Posted in Friends For Life, Stories

Chapter 12; Getting in Rhythm

“How could you do that?!” Sebastian completely exploded as he paced back and forth in the cabin in the woods, throwing his arms to smack and point around the room as he scolded the teen that otherwise, he’d have no business scolding. Because it concerned his daughter, he took a large part of his anger out on the dog. “Compete against him, of ALL demons, to a dance competition?!”

Angel shrugged and bit her lip. “It seemed like a good idea when I mulled it over in my head.”

The crow demon glanced over at Finnie hiding behind his knees in a corner and Justine still under his hat before he sighed and calmed down. “It’s alright. What’s done is done. At least you know how to dance, being Claude’s daughter.” With that, he crossed his arms after starting a record player that Justine took from the Phantomhive manner (Sebastian wondered where it disappeared to for months).

When the song was half over and Angel hadn’t moved an inch, Sebastian twitched his eyebrow with shut eyes. “It’s just fine. You’re a demon of illusion, right?”

“Yeah.”

“So, you can make an illusion of yourself dancing against him with more of a chance at winning?”

Angel shrugged her shoulders and gritted her teeth. “Well…in theory, I could, but my dummies only know what the original knows. I don’t know how to dance like that, so neither would any dummy I make of myself.”

“What about Drocell?” he asked. “What if I get Grell to bring him back, then he can make you into a puppet and get you to win.”

“My dad’s a spider!” Angel brought up. “He sees spider webs, which are nearly invisible to human eyes unless caught in just the right light. I think he would see puppet strings if we did that, which might have him win by default because I wouldn’t be in control of my own body.”

Hearing this, Sebastian whipped all emotion from his face and hovered over to the cat in the lap of the blonde gardener. “Justine, sweetie, you’re my daughter, and I love you, but it looks like this is the true goodbye.”

“Hey!” Angel shouted, offended at his lack of faith in her. “When I said dance contest, I meant a fight dance! Not an actual dance!”

“Well, Claude will expect an actual dance.”

“No, he doesn’t! He knows I can’t dance!”

“Where were you when he said that he doesn’t want a physical fight? If he isn’t expecting an actual dance, then why did he have you put so much on the line?”

It was then when it struck her and she collapsed on her knees. “…We’re all dead…”

“Not quite.” Sebastian stated as he stood and checked his pocket watch. “It’s 1:03 now. We have until noon tomorrow for you to learn to dance.”

Angel straightened her face at the demon in front of her. “I have two left feet. How am I going to pull this off?! What was I thinking?!”

“No worries.” he stated. “Even if you fail, there might not be a chance for you to learn about your mother, which I’m sorry about, but there’s still a chance that Justine will be restored. Exactly what did Claude say for if he wins?”

“No one from the Phantomhives, me, or the reapers can take her from him.” she recited.

Sebastian worked out a (backup) plan in his mind before grabbing Angel and restarting the record player. “Well, if you really are not a good dancer, then we have a lot of work to do.”

With some hours of practice, Angel got the tap dancing down, causing Sebastian to smile. “Perfect! From the top!” The dog demon complied and started dancing when the music started.

Not long after she started getting in the rhythm, Sebastian threw a string at her. With the string wrapped around her ankle and yanked the string back, knocking her down on the hard ground. She looked up at Sebastian with shock filled eyes. “What was that for?” she asked as she returned to her feet. “I was on a roll!”

“You know as well as I that Claude will do that with his webs.” he reasoned with a straight face. “The contest is whoever can dance the longest, not whoever can make the best sounds with their feet.” With that, he restarted the record player and stood beside her. “Now, pretend I’m Claude.” They started dancing before Sebastian whipped out the string again and Angel swung her leg out of the way. She narrowly missed it, but returned to her dance choppily, leaving the disturbance noticeable, but not so much that it caused her to stop.

The crow demon smiled as they both continued to dance. “Good.” he complimented with a nod. “But you need to strike back. What weapon do you use?”

