The sound of a bell chiming from the highest tower. A door swinging closed as the last of the locker room chatter filtered out. Clothes being shucked and dropping to the floor before the sound of feet padding across tile were interrupted by a squeak and then the slow, rising sound of water rushing out and ricocheting off skin and down into the shadows of the drain.
“See you later, MC,” the voice of a demon said as they walked to the door.
“See ya,” echoed out from the corridor that hosted the gym showers. They let out a big sigh as they doused their head under the shower spray, pushing their hair back out of their eyes as they breathed out. Trying to keep up with demons in sports was exhausting. Even though it was only a recreational class activity, and not the more hardcore Fangol team Beel participated in, many of the demons showed no mercy in weeding out the weak with their superhuman strength and reflexes. If dodgeball in human high school gym was a classic example of survival of the fittest, whatever the demon world equivalent was called (MC didn’t bother to remember) was a giant meteorite deadset on mass extinction.
Their legs trembled as their muscles spasmed from the sudden lack of exertion. It was four p.m. Gym was the only class MC didn’t share with any of the brothers or their Purgatory Hall friends. The student council used the extra period for meetings and make announcements and Simeon, Luke, and Solomon had been given a study hall instead after Solomon had nearly annihilated Luke and the lower level demons. Simeon just sat out to keep Luke company, but if he still participated, MC was certain that he could hold his own against the annoying demons, and would likely protect them from any balls spiked their way.
Another sigh. They would have bruises tomorrow.
As much as they wanted to stay and just soak in the warmth of the spray forever, they knew that if they took too long one of the brothers would come barrelling through the gym in search of them. Usually it was Mammon or Levi who broke down the door fighting over who they would walk home with, but today MC had promised Luke they would come over and do some baking together, so they didn’t want to keep the young demon waiting.
MC ran their hands quickly over their skin, trying to soothe their aching muscles that had been pummeled throughout the period. Periodically, they fiddled with the handle of the shower valve so that the spray got gentler and gentler, the constant battering on their neck beginning to worsen their soreness. They had to be careful not to turn the handle too much though, because the maximum water temperature could very easily boil lesser demons alive. Just as they were getting ready to stop, they heard the creak of the locker room door leading to the hallway outside the gym open.
“Mammon? Levi? I’m in the shower! I’ll be out in a second. Just wait outside,” A smile broke out across MC’s face as they ran their fingers through the knots of their hair. There was some faint murmuring, and they knew that whichever brother it was likely was sputtering and turning on their heel to race out the door. The only one who wasn’t afraid to waltz in and see them naked was Asmo, and even then, it was more a joke than anything. Asmo would announce their presence with some grandiose speech, always giving MC enough time to ready a shampoo bottle or some method of attack to defend against him flinging himself at them.
As MC reached up to turn the shower off, they heard shuffling along the corridor of the showers. Grabbing the towel that they had set just out of the water’s reach, they began to dry their hair, lifting their head when they heard the footsteps stop right behind them. With the smile still on their lips, they tugged the towel off and patted down their face, lifting their head as they readied to make a remark about intruding on their privacy.
“You know, I thought I told you-”
The words dried up in their throat when they locked eyes with the figure, the towel falling to the ground.
The name fell from their lips in a plea, not in acknowledgement. Two shadows leered from behind the taller one, who revealed his sharp toothed grin as his claws reached forward and walled them in.
“Finally caught you, human.”
Mammon was in the middle of an argument with Luke outside the library when he felt it. He had been fighting with him since the bell rang and he had overheard the tiny angel talking about MC promising to bake confectionaries with him after school. Poor Simeon was currently nursing a headache trying to deal with the two yapping at one another like dogs, while Solomon was leaning back against the doorframe and enjoying the show.
“I told you! They’re my human! I’m their first pact, so they have to listen to me!”
“Last I checked, a pact meant you had to listen to MC! Isn’t that right, Solomon?”
Solomon pretended to mull it over, “Hmm… I hate to admit it, Mammon, but pacts do mean you take orders in the relationship. Although, on occasion, Asmodeus and I do tend to reverse the roles-”
“-Alright, Solomon. Thank you very much for that insight,” Simeon cut in, “Luke, MC must be waiting for us.”
“Hold on!” Luke said, spinning back around to point a finger up at the tall demon, “Ha! So like Solomon said, you’re the one who has to take orders! So that means you're more like a dog than I am! Not that I’m like a chihuahua at all!”
“Will you just shut up already? You are a chihuahua cause you keep barking like-”
Mammon! Help me! Please!
“...You’re more than welcome to join us at Purgatory Hall, Mammon,” Simeon’s voice faded back along with the rest of the hallway chatter, “...Mammon... Mammon?”
Mammon had raised a hand to his neck when he felt the first stab of pain go through his skull. He almost cursed and accused Luke, but then the throbbing pang got stronger, and suddenly he realized it was a cry. It wasn’t pain, it was panic. And the longer that Simeon kept talking, the more and more the sensation got buried. Mammon’s heart twisted in knots as he felt the flash in his mind fade, and he held up a hand.
“Wait, wait. Hold on, something’s…” he covered both of his ears and tried shutting his eyes, and he could feel it faintly, but it was still slipping out of reach. Luke started to say something, but Simeon shushed him as he watched on nervously. Solomon pushed himself off the wall, stepping forward, his smug expression collapsing quickly into concern.
Mammon opened his eyes and stared at the floor of the hallway blankly as he tried to listen for it again, trying to look for that light in his mind. It had been a flash, it came in from the right side and ruptured once it hit the left side of his brain. Carefully, as if pained, he shifted his foot and turned towards the right side of the hallway, taking a step forward.
He felt it. He lifted his head to look down the hall- and like someone had lit the cord at the end of a stick of dynamite, a sparking light came shooting around the corner, getting closer and closer until it collided with the firework that was his forehead and exploded.
Mammon! Where are you?
Mammon, help me! I can’t hold them off! They’re going to-
It hurts! Stop it! Mammon! I need-
Solomon caught Mammon by the shoulders as he stumbled backwards, righting the demon before giving him a push and starting to walk forward, “It’s MC, isn’t it? Where?”
The screams in Mammon’s head were pulsating now, delivering millions of pieces of information at once, and the demon gasped as he shivered, feeling the sensations that were rushing over him as if it was his own skin being attacked. Claws, teeth, scales… water.
“The locker room… Showers… Argh! Come on! We gotta hurry!” Mammon screamed as he started running, Solomon already beside him while Simeon and Luke took a second to follow after.
MC hissed as their back was thrown against the tile wall again, their hands scrambling to find leverage against the wet surface as one of the demons grabbed their arms and pinned them back.
“Human, why resist? You know your soul is going to be eaten eventually. Why struggle?”
His breath smelled like rotting fish, and his claws sliced deep rings into their flesh just from brushing against it. MC tried to bring one foot up to kick him in the chest, but it did nothing to shake the demon’s large form. They were wider than Beel, more monstrous looking with a slit mouth and a powerful, cold aura radiating off their skin, creating painful, crystalizations across MC’s skin where his scales had touched in their tussle. The crystals froze patches of their skin before breaking off like flakes after a few seconds, leaving behind exposed, dead skin that was spreading over the rest of their chest.
MC kicked him again and the rumble from within the demon’s chest caused such a power vibration to echo off the walls of the small corridor that MC felt nausea overwhelm them, and they spit out bile down the front of them as their head spun. The two other demons were crawling along the floor, snaking up to frame either side of MC as they reached forward to drag their dirty nails along MC’s ribs and up to where their heart was buried.
“Mammon! Levi! Beel!” While they had hesitated to cry out for anyone other than Mammon- their brain remembering the promise they had made to their first demon- they were too frightened to care. They were going to die, and Mammon still wasn’t here. “Anyon- urrgk!”
One of the demon’s shoved their hand in MC’s mouth, silencing their cries as the main demon tightened their grip on MC’s arms. They were hissing something out again, but the adrenaline pumping in MC’s ears blocked out any noise, except for their hiccups and gurgles behind the fingers in their throat as their eyes teared up and frantically looked around. As they thrashed about and struggled against the demons, the demon quieting their mouth moved out of the way enough for MC to see the shower handle behind him. The shower was still dripping some water. It was still on.
You’re going to die if you don’t do something. No one is coming to help. MC’s thoughts rushed by even as their mouth still continued to bite out the brothers’ names from behind the fingers. Using the last of their strength, MC raised up their other leg and pushed with all their might directly under where they thought the sternum of the demon was, his grip holding them up until he was stumbling back, and the fingers slipped from MC’s mouth and the hands fell away and they were on the floor. The impact knocked the wind out of them, but they forced themselves to surge to their feet and raised their elbow, knocked one of the other demons back and into the handle.
MC reached over the fighting demon as the leader started to stand up again, and for the first time in a while, they said a prayer.
Please let Mammon make it here in time.
They turned the handle all the way.
The locker rooms weren’t that far away, but it felt like miles as Mammon struggled to skid to turn the corner and race down the hallway to the gym by the exit. Solomon stood back as Mammon rammed his body against the door, only to find it locked. Solomon quickly readied a spell to blast it open, but Mammon’s body glowed with yellow light as he grabbed the doorknob and ripped it off, before kicking the door down, and the incantation died on Solomon’s lips. They rushed in, but paused when they heard the vicious screaming of deep voices from the back of the empty locker room.
“MC!” Mammon roared, and Simeon and Luke barely saw him transform as they entered the room. They only saw the light before he almost teleported down the hall, pausing outside the showers where they saw from afar him freeze in place.
The screams continued and Simeon ordered for Luke to stay back as he and Solomon hurried, but the young angel refused and followed after them. Solomon, fearing the worst, put a hand on Mammon’s shoulder before he looked towards the end of the corridor.
Luke gasped and stepped back behind Simeon’s robe, shielding himself like the child that he was, and it took all of Simeon’s willpower to stay stoic as he stared at the sight of two demons melting into a puddle of tar, their skin burning off as they were bombarded with boiling water and steam that filled the room. The demons were struggling to crawl and stumble back out of the spray, but the water rushed along the floor and towards the drain in the center of the room, following them. There was a figure though, the corner beside the shower, just out of the spray’s touch, shuddering in a ball as they recoiled away from the screams.
“Solomon, wait here a second,” Mammon said, his face hidden under his fringe, “You’ll get burned if you go in there.”
Mammon strode forward calmly, past the wretched demons even as their contorting bodies and screams continued to reverberate around and amplify. Mammon stepped into the hot spray, stopping for a moment as the water collapsed over him. He looked towards his human, and then across from them at where the shower handle lay, broken off. He walked through the spray towards the showerhead, and stared at the broken fixture on the wall, eyes empty for just a moment longer as his head continued to ring.
He was here now, but he could still hear it. In his head and outside.
“...Mammon…” MC whimpered, “...It hurts…it hurts…” the screams made them retch again, and their voice was drowned out.
Mammon… I’m sorry… I called for the others…
“...I’m sorry…” they sniffled, and Mammon snapped.
He punched the broken valve, crushing it back into the wall, and the spray of water stopped.
“Simeon. Luke. Do something.”
Mammon stepped out of their way as the angels ran over to the human, surrounding them as they whispered and tried to soothe MC. Solomon could see flashes of colorful light as they fired off healing spells. They tried to get MC to show them their arms and let them help clean the vomit off of their skin. Solomon’s eyes were more trained on Mammon, who was staring at the demons still writhing on the floor, an unreadable expression in his eyes as he just stared.
“Mammon, don’t- Not in front of-”
“Quiet, Solomon. Or you’ll be next.”
Mammon started towards the demons, and immediately, Solomon called out the incantation.
“I summon the avatars of wrath and lust! Satan! Asmodeus!”
Beside the sorcerer, the two demons appeared, confused and out of breath as their heads whipped around. They had heard MC too and were trying to find where the distress call had come from, but they had only called their name out a few times in between calling the others, and so they had only received sparse, fleeting signals. When their gaze landed on Solomon, he snapped his fingers and pointed towards Mammon.
“MC is fine!” He lied, “But you have to restrain Mammon before he kills those three!”
Satan’s eyes flitted over the demons before they went back to MC wailing in the corner as Simeon desperately tried to comfort them. Instantly, he transformed, and charged. In a puff of smoke, Asmo was in his full demon form too, but his voice maintained its immature whine to it, even as he narrowed his eyes.
“Sorry, Solomon, but you might have wanted to summon someone other than my older brother. Truthfully, I want to kill them too, you know.”
Asmo stopped behind his brothers, adjusting his weight from foot to foot as he watched them begin to reign down violence on the disfigured and scarred demons. He crossed his arms over his chest, just watching on as Mammon tried to bash in one of their skulls with his foot while Satan leaned down and snapped the bones in the other’s arm in two.
“Don’t worry, Solomon,” Asmo called over his shoulder, “I’ll stop them before it gets too gorey.”
Solomon hissed but was distracted by Simeon starting to remove his cloak, trying to lay it over MC, who was softly resisting. Solomon summoned his cloak, and stepped forward to offer it to them instead.
“I don’t want to stain it…”
“MC, the last thing you should be worrying about is staining some cloth. But, take this. It’s dark. I don’t care if you get blood on it.”
Solomon covered MC’s form with the cloak, giving them some modesty while Luke and Simeon continued to work on the skin that had been frostbitten along their collarbone. MC seemed slightly more aware now, but was still shaking, and started to try and crane their head to look past Solomon.
“What happened to-”
Simeon, without looking away from the work he was doing on their injuries, covered their eyes with his free hand, “Don’t worry about it. Worry about yourself. We have it taken care of.”
“You won’t even get the chance to rot in hell,” Satan’s voice drifted over the sound of grunts and kicking and punching, “I’ll make sure after I’m done eviscerating you, your flesh will not even get the chance to turn into ash. Whatever soul you had left upon turning to a demon, it will be tortured endlessly, for years and years without rest, separate from your body, and-”
“You really shouldn’t be doing that,” Solomon called out, folding his arms as he tried to ignore the scent of blood and burnt meat wafting up to fill the corridor.
“What’s it to you?” Satan dropped the demon he was threatening, who was either dead or close to it by how it collided with the floor and crunched like a bag of bones as he stepped on them to cross the floor to Solomon, “Do you not think they should be punished for what they did?”
The green glow rising off of Satan made Solomon shift backwards. Simeon still had his hand covering their eyes, but their words could still be heard.
“I can order you,” Solomon threatened, eyes flicking over to Asmodeus who was still watching with an unsettling smile as Mammon continued to kick the demon over and over again, “I will order you if you don’t stand down.”
Solomon mentally sent a call to Barbatos, alerting Diavolo and hopefully Lucifer where they were. Satan’s face filled with twisted glee at his remark though, and he let his hand trace along the outside of Solomon’s coat, right above his stomach, “Oh? Well, what if I ripped out your vocal chords before you got the chance to call out? I normally prefer to start here though… the throat has sort of been off the table ever since Belphegor…”
Suddenly, Satan’s eyes cleared, and he stepped back, hand pulling away from Solomon, and he looked over the sorcerer’s shoulder to MC. Solomon got a full show as emotions rippled across Satan’s face, and then he tightened his hand into a fist and turned away.
“Sorry about that… I hate that I get like that.”
