Actions

Work Header

What We Can’t See

Chapter Text

Nate tightened his grip on his scythe, something was not right here, something was most certainly wrong. He couldn't explain what it was, at least not with words, but something about these "werewolves" was wrong. They looked normal, but their demeanor was certainly off.

Go with your gut Nathan, try to see beyond what is actually in front of you, dig deeper. What is being told to you, or what you first assume, may be wrong.

Nate didn't have much time to think, Sean needed to get out and these "werewolves" were preventing that. The obvious answer was to kill them and then get Sean to a hospital. Nate knew that's what he should do, he had his weapons out while the others were trying to stabilize Sean. The right answer should be blatant, but it wasn’t, at least not to him.

"I know this is going to sound strange, but you're going to have to trust me! Felix, don't kill the werewolves, simply knock them down with a swift punch or a kick! You'll see why later! I'm heading to the woods, stabilize Sean as soon as you can!" With that Nate ran into the dense woods, following his instinct, he knew he was doing the right thing, well, he hoped he was anyway.                                  

You're learning. Now, close your eyes, focus on where that strange presence was coming from. You can do this. I believe in you.

Nate did as he was told, he didn’t have a choice, he had no idea who was talking to him, but he had to trust him. Was it a him? The voice sounded deep like one, but he couldn’t assume anything as he just popped into his head after the accident. He closed his eyes and let his feet guide him to the presence. It wasn't difficult to focus on; it was strong and messily hidden. It wasn’t long until the presence felt as if it was under him. He opened his eyes to see a small machine generating some sort of magical energy. He made quick work of it, cutting it in two with his scythe. It was easily destroyed, which was odd considering how powerful he assumed it was. He ignored it and ran back quickly to the clearing, hoping Sean was in a somewhat stable condition. Sean was a good friend and he couldn’t bear to see him die. 

When Nate got back, he saw Sean on the ground with a jacket wrapped around the missing eye. He seemed paler than normal, but he looked to be somewhat stable. His clothes seemed torn, but not too bad. The shirt was noticeably tattered and dirty, the grey being dusted with brown and slight rips. The jeans only seemed slightly dirty. He probably wasn't hurt too badly beyond his missing eye which was a relief. Nate had run into the situation blind; when a scream was heard Felix and himself had run over to help. Nate let out a sigh of relief, walking closer to where everyone was gathered. Mark was making sure that Sean was okay, fretting over his boyfriend like there was no tomorrow. Matt, his own boyfriend, was checking his pulse and telling Mark how to make sure Sean was stable, he was the most knowledgeable in the group after all. Stephanie was examining the “werewolves” which had turned back into Normals, Nate had known something was wrong. Felix walked over to Nate, he had a look of concern and slight confusion on his face. This was going to be a fun talk.

"How did you know those Werewolves were just Normals? That was either a very lucky guess, or something else is at play.”

Go on, tell him the signs, it'll be important for later. Trust me.

"I didn’t exactly know they were Normals, I just knew something was off. They just seemed scared. While it's not uncommon for a monster to feel fear it's not when they, themselves, are attacking. A normal monster wouldn't be afraid of something it's attacking. I knew I had to act on it, it was too odd to brush off as nothing." Nate paused for a second realizing he still had his scythe out, he quickly put it back on his weapons bracelet. God, did he love how he could just shrink his weapons and not have a bulky weapon slowing him down. Gate had some pretty cool things, even if it was a mess to be there. Felix nodded, but the look he gave Nate said something else, it’s probably the fact that he took a small thing and assumed it had a larger reason. He shouldn’t do that as a Light-Keeper, he knew that, but he couldn't help it, something was wrong. Then again, Sean's life was at stake, if he was wrong it would be his fault that Sean was dead.

Don't think about it that way Nathan, what matters is that he is alive.

"We can talk more about this later, let's get Sean to the hospital, he needs medical care." Nate nodded in agreement; they had already wasted enough time standing there. Mark gathered Sean in his arms, Mark carrying him with great care as they quickly headed off to the hospital. He felt bad for the pair, neither of them deserved to have to deal with this, they had just been thrown into the situation. At least when Nate lost his arm he could go back and see every mistake he made that led up to it. Speaking of his arm, the prosthetic was working just as well as his arm had, it was reassuring to know he could still fight the same way he had before. As soon as the accident happened Nate had expected to never fight again or do anything like before. His worries were unfounded as he was very quickly gifted with a very advanced prosthetic. The only downside was having to wear a custom shirt, he wore a black long-sleeved shirt, but the left side has no sleeve.

Matt seemed to notice Nate being in deep thought and pulled him closer, putting his arm around his waist as they walked. Nate appreciated the comfort, he was in desperate need of it lately, everything had gone to hell and back. When the whole group arrived at the hospital, they saw Morgan waiting with a worried look on her face. Her pink fairy wings still fluttered, but the worry was evident enough in her face. Nate stiffened as he walked by her, the feeling of uneasiness only increased as she stared at Sean. Morgan was his superior, he should not be suspicious of her, but this feeling had a reason. What was that reason? He was still trying to figure that out.

It was her words, Nathan, she mentioned someone losing their eye this week, she knew this would happen.

Nate cautiously watched Morgan from the corner of his eye, he didn't want to confront her, not yet. Amanda quickly took Sean from Mark and went on her way quickly to help him. The whole hospital was a lot less sophisticated than a normal one, it was crude and rusty. As they waited Nate’s suspicion of her only grew. She was making small talk with Felix, asking basic questions that had no right being asked instead of the actual important shit. Sean had just lost his eye and Morgan was more worried about how Felix’s girlfriend was doing, it didn’t sit right with him. Matt watched Nate with worry as he leaned against the wall opposite to Morgan, his glare not at all hidden. Matt grabbed Nate by the wrist and pulled him into a separate room. The sudden movement caused Nate to yelp as he was pulled into the room, the door was shut swiftly behind him. Nate regained his composure and gave Matt a look of confusion.

"Did something happen between you and Morgan? You stiffened up as soon as you saw her. I know you can handle yourself, but I worry about you." Matt held Nate by both his shoulders as he asked him this, his hair was more of a mess than normal, his black shirt off-center and his brown jacket almost hanging off him. His words were rushed a bit, his eyes full of worry and shock, he hated to see the beautiful hazel eyes worried. The truth would only cause more worry, Nate had to lie, at least for now.

"Nothing happened between us. You know I get suspicious of everyone, I’m just off right now." Nate was lying to himself as well, he said it with such confidence as if it was the truth. He wanted it to be true, part of it was, he did get suspicious of everyone, but this was, unfortunately, different. He shuffled his feet, he had on his usual black combat boots, they had been a gift from Matt. He treasured them to no end. Matt had only been with him for maybe 5 months, but he already meant so much to him.

You should tell him, the truth is the truth, it won’t change if you cover your eyes and ears. Tell people you trust. Trust is always important.

Nate struggled for a second to put his thoughts together. Whoever was talking to him was right, the truth was right in front of him, Matt would only suffer if Nate didn’t tell him. “Wait, I lied, she said something, something really odd which I can't explain away." Nate looked at the wall to his right as he tried to word the rest of his thoughts. "You know how today I was practicing with Felix to see if I could use the prosthetics? When I was walking there, she was talking about how she wasn’t surprised I lost my arm because it’s crazy here. She followed it up by saying that she wouldn’t be surprised if someone lost their eye this week.” Matt took a second to register what his boyfriend had just told him, it seemed unreasonable to think that Morgan could have something to do with what happened to Sean. She was so high up, the only person who topped her in the ranks was AJ. Even if the evidence lined up, why she did it still made no sense to him.

"The evidence does seem to line up, but she's superior to us, what would her motivation even be?" Matt questioned, it wasn't really aimed towards Nate, it was more a question that he threw out. Matt’s eyes spaced out as he thought, it was a weird tick Nate had picked up on whenever Matt was on the battlefield coming up with strategies or traps.

"It could be anything, maybe she just likes the thrill. Everyone has different motives if they even have any. She could be following someone else’s lead even." Nate said every thought that came to mind, not that any were plausible, Nate really was the worst with assumptions. Everything was off to Nate, maybe she was just nervous and didn’t want to talk about it blatantly. Plus, she wasn’t wrong about Gate being hectic, the city in the woods was always buzzing with problems. Monsters didn’t exactly help anything, Normals being in danger was always a worry for anyone in Gate.

The little time they had to brainstorm was cut short by a loud crash that came from outside the door. The noise caused Nate to jump into Matt, he was jumpier than he would ever admit. After a brief second Nate detached himself from his surprised boyfriend to open the door, which, thank god, actually opened. Though, after he opened it, he wished it hadn’t. The scene in front of him was not pretty.

In the waiting room, a bookshelf had collapsed and crushed Morgan's head, a pool of red surrounding the injury. Unfortunately, the bookcase clear as it was glass, so all the damage was in plain view. Clearly, the force had been enough to kill her, you could tell that by just a quick glance. Nate would honestly rather not look at the damage done to her head. It was disgusting. Nate walked over to the body, everyone else was already starting to surround it. With the help of Mark he lifted the bookshelf off of her, Nate was so grateful that the sight of blood didn’t make him queasy. Nate crouched down next to it trying to tell if something about the injuries were off, and very blatantly, they were. The bookshelf wasn't all that heavy, while it could have killed her if left on long enough it would not have killed her instantly. The bookshelf weighed probably 60lbs which is nowhere close enough to crack a skull to do that you would need 520lbs of force to crush the skull, so something wasn't right. On top of that, the bookcase was glass, it would have shattered, which could have done damage, but not crushed her skull.

A spell, it's most likely a spell of some kind. This wasn't an accident, this was murder.

Nate's eyes connected with Matt and immediately they knew they were thinking the same thing. Matt stood up from the ground, looking quickly back at Morgan before looking at the group in front of him. 

"This wasn't an accident. This was blatant murder. There was no way that without a spell this bookcase would've killed her. It simply wasn't heavy enough to do this much damage." The group didn't know how to react, they had been through a lot today, they didn't need a murder on top of that. Nate stood up to stand by Matt, their height difference clearly there. Felix, who was supposed to know what to do in this situation looked just as lost as the rest of them.

"I'll go and tell AJ. He’ll be devastated to find out what happened to Morgan. Be careful, all of you, I've never seen so many things happen in a day. So, please, get home safe, and don’t walk anywhere alone." Felix was always very protective of them, he was their teacher, not that he was much older than them. He was 25 while the rest of them were 17. He got very parental at times. Nate couldn’t fault him for it, not only were they still children, but they weren’t exactly staying with their parents. As soon as they started studying to be a Light-Keeper they were moved to the dorms. Felix looked over the group before heading off to tell the leader of Gate about the tragedies that had happened that day.

"Nate, what's happening? I assume that you have at least an idea. I just need to know, I’m worried, so what is happening?" Mark’s tone was so cautious, he was obviously worried about everything. Everyone was, which should mean that Nate should tell them what he knew, but he wasn’t sure if he should go blurting what could be entirely false to a large group of people.

Believe in yourself Nathan, it's alright to be nervous about not knowing everything, but they need you. Tell them everything, they are your friends, they’ll be by your side no matter what.

