Chapter 1: This fall I don't know if I survived
Chapter title: This fall I don't know if I survived
A bright light blinded Meliodas as he sluggishly pried his eyes open. His body felt strangely sore. Painfull even, which, he was happy to say that he hadn't really felt in centuries. Not to this extent, anyway. Usually, it wouldn't be much worse than a dull aching in the part of his body where the injury was located, until inevitably, he would transform into his demon form, patching his body back up for him. If he was incapable of doing that, the sunrays of Elizabeth's Goddess healing ability would take care of it shortly after.
Was this the sensation he had convinced himself that he missed so greatly? He had to re-think that.
But that would have to wait. The first thing on the agenda was to figure out where in the world he was. Or, what might be more accurately, out-of-this-world, he thought, as his brain finally was able to connect with his body, letting him prop himself up on one elbow and shading his eyes from the intruding brightness with his other hand.
The room he had waken up in was grand. Likely some kind of foyer with white and black checkered marble flooring, bronze walls with golden details. Human-sized paintings of godlike figures decked the walls and the room was filled with luxurious furniture. A staircase was located in the middle of the room, leading up to a second story, out of sight from where he was sprawled out on the floor.
The staircase also held the answer to where the offending light source came from. At first glance, it appeared to be coming from the large stained glass windows at the wall where the stair parted ways into two different directions. At a second glance though, it was clearly illuminating from the beautiful, if not slightly intimidating, woman who stood three steps up.
Meliodas lowered his head back to the floor, fighting off a spinal headache. When he was finally fairly certain that he wasn't going to throw up, he raised his head again, squinting his eyes to rid himself of the double vision and locked his eyes with the celestial beauty.
She was tall, at least 5'10, with bright, light hair. It almost seemed silvery, sparkling graciously in the shimmering of the gloss that radiated around her and enveloped her shoulders. Just like a certain girl he had known for a couple of years now. Her curvy figure was gracefully draped in an elegant white dress, flowing seamlessly around her and held in place by golden, braided bands, gently tracing her dress all the way to the floor.
Meliodas felt a flicker of familiarity. Almost like a dèja vu, coming and passing too quickly to knowing for certain if it was real or not, looking into her splendid copper eyes.
His own emerald green, trickster gaze lowered to the ethereal woman's bosom for a quick assessment, before blinking rapidly and rubbing his eyes in a long rehearsed aversion, returning to meet her eyes with the innocence of the child he knew he looked like.
“Yo,” he greeted merrily, trying and failing to push himself off of the floor. His elbows wouldn't fold far enough behind him, for him to put his palms to the floor, without the blood in his head seemingly wanting to burst out of his ears, making him dizzy and nauseous and he imagined he could literally taste his spine.
“You're injured,” she noted. It was more of a statement than a question. Her expression remained as stoic as it had been for the few minutes he could remember being there. He couldn't be sure if this was a friendly visit or not.
“It would appear so,” he answered her chipperly, while the searing pain of what could only be a stab to his lower back screamed for attention. He hid his face in his arms once more, gritting his teeth and flinching, unable to keep from giving the wound exactly what it wanted.
What had happened?
He remembered waking up at the boar hat like any other day, snuggling his face to Elizabeth's back as she sighed softly in her sleep, before he got up, got dressed and went down to make some coffee.
Ban was fast asleep, hunched over one of the tables as usual with a half-full jug of ale still clutched in his right hand. Diane, luckily remaining under Merlins shrimping spell, was cuddled up against King on Chastiefol by one of the windows. King looked at Meliodas with terrified, bloodshot eyes, frozen in fear of waking her by any slight movement. Meliodas had chuckled, giving him the thumbs up as he entered the kitchen to continue his quest for caffeine.
Nothing else came to him. It was clouded by a black fog that he couldn't see through, no matter how hard he squinted at it. The confusion on his face must have registered at the tall woman, as an invincible string seemed to tug at the creek of her mouth, forcing it into a reluctant and crooked smile.
“I've taken your memories, dragon sin of Wrath- Meliodas.”
So, they had met before, then. He should probably apologize right away.
“Oh, well, that's a bit inconvenient, miss...” Nope, no name, so he tryingly added, “...iss?”