“I know, but I need you to stop Mammon. MC doesn’t know what’s going on, they’re in shock. I brought you two here to help, and you provoking more violence doesn’t help.”
“I know, I know,” they hissed, steam dissipating as they tried to control their anger, “Mammon! Stop, you’re scaring MC. We need to get these demons to Diavolo.”
“Huh? What’s Diavolo going to do? Put them on trial? You said it yourself a few seconds ago, they deserve punishment. Nothing that softie-prince could do would ever compare to the justice that MC deserves-”
Solomon watched as Satan’s shoulders began to shake at the quiet voice that somehow overpowered all the noise in the room. Mammon’s blue eyes cleared from the stormy, murky color to one that almost looked tearful as he stared down at his hands, blood covered, then back at MC who was still blindfolded and shuddering.
“Mammon? Is that you? Are you there?” Luke and Simeon pushed them back against the wall as they tried to get up and reach towards Mammon. Solomon stood in the space between the demons and the human, staring them down as they all looked away.
“You can’t touch them with your hands like that. If they see what you’ve done, they might just start panicking again.”
“Mammon’s here,” Luke said, trying to calm MC, “he’s just busy with the guys who attacked you. But he’s here.”
“Mammon…?” They repeated, and seemed to settle back against the wall, accepting Simeon covering their eyes for the foreseeable future, or maybe the darkness was comforting, or maybe they didn’t even know the difference in their panicked state. It took Mammon a moment to realize they weren’t just saying his name, but they were asking for him.
“Y-yeah. I’m here now.”
“I called you,” they whimpered.
“I know. I heard you.”
From behind Simeon’s hand, tear tracks clearly streaked down MC’s cheeks, “I was so scared… I thought I was going to die… I thought I was going to have to die… I…”
You called someone else, Mammon sighed as he finished in his head, remembering how stupid he was in making MC promise to die if he wasn’t the one to save them. Right now, seeing them completely broken in the corner, he found himself thinking about how close he had come to not making it, how they called for him first and more than the others, but there was the chance that someone might have made it here sooner, might have made it here to help them and save them from any pain.
If he hadn’t held up Luke and Simeon with his stupid argument, they might have been outside the locker room, and heard what was going on right away.
Mammon stuffed his desire to bash his head into the wall down deep inside his chest and flashed MC a smile, even though he knew they couldn’t see it, and tried to speak in his gentlest tone possible.
“Hey, don’t worry about that right now. We’ll talk about it later. At home.”
It was then that Diavolo and Lucifer finally appeared, both of them flying in through the locker room with Barbatos hot on their heels. They landed and quickly took in the sight of the mess of the demons on the floor: Lucifer’s brothers avoiding eye contact, and the angels huddled around MC in the corner. Solomon watched Diavolo’s face contort in rage and he threw his arm forward, commanding over all in the room.
“Yes, Milord.” Barbatos strolled forward and made easier work of collecting the demons into a pile, dragging them through the closest door, the gym, and out of sight. Beelzebub and Belphegor finally appeared and Lucifer ordered them to assist.
“What? Are you kidding me? When MC’s-”
“Help Barbatos. As much as I would like to deliver my own wrath upon them, your brothers already saw to it. Take them out so we can help MC.”
“Let’s go, Belphie,” Beel said, moving past his twin and obeying, picking up the largest demon. Belphegor grabbed the remaining smaller one, and grumbled as he went out the door, but Solomon saw the way his one visible eye kept looking back, his baby face distorted by worry and fear.
After Barbatos and the twins came back in, Diavolo broke the silence. His arms crossed, wings and horns out, his presence demanded attention. Even Lucifer waited to move, as much as Solomon could read his equal desire to run and scoop his human up and carry them to safety.
“Simeon. How are they?”
“I’ve healed most of their injuries, but even with Luke’s help, we’re running low on magic. We spent most of it regenerating nerves in the skin that had been numbed with ice.”
“Why are you covering their eyes? Did something happen?” Belphie asked, and Simeon sighed.
“No. I was trying to keep them calm. They’re still awake, it might be best if you all transformed back though.”
When Diavolo realized MC was conscious, his demeanor immediately changed. With a cloud of smoke, he returned to his bright red RAD uniform and forced a smile, gesturing for everyone else to do so. Leviathan appeared at the far end of the room, but Lucifer held up his hand and gave him a stern look, and he slinked back out to the hallway.
“MC,” Diavolo treaded carefully, watching as Simeon slowly removed his hand from their eyes, “Your attackers are gone. What can we do to help you right now?”
MC’s face was tear stained and covered in small scratches and bruises, their pupils blown wide as they took in the sight of everyone around the room. When they landed on Mammon, they reached out again, their voice barely audible as they rasped out his name, and the demon was rushing to kneel and embrace them, tucking their face into their shoulder.
“I’m here, I’m here…” Mammon repeated, “But you have to answer his question. What can we do for you?”
“I want to go home,” they whispered, “I want to go home, right now.”
“Luke and I can help them get dressed. If someone could bring us some bandages, I can wrap what we couldn’t heal for now.” Simeon said.
Solomon started, “Perhaps I could-”
“No,” it was Luke he finally spoke up, and although his eyes looked glazed over too, his voice was strong, “it’s not good to stress their body out anymore. They need to heal naturally for a while. We can reverse any scarring later.”
Everyone shut up at that, and Mammon slowly lifted MC onto his lap, wrapping them up tighter in Solomon’s robe as he pressed his nose into their hair. MC clung to him like a frightened animal, and he found himself rocking them gently, trying to soothe them.
Diavolo moved towards the gym exit, “All of you, get them home safely. They do not need to come to RAD until they feel comfortable again. Barbatos, we must deal with the perpetrators.”
Lucifer left shortly after Diavolo, giving the rest of the brothers a similar order. Beelzebub and Belphie were to guard the doors, to make sure no lingering students tried to see what the commotion was, Satan was to find a first aid kit, and Asmo was to go collect MC’s clothes. Satan practically slammed the kit into Solomon’s chest before walking out as well, muttering about how he was going to go to the student council room to make sure that Lucifer and Diavolo didn’t try and negotiate with them. After Asmo brought over MC’s clothes, he helped Simeon and Luke separate MC from Mammon so the angels could tend to them, and then Asmo went outside. He ran into Levi in the doorway, shuddering as his tail lashed about.
“You should transform back,” Asmo cooed, “MC won’t be happy to see you this stressed out.”
“I can’t,” Levi choked out, “I wasn’t there for them. I can’t be calm knowing that- Asmo… You heard their voice too… Didn’t you?”
He patted his shoulder, “Yes, and I couldn’t find them either. And it scared me too, but Solomon summoned me and Satan here to deal with it, and we really did more harm than good. Believe me, you wouldn’t have been able to do much either.”
“I can’t just believe that though! I was their third pact! They called out to me and-”
“They called out to all of us,” Belphie said, from where he leaned against the wall next to the door, “Don’t think you’re special.”
“We got here too late too,” Beel said, “Don’t beat yourself up about it.”
Levi’s bangs were obscuring his face, but from the way his shoulders shook with soft hiccups, it was obvious he was crying. Asmo let out a sad noise and grabbed his brother’s face, squished his cheeks before he pushed his hair out of the way and kissed his forehead, giving him a pat on the head before moving them both towards the door.
“I’m sure when MC gets back, they’re going to want to rest up to recover, so why don’t we both go back and make sure everything is as comfortable as possible for them, hm? You can pick out some anime or games they can watch and play while they heal.”
Belphie and Beelzebub watched as Asmo led their older brother out the doors of RAD at the far end of the hall, arms wrapped around him the whole time. After another thirty minutes, the angels finally emerged from the locker room, solemn looks on their faces as they were flanked by Solomon.
“Take care of them,” Simeon said to Belphie, “Call us if there are any complications. While we are forbidden from reversing any emotional pain with magic, Solomon has mentioned he could-”
“Erase it,” the sorcerer finished, “Only if MC wishes it. It’s possible things could get bad enough that it’s necessary, but even then, it’s a last resort.”
“Understood,” Beelzebub nodded, and the twins watched as the three Purgatory Hall residents slowly disappeared down the hallway too, fading out of sight eventually until all was quiet.
Then, Mammon appeared.
“You got em?” Beel asked, seeing the way Mammon still had the human cocooned inside of Solomon’s cloak.
“Yeah, thanks though. We got 'em dressed, but Solomon put some sleep magic on them. They’re still a bit awake, but it should keep them calm until we get back home.”
“Alright then, let’s go,” Belphie said, and he and Beel took position around Mammon and MC, and together, the rest of the House of Lamentation walked to the exit, and went out the door and faded away too.
And at last, the hallways of RAD were quiet once more.
We arrive back at the House of Lamentation. MC sleeps. Levi looks for a show to watch. Beel thinks about things, Belphie tries to deal with Mammon. Asmo makes tea.
“Mammon, you’re being ridiculous,” Belphegor growled, “Just let me inside.”
“No,” the second born said as he stood in front of MC’s bedroom door, “I don’t want to stress them out anymore than they already are. No one but me can go in.”
“Are you kidding me? You just let Asmo go in!” Belphegor’s tail stood up straight as he grew more and more agitated, “You got to comfort them the whole time when we were at school! It’s not fair!”
“It’s not about what’s fair! I don’t want to stress them out by overwhelming them with too many people. Asmo is in there right now, so come back later.”
It was clear Mammon wasn’t going to relent, and Belphie knew he was no match for the second oldest, no matter how stupid he was. Picking his pillow up off the floor, Belphie retreated for the second time that afternoon, disappearing up the stairs to the attic.
Levi had been in his room for three hours now, tearing apart his towers of dvds and stacked up game boxes, searching frantically for something MC would like. Upon arriving home with Asmo, the two had cleaned up MC’s room, put extra blankets on the bed and fluffed the pillows on their bed. Mammon had taken to being the bouncer at their door, but Asmo had managed to gain entrance with the gifts they had prepared. While Levi was sure Mammon saw the bottle of nail polish he had snuck in, he didn’t want to upset MC by breaking down the door and forcing Asmo out, so he just stood in front of the door scowling.
Levi knew he couldn’t gain entrance without some offering to convince Mammon he wasn’t going to make MC uncomfortable, and so he had been digging through every manga and series he owned. Nothing seemed to work though. Everytime Levi thought he had found something that would work, his brain would suddenly remember a scene in episode six or twenty four where characters fought, or started yelling, or in the most extreme cases, got cornered exactly like MC had. Even in the simplest series, slice-of-lifes that he knew MC had shown interest in before, his brain spiralled, and he found himself stuck in millions of what-if scenarios.
What if these characters screaming triggered MC?
What if seeing this one character in the shower in episode 13 for two seconds made them think about earlier today?
What if seeing water made them think of the hot water that had almost scalded them?
Staring down at the face of Ruri-Chan plastered across the cover of his limited edition copy of the fifth season, signed by the voice actress, Levi found himself infuriated at the happy smile of the anime character. Why was she smiling? How could she be happy? Didn’t she know what had happened today? Didn’t she know that Levi had failed?
I couldn’t do anything to help them at school! I still can’t do anything right!
In a surge of anger, Levi chucked the DVD across his room, slamming it into the side of the one the tanks, startling Henry inside in the process. Levi sunk down to the floor in front of his bathtub, hands coming up to tug at his hair as frustration pumped from his heart through the rest of his body, screaming at him to do something, but his brain can’t shouting back-
Levi knew he was being irrational, he knew he was letting his emotions get the better of him. But the more he thought about how he didn’t even get to see how MC looked, he only heard about it when he got home. He only heard their voice in his head, begging for him to find them, their voice eventually getting weaker and weaker and Levi panicked when it just stopped- making him think they had died.
It wasn’t fair that Mammon found them, even if he was their first. It wasn’t fair that Mammon got to guard their door, to carry them home, that Lucifer told Levi to stay away. It wasn’t fair that he was sent home with Asmo, told he could do nothing. He already knew that he couldn’t do anything! That he had failed!
Levi’s tail emerged as he transformed into his demon form, and as his emotions continued to ripple, his tail thrashed against the tub, smashing into the piles of rejected movies and games around him and sending them flying.
It wasn’t fair, it wasn’t fair, it wasn’t fair.
MC had called out to him too! Why wasn’t he allowed to see them? Why wasn’t he worthy of seeing them unless he had something to give them? Why was only Mammon allowed to be near them, to heal them?
Levi brought his thumb up to his mouth, and bit down on the nail as he tail knocked into something more solid.
It wasn’t fair, he growled as the emotion crescendoed inside of him.
A Ruri-chan figurine fell to the floor at his feet, and a piece of her stand broke off. Levi froze.
With shaky hands, he reached for the figurine, examining the tiny piece that had cracked.
He glanced around his room, taking in the hellstorm he had wrought on it in his brooding, and with a gasp, he dropped Ruri-chan to the floor once more, another piece of the stand cracking and splintering off.
You’re a monster, Levi’s thoughts began to twist, and as his body started to shake again, he drew his knees up to his chest, and just stared at Ruri-chan’s smiling face, and slowly, the voice in his head became less of his, and more of hers.
You’re a monster, she laughed, that’s why you couldn’t help MC.
After a few minutes, Levi began to cry.
When Mammon had walked through the door and his job of escorting MC home had ended, Beelzebub found himself… lost. He had overheard Belphie’s confrontation with Mammon twice now, but he made no move to intervene. Instead, he wandered the halls of the House of Lamentation, unable to find a place that maintained his interest long enough. The Hall of Portraits, a mundane area he had crossed through over a million times across centuries, seemed to be watching his every move.
Eventually, he found himself back at the entranceway again, and sat down on the steps, just staring at the door.
He wondered when Lucifer and Satan would be back. It seemed that Satan had been the one who really slaughtered the demons who had attacked MC. It was likely Lucifer and Diavolo would be lecturing him again on his anger in addition to deciding on punishment for the demons.
Asmo had mentioned when he was bringing tea up to MC’s room that he had spoken to Solomon over the phone. MC had been found with the shower broken, and the water was scorching, burning the demons. They had managed to fight back until Solomon had gotten there, but based on what Simeon had said, they had been injured quite badly. Asmo said it wasn’t yet clear what the demons had been going after MC for, but Beelzebub wasn’t stupid.
They were trying to eat their soul, like every other demon in Devildom wanted to.
Like how Lucifer had been afraid Beel would’ve, when MC first arrived.
Beel stared at the door as he thought about the demons who he had helped drag out to the gym and tie up. Although they were burned and beaten to a pulp by Satan and Mammon, he recognized them. They were on the Fangol team with Beel. They weren’t regulars, but he had played a few games side by side with them. He had known them.
His stomach growled, but nausea was churning around violently in it. Strangely, Beel felt like he couldn’t eat. Maybe he would never eat again.
When he ate, he always had trouble stopping. It was the nature of his sin, but never before had it felt evil until now. He always got joked on by his brothers that he was going to devour too much and not realize he had eaten too much until it was too late, but this was the first time Beel felt scared by the prospect of eating.
He thought he had known those guys.
He thought he knew himself.
But Lucifer had been afraid that he would eat the human exchange student. That was why Mammon had been assigned to them. Sure, MC and Beel had made a pact, but Mammon was still their first, still the one in charge of them. That’s why he was guarding their door, making sure no one could enter without his permission first.
