Gods and Other Creatures
A Deeper Shade of Pale
by Ryoko Crawford

Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, not even the original storyline. That belongs to Eternal SailorM, who let me add a touch of my own madness to the world she's created. The characterization of a certain individual is, however, my own and probably doesn't jive with a lot of people's view of the character. Bear in mind, however, that this is 1600 or so years into the future and people do change. That being said, I'll shut up now ^_~

Fujimiya Aya should have been dead. However, he was still very much alive. Why, he wasn't sure; Morrigan was dead, after all, and they'd been bonded.

At the moment, though, he was more concerned with saving a few lives.

He'd gone to Nagano mainly to see if the Este facility where he'd been held so long ago was still standing--his plan being to burn it to the ground if it was--only to be sidetracked by the appearance of a horde of demons led by Tomoe Sakura.

Already one victim had fallen, a young woman with very long blonde hair and forked eyebrows who had been ushering a group of children to safety. Aya quickly made sure the children were safe, then he took up a position close to the woman's body.

Sakura giggled from her perch atop a street lamp. "Oh, Aya-san, why do you fight? Let the demon come out to play with me." Her smile turned very predatory. "We can lay this town to waste, Aya-san."

"Shut up," the redhead snarled, striking down another demon as it lunged at him. "These people are innocent. Why kill them all?"

"Why not?"

<I can't keep this up much longer,> Aya thought, taking a half-step back as more demons advanced upon him. <If Marie was still here I could easily handle all of them.> He'd almost given up the fight when he heard a voice from the past:

"You didn't say we'd be fighting Weiss."

"We aren't. We're fighting the enemy."

"I thought Weiss was the enemy--ow!"

"He means the demons." The last voice was about a thousand times saner than he'd ever heard it in the past.

Aya shifted into a defensive stance and turned his head slightly to see if his ears were deceiving him. Off to his left stood three figures he would never forget: Schuldig, Naoe Nagi and Farfarello of Schwarz. For some reason, Farfarello's hair now hung to mid-back, bangs swept back from his face. Both the older men carried swords, while Nagi's eyes glowed an eerie shade of bluish-white.

Schuldig pouted. "I wanted to fight Weiss!"

"Quit pouting and fight, Schuldig," Nagi replied, giving the impression that he was rolling his eyes. For his part, Farfarello adjusted his grip on his sword and shifted into an offensive position.

"Tsukiyomi, Surt," he said, a small smile crossing his lips, "enough chatter. It's been one thousand six hundred and twenty-nine years since I've spilled blood. I'm ready to play." With that, the pale assassin launched himself at the demons surrounding Aya.

<What the fuck?!> Aya thought as he turned back to the battle. <Tsukiyomi? Surt? Those are titles, aren't they? And why does Farfarello sound mostly sane?!> There was no more time to think about those questions now, though. Schuldig swore under his breath and jumped into the fray moments later, his sword surrounded by orange and red flames.

Sakura frowned, eyes glowing green in her annoyance. "That isn't fair, Aya-san, getting help from other gods. Maybe I should even the odds."

"A thousand to one is fair?!" Schuldig exclaimed as he cut through another demon. "Bitch, you're crazier than Farfie ever was!!"

Sakura snarled in response and leaped from her perch, claws bared as she bore down on Nagi. She was about a foot away from him when she bounced backward, falling to the ground with a surprised squeak. The teenager turned and shot her a glare, eyes darkening to navy.

"Okay, that pissed me off," he said as a pale light surrounded the demon. With no further warning Nagi used his inborn talent, his telekinesis, to pick up Sakura and fling her at the nearest building. The demon slammed into the wall, the force of the blow leaving an indentation behind as Sakura slumped to the ground.

"This is far from over," she snarled before vanishing, presumably returning to Thanatos' side. With their leader gone, the remaining demons were easy to defeat. Of course, most of that may have had to do with Farfarello's enthusiastic attacks.