She closed her eyes with a humorous smile on her lips, folding her bat-winged sleeves in front of her and walked the few steps down the stairwell.
To Meliodas chagrin, he realized she was standing barefoot in front of him. Even if he was a 3.000-year-old demon, unable to age by the curse put upon him by his father, he felt a little bitter that he couldn't have stopped aging after he had grown to a somewhat more desirable size.
At least, so he could reach the dishes at the higher shelves in their kitchen. Ban, that stupidly tall son of a bitch, had taken a liking to lift him up so he could get them for himself, mockingly exclaiming an “uuup-si daisy”, whenever he did. A blow almost harder than having to ask him to get them for him in the first place. He wasn't a particularly prideful person, which a series of up-the-skirt incidences had clearly proved and left no doubt about. But still, even he had to draw the line somewhere.
“I'm sorry, I can't recall your name,” he finally admitted.
“Meliodas, that part of your memory, I have not taken,” she said wistfully, coming to a stand only a few centimeters away from him.
“I know. Someone else did, though,” he chuckled, winching noticeably at the burning it left in his lower back. “I'm afraid there's a lot I can't remember anymore.”
“That should be understandable. It's about 1.500 years since we last met, after all.”
If that was not a hint, he wouldn't have known one if it had punched him square in the jaw.
Meliodas wracked his brain for the answers. From what he had gathered up to this point, specifically from her ability to extract from his memories, this woman must be either a mage like Merlin or a Goddess, which was more likely. Especially considering the crew he surrounded himself with at that time, half a lifetime ago.
Half of his lifetime, anyway.
But wait, a Goddess? That could only mean...
“Panacea?” he asked in slight disbelief, looking up at her unblemished face that looked as pure as it had a kiloyear ago. “I don't understand. Why did you bring me here?”
Panacea lowered herself to one knee, lending him a hand to get back up. When he wasn't able to reach for it, she propped herself down behind him instead, carefully turning him over and placing a hand under his knees and his shoulders, lifting him up bridal style.
“Oh, thaaat's degrading,” he uttered as his face scrunched up in pain, unwillingly being carried by the unfaltering arms as they started up the stairs. “Where are we going?”
“To my chambers,” Panacea answered, ignoring Melioda's expressed of embarrassment. “You should lay down for a bit. We'll discuss everything after you rest.”
“If you would just heal me, we could save ourselves some time,” Meliodas suggested with his never-faltering positivity. He was sure that there was a good reason for her to take his memories and bringing him here, but being in the Goddess Kingdom of Theòtita, he was unable to use his own demonic powers of healing, which left him at the mercy of his genetically-caused enemy, while being in such a reduced state of health.
“As I said, we'll discuss everything later.”
Meliodas decided to accept the delay. He did feel exhausted, and from what he could remember, the Goddesses had some excellent beds.
He was asleep the moment his head hit the pillow. These Goddesses had a few things figured out. He could only imagine that said pillow had been stuffed with angel feathers. If it was the high quality of it, or if it was plain fatigue from the pain of his injuries, wasn't really important at the time. Even if it hurt to lay on his back, and even if he was in one of the most vulnerable positions he could possibly be in, he couldn't help himself from descending into a deep, fever-induced sleep.
Luckily, the sleep was dreamless, as far as he could recall. The last thing he wanted, was for Panacea to witness the way he tossed and turned by the horrid dreams that usually shattered his mind, tearing him away from the comfort of his bed who he shared with his beloved Elizabeth and throwing him back through 3000 years of losing everyone he had ever loved. It was surprising how significant the number was. He was a demon, after all.
When he woke up, the quilt had been pulled over him and a cold cloth was placed on his head. Strange, he thought. Why wouldn't she just heal me?
He felt compeletley over the novelty of being cute and sick at this point. Mostly, because of the lack of slightly gullible nurses who would brush their breasts across his own chest while tending to him, or bending over while cleaning up the glasses of water, he would accidentally knock over from time to time.
'I'm kind of a sleaze bag, aren't I? …Oh, well.'
He pried his eyes open, wanting to rub the sleep out of them, but his arms felt even stiffer after staying still for... how long? He looked around the room, searching for a clock, but all he could find to give him any indication of time was the window. Which, truthfully, wouldn't tell him much, as the sun never set in this place. They didn't even have the same sun as they did in Britannia. Their sun was called Chrysì Theà- Golden Goddess, and it would never go down.