Did Mammon think Beel was still going to accidentally eat MC? Not just their flesh, but their soul too? Did Lucifer think the same?
He was as big as those guys, he had the same strength, if not more. He could’ve easily done what they had done, maybe he would have even succeeded. MC might not have been able to put up a struggle. That water burned and stopped the lesser demons, but according to Solomon, Mammon wasn’t hurt. That means it would have been likely that had it been Beel standing over MC, their only defense would have been useless. They could have fought back and he could have just grabbed them and eaten them whole, soul and all.
He heard Asmo come out of the room, Mammon and him exchanging quick conversation, and then the door clicked closed again, and it was quiet. Beelzebub looked towards the front door.
Unable to grapple with his thoughts, Beel decided to take a page out of Belphie’s book.
He shut his eyes, and tried to sleep.
Asmodeus had been nervous about how to make MC feel comfortable when he and Levi had returned to the House earlier. However, Levi didn’t seem to have any ideas, and they were on limited time, so Asmo set to work delegating. He had to try and hide his own shaking hands as he made the bed, the dead, guilt-ridden gaze of his older brother frightening him as he waited for Asmo to give him his next task.
“Why don’t you go find something for them to watch?” He had said with a smile, “I’m going to go make them some tea.”
In truth, Asmodeus wanted to do anything but make tea. He was terrible at tea, it was such an old school courting tradition, Satan or Lucifer were more apt at brewing it, but they weren’t here right now. He sat in the kitchen at the big table, watching the pot and trying not to jump when the kettle whistled loudly as it almost boiled.
In a different world, Asmodeus would be preparing the most extravagant bath for them to soak in. He would fill it with salts and the bathroom with aromas meant to relax the senses and prepare salves from plants to help with the pain of the scratches circling their arm. There had been two occasions when MC had taken him up on his offer to join him for a beauty day, and Asmo smiled fondly even as his hands struggled to pour the tea into the cup.
But, baths didn’t seem like a good idea right now. Showers and bathrooms didn’t seem like a good idea right now. Some of the tea overflowed from the cup, and Asmo wrenched his hand back, nursing his finger as he felt the burn seeping in. He quickly made to run it under the cold water of the sink, but froze and turned back to the kettle when he realized the mistake he had made. The tea was hot. Hot water. Would it even be right to bring them that? He felt so stupid.
Silently, he emptied the tea kettle down the sink, and dumped the cup out too. He slammed open the cupboards, and grabbed a glass and some pre-made mix from a container. Iced tea instead, it was.
He had just dropped two ice cubes inside the drink and set it down on the serving tray when his D.D.D lit up on the counter. A text from Solomon. He read through it.
Solomon: Why were you acting that way earlier?
Asmo: What do you mean?
Solomon: When I summoned you, you didn’t listen to me, but you didn’t fight. You just watched.
Asmo pushed his bangs back and leaned against the counter, texting back with a smirk.
Asmo: Oh? So you like it when I put up a fight? I’ll keep that in mind the next time I-
Solomon: This isn’t the time for that. You know that. I’m worried about you.
Asmo’s hands trembled and he stopped typing midtext as he found himself making several typos. He ran his hand through his bang again, pushing it back out of his face. He was starting to sweat.
Solomon: I’m serious. You didn’t seem right. Are you doing okay? Do you want me to come over?
Asmo: I’m fine. Don’t come over.
Asmo: No. If you come over, I’ll get yelled at when Lucifer and Mammon come home. I don’t think MC wants to hear anymore fighting.
Solomon: Then talk to me.
Asmo pressed the power button on his D.D.D. and locked the device before setting it down. He needed to find some sort of snack to go with the drink. MC would surely be hungry, and-
His D.D.D. started to ring. An obnoxious pop song began to play throughout the kitchen. Asmo grit his teeth and ripped it off the counter.
“What could you possibly need?” He hissed.
“I want you to talk to me. If you don’t, I’ll just summon you over here and force you to. Now, tell me. What happened? Why were you acting strange earlier?”
Asmo’s lips twitched and a small gasp escaped them before he started to weakly laugh, “Are you kidding me? Using our pact in a time like this… You really are the worst.”
“I don’t want to use the pact, but you’re not being honest with me, and I’m worried. Please. Asmo, I just want to know why you were watching. It was like you were broken.”
“Well maybe I was!” Asmo laughed, throwing a hand up in the air before smashing it down on the counter, just narrowly missing the tray, “I used to be the angel of passion, for Diavolo’s sake! Just because that’s all been reduced to lust now that I’ve fallen, doesn’t mean I still don’t feel other things!”
“No one is saying that, Asmodeus,” Solomon’s voice was a calm and steady rock through the speaker, “So you’re saying you reacted strongly because you were overwhelmed by the emotions in the room?”
“I don’t know!” He threw his hand in the air again, and this time, it did hit the tray, making the glass jump, and some of the tea spilled onto his hand again. This time, it was cold, “I just saw a couple of assholes on the ground and my brothers about to mutilate them! MC was crying, but I obviously couldn’t go over there! I was sensing their distress and the bloodlust of my brothers and then the pain of the assholes and I just-”
“I get it now. I’m sorry I pushed you to talk. You can stop now if you want,” Solomon said, ending his order from the pact. Asmo felt the magic leave him, but his voice trembled as he cried out-
“Well maybe I want to talk about it now!”
“That’s alright. I’ll listen.”
Asmo let out a sob of frustration as he covered his mouth and wilted, turning around a falling against the counter, his elbows holding him up as he cried into the phone.
“What do you want me to do,” Solomon stated on the other side of the line. He wasn’t exasperated, but he wasn’t asking. He was using his magic gentler this time, trying to get words out of Asmo so he could know how to help.
“Tell me what happened. Tell me what happened to MC. Please.”
“Alright,” Solomon took a breath, and then all of what he knew came spilling out.
When Solomon’s story was done, Asmo was wiping his eyes with the back of his hand, cursing himself when he saw the mascara streaks coming off on his skin.
“So, Simeon says they used some sort of ice on them? Great. I thought iced tea would be better than hot tea,” he laughed dryly, “What do you suggest?”
“I’m sure hot or cold tea will be fine. You’re overthinking it.”
Asmo felt like screaming at his boyfriend again, shouting out another exclamation of how would I know I wasn’t there until it was too late- to which Solomon would obviously reply with- we both don’t really know what they’re going through, but he didn’t have the strength left. Instead, he shifted the phone to hold it against his ear with his shoulder, and went about opening the pantry.
“What do you think they would want to eat? I don’t really want to cook anything right now, and Beel ate a lot of our supply last night. I’m only seeing cookies and chocolate.”
Solomon chuckled through the phone, “I’m sure either of those would be fine too. Luke and MC were going to bake after school today actually.”
Asmo reached for the cookies. The foil bag inside of the box rustled as he pulled out three and set them on the plate on the tray, “Well, thanks to those fuckheads-”
“Language,” Solomon teased, and Asmo slapped both his hands on the counter in exasperation.
“Oh come on, I’m a demon! What do you expect from me? I’m tired, fed up, and fucking pissed about everything.”
“I know, but it’ll get better.”
“I wanted to give them a bath,” Asmo pouted.
“Well, I don’t think you’re overthinking that part. That may be a bad idea. How about you give them a manicure instead?”
He sniffled, “A manicure?”
“Yeah. Their arms may have been hurt, but Simeon didn’t say anything about their hands. Their nails might be a little roughed up from fighting back, but if you fix them up, I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.”
Asmo glanced at the iced tea, and hesitantly touched the glass, “The tea is lukewarm now, thanks to you getting me to be all emotional.”
“Oh, but don’t you feel better now?”
“No,” Asmo lied. Solomon was silent on the other side as Asmo wiped his eyes again, “Okay, fine. A little bit. But you know what would make me feel better?”
“There’s the demon I know. Once MC is better, okay?”
“Fine. What color should I bring to their room though? I don’t think Mammon will let me in if he sees me with a bunch of products. The tea and cookies are my cover.”
“Hmm… I liked that galaxy color you used on my nails last time.”
“Alright, I’ll bring that then… Thanks, Solomon.”
“Your welcome,” and Asmo could practically hear him smiling on the other end, “I promise I’ll pamper you all you want when everything is better.”
“Okay. I’ll hold you to it. Bye bye.”
Asmo didn’t wait to hear the other’s reply. He clicked the power button again before shoving the D.D.D. in his pocket. He stared down the tea again, before he dumped it into the sink and started over. He prepared another pot of tea, and set on the stove before he walked to his room to clean up his face.
Maybe Solomon was right, he was overthinking things.
MC was now resting in their bed, and Mammon had been as careful as possible to not jostle them away as he tucked them in. The magic that had kept them subdued while they walked home wasn’t meant to knock them out, but Mammon was thankful to see their face softened with peace in sleep, rather than the deer-in-headlights eyes and quivering lip. He was slightly worried that they could have a concussion, and that they really didn’t know what had happened or how MC was hurt in the fight, and there was the chance they wouldn’t wake up-
No, no. Mammon took a deep breath and forced himself to crush any new anxieties threatening to bubble to the surface. He couldn’t think like that, otherwise he would be a mess when MC woke up, and he couldn’t have that. He needed to be strong for them.
Still, the way they had shivered in his arms… The way they had crawled into his lap and sobbed… It had been months since Mammon thought about how small they were… How fragile humans were compared to him.
Mammon shook his head again, slapping his face to dispel the thoughts. It was like a black cloud swarming him, scribbles of darkness filling his mind, growing larger and larger until they were drowning him. He kept trying to shake them off, but they encircled his neck and choked him, and the rest covered his eyes as he was dragged down into their depths, another spiral of self-hatred and regret that he couldn’t escape.
The soft voice cut through and the smog evaporated, and Mammon blinked a few times before his vision cleared and he saw them. MC was rubbing their eyes, looking up at him worried and confused as their head sunk into the pillow of their bed.
“I’m here,” he said, leaning over them, “You’re safe now.”
“Safe…? What happened-” MC mumbled but then their eyes widened with realization, and their arm slowly fell away from their face, eyes tracing the bandages wrapped around it’s length.
“No, MC, I promise. Everything’s okay. You’re safe now. Please, don’t get scared. The guys who attacked you, they’re gone. Your home. Your safe-”
Mammon paused when he felt a tug on his shirt. MC’s hand had wormed its way across the sheets, and in doing so, they had tucked themselves in the space underneath where Mammon’s body was hovering over. When he said nothing, they tugged again.
Mammon swallowed and lifted up the sheets, kicking off his shoes before slipping under, “Okay,” was all that was said.
It had been about twenty minutes, and they had settled into one another. Legs entangled, it was a bit odd to not have MC squirming the whole time, usually Mammon was complaining about how heavy their foot was when MC swung it up over his hip and tugged him closer. There was no laughter in this embrace, no playful threats of ‘you want more?’ lingering in the air that made both of their cheeks tinge pink.
Mammon’s chin was just above their forehead, as his arms cradled their head and hands pulled them in. MC’s arms were loosely wrapped around his neck, and every so often he would feel one finger twitch and brush against the hair at the nape of his neck. They were both wide awake, and the silence was uncomfortable, but it had been stretching on for far too long.
I’m sorry, he thought he heard, and he glanced down, but saw they hadn’t moved. It was then he realized that the words were in his mind. He was silent, and strained to listen again.
I’m sorry. I called the others’ names too-
Shut up. You really think I care about that?
Mammon felt them flinch in his arms, and he knew that the messages went both ways now.
I was stupid to make you promise that. I’m just happy you’re alive.
One of his hands slipped down and found their pact mark, and he began to trace shapes languidly into the fabric covering it.
Besides, you beat them without me, or any of my brothers. That proves that you’re strong. You don’t need me to save you anymore.
Mammon fought back the feeling of if you don’t need me I don’t know what I would do with myself that was threatening to spill over, but then MC’s hand grabbed the one over the pact mark and stopped its ministrations.
I wanted you to save me though. I was scared, and you came.
Mammon squeezed their hand, I’m sorry I wasn’t fast enough. When I found you, I was thinking about our promise, and thinking I might have been too late. I don’t want you to die if I can’t save you. Even if it makes me mad, I want you to still be here. I want you to-
A hand glided from the back of his neck up to cup his jaw, and suddenly Mammon was being pulled down-
They pulled apart, and MC was crying.
“Let’s make a new promise.”
Mammon stepped outside the room, closing the bedroom door behind him before he sat down on the floor in a heap. His body was still jittery with nerves and adrenaline that had been trying to leave him since he picked MC up in his arms. As he stared down his shoes, he felt like he was an outsider looking through his body, seeing his hands come up to wipe at the face of the vessel he was looking through. Then, two dark brown boots appeared in front of him.
“How are they?” It was Belphie.
“They woke up, but they’re still tired.”
“That’s okay. Can I go in?”
Belphegor’s voice was quiet, and Mammon knew he was simply and plainly asking to try and not upset him any further. He had his pillow under his arm, he held one hand out offering, a placating gesture to show his claws were not drawn. Mammon pressed his face against his knee and stared at the hand, and Belphie was patient and waited, saying nothing more.
That was the hand that killed them once, was the thought that eventually settled in Mammon’s mind, and tried to hide his scowl behind his hands as he wiped more tears from his eyes.
“Sorry, but I don’t want to disturb them right now.”
Belphie’s hand flopped at his side, and Mammon saw his fingers twitch a little, but then the younger demon turned and walked away.
“Okay. I’ll be back later.”
Belphegor passed Asmo on the stairs, who was wearing way too much makeup than he remembered seeing on him at school. He stopped and watched his brother dash to the kitchen, emerge with a serving tray and then stroll on over to MC’s door. Mammon stood up and the two exchanged a few words, and then Mammon stepped aside and Asmo slipped inside.
Belphegor narrowed his eyes, and walked back down towards Mammon.
From upstairs, Levi slunk back into his room, and began his search.
Arguments ensue about how to help MC.
This chapter took so long to write!!! It's very long, so I will put most of my stuff in the end notes. I hope you enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Satan gripped his school bag tightly as he marched down the path back to the house. He had been banished from the student council office after he had stormed in there and started reigning more blows on the scum who had attacked MC, and to make matters worse, it was Lucifer who told him off when he didn’t listen to Lord Diavolo the first time.
“Satan, that’s quite enough. You can go now,” Diavolo had said, watching from behind his desk with his hands folded, “We will handle the rest from here.”
Satan snorted at the memory, at how pathetic he had been by the time those words were said. He had stormed in there practically empty of wrath, but needing to do something other than feel useless. Lucifer hadn’t looked surprised to see him, but Diavolo had held up a hand to keep his older brother frozen as he watched Satan grab a hold of the first demon, and resume his punishment.
His golden eyes bored into his soul as he ran out of steam. His punches and kicks devolved to immature slapping as he knocked around the demon who had long been unconscious. There was blood leaking out of their nose and onto Satan’s hand, trailing down his wrist and under his cuff. Diavolo spoke, but he just dropped that demon, and picked up the next one. The slapping continued.