Nate thought about what to say, this wasn’t an easy topic to try and explain quick and effectively. He would have to try though, for everyone. "I'm not sure, I know for a fact that whoever is behind this knows what they’re doing, and that these two events are connected. Besides that, I don’t have much besides some speculation." Nate crossed his arms as he thought further, did he know more? It didn’t seem to be that way. Everything else that was in his head was nothing more than speculation or empty questions that didn’t need to be asked right now. Mark had a scowl on his face, this wasn’t going to go well. 

"So what you're saying is that you have no idea what's happening and that one of us could be injured or fucking killed, and we would have no idea why!?" Mark was obviously stressed. The room was tense. Mark’s boyfriend just lost his eye. Nate, honestly, would have been surprised and scared if Mark wasn’t lashing out in fear. This all wasn’t an easy topic, actually, none of this was easy, absolutely none. Yet, even though Mark’s actions were justified, Matt took a step forward to defend Nate. Nate stopped him with his arm, there was no need for confrontation, that would only make the situation worse.

"I know how you feel, I do, I lost my arm not that long ago, but we all need to calm down. You're worried, we all are, we understand that you're stressed, but we can't lash out at each other. Confrontation won't solve anything." Matt looked at him with proud eyes, which in turn empowered Nate a bit causing to stand a little taller, which wasn't much as he was only 5'7 and 1/2, he always counted that half an inch. Mark’s scowl turned to a look of understanding with a tad of regret, Nate knew he hadn’t meant anything.

Nicely said Nathan, nicely said.

The room turned quiet as Mark walked over to Nate and apologized. Now, since that was over, everyone seemed to agree that now was a good time to work things out. There were 5 people in their group, 6 if you counted Felix who was around a lot, he pretty much makes sure they don't die after the whole Nate incident. They had problems, just like any group, the main problem being Nate, he tended to not get along with them. He didn't have anything against anyone he was just bad at communicating, he was awkward and quiet and could sometimes be brash, no one knew what to make of him, even Matt at first couldn't understand the Half-Dark-Elemental. He couldn't blame them, but over the month it had affected him, that on top of the arm just added up to him being more hostile which wasn't like him at all.

That didn't matter right now though, right now they had to focus on the bigger issue at hand and not his petty complaints. The group decided to stand in a circle, brainstorm as much as they could before they were sent home. Stephanie made many comments, most extremely helpful, like that the killer knew where they were going to be, and how it seemed like planned attacks and not just randomized. The last one though, that piqued Nate's interest. 

"Whoever is behind this has to be intelligent, that crosses off many monsters from the list." 

"While I see your logic, and I hate to dismiss it, we can't simply say it wasn't a 'dumber species of monster'. If you give the monster the correct tools and enough time it can do incredible things. Well, incredible in a bad way." Stephanie nodded, thank god not taking offense to Nate's comments. He wasn't positive if they were true, but there was always a slim chance. If they overlooked anything they might be killed.  

"That makes it so much worse. That means anything is possible, like, anything at all! Hell, even an apple could have done it!" Mark was understandably upset by them not being able to cross anything off the list of possibility. Nate did kind of giggle at the idea that an apple could have planed all of this, it was a good way to lighten the dark mood. 

highly doubt that an apple plans to murder us, I never did anything to an apple!" Matt continued with the joke which made everyone giggle a little bit which was much appreciated. Nate sighed in relief; he couldn't take the tense atmosphere much longer. 

Chapter Text

The group was ushered back to their homes after an hour of brainstorming, Nate figured that Jared would reach him the next day about what AJ said but he wished it was sooner, he was freaking out. Nate was now sat on a chair in the kitchen, staring into nothing just thinking, Mat had asked him multiple times if he was alright, which he answered 'yes' to every time. Eventually, Nate said he was going to take a walk and left the dorm quickly, heading for the outside.

Go to the hospital, I have something to show you.

That's not creepy at all.

Just trust me on this, you've felt the itchiness on your arm, right?

Yes, what does that have to do with this?

You'll see.

Nate walked over to the hospital, clinging to his long-sleeved shirt, he really wished he had worn a jacket but it didn't come to his mind until now. The only nice thing about having a prosthetic arm was the fact that it couldn't feel the cold, then again it couldn't feel anything at all. 

He made it to the hospital pretty quick as he wanted to get into a warm building as fast as possible but then it hit him… how was he going to get in? 

Ok, I'm here. Now what am I supposed to do?

Sneak in.

Excuse me what?

You're going to have to sneak into Sean's room.

You know what? Fuck it, whatever happens, happens!

Language.

Nate ignored the voice and went on to sneak into Sean's room, it wasn't difficult as he was a Dark-Elemental and this is where that really came into play, as well as him being able to see in the pitch black room. 

Unleash your sythe.

I am NOT going to kill him!

You're not going to, trust me.

Nate walked up to the bed and unleashed the sythe and held it in one hand.

What now?

Hold it over the wound and concentrate on what the eye looked like before.

Nate did as he was told, he had nothing to lose now so he might as well do it. As he concentrated he felt a tingle in his arm and then suddenly a purple glow came out of the sythe. He watched as suddenly Sean's wound disappeared and his eye came back. Nate almost dropped the sythe in surprise as it happened. 

H-how did that happen!?

You've seen the images on your arm, right?

They did that!?

Well one of them did, you have multiple Presents now. Keep them hidden, don't reveal them unless it's a dire situation. 

What do they do then?

I'll show you and teach you how to use them, as well as how to use your original Pretense better. First though we're going to need a custom-made shirt to keep the images hidden while keeping your prosthetic in the open.

I think I understand… why do I have these though?

You'll find out soon enough for now put our sythe away and go home, the rest will wait for later.

Nate followed the instructions given putting his sythe away and wisping out of the room and down onto the ground outside of the hospital.  He could tell that it was quite late and that Mat was either asleep or up worriedly waiting for him. Nate tugged down his sleeve and walked quickly back to the… rooms? He really didn't know what to call them, he guessed dorms was the best word but that really didn't describe them. He decided it didn't really matter and continued home.

Home was a good word actually… home it is.

When he made it back he saw that Mat did indeed pass out on the bed, wait bed? Weren't there supposed to be two beds? He guessed that there was and that they had just been pushed together to make one bigger bed. He smiled fondly at that idea, he didn't really feel like sleeping though, he couldn't really focus on anything and sleeping just seemed out of the question. There wasn't really anything to do though, he needed to be quiet if he had any chance to keep Mat asleep. The only thing he could really think of doing was to try to figure out what was happening more.

                              

Nate found himself being shaken awake on the floor, he must have passed out. He didn't know when he had passed out, he couldn't really remember anything that happened when he got back. He opened his eyes slowly to see Mat worriedly looking down at him.

"Did you seriously sleep on the floor?" His tone didn't convey anger just concern and an undertone of hurt.

"I didn't mean to fall asleep… oh, that sounds bad… um… What I mean is I wasn't tired so I decided to stay up, I'm not sure how I fell asleep actually…"

Words of a poet Nathan… words of poet.

"I wished you slept in the bed, I worry for you. Now come on you're coming to class with us today." Nate nodded and got showered and dressed before heading out with Mat. When they got to their first class Nate noticed as all eyes turned to him, he understood why, he was the weird Half-Dark-Elemental that seemingly came back from the dead. What he didn't expect was Sean sitting next to Mark as if nothing happened.

They do remember what happened right?

Yes.

Nate expected more of an answer but went with it anyway, following wherever Mat went like a lost puppy.  Mat lead him to where the others were and Nate just tugged at his sleeve, he didn't want the others to see the images on his arm.

"Nate! Good to see you! I heard you helped to get me to the hospital, I appreciate it!" Sean said bubbly sending Nate a reassuring smile. 

"Well, I mean, I guess…" Nate stared at the ground, what happened to his confidence from yesterday? Where had that all gone? Mat put his hand on his shoulder and moved his thumb up and down lovingly.

"He did, what I'm confused about is how you got your eye back? Did they transfer one to you?" Sean instinctively put his fingers up to his eyes.

"From what I know it just appeared, it's a fucking miracle." Nate smiled softly to himself, he was glad Sean didn't have to deal with the pain of actually losing something…

"That's incredible!" Mat smiled brightly, thankfully not taking his hand off his shoulder.

"It is! Makes me feel sorta bad though, I mean, I got my eye back but Nate is still missing an arm." Nate lifted his head up to meet Sean's gaze. 

"Don't feel bad… I… I lost it because of my own mistakes… you didn't do anything…" All of the gazes turned on him and he instantly put his head down a shrunk. Mat instinctively wrapped his arm around the smaller male and held him close.

"You really think you deserved to lose your arm?"

"No… well yes… I made bad decisions and that lead to losing the arm… If I had been smarter and wiser it wouldn't have happened…" Nate felt as Mat pulled him into his chest, today was not going well. Mark watched with guilty eyes which Nate didn't understand, Mark hadn't done anything wrong.

"While we don't know how it happened, I know it wasn't your fault, you're intelligent and make smart quick second decisions, and even if you didn't you still didn't deserve to lose your arm." Mark smiled and said it in a warm tone which did relax Nate a bit. Still… the way the whole group was looking at him was unnerving, he had no idea where his sudden burst of confidence had gone.

"It's all in the past now right? Let's stop focusing on the past and start focusing on the present." The past is always gone, the present is always fleeting, and the future is never here. What was there to focus on? 

Nathan, please calm yourself, you are fine, you are here, you a safe. Sean is right, focus on the issues at hand,  not the ones long gone.

Nate took a deep breath and looked up at the gazes that met him halfway. 

"C'mon let's go sit, class will start at any second now." Mat let go of Nate, who was met by the cold reality of the room, but didn't let go of his hand which Nate appreciated dearly. The lesson was simple enough, just going over Presents, an easy subject for Nate. Jared was the teacher which made things even easier which Nate got lucky with, well it would've been easy if Jared didn't pull to demonstrate what a Present could do. Nate walked up to the front with a lack of confidence.

Well, I was going to teach you later but guess it'll have to be now.

Nate heard a snap and then suddenly time seemed to stop.

I won't spend too long here but I want to teach you the basics. First, your Present is emotional based, it could be any emotion but anger is what you've seen because that's what the time called for. In this situation, love could work. While it's very cliché it'll work, plus it's not like you magically make an emotion appear out of nowhere. Second your Present gives you strength you can focus on one place in particular, in your case you'd want your legs and core to give you more speed. Third, while it might seem impossible Presents are controllable, in fact, you should be able to do it very easily. Your original Present is not my favorite to the ones you've gained but you are demonstrating this.

How am I supposed to remember all this and actually succeed in doing it?

Trust me, you'll know in the moment.

Another snap and time was back, Nate was extremely confused but decided it was better to just go with it. He walked the rest of the way up to the area where the teacher talked and focused on what he was told, and it worked extremely well. The blues flames surrounded him and he smirked, he NEVER smirked but it felt right. He dashed across the room in a second and it was awesome! He was fast without it but with it, holy shit, it was like he teleported and it was an amazing feeling. Nate closed his Present off, something he hadn't been able to do before and looked at Jared who looked shocked.

