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Dapper Dresser [alastor/reader]

Chapter Text

Water was not your friend. 

 

Though, it isn't entirely your enemy, either. No, water is the single thing that sustains life and brings everything together, once and for all. From the farthest reaches of biomes, it can rejuvenate a land that was once damned to death by drought. Did you know it's one of the first things that astronomers look for when investigating a new planet for signs of life? Without water, there is no life. 

 

Without water, things cease to exist. 

 

There were an infinite number of ways you could be persuaded into never touching water again, but you had also heard that it was perhaps one of the more peaceful ways to go. Perhaps it would have been if you hadn't panicked upon the realization that you couldn't breathe. If you hadn't, your slow lapse into eternal damnation would have been as peaceful as you could get unless you took out the want of dying at the old age of eighty-five in your sleep.

 

The struggle, the desperation, and then the acceptance with your attempts remaining futile. The sand, no doubt bruising and scratching your defenseless flesh as you tumbled around; for just as you were about to reach the surface-

 

Your hopes remained stagnant; the darkness had already curled into your husked body; beckoning you welcomingly with open arms. 

 

You were doomed to die the moment you set foot on that beach. 

 

When you escaped from your lack of consciousness, you found that you couldn’t exactly remember the minute details of your death, your memory foggy just as your eyes were. You brought a fist to them, rubbing them gingerly, the smallest of frowns adorning your lips. The second thing you noted was that your lungs screamed at you to breathe, brain short-circuiting as it finally vetoed whatever restraint it had previously forced itself to submit to; forcing your lungs to expand with the sweet, precious air that—good lord was the air stale here—you so desperately needed.

A singular eye opened, and then another, a darkness shrouding the entire land in a suspicious red hue that intimidated all those who dare to let their imaginations wander. At the very least, it was easy enough on your eyes to allow them to adjust, as unwilling as you had been previously.

A groan forced it’s way out of the chamber of your chest, reverberating through your ribs as your hands gripped the hard gravel beneath your palms. It clicked to you that, right then and there, with the minuscule stones lodged painfully into your skin, that you had no clue where the fuck you were and how you had gotten there.

The heart, such a important organ, sped up in your chest, the sound reverberating in your ears. Needless to say, however weak, you sat up enough to discover you were, in fact, laying on a ground that was converted in bones of different animals or... creatures. No doubt someone's shitty attempt at a warm welcome or whatever. For the final kick in the ass that you had left to endure, it occurred to you that you were actually supposed to get off of your ass and move once you heard talking. 

To you. Someone was talking to you. Turn around and face them, you coward.

"’Ey dumbass! Ya just gonna sit there all day and rot or smth'n?"

Flinching, you snapped your gaze to the individual who caught your attention.

"Well, I mean ya can't rot anymore." He laughed in a smug, mocking tone as if he just knew you were unable to understand whatever the hell was going on.

An alarm went off in your head as you trailed your gaze up to narrow upon at the white, pink fluffed