He cursed the memory of Lucifer’s hand on his shoulder. The touch was gentle, and it sickened him. Lucifer had come up behind him, with the audacity to be worried about whether the criminals would wake up for an interrogation if Satan continued. Why did they need to interrogate them? Why was there any need for a trial? It was obvious what they had tried to do. They had tried to kill the human exchange student, and Satan recalled the last time someone had tried to interfere with Diavolo’s plan to unite the realms, Belphegor was going to be charged and killed for treason.
Why weren’t they letting him just speed up the process?
“Go home,” Lucifer had whispered, but he transformed when he touched Satan, likely feeling the anger radiating off him in waves, and getting ready to protect Diavolo if he snapped, “We’ll need a statement from MC. I need you to go get it.”
“Why can’t one of my brothers do it?” Satan spat in the swollen eye of the demon who had long since gone limp, “Why me?”
“Because, you’re the most level-headed one when it comes to the facts. They’ll exaggerate things. We need the truth.”
Satan was silent.
“You like mysteries, don’t you. Treat it as gathering evidence-”
“This isn’t a mystery novel, you idiot!” Satan spun around, screaming in his eldest brother’s face. He noticed the hand still gripping him, and he slapped it away, “This is real life! MC could have died! Don’t you care? Don’t you think they should be put through a million times the suffering and pain they caused them?”
Then, Barbatos, Diavolo’s second pawn, had the nerve to speak up. Satan tucked his head as he began to walk fast down the path.
“We must take into account what MC wants though. I foresee their being many futures where they take the guilt of the criminals’ deaths on themselves. This would not be ideal.”
“Yes. Although our law stands, as MC is the one who was hurt in this incident, I want to ensure that we don’t offend them. It may be hard to understand, but humans have always had more of a… complicated moral compass. I want to take into account what they think would be a suitable punishment.”
Satan reached the front gate, and resisted the urge to rip the damn thing off its hinges when it squeaked with age as it was opened. He had barely had the chance to get a word in after Diavolo said that, not because he was at loss for words, he knew it was true- MC would be stupid enough to feel that way. It was because Lucifer saw some pathetic expression on his face and dragged him into the hall, thinking he needed comfort of all things.
“Satan, I know what you must be feeling-”
“No, you don’t!” He had shouted after Lucifer took him by the wrist and pulled him outside the door. Lucifer took a deep breath.
“Go home. If MC is awake, they will want to see you. Go home, and talk to them.”
Satan paused on the stoop outside the front doors to the House of Lamentation.
He had started to walk away, but then Lucifer called out to him one last time.
He looked back.
“Make sure to get a statement from them about what happened.”
Satan smashed through the front door, crushing it into the wall as he stepped in. Beel, asleep on the staircase, jolted awake.
“Oh! Beel,” Very quickly, the blonde man tried to recover from his anger. He dusted off his hand, and tried to place the door back it’s frame, shuffling albeit awkwardly, to do so, “What were you doing sleeping on the stairs?”
Beel’s eyes stared at Satan’s back as he tried to smooth the door back into place. There was a gaping hole in the wood now. Instead of answering, he sat up with his arms loosely resting on his legs as he leaned forward, “Lucifer isn’t going to be happy about that.”
Satan clicked his tongue, “Yeah, I’m well aware of that. I could care less what lecture he’ll have for me when he gets home. He’s already sent me here with one.”
Beel’s eyes continued to follow Satan as he began to pace along the entranceway, “You were with the guys in the student council office, right?”
“If you mean the criminals then, yes. But Lucifer and his master ‘Lord Diavolo’ kicked me out and told me to go ask MC what happened!” Satan threw his hands in the air as his strides became faster, “They’re so stupid! As if interrogating them would help the situation!”
Satan turned halfway through his cycle of pacing and started to walk down the hall, passing between the two staircases. Beel stood up and leaned over the railing, just watching.
“And then Lucifer had the nerve to act as if this was one of my ‘mysteries’! That I would have fun gathering evidence, that I would take joy in seeing MC relive their traumatic moments just so we could beat the dead horse and assure ourselves- ‘Yes! The scum really did try to kill and eat the human exchange student in the locker rooms! We were already certain, but now that we’ve caused more distress, we can actually sentence them to death!’ Like-”
Satan’s words trailed off into a gasp, and suddenly he was laughing. Dry, incredulous laughter bubbled from his throat as he spun on his heel and looked at Beel from down the hall. He felt mad. How was everyone so blind? He had read books on this, he knew that asking MC to speak on what happened could cause more harm than good. In fact, after seeing them shuddering moments after, he was more certain than anyone that ever mentioning the incident again would trigger the worst. All of this should be swept under the rug. Diavolo shouldn’t be waiting to ask what MC wanted, they were obviously in no state of mind to decide, and they wouldn’t be in able to recover to a normal state of mind until those demons were dead and they had long forgotten that they had ever been almost murdered while separate from-
“MC might be upset that the door is broken,” Beel said, “We could patch it up, but they might think it would be easier for demons to break in.”
Satan froze and stared at the door. The wood in the right panel door was cracked by a large hole that he had kicked in, but the wood surrounding it was splintering and already small pieces were flaking off. The wall beside it that he had smashed the hinges into was now dented in and the plaster and paint was cracking, and he could see the light from outside coming through a small eyehole he had created at the center of the impact. It was possible for any demon, low or high ranking, to get in, if not through the welcome sign he made in the door, but by applying just a little pressure to cave in the wall on the side.
“Fuck,” Satan cursed, and stormed forward. He began to re-examine the door, mentally trying to search the files of his brain for books he read on architecture and how to best salvage the door. Forget Lucifer’s lecture. If MC woke up and felt any bit unsafe in the house because he had been careless with his temper, he would damn himself forever right beside the criminals.
He couldn’t focus though. For as much as he tried to estimate measurements and go through his catalog of knowledge, he kept getting distracted. He heard Beel shift on the stairs, his heavy footsteps creaking the supports of the steps, and then he heard him step off. He was behind him, swaying. Satan glanced over his shoulder as he knelt down to examine the bottom of the damage.
“Beel, what’s the matter? If you have something to say, then say it. You’re occupying my time.”
Beel flinched, and Satan cursed himself again. Fuck, that wasn’t right. Beelzebub was a big guy, and was rarely swayed by much. He took orders from Lucifer mindlessly, in hopes of being praised and rewarded with food, but he was a softie at heart, lacking any distinct rage outside of tantrums over food being eaten or his family being-
“Beel, about MC… How are you feel-”
“I knew the guys who attacked them.”
“Do you think…” Beel continued, “I mean, I’m stronger than they are, and Lucifer was worried I would have eaten MC when they first came here… And I don’t want to hurt them but-”
Satan rushed to his brother, his hands coming up to grip the larger one’s shoulders, “Beel, just because you knew the guys doesn’t mean-”
“You don’t know that. I almost killed them when they ate my custard, and when we transformed into animals, I asked to eat them!”
Satan’s hands started to slip as Beel’s voice got louder, and he stuttered but Beel’s eyes were blazing.
“Don’t lie to me! I can see it in how you look at me. You thought I would eat them too when they arrived. Everyone did! The demons that attacked MC, they were on the Fangol team. Asmo said that Solomon told them MC used the hot water of the shower to fight back, but all of us can withstand those temperatures. They have nothing else to stop me from killing them! What if I-”
“Beel, look at me! You have the pact. If you ever lost yourself, they would be able to order you to stop. You have nothing to worry about-”
“But I do!” Beel shouted, and his body jerked forward. Tears flew off his face as he reached one hand up and fisted it in his shirt, right above his heart, “Don’t you remember? When we were animals, and I asked to eat them, they said yes! They’re too nice to say no!”
“They were joking!”
“It doesn’t matter! They’re too nice to me, to us! They’re too good to be trapped here with monsters like the guys from the team and I! If I was starving and asked to eat them, they would let me. I know they would. They’re too nice to order us around, and we were all late getting to them today when they did call for us! What if they think the pact won’t work, and they’re too scared of my strength! I destroyed the kitchen wall before trying to kill them, who’s to say that they won’t think that-”
“I just destroyed the front door, Beel!” Satan screamed, gesturing towards the door with a wild expression, “Lucifer tried to kill them when they let Luke near the grimoire, Leviathan tried to kill them over a stupid quiz game! Hell, Belphie succeeded in killing them, and they still let him hang all over them, and they don’t hate him for that! If MC is as kind as you praise them to be, what makes you think they won’t forgive you time and time again!”
“They won’t be able to forgive me if I kill them!”
“You’re not going to kill them!”
“What the fuck are you two doing?!” Mammon said, running in from down the hall from MC’s room, “Why are you shouting? Do you want MC to get upset?”
Mammon saw his two younger brothers standing before a broken front door, both of them glancing away with tear stains on their faces.
“Which one of you smashed the front door?”
Satan raised his hand, turning his face away so Mammon couldn’t see his expression. He pointed at Beel, who backed away, “Mammon, you’re the closest with MC. Tell Beel that he’s not going to kill them.”
“What? Is that what you two have been seriously yelling about?”
Beel sniffled and wiped his eyes on his sleeve, “It’s not stupid. It could happen.”
“Are you kidding me? As if I would let either of you do that! If MC didn’t stop you, I would tear you both apart to keep them safe. I’m their first after all.”
Mammon only caught a glimpse from behind of Satan bringing his hand to his face, but he knew his younger brother was just trying to hide that he was scrubbing his tears away too. Mammon moved in and grabbed a hold of his brother before he could walk away, earning him an angry glare that made him step back, but he swallowed his fear and instead focused on the red, rimmed eyes and brought the three of them together.
“Listen to me you knuckleheads-”
“Says the biggest idiot in the family,” Satan quipped.
“Hey! I said listen! I talked with MC earlier, and I don’t know what you all got in your head, but they’re not thinking about how any demon in Devildom could kill them. And, I don’t want them to start getting those thoughts because a bunch of us start acting weird, okay? I may be dumb, sometimes,” he stressed, “but I know they can tell the difference between us and some thugs. Alright?”
Beelzebub sniffed again, nodding silently. Mammon patted him on the back, “Good. Satan?”
The fourth-born crossed his arms and shrugged out of the hold, “It was Beel who was worried. I’m fine.”
“Sure you are, Lucifer 2.0.” Mammon rolled his eyes, “I swear, you are just as stubborn as he is.”
Mammon narrowly missed a kick to his throat and ducked behind Beel for safety, “A-anyway! Uh, what’s the status of the jerks who hurt them? Did you kill them before Diavolo did? I imagine Lucifer wanted to tear ‘em apart pretty badly too, huh?”
Satan took a deep breath and adjusted the cuff of his jacket, calming down despite the scowl settling on his features, “No. They want to wait to hear what MC would like to do. They… they asked me to get a statement from them.”
“Woah, woah, woah. That’s not-”
“A good idea, I’m aware. Lucifer and Diavolo insisted though, and I feel like if I don’t do it, they both might handle it with less tact.”
“I was going to say not happening.” Mammon started to move back towards the hall MC’s room was down, “Just because I don’t think they’ll get frightened by you, doesn’t mean I’m letting you go in there.”
“What? You hypocrite!”
Beel recoiled almost with shame, and Satan shot Mammon a dirty look. What are you thinking? What was the point of your words, then?
“It’s not like that! Beel, I trust you, you’re fine.”
“You don’t trust me then?” Satan surged forward, and Mammon threw up his hands.
“I told you it’s not that! I would’ve let you in there, but now you’re talking about interrogating them about something they obviously wouldn’t want to talk about. I just don’t want you, you know, storming in there and demanding they talk about all the shit they went through.”
“I wasn’t going to storm in there! I have tact!”
“To be fair, Mammon,” Beel mumbled, “it sounded like he didn’t want to talk to them about it either. I think he was going to wait until later before bringing it up.”
“Yes, exactly,” Satan nodded, “Right now, I just want to see them. I promise I won’t ask any questions until we make sure they’re ready.”
Mammon glanced back towards the door, uneasily, “Asmo’s in there right now with them. I let him in ‘cause he had food for them, but I think he might be painting their nails”
“You didn’t let Belphie go in before,” Beel said, “I think you should let him go see them before Satan. It’s only fair.”
“Well, I didn’t let Belphie in there for a reason, you know!” He massaged the back of his neck, “He was so hot-headed about it, I was worried he might-”
“‘Worried he might’ what?”
Mammon shut his mouth when he felt the temperature in the room drop. Beel and Satan were both staring at him with stunned expressions, which quickly twisted into frowns of anger.
“Mammon-” Satan started, but Beel roared to life first.
“You were worried he would hurt them like he did before, weren’t you?!”
“He apologized for that, Mammon!”
“Yeah, yeah, I know but still-”
“How can you stand here and tell us we’re not going to hurt them but you think Belphie is?”
“You guys are different-”
“I’m his twin, Mammon!”
Suddenly the shadows that had previously remained stagnant from where they were cast against the broken entranceway wall animated. They began to dance violently as hands flew about and mouths barked like dogs back and forth. Two of the figures demanded an explanation from the shorter one while they flailed and gestured back frantically. Finally, a hand missed the air and slapped someone, and a shove was given, and collars were being grabbed and now the shadows were blending together into a mess of ink splotch as they lifted each other off the ground and shoved the other to the floor.
It was the creaking of a door that silenced them all.
“What’s…” gentle footsteps padded down the hall, and all three demons froze as they suddenly came to a very startled realization that they had transformed, and the object of their fears was approaching, “What’s going on?”
MC had been sitting up in bed for the past hour, letting Asmo file, buff, and paint their nails as he rambled on about… something. MC had been awake when he had come in with tea and some cookies for them to munch on, but after Asmo had taken their left hand while their right hand fished the cookies off the tray… they had sort of checked out. It wasn’t that listening to him talk about some night he had the club or his recent feud with someone on Devilgram wasn’t interesting, and it wasn’t that they didn’t care, it was just that their mind was more focused on the fighting they had heard outside their door.
Asmo had waltzed in with the tray in one hand and slipped the dark polish out of his pocket, and jingled it as if it were a bell. He had set the tray down on the nightstand but before a word was even out of them, Belphegor and Mammon fighting could be heard outside the door. He quickly tried to distract MC by cooing over their “poor hands” and then launching into how he was ready to spend all day fixing them, but it wasn’t working and he could tell. Their stare was blank, their face always turning to the door. They didn’t look lifeless, but they didn’t look happy either.
And MC wasn’t happy. They were frustrated, because they knew what was happening. They heard the argument between Mammon and Belphie and knew because they knew their demons what the undertones of the argument likely were. But they couldn’t just leave Asmo right now, because even while he held their hand and painted beautiful, expert designs onto each nail, he was shaking.
“Asmo,” they finally said, once he had just about finished their pinky on their other hand, “Stop.”
Asmo blinked and pulled the brush back, careful not to drip any polish onto the bedspread, “That’s not right,” he said, smiling, “You shouldn’t be the one telling me that.”
MC swallowed and chose their words carefully. Asmo’s smile was saccharine, but obviously fake, “Exactly. But you’re upsetting me right now. Tell me what’s wrong.”
He clicked his tongue, “You should know the answer to that.”
“Okay. Perhaps I should. Then, if we both know what’s wrong, then tell me what I can do to help you.”
Silence, and Asmo dabbed another coat of paint on the design. Then-
“Again, I don’t see why you’re the one who’s saying that.”
“Asmo,” MC reached forward and ripped the bottle of polish out of his hands, “You’re shaking.”