 "I thought it gave you strength, not super speed!"

"It does, I just controlled it so that the strength went to my legs and core, call it a preference."

"Alright then! Anyways class that was a Present in action, thank you, Nate, for demonstrating now please head back to your seat." Nate did just that walking back to his seat, not with confidence but not wary, his friends looked at him like they'd never seen something like that before which he knew wasn't true.

"How in the living hell did you do that?" Felix asked staring at the Nate who had just sat down next to Mat.

"It wasn't that impressive…" Nate mumbled trying to look at Mat for help but he didn't seem to want to admit how average it was. 

"Not impressive!? Nate, you’re a 3rd level Light-Keeper, how were you able to control it so well!?" Mat asked grabbing Nate's hands, he seemed to actually want to know how he had done it.

"I just… did it?" Nate tried to answer but it would be too complicated to explain, he didn't want to lie to Mat so a half-truth would have to do.

"That's incredible Nate, a 3rd level Light-Keeper that can control their Present!" Stephanie put her hands together as her face lit up. "That means it is possible for a younger person to figure out and use their Present something we thought impossible!"

Sanctus Obscurum, Lux Decrescit, Et Omnes Cadunt, Mors Venit, Castrorum Fatiseit, Statim Finis. 

What, I couldn't understand a thing you said.

Sorry, Nathan, you weren't supposed to hear that.

What? Why wasn't I supposed to hear it?    

You'll find out eventually Nathan.

"-te? Nate!" Nate was startled backward by the loud noise, he would've fallen but because Mat had his hands in his he was pulled forward. "Nate are you alright?" Nate shook his head a regained himself.

"Y-yeah I'm fine." 

"You don't look fine, did something happen?" Mat asked his boyfriend grasping his hands tighter. Nate thought for a second, nothing happened yet Nate felt drained as if he could collapse.

"No…at least I don't think so…" Even talking was wearing him out, he felt his eyes start to droop but kept them open.

"Nate, you look exhausted are you sure it didn't do anything to you?" Nate shook his head, Presents don't do these types of things to people, it may have just been his sleep-depravation catching up to him. "Nate I'm really starting to get worried about you, you look sick."

Does this have something to do with the Present?

Nathan be careful!

What?

I can't fight it off, you're going to pass out!

Why!?

Somethings coming Nathan, be prepared, I won't be able to help you anymore!

W-what's happening!?

Nate's eyes shut tight as a roaring pain shot through his head making him hiss in pain. Nate felt as something started draining his life away from him and replacing it with something else. He griped Mat's hands tighter and kept his eyes shut. 

"Nate are you ok!?" Nate couldn't answer, his throat feeling closed off, he felt as his nails dug into Mat's hands, he didn't want to hurt him but he needed something to hold on to. "Nate I really need you to answer me!" Nate felt as a tear or two escaped his eye, something was slowly erasing him and replacing it with something different. "I'm gonna take that as a no! Jared something's wrong!" Nate couldn't hear anymore, everything surrounding him was static, white noise. He couldn't see anything either, his eyes refusing to open, he could feel everything though, not that that was a good thing, he tried to focus on Mat's hands, god he wished he could, but eventually, it was all too much and he passed out.

Chapter Text

Nate woke up in a hospital bed surrounded by his friends and Jared. He sat up only to regret the decision and fall back on his back, everything still stung like a bitch.

"H-how long have I been out for…?" He saw as Mat tighten his hold on Nate's hand, Nate looked up to see that Mat had tear stains on his cheeks.

"About an hour, I'm so glad you're ok." 

"I'm… sorry for scaring you…" It was only then that he realized how hoarse his voice was, it startled him a bit.

"It doesn't matter now, what matters is that you're ok." Nate looked around the small room to see everyone was looking at him with worry.

"What…what happened?" Jared was the one who answered Nate's question.

"We believe a Demon was trying to take over you… permanently. We stopped it, thank god, but we have no idea what side-effects there might be." Nate thought for a second, if a demon was trying to take him over by erasing him bit by bit, he might have some demon inside of him.

"I- the Demon was trying to do it bit by bit…," there was a cough between the thoughts, "if that was the case… there might still be…" Nate couldn't will himself to say the last bit, he knew Jared got the point.

"That's a… troubling thought…" Nate nodded slowly, it wasn't a nice thought, he really didn't even want to purpose it. "If that is the case you are semi-lucky, being a Half-Dark-Elemental your body would take more kindly to it, still it's not preferable." Nate felt the grip on his hand tighten more, he looked back to Mat who was looking at Jared.

"Is there a way to tell? Any type of test at all?" Jared sighed and grimly nodded, there was no way to tell, they hadn't made one, it wasn't common enough too.

"So we'll just have to wait and see huh? I guess there's nothing we can do about it." Nate tried to give Mat a reassuring squeeze of the hand but he was too weak to, instead all he could do was hold on a little tighter before going limp again. Mat felt this and looked down at the sickly male laying on the bed, he had just gotten better too and this was how the world rewarded him?

"If some of the Demon is still in Nate we'll be able to tell soon, while it's true we wouldn't be able to remove it we could teach him how to use it." Nate's eyes widened a bit as he heard this, was this his fate? To slowly but surely become less and less human?

 "No way at all?"

"Demon possessions are not too rare, they happen enough to where we've made ways to stop and prevent them. Demon take-overs, on the other hand, are far rarer, they haven't happened enough times to where we have found all of this stuff. I know it's not fair but that's just how the Gate runs." Nate watched as everyone in the room turned to Jared, he knew what they were thinking, that this all wasn't fair, but they were wrong, he should've seen it coming.

"D-don't blame him… or the Gate for that matter… I should have seen it coming… I-I should have been ready." Then the gazes flipped over to Nate, he watched as their faces turned from anger to confusion to sadness in quick succession.

"Nate there was no way you could have foreseen a Demon take-over." 

"No… I should've… I knew… well, I met… I met this particular Demon, and before you think it no, I did not make a deal with it."

"What happened?"

"It's a long story… I'll explain later… just know it was my fault." Nate felt a sudden chill, it traveled throughout his entire body, it hurt more than a chill should. He closed his eyes suddenly, he gripped Mat's hand harder than he thought he could. Mat was taken aback by the sudden death grip on his hand, he looked down and saw Nate, eyes closed again. 

"Nate?" 

"Tenebris occupat. Susceperunt verecundiam a daemonibus dixerint." Nate gasped out, he didn't want to say that, that wasn't him saying that.

"Well, I guess our theory was right... Nate still has part of the Demon in him, probably more than we originally thought." Nate tensed, after thinking about it he understood what the words were, he didn't want to know what they meant. "It's alright Nate, we'll teach you how to use it." 

"Tibi gratias ago pro ludens ludum, sed non." Nate was forced to say things, he wanted to stop it but the Demon was far too powerful. 

"Game? What game?"

"Haec ludum de morte, sane!"

"Game of death!?"

"Wait is this Demon that murdered Morgan and tried to kill Sean!?"

"Quidem ego sum."

"What do you want from us!?"

"Nolo te aliquid, quid vis ut faciam tibi."

"And what is it that you have that you wanted?"

"Hac tum praetoria nave habeo, et post haec aliquis fuisse ad tempus."

"You've been after Nate? Why?"

"Et hoc est speciale plus a personale... nexu" Nate gasped and opened his eyes, the demon wasn't using him anymore which was nice. Everyone looked at him worryingly as Nate griped onto Mat for dear life, he let his grip on Mat falter as he realized he was safe for now.

"A personal connection? What does that mean?" Jared questioned no one in particular just the general presence in the room. Jared was the only one in the room who had actually learned Latin, everyone could maybe pick up a word or two.

"Is that what it said?" Mat questioned Jared, his eyes never left Nate though.

"That was part of it, yes, I couldn't pick up everything it was saying but I picked up enough. I don't understand it's reasoning though, why would it want specifically Nate as a vessel, most Demons go after any and every vessel they can get their hands on." 

"While that's true, if they… if they find a young vessel that has something in common with them they will go after them." Nate tried to explain, he was tired, everything hurt, and everything was going to fast, he just wanted to sleep.

"Something in common? What do you have in common with it?" Jared asked, slightly intrigued by the minor's knowledge of such a thing.

"I…it's a long story…" Nate yawned and his grip faltered on Mat's hand, he was trying to stay awake, but the longer this went on the more tired he became.

"Can't this wait until later, Nate's probably exhausted from everything today." Mat rubbed his thumb over Nate's hand, "I don't see why it has to be right now." Jared nodded and lead everyone out of the room, leaving Nate and Mat alone. Nate couldn't stay up any longer, he was far too tired he felt as Mat crawl into the hospital bed and pull him to his chest and pet his hair, it was a nice way to end the hectic day.

Mat stayed up for hours, simply petting Nate's hair to try and calm himself down, Nate's soft hair was therapeutic to him. The night felt eerie, the hospital was quiet, the only other patients were on a different floor. Mat had a lot of time to think about everything that was happening, everything was going to fast, what happened in the span of a couple hours felt like it could have been days in-between. It didn't feel natural that's for sure. The worst part is what Nate had gone through, everything seemed to be happening to him or around him, Mat couldn't help but feel bad for his boyfriend, he just wanted him to be able to rest without worry.

That wasn't going to happen though.

Chapter Text

Nate woke up to warmth, something he hadn't had happen in a long time, he felt strong arms around him, pulling him closer to who he knew was Mat. In that moment he didn't want to wake up, he didn't want to think of everything that was happening, he didn't want to wake up and have to deal with what was happening right now but he was forced to. He was forced to get and face the cold hard reality of what his life had become, had to face all the consequences of his actions. He had to face his fears and deal with the life he had formed for himself from every little mistake he made.

He wanted to hear the voice greet him, to help him with what was happening but there was nothing, just the Demon's presence instead. The horrible truth was that it was all his fault the voice was gone and Demon was here, all from that one mistake so many years ago, the one that could never be undone or even fixed, he had ruined himself in that very moment. He tried not to think of it, of that moment but it just kept flashing in his mind. This Demon, whether he liked it or not, had to much in common with him for him to ignore.

I'm assuming I can talk to you here. What should I call you, it's not like I'm getting you out anytime soon.

You're right, I'm not leaving anytime soon. As for what you can call me, Phantom will do just fine.

Phantom huh, an odd name for a Demon but you're not normal, are you?

My, my, you are clever, part of the reason we connected so much. To answer your question, no, I am not your average Demon.

What are you then? I know there are ranks within Demons so what are you?

Clever and knowledgeable, we're more connected then you care to realize. I am on the top tier of Demons, we're called the council as we make the rules and plans.

If you're such a big player why'd you go after a minor, other, much older, people must be equally as connected as
we are.

That's not true, the other reasons will come into play later but no one could be as connected as you are to me, well besides one other member of the council, but we'll get to him later.

There's another who's connected to me, why?

Why? Well let's see, that spell of yours doesn't help, neither does the fact that you're a Half-Dark-Elemental.
There's other stuff that factors in but that's better left for another day, just know you are very connectable with Demons.

That's not a pleasant thought… Actually, do you mind if I asked you something?

Yes, we are connected after all.

Why did you kill Morgan, and why did you try to kill Sean?

