The door shut and locked and Claude didn’t move from his place. He couldn’t. His entire being was as shattered as the glass. There was no more hope for his daughter now, so there was no more hope for him either.
Justine stood there in complete shock. What shocked her wasn’t losing her father yet again, she saw that coming a mile away, but, all her power of foresight, and she never thought that Angel would turn on her father like that…turn on her best friend like that…
Angela rushed to Claude and attempted to pull him up. “Come on Claude!” she cried. “Get up! Please!” The demon didn’t respond. The angel read his mind, though, and still fought for him to get to his feet. “Claude, please! I’m sorry for everything! If it weren’t for me, you and Angel would’ve still been united, I know that! Ash never wanted anything to do with you! I did! But I never wanted all this to happen! As Angel’s father, you have to help clean this mess! I can’t stand up to Ash alone! Please! Get up!” She helplessly lifted the dead weight of the spider mere inches before dropping him and rolling up her sleeves to try again, never getting further than a few inches.
“What could we possibly do now?” Justine asked. “Angel is already ‘cleansed’, or in the process.”
“She’s being stripped of her demonic powers, which is the face you saw in that jar Ash had.” the angel hastily explained as she continued to force the demon to his feet. “If we shatter the jar, then her demonic self would be restored to her, and she would be as she was before Ash and I intervened, though the memory of our crimes to her will never leave. We’d have to be careful, though. When it breaks, it’ll be absorbed by the nearest being it could find.”
“But, what about the collar on her?” the teen asked. “Isn’t that the collar Ash uses to control Pluto?”
Angela nodded hastily. “But I now cannot take it off. Only Ash can.”
“When I turned back on the original plan to cleanse her, he took his half of our collective powers with him. That’s also why I cannot fight him off alone and expect to win.” She then turned back to Claude and continued to pull him up and plead with him to not lose hope.
“What about my dad?” Justine asked. “What will Ash do to my dad?”
“No idea.” she huffed. “He could lock him up, torture him, burn him, the possible outcomes are limitless. Ash has full power now that he has his half of our powers, Pluto, and now Angel on his side.”
Justine thought for a moment. “First, we need to get out of here.”
Suddenly, they heard a loud whine and a thundering thump. Looking back, the women saw Pluto out cold on the stone ground, his collar fading from its light back to its original black. Steadying herself on his back was a dirty blonde teenage girl, turning a rifle from the butt to the barrel pointed to the mutt. Looking up with blue-grey eyes, she smirked. “Hey, Justine. Miss me?”
The demon could only smile. “Rachel! But…what about Bar-”
“Talking about me, eh?!” the slang voice shouted from the small window high on the wall. The blonde man lowered a rope and smiled. “Grab on!”
Justine smiled brightly. “Bard!” Quickly, her smile straightened slightly before she looked back at the demon overwhelmed with despair and looked back up at the cook. “You mind giving us a hand?” she asked. “Claude is too heavy for us and he won’t move!”
“No prob!” he shouted. “Just drag him to the rope, and tie him up!” The two did as they were instructed before grabbing the rope with Rachel and letting Bard pull them up.
As the cook pulled the rope, Justine looked over at Angela in curiosity. “I thought you had wings.” she stated bluntly. “Why wouldn’t you just fly yourself out?”
“Ash clipped my wings.” she sighed. “Besides, even if he hadn’t, I couldn’t leave Claude behind, and he would have added too much weight for me to fly this high.”
The teen smiled and climbed out the window with the brother’s and sister’s help before helping them with Angela and Claude. When she stood and looked back, she only had seconds to react to being glomped in a blur of red. “Tine! I was so worried! Are you alright?! Did those horrid angels hurt you?! Don’t think that just because I was a doll, I didn’t see the whole thing! What were you thinking?!”
“Hi to you too mom!” Justine choked out before pushing herself off and looking around. They were basically in a semi-circle of protection with Paul and his machete, Undertaker and his sickle, William and his tree clippers, and even Grell, though he wasn’t in the line, had his chainsaw out, so the teen figured he was previously standing in the line before she exited the window. “How did you guys get back to normal?” she asked as Undertaker helped Angela drag Claude away from the window. “How’d you all know where we were?”
