Asmodeus hadn't paid much attention to him when he first arrived. Not to say they had not been pleasant, for they had; all wide welcoming smile and warm pleasantries, offering him help if he ever needed one. Their attention had felt more—official, one that came out of obligation rather than personal. It hadn't bothered him, initially. He himself was not one that crave attention; was not one that aimed for fame, never really demanded to be at the centre stage. Renown was important—was useful, for his purpose; but popularity led only to complication. Easier to manoeuvre his life when no one was truly paying attention. Much simpler, with the added bonus room for movement.
And yet, it nagged at him. The smile, then the easy dismissal. As if it hadn't mattered for the demon whether or not Solomon cared about them. He probably wouldn't care about it. Probably wouldn't think much about it—his exchange to Devildom was the needed step towards the right direction. He needed to focus, to plan his next steps carefully, to avoid any distraction that could prove to be disastrous. Not catching the attention of the Avatar of Lust at the first sight was bearable, reversible. There was enough time to change that.
And yet, yet. Later that night, just before he drifted off to sleep, thinking back to the events of the day, of the residents of House of Lamentation. Of Lucifer's tall and proud stature, eyes dark and slightly cruel. Of Mammon's white hair and boyish charm. Of Leviathan and his self-absorbed yet anxious poise. Of Satan and his smile, somehow so familiar. Of Asmodeus and—
The feeling of dread settled at the bottom of his stomach, as he willed himself to remember anything about Asmodeus, anything at all—the colour of their eyes or their hair, the way their hair was styled—to no avail. What he could remember were their touches, their voices, the sing-song quality of it. Remembered their eyes shining with mirth, or at least, the impression that their eyes had shined with mirth. It felt wrong, to know what the demon was like without actually knowing what they look like. To know they had carried themselves with a distinct type of confidence, but not what their appearance had been like.
That was what had started it.
Luke had prepared their breakfast the next day; a gesture meant to make him feel more welcomed. He smiled, thanking the angel for the hospitality, watching Simeon from the opposite side of the table praising the angel. They really were different, Solomon realized. It was easy to read Luke, from the way he spoke, acted, and moved. His expressions and his words showed clearly what his motives were, what he was feeling, what he wanted. He was easy to deduce, maybe it would be easier to talk to him regarding Asmodeus. He would help, wouldn't think much about the question, would probably reveal more than he needed to know with how much he seemed to dislike demons.
"Did you sleep well?" Simeon asked, a gentle smile gracing his face.
"I did." He hadn't. Not with the matter of Asmodeus plaguing his mind.
He nodded. "That's good. Today is our first day of class, let's do our best."
Simeon was different. It was ironic, upon reflection, how different yet similar he was with Lucifer. He was kind, his eyes warm, inviting, and reassuring; there wasn't any part of him that could flag him as a threat. Yet he knew that it was, in some manners, a protective layer of the angel. Maybe it was his nature to be kind, seeing as he's an angel, still, the angel was the type who held his cards close. Who knew what to reveal, when to reveal it, and how to reveal it. It was ironically similar to Lucifer—the cruel smirk a mask and his true self; with something much, much more deep inside.
The angel would know, he was sure. Making the angel aware of this, however, was another matter altogether.
The angels blessed the food before they began to eat. As Solomon weighed the pro and con of breaching the subject of Asmodeus to Simeon, Simeon saved him by mentioning it first.
"Regarding the demon siblings," Simeon started. Luke frowned from where he was sitting. "What was your first impression of them?"
"They were surprising. Interesting. Different from what I had in mind."
He watched Simeon eyed him carefully at his answer, his kind smile still hanging for him to see. "They are not bad. It may just take a while for you to get used to them."
"Asmodeus had their Glamour on yesterday," he paused, his tone careful. "It might be confusing, but don't let it get to you."
Glamour. It was something they could do at will, after all; something akin to a spell, to certain extents.
It didn't make him feel much better, but it's a start.
Solomon didn't like feeling off-put. Didn't like not knowing things. He liked mystery well enough, when it was about others.
Mystery that happened to him, around him, that could affect him—that was a different thing altogether.
Asmodeus hadn't really talked to him, saved for the brief greetings whenever they passed by in the hallway. He didn't purr at him, the way he did to others, always bright but professional, which just didn't suit his whole persona. It grated on his nerves, no matter how ridiculous he found the whole thing was. It wasn't like him to be like this. He knew. And yet. And yet.