I didn't, that was a bluff to scare you all more, that wasn't a Demon at all.

Who was it then!?

I don't know, it's not my job to watch the real world, you could probably ask Mad about that.

Mad?

You'll find out later, now, I think that's enough talking for today.

I have one more question though, what are you going to be doing while you're here? I still don't understand your
motive.

I guess I shouldn't be too cryptic. You see I'm here for a… let's call it a mission, I will leave once I'm done.

Wait, I thought this was supposed to be permanent.

It is, I can come back whenever I please, keep that in mind. Now I must bring my attention to something else.

Nate was shaken awake from his trance, he didn't think as he lashed out suddenly at the force. 

"Nate it's alright, it's just me." Mat reassured the scared male who had tried to lash at him. Nate's eyes softened
as he realized what was happening.

"S-sorry… I just felt a force and got scared." Mat shook his head,

"Nate it's not your fault, I should have thought about that beforehand."

"Let's just agree it's both our faults." Mat reluctantly nodded and moved off of Nate letting him sit up, which he did. Nate sat up in the bed, his head still ached from yesterday, it kind of felt like he was being stabbed.

"Are you alright Nate? You don't look great, I know it must have been really hard this week, a lot of stuff has
happened." Nate gave a weak smile to Mat.

"Nothing I can't handle…" Nate knew it was a lie but he was lying to himself to, he didn't want to think this was affecting him in the way it was. He didn't want to believe that this was even happening, I mean, how could it? So much in such little time… it wasn't possible… it shouldn't be at least. Nate looked at the sheets that had flown off the bed, the walls, the ceiling, the door… the door. If you thought about it doors were an easy escape, a hunk of wood between you and your problem, sometimes Nate wished he could just put something in-between him and his problems. Nate was pulled out of his thoughts by a soft hand on his cheek.

"Nate? It's ok, I'm here, I know you're distressed, no need to lie, tell me what's up." Nate tilted his head down and
looked at his lap.

"I… I don't know what's happening anymore… it… it scares me…" He felt as Mat pulled him into an embrace.

"I understand… I-I don't know what's happening either, I don't think anyone does. Just know you're not alone in
this. We're here for you Nate, I'm here for you." Nate nodded as he put his head on Mat's shoulder, he didn't know what to do with himself anymore.

The sun was already up, had been for a little while, it was still mourning though so they had enough time to get
themselves together before they headed out. Nate had decided early on that he was going to leave the hospital as soon as he possibly could, he hated how eerie it always was. Nate got himself ready in as little time as possible and Mat to do the same so they could leave, Mat did as his boyfriend insisted. Nate basically ran to the exit dragging Mat behind him by the wrist, the nurses eyed them as he ran, of course, as that's just how these things go, everyone was outside and were very confused as Nate pulled Mat out of the hospital.

"Nate seriously, slow down! Why do you hate the hospital so much!?" Mat basically yelled to Nate who was a bit
in front of him

"They're creepy and eerie! Plus isn't a little disturbing to think about how many people have died there!?"

"Why are you focusing on that!?"

"Um? Aren't you supposed to be resting?" Jared said, standing a good couple of feet in front of Nate.

"Oh, well yes… I'm good though." Nate stopped as he… lied? He wasn't really as he really didn't think he had to
rest, he felt fine, not good, but fine.

"I don't know whether to believe you or not so I'll ask Mat. Mat?" Mat thought for a second Nate seemed fine physically, maybe not mentally but physically… he actually seemed better than ever which was strange.

"He seems fine physically, which is why we would be the hospital so… maybe?" Jared sighed and walked forward,
the other teens followed suit.

"We have no idea what this Demon is or what it wants. It's not safe for Nate to go unsupervised. I'm sorry but
Demons are risky business." Nate looked down for a second before he had a thought.

Hey is it alright if I tell them about you? I know you probably don't care but I'd rather not die so asking first is
probably a good idea.

Do whatever you want, humans aren't my business.

"Well… that's not exactly true." Nate said quietly not wanting to say that too loudly. Jared just tilted his head in
confusion. "I.. Well… I know a bit about him…"

Chapter Text

"How?" Jared asked, seeming slightly concerned. 

"Well… I may have talked to him and yeah…." Jared's eyes widened in surprise.

"You talked to the Demon?"

"Yup, asked him some questions to which he surprising answered. Apparently, his name is Phantom, from what he told me he's a high-ranking Demon, being part of what they call the council. Also, he didn't kill Morgan or try to kill Sean… it was a bluff. He said it wasn't a Demon either which makes things more difficult." The others seemed shocked by the information Nate had just given them.

"Why would a high-ranking Demon go after you?"

"That's what I asked, apparently we have a lot in common which isn't great. That plus the fact that I'm a Half-Dark-Elemental and you don't get a good mix."

"Well that's just dandy, anything else of importance we should know?"

"Well… there's one more thing… apparently, I'm also connected to another member of the council… fun right?"

"Why!?"

"I'm not… sure."

Oh my God, this is pathetic, I got this.

Oh… alright then.

"Here let me explain, that was pitiful."

"Wait you're the Demon!"

"Wow really? I didn't notice. Anyways let me explain a bit of the situation to you. First, I'm not the leader of the council, that role goes to Dark, don't ask we'll get to that later. I play a slightly… different, role. My name, as you know now, is Phantom, I'm, to put it simply, am the embodiment of the saying 'don't make a deal with the devil.' Second, while this is permanent, I won't be here all the time, I have more important things to do than to mess with some humans. Third, I am here for a reason, a mission we'll call it, that'll take a little bit so don't expect me to leave anytime soon. Lastly, whatever is happening with your other humans has nothing to do with us." 

"What is your specialty, I know Demons have them."

"I make deals for souls simply put, I, unfortunately, don't have my cane on me so you’re safe for now. If you're asking how I do that it's a simple thing called persuasion, everyone wants something." 

"So you trick people into giving you their soul."

"Oh they don't know I'm gonna steal their soul, where'd the fun be in that?"

"You're fucking evil that's what you are."

"I never claimed to be good, there are good Demons though but why would you think I would be one?"

"There are good Demons?"

"There's good everything, so yes there are good demons, actually I believe Nate has some connected to him."

"How many Demons are connected with Nate!?"

"Well I'm not sure but at least 8."

"8!?"

"Yup, there's one that's worse actually but they don't know it yet."

"Who!? Wait some of us are connected to Demons to!?"

"Yup. Mark, Sean, and Mat, you're connected to members of the council as well. There's only 5 though, there would be 6 but he… he's odd."

"So that means that Nate has 2 in council but we only have one. Not that that's a bad thing it's just… why Nate?"

"Not sure myself, Mark would have 2 but Wilford can be… odd sometimes. Plus Mark is connected to the leader which is a great accomplishment."

"Wait I'm connected to Dark… actually, that sounds a lot like my name what the hell?"

"Yes that's what it's like for most connections, I'm the odd one out in that sense. There's Darkiplier, Antiseptic, Madpat and Natemare."

"Those are like our nicknames but twisted! What in the ever living fuck!?"

"Yup, we've been connected for you for a while so we decided to just twist up your nicknames. There wasn't anything with Nate though so a twist on the word nightmare made more sense. I had nothing to go off of so I just became Phantom."

"I'm still so confused."

"I didn't expect you to understand. It's complicated, it's not something you could fully understand in a day. Now I'm done explaining for the day, I need to get back to something else." Nate came back to consciousness to see everyone very confused and concerned. "Paenitet… I mean sorry! That's never happened before…" Jared tilted his head as Nate freaked out internally. 

"Was that…was that Latin?"

"I-I think so? I never learned Latin though…" Jared walked forward a bit and put his hand on Nate's shoulder.

"I know you want to go home, I understand, but we have no idea what's happening and I don't want to leave you without supervision. Just for a little while, it won't be long we promise." Nate looked up at the taller male, eyes dull as he flipped through possible responses. 

"We don't know anything about anything, I- we need to figure out what's happening and we need everyone we can get. I… I don't want to see someone else die because we were too late." Nate felt as Mat grabbed his hand and held it firmly.

"While I don't think it's our fault, I have to agree with Nate, we need to figure this out and save people, we can't have more people dying." Jared sighed as he rubbed his neck, this was not going to be an easy choice and Nate understood that, none of this was easy for anyone.

"Hey Jared?" Felix interjected, his hand intertwined with Maritza's hand. "You told AJ right, so what did he say?" Nate wanted to punch himself for not thinking about that.

"Oh right, he was deeply sad about Morgan's death, which s understandable, he said that there were no leads though from what I told him, he said that we'd probably never figure it out." Nate almost scoffed at that, 'no leads my ass' Nate would've crossed his arms if Mat hadn't been holding his hand.

"First off that 'no lead' stuff is bullshit, there are very obvious leads thank you very much. Plus from what I can tell right now Morgan knew that Sean was going to lose his eye, she said something about someone losing their eye to me. Secondly, that spell isn't very common, yes monsters and humans can learn spells but most likely they either knew it or were gifted it." Nate had to stop himself from going full rant mode but he wanted to, how could he say there were no leads when they were staring them right in the face? Jared blinked his eyes a couple of times and shook his head quickly in confusion. 

"How…? What? Gifted? You can be gifted spells?" Stephanie asked clearly confused herself.

"Well the practice fell out of style for Light-Keepers but it's still a thing that happens with some races of monsters, sometimes they gift a spell to a Normal just to see what happens, it's all very fucked up." Nate knows more than he wants to about gifting spells, he didn't want to go into all that stuff as it was fucking complicated.

"How though? How does the spell transfer from one being to another?" Jason asked, no one had been taught this, even Jared, so they were all equally confused. 

"Many different ways, some more graphic than others, it all really depends on the monsters. For instance, if a monster is powerful enough they can just transfer it over, it's a bit too confusing, and takes too much time, to explain right now." Nate shook his head of the earlier memory and looked forward at the teens and adult who had no idea what the fuck he was talking about. Nate debated telling them the story so the understood it better, it made sense to do so, that would explain why he should've known about the Demon and other things he randomly knew, it was a long story though.

"I'm still confused but I guess we have more important things to worry about right now." Nate nodded and went back to the previous topic at hand, then Nate realized something,

"AJ lied to you Jared, he is not what he seems," Nate said out of nowhere which scared some of the teens.

Chapter Text

"What do you mean he lied?"

"He knows what happened, probably better than we do, in fact… he may have planned it, shit I don't even want to think about that."

"Nate, how do you know this?" Jared said in a demanding tone, somehow Nate couldn't really hear him, it was… muffled. Nate tried to answer but he felt a sharp pain in his throat that hurt like hell.

"Nate? Goddamnit, what's happening now!?" Mark said very loudly but all Nate heard was yelling, loud, loud, yelling. All Nate could do was let out a pained whimper as one of his hands went to his throat. 

