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ain't no devil, just a demon

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When Shane arrived home from filming that day, he was delighted to find that the package had finally arrived, even if he wondered how US Postal Service was chill with shipping things from Hell, Earth. He absently made a note to ask someone Down Under if taking control of the Postal Service was in the cards, because of course it would take months for some simple Statue of Secrecy paperwork to arrive, along with a very terse letter from Shane’s boss. After feeding Obi and getting a cup of coffee because, fuck it, Shane broke the blood red seal on the envelope and read his boss’ letter.

Shax, First Duke of Hell
The paperwork you make me go through is so shitty you’re lucky I like you so much, otherwise I’d just drag your ass back to His Majesty’s Kingdom. Unfortunately, I do like you enough to put up with Abbadon barging into my office with paperwork all day. You owe me some extra contracts this year, I swear.
You know the drill. Fill out and sign everything with your DEMON name, none of the “Shane” bullshit. Make sure your boy toy signs wherever the “Mortal’s” name is asked for. We need it back soon, you know how much punctuality matters in Hell. If your boy can’t handle it, you know what to do. Don’t take any chances, just kill him and get back down here, Human Disposal Services will take care of the rest. You’ve never had a problem with it in the past, but this toy is making you soft, so I’ll remind you.
You will know when the paperwork goes through, and the Licensed Protected Mortal card will arrive at his house within the week. Keep a close eye on him, though. You guys have pissed off so many demons it’s a wonder he’s still alive.
Don’t you dare make this paperwork all for nothing, Shax.
Baal, Archduke of Hell

Huh, Shane had forgotten in his haste that if Ry-guy didn’t take the news well, he would have to kill him. He had done it before, with Sara in the 16th century, and Shane wasn’t in the mood to have a repeat of that. Ever. It was another two centuries before Shane began to poke around on Earth again, and if he ever went back to Israel it would be too soon, but Shane really should have seen it coming. Who knows how many centuries it would be before Shane could stand to visit Earth again if he had to kill Ryan.
Which is why Shane needed a plan. It was the perfect time to tell him, now that Buzzfeed Unsolved was done and Shane didn’t need to worry about it affecting the show. Sure, he knew Ryan like the back of his hand and the rest of his body, but when it came to this, Shane needed to be absolutely certain of Ryan’s reaction. If Shane respected Ryan just a little bit less, he wouldn’t be above a little bit of mind reading. But Shane couldn’t do that to him! So he needed another plan to figure out how to tell him. What if he came out as pan and used that as a marker?? Perfect!

 

“Yeah man, it’s chill.”

“What.” This is not how Shane was expecting this conversation to go. He knew Ryan wouldn’t really care, but…

Ryan pouts, and Shane instantly feels bad. “Did you really think I wouldn’t be okay with it? Wow dude, I haven’t said ‘no homo’ unironically, or ironically, since like 2016.”

Fuck!! “No, that’s not what I meant! I mean I’m just never used to people being okay with it, so it usually throws me for a loop, that’s all. Every gay person works themselves into a bit of a tizzy about coming out, ya know?” No, he doesn’t know, he’s not gay!! Goddamnit, Shane. Shane laughs, and they both know it's a little bit weak, but Ryan gives him the courtesy of not calling him out on it.

“Alright, but you know I accept you, dude. No matter what.” Ryan smiles at him, and Shane’s stomach does a funny little thing that Shane decided years ago he wouldn’t think too hard about. “Although if you tell me you’re a furry we are gonna have to end the company.”

That gets a laugh out of Shane, a real one, and Ryan’s smile grows. He knows Ryan won’t be nearly as chill about his species, but Shane forces that thought out of his mind in favor of mocking the movie Cats with Ryan.

 

That wasn't super helpful in Operation: Tell Ryan. No one has come up with an answer on Google in the last 48 hours, so Shane is at a loss, having exhausted his two options. In the way only a truly desperate man would, Shane goes to the second page of the search results. And the third, and the fourth. After the ninth Shane is about to give up when he sees his own name, and demon right next to it.

People online calling Shane isn’t a new thing, it’s been happening for years at this point, but he still gets a small stab of anxiety at the thought of his secret out there in the world for all to see. Shane clicks on the link, not reading much and thinking it will lead him to a funny Tumblr post.

But that is not Tumblr, no not at all. It’s Archive of Our Own, and how are there hundreds of these?? Some of them don’t look very helpful at all, but in almost all of them Shane’s demon-ness is a secret, until it isn't. Which means that a Ryan reaction is in every single one of these! Surely at least a few of these will have a genuine reaction from Ryan! Shane continues not thinking of the consequences and decides that he might as well read as many of them as possible, to see how “he” would tell Ryan, and see Ryan’s reaction.

