It is one of these days, when your focus on studies is low and you pay more attention to your surroundings. Currently you are switching between observing Luke and Simeon's clothes. Weird how they don't have to use RAD uniforms. Weirder yet is how Simeon is not cold. The cape must have some use, because his clothes don't have sleeves. You consider, the gloves must help too, since they surpass his elbows. Still, it doesn't explain the side openings on his clothes, unless it is for the aesthetic? You ask him about it after the classes end and most students have gone away.
"Simeon, how come you aren't cold? Autumn is already here and your wardrobe hasn't changed at all."
The angel cheerfully smiles at you. "I am too hot." You gape at him with wide eyes and a slack jaw. What...? "At least that was what Solomon told me when I explained it. You see, angels run on a wider range of temperatures than humans. In my case, I generate a lot of body heat. Because of this, it is not uncommon for me to expose my skin on the limits of property, to cool myself down."
That makes a lot of sense. "I see. So that is the reason why neither you or Luke use the uniforms?"
"Yes. Lord Diavolo was the most kind when I explained it to him and allowed us an exception. As long I use closed pants and I cover my chest, it will count as an admissible uniform."
"Explains a lot. But why the cape? You must get hot underneath."
Simeon dismisses you concern with a wave. "The fabric could be better, but it is most for my peace of mind. It reminds me of the weight of my wings. Would you like to hold it?"
You nod and watches as he takes off the piece of clothing. You try not stare too much, but you can't help but notice the way his back is drenched in sweat. It only serves to make the shirt to cling more to skin. You notice more the gloves in his hands. It must be uncomfortable underneath it too. "Take the gloves off too."
"Yes. It is only us, and I wil not tell if you don't." You wink at him and are delighted when Simeon complies. He hands you everything in a pile. When you take it off his hands, it is heavier than you expected to be. "You have a big wingspan?"
"I fall under a common lenght, neither big nor small. But I must say it is not the lenght of the wingspan, but how you use it which matters most.
You take some seconds to process. "Did you just told me a dirt joke?!"
Not much time after, you have a revelation.
It goes something like this: you are scrolling through a fandom of an anime Levi recently recommended when you meet The Image. The image itself is not the important piece, but the article of clothing on it. A backless sweater, going so low it stops only inches before the butt. You look it up.
A virgin killer sweater, you learn, it is its popular name. You can see why, specially with the hint that accidental (or not so) nipples could be appearing at any moment.
A terrible, so not good plan concoctions itself on your mind. You try to ignore it, but dwelling on the possible results is a tantalizing bait. And you are so weak against it.
Of course, if you are making it work, you can't be too hasty about it.
"Luke? Could you be a dear and help me with something?"
The kid turns away from his baking spree to level you a blinding smile. "Of course! You are my dear friend and it fills me with happiness you have come to me in a moment of peril."
"Great." You go through your pockets and pull a measuring tape. "I need you to go and measure Simeon for me."
"No, just his chest and waist. If you could get me his shoulders' length too it would be superb."
Luke looks baffled at your request. "This... I certainly wasn't expecting this sort of favor. Why do you want it?"
You don't mind disclosing the part of the truth to him, but the few people knowing the better. "Oh, I just thought of a gift for him, but I need to know his measurements to plan accordingly."
"Will you be making it? I didn't know you were proficient in sewing clothes."
You blush and look at your fingers, only a bit embarrassed. "That's because I am not. Actually, I have been looking at some commissions because I heard the quality of handmade work is higher than mass-produced." You start murmuring in a low voice, unwanted thoughts making themselves too loud in your heart. This why you prefer to act at the heat of moment: you only have too worry about things happening now, not what could happen later. "He will still like it, right? Even if I haven't done it myself?"
A cold hand touch yours and you lift your head to see Luke has closed the distance between you both. His expression is open and his voice is filled with conviction as he reassures you. "I am sure whatever you have chosen will be a befitting and thoughtful gift. You have already show it by tasking my help on ascertaining it is fitted for him. As such, Simeon will be honoured in receiving any gift from you, specially something you have been so carefully considering." He gives you a last reassuring smile before releasing you and returning to his baking. "Do not be afraid."
"Luke... have I ever told you are the best?"
The boy fumbles with the mix he is holding blood rushing to his cheeks. Yes, coming to Luke was a good idea. The cupcakes you ate after was just the icing of it.
There is a lightness on your steps and giddiness you don't think you can hide from your the other residents. So you don't. Instead, you wake up early and take over breakfast duty. Early birds are rare on the House of Lamentation, so you feel fairly safe on the knowledge of your gift. Still, someone finds you.
"Oh, it's you." Strong arms drap themselves over your body and hug you from behind, before releasing you. "I thought today was Lucifer's cooking day. Good morning."
