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The town was consumed in an inferno. Those who were unlucky enough to be touched by it were screaming in pain and pleading for a mercy that they would eventually grow to learn would never come. A trail of bloodied bodies that were either dead or dying lead to the source of the chaos. He continued to walk slowly without a hint of remorse, as he looked around at the outcome of what he started; he knew the denizens of the town would make a bigger mess in a heap of panic, and he initially just gave them a push, but decided to have some fun amongst the chaos.
Cop cars surrounded him, but he didn't seem too phased by it. All the weapons were pointed in his direction, and he knew that one of the cars contained the only cop who knew he was the source of the disorder and then some. He slowly approached a nearby pet store, as bullets were shot at him only to be melted by his long lava-red locks. When he forced his way into the pet store, he made his way to the snakes and said just the right things to persuade them to leap out and attack the cops.
He approached the cop cars and ripped off the doors looking for the one who gave his identity away. After so many doors were ripped open, he found the man he was looking for in the backseat, pointing a massive gun towards the one who gave them all Hell on Earth. All the Devil's descendent did was snap the weapon in half like it was a glowstick and smack the cop on the head with the outcome until the blood revealed itself and dents were left in his head.
The being left the cop car and rose to the highest building in town. He seemed pleased at his masterpiece, and wondered to himself why he hadn't put his fullest potential into action sooner, if that's what everyone was expecting anyway.
Bronwen woke up right next to Justin's sleeping form. He sat up and noticed that his arms and forehead were coated in a thin blanket of sweat and, as he turned around, noticed that there were flowers on his pillow from him crying in his sleep... again. The sweet sound of Justin's breathing confirmed that he was still alive, and he placed his hand on his own chest to feel if his heart was beating rapidly.
Once she felt that her heart wasn't beating too fast, she put on some sandals and got off the bed completely before walking over to 17-year-old Julie's bedroom. Of course the teenager was still asleep, it was still a tad bit early.
Bronwen walked downstairs and to the back of the house. She walked over to a very peculiar tree that she had taken an interest in recently. A long time ago, she was out back with Julie, helping her figure out what powers of Heaven and Hell she had, since Bronwen was the donor for the surrogate mother. Eventually, Julie was able to grow an oddly-shaped tree just by focusing on nature and stretching her hand out in front of both of them. It looked like a type of chair, and to prove how proud she was of Julie, Bronwen had used the tree-chair as a place to relax since then, as opposed to just sitting atop a high tree endangering anyone that would find her and try to climb up.
Bronwen sat in the chair and looked up at the sky before looking down at the ground under her feet. She had thought she would get over her identity crisis sooner, but Lucifer and the few dreams she was able to dream made her feel uncertain.
Several minutes passed before he noticed that the back door was opening. He saw the feminine hand, and knew immediately that Julie was the one who got out of the house this time.
"Sorry, I didn't think I was loud coming out here," Bronwen stated.
"You weren't loud. Grandpa told me you were bringing more attention to your... 'hellish potential'," his daughter responded.
Bronwen knew he shouldn't be flinching from the sound of her remark since he, too, could visit Heaven (to see his mother) or Hell (to see his father) in his sleep when he wasn't dreaming, but he didn't like hearing that he could be so close to being a bad person in the eyes of anybody.
"You're fully aware that Dad and I aren't scared of you, right?"
"Yeah, I am fully aware. I guess the fact that I still don't know where I'll end up once I die still bugs me. It doesn't exactly help that most of the angels still shun me when I go to Heaven to visit your grandmother."
"Well, Dad has told me that there are urges that are incredibly strong, but I do trust that you wouldn't do anything that is universally deviant."
Bronwen smiled at his daughter and felt like she had been taught well.
"Oh, there's something that Grandpa might want you to know," Julie hesitantly spoke up.
"Really? What did Lucifer want to say?"
"Well, here's the thing, he said that he talked with God about you and came to the conclusion that you can either give in to your urges on or before this Sunday, or he'll take control of you himself."
The dream flashed in front of Bronwen's eyes as he processed the ultimatum. He was fully aware of Lucifer's knowledge that Bronwen was stubborn, but he never thought possession would ever be used as a desperation move. He glared at the ground under his feet, feeling as if he was coming to terms with being asked to commit murder.
"It's Friday, we don't have a lot of time," he muttered.