As the last demon fell, Aya turned to where the blonde woman had collapsed. To his surprise, she was no longer there. Shaking his head, he turned to the three members of Schwarz. The first thing he noticed was that Farfarello's hair was now shorn into the more recognizable short style he was used to. The white-haired young man calmly blinked at his one-time enemy before banishing his sword.

"So," he said in a quiet voice, "I see you've met Camulos."


Aya leaned on the doorframe of the hotel room, frowning at the other three gods. Farfar--no, Jei had suggested they leave the battlefield that Nagano had become and started to walk off, forcing his three companions to follow. It had taken them nearly three hours to arrive at their destination, an abandoned Holiday Inn that was still in fairly good condition. (*)

Stretched out on the bed, Jei tilted his head to one side (it was slightly unnerving to have two amber eyes stare out from that face instead of just one) and offered up a small smile. "Obviously you have questions."

"I have questions," Schuldig grumbled from the opposite side of the room. "I didn't even get to party like it was nineteen ninety-nine. Partying like it's on~ne ninety-nine ain't the same."

Nagi, seated cross-legged on the bed beside Jei, shot the German a Look. "You're a dork."

The Irishman opted to ignore the bickering: "It's glaringly obvious that we've been, erm, asleep for quite a while. Este put us into a sort of stasis back in 1998. Their reason for doing so was, doubtless, because we were a failed experiment."

"Wait," Aya interrupted, holding up one hand. "Experiment? Explain. And while you're at it, why did you refer to yourself as Camulos a few hours ago?"

"Because he's of two minds on everything."

"Shut up, Schuldig."

"Nagi, Schu, please?" the white-haired man pleaded, shooting an annoyed half-glare at both. When the pair resorted to simply giving one another the evil eye, Jei turned his attention back to Aya.

"Technically, Schuldig does have a point. I'm sure you know about Este's experimentation. What you probably don't realize is just how long before '98 they'd been conducting their research."

"And you do, I suppose."

"Of course Jei-nikun knows," Nagi said, turning away from the mutual glare. "He was the first test subject back in 1981."

Aya's eyes widened slightly (although mentally he was once more screaming what the fuck). "You would have only been three at that time. Why would your parents have allowed it?!"

"My adoptive parents were Este agents," the fair man replied. "My natural talent, astral projection, was still dormant then. Este wanted to try 'creating' a talent so they infused me with DNA from a hemeokinetic. At the time the experiment was deemed a failure.

"In 1983, I was told rather abruptly that I was adopted and that my biological mother was the nun who had taught me everything I know about the Bible. I was understandably stunned, but a few minutes later my psyche splintered. The half that possessed my natural talent--Jei--slipped away from the surface, while the hemeokinetic side--the part that would become Farfarello--struck out."

"And killed your entire adoptive family in one blow."

"Got it in one." A faint smile crossed his lips: "For the next fourteen years both halves of my psyche waged a non-stop battle to be the dominant personality. After the capture of you and your friend--Morrigan?--Este decided to attempt further experimentation in playing God."

"In other words, more fun with genetic manipulation," Schuldig chimed in, his familiar smirk back in place. "Your friend was captured first, ja?" At Aya's slight nod, he continued: "Since Este was royally pissed at Braddy over the whole 'turn on the elders and take over' business, they used him for the initial experiments in infusing a talent with the power of a god. It... it didn't take," he concluded quietly, eyes downcast. Jei climbed from the bed and crossed over to him, leaning into the taller man as he slipped his arms around Schuldig's waist. As the German leaned into the touch, Aya found himself wondering if the two gods were bonded.

That thought lead him to wonder how the gods at the Winner compound were holding up. Before leaving he'd noticed a tentative bond forming between Heero and Usagi as well as a similar bond between Duo and Usagi. The existing bond between Heero and Duo had been almost tangible, and the pair was semi-aware of it. Aya found himself hoping that three-way bonds were possible for his sister's sake.

After a few minutes, the older man spoke again: "After that, they were more careful with the rest of us. It wasn't until after they'd 'obtained' you as well that they tried again. Nagi was deemed a failure as the only thing that happened with him was a strengthening of his telekinesis. Neither Farfie nor I displayed any changes, ergo we were failed experiments, too."