"Morning Beel. I got something to do now so last night I told him to leave it to me."
"I see. Does it has something to do-" He stops what he is saying to take a bite from an apple. "with the package you got yesterday?" Saying that. He levels you an inquisitive stare.
Sometimes, it is easy to forget Beel is more observant than he lets on. "Yes. I would appreciate your discretion about it."
"Depends. Are you involving yourself with something dangerous?"
"Wah? Nothing of the sort, promise. I got to go now, please don't eat all the breakfast or Lucifer is going to kill me. "
Beel prevents himself from answering by eating more food. You will take what is given. Still, to not have it to weight on your mind later, you send a message on the group chat and go on your way toward to Purgatory Hall.
House of Lamentation
Beel is there
Early bird gets the worm
But Beel can have my part
I'm getting out now
Remember pls to get me a seat at breakfast
Of course. I will tell Simeon now.
Did you remember to bring it?
Yes, you did. But better be sure, you think as you open your bag and confirm you have your gift with you. It is there, stuffed along notebooks and pens.
Yes. Thanks for the help again, Luke. <3
You are welcome.
House of Lamentation
Are you dieting? I thought you needed professional advice to do it.
In, "I reincarnated as antagonist and after dieting the protagonist don't stop pursuing me!" I learned diet will only work with paired with exercises
They can go with me at the gym
I hate everyone here.
You woke me up from my beauty sleep.
IF I GET A WINKLE ON MY FACE I AM COMING FOR YOU GUYS!!
Ya could just turn off the sounds and sleep again
I WILL COME FOR YOU FIRST
I AIN'T AFRAID OF YA!
6pm at the pit, bitch.
THE GIRLS ARE FIGHTING
I always wanted to say that.
No one is fighting anyone on my watch.
Asmo, Mammon, I will have words with you two later.
Now I suggest everyone come down and eat breakfast.
You will not waste the food our human tenant prepared.
"Human tenant" is so condescending.
You have changed your name to Human Tenant
You just had to own him like this, huh?
You got guts, human.
I never expected to be backstabbed like this.
I am chaotic
I am muting my DDD for the next hour or so
You got a lot of nerve to mute the Great Mammon!
IF ANY OF YOU CALL ME OR SOMETHING
I WILL BRING SOLOMON HERE
ON COOKING DUTY
INSTEAD OF ME
Isn't that too much?
For an entire month.
More if I more than one of you bother me.
Are you threatening us?
It isn't a threat.
It's a promise.
You ignore the dots appearing and do as you said. Anything resulting from it is a task for future you. Present you is reaching the doors of Purgatory Hall. Within minutes, you are inside the building. Is it weird no one ever locks doors in Devildom? Yes, but you are filling it on your brain under the category of the eccentricities of this realm.
You go straight to the kitchen, following the delicious smell of pastries. There, you find yourself hugged instantly. You chuckle quietly. "Good morning, Luke."
"It is a wonderful morning when I can see you so early. And none of the awful demons you are always with either!"
Simeon turns to you two, hand on his hips. He has an apron with 'Kiss the cook' in bold letters. "Now now, what did I tell you, Luke?"
"That I carry too much rage for my body?"
"Not forget the oven on? To be careful with Solomon's experiments? To maintain my wings groomed even if I am not showing them? Good guests don't insults their hosts...? That I have to express my feelings in a way it is not unsightly for one as myself?"
"While it is good you remember your lessons, I never told the last phrase." Simeon's brows dip and curve of his smile shifts down. That is your cue to intervene.
"Me and Luke are working on healthy ways to express our feelings. We have been improving, don't we?"
Luke nods swiftly. "Words aren't enough to express my contentment after these sessions." Sessions these most being you both breaking cheap china and pottery bought for that only and screaming at it. The emotional release is amazing.
Simeon doesn't appear much convinced, but he lets it go. "We will talk more about it after. Still, I have to admit: it is wonderful to have you with us now." He extends his arms and you both go for a hug. You decide to spicy it up a little and when he releases you, you leave a kiss on his cheek.
Simeon is unfazed, chuckling a bit and pointing to himself. "The apron?" When you agree with your head, he gives it a look over. "It was a gift from Solomon. Is it customary to follow the instructions on it?"
"Eh, depends on the person using the apron, the person seeing it and their relationship with each other."
"I see. It's great to know we have such a good relationship."
He has a way to put you on spot, that is it. "Ahh, yess, sure. Hmmm... how do I say that?" Your nerves are alight but you carry an anchor on your stomach. It is so much easier to do this on birthdays. Your actions will have to be better than your words. You turn away to your bag and remove the package on it, wishing for the ground to swallow you whole. "I got you a gift...?"