There was not any reason for him to confront the demon. No reason for him to walk up and demanded his flirting and teasing, demanded a piece of his time. Doing so would leave him with no dignity. He gritted his teeth. Was it the Glamour, he wondered, the way he had no idea of what the demon looked like? For his whole life, he had been taught to learn about someone from the way they present themselves. Appearance could be deceiving, yet telling. He was bound to learn something, no matter how small.
Well. If he had no idea, then someone would. Someone other than Simeon.
Long black hair, he said. His eyes are bright and intelligent. I don’t know... They’re brown, I think, I can’t really remember. But they are captivating, I was sort of lost in them for a while. And the way he feels, man, not gonna lie none of my relationships is working out right now with how often I compare them with him.
Oh. She let a dreamy sigh, her eyes hazy, looking at nothing and everything. She was so perfect. really. I remember the way she held me in her arms and kissed my forehead. She is such a good listener too! I don’t think there’s anything I can’t tell her. It was nice. And her voice? Just divine. The voices of angels, I swear, which is ironic, right? Well, every word she said did sound like gospel and... Huh? Oh, well, I don’t know. I mean, she’s definitely pretty. I remember how weak my knees were when I saw her. Oh, also I went down on here this one time when I saw her with this dress and... Right, yeah, let’s not go there. It was wonderful yet so short but the consequences were too severe. No regrets though.
I remember what their tongue felt like, that’s for sure. Their hair is long. I pull it when we fuck. They kinda look like my girl, but like, not really? I think I got hard the moment I saw them. Why do you ask anyway? The man in front of him was huge. Taller and broader, his body perfectly sculptured. Uh, they’re pretty small compared to me. Not my usual type, that’s how they’re different from my girl. I was afraid I would break them at first but then I wanted nothing but to tear them into pieces. My girl isn’t happy 'bout it when she found us. But yeah that was on me. It was my first time cheating though, so I didn’t know what to do.
Dude sorry, I can’t remember that. Her nails were super sharp though. That was so hot. Listen, when we fuck—
I didn’t, I didn’t sleep with him? He took me on a date and it was super nice, and yeah later I—
None of them could give a detailed description of Asmodeus.
It was not difficult to find those who had been involved with the Avatar of Lust. Most of them boast about it on their social media, acting as if it was their highest achievement, the greatest thing they had ever done. Maybe it was, for some of them. The jealous comments, rows and rows of wish that was me, the hopeful tone they all had—as if they're waiting for their moment to arrive.
It wasn't without a price, he quickly discovered.
Ruined future relationship. Ruined potential internship. Ruined current relationship. One mentioned almost clearing their bank account in an attempt to meet the demon, once again. Solomon stopped before discovering more, knew he would discover more.
(He knew of wars fought and waged over lust. Knew of men who had killed and destroyed, be killed and destroyed in return, for lust.
For love. For lust. Knew of cities fallen. Of civilisation ruined. Of families torn. Of lives lost.
It was what he should have expected.)
It was worth it, they claimed. Still, none of them could describe, completely, without any doubt, what his hair, his eyes, his everything had looked like.
The memory seemed to escape them, leaving them with a vague impression of something. They knew he was beautiful, aware that they had never seen anyone as beautiful as him. They could recall his touches and voices, could recall the way he feels around them, the tightness and the heat, could recall the way he purred or the way he combed their hair. Yet the exact shade of his eyes evaded them. When they did remember, though, they always had different answers.
(Like their deepest desire, he hypothesised. Asmodeus took the appearance of what the other person perceived as most desirable, exhibit all those traits, then took them. It will explain why certain population is able to properly describe him, and how some may not. One theory is that they have multiple and/or conflicting set of desirable traits, which may result in them perceiving the demon differently at the same time. As a result, their memory became hazy, most likely in an attempt to process the experience. However, it could be a deliberate act, one that served another purpose.)
It didn't bother them, the uncertainty, the mystery. It drove them to seek him more, to offer more, to potentially lose more. And no matter how much they self-destruct, the more and more they drove themselves to almost-desolation—none of them could reach him when he didn't want them to.
He was fleeting; his attention on them left as sudden as it approached. His beguiling words, his seductive touches—to those who had yet to taste it, they serve as a promise of what he could give them. Of what they could receive. Just a taste. Let them know what they miss. Making him an unreachable luxury for many; making more and more desired him, longed for him. To those who had—it was a reminder of their greatest dream, their innermost desire coming into reality, and was now, once again, out of touch.
Despite his findings, which he believed had answered his initial question, he found himself trying to catch a glimpse of Asmodeus more and more often.
(His initial question. It felt so abstract. What had he wanted to know about the demon? Her Glamour? Her power? What she had done with them, what they had resulted in, what she could really do with it, had she not been restrained by her obligation towards Devildom?)