"Nate, baby, are you ok?" Nate couldn't hear anything but his rapid heartbeat in his ears, he wanted to but there was no way he could. He felt as he started to waver, not being able to stand right. He was going down again and he had no idea why. There was already a Demon inside him so why was this pan happening again, this time it felt different but it was still the same thing right? Right? No… this was different… why did it have to be different? Nate wanted to pass out, god did he want to, he almost got his wish as he collapsed to his knees, pieces of glass slicing through the jeans and going straight into his legs, he could feel as the blood trickled down. As he fell he had let go of Mat's hand and he wished he hadn't. He saw as Mat crouched next to him and put his hand on his back, he was obviously worried, he felt it too but it didn't feel the same, it felt cold. He saw how Jared and Mat picked him up and put him on a hospital bed and worked on getting the glass out of his leg. He saw, he saw it all, but it all felt cold and empty. 

He saw as the blood pooled up around the wounds, they tried to stop it but t was bleeding profusely. They tried to disinfect it but, again, there was too much blood. Nate saw, Nate saw it all, but it all felt wrong. Nate saw as his vision got blurry, the blood loss taking its toll. He knew he shouldn't be bleeding that much but apparently, everything was too fucked up for his body to follow basic rules. He saw as he passed out once more.

                                                                                                                                         …

Nate woke up once again to the white rooms of the hospital, nothing felt odd this time though, in fact, he felt better than ever which scared him.

"Nate…? Are you ok?" He felt as Mat grabbed his hand tightly, he heard as his voice cracked slightly, something bad must have happened.

"For the most part? It was bad… wasn't it?" Mat tightened his grip on Nate's pale hand like he never wanted to let go again.

"Bad doesn't even describe it, there was blood everywhere, we thought you were going to die Nate. Do you think that it could have been caused by whoever is doing this?" Mat asked as he settled back into the chair next to the bed.

"I don't know… I guess that would make sense. How long have I been out?" Mat sighed as he took his other hand and rested it on Nate's chest, clearly trying to calm himself. 

"Only an hour, the others are in the waiting room as they only let one of us stay here this time. On a different note do you feel ok? We still have no idea what that was and I need to know if something bad happened like last time." Nate shook his head, he really did feel fine.

"I feel fine surprisingly… I don't know what happened either and that definitely scares me." As Nate lifted his hand to put it on Mat's he noticed the blood IV inserted into his arm… it must have been really bad. 

"Alright… I'll tell the nurse to get everything situated, I don't know if you're going to stay here or not, I want you to come home but… I wouldn't know how to deal with a scare like that." Mat stood up and squeezed Nate's hand one last time, "No, you're coming home, I need you safe at home." Mat let go of Nate's hand walked out the door to talk to a nurse. Nate missed the warmth of the hand, he was just so confused about everything right now. It was a little while before Mat came back with a nurse, it was Amanda which was nice.

”Hey Nathan, you feeling alright?” Nate nodded, he felt fine, at least physically he did. ”Well that's good, I’m glad you feel good. Mat has requested you go home with him, do you think that could happen?” 

”I would really like it if that could happen.” Nate grabbed Mat’s hand, he just wanted to go home with Mat.

”I don't see a problem with that, there's nothing we could do here anyways. You're going to have to stay in bed for awhile though.”

”I understand.” Nate watched as Amanda left the room to tell the other nurses. Even though Nate was fine physically Mat still decided to carry Nate all the way home. Not that Nate cared, he loved it, he snuggled into Mat’s chest, he was a clingy bitch he and accepted that. Nate heard as the door opened and closed.

”Nate, Baby, you ok?” Mat asked his boyfriend who was currently curled into him.

”Depends on what you mean by ok...” 

”Anyway Nate, I'm worried about you.”

”I... don't think I’m necessarily... ok mentally. I’m just so confused about everything.” Mat set Nate on the bed and sat next to him. 

”I understand, I think we're all confused, things don't make sense right now. I promise everything will get better eventually though, it'll just take some time.” Mat rubbed Nate’s leg to give some reassurance, which worked, Nate loved any physical contact, it had been so long without any loving touch. Nate still had doubts though, he didn't think things would get better anytime soon.

Chapter Text

"Hey Mat... what if that... what if that happens again...?" Nate asked as he curled up into basically a ball.

"There's nothing sharp for you to cut yourself on so that won't happen again, I promise." Nate nodded a little bit, he didn't believe a lot of things right now, but Mat was something he wanted to believe right now.

Looks like you've gotten yourself in a bit of a pickle, am I wrong

No, you're not wrong. Do you have any idea what's happening? 

I don't actually, I'm just as confused as you are, this is not a normal occurrence by any means.

So even a Demon is confused... just great.

I'll tell you once I figure it out, I can't have my vessel dying on me.

Wait, you're going to help me?

Like I said, I can't have my vessel die.


Nate opened his eyes to find a dimly lit room, he must have fallen asleep. Nate uncurled himself and sat up on the bed, the comforters and sheets pooling in his lap. He yawned, rubbed his eyes, and looked around the room, in doing so he noticed a lot of things he hadn't seen before. The room was more decorated than it was before, he didn't doubt that Mat did it to calm himself, it was nice and very homely. Nate could tell just by looking that the place still had signs of the years it had served, there were cracks, dust, and even straight up dents in the wall. Nate looked down at his wrist, his weapons hadn't come off in all that time, he was too paranoid to even think about taking it off. He felt safe here though, he didn't have to worry here, slowly Nate reached down and pulled off the bracelet and set it on the nightstand, he was home, he didn't have to worry. At least that's what he told himself, that home was a safe place but he knew deep down that right now, nowhere was safe. 

Nate turned his attention to the adjacent door, the door leads to a hallway that leads to the more open areas of the home. Nate got up and over to the door, resting himself on the door frame when he got there for no particular reason. He took a second and then walked down the short corridor, finding himself in the kitchen, he wasn't really hungry but he knew he should eat something. There wasn't that much to eat, most things needed to be prepared so Nate found bread, just bread, simple plain bread, a literal loaf of bread, which Nate took half of and walked back to the room. He knew Mat was probably in class learning about something or other but he couldn't help but be paranoid. I mean can you blame him, there was some type of murderer on the loose and he wasn't there just in case. He pushed the thought aside though and focused on anything he could, which didn't really work but it worked enough.

Nate ate the bread slowly, mostly because he wasn't hungry, and focused his attention to the window on the left wall. He scooted over to the other side of the bed that was closer to it and watched. It was a lot of kids running around, doing what kids in the Gate did, practiced being warriors. He smiled fondly as the kids battled it out with wooden sticks, acting as if the sticks were real weapons, some were even carved to look more like the weapon they wanted, a lot of swords were present. Just looking at the scene gave him many fond memories of when he was young.

When Nate was young he was always in Gate instead of Lapis, he just preferred to be in Gate. He was always playing with his wooden carved sythe, not normally with other people just by himself in the woods, it wasn't always a good idea to be alone in the woods but he managed. Nate always practiced to get better with both his weapons, his sythe, and 2 daggers. No one ever really questioned why he was there, in the forest as well as in the Gate, everyone had just become used to it. Nate was an odd child, he always involving himself in the oddest things, not that anyone cared that he was there, most the time they would just explain what was happening and how the Gate dealt with it. Nate learned a lot of what he knows now because of that, learning about how the inside of the Gate worked as well as the other cities. Nate always found he had an interest inner workings of the cities, it was interesting to see how they solved certain problems, not that he always thought those decisions were smart, a lot of the time he couldn't bring himself to understand why they did a certain thing. 

Thinking of that brought Nate to other, less pleasant memories. 


 

When Nate was about 10 he was in the forest, doing what he normally did when he got a surprise visit from one of his friends, Andrew Stein. Andy looked distressed, worried over something, Nate walked over to him and asked him what was wrong, to which Andy hastily explained what was happening to all of the cities, people were disappearing and they just found that they were turning to dust. Nate was, to say the least, shocked at Andy's words, asking him why he was telling him of all people. Andy told him that he wasn't technically supposed to tell anyone but that he wanted to warn Nate. Nate and Andy talked for a little bit longer before Andy went back to Thunder. Nate went back to Gate with a nauseating feeling, he shook it off and continued to a house he sometimes stayed in Gate when he didn't want to go back to Lapis, which was more often than Nate admitted. When Nate arrived at the small, abandoned house, he set down his wooden weapons and laid down of a pile of blankets he had 'borrowed' from his house in Lapis. Nate went to bed that night with a bad feeling. 

Nate woke up to find himself not at home... he had no idea where he was. He had walked around to find the people who had gone missing, the people who had apparently turned to dust, Nate for a little bit assumed he had died, been another victim of whatever was happening. Nate then realized that the victims were working, acting as a slave, he was not dead, something was happening right. Nate did his best to sneak around whatever types of guards there were, there were all different kinds of races, and piece together what was happening. It thankfully didn't take to long, he was able to figure out was happening in a few short days, the harder part was figuring out a plan to actually do something about it. Nate decided the first thing he would need would be a weapon, one he could use with at least moderate success. He found a way into a weapon container and swiftly stole a sythe, the first thing he saw but also the thing he had hoped had been there. He swiftly got out and got back to his makeshift hideout, his plan was going to be difficult to do and if he failed he would die, but he needed to at least try. 

During those days of observing Nate had realized a Demon was in charge of this, he didn't know what kind or what rank, but he knew it was a Demon. He decided that he would try and offer the Demon a fake deal, it was risky as all hell but it was worth a shot. Nate took a week to plan out every last detail of the plan and then put it into action, acting as if he had just arrived by fake falling out of a tree, his sythe on a weapons bracelet in his pocket. It seemed to work as two guards took him to the head Demon which scarily looked like him, older but none the less him.

"My, my, it seems you've finally come to play, your stunt was smart but you underestimated me." The Demon was in a red and black suit with a black... cane? Staff? Whatever the word, with a purple glowing orb on top. 

"If you knew why didn't you do anything about me?"  Nate was being held by both arms, they knew what he was going to try to do.

"Because that wouldn't be fun. Now, you were going to make a deal I hear, what type? I didn't want to ruin the surprise."

"Part of my consciousness if everyone gets to go free and you won't continue this"  Originally that was supposed to be a lie but Nate didn't think he'd be able to get away with a lie right now.

"I like the offer but I'll do you one better, well better for me, I will come back later and take that part of the deal, for now though..."  Nate had felt a roaring pain in his skull as a spell was gifted to him, the name being Eternal Torment. 

Chapter Text

With that Nate and the rest of the people were teleported back home… well to one specific spot, the center of Gate where the most people were. Which was just great as Nate was on his knees hissing in pain as a spell was forced into his brain. That was fun to try and playoff… 

Nate shook his head, those memories were from years past, it had been so long since that spell was forced into him by the same Demon that was now inside him and was going to help find out what was happening. Nate didn't really use spells actually and when he did they were subtle and not flashy, most the time his opponents wouldn't even know he used a spell. Even though Nate's spells could be seen as unfair and cruel he refused to use the spell that had been gifted upon him. 

Nate was shaken out of his thoughts when the front door was opened. Nate set the rest of his bread down and waited, it was probably Mat but you can never be too safe. It was indeed Mat who peeked in the bedroom door, it was left open as Nate didn’t care enough to close it. 

"You doing alright, you passed out about 10 minutes after we got here and I didn't have the heart to wake you to tell you I was leaving." Mat stumbled out sitting on the bed beside Nate, "Um anyways back to the original question, how are you doing?" Nate giggled a bit as his boyfriend stumbled on his words.  