Simeon takes the package away from you holding it delicately to his chest. He smiles nervously. "Thank you. If I may ask, what's the occasion?"
You bite your lip and glance away. Why he had to ask you that? "Oh, you know... I saw it another day and thought of you."
You are saved from saying more by an angel. Luke waves his arms around, balancing himself on his toes. "Simeon, you must change into it! Let me see what they got you."
"It's early yet. We can eat it later." Luke spins to face you, curiosity and mischief on his face. "You too want to see him on it too, right?"
Saved by an angel, you said? More like throw under the bus by one. "If it is not too much trouble..."
Simeon relents under you two. "Since you both insist, I will not deny you any longer. Let's go to my room."
You trail nervously behind him. Lead settles in your bones and mercury takes hold of your mind. You wonder if he will not like it but will be too polite to say anything about it. You hope not. You hope for it, even it is the best you could get. Your mind goes haywire, but your body is heavy and doesn't bend. By the time you are sitting on a chair in his bedroom, your heart has become brittle ice.
Luke seems to see your nervousness because he takes your hands firmly on his. His body is cold, but the gesture warms your insides. "It's okay, the worst has come and gone already. You did it."
"You were brave."
"I was. I still want to hide on my room and not come back."
"It would be a perfect excuse for a slumber party."
"It would be." Your nerves settles and you manage to calm down a bit. Enough you don't feel like you are inside a storm anymore. "Thank you for helping me."
He releases you and sits on the bed. Luke plays with one of his buttons. "What are friends for?"
You are going to answer but Simeon chooses that moment to get out of the bathroom. The dark green shirt hungs a bit loosely on his neck and lips, just like you envisioned when you placed the order. The material is an approximation of linen, since the heavy fabric of sweaters would be a great faux pas. It was worthy every Grimm, the small working part of your mind concludes. The rest of it goes mushy and you are distinctly conscious your own messy state. You straighten your clothes but keep your gaze on the angel. You wouldn't be opposed to him messing you up. You are aware he was attractive but using your gift? This man becomes magnificent.
And he is strutting on your direction, the other half of your gift on it. May your heart have peace.
"I am having some difficulties putting it. Could you assist me, little lamb?"
Your knees are weak, but you force them to work. "Y-yeah." Your voice is sandpaper on your throat. That will not do. "I mean, sure. What is the problem?"
"There is a string on the middle, but I cannot find its use. Can we do this in front of the mirror?"
You try to focus on the fabric on your hand instead of the nearly naked skin ahead. You still glance over it and are pleased when you see the shirt appearing again two inches below the waistline. The original model had it at the ass, but you actually want the angel to dress himself in your gift. The urge to run your fingertips through his back is strong, but you are trying to pay more attention on the task assigned. It is hard to concentrate, specially after you look at the mirror and watch Simeon gazing at you intently. Your brought to yourself a Trojan horse and discovered it too late. You managed to become more thirsty. If he tells you yes, if he asks, you are doing more than just stealing his breath away.
The cape reach his waist when placed at his shoulders, being made from the same material as the shirt. It still gets a bir heavier at the ends from the spells you asked to be placed there. The insides are a dark black as well the lower half of the outside. The outside upper half is a vivid red, the entire thing meant to pay homage to the RAD uniform.
The string is meant to be hung on part of the neckline, you remember, as a way to get the to not fall away when hung low, like the style Simeon likes. Much more interesting is the way goosebumps rise as you touch the nape of his neck searching for the small hanger. You find Simeon on the mirror and Simeon finds you. The contact makes this too real, the thing happening to you both. And as fast and short as it happened, the moment goes away. You take a step back. "Done."
Simeon gives himself a look over on the mirror before spinning and clasping your hands. His expressions is soft and joyful as he talks to you. "Thank you, little lamb. This is a most wonderful gift and I will treasure it."
"Don't worry about it. It... it would make me glad to see you using it. It looks marvelous on you." For the briefest moment, you see his cheeks blush. It is a gorgeous look.
"I will not disappoint you then." He releases you, but keeps a grip on your hand. "Luke, what you think about it?"
Luke shifts from his pose and assess the clothes. He gives a careful look over, lingering on the open back of the shirt. The he looks at you and at your gift again. He shifts to Simeon open joy and to your clasped hands. He nods once and illumination slowly daws on his face. "I think it is a very tasteful and amazing gift. You look great on it Simeon. Also," and here Luke smiles sweetly as gets up. "I will be praying for the happiness of you both. I am going down for breakfast, you two may stay a bit longer."
With this cryptic goodbye, the young angel leaves the room. You are too sttuned at his reaction. "Do you have any idea what just happened?"
"Maybe it is the puberty...?"
"Do we need to have The Talk with him?"
