And here we go. The part where I dial back the bashing and try to answer some of the other criticisms to the best of my abilities, all while no doubt getting the label of "Author Tract" slapped onto this part by the readers due to how I'll be handling certain things. Onward, those who decided to stick around!

CONCESSION

"Why are you so quick to judge my son?" Asami Hyoudou asked. "Where's your sense of compassion?"

I calmly placed the carving knife on the counter before I turned to face her. "Because he's treating innocent bystanders like enemies," I replied. "And it's with his victims, Hyoudou-dono."

Asami's eyes narrowed. "And Jasmine?"

"Pretty much the same. Plus, she's nothing more than a band-aid solution at best, and a toxic influence on your son at worst."

Asami's head tilted slightly to one side. "She can calm him down, keep him from getting really nasty."

"Yes, but that's not a permanent solution to the problem, only a delay. And since your son has clearly made no progress since you and Azazel decided to ship him off to school without the slightest bit of preparation, a proper firm hand is what he needs before the harpy's own behavior is no longer enough to stop him. He needs to fully understand that he is wrong and needs to curb his behavior, and that stupid harpy cannot convey that, nor do I believe she even wants to."

"Why do you insist on calling her that?"

I smirked. "Because she's just as wound-up as Issei, and just as willing to lash out at people she has no reason to be hostile towards."

"If you're talking about what happened with Sona-chan-"

"I am. We both know she had no right to do that."

"Sona-chan crossed a line."

"The harpy crossed it first: she viciously targeted one of Sona's greatest sore spots after the latter simply asked her a question. If the question made her uncomfortable, she could have simply said that, but instead she decided to give herself an excuse to assault someone for the "crime" of being the younger sister of someone she hated-and I have no doubt that she would not have explained why she hates Serafall, nor why she doesn't want to talk about her past had I simply allowed her to continue. She is a petty, self-righteous, overly violent thug, Hyoudou-dono. Just like your son."

Suddenly, something clicked in my head. "Were either the ORC or the Student Council informed of your son's attendance, Hyoudou-dono?"

She shrugged. "From what I gather, Rias-chan wasn't informed, and Serafall lied about Issei to Sona-chan. We-that is, Sirzechs, Serafall, Azazel, Ajuka, and myself-were hoping that they could better acclimate him to social life."

I folded my arms, and my eyes narrowed. "And why did none of you see fit to prepare them for how to deal with your son, especially since he's so wound up?"

She was silent.

I advanced on her, and I noted with some level of satisfaction that she flinched at how imposing I appeared to be.

"Did you think it would be worse if you tried, or is this some sick way of amusing yourself?" If the latter was the case, then it was a good thing this version of Serafall was gone, as I would've had some choice words for her had she still been here. Then again, this world's Sona was probably reading her the riot act right now. "Am I to assume that the Fallen Angel was also kept in the dark before Azazel gave her to Issei as some kind of exotic pet?"

"He..."

"I know it sounds like she broke an oath, and maybe she could have drove your attackers off if she'd trained more, but why didn't Azazel make sure of that before she was introduced to your son? I can tell she's lazy, but she adores him, and if he told her to train in order to prepare for an incredibly important mission, I have no doubt she would have."

A familiar scent made its way through my nostrils, but I decided not to call attention to it.

"You are all using them as pawns in some kind of game you clearly don't know how to play-just like how Issei must have been used as a pawn all those years ago. And what makes this worse is that he must know this. That in and of itself could have served as a form of common ground for them to bond, but he is so self-absorbed and wrapped up in his own problems that he never truly considers that he's not the only one with problems, even when he openly admits it-either that or he just doesn't care, which is even worse."

"He's a good boy deep down."

"I'm sure he is, but he keeps it buried too deep, so much so that if he doesn't start digging it out soon, he's going to spend the rest of his life completely alone. And when he's lamenting this unfortunate fact on his death bed, he'll have no one to blame but himself."

The scent grew stronger, but the owner of it did not enter the kitchen. Taking a deep breath, I went back to my preparations, leaving the boy and his mother to ponder my words.

XXXXX

"Issei?" Jasmine said, knocking on the door. "Dinner's ready. Aren't you going to come down?"

Silence was the answer she received. Sighing, she grabbed the doorknob. "Alright, Issei. I respected your privacy by knocking, but now I'm asserting my authority as Nee-san by coming in anyway." She then proceeded to do just that, and what she saw bewildered her.