"I didn't wake up that long ago but I'm doing fine." Mat nodded and looked over at the nightstand, seeing the quarter eaten half loaf bread. 

"You didn't eat that much, do you still not feeling well?" Nate shook his head,  

"No, I feel fine, guess I'm just not that hungry." Nate watched as Mat picked up the bread and handed it to Nate. 

"You barely ate any, at least eat a little more." Nate nodded and continued to nibble on the bread, he knew it was probably best for his health. Nate continued to watch out the window, it was getting later, the sun setting behind the mountains, children going home as to escape the cool air of outside and eat some dinner with their families. Nate sighed as memories rushed into his brain of when he used to have that at Lapis, a warm family to come back to every day, it was different now though, it was all different.  He felt as Mat slide up to sit behind him and put an arm around his shoulders. 

It was comfortable, it was… home, it was home now. 


Nate woke up the next day to find a note telling Nate that Mat had already left for school. Nate got up and grabbed his weapons bracelet, he wanted to go for a walk but right now that could be very dangerous. It was a good thing Nate was fine physically, otherwise, he would have to stay in bed the whole time. He knew that everyone had told him to stay in bed but he wanted to go out for at least a little walk.  

Nate walked around the edge of Gate, it was longer but it was out of the way of people and the last thing he needed was to be ushered back to bed. Nate was about half-way done with his walk when he heard a loud snap as a branch on the ground broke.  Nate turned around quickly to see a little girl had fallen on it, causing it to break. The young girl reminded him a lot of what he used to look like when he was young, she was pale with ebony hair as well as eyes that were so dark they looked black. She had a small frame and looked battered up by something. Nate walked over to the young girl and offered her his hand, which she took rather quickly. Her eyes were full of worry, which didn't help Nate's bad feeling.  

"S-something's coming." Nate looked in the area behind the girl, there was nothing but Nate knew better than that. 

"What did it look like?" Nate asked as he continued to survey the area behind her.  

"I-it was a b-back dog w-with red eyes." Nate now understood why the space seemed empty, you can't see a Hellhound unless you're being attacked by one.  

"What you saw was a Hell-hound, how many times did you see its eyes, is this the first time you've seen it?" 

"I've o-only seen it this once." Nate found that very confusing, if the Hellhound only showed itself once it shouldn't be attacking. 

"Alright, stay clear of this area, I'm going to take care of this Hellhound."  Nate released his sythe and faced the area the Hellhound had been in, he had a slight advantage in this fight as Hellhounds used their invisibility to their advantage but Nate could slightly see them. He couldn't see them completely but he could see them enough to get them off the poor child's back. Nate saw as the child hid behind a tree close by to watch what was happening. Nate closed his eyes, he was going to try and feel for the Hellhound first, that always made it easier to see where they were, but he felt a small tug on his conciseness when Phantom tried to get his attention. 

What do you need? I'm kind of in the middle of something right now. 

Yes, I realize this, just trust me for a bit and let me take half control. 

I have nothing to lose at this point, so screw it. 

Nate allowed Phantom to take control of part of his conciseness and suddenly the Hellhound was visible, like anything else. Nate immediately moved out of the way as the Hellhound lunged at him, trying to take a bite out of him. Nate moved to the side of it quickly and took a shot at it with his sythe, which didn't go quite as planned. The Hellhound was fast, it was a spirit dog, after all, Nate still hit it but only grazed it's side. The Hellhound cried in pain and darted after Nate, it's intent to kill. Nate realized daggers would be easier to get a hit in with. He quickly put his sythe away and grabbed 2 daggers and darted next to it, slicing it twice before backing up. The Hellhound was badly wounded at this point, bleeding from both sides. The Hellhound took off running, to get back to hell, to avoid being killed. Nate simply but his daggers away and went to check on the little girl, blocking his conciseness from Phantom once again.  

The little girl looked scared, her legs shaking wildly. Nate put his hand on her shoulder and tried to comfort her, which worked pretty well for the situation they were in. Nate took her back to town, her family ran up to her and embraced her immediately.

They thanked Nate and took the little girl home. Nate smiled to himself and headed back home, that was enough adventure for today. 

Nate walked back home, classes were still in session so there was a good chance Matt was still at school. It was kind of a gamble though as Nate hadn't actually learned Matt's schedule. He quickly arrived home to see that Matt was indeed home. 

"O-oh, hey Matt… didn't know you'd be home…" Matt stood up from the chair he was sitting on and walked over to Nate. 

"I'm not mad, I need to get that out of the way first, but can you tell me where you were?" Nate shifted his weight to one side. 

"I took a long walk… I didn't want to be cooped up all day." Nate explained, his eyes didn't meet Matt's, he was nervous enough as it was. Nate knew Matt didn't lie, he most likely wasn't mad but Nate couldn't shake the thought. Matt sighed and put his hand on Nate's shoulder, he really wasn't mad, not in the slightest, he just wanted the best for Nate.  

"That's understandable, I don't think I would last being cooped up with what's going on right now. Plus, you seem fine physically so it's fine if you want to go on a walk every day then that's fine." Matt placed a kiss on Nate's forehead and grabbed his hand. "Let's go make some food. Also, Nate, I don't think you'll have to be cooped up for much longer." Nate nodded and they walked into the kitchen, Nate went to cooking as he wasn't half bad at it as Matt watched. Matt wasn't that bad at cooking but he defiantly preferred Nate's to his, Nate was more creative with his food as well. 

When they had finished up with all of that Nate and Matt settled into the couch, Matt should have gone back to classes but Jared had told him it was alright if he ever stayed home because of Nate, he just couldn't abuse the power. He deiced that today he needed to be home.  

Nate had ended having to stay home for the entire week, Phantom teaching him new things along the way. He didn't mind only having a walk, which he had moved to the night, he kind of liked the isolation. It was weird to say that he liked being alone for so long but he was already used to it. When he was Lapis he was pretty much always alone and in Gate, he was rarely around people.  At the end of the week, Matt had asked if he wanted to return to classes, he had said he wanted to, he was fine and needed to start getting work done.   

They had woken up early to get ready for school, Nate was all ready and they were about to head out the door when Matt asked if he was sure for the final time.  

"I'm alright Matt, I swear." Nate kissed Matt and opened the door, he was ready for classes sure but he was really going because they needed him to figure out what was happening. 

Chapter Text

They walked to classes and as soon as they both entered the room got quiet, deathly silent. Nate grabbed on Matt's hand and walked slowly behind him to their seats. When Mark and the rest noticed that Nate was behind Matt they all perked up. 

"Nate! I didn't expect to see you here so soon!" Sean said out happily going over and hugging Nate tightly, "how've you been?"  

"Alright... there's a lot to get used to..." Nate shrugged, he still hadn't let go of Matt's hand and probably wouldn't for a while. 

"We're glad to see you back. Also, I hope you don't mind me asking, how has it been with a Demon inside you?" Mark asked walking up from behind Sean. Nate took a deep breath, now was not the time to be keeping secrets, he should be honest from here on out. 

"It's been... interesting? I don't really know how to describe it... I mean, he hasn't done anything bad to me or anyone else and he really hasn't been... well, mean."  Mark nodded, he seemed to have a higher opinion of Nate now which he may or may not deserve. 

"Could we maybe talk to him for a little bit? I have some more questions and class won't be starting for a little bit."  

They want to talk to you. 

I heard. 

So? 

"I'm here. So you have questions?" Nate really never noticed the difference in his voice when the Demon took over until now. It became more distorted and lower but it still sounded like Nate to an extent.  

"Yeah, if you made a deal with Nate why didn't you take action until now? I mean you never technically said it was a deal but what else would it be." 

"Well it was a deal, it's just a very long story of how we got to this point. Now the answer of why. What you have to understand was that the deal was made at a young age, it wouldn't have been wise for me to take action so early. Second I couldn't do it when he was... well, away from Gate because the deal was for only part of his consciousness, I needed to do it where it could be stopped." Phantom explained rather well, Nate couldn't have really explained it like that if he tried. The others seemed very shocked at this new information. 

"Why was the deal made at a young age?" Mark tried to say calmly but the anger showed through his voice and eyes.  

"Like I said it's a long story so instead of telling it to you I'll just show you." Phantom raised his hand and showed everyone what had happened through Nate's point of view, it showed the lead up to it as well which was a nice touch. They all came out of the trance surprised and semi-scared.  

"Oh…" Mark exhaled obviously taken aback by what had just gone through his mind.  

"That was… surprising, to say the least." Matt said looking as if he wanted to grab onto Nate but realized that Phantom was still in control for now. 

"That's why he knew about Gifted spells and such. Honestly, most Demons don't gift spells because it gives a vessel more control even if it makes it easier to get into their mind." Phantom explained with a smile on his face. "Though I felt it was fitting to give a kid a fighting chance." Nate would've rolled his eyes if he could. Phantom told him everything about why he did everything and that was not one of the reasons. 

"So wait. Most Demons don't like to gift spells because it gives them an advantage for fighting back against Demons. You did it though because it was a kid and you thought he deserved a fighting chance. Why did gifting spells even become a thing then if you were going to use them so sparingly?"  

"That's an excellent question, Stephanie, right? The reason is that we needed to gist spells for multiple different reasons that just don't happen anymore. Plus gifting spells wasn't something we created, it was the Angels who thought of it and put it to use, we just took after them."   

"What? Angles created the act of gifting spells? Isn't gifting a spell super painful, no matter what the spell is?" 

"I'm starting to like you with your wonderful questions. You are correct, no matter what spell it is gifting a spell is extremely painful. The Angels thought of it as a way to punish the damned, mind you, this was a very long time ago. Other monster races simply picked it up because they thought it would help them in battles." Before Phantom could say any more the bell rang. Phantom let Nate take back control and everyone sat down. It was time for classes.  

Classes went by semi-quickly, the topics were basic and sometimes boring. There wasn't anything being taught that Nate didn't know and he assumed anyone else didn't know. It seemed like review which was oh so boring. Nate tried his best to pay attention just in case but his determination faded about half-way through. After all the classes were done, (they had lunch in-between,) Nate and the others met up with Jared underneath an old birch near the school. 

"You kids called me here for something?" Jared questioned a slight look of fear dancing in his eyes. 

"Yes, we did. We talked to Phantom earlier and we learned some things." Stephanie explained stepping toward Jared.  

"What did you learn?" Jared asked suspiciously walking towards the group. Nate took a step forward and let Matt's hand go. 

"A lot, but nothing ground-breaking. I think it's best that you talk to him yourself though, there are still questions that don't have answers." Nate let Phantom take control for the second time today, they were getting pretty good at it at this point.  

 "So, I ask anything and you answer?" Jared asked looking over Nate's body to look for any changes in physique, which there were. Nate's lean body became more muscular and he grew an inch or two.  

 "Depends on the question but basically." Phantom crossed Nate's arms, Phantom had already told Nate that he thought Jared was too pushy. 

 "Who killed Morgan?" Jared asked, he remembered that the topic came up briefly before but he never got a straight answer. 
 "No idea, That's not my job, Mad deals with the shit here." Phantom scowled at Jared, Nate knew that he hated having to explain shit again but it was the easiest way. 