Time went by differently in the Goddess realm than what it did back in his world. An hour in this place would be felt like a minute at home. Well, actually, his home was somewhere entirely different from Britannia. There, it was the other way around. An hour in Brittania was a minute in, well, Hell.
Even so, he knew he would be able to tell the time from where the sun was located in the sky, even if that didn't help him much, as he had no idea where it was when he came here.
In the end, he gave up on his quest for the concept of time and let himself drift back to sleep.
To be continued.
Chapter title: Woke up still on fire
His surroundings were distorted. Anything in his immediate proximity was veiled by a red cover, trapping him inside of a tight, narrow and claustrophobic space between illumining curtains. A feeble, crackling noise was all he could hear, like the resolute snaps of electric wires. It reminded him of Merlin's 'perfect cube', except for the color and spearlike shape of it, making him think of the pyramids he had seen on his travels before settling in Britannia and joining the Holy Knights.
He was flopped on the ground once again, covered with grass and dirt that discolored his shirt, the strands of grass tickling his nose with the taste of weeds and soil on his lips. Apparently, he had planted his face firmly into the dirt at some point- an assumption that did in no way decrease by the looks of the deep tracks he had left behind him on the meadow.
The pain in his back was just as present as before, if not more.
There was no doubt in his mind that he was back in Britannia this time, but the situation seemed just as unfamiliar as to when he woke up in Theòtita earlier, hopefully, that same day.
Half-lidded eyes started to look around, hopeful to gather some fruitful information on his exact time and location. First of all, he was definitively imprisoned by some sort of electric forcefield. Likely to separate him from-
That's when he saw her.
'Elizabeth,' he tried to call for her, but it was as if his mouth had been sewn shut by some sort of elastic band. He could hardly force it to open at all, and when he was able to, his jaw felt sore, immediately worn and a dull ache started to throb in the hinges a little under his temples.
The princess closed the distance between the two, or, at least between herself and the forcefield. Something told Meliodas that there wasn't a way for her to break through unless its maker took the barrier down, willingly or by defeat. He lay only about 10 cm or so, away from the edge of it, and he could feel prickling on his skin and strands of unruly hair lifting from the friction that the walls radiated.
'She wasn't going to..?'
"Elizabeth!" His voice came out as nothing but a strangled wheeze. The strain made him dizzy and cough viciously. She didn't seem to hear him at all. Her knees gave out right outside, less than half a meter from his own broken form.
If she said something, he couldn't hear her. He was more focused on getting his hands to just obey, wanting to reach out to her, stop her, make her back off and away from the... 'Oh god no!'
To skinny arms reached out for him, breaching the barricade for a swift moment before a shattering squeal roamed through his ears. Pained yelps and cries for help escaped her lips as the red lightning enveloped her arms, making her entire body twitch frightfully. Several new apparitions appeared behind her. He could make out Ban's red attire and the huge form of an orange dress, hovering over all of them- Diane, but that was it.
There was nothing he wanted more than to run for Elizabeth, shielding her fragile frame from the unrelenting bolts that threatened to take her life, such a short distance away. But he was unable to move. He could hardly talk.
He had never felt this useless his entire life. She was there, he could see her, almost reach out and touch her and still, there was nothing he could do. He couldn't even call out her name. He couldn't protect her- he was supposed to protect her and now he had failed just like with Liz and- and... everyone else he had promised to defend. He would give his life in a heartbeat, which he had so many of if he could just touch her. Reassure her. Tell her that everything was going to be okay.
Ban's large arms wrapped around her but he immediately stepped back. He had been shocked too, only by touching her. There was nothing anyone could do. She would die-
Suddenly, her body went limp. The thunderbolts let go of her, letting her crumble to the ground, halfway in and halfway out of the lightning pyramid. Her burnt arms sprawled around her head, and she met his eyes, a weak gaze lingering with him, as he parted her lips.
"Sir Meliodas, why... why didn't you do anything?" she asked shakily, on her high-pitched, feeble voice.