“I brought them all here.” came a voice as deep as William’s, but as sly as Grell’s. The demon had to physically take off her purple glasses and clean them on her shirt before confirming who it was that came up.
His black dress shoes poked out of his black slacks. A black suit draped over his shoulders and the top few buttons of his white shirt were undone down to a completely buttoned purple vest. His slender neck held up his long, lean face proudly as a smile stretched across his thin lips. In one black nailed hand, he kept a double bladed ax over his shoulders behind his neck with the razor sharp steel on the high, far end. In the other hand, he held his thick, square, black glasses at the end of his long nose to gaze over the frame with lime yellow-green eyes. One dark brown brow arched high as the other served as its complete contrast above his eye. Draped around his shoulders and framing his light face, was the same dark brown hair with the waves of a brown ocean.
Justine was never happier to see the reaper as she ran up and hugged him tight. “Jeremy!” That was the first time she ever called him by his actual birth name, so he didn’t know how to react at first. After a short moment, the older brother smiled as he held her head of long, wavy, red-brown hair in his hand and pulled her close. “I still don’t understand.” she admitted. “How’d you know?”
Jeremy looked back in the direction his younger sister left in before turning to the other two teens. “We have to go with her.” he insisted.
“We can’t.” Rachel stated. “We need to get our families back. After that, then we might be able to help, but there’s not much we can do.”
Hearing this, the reaper grit his teeth. “She might be a Scaredy Cat, but she’s still my little sister.” he stated angrily, filled with determination. “We don’t even know the first thing about how to get our parents back to normal!”
“They said it was the song London Bridge, right?” Paul asked thoughtfully. “Maybe…” He then placed his small gray and black doll on the ground and took in a deep breath.
“London bridge is falling down~
London bridge is falling down~
My fair lady~”
To his dismay, nothing happened.
With a groan, Rachel rotated to the reaper. “You’re doing it wrong!” she exclaimed commandingly. “You have to change the words, remember?” She then placed her dirty blonde doll on the ground and huffed out the words.
“You are now to be full grown~
Be full grown~
Be full grown~
You are now to be full grown~
‘Cause I say so~”
Jeremy clutched his chin in thought before turning to the two. “That’s not it either. She said it had to be specific words…what were they…” After a moment, he placed his black and red dolls on the ground next to the two other 8” dolls.
“…Build it up in flesh and blood~
Flesh and blood~
Flesh and blood~
Build it up in flesh and blood~
My fair lady~”
“…After that, we just followed the path that you took.” Jeremy finished explaining.
Justine then explained what happened in their absence as the reapers and humans listened thoughtfully.
When she finished explaining, Grell smiled. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!” he smiled. “My Bassy needs saving!”
The daughter looked up at her mother in confusion. “…Mom, you and dad broke up centuries ago, remember?”
To that, Grell shrugged. “Does that mean I can’t be simple friends with him?” he asked. The teen didn’t respond and just sighed, removing her glasses as she rubbed the bridge of her nose and sore eyes.
“We have to save Uncle Bassy anyway.” Jeremy exclaimed, causing his sister to raise her brows.
“…’Uncle Bassy’?” she asked, not believing what she just heard. “So now you think demons aren’t that bad?”
“You call my dad ‘uncle’.” the brother shrugged nonchalantly. “So why not?”
To that, Justine sighed as William held his tree cutter down at his side. “Call him what you’d like.” he stated blandly. “It doesn’t change the fact that he still needs help, and that the demon right over there will be of no assist to us.” He pointed to Claude as he sat limply on a tree, slowly mustering the strength to turn away from everyone else and curl in a depressed ball before remaining still once again; even his breathing was undecipherable.
“Come now,” Undertaker sighed, looking down at the spider and planting his sleeve-covered hands on his hips. “you have to find some strength in you to do something other that sulk! You’re acting like a teenage girl that just broke up with her first boyfriend!” Claude remained unfazed.
Bard sighed tiredly, planting his hands on his hips. “Looks like Sebastian isn’t the only one that needs saving right now.”