Asmo’s hands started shaking harder.
MC leaned back against the pillow that had been propped up, and set the bottle on the tray. They opened their arms wide and gestured for Asmo to move closer. He just stared at them.
“Oh, come on. You jump at any opportunity to hug but now you’re refusing just because I’m scuffed up?”
Asmo shuffled more onto the bed and crawled into their arms, laying down so their chin rested just against their shoulder.
“You’re fragile. I don’t want to hurt you.”
“I know, but I’m still here.”
“But you’re injured. When Solomon summoned me in the locker room, I was just overwhelmed by-” he gasped at the memory, and then buried his face in their shoulder. MC just rubbed gentle circles into his back as he trembled, ignoring the way their bruised arms ached as they moved them.
“It’s okay. I’m okay now. I was scared when I woke up, but I’m home now. Mammon helped ground me. Does this help you?”
Asmo nodded, and his arms wrapped around them tighter. MC laughed.
“I know I was scared, and you all must have been so worried-”
Asmo lifted his face away from their shoulder, “Solomon called me cause he was freaked out by my reaction,” he huffed, “He made me talk about it and then I started crying and I ruined my makeup and my face got so angry thinking about those jerks that hurt you that it ruined my skin.”
“Well, I sincerely apologize that you cried over me, although I am flattered.”
“Hey! Don’t you remember me crying when Belphie killed the other you?”
“I was a little too focused on seeing myself dead and Mammon freaking out to notice, but if you did cry over me then too, thank you.”
He gave them a playful smack on the chest and pushed himself up so he was face to face with them.
“All you ever think about is how that idiot is feeling. We all care about you! What about me?”
MC smiled at his whining, and reached a hand up to brush their thumb against his cheek. A heavy coat of foundation smudge off.
“I do care about you. I’ve been worried about you since you came in here. Your makeup looks positively gaudy and I know you’re trying to hide something with it.”
“I already spoke to Solomon about things, I’m fine now. I just want you to let me dote on you.”
“Is that the truth?”
“Yes! I might still get upset seeing these,” he carefully ran his hand up and down the bandages circling their arms, applying light pressure as a comforting squeeze, “but I swear, I’m better. But, I can feel the emotions radiating off of you and I know you’re still feeling mixed up. And because you’re mixed up, I can’t get a clear read on how to help you.”
“Hm… I’m sorry about that. I know you probably want to whisk me off to your private spa-”
“Exactly, but I know that’s a bad idea. Solomon already told me it’s a bad idea and I know so that’s why I settled for a manicure because I wanted to be safe and just be near you-”
“-but my mind is elsewhere. I know you spoke to Solomon, but how is everyone else?”
Asmo stuttered a bit, before sighing, “I didn’t ask, I’m sorry. Last I saw Beel was on the stairs. I sent Levi to his room to go look for some dumb anime or game to show you. And we just heard how Belphie and Mammon are doing.”
“Yeah. I’ll admit I keep thinking about that. I’m guessing Mammon’s guarding my door?”
“If it wasn’t him it would be Lucifer. I’m lucky I got in here at all.”
Asmo’s face blanked out when he felt warmth cup it, and MC’s hands were holding both sides of it now. It was then that Asmo realized he was straddling MC, and as they guided his face down to meet theirs, he had to place one hand on the headboard to steady himself, the other swooped down and gingerly curled around MC’s wrist as he pressed deeply into the kiss.
When they parted, Asmo’s lavisicious mask was back on, and he glowed with a blush so shimmering it made MC’s smile brighten more.
“Oh! You’ve recharged me. I feel so much better now.”
MC’s hand snaked down along his back and gave his butt a squeeze, to which Asmo practically purred at. Just as he started to climb on top of them more, they gave him a light smack and ordered-
“Off. I’m still tired. I promise, I’ll indulge you later.”
“So mean!” he whined from where he had fallen off the bed. He sat up and rested his arms on the edge of the comforter, “Still, I am jealous that Mammon was the one to make you feel better. I am thankful though. It was eating me up in the kitchen about whether you would want to see anyone or not.”
“Hey, you recharged me too. I just… I won’t be fully recharged until I see everyone.”
MC hugged themself, “I’m still… recovering. But I want to see everyone first. Seeing Mammon… it really freaked me out. And I can get a sense at why he’s arguing with Belphie, but it’s not right. I made a pact with all of you, and… I made Mammon promise me something new and now I want to make you all promise it too.”
“Oh? What is it-”
And that was when the yelling started up again.
They both paused and listened. It was faint, down the hall, but very quickly they heard Mammon move away from the door and join in the yelling. Then, it was quiet again. Asmo started to stand up, placatingly gesturing for MC to stay in bed.
“I’ll check up on them. It sounds like Satan’s home and-”
“No,” MC threw the sheet off of them, and stood up, “I’m going to see them.”
They hurried towards the door.
Asmo ran up behind MC, and quickly seeing the state of his brothers, hissed, “You guys!”
“It’s alright, Asmo,” MC assured him before striding towards the three very apprehensive looking demons. Beel jumped off of Mammon, who had been pinned to the floor in the altercation, and his wings buzzed nervously before he quickly swatted to quiet them. Satan was still riding high on adrenaline, and by the green aura that flitted around his eyes as they darted about, he was struggling to detransform when his emotions were still heightened. Mammon scrambled back and tried to get himself off of the floor, but MC stormed over and knelt down, grabbing a hold of his face roughly and forcing him to meet their gaze.
“This is about Belphie, isn’t it?”
“MC, I was trying to tell them I was just-”
He tried to turn his head away, MC forced him to keep focused on them, “You can’t lie to me. I heard you through the door.”
“And here you came yelling at us to quiet down,” Satan sniped, “You were the loudest one.”
“I heard all three of you through my door,” MC corrected, to which the fourth eldest shut up.
MC took their hand off of Mammon’s jaw and sighed, and then gave their first demon a once-over. As their hands patted him down, and he felt their touch graze the bare skin of his torso, he hurried to transform back into his RAD uniform. Seeing the messy, wrinkled fabric that was stained with small specks of dried blood at the hems made them frown, so they gave him a peck on the cheek and then helped him to his feet.
No one missed how they winced as Mammon’s weight tugged on their arms.
“Thank you for all you’ve done for me today. Why don’t you go get changed? I’m going to go see Levi and Belphie.”
“MC, wait-” Mammon reached for them, but they planted a hand squarely in the center of their chest and gave him a soft push.
“I’m going to see them. Go get changed and I want to meet all of you in the common room in a half hour, okay?”
Although accidentally, the pact was activated, and Mammon began to walk to his room. MC swiftly turned to face Satan, who was still frozen in his transformation. They placed their hands on his shoulders, pushing aside the large feather boa and shrugging it back before they traced down his arms to his hands, giving them a slight swing as they swayed in place together.
“You were summoned by Solomon too, right? I heard you dealing with my attackers.”
Satan stiffened, and started to pull away, but they tugged him back into their joint space.
“I was scared, and I can only imagine what you guys must have been feeling when you saw the scene. I know I called out for Mammon, but…” they leaned in and pushed back his hair, whispering into his ear, “I wanted to see you too. I know you were busy taking care of the demons who hurt me, but, before I meet everyone in the common room, can I see you in your room? I want to thank you.”
They kissed the shell of his ear, and as their fingers slipped away from Satan’s transformed back. His uniform was messed up too, and so MC took a moment to pull on the jacket, straighten it out, and then pushed his flustered self to the stairs and away.
MC then moved to Beel, who was standing there, wringing his hands as he looked away. The gentle giant was hunched over, trying to make himself smaller as he backed into the curve of the wall underneath the staircase. Like a cornered animal, his wings spasmed against the wood of the wall and he shut his eyes as MC approached him, opening them when he felt their fingers ghost along his neck.
“Hey, you know you’re too tall. Help me up a bit.”
Beel hesitated, a bit confused, but at their insistence bouncing up and down on their toes, he leaned over and quickly scooped them up. He was careful with them, but they were not careful at all in how they hurried to throw their arms around his neck and wrap their legs around his waist. Beel’s transformed back to his casual clothes when he felt MC’s toes knock against his wings.
“Don’t feel guilty for yelling. I know you love your brothers, especially Belphie. Mammon was in the wrong for bringing up that past stuff,” they said, leaning back so they could look at his face clearly.
Beel’s eyes were still unsure and glanced away between every word, “It wasn’t just that. We were yelling before that.”
Beel’s lips twisted into an even deeper frown. MC slipped one arm out from the lock they had behind his neck and bopped Beel’s nose, forcing him to look at them.
“Hey. I want to know what’s up. When we all cuddle on the couch soon, I don’t want any of you being awkward around me.”
“Oh? Is that what we’re doing in the common room?” Asmo cooed, “Should I go get the fireplace ready?”
MC giggled, “Yes. If you could get a lot of blankets too, that would be nice. I’ll send Beel to help you soon.”
Asmo ran off, and MC’s attention turned back to Beel, “I don’t want to force it out of you. What’s got you making that face?”
Beel still didn’t talk, and to MC’s surprise, he lowered them to the floor, his face a conflicted, flickering mess of emotions.
“Are you hungry? Would you feel better if I first made you something to eat-”
“No!” Beel shouted, and MC noticed his fists tightening at his sides. They took a step back on instinct, and watched the damage shatter across Beel’s face, “No…”
Beel slumped against the wall, falling to the ground and tucking his head into his knees as he started to sob. Cautiously, MC moved closer, listening to his quiet sobs.
“I don’t want to hurt you… I’m so scared to hurt you…”
“Beel-” They started, but took their hands away when he suddenly jerked his head up.
“I knew the guys who hurt you.”
“Beel, I don’t see what-”
“I knew the guys who attacked you. They played Fangol with me. I’m stronger than them! I’m more powerful than them!”
He was beginning to stand up again, surging forward as he jabbed his chest with his thumb. “Don’t you realize? I’m just as dangerous as them! I’m worse! I could kill you. I told Satan the same thing, but he didn’t understand. Mammon tried telling me I was wrong, but then he said that stuff about Belphie and realized he was just lying about everything!”
Tears were pouring violently down Beel’s wrecked face, and MC recoiled, stunned, as the gentle giant of the family towered over them with anguish coming from his raw throat.
“I almost killed you before. Everyone thinks I’m still going to snap and eat you! I’ve almost done it before too! And-”
Beel’s had the breath knocked out of him as MC collided with him. They thudded against his chest and immediately clung tight.
“What are you doing?” He tried to pry them off, “Aren’t you afraid of-”
“Yes, you could kill me! Is that what you want to hear?” MC shouted against his chest, “Every demon in this land could easily kill me! I have no power like Solomon, this isn’t news to me, I don’t know why it’s suddenly hitting you like it’s a brand new discovery, but it’s not!”
Beel tried to shrug them off, but they wrapped their arms around him tighter, “Beel, listen to me. Yes, you could kill me! But you’ve done nothing but protect me since I got here-”
“That’s not true, I almost killed you in the custard incident-”
“And I’m telling you I don’t care! I trust you! Beel, you didn’t hurt me today,” MC pushed Beel back against the wall and let go with one hand to gesture in a sweeping motion towards the door and the outside world, “Those guys did! They’re not you though!”
“But I’m stronger than them! I could do-”
“Yes! You are! You’re stronger than them! Which means you could beat them! If you had been there, you could have beaten them and saved me! But I was far away from all of you! So you shouldn’t blame yourself!”
MC sucked in a breath, “If you were there, I know you would have definitely destroyed them! It’s not your fault that you weren’t though! So, stop!”
At long last, Beel was rendered speechless. At MC’s last shout, he fell to his knees, pulling MC down with him. Their arms got tugged with the movement, and they yanked them back slowly, whispering out a quiet string of hisses and ows, which Beel hurried to correct but then flinched away. But, MC caught his wrist and tugged it back down to rest on their arm.
His fingers twitched, and then relaxed overtop of it.
“You didn’t hurt me just now. That was my own stupidity. You didn’t hurt me today either. Please, you know that’s true, stop lying to yourself.”
With wide eyes, Beel just stared at MC for a moment before he gasped for air and hugged them close to his chest.
“I’m sorry,” Beel mumbled.
“Don’t be. You have nothing to be sorry for.”
“I do. I wasn’t there to help you.”
“But I fought them off on my own. I survived.”
“That hot water won’t work on more powerful demons, not us.”
“I won’t have to use it on you. None of you would do something like that to me, especially not you.” They let Beel hold them close for a few more minutes, their hand just gently tracing over his shoulder. The thought of Levi and Belphie being absent though kept tugging at their mind, though.
“I have to go check on the rest of your brothers. Will you be okay?”
“Good. Can you get food ready for all of us? It’s probably going to be dinner time soon, but if we’re all going to be on the couch for a bit, I would like some snacks. Is that okay?”
Beel nodded again, and MC pulled aside the collar of his t-shirt to kiss his shoulder before standing up and moving towards the stairs.
“I’ll be down soon. I promise, don’t worry about me anymore, Beel.”
MC slowly ascended the step, watching until Beel had walked out of sight and down the hall of the entranceway. Only then did they hurry up the steps, and get once they were at the top, they crouched down and softly cried, clutching the bandages that were coming loose around their arm.
Blood seeped through the bandages. MC cursed their assailants through their tears, not for the pain, but for the damage that had rippled across their family because of it.
Levi came out of his trance when two knocks tapped on his door. He had been in stasis, after his meltdown had subsided, he found no reason to move. And thus, he had been sitting in front of the bathtub for what felt like an eternity, just wasting away. He lifted his head when he heard the sound, and his tail lashed about before it slithered forward and shoved the manga and games aside, making a pathway.
Was it Lucifer? Was he home already and going to yell at Levi for not being there when MC called?
“Levi-” The door started to open, and Levi barely was able to react to the sound of someone coming inside and seeing how he had destroyed his room before he recognized the voice and he just shut down, “Levi, are you in there? What’s-”
MC gasped when they saw the mess, their eyes going from the broken Ruri-chan figurine on the floor to the ripped apart stacks of books to lastly Levi. The demon in question’s jaw dropped when he finally saw their human standing before them, and he leapt to his feet, kicking past all the fallen belongings to reach them.
“What are you doing up? Aren’t you hurt? Why did Mammon let you out of bed? I thought-”
“Levi, I’m okay, it’s fine. I can walk. Simeon mostly healed me. I’ve been dealing with your brothers though, and I hadn’t seen you, so I got worried,” they glanced about, “I see I had a right to be. What happened here?”
“Asmo suggested I find something for you to watch since you might be bedridden for a while. I couldn’t find anything you would like though…”
MC glanced passed him and then walked over to pick a DVD off the floor, “What about this? You know I always like TSL? Or Ruri-chan! Oh, what happened to her?” MC picked the figurine off the floor and began to dust it off, sighing at the damage done to the plastic toy idol.
Levi’s tail thrashed about behind him as he weakly clutched his arm, looking like a sad puppy being scolded, “But, those series are all stressful. Even Ruri-chan, there are several episodes in season five where she gets stuck in situations that are-”
“Oh, Levi…” MC quickly stood back up and walked over to him, one hand holding the TSL box while their other hand reached up to pat his head, “Thank you for worrying about me, but I’m okay. I promise.”