"Mhm. I think we have different backgrounds on what consists The Talk, but I would appreciate your help nonetheless."
A comfortable silence settles in the room. Simeon seems to take a shine to the cape, fiddling with it in front of the full body mirror. He takes it off, put it on, hang it below the shoulders... you use the opportunity to discreetly ogle him. There is always something slight off with everyone here, the way they seem human fooling most of your senses but your subconscious takes the clues they aren't. Observing Simeon, you see it clearly on the way he shifts his shoulder blades, in his always straight spine. You don't dislike it, but it highlights the differences between you two.
You would still run your hands on his back if he allowed it.
(You want explore these differences in other contexts.)
"It doesn't itch, it does?" Alarmed by the thought, you squirm and ramble. "Because when I explained what I wanted the woman told me she would be using a fabric specific to Devildom but to watch out for an allergic reaction since we aren't... from... here..."
In the middle of your speech, Simeon abandoned the mirror and approached you in sure and firm steps. He stops only a feet from you, pining you in place with his gaze. "Please repeat yourself."
"We aren't from Devildom... so we gotta be careful with allergies?"
"That is the meaning of it, yes, but these weren't your exact words. I recall you teling me about the woman whom chose this fabric."
You run the words through your mind again.
There go down the attempts to keep this casual.
"What about her?" You are drawling yes. You made your bed; you don't really have to sleep on it, do you? "I can pass you her contact info if you want."
Simeon bring his hands to your face slowly, like you are going to bolt away if he is too fast. Fair enough. You want to move away, but you are stuck inside his magnetic field like a falling star. "Mhmp, perharps at a later date." He licks his lips and you are intimately aware of the position you are both in. The points where skin touch are warm from more than the heat from his body. " 'Just a casual thing', yes? I think this statement is now quite untruthful. Why don't you try again, little lamb, but more sincerely this time?"
"You have stood up to demons more than once. Can you have a little courage now?"
"It's different." You know it right on your soul. There is no drama with Simeon, so your brain must conjure something up. "I don't have much time to think, I just know I have to do something. Also I have breakdowns on my room when the stress pass. I don't want to have one after this."
He brings your foreheads together. This close you can see the green tones shining reflected in his iris. Simeon is being so tender with you, it is nearly too much. "If I promise to hold you after this, will you tell me?" Alluring like a siren song he tells you this like a secret to you both keep.
Yes, please. You need someone to do it. A bit reluctantly, you spin your story, words spilling down and sometimes falling apart at the seams. All the while, Simeon is silent, but his encouraging smiles and his soft touches are enough to keep you going. At the end, you have steam to more. "...anyway, this is ridiculous, the gift was a ridiculous idea, I have blown this ridiculously out of proportion so add me to this too and you are ridiculous because you made me tell you all of this instead of allowing me - what it's called, sewing mace? Saving face? That's it - allowing me to save face? This a circus and the biggest clown is me because I went through all of it instead of wondering should I do it?"
"Are you finished?"
"...yes, I am."
His face switches to his serious expression. You exhale all the air you just inhaled. "Excellent. Now, I will tell you how I see it. It is not weak to care for other people. Neither is showing that care and anyone who says different is wrong. Do you understand it?" You nod weakly because yes, that's is easy in theory, but practice is something else. "If someone uses that care to hurt you, it's their own fault, not yours. And I promise you, I will never use your feelings for me to hurt you, not willing. It is okay if you don't believe me now, just remember it okay?"
You really want cry. Simeon is too kind, too sweet. If you could, you would engrave this moment in your heart. Your voice is heavy with the emotions running through your bloodstream as you agree. "Okay."
"And... and I am really lucky to have someone so considerate and kind like you on my side. I..." His face go through a complicated combination of emotions. Simeon settles for something resembling uncertainty, but it is like a distortion of it. "I don't have words to express my feelings. If I wasn't too afraid it would overwhelm you now, I would show you it."
This kindles your curiosity but you don't think you can take anymore of this. "Rain check?"
Smiling again, he releases you from his intense hold. You think that is it. You smile at him and mentally collects yourself. You are truly destroyed when Simeon kisses your forehead. "Ain?" You hope you aren't blushing. "...what was that for?"
"I am just very happy right now."
"That's for me to know. Come, let's get out before we lose the hour." He walks confidently to the door and holds it for you. Like this just not happened.
The hell. Simeon goes from hot to warm to lukewarm. He is going to leave you hanging, like that? You refuse to play like this. You wait until you exited his room to kiss his cheek, close enough to his lips it someone could misunderstad from watching it. You walk away. Things are fine now. This is perfectly fine and you are going to act like nothing happened because nothing happened at all.
If you had look back at that moment, you would see Simeon flushing. As it happened, he was back at the normal when you crossed the kitchen's threshold.