Shane gets another cup of coffee, his fifth cup of the day, but shut up, he’s a demon, it’s not like his teeth are gonna rot or something. He hits shuffle on a playlist of songs that Ryan’s never heard of and settles in for a fun night of laughing at cringy writing.

Chapter Text

Okay so that writing wasn’t super cringy. As a matter of fact, some of it was very good, and some of it was downright poetic. And most of it included incredibly graphic sex, which made Shane a combination of tired, bitter, and worst of all, hard.

One very cold shower later and Shane sat down in his living room and thought about how to spend his Saturday. He had the common sense to not spend the day reading fanfiction, it struck him as a nighttime activity to enjoy with coffee and maybe the occasional wine. There weren't many people, let alone demons, to discuss the situation with, but Shane wanted to talk to someone about his plight. But who… oh! Why didn’t I think to visit the wisest man I know, sure, he’s really an angel, but he seemed chill the last time I visited him.

It’s a good thing that being the first duke of hell paid well, because otherwise Shane would go broke with all the Ubers and Lyfts he took. Buying a bottle of wine at 11 am on a Saturday wasn’t Shane’s finest moment, and he was pretty sure the cashier thought he was an alcoholic, but what kind of alcoholic is addicting to fucking $15 bottles of wine? It’s not like he was buying it for himself though, its an offering!! Another goddamn Uber later and Shane was strolling around Echo Park attempting to remember which way he should go to get to Randyland. But eventually Shane found his way to the mural and practically skipped up the stairs.

“Randy!!” Shane called, popping his head up into the garden. “I have wine and I really need to talk to you!”

If the promise of Shane’s wonderful company wasn’t enough incentive to appear, a bottle of wine sure as fuck was. As soon as the word “wine” exited Shane’s mouth he heard a screen door open, and sure enough, it was Randy! In all of his beaming glory, most of it directed at the paper bag in Shane’s hand, but there was something for Shane too.

The full might of Randy’s smile finally arrived on Shane, and Randy slid into a pair of flip-flops as he rushed outside. “Shane! How are you and your fine tastes in alcohol doing?”

“I’ve been better!” Shane sang as he threw his body into a rickety plastic chair on the porch. “Listen, I’ve got a tinsy tiny problem that I could use your help with.”

Ever since Ryan and Shane had visited Randy for Tourist Trapped, Shane had returned at least once a month to see him. After all, there weren’t many angels who could stand to be in the company of demons, let alone be kind to them. And, well, they were angels to be around. Which made sense! Even if Randy always had a knowing glint in his eye whenever Shane saw him.

“Well talk to me! If it’s anything like your other problems, it's certainly going to be funny.” Randy even took the bottle of wine and set it on a table, just to show his full attention was on Shane.

Shane didn’t waste any time. “I’m going to tell Ryan that I’m a demon.”

Randy really didn’t need to look so surprised. “Well,” He laughed. “How do you intend to tell him that? Ryan won’t take it very well no matter how you tell him, I’m afraid.”

Well that will just not work!! “Randy have you forgotten that if Ryan doesn’t take the news well I have to kill him? He’s mortal, lets not forget, so killing him is so not in the cards.” Shane wouldn’t say he was whining, but yes he was. Sue him, he can do what he wants, he's the first duke of Hell.

Randy keeps smiling, which really isn’t helpful. “It’s how you handle his reaction that matters, Shane. You need to be kind, patient, and willing to let him be mad at you. I’ve seen that you are capable of all of those things. Don’t tell him that if you don’t reach an agreement you have to kill him, it won’t help. He will be mad at you, but he still cares for you.” That was a little bit more helpful.

“Oh. It makes sense when you put it that way. But what if he hates me? Like hates me, hates me. Even if he signs and he hates me, I can’t protect him like that! He could get himself killed!” Shane couldn’t help but fret. This was a huge risk when Randy put it like that!

Randy shrugs. “I guess it’s a chance you need to be willing to take, my friend. How about we split this bottle of wine and I’ll listen to you worry some more?”

Shane would never turn down the opportunity to worry without being annoying. And he didn’t. A few hours later Shane's head was pleasantly buzzing as a Lyft arrived in front of Randyland to take him back to his apartment. When Shane arrived home he fed Obi again, and made himself some ramen while watching a WWII documentary. Soon the sky was properly dark and Shane could commence on his studies, wonderfully oblivious to the fact that Randy’s advice rendered his research unnecessary. But there was a 100k fanfic he had found, and he can’t just not read it!

Chapter Text

Shane was acting weird, and not normal levels of weird. ‘Cause Shane is a pretty weird dude, and Ryan will be the first to agree with you. But Shane wasn’t being his usual levels of weird, and at this point, Ryan was getting concerned. Ryan is normally a professional at reading his best friend, and he’s noticed that Shane is only acting funky with Ryan. Sure, every now and then Shane will shoot a weird look at Steven or TJ when he doesn’t think anyone is looking, but Ryan sure as fuck is.

