desperately that he’d sworn to kill her for her supposed treachery. Her arms move to cross over herself as she shivers in remembrance. Although he was upset over the wrong thing, it still doesn’t look over the fact that she is withholding something from him, and he’ll most likely be just as infuriated about it as the thought of her being responsible for those creatures.

“Zeldris…” She whispers silently in the dimly lit room, the windows covered tightly to keep any light from reaching her. She’d begged for her life that night and shown him through passion how much she needs him. How she can’t possibly go on without his coarse presence surrounding her. More than anything, nevertheless, she wishes he would understand. If he finds out what she’s keeping, she just knows he’ll get rid of her. Whether through permanent means or simply by casting her away and never giving her a second glance again is not known. But she does know that that will be the day her precariously balanced world will forever come crashing down.

She raises a hand to swipe angrily away at the tears that have gathered in her eyes. She’s proven herself weak in his eyes countless times, but still he’s somehow kept her. She does not know why, but she’ll cling to his possession he wields over her for as long as she can. Because as much as she knows through her entire being that she is his, Zeldris is hers as well. She’s never had the courage to make such a declaration to him, she fears what his reaction would be, but she tries to show her claim whenever possible. Even if it’s just little things like leaving her mark on his neck after passionate nights, or walking as close as she dares next to him down the halls of the castle. She wants it known that he is hers just as much as she is his.

Gelda rises from her perched place upon the bed as a peculiar, yet familiar, sensation comes to her. She bites her lower lip gently recalling the past three days of trying to suppress it. It’s already been difficult being under Zeldris’ calm, yet intense scrutiny. If he noticed this, she doesn’t know how she’d be able to explain it away. When it would rise up within her, she’d have to fight it back with struggling difficulty. And the closest way she could figure to do that landed her in the position of practically devouring Zeldris’ mouth, hoping and praying that his taste would keep her grounded. He didn’t seem to complain too much at these strange occurrences as he’d held her snug around the waist and let her tongue roam in his mouth for however long she needed. Of course she was given critical scrutiny afterwards as she’s never usually one to instigate such acts often. But the kisses had helped some.

Until now.

She finds herself opening and exiting his room as the roaring inside her demands to be fulfilled. Clamors to be filled with more than just a sample, a taste. She moves on autopilot, silent and swift, taking deserted hallways, and the secret ones Zeldris told her of that would keep her from the light during the day. The feeling inside her swells as she picks up a scent and her pace grows faster. She is single minded in her mission, seeing not the thick grey stones of the walls she presses against as she slips down the tight, hidden corridors, or the spindly spider webs that hang overhead as she creeps forward. She only cares about a single thing at the moment as it drives her forward at an unrelenting pace. She won’t stop until she gets to it.

Her senses are peaked, heightened if you will, so the scent she smells has her mouthwatering and her eyes glazing over in want. Her stomach twists in a painful need as she pushes herself through the cramped corridor quicker. The wall ahead designating her exit appearing as the light one rushes to heedlessly. She picks up the sound of clanks and bangs and people yelling back and forth to each other in communication. The commotion makes her heart pick up in speed. She’s almost there!

She presses her hand to the specific stone Zeldris showed her and the wall slides to the right with ear grating sounds granting her leave. Dust particles waft through the dim lighting across the entryway, threatening to sting in her eyes and itch at the back of her throat. With thoughts of reaching her goal running so rampant in her mind, she exits the hidden passage recklessly. The dim light in this hall is only darkened before her the moment a very tall and foreboding presence steps in front of her.

Her mind is so wild with her need so close to being fulfilled, the sudden obstruction has her recoiling with a vicious hiss.

The demon that stands before her merely gives a soft chuckle of amusement. “Is little Gelda agitated over something?”

The smooth address snaps her out of her trance like a cold splash of water. She stumbles back with a quiver, horrified to see Estarossa standing in front of her when she was almost… “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to!” She apologizes immediately for her malicious response to him. How could she be so thoughtless! She’d nearly gotten spotted in her act.

He brushes her rushed apologies off with a simple glance to his right. She edges backwards as unease creeps rapidly within her in horrid tingles. But that’s when whatever he took notice of no longer holds his attention and his eyes slide to her, pinning her in place. “What were you doing here? Don’t tell me you were attempting to sneak away once more. My brother certainly wouldn’t be happy to know this…” He trails off with faux displeasure.

Gelda draws up in tightly wound nerves as she shakes her head back and forth, denying. “That’s not what I was doing!”

“Then what?” His response is quick to come as he tilts his head just the slightest, studying her with an intensity that makes her feel as if he can see every impurity within her.

She turns her eyes away as a forceful shudder travels through her in a wave. Estarossa was never pleasant to be around. It was always much easier to bare the odd aura that surrounds him with Zeldris as a buffer, but now she’s all alone. Free to whatever he wishes to unleash upon her.

He takes a step closer—a single one—but it’s enough for her to feel every ounce of blood in her turn to ice, forcing the breath out of her. “It wouldn’t happen to do with what you’re keeping from my little brother now would it?” His tone is casual, but the implication is dead serious.

She finally snaps her eyes up to his as horror runs through her in scrapping passes, over and over again as her body begins to tremble. ‘He couldn’t know… He simply couldn’t!’ “I-I don’t know what you mean. I’m not the one behind those creatures…”

Now he smiles. But the look of it is beyond frightening in its twisted appearance. “Oh, but that’s not what I speak of, Gelda. You and I both know this.”

Her lips begin to tremble as her eyes gather with tears. ‘There’s no way. He should not know!’ Her back finally hits the wall behind her in her flighty attempt to escape and she’s pained to realize the corridor closed behind her. She’s forced to be subjected to his torment of her most hidden secret. Just then a servant rushes by and she’s tempted to call their attention, her eyes landing on them in desperation. But Estarossa blocks her from view. And what could a servant do to the brother of the next King. Not only that but a member of the Ten Commandments. She sags against the wall as her eyes return to Estarossa’s delighted ones and she resigns herself to her fate.

“How do you know?” She breaths out so quietly she’s sure he won’t be able to hear it.

But he answers in a calm manner anyway, despite the flaring enjoyment at her expense that dances lively in his eyes. “It’s so obvious little Gelda. My brother is still young and unbelievably unobservant when it comes to you, so he did not catch on in the beginning. But I did. And no amount of hiding can erase my knowledge, vampire.”

She feels her cheeks burn with the sensation of her hot tears rolling down them. ‘He must know then. It’s over.’ “Please, don’t tell, Zeldris. He’d—”

“Cast you aside before you can even open your mouth to plead?” Estarossa finishes for her with a laugh that sounds more like a pleased rumble. He takes another step forward and she feels as if the world is closing in all around her, nowhere to run, nowhere to go, no hope to find. “If you thought you’ve seen him upset, you can’t imagine what this would do to him. With the new prospects arising in his near future do you think your little secret will do anything but make him feel like he made the biggest mistake in taking you as his? He’ll want you gone so fast your head will be left spinning. What you’ve done is beyond his realm of acceptance. I can assure you.”

She finally allows herself a forceful sob as her eyes drift closed. The truth she’s been trying to deny can no longer be blinded from herself. Zeldris will hate her. He will leave her and she will be more alone than she’s ever been in her entire life. The isolation she felt back in Edinburgh simply waiting for the day her father married her off to some powerful suitor will be nothing compared to this. Because she knows what love is like, what having someone care for your existence means. Zeldris is one of the hardest demons to reach in terms of emotions, but he saw something in her. He kept her, made sure her every need was taken care of even if he was cold and indifferent and coarse with her on most occasions. But she knew at night when he held her close as they slept that beneath all his curses, his spiteful words, his aggression, and possessiveness there was care. She could only dream that he loved her too.

But now when he finds out, that’ll all be gone. It’ll vanish faster than the life she feels crumbling inside her now.

Gelda can hardly see past her tears as she gazes up at Estarossa, but she begs him with a desperation she’s never felt before. “Don’t take him from me! Please! I beg of you! I can’t—I don’t know what I’d do without him!”

Her heart wrenching cries echo in the hall as Estarossa stares at her impassively. The amusement from before is still very much present deep within him as he speaks next. “I won’t say a word, but I make no promises on keeping your secret. If he asks if I know what you are keeping, well, it would simply be wrong of me to lie to him, now wouldn’t it? Besides, secrets always manage to find their way out into the open. I suggest you enjoy what little time you have with him, little Gelda…” At this he strides away, tall and casual, as if he hadn’t reduced a woman to wretched tears.

Gelda allows herself to slide to the ground, uncaring of how untidily her skirt falls around her as she draws her knees up. She brings her hands up to cover the shameful tears that pour down her face as a sad attempt to muffle her sobs. The words keep circling her mind nauseatingly. ‘He’ll leave me. He’ll abandon me. I’ll be alone. I don’t want to lose him.’ The distress in her is at a critical point, causing her pulse to race and her breathing to stutter in her effort to breathe.

So she’s absolutely startled when arms suddenly pull her up gently, yet as swiftly as their owner’s patience allows. Then her face is pressed into a familiar chest as his scent begins to waft around her pleasantly. Her hands raise instantly to cling to the material at his shoulders as she tries to calm, sinking easily into his volatile warmth and the feel of his arms encircling her tightly. “What the hell is wrong with you now, Gelda?” He presses in a harsh tone even as his hands slide slowly along her back. Comforting.

She tries to rein back her tears knowing that he hates them and how they disgrace her being, but her voice still comes out wobbly. “N-nothing. It’s nothing. I’m sorry.”

He’s silent for a moment and then she feels him stiffen just the slightest instantly causing her to do the same. “Estarossa was just here… Did he do something to you, Gelda?” It’s quiet, his question, but the rage that’s woven into it is very, very loud.

She nearly chokes, but keeps her breathing steady. She mustn’t let him know something is wrong, even if she is visibly upset. “No, he did nothing. It’s... something silly. Nothing you should be bothered with,” She says into the warm skin of his chest.

At this he forces her from the wonderful comfort of his chest as his hand grips her chin and forces her to gaze directly into his piercing gaze. His eyes are a wild display of various emotions that can’t truly be defined as simple. It’s beyond complex what lies hidden underneath the intense stare he gives her, but she lets out a slow breath when she spots the darkness of his possession mingled with a softness that’s steadily grown over time. “And what is so silly that you’d sit on the ground in a sobbing display, Gelda?” He inquires truly curious of what she could say.

A million answers fly through her mind. Some entirely believable and some off the wall insane. When she opens her mouth, a soft dusting forms on her cheeks at the possible response to her answer. “I missed my chance to eat.”

He blinks several times almost confused as his eyes flick towards the clearly bright light shining in further down the corridor. “...You’re not serious, are you?”

She closes her eyes as her hands fidget against his shoulders. She can feel the heat burning in her cheeks getting steadily hotter. ‘Why did I have to say that of all things? Even if it is a little true…’ “Yes…” Her voice is a soft whisper she almost hopes he doesn’t catch.

It’s a long moment before she hears an annoyed sigh. “What am I to do with you my Gelda?” He asks rhetorically.

She does not answer as she lets him pull her back to his chest as they begin to stroll through the darker hallways back in the direction of his chamber. The heavy weight of her future loss still presses on her relentlessly, but she pushes it to the back of her mind for now and relishes in one of the rare times Zeldris is calm and careful with her as they go at an easy pace. Even if the meeting had been horrific, she’ll take Estarossa’s advice and enjoy what time she has left with Zeldris to the very fullest.

She can’t help but realize that that horrid encounter would have never happened however, if she hadn’t given into that foolish sensation or the tantalizing scent she and Zeldris are now leaving behind.

~.~.~

Elizabeth exhales softly, slowly, in waking, completely and utterly enthralled in the warmth and comfort that surrounds her. Never has she felt this way in waking before. Sure, her bed is comfortable and warm, but this feeling she has now goes beyond that. She wouldn't mind waking up like this for the rest of her life if she could.

She sighs again, wondering of the reason for the change. Groggily she begins to open her eyes, nearly feeling herself tipping closer to falling back asleep once more. It takes a bit for her vision to clear, but then a sleeping face forms before her in great detail. And she sighs blissfully.

‘Meliodas.’ Right. They'd fallen to sleep together after a bit of comforting passion. Her lips curve up softly as she gazes at him. This is the difference in her waking. His arms wrapped around her waist as they lay on their sides, their legs tangled up in a warm way, and tenderly, she caresses his cheek where her hand rests while the other rubs along his taut chest.

She recalls thinking that she'd want to wake up like this for the rest of her life. It's scary to her thudding heart how hard it is to try and deny that prospect.

Slowly she eases out of his arms and then from the bed as her thoughts buzz in remembrance of the night before. She lets her eyes wander to him for the briefest of moments before slipping out of the room like a silent breeze. Gliding down the short stretch to her cooking room, Elizabeth allows the tranquil expression she’d witnessed on his face to surface in her mind. And then those silly questions she’d asked him arise with it.

With a displeased sigh, she runs a hand through her hair as she stares at her white basin. “What was I thinking then? Asking him to love me… Am I insane?” Despite her infuriation towards herself, her cheeks do warm and she’s forced to lean forward against the deep basin with a heavy sigh. Yesterday was a mess. From waking up to his plan to ending the day with the knowledge of his protection once more and the comfort of his arms around her.

How could it tip so wildly against her? This is what she’s been trying to prevent this entire time and yet here she is. Willingly sharing a bed with him, kissing him, holding him, loving— “No.” She protests in a quiet sternness. Her eyes squeeze closed as her hair brushes past her shoulders, hanging over the basin. “I do not love him. I can’t.” Because she’ll be betraying her race, finding love with a demon. She’s already given herself to him. What more could she possibly do to ruin her standing with her brethren?

But she can’t help but feel attached to him. With each passing day she feels herself being pulled closer, becoming entangled more deeply in his powerful being. She’s seen every part of him at this point and new sides are still surfacing. She’s enraptured. Even she can’t deny that. The choice between pulling away or letting herself fall completely is starting to become harder, or to her rising fear, easier to see.

She opens her eyes with a shaky breath. “I… I think I’m—” Her entire form stills as tingles race up and down her spine in sudden awareness. Meliodas is behind her.

“Elizabeth.” It’s a simple greeting and it helps her take a relieving breath as she eases. That is until he comes to her side to point out her hands still gripping the rough edge of the basin with a tremendous amount of pressure by placing his hand lightly over hers. “What’s wrong, goddess?”

His hand over hers just reminds her of the question she asked the night before. She hadn’t exactly asked for him to hold her hand right now, but maybe he just knows… And that’s simply rattling to her nerves and the stuttering of her heart. Still she manages to release her killer grip as she straightens out her stance, letting her hand slide from the edge. She doesn’t miss his slight grip over her hand before their hands part nor the way it causes her breath to catch. “Nothing.”

It takes a moment and from the corner of her eyes she see him raise his arms to cross over his bare chest. Her gaze goes straight once more. “Well, I’m in need of a new set of clothes, so I’m planning a detour to the demon realm. You’ll be fine on your own for a bit?” He always seems to ask, but she gets the feeling that he knows she will. Or perhaps he simply hopes that she will be. Either way still causes warmth to settle like a comforting presence inside her.

But his sudden decision to leave her here rips that away in an instant.

Her eyes meet his cool gaze as she raises an eyebrow in disbelief. “Have you forgotten that I can simply make you something? You don’t have to leave… Besides the King is probably still incensed with you at the moment.”

Something vicious flashes within his eyes as a scowl hardens his features. “Are you saying I cannot handle him?”

Now her lips curve down as she meets his glare with one of her own. “Quite the opposite which is what I’m afraid of.”

The anger in his appearance quickly clears up to be replaced with something lighter. Appreciation as he gives her a crooked grin. “Good. Don’t forget that I can handle those that threaten what I possess and protect…” He says it with such surety and finality as his tone lowers to a coarse grate. Her instinct is to look away as something heats inside her white hot, displaying in her cheeks like that of blooming roses.

Once more she finds herself staring down her basin as her heart thuds painfully loud in her chest, threatening to disturb the course of her words as they leave her lips. “What are you? Some kind of dragon?”

He laughs and it’s low and rumbling. She can practically imagine the vibrations of it traveling through her as she shivers. “You could say that. I don’t plan on letting what I claim go…”

“Um…” Her hands are shaky as they reach for the pump that’ll allow the water to flood. She needs to keep her mind focused on something, anything, but his implications. Because at this point she feels as if she’ll melt into a puddle on her marbled floor if he continues on.

He takes pity on her. “I’ll go get cleaned up while you work, Elizabeth.”

“Right.” Her answer is a weak exhale. She stands there in a daze as the cold water rushes over her hands. His words play in her mind again. ‘I don’t plan on letting what I claim go… Does he mean that?’

~.~.~

Once again the goddess finds herself descending into the candle lit room filled to the brim with ancient magic, only this time her demonic companion follows along behind her.  They’d had to endure the harsh stares of the members of her race on the way there and she was almost certain she would be summoned to face her leader for Meliodas’ action previous. But no one approached them and the two made their way to the imposing building structured with twining pillars and glimmering windows on the top floor.

Elizabeth gazes around the immense room and her shoulders sag. Just like the day, before she senses it’s going to be a long, boring search. And then she hears Meliodas’ voice and she begins to feel her spirits lift from their sulking position upon the ground. With him around, this room already feels lighter.

“So we can’t use our power here?” It’s really not a question. The cool flow of his voice tells her that right away.

So she doesn’t answer and begins to stride towards a set of books she thought might be of interest the day before on the right side of the room. Her fingers skim a few bindings when his voice punctures the calm silence not long after.

“Are we trapped here, too?”

She can’t tell what lines his voice more. Curiosity and interest or a sense of reproachfulness. Leaning around the edge of a shelf, she fills a slight giggle bubble up her chest and past her lips as she gazes at him staring towards the exit with an arched eyebrow. Another security measure for this room is to seal off the area to those not of goddess blood. Even without the use of powers, if enough were to come down here, they’d most assuredly be able to procure whoever entered this secure place without permission. So, no, Meliodas cannot leave. Not without her at least.

He turns to gaze at her at the sound of her amusement and her fingers tighten around the shelf’s corner as the smile on her face simply grows. “I’ll tell you a secret, but you must promise not to use it against us,” She tells him sternly from her place half hidden behind the bookshelf.

Slowly, his look of wonderment from watching her laugh like the most delicate of tinkling bells as she smiled openly at him shifts into pure mischief as he begins to saunter towards her. Elizabeth somehow maintains her stern expression through the pulsating pressure that begins to gradually quicken inside her the closer her gets, making her grasp on the bookshelf a necessity as her knees begin to feel a little weak.

It’s that damn outfit of his, she admits, as her eyes trail over him in a slow drag. She’d personally designed it and now she realizes it was more for her benefit than his. She’d given it a high collar, he seems to like those, short sleeves, and a material that certainly clings to his torso—so her eyes can glue there and ogle him whenever she pleases. She decided to let it end just past his hips so that it can nicely fall over his black pants lined with dark silver stitching. The most notable feature of his silver shirt, however, is a personal touch that she really was pleased that Meliodas liked: The embroidered flaming swirl that brands the back. The very same mark that lays upon his forehead.

Meliodas takes a seat on the wooden table right across from her with a devilish twinkle in his eyes that causes her skin to tingle pleasantly. “Alright, goddess, I’ll be held to this promise of yours.”

At this she smiles and turns to face him more fully. “Well, you’re right about being trapped in here. Well, you are… But as long as you have me, you don’t have to worry about being stuck here demon.”

“Pretty impressive.”

“Thank you!” She responds brightly as she collects a few promising books that have titles surrounding elements of dark creation or torture. Not topics she likes to read on, but hopefully they’ll give her at least something. Elizabeth holds them to her chest and strides quickly to the table Meliodas sits on. Taking the seat beside him, she lays them all out and bites her lip in deciding which one to choose.

“Did you make much progress yesterday?” Meliodas wonders aloud in a casual drawl.

Turning her eyes to him fleetingly she sees him staring around the vast room. She can understand why he would ask such a thing. She picks up a random book and begins to meticulously skim through it for key elements. “Not really. Veronica did barge in and tell me that you strangled her, after all, among other things.” She tells him offhandedly as the words of how to slowly suspend a person in death passes through her mind. She can't help but cringe.

“What other things?” It’s almost light how he lays his question out and she’s much too distracted to wonder why it feels odd.

She flips a few pages as depictions of how to keep one conscious when forcing one’s power to slowly melt them from the inside out flashes through her mind. Her breath trembles for a moment as the horrible image fades away. Pulling herself together, she closes her eyes and speaks without thinking. “She thought I was under some kind of spell for thinking about you… For thinking that you would change just because you—” She quickly slams her lips shut and stares at the book wide eyed, realizing what she nearly told him. He shouldn’t hear that. That’s for her to dwell on. He was never to know.

“Elizabeth?” He calls to her with a slow kind of calm, his voice sounding almost sweet in its address. That’s when something twists inside her in fitful pangs as she realizes her mistake. What she missed before that she would have easily have picked up had his energy not been suppressed. As she turns her gaze to him, she sees it in his eyes, the high flames of fury concealed below a fragile image of calm. “What did she say, hmm? Tell me.”

Forcing her gaze away under the frigid feel of nerves dancing frantically through her veins, Elizabeth quickly grasps another book. No, she will not tell him. Besides, these books need to get looked through without these delays keeping them back. So ignoring his command, she forces her mind to take in the words on how to make dark beasts that feed of the life of happiness or ones that drain the life from those on the brink of death.

It’s obvious Meliodas does not like her ignoring him and his order, but instead of yelling as she expected, he goes about things a different way. She feels his fingers begin to run through the length of her hair almost soothingly. Her hands shake slightly as she flips the pages of the book as emotions begin to clash inside her. She has no idea of whether he’s angry with her or Veronica. She simply can’t read his motives. All she does know is that she doesn’t want to tell him about any of what her friend told her. It does not matter now anyway.

After minutes of his hands running through her hair like flowing warmth, skimming her shoulders in soothing passes and his fingers sending pinging shocks throughout her body, stealing her breath away greedily, Elizabeth somehow managed to remain resilient in her focus to take in the cruel information the burns in her brain torturously. That is until his callous fingers slide under her chin and turns her to face him. He’s leaning down, higher than her from his position upon the table. Again she finds his eyes a mystery with only the tell-tell signs of anger covered deep inside their depths. “What did she tell you, Elizabeth? I want to know. You can tell me, you know?” He beseeches her in a tone drizzled in honeyed persuasion.

As his thumb trails slowly across her cheek, it’s then she begins to piece together something that throws her mind in chaos as utter disbelief tears through it hectically. ‘He’s not angry with me. It’s Veronica… They argued before, this must be linked to that. But why would he even care really? He “put her in her place” before.’ She’s brought back to her senses as firm lips touch hers as fleetingly as wind kissing her skin. She shudders as she attempts to swallow. The feel of his lips brushing against hers as he speaks is like dizzying grazes to her sensitive flesh. “Elizabeth… tell me.

Her hand tightens into a fist as she gathers her scattered senses from his dramatic acts of persuasion. Elizabeth’s blue eyes fly open in a show of strengthened resolve. She hopes he gets his answer there as she stands and wanders to another section of books, these being thicker and cloaked in magic she doesn’t want to lay her fingers on. But she finds herself edging closer to them as she moves along the shelf, closer to the beige wall at the end. Her heart still beats against her chest and blares in her ears from his touches, but she hides it well under the guise of her search.

So when out of the corner of her eyes she spots him standing at the entrance of the row she resides in, his face lowered and cast in the shadow of his wild bangs, she tries to swallow back her frazzled heart at the ominous feel that suddenly surrounds him. Slowly she edges more away from him as she pulls a few promising books from the shelf in front of her. When her hand extends high for one, her fingers twitch at the sound of his low voice extending the distance between them poised as a chilling bite.

“I warned her, Elizabeth.”

She gasps tightly. The abrupt sound of a tremendous crash bounces from the wall beside her has her pressing more tightly to the bookshelf in front of her. Turning her head to face him just slightly when the vibration in her ears fall silent, she first sees his muscles twitching from the strain of his tense position leaning towards the wall. Then her eyes trail up his toned arm to his left fist is sunk into a dent created by his own volition. ‘His powers are suppressed! How is it possible for him to still move so quickly and to use such force?’

She turns away with a slight shiver at the prospect, finding his continued show of prowess riveting. In an attempt to not send him flying off the walls any further, she keeps calm and lets her eyes go back to scanning the books as his words cause something to stir within her. ‘Warned her?’ Something on the high shelf catches her eye as odd as the books lean slightly askew, but she doesn’t give it much attention as she speaks with a tight voice. “You may have, but what happens between my friend and I is between us. You don’t have to worry about it, Meliodas.”

The world moves much too quickly as she loses her hold on her books, the ancient text falling to the ground with thunderous bangs. The air rushes from her lungs as she’s forced against the wall she was edging towards with Meliodas pressing against her. Agitation rolls off of him in turbulent jolts, sending her nerves soaring as she stares at him in wide eyed astonishment. Her breaths flee in shallow bursts between them, displaying how on edge she is.

“I do when she’s going out of her way to demean you! I told her, I told all of them, to watch what they said about you! And that bitch is clearly asking for her death.”

Elizabeth goes completely still at this. Her mind grinds to a halt as her eyes stare at him in a quickly growing daze. ‘He did what…?’

She feels too many things rushing in her mind in the next second, too quickly for her to come up with an intelligible response. So she misses the way Meliodas suddenly tenses as his eyes snap up. In the next instant, she’s quickly pulled from off of her feet and deposited several feet away as something smashes to the ground right where they once stood.

 

Chapter Text

~24~

-Secrets Surface-

Instinct tells her to conjure a weapon, but her magic refuses to come to her, much to her frenzied chagrin. Meliodas exists around her like a taut shield, crushing her to his form as he most likely glares at whatever’s behind them. She wants to move, to face whatever threat has arisen together, but he refuses to allow her an inch. And she admits his unwavering hold on her does help her calm much quicker than she’d originally believed. But then he’s relaxing and she’s allowed to turn and see what happened.

A thick chunk of plaster lays on the ground in a crumbled mess. Her eyes slowly raise up to see the surprisingly neat square missing from a spot of wall located just above the height of the top shelf. She can’t see inside it from there, it being much too dark inside the neatly cut out area. She ends up wondering how it’s possible someone did it though. She thought this place was highly secure and such damage would surely be noticed.

In her assessment, she finds Meliodas just at the spot where they were before, kneeling down to examine the debris. He must have the same uneasy feeling about it as she. All previous thoughts on his threat to the goddesses on her behalf is forgotten as she moves to his side.

He holds a bit of the white plaster in his hand as he voices severely, “Whoever did this was trying to hide something.”

Their eyes meet and that uneasy feeling that swam inside her begins to thrash unpleasantly. He’s thinking it too. It’s starting to look like whoever did this might have snuck in to the goddess realm, or worse, originated from here. “There’s only one way to find out,” She tells him. She stands once more and looks up at the square opening, pondering how to reach it.

Her eyes turn to the chair she was previously sitting in as her eyes light up. Before she can even take a step forward she’s stopped by a hand wrapped around her arm. She turns to face Meliodas’ knowing expression as he gives her a light smirk. “I know what you’ve got planned. You don’t need a chair you know.” He points out as his smirk grows a bit more mischievous.

When she arches an eyebrow at this he merely chuckles and guides her towards the wall. He crouches slightly as his hands cup as a foothold. She stares at him for a while unsure before he rolls his eyes lightly at her hesitance. “I would never let you fall. Plus, I want to make sure I can pull you back if there’s any signs of foul play. We don’t have our power here after all.” He tells her in a tone that’s harden with a serious edge.

Elizabeth nods as a dusting of pink comes to her cheeks at his proclamation of her assured safety once more. As she moves her foot into his hands bracing herself for the lift, she can’t help but wonder why it is he seems to care so much now… or perhaps it’s been longer than that. It’s only now starting to bleed out into the open more recently as they’ve gotten closer, even after he revealed his plan to her. She’s hoisted up, Meliodas having a surprisingly secure hold so she’s balanced perfectly without a worry as the hole comes to her face. She stares into the darkness for a while attempting to see what’s inside before gingerly reaching inside with seeking fingers.

Her mind wanders for the briefest moment as her fingers touch cold stones, and rough wood. ‘It couldn’t be the same thing that’s been building inside me that he’s feeling right? That would be… impossible. Demons don’t care for others.’ But even she realizes that’s not true, at least from the few she’s personally encountered, namely Zeldris and Meliodas. It is possible. And if it's possible then maybe… Her fingers bump into something startling her from her thoughts, causing her to jolt.

Meliodas’ voice comes to her with a slight tinge of anxiousness to it. “You found something?”

Calming down quickly she wraps her fingers tightly around whatever it is and begins to pull it out as she answers. “Yeah, it’s…” She stares at the black cover of the book before her. The words scrawled across it are almost twisted in a wicked sense for being of goddess creation. She speaks in quiet surprise, “a book.”

Meliodas brings her down with hardly any notice to her as she stares intently at the book that seems to have the darkest power curling from it that she’s felt in this entire room thus far. When she finally blinks back into focus she finds herself seated on one of the wooden tables of the room with Meliodas sitting in the chair in front of her . She would be embarrassed by the position if the book didn’t seem to cause something to form in her gut like the most painful knot of anxiety she’s ever had to bare.

He looks up at her with hard eyes, his stony manner making an appearance as the grim atmosphere of the situation demands to be acknowledged. “Speak to me, goddess. Do you think this is the book we’ve been looking for?”

She can only answer truthfully as her voice sags lowly in a pensive way. “I think so… but there’s only one way to find out.” Her eyes find their way back to the heavy book in her hold and she opens it without pause. The sound of ruffling pages is the only disturbance in the deafening silence around them as she reads silently. It becomes clear with each page she flicks though that this is the book... because there’s no way such twisted conjurings of magic wouldn’t be related to the viciousness of those creatures. Her hands begin to grow colder and a subtle tremble begins to course across her figure in waves steadily as the dark words puncture her mind in bloody jabs.

Then she turns the next page.

She feels herself become faint as her blood begins to plunge too quickly through her body and she can’t seem to catch her breath. She barely feels Meliodas’ hands on her waist keeping her steady as she gasps quickly in horror at the words that fry into her mind with a white hot relentlessness that has tears flowing down her cheeks.

Elizabeth! What is it?” Meliodas demands in a harsh cutting tone. His hands grip her sides as he drags her down and into his lap so he can get a better hold of her.

But she can hardly speak as she looks down at him through her terrified tears. “They were people, Meliodas! Those creatures! P-PEOPLE!!” She killed them, what used to be humans, fairies, and giants. Put them through even more torment than what they already suffered through. She’s a monster.

His hands reach up to grasp her face, her tears colliding into his hands only to roll down them instead, as his face becomes impossibly more severe. His voice begs for her to snap out of it. “Elizabeth, you didn’t do anything. Whoever did this did. Calm down…”

She nods to his command as she sucks in forceful breaths releasing the open book in her lap in order to reach for his hands on her face. The power and strength that emanates from him in forceful waves even without it truly being there is simply astounding. She latches onto it and uses it to ground her spiraling mind as she slowly tries to ease her jumping heart. Closing her eyes, she lets her thumbs run along the back of his hands that still rest against her face. She breathes, taking in his scent with a slow consistency.

Using his presence as a crutch to help her describe what she found out, she opens her lips and lets it pour out, “Those creatures were once humans, fairies, and giants, Meliodas. They were put through various gruesome experiments that slowly took away their will, their identities, and f-finally their lives as darkness was forcefully instilled inside of them. That's how they turn into those vicious creatures. The more darkness that can be poured into them, the more powerful they are. They're essentially beings made of pure darkness that only desire to kill. It's a lengthy process however which is why… w-which is—” She can no longer force herself to continue as the image of that room she was dragged into by a snare paints itself into her mind like an image dripped in blood. The haunting moans that lingered in the place.... That’s why. That’s why.

Meliodas’ voice is a quiet somber as he answers for her. “The torture chamber. There’s probably more areas out there. Whoever’s behind this probably made torture facilities to make them quicker.”

She opens her wavering view and gazes at him as the pain that tears at her heart leaks through her eyes, tormenting her soul in dreadful gashes that she feels won’t heal for a long, long time. “Why is this happening? Why do people have to suffer?” She implores with a fragile tone as she feels herself close to shattering.

Meliodas stares at her entirely whole and hardened from years of things she’ll never wish to dream of. So when he turns his eyes away from her in refusal of answer, she feels herself biting her lip to hold back a cry. She doesn’t fight him when he scoops her up and places her back on the table as he stands. His hands then neatly place the book in her lap as he gathers hers and places them on top of it. Then he meets her eyes once more and she releases the pressure of the sorrowful cry that had built in her chest as a shaky sigh when he brushes away the few tears that roll down her cheeks with his thumb. “I can’t give you an answer that you’d like, Elizabeth. But I can tell you that we will find them.”

Elizabeth sniffles as she nods and gradually begins to calm. Then she studies his eyes and find they seem more closed off than they have been lately, which bothers her greatly. She finds herself looking down at the book she positively loathes. And a question slips past her without thought, hoping to gain her the comfort his gaze didn’t provide her, but she still so dearly seeks. “Can you kiss me…?”

He reacts without pause. His hand sweeps through her bangs in a curve as his fingers leave a burning trail across her skin in their sluggish path down the side of her cheek, then beneath her chin when he lifts her face. She’s granted the exquisite detail of his face being right before hers as their eyes bore into each other’s for a long, electrifying moment. The darkness of his eyes is entirely hypnotizing as they capture every thought in her mind and draw her into their bottomless depths. She’s more than pleased when she sees him gazing at her with a soft hesitance that augments the vulnerability that she’s starting to see more in him when it comes to her.

All her musing and observations dissolve into a melted mix of tingles and bliss as he pulls her forward and captures her lips in such a tender caress she has to grasp onto his shoulders or risk falling apart with her next breath. She doesn’t know how long they stay there in isolation, kissing slowly and vehemently as they explore each other’s mouths, lost in their own world. But she finds she doesn’t care. Right now, she needs this moment of stillness and sheer warmth more than ever to get herself back together to face this threat. And Meliodas is the only one she’d ever allow to provide that for her.