Angel thought for a moment, not daring to stop her feet. With a smile spread across her lips, she spun around with a tap and continued the little clicks in her heals. Seconds later, a dozen copies of herself surrounded Sebastian in a circle, all dancing exactly the same way, all facing him.

Sebastian smiled and looked around, searching for the real Angel. “Use your demon power to confuse your opponent, quite clever.” He then used his string to attack each dummy and watched them disappear into brown and gold dust before he found the real one and tripped her, causing the remaining dummies to disappear. “…But too easily solved.” he continued his thought before helping her up. “Try again.”

For hours and hours, they continued to dance nonstop, attacking each other with demonic powers and avoiding them with impressive flips and flexibility.

Angel eventually dropped to the floor from exhaustion. “Sebastian,” she huffed. “I think that’s enough practice. If anything, dad would be surprised that I can dance at all.”

“You need to be able to avoid every weapon he could throw at you, and continue dancing.” he rationalized. “He can change the ground you’re standing on into ice to make you slip, or shoot webs at you until you fall, or anything!”

The teen just looked at him, straining her neck to look up at him from the floor. “He’s my dad.” she reminded. “I know what he could do.”

“Even worse,” Sebastian continued as he knelt down to the demon nearly passed out on the floor. “He can simply out dance you; keep going until you exhaust yourself…just like now.”

“I need to rest, then.” she stated, getting up from the floor and sitting on the bench.

Sebastian furrowed his brows in irritation as she sat down. He looked down at his watch that read 2:56. He’d been counting down the minutes before the competition as the number dwindled from 22 hours and 57 minutes to 9 hours and 4 minutes. “But-”

“Five minutes.” she requested. “Just five minutes of sleep, that’s all I ask for.” He didn’t like it, but Sebastian nodded in understanding and walked away, looking at Justine cuddled in sleeping Finnie’s lap as Angel lay down on the bench and closed her eyes.

The crow demon smiled as he sat beside the gardener and scratched the cat’s ear, earning a deep purr, only causing him to smile more as she moved her head closer to his hand, leaning into the soothing scratch that reassured her that he was still there. He couldn’t help but wonder if this plan didn’t work and Angel lost.

Would I ever see my girl again if Angel failed? he wondered to himself. Would she ever even have thumbs again? Would Canterbury provide the help I had in mind? If not, then would Thompson and Timber even be able to? Angel was right in the sense that those two would be in trouble, but how much? He looked down at his watch. 2 minutes, he thought to himself. 3 more left, then back to work.

As the seconds ticked by, Sebastian leaned against the wall with a deep sigh, letting his mind wander. Though he didn’t sleep, like many other demons, he still dreamed. He’s had dreams as crazy as a land on a rainbow filled with singing little people in lollipops, live scarecrows who had brains of straw (though more functional than most human brains), breathing tin men who cry tears of sorrow with no heart to break, talking lions without the courage to face their own shadows, and a city of green emeralds. He’s also had dull, straightforward dreams of his past memories over the centuries; his own childhood.

As he watched Justine grow, he remembered himself at that age; the bright, innocent toddler/childhood, confusing and life changing pre-teens, rebellious teenage years, all concludes to a calm, understanding, and happy adulthood. He honestly couldn’t wait for his daughter to go in that transition between teen and adult, then maybe she’d be happy, possibly settle down and have a family of her own (with a true demon he hoped, though he doubted she’d fall for a demon after being in a relationship with Finnie. For some reason above the father’s head, humans romantically interested her more than demons or even reapers. As long as she’s happy, he concluded. I shouldn’t care who she’d settle down with in the far…far…VERY far future).

He looked out the window of the small cabin and gazed up at the stars. At some point in his gazing, his eyes shut off and he only saw his dream world, hearing the sounds of laughter and music play in the back of his head as he traveled deeper in the land, completely allowing time to slip from his normally firm grasp.

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