"E-Elizabeth, m'so- sorry," he was able to croak out before his voice failed, and he realized that he was bawling his eyes out. He spent the rest of the little energy he had left, to stretch an arm out as far as it would go, finally able to touch her scorched knuckle.
"You're hurting me," she whispered, and he instantly retracted his hand.
"Sorry," he muttered, letting his head fall to the ground. "I failed you again... and now you're hurt because of me. I'm sorry Elizabeth, I'm so, so sor-"
A hushed sigh left her lips, making Melioda's entire body freeze. Slowly, he lifted his head back up, reluctantly opening his eyes back up.
The alarm set in straight away, a breathless squeak escaping his throat as he met the lifeless, staring eyes of his adored companion.
"Elizabeth," he breathed heavily, panic flooding through his veins and leaving him desperate and terrified and hysterical and utterly, entirely crushed.
She was gone.
She was gone and she wasn't coming back.
A glass-shattering wail roared through the air, making him flinch and instinctively trying to duck away before he realized that the sound came from himself.
Warm hands were placed on his shoulders, while he could feel the warmth of familiar magic, radiating over his forehead and giving him the sensation of being pulled out of himself.
He awoke with a gasp, intuitively trying to throw himself up, to a sitting position- away from the nightmare and back into the real world. Again, the pain in his back made itself known, by sending out painful shocks through his entire body, almost pulling him back into the depths of the horror he had finally escaped.
The breaths tore at his chest, shuddering as they left his body while the tears escaped the creek of his eyes, blending with feverish sweat. The exhausted ramblings of unanswered apologize slowly died down.
The pale light that spiraled out of Panacea's palms while a new presence gently held him down, finally faded out as soon as she was assured that the small blonde was all the way out of the slightly magically adjusted flashback.
"Meliodas, are you here with us?" her soft voice asked, stroking his hair back in comforting motions.
"Where's Elizabeth?" he demanded weakly, shifting restlessly to get out of bed.
"Careful, your injury is quite severe. You shouldn't do anything to aggravate them further," she cooed, still caressing his messy locks.
"Then heal me and let me get out of here," he argued, making his voice as strong as he possibly could. "I need to find Elizabeth, I need to protect-"
A forceful scoff disrupted him, freeing itself from the chest of their most recent attendant, a younger and shorter woman than Panacea, with long frosty hair, tangled in an intricate braid, wearing a sky blue, draped dress. Panacea held out a hand to silence her, expression unyieldingly serious as she shifted her attention to the bedridden man.
"Do you understand what you just saw?" she asked calmly, returning her hand to rest atop of his head. He still had a high fever.
"Elizabeth is hurt, I need to find her!" he whimpered, tugging at the quilt, trying to move it away.
"Please don't move, Meliodas. You're in no condition to move anywhere right now. What you just saw, is partially what happened earlier today," she explained vaguely. Meliodas' glossed eyes peeked up at her, clearly not understanding.
"Elizabeth is okay. I kept the memories from you to prove a point, and I think I did."
Meliodas shot his eyes up, relief rushing through his body, even relieving some of the pain as the tenseness in his shoulders decreased considerably and he was finally able to relax a little. "She... she's okay? Wait, how? I just saw her! She got caught in the forcefield, she..."
She hushed him with a soft smile, that for some reason didn't look consoling at all. "Calm down, kalì daimònio."
Good demon, he translated internally. Foggy memories brewed on the surface of his mind, just out of his reach, of what had given him that nickname in the Goddess Kingdom, so long ago.
"What is the point you were trying to make?" he asked wearily and adding, "...and how do I know for sure that she really is okay?"
A shrill laugh made her shoulders tremble, golden eyes flashing to dangerously purple for just a second, before settling back to their usual cobber yellow.
He definitely remembered that look.
"Do you think I would let you get my daughter killed, Meliodas?" she asked rhetorically, the humorless grin fading from her face. "The same way you've let countless Elizabeths wither and die in your blood-covered hands, all those times before my daughter?" Her voice was now raised, angry with energy beaming out of her being, making her hair trash against her face and her dress flutter in the air around her. "I've been paying attention to you two, ever since Danafor. Ever since you let your demonic rage ravage the village and almost letting my Elizabeth die in the fallout."
Meliodas stared wide-eyed up at her, letting her finish the outraged rant before he dared to speak again.