~.~.~

The familiar feel of his home realm surrounds him once more as his power recedes back inside him once more. Coming back was necessary. The news he and Elizabeth just gathered is far more concrete than anything they’ve had thus far. Meliodas stares solemnly up at the dark sky above him for just a moment. The waxing crescent moon shines brightly in its position hung lowly, just clipping the demonic castle in its display. Something stirs inside him, hot and festering, rousing his power in rolling waves. The blood moon is near, there’s no doubt about it. His time to take the throne is almost upon them.

His shoulders square as he takes his gaze away, guiding it forward as he begins a purposeful walk ahead. Being back here only reminds him of why Elizabeth is not by his side for the moment. His feelings for her, his need for her in his life, is a permanent brand in his mind, body, and soul now. He’s come to terms with this, with the fact that this single goddess is someone he actually wants in his life as his, to care for and to maybe even love. His hands twitch, then tightens into fists at his sides. Perhaps a reflex as he maneuvers throughout the castle’s moonlit halls. It’s honestly a mystery to him how he plans to go about his wish for her as a constant presence in his life, especially with his upcoming ascension drawing nearer.

And there’s also the concern of his brethren. He scoffs as his eyes burn into the few demons that scramble around him, his mind mentally scanning for the possible presence of the demon lord whom he seeks. They may think him weak for wanting her, a goddess, and only her. And her influence over him might also play a hand in their judgements as well. They need not worry however, because when they find out about her, and he’s sure they will, secrets are damn near impossible to keep buried, he’ll prove to them that he’s not as changed as they might assume. She may be able to sway him, but he can still run this kingdom with the viciousness and outright brutality that he’s always dreamed of and not an ounce of guilt will pour into him.

The dark halls extend on either side of him as the usual servants nod in respect at the sight of him. He strides in the direction of the throne room hoping to catch the King there and not have to go find him in his study. His hand raises up to brush along his chest almost irritably as he recalls his last moment with Elizabeth. He’d made sure to escort her back to her home as she’d made sure to take the book with her. Of course his dark energy made it easier for the goddesses to not notice its oddly dark presence on their way through the bustling town of sorts. He’d helped her choose a place where it would be hidden safely and he’d also made sure she promised to look after it while he was away.

That had captured her attention instantly and this is where the practice of controlling his new found feelings for her had come into effect. She’d definitely been fragile then and while that still nags at him as being distasteful, it no longer truly bothers him as much. It’s a part of her, her hate for people being hurt. And he’s coming to learn that if it has to do with her, he’ll either tolerate it or find it more than endearing. It made him uneasy and a bit worried, the idea of leaving her... But his cold, impartial manner had won out. She was to stay and he was to go.

The sweet feel of her mouth still lingers as a faint sensation in her farewell as he rounds a corner. His footsteps slow, however, when something captures his attention. It clears away all thoughts of his Elizabeth from his mind as his senses begin to heighten. His steps turn light, unnoticeable, as he strains to hear the vague lilts of a hushed voice.

“—cannot leave.” The person says with a hint of desperation.

He eases forward down the deserted hall wondering who this person could be, until the power that connects with his senses draws him up short.

“N-no, I am afraid. This is starting to worry me. I just know I will lose him…” He hears her whisper beyond distraught. He knows the woman, her energy is more than familiar. The question is, why is Gelda hidden out here and who is she speaking with?

“I just wish to stay a little longer. Please—”

He comes upon the alcove she’s cornered in. His features are dark with suspicion as he scowls down at her. Her words shrivel in her throat at his appearance and he catches something small and glittering in her palm before it’s forcefully hidden as she stands and backs herself into the wall behind her. He’s as frigid and unwavering as a harsh stone. The niggling from before about the vampires comes rearing its ugly head, making his voice low and accusing as he stares her down. “What were you doing just now, Gelda?”

He can see and actually recognize the truly crippling feel of her fear breaking her spirits as her eyes widen in pleading towards him. This is his brother’s mate and he does feel a bit of sympathy towards her for that reason alone. Whatever’s happening here is tearing her up inside with guilt. But that sense of understanding is easily pushed away as he considers what she could be up to and how, again, it might be linked to his initial belief all along.

“General, it was n-nothing! I swear! I am not d-doing anything wrong…” He watches impassively as her face begins to crumble as she turns her wild, frighten blue eyes from his to stare at the ground. “I j-just don’t want to lose him.” She admits so quietly with such despair a considerate frown does managed to work its way to his face.

But then he remembers her voice and her words. She was speaking to someone, communicating to them. It sounded as if it was about her mysterious disappearances as well. Nothing at all to do with heading back to Edinburgh as she most times claimed. With this in mind his emotions clear away again as he takes a menacing step forward. Thoughts of this being his brother’s lover vanish as he looks at her as a possible enemy. “Then who were you speaking to? Were you leaking information, Gelda?”

She looks up at him in horror and the tears that glisten upon her pale cheeks seem to pour from the very depths of her shattering soul. “What? No! Never! I would not betray Zeldris!”

His teeth bare in a sneer at her volatile outburst, rousing a spike in the flames of anger inside him. His hand grips her shoulder as he forces her against the wall in a flare of outrage. She inhales sharply, fearful, especially when his eyes glare viciously into hers as he grips the wrist of her hand he’d seen holding that strange device of hers. “You say you wouldn’t betray my brother, vampire, and yet here you are, out in hiding, speaking with someone unknown in desperation? I heard you! I know this is the reason you’ve been leaving.”

The words come out in a vengeful wave forcing her to withstand them as the feeling of her deceit sinks into him like a heavyweight. His brother trusted this girl, cared for her as Meliodas does Elizabeth. Meliodas can only imagine the amount of pain his youngest brother will have to suppress under the weighted heat of rage and self-loathing when he finds out. And this vampire will be the cause of it.

Gelda sniffs around a pitiful sound of distress, the noise sounding in Meliodas’ ears as only the beginning of the heartbreak that is to begin. “You don’t understand! Please!”

Meliodas ignores her with dark eyes clouded with abhorrence, then his eyes turn to her hand gripping the object as he begins to pry it open. She truly can’t fight him as he opens her palm to reveal a tiny pebble like object that could simply be mistaken as just that, a rock. If not for the heavenly feel to it and the goddess light that clings to it like a cloak.

He turns his gaze to her with a slow lethal calm running through his form in restrained quavers. He was right all along. She was leaking information and with the proof he and Elizabeth just discovered, her sending the information to a goddess is no surprise at all. The utter sag of her appearance, the sheer weight of her loss, is deeply embedded into her eyes as her lips tremble while he stares her down. She knows there's no words she could possibly use to convince him otherwise of her treachery and he’s almost displeased that she doesn’t try to make an excuse. But then again, he wouldn’t have believed her anyway. Not with this serious offense against not just the demon clan, but the goddess clan as well.

Shifting entirely into the cold, heartless General of the demonic army and leader of the Ten Commandments, Meliodas begins to pull her from the alcove in lieu of the dungeons. His voice is sharp and crisp, allowing for no room to argue or plead as he speaks over her pitiful cries. “Princess Gelda of Edinburgh, due to your crimes against the demons and goddesses, you are to be held in custody until your meeting before the King is arranged. There your sentence will be made and I can assure you without a doubt,” he turns to look at her for a fleeting moment in his pause. Her face is pale and covered in tears, her hair normally kept in an elegant twist is now askew as strands fall before her face, and her frightened eyes are wide and anguished, the image of shattered perfection. It’s clear to him she is more concerned with his brother finding out than the seriousness of her crimes. And that causes a slight crack in his frosty demeanor.

But he continues anyway as his eyes return to the steps that lie ahead of them, the guards that line either side of the entrance to the lower levels of the castle stand at the ready as they eye him escorting Gelda, “You will be put to death.”

This causes the breath to flee from her lungs as he hands her to the guards callously. The armored males don’t ask questions as they simply begin to drag her roughly down the stairs. He gives one last order to them before they’re out of earshot. “Have her searched for any strange objects.” Then he turns his back away from her destroyed image. The crack in his impenetrable shield of bitter anger and raw betrayal starts to widen as Gelda begins to scream in her pleading wails. Her voice echoes for all to hear. “Tell him I’m sorry! Please!! I’m sorry!”

That crack inside him all but shatters by the force of empathy as he halts in his tracks at the sight of Zeldris standing a distance in front of him, looking as if the world no longer makes sense in his mind falling to pieces.

That quickly turns to blind rage as Zeldris’ eyes land on him. His brother flies at him with a flurry of fists, all of which Meliodas blocks cooly, easily able to understand the wild emotions that rage inside his brother now at seeing his lover being taken away without being informed. Meliodas feels irritation dwell inside him despite all of this as he quickly throws a few quick strikes in Zeldris’ direction, hoping to thrust a bit of clarity in his mind. It only riles Zeldris further however as his brother gives an angered yell, “What do you think you’re doing to her! Let her go!” The power inside of Zeldris flares out recklessly, crashing into the walls and fragile windows of the hall.

Meliodas’ power rises in turn feeding his brother’s irrational burst of rage with sharp clouts and swift blows of his own. “Calm down and listen.” Meliodas urges him in a biting hiss. Meliodas is emotionless in his precision, working to find a quick way to subdue his brother so that he can talk some sense into him. Zeldris lands a rough kick to Meliodas’ midsection and the older decides enough is enough. Dodging wild yet controlled bursting fists, Meliodas sees an opening and dives on it with lethal accuracy. Zeldris grunts as he bends forward, a twisted sort of pain having radiated exponentially through his body from the blow Meliodas lands to his solar plexus.

Standing rigid as he stares down at his brother trying to regain his breathing, Meliodas speaks in a smooth, glacial tone. “Will you stop this now?”

Zeldris’ harsh breathing from the exertion of their scuffle is becoming apparent. “What have you done to my Gelda!? Why did you send her there!?” His youngest sibling bellows as hurt and mistrust war with the drowning waves of his uncertainty and fury in his eyes.

His sibling stands more wound than a coil ready to spring as he awaits an answer. Meliodas doesn’t have him wait too long as he knows the younger will probably try to go down and get Gelda himself if not given answers soon. So taking the acquired stone from his pants’ pocket, he shows it to Zeldris who displays only the slightest signs of seeing reason at the sight of its sickly sweet aura. “I found this on Gelda. She was communicating with someone when I found her. Elizabeth and I discovered a book in the goddess realm that describes exactly how to create the creatures we’ve been fighting against. It seems I was right. The vampires were involved.” There’s not a single ounce of gloating or smugness in his tone. Only a cold, harsh, resignation as he lets his brother examine the stone with an imperceptible wavering hold.

All the fight seems to have left him as Zeldris stares at the glowing stone with hollowed eyes. His tone is low, emotionless as he speaks with an impartiality that befits a situation that would have anything to do with someone other than his mate. “This doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s involved.” It’s an empty argument and they both know this.

Meliodas has to look away from the tortured image of his brother as a feeling of tightness begins to gradually arise in his chest. His brother may very well be whole and present before him, but that empty look in his eyes makes it feel as if he just lost him. And all because of that vampire. He feels as if he could laugh at the utter ridiculousness of this situation. To think that he would care about this, about his sibling’s wellbeing. Now that is because of his damn goddess.

Still not granting his brother a look, Meliodas addresses him calmly as if they’re not speaking of the woman they both know Zeldris cherishes. “I’m having the guards check her for any more evidence. Maybe she’ll come up clean.” And what? Be proved innocent?

They’re both silent for a long while in the cold hallway.

And that’s when the sound of creaking armor approaches in haste, filling Meliodas with dismay as he notices folded up parchment in the demon’s clutched hand. Stopping at their side, the male nods in respect as he extends his hand towards Meliodas who hesitantly takes the papers with a grave sense of dread. “General, we found these tucked securely in her pocket and thought it best to bring it to you. There was nothing else to be found on her.”

Meliodas nods without yet examining the paper coated in ancient magic and faded with time. “That will be all.”

Before the guard can leave Zeldris stops him with a few low, pointed words. “Don’t hurt her. Just… don’t hurt her.”

The guard looks uncertain as he looks at Meliodas who nods in approval. Without the guard's presence he finally takes a look at the pieces of papers. And can’t read a word. But he doesn’t need to. The magic that wafts from it is all too familiar. These are from that spell book they’d discovered earlier that day.

“So what are they?” Zeldris inquires slowly.

Meliodas doesn’t answer immediately still a bit unused to the sorrowful pangs of sympathy that slam into him as he assiduously places his next words. “Pages from the book we found earlier. She’s been a part of this all along.”

Meliodas finally meets Zeldris’ gaze head on watching almost helplessly as his brother drowns in his own self-loathing, his misery, and even heartbreak. “Alright.” And then it all disappears, frosting over with a cold malice as everything gets forced to the back. Never to resurface. Never to be shown again. Never to have his trust be given and trampled on, ever again. “Alright.”

And it's all because of that vampire.

Chapter Text

~25~

-Where You Go, My Heart Follows-

Elizabeth gazes wearily at her ceiling as she stifles a yawn. Last night wasn't the best. She didn't have a very good night of slumber, which is surprising because her bed always lulls her to sleep. She turns to her side and gazes forlornly at the empty space beside her. She almost hates to admit it, but she's become more than used to having Meliodas around her in some way as she sleeps. It's soothing, like a velvety layer of comfort to have his power wafting around her. The absence of his fiery warmth left her cold and rigid the entire night. Her thoughts heedlessly drifted to their findings the day before and she was left to tremble in distraught all alone.

As shafts of sunlight flow through her window, Elizabeth decides to rise from bed no longer wishing to be in the empty layers of comforters. She takes a trip to her washroom, then wanders to her dresser to search for clothing for the day. Her fingers rummage around for something as her thoughts run freely without her notice. "I wonder what's taking him. I would have expected him back by now…" Her lips purse at her words. She says it as if it's a requirement. He made no promises to return. But… "We still are working to capture whoever did this. He promised we'd catch them."

Her eyes stare blankly at the dress she holds in her hands as she remembers how serious he was in that moment as he tried to calm her. And she believes in him and his words entirely. Mindlessly she begins to slip the dress up her body as she smiles lightly. "Believing in a demon entirely. Who would have seen this day coming?" But she can't help it honestly. It's almost an impossible feat to not trust the one you love.

Her cheeks heat furiously at the thought. "Meliodas…" His name is a loving whisper as her eyes drift closed. "I do love him. So much…" her heart thuds erratically in her chest at such a powerful admittance. But the revelation is a wholehearted truth that she doesn't wish to change. She's seen many years and met many people, none of which has ever stirred her thoughts and heated her soul the way he has. She couldn't dream of a life without him in it now and that's what scares her. Loving a demon is probably foolish on more than one level, especially with the fantasies of a happy future she's been starting to wish for lately.

Her head hangs low as she sighs. "I really am crazy. But I can't take it back. I won't stop loving him." Her hazy mind revolving around melancholy thoughts of Meliodas and her affection towards him begin to clear up when she catches sight of the dress she clutches to her chest. Then her eyes widen as her lips part in shock. It's something she hadn't ever actually worn before. A deep blue sleeveless dress that comes to mid-thigh. The material is tough, but has a smooth appearance. It has silver stitching and swirling designs elegantly blended into the material. It's very flowing towards the end, but clings from her hips on up due to its impractical need to be clasped all the way up along the back.

Why did she grab this thing? She remembers making it with Veronica's input, but never has she worn it because of its rather impractical design. Just as she decides to take it off and look for something else she hears knocking on her front door. Her head snaps up as she blanches. Panic is a painful sensation as it begins to run hectically through her blood. Quickly her eyes swivel to her drawer for something else to throw on, but the door sounds with another knock. This time more impatient.

"Elizabeth! Hello! You in there?" her friend, Veronica calls loudly.

And just like that her alarm begins to ease. It's just her friend. With her fear having fled her, Elizabeth clutches the dress to her chest and heads to her front door. Veronica will be able to fasten her dress for her. Surely she won't mind. Swinging her front door open with a kind smile, Elizabeth gives her greeting. "Good morning! Come in!"

Elizabeth watches Veronica swipe her purple bangs from her face as she smiles back at her longtime friend. That smile transforms into a look of suspicion as she glances around then confusion as she turns to stare at Elizabeth with a raised eyebrow. "Is something going on here? Why are you wearing that? And where's the demon?"

The accusing tone causes Elizabeth's bright mood to dim significantly. "He went back to the demon realm yesterday. I just happened to choose this dress this morning randomly and I happened to remember when you helped me make it…"

Veronica doesn't look convinced as she maneuvers around Elizabeth and begins to clasp the dress up swiftly. "For a second I thought you were wearing this for him. You know when I suggested this dress it was because I thought it would be an interesting outfit for your partner to get you in and out of," The slight teasing creeps above her almost chastising tone which manages to make Elizabeth flush.

"W-what? No! T-that's not…" She can't even bring herself to continue as her voice drifts off into a shamefully flustered whisper.

Veronica finishes up and moves around to face Elizabeth as her arms cross. "Well it doesn't matter really. We just received word from a "trusted" member of their race this morning. The Commandment of Charity, Estarossa, stated that they discovered one of the sure causes for the creatures we've been fighting. Princess Gelda of Edinburgh. Isn't this great?"

Elizabeth stands more than frozen as her thoughts wear her mind down in their frantic frenzy. "Why didn't Meliodas come to tell me himself?" Is the first thing that leaves her lips.

At this her friend frowns disapprovingly. "I don't know. They probably have a lot to handle right now, what with a criminal in their custody," She says carelessly.

Elizabeth nods in understanding she hardly feels.

"I'm also here to tell you that our leader wants to speak with you personally. So you should head to see her now."

Forcing all of her whirling thoughts to a grinding halt, Elizabeth gains a cool look of agreement. "Okay. Thank you for informing me of this, Veronica. And helping me out…"

Veronica surprises her with a brief hug before she pulls back and gives her a playful wink. "What are friends for?"

As her friend gives her a last look on her way out, Elizabeth lets a soft word flow past her lips weakly. "…Right."

~.~.~

She ascendes the long pales steps that lead up to the colossal building at a steady pace. Each step is lined with wisps of clouds that spill over from the sides of the stairway where they condense in abundance like fluffy swirls of cotton. The sun shines brightly at angle from behind the building, its rays warm as they caress the goddess' exposed skin. Everything seems to glimmer in a shimmering radiance just from the star's touch. Elizabeth can't help a tiny smile that works across her face, even with the grim circumstances that seems to have arisen, quite literally, overnight.

As she reaches the top of the stairs, the massive gilded doors that lead to the expansive throne room guarded by a row of rigid warrior goddesses, Elizabeth stops shortly at the sound of clangs and shouts of conflict. Briefly she turns and sees off in the distance the training grounds where goddesses hone their skills either separately or together. She used to use the place herself a long time ago, before turning to Britannia where she spread horizons more for deeper challenges.

Turning forward once again, the nearest guards to the entrance give her a curt nod as the open the immaculate doors and Elizabeth finds herself entering the sizable room. Her blue eyes first flit to the grand tapestries that rest on the wall behind the throne. They always seemed to draw her attention every time she comes here. For some reason the intricate stories they tell of former goddesses reins, even from just a glance, speak to her. Then her eyes drift to the intricate throne itself formed of curling metal fashioned from the durable steel known commonly in their realm, layered over with goddess amber. It's a unique design, in Elizabeth's opinion, and she always finds herself entranced by it.

The room is rather empty now, as goddesses aren't being let in to submit their complaints or suggestions-Elizabeth can only imagine how busy and hectic it was here just the two days Meliodas was around-but their ruler is still present, albeit not at the throne. Elizabeth begins to make her way off to the side where an extensive pastel wooden table extends. Rows of chairs line each side with one sitting on each end. There sits the leader of their realm at the head of the table, her keen cinnamon brown eyes watch Elizabeth patiently.

This throne room also acts as a meeting room for the leader and her counselors. Elizabeth being the successor to the throne is more than well versed in this knowledge. Elizabeth glides elegantly to the chair nearest to the lavender haired goddess. "Queen Margaret, you wished to speak with me?" Elizabeth inquires smoothly.

Her majesty gazes at Elizabeth with perceptive eyes before she speaks in a kind yet informative tone. "Yes. You should already know that Princess Gelda was taken into custody for her connection with the crimes against the demon race and the goddess race."

Elizabeth nods although hearing it once more brings about a slight sense of uncertainty. She'd met the vampire and to her it didn't seem like she'd be involved with this. She'd been upset over something yes, but could this have been it?

Queen Margaret's formal voice captures her full attention once more. "But what has not been spread throughout this realm and is being kept very quiet is that there is a traitor amongst us, Elizabeth."

This doesn't surprise her as much due to the book she and Meliodas found the day before.

Margaret's eyes gain a very serious edge as they bore into Elizabeth's blue eyes and the tone she takes with her makes Elizabeth feel as if every word she's about to hear shouldn't be repeated unless absolutely necessary. "You're search is not over yet. Elizabeth, you are to scout the goddesses and see if you can discover who is hiding something. The one who is partners with Princess Gelda." Queen Margaret gains an almost pained look as she frowns. "I can't believe someone from our clan would do such horrible things…"

At this, Elizabeth feels her stomach tighten unbearably. That's very true. Someone from their realm consciously chose to do such horrible things to innocents. Not a demon, but a goddess. But then her own anguished appearance turns to one of confusion as she regards her leader. "You know what has been done to create those creatures?"

Margaret's brown eyes regain their solemn gleam as she straightens from the almost withered way her shoulders sagged from sorrow. "Yes. I was given a confidential, detailed report from the General himself. It spoke of the information you and he discovered yesterday in our forbidden texts. It also went on to explain how only several people have been clued in to this specific information as well. Himself, the King, and Zeldris. Elizabeth this must be kept to as little people as possible, do you understand?"

"Yes, of course, you majesty," is her immediate response.

Queen Margaret's shoulders seem to relax at her agreement. "Good."

Elizabeth feels almost foolish as she truly begins to grasp the full scale gravity of this situation. Here she is wondering why Meliodas didn't return to tell her himself about all of this when he is probably buried to the neck in the backlash of all the official paperwork necessary when dealing with such high volume cases. She herself should be more than involved with this situation, too!

Her hands lay flat on the smooth surface of the table as she gazes at Margaret with a hardened resolve. "I'll get started on observing the goddesses immediately. If that's all…?" She's prepared to stand when Queen Margaret's voice halts her in her tracks.

"Actually there is." And the lowering of her leader's lavender eyebrows gives Elizabeth the feeling that her earlier thoughts on the room being full to bursting with complaints in the past two days is about to be brought down on her. "I would actually like to speak with you about the General, Elizabeth."

Elizabeth stiffens in her seat. 'Oh great. Once again, I'm the one who must take the blame for his actions.' Although there's hardly as much anger as there used to be for such cases. She feels more upset over anything that he isn't here with her as she faces down Margaret's stern expression. "What about him, may I ask?" As if she doesn't know. The way those brown eyes give Elizabeth a slight once over is definitely a clue.

"I'll admit when I sent you on your task, I expected you two to be at each other's throats and I was a bit wary of the outcome…" She trails off with a tense smile.

Elizabeth finds herself smiling in return as she recalls how she'd burst out of this very room in a raging fit. "You must have thought I would end up assaulting him on more than one occasion, which I'll admit did happen," Elizabeth tells her with an apologetic smile. "That's really no way for a leader to behave."

Margaret's expression turns from one of scolding to understanding. "While I must agree to both of your statements, I hardly expected you to be able to behave accordingly with a demon for so long. Even for you. They are rather wild and unpredictable creatures."

Now Elizabeth laughs lightly as she smiles warmly at her just leader. "That's putting it lightly."

"True. But you did not let me finish my thoughts on before," Margaret informs with a knowing smile.

Elizabeth blushes as she looks down. "Oh, yes. I apologize."

"That's quite alright. You see, while I did expect you both to be at odds, I also did not doubt that you would be able to get through to the next coming King."

The absolute certainty in Margaret's tone has Elizabeth's eyes widening as disbelief runs along her skin like frigid water causing her to gasp. "What? You thought I would… convert him?" Now she's more than confused and definitely uncertainty as her thin brows crease. That's against the agreement of their race. Deliberately causing harm to the other. Now that she thinks on it more deeply it's a wonder the demons haven't declared war on them yet, what with a member of the goddesses being behind this. The thought makes her grow pale.

The kind warmth of Margaret's hand grasping hers snaps her out of her spiraling thoughts. "Calm down, Elizabeth. You shouldn't get so worked up without knowing all the facts just yet." She tells Elizabeth.

Elizabeth manages a weak smile. "Sorry."

"Now what I meant was, you have no clue as to how influential you are. It's really another reason why I believe you should take over. You have a way of pulling people in and showing them a bigger and brighter side to things, enlightening them, if you will," She adds with a small secretive smile that Elizabeth finds worrying for some reason. "You're powerful, strong, and can gain the will of many. I have no doubts you'll be a magnificent leader."

A bursting sense of joy fills her at her leader's words, permeating her cheeks with a generous flush of pride. Even so, she still looks down as something begins to chip away at the feeling. "Even with what I've done?"

The hand over hers squeezes once more and she looks up to see Margaret gazing at her with compassionate pools of warm chocolate which makes all of her feelings of doubt flow away. "I haven't been pure for a good few years now, Elizabeth. Now matter what those goddesses make you believe, that doesn't matter in the slightest how you rule this kingdom."

"Even if I gave myself to a demon?" 'Even if I love him?' She wonders silently.

"That was rather unexpected news to hear, but it still doesn't change my mind. Like I said before, you manage to gain the will of others effortlessly. Even those unexpected. Like General Meliodas. With you both together and taking leadership soon, I have no doubt the demon and goddess realms will both prosper in successful futures."

Elizabeth's hand grasped kindly in her leader's twitches in shock. "T-together? What? We're-we're not—"

Queen Margaret gives her that secretive smile once more as that knowing gleam reappears in those eyes of hers and Elizabeth doesn't like it one bit. It's probably come from her centuries of running the goddess realm, that knowledgable look of hers and keen smile. Maybe Elizabeth herself will gain that same expression in the future. She's almost afraid of the thought. "Oh, I apologize for assuming. I just heard about his rather passionate and possessive speech for no one to demean you and I remembered my studies on their culture, or rather, their protectiveness over their mates. I was clearly wrong, however. Just disregard the whole thing, Elizabeth. You may get started on your search, now. I appreciate your time with me so early this morning."

Margaret rises without giving her a chance to argue, the expression on her face not wavering as she strides gracefully to her throne just as the entrance opens to allow the first person in for the daily proceedings. This leaves Elizabeth with no choice but to take her leave through the same immaculate doors she left in. The last words she had with her majesty refuse to leave her mind though as she begins her task. 'Just disregard it, she tells me. Of course, I won't be able to and she knows that. This was her plan all along. To have me drive myself crazy wondering if her words are true.' She sighs wearily as she gazes around the vast expanse of the goddesses' realm far more daunting than the room full of books she had to face just the day prior. 'This is going to be a long day.'

~.~.~

All day she'd wandered through the throngs of her brethren listening in on conversations. She'd heard snippets of tedious gossip on the few males on Britannia that managed to capture their attentions, or more serious thoughts on their fear and grief of the loss of some of the members of their race. All day she managed to work her way somehow, someway, into various groups. Whether it be by asking to join in for lunch, or to enter in friendly spars. As the day stretched on, she found not many were at ease around her still, even if they did allow her to accompany them. And to her displeasure, through her meticulous study, her first day of observation has come up empty of any suspects.

As she sits on the large cream cushioned duvet in her open living room, it becomes apparent to her what else has happened all day. Her thoughts had wandered like lost souls to Meliodas over and over as the day wore on into evening. She can't get the possibility out of her mind. Is it true? Does he really consider her his mate? His lifelong partner he'll never let go? She leans her head into her hands almost tiredly as she lets her mind wander back to just the previous day's morning when she'd compared him to a majestic dragon. He'd told her then, he'd never let her go.

Sighing exasperatedly as she sits up straight, already feeling the beginnings of a flush adorning her cheeks, Elizabeth lowers her hands from her face. "Why am I worried about this anyway? I'll just… I'll just ask him about it when I see him again." Although she highly doubts she'd have the courage. With that forcefully pushed away for the moment, something else that's been nagging her resurfaces. Gelda… The vampire she hardly knows, but has a strong sense of empathy for. She's honestly worried about her. The look of absolute panic and heartbreak at the idea of hurting Zeldris that was upon Gelda's face is still fresh in Elizabeth's mind, even after all this time. She finds it hard to believe she could pull off such a malicious stunt.

"But they have evidence…" Elizabeth says warily with a desolate frown. Hadn't she gone through all the trouble to prove the vampires' innocent and now this had to happen? What could she possibly do to help that woman before…? Elizabeth's eyes widen as she realizes what will most likely happen to her. "Oh, no… They'll kill her. I know they will. But how can I save her? There's just no way…" She feels her expression crumble as she imagines the fate of that vampire. She could tell Meliodas of her suspicions, but he wouldn't believe her. Not without proof.

"What am I going to do?"

~.~.~

The evening had bled into day which in turn drained into night once more. Meliodas couldn't feel more agitated as he does now staring at the stack of official documents that comes with setting up high caliber prosecutions. Of course, the current demon lord has to give the final signatures upon these, but being the next in line and practically having the influence to make the final decisions without the King's say sometimes puts him in these dull, never ending moments. He runs a hand through his hair roughly in irritation, silently cursing when it causes him to lose focus and cause a blot of ink to stain his desk.

The demonic lord honestly feels more than smug whenever he gets the chance to put Meliodas in these tedious moments. Not that it was his first plan of action by now means. When the leader discovered that they'd obtained the criminal behind the crimes, he immediately wanted to have Gelda's head cut off to be mounted as a sign of victory and her heart gouged out and given to him as a prize. A very gruesome image that didn't bother Meliodas in the slightest as he too began to picture such a vicious act being done. That is until he remembered who it was it would be done to. That's when he decided to try and persuade the raven haired bastard of a King against the idea, who still, by the way, was beyond incensed with Meliodas' actions with Elizabeth before.

It would be better, he told the towering demon, if they took the time to gather an audience when Gelda's time comes. Plus, it must not be forgotten that there is a second culprit still out there. With grudging acceptance his leader agreed, at the condition that Meliodas step up and handle things with the proficiency and diligence a King should be able to warrant.

That was just his half assed way of saying, "You offered the suggestion. You do all the work."

Meliodas exhales deeply as the parchments before him become more and more displeasing to his drifting mind. He hadn't seen Zeldris since the night before, after he'd told him everything he and Elizabeth had discovered. He can assume that his brother is most likely out somewhere wreaking havoc, trying to work out his stewing rage. He is worried about the younger. Zeldris' mate is practically lost to him. She betrayed him. And that's something that'll stay with Zeldris no matter how hard he tries to outrun it.

Standing from his desk ladened with endless work and the flickering flames of a worn candle, Meliodas turns to the window in his small study as his thoughts begin to shift once more. This room is just as empty and lifeless as his own room. Only containing a few aged books on battle strategies in the dusty bookshelf, a wide desk with many empty drawers, and a big yet comfortable chair that sits behind it. The only thing that might give something away about his interests are the few antique like swords mounted on the walls. Hand crafted just like the ones in his room. As he stares impassively out the circular window at the twinkling sky, he knows that not many would ever think that he himself made them thousands of years ago when he was younger and had his head full of ridiculous thoughts.

Kind of like now.

The moon's silvery hue reminds him of nothing but Elizabeth. How he's the darkness that surrounds her, but she somehow manages to still she shine brilliantly in his life. She captures his attention entirely having quickly worked to become the one person he wants to hold on to not matter what. Her existence in his life seems to be exactly what he was waiting for, for so very long. He just hadn't realized it. Even now, when they're realms apart, he can still feel her pull.

He wants to run his hands through her hair, silken and flowing between his fingers with the ease of a river. He wants to stare into her big cerulean eyes that run deeper than the skies above and glimmer more beautifully than stardust. He craves for her lips to mold perfectly against his. The feel of them petal soft and delicate as he caresses them tenderly, so that her sweet taste is never lost, only cherished.

He covets his goddess, his Elizabeth, in his arms as her luscious curves warm against him in his hold whilst he loves her deeply and thoroughly. She is his to have, his to worship, and he wants her. He just wants her, to see her, right now. Even if it's just for a moment as this vulnerable side of him clamors for a glimpse of her divine figure now before it's forced back once more and he has to return to this dark and twisted realm so befitting of him.

He lets his power swell out rapidly as the world shifts and changes into that of the middle ground Britannia. His darkness manifests in the form of opaque wings upon his back and he takes to the sky. His eyes are focused on the skyline and the growing sense of urgency as he gets closer. The moment he feels the air begin to sing with magic, he lets his power connect with it as it pulls him in. Then he opens his eyes to the familiar set of golden gates and fluffy clouds in abundance.

The world glows under moonlit rays as he enters the slumbering town. Not many are about and they only seem to "awaken" when they notice his presence. Although, he notes dryly while swiftly making his way in the direction of Elizabeth's home, they shouldn't be so shocked. He was just here not long ago and after that Estarossa arrived with his confidential letter to the goddess queen. He pushes their questioning figures from his mind the moment Elizabeth's unassuming house comes into view however.

His breathing becomes slightly shallow as his palms tingle with nerves. She's in there. Just beyond that door. All he needs to do is knock and he'll be granted entrance… Then she'll be in his grasp once more as it always should be.

Chapter Text

~26~

-The Pain Of Being In Love-

“Come in!” is the airy voice that announces through her front door. The sound fills him with bubbling warmth, and in that instant he wants to rush through the door and pull her beneath him to satiate the raging desire within him. But her words concern him. There’s a crazed goddess in this realm and she lets anyone come in willy nilly? Deciding to warn her once more why she should be more cautious here, and using it as an admittedly selfish excuse to get close to her, he pushes her door open and enters.