The Japanese redhead finally moved from the doorway, dropping into the room's only armchair. "So Este put the three of you into stasis. That doesn't really explain why you're awake now or why you"--here he turned his eyes toward Jei--"were calling yourself Camulos."

"Oh, that's easy to explain," Nagi said as he flopped back onto the bed. "The experiment was actually a success. Our minds were still active and Schu's linking held up despite the stasis. We 'talked' amongst ourselves all the time, and as years slipped by there was an obvious change in Farfarello's voice--and yes, Jei and Farfarello had separate voices."

Aya stared at the apparent teen next to him then at the pair in the corner. "So Farfarello...."

"Became Camulos," Jei confirmed with a nod, "a Celtic war god. He's still got a little Farfarello in him but he's not nearly as crazy; he just likes fighting."

"As for why we're awake," Nagi continued, "that's because of the Invisible Lady."

"Invisible Lady?"

Nagi nodded: "Invisible Lady. She pinged me in the forehead and told me I had to wake up because someone needed me."

"I heard her too," Jei commented. "Not very loud but she woke Nagi up; he woke Camulos and Schu."

Aya blinked at the youngest of the trio. "This... Invisible Lady," he asked quietly, "what was her voice like?"

"Insistent, and she had a weird accent... like Jei's on crack."

"Gaelic!" the Irishman exclaimed. "It's called a Gaelic accent! I can't help that the asylum was run by British citizens and my accent is less... less Irish!"

Aya's gaze remained locked on Nagi, his mind racing. <Morrigan... Marie... she woke Prodigy for some reason. Why...? Did he get a portion of her powers? And Jei could 'hear' her speaking.... So Schuldig has a fraction of my power alone and Jei-and-Camulos got a portion of us both?>

"Surt?" he asked aloud, "and Tsukiyomi? What of them since you explained about Camulos already?"

"Norse," Jei said, absently petting Schuldig's hair. "Although I think he just likes the flaming sword." The German grinned and nodded before nuzzling the younger man's neck. "And Tsukiyomi is a moon god. At least that's why we figure his eyes glow that strange blue when he uses his teke shield anymore," the Irishman concluded.

The Japanese redhead blinked at the three members of Schwarz. From what he could see, these three were created gods, not so different from the elder gods but newer--younger--than the second generation at the Winner estate but stronger at the same time. Aya shook his head to clear his thoughts, noticing that Jei had taken a step back from Schuldig. As he watched, the white hair grew out once more and the amber eyes took on a slightly more golden hue.

"The reason we awoke," Camulos explained as he picked up where Jei left off, "is because Vritra is amongst us."

"No..." Schuldig murmured, looking surprised by the comment.

The pale god nodded. "Amaterasu may have awakened as well. Still, we are here now to help. I hope there are more demons to kill; war is only fun if the enemy spills a lot of blood."

"You fucking scare me sometimes," Nagi said, a faint note of admiration in his voice. "Really."

"Enough talk. Aed," Camulos turned to the Japanese redhead, "you know where some of the other gods are currently regrouping. We should join them."

For the first time since Morrigan died, Aya felt like he could face the coming challenged. With a slight nod he stood, absently holding out a hand to pull Nagi to his feet.

"Hai," he said, "we should go to them now."

* Yes, Holiday Inn has taken over the world!

Well, that's my contribution to Gods and Other Creatures; the reintroduction of Schwarz! Sadly Crawford isn't amongst them, but hopefully a few fellow Schu/Farf-shippers are pleased despite how OOC Farfie-Jei-Camulos is after a thousand-plus years ^__^;;;

[ Prologue | 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | Spoils of War - Lemon Version | Spoils of War - Lime Version | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | Criminal - 01 | Criminal - 02 | Criminal - 03 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | Paler than Grey | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | Between the Lines | 35 | 36 | 37 | Apart at the Seams | 38 | A Deeper Shade of Pale | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | Epilogue ]