Issei was sitting at the foot of his bed, his arms folded over it, and his head buried in the space formed between them.

Strolling over to the boy she loved, Jasmine sat down next to him and placed a hand on his right shoulder.

"Issei, what's wrong?" she asked.

Lifting his head up, he turned to her. He hadn't been crying, but if it weren't for the fact that such an act had been brutally drilled out of him by that bitch's actions, Jasmine did not doubt that his eyes would have been red. She reached out and pulled him into a hug, and was somewhat satisfied when he returned it. After about a minute of this, they separated.

"Now," she said, "tell Nee-san what's bothering you."

"Emiya was talking to Mom," he said quietly.

Her eyes narrowed. "What'd that fuckhead say to her?" If he had hurt Auntie, then she didn't care if he had found a way to resist her Sacred Gear. He would pay.

"Stuff about us, and the Rat Pack."

"Rat Pack? That's what your calling them?"

"Well, did you want me to list them by each nickname?"

"Good point. Anyway, what did he say?"

He filled her in, and she was silent for a moment before responding.

"Those bastards."

Issei nodded. "Yeah, but I guess that's what you expect."

"But it makes no sense. Zechs and Pinkie practically want to fuck their sisters, they adore 'em so much. Why keep them in the dark about something if it could pose a threat to them?"

"You saying I pose a threat, Nee-san?" he asked sardonically.

She gave him a deadpan look. "You're a ticking time bomb, Issei."

"You're no better, brain-fucker."

"Careful, kid. You're not too old to get spanked by your Nee-san."

"Please. You'd forget all about doing that in favor of pawing at my ass."

She was silent for a moment, then she smiled weakly. "Yeah, I probably would." She sat up on the bed, and he followed suit. "So, we really fucked up, didn't we?"

He nodded. "Yeah. I guess I was too focused on my own problems to remember I ain't the only one with a shitty past."

She wrapped an arm around his neck and pulled him into her bosom, ruffling his hair with her other hand. "Damn straight, sweetie."

A knock on the door interrupted them. "The food's getting cold, you'd both get down there before the kitten steals your plates." Fuck, it was Vali.

When he didn't get an immediate response, the White Dragon Emperor opened the door. Staring at them for a moment, he rolled his eyes.

"What are you two doing?" he asked.

Jasmine filled him in. His impatient expression melted away as she did so.

Finally, he blew out his breath. "Look, everyone makes mistakes. Nobody's perfect, and you two aren't the exception. You can still fix this, so fix it."

"How?" Issei asked.

"Well, you can follow Emiya's advice and stop being so secretive, for one. Gremory, in particular, really deserves some answers-especially after what she and the puppy nun did."

Jasmine quirked an eyebrow and looked at Issei, who was starting to look uncomfortable. "What happened?" she asked.

Issei gulped and shifted nervously.

Before she could press him, Vali threw up his hands in annoyance. "You two can talk more about it later. Come on, I'm starving!"

XXXXX

"Wait, Issei has an actual sister where you're from?" Gremory asked.

I nodded. "She inherited the lion's share of the Red Dragon's power."

Despite the scolding I had given her earlier, the Hyoudou matriarch looked at me with interest. "What's she like?" she asked.

I considered what and what not to say, then, probably influenced by Serafall, I decided to just throw caution to the wind and tell her. Who knows? It might be amusing to an extent. "Well, for one thing, you wanted her to practice ballet."

Vali chuckled. "I can see it now: an Issei with boobs in a leotard and a tutu." He raised his hands over his head and pressed the fingertips of each one together, then looked at Issei. "What do you think, tit-monger? Interested in dancing?"

The boy growled. "You're getting the box for this later, Ass-man."

I decided not to ask what that meant, even as a part of Serafall kept urging me to. There were just some things I was better off not knowing.

Asami cleared her throat. "As amusing as it would be to put my son in a ballerina's garb," she ignored the laughter around her, "it still isn't one of her traits, now is it?"

I smiled. Maybe there was something to like about these people, after all. "She's into kendo, and has a fondness for cats." I glanced at Shirone, who looked up from her plate when she realized that she was now the center of attention. "The Koneko I know is terrified of her, and always runs away when she detects her presence." The white cat pouted cutely before returning to her meal.

