333/Half-Evil (working title)

Astrid's life has been blessed, quite literally, by an Angel. She believes this gift was given to her so she could live her life, but her parents treat it as a burden and a source of obligation. As such, she's forced to live much of her life secretly.

Damien is a demon who likes life on earth just fine. Nevermind that he can never tell his best friend what he is, the promise he has to keep, or the past he has happily forgotten. He hopes life will never change.

Lance can barely believe what's happening to him. Branded and cast out of heaven for something he doesn't fully understand, he feels he has no choice but to seek answers, even if the search will destroy him.

As each tries to hold on, their worlds slowly begin to crumble. They begin to find that their greatest foes aren't only the tremendous forces of Heaven and Hell that they will have to face to save all that they love, but themselves.

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1. Prolouge

Once upon a time, the Angel had spent many a night looking down at the glittering nighttime lights of civilization on earth. They hadn't been there when he'd first and last visited centuries ago. They'd still been using fire to light their way, although it had progressed from a simple flaming stick to oil lamps and the such. Now their light was stronger, powered by generators in enormous buildings that had to be staffed and maintained perpetually. He had thought of such light as a victory, each distant civilized pinprick a sign that their side, that the goodness in humanity, was winning.

As he plummeted towards them now, he wondered just how very wrong he had been.

~~~~~

Astrid had snuck out again. Though her parents had been stricter about this in the past, in recent months, finding that no method short of completely locking their child up was in anyway effective, their firm stance had given way to simple exasperation. The only reason it still qualified as sneaking was because if Astrid had asked to run out and about on this cold, snowy night, they would have said no in the hopes that she might actually listen and stay where they knew she was safe.

Astrid had been given a gift shortly after her birth, but she and her parents differed in how they thought is should be treasured. Her parents thought it should be carefully cared for and protected. Astrid knew she should use it to live.

A short sprint, two quick steps and a leap earned her a grip on the ledge of a single story rooftop. She pulled herself up quickly and continued her run. Aiming carefully, she surfed across an ice coated board to the next rooftop, then grabbed a pipe, swung around and slid the length of it back down to the ground. Panting, she finally stood still, checking a watch. Two minutes, forty-seven seconds and 38 hundredths. By no means her best overall time on this course, but excellent none the less considering the current weather.

Satisfied at least for the night, Astrid decided it was time to stop her parents from nervously destroying their nails and head home to get some sleep before school in the morning.

Overhead, a falling star streaked across the clear night sky.

~~~~~

Damien clambered out of the portal gratefully, inhaling the freezing night air deeply as he did so. He always hated going back to Hell, but he had a promise to keep. The perpetually murky lighting, bad smells and worse senses of humor were never really fun, but the worst part of it was the overall feeling it gave him, like the whole dimension was a cage. Despite it's vast expanses, he could feel the atmosphere pressing in on him, like it was trying to lock him up. So everytime he went, he was sure to be as fast as possible, just in case. Damien had had more than enough of cages and cells for his theoretically immortal lifetime.

Now he stretched, trying to use a full range of motion, convincing himself that, yes, he had escaped and that the stinky air had failed once again to trap him. The demon smiled and laughed in relief, slightly giddy. He loved the freedom of this world. Crisp, clear, so chaotic and alive, there was none of the stagnation that characterized his homeland. He quickly glanced about to make sure no one else was present before allowing himself to gaze about fondly. If anyone saw him looking like that, his reputation would have been gone in an instant.

Eventually his gaze turned toward the stary sky and the glittering trail painted across it. Damien's heart (or the closest thing demons have to a heart) thudded in his chest. Without understanding how, he knew what that star was, what it meant. It meant life here was about to become very complex. It meant a new rival.

And it meant he would need the help of a good pair of eyes to get a head start on it all tomorrow.

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