“Veronica, I’m actually glad you came back! I hadn’t thought of how I would get out of this thing…” She trails off with a sheepish giggle, her back to him as her hand fruitlessly tries to reach the top clasp holding her dress to her body.

His brow furrows as his hand closes the door behind him with in a way that rings finality. ‘That wench was here then. That’s why here guard’s so low. Because of it, she just essentially allowed a demon to walk right into her home without a struggle.’ And the moment the thought passes through his mind, he sees her stiffen entirely.

In the silence that swirls between them, he lets his eyes travel along her form clad in a deep blue dress that hugs every sinful curve of her body. And those uncontrollable spikes of salacious desire begins to ebb into calm rolling tides beneath his skin. It’s a simple shift within him as he gazes at Elizabeth, the sudden wish to simply please her in any way imaginable. His strides are swift, yet silent as he comes behind her. The quick inhaling of breath she takes isn’t missed by him as he allows his hands to lightly lay against the small of her back. Only to drift up with the curve of her back, taking in the heat of her through the barrier that covers her as she shudders.

“Meliodas?” Elizabeth voices in a hushed exuberance that leaves his head spinning in delight.

Moving his hands to the top of her clasps, Meliodas presses a lingering kiss on the back of her nape, nuzzling the skin there with a breathy exhale. “Yes?”

The nerves and anticipation that thrum in her quiet voice causes his hands to become shaky in their task as more and more of her skin becomes revealed to his hungered gaze. “What are you doing here?”

Letting his need take over for just the moment, his lips follow the ridges of her spine as he slides down her body with the final clasp of her dress coming undone in his hands. Pressing a last kiss to the small of her back, Meliodas has to take a moment to breathe, inhaling her wonderful scent as it stirs the beats within his chest and causes his pulse to pound erratically beneath his skin. When he next opens his eyes, he feels dazed with the want to be as close to her as he can be possible be, to show her he loves her in the only way he can think of now. And right before him is his breathtaking Elizabeth, entirely bare for him to take.

“I just needed to see you,” he finally answers in a tone wrought with twining emotions as he rises.

Elizabeth’s sure her heart is trying to make a valiant escape when she turns around finally to meet Meliodas’ gaze. It had only been a day, but she’d wished to see him again so badly. Now here he is as he reaches with careful hands to cup her cheeks. The longing she witnesses in his eyes more than drives her into his arms as he reaches up to claim her lips in a slow, searing passion.

His hands move from her face in order to slip around her waist as they press together. The tiny sound of desire that grows in the back of her throat from the texture of his clothes rubbing enticingly against her sensitive flesh, he easily swallows with the way he vehemently devours her mouth. She finds herself lost in the movement of his tongue, the bites at her lips, and the groans in his throat. He needed to see her. That’s what he said. From the glorious way he touches her with a fiery need brimmed with the careful gliding of his fingers along her skin, tells her more than anything that this isn’t just some rough encounter.

And that only makes her heart pound faster.

She feels his hands go to the back of her thighs and she yelps as he lifts her, setting her legs on either side of his waist as he begins to make his way to her bedroom. Her breaths come out rushed as she runs her hands repeatedly through his messy hair, tugging his head back gently so that she can be the one to guide their lips together unhurriedly. She giggles against his mouth endearingly as he stumbles slightly at the lavish way she treats his lips with attention.

When they finally reach her room, her eyes flutter open to gaze into his dark ones softened from an emotion that leaves her breathless and her heart stuttering. The cushion of her bed cradles her as he gently lays her down, never taking his eyes from hers. Slowly—much too slow in her mind as she wants to have him over her immediately, so her hands to run along his skin and she can kiss him to her heart’s desire; she just wants to hold him close as she breathes him in and burns with the heat he presses into her while their hearts beat as one. So, yes, much too slowly, he removes his boots, then lifts his dark casual shirt right over his head.

She sits up then and crawls to him until she’s sitting on her knees at the edge of the bed with her lips at his neck. She’s more than aroused at being so near to him with the idea that they’ll finally be together like this once more running through her mind. The ache of it already has her cheeks flushed and her thighs pressing together as a familiar slick, heat begins to form between them. But she’s also filled with a dizzying warmth that overflows from her heart in steady bursts at the way Meliodas regards her tenderly under heated eyes as she sucks along his neck. Her nerves hum in an electrifying thrill as she shivers against him, her mouth gliding down the firm muscles of his chest. The way his hands run through her hair as he holds her against him while he groans causes her arms to slip around his waist in pure satisfaction.

“Elizabeth… nng… let me take care of you,” He rasps out through tight groans as his chest expands and compresses rapidly. His Elizabeth is working him up quickly with just those hot moist lips of hers as they trail along his skin teasingly and sometimes roughly when her tongue darts out with an eagerness to please only she can exhibit. Damn his pants are too tight, but the pain of restriction is keeping him sane right now. He doesn’t want her quick or rough. Fuck, he just wants to love her.

Running his hands through her silken strands once more, he pulls her face up and takes her in for another breathless kiss. Slowly, he tips her back as his arm around her holds her warmth to him. Her cushiony mounds squish against his chest as she arches into him. The low moan she gives has heat searing from the base of his skull down to his straining loins in a wonderfully agonizing way. Her fingertips dance against his cheek in a fleeting way, then swerves behind his ear as she sighs almost dreamily into his mouth. He loves her. Damn it all, he loves her. He’s never known what love was until this goddess walked into his life like a raging inferno hell bent on burning his world down and building it back up in a way he never dreamed imaginable. And he wants to show her. Show her what she’s done. Show her how he feels.

Just… “Let me show you,” he whispers desperately against her mouth. He presses his mouth to the spot behind her ear, nibbling to the sound of her whimpers as she breathes deeply as if trying to fruitlessly calm herself down with her rising excitement. His hands massage and squeeze periodically from her hips on their way up—her legs having wrapped around his waist the moment he laid her back down. Her belly twitches with the way his palms smooth along the heated flesh there, and he bites gently against the junction between her neck and shoulder after he’d left fervent kisses against the length of her neck. His fingers tease the bottom of her breasts while his teeth nip her collar bones and Elizabeth quivers. Her attempts at holding herself back fail the moment he cups her breasts long before his mouth reaches them.

She mewls his name like a sinful song, her hands releasing the sheets in favor of running through his hair when he finally kisses one of her dusky nipples before sucking it into his mouth. They both groan at the act and he feels almost dazed as her voice grows in volume. His hips roll against her slick core on their own accord; the sensation of her fingers tugging and gripping his hair spurring his motions on, increasing the passion in which he teases her nipple between his teeth, and the roughness of his palm against her other breast.

Me-Meliodas! Mmm…” The pleasured urgency of her cry causes him to shift his body down against hers. He feels breathless as he gasps against her stomach, a sudden craving overtakes him as heat pools steadily in his lower belly like a white hot coil that causes him to wince. ‘Go slow. Keep it slow damn it,’ He demands of his pent lust.

Like she’s his addiction, which is highly the case in his mind, Meliodas takes a breathy inhale of her raw scent, his nose buried at the bend of her thigh and hip. Elizabeth gives a shuddering whine as her hips arch desperate for attention. With a thick swallow his kisses the crease his nose touched with a fever that guarantees a mark will be present there for a while. Then his hands trail sensually down her sides as they linger at her hips, gripping them. Staring up at her from between her legs as her sex gleams flushed and ready for his attentions, Meliodas gives her a husky command. “Elizabeth, I want you to feel. Do nothing but feel…”

Elizabeth instantly finds herself lying limp with such a direct order. Her eyes drift shut as she shakily inhales and the trembles in her thighs becomes obvious to her anxious mind. She feels Meliodas’ breath against her heated mound and she jolts, only to give a ragged moan as his tongue runs the length of her in a scorching pass. Her legs automatically go to his shoulders as her toes begin to curl in climbing bliss. She feels the slow drags of his tongue against her as he seemingly tastes her languidly, humming his appreciation to seemingly intensify her growing high.

The cool air of her room as it washes across her skin is a blissful contrast to the searing heat he kindles within her with the flicks of his tongue against her pulsing pleasure peak. Elizabeth gives a strangled noise that blares in the room when Meliodas, giving a heavy groan of his own, delves his tongue deeply into her twitching core, the sensation of it like an explosion in her mind. She feels her mouth fall open as she gives herself over to the feelings and sensations as he asked her. The coarse skin of his fingers as they dig into her hips pulling her more urgently into his thrusting tongue and hungered groans has her writhing in glorious rapture. She moans loudly for him to hear, twisting her hips up into his face so he can satisfy her more thoroughly.

“Ugnn... M-Meliodas,” She whimpers as she feels she can’t find her next breath past her racing heart. It’s getting so much hotter as sweat layers her flesh. She inhales almost weakly when she feels his hand leave her hip as it skims over her twitching belly soothingly. Then she cries out as his hand sweeps down and his thumb begins to circle her pulsing little bud in time with his tongues flicks inside of her.

Her hands press against the bed as she feels herself short of hyperventilating. It’s too much, it’s too good. She can’t possibly go on like this. Her voice is high and riddled with desperation as her back bends into the bed while she cries for her love in pleas. “M-Meliodas—” She can only shout his name before his tongue reaches something he seemed compelled to find and the darkness behind her eyelids explodes in blazing white. Unintelligible words race past her lips as she thrusts her face against him, rocking uncontrollably into his talented mouth.

Her body still shaking from the blissful shocks of her orgasm, Elizabeth falls back on her bed limply with tired hums. She vaguely hears Meliodas come up with an overly pleased hum.

He gazes at her while licking his lips clean of her ripe taste, a low growl subconsciously rumbling in his chest from the flavor of it. His hands idly run up her lax form as desire races fresh and hot through his veins. She’s simply beautiful and so precious to him. The way she’d given into him so trustingly causes a tiny smile to curl his lips. Leaning down he presses a kiss to the inside of her thigh, then he stands as his hands grab ahold of her waist and pulls her towards the center of the bed as he climbs in with her.

He watches as her eyes seem to gain focus then, noting his position as her cheeks grow an even darker cherry hue. He loves the way the color brings out her round eyes, so it’s simple when he finds his lips brushing against the rosy skin of her cheeks before capturing her lips delicately. As her breath washes over his lips shakily when he pulls back, he makes sure to look into her eyes earnestly when he asks, “Can I…?” His hand trails over the skin of her thigh teasingly as the words come out almost painfully at the prospect of her possible refusal. He needs to be with her now. It’s almost become unbearable.

Elizabeth rises up to meet his lips in a chaste kiss and he feels her smile against him. An answer before she even speaks. “Yes. Please…”

Moving back enough, Meliodas undoes the fastening on his pants so that he can finally remove them. It’s such a relief to pull the restraining material off his body and onto the floor where his other clothes lie. The look in Elizabeth’s eyes as she gazes at him entirely pleased as her hands twitch as if she wants to reach out for him like before, causes him to smirk. Not this time. Tonight is simply for her. Capturing her hands as he slides over her and graciously between her legs, Meliodas kisses each of her palms sweetly before pressing the backs of her hands into the bed as their fingers intertwine.

He keeps their gazes locked as he hovers over her. Their muscles tense in anticipation as Elizabeth hooks her legs around his waist yearnfully. When her eyes shy away bashfully as her head lulls to the side, her innocent display causes something to snap within him and he presses forward into her slick entrance with a long groan. Her tightness constricts him in a blazing heat as his head moves to her exposed neck, the sound of her own moan vibrating there is delicious against his lips. Elizabeth moves into his deep thrust as her clear blue eyes glaze over with darker tones, causing his grip on her to tighten.

He takes her slowly, rocking his hips back and forth as he tries to keep his mind clear of the driving thoughts that demand he take advantage and have her screaming in utter ecstasy. The idea is forced away roughly when he releases one of Elizabeth’s hands in order to encircle her waist and pull her closer as he kisses the flushed, sweaty skin of her neck. The breathy mewls and intense cries she lets out near constantly as their hips join again and again is more than enough for his boiling blood.

Her behavior beneath him now is simply intoxicating as well. She’s so complacent as he pulls her hips sharply into his thrusts as his mouth travels against her ear, his tongue darting out to slide along the shell. The tears that gather at the corners of her eyes as she stares up at him in overwhelming pleasure, flames the satisfaction that spirals inside of him higher. He loves the way her moans hiccup as he thrusts into her. His lips move hungrily along her collarbones, suckling her mouthwatering flavor as he groans against her. Elizabeth twitches wildly, arching into him as she gives a shrill cry that more than excites his blood. She’s so sensitive. Fuck, he can’t get enough.

It’s everything he could have wanted it to be and more as he’s allowed to show her his love through the sensuality of his touch, the passion under the sweltering joining of their bodies, and the searing of his kiss as he greedily consumes her cries.

Elizabeth moans weakly against his lips as her heart flutters away in her chest at the shameless way their bodies move to gain those thrilling bursts of gratification. She never thought it could be this way. So slow yet surging with emotions she can hardly breathe past it. Meliodas is treating her carefully with each motion being so impassioned her hand instantly rises up to wrap around his shoulders as she presses closer to him with feeble cries. It’s so different, so different, from their first time. That was a challenge, this is breathlessly effortless as wild and consuming emotions melt over them casting them in flaming rapture.

She feels Meliodas’ hand glide up her waist to cup her breast, fervid in its grasp, as his hips begin to drive into her harder. It takes everything in her not to fall to pieces right then as the bursting sensations reverberating through her begin to come quicker and faster, harder and impossible to ignore. Her legs automatically cling tighter to his hips as she throws her head back with a low broken moan. Her hand claws lightly at Meliodas’ back, her mind awash in the mounting twists of her buzzing thoughts that become more electrifying with the sound of Meliodas’ pleased groans and grunts in her ear as he breathes hotly.

This is what it feels like to soar through blasts of exploding exhilaration on your way to heaven. ‘I never want this to end…’ She wants to be this close to Meliodas every day, all the time, for the rest of her life. Even if it’s something simple like his arms around her, or more sweet as he kisses her along her skin slowly, or more passionately as they share nights like these. She doesn’t want to lose him. Never ever.

Her hand rises to dig into Meliodas’ hair as she feels his muscles beginning to tremble. Her voice begins to crescendo at the feel of her core starting to convulse from the glorious friction of Meliodas feeding the almost painful pulsating ache that runs throughout it just about ready to snap. And in that very instant, she realizes why her dream will stay that and never become a reality. Because he’s a demon, the next demon King, and she the next goddess queen. And such fickle hopes that they could ever truly be together are ludicrous.

These desolate thoughts are overshadowed momentarily the instance Meliodas sweeps his hand down to grip her waist and abandons all intents of keeping things slow and even as his thrusts become quick and powerful. Elizabeth’s skin is aflame as heat implodes within her tightly coiled abdomen, sending her ascending to heights she’s never before seen. Elizabeth’s head falls back, her eyes glazed in a heady daze as her core spasms so powerfully she tightens herself around Meliodas in fear of being shaken apart. She feels him, through the mind crashing sensations that seem to intensify with his stuttering surges inside her, the way his lips mesh over hers. She hadn’t realized her high moans had turned to desperate screams until he’d sealed their lips together so that they calm, and shift into whimpers in the back of her throat.

She clings to him as he rests above her, the grinding of his hips against hers maintaining her pleasure as the warmth he releases inside of her sends hot tingles racing up her spine. She sighs longingly into his mouth when he finally comes to a stop, leaving both of their breathing uneven as their hearts outrace the aftermath of their ecstasy. Elizabeth feels like she can easily fall into this dream of hers of him wanting to be with her, especially when his hand still twined with hers squeezes lightly.

She feels him release her lips and pulls from her. Then he moves to her side, keeping an arm around her waist as she senses the weight of his head on her bosom. The way he’s holding her now as they lay together in the silence and darkness only interrupted by the moon’s calming rays starts to plant seeds of hope in her mind. Maybe he does want to be with her. Even though they no longer have a reason to truly see much of each other anymore, he still came back to her and he has not left. He’s still holding her hand. He told her when he arrived that he needed her.

She’s about to voice her scattered thoughts as her worries twist her into this vulnerable mess she wouldn’t mind Meliodas helping put back together again. But he speaks up first.

“I really needed that, Elizabeth,” he exhales more than relieved and extremely satisfied. He leaves a brief kiss on her chest as he holds his goddess tighter to him tiredly, not noticing the slight tenseness in her form. “We can definitely have sex more often now that things are winding down.”

Hearing those words is far worse than anything she’s been through so far. They resound in her ears like blaring echoes that replay again and again, tormenting her shredding soul. Sex more often. Is that what he wants? Of course. Why did she ever believe otherwise? He had gone through an elaborate plan just to be her the first time and she pushed that grievance away. She forgave him. How very stupid of her to think he’d want anything more from her. His weight, once comforting as it rests atop of her chest, is now a sickening reminder of how blind she is to her love for him. Her heart withering away in her chest, Elizabeth comes to terms with the fact that Meliodas never really had plans to love her to begin with.

“You can come to me or I can come to you. How does that sound?” he asks chuckles lightly. Although he really does want more than just her heavenly body. “It might be complicated and we’re bound to get suspicious stares… Perhaps we can just meet in Britannia. Find our own little place,” He suggests with a breathy sigh at the possibility. Surely she understands how he feels by now? Especially with the way he made love to her tonight.

As he brings her hand still clasped in his since their joining to his lips for a light kiss, it’s suddenly snatched coolly from his grasp when Elizabeth starts to pull out of his hold. He stares up at her in surprise. Then something wraps around all seven of his hearts and begins to squeeze at a meticulously slow pace, making him light headed and agonized from the feeling. She stares at him with curdling apathy as a grim smile adorns her face. Not a trace of the entranced and amorous way she seemed to fall into his presence before is in her expression now as she scoots further away from him. And he can’t for the life of him understand why the abrupt change. Or why it feels as if his life is falling like weighted drops of crimson from his body, bleeding generously from his form.

“Elizabeth—?”

“What makes you think that there will be more times, Meliodas? Our job is done, and I don’t want … this.” She tells him evenly without a waver in her stare.

The cringe that attacks his insides at this is vicious and devastating as he tries not to cry out. Meliodas wants to reach out a hand to touch her face and try to figure out why. Why is she doing this? He thought she maybe felt the same as he does, too. She’d asked if he could love her and he does more than anything. So why is she doing this?

He’s frozen in silence as his expression hardly gives away anything that’s going on in his crashing world. He just stares at her, virtually expressionless as his eyes take on a cold faraway look that shields the anguish he feels. Her added indifference simply slathers on a coarse layer of desolation as he simply goes numb.

“I do want to thank you for the experience. I’m sorry if it lead you to believe we’d be continuing afterwards though.”

Foolish. He was a fool to ever think he could love a goddess. They’re all the damn same, but this one right here is the worst of them all. She lead him into thinking she wanted him around for a very long time and he stupidly fell for it. He fell in love with her, plunged into it headfirst with no thoughts that he wouldn’t end up hurt in the end. And his Elizabeth, his beautiful, wonderful, enchantress of a goddess Elizabeth, took his misguided and misplaced affection and trampled on it without batting an eyelash. She wants him to leave. So that’s what he’ll do.

Moving stiffly out of the bed, he begins to mechanically put his clothes back on without once laying his eyes on her. He doesn’t want to see her anymore. He simply can’t take it if he looks at her one more time. He doesn’t know what he’d do really. Whether he’d erupt into some uncontrollable rage or reveal to her just how heartbroken he truly is in one last wistful glance. He knows if he did something so pitiful he’d never be able to come back from it. So Meliodas keeps his back to her in the screaming silence of the room and allows a single empty word to shatter it on his command. “Goodbye.”

And then he disappears from this realm and her life. Never to return again.

Elizabeth watches through a weak barrier of stoicism that she tries desperately to keep in place as she sends her love away, spouting cold words and biting remarks in his direction. But the moment he’s gone from her vision, the instant his grounding darkness is absent from her home, Elizabeth can no longer hold it in. She collapses inward with deep quaking sobs, her entire world having just smashed to pieces around her. She fears she’s trembling so hard because of the cries that rock her form, but she realizes it's because she’s suddenly so cold. Empty. The life has fled her, leaving her lost and alone. Her Meliodas will never be here to fill her up again, to warm her with unconditional love. Her world will forever be desolate, flooded with bleak, lifeless colors, forcing her to go on as a mournful ghost. Pining for him for the rest of her life.

She never thought falling in love would turn out this way in the end.

 

Chapter Text

~27~

-The Heavy Truth-

He stumbles into his chamber more than a little drunk and clueless on the previous night’s activities. Meliodas inwardly cringes at the sound of the large door’s thunderous bang as it closes behind him. He continues forward on precarious feet in his sunlit room as he makes his way to his washroom. Pushing the door open with a tired groan, he’s grateful for the darker atmosphere as the sun was beginning to become an agonizing nuisance.

Standing shakily for a bit as he waits for his vision to focus and stop showing him two of everything, Meliodas cautiously approaches the deep bath, peeling away his clothes stained in various blood from unfortunate victims. The grotesque sight of them as they land haphazardly in a trail doesn’t catch his attention or his thoughts filled with a never ending cycle of pulsating throbs. It’s when he’s sitting in the cool, clear water steadily polluting with diluting crimson that he realizes he’s terribly parched.

It’s been a few weeks since he last saw her or heard from her and last night he decided to go out and try to forget everything, even if it was only temporary.

He knew a distillery or more of the harshest liquor he could get his hands on would be needed and once he got going, he had no plans of stopping. It was a high class bar on the outskirts of the demon kingdom, heavily stocked and willing to take his money in exchange for all he could drink as they knew his status. The seats were cushioned and the bar keep and waiters were nicely dressed. Even the patrons both women and men dressed as if they were going to some ball or rather just came from one.

It was obvious to him, before he’d consumed enough to where clear and concise thinking became nonexistent, that these were the nobles of the kingdom. He had heard they’re conversations. The sly way they’d managed to deceive business associates into gaining more than their share and if that hadn’t worked the more lethal advances they were more than willing to take. That place he’d stumbled upon was essentially a Grade A market for information, something he could care less about. All he’d wanted to do was throw back drinks as quickly as he could.

It was clear at the time though that even though the place was full of nobles the woman were still just as sly and slippery as they ever would be. He found himself drinking irritably with one wrapped around his arm, although the sense of irritability was rather dull as the drinks were beginning to silence his thoughts gratefully. He hadn’t shaken her off at that point because quite frankly he hadn’t given two shits about anything except for his glass and the bitter liquid that filled it. Her words hadn’t penetrated his skull, nor had her image, or the sound of her voice.

He did however catch her scent or rather taste when she boldly interrupted his next drink by pressing her lips over his. Wrong was the first thought that slipped lazily into his mind as the woman kissed him with a fervor only she felt. Her lips were slippery, covered in that stain most women like to use nowadays and her taste was tart. It wasn’t the alcohol she’d undoubtedly consumed that made her taste that way, it was simply her. Her tongue was rushed and desperate as she pressed closer to him with needy sounds that pinged terribly off in his ears. And it was just plain wrong.

Where was the soft, smooth lips he could kiss for days on end and still never get bored? Where was the mouthwatering sweetness that dripped from her very essence only to be swallowed hungrily, leaving him craving more? Where was the innocent passion, the fiery burn of her touch as she mewled pleadingly for him to meet her halfway in an explosion of need? Where was his Elizabeth?

The thought had stabbed him so excruciatingly through his chest, twisting and slashing through his wounded soul, that he had forced the wretch of a woman from him and onto the rough ground. He hadn’t even looked at her, hadn’t said a word. But the rage that was wafting from him then in suffocating waves kept anyone, but the bar keep from approaching him again. He’d doubled his efforts into numbing his mind and thoughts so a slip like that wouldn’t occur again that evening.

A little after that, once he was completely hammered and his inhibitions all but fell away, he’d decided he wanted to do something fun. Something that got his blood pumping and exhilaration racing through his veins. That’s when the idea to visit a few villages came in mind. He honestly has no idea what he managed to pull off as he stares bleakly at the pale roof above him—the cool water of his bath drenches his body all the way up to his chin as he threatens to slip beneath it—but by the stains of blood on his clothing, it must have been interesting.

Before he can fall into a deep sleep for which he’ll never wake up from, Meliodas rinses himself off and climbs out of the pale pink water. He’s wrapped in a towel when he reenters his chamber and he only really cares to throw on a tight black sleeveless shirt and similarly colored bottoms when he goes to shut the thick hanging curtains over his window. With the room now thrown into gracious near darkness, Meliodas lays on his back in the bed he once had her in. Not for the first time he wonders if he should have it burned.

He’d hoped the pain of drinking would have made it impossible for her to pop up in his thoughts as she seems to every waking moment of every single day, but he was wrong. Dead wrong. He turns to his side and buries his head in the cool material of his pillow, then tries to force her away in favor of reflecting on the past week’s events. Gelda’s trial happened the very same week she was contained and of course she was found guilty. Zeldris was not present which is something Meliodas noted dismayed the vampire greatly. The King was in a surprisingly well-off mood that day and decided to make a proper event out of her death. The one who’d made a mockery out of the demon clan deserved nothing less, in the demon lord’s eyes. So a formal execution is to be taken place in the coming week. It’ll actually be the last major event the King is to partake in as not long after that it’ll be time for Meliodas to take the throne.

The blond exhales heavily as he stares coolly ahead at the thick stones that make up his walls. In no time at all he’ll be King… with no one to call his Queen. He growls angrily at his infuriating thoughts only to press a hand to his head as the ache that throbs there increases momentarily. So what if he has no Queen? It’s not as if she would have ruled his kingdom with him even when they were… whatever they were. She’s a vile goddess whom he’s cut out of his life permanently.

Why then can’t he stop thinking about her?

~.~.~

Three rough knocks force him from his deep, restless slumber. He groans pathetically and that’s enough to make him want to get up despite the wave of nausea that hits him briefly. His headache has waned, but right now he could definitely go for some liquids and food. He calls for whoever to come in as he sits on the edge of his bed noticing the sun’s rays are much dimmer than they were before. He must have been out for quite a while.

The person enters and it becomes clear when a familiar set of seamless crimson boots that blend effortlessly into their crimson pants standing right before him, who his visitor is. He hears the clang of a platter being placed carelessly on his table as well as a thick glass, and then the wonderful scent of food hits his nose like an intoxicating aroma he’s craved for a long time.

“You missed some meals the servants were spineless in their efforts to inform me on my way in,” Zeldris comments offhandedly as he makes his way around Meliodas’ bed towards the blond’s desk.

Meliodas grunts in acknowledgment entirely pleased with the heavy platter of food and the blessed water that he immediately begins to consume.

“Gelda’s execution is to in the coming week, Meliodas. You and I both know that someone else is involved in this treachery, too.” The scornful bite of Zeldris’ tone is the only thing that causes Meliodas to pause from consuming the heaping amount of savory meat piled between sourdough bread. “I grow tired of waiting for that goddess to find out who Gelda’s partner was. Why have we not stepped in ourselves, brother?” The accusation is clean cut and bridled with a righteous fury that more than agitates Meliodas as a different kind of throbbing begins to form in his skull.

Placing his half eaten meal back down ever so slowly, Meliodas lifts his gaze to meet Zeldris’ pissed off one. No matter his efforts, it’s obvious Meliodas is anything but calm beneath the frigid mask he adorns in his address, “There’s no reason for us to go up there. She’ll handle this in her realm as we have here.” Meliodas retorts with a lip curled slightly in a snarl. So much for remaining impassive on the outside.

“That’s not nearly good enough, Meliodas! They surely won’t dole out the proper punishment for what they have done!” Zeldris’ voice if forceful in his protest as his fists begin to quiver against the pressure he’s placing on them.

Meliodas rises on sure feet as he stares his brother down. The need to cut Zeldris’ infuriating ideas down storms through his mind in anxious bursts. He knows why he does not—refuses—to go back to the goddess realm again, but he won’t let the other members of his race know of this. If they were to figure out that she still controls him even after she’d wound him around her finger, had him at her beck and call, only to discard him after she’d had her fill of him, would ruin him. He’d be completely destroyed. “I can guarantee you that their punishment would be appropriate. Did you forget that their spells were the cause of these creatures? I have no doubt in my mind that whatever they come up for her when they find her would be an exquisite sight to see.” His gaze turns hard as his tone shifts to a quiet seriousness that stills his brother momentarily in its sudden drop in temperature. “And do you think our presences up there would be looked over? The culprit could easily flee and finding her then would be more challenging than simply waiting impatiently.”

Zeldris exhales harsh and quickly as he turns his gaze away. The vexation that burns hotly within him rolls off in volatile waves to the tensing of his muscles. “This waiting is maddening, brother. Getting drunk or attacking pathetic humans isn’t enough to hold me down for long,” He comments in a dry tone offhandedly while striding towards the thick crimson curtains that obscure the window of Meliodas’ room.

Meliodas bristles at this comment, but attempts to shake the slight off for the sole reason that his brother believes his reason for doing such actions was because he was anxious to go after the second culprit. Going back to the side of his bed as Zeldris annoyingly opens his curtains a bit, Meliodas idly holds the cool cup of water in his hand as an idea forms in his mind rapidly like the bead of water trailing down the side of the glass, growing in size the longer it rolls around in his mind. “You want to take revenge, do you little brother? I think I might have an idea that’ll suit your needs.”

Zeldris turns to face him and the maniacal gleam that alights in his eyes is brighter than the outline the sunlight casts around him. “Oh, really? And what do you have in mind?”

“I’ve had my suspicions about those vampires for quite a while now. It’s more than plausible that Gelda was not the only one involved with this…” Meliodas trails off, dangling the tantalizing bit of information for his brother to take.

Something vindictive darkens Zeldris eyes as he stands up just a little straighter at his words. “You’re right. I bet that bastard Izraf is more than involved with this. They’ll pay. They’ll suffer for making a fool of me. I swear it.” Zeldris hisses unforgivingly.

Meliodas chooses to ignore his brother's vulnerable slip in favor of raising an eyebrow as his lips curve in a cruel smile. “So we’re in agreement then? The vampires will be eliminated.”

Zeldris gives a curt nod, then Meliodas watches in the tense silence that follows as Zeldris makes his way towards Meliodas’ chamber’s exit. The younger pauses briefly as if to say something. But then the sound of the door closing announces his exit and Meliodas turns his eyes forward once more. He takes a long drink then sighs. He was able to divert Zeldris in the direction of something more interesting than heading up to that cursed goddess realm for which he’s grateful. Now he has more intriguing plans to begin planning out with Zeldris before he starts to get antsy once more.

Of course he has to fix himself up first before he can even think about leaving his room. The mark of her presence in his mind has left a pitiful smog surrounding him that he has to at least attempt to not be shrouded in.

~.~.~

Elizabeth struts with a grace and elegance that comes natural to her through the central path of the snow white buildings and cream colored stalls of the goddess realm. Her fellow goddesses all smile and nod at her presence and she smiles kindly back, feeling her shoulders relax at their forgiving glances and welcoming grins. It seems all it took for them to ease her back into their graces was for her to remind them of who she is. So in the weeks that have come and gone she’s stayed in the goddess realm and let them learn about her all over again through festive gatherings in the square during lunch or lively affairs in the evening when the night cast the world in shimmering silver radiance.

These times weren’t just so the goddesses could learn to trust Elizabeth again. They were also a way to try and find more information on who could be the cause of the horrible things that have happened. She’s thrown herself entirely into finding the mysterious person since Meliodas’ departure. It’s the only thing that keeps her mind sharp and alert rather than dwelling on the loss of her love. She has yet to find anyone in her tireless search, but she won’t give up. She won’t stop doing the only thing that keeps her just a little bit sane.

She hasn’t slept a full night in weeks.

Every night she wakes up from the same dream. Meliodas turns his back to her and utters a single word that causes everything around her to begin to quake in chaos. “Goodbye,” and then he vanishes despite her screams for him to stay and not to leave her. All alone in the in the world quickly draining of color and plunging into temperatures that cause her skin to grow stiff and frigid, she screeches when the ground literally shatters from beneath her and she’s left to fall. She knows how things will end from the very depths of her soul as she nears the jagged edges of her broken world ready to pierce her clean through. And then… she wakes up., expecting to see Meliodas there holding her tightly so that she can uses his comfort to ease her frightened trembles.

But she’s all alone and he’ll never come back.

Elizabeth snaps out of her bleak daze when a rosy haired goddess offers her a smooth bowl full of fruit draped in a sweet nectar and a side platter of a confectionary treat of a giant red apple covered in the same sweet nectar. She’d nearly forgotten she was meeting her friend for lunch until she was handed food. Quickly thanking the vendor, Elizabeth walks as briskly as she can in her more elegant attire. With her ascension to the throne coming rather quickly, Elizabeth has had to adjust to wearing more formal attire that will befit her status as Queen. She’s entirely grateful that her goal to become Queen is nearly attained. But that still doesn’t make the skirt that spills down her legs like a river to her calves or the flat twisted ankle strap sandals any more comforting to walk around in. She does find the short sleeved shirt that cuts off below her chest interesting though.

Taking a seat at a quiet circular table sparkling in silver, Elizabeth stares out at the many goddesses that wander about and begins to wonder who it could be. Skewering a strawberry her mind drifts to the vampire Gelda, something that has been common as well during her observations. She does not believe her to be guilty. It just doesn’t feel right. Elizabeth imagines the crying visage of the vampire as her chest tightens in certainty. Someone like that wouldn’t be able to come up with or even participate in madness such as this. There has to be something more to her story.

Elizabeth nearly jumps as someone sits in the seat beside her. When she realizes it’s her smiling friend Veronica, Elizabeth calms as her foot idly kicks through the cool wisps of clouds below her. “Good afternoon, Veronica! How are you?”

Veronica eats a bit of her own fruit salad before she answers. “I’m doing absolutely wonderful! Are you the same?” Her smile is kind as she asks, not completely hiding the swirling delight that traipses through her chocolate brown eyes.

Elizabeth looks away as a familiar sense of cold, loneliness pours down the back of her neck. “Yes, I’m fine.”