Asami pressed on. "What else?"

"She's very fond of you of both you and your husband, but she hates Issei. She calls him 'worm.'"

For the first time since dinner began, the boy looked at me. "What did I do?" he asked.

My expression grew serious. "You allowed a Devil to alter with your parents' memories because you were distracted by said Devil's cleavage, Hyoudou-san."

His temper flared, but with Redsmith-who was no longer acting like a harpy-next to him, he didn't stand up. "Who?"

I lifted my fork and directed it towards Gremory. "Her. You woke up to find her sleeping next to you in her birthday suit and your mother walked in on it. She altered their memories out of embarrassment." Sensing hostility, I quickly added, "But she fixed it later and apologized. She even allowed you to touch her chest for a full minute and gave your sister a photo album containing pictures of Koneko." That last part was a lie: I had no idea what Gremory had done after she'd repaired the memories of the Hyoudou parents.

He settled down somewhat.

Jasmine leaned forward. "And me?" she asked.

I shrugged. "You don't exist. Or if you do, then you're off doing something else and have never met Issei. You haven't met him yet either, Vali-san."

The White Dragon Emperor shrugged. "Oh well."

Redsmith was silent, and then shrugged and went back to her own meal. "I'll assume I do exist, and am currently a college professor."

I raised an eyebrow. "A college professor? You?"

She sneered. "I had quite a few degrees, and a shitload of research. All that went down the drain after what happened, so porn was the only way to make some fast cash."

"No, it wasn't," Issei butted in. "I could've helped you, Nee-san."

"And I told you way back then to trust me, Issei. You still trust me, don't you?"

"Well, yeah, but..."

"Please," Asami interrupted, "let's not talk about it here." And yet she took no issue with the swearing. Must be from having to put up with Issei for almost two decades.

Issei was silent, and then he fixed his gaze on Gremory. "We are gonna talk about it, though. Come up to my room after dinner, Weeb."

The table fell silent, then Rias leaned forward. "What's this about, Issei? You don't exactly invite people into your room."

"Because as much as I don't wanna say it, I do owe you and the puppy for what you did earlier, so we-Nee-san, Ass-man, and myself-decided to tell you what you wanna know. You up for it?"

Rias blinked in surprise. "Of course I want to know, but why only me?"

Issei rolled his eyes. "You can tell your Peerage afterwards. I don't want them crowding into my room."

Another long silence followed, broken by a nod. "Fine."

Everyone went back to eating. Everyone except Redsmith.

"Oh yeah, I wondered about that. What happened, exactly?"

Issei flinched, but Rias either didn't notice this or just didn't care. "The woman you call 'White' cast some kind of illusion on Issei that plagues him with night terrors whenever he sleeps for more than five hours. We, Asia-chan and I, went into Issei's mind and fended her off."

Jasmine didn't respond at first. Then she shot up, nearly knocking her chair over. "WHAT?!"

She turned to Issei and grabbed him by the ear, dragging him to his feet while ignoring his shouts of protest. "Why didn't you tell me any of this, you stupid little shit?! I oughta bend you over the table and tan your ass in front of everybody right now!"

Out of the corner of my vision, I noticed Akeno perk up at the prospect. Huh, looks like this one is just as perverted as the one I know.

Gritting his teeth, Issei soldiered through the pain to make a response. "Because she knows you, Nee-san! If you'd confronted her, she'd have fucked you over something fierce, and then gone right back to screwing with me." The grip on his ear slackened, and he began rubbing it as he went on. "That bitch doesn't know a thing about Weaboo and the Ninja Puppy, though. They caught her off-guard, but she'll probably be back later."

Slowly, Jasmine's angry expression softened, and she sat back down. "Yeah, that makes sense," she admitted. But then she turned and gave him the stink-eye again. "But you're still gonna get it later, Issei."

The Red Dragon Emperor gulped, but nevertheless turned back to Gremory. "Like I said, it's time I stopped keeping secrets from you."

Gremory nodded.

"By the way," I said, looking at Issei, "What made you think a cell phone could have been a good weapon against me? Did you plan on showing a particularly raunchy porn video that you figured would have traumatized me or something?"

Issei shook his head. "I'd have played a recording of Gabriel quoting a Bible verse to make your ear drums explode and give you the mother of all migraines."