And Ryan has racked his brain trying to think of a reason why Shane would act this way. They haven’t argued, because they have nothing to argue about. Sure, Ryan’s breakup with Marielle was pretty sudden, but it still didn’t warrant this reaction. And Shane didn’t seem too shocked when Ryan told him in the first place.

Ryan was so desperate that he went to Steven to ask for advice.

“I don’t know dude, it started pretty suddenly like a week ago? He doesn’t seem mad or anything, just off. Have I changed since the breakup or something?” Ryan fretted as Steven locked up the office at the end of the workday.

Steven finished locking up and turned around, thought for a second, and spoke. “You have only changed for the better in these past few weeks, Ryan.” Steven soothed him. “I definitely don’t think he’s mad at you, or upset over your breakup. He hasn’t confided in me concerning you, or anything else. Truthfully, I think it would be better to talk to him about it. It’s clearly nothing negative, so nothing bad can come of it. Your relationship will likely only benefit from it.”

As profound as usual, Steven. But Ryan felt comforted nonetheless. Steven was right, as he always was. Shane isn’t mad at me. “Thanks Steven, I’ll try to talk to him about it, but maybe I won’t have to, ya know?”

Steven shot him a look that said he didn’t believe him, but was too polite to say something. Steven clapped Ryan on the back as they parted ways. “I’ll dial up a few prayers, okay bud?”

Ryan laughed and headed to his car. Heading home, he thought about Steven’s advice. If Shane is still acting weird after the weekend, I’ll say something. Feeling better after making a decision, Ryan ordered UberEats and spent the weekend working and watching movies.

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Come Monday morning Ryan couldn’t help but feel nervous. What if Shane was actually mad at him? So he was frazzled to say the least when he arrived at Watcher’s headquarters. As usual, only Steven had arrived before him, so Ryan had time to make a pot of coffee and relax. Ryan started feeling a bit better thanks to Steven’s help, but then Shane showed up.

Shane looked like shit. There were bags under his eyes, and his hair wasn’t brushed. He was wearing a pair of sweatpants and a shirt that looked like it hadn’t been washed all weekend. Instantly, all of Ryan’s nerves disappeared, replaced with concern for his friend.

“Oh my god dude, are you okay?” Ryan asked, about one second away from sending Shane home and possibly going with him.

Shane looked at him for a while, long enough that Ryan wondered if Shane was even sober. There was a strange look in his friend’s eye, and Ryan couldn’t figure out what it was. Confusion was suddenly replaced with shock as Shane leapt forward and hugged him.

Ryan knew that Shane didn’t hug people a lot, didn’t even hug his family when they visited him. Physical touch and words of endearment weren’t a part of life in the Madej household. Ryan knew that actions spoke louder than words for Shane, even though Ryan was almost the exact opposite, it worked for them. Hence why Ryan was so confused.

The hug lasted longer than probably any other Shane had ever given them, and when Shane finally pulled away Ryan was practically in a daze. “Hey, you okay dude?” Ryan tried to be gentle, even though he knew that Shane didn’t appreciate pity.

So it spoke volumes that Shane simply smiled and nodded, “Yeah, I’m fine. I just had a scary car ride, shook me up a little, sorry.”

Damn, it wasn’t what Ryan was expecting, and he pressed a little bit more. “Are you sure? You’ve been acting kinda off for a while now, and it’s starting to worry me.” Ryan confessed, hoping that Shane wouldn’t mock him for worrying.

Shane tilted his head and waited a moment before talking. “I’m sorry Ryan, I didn’t think you would notice-”

“Of course I would notice you moping around and looking at me funny.” He chided. “I’m not blind, Shane.”

“I know that,” Shane rushed. “I do, and I’m sorry about that too. I just-” Paused, thought, sighed. “I just, I read some stupid tweet a few weeks ago and it messed me up a little. I know it’s dumb, but - fuck. It just fucking theorized what I would do with the show if you died and who the fuck tweets something like that? It threw me for a loop and I couldn’t get it out of my head.”

Shane looked uncomfortable, and no doubt he was, with his midwestern repressed ass never learning to be open with his feelings. All Ryan wanted to do was comfort him, thank him for being honest when he could have just shrugged it off.

“Shane, I’m not dying any time soon, there’s no need to worry. Fuck whoever thought it would be a good idea to tweet that shit.”

Shane smiled. “I know that little guy. I’m over it, I promise. I spent the weekend watching Lord of the Rings again, s’why I’m tired as shit right now. Did you make coffee?”

Ryan didn’t think too hard about why he wished they could have had a more serious conversation, he just teased Shane for not knowing how to sleep as he poured him a cup of coffee.

Shane still seemed somewhat off, but they both said it was a lack of sleep and left it at that.