“You don’t sound it.” She hears Veronica nearly scoff before she continues. “You should be ecstatic. The murderer’s been captured, they’re putting her to death soon, and you’re about to take the throne. What’s not to be happy about? You even managed to get the people to like you again after you slept with that demon goddess knows how many times…” She comments lowly in a sour tone.

Elizabeth turns to look at her friend appalled as her cheeks warm. “What do you mean? You know I only slept with him once!” She hisses in a quiet tone, completely knowing of her lie, but feeling angered that her friend would actually be so spiteful to her about this.

Veronica gives her a dry look before turning once more to her dwindingly fruit salad. “We weren’t behind closed doors with you both. Who knows what happened? And you never did mention why he showed up randomly that evening when he had no business here. That just screams the obvious, you know?”

Elizabeth can hardly believe this is her friend speaking to her. She thought she would be more understanding, even if what Elizabeth did was unforgivable. Queen Margaret wasn’t even this bitter with the news and yet her friend is simply cruel. “That’s none of your business like I told you before. It doesn’t matter anyway. He won’t be returning. Like you said we caught the dastardly murderer, right?” Elizabeth retorts with a venomous drip to her words.

Veronica doesn’t seem to notice when she speaks again, her voice more calm now that the subject has been brought back to “happier” topics. “True. What do you think they’ll do to that vampire anyway? It has to be something that matches her level of atrociousness in my opinion. I mean, she lured the people of Britannia to torture chambers just to make those things. That has to bring about a nasty level of punishment, don’t you think?”

Elizabeth opens her mouth to respond when abruptly it feels as if someone just bludgeoned her across the skull making her vision waver as her mouth runs dry. ‘She said… S-she shouldn’t know about that! She shouldn’t know!! Unless s-she’s…’ Elizabeth tightens her hold on her fork severely as she struggles to hold together her wildly quivering nerves as she gapes at her best friend. Someone she thought she knew, but now she has no clue of who this goddess even is anymore.

Before it can be too long for her answer to come out as suspicious, Elizabeth blurts out an agreeing, “Right.” Then begins to stuff her mouth with her neglected fruit even though she feels as if her stomach could upheave anything placed in it at any moment. The goddess she was searching for was right with her all along. Veronica did it. Veronica did all those horrible things to those innocent people… Elizabeth feels the blood drain from her face and she has to cover her mouth to hold back a gag.

She feels Veronica’s hand on her shoulder and it makes the sick feeling even worse. “Are you alright?”

The concerned tone is too sweet she realizes, it’s almost sickly so. Elizabeth forces herself to stand despite the sudden clamminess of her skin as she slightly falters. “Y-yes, I’m fine. Thank you. I just think I should go lay down for a bit.”

Veronica backs off easily, her concern falling off like a carelessly thrown on mask as she goes back to eating. “Okay, go rest up! If it continues come see me. I might know what it’s about…”

Elizabeth hardly hears her as she scrambles gracelessly through the throng of people that suddenly crowd the quickest path to her home. She feels so dizzy as her mind tips back and forth on the cusp of a mental break down. Veronica. The one she allowed so trustingly into her home on many occasions. Did she notice the book's presence? She’d certainly know what it felt like as she is very acquainted with it. Did she notice it missing from the forbidden texts where she hid it? Did she suspect Elizabeth?

The silverette crashes through the front door of her home with desperate breaths as she slams the door behind her. This is truly some kind of nightmare. She received her wish. She found the person responsible for those cruel crimes, but when confronted with the situation, she ran in overwhelmed shock. And as she trembles leant heavily against her front door, she can only think of one person she wants to see the most right now. As she threatens to fall to tears, she can only imagine one demon she wishes to run to.

Gradually she gathers her wits as she straightens out her stance, roughly wiping away the stinging against her eyes. Even if he doesn’t want her for anything but her body, the chance to see him after all this time still brings her a sense of calm, as sad as that is. This is something she urgently needs to tell him and she really needs to plead Gelda’s case as well, something she’s put off for too long.

Her hands still retain the tiny tremors that show how distraught she truly is despite how tightly clenched they are at her sides. Her magic swirls around her warmly as she closes her eyes, breathing in deeply. The sensation is like being pulled and pushed to the wills of power much more unpredictable than she can comprehend as she travels between realms. The only thought that crosses her mind however is reaching Meliodas. Only Meliodas.

When she next opens her eyes she finds herself in a surprisingly quiet hallway tinted in sunset orange tones. She recognizes the drab grey stones as those to belong to the demonic castle and she wonders in astonishment how she managed to end up inside the castle instead of out. But then the sound of footsteps rounding a corner captures her full attention instantly.

Expecting it to be a possible guard she readies herself for anything. The sight of familiar wildly curved hair in the youthful face that reminds her of his older brother instantly eases her. Only he doesn’t seem as welcoming when he notices her. He’s a complete mass of vicious anger when he comes up to her. She half expects him to attack until his voice curls out in a cut throat address harsher than even their first meeting. “What are you doing here?”

She looks down as she sucks in a breath sharply. She knows things are horrible between she and Meliodas, she just hadn’t realized that would drift over to her odd friendship with Zeldris as well. What a ridiculous hope to keep. “I came to see Meliodas.”

Zeldris doesn’t respond and the air grows tight from the steaming ire that wafts from him, so she glances up. Her gaze softens no matter how harshly he glowers at her and she inquires gently, “How is Gelda?”

His eyes widen briefly before he’s gritting his teeth in an attempt to contain himself. “Those putrid vampires won’t be a threat for too much longer,” with this he storms off, bumping roughly into her on his way down the hall. And then he’s out of sight.

She stares after him confused and still somewhat hurt, but brushes it away with a heavy sigh as she continues forward. She figures she’ll find Meliodas in his chamber which isn’t too far off if she recalls her long day of wandering halls. But something catches her attention and holds it, refusing to budge. Turning to her left she stares at a plain wooden door like any other, but that’s not what draws her in. It’s the darkness behind it that she’s missed so dearly she’s nearly overcome with joy at feeling it after so long.

Entering the room without knocking, she feels her heart swell upon seeing him. Meliodas is just as imposing with a natural show of regality as she remembers of him as he sits at a wooden desk. He looks weary, the muscle in his jaw tense, while his hand rolls a glass of a dark brown liquid as he stares down at a few parchments. But the moment he feels her in the room, hears her close the door behind her, the glass falls from his hand, crashing to the ground in a million shards of glimmering crystal, causing her to jump.

She feels her heart leap in her chest when he rises slowly, then turns his gaze to her. His glare is more than withering. His look would kill her if it could. “What are you doing here?” He demands in a quiet fury.

“Meliodas—”

“Don't call me that,” he snaps instantly in a dark resonance.

Elizabeth feels her throat tighten as she stares into the harsh coldness of his eyes. There's no softness there for her to dive into. Only a cruel bitterness for her to shy away from. It's worse than when they first met, because at least then she knew he wanted her in some way. Now he looks as if he can't stand the sight of her.

Fighting the renewed tremors of such a realization, Elizabeth stares down at the wooden desk between them. The inkblot that stains it is a much more welcoming sight than the demon's eyes before her. “...Well, I needed to talk to you about this. I think-No, I know, Gelda is innocent.”

A response is instantaneous as Meliodas' voice lowers to a malicious growl. “Get out.”

Her head shoots up in shock, “What—?”

His eyes are a hellish storm of rage and hatred as they bore down on her. “You're always like this! You think you can control me! Not anymore. I don't give a damn what you think, goddess,” he sneers the word like it's more vile than dung, “But that vampire is going to pay for her crimes. As is the rest of her pathetic clan.”

Elizabeth can only stare utterly thrown by his reaction as her mouth gapes open. And then his words truly register to her, making it past the numbing heartbreak and her downcast thoughts. Her silver brows lower as she stares him down. “Meliodas—”

He looks as if she just viciously assaulted him, “I told you to get the fuck out!

Her hands slam flat on his desk as she scowls at him unflinchingly. “No! Not until you listen to everything I have to say and stop being this sorry excuse of man before me.” She doesn't care if he hates her, she lies to herself at the murderous glare he gives her for daring to speak to him in such a way. She still can't let him go further without hearing every last bit she has to say. Otherwise, she'll regret it. She knows she will. “I met Gelda once. Once. And she was crying her heart out in the darkness of a broom closet. Does that sound like the mastermind of this horrible scheme? Does that sound like someone who could even partake in something like this?” She asks with a seriousness that throws the room in silence.

She knows he could and would answer her, but he's probably too livid to see past a string of incoherent curses right now, so she continues. “She was petrified Zeldris would never forgive her for the secret she carried.” Her eyes never leave his no matter how much it hurts to gaze into his unloving pools.

“And he won't,” Meliodas finally responds in a tightly controlled way.

Elizabeth merely narrows her eyes. “The secret she keeps is definitely not what you all think. I'm actually pretty sure I know who's behind this. Gelda said something odd during our meeting. She said I wasn't like the other goddess she knew.”

She said that and you never mentioned it!?” Meliodas, short of roaring, grips her arms from across the desk so that she's painfully forced to lean across it with her arms as weak supports.

She's wanted to feel his touch for so very long after he was cast away from her home. Out of all the scenarios she envisioned, this is never one that came to her mind. “Of course I didn't! Like I said, I trust her! I don't trust Veronica, however! That's who Gelda meant, Meliodas. My longtime friend is the one we're all after, not Gelda,” Elizabeth grits out harshly through strained breaths. “I trust someone I met only once to someone I've known my whole life.”

Meliodas gazes at her through a vast array of emotions that begin to drown her. But in the blink of an eye, they vanish behind an emotionless glaze. She gasps at the swiftness in which he pulls her over his desk and deposits her on the edge gingerly. Then his back is to her as he gazes out the only window of the room. His hands are fisted and his voice a low gravel. “What did she do?”

Elizabeth gazes at him from her place on his desk, unsure of if she should stand or not. She remains seated. “She said something to me she shouldn't know. She mentioned the torture chambers, Meliodas. My longtime friend is behind this. How? Why? I just don't understand…” Her voice trails off into a distraught murmur.

Meliodas remains stiff and uptight as he keeps his back to her. His fists seem to curl inward more as his voice sags into an almost uncaring drone. “That still doesn't refute Gelda and the evidence we have against her.”

Elizabeth sucks in a sharp breath feeling disbelief settle in like a heavy weight within her stomach. She's on her feet and glaring down his back as her tone twists in a cutting way. “Look at me, Meliodas! Look at me!! I said face me, damn it!!!” She hollers in outrage the longer he refuses her command. She reaches for his shoulder hell bent on gaining his undivided attention, and that's when he whirls on her. She easily twists out of the way of his fist’s path and uses his momentary opening to grasp his face between her palms.

She feels the jolt as it runs through him. His eyes are crazed with pain and loathing as he shudders with the force of his breaths, but she can tell. The fight left him the moment her hands closed around his cheeks. And no matter what, she takes care to cradle his face gently, because it's the last time she'll have the opportunity to. “Zeldris said the vampires would no longer be a problem. I'm not daft. I heard what you said before. You're both planning to end their race. Over what, Meliodas? The actions of one who most likely is innocent?”

It hardly matters that he doesn't answer as he glowers at her from between the careful hold she has placed upon his warm cheeks. What she has to say will be over soon and then she'll be gone as he wants. But for now, she'll look into his eyes as her words drift lower with the weight of her disappointment. “Do you plan on doing the same to us goddesses because of Veronica? Do you plan on... on killing me one day?” She would like to believe the shock that travels through his eyes as a little breath escapes him is the clarity she's been hoping to show him on the situation.

She wants to believe that it's infinitely more as well. But hoping for more with him has gotten her nowhere but a one way trip to heartbreak, so she ignores it. Her eyes slip downwards from her intense gaze with him. “Interesting comparison, don't you think? It's entirely the same thing, so I wouldn't be surprised if we received a declaration of war from you demons any day now. I wouldn’t be surprised… Just filled with a sorrow that will probably never stop aching.”

She realizes the room is choking in its silence and the unspoken words that must remain hidden the longer her words continue to hang hopelessly in the air. The longer she remains holding on to a dying dream. Tugging the threads of her quickly unraveling composure back together desperately, Elizabeth straightens herself and gazes once more into Meliodas' eyes as her fingers slide from his face slowly. Her hands fall limply to her sides. “I'm going after Veronica whether you help me or not and I'm going to make her prove Gelda's innocence. I won't let you end that race over some prideful refusal to back down. I honestly thought you were better than this, Meliodas. But I guess I was wrong... About a lot of things.”

Elizabeth turns from his indifferent gaze, no longer able to take the yawning gap that stretches between them that will never close again. Feeling so reminiscent of the night she sent him away, she nearly forgets herself for a moment as an unbearable pain washes over her. “Goodbye.”

As her magic swells out in order to sweep her from this realm and the demon she’s sure she’ll never stop loving, she nearly misses the broken whisper Meliodas returns, “Goodbye, E-Elizabeth.”

 

Chapter Text

~28~

-What's Been There All Along-

"Damn it!!!" Meliodas roars in tumultuous distraught as his power flourishes around him in a chaotic burst. The room is swallowed in vibrant violet for a solid moment as his eyes slide shut under the anguish that burns through his chest taking him to his knees. He feels it in himself how his power slips wildly from between his fingers to the frantic spikes of distress he fights to rein in. He knows if he doesn't get a grip this room will be blown to bits, he can already sense the thunderous trembles as the pressure of his power threatens the foundation recklessly. So swallowing against his wish to release the pain that threatens to suffocate him, Meliodas exhales slowly. Then he opens his eyes.

Everything is askew or thrown from its neat position it once rested in, some things are in shambles and others are simply unrecognizable. The desk before him looks as if it took a great beating, but it still stands proudly, crooked in the center of the room. Meliodas hardly takes this in as he stares dazedly ahead. His posture is weighted, sagged, as he envisions her in this room, hearing her voice, smelling her sweet scent. He hadn't wanted to see her again as she insisted on booting him out of her life for good.

He was doomed the moment she walked through his door again.

She'd looked so beautiful, so elegant as she'd gazed at him with a soft hesitance that cut right through all the effort he went through to try and block her out of his mind, all the hard work he put into trying to stop loving her. But in that moment when he saw her again, he wondered how it was he'd managed to survive without her. He hadn't. Not really. And knowing this lit the fuse on his explosive fury. How dare she come back and act as if she hadn't tossed him out of her life carelessly? How dare she show him that he'll never live again, not without her? So he'd directed his rage towards her, hoping she'd leave him to his shameful sorrow, but like always, like every single damn time, she fought him.

She asked if he would kill her one day.

"Never. I could never," Meliodas hisses through a suddenly too tight throat. The idea of seriously harming her, wanting to kill her, is not even a factor in his mind. It's absolutely sickening. He could never hurt his mate, even if she doesn't want him anymore.

Standing wearily from the cold floor, Meliodas gazes blankly at his desk where she sat, the wood now dry and cracked as opposed to its previous smooth sleekness. She was so adamant about Gelda, she wanted him to change his mind. But he'd just wanted to remain angry with her for the pain she caused him and not listen to her insistence, even with the bitch Veronica being involved. Now he feels entirely low and pathetic. Not even worthy to garner her affections.

"I honestly thought you were better than this, Meliodas. But I guess I was wrong... About a lot of things."

Remembering her last words… He's never felt so despondent in his whole life. It's all because of her. That goddess. The woman he loves. Elizabeth.

The room is abruptly much too congested as he glances around his ruined study. His steps become quick as he moves towards the exit of the darkening room. He's entirely grateful when he doesn't run into images or reminders of Elizabeth outside in the hall. A cowering servant stands in wait though causing him to stiffen as his frigid mask returns.

"Is e-everything alright, General?" The female questions timidly.

Meliodas snaps his gaze from her as he avoids the question rudely, "Have the room fixed up. Don't touch the swords." He doesn't spare her another look as she squeaks in acknowledgment, his boots already taking him on a path that seems unavoidable.

Elizabeth swore Gelda's innocence and she's willing to try and prove it herself. Meliodas raises a hand to his chest which has steady twinges flowing throughout it he can't seem to ignore no matter how indifferent he pretends to be. She was so disappointed in him with just those words… His fingers cringe over his chest. He'll talk to the vampire personally and see what she has to say. He'll do it to be one hundred percent sure of her guilt and, he bitterly admits to himself as his frown deepens, to please Elizabeth with the news that he did give her words consideration.

He stalks through endless twists and bends in the quieting bustle of the darkening castle, the torches having been lit casting the halls in flickering orange hues. The inane chatter of guards is an eventual blessing when he finally reaches his destination as his nerves were wearing thin with the anticipation to speak with the vampire he hasn't seen since her meeting before the King. The two men decked in steely black armor lined in crimson accents nod in acknowledgment to him as he makes his descent to the dungeons.

It's a steep slope with occasional torches giving light to the area, as unnecessary as it is, ending with heavily barricaded doors at the end. Luckily the door is unlocked which means a guard is most likely giving out the evening's meals to the prisoners. He strolls in with a casual gate and he lets a bit of his power spill out to let his presences be known to everyone here. He'd hate for the guard to miss his presence and leave him here locked with these low lives. Of course he could get out on his own, but that would be more damage than necessary.

There are quite a number of cells that line each side of the room, all tiny and most crowded with sneering scum that are here to serve time or like Gelda will be put to death. The bars look to be the newest things in the entire place despite the fact that they've been around for quite a long time, the source of the enchantments to each cell that keeps everyone in place. They stretch up into the weathered stones of the room slightly damp from the chilly, wet atmosphere that hangs in the area. This place is beyond unpleasant from the tired and dirty appearances of some of the people he lays eyes on. But that's the point with it being a cruel punishment for those who have committed crimes that can't be looked over.

He strides forward slowly, trying to figure out how he'll find Gelda with all of these cells to search through. Such a tedious task, he notes with an edge of annoyance. The only good thing he does notice from being down in this concentrated hell hole is the oddly thick sweet scent. He figured the place would be putrid to breathe in, but this smell keeps filling up his nose with every breath he takes. Something pricks in the back of his mind as he analyzes it with meticulously slow inhales. He knows what this is, but he can't place his finger on it for the life of him.

Curiosity gets the better of him however and he finds himself drifting towards the scent trail wanting to find the cause of it. It leads him further and further through the dungeon as ever so slowly his mind begins to tell him why exactly he knows this type of scent. At nearly one of the last cells in the back that he rounds to face, he can only gape at the sight within it, his mind smacking him smartly across the face with the answer right before him.

Oh, he's found Gelda and the cause of the potently sweet scent. He just hadn't imagined the smell of an expecting mother would be coming from her . And by the looks of her stomach that strains against the brown cloth they give the prisoners to wear, she's been pregnant for quite some time.

He leans against the bars and simply stares at her in complete confusion when she finally takes note of him with a frightened squeak. He thinks for a moment he's dreaming. There are a lot of things that have happened in just the past hour that could prove it. That can't possibly be Gelda . How could it be when she never showed any signs before and now it's as if she was pregnant the whole time? It's simply impossible!! She's heavy with child! Impossible. "What the hell is going on!?" He bites out while trying to find some kind of flaw to this illusion even as her sticky sweet smell still pollutes his nose.

Gelda stares at him horrified as her arms cross over her stomach, a habit he always noticed she tended to do when she became anxious but now there's actually a plausible reason for it. He raises a hand to rub over his face as he begins to question his sanity. "G-General, I… I—"

He can hear her voice cracking as she tries desperately to find some excuse only to fail when it becomes a pointless endeavor. Sighing long and hard, Meliodas lowers his hand and looks into her teary eyes. And like Elizabeth told him, it's impossible to see this woman being apart of the crimes they've pinned on her. "Just tell me the truth, Gelda."

She closes her eyes and even in the shadows she tries to hide in against the wall he sees thin rivers of tears slip down her pale cheeks. "I'm pregnant."

"And you have been all along." He adds for her, feeling a flash of frustration towards her. She couldn't have done this. And the sole reason for that is right beneath the cross of her arms. The secret she's been keeping the whole time is the little baby growing inside her. "Why didn't you mention this at the trial? Why didn't you try to fight for your freedom?"

"I was worried about still Zeldris when I was brought before the King. I couldn't bear the thought of his reaction." She tells him as silent tears track her cheeks. "But after time here in this cell and the cloaking wore off, I figured the news would spread of my pregnancy with the guards knowing and I would be forced to tell the truth. But after time and nothing happened, no visits from anyone… I lost hope." She falls silent with a downtrodden frown.

"Gelda, tell me everything. I need to know so I can be positive of what's going on here." He insists harshly as he suddenly feels very exasperated with the world.

She opens her eyes and gazes at him in a display of utter defeat as tears slowly drip from her chin. "When I found out I was pregnant I was… so happy. Zeldris and I would be having a child together. What more could I want? But then I realized, I did want more. I wanted Zeldris to be happy with me and our child. I wanted him to want us and a future together as a family. I wanted him to l-love me." She raises a hand shakily up to wipe away at her continuous tears as her voice slopes in despair, "But I knew that wouldn't happen. Not if he discovered. Any hope that I had of him ever growing to love me would disappear instantly and he'd throw me out of his life without any regrets."

Meliodas' hand clench uneasily around the bars as he watches her cry heartbreakingly. 'Zeldris, you idiot.' His brother truly is and he sadly brought this on to himself.

Gelda forcefully sniffles. "I was… was on the outskirts of Edinburgh after I was certain what was causing me to feel so sick and weak all the time. I'd left Zeldris for the first time, terrified of what I should do then and hesitant of whether I should seek one of the nursemaids of my kingdom for help. That night is when I met her. Veronica."

Meliodas straightens at this and listens even more intently, blocking out the ruckus of the prisoners from around.

"At the time I didn't care that she was a goddess. She was kind and listened to my story and my fears. She was a shoulder to cry on. You can imagine my relief and shock when she suddenly offered to help with my problem." The way Gelda stares at him with a weak smile makes him wonder if she regrets ever taking Veronica's help at all.

"What did she have you do in return for her help?"

Gelda shakes her head. "She didn't ask me for anything. She said she could perform powerful cloaking magic upon me so that it would seem as if I had never changed. As if I was never pregnant. It would only be on the outside however and I would have to return to see her occasionally otherwise the spell would wear off and all my efforts would be wasted." Her tone turns soft when she gazes down at her clearly bulging stomach, her small hand reaching up to rub across it.

Meliodas nods as his mind begins to calculate the goddess' motivations. "Your mysterious absences were to cast you in a bad light. She probably suspected that we would consider the vampires as the possible threat so she jumped on the opportunity to use you as a scapegoat."

Now Gelda stares at him confused. "What do you mean?"

'Does she really not know?' As he stares into her bright blue eyes it apparent that her obviousness to Veronica's activities is pure. But before he tells her he just wants to ask her one last thing. "How did you get those parchments?"

Her eyebrows crease as she pushes her confusion aside temporarily. "It's the one thing Veronica asked of me. She wanted me to hold onto them for some reason, she never told me why. I couldn't read them even though they felt as if they could be something from the demon realm. I wondered why she had them and wanted me to keep them."

Meliodas lowers his head as an explosive rage begins to build within him at the sheer thought of Veronica. She's eliminated countless lives of demons goddesses, fairies, giants, and humans. And the next two lives she was planning on adding to that list were Gelda and her unborn child. The bars he strangles in his hold slowly begin to form finger shapes as his wrath rages within him. 'She won't get away with this. Not if I have anything to say about it.' "She used you, Gelda. Veronica is the one who's behind the creatures. She planned to have you take the fall and most likely she would continue her killing spree after you were gone. Probably find a new person to pin it on again and again. That vindictive bitch!"

He hears her startled gasp over the sound of his speeding pulse in his ears. "W-what? General, she what?"

He doesn't answer her distressed inquires as he turns his eyes to the left in seek of a guard. "Guard! Get this door open, now ." Meliodas shouts loudly.

He hears clangs and the sound of rushing feet as a trolley of food is quickly abandoned. The male with shaggy brown hair gazes at him frightfully and scrambles to find the right keys for the cell that holds Gelda. Meliodas steps back and stares at her through the opening door, watching how seems to shiver from fright and uncertainty. Stepping into her cell, Meliodas stoops down to help her to her feet noting how weak she seems with a growl.

He glares down the guard who holds the cell door open and begins to question the male with a chilling resonance. "How long have you all known she was pregnant and said nothing?"

The male keeps his stare unwavering but it seems he can't find the ability to speak. 'Fucking spineless bastards!' Meliodas internally bellows at their incompetence as he supports Gelda with his arm around her waist and her arm over his shoulder. He can feel her shudders as they travel through her and it once again tugs at that sympathy buried deep inside of him. "Do you realize what my brother would have done to you all had he discovered she was pregnant after the fact?" He decides to scoop her up in his arms much to her surprise as her hands tremble as they find purchase against him.

Brushing past the stunned male, Meliodas makes his way towards the exit outright ignoring all the uproarious pleas for freedom that follow his wake. "Did they feed you properly?" He addresses the vampire in his hold.

"Y-yes. The baby tends to make me eat food, so that wasn't a problem. I could really use some blood, too, though," She admits in a quiet tone. He grimaces, but nods. It's most likely why she's so weak being deprived of her main source of nutrition for so long. "General, may I ask, what is happening? I'm s-sorry for trying to keep this hidden! I just know Zeldris will hate me for this, however. I s-shouldn't have become involved with Veronica, she always felt a bit off t-to me. But I felt I had no choice."

He takes her up the stairs to the ground floor as her sorrow hits him once more. He won't let the sentries notice this though as he chooses to address them first before continuing on. "Spread the word. Gelda is not to be taken prisoner as a culprit behind the creatures. If the King has something to say about this, tell him he can bring it up to me personally. Also, if anyone runs into my brother, Zeldris, tell him to meet me at his chambers."

His direct order given, Meliodas turns without further word, moving out of hearing range before he speaks to Gelda once more. "My brother is pigheaded, prideful, scornful, and a menace, so it's completely his fault for not admitting to himself how much you mean to him. He should have made it clear what you are to him and how irreplaceable you are in his life. I can promise you when he finds out, he won't be angry at the news."

He can feels her tears soaking into his shirt causing a light frown to come to his face as he lightly runs a hand across her arm in what he hopes a comforting way. "Are you sure?" she questions apprehensively as her hand tightens against his chest.

"I'm positive."

Zeldris' chamber comes into sight quickly and Meliodas adjusts Gelda in his hold so that he can open the door. The room is empty, but he wastes no time in sitting the vampire in the center of his brother's bed. Looking around as she wipes her face clear of tears, he wonders what should be done first when she voices a surprising question. "How did you figure all of this out, if you don't mind me asking?"

He stares at her attempts at refraining her rattled nervous before the answer comes to him. "Elizabeth told me." Gelda seems to brighten at the name while Meliodas feels the opposite. Something slimy, cold, and nauseating threatens to flood him in a drowning sense of unease as he remembers what she set off to do.

"She was so very nice and kind. I thought perhaps she would forget about me," Gelda comments lightly as she tries to relax into the familiar bedspread.

"Elizabeth is in trouble," Meliodas speaks in a low unnerved tone as his muscle begin to bunch anxiously.

"What?"

"Elizabeth went to confront Veronica. I need to find her and before that bitch lays a finger on what's mine." He snarls fiercely as his power begins to spiral out without his conscious demand, already pulling him from the demonic realm despite Gelda's shouts of protest. In the time it takes for his hearts to beat frantically in twisted worry for his Elizabeth, Meliodas is swept from the realm and on the hunt for his beloved.

~.~.~

Elizabeth's breath comes out in rough bursts as her feet tumble gracelessly over each other in her haste to get into her eerily silent home. The door slams shut underneath her body's weight as she allows the cool wood to prick at her awareness. As her chest rises and falls in shallow breaths, she simply stares ahead at the dark, lifeless furniture that resides in her living room. His voice still echoes in her mind, his silent goodbye. Her fingers twitch against the wood beneath her palms before they curl into fists as she forcefully straightens herself against the knee buckling pain his small voice brought her.

It was like that night all over again, but this time she noticed something in those two words he managed to keep hidden from her the night she sent him away. A tiny sliver of the anguish their separation caused him. Elizabeth closes her eyes for a long moment as she feels herself beginning to sink under a familiar despair, before she shakes her head and reopens them. She can't allow herself to dwell on that now. She has to find Veronica and free Gelda before it's too late for the vampire. And letting her feelings for Meliodas overwhelm her is not something she's going to let happen right now.

Elizabeth takes a single deep breath as her plan settles in mind. 'Alright. First—' Her thoughts cut abruptly when a painful tingle of awareness begins to jolt beneath her skin. 'Something's off… But what…?' She thinks about it as her eyes swivel around her living quarters while she creeps forward silently. Everything is exactly as she remembers it. The cushions upon her couch are slightly askew from when she laid there this morning, and a stray crystal glass she forgot to place back in her kitchen cupboard is still on the round marble table center of the room. Even the, now, useless notes on who could possibly be tied to this crime lie exactly where she left them next to the glass, so what…?

Her cerulean eyes widen as a gasp sticks painfully in her throat when she realizes what feels terribly wrong. Running and nearly tripping in her cursed skirt and sandals to her room she stumbles to a stop at the wreckage that is the remains of her bed and the pale wood beneath it. Her eyes analyze in slow scrutiny the way the concentrated blast tore through her mattress leaving it a charred mess, scattering the burnt pieces of her sheets and pillow across the floor along with the chunks of wood that made up her bed's support. She takes calculated steps forward as her skin grows clammy with worry with each stuttering beat of her heart.

On her knees before the jagged hole within her floor, she lets out a defeated breath when she accepts what she already knew. The book she and Meliodas placed here under the concealing spell Elizabeth conjured is missing. Stolen by the one who started all of this.

SLAM!

Fright races up and down Elizabeth's spine for a terrible second before she leaps to her feet in a speedy twirl. Veronica stands in front of her closed bedroom door in a glory that weeps of her infernal power. Elizabeth's hand twitches before tightening around the hilt of her enchanted sword as her eyes harden in a piercing stare at the calm way Veronica gazes at her while stroking the cover of the black book almost fondly.

"I picked up a little too late my foolish slip before and by then you'd already fled to that demon of yours, correct?" Veronica comments with a pleasant smile, although her eyes betray the growing rage that dwells within her.

Elizabeth feels her teeth clench together tightly as she stares at the cunning goddess before her down. The missing book wasn't the full cause of the nauseating sense of wrongness that plagued the otherwise normal house. With every breath she takes she feels it growing stronger, the heightened sense of alarm charged with death's chilling touch. They both watch each other intently as Elizabeth's muscles become taut in preparation for anything. Coiling and tightening, the power Elizabeth has never before felt exuding from her friend, becomes nearly destructive in its presence, practically goading Elizabeth to act before it's too late.

And then it drains away like a sickening lurch, leaving Elizabeth winded and startled when Veronica vanishes right before her eyes with the disappearance of the power. The silverette wastes not a moment in charging to the spot her friend once was only to freeze in place as the hair against her neck stand on end at the delighted laugh that sounds right behind her.

"Your infatuation with that bastard is disgusting, Elizabeth, and so pathetically obvious!" She trills out a bitter laugh while Elizabeth grasps the hilt of her sword in a stranglehold then spins in a split second decision to send out a wave of her power. The room becomes illuminated in the flare of her energy that pulses more strongly than the racing thuds in her chest. Before her power even discharges from her sword, Elizabeth can see that Veronica is no longer there. The vivid white clashes with the pale tinge of her wall in rumbling waves instead.

Standing rigid as she tries to detect where Veronica can be, Elizabeth finally lets a bit of her anger twined with fear escape her in urgent demands. "Why are you doing this? Why have you done this, Veronica!?"

"Don't make me laugh." Veronica spits out with a resentful bite that causes Elizabeth to turn her head hesitantly to her right where her friend now appears. "The people of this realm are damn fools for choosing you, even after it became obvious where your loyalties stand, to rule. You're undeserving of it. You spit on the culture and beliefs that make up our people, Elizabeth! You don't even give a damn about the people you're tormenting with your decisions, and that is unforgivable."

Elizabeth brushes of the confusing in favor of clutching to the bristling outrage that rises within her like a tornado. "What the hell do you mean? I've never tormented anyone! You have! You tortured people and killed them! Hundreds of them!" Elizabeth hollers back as she feels the twinge of injustice prick at her eyes.

Veronica's power becomes centered as it spikes dramatically. The darkness that seems to swim within her plows in hectic waves within her muddy brown eyes, which burn into Elizabeth. "You know nothing! You never have! No matter how much you believe you've grown over the years, you still remain childishly oblivious to the corruption that lives around you in plain sight. The chance to rule was between you and me, Elizabeth, but it was given to you because you're "stronger, wiser, and oh, so much brighter". Ha! What a load of bull. If I was ever to let my true strength show, I wouldn't be your pathetically weak friend any longer."

The ominous response hangs between them long enough for questions to blaze through Elizabeth's mind in a dizzying show. No answers present themselves despite her best efforts to make sense of her friend's motives. "It doesn't matter," Elizabeth finds herself eventually saying as her brows lower and her stance slides into one of readiness, "You've done a terrible thing to goddess knows how many people, and for what? Your hate over being looked over? That's beyond selfish and cruel, and I won't stand for it."

Elizabeth springs forward in a blur as her sword arcs sideways, cutting air as the peculiar sense of power her friend dwells in dissipates instantly. Elizabeth is prepared however as she spreads her senses, waiting for a single drop of the dark tinged magic to fill the room. Again and again the room is lit in a vibrant radiance as her magic dances about in powerful waves, hitting walls and overthrowing her dressers when she only catches the tail end of Veronica's reappearance. The purple haired goddess is toying with her, forcing her to backflip into somersaults, spring off of walls, and twirl in deadly twists, all in the tiny clustered room simply to even catch a glimpse of Veronica before she teleports away.