I was silent, and then, with a heavy sigh, I took out my wallet, pulled from it a large stack of yen and tossed it in his direction. He caught the cash, but looked at me questioningly.

"It wouldn't have worked on me, anyway, so consider that a small restitution," I declared professionally, a small bit of pride in my voice. "I don't know why, but Church hymns, Bible verses, crucifixes, holy water, and all that other holy mumbo-jumbo have no effect on me."

Everyone at the table stared at me in amazement.

"But you're a devil," Rias said.

I shrugged. "I know, but it still doesn't happen to me. I've tested it repeatedly, even getting a priest to bless me with holy water and reciting the Lord's Prayer. Nothing happened."

Issei narrowed his eyes, though he pocketed the money, nonetheless. "Prove it."

I nodded, then-after all the devils at the table had put on their ear plugs-recited the Lord's Prayer. As I had told them, nothing happened. They all continued to stare at me as the devils removed the plugs.

"The fuck?" Redsmith muttered.

I shrugged again. "Like I said, I don't know. It would anger my Bishop if she found out, though."

"Why?" she asked.

"Because she used to be a nun, and loved praying to Him. She's very upset that she can't anymore."

"You mean...?"

"Yes," I said calmly. "Asia Argento is my Bishop." Before anyone could respond, I raised my hands. "I met her before any of you could, and she became my Bishop because she was bored of church life. She's certainly not as innocent or shy as your Asia is, though."

"How?" This time, it came from Asami.

"She drinks like a fish, blows up microwave ovens, swears like a sailor, and keeps a nine-headed Hydra as a familiar."

Everyone was silent, and then Issei groaned. "I knew the Ninja Puppy was evil deep down, but this is just fucked up."

"I take it you have an unpleasant history with the Hydra?" I asked. Redsmith nodded before Issei could respond.

"What's it called?" she asked.

I thought about lying, or just refusing to answer, but somehow, Serafall reached across the plane of existence and forced me to blurt it out: "Miss Peanut Wigglebutt."

Silence once again cast a shadow over the table as its other occupants processed my words.

And then the dam broke.

Everybody laughed uproariously-except Issei, of course, and Shirone, who merely looked down and snickered. Redsmith and Vali were pointing at Issei in between bouts of slapping their thighs and guffawing. They were never going to let him forget this, I just knew it.

The laughter died down eventually, with the food (thankfully, thanks to my skills) still warm, and we all ate our dinner in silence. I volunteered to take care of the dishes alongside Asami, and we were just starting to gather the dishes when the doorbell rang. With Gremory, Issei, and Vali half-way up the stairs and Gremory's Peerage making themselves comfortable in the living room, Redsmith walked over to the door and opened it.

"Eh? What do you want, Sitri?" she asked. It was Sona?

"I would actually like to speak to you alone, Redsmith-san." Yes, it was, but her voice sounded a little hollow. Why?

Redsmith was silent for a moment, then turned to the trio on the stairs. "Go on ahead of me. I'll catch up later." She then went outside, closing the door behind her.

XXXXX

"My sister told me everything," Sona said bluntly.

"Oh? You gonna offer me your pity now, kid? Well, you can keep it." Jasmine would have turned to the door, but she figured she might as well wait and see if the Sitri heiress had anything else to say.

"It's not pity I offer," she said. "But it might please you to know that I'm very angry with my sister right now."

Jasmine smirked. "Normally it wouldn't mean shit to me, but considering how much Pinkie loves gushing about her 'pwecious widdo So-tan', I'll admit it does make me smile. But you Devils aren't known for being a super-sympathetic lot, so don't BS me by saying it's because of how she screwed me over."

Sona shook her head. "It isn't, or at least, not entirely. I will admit she shamed my family and house with her actions, for which I would apologize if I thought it would mean anything to you-"

"It wouldn't."

"-I figured as much. But no, my primary reason for being so angry with her is that she never told me about any of this, or if she did say something, it was a lie. I don't like being deceived, anymore than you do, I presume."

"I don't. Nobody does, really, unless its meant as some kind of motivator or something like that."

"But it wasn't. And one of those things she neglected to do was prepare me for meeting Hyoudou-san."

Despite herself, Jasmine couldn't stifle a chuckle. "Trust me, that's not something you can really be prepared for beyond basic instructions. Even when he was happier, he could still be unpredictable."