Her treatment towards him had stayed the same. Friendly smiles. Warm greetings. Welcoming, yet impersonal. She had never stayed to talk to him, never once complimented him for anything. And with every easy dismissal, he felt more and more inclined to reach out to her, to be the one who made the first move.
(He wasn't vain. Wasn't one who craved for attention, for validation. He didn't need recognition from someone pretty. He knew his worth, better than anyone.)
"Morning, Solomon!" She waved at him, her tone sounding genuine. She didn't purr, not even a hint of a seductive tease. She talked to him as if they were mere colleagues, and in a way, they were. "See you later in class!"
He watched her back as she walked away, and when he realised how close he was to reach out a hand towards her, he quickly curled his hands into fists, the way his nails dig into palm a sharp reminder for himself to behave.
"You know, I really do admire how hard you tried to resist," Asmodeus said from where she was perched. The library wasn't empty, technically, but there was nobody to witness them. Solomon, a stack of books on top of the table, calmly doing his essay, and Asmodeus, sitting near him on the same table, her legs crossed. Picture of a sinful innocence.
He took a deep breath. "Is that so?"
She giggled and leaned forward, so that their faces were facing each other. Her skirt was short enough for him to see her thighs, smooth and supple, unblemished. Staring at her eyes felt unwise, a potential danger in itself; he had no idea what it could lead to.
"I can feel it, you know. The way you seethed." Her eyes were red, he noted. Round and big, shining with mirth. "I have felt it before, multiple times! But yours come with a special set of... Hm..." She tightened her lips, furrowing her brows slightly. The library is dimly lit—yet he found himself aware of her every movement. "Academic intrigue, I think? Academic intrigue. It is all so strange. And interesting."
"You are academically intriguing. I hope you do not take offense."
"Of course not, I am actually flattered," she said. "Your interest always feels somewhat stronger than others, but you have never, not even once, done anything about it. You almost did, today. But then you held back! I am a little impressed, really! The others usually would already be on their knees by now, begging me for anything and offering me everything."
Despite his best wishes, Solomon shuddered as he let her fingers trailed on his jaw. They were so close. He could feel her breath ghosting over his skin—he felt warm, felt the way his heart pumped faster. He could hear his neatly placed stack of books being shoved aside, could only stared at the way Asmodeus made herself comfortable on top of his parchment.
"Then," he started, "why are you here?"
"Because I can't wait any longer! Also, think of it as your reward, you know, for holding out for so long. It really is impressive."
Oh, he realised, this all had been part of her plan.
Solomon felt a hysterical laugh bubbling in his throat. This was her doing all along. She had almost driven him mad. Had pushed him to do things he technically did not need to do. Never had done before. There had been moments where all he could think of was her, days and nights spent trying to decode her, whatever that meant. Her indifference gnawed at him. All he had wanted were her eyes on him, her full attention on him and him only. It was all so fucking stupid. He should have known. All this time, he was, in one way or another, already under her complete influence.
"It was you, all this time." Solomon frowned.
She giggled, again, and a part of his brain noted how pretty it sounded. He tried to squish the thought. "In a way. It was my power, yes, but not completely. You can't blame me for how you react to me, you know. You chose to do that. I am just here minding my own business."
"Just like how you can't be blamed for your ex-lovers' demise."
"How could I be blamed for their misfortune? It's not my fault Theo tried to gambled his money for me. I wasn't there to actually force him." She rolled her eyes, but he could feel how proud she was, could notice the way she slightly puffed her chest. "They all acted according to their free will. If they made any bad decision, it really was on them."
"You had influenced them."
"That's not how it works." She let out a tired sigh, then pouted. "I had my Glamour and my Charm, correct, and it might influence you when I was with you. But how is it still my fault if all of you are still obsessed with me afterwards?"
And that, that, really didn't make himself feel any better. Because if what she'd said was the truth (and she could be lying, his mind supplied, she is a demon.) then he, them, all of them, he, had been obsessed with her after just one meeting. The realisation shook away the haze that was starting to settle in his brain—his mind now sharp and clear and painfully aware of how dangerous the demon in front of him truly was. How, behind her sultry voice and soft touches, the way her arms are circling around his neck, was a demon capable of causing ruin just by existing.
(Wars fought and waged over lust. Men killing and destroying. Cities fallen. Civilisation ruined. Families torn. Lives lost.)
"Don't think too much about it, Solomon, dear. My future king, my liege, my master. I have had kings empty their treasury for me, what a dear, he was such a sweetheart. You could be next, think of me as your first royal plaything. All monarch have one," she whispered the words to his ears, relishing in the way his breath caught at what she had called him.