Elizabeth finds herself panting with her back to the sizable hole in her floor with her sword drawn to her chest. She had to cut her skirt at some point otherwise she would be worse off than she already is. Her blue eyes glare around in fury at the sudden dramatic shift in her friend's ability. Veronica hasn't engaged her in combat, so maybe she's after something else? Keeping her place in front of the hole so there's no chance Veronica can catch her from behind, Elizabeth begins to call out hoping to bait her, "Veronica—"

The aforementioned appears a distance in front of Elizabeth as if having been waiting for this very moment. Her lips curl ever so slightly while a small snort of laughter pushes up her chest, inciting Elizabeth further. "It's very funny that you think you have a say in any of this."

Air fills Elizabeth's lungs heatedly as she opens her lips. Her words don't have the chance to form as she suddenly chokes on a strangled scream, her eyes still being locked with Veronica's overly pleased ones. Her body convulses as her hands twitch and her hold on her sword becomes useless as it clatters to the ground, then vanishes. The pain that races from her center outward to every nerve ending in her body is pure agony and she only just manages to glance down in her wavering vision blurred by the tears that gush from her eyes.

Drip, drip, drip.

The splatter of her blood is rapid in its descent from the series of prongs that protrude from her abdomen. Elizabeth fades quickly into the dark unconsciousness that rises all around her in greeting. She stares in horror at the brilliant crimson that shines in the moonlight from her window and drowns in her final thoughts. 'I t-thought nothing c-could come from behind. S-stupid… I-is this my e-end? Will… Will Meliodas m-miss me?'

"You will tolerate whatever I say you will, Elizabeth. Nothing more and nothing less…" The words echo in a seemingly infinite loop in the silverete's mind as her vision slowly begins to drain of color and fog around the edges the more she struggles to tug in fruitless breaths into her failing lungs. Her eyelids begin to droop and her mind begins to dim. Then finally as she feels herself begin to plunge forth in a weightless sense of release, she sees Veronica's smiling face one last time before she allows herself into the embrace of absolute darkness.

Chapter Text

~29~

-Acceptance-

Zeldris feels irritation run beside his impatience more erratically than his thirst for vengeance. An order from his brother of all people halted him in his desire to tighten up the defensive lines in their army with a few offensive attacks from himself. A few hundred against one would be a real work out as he allowed himself the luxury of planning out the strategic destruction of the vampire clan. His plans being cut so quickly wasn’t something he’d intending on happening thus the quiet way in which he storms through corridors of the demonic castle leaving contempt in his wake.

The halls are unusually bustling with hushed voices and conspiratorial glances for this time of evening. He could care less what the sudden gossip is amongst the hired help and he would have continue on his way unaffected if it weren’t for the words suggesting something he can’t seem to understand. Gelda being free and his brother being responsible all being said in the same sentence seems unfathomable to him. It increases his pace dramatically as he becomes more irate in his demeanor.

His chamber appears before him, knocking him from the rage-induced fog that began to cloud his mind. And, without pause, he bursts into the room, wanting to smother these ridiculous rumors by clearing things up from the very source of them. In a matter of seconds as he takes in the sight of his room, his rage begins to disperse like that of a calm wind as he inhales slowly. The door falls shut behind him as he tries to come to terms with the factors presented to him, all of which shouldn’t be possible, and yet reality sets in like a zealous jolt.

Gelda stands on the other side of his bed, stiff from fright as he holds her gaze for a long moment, mystified. He can’t help but breathe in, slowly and deeply, as his eyes roam over her pale face radiant in her natural beauty. Her scent is different, very different in its pungent sweetness that draws out the sheer want, need, and pure adoration he’s tried to ruthlessly uproot from his being in his efforts to be rid of her. But there they are as distinct as ever as he gazes into her visage after what’s felt like a thousand years of separation. Simply from the look in her bright blue eyes alone he can already tell her heart is pounding a mile a minute at seeing him again.

He’d be lying if he said his aren’t doing the same.

Unwillingly taking his gaze away from hers and dropping it to the floor, he inwardly berates himself for still being so enraptured by her after everything that’s transpired. As he inhales almost greedily, it becomes a difficult feat to dredge up his anger while his fists curl uselessly at his sides. He finds himself striding towards her at a sluggish gait, determinedly keeping his eyes down as he notices his various articles of clothing scattered about in a sign of growing anxiousness. It’s another indicator to what he’s been trying to understand from the moment he walked through that door and spotted the vampire.

And with a steady breath, he comes to stand in front of her and allows his eyes to trail up her figure, dressed in a pair of his black pants that pools around her feet and one of his button up shirts that hangs loosely over her arm cradled under her stomach and bunches at the elbow of the other where her hand nervously curls against her mouth. Zeldris raises a hand to smooth over the exposed swell of her stomach where the shirt couldn’t close around it. Then he meets her eyes again with a calmness he doesn’t feel and says what’s been at the forefront of his mind like some kind of unbelievable dream. “You’re pregnant.”

She gasps lightly when he begins to rub his hand in gentle circles over her stomach, marveling at the sensation, at the reality of it, as he never takes his eyes away from her anxious blue gaze. And then she answers in a fond tone, her voice being something he missed far more than he truly realized. “Yes… with our baby.”

His free hand stretches forward, cupping her cheek and brushing against her slightly damp tresses that frame her delicate face as he pulls her into a languid, impassioned kiss. He breathes her in leisurely, guiding their lips together in tender caresses, feeling his stomach twinge pleasantly as their noses brush fleetingly in their motions. He knows he’s being impulsive at the revelation at this news; his spirits are soaring with pride while he becomes drunk on her scent and soon her taste as his tongue pushes into her mouth. But for this moment, he lets himself be overwhelmed by the fact that he and his Gelda are having a child together.

But only for a moment as he reluctantly pulls away from her cherry red lips and steps back to create some distance from her. He needs to understand everything that’s going on here before he gets too caught up in her and ends up a fool once more. Zeldris guides her to sit on the edge of his bed while he remains standing. His emotions cycle through him, keep him from relaxing and his expression smooth. “Gelda, you need to tell me everything. And tell me the truth . No more lies. Clearly my brother released you… but I have to understand why .” Zeldris tells her with a quiet seriousness void of his usual bite as he observes her shifting under his stare more vulnerable than he’s ever seen her before.

He watches as her head hangs low while her hand rests over her stomach and she starts to speak in a sorrowful tone. She recounts how she first discovered her conception and how overjoyed she was until she came to the conclusion that he most likely wouldn’t feel the same. She actually believed he would get rid of her, possibly in cold blood, and those words cause him more pain as he’s forced to stare the consequences of his actions in the face for the first time ever in his short life. It becomes clearer with every word she speaks in her voice overflowing with emotion as tears begin to spill down her cherubic cheeks, that everything has been his fault. She hid in fear of his explosive rage and that gave the goddess, Veronica, the opportunity to exploit her and pin the crimes on her.

“No one visited me in the dungeon, so I couldn’t try and tell the truth… until now,” she tells him with eyes begging for forgiveness, something she shouldn’t have to do. Something he… he should be doing.

“Zeldris, I’m s-sorry. Please… Please, forgive me,” her voice wobbles on the cusp of breaking while she gazes up at him meekly.

He struggles to swallow against the sudden knot that settles in his throat as he gazes at her solemnly. This wonderfully perfect vampire is still groveling, she’s still willing to lower herself beyond comprehension to stay within his good graces and something inside him delights at this. But a bigger part finds it grossly wrong that this princess absolutely worthy of his affections since the day he laid eyes on her is willing to sink so low all because of the treatment he showed her. It’s a crushing blow to his ego to admit it, but the moment they first met he should have fought against the coarse side ingrained so deeply within him and attempted to treat her with more care than he dared to show her on rare occasions. He should have let her know when he fell in love with her.

“Zeldris? Will you s-say something? Please?” she whispers, trying to meet his eyes that he can no longer hold against hers as his jaw clenches and his arms cross defensively.

“I’ll do a-anything! Please! I’ll e-even… I’ll go back to Edinburgh if that’s what y-you want,” she blurts out desperately as she pushes herself to stand. His world comes to a crashing halt as he finally lifts his eyes to meet her teary ones and the watery smile she adorns that’s filled with a heart wrenching resolution to do anything that will gain his favor. “I’ll go, Zeldris.”

Salty water trails slowly down her cheeks telling him everything he needs to know as she begins to turn away from him, ripping his chest out in the process. And as he stares at her retreating form he decides then to throw all of his inhibitions away. Taking three strides forward, his arms find themselves wrapped around her from behind, pulling her securely in his hold. “You’re not going anywhere, Gelda,” he tells her with a fierceness that allows for no arguments. He presses his lips to the top of her head, breathing her in shakily as she rests in his hold. “Gelda, I’m… This was all my fault. None of this was because of you. Don’t apologize. I refuse to hear you apologize for this again,” he tells her in a low voice wrought with emotion.

“But—” She attempts to interject until he spins her around gently so their eyes have no choice but to focus on each other.

“No buts.” He feels his hands shaking just the slightest, but ignores it in favor of cupping her face before he loses the nerve to tell her what she needs to hear. “Gelda, I want you and this baby. You both are mine to protect, care for, cherish, and love. You’re my family and I’ll never let you go.”

It’s a fruitless effort to try and brush away the tears of elation that fall from her eyes, but seeing her accompanying smile of true happiness that comes with them, Zeldris finds, is a true gift alongside the one growing in her at this very moment. His arms move to pull her against his chest as she cries silently in joy. Her hands move to wrap around his shoulders as her face nuzzles against his neck, and he realizes with a slow exhale that what she feels is reflected inside of him just as brightly. A true sense of happiness he’s never before experienced. And it merely swells in warmth as she begins to whisper adoringly, “I love you, Zeldris. I love you…”

‘I love you, too, my Gelda.’

~.~.~

The looming golden gates screech at the forceful treatment used in prying them apart for entry into the goddess realm. They’re left to teeter and wobble precariously on their hinges as Meliodas rushes forward purposefully. His senses are heightened to the max as he searches for her more desperate than a man deprived of air.  His jaw is tense, and his hair is more than disheveled as his eyes search wildly for any sign of a silver haired goddess. His feet take him down a familiar path towards her house as his power stretches and prods against every living creature in the vicinity, seeking anything amiss and hoping and praying he’ll come across that familiar beacon of warmth.

Distressed squeals and cries of protests from the few goddesses out in the night awash only in silvery light and faded lanterns fall on deaf ears as he passes by with an appearance of a provoked dragon. The outer rage that exudes from his crazed appearance is nothing but a shield to keep everyone back and everything in the facade of control. His insides are soft and fragile, he realizes, as he keeps imagining Elizabeth facing Veronica, the insane goddess who performed acts that are ruthless, cruel, and sick. Things that he would do on one of his worst days. Things she wouldn’t hesitate to do to his Elizabeth on any day. The worry that soaks his insides in sharp waves causes an unreasonable amount of hysteria to overtake his mind. ‘If I don’t find Elizabeth soon…’

His thoughts are forced to a halt at the sight of Elizabeth’s home just a short distance away. He was hoping he’d be taking a relieved breath by now and that maybe he could simply rush in and sweep her into his arms, if only for a moment, just so he could calm down . But that was wishful thinking and the facts have been staring him in the face all along. He hasn’t felt her. Not once since he arrived and the mass of goddesses gathered like aimless souls radiating nervous energy around her home in droves only confirms his suspicions.

Meliodas barrels through their glowing forms, uncaring of their shouts for him to stop as he wishes to see for himself what lies in Elizabeth’s house. This whole situation has him more wound than any single moment of anticipation has in his very long existence. Just one little thing could happen right now, just one, and he might just snap more completely than a homicidal maniac.

Once inside Elizabeth’s living room, his shoulders square as things reveal themselves to him in clear precise details. Four goddesses occupy Elizabeth’s bedroom, slowly moving around according to his strained senses. Another occupies the room he stands in and he knows immediately who she most likely is by her power, grace, and kind yet somber gaze. More tallies stack against him as he meets the gaze of Queen Margaret.

“What the hell is going on here?” He makes his words harsh as he demands for every bit of information to be divulged to him. It makes him feel like he’s in control when it’s a known fact that he’s anything but with the way his fluctuating emotions put a strain on his destructive powers.

He hadn’t realized how thunderous his words had ground out because not two seconds later the four goddesses that were rifling through Elizabeth’s room now stand at Margaret’s sides, their various choices of weapons out and ready to take action. Meliodas stiffens tremendously as every muscle in his body coils in preparation. He doesn’t need obstacles in his way right now, but if he has to remove them, he sure as hell will.

Queen Margaret gives the goddesses at her sides reproachful looks before her voice comes out calmly. “Stand down. He’s not here to cause harm.”

‘So nice of you to make assumptions,’ He thinks bitterly as his mind pictures that purple haired bitch who’s most likely the cause of Elizabeth’s absence. Once again he speaks out, this time in a smooth, chilling resonance. “What happened? Where is Elizabeth?”

Margaret’s brown eyes grow saddened as she gestures a hand for him to follow, not before issuing out a command for her guards to stay in the living room. Meliodas doesn’t give them a passing glance as he follows the Queen, his insides twitching with impatience to know what’s happened. Margaret passes into the room and goes slightly off to the side so that he can enter after, but he can’t seem to take another step at the utter destruction of the once homey room.

A war may as well have taken place here for all the damage that was done. Elizabeth fought against the devil’s spawn here on her own and he was nowhere to be found. He should have been here to protect her.  His eyes clench closed when he lowers his head allowing his bangs to cover most of his expression besides the self-loathing grimace that warps his mouth. Once again he’s failed her.

“I received reports saying that people had sensed flaring of dark magic in Elizabeth’s home. I’d assumed it was you, General Meliodas,” Margaret tells him in a regretful tone. “How I wish I’d investigated sooner.”

Meliodas stays silent for a while as he nods his head solemnly. No use in fretting over the past when he’s got a mate to find. His expression devoid of any previous struggles for control now bears a cold merciless resolve as his eyes examine every inch of Elizabeth’s room for anything that might lead him to her. “Don’t blame yourself Queeny, Veronica managed to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes, except Elizabeth.”

He ignores her quiet inhale as he moves over to one of Elizabeth’s tipped over and shattered dressers. Kneeling down on the scorched floor, his hands begin to sort through what’s left of them. A lot of them are singed or unrecognizable, but so far he doesn’t see anything hidden. No last attempts at leaving a message or anything.

“Veronica did this? Are you positive?” The shock seems to burst forward in her words, he can even hear her take a step towards him in her stupor.

Her anger, her surprise, her doubt, whatever, it means nothing to him. If it isn’t getting him to Elizabeth sooner it may as well be a waste of his time. Striding quickly towards the crushed wooden desk that used to be in the corner of her room, he studies what he can there. From what he recalls, it was a place she kept her accessories, although she never seemed to wear any. Not that she needed jewels or lip stain to accentuate her beauty. She was perfect no matter what. He should have told her that. He should have told her so many things...

His hands shake as he pushes through the sparkly items trying to figure out what to look for, because there has to be something. There has to. He can’t accept the fact that Veronica took Elizabeth and by the time he finds her, she might already be…

A tinkling crash sparks in his ears and he focuses his eyes on his palm--rising slowly from the hysteria that began to wound tightly around his neck--in order to see the crushed shards of an emerald necklace embedded in his palm. The dull pain is refreshing and he brushes off Queen Margaret’s concern in favor of answering her question. “Elizabeth told me Veronica made a comment about the torture chambers, something she shouldn’t have known about. She was right about a lot of things. She told me that Gelda was most likely innocent, but I didn’t want to believe her because…” He can’t find a way to finish. His eyes just stay locked on the crimson that rolls between the creases in his palm before descending to the ground.

“Because you were having a lover’s quarrel?” Margaret fills in as her presence comes to kneel beside him.

His eyes snap to her, completely thrown by her casual wording. No one should know. They were only to think what happened between he and Elizabeth was a onetime thing. But from the expression of understanding in her visage, she definitely knows far more than he would like at the moment.

“I spoke to Elizabeth a while ago. Apparently she doesn’t believe you consider her your mate.”

Bringing his gaze from her knowing eyes, Meliodas uses his uninjured hand to sift through the jewelry upon the floor almost mindlessly. “There’s a lot of things I wouldn’t expect her to believe. The fact that you seem so calm about this is rather suspicious, Queeny.” He purposely makes the bite in his tone brutal.

But she merely laughs, even if it’s far being joyful or humorous, she seems determined to try and lighten the mood. “I already had a similar discussion with Elizabeth before, General. So when you find her, I’m sure you can bring this matter up with her.”

‘Yeah, “when”. The odds of that happening are looking slim.’ The weighing thought plagues his mind. His palm raises up to bury itself messily into his golden locks when he sighs wearily. He looks at the walls burned with various slashes of magic as his fingers begin to tighten in his hair, practically willing a solution to arise.

It comes in the form of a harsh whisper of unnerve.

“Meliodas.”

The informal address of his name has the hair on the back of his neck on edge as a cold sense of dread rushes across his skin. He turns to Margaret who isn’t looking at him, but at something on the ground with a face devoid of its usual lively complexion. So he turns his gaze down as well and feels his hearts all begin to race at the baleful shock that floods his entire being. The blood that steadily dripped from his palm now moves unnaturally upon the floor, leaving sticky trails behind it as it eagerly crawls to specific places to form an image.

This is black magic at its finest, he knows. And even if he isn’t well versed in every spell there is, this is something his youthful years of study has granted him knowledge of. And from the raw look of horror on the Queen’s face, even she has a general idea of what it means as his blood begins to still in a final formation.

“What kind of dark magic is this?” She eventually voices in the silence of the room.

Meliodas stares critically at the hexagonal outline with the goddesses’ symbol directly in the center. “It’s one of the many different location spells. This one though has to be contrived with the use of blood and activated in the same way. This is the clue I’ve been looking for. Find something that looks similar to this,” He quickly forces out as his search through the jewelry becomes more purposeful. He down right forces the thought from his mind that Elizabeth’s blood could have been used to create the spell in the first place.

Margaret begins a frantic look through the jewelry as well and something occurs to him as they seem to heave through the pile. Elizabeth never had this much. This must be some sort of trick or illusionary spell. Something to keep them off the right path to the object they need. Sitting back on his haunches, Meliodas feels anger flare up in his chest. “ Damn it! We’re not going to find it here. This is just here to slow us down.”

The Queen stops searching as well and gives him an almost hopeless gaze. “There where will we find it?” He can hear the unspoken question that shines in her anxious expression. ‘Will we find it in time?’

He doesn’t answer either of them as he stands and wordlessly begins to search in nooks and crannies, anywhere where there might be less of a chance to find an object like the locator spell pointed out. Margaret soundlessly begins to do the same.

It’s after what feels like hours of scouring the destroyed room, when he turns over the remains of Elizabeth’s bed that he notices something shockingly out of place. Gingerly sinking to his knees he lets his, by now, healed hand pick up the tattered remains of the longcoat he wore when taking that fatal blow in Elizabeth’s place. He hadn’t thought much to where it went after she made him new clothes. Apparently she kept it after all this time.

Slowly Meliodas begins to examine it and instantly his spirits soar when he notices the out of place button on the top left side. In the shape of a hexagon with the symbol of the goddesses in the center. He pulls it off and finds it surprisingly thicker in width than he expected. Margaret, must have noticed his quiet discovery because she’s at his side in an instant wordlessly wishing to know about the clue.

It’s silver to resemble the buttons of his coat and seems to burn in his palm like the black flames he can conjure to his will. He rubs his thumb along the raised symbol on the top before turning it over to see the bottom. He nearly drops it as the beginnings of terror chills his blood painfully so that his next breath doesn’t come.

The back is entirely a glass covering displaying the thick vivid blood that sloshes around inside. What causes his expressionless mask to crack with every twinge of fright that pulses through him with the knowledge of what exactly this object means is the continuous drips of blood from the top similar to that of an hour glass, except the origins are unknown. Only that’s not entirely true. He knows exactly whose blood this is and what it would mean for the hexagon to become completely filled with it. It’s a torturous way of soul snatching. Instead of simply devouring the soul so that the person is never reborn, this way you can keep it like a trophy and nothing can be done to reverse the effects once the blood reaches the top of the chosen object.

Almost like with this hexagon.

“What’s that—?”

Meliodas rises to his feet swiftly, cutting her off. Rage, worry, determination, and images of Elizabeth’s face all tumble through him, all hectic to his bunching nerves. “No time to explain,” he barely hears himself say as he thrusts the object towards the ground smashing the back out in glimmering crimson. He doesn’t even have time to breathe out slightly relieved before the feeling of wild consuming flames begins to crawl their way up his limbs in a race to swallow him whole. He wishes he can say he saw this coming as Queen Margaret shrieks mortified of his dilemma, but the darkness that washes over him quicker than he can blink is a complete blindside to his usually sharp awareness.

Chapter Text

~30~

-Let The Torment Begin-

He feels his chest expand, but the breath he takes does nothing to give him relief. A heavy sluggish pull in his body drags his head down where he feels his chest expand again; this time the breath comes a bit easier. His mind is rocking nauseatingly like a boat on a river, making him feel dizzy and lightheaded as consciousness drifts back to him. He swallows then promptly coughs, the desert in his throat being just a bit much to him.

Whatever kind of teleportation that was certainly was a shitty excuse for one.

Meliodas finally, with the efforts similar to lifting a mountain, drags his eyelids open and begins to blink slowly. It’s dim, wherever he is. Lights glow from shiny, tinkling glass sprawled all around, high and low on tables, shelves, stacks of books, and the occasional metal shiny counter. All of these glass flasks are filled with some kind of liquid of sorts from pinks to blues to acidic greens. Some even contain the occasional body piece in them. Meliodas is sure he sees a few eyeballs staring back at him.

Staring around more closely in curiosity of what kind of loon Veronica is, because this has to be of Veronica’s creation, Meliodas begins to take note of the massive wall of books extending right across from him. If he looks up high enough, craning his neck until he can’t anymore do to… Hmm, it seems he’s strapped to some flat rigid surface, he ticks off in his head offhandedly before continuing his inspection. The books just keep going until they’re forced to hit the ceiling. All of them are in neat rows, color coordinated, and if he looks close enough with his sharp sense of sight, the rows seem organized by similar theme. They probably have an even deeper sense of structure, but he’s already getting bored trying to figure it out.

The room is enormous. Drafty too. Must be pulling in air from somewhere. Wouldn’t want to die from the gas from some of your magical experiments, of course. The floor, he looks down, is a deep gray rock, haphazardly covered in decorative rugs here and there. She must not get many visitors.

Rolling his shoulders as much as he can, he examines his body position. His legs are strapped spread and so are his arms. If he were able to step back and look at himself, he’s sure he’d look like one of those pictures he’d seen in human anatomy books demonstrating the symmetry of the body. He tests out his wrists feeling assured that his strength can bust through whatever cold, metallic material she’s using holding him in place. His hands curl as the muscles along his arms tense. Nothing happens. The bounds don’t give an inch. Huh. He can’t even sense his power flowing through his veins anymore and his natural strength apparently isn’t enough either. Veronica really is something.

Having had enough with the silent exploration, Meliodas narrows his eyes just as he shouts in a low gravelly tone, “Come out, Veronica! I know you’re here! Where the fuck is Elizabeth!?”

Click, click, click, click.

From just out of the corner of his eye to his right the goddess appears with a sweet little vindictive smile.

“So nice of you to join me, Meliodas!” She greets in an exaggerated sort of joy as she rounds to face him completely. “You found it as I’d hoped and smashed it just as I’d planned. You, demon, are despicable, but… indeed worthy of my game.”

His entire body shakes from the force of his growl. “Where the fuck is my mate! What have you done to her!?”

Veronica’s grin turns ugly and cruel as she places a hand on the wide curve of her hip where a black layered dress bends with her figure, flowing down her arms and brushing at her calves. “Mate? That’s laughable. You’re a vile bastard who stole her purity and now you’re claiming her from all others? Taking away her freedom? That’s a demon for you.”

“You don’t know a damn thing about what I do for her. You could care less about her, so why deal with her? Why go after her? To keep her silent, am I right?” He retorts the vicious bite of his voice the only way he can attack with his powers being so thoroughly compressed.

Veronica’s expression smooths as her lips turn up into a tiny devious grin. “My motives will be revealed in due time, Meliodas. Don’t worry. Now,” she raises a palm in his direction and something dark, twisted and burning to his sixth sense flares in his mind just as a force slams into his chest so fiercely his head rears back and he stares wide eyed, dazed. “I’ve got a lot planned for you…”

He coughs, long hacks as the pain comes an instant later. His ribs protest wildly in his mind like white hot lances from that blow. ‘T-the fuck?’ Shuddering slightly as he recovers from the surprise attack, he brings his gaze up to see Veronica staring entirely too pleased with herself.

“You like that? It was just a small test to see how capable you are. A lot seem to gain severe internal bleeding as their ribs cave in, but you… you’re so strong . I have a feeling I’m going to have a lot of fun playing with you.”

“Yeah,” he says after a deep breath, “I’m sure you will. About as much fun as you do when you play with yourself in front of those eyeballs. That a kink of yours by chance?”

She hisses like an irate cat and her hand raises again in his direction. The force hits him so strong like running straight into a mountain at breakneck speeds. It kicks the wind brutally from his lungs. But he laughs . Coughs in between, but laughs deep and low in his chest with his lips pulled up into a cold smirk. “I think I’m going to have fun, too.”

She marches bitterly towards her wall of books, her hand reaching up high as a book from the 32 nd shelf slides out and comes neatly to her palm. The goddess then spins around, her eyes sneering in his direction before she comes to an enormous chair jet black in color. The back of it stretches up stiffly curving at the top in the shape of horns.  In an ironic twist, what looks like a halo looks to be carved out in between them. She plops into it, her view perfectly in his direction in her brooding corner as she swipes the book open. “I’ll make sure of it. And I’ll even go all out for you.”

“Really? For little old me?” He jeers while his eyes hone in on the book she’d grabbed, trying to figure out if he’s seen it before and if he can make out what her plans are.

Her fingers glide along the pages in a loving caress as she exhales calmly and a new dark light forms in her deep brown eyes. “Of course!” Her tone shifts with the darkening in her eyes and Meliodas sucks in a breath between his teeth. The air becomes charged with something familiar as her fingers dance in an intricate pattern. Something that feels similar to what’s deeply rooted inside his nature. He’d have to be a fool to not recognize it. But how?

A sharp swipe of her index and middle finger and something begins to coil around his arms slicked in an icy frigidness that begins to sizzle, then blaze against his flesh agonizingly. He only jerks however as the muscles in his neck tighten with his jaw. The demon curious as to what sets his skin on fire as it curls higher and higher along his arms turns his head only to recoil in fury. Darkness. What he knew all along, but is still trying to figure out how a goddess of all things manages to possess.

The slightly tanned skin of his arms already blare an angry red and when the shadowy twines begin to constrict, his skin ruptures and crimson begins to run hot and sticky down his body in descent to the drab gray floor. Meliodas trembles just the slightest as the darkness begins to pulse and writhe in such a familiar way a bark of laughter forces its way past his throat. The pain is great, but also thrilling. His skin is fried, his muscles are raked into as the darkness all but thrashes then lunges into the base of his shoulders impaling him for more torment to come.

With narrowed eyes and gritted teeth that bare in the wickedest smile one could ever possess Meliodas watches as Veronica doesn’t say a word. She merely swipes her fingers again and more coils begin to snake along his form. They wrap around his legs, tearing past his pants in seek of his being. But he’s been through so much, so very much over his life that this is like a jaunt through the flames of hades. Nothing.

And from the look on Veronica’s frustrated face, the pursed lips and twitching eye, she’s starting to get that too.

“What’s… wrong? Thought you were gonna bring out your best?” he rasps as his muscles involuntarily spasm as her darkness scrapes viciously along his insides, digging deeper into the flesh of his arms and legs until his eyes lose focus momentarily at the shock of excruciating pain of them prodding against his bones.

Her hand twists in rage as her face begins to flush in her anger. “This is but a mere taste of what you will receive you vile pig.”

He nods his head and it flops to his chest briefly at the feeling of dizziness that comes over him. The loss of blood will do him in before she does. As long as she doesn’t touch his hearts though he’ll make it through this somehow. “You sure… ‘bout that? I could easily die right now not havin’ gone through much, ya know. You… do that a lot? Leave your company feeling like you leave a lot to be desired?”

A sound resembling a growl of infuriation resounds in the back of her throat and the evil presence around her skyrockets . Her purple locks thrash as the power dances in her eyes and the edge of her dress moves in waves around her legs. Darkness bleeds along her palms in festering strips and Meliodas is simply fascinated as he studies her with a critical eye. The dull glow of her goddess heritage still shines around her and yet he knows her darkness as well as his own. It’s that of a demons.

“Try this out and tell me if it’s good enough for you!”

He barely has time to snap back into focus before a gargled sound sticks messily in his throat as something pierces into his lower stomach with enough force to embed itself into the material behind him. Black comes to line his vision gradually but he fights against it, hastily checking his senses as his body goes into a kind of shock only immense pain can send it into. The spear of shadows cut clean through him, just missing one of his hearts and his spine.

Another comes, breaking the bone of his thigh to stab into the slab he’s strapped to and he can’t hold in a short scream this time. The darkness that fogs his vision as he writhes with harsh pants and sweat clinging to his skin grows thicker before being pushed back forcibly. But not by his will. Staring through clear eyes at Veronica who prepares another spear, the darkness thick and wispy between her palms, Meliodas ignores the racing of his hearts and the flooding of fire through his veins to straighten out his posture as best as he can. He’s soaked in crimson, splotched and drenched in various places. His flesh is on display, ripped and hanging in places, but still he holds on with the determination of a dragon on the hunt for vengeance, in seek of his desire.

He grins. His mouth full of blood as it spills between his teeth and down his chin. “A spell to prolong my life through this, eh? Maybe you do have something redeemable about you… Or maybe you’re just a pathetic mongrel.” He tells her in a voice surprisingly even but dangerously deep.

Veronica explodes in a blinding display of light and shadows, the powers clashing and blending so wildly the lair of sorts they reside in begins to vibrate and quiver. Glass breaks, books fly from their shelves just as enraged as she in their twisted travels, and Meliodas feels a weight press on him reminiscent to tons worth of stones. Even as his body begins to sag and he’s forced to grit his teeth to rein in the most of his body’s shivering, Meliodas still keeps an eye open and squinted in her direction.

Don’t you dare bring up my heritage you bastard!! It’s because of you demons that I am who I am! Everything is your fault!” She screams as her power once more lashes out, driving into him in quick flashes.

Millions of thin cuts burst across his skin in an instant like slits for blood to more easily escape if it hadn’t already. ‘ I’m going to bleed out at this point. Does she not understand the measured way to torture someone?’ With hacking cackles as his vision dissolves into a red haze from his crimson life pouring into it, Meliodas regards her with a new outlook. “So I… w-was right. Y-you’re what happens when a d-demon and goddess h-have a baby. A mixed.

And just like that the whirlwind of power abruptly stops. The books halt in midair, then rush back to their places as if ashamed of their behavior. The glass pieces upon the floor piece themselves back together and the liquid and body pieces reclaim their homes. Veronica’s power plummets back inside her, and she gives him the coldest stiffest smile he’s ever seen. “Right you are, Meliodas. And it looks like you seem pretty intent on creating one yourself. Is that what you want? A kid like me?

He grimaces at the thought before closing his eyes as the hot feeling of thick blood rolls down his forehead from his scalp. “Not particularly. But then again, I doubt a kid from Elizabeth would end up like you.

When he reopens his eyes he finds her smile remains. Not a single reaction from his jab and this instantly causes a warning to go off in the back of his mind.

“Really…” She raises a palm casually in his direction. He inhales sharply as an almost painful tingling sensation begins to rise up his form from the base of his feet to the top of his skull. He feels his insides begin to mend themselves akin to their destruction going in reverse. For a moment he feels himself close to upheaving his stomach, it’s so disorienting. Then his skin begins to knit itself back up, piece by shredded piece. The burn of it is great, like a hot iron sealing him up all over and his throat clenches tightly as he nearly yells himself raw. By the time it’s done, not a speck of blood is left upon him leaving him “good as new” and ready for more. Healing should not be more painful than the initial act of torment. This goddess is damn backwards.

Over his frantic breaths he hears her through the ringing of his ears. “What makes you think she wants you, Meliodas? What makes you think she’d even want a family with you?”

This catches him off guard, this personal address, and his arms begin to jerk again at his restraints, hoping to get free. Wanting to ignore this dig through his psyche. “She… where is she!?”

Her amused laughter pours a fresh dose of rage into his veins. “Alive and well, never you worry. You did not answer the question though… Afraid the answer will hurt, hmm?”

He remembers every single affectionate look Elizabeth has ever given him as if it were yesterday. “She cares about me.” He states with absolute certainty.

Veronica crosses her arms and shakes her head in pity. Meliodas snarls warningly under his breath. “You are so sure… Are you ready to start again, demon?”

Meliodas doesn’t answer this time. The heat of his wrath rushes too quickly beneath his skin for him to form a response.

~.~.~

Her fingers strain, then twitch, the first thing she feels from herself. The lead weights of her legs tremble with motion when she tests them for sensation. When she finds they can actually move, can bend at the joints, her ankles rotating and her toes actually wriggle, she nearly sobs in utter relief.

Veronica had done something to her.

Her mind was fuzzy and she was utterly dazed as her body was held captive in some kind of contraption she couldn’t piece together to save her life, but pain was an ever present factor in her the entire time she was in captivity. However, no matter what Elizabeth did she could not feel anything from the waist down as she hung in the delicate balance between awareness and what she felt was hallucination. During that time as Veronica poked and prodded her, spilling her blood, shocked her nerves with very real and very high currents of raw magic until Elizabeth blacked out, filled her head with taunts of how no one would find her and nobody cared, especially her dear Meliodas, Elizabeth was reduced to a bleak muddled hissing shell of herself.

She also shed silent tears of loss.

She had feared that with her natural healing ability being suppressed whatever adverse effects of Veronica’s torment would become a permanent thing, thus the tears that run from her eyes now as she tries to get used to clarity once more. She’d also cried because she felt Veronica’s words were true. That Meliodas doesn’t care for her. That the wildly lethal, yet incredibly sweet and genuine demon that she loves doesn’t return the sentiment. From the last encounter they had, it’s very clear in her mind what the answer to that is.