A smile began to form on Sona's heart-shaped face. "I grew up with an unpredictable sister with delusions of being a magical girl. Wouldn't something like that ordinarily prepare me for normally... abnormal people?"

Jasmine ran a hand through her hair. "Christ, that's right. I only had to put up with that bitch for a couple of years, while you grew up with her."

"I can only assume that your babysitting Issei would be comparable?"

"Oh, you have no idea. Lost count of how many times I had to cave his head in or whoop his ass. Sometimes I felt like his substitute mom."

Sona shuddered. "Please, don't put that image in my head. I have to deal with a sister who's all about 'sis-on-sis yuri-yuri love'. A boy who's obsessed with his babysitter would only make things worse."

Jasmine shuddered as well. "Noted."

They stood in silence, the evening crickets beginning their song in the background.

"So, now what?" Jasmine asked.

Sona pushed her glasses up the ridge of her nose. "Well, I'm forcing Nee-san to put her show on hold and train us for what's to come, whatever it may be. I also warned her that if she tried this sort of thing again, I would hate her forever and never say another word to her."

"Ouch. I almost feel sorry for... wait, no I don't." She gave a small laugh, imagining that pink-clad bitch sobbing over her precious So-tan hating her. Didn't seem like much, but it was practically a death sentence for a registered sis-con.

"Truly, we shoulder the burden of annoying siblings," Sona said in a philosophical tone. "But at least you didn't grow up with yours, and he's not related to you."

"Yeah." Jasmine turned toward the door. "Well, night."

"Good night, Redsmith-san. Oh, and by the way, I don't expect an apology for yesterday."

Jasmine turned to her. "Look," she said, "your questions made me uncomfortable, but I should have just said that instead of gaslighting you. And I do appreciate that you haven't snapped from Issei's bullshit."

Sona shrugged. "Again, with a sister like mine, I should have been used to it."

Nodding, Jasmine went back inside and closed the door behind her. Walking up the stairs, she entered Issei's room, finding the boy sitting on the bed while Rias and Vali sat at the foot of it. "I miss anything?" she asked.

Issei scratched his cheek. "Well, Weeb is having a hard time believing that a Bael who isn't even the family heir could've done all this to me."

Jasmine's gaze fell upon Rias, who shrugged. "I'm not saying I don't believe him, but it does sound odd, don't you think?

Jasmine nodded. "It does," she said, "which is just another one of Carnelian's best weapons." She sat down next to Vali, taking note that Issei had twitched at the mention of his tormentor's actual name. "Now, keep going, Issei, and don't draw things out or skip over anything, or you're getting a double ass-whooping for each time you do."

"Aw! But Nee-san-"

"Oh, no, Issei. The only butt that needs to be thought about is yours, and how what you say is going to determine how red it's going to be after this is over. Now keep talking." She then turned to Rias. "Oh, and before I forget, I owe you and the puppy a round of drinks for bailing this dumbass's... well, ass out of the fire, Imouto."

Rias blinked at the title, and then smiled back at her. "'Twas nothing, Nee-san."

XXXXX

"Are you sure you don't want to get that looked at?" I asked.

"I'm sure," she replied. "I deserve it."

Sitting next to me on the front porch of the Hyoudou household was Kuroka, clad in that same black kimono.

She was also sporting a nasty black eye, courtesy of her sister. Apparently, Shirone had flown into a rage upon seeing her and had thrown a punch before collapsing into Kuroka's arms, crying her eyes out. The mental image alone made me want to hurt someone.

"I was too focused on that recording to notice my sister's scent on you," she went on. "Why is that?"

I scratched my cheek awkwardly. "Well, she thinks I'm her servant."

Kuroka tilted her head slightly, a wry smile on a face that so strongly resembled her sister's. "How did she figure that?"

I returned the smile with one of my own. "Well, since I feed her, take care of her, and do whatever she asks me to do, what else could I be but her servant?" I raised my right fist and made a pawing motion with it. "Nya-ha-ha."

The black cat chuckled. "She's even starting to do that? Adorable."

"Well, only when we're in private. In public, she's practically a doll. It's wrong for someone so young to be like that."

Kuroka nodded. "So very wrong, indeed. So, have you met the other me, yet?"