She untangled her arms then, seeing no response from Solomon saved for his ragged breaths and forceful gulps, leaning back onto the table. He watched her silently as she undo the first few buttons of her shirt, letting him swallow the sight of her breast. He watched her as he laid back onto the table, spreading his legs apart, tugging her skirt up for him. He felt stiff. He felt as if the Earth had stopped moving, the clock stopped ticking, as if all the sounds in the world were replaced by the quick thumps of his heart. He was aware of his own body reaction to her invitation, her offer. Aware of his own cock stirring inside his pants. Aware of his desperate need to put his hands on her, his mouth on her, to give up everything and anything—
He hissed, forcing himself to look away. Even after knowing what she was capable, there should be no reason for him to feel such attraction. It came with a dangerous set of baggage, a price he would eventually have to pay.
She craned her neck, her collarbone exposed, as if she's baring him her soul, her body, her everything. He knew she wasn't, though. Knew it's all just the impression she wanted him to have. Knew that his own life is more endangered compared to hers, no matter how much of a prey she tried to present herself as, right now. He knew, he really did know better.
"That's right," she said, when he put his hands around her hips, drawing her closer, "Tell me, my king, my liege, my master—what do you want to do to me?"
He could take her, like this, could claim her. Jewel of the Heavens, Simeon had once called her. Was there any highest prize? A more grandeur offering? The implication made himself heady, the way someone with so much raw power was laying herself bare for him and him only, right at that moment. He could vaguely hear the sound of the other students bustling outside the library, making their way to their destination accompanied by laughs and chatters. Yet here, dead silence. The sharp intake of his breath, his racing heart, her seductive whine. She licked her lips as he glanced up to her, mouthing promises of good times and nights he would never forget. The room felt so empty, and the moment he gave in, let himself do what he wanted, what Asmodeus wanted, their noises would fill it—for others to hear, to know.
And they would know. That he, and Asmodeus, and he.
Jewel of the Heavens.
"I am here just for you, you know? Only for you, and you alone. Whatever your wish is, my king, my liege, my master, then I shall honour them." Her thighs are around his waits, her ankles digging into his back.
It must had been a divine intervention when he finally found his will to push her off, to take off, his face flushed as he ran towards the Purgatory Hall. Some of the students threw a questioning glance at him, surprised at his unusual loss of composure, but he had not the time to bother with them.
He could no longer remember the shades of Asmodeus' eyes, could not remember how her hair had been like. What remained was her warmth, her fingers tracing patterns on his jaw, the giggles, the press of her ankles on his back.
Asmodeus took one look at him the next day and immediately pouted. Solomon took it as a sign of victory.
"That's unfair!" he whined. "You asked Simeon for help! That's off-limit."
(He hadn't, not really. He had arrived back at the Purgatory Hall breathless, trembling, and face flushed. Simeon had taken one look at him quizzically, and had understood the moment Solomon mumbled Asmodeus' name.
"It isn't much, just a spell that would counter her Glamour. She is... She is still the Jewel of the Heavens, with or without the Glamour.")
Solomon tore his gaze away from the demon in front of him. Light brown hair. Red eyes. When he closed his eyes, he found that he could, indeed, recall Asmodeus' features in perfect detail. He took a deep breath. Finally.
They're back in the library. Back in the spot they were on the previous day. Asmodeus' skirt was still the same length; his thighs were still soft, still smooth, still unblemished. Still perched on the table in front of him. Even after his Glamour was off, Solomon found it hard to tear his eyes away from him. Hard not to learn every detail of his face, his body. Light brown hair. Red eyes. The way his uniform hugged his form perfectly. The way his nails are well taken care of. His smell. His—
Jewel of the Heavens, he recalled. The demon did live up to the name.
"I would take my Glamour off if you wanted me to, you know? You should just ask," Asmodeus continued, as he shook his head and pursed his lips. That was... surprising. He was under the impression Asmodeus wouldn't do it if he had requested him to do so. But with his appearance, he supposed there was no reason he would feel inadequate. "How do you feel then?"
Because this is what he had wanted, right, after all this time? To be protected from the demon's Glamour and Charm? To stop feeling the tug of multiple, complicated, feelings that had been plaguing him for all this time?
Asmodeus giggled. "I know. I can still feel your... desire. For me. And for knowledge, which is sort of adorable."
He continued when Solomon offered him nothing. "I won't seduce you like yesterday, love. If you have anything to ask, then ask away. It's so strange to see you being all silent."
