• Disclaimer - I will never own Cale and/or Anubis. Everyone belongs to his or her respective owners, producers, artists, and voice actors. I am not making any money from this fan fiction, nor should I receive any money for such reason.

    Sara Smile
    Hannah Yeager
    || Isabel Night

    Black flames illuminated the almost empty room. With the shoji door closed, the guests had gone home for the evening. Some had planned to return tomorrow morning for the funeral. Chairs were scattered haphazardly around the wooden coffin in a pattern that was arranged to look like an oval.

    The unearthly candlelight was a welcome feeling to the lone man sitting in one of those chairs. If only he could dissolve into that black void, he would feel much better about taking the evening vigil. Running a hand through his wild tangle of blue hair, Cale Sasaki had to remind himself that this was a rare moment to privately grieve. The public condolences he received from the villagers and residents of the City of Desire, the capital city of the Nether Realm, were merely lip-service. They didn't know anything about how he felt.

    Standing up, Cale straightened his trailing kamishimo ensemble and made his way the center of the room. Muffled shuffling on the tatami flooring should've prevented anyone from waking up, but he didn't care. He wanted to see the body of Anubis, the Warlord of Cruelty. Cale had always known Anubis had an intense, harsh looking visage. Yet, his white face looked content, almost - dare he say it - peaceful. It was as if being free from Talpa's power had given him a new sense of self.

    Continuing to gaze at the body, Cale struggled to find the ritual words that were supposed to make him feel better. Saying "I'm sorry" seemed as pathetic as the animals and humans he killed in order to reanimate them with his powers. Instead, he reached into the folds of his kimono and pulled out what looked like a small sheet of paper.

    Gently touching the grainy black-and-white gloss, Cale smiled at the old Meiji-Era photograph of him and his fellow warlords: Anubis, Dais, and Sekhmet all dressed in Western suits. In Cale's mind, they looked ridiculous, but he kept the picture because it was one of the rare visits to the Mortal Realm where they were together. A few months before the war began, Cale had planned to have more pictures taken. Then the invasion of the Mortal Realm started. Now in a room much colder than he preferred, Cale placed the picture inside the coffin.

    "Anubis," he began rambling, speaking the same way he would if the man was alive. "Do you remember when we had this picture taken? Do you remember how idiotic we looked in those Western clothes? I don't know who looked more foolish in those suits, Dais or Sekhmet? You and I looked a lot more decent in those suits - even though you hated close-fitting trousers."

    Cale automatically reached up and touched the inverted cross-shaped scar down his left eye. It was mostly a reminder to remain calm. A true predator never let an issue to cloud his emotions; it interfered with one's focus.

    "All we have left of each other is this black-and-white picture. I wish we could have gotten more pictures together. At least there would be more to cling to --"

    Clenching his fist, Cale knew he was losing control of his emotions. However, the slideshow in his mind continued to push forward memories of that day. Eating quickly at a food stall, exchanging currency at a western-style bank, and listening to the women who were wearing long dresses whisper about how handsome he and Anubis were...

    Cale closed his eyes and put his hands on his forehead. He tried repeating the mantra of "shut up," mentally, but found little success.

    Realizing that if he sat back down his emotions wouldn't settle, Cale started wandering around the room. Suddenly, he bumped into a human body. Surprised, Cale tried to look at the person, but a hand quickly covered his eyes while the other rested Cale's head onto a shoulder.

    "Let it all out," Cale heard as the other person gave him a tight squeeze. Cale struggled against the person holding him. Trying to break the unknown person's grip, the arms resisted like steel. Searching for a way to escape, he blindly grabbed for his captor's throat. Intending to choke him or her, Cale soon felt his head resting on empty air.

    Opening his now-uncovered eyes, Cale realized that no one else was in the room except for himself and Anubis' body. How was that possible? Who had tried comforting him? Last time he checked, he was alone. Pulling up the hems of his naga-bakama, Cale rushed towards the coffin to see if Anubis had come back to life. The body hadn't moved. If it wasn't Anubis, then who was it?


    End Notes - I wish to thank all my beta readers and those who critiqued my story! Without them, this story wouldn't be possible!