Levi just looked down at the floor as their hands ran through his hair. He faintly saw MC shift to tuck the TSL box under their arm, and then they held both of his hands in theirs, eventually letting go so only their fingers were loosely locked. It was then he saw the red stain peeking through their bandages.
“You’re bleeding! You liar!”
“Levi, I am okay. Simeon healed me, but he wasn’t able to heal everything. Like I said, I had to deal with your brothers, so the cuts got a little agitated. I was hoping you could help me? I just calmed everyone else downstairs, and if they saw me bleeding all my work would be undone. Can you help me change them?”
Levi squicked as he peeled back part of the gauze wrapping around their arm, seeing the matted, open cut underneath. It was obviously a claw mark that had sliced through their skin, and it had torn back open. Others small spots were appearing fainter underneath the white bandages, so Levi knew there must be more circling all the way up their arms. Pushing down his nausea, he took them by the hand and tugged them towards his bathroom.
“Come with me,” he said.
MC sat in front of one of the tanks beside Levi as he finished up rewrapping their arms. MC inspected the clean work, and smiled, “Thanks, Leviathan.”
The demon sputtered, “Why did you do that?”
“Call me by my full name! You never do that!”
“Hm? But isn’t it nice to hear it every so often?”
“You always call me Levi or Leviachan!” He said, “It’s weird! Or… Do you not like me enough anymore?”
He slumped back, “Is it because I wasn’t there when you…”
“No, no, no. Levi,” MC hurried to kneel and reached forward, cupping Levi’s face, “I don’t blame any of you for not being there. I’ve already been through this four times with your brothers, so don’t go getting those ideas in your head.”
They pushed back his bangs and poked his forehead twice before they kissed it, to which Levi let out an indignant squawk and flailed. He started to topple backwards, but snaked his tail up to steady MC from falling over, wrapping it around their thigh before the end of it managed to curl around their waist. It left them in a compromising position, to which Levi sputtered louder at, and MC just tossed their head back and laughed.
“Alright, lizard-boy, I know not to overwhelm you, I’m sorry about that,” they said, and crawled back off of Levi, standing up before moving to the door, “I know Lucifer might hound you about the mess, so I’ll help you clean it up later-”
“You don’t need to help me. I can do it myself.”
“Okay. But I know I’m sort of skimping out on you, but I want everyone downstairs soon! Bring TSL, we’ll all need something to watch. I’m sure no one will complain.”
Levi glanced at the box MC had set down on the stoop next to the tank. He picked it up and chased them as they opened his door.
“Wait!” He said, and they paused, watching as he ran up to them, and waited patiently as he hesitated, ducking his head as his face turned bright red. Just as MC was about to reassure him that they were absolutely okay, Levi surged forward and practically smashed their faces together as he kissed them. Even as his mind raced with a million thoughts of oh my god! What are you doing? You disgusting otaku, they’re going to hate you for this! He was careful of where he placed his hands. His one arm rested against the door, hand still holding the TSL box, and he made sure not to press too hard and slam it shut. His other hand, as much as he wanted to hold them, he only used it to tilt their face before he let it slip and hang at his side.
Don’t corner them… don’t corner them... He repeated this mantra in his mind before he pulled back, and to his surprise, MC’s breathless and surprised face quickly morphed back into a wide smile. They pulled Levi forward by his jacket collar and gave him another quick kiss back and then whispered in his ear.
“I know if you were there, you would have destroyed those assholes. Don’t worry, my little Leviathan. I love you too.”
Then, they were skipping out the door.
“I’ll see you downstairs in twenty minutes!”
The door slowly closed as Levi watched them run across the hall to the stairs leading to the attic, and he was left alone again, amongst the mess, clutching the TSL box to his chest.
The youngest brother’s eyelids fluttered open at the sound of his name. All he saw was the red drapes of the attic, and so he shut his eyes and fell back into sleep.
Must be a dream.
Distantly, as his muscles became sluggish and he let himself be welcomed into the drowning, sinking sensation of sleep once more, he registered footsteps thumping towards him. Then, a pillow came colliding with his head.
“Wake up. I’ve dealt with five brothers already. I want us all downstairs. What do I have to say to make you get up and go?”
At the collision with his head, Belphegor turned over onto his back and glared up at the figure, until his sleep addled brain processed who it was.
MC had never seen the sloth-avatar move so fast to sit up, “You’re awake?”
“Yup. And you can sleep all you want, but you have to come downstairs. I want to hang out with all of you now. That’s what you can do to make me feel better.”
Belphie just blinked before his face returned to its neutral, half-lidded expression, “Alright. Fine by me,” he started to push himself off the bed.
MC pouted as they watched his back. He stretched and then grabbed his signature pillow before sliding off the bottom of the bed, “Are you sure you’re okay?”
Belphegor’s brow furrowed and he glared at them, “I thought you said you didn’t want to deal with me after dealing with my brothers?”
“Well,” MC started to open their mouth but seeing his eyes, they closed it, and thought better of their words, “If you’re feeling upset, I want to comfort you.”
“I don’t need you to comfort me,” he said, stuffing his sock-clad feet back into his boots and shuffling towards the hall. MC caught the corner of his blue cardigan, pinching the fabric, but it was enough to stop him, “I heard you and Mammon fighting in the hall earlier.”
He groaned, “You know what that was about.”
“I do, but I don’t know how you’re feeling about it. Again, are you okay?”
“How many times have you asked that question today before you got my brothers to talk?” He smirked, but MC’s frown deepened. He sighed, “I’m fine. I’m used to hearing it brought up still. Mammon especially.”
“Well, he still shouldn’t have said that. It’s in the past.”
“Believe me, I’m aware.”
Belphegor shuffled closer to the door, but before he could cross over the threshold, there was a thump against his back and hands snaking their way over his shoulder and up his chest to meet in the middle. He shivered and looked down and the bandaged arms that now encircled his body, and the breath that blew softly just beneath the back of his neck. MC pressed their lips against the top of his spine before they nuzzled against his shoulder-
“I know you were trying to visit me earlier. I’m sorry Mammon kept you out.”
“It’s understandable, I told you that already.”
He brought a hand up to press over their hands, and shut his eyes. If he focused, he could feel their heartbeat against his back, and he could almost imagine it was his heartbeat running through their hands and pulsing into their body, syncing up the rhythms and giving them life.
Even though he had once taken it away.
“Is it?” They hummed, and Belphegor’s hand molded over their tighter, “I heard you arguing with Lucifer when you arrived in the locker room.”
“You were awake for that too?”
“I heard everyone’s voice. I know Simeon was trying to help me, but I wanted to see you. I wanted to see all of you.”
“Well, you’ve hit the youngest brother. Why don’t you go wait by the front door to see if Lucifer’s back yet? Then you’ll hit all seven.”
“Belphie,” they reprimanded, but then sighed when they got no response. Pressing another light kiss against his back, they pulled him towards them, heaving a bit to drag his heavy self (demons were built so much bigger than humans) further away from the threshold and back into the room, “I still have time before I have to meet everyone downstairs… I don’t have to rush things. Let’s lay down for a few minutes…”
It was Beel who found them. Everyone had come downstairs except for them, and so he was sent to fish them out of the attic. Asmo held Mammon back and kept him occupied by pretending he didn’t know how to work the DVD player so Mammon had to manage a Levi who was panicking his copy of TSL had been eaten by the machine and a remote that was conveniently missing it’s batteries. Beel walked all the way up to the third floor of the house and easily found his twin and their human entwined on the small bed in the attic.
Belphie was asleep, his face stained with tear tracks that Beel was certain MC had grown tired of seeing across all of their faces today. The youngest brother’s hand was holding MC’s in the space stretching between them on the bed, and while it was easy to see Belphie’s sleeping face upon approach (he was facing towards the door), it took Beel another step and leaning over to see MC’s face.
They looked like shit.
MC wasn’t asleep, but they weren’t awake either. They were just staring at Belphie, their eyes having clouded over for Diavolo only knows how long as they zoned out and just stared at Belphie. Their lips were slightly parted, but they didn’t even look like they were breathing. For a moment, Beel was struck by the horrifying fear that it had all been a dream. MC had actually died in the locker room, but then the more taboo thought surged to the front of his mind that Belphie had done something, Mammon was right to be worried but then MC noticed the shadow looming over them and came back to life. They blinked a few times and groaned, sitting up when they saw Beel.
“Oh, sorry Beel. I was talking to Belphie and must have fallen asleep.”
“Y-yeah. We all are waiting downstairs,” he muttered, and MC brushed their hand along the bedspread before looking at the youngest with a frown. Beel saw the fake smile slip back onto their face when they turned back to him though.
“I promised Satan I would speak to him in his study real quick. I don’t want to keep him waiting. Can you take Belphie down for me?”
“Sure,” Beel hurried to throw Belphie over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes, and luckily he didn’t stir. MC just sat on the bed and waved as Beel disappeared out the door, and then dropped their hand once he was out of sight.
Just one more left. They reminded themselves. One more left and then Lucifer gets home.
Satan and MC descended the stairs together, and the house practically erupted with applause when Asmo finally spotted them coming down. MC was quickly herded to the common room where all the couches had been shoved together and draped in every blanket and pillow from the house, creating the ultimate comfort-fort. Belphie was somewhat awake, sleeping on top of Beel, who had both arms resting along the back of one of the couches. Belphie was acting as a good buffer to keep Beel from getting up and devouring the food they had set out on along the long coffee table that was lined up in front of the main couch.
Satan followed behind MC as they held his hand, and the two of them sat down in the center of the couch while Mammon jumped over the back of it, snagging a spot on MC’s other side before Asmo or Levi could steal it. Once they all were settled in, and a blanket had been pulled over MC’s legs, someone hit the remote, and the TV flashed as the show started.
The conversation in Satan’s room hadn’t been long. MC apologized for keeping him waiting, and Satan accepted it readily. He was much calmer now, almost too calm, and so MC had no problem breaking that mask right away.
“What did you want to talk to me about?”
MC crossed the room and threw themselves into his arms.
“It might seem a bit fake sounding, since I’ve tried to sap hugs from each of you today, but I can’t seem to get enough.”
“It’s alright,” Satan said, and guided them back with him so he could sit down on his reading chair and pull them to sit on his lap, “I’m quite thankful that you decided to be so dedicated and check in on each of us. Although, I believe, based on the numerous romantic dramas I’ve read and hundreds of fanworks inspired by it, the roles,” he said as he put one arm around their back and urged MC closer against his chest, “should be reversed. It should be all of us checking in on you.”
They then were silent. For the few minutes they had together, Satan allowed MC to soak up whatever comfort they could gleam from his embrace, and likewise, he took their breathing, and the gentle feeling of their hair brushing his neck every time they shifted slightly under his hold, as a sign that they were okay. They were here and they were not freaked out and nothing had changed. Eventually, one of them mentioned Mammon would break down the door if they kept him waiting any longer, and they left together, heading to join the rest of their family together downstairs.
“Lucifer, may I speak my mind about something?” Barbatos asked, as he took the empty cup of tea from the demon’s desk.
“Of course, Barbatos, you never need to ask,” Lucifer waved his hand dismissively as he grabbed another stack of forms off the pile on his desk.
“Very well. I am just wondering why you are still here doing work when you so obviously want to go home?”
Lucifer almost snapped the pen he was using in half, and cursed, lifting his head to shoot a glare past Barbatos and at the third demon in the room.
“I did not send him over to say that, old friend. He was being truthful.”
“I was merely speaking my mind,” Barbatos clarified.
“I’m sure you were,” Lucifer scowled, “Well then, Diavolo, would you like to speak yours next?”
“I was, but I wouldn’t want to disturb your paperwork you seem so engrossed in-”
“Point taken. You’re right, I am engrossed. Now, leave me be so I can finish this-”
A hand came down on Lucifer’s shoulder and he shrugged it off. How had Diavolo crossed the room that fast?
“Please, my friend. If I may be crass, you look like shit.”
“A prince should not be crass.”
“Well, I’m a demon, so I think I’ll get a pass,” he said. Lucifer glanced up as he continued writing. It seems Barbatos had slipped out of the room. The pen was plucked from Lucifer’s grasp though, and he turned around to face the man that was so intent on aggravating him this evening, but then he saw Diavolo’s face, and his words quickly died out.
Diavolo looked sad. Not his usual, guilt tripping eyes meant to convince Lucifer to listen to his new impulsive idea (like he had done with the exchange program so many months ago), but he looked weary. His lips were pursed into a soft frown that kept trying to turn up at the corners, but had no strength to. His golden eyes were lacking warmth.
“If I may say, I think you’re the one who ‘looks like shit’,” Lucifer added. Diavolo’s face barely changed.
“Please, go home. I know you are worried.”
“Lord Diavolo,” he swatted his hand away, “I must stay until Satan messages us the statement from MC. We must decide what to do with the criminals who-”
“It’s obvious Satan isn’t going to be speaking about that to us tonight. Go home and get it yourself if you’re so concerned. We can deal with the criminals another day.”
“I will not! There is no reason for me to go home right now! I still have work to do and-”
“They called for you!”
Diavolo’s voice boomed through the student council office as he stood his ground, staring down a Lucifer who had finally started to stand up from his desk.
“What are you talking about? Did you get a message from MC that I did not-”
“You are a fool, my friend, how could you forget? It has only been a few hours since. Don’t you remember? It was not Barbatos who first got the alert that MC was hurt, but you. You shot up from your desk. It was you who looked like a frightened bird. You couldn’t even tell us where, you just looked like your head was about to split open and you were saying ‘they’re calling for me’ over and over again.”
Lucifer looked indignant, “They only called for me once. They called my other brothers more times than that-”
“The fact that they called you once should be enough!”
Diavolo looked furious, as if he was about to transform and fight Lucifer if he didn’t go through the doors now.
“Don’t you understand? I know it has been ages since you made a pact with someone-”
“The agreement you and I made is not a pact, Diavolo. A pact is between a human and a demon and is-”
“If that’s the case then why aren’t you going to them?”
Lucifer was speechless.
“Why aren’t you going to them if they called you and it’s so much more special than your service to me? If you know that, then what are you still doing here?”
Lucifer stumbled over his words. Diavolo cut him off with a sweep of his hand.
“Go home. You know deep down this is not where you are meant to be right now.”
“Go home,” he repeated, “If you must delude yourself, consider it another order from me to check up on the exchange student for the program.”
At that, Lucifer packed up his stuff and headed towards the door. It took only a minute for him to grab the files he needed and place them in his bag before he was gone, but once the doors had rattled to a close and Diavolo was alone in the office, Barbatos came out of the shadows of the corner and smirked at his lord.
“Seems he was just looking for the right excuse.”
“He’s always been that way, ever since the day he swore allegiance to me.”
Diavolo walked over to the window, and stared up at the moon outside.
“I’ve started to wonder… if I may need to break that oath he made to me if I am to unite the realms,” he chuckled softly, “With how much of his attention I steal from the human’s… it’s starting to see that way.”
Barbatos moved to stand beside Diavolo, and together, they both looked up through the big glass windows of the school and out to the northernmost star that hung in the Devildom sky.
MC had been trying to pay attention to the TSL marathon Levi had put on, but their mind was still drifting to thoughts of the missing brother in the room. Lucifer hadn’t come home yet, and he was the one person they really wanted to see before they fell asleep. So, when the front door finally creaked open, and a voice filtered through the house-
“Satan? What did you do to the front door?”