Julie gave him a big hug and he immediately returned it like it would be the last time they'd have a change to do so. Julie quietly went back inside, leaving Bronwen alone in the tree-chair again. He didn't want to get possessed by his father to cause harm by force, but he didn't want to sin willingly either. He continued to think, before coming to terms with the fact that Sunday was his deadline, so he should at least spend the remainder of his time with his family who has accepted him for everything he was.
Fortunately, it was the Friday after Julie graduated high school, so Bronwen wasn't expecting too much of a hassle inside. He strolled to the kitchen and made some Japanese-style pancakes and eggs for everyone in the house. As he was finishing up the eggs, he felt two strong arms slowly wrap around his waist and a comfortable chest pressed against his back. He turned off the stove and was able to get himself more comfortable into the embrace of his husband.
"Rough night, princess?" the deep morning voice of Justin asked.
Bronwen just sighed and responded, "Just one of those nights that makes me wish I could've just been born completely human."
"You said yourself that God has reasons for things happening. But if you were to have been born completely human, I wouldn't mind, as long as your precious personality was still the same."
Bronwen turned around so that it would be easier for her to bury her face into Justin's chest.
"Julie spoke to my father, and I don't think I have much time," she confessed.
She initially didn't want to tell Justin, since she didn't want to worry him any more than what his job caused every once in a while, but she felt that he deserved the truth, and knew very well that it would be a sin to be dishonest. Justin wrapped his arms tighter around her, as if she would disappear. Even after so many years, he didn't understand a lot of the knowledge that his spouse and daughter possess, nor did he completely understand the experiences that his spouse had gone through, but he wanted to do the best he could to be there for her no matter how he would do it.
"Is there anything you'd like to do that I can help you with, princess?" he softly asked.
He didn't need the sight of the violets coming from his shirt, revealed by the movement of Bronwen's head to know that she was going through a lot emotionally.
"I just want us to spend time together as a family. I don't know what will happen, but I just want us to have a pleasant time together before Sunday."
Justin nodded before Bronwen served breakfast for everyone. After breakfast was eaten and the dishes were taken care of, they all got dressed and proceeded to explore what they could enjoy in and out of the town. They drove around and basically chose events and locations that stuck out to each of them. Julie found a local concert that was going on at the library Bronwen works at. They were aware that it was meant to be a fundraising event, and decided to join in for the sake of exploration and support. More than two hours were spent socializing, singing along to the songs that were performed, and even performing impromptu spoken word pieces before they left and drove around some more. An abandoned building caught Bronwen's eye, and he gently stopped the car before putting the keys in his pocket and getting out of the car. As confused as they were, Justin and Julie followed him as he looked at the building's front door. He looked at the playground on one side of the building and at the windows on the higher floors. Justin walked by his side and held Bronwen's hand.
"This was where you grew up," he said without a hint of doubt.
Julie walked right next to her parents, and just stared at the area thinking about what Bronwen had told her about his childhood. She walked towards the playground and, after a decent amount of investigating, saw that one of the bars that was at the right height for a little kid to do pull-ups had melted-in markings shaped like fingers making a fist around it. She called her parents over for them to see.
"She must've kept the bar to use me as an example," Bronwen speculated.
"What ever happened to that lady, anyway?" Justin asked out of curiosity, since the orphanage and the lady that ran it weren't always talked about.
"If she ended up in Hell, then I never really paid attention," he answered.
He looked around the area and the memories came back to him. The students being conditioned to fear him, being shouted at during times when he didn't feel like he was a boy, making flower crowns out of the blossoms that appeared after he cried into his pillow, secretly healing his wounds from being whipped with a scarf after his powers from his father revealed themselves accidentally, or he challenged the authority of Sister Abigail when questioning the legitimacy of what she taught.
"I could've lashed out at her. I could've threatened to introduce her to Heaven or Hell to prove to her that she was wrong about what she was teaching us. Though, I know she would've wanted that. She saw me as an abomination; there's no way she wasn't counting down to the moment where I would attack and prove that she was right to make everyone scared of me," he said to himself, as if in an attempt to prove to himself that he was still more than his hellish genetics.
Bronwen brought everyone back to the car and Justin drove until they ended up picking up some food and going to a seemingly empty area far from town. As Justin was smiling, Bronwen looked out the window and memories flooded back to her as she looked at the old impromptu fire wood area.
"There weren't any bad memories at this place, were there?" Julie asked.
"Oh, no, Julie. This is actually where your father and I had our first heart-to-heart. We stopped here on our way to a certain Dark Web dweller that needed to go to Hell," she explained and glanced at her chuckling husband, knowing full well that he remembered.