“E-Elizabeth?” The voice is familiar and completely astonished as it pushes into her senses, “Are you alright?” Queen Margaret, she discerns rushes out just as two palms come to rest on her shoulders.

Elizabeth’s eyes snap open, blinking rapidly to regain focus, as her heart beats frantically in her chest. Margaret’s palms are warm and tender, but results in painfully cutting resonations beneath her skin do to what her nerves had just went through. It’s so overwhelming to her weary mind that she recoils back with a little high pitched yelp. The Queen jerks back with wide mocha eyes as Elizabeth pushes her hands against the sooty wood beneath her palms to sit up, her blue gaze rotating in swift swipes to take in her surroundings. “I’m f-fine. Just…” She trails off like a fading breeze as her breathing begins to calm when she realizes where she is. The destruction is the same as she last saw it. Her bedroom is still in ruins. It only looks a bit more… ransacked maybe?

“In shock?” The soft understanding causes her to jerk her head back to her Queen whose expression looks strained and a bit exhausted.

“Yes.” She decides as her mind unwittingly replays the echoing sound of her, now, former friend’s cruel laughter in her ears. “What happened? I was just… somewhere?” Her brain tries to pick at her memories delicately like one does with sore matters and images of eerie lighting and various wooden tables come to her mind. Her head had for the most part during that time swayed dazedly from whatever Veronica had pushed into her veins with burning hot magic. She’d thought herself dead for certain at times or maybe in a nightmare, but as Margaret waits patiently for her to respond, she most certainly just escaped from hell. But how? “In some torture facility of Veronica’s I think.”

“Alright…” Margaret offers her hand to Elizabeth, which she hesitantly takes and allows the older to help Margaret to her feet. Elizabeth stands for a moment making sure her strength is all there once more. The brief moment she looks down at herself she has to fight back the way her lungs seize up as a shiver violently runs through her body when she sees just how much blood sticks to her skin. She’s an outright mess. The squeeze around her hand brings her focus back outward when Margaret’s surprisingly gloomy voice pierces her ears. “I have some things I want to tell you, some things you might actually wish to know. But let’s first get you a bit cleaned up… I’m sure you’ll run off right after.”

Now something begins to fester in the pit of her stomach like a violent twinge that only gets tighter and tighter, then harsher as it nearly drives her back to her knees. She doesn’t let Margaret pull her to her washroom. The worry that takes her, shredding her from the inside out, will not allow it. “What’s wrong? What happened?”

“Elizabeth…”

No.” She stands firm her head shaking in refusal. Her eyes begin to take notice of things she hadn’t seen before. The clothes strewn from frantic searching, the massive amount of jewelry she’s certain she doesn’t own, the crimson blood that shines like a beacon in a symbol she doesn’t know the meaning off, and the broken bits of glass colored in a ruby red where red pools on the floor, speckled everywhere. Something went on here after her forceful removal and she’s going to get answers as to what . “I was held captive with no way of being set free due to my powers being suppressed. Things were done to me, things that I’m more than strong enough to handle, but even so I’m still a bit shaken up about it. I was confused a lot of the time, but I could still understand that Veronica was planning something… and now I’m here? No effort on my part whatsoever? What happened?”

She knows it’ll be something she absolutely dreads. She just knows it as Margaret watches her with sad, remorseful eyes.

Then her Queen says the one word, the one name , that means any and everything to her and Elizabeth simply doesn’t know how her world remains in once piece. How, as her heart begins to beat unstably then strain feebly, like a dying flame, everything continues to struggle on.

“Meliodas…”

And then she realizes it’s because she’s alive with a purpose that burns clearly in her soul. To find him, make sure he’s safe and whole so she can keep him in her arms and never let go, and finally, make things right.

“I’m sorry to be so brash, but where is he? I need to talk to him. Maybe he can help me take down Veronica and then we—”

“You didn’t let me finish, Elizabeth.” Suddenly the room is very quiet to Elizabeth’s ears at she stares into the serious gaze of her highness. It makes her feel tiny, weak, and all alone with just those few simple words. “He’s missing. I don’t know what happened. He came here hell bent on finding you and he and I searched this room for any traced Veronica might have left to guide us to you.”

Elizabeth stands unbelievably still as she brings her hands up to her chest, clenching them together to keep the tremors that go through them from shaking her apart.

“He found the necessary clues and shattered some glass object that was filled with blood. I don’t know what it was, but it instantly lit him in black flames, consumed him whole. And when the smoke cleared… my dear, you were in his place.”

Elizabeth sucks in a small desperate breath as her eyes brim with tears. “He must… be,” She sniffs and brushes a hand under her eyes harshly before glaring fiercely as a blind kind of rage begins to rise and twist inside her like a funnel twister. Absolutely uncontrollable. “He must be where I was then, being tortured by that wretched goddess. I’m going to find him and put Veronica in her place,” She insists as her voice gains a harsh edge augmented by the deep resolution that flares in her eyes like the flickering of golden flames.

Margaret gives her a small supportive smile as she walks forward and places her hands lightly on Elizabeth’s shoulders. “I didn’t expect any less of you. But all I ask is that you clean up first and please prepare yourself for this. I know this will be the final test you must endure before you take leadership of our clan.”

Elizabeth gazes into whom she feels has always been somewhat of a mentor to her in her journey to rising up to such a high roll. Her chest is still filled with jittery breaths even as she sets herself up for this battle unknown. So when she gives Margaret a curt nod before turning to head through the pale, scorched wooden door of her washroom, she figures this is the last chance, short as it may be, that she has to truly bolster herself for what’s ahead.

No matter what, though, Veronica will pay for laying her hands on her precious Meliodas one way or another. Making her pay for her crimes will be an added bonus.

Chapter Text

~31~

-How To Break The Unbreakable-

He glares at Veronica as she watches him silently like he’s some kind of new toy she just can’t wait to break. It’s been several long minutes of her creepy staring and he hasn’t dared break the silence not out of fear, simply to get a feel of what her plan is. But she’s just stood there. Watching. A sinister little smile on her face as god knows what goes on in her mind. And he’s had enough of it at this point. “Mind letting me in on those fantasies of yours? I seem to play a large role, so I feel I should at least be privy.” He points out with a wide cutting grin.

She doesn’t even bat an eye at his comment. But her grin gets wider as she remarks, “Oh I was just taking a good look at you… to memorize this wild spirit of yours before it finally got snuffed out. And trust me, Meliodas, that moment is sooner upon us than you expect.”

“Yeah, I don’t know about that,” he retorts, letting his head fall slightly to the side at an odd angle as he eyes her through a lazy gaze, “You said we were going to start this next round of ours and I have yet to feel this torment you promised.”

“My, so eager for our destruction are we,” She shifts turning to give him a sideways look from under the thick purple bangs of hers. “Well, if you insist.” Her fingers click as she snaps.

He lifts his head to gaze through narrowed eyes as the back wall of books begins to rumble. Ground trembling tremors go off for all of several seconds before a specific section splits apart, right down the middle and begins to part, sliding into the thick rock of the walls at the sides. A hidden passage of sorts is revealed then and he stares into the foreboding darkness it shows. Something causes the hairs at the back of his neck to lift; although, he fights off the anxiousness he feels while waiting for whatever this whole thing is to occur.

The wall finishes splitting apart. The sound of feet pattering forward reaches his ears. And he can’t believe the vision he’s given is real, because Elizabeth can’t be striding towards him, free, and healthy and just as beautiful as the day he first saw her.

“Elizabeth... what? Get out of here now!” he demands through his teeth so strongly his body jolts against his restraints, straining every muscle in his body.

She only gives him a tiny placating smile that doesn’t even reach her eyes. He looks over her again and again, trying to find what’s wrong. Something is wrong, he knows because he’s been her around for so long now he knows her habits, he knows what every fidget means, he knows just how to get under her skin… So he knows that when she looks at him now that the bright light that usually rests behind her eyes like a fiery warmth he just wants to delve into and never ever leave… is missing.

“I couldn’t leave. Not until I told you everything that’s needed to be said at least,” She says in a strong yet gentle tone that she reserves for diplomatic matters as if she’s not even speaking to the man that’s known her intimately for several weeks now.

“And what is it you need to tell me that’s so important you're willing to stand next to that?” he asks while eying Veronica who moved back to the place he dubbed her “brooding corner” and is now staring at the two with a delighted smile. This has to be of her doing. There’s no way Elizabeth would willingly be in the same room with her civilly after what Veronica has done. Hell he’s in her capture right now and Elizabeth isn’t even flinching. Something is wrong!

And he’s internally going mad because he can’t figure out what that is.

“I am here of my own free will, Meliodas. I will have it out with Veronica later… But she and I have come to an agreement for now. These past few weeks away from you has made it very clear to me that you have been using me, Meliodas,” She says in a quiet tone so rigid in frost he can only stare at her with a loose jaw in shock. In utter confusion.

“W-what?”

“You’re a demon. I was blinded by so many things. By your looks, your charms, your devious ways in memorizing me. I was foolish to think that there was an ounce of care in your soul.” She goes on, her eyes completely serious and as sharp as her words.

The breath is knocked out of him and it’s not from some attack either. He can’t understand what’s happening. Why she’s being this way with him now. Was it because he pushed her away before? She had thrown him out of her life yes… but this feels different. So much different and he just knows this will be detrimental to his very being if she keeps speaking. He wants to beg her to stop, to plead with her to not say another word because he can’t stand the loss of affection that’s no longer in her eyes. He wants this all to go away.

But she’s determined to tear him apart.

“I… thought I was falling in love with you.”

‘No.’

“But I realize now that it was a person that didn’t exist that I was beginning to give my heart away to. I… don’t accept you, Meliodas. I can’t.”

‘NO!’

“You’re a monster. A beast disguised in human form and I won’t let myself fall further down that path of destruction any further.”

“E-Elizabeth…?” The word breaks in his throat as he stares at her disbelieving. The hearts in his chest, all seven of them, have just shattered beyond repair. The woman he loves with everything he has, from the bottom of his soul, said she was falling in love with him, too. He just saw his very future get snatched away from him in the cruelest way imaginable. He never wanted happiness. He thought he had it in a way. And then she came. His life, his goddess, the woman he’d give everything for and now she’s staring at him as if she’d never agree to such a future with him. As if the very idea would make her sick to her stomach.

His mate is rejecting him and he’ll never be able to truly live again.

Her mouth forms a soft frown at his broken reply of her name, but it’s more out of pity than anything. It’s true then. He’s really lost her. His chest begins to shudder as he takes a deep breath. The feel of defeat is whole and complete in his being, but something else is welling up inside him, too. Something he beats back with a relentlessness of the monster Elizabeth sees him as. Bright purple is just seen in the corner of his eye and the overwhelming, suffocating emotion instantly shifts into unbridled hate that burns the fuse to his infamous wrath.

You,” He hisses in a voice so low, so unrecognizable to the tremors that run through it, Veronica has the good sense to jerk at his address. “This is all your doing! I WILL KILL YOU!” He roars in a voice loud and twisted, it’s almost inhumane in the way it scrapes against the walls and throbs through their beings like vicious blows. He can feel his power just barely as it fights like a wild, crazed dragon bound against its will, attempting to reach him in his struggle to reach her so he can rip and tear and mangle, rupture her organs, bathe in her blood, make her so unrecognizable to the known world no one will even know—!

The flash of fear that arises in the wench’s eyes just feeds his madness like fuel to festering flames, but then something happens. A voice. Loud, stern, and admonishing in her scream that everything comes to an abrupt halt. And the flames are doused. His power recedes. And he turns to face Elizabeth like a wounded creature desperate for forgiveness.

Stop this madness, demon!!” Her chest rises and falls in her anger. The red that rises in her cheeks speaks volumes of her chagrin. “I told you before, did I not? This has nothing to do with Veronica! I made up my own mind and I will handle her after she is through getting rid of the likes of you.”

He sags, deflates, and crumbles into himself like a shadow of the powerhouse demon he used to represent. If only she knew… nothing that bitch does to him will ever be more crushing than her words, her actions.

“Just to prove it, Meliodas,” Veronica speaks up in what she believes is a helpful tone, “I will leave you both alone.” He watches as she, true to her words begins to stride from the dark corner of hers, weaves round tables and counters overflowing with experiment and makes her way to the opening Elizabeth walked through. And disappears. The walls groan like old men in protest at having to move again and close behind her.

The room falls into aged silence.

Then Elizabeth clears her throat, the sound being smooth, and tender despite its purpose to snap him into focus. He looks up at her, through no doubt dull, murky eyes and listens with attentiveness because despite her not loving him, her not even caring for him, he’ll always love her. And every word she speaks is important no matter what. Even if they’re meant to crush his very soul. “I’m very grateful still…”

He perks up just a smidgen at this looking at her figure for any signs of regret. He gazes at her to see that she’s truly being sincere and that Veronica’s presence hadn’t been the cause of her hurtful words. There’s still no warmth in her eyes. “Grateful for what?” He eventually says as the last of his hope fades away into dispersing mist.

She gives him a coy smile, the one that he adores, as she takes a few steps forward before stopping. “The, eh, experience you gave me…”

‘Oh. That.’

“You could have hurt me easily then when I was most vulnerable, but you didn’t. You made sure I received such pleasure,” She rushes out as her cheeks begin to flame and her eyes begin to darken in a familiar hue that causes him to swallow in both thrilling anticipation and heart wrenching dread, “That the least I can do is give you… and I one last time. One last memory before we never see each other again unless we’re fighting on the side of our races.”

‘She wants… She wants to…’ His thoughts begin to whirl dizzyingly as her walk becomes an enticing strut towards him that does nothing to diminish his rising libido. “Elizabeth…” Her name seems to be the only thing he can manage when speaking to her after that lethal blow she gave him before and from the amused light that comes to her beautiful eyes, she seems to notice it to. And relishes in it from the way she begins to take advantage.

Her hands move slowly, like hypnotizing trails in his mind to the tie that keeps the short sleeved shirt cropped just under her bust in place. She gives a tug once, twice and then it falls open, revealing her perfectly pert breasts and her dusty pink nipples that cause his breathing to quicken. She slips her blouse off her shoulders with ease and, fuck, she moves her hands to the strings that keep her torn skirt in place.

Why is she doing this to him? Why? He loves her so much, he won’t turn her away. He’d never turn her away. But she doesn’t care about him. Doesn’t hold an iota of concern for what will happen to him after she… gets her way. She does not give a damn and that’s why he does not want this.

But he will not ever say no to that beautiful smile of hers.

Elizabeth stands right in front of him completely bare with her plump chest squished against his clothed one and her hands begin to run sensually beneath his ruined shirt.

He sucks in a breath as he feels the tell-tell signs of his blood beginning to heat unavoidably. Then he does something he's never done before. Not even with her. “Don't. Please...” His mouth seems to have other plans in offering her rejection. He'll give her anything she wants. Even now, if she wants him. But he knows he'll never be the same if this happens. 'Nevernevernever.' The word runs on repeat through his mind, never ending in its cycle.

Her hands reach the fastening of his pants as if she hadn't heard him, her lips pressing and suckling at his neck in a way that makes his need strain, but he doesn't voice a sound of pleasure. “Please,” He only asks quietly one last time.

His pants fall down and she squeals in delight taking him in her dainty hand as he finally relents. Giving in impassively. “But you're so hot and thick and...” Her other hand slides down torturously slow while her breath warms across his lips tantalizing. It cups his sac and he stops breathing for a moment. “Heavy for me. I want to feel you one last time... Be a bad goddess once more before giving it all up. Then we'll be enemies as you wanted from the start...” She'd made sure to stroke her hand along him as her lips grazed against his like tempting flares.

She needn't worry however as Meliodas doesn't protest. His head is lowered, his bangs a mess covering his eyes. He's hers to fuck. To do whatever she wants with. He'll give her anything she wants. Anything. Because he loves her. He always will. Even if nothing will ever be right to him again.

Elizabeth presses her cheek against his as she sighs contently and the hand gliding along his shaft slips up to join her other under his shirt as she instead presses her waist against his, squeezing them close together while she grinds lewdly against him. His chest quivers on the breath he releases and he squeezes his eyes closed not wanting to believe what’s occurring. But the rush of raw, slick heat that ignites his senses when she angles her waist just right so that his length glides between her thighs makes it pretty damn real in his mind.

Meliodas keeps his eyes closed as he listens to her breathing and feels her lips press gently against his ear. Her moans are like fine delicacies as they grind together sluggishly, his hips being limited in their movements, but he still manages to give her what she wants. He’s a master at doing wrong. He enjoys it to the bottom of his blackened soul, but what they’re doing together makes even his insides twist in regret. But he’ll bury it, smash it, suppress it, until he can’t hold it back any longer. He’ll make her feel good, he doesn’t care what happens here, to himself. She wants him and that’s what she’ll get.

Elizabeth’s small, soft hands curl against his chest, easily ripping the remains of the material that rests there so that no barriers lie between them any longer.  Her teeth nip his earlobe suddenly and he nearly hisses in painful bliss before holding himself back, sinking behind the wall he’ll use to numb himself to this madness. “This won’t do Meliodas…” She breathes for only him to hear in a voice so deliciously velvety, he has to bite his lip at the twinge of heat that sears down his spine. “If I were the one pinned to a wall, this would be a much different story…” She rolls her hips and he jerks against her on instinct causing her body to erupt into a round of fiery shivers. “I’m going to have to get this table to lay flat… I don’t know how much longer I can wait.”

She pulls back from him, easing his length between her folds unhurriedly to where he can’t fight the urge to open his eyes and see the look of pure rapture on her face. From the small circle her plump lips form as they part to release little whimpers that coil in her throat, the rose color that blossoms across her cheeks, edging across her button nose, and finally her eyes shut letting him see her thick sooty lashes dust across her cheeks. She’s breathtakingly perfect and a bittersweet feeling of gratitude fills him at the knowledge that she wants him to be the one who gives her such ecstasy.

She stands still for a moment as he watches her through dim, hooded eyes. She’s clearly in the inescapable snare of pleasure’s hold as her legs squeeze together, already missing his burning presence, but she snaps out of it weakly and saunters around his left side where she quickly begins fiddling around. Loud cracks begin to burst into the room, breaking through their intimate silence as the table he’s strapped to begins to lower into a horizontal position, crank by crank. Finally he gets to see the ceiling. But it’s nothing special as its several yards high above his head and embedded with thousands of dagger like stalactites.

A heavy weight lowers itself onto his thighs, stealing back his focus entirely. He has to take a breath before giving Elizabeth a perusal once more, seeing her do the same with him.  It’s easy to see just how aroused she is from the tautness in her nipples to the flushed, wet state of her folds. He hadn’t even realized his length had twitched in excitement until Elizabeth leans slightly forward with a breathless giggle. The tip of her finger as she extends her hand out, just fleetingly runs up the length of him, tormenting in his mind, as he fights back a moan.

“You’re excited for this as much as I am, Meliodas…” Her voice resembles a low purr in its vibration as she runs her finger back down, burning a trail he can’t forget in his mind.

His eyes are unwillingly locked with the teasing way she toys with his length. “This is… for you…” He huffs out as his chest expands and contracts much faster than he wishes.

She hums in confusion, her thumb rubbing around the clear sticky fluid beading at the head of his manhood, forcing his head back as his neck strains keeping any sounds of desire in check when his hips jolt. “For me? This is for us, Meliodas.” She prods in a low tone as her other hand slides against the inside of his thigh, “Are you saying you aren’t attracted to me? Are you saying you don’t want me?” She asks in a low pouty tone, with genuine hints of sadness weighing it down.

And it drives him mad. Because he wants her with the fierceness of the sun. He always has. She was to be his beginning, his end, his lover, his best friend, his wife, the mother of his children, the goddamn list goes on... How dare she say he does not want her!? She does not want him! She does not care. She ruined him. And he’s helpless to stop her from doing further damage, because he’d die before he’d ever risk bringing tears to those big cerulean eyes of hers.

So he lets his head flop sideways as his only answer.

She hums low in her chest in disappointment before he feels her body shift. Moist lips that stick to his skin with each press starts at the inside of his thigh, working their way up. She lets her breath warm against his skin followed by the darting of her tongue as she tastes his flesh. All of this causes blood to rush to his skull too quickly as his head begins to swim in the headiness of her actions. She suckles his flesh leaving marks in her wake as he twitches and tries to move away from her wondrous mouth not wanting to feel this. Not wanting this to be so good because it’s supposed to be a quick encounter. He’s not supposed to become invested.

But damn, she moaning against him, rubbing herself against his leg slowly as her mouth draws closer to his length and it becomes harder to stay numb to it all. Harder to not fall into the dream that she really does care. Elizabeth pauses just before the base of his length and he can hear both of their breaths echoing raggedly in the room before she speaks, desperation dripping from her words. “I’m going to make you want this, Meliodas. This will be a memory we’ll both drift back to often if I have anything to say about it.”

He recoils as if physically shocked. Does she really want him to suffer this badly?

Elizabeth stills for only a moment and then he has to use every bit of strength in his body, every ounce of will in his soul, not to cry out when her mouth descends on him, taking him in whole in one swift swallow, letting him rest against the back of her throat. She gags slightly, not being used to such activities, before he feels her relax and he eases in even further. He’s panting, it’s too hot, as she leans back and goes down again and again, her cheeks sucking inward as her tongue presses relentlessly against the underside of him. And he nearly caves. It’s so fucking good.

She’s moaning around him, the sound high and long, entrancing as he watches her swallow him deep over and over, her skin soft and flush as she works, a gleam of sweat just apparent on her skin. Her silver lengthy strands wild and tumbling as they bounces around with her motions. She’s beautiful as she works and he feels himself getting hotter, pulsing faster in her mouth as euphoria winds in his belly so damn powerful his entire body begins to quake. But he bites his lip and fights it no matter how impossible that may seem.

“W-why?” He croaks out when his lip comes from between his teeth slick with blood, ruined just as much as he. ‘Why are you so determined to do this? To break my heart?’

Elizabeth looks up from under thick lashes at his question and something rigid with fright flashes in her eyes as she rears back, letting his length pulsating with angry need fall from between her swollen lips with a wet pop just seconds before his coil snapped and his release overwhelmed him. She glides up his body in haste. Her hand reaching to cup his cheek as her mouth eases over his in such a familiar way he simply melts into a puddle beneath her touch. Her kiss is full of sparks that jolt pleasingly along his nerves as her warm power stretches into him, sealing his wound instantly.

Her body eases over his as she parts their lips, just letting them feel the way she rocks his length along her heated slit. “It’ll feel good, Meliodas,” She whispers against his lips with a thick moan, “I promise… Remember when you had me tied up like this…? You made me feel so good, but you were only using me then. I know that now.” He can only stare up with wide, startled eyes, her hips still rolling enticingly against him as his hearts begin to plummet like stones in his chest, one by one.

But she has no plans of stopping in her quest of ruination.

Her eyes hooded and dark with lust bore into him before she blinks slowly as she leans down to kiss his mouth fleetingly, her head coming up as she gives a little smile of satisfaction. “There are so many times you used me when I truly didn’t know it. You “stood up” for me against Veronica that one time. It most likely was to earn my favor. We even ended up in bed together that very same night,” She tells him knowingly before placing a tiny kiss on the side of his mouth and he swallows harshly in remembrance. That moment, Veronica had said things he’d still gladly kill over and Elizabeth is saying it was all a ploy. A ploy. She truly thinks so low of him.

Elizabeth’s moves her head to follow his gaze when he tries desperately to look away from her. The choking realization that she truly believes he wanted to hurt her, when, in those moments, he had no intentions of tricking her or using her, begins to squeeze his chest so tight he can’t find his next breath. But her voice just rises again, low and full of desire despite her crushing words. “I even recall how sweet you were when we found the black book that belonged to Veronica. You comforted me, even kissed me as I needed… but you didn’t care. You don’t care. I was just a girl with infatuation blinding my vision to your wicked ways.”

Maybe… maybe he deserves this torment, this sweet pleasure she offers him as some sort of payback for all he’s done. She’s showing him what they could have had, covering him in her heated moisture as she presses her naked form tightly atop his. He hurt her. It was his goal in the beginning. And that was his mistake. He shouldn’t fight this. This is the pain that he deserves. He needs to see what his future would have been like in the form of this glowing goddess. He needs to be punished for his sins.

He feels her breaths become quicker as her rocking grows more erratic and before he can even suck in a breath in preparation he sinks into her core, feeling her body tremble and his mind dissolve as they join ever so intimately in a way that can never be taken back.

She seals their lips again as they move together naturally, so damn naturally, he can feel the cracks in his soul beginning to form already. The heat of her is consuming as her mouth slants over his in a kiss so deep he can’t find his way back from it. Her fingers weave into his locks, tugging and pulling as she moans, the sound sweet in his mouth as he sucks her tongue gently. His hands ball into fists outstretched at his sides and it’s a wonder he can roll his hips just enough to make her body jolt and his breathing hitch as he moves inside her so fucking right it had to be meant to be.

But they’re moving too slow.

She moves her body in full languid rolls, her legs having twined underneath his so that she can brace herself against him and her hand resting beside his head, and press her hips downward into his upward thrusts, their bodies only parting for the shortest of instances. He’s never felt such an intimate twine of their bodies as they move unhurriedly. As they make love. It wasn’t supposed to feel this good as heat swells like a building wave just waiting to crash into him. Her lips weren’t supposed to slip down his throat as she breathes shakily with the succulent passion of her cries. He wasn’t supposed to rear his head back as she made sure to pleasure him, satisfy his every need, and give a long groan of utter defeat.

It wasn’t supposed to be possible. He wasn’t supposed to fall even more in love with her as she effectively did everything right. And yet oh so wrong as his hearts begins to fracture…

Meliodas, please,” She says in a voice heavy in the throes of ecstasy as she moves her hand behind his head, “tell me how good this feel to you… please…”

He squeezes his eyes shut so he can’t see the look of pure salacious need in her eyes. His hips begin to stutter, the flare beneath his skin getting hotter as he feels her nipples rub against his chest for the hundredth time, and he moans brokenly, “I love it…” He rasps between a tight throat, the emotions inside him welling up, “I love… I l-love y…”

Elizabeth’s lips press against his as she tightens her body around his. She whimpers high in her throat before her core soars in its increase in temperature and begins to spasm, engulfing him in her strangling massages along his length as she falls into her orgasm. His body shudders as his hips slam up into her and he tumbles into his release, his length pulsating in searing heat as he empties in thick gushes inside her.

Gazing up at her almost against his will, he drinks in her face like a man gorging on water deprived from him too long. Her bangs stick to her forehead from the sweat of their joining and he absolutely loves the perfect flush to her cheeks from her screams and cries. Her eyes are squeezed shut and her brows drawn down from obvious tension, but he lingers on the form of her mouth. Closed as she tries to savor the feeling running rampant through her. She’s frowning however. He thinks she’s… She’s sad.

His throat tightens around his hitched breath and he begins to fall inwards into the emotions he can no longer contain, no longer has control over from staring at her perfection. His eyes drift shut and he makes a sound as they grind slowly, stretching out their pleasure. It’s choking, rough like a grunt. But it’s rawer… harsh. A tearing at his hearts. A sob. For the first time since he was young, very, very young, tears roll down his cheeks in thin rivers.

Meliodas cries. Broken.

 

Chapter Text

~32~

-Love Will Guide You-

Her search had been… a total and complete failure.

She was steps past the golden gates when she had come to the crippling realization. There were only two torture chambers she knew of, and Meliodas had made sure personally that they were either completely obliterated or wrecked irrevocably. Elizabeth’s shoulders had sagged as she’d heaved a choked cry,  trying not to let the realization come down on her so hard that she crumbled into shattered specs of dust.

Her mind had run circles, laps, and disastrous miles in her mind in attempts to figure out her next move. She was sure by the time she had come up with something the clouds beneath her feet had been worn down considerably.

Veronica’s house. That was her next plan of action.

So she had gone there, uncaring if anyone had seen as she kicked and beat on the door until it came from its hinges. Elizabeth had scoured the house for any details, anything at all that would give away Veronica’s plot, her location, or the places she might go. The home was spotless however as she’d overturned couch cushions and flipped sheets and bedding, pulled out dresser drawers and thrown dishes in distress. There was nothing that would say that Veronica was anything but the perfect squeaky clean goddess she wanted everyone to believe her to be.

But all of that was lies. Terrible, atrocious lies. Veronica was a monster. A soulless, creature under flawless skin mixed from the blood of both goddesses and demons. Elizabeth knew this, she’d felt this, she’d experienced it first hand, and she was not going to remain idle for much longer as her former friend continued to play such wicked game with her life and her love.

Elizabeth… had nowhere to go, though. Nowhere left to turn. And the pressure was beginning to build in her like a geyser ready to burst as her feet trailed like lead in water under her, dragging her to the only place she could possibly go now. The white building is just as pristine as always and the guards that line the gilded doors as alert as ever, but Elizabeth hardy spares them a glance as she’s allowed entry into the throne room. The hefty door slams behind her and seals her in the condensed silence of the room for tense moments. Then she lifts her head as she notices she’s not alone. She’d honestly expected the place to be empty with Queen Margaret having retired for the evening after all of the perils that had occurred throughout the night.

But there she sits at the long rectangular table that gleams just the slightest from the moon’s rays that shine in from the high windows above. When Elizabeth walks towards her, shoulders slumped and insides just about ready to fracture and break, Margaret glances up with wide concerned mochas and immediately stands from her seat, her mouth open to speak.

But Elizabeth beats her to it.  “Meliodas… I don’t know where he is. I’ve thought of every possible way I could reach him, but I,” She sucks in a shuddering breath as her throat tightens and her voice becomes thick, “I don’t know what to do. He’s hurt. I know it. I know i-it in here,” She presses a hand to her chest as her voice begins to rise in volume and her fingers begin to curl, “And I can’t do anything about it no matter how much I fight, or struggle, or promise she will not win... She’s t-taken him from me, my Queen.” Elizabeth tries to swallow and finds she can’t when a small sob comes out instead. She blinks rapidly when she feels the insufferable burn build in her eyes, but this only releases the dam as two undisturbed trails of salty tears flow down her flushed cheeks.

Elizabeth sniffs and looks away from the warm, empathetic look Margaret gives her as she whispers, “She snatched him away before I could even get a chance to tell him… how much I love him.” She shrugs her shoulders shakily and closes her eyes all the while the tears never cease their trek down her cheeks, dripping from her chin. Then she smiles brokenly as everything truly begins to weigh in on her like cement ready to drag her down to the bottom of the sea. “I may never get to tell him I love him. Do you know… how much that hurts?”

She hears the steady footsteps of the Queen as she grits her teeth to try and rein herself in. But her tears seem relentless as the emotions inside her roll and twist like agonizing waves. She hates for the Queen to see her like this, but it seems Margaret is full of compassion as always when her warm palms come to rest upon Elizabeth’s shoulders tenderly.

“Oh, Elizabeth, my dear. You left with so much determination I thought for sure you knew where you were headed…” Margaret begins in a soft voice. Elizabeth sniffs and opens her eyes when she feels the Queen lift her chin. “Don’t lose hope so soon. I have a way you should be able to locate General Meliodas. It’s a method fueled by love, by yours and Meliodas’.”

Elizabeth gasps and nearly steps back if not for the firm hold Margaret keeps on her shoulders. Her tears seem to still in her shock as she gazes in disbelief. “W-what? But he doesn’t love me…”

Margaret shakes her head and gives a soft tsk. “Don’t speak so soon. Now…” Margaret moves one of her hands to rest above Elizabeth’s chest where her heart beats quickly. At that moment Elizabeth begins to feel a tugging sensation. She lets out a quick breath and her eyes swipe quickly up to stare into Margaret’s brown hues which have gained a luminescent glow as the tugging sensation at her chest grows stronger.

Elizabeth can only stare in wonder as the Queen’s power flows out brilliantly like the warm undertones of a summer breeze. The Queen begins to pull her hand back slowly, and from her fingertips is bright strands of a sandy hue coils that glimmer like spun gold. They stretch right from Elizabeth’s chest.

Elizabeth jolts as the sensation of something being formed from her essence runs through her like a fuzzy sensation, warm and electric. Then as Elizabeth begins to squirm as the feeling begins to grow in intensity she feels Margaret put her hand beneath the silverette’s and something falls gently into Elizabeth’s palm as the magic running through her tapers to an end. Elizabeth gazes down in silent awe at the speckled stone, jagged yet smooth that rests in her palm. It’s still warm from the magic used to create it.

“This, Elizabeth, is a locator spell. It’s a very special one, however, and very powerful. Love spells are not something to be trifled with. But sense I know you and the General both, this is an exception I’m willing to allow.” Elizabeth looks up from the stone in her hand at the seriousness in Margaret’s tone. “This will take you to Meliodas very quickly and easily. All you have to do is speak of your heart’s desire and your wish shall be answered. But be wary, this only works if the one you love holds the other half of your heart willingly as you do theirs now.”

Elizabeth’s palm begins to tremble around the stone as her lips open to allow a dismayed whisper, “But how are you so certain? Why do you believe this won’t end in disaster for me?”

Margaret gives her shoulders a squeeze as her eyes shimmer kindly in the dim moonlight. “You will find the answer yourself once you give up these silly doubts of yours. Go to him.” She urges with a final squeeze before she strides around Elizabeth and exits through the entrance doors.

The room stills in silence as moonlight continues to journey through the windows, illuminating the immense room. Elizabeth stares once again at the stone in her palm and for a tiny inkling of a moment, in this giant room filled with nothing but silence and her as its sole occupant, she feels incredibly close to the one she loves.