 "So the Demon connected to Matt might know who did this?" Phantom rolled his eyes. 
 "That's what I said." 

 "Can you bring him here?" 

 "No. He's doing something right now and Dark can be an ass if you mess with what he's 'ordered' us to do." Phantom huffed out, he got along with Dark but he hated having to explain how it worked in the council. 

 "So he orders you to do things and you just… do them?" Jared asked, he obviously didn't notice, or didn't care, that Phantom was acting annoyed.  

 "Yeah, that's how jobs work," Phantom answered sarcastically, Jared was starting to get on his nerves.  

 "What is Mad doing right now?" 

 "He's doing a little research on Normals, to be fair, you are quite a complicated species." 

 "What kind of research?" 

 "Just the normal stuff, we don't like to mess around with Normals much but recent events left us no choice." 

 "What recent events?" 

 "War. The Angles have decided that they will begin a war throughout all monster species. We are forced to come up with a way to survive." Nate had only heard a little bit about what was happening with the Angles and Demons. 

 "I thought that Angles were good guys…" 

 "They are, at least for the most part. War is their specialty though, if they see it fit the will slaughter hundreds if not thousands of foes." Phantom explained, he had told Nate about what Angles did and how they were different from how we knew them. Jared nodded and walked closer towards Phantom. 

 "Alright well… can you get anyone here who might have a slight idea of what's happening?" Phantom thought for a second, Nate could probably try to look into what he was thinking about but didn't care enough to. 

 "Well we have an android Demon who might have a slight idea but he won't like the aspect of death part." Phantom explained actually trying to think of Demon who was easy for him to access and could have a slight idea. 

 "Any idea is better than none. Bring them here, we need to figure out what's happening and fast." Jared told Phantom, Phantom nodded and in a flash, Nate was back to his normal self. Nate was puzzled for a second until Phantom showed up in his true form with a new Demon that also looked like Nate. Phantom was wearing his signature suit which was mostly red with some black and white. He has eyeliner on and a cane that glowed purple. He was also still more muscular and taller than him. The Demon next to him was shorter than Nate probably being around 5'5 he wore pretty standard black clothes, (a black rolled up shirt with black pants,) but his eyes were purple. He also had a purple LED on his temple, other than that he looked very similar to Nate. 

 "So we meet again," Phantom did a semi-bow and then gestured over to the new Demon, "This is Echo, as you can tell he's also connected to Nate." Echo did a small wave and looked at all of the people around Nate and then at the world around him.  

 "This place is so different from the Demon Realm." Echo said amazed as he did a 360 motion to look at everything. 

 "I forget that you've never been here before," Phantom said looking at Echo then turned back to Jared. "Echo is an android like I've said before so he might have an idea about who is killing you're fellow comrades." Echo turned back to Phantom with a slight pout on his face. 

 "Why is it always about death?" Echo sighed as he walked up to Nate. "If you have any pieces of evidence I might have a slight clue but I'm really not meant for this stuff." Echo explained and then turned back to Phantom. "I'm not the best at analyzing though, I was made for answering questions from my database not putting stuff together." Phantom shook his head and looked at Echo. 

 "You're smart, you'll figure it out." Phantom gestured with his cane towards Echo. 

 "I also don't like that you have your cane back but that's a talk for later," Echo mumbled walking closer towards the group of people. 

 "You have your treasure so I think it's fair I have mine." Echo turned and eyed Phantom,  

 "I don't hurt people though." Phantom just kind of laughed at this. 

 "You aren't even intimidating when you want to be!" Phantom laughed and Echo just sighed and nodded. 

 "Treasure?" Matt asked curiously walking towards the two Demons. 

 "It's a long story." Echo said turning towards Matt looking him up and down. "Basically Demons connected to Nate have most of their power within their treasure, if we don't have it we lose 89% of our power."  Echo explained looking back at Nate, "Item usually seems pretty normal but sometimes can be extravagant, Phantom is in a wired in-between." Echo turned around again and looked at Phantom, "You said I was here for a reason though, who died and when." Phantom walked towards Echo and pointed at Jared, 

 "He'll tell you what you need to know." Echo looked over to Jared who had been watching from a slight distance.  

 "Morgan Want died at the hospital from a falling bookcase a week and 2 days ago. The thing is we think a spell was used in the process as there's no way she could've died immediately without one." Jared explained walking towards Echo, "Also Sean lost his eye from a pack of Werewolves that turned out to be Normals." Echo titled his head in confusion and looked towards Sean." 

 "His eye looks to be there." Echo said confused looking back towards Nate to see if he had an explanation. 

 "His eye came back, we're not sure how, but it was originally gone," Nate explained gesturing over to Sean out of habit. 

 "Huh, well it seems the person who did this has strong magic, I'm sure we all knew that though. They also seem to have a good hiding spot if the magic went undetected… or they had the power to erase it from being detected in the first place!" Echo exclaimed looking towards Nate once more as he stopped pacing. "Nate who has the biggest say in everything that goes on in Gate?"  

 "W-well I guess that would be AJ," Nate said surprised as Echo bounced as he figured out the puzzle. 

 "Then that's who it is the pieces fit together! Even if his magic was detected he could have said it was nothing to be worried about, did Morgan even cause suspicion between any of you?" Nate and Matt nodded as the rest looked on in disbelief. "That's why he offed her! That still leaves some pieces left though… like how Normals were turned into Werewolves in the first place." Echo thought for a second before Nate jumped in. 

 "I saw a machine, it was probably emitting something that turned them into Werewolves, they turned back after I destroyed it." Echo thought about what was said, his LED cycling for a second. 

 "I've never heard of such a device before but it's defiantly plausible…" Echo turned back to Phantom, "Could you get me any device similar to it? I can't ask Dark myself, I'm not a bad Demon." Phantom put his hand on his chin and thought for a second. 'Mare might be able to get a similar device off of Mad but what's the bargain, I'm not doing this for free you know." Echo rolled his eyes and pointed at Phantom's cane, 

 "I won't take that away from you, that should be more than enough." Echo explained and Phantom nodded disappearing once again.  

 "Wait you're not going to take away the power of a Demon who would use it for evil!?" Jared exclaimed looking over at Echo flabbergasted.  

 "I said wouldn't, that doesn't mean others won't." Echo smiled looking over to Jared. "Trust me, it was hard enough getting his treasure away last time, we won't let it happen again." 

Chapter Text

Jared nodded but went to ask another question, 

"How did he even get his treasure back?" Echo sighed and turned away from everyone and started to explain.  

"Things work a little… differently in the Demon Realm.  He got into Nate, therefore, he was congratulated with his treasure, we can't keep it away forever but we do when we can. Normally to get it away we have to fight but deals can be made, we prefer not to do that though." Echo explained as he turned back the face the group.  

"What's yours?" Matt asked, looking at Echo curiously. Echo pulled out a necklace with a small lavender locket, he opened it to show a projection of code erupt from it. Echo closed it quite quickly after that and put the necklace away into his pocket. Not a second later Phantom showed up with a small device in one hand and his cane in his other.  

"Now before I give this to you we need to make that deal final, say what you please it's recording." Echo took a breath and started stating what he won't do.  

"To get this device that I have asked of you I will not take your treasure away, starting now I will not speak of your treasure and if others try to take it I will not get involved." Echo finished up the deal with a small handshake and then Phantom gave Echo the device. Echo took it quickly and scanned it, he looked over it some more before he sighed and gave to back to Phantom.  

"Is it not the right device?" Echo shook his head, 

"No it is, that's just the problem though, if he's using a device like this then we're in for some serious issues." Echo explained and turned back towards the group with a sorrowful expression. "If he's using this, then we have a bigger issue than war on our hands." Echo explained, he walked over to Jared and handed him a small rock. 

"What's this for?" Jared asked confused, Nate also had to admit that the gesture was strange. 

"Throw it at the device." Echo said moving out of Jared's way. Jared did as told and throw the rock at the device, once he did the device glowed red and sent the rock flying back at a really high speed. Jared dodged it narrowly, it flying into a tree leaving a dent in it.  

"Holy shit!" Mark screamed moving backwards away from the tree grabbing Sean and pulling him towards him. Nate watched as this entire thing transpired, he had let the others take control but he needed to get back into the saddle and do what he got out of the house for. 

"His were less sophisticated, when I broke his device it took no effort, he may have more sophisticated ones now but I doubt it'll be that advanced." Echo lit up as Nate explained his observations. Nate walked towards the two Demons, he wasn't afraid of either, and took out his sythe. "If I try to slice this if half it'll blow me backwards, right?" Echo nodded and Nate aimed the sythe near the device, it started glowing a deep orange-red. "So basically no projectiles or anything like that will work." Echo nodded again slightly confused to what Nate was trying to get at. Nate put his sythe down and turned around to face Echo, "Can anyone besides Mad make a device to cancel this thing out." Echo seemed to think for a little bit before he nodded. 

"If we get about 3 of us, Heathens, Sharper and I, I'm sure we could get something. The only problem is that I know they're doing something right now and while they normally help me I'm not sure they'd want to right now." Phantom seemed to raise his eyebrow in confusion. 

"What could those two be doing together?" Phantom asked, Echo seemingly ignored it as he didn't even look in the direction of Phantom. 

"I might be able to convince them if I tell them how dire the situation is." Nate nodded and looked back towards the group, a lot of their friends had ducked out over the week, hiding, being scared of losing their lives. There were some that remained though. Obviously, Matt was still here, so were Mark and Sean but the only other one that remained actively was Stephanie, the others talked to them but largely left them alone. 

"Please try, we're at a loss right now and we could use all the help we could get." Nate said as he walked back over to Matt, looking over his shoulder to see Echo nod and disappear once more, Phantom following suite saying something about finding 'Mare.  

"This is getting insane, I don't feel safe anymore, I don’t think any of us do," Stephanie said, her eyes were blown pretty wide from everything that had just happened. Nate nodded in agreement, everything was getting pretty scary, Nate knew that more than anyone. 

"So we just sit here and wait for, in total, 5 Demons to arrive, what has our life become and why has it become this." Jared was thinking out loud, he wasn't really talking to anyone, just the overall presence of everyone. Nate looked down and thought about everything like that, what was happening, it was insane what was going on, it was all so… odd, it seemed like a bad movie but it wasn't. 

"It is… well, odd but, we just kind of have to deal, we're growing as people if we look on the bright side of things." Sean said, it was just like him to say something positive when everyone was feeling down.  

"Yeah! If we look at things positively then how cool is this!? We get to see good and bad Demons alike working together, that's not something you see every day." Mark added, Nate envied how positive they could be, he smiled and looked up at them, they were smiling bright and were hand in hand in front of everybody. Matt smiled at Nate and took his hand, 

"We'll get through this together, no matter what." Nate smiled back and looked over to Jared who seemed to be in a much better mood now. Stephanie and run over to Mark and Sean and tackled them in hugs, they were laughing, having fun, trying not to think about what was really happening, they wanted a moment to just be teenagers again but Nate couldn't stop thinking about what was going on, it ate at his mind as he knew more than anyone else.  