"Was your denial of letting me help with the fire the outcome of pride or fear?" Bronwen asked Justin.
"Maybe it was both, I honestly don't remember."
They got out of the car and ate their food by the pile of wood. They all gave several jokes and anecdotes as if they were old friends. Eventually, the sun was setting and the stars were coming out of hiding. It wasn't long before they fell asleep.
While Bronwen was asleep, he found himself in a dark red suit and he saw that a familiar authority figure waited for him at Hell's entrance, instead of the deepest layer where they usually met up.
"So, have you given it some thought?" the authority figure asked.
"You know what I've gone through. You know what goes through my mind because of everything. Why are you trying to push me here long-term?" Bronwen asked the man responsible for his hellish genetics.
"Why not? You'd basically be ordinary as a denizen of Heaven. Once you end up here, though, you'll be recognized as my heir, helping me bring torture to those who deserve it on the many levels here," Lucifer explained.
"But, I'm not a bad person, Lucifer. You know I don't want to be that. So you think forcing me into it as a last resort would be the best idea all so you can have someone rule by your side?"
The two were silent with all of the emotions between them being louder than the tortured screams beyond the entrance.
"Just remember you've got till Sunday."
Morning came quick for Bronwen, but he didn't feel like it came quick enough. He waited 'til Julie and Justin woke up before he could bring up the small conversation. They drove back home without feeling the need to rush thanks to the extra tanks of gas they kept in the trunk.
They made it home, and Bronwen felt stuck in the passenger seat. He knew all too well that he would loose control the following day and that there wasn't too much that he could do.
"You know, I'm not exactly repulsed by cuddling. Maybe we can watch a movie marathon together," Julie suggested from the backseat.
Bronwen was escorted out of the car and into the house by his daughter and husband. Bronwen put on the movies without much thought and, the next thing he knew, he was sitting in between Julie and Justin as the screen showed a princess in rags singing into a well. He looked down while thinking about his options before looking at his family.
"Guys, I love you both so much," he started. "Justin, I know there was plenty of doubt that we would get along the first time we met, but you taught me how to take risks and be more open. You thought I needed more help than it seemed, but you eventually accepted who I am and where I came from. If God had to get anyone to my doorstep all those years ago, I'm glad it had to be you."
Justin gave that signature smirk that made Bronwen's heart flutter. Before the former Casanova to kiss his spouse, he turned to face Julie.
"Julie, I am so glad I didn't end up being a helicopter parent. You grew up to be a fantastic young lady and you are definitely doing a great job with keeping your powers under control. I know you're going to do great things in your future, and deserve someone who would treat you like the amazing person you are. I am so proud of you and I hope we'll be able to see each other after Sunday."
Julie covered her mouth and immediately hugged Bronwen, who wasn't hesitant in hugging back. After a while, the two pulled away and Bronwen turned to Justin to kiss him.
After many hours of movies, snacks, and cuddling, Julie and Justin fell asleep and Bronwen couldn't bring himself to sleep. He walked to the back door and looked at the sleeping pair, as if silently telling them that he loved them. He quietly exited the house and climbed up a high tree and sat on a branch doing a lot of thinking. He was tired to the point where he could see the burning town of his nightmares coexisting with the treetops. As he got more drowsy, he could swear that his father's voice became clearer, as did the blazes that invaded his head. He looked up at the sky and knew that there were cases where not all choices are mentioned, like in politics. He started to climb down from his hiding spot, until he missed a step on the way down...
Employees of the library, ex-denizens of the orphanage, regular churchgoers, the town's poetry group (the Mauveyonder Metrists), Justin, and Julie all surrounded the sinking casket. Once it was low enough, Julie, who did the best she could to stay strong for her father, brought herself to cry only for the tears to fall directly onto the casket as a way of producing a little bouquet.
Justin and Julie didn't pay attention too much to the words that were said by the priest, except for when he brought up the fact Bronwen was found at the base of a tree with a sharp rock shattering his spine more than it already would've been. Julie looked at a supposed empty space in the distance and hugged Justin tightly, without taking her eyes off the space.
Bronwen silently watched her own funeral go on, before she noticed a familiar blonde woman out the corner of her eye. She turned around completely to look at this woman.
"I guess he's the one with no choice now," she told Bronwen.
"How can I be forced to do wrong if I don't survive long enough to take my first step?" Bronwen responded.
"I'm sure God will be glad to see you didn't forget you're half angel," the woman proclaimed before they held hands and vanished into a bright light.