With energy they didn’t even know they had, MC divulged themselves from the blanket and demon fort they had been sinking into, jumped over the back of the couch and away from the hands of their pact mates that gasped and reached out towards them, and went sprinting towards the entranceway.
Lucifer looked up expectantly, his demon form out and ready to string up the brother who had obviously raged upon being sent home, but was startled by the sight of MC’s about to tackle him.
MC skidded to a stop when they saw Lucifer flinch back, unprepared for the human who he was ready to pounce him. Lucifer seemed more surprised by them stopping though, and looked them up and down with a confused glance. He straightened the lapels of his uniform coat and regarded them with his professional, emotionless tone.
“Diavolo mentioned you might be waiting to see me. I assured him that was not the case, as you had the others to care for you and that you would likely be in too much of a shock still to-”
“I was waiting for you,” they blurted out, “I was waiting for you all day.”
“I- I see,” he coughed, “Well, I need to go reprimand Satan about this door. Is dinner ready? It’s getting late, we will need to-”
MC grabbed his arm, and Lucifer’s gaze was pulled away from the sight of his brothers filing into the room and instead the human who was almost curling themselves around him.
“Can we go upstairs? I want to speak to you.”
Lucifer glanced at his brothers, who all showed various surprised expressions, but Beel and Mammon’s faces flickered with something sad, and they quickly turned and ushered everyone back towards the common room. Mammon cast Lucifer a look over his shoulder before he too was gone. Lucifer and MC were left alone in the entranceway, and Lucifer felt a trembling begin to develop against his arm. Leaning over, he pressed a kiss to the top of their head, and gave a slight push to the small of their back.
“Very well. Let us go.”
“So, what did you need to see me about?” Lucifer asked after the door had clicked closed. MC was standing in the center of his bedroom, beside the two lounge chairs and the coffee table. They were silent as Lucifer walked towards them, his loafers making the slightest sound as they clicked across the hardwood, eventually dying out when they settled on the carpet, right in front of MC’s own barefeet.
Lucifer was quiet as he waited for MC to answer him. Their head was lowered, preventing them from seeing their expression, but also prevented them from seeing his. As he gave them patience, his eyebrow rose when he saw their hands slowly rise up, and his mouth fell open when they clutched at the fabric of his coat.
Through the thick, wool fabric of the coat, he felt them shaking.
Then, the sobs reached his ears.
“I’m sorry-” he managed to make out, “I’m sorry I tried to be okay, I tried telling everyone I was okay because everyone was just so upset and panicked! I woke up to Mammon apologizing and then Asmo was crying all over me and there was no time to be upset because the next thing I knew Mammon was fighting with Belphie then Satan came home and Beel was blaming himself thinking he was going to kill me and no one checked Levi and I just-”
Lucifer cut them off by tightly wrapping his arms around them. As one hand came up to comb through the hair as the nape of their neck, he pressed his cheek against the top of their head and hummed.
“I’m sorry you had to deal with that. That should have been my responsibility, not yours.”
MC made a strangled cry and began to beat their fist weakly against Lucifer’s chest as the sobs worsened. Amongst the snot and tears blurring their speech, he heard- “Don’t want anyone to be upset… didn’t want to see anyone upset..!”
“I know, I know. You did a good job in my place,” he sighed, “I should have listened to Diavolo. I was too busy figuring out what to do with your attackers, but… I’m sorry, I shouldn’t bring that up now. How are you feeling?”
“I was so scared!” They shouted, but the noise was muffled by Lucifer’s coat. It was better that way, as none of the brothers if they were listening nearby would hear it then, “I was so scared I was going to die! I couldn’t tell anyone that because they all kept blaming themselves and I… I’m just so tired! I just wanted everyone to stop fighting and I felt so selfish for wanting them to listen to me but they all were so upset that they didn’t make it there in time or didn’t know it was happening and I-”
“You’re not selfish for wanting that. As your lovers, we should be offering you that equally. I apologize that we constantly take more from you than we give back.”
MC trembled as they racked their brain for more they wanted to say, but they were so exhausted, that all that came out were more shuddering sobs, eventually piling up in their throat into a full on wail as their legs gave out, and Lucifer was quick to pick them up. He carried them over to his bed, and keeping their head cradled to his chest, climbed in beside them. He stroked their hair, and gave them a tissue from the box on his nightstand, repeatedly, until he just grabbed the box and placed it between them. He ignored the piles of tear-stained tissues and snot that were beginning to cover the comforter, and just made sure to hold MC close, whisper to them reassurances and apologies for not being there in time, and commended them on their strength.
When they had finally cried themselves out, Lucifer, keeping a hand on the back of their head, shifted so he was leaning over them, and pressed a kiss underneath each eye. Then, he held them until they fell asleep. Once he was certain they would not wake up, he slipped from their space, one of their hands still limply holding onto a heavily used tissue, and tucked them in. He cleaned up the mess from the bed, and then slipped outside the door.
He flicked the light switch off as he left, and held a finger to his lips as he walked down the hall.
Chapter 3 is done!!! I worked on it over three days, and last night I had to literally pry myself away from my laptop because I was so tired and my arms felt physically heavy from typing so much! Luckily, my friend, Primal, agreed to beta-read it again for me, saving me time, and making it worth it when I eventually did the final read through! They tend to leave a lot of fun comments, so if you want to read through that, I made a director's cut including their comments on chapter 1-2 which you can find here and this is the one for Chapter 3! If you want to thank my beta-reader for making sure this fic is so good, please go give her artwork some love at her tumblr.
Chapter 4 will be coming soon too! If you want to support this fic, in addition to leaving kudos and comments and such, consider sending it a reblog or like on tumblr? This is the link to the post for Chapters 1-2 and this is the link for the post for Chapter 3. I have some other fics I need to work on, but I'm very excited to finish this fic, so I will try my hardest to get it out as soon as possible. Again, thank you for reading! And I hope you enjoyed.
The immediate pain and scare of the incident has passed, but there are some who still need reassurance and comfort. Compared to the brothers though, the remaining few are just as capable of giving back that comfort and love as they receive.
Final chapter!!! Let's go!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Barbatos prided himself on his unreadable expressions. It was fun to watch others try and figure him out, to see even Lucifer reduced to rubbing his temples and walking off when he was stunned into a spiral of confusion by a comment the butler had made. Diavolo was the only one who Barbatos’ comments and snide remarks said with passiveness didn’t get under the skin of, and while that was purely because his lord preferred to laugh everything off and most days barely listened to Barbatos’ suggestions, it worked right into their preferred dynamic.
A heartfelt, free-spirited ruler kept in line by his straight man was much more charming than a tyrannical, serious ruler. Besides, since most demons only ever saw Barbatos prodding Diavolo with reminders, it only added to their confusion and surprise when they finally spoke one-on-one to the butler, and were rendered speechless by his smirks and bluntness. The only person who was never taken aback by his comments were Solomon, who responded with just as much sarcasm, and…
The other human exchange student.
Barbatos sighed as he stood outside of MC’s bedroom. A few days had passed and Lord Diavolo had given the entire student council time off from classes while they investigated the incident. The criminals who assaulted MC were still chained up in Barbatos’ personal dungeon, as even if he had told the Avatar of Wrath off for being too brash with his treatment of them, Barbatos had no qualms with delivering his own form of punishment. Mostly because it was psychological and MC would never be able to see with their human mind the effects of it.
Despite that, MC was a perceptive individual. While the first time they had met, Barbatos had received the usual confounded look after making a remark layered in innuendo, wit, and just enough sarcasm to make him seem almost ignorant of whatever they were talking about, Barbatos was almost taken aback by MC’s gaze at their second meeting. His words were met with a more omniscient look, as if MC was looking straight through him and picking him apart, all while shooting an arrow through his heart with a smile.
As much as Barbatos had considered the turning back time, taking MC with him to a reality where the attack never happened or Barbatos got there before anything happened, he knew it would be wrong to do so without asking MC’s permission first. Going back to stop the attack would save MC in that new reality, but even if he merged the timelines, Barbatos found himself waking up at night in a cold sweat, his dreams of seeing MC’s untainted smile again always shattering with whispers of them still stuck in this world.
As much as he liked to believe he ruled over time, he knew he would never be certain of its heart. For as a king rules his people and demands they obey and praise him, one could never truly know all of the subject's thoughts. The chance that when he saved MC and merged the worlds together they would still be racketed by unfamiliar pains and memories from other lives, or the chance that he didn’t completely merge them as one and now one version of his love would be left in a world without all their friends and family as Barbatos shoved them into a new one with the wave of a clock’s hand… well...
Barbatos would be lying to himself if he said he was not frightened by the thought.
Besides, in his musing of other futures, most clearly he saw MC’s response to such an idea. At least, their words were able to bring a smile to his lips during the nights where he felt an unfamiliar sensation pricking at his eyes.
Laughter rang down the hallway, and Barbatos looked up, just as a flash of fabric dashed passed. His gloved hand easily reached for the door handle, and stepped aside to open it as MC flew inside. He shut it just before Mammon turned down the hallway, stomping passed about where did my human go? Barbatos let his hand fall back to his side once the noise subsided, and the hallway fell back into quiet once more.
At the very least, MC was doing much better.
Barbatos’ eyes snapped open as the door nearly collided with him and a hand yanked him by the shoulder of his waist coat. He was practically thrown against the inside of the door as it closed, and was face to face with the person of his musings, MC, who had walled him in with their arms.
“Hello to you too, MC.”
“I know what you’ve been thinking about,” they said, raising one eyebrow, “You’re practically screaming it, so, before you ask, no. I’m not letting you do it.”
Barbatos stared at them for a moment, before a small chuckle left his lips. His hands wrapped around their wrists and pried them off the door, breaking down the walls they built around him as he pushed off the surface and stood in front of them. The white cotton of his gloves blended in with the white of the bandages that looped up around their palm and up their fingers loosely.
“I believe I am under no pact of yours. Therefore, I am of no requirement to obey your orders.”
But I would still do so without question.
MC just continued to bore into him with that knowing, searching gaze of theirs. Barbatos sighed.
“Alas, I suppose as this involves your best interest, I will listen to you this once.”
“Good. Because going back wouldn’t change anything. Even if you sent me back, I would remember everything. And if I took the place of the other me, then everyone would be confused why I was upset. There’s no point.”
MC walked over to the window of their room, and opened it to the outside world, looking out over the garden that encircled the House of Lamentation.
Maybe they are not as perceptive as I gave them credit for, he thought.
“Besides,” they continued, taking a seat on the edge of their bed, “If you jumped to another timeline, what would I do without you?”
Barbatos, as if pulled along by a string, moved forward at the beckoning of their finger, and padded over until he was standing in front of them.
“Again,” he said, folding his hands behind his back, “I believe I am not in arrangement to be taking orders from you. And there is no need for me to jump to another timeline. There’s nothing weighing on my conscience that needs to be appeased.”
“So are you saying you wouldn’t try and make another version of me happy?”
Barbatos sighed, and reached out to brush back their hair, leaning down so their faces were only an inch apart, and they felt each other’s breath on their faces.
“Why would I jump timelines for that when I could make all versions of you happy by doing this in all of them?”
MC grabbed his face as they kissed, and Barbatos smiled against the corner of their lips as he shut his eyes.
He would just make sure to use his power to ensure that he never let another incident like this occur again.
“MC!” Luke said as soon as the front door swung open, “I brought you a ton of sweets!”
MC stepped back as a giant tray of cupcakes was shoved in their face. Belphegor cut in front to lift the dessert away before Beelzebub could devour them all, and as the tray was swiped out of their vision, Simeon stood there holding a smaller container of confectioneries tucked demurely in his arms. He crossed the threshold and, taking one arm away from the box, he tilted their chin up with his finger.
“I’m happy to see that smile hasn’t dimmed at all, my starlight.”
His finger slipped off their chin and flew ever upwards, before he circled his wrist and then brought it down to boop their nose.
“Now, where would you like me to bring these?”
Belphegor grumbled something but ushered the angel with him towards the dining room. Beelzebub followed close on their heels, entranced by the food, and MC walked beside Luke as the smaller angel hopped up and down, excitedly gushing about the recipes he had used. Simeon smiled over his shoulder when he heard the laughter bubble up from within MC’s chest.
All of those involved in the exchange program had been invited to the House of Lamentation today. Lucifer had messaged that MC was feeling better, and that he believed MC would feel better surrounded by their loved ones. Luke had immediately stormed the kitchen and began baking up a storm when Simeon delivered the message. Solomon was running late, and would be over later.
A few hours had passed, and after sampling as many of Luke’s treats that they could, MC had left the kitchen and retired to their room. Luke had gone with them, but Simeon had stayed to converse with Satan and Asmo for a more realistic view of how they were handling the situation.
Fingers tracing the ridges on the wall, Simeon walked slowly down the hall. He had not been inside the House of Lamentation before, so he was unsure of where MC’s room was, but he eventually spotted a figure dressed in green standing outside the door at the end of the hall.
Barbatos. The butler’s lips turned up at the sight of the angel, and he wordlessly opened the door for Simeon to step through.
Simeon did not comment on the way his eyes were rimmed by dark shadows and red. He understood. They all were still going through hell.
The door shut behind him. MC looked up as he came in.
They were sitting up in bed, legs tucked into blankets as Luke curled up on top of the comforter, sound asleep with his head in MC’s lap. His hat was removed and sitting on the nightstand.
“I apologize for Luke. He was up late baking,” Simeon laughed quietly.
“It’s okay. He tired himself out by talking,” MC stared at Simeon when he just stood by their bed, and leaned forward, careful to not knock Luke, patted the blanket, “I don’t mind. Join me.”
For a moment, Simeon’s blue eyes darkened, and flickered with several emotions, temptation nagging at the back of his mind. He squashed them quickly, smoothing his robes as he sat down, careful to stay to the edge of the bed.
He wouldn’t want to disturb Luke, afterall.
They sat quietly for a minute, MC not bothered by Simeon’s lack of conversation, and instead moving to stroke their hand over Luke’s head, running their fingers through his hair as the tiny angel shifted and made faint mumblings throughout their sleep. MC wasn’t blind to Simeon’s conflicted expression, they just chose to give him time, and was very conscious of the way his eyes followed every movement of their arms, still wrapped in bandages.
“Do you still have cuts underneath them?” He eventually asked.
“Yes, but they’re getting smaller by the day. They’ll probably leave small scars.”
Simeon frowned, “We couldn’t heal them right away, I’m sorry. Some of your injuries we had to let naturally heal, but I can reverse the scarring if they’re far enough along.”
MC stopped in their ministrations on Luke, “Do you want to see them?”
“If you wouldn’t mind.”
And so, MC carefully unwound their bandages, their brow furrowing and a hiss escaping their mouth as the cold air of the house settled over the bare skin, and some areas of dried blood were split from the bandage and wound. Simeon reached forward and with two fingers, plucked the edge of the white wrappings from their fingers.
“Let me help.”