~.~.~

She pads forward on bare feet, her heart low, lower than she’s ever felt it. Not that she’s had the chance to experience the feeling for very long. But in the time she has, she’s felt the harsh, cutting emotion of cruelty, one she was forced herself to spout out and spear through someone so dear… The inside churning feeling of loss so heavy she wanted nothing more than to sink to the ground and never ever get up again. And, last she’s felt the soul pulling, and heart searing blaze of pure love. She loves him. Oh, goddesses above she loves him so much her legs wobble, threatening to take her down to the ground as she walks forward to her destination down the dark dank rocky corridors of Veronica’s lair. She wants nothing more than to turn back and make things right. To make things better. The expression on his face, the tears running down his cheeks, and the heart wrenching sobs he made as she shakily pulled his pants back in place before making her retreat before she cracked…

She was supposed to do that right? She was supposed to hurt him? To break his heart? That wonderfully handsome and devilish demon with hearts full of devotion for nothing but her. She knows what she did was what she was supposed to do, but as she gradually comes to a stop, her feet cold and numb, like the rest of her body as she clutches her clothing in front of her bare torso, something tears through her like a vicious creature, snarling and screaming the words wrong! Go back! Don’t leave him…

Her head is lowered when she hears the sound of clicking heels approaching her from ahead. Her bangs, heavy from sweat, sag downwards and hide her expression.

But she can still see the shiny points of her heels as Veronica stops in front of her. “So how did it go?”

“I…” Elizabeth gives a shuddering breath as she clutches her clothes tighter in a stranglehold. “He’s… hurt. I hurt him, Veronica.” Regret drips from her words like mournful rain from the sky.

“That was your job as my creation. Why are you even...? Oh, jeez,” Veronica huffs as she shifts her weight, Elizabeth seeing her foot being to tap. “Don’t tell me you’re beginning to malfunction…”

Elizabeth snaps her head up as angry tears begin to rim her eyes. The skin of her cheeks is sickly pale, but the fire in her eyes is a lively as ever. “I did what I was supposed to do, Veronica! I said everything that I knew would h-hurt him. B-but,” She sniffs as her words begin to turn croaky as her hand reaches up to press against her chest, where her heart rests. “It hurt here, too. Seeing him in pain hurts so much! I love him! Why did I have to…? Why did I have to make him cry?” She squeaks out in a hoarse tone as she begins to dissolve into sobs of her own.

But Veronica just gazes at her impassively until a delighted light flares in her eyes. “You made him cry?” A hand goes to cover her lips as a little chuckle bubbles up her chest and erupts past her lips, echoing in the wide corridor eerily. “Oh, this is just the most wonderful news!! My perfect copy of Elizabeth actually did something useful. For this I thank you,” She says in a snooty tone, not the least bit sincere as she begins to walk around Elizabeth who keeps her head down. The image of Meliodas is still fresh in her mind’s eye, torturing her shattered heart.

“You won’t have to go through that pathetic so called “pain” you’re feeling much longer anyway as your time is almost up.” Veronica goes on to say as her voice gets softer and softer the further away she gets. “I can’t believe her doppelganger, even with my dark influence, still loves that damn demon,” she tsks bitterly before she fades away.

Elizabeth sucks in a quick breath as she spins around in realizing that Veronica is on her way to do more harm to Meliodas. Her blue eyes swivel around frantically as she tries to decide what to do. What can she do?? She was meant to hurt him, to make it so that Veronica could continue on with her plans for him, but… But she just can’t let Meliodas go on like that! She has to tell him. “I must tell him it was all a lie. I love him… I—” She takes a step forward intending to dash to him, so much on her mind she wants to spill forth to him as she cradles him in her loving hold, but a sharp pang goes through her entire form causing her to swallow back a whimper.

She looks down and sees a sight purely meant to clog her throat with sorrow as tears of failure seep from her bloodshot eyes. Her foot is beginning to melt like that of candle wax, slowly and steadily working its way up her limb, then the other as she begins to pool on the ground like some failed experiment. As she sinks into the gooey greyish substance further and further she realizes, she is an experiment. She’s not the real thing. She’s not Elizabeth. Meliodas is not… hers. Even if she loves him so dearly with the passionate blaze of a burning star, she cannot have him. She won’t even last long enough to help him.

Her job here is done. And her last thoughts will be of nothing but painful regret.

~.~.~

His tears have run dry and his throat has given its last shuddering cry. The most powerful demon to ever have lived and here he is, with a tearstained face, his powers suppressed as he’s held against his will. Shame? What is that exactly to him now anyways? Does it even matter at this point? The woman he loves just outright crushed him, utterly decimated his entire meaning without even having to use nearly the amount of effort one would believe it would take to destroy a creature such as he. All she had to do was sneak into his hearts, nestle right on in, then whisper the words he longed to hear but only as a fruitless hope. An impossible future. Then she guided them through a passionate love session as she continued to tell him his wrongs, and make him realize why he’d never be worthy to have her as his chosen partner for life.

He’s empty. He feels… nothing. She left him. He may as well be dead.

He doesn’t know how long he lies there, his eyes staring blankly at the ceiling as his mind floats aimlessly, drifting closer and closer to the endless void of numbness, when he hears a familiar set of steps approaching. Then her sickly sweet voice swimming in his ears, coming through like a distant fog.

“How are you, Meliodas? You’re looking pretty well, if I do say so myself!” Veronica chuckles as she comes to stand at his side. He sees her through the haze that clouds his mind, how flushed with cheeriness her cheeks are, and the wicked way her chocolate brown eyes glimmer. It’s only a second’s observation before his vision becomes unfocused again.

He does not answer.

“Aww, no comebacks? No, response about how whorish I look or something of the sort?”

He only blinks feeling his eyelids getting heavier with the weight of grief pressing into him like jagged claws. Deeper, further, shredding, and tearing into his soul as he exhales slowly. He just wants to… disappear. To never return. It’s what Elizabeth wants right? She doesn’t need him anymore. She got her last use of him. He does not matter anymore.

A hand pats his mess of hair patronizingly as the owner of said hand hums disapprovingly. “Oh, Meliodas, what is the matter with you? Dare I say, have you met your match? Have you finally been defeated?” Veronica lowers her head down so that her words are whispered like poisoned chocolate, all velvety and smooth and full of deceit in his ear. “Are you ready to give in?”

Meliodas’ vision is mere slits as he stares at the dull, daggered stalactites above him. As he breathes slower, and deeper as his consciousness begins to slip he still only sees one thing behind his eyelids as they drift shut. One sole image, one single angel he’ll never let go. ‘Elizabeth…’

Veronica stares at the weary, feeble, and broken demon as he lays flat and unconscious in suppressing restraints. The sight is by far one of the best she has seen out of the many, many victims she has held in her possession. The power he wields is simply phenomenal and now, now with the efforts of her duplicate Elizabeth, she has him completely at her will.

She turns from him, walking towards her wall of spell books with a closed mouth grin feeling the ambitions of her goals so close it’s nearly overcoming as it sends sparks of thrills along her skin. The books tower before her so high, one wrong rumble could send them collapsing on her like an avalanche. She begins sorting through them, looking for her favored one… The black book she retrieved from Elizabeth. “That fool. If he weren’t so invested in that stupid emotion, he would still be a pain in my ass.”

Rows upon rows she looks through, until she forces the balance of magic inside her to tip slightly to one side and shadows begin to sprout from her back forming sooty wings. She does this without a thought as she flutters higher and higher, her eyebrows creasing as she continues her search and grumbles at the ridiculousness of it all. “I actually wasn’t sure that would work. A demon truly and deeply in love… And Elizabeth actually returning the sentiment,” She scoffs and mindlessly throws a cerulean book behind her as she climbs higher towards the roof. “But it worked and damn well too. Love… what a laughable experience I never wish to encounter again. They should know by now…” Her palm slips up, gliding along smooth bindings of books before her fingers curl and she pulls the long sought out book from its shelf, “It leads to nothing but disaster.”

~.~.~

An unassuming white speckled rock rests in her hand idly. It’s cracked on one side with jagged ridges as if it were snapped in half and the other side is smooth and curved. Elizabeth shifts it nervously as she inspects it over and over seeing it’s resemblance to half of a broken heart. Queen Margaret’s words still stirs up jittery flutters of anxious anticipation in her belly.

Speak of your heart’s desire and your wish shall be answered. But be wary, this only works if the one you love holds the other half of your heart willingly as you do theirs now.”

This stone is supposed to take her to Meliodas, but she’s been hesitant as she stares at the glowing white stone with silvery specks. He couldn’t possibly love her and that is what has made her hesitate for much too long as she stands in the middle of the deserted throne room in the goddess realm.

She closes her eyes and exhales slowly as she brings the broken heart close to her chest, cradling it. “I’ve waited much too long. You could be hurt, dying and I’m waiting all because I’m afraid you don’t love me?” She shakes her head at her doubts and fears as her heart begins to beat faster, imploring for the one she loves. “Please… Take me to, Meliodas,” She whispers in a soft tender murmur as her eyelashes brush against her cheeks with the closing of her eyes.

She has nothing to lose. And the stone deciphers this. It begins to swell in brightness, filling the room with a radiant white hue mixed with the soft tones of blue. Elizabeth clutches it tighter as she feels it grow warmer in her palm and then she begins to feel a pull deep within herself forcing her to suck in a deep breath. She does not fight the sensation. She delves into it head first as a rush of cool tingles race across her skin akin to the sensation of soaring through clouds.

Then her stomach drops as if she was deposited on her feet rather abruptly and her eyes spring open on instinct. And in that single instant time seems to stand still. She can see him, her Meliodas lying flat with his eyes closed, his eyelids fluttering just the slightest as if he’s having a terrible dream. But before she can run, can break this single moment of stillness, she spies the little something that causes her hands to tremble as she swallows around thick emotions that threaten to overwhelm her.

It’s the other half of the heart floating innocently above his chest. Black and speckled in shiny obsidian stones it drifts forward to the stone that eagerly flits from her hand where they meet halfway in a burst of exuberant joy for inanimate objects. Two halves of a whole. Elizabeth gazes at the fading stones, for once feeling as if she can give in entirely to the exploding way her heart fills and bursts with love with the very thought, the very notion, any and everything Meliodas.

Time seems to march on as her blue eyes glue to his figure looking much worse off than she had originally thought and her feelings of utter joy and relief are pushed back at the notion that she still has to get him out of here. Veronica still has to be taken care of. She rushes forward her hair jostling around her as she begins to call for him, pushing herself faster as she extends her hand out. “Meliodas! Meliodas, I’m here!!”

It’s just when her steps falter as she sees, truly bears witness, to the things that have been done to him, that are still being done to him, that something slams into the side of her jaw with excruciating force. Her body rotates awkwardly in a spin and she feels yet another pain race up her ankle as she crumples to the ground. A cry of pain is the only thing that leaves her lips as blood begins to fill her mouth and slick across them.

Her hair sticks to some of the blood falling down her chin as she gazes at the murderous look Veronica gives her. She was stupid. She should have been on guard. But the instant she realized the true state Meliodas was in, how his skin is beginning to turn a sickly grey instead of its natural tan, and the many, many tubes filled with a wispy black substance being forced into him, all of her precautions went out of the window.

“What the hell are you doing here? You always have to ruin everything of mine!” Veronica spits out the words as she glares down viciously at Elizabeth.

The silverette is quick to rise as fury boils erratically in her veins, only stumbling slightly as her healing powers work to mend the sprain in her ankle. “I don’t give a damn about your so called plans. When you h-hurt the man I love, I refuse to stand back and just let it happen!” Her hands begin to glow an ominous golden hue as her bangs flow across her eyes and her hair begins to billow out in waves.

Veronica springs back lithely even in heels as Elizabeth throws out her fist. The ball of sparking energy she sends out just sails past Veronica and hits it’s mark… One of the tubes connected to Meliodas’ legs.  The slick tube is knocked free and begins to dissolve slowly as holes form into it, quickly growing in size as it’s eaten away by the magic Elizabeth unleashed upon it.

Elizabeth sees Veronica’s eyes widen in shock before they narrow in rage. Veronica gives an enraged growl as she throws a hand up towards Meliodas before Elizabeth can even react.

“No!” She gasps out in horror as she tries to shift the magic, sparking and more powerful than she’s ever felt it as it races through her veins, into something she can use to stop whatever it is Veronica is sending towards her love. It comes out in swirling twists, impacting the dark jagged lines of energy Veronica is trying to form around Meliodas as a type of barrier.

Having never felt her magic rise up in spikes inside her in such a way before, Elizabeth has to grit her teeth as her hands tremble, extended outwards before her in her efforts to tear at the shadows trying to shield Meliodas away. “M-Meliodas please! Wake up!! You have to fight this!!” Elizabeth forces out breathless as her golden swirls pull away at the coils that slither in their attempt to form a cube around him, higher and higher. She feels it every time she breaks past a spot only for more wriggling shadows to rise up and barricade its place, the cutting jolts that results from slamming against such dark magic again and again.

She doesn’t even know if she’s doing any good as the cube becomes more complete, solid, and she starts to see less and less of Meliodas. Her throat clenches as she forces out a terrified cry, “Meliodas! I need you! Don’t fall to this!!”

The smooth palms of her hands begin to blaze and the sparkling swirls of her magic turn savage in force reminiscent to hurricane like winds.

Oh no you don’t!” The words quickly belt out before once again she feels the harsh impact against the side of her face and her vision swims.

She falls to the ground with a grunt and a body follows hers before she can even regain her senses. Pain erupts on the left side of her cheek just below her eye and the good sense to lift her arm as a guard comes to her just before another impact from Veronica can be made.

“You will not free him!!” The words penetrate her dazed mind instilling clarity within her like an icy shock.

Elizabeth juts her knee up feeling the bony part of her limb dig deep into Veronica’s side as her former friend falters sideways atop of her, the wind having been forced from her sharply as Elizabeth wriggles in an attempt to escape. Those words tell her something that gives her battered body a sense of hope. She’s doing something to get through to him.

So she shouts out as she throws a punch to the side of Veronica’s cheek, simply returning the favor as the goddess falls completely off of her. “Meliodas! Come back to me! Please, I--” She senses movement at her side and rolls out of the way as Veronica dives to try and once again subdue her.

Elizabeth scrambles to her feet and extends her hand as she dashes towards the cube holding Meliodas blindly. Her familiar sword comes to her, but she feels something running through it differently as the power inside her rushes in charged cycles inside her. She doesn’t have time to think as spear like coils speed towards her with lethal intent.

She twirls with her sword in an arc and slices through three with a war cry. They’re cut cleanly as a shrill screech echoes throughout the cavernous lair. Elizabeth hardens herself to it as she sees for a split second as her head turns sideways through the slight swelling under her eye Veronica hunching over three bloody slashes that appeared across her abdomen.

Elizabeth doesn’t even get to ponder the coincidence before a wet grunt gurgles in her throat. The agony she feels radiating from her side alerts her in the most painful of ways her failure to escape all of the deadly spears Veronica sent towards her. Her body tumbles backwards over wobbly limbs as she reaches with her free hand to grasp at the morbid wound.

A feverish heat flares in her as she winces then cries out in a mix of pain and shock as she trips, and her world careens too topsy turvey for her to take. She slams sideways into something, her torso falling forward to curl atop it as she begins to lose strength in her legs, sliding downwards towards the floor… But she snaps out her bloody hand to grasp onto the warm rigid surface, keeping herself steady on top of it as she tries to gain stability.

A full bodied tremble works through her as she gives shallow shuddering breaths. ‘I can heal from this. I just... need time.’ Her fingers curl and the sensation of firm skin pliable to her actions makes her suck in a pained breath as she realizes what she leans over. The warmth of his body already bleeds into her as her nose draws in the scent of him from his toned torso. She’s here. Truly and undeniable here with him. Finally.

Elizabeth presses closer even as a pained noise nestles in her throat at her protesting wound just so she can feel his warmth like it’s her own, smells his scent as it intoxicates and calms her like no other ever has or ever will be able to. She feels her heart squeeze and she can’t help but quiver as a few tears slip down her pale cheeks. She found him. Meliodas is here with her and she can tell him. She can tell him she… She tries to breathe deeply to call to him, but it’s quite difficult when all of her energy is working hard to heal herself.

But… no. She should use her power to free him from these tubes instead and heal him from whatever’s been done to him. He needs it far more than she. Far more…

Jittery from blood loss as she literally hangs onto him with all she has left, she lifts her head and flops it in the other direction as her vision momentarily washes out. Elizabeth gulps in as much air as she can while listening for Veronica, hearing those shaky wobbly steps get closer, closer…

She doesn’t have much time. And there’s still so much she wishes to do.

Elizabeth clings tighter and lifts her eyelids up so that she can see him. She wants to see him before she possibly gives up her life to allow him to live for her instead. But instead of seeing fluttering eyelids displaying troubled dreams, she stares weakly into the open gaze of deaths incarnate himself.

Elizabeth doesn’t feel terror or bone trembling fear as she stares into his steely gaze in the few moments she has before the heavy feeling of oblivion rises up and begins to encircle her. Nor does she shudder, petrified as his power begins to spiral out in thick crushing waves. The darkness thrashes out, dislodging the tubes that had once ran gruesomely through his body, then stitches his flesh back together in a show of demonic prowess, all the while stroking her from head to toe frantically and fervently. So strong is his power’s wish to reach her, she practically feels his panic for her become consuming, overwhelming. It eases at that very moment when she begins to hum in worry, and she just gives him a tiny weak smile, loving the way he seems to know her so well. How he just knows how she worries so much about him until she can’t stand it anymore.

Her bottom lip trembles as she feels herself grow weaker, she tries to reach out to him as well, to give some of her power to him even though he probably doesn’t need it as his own powers have already done the trick, but she feels her eyes grow heavy, her body grow weak. She lets herself go with a final sigh knowing she’ll awaken now that Meliodas has returned.

“Meliodas…” She whispers as she fades away, “you came back to me.”  

 

Chapter Text

~33~

-Cursed Gift No More-

He feels as if something is sucking the life out of him with a vicious gluttony, which is strange because after what Elizabeth did, he thought there would be no life left in him to give. But the sensation isn’t just that of life draining, it’s… also filling? Like something is replacing everything inside of him, all the emotions, all of the memories inside of him, every single thing that makes up his essence and replaces it with something angry, biting, and dripping of nothing but pure darkness. It’s forceful and sudden and nothing he feels worth fighting against. As far as he is concerned this is his final punishment for his sins.

And as it tears its way through his system like hot burning venom, he relives his most recent memories. The ones he considers the happiest he’s had in his life. All of which contain his precious Elizabeth. It’s hard, so very hard, not to think of them as bad or evil as he’s slowly being erased. The last thing he deserves is a slice of happiness in his last moments, right? isn’t that something people usually get on their deathbed?

So he envisions her face, he breathes in her scent, he imagines her warmth, he savors her flavor, and he relishes in the sweet tones of her voice. Her delicate tinkling voice…

“Meliodas! Meliodas, I’m here!!”

At first as he drifts from the torturously forceful way his body is being tampered with and changed, he thinks that luscious sound has to be a dream. One of the many he’s relieved repeatedly to give himself some type of peace.

But even with the way his body is starting to slowly slip out of his possession, he still begins to notice… the little things. Like the shrill desperate crests in Veronica’s voice as she tries to hide something… The feel of power rising and falling, flowing around him like a turbulent river… Elizabeth’s voice again and again like some heavenly dream.

Meliodas! I need you! Don’t fall to this!!”

But she doesn’t. She told him so herself, so why is his mind lying to him. Why is he being fed lies that she would want him, no, need him? Why does he feel her so close, so warm near his hearts once again as she cries out for him, telling him not to give up on this pathetic excuse of a life without her?

He does not understand.

But her coiling warmth is stirring something insistently inside him and forcing him against his will to make sense of all that is happening. His fingers curl as he begins to draw on the magic being so roughly forced into him haphazardly and it begins to whirl inside him not having expected him to resist and turn against it. To actually begin to use it to his advantage as no one else but a dark creature like he can.

And damn are the results instantaneous.

It’s like jumping into icy water, so cold and refreshing every nerve in his body once sagging and withering away begins to jolt with an electric buzz resembling exposed wires. Everything is so clear to his previously dying senses and it just keeps accelerating, soaring higher and higher as the power inside him threatens to burst free beyond his control.

And then he knows.

He knows she’s there. He knows she’s fighting. He knows she is crying out for him, calling for him to come back to her, and Veronica is hurting her. Hurting what is not hers to lay a fucking finger on.

He senses the two clash once more before he can break free of his damn restraints and Veronica fairs a decent amount of damage, but then…

His goddess comes crashing onto his form, bloody and shivering and trembling from the wound she takes and his mind begins to dim, darken in the haze of wrath that begins to overtake him like a welcoming old friend’s embrace. He doesn’t care that she crushed him and threw him away like he was a monster deserving nothing but her scorn. All that matters to the demon is that she is in pain now. And that can’t go unpunished. Meliodas stares with a focused gaze promising things Elizabeth should not know of or ever become privy to as he begins to pull at his restraints, hearing the groaning creaks in them as they begin to give…

Her blue eyes suddenly open to gaze at him and his chest constricts with a fear that she’ll become wary of him. That she’ll want to flee from him when she see the atrocities that lie within his visage just waiting to be unleashed. But a whirl of confusion hits him as he studies her eyes, eyes he’s become wholly familiar with over the weeks they’ve known each other. Eyes that were cold as she hurt him not hours prior. Blue eyes that now look warm, melting with care as she gazes at him earnestly. Why is she there now, clutching him as if letting go would mean the end of her? Why is she seemingly so different and yet the same when before she was—

His mind grinds to a stop as her lips begin to shift. She smiles, oh goddesses, she smiles so lovingly he nearly chokes in a fragile hope…

“Meliodas… you came back to me.” She whispers like the flow of a gentle wind before her eyes fall closed and she sags against him entirely.

His restraints shatter and he scoops her up and into his arms cradling her too tightly to his chest while still being cautious of the wound present at her side as he curls around her. The anger inside him is still so vicious, snarling and merciless in its wish to reach Veronica who he hears draw up short in seeing him free. But he stays where he is for just a moment and holds her close, pressing kisses to her face again and again as if that’ll ever be enough to steady the urgency of his need for her, his relentless love for her that threatens to shake him apart.

“Elizabeth, I love you. I love you.  I l-love you so fucking much,” He nearly cries into her hair when she does not respond, but he can feel the strong beats of her heart against his chest, so he does not let himself break further…

His palm swiftly rises from around her waist when he feels something cutting through the air hurdling towards them. It’s quiet for several long tense seconds. And then everything explodes in a roar of ferocious heat, blazing and detrimental in the rampage his counter unleashes. From the ground beneath their feet cracks race across the stony floor like hissing snakes, splitting the floor apart with surging force as black vivid flames spout from the ground, twisting and writhing savagely.

Heat begins to fill the room with a pressure that’s almost crushing, pressing against the walls, smashing tables and flasks with heated gusts, and sending chunks of the interior crashing to the ground as Veronica begins to howl, enraged and terrified. Meliodas only keeps his gaze on Elizabeth’s twinging visage as he springs up from the table that splinters beneath him with the force of his bound. His hand still raised begins to curl while his face remains cold, focused. Completely and utterly intent on his merciless goal.

The gradual influx of his powers as he curls his fingers inward is phenomenal. The walls begin to quaver, fracturing and breaking as his flames rise higher, circling around he and Elizabeth with brutal strength. All he can hear is the thunderous rumbles as the cave begins to crumble. Then he clutches his fist. And everything bursts outward as his inferno spirals outward consuming any and everything unlucky enough to be in its path.

The light display that follows is blinding and he makes sure to tuck Elizabeth’s head securely into his chest so she’s protected from it all. Violet lances out in jagged strips, spiralling around him in a wide arc as his remaining flames begins to simmer down with the lowering of his fist, finally allowing his destruction to come to an end for the time being. With the sound of deafening demolition no longer pressing against his ears the quiet whispers of the frigid wind rushing around them is finally heard. He can also see what his powers left behind. Or rather what he made sure to decimate entirely, so that nothing remained.

And there is nothing to be seen. Only a flat expanse of a frosty mountain top that runs for at least a few dozen yards before dropping off to a steep deadly end. The world is a brightening deep blue, telling of the early hours of morning. He can see the spiked tips of dozens of mounts for as far as the eye can see and even downward running through them a frozen river, winding between them, reflecting the stars and the nearly full moon up above.

Veronica is miraculously unscathed even in his hopes, although scant, that she had perished in his brief explosion of rage that she dared to attack his lover while he was fully conscious and knowing of what was going on. Oh, he wants her dead at his feet, a pool of blood soaking into his boots as he stares down at her impassively, but for her to be snuffed out so quickly would have been too easy. Too kind for what she has done. No she deserves what he can do to her when he actually tries.

And from the way she tumbles to her knees after her Perfect Cube fractures then falls apart all around her while she gasps from exertion, his full effort will crush the poor half breed.

But he has someone precious to consider first. Elizabeth, as she shivers weakly from the biting wind that nips at their exposed skin. He kneels and places her on the icy ground with a severe frown marring his face. She definitely fares better than he with thick leather pants and a long sleeved clinging shirt torn in places from the various attacks she took, while he only wears tattered pants and his boots. The cold doesn’t bother him as much with the heat of his black flames still curling beneath his chest, but she has no such luxuries.

His hands go to her waist, tense, as he gingerly begins to peel away the bits of her shirt torn around the wound at her side. His fingers tingle viciously, like fire crackling beneath his skin where he touches her and he struggles not to think of before, when she was over him, moving gracefully, absolute perfection. His hand shakily goes to her cheek where a deep bruise lies, then under her eye slightly swollen. He’d give anything to have her as she was before, unharmed, even if it meant his own suffering at her hands.

Leaning back slightly Meliodas raises his hands pressed together in a cross towards Elizabeth. His darkness begins to fester in the center of his palm as his power rises and his eyes gain a vibrant otherworldly illumination. Flames Cycle.” The words runs through the chilled air booming in their pressure as his enchantment takes place. Encasing her like a live blanket, flames dark and pulsing form across Elizabeth in random crosses, curling and twisting in never ending passes. Some even swirl up into the air in fading coils, breaking the cycle in a way. Fire is never one to be kept easily under control after all.

Meliodas stands from her only when he sees her beginning to rest easy and the blood oozing from her side eases out less frequently.

“Good. Now she won’t be able to interfere in our battle,” Veronica hisses out to his back as he still stares down at Elizabeth.

‘So she worked up enough energy and she still chooses to face me… not that I would have allowed her to flee anyway.’ Meliodas lets his eyes roam over his goddess, lingering intensely as he revels in her sleeping beauty for one last moment.

Then he turns, slipping into the precision and bloodthirsty relentlessness of the demon he’ll always be to the core. A cruel smile cutting across his face at the subtle change inside him and he actually barks at out lengthy laugh, almost crazed in its sound. “So this... is where you go to hole yourself up. Looks like I found the fabled abominable snowman… Too bad I plan on keeping your hide all to myself.”

A beat hardly passes before he sees something flicker in her steely gaze, then he’s moving faster than her eyes can detect, cutting through the space between them before her magic can even truly form. Behind her he appears just in time to stare over her shoulder at the fading after image of himself being pierced from behind by thousands of little lengthy needles that continue forward unhindered. Meliodas chuckles low and breathy as the night wind, startling Veronica into springing forward before swiveling out of the way of her own attack. Then she swishes her hand intricately and her thin projectiles vanish.

But Meliodas is already a step ahead of the goddess as she turns to him with a curse on her pursed lips. “You bastard! You shouldn’t have been able to detect that!”

His left arm extends out as he calls his sword and the crooked smile he gives her as he tilts his head sideways letting his bangs obscure his vision just the slightest, causes the goddess’ demeanor to fracture just faintly. “So you like cutting people up, hmmm? It is a pretty enjoyable pastime. Let me show you just how much,” His voice curls off into a menacing edge as his grip on the hilt of his sword tightens brutally. And like a match being struck fire races down the edge of his blade in thrashing waves.

He watches as Veronica’s form tenses as a harsh breeze passes by, tousling her torn black dress and short purple locks as sooty obsidian wings sprout from her back. He draws his arm in just as she surges up into the air and it’s so exciting to see how she attempts to flee! “Running now?” He calls out as he too gains wings and gives chase. The power in his sword builds rapidly as violet glows around his eyes, “I thought you wanted to see the enjoyment of your own games!” He swipes his blade as his power reaches a peak and Veronica swivels desperately to face him as her palms shoot out in front of her.

His fire rockets towards her in a seeking fashion, zeroing in so quickly she hardly has time to react. But she does as he grins wildly at the look of frantic determination that lines the downward curve of her expression. And he’s thrilled to see the way she weaves her goddess magic into a curved shield of golden light, emblazoned with an orange goddess ruin in its center. He feels it when his darkness impacts with it and watches for just a moment as she’s pushed back with its force…

Then he sucks in a chilled breath of air before he grounds out the words, “Divine Slayer,” and watches as her shield begins to crack under her palms as thousands upon thousands of little slits take form. She gives a loud yelp as her barrier fails from taking the brunt of his attack and then, oh he loves the sound she makes next when the tail end hits her. Ribbons of crimson sail through the air so silky and warm as she shrieks. It’s positively delicious seeing her skin being shredded so finely, so precisely. He almost wishes to know what she would have looked like had she taken the full force of it.

Her clothes cling to her in tatters and dripping blood as she shudders and trembles around a raw throat. He watches as Veronica fights, he can feel as the moment her strength buckles, but a few tears bleed into the crimson that decorates her face like a grotesque painting as she glowers hatefully at him. But he just tilts his head in faux aloofness, jolting in the air just the slightest when he gives his wings a slight flap. “So… do you not like this game we play? Because I sure as hell am getting such a … rush from it. Oh!” he shakes his head as his shoulders jostle just the slightest form his laugh from observing her attempts at knitting her flesh back together, but the loss of blood weakens her so that they only scab over, “And we haven't even begun yet!”

“Shut the hell up you putrid demon!” She spouts viciously under a rapidly darkening gaze. “Do you know the things I have done? The people I have killed just to get this far!?”

He has her neck in his free hand’s grasp so fast the motion to actually get to her hardly registered in his mind before the thought to have her gasping beneath his grip became too consuming. He stares into her defiant gaze even as his fingers tighten enough to open the wounds on her neck causing warm blood to spill along his hand and a pitiful sound to squeak in her throat. His expression is smooth, even if his eyes are jagged with the raging wrath swirling in their depths as he leans his face over hers casting a dark shadow across her visage. “That’s right. You prey on the weak after you break them and they can’t fight back anymore. You’ve never had to fight someone more than willing to fight back… and if you did? They were easy pickings I’m sure. Not. Like. Me.”

His hand tightens as she begins to choke, her body struggling against his as her hands claw into his arms. “You picked the wrong demon to drag into your tangled mess of madness little mongrel.”

She gives a harsh jerk even if he holds her in place for his torment and then he begins to feel her power fluctuating wildly. It’s almost dizzying trying to keep up with the way her darkness bleeds into her light almost unfathomable to his senses. His fingers falter around her neck as he tries to figure out what she’s doing, if he should just snap her neck or run the length of his blade through her. But then she takes his slip to her advantage and her hands clawing at his arms begin to grow hot. Unbearably so. Like the light of the goddesses beginning to pour into him again, eating away at his flesh like mad and he lurches from  her like she’s a corroding poison needing to be disposed of.

And she laughs, a bitter choked sound before a twisted sneer pulls at her lips as he lets his darkness run across his skin, healing the wounds she made. “You’re still a vile demon. While me… I am neither, really. And that is my cursed gift.” She announces as she begins to sway just the slightest in the air. Then his ears pick up her words as her power suddenly soars like a geyser, pushed by her relentless force. But he can’t understand her speech, so he knows it must be something of the goddess tongue. It scrapes at his ears as she cries out to the silence around them, her voice grating his insides savagely as he begins to sink towards the earth unable to stand the sound of it.

But then she comes to a crest, her words tapering off and his eyes happen to drift down to the frost bitten stones of the flat mountain top below them to see movement below the rock. He can see things writhing below, pressing upwards against the stone like random bubbles forming beneath heated sludge, motioning around just waiting to burst. And it doesn’t take long. Things, people, of all shapes and sizes explode from the earth, sending crisp stones flying like shrapnel. He studies them with a fascination he can’t understand as they all come to stand with hunched curves to their forms so unnatural to see, so inhuman.

Unsightly can’t even begin to describe these things from the way a black sticky substance dribbles from their mouths full of serrated teeth to their skin pale and practically transparent to where he can see something pulsating inside their stomachs. It’s enough for him to scrunch his face up at as he studies these beings closer, coming to a cold conclusion as they begin to howl in a terribly familiar way. These aren’t just random humanoid mutants Veronica cooked up. These are the people she killed, their souls she’s messing with even after death.

The soft side of him peeks out for the slightest of moments as he feels a twinge of sympathy for these souls that should have been left to go on after being slaughtered. And that’s when he misses the tell-tell signs of the air being cut through swiftly.

His head snaps to the side to see her, but it’s not enough time to move or counter before the sharp heel of her shoe digs into his face and his body sails downward with the force of her strike. He can taste the sharp tinge of blood as it fills his mouth and feel it as it runs along his face. He’s already hot from the abrupt spike of fury at her attacking him so easily, so when his body lands in the frigid stones forming a crater around him, he doesn’t cool down in the slightest. He only begins to boil from the heat racing through his veins at her wish to continue down this path that'll only lead to her blood being dragged out of her for as long as possible.

His single minded focus nearly causes him to forget about the hordes of zombie like beings that now surround him. That Veronica purposely sent him into. He just manages to wriggle onto his back where his wings disappeared when he hit the ground when several of them dive onto him with a swiftness of rabid hounds. His body cringes under the weight and he begins to put up a fight, expecting to feel their hands gripping him ferociously.

“Fuck!” he curses hotly when instead of feeling fingers curl into his skin he feels razor-edged claws penetrate him directly. His fist flies up instinctively connecting savagely with the side of one of their heads as he begins to push up, feeling too much blood already spilling out against his skin with every excruciating dig into his form. It’s as if they’re trying to get to his insides as quickly and crudely as possible. But unfortunately for them he won't be their meal this day.