He considered it for a moment, then said, "Your power." It had been something that he had wondered for a while. Something he had tried to learn more. He had discovered enough to have a concrete hypothesis, but getting a confirmation from the demon would really solidify his theory. "And your lovers' demise. Are those a method of... feeding, for the lack of better term?"
Asmodeus tilted his head. Briefly, he wondered if he was truly considering the question, or if he had done that to appeal to him. "Hm. Sometimes I seduce people because I want to sleep with them. Pure sexual attraction, nothing more. They're willing, it's a consensual sexual relationship, and it's fun! We both had our fun! The side effects, even if they're unfortunate, really can't be blamed on me, you know."
"Though, yes, my power does... grow, you could say, with every downfall. Sated." He mumbled something in a language Solomon wasn't fluent in—the Devildom native language, he guessed. "I'm not sure how to translate it to any human language. It's very demon-specific."
"I see." Solomon paused. It hadn't been what he had had in mind, but it had been eye-opening. "It wasn't a... deliberate, conscious form of feeding, then?"
"Oh, love, you would know if my "feeding" was deliberate, trust me." Asmodeus pushed himself closer to Solomon, eyes gazing deeply into his. "Besides, not all of them end horribly, you know! Most of my encounters don't lead to the other party being miserable at all! Are you sure you're not being biased? Seriously. What kind of researcher are you?"
He ought to feel insulted with the insinuation, perhaps, if Asmodeus had not been accurate. He had deliberately sought encounters that led to the other party meeting some sort of unfortunate situation in their lives. They had been easier to find, anyway.
A beat. "Then, with me—"
"Oh, I was totally ignoring you on purpose. I know you would grow more and more curious that way." Asmodeus smirked. "But, no, if you felt any lust at first sight for me... Well, it is my beauty. Just not my power."
Slowly, he dropped himself onto Solomon, straddling him. The hand Asmodeus had put on his chest felt warm. He felt warm. He felt as if his body was on fire. Even more, with how Asmodeus was nuzzling his face on his neck, humming softly, contently. He felt heady—the same type of headiness he had felt yesterday, and many days before. Yet he knew his mind was clear, he was able to think clearly. That despite the rush of desire lust longing going through his vein, the primal and raw want to take Asmodeus raw, fuck him hard and make him come untouched, to mark and bite and claim him—it had come from him. It had always come from him.
He gritted his teeth, as Asmodeus continued, his voice sending another wave of desire to him. "Meaning, if you were to, say, fuck me really hard right now, it'd be consensual. And I really would appreciate it, so please do. But, if you're so afraid of the side effects, I can make sure you don't gamble all your money away." He chuckled. "Or something, don't worry about it. I'm sure Simeon can make sure your life is still in order."
The silence between them hung heavily in the air. Asmodeus, still nuzzling his neck, peppering it with soft kisses. Asmodeus, his fingers tangled between his hair, twirling them. Asmodeus and his soft breaths, the way he rolled his hip, and softly moaned—
He was aware that the laugh coming out of Asmodeus was one that signalled victory. He pulled back to stare at Solomon. "But imagine the sort of statement you're making by taking me here." Asmodeus licked his lips, then put his forehead onto Solomon. "The prestige."
Asmodeus only laughed when he growled in reply, giving him a light kiss on the cheeks afterwards. "Oh, alright, let's just go to my room later. My brothers would find out, but they wouldn't say anything as long as you're still there." He rolled his eyes. "And Lucifer will be out to do something with Diavolo today. The most perfect chance, really. He would have less to say, that way."
When Solomon mumbled his agreement, he laughed in return, before giving him a light peck on the lips. It was strange, to feel so tongue-tied in front of someone. He had never felt like this before; it's not as if he had never felt any lust for anyone. Asmodeus climbed off him expertly, then made a show of tidying up his clothes.
"See you then, love, really looking forward to it."
This may lead to disaster, he knew. Asmodeus was powerful; could be more powerful if he wanted to. He was dangerous, in a way a lot may not consider him to be. (Wars fought and waged over lust. Men killing and destroying. Cities fallen. Civilisation ruined. Families torn. Lives lost.) And to take this step; Solomon might be signing his own downfall. Might ruin himself in the process. (I have had kings empty their treasury for me, what a dear, he was such a sweetheart. )
He should turn him down. Should stop associating himself with Asmodeus. Should get in his good grace, but not this way. Should—
("My king, my liege, my master," the Jewel of the Heavens himself has whispered, reverent.)
He sighed as he picked up his belonging, ready to make his way to the House of Lamentation.