"So, you're Elizabeth's mom?" he asked with piqued interest, his careless facade falling back into place, now that he was satisfied that Elizabeth was unharmed. "This is some pretty excessive mother-in-lawing, you know."
He armored up with his most lighthearted grin as he watched Panacea's flaming wrath peek for a moment, before slowly dabbing off, ending in an exasperated sigh.
"All I'm asking of you, Meliodas, is to stop putting my youngest in such grave danger. What is left of the Commandments, are still inactive, so there is no reason for you to fight anymore, as long as the peace still remains. What you saw in your nightmare is a very real possibility of what could have happened today."
Something dark had fallen over Meliodas, his eyes seemed to have lost their shimmer and his head ducked down for his bangs to cover his eyes.
"I will protect her as long as I live, no matter what happens to me," he murmured dangerously. "I would never intentionally put Elizabeth in harm's way."
"Then prove it." She took a deep breath of air before slowly letting it out. "When you wake up, you'll remember today's events as they carried out. You'll be back in Britannia. Your mortal body is left there, you know the drill."
Yes, he did know the drill. Only his consciousness would be brought to the Goddess Realm, which was why he couldn't heal there. This wasn't his first rodeo, after all. His physical body would probably still be inside the triangle when he woke up if he hadn't been asleep for too long in there. He didn't want to think about the consequences of that. He didn't want to leave Elizabeth in danger without being able to be there to look after her and make sure she wasn't being hurt.
"I will," he assured her, determinate and selfassured. There wasn't a force strong enough in any universe, to keep him from preventing anyone or anything to harm her. She was his woman. His heart, his soul, the air he breathed- the only reason he even bothered to breathe. His life, his purpose and his everything. "I will fight for her as long as I live!"
"There's that word again- fight. A fight means a battle, Meliodas. Are you even listening to me?" she asked, a short snort followed her statement. "But, I've decided to take a couple of precautionary measures, to prevent- well, you'll figure it out soon enough."
A sudden jolt made his body jerk back, like an earthquake tearing his chest apart by the touch. Panacea poked him with her index and middle finger, creating a light blue orb that seemed to evaporate in a small explosion as she stabbed the fingers at his rib cage. He blurted out a complained noise from the dull shock.
"Take care of my cherished Elizabeth," she inquired as she disappeared in a flash of white light and he felt himself fall through the divine bed and before he knew it- he was back in his voltaic prison.
Panicked eyes rolled over every wall that intrapped him, searching for Elizabeth's still form. She wasn't there. A relieved sigh shuddered through him, knowing that it wasn't too late- while still knowing it could be, very soon. He concentrated all his rage into an eggplant-purple ball in his chest, ready to expand it and let it swallow up his injuries and letting him break free of his imprisonment of the enchanted jail as well as the crippling agony from his wound...
...as a stab of sudden, searing pain abruptly pierced through skin and layers of muscles and tissue, dangerously close to the exact same spot as before. A warped howl bounced off the walls in the tight space, blood projecting from his mouth between sobs and jagged breaths. He had no way of moving around to see what had caused it, as the blinding anguish made already restricted motions even harder to act out.
'I thought she said she was going to return my memories,' he thought hazily, hardly able to keep his head on his shoulders anymore. A vision of pink and purple hurried towards him, blurred by wavy, crimson radiation. The intruding presence behind him was blatantly ignored as his panic grew into a full meltdown, watching the most cherished aspect of his over-stayed presence on this earth, closing dangerously in on the danger zone (anyone else who can't say those words without singing?). His heart was pounding like a drummer with severe ADHD in the middle of a dire sugar-rush, wanting to escape from his chest and stop Elizabeth itself.
"Elizabeth, sto-" he spat, voice morphing into a harsh squeal as whatever that had impaled him was brutally withdrawn from his back.
What happened next seemed to develop in slow motion. A huge, tan boot with a belt of iron rivets over the instep, stepped in front of his blurred outline of Elizabeth. The little sliver of flesh that he could see over the humongous shoe, turned steely grey. He recognized Dianes 'Heavy Metal' ability, turning her body to solid chrome. The last thing that happened before the blonde lost consciousness was a large hand breaching through the electric seal, the beams rejected and buzzing off of her metallic hand and long fingers enveloping his body in a careful, loving embrace.