He hears the one he hit neck snap just as he opens his mouth to let out a loud echoing cry filled with the fumes of his wrath. His power flares out wildly as it begins to push everything back, sending the beings tumbling back in awkward and unnatural twists as more and more of their bones snap and crumble. His expression is now livid as he lifts himself to stand, his mouth drawn down as he bares his teeth in a feral snarl and his eyes narrow as his eyebrows pull down low. He looks up ready to strike down Veronica just when he feels something begin to prick in the back of his mind.

It’s something he’s been monitoring the whole time, noting any changes. Well there’s definitely something happening now as he swivels around still absolutely trembling with barely restrained anger to see what’s happening with Elizabeth. His enchantment has held true the entire time and from the look of a few scorched places around her, it seems some of the creatures attempted to reach her while she was unconscious, obviously ignoring the flames that surrounded her.

But she’s… He feels himself stiffen as he sees her fully awake and sitting up, completely unaffected by the flames that still travel around her waist and legs like a blanket pooled at her waist. Her eyes are wide as she stares confused and then horrified at the creatures that begin to take notice of her less protected form. “She’s awake,” The words tumble past his lips in a puff of chilled smoke as his thoughts begin to speed too fast in his mind to acknowledge properly.

Even in his distracted state, his power running wild as he stares in uncertainty at his goddess, he manages to hear it this time. The disturbance of air as something hisses through it. His expression closes off as he thrusts his body diagonally out of the attack’s range, but a sudden searing up his arm, white hot and blinding in pain has him tumbling gracelessly out of the air as he curses hoarsely. He sees the blood spouting from his missing limb before it truly registers that he hadn’t dodged completely.

His body impacts with the ground again just as roughly as he looks for his arm, knowing he needs to retrieve it before something happens to it. That bitch would probably steal it and deliberately feed it to her hounds.

Meliodas!!”  The sound of his name being cried shrilly in concern is like an electric shock and he almost turns to her, almost loses concentration in the heat of battle.

So he almost misses the cackle Veronica gives as her energy becomes centered. His head whips around to see her attack of swirling black flames heading straight for his prone limb. “Damn it!!” He growls viciously in his throat as he begins to sprint, trying to make it ahead of the flames as he once again calls for his sword. His boots dig into the ground, skidding as he only just makes it, the heat of the dark magic biting into his flesh, searing his skin and singing his hair as he holds his blade up horizontally and his natural ability kicks into play. The flames repel inches from making contact with his form, the roar of the heated winds nearly drowning out his hearing as he stares into the curling violet that mixes into the deadly inferno.

When he can breathe nice, nipping air again as the attack flies back in the opposite direction, he lets his own darkness center at the base of his missing arm and black tendrils shoot out latching onto his limb, snapping it back into place. He clenches the first of his returned arm and looks up into the sky where Veronica was last, not expecting her to stay to receive her attack back… As the howls of the creatures begin to press in on him once more, something having guided them to him again after he repelled them a good distance, things begin to click in his mind the moment he whirls around with a franticness that begins to claw up his throat.

Veronica knows what he can do. She had to because she’s been spying on he and Elizabeth for much too long know, so she knew he could repel that. She tricked him. Cut of his limb as a distraction and now…

“You are what hurts him!!” He hears the murderous cry of Veronica just as she tackles Elizabeth who can’t counter the weight of them both. It’s almost like watching his worst nightmare amped up to the levels of purgatory in torment as they both tip over the edge of the mountain top, with the sword Elizabeth was holding slipping out of her grasp.

“ELIZABETH!!” He doesn’t even recognize his voice it’s so torn and wrought with hysteria as he all but jets in their direction determined to save her—

A large clawed hand scoops him up before he can even make two steps and it’s everything in him not to howl in anguish. One of the few giants Veronica brought back has him in a hold and it’s attempting to squeeze the life out of him as he squirms, getting more frantic as the seconds tick off in his head. It’s not even three before flames erupt along his skin as his eyes stay trained on the spot where she last was, images of her body broken and bloody flashing in his mind like haunting memories. The giant’s hand begins to disintegrate around him, breaking apart like black specks of parchment when caught aflame and the thing screeches like nails across metal. But he doesn’t give a shit as he takes off running the moment he hits the ground. He dives off the edge of the mountain uncaring of his life at all so long as he can get to her and save her from the insanity that is Veronica.

Only a few seconds have passed, but they’re much farther than he would like and keeping his limbs tight to his body so that he can cut through the air more swiftly isn’t doing much. His hearts are straining in his chest as he tries not to let the alarm inside him take over at seeing the jagged peaks beneath them growing closer. But a desperate shout manages to slip out regardless as he watches Elizabeth and Veronica trade blows in the air. “Let her fucking go damn it!!”

They act as if they don’t hear and his hand pulls up at his side already swirling with dark flames, but… He trembles as the harsh biting wind pushes against him, stealing his breath away with its frigidness. He can’t send an attack like this. He might hit Elizabeth. But they’re getting too close! Either way she might end up hurt or dead. And he could never go on after that.

It’s a second’s hesitation, but just enough to see Elizabeth get a firm grip on Veronica’s wrists. Then he senses something from her, raw and volatile, he’s never quite felt before as her hands begin to glow an opaque golden hue that glimmers so innocently. The light then starts to encircle Veronica’s lower arms. He doesn’t even have a chance to blink before Veronica’s arms, her skin, muscles and a good bit of her bones, are completely incinerated leaving the goddess to choke on her screams as she tumbles away from Elizabeth.

Meliodas is completely blown at the spectacle, having never seen Elizabeth physically harm someone before. However the thought is dismissed from his mind as he sees his goddess turn in the air as her wings sprout from between her shoulders guiding her away from the jagged spikes just in time. He wants to feel relieved, but he can’t be, he won’t be, until he has her in his hold. Meliodas is quick to draw forth his wings as they give a strong beat surging him forward in the direction she’s flying like a speeding arrow. The goddess squeals as he surrounds his arms around her forcing her to disperse the magic used to keep her wings present. Then he’s turning her in his hold, having already lost himself to his erratic need for her.

His arm wrap snuggly around her waist while his other hand tangles in the silky strands of her silver hair as he holds her face to his and kisses her. He’s so jittery and tight with nerves as his arms tremble around her and his lips glide against her soft, warm ones. But he can’t stop the way his hearts race as her familiar warmth settles into his arms or the way her arms and legs wrap around him perfectly as she returns his kisses with a gentle, soothing passion. The sigh she gives as he tastes her sweet calming mouth sinks deep and steadily down his throat easing out his tension in a way only she can.

He pulls back to rest his head against hers when the knowledge that she’s safe finally sinks into him. He opens his eyes to gaze into her serene blues as he pours out his pleas in a rough tone for only her to hear. Only she should hear him this desperate, this vulnerable. Only her. “Don’t scare me like that. Don’t do it. Please…” Begging is not his strong suit, but he just can’t lose her… And the fact that she seems so content in his arms right now is beginning to ring as odd to him. Especially after she said all of those things. Did all of those things to him…

But he feels her fingers run through his hair in a tender caress as her gaze softens unbelievable in a way that causes him to swallow—has she always been so beautiful?—and she gives him a loving smile as her bangs sway across her eyes. “I’m sorry, Meliodas.”

He wants to think that she’s apologizing for scaring him, but a tender, curled up place inside of him, wounded and aching, wonders if maybe she’s apologizing for using and hurting him. Is she sorry for telling him after he’d made love to her to leave him and never return? Is she referring to the things she said to him when she’d confronted him about Gelda? His mind swims in memories as his eyes faintly gain a hollow feel to them. Is she finally apologizing about any of the wrongs she’s done to him? This goddess changed him, for the supposed better, made him want her—and he still does with the force of a dying star—But the pull is almost too great. Should he want her this much when she can do so much to him? Should he try and distance himself if she can do this to him, make him so damn weak? He closes his eyes as anger begins to irrationally stir. She did this to him. Made him this way. Hurt him, left him to die, made him love her regardless...

His fingers spasm within her hair as his teeth clench almost too tight. Elizabeth’s gazing at him as if she’d rather be nowhere else in all of Britannia but there in his arms. He can hardly swallow past the idea, his denial is so great. She had sent him away. Said she didn’t love him, that she didn’t want him. She told him he was a monster and that she would never accept him. The anger starts to fade, shift, change and suddenly the vicious turmoil allows him to think. ...Was that really her? It had looked like her, smelt like her, felt like her, and damn sure tasted like her. But would she really have said that? As he gazes at her now she looks as absolutely love struck as he feels and that simply wouldn’t be the case if she had told him all she had before and done the things she had to him as well.

Could Veronica have done something? Made something to trick him into giving up and giving in? That witch is full of malicious trickery so it’s right up her alley, but can he really just go with that and move on?

His eyes drift closed then he feels her fingers squeeze lightly into his shoulder in questioning. “Elizabeth…” He asks in a voice just barely above the wind. “Did you come and see me earlier… to tell me something?”

“What?” She pushes her head back as they hover in the air by the steady beats of his wings and gazes into his face with intensity. “I don’t know what you mean? I came to find you, yes.”

He shakes his head and runs his hand through her hair, again and again, trying to calm down the sick churning in his insides. “When did you get to me?” He asks specifically.

Her eyebrows furrow as she studies him curiously. “I went to Queen Margaret for a locator spell… It took me right to the inside of Veronica’s little hide out and I saw you… Full of tubes and hurt,” She trails off in a saddened tone as her hand reaches up to cup the side of his face, then gently slide down his neck to rest on his bare shoulder once more.

So it wasn’t her. She didn’t do anything wrong. He opens his mouth to say something but no words come out as he tries to understand what he should do. Should he tell her what Veronica did to him? How she played him so easily like a weak fool helplessly in love? Should he say that he’s a willing slave to her, his mate? That he’d do anything to make her happy, anything at all. That he had let her crush his very spirit and use his body just because she wanted to? And those scars will stay with him to his last breath, always, always making him wonder if he’s good enough for her when he knows he’s not. And if she’ll one day choose to leave him just as broken as he was on that table before?

“Meliodas? Is something wrong?” She voices in a sweet tone that he adores so much and it’s clear to the demon he will not speak a word of it. He will not let her bear his pain. She is his to protect, to take care of and keep happy and this will surely destroy her. He knows it will. He squeezes his eyes closed as he presses a lingering kiss to Elizabeth’s forehead to hide the way his body shudders in remembrance. There is no way he’ll ever be able to forget what happened in that lair. Elizabeth essentially broke his heart and forced him to experience a passionate moment with her as if to rub it all in. And if that wasn’t truly her? It won’t make a difference because he’ll never be able to remove the worst moments of his life from his soul. That wound will never fully heal. So he pushes it down and locks it away, hoping to keep it as far away from his angel as possible.

Instead he kisses her nose fleetingly as she gives a light tinkling giggle, then he rests his forehead against hers again so that he can stare deeply into her gaze. This is his second chance and he’s not going to waste it. Meliodas exhales shakily as he attempts a tiny curve of his lips, before dropping it all together when his nerves prove to be too much. “I love you, Elizabeth.”

He watches with baited breath as Elizabeth’s cheeks gain a deep dusting of cherry red as she smiles breathtakingly. She leans up to nuzzle him most likely feeling the way he trembles just the slightest in having finally let her in on the very tip of his devotion towards her.  “I know, my demon,” she tells him in a voice full of elation and he pulls her closer, “I love you, too. And I always will, Meliodas.”

“Even if there’s a vile, vicious, wrathful monster inside of me?” he presses as he buries his head in her silver locks breathing her in and filling the swell of love for her in his chest grow impossibly stronger.

He feels her lips brush the side of his neck. “I love you for you. Always.”

His emotions well up and he pulls her head towards his again, ready to let them run free as his mouth meets her lips readily. His blood seems to sing in bliss as he kisses her slowly, sweetly, savoring the feel of her lips so perfectly meshed against his. He shivers at the way her button nose brushes against his as he shifts his mouth against her. He memorizes the way she sighs dreamily as he runs his tongue across the smooth expanse of her lips before sucking her bottom lip into his mouth. He loves how she moans so softly, the sound as sweet like delicate candy as he nips her flesh gently. He leans into her again as he breathes shakily, showing her his passion, letting her feel his burning love that stays strong and burns bright and steadily like an infinite flame in the way he kisses her until she shudders in his arms, weak with breathless sounds of pleasure. He holds her in his arms as he loses himself to her, to his love for her all over again.

When he feels her growing weary from lack of air her lips plump from being kissed swollen he pulls away from her reluctantly, but keeps his hold on her just as tight. Their hearts beat erratically against their chests and he marvels not for the first time how her body feels pressed so snuggly against his, her chest squished against his as their foreheads rest against each other. He opens his eyes slightly and gazes at her from under a hooded gaze, feeling his blood rushing with a heated passion just beneath his skin. Seeing her so flustered from his kiss full of his adoration just makes him want to do more. He want to show her so much more. And he tilts his head leaning towards her once more intending to do just that, but she lets out a set of delighted giggles as she slips out of his arms and pushes her wings outward to keep her in the air. Her cheeks are flushed with both the bite of the wind and the happiness they both share. “No time for that, my love, no matter how much I wish to stay in your hold. We still have Veronica to take care of.”

He stares at her mesmerized by the way she seems to glow all the more brighter in the lightening sky of morning. She called him “my love”, so openly, so freely as if she was meant to utter such an endearing term to him. He feels the beats in his chest stutter as a heat begins to rise to his cheeks. He’s too stunned to even condemn himself for allowing a blush to color his cheeks.

With a forceful exhale he manages to look away, down at the sparkling frozen river below them as her full words begin to register in his mind. That helps him rein everything in check as his voice gains a hard edge. “I’ll take care of Veronica. You won’t have to shed anymore blood.”

“But Meliodas, there’s another way to end this that doesn’t involve killing.”

Her voice is stern and draws his eyes back to her frowning expression. “I will not spare her for what she’s done,” He tells her in a tight voice.

“This will be her suffering!” Elizabeth declares just as heatedly and determinedly. “We will make her into the lowest form upon the lands of Britannia, Meliodas! What do you think she’ll be without her powers? Nothing.

He draws up short at her words and stares at her in surprise. Making a divinity into a mortal with nothing left of her previous form? Only few know how to strip others of their magic in such a way and it looks as if he and Elizabeth both share that knowledge. Is it a good move? Not one he would go with, but it will make the woman pathetic and weak and completely out of his hair.  But still… “This’ll be something we need to do—”

“Together.” She finishes with a twinkle in her eyes.

He gives her a wide smirk. “Right because of her heritage.” Something rises in his mind as he thinks about the mixed goddess. And he begins to open his mouth to ask her about the power she used to so gruesomely destroy Veronica’s limbs in such a way.

But then Elizabeth’s screaming as she stares at something behind his back with wide horrified eyes. His instincts surge up at seeing her so frightened and he starts to turn in the air just as Elizabeth tries to dart forward to reach whatever it is surely headed his way. Two arms wrap around his torso, encircling his arms as well and forcing his wings to painfully fold inward from behind.

 

 

Chapter Text

~34~

-Together-

He knows it’s Veronica without even having to look. He doesn't know why Elizabeth is so horrified however as he can easily break free of—

His throat suddenly locks as his pupils dilate at the sensory overload that abruptly washes through him like an electric tsunami and his power all but fizzles out as his wings fade away leaving Veronica to keep the two airborne. He tries to cry out, to scream and thrash but he feels frozen, locked in place against the burning acid like feel of pure light being shoved into his chest so strongly. When his throat does managed to open up it’s to allow vicious hacks to come forth. Blood sprays forward from his mouth like speckled rain.

He feels so dizzy as he tries to keep his vision from swimming so much. The pain is like cresting waves that get stronger and stronger with each pulse. It feels so torturous just like when Elizabeth slashed him so long ago and nearly killed him by mistake, but this, this is much slower. And he’s sure it’s because of Veronica’s doing. She wants him to suffer and the crazed breathy laughter she gives in his ear as Elizabeth trembles before him mere feet away assures him of this.

“You don’t take too well to our light do you demon! Haha!”

Let him go!” Elizabeth demands in a voice close to breaking.

Meliodas goes through a wave of tremors and it's a surprise Veronica manages to hold onto him as his power fluctuates wildly, getting weaker.  He’ll die if she doesn't let up soon. He can feel his hearts beginning to weaken drastically already as the light eats away at him. He has the sick feeling that nothing will make Veronica stop though and his slice of happiness with Elizabeth was just taken from him all over again.

“Are you serious? His death will crush you! And I’ll do anything to take both of you down.” Her fingers covered in shrouds of darkness still mending from the attack Elizabeth dealt her curl into his skin, digging into his flesh. “It was just you I wanted to take out at first Elizabeth. Everyone loves you. The perfect goddess. When I was there, too! Just a powerful with just as much potential! But I couldn't show it simply because I’m a half breed! Do you know how wrong that is!?” Her voice cracks in the air numbing his hears as he gasps for breath, choking on the blood that begins to come more frequently up his throat. “Do you know how wrong it is to not be loved simply because there’s a darkness inside of you?”

Elizabeth inhales sharply as tears begin to well in her eyes and he stares at her through tired eyes as she gazes pleading into his face, begging him not to die. “I’m sorry, Veronica. So sorry for everything you’ve been through, but please don’t—”

“Fuck your pathetic sympathy! This demon here has done nothing but cause me trouble since the moment he walked through those gates! I don’t care what you say, he dies here today and you will be next,” Veronica promises in a calm bitter tone that causes his blood to frost over.

He has to do something, now or…

Her power just runs so deeply within him now. It’s nearly overwhelming in its presence. His fingers twitch uselessly at his sides as his eyes begin to slip closed. He hears Elizabeth give a despairing cry, but he can’t do anything about it at the moment as he finally figures out what he can do. His power is almost gone, so very little of it remains as he begins to drift closer to oblivion, but he fights that conclusion with the relentlessness he’s known for and uses what he has left to latch onto Veronica’s power so deep inside him and uses it as a way to reach her, to connect with her essence.

He feels her body jolt when she notices and she demands tersely, “What are you doing?” But he does not, cannot, respond as he begins to perform the intricate spell with everything left that he has, pushing his power into her and allowing it to absorb whatever darkness he encounters with a ruthless hunger his dying system needs. Now she’s the one who begins to thrash as his breathing begins to even out just the slightest. And in her frightened alarm the power she was pouring cruelly inside of him begins to falter, but he continues in his task to bleed her dry of her darkness, hoping that Elizabeth will too catch on.

“No!! What are you doing to me!?” Veronica shrills as she moves to unwrap her arms, but he reaches his hands up to keep her in place, his strength beginning to return to him easier now that her light begins to recede from him.

He opens his eyes in time to see Elizabeth’s narrow in determination, her eyelashes thick with the remains of her glimmering tears. But she holds her hands out towards Veronica and soon he feels her light brushing past him to seep into the goddess behind him. He holds her steady as she begins to scream obscenities, then blubber out pleas as her form begins to weaken more and more as they take her powers together. He shifts Veronica into his hold when she loses her ability to fly so that he can keep a tight hold on her while his wings return to keep them airborne.

Just when the last vestiges of power become apparent in Veronica, Meliodas locks his gaze with Elizabeth and they perform the last part of the spell needed to fully render her into a powerless human.

“Of might you once were, of might you are no more.
Give up your power, just as you’ve given up your moral.”

It’s instant how her form no longer retains a glow and how it’s almost impossible to detect her presence as she becomes as significant in strength to that of an ant in his book. Veronica sobs piteously as he holds her under his arm like a sack of potatoes and it's a debate whether or not he should just drop the human and let her meet her fate from the fatal drop.

But then his goddess speeds into his free side, her wings folding inward as he essentially holds both woman up in the air solo. Her arms wrap around his neck as she kisses his face over and over and her warm power swirls around him soothingly as she seeks any wounds left on him to heal. “It’s over. It’s over. We did it, Meliodas.”

He turns his head in time to catch one of her brief kisses , then returns a few of his own as she sighs blissfully against him. “What should we do with her?” He considers idly as he spares Veronica a sparing glance to see her passed out probably from the exertion of having her powers so forcefully removed from her. “Would she even be able to stand on the clouds of the goddess realm if we take her to be dealt with there? With all the shit she’s done I’m pretty sure she’ll end up in my realm…”

Elizabeth nudges him playfully with her elbow as she gives him a disbelieving shake of her head. “You can stand on the clouds there!”

“Technically I’m of a higher state of being…” He gives her a sideways grin.

“Oh shut up, demon, and lets go! I’m sure she’ll just be sentenced to spend the rest of her days on land before she’s taken care of after she dies anyway.” Elizabeth tells him matter of factly as she takes his hand and begins to fly up towards the skyline, the sun beginning to make itself known after all this time.

“Oh, really? Is that what you would declare, next great leader?”

She looks over her shoulder as the wind tousles her hair about her face. The sun gives her a radiant halo that sets her skin aglow in a pale flame that leaves him breathless and he’s simply lost to her shy beauty. Then she smiles sweetly and he feels himself beginning to blush once more. “As a matter of fact I would.”

He breathes shakily while shifting his gaze downward, aware of the heat that burns within his cheeks. He squeezes her hand in his and manages to tell her in a quiet yet sure tone. “Then I trust your judgement.” And he always will. He will never doubt her again.

~.~.~

The rough stones of the highest tower dig into the skin of his palms that clutch the edge he sits on. The demonic castle, well, his demonic castle stretches beneath him as he stares out at the lands for as far as he can see until they bleed into the bright skyline when he can see no more. It’s a familiar sensation as the wind tousles his blond locks pressed against his head underneath the heavy crown he wears. He remembers sitting up here so long ago all too well planning out how he’d run these lands with a bloodthirsty kind of glory.

Meliodas smirks as he gazes with a devious gleam reflecting in his dark eyes. He’s quite positive things have been going well these past three months as King. Demons travel out to Britannia and wreak havoc on the pitiful weaklings they encounter. They feast on souls, leave villages pilfered and scattered with bloody remains, and with the help of his brothers Zeldris and Estarossa, he gains new numbers steadily. But there’s also the pesky little fact that as King he has to keep up with every single little thing. He has to make sure things don’t get too out of hand. There is a treaty still to live up to and he’d hate to bring about the wrath of his mate if his demons started running amuck a bit too wildly.

Meliodas reaches a hand up to lift the gold crown encrusted with jewels the color of fresh blood from off of his head in order to gaze at it in recollection. The day he received this was one to remember, only happening a little over a week after the fiasco with Veronica. Both he and Elizabeth had their ceremonies for their ascension to their respective thrones. And while the timing was tight, he’d managed to attend her ceremony during the day and became so swept up in the buzzing emotions that still makes him dizzy at times just from a simple smile of hers, he felt he wasn’t nearly fast enough in bringing her back to his room so that he could slowly, meticulously, wholeheartedly show her a different side of him, of them. Simply of what he hopes he can give her from now on.

Of course his ceremony happened under the chilling streams of luminance of the blood moon. Finally, attaining his title had been a sheer thrill that only got better when Elizabeth joined the celebrations soon after.

That’s about when the atmosphere shifted however.

Peace is a foreign word to demons. Hell, what’s happening between the demons and goddesses is balancing on fractured ice. Just one wrong move and things are bound to go to shit exceedingly fast.

Elizabeth wasn’t welcome by anyone but Zeldris, Gelda, and himself. His goddess had stood firm at his side nonetheless. The thousands of murderous eyes, plumes of bitterly whispered words, and the simple fact that the only reason they hadn’t attacked was because he was beside her neither shook her or got under her skin.

Meliodas had been seconds from making examples out of his people.

“It doesn’t matter, Meliodas.” He can still feel the strength in her grasp around his hand, the intensity of her eyes through the fringe of her bangs. “We’ll get through whatever stands in our way. Together, remember?”

“Yeah… Together,” he finds himself murmuring in a low resonance, letting the words be carried away by the passing wind. His mind drags itself back to the present reminding him of what today holds. He plans on seeing her today with a surprise he had been planning for a while now.

Meliodas stands from his perch atop of his demonic castle just as the presence of Zeldris lands not too far behind him. Meliodas turns to face him head on with a curious eyebrow raise. “Don’t you have baby Zaneta to look after?”

Zeldris gazes to the side with a slight grin in thinking of his wee bit daughter before giving him a sideways glance. “She’s fine for the moment. Where are you going? You still have a few regulations to look over, you know.”

Now Meliodas smirks. “That I do, but I plan to leave it for the morning. I need to see Elizabeth now.”

“She still a bit off lately?”

Meliodas is the one to turn away now as his mind once again drifts to a feeling he’s been having lately around the goddess. “...Yeah.”

“Go see her then.” Zeldris says with a shrug before he extends out his hand and Meliodas knows what he’s asking for. He tosses Zeldris his crown to which his brother catches easily. Then the younger turns and hops over the ledge, swiftly disappearing out of sight.

Meliodas takes that as his cue to use his darkness to take him to Britannia and the planned place he and Elizabeth agreed to meet. He made sure to tell her to meet him in the thicket of the woods right where they first met as that’s where his surprise for her lies. He’s just a bit edgy in waiting though, wondering how she’ll take what he has in store for her. He’d put a lot of thought into this, debating in his mind if he was being too rash—which of course he was. When was he ever not?—and questioning if he could handle this bizarre idea, especially after what happened back in Veronica’s lair.

The reminder causes a ghost of a chill to brush across his skin as his eyes dim and his mind feels weighed. Though he’s not told a soul of what happened there besides the obvious, he still sometimes drifts to the Elizabeth that tormented him so ruthlessly. Her words hit every vulnerability he hadn’t realized he’d had. And the demon finds himself awake some nights simply watching Elizabeth sleep with pangs racing through his chest, hoping and praying that one day she won’t wise up and realize that she can do better, that he’s not worth it, not matter how much it’d kill him inside and out to lose her.

A wry grin spreads across his face as he allows himself to tilt his head up and towards the sky. “I never used to worry so much. Only Elizabeth could effect me so thoroughly.”

“Meliodas!” The abrupt cry of joy is preceded by her body slamming into his as she wraps her form around his, arms and legs and all.

He curses in surprise as they fall back and he makes sure to take the brunt of it as they crash into the grassy ground with her laying completely on top of him. Of course he loses all the air in his chest, but it’s instantly replenished when he inhales deeply. And oh goddesses, her scent hits him so forcefully he practically goes numb in contentment.

“Meliodas?” She kisses his nose sweetly as she gazes down at him with wide concerned eyes that blink at the dazed way he stares at her. “Are you okay? I didn’t mean to knock you down…”

The honeyed touch to her tone is enough to snatch back his focus. His hands move to the curve of her hips just as a glimpse of his teeth reveal themselves in his impish grin. “No need to apologize… If you wanted me so badly all you had to do was ask.”

Her lips purse in her indignation, but he can tell from the way red begins to heat her ears she’s not as opposed as she makes out to be. “Still the same as ever.”

Gaining momentum from her words he sits them up forcing her squarely in his lap. His nose brushes the tip of hers and he swears the endless array of blue of her eyes pulls him in more entirely than a whirlpool. “Yeah, I’m irresistible, right, Elizabeth?”

She may laugh outright, but he still gets the pleasure of her lips against his, the molten feel of something passing between them everytime they so much as look at one another. He finds his feet once more, keeping Elizabeth in his arms as he stands, and smiling as their kiss abruptly ends when she pulls back with a slight yelp. He’s going ahead with his plans. Nothing’s made him more certain of anything than the woman in his arms.

“Meliodas!” She squirms in his hold causing his hands to tighten on her bottom as he trucks ahead determinedly. “I can walk you know! Can you even see where you’re going?”

He blinks as he comes to a stop, then allows her legs to slide from around his waist in order for her to stand. “You’re right.” He takes her hand in his and continues to guide them through the rough path of the forest. The winding trees and prickly bushes up ahead help take his mind off the perfect view of her breasts. “You can. Besides, I want you to be able to see what I have in store for you.”

“I am curious,” she muses lightly in a way that he knows she’s placing a finger to her chin without even having to glance her way. “What could be so special that you made me push all of my work to tomorrow?”

He walks them around a tree, the official entrance of sorts to a short spreading of soft plush grass. Layered atop of that is the occasional dandelion who’s fluff disperses through the air, floating gently like whispered dreams. A path smoothly bridges its way down the middle leading right up to…

Elizabeth sucks in a shaky breath as her hands move to cover her mouth unsteadily. Meliodas feels himself smile tenderly while smoothing his hand against the small of her back as they both gaze at the two story wooden home that seems so naturally nestled in the thick of the forest.

The loud wet sniffle beside him pulls his eyes up towards Elizabeth’s glowing visage. She seems completely mystified as she uses the back of her hands to wipe away the gathering tears upon her cheeks. “Meliodas, this is… What...?”

In answer he collects one of her hands in a delicate grasp and kisses the back of it uncaring of the salty moisture that spreads across his lips because of it. “Britannia is even ground for us and here we don’t have to worry about too many prying eyes.” He looks up at her from over his place bowed of her hand, simply loving the adoring look she bestows him with her shaky smile. “Come on. Let me show you around.”

Up the three steps leading to the porch, Meliodas pauses for effect only to twist the ornate knob so that the front door can swing open. He gives Elizabeth a slight eyebrow raise in invitation. She should go in first. He’s been in more times than he can count, making sure everything would be ready for this moment.

She steps over the threshold and into the living room, dusted in soft beams of afternoon sunshine. The Demon King lets the front door shut behind him with his back pressed against it as his eyes stay glued to Elizabeth. He never takes his eyes off of her as she wanders around slowly as if drifting through a dream. Her hands lightly brush across the texture of furniture, flit atop the leaves of potted plants, and curl around the curtains, pulling them open wider so that sunlight can glance off of everything in sight as if to make it all seem real.

She never stops moving, and she never loses the watery smile upon her face or the look of pure wonder in her eyes. Now from the cook room he hears her voice filter out breathlessly. “I can’t believe you did this.”

He meets her halfway filling his arms with her figure as they kiss in rushed consuming swell of passion. “You have no idea of what I’d do for you,” he tells her roughly against her parted lips.

“Then show me,” she breathes hot and low for only him to hear, only for him to take. Show her here in their house, in their home, his promise through actions. He shivers and lets out a breath as if winded by the prospect. No matter how many times they’ve been down this path it always feels like he’s rushing headfirst through forbidden territory. Absolutely thrilling and entirely exhilarating. But...  

“I would, but there’s still something I want to show you.”

He smirks before pecking her pouty lips. With her hand in his he tugs her gently up the stairs with a slight creak at the top, making sure to show her the first room to the right entirely furnished with a connected washroom while pointedly ignoring Elizabeth’s attempts to drag him to the bed with more than enough space for them. Further down the hall on the left is another washroom which peeks Elizabeth’s curiosity. Meliodas hides a smile when they reach the final room at the end of the hall on the right.

Elizabeth decides to open the door this time almost tentatively. Then, “...It’s empty.”

His squeeze around her hand encourages her to follow him into the room where he guides them into sitting against the wall. “This is what I wanted to show you the most.”

She gives him a sideways look. “An empty room?”

He smiles as if he knows something she doesn’t. Meliodas spreads his legs enough for her to sit between then pats the floor. “Come on.”

She rolls her eyes despite the smile on her face and makes the move gracing him with her warmth and weight as she leans back against him. When his hands curl atop of her stomach his head coming to rest on her shoulder, she teasingly questions, “Are you sure you can even handle me? You didn’t act like it earlier.”

He bumps his foot against her leg lightly. “You know damn well I can handle you just fine, goddess.” They share a laugh as he nuzzles into her neck. He gives her a nip there chastising her to which she whines at. “Now, shush, you’re ruining the moment.” He feels the vibrations of her laughter as she does the complete opposite, not that he minds. These light moments with her are some he’s come to realize he lives for. He wouldn’t give them up for any amount of power or influence in the world.

She eventually calms down and slips her hands atop his, linking their fingers. Just the motion causes his breathing to stutter on its way out and he decides. It’s time. “Elizabeth… What do you picture when you look in this room?”

“Well… I suppose this could be a study? We can easily bring any work we have to look over here if we have to. There’s more than enough room for both of us to have work space.” Simple, practical, and wholly plausible. A reasonable answer from the Queen of the goddesses.

Well, who but the King of Demons is to offer a response worth of shaking things up? “When I look into this room, I see… a little of you and a little of me growing here and flourishing.” Elizabeth freezes in his hold with a tiny gasp that sets his hearts off tempo, but he keeps going, even lifting a hand to point out the little things that he hopes she begins to see with him. “A little bed right there, a tiny chest of drawers right here, and a chair right over there so we can rock them to sleep.”

There’s a hesitant pause as she breathes slowly. “Meliodas?”

He puts his nose to her neck as his hand moves back to its previous place atop her stomach. “Did I ever tell you how sweet you smell lately? It’s like the thick syrupy sweetness that clung to Gelda when I got her from her cell that night.”

The full bodied jolt the runs through Elizabeth tells him she knows. He expects a whole lot of things of this moment. What he gets is an elbow in the gut as his mate throws out playfully, “You jerk! That’s why you’ve been avoiding fighting me lately! You knew this whole time!” She twists around knocking away his hand that rubs at his smarting stomach so that she can fling herself against him instead. He’s sure the elation that spreads her smile and lights her eyes is reflected in the grin he wears while holding her tight.

“A baby, Meliodas. We’re having one! I can’t believe it.” A steady dripping of tears begins to land upon his neck and he holds her closer suddenly overcome with emotion in this room full of possibilities.

“Believe it.”

She sniffs and curls against him tighter. “Tell me everything is going to be fine.”

His chest feels punctured seven times over. “I…” He has to steady himself as he prepares his next words. “I’ll never stop loving you. I’ll do everything I can to protect you. I’ll do whatever I can to keep our family safe, Elizabeth.” He wants to tell her everything will be fine, but he couldn’t live with himself if he broke a promise to her.

She says nothing, simply allowing him to cradle her and shoulder her tears. His life and love, the future ahead of him, all of it are going to be one hell of a journey. It’s not going to be easy. Far from it, with their new one joining the midst. But… When has he ever done things the easy way? As long as he and Elizabeth are together, he could care less what life decides to throw at him.

Let hell rain down.