It had been many years since Uka had allowed himself to think about Vim, since he had allowed himself to mourn. But kneeling here in front of his teachers and receiving his final assignment before he could join the ranks of the higher demons, he couldn’t help but think back to that fateful day, so long ago. That day that had set in motion the events that had lost him his closest friend, his hero, his big brother.
The headmistress was chanting, and distractedly he tried to chant along. Something about flowers wilting in the heat of hell. Focus, he thought, this is important. But his mind was elsewhere. He shivered, tried to suppress that sliver of fear that was slithering up along his spine, that little voice in his head that told him that he could meet the same fate Vim had. And what would become of him then? Yet another thought he hadn’t allowed himself to have. Because what happens to a demon when they die…
Was Vim in hell?
Would Uka, after he graduated, now finally be meeting him there and be forced to become his brother’s tormentor?
A week later, Uka was a demon. While he was proud of his accomplishments he had to note that they felt somehow a little hollow. He no longer took the same joy he once had in tormenting humans, which he tried to tell himself very hard was not because he could not help but see Vim’s face in all of them. But no matter, he had succeeded. He walked, unseen, through the streets of Paris. It was winter, and people shuffled along with their heads down and their hands deep in their pockets. Snow fell heavily, drifting down like petals of some heavenly (hell keep him) flower. Warm scarves obscured faces, and it was easy to see people in them he knew could not be here. In the distance, a vagabond sat on an empty park bench.
He stopped, compelled by… he didn’t know what. He watched as the vagabond looked up and felt a strange flash of recognition although he was sure he had never seen this person before. And then the stranger looked him straight in the eye and motioned him over to the bench. Dumbstruck, he felt his feet take charge and lead him over to the bench just as a small yellow bird landed on the vagabond’s shoulder. But… that couldn’t be. This person looked nothing like… and yet.
He sat down on the bench, turned to his companion to ask him--
But the vagabond was gone. In his place instead sat Vim. Taller than he remembered, and dressed in white instead of black. His hair, once as wild as Vim himself, was neatly brushed back. Uka stared, speechless. Vim smiled, a soft and friendly smile, and gently wrapped the white scarf he had been wearing around Uka’s neck, patting it softly after tying.
“Dress more warmly little brother,” he said, briefly resting their foreheads together, “and congratulations on your graduation.”