About an hour later 5 Demons arrived under the same birch tree where they once were. Phantom and Echo were easy to pick out because they had all seen them but the others… well, they'd never seen them before. One was probably 5'9, he was a mix between lean and muscular, he had black eyeliner and eyeshadow plus indigo tear streams, if Nate had to guess he would think that one was Natemare. He wore a bandana around his neck with Mangle, he had very normal clothes that were similar to Echo's, a little bit different as the jeans were ripped. Oh, and his eyes were completely black. 

The next one over was around 5'8, he was about as lean but did have some muscular elements. He had blue shadow around his blue eye but nothing around his purple. He had a semi-dress shirt with normal black pants, his shoes were also nice. Nate would guess that he was Heathens. 

The last one was shorter than Nate at about 5'6, he had a wound on his face that showed exposed wires, it was very bloody. He had a pretty normal black, V-neck, and a long-sleeved shirt with black pants. He was very lean, probably leaner than Nate. Nate would guess he was Sharper.  

Echo walked in front of the group and starting introducing people. "This is Natemare, be careful around him, last time he met someone we didn't see them for a week. This is Heathens, he's the embodiment of neutral, he doesn't like talking to people. And last but not least, this is Sharper, he's… well, he's dealing with some stuff…" Echo stepped back and let the Demons look at the group ahead of them. Nate watched as they looked around, Sharper looked impressed, Heathens looked pleased and Natemare looked like he couldn't care less.  

"Why am I here again?" Natemare asked looking towards Phantom who was standing with his arms crossed.  

"Because I need someone to keep me sane while I sit here with these Demons." Phantom explained gesturing to the other 3 Demons. 

"Fair enough." Nate leaned up against the birch tree next to Phantom and watched as the madness unfolded. Nate looked over to Echo, Sharper and Heathens again, Heathens seemed to be scowling at Natemare. Jared stepped forward to face the 3 Demons. 

"You can create the device we need, right?" Echo nodded and gestured over to Sharper. 

"You tell him what you need and he can draw up blueprints for it," Echo then gestured over to Heathens, "Then he can get what we need and I," He gestured to himself, "Can make it!' Sharper and Heathens nodded and approached Jared, Sharper with a newly appeared notepad. Nate watched as for about 30 minutes Jared, Heathens, Echo, and Sharper came up with a device that would work on the device that was still on the ground.  

"Alright… I think I've got it but some of these pieces will be really hard to find." Sharper explained touching the eraser of his pencil to his lip, he looked up and over to Heathens. "Are you sure you'll be able to find all of this?" Heathens took the notepad and looked over the design. 

"I can manage, it'll take me about 3 days though." Heathens explained handing Sharper back the notepad.  

"Three days? That's a while…" Jared said concerned, 3 days was a while with what the stakes were right now. 

"Some of these materials are rare or just a long journey out, 3 days is if everything turns out ok." Heathens explained while Echo looked over at the notepad, he pointed at one of the materials on the list.  

"I can get this easily, that'll cut the trip down a day." Echo put his finger down and smiled up at Heathens who just looked shocked. 

"How could you possibly get that easily?" Heathens questioned with disbelief in his voice. 

"As you like to say, connections." Echo winked and disappeared. 

"You guys flirt waaaaaaay too much!" Sharped joked truing back towards Heathens who just looked surprised. 

"What material could he get?" Nate asked, he just ignored the teasing as he really didn't want to get into that. Heathens turned around and faced Nate. 

"A power gem, a blue on to be precise, I don't know how's he going to get that easily…" Heathens shook his head and looked back towards Sharper. 

"Don't look at me, I have no idea what kind of connections Echo has," Sharper said never looking up from the paper he was sketching the design on.  

Echo came back no more than 5 minutes after that with, what Nate assumed to be, a blue power gem in hand. Echo handed it off to Sharper and then Heathens said his goodbyes for the 2 days he would be collected materials, he gave Echo a hug, a wave off to the rest and then disappeared. Sharper examined the blue gem closer after Heathens left, looking it over for a solid 10 minutes. 

"It's real. How did you ever manage to get a real blue power gem in less than 10 minutes?" Sharper asked putting the blue power gem in his pocket, Echo shrugged, 

"Sometimes I know the right people." Echo explained walking over to the birch tree where Phantom and Natemare were talking, Nate couldn't hear what they were saying as they were too far away, he would've gotten closer but the 3 of them seemed to get into a fight, Nate didn't want to get into that.  

It was quiet for a good 5 minutes, Sharper was continuing to sketch what Nate assumed to be the device design while everyone just kind of sat down and waited. Nate was the only one standing besides Phantom, Natemare, and Echo who seemed to be engrossed in their argument. It was getting later into the day, the sun was half-way set and everyone was getting tired, Sean had almost fallen asleep on Mark multiple times. Jared was the one who broke the quiet, 

"We should be getting back, it's getting late and it's not like we're making much progress tonight." Matt nodded and stood up, he grabbed Nate and pulled him into a hug, whispering, "we can make progress later, it's alright." Mark stood up and pulled Sean up after him, Stephanie stood up after them.  Sharper nodded and looked back to the other 3 Demons who were still arguing. 

"What are you guys even arguing about!?" Sharper exclaimed standing up and crossing his arms. Echo looked back and started walking over, 

"Just the usual, I hate getting into fights but those two are just so unethical!" Echo exclaimed raising his arms into the air before dropping them with a sigh. "At least Phantom has standards, Natemare is unpredictable and erratic, never know what to expect with him." Echo explained looking over to Nate who was trying really hard to hide how tired he was. "I hope you were all planning to go to bed, you all look tired." Echo looked concerned, he raised his hand and touched Nate's cheek, "You should go to sleep, my readings say you are sleep deprived, we have a lot of work ahead of us." Echo put down his hand that had glowed a light purple when it was on Nate's cheek, he smiled and looked over to the other Demons. "It's time to go. Phantom, we need to talk when we get back. Natemare, no more seducing Demons, we don't need the consequences of that. Shaper, you need to finalize that design tonight." With that, the Demons disappeared yet again. 

 

Chapter Text

Nate and Matt arrived home, at most, 10 minutes later, Nate was about to collapse by the time they got back, Echo was right, he was pretty sleep deprived. He walked into the house and immediately collapsed on the bed, falling asleep almost instantly. 

He woke up the next day a little later than planned, to the point where they had to leave soon, Nate rushed to get ready and somehow managed to before they needed to leave. 

"I was trying to wake you up, you just didn't budge. Matt explained as they walked out of the dorms and to the school. Nate rolled his eyes and continued to walk forwards, the school wasn't that far away but it felt like it was longer than it should have been. Nate kept his mouth shut though as Nate was probably just used to talking to Matt the entire time instead of walking in silence. "There's still a lot of work to do with the Demons, isn't there?" Nate nodded, they still had a lot of planning and after they got the materials, they needed to have Echo make it, it was just a lot of stuff to do in a short time frame. 

"We have… a lot to get done, but we should be able to finish it by the end of the week." Nate tried to stay positive with the end of his sentence. It had been a while since the first known attack, so they had no idea when AJ would strike again. "Then again we have no idea when an attack will happen, it's a blind guess at this point." Nate hated to point it out to anyone besides himself, but it was true, they had no idea what was happening. 

"Well, we have a little information. The last known attack was a week ago but there have been other occurrences that have seemed off, like the one where you fell to the ground out of nowhere or the Hell-hound. I think more attacks have been happening than we care to realize." It wasn't an idea that Nate liked but it seemed more than likely what was happening. There were only 5 minutes away from the school now, Nate took that time to focus on the Demon presence inside him to try and figure what they were doing. 

Echo walked along the never-ending darkness, a small white rabbit following close behind. He had his locket out in front of his shirt and his face held a scowl. He approached Natemare and crossed his arms when he was in front of him. 

"What do you want 'Mare?' Echo asked harshly leaning on his left leg. 

"What do you think I want? I want you to tell the truth to Nate, I was here first, and I want him to know that you lied to him." Natemare used his height to his advantage and leaned forward trying to intimidate Echo. 

"I am telling the truth, I don't know what you're talking about." Echo seemed to be genuinely confused as he made his bunny disappear. He uncrossed his arms and looked up at Natemare for answers. 

"Not the full truth! You know there is more to this than just a simple Normal!" Natemare snarled, leaning back, his fists balled as if he was going to sock Echo in the face. 

"I don't know what you're talking about, the case seemed cut and dry unless I skipped over evidence." Echo LED glowed as he thought about evidence he might have skipped over. Natemare huffed and turned around, 

"If you're not going to say the truth then I will." Natemare walked away leaving Echo very confused. 

"-ate? Nate?" Nate shook out of his daze, now he was confused. What did Natemare know that Echo didn't? 

"Sorry, I zoned out," Nate said grabbing Matt's hand, technically he didn't lie, he was zoned out. Nate looked up to see they were at the school. He walked with Matt up to the front door, using their joint hands to open it. They walked to their classroom to see Natemare sitting at a desk with his feet propped up. The class was a circle far away staring at the Demon. Nate sighed and dropped Matt's hand, he walked over to where the Demon was sat. "What do you want 'Mare?" 

"Rude," Natemare scoffed standing up, "just wanted to tell you something," Natemare said more serious than Nate had ever heard. 

"What is it?" Nate asked giving him the benefit of the doubt. 

"The problem you have, there's more to it. It can't just be a Normal, look, I don't care about you or your other humans, but I don't want Demon's to be the blame for this." Natemare said seriously but then his face changed to a sickening grin, "plus it'd be fun to see the look on Echo's face." Nate scowled at that, he did bring up a fair point though. 

"Right… who else could be behind it?" Nate asked, completely ignoring the fact that there were other people in the room. 

"No idea." Natemare shrugged still with his grin on his face. Nate scoffed and waved his hand. 

"You have an idea and you know it." Nate accused the Demon who put on a look of fake surprise, he changed his face quickly though. 

"While I do you may not like it." Natemare shook his head. "It's not a fun idea for anyone, if it's true we may all be doomed." Nate was shocked by such bold words. 

"What does that mean exactly?" Nate asked, those were quite bold words for anyone. 

"Well, see the thing is, Demons are going to war with Angles, right? Well, that's not completely true, the bad Demons are going to war with the bad Angles. It's a bit confusing but that's the gist of it. Now with that, the good Angles are getting confused and may have started this whole thing." Natemare tried to explain, he stuttered and mumbled most of it, but Nate understood what he was trying to say. 

"So you're saying Angles are a part of this?" Nate hated the idea, Angles were not a force to be reckoned with. 

"I'm saying it's possible," Natemare added sitting back down, this time on top of the desk. "If that's what's happening though there isn't much we can do. " He shrugged and pulled out a necklace, "If you're wondering, no, this isn't my treasure, it's another Demon’s who I may or may not have stolen it from." Nate examined it, it didn't look like Echo's which was a good sign, he actually didn't recognize it at all. "He'll get pissed if he finds out I took it so, as a favor, you'll have it on you for a little bit." Nate didn't get to say no as Natemare disappeared into smoke before he knew it. Nate turned around and walked back over to Matt. 

"Looks like we've got a lot on our hands."