Eventually, the bandages dropped into a pile on the floor, and Simeon traced the pads of his fingers lightly along the skin of MC’s arms, inspecting each scratch and scar. His inspecting gaze never faltered, his mouth simply began to utter a prayer as a circle of golden, shining light danced under his hand and followed the glide up and down the arm. The cuts sunk back into the skin with any scabbed blood, and the flesh knitted itself back over top. When they all were almost gone, the golden circle disappeared. Simeon gasped, releasing the grip he had on their arms and took a breath.’
“Some of them need a few more days of natural healing… Eventually, they will be good as new.”
“Thank you. That took a lot out of you to do, hm?”
“Oh, well.... In a way, yes. When angels heal injuries, we sometimes get a vision of what caused the injuries. It’s meant to help us be more empathetic towards the one who is hurting.”
“Oh… So you saw...?”
Simeon folded his hands in his lap, “Yes. I had already seen most of it when I healed the burns on your chest… Luke did as well, I suspect, but there was so much going on at the time I think regardless we both blocked it out. I was very focused on making sure you didn’t see anymore of the fighting that was going on.”
MC sat up more, leaning forward from the pillows propped up against their back to touch Simeon’s arm, “I’m sorry you had to see all that anyway.”
Simeon laughed, “I’m sorry you had to live it, my dear.”
His eyes flitted to the ground, half-lidded and crestfallen. Beneath MC’s touch, they felt the muscles in his arm tighten and begin to tremble.
“That is part of the reason we are… forbidden from healing emotional pain. We cannot completely erase or eradicate the feelings of stress and fear that come from such events. We get enough of a glimpse of such emotions through the visions of the physical injuries… if we were to touch matters of the heart, it would be practically scarring on our own.”
MC massaged his arm, and hummed, “I do not need you to erase what happened to me, Simeon.”
“Solomon says he has a spell if you wish. As much as I wish to take away the burden and memory of your pain, as much as I know it hurts you, I’m supposed to tell you that when you do heal from it, you will be stronger but… in this instance I cannot believe that,” his voice cracked and he brought his hands up to comb into his hair, his trembling increasing as he began to cry.
Shifting Luke delicately off of their lap, MC knelt and leaned forward enough so that they could tug Simeon back so his head was resting against their chest, their arms encircling him as they held him close.
“I appreciate the thought, Simeon, I do. But, you should not blame yourself for what happened, and for what you cannot do. I do not want you to see and feel everything I experienced… In the human world, sometimes simply talking about events can be enough.”
MC gingerly grabbed Simeon’s jaw and tilted his face up to look at them, “You may not be erasing the pain by taking it upon yourself… but, you can help me lighten the burden, if I ever need you to.”
“You do not wish to talk about it, then?” He asked, tears brimming his eyes.
“Not right now. Later. I’ve talked enough about it the past few days. Now, will you rest with me?”
Simeon’s eyes widened as MC languidly pulled away from him, leaning back against the pillows. It was no doubt meant to be an innocent move, simply nestling into the blankets again beside Luke, but a part of Simeon trembled differently when he saw how they smiled against the plush of the pillow they were sinking into. The moon from the window across the room cut across their cheekbones with a sharp light, casting shadows across their eyelashes which twitched as the one eye came too close to the silk of the pillow case.
With one arm loosely looping around Luke once more to tug him closer, and the other still reaching out, fingers beckoning him with a slight fluttering as MC stretched their hand towards his once more, he could almost mistake them for a painting of the Madonna and Child.
Simeon swallowed as the fingertips grazed his gloved hand which was unconsciously moving away from him and starting to reach out. He had seen many renditions of angelic paintings, and from the grandest, most well known to the smallest children’s drawing, but he had never seen a painting as enticing as them in this moment.
“Alright,” he whispered, and took a moment to shed his shoes and robes, he climbed further up on the bed, crawling into the space behind them. Careful of where to place his hands, they guided him to rest with only a brief touch over their elbow, and then they turned to face Luke, settling against the pillow and shutting their eyes.
Simeon watched from behind MC’s head as out the window, the moon shifted in the artificial sky, the beams of light cutting behind a tree in the garden until the room was bathed in a lavender darkness for a moment.
Simeon pressed a kiss into their hair, and then curled up closer, shutting his eyes.
Solomon opened the door to MC’s room quietly. He had arrived late, and Barbatos was no longer guarding the door, having been swept away to join Lucifer and Diavolo in a meeting. Solomon was all the more thankful for it, with a heavy spell book under his arm, he made his way inside with a solemn expression.
It would be easier to do this without interference from anyone else.
He stepped into the room and the floorboards creaked, and instantly, he glanced towards MC’s bed. He was met with the sight of them sitting up, surrounded by the sleeping bodies of Luke and Simeon.
Seeing MC awake, Solomon tightened his grip on the spell book.
“Solomon? I was wondering when you were going to arrive.”
“Forgive me, I had to find something before I came.”
MC motioned for him to come close to the bed, and Solomon did not miss the way their eyes stayed on the book. When the book was close enough that they could see the title along the binding was not in a human world language but an ancient demon tongue, their eyebrow arched.
“So, let me guess. You have a spell that will magic my memories away?”
Solomon sucked in a sharp breath, but his eyes were still empty. His smugness had been wiped away for days now, “Yes.”
“And you really think I would let you do that?”
“I was planning on you being asleep.”
“It’s for the best,” he argued, “I do not like… to see you suffering.”
MC frowned and gestured around them, “Do I look like I am suffering?”
Solomon was silent.
“Simeon just healed my arms, well, mostly. The pain is almost completely gone. See?”
“I cannot see whether you have pain or not, MC.”
“Yes, you can. Look at my face. Do I look like I am hurting?”
Solomon glanced up from their arms to their smiling face. He frowned, and shifted the book under his arm, “You can fake a smile. I have seen you do it many times.”
Solomon took the smallest amount in pride in how the smile faltered at that statement, because it proved his point of how fragile it was. But then, he was faced with the sight of MC being sad. Because of him. MC didn’t meet his eyes after that, and he sighed and started to pull out the book-
“Solomon, I know I can’t order you to do anything, but I will get all the brothers in here if you even try and cast a spell on me. I’ll summon Diavolo too.”
“Lucifer and Diavolo will be inclined to agree with me. It is better you forget all this.”
“But I don’t want to. And if you flip even another page, I’ll call Barbatos too.”
“I had a pact with him first, he’s powerless against me.”
“You would be surprised what the power of love can do,” they jabbed a finger up at him, “I’ll say one thing and he’ll disobey you. Want to test it out?”
Solomon blinked at them, starting to flip another page when he watched them suck in a big gulp of air, ready to scream out and call one of their demons no doubt. With a sigh, Solomon closed the book, and tucked it back under his arm before he smoothly grabbed MC’s wrist and turned the hand up towards him, the fingers unfurling like a flower in bloom.
“Yes, yes,” he said as he maneuvered the hand in his grasp, “You have them all wrapped around your finger, don’t you?”
He brought the palm to his lips, and pressed an open mouth kiss to it.
“That includes me, too.”
“Solomon, I know-”
“I don’t like seeing you in pain. I was the first to see you after Mammon.”
“That makes you the second.”
“That makes me the first before these two,” he said, frowning, but still holding the hand close to his face, pressed another kiss.
“I’m not in pain anymore, Solomon. I promise.”
“But you were. And that memory could come back at any time.”
“But it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I’m alive. And if it does come back, I have all of you with me.”
Solomon sighed, and flopped down on the end of the bed, narrowly missing Simeon’s legs as he did so. Sitting cross legged, he pulled the book into his lap and opened the first page.
“Can I at least tell you about the spell I was going to use? I promise I won’t cast it, I just spent a long time looking for it and now you’ve put my time to waste.”
“MC, are you absolutely certain about this?” Diavolo said from behind his desk next week in the student council room. Although he was giving them space and sitting in his chair, his voice carried that judgemental tone that said he wanted nothing more than to fight MC on every point of their decision.
“Yes. If we are to unite the realms as you wish, then we can’t be executing people who make mistakes.”
“I hardly call it a mistake, they tried to kill-”
“Believe me, Diavolo,” MC said, pulling out another bottle of medicine, “You don’t need to remind me.”
MC was kneeling on the floor of the student council office in front of three very beaten up demons. MC had managed to persuade Simeon and Luke to reverse the deformities caused by Satan’s senseless beatings and Barbatos’ torture, but MC had to fight tooth and nail to get the angels to agree to reverse the injuries sustained from the actual incident in the shower.
“I know it will be a lot for you guys, but please. It’s not fair for me to get healed and them not to. I have no power over you two, but I would very much appreciate it if you could assist me in making amends.”
Simeon had not let Luke participate in that, and had the younger angel escorted out of the room as he undid as much damage as he could. After about a minute, when the burns were starting to close up, Simeon abruptly fled the room, and it was Solomon who met him in the hallway.
He shuddered at how dangerously close he had come to healing the injuries caused by MC fighting back, and the first vision he had received from the demons’ perspective that showed the human’s frightened, screaming face as they kicked and clawed back had brought bile into his throat. Solomon silently rested a hand on his shoulder as he crouched in the hall, and eventually, the sorcerer draped took off his school jacket and draped it over the angel, trying to ignore Luke’s worried glances peeking around the corner down the hall.
“From how I see it,” MC said as they dabbed medicine along the cut on the largest demon’s arm, “They’ve served their punishment. Let this be enough and let them go. Kill them with kindness, at least that was what I was taught.”
“They technically committed treason by going against the exchange student program. They should be executed.”
MC laughed, “You are truly too cruel of a ruler, Diavolo.”
They tipped the bottle and added more medicine to the cotton swab.
“Truly too cruel.”
They were alone in the office now. After MC had finished personally attending to the remaining wounds, Barbatos escorted their attackers out, and while MC wished against it, they were certain for the rest of their lives, those three would be facing various trip-ups, punches, and just get caught being the bearer of Satan’s wrath during school hours as punishment. That was enough justice for them.
MC closed up the first-aid kit and stood in front of Diavolo’s desk. His golden eyes burned with unfathomable rage and disapproval from behind his folded hands. MC set the first-aid kit on the desk and stared him down.
The morning after the incident, when everyone had stayed home, MC requested Mammon gather everyone in the common room again. They were nervous, but they knew it had to be done. Seeing their reactions to them almost being killed again had left a terrible knot in their stomach that was threatening to strangle their lungs and heart if they didn’t say what needed to be said soon. Once everyone was gathered, MC sat beside Mammon on the opposite couch, their first pact mate clutching their hand with reassurance and sending waves of comfort through their bond.
“I want you all to promise me something. I already had Mammon make the promise last night. I’ll say what it is first, so your pacts won’t activate before you hear me out.”
They then chose their words carefully.
“I would like it if… you would promise me that when I die, you don’t blame yourself for it. No matter what the cause was.”
Naturally, there had been an immediate opposition to it.
“Are you crazy? How can you expect us to make that kind of promise?” Lucifer was the one who lunged to his feet with anger, which MC had anticipated, but not so fast. They expected Levi or Satan to yell first, instead, those two looked stunned. Well, Levi looked as though he was about to cry.
“I’m not asking you to not mourn me. Listen to me carefully. I just am… fearful of you turning on each other and blaming one another for what happened, even if it was a natural cause. To be frank, I’ve worked pretty damn hard to get you guys to get along again, so if I died and you all broke up again because of it, I feel like… not that you would be dishonoring my memory, I don’t consider myself that mighty, but… I would just be sad. It would hurt me to know the ones I loved were so torn up about something I caused.”
Lucifer was quiet now, and so with another comforting squeeze from Mammon, MC continued.
“If I die, I don’t know if you will be magically freed from any orders from the pact. If so, then there would be no need to worry about this promise, because it wouldn’t go into effect when I die anyway!”
“Don’t talk about that with such a cheery tone,” Levi hissed as he uncurled himself from the couch cushions, his demon form flashing as his tail snaked forward and grabbed MC’s ankle protectively. The others had started to shift forward as well. Asmo knelt down in front of MC and grabbed their other hand delicately, looking up at them with downright puppy eyes.
“I know, I know. You’re right. However, a part of me likes to believe that if the pact still works, then maybe… even if it’s temporarily, when I die, you won’t suffer. I know I’m essentially putting a chain on your emotions, but my hope is that it won’t feel that way. My hope is that any thought of blame will vanish from your mind. If you want to mourn me, you will be able to. If you want to grieve me, or be sad, you will still be able to. I just don’t want…”
And MC’s voice broke as they bowed their head, and crumpled forward into the arms of their family.
“I just don’t want you all to hate each other again. Please.”
“So, if everything is taken care of, I will be heading back to class,” MC said, giving a small bow before turning to walk away.
“I heard about your promise with the brothers.”
They turned back around and tried to flash him the widest smile they could manage, “Yes. I’m sorry if I overstepped my boundaries in my pact with Lucifer. I know you own him more than I do.”
“No, I was just thinking. It’s unfortunate that you can’t do such a thing with Barbatos and I.”
MC’s mouth gaped for a second before they found their words, “Ah, that is true. I can’t simply order you two around, now can I?”
Diavolo’s eyes were rippling with something besides the anger from before. It was still an undeniably strong and powerful emotion that made them glow even without his wings and horns out.
“No, you can’t. Not publicly at least,” he smirked, “I can’t speak for Barbatos, so you two will have to discuss it later. But, I know at the very least, I would be sad if you were to die, even if it was a million years from now.”
MC's brain felt lost. A part of them strongly understood what Diavolo was getting at, but one part of them, the one that cowered under his gaze, nervously backpedalled.
“Well, the promise wasn’t about not being sad. It was about not blaming one another and fighting with one another if I died. I’m worried about another Belphegor incident.”
“I see. Now, I certainly don’t want to end up blaming Lucifer or one of his brothers and sending them off to their death for treason if I misplace blame onto one of them. Do you know of any way I can prevent that?”
MC just blinked at him again, their mind still trying to catch up, burying the hope in the heart underneath uncertainty when faced with the most powerful demon in Devildom.
“I… don’t quite understand what you’re getting at. I’m sorry,” they confessed.
Diavolo smiled, and raised one hand up to usher them forward and behind his desk. Once they had circled around and were standing in front of him again, with no formalities and the barrier of the desk gone, he transformed into his mighty demon form. He rested his head on one fist, staring up at them as his other hand reached towards their hip, just brushing them as he coaxed them closer even more.
“I want to give you the power to command me, just this once, for the sake of making this promise. There may be other instances in the future, in private- the future King of Devildom can’t very well be seen ordered around by a human- but in exchange for giving you this power, you must give me one thing.”
MC swayed closer as the hand came to settle against their body, making them shiver even as they stepped so their knees were barely an inch away from his. Diavolo smiled.
“In exchange for this you must give me… a kiss.”
MC’s face lit up with overwhelming glee and redness. Swinging a leg over him, MC straddled Diavolo’s lap and grabbed ahold of his face roughly, both hands framing his face and tugging it up to meet theirs, MC grinned.
“Fine by me.”
I hope you enjoyed! This fic was a lot of fun to write, and I apologize with the delay on this chapter. I wrote most of this today on zero hours of sleep at six in the morning, because what else was I going to do? I have a few more Obey Me writing ideas I plan on exploring, and while I'll definitely still be writing a few for a generic MC, I have some short drabble ideas revolving around my own MC. I hope either way, you'll continue to read whatever I write. Goodbye for now!