"No," I replied. "But I'm trying to find you-her." My expression grew serious. "And when I do, I'm going to reunite them, and then hunt down the monsters who absued Shirone and hurt them in ways they can't even imagine."

Kuroka's own expression turned vicious. "You'd better let the other me in on the fun. Nobody hurts my sister. Nobody."

I decided not to mention Redsmith's conduct, figuring she'd already been punished enough without having an angry cat trying to claw her eyes out-or worse.

"Have you talked with Issei?" I asked.

She shook her head. "He's rather angry with me right now, so it's best I keep my distance from him. Honestly, it's only because we're right outside that he hasn't noticed my presence."

"Why is he angry with you?"

"I lied to him about my past, and now he knows. He doesn't like being lied to." She gently touched the black bruise around her eye. "I guess this is a fitting punishment for that, too. I still love him, though." Her expression grew wistful.

My eyes narrowed. "I don't know if he's exactly the right one for your sister, given how he's been acting."

Kuroka's expression became downtrodden. "But he can protect her," she said. "And since you've apparently taken a belt to his ass, I doubt he'll do anything bad."

"If he does, I'll know. And I'll come down and kill him, consequences be damned. Your sister's safety comes first."

She nodded. "Always." Her expression suddenly turned mischievous. "I wonder if your Shirone would try to set you up with the other me."

I blinked, having never considered that. "I hope not," I said uneasily. "My King is quite possessive."

Kuroka chuckled. "I don't see why: you're not bad-looking, but you're hardly a lady-killer."

Her chuckle turned to full-blown laughter while I gave her a deadpan look. By the dead God, I hope that the other Kuroka never met my King.

XXXXX

Still not as long as Part 1. Damn. Oh well, I hope the content itself makes up for it. (Hopeful) Quality over quantity, I guess.

Okay, changed a few things around to make Issei and Jasmine look a little more sympathetic, I hope, after really understanding why they're wrong. I hope that was handled well enough, too. Regarding that guest review about OCs and the idea of one of the other characters calling Issei and Jazz out on their bad behavior, sadly, I don't think it would work there, either, as I'm pretty sure those two would just assault them for their "insolence". I got so wrapped up in physically punishing them that I failed to remember that just doing that to an unruly child isn't going to magically solve the problem-if anything, it just suppresses it, allowing it to fester over a period of time until things boil over (i.e., Jasmine's way of handling Issei, which is, as stated, a band-aid solution at best). The child also needs to be made to understand why their actions were wrong and why they need to behave. You can't do one without the other; you need both. Failure to use both in that order will only cause the child to become self-righteous, muttering under their breath that they have no right to be judged for what they did. Sound familiar? So, this section opened with a focus on the understanding part, and continued with Issei and Jasmine attempting to salvage the situation.

Regarding those remarks about how the ORC and Student Council could have just left Issei alone, pardon my bluntness, but such an idea is laughable: neither of them had a hand in arranging Issei's enrollment in Kuoh, and they are collectively responsible for protecting the school. They'd have sensed Issei's power the moment he entered the academy's grounds, and since he's a ticking time bomb (he DID physically assault one of his teachers, after all), they would have to, at the very least, keep tabs on him. Hell, they tried that, but Issei kept frightening off their sentries. Interaction with him and involvement in his problems were inevitable, even if they tried to stave it off, and was also wanted by the Maous, who are really to blame here for not preparing them for such an endeavor. Would it have made things easier? Maybe, maybe not. But I don't think it would have made things worse.

Oh, and one more thing about Jasmine: I DON'T have a problem with her being a porn star and sleeping around, nor do I think she's cuckolding Issei by doing so. Okay, that's technically two things, but you get what I mean. That's not an issue for me. What is an issue for me is that she's a complete asshole and gets away with lashing out at innocent bystanders for no good reason.

(11/10/2021) Added that little part about the cell phone after re-reading Chapter 7 of ADLH. That Shirou really is a badass, even when he isn't trying to be.

(03/14/2022) Added that part with Kuroka because I didn't like what she did to Raynare. She lost an argument she started, and demonstrated she couldn't take what she dished out, much like Jasmine. Plus, Raynare did her a favor by telling her that Issei knows the truth, as it ensured Kuroka would know better than to just waltz up to Issei. Now she knows to keep her distance until he cools off.