"Captain?" Diane asked softly as she uncurled her fingers, looking down at her leader with indigo orbs, arching her eyebrows with worry at the poor state of the small man. Quirked brows turned effortlessly into an angry glare, directed towards the charcoal-haired fairy, clad in an olive-green cloak with his bloodied Blade of the Oleander pointed towards her.
'Such a sleazy little rat', she thought, bending down with her free hand, grabbing onto the sorry little man-of-the-earth. He feebly whirled his blade around, likely trying to cast another electric spell. It got abrupted as soon as she squeezed her fingers over the pathetic outlaw, still wearing her suit of heavy metal.
"How dare you attack the captain?" she uttered venomously, before squeezing her fist tight, hopeful of breaking every bone in the creeper's body, and hurling him outwards across the meadow and far behind the mountains.
She panted for a short while, before remembering her precious load. She gently opened her right fist again from the slack grip to look over the unconscious Meliodas. Gingerly, she lowered him to the ground to let Elizabeth's healing rays dance onto his still form.
The princess was already sitting in the grass, readying her energy for the session. Merlin and Ban were standing passively to the side, while Hawk was running panicked around, screaming insults and profanities directed towards anyone and everything between heaven and hell- which mostly affected butterflies and beetles.
Meliodas' head lolled to the side, his expression peaceful and seemingly oblivious to the abuse his body had been through. He had been too quick again- neglecting to assess the situation before flailing himself into the attack, getting caught off guard by the forcefield, leaving him exposed and open for attack.
The Rejected fairy- Solan of the Tepperot.
He was in no way as infamous as the demon clan and the ten commandments, or the seven deadly sins, for argument's sake, but he was a strong, vindictive and an ever so bothersome idiot. How their captain could be overthrown by him so easily, was a question that better be left until he woke up.
The warmth of Elizabeth's healing magic covered meters around her, even healing the throttled blossoms and the small scratches that the ground had left on Diane's knuckles.
For some strange reason, the light shimmering from Elizabeth's hands seemed to hesitate before entering Meliodas' body. The small twitch on his crumpled-up face, started to ease for a short moment before the twitch intensified violently and his eyes tightening even more shut and a desperate yell left his sleeping form before his body seizure and trembled bad enough to make all six present sins protest. Merlin, Ban, Diane, King, Escanore, and Gowther- all shouting for her to stop.
Elizabeth's eyes were watering and she stopped the stream of magic abruptly, looking at the Sins, as well as Meliodas in dispelief.
"W-what happened?" she asked in great concern, intuitively resting her hands on Meliodas cheeks, shifting her stare hopelessly to his face, praying for moss-colored eyes to flutter open and look back at her with the reassuring calmness hey usually gave her.
Merlin stepped forward, walking towards them, watching carefully as she did. "I think he's under some kind of spell," she said cooly, before settling on her knees beside Elizabeth. "He reacted badly to your healing, and he wasn't able to use his own powers before fainting."
"Why couldn't he do that?" Elizabeth asked teary-eyed, clasping her hands even tighter, hugging them lovingly and protective around Meliodas' throat.
"I can't know for sure before I've spoken with him. Something strange must have happened with him while he's been out," Merlin explained calmly, elegant fingers stroking across Meliodas' forehead. Considering Elizabeth's race and the uncertainty of Meliodas' actual condition, she neglected intentionally, to mention her suspicions of a Goddess-spell having been cast upon him, if she would take into consideration the way his body rejected Elizabeth's healing powers.
"We should get him back to the tavern and call for a doctor," she said instead, waving at Diane to come pick him back up. She did so without hesitation, clutching his limp body to her heart while she carried him in the direction of the Boar Hat with the others not far behind and letting Hawk run in advance, calling desperately out for his mama to meet them half-way.
"Don't worry Captain," Diane soothed, rushing his hair gently with her oversized index. "You'll be up and about in no time."
To be continued.
This story is actually partially a prompt I got on Tumblr. I won't post exactly what it was yet, as it will leave spoilers for my next chapter!
I hope you all enjoyed the story this far! Please leave a review to let me know. I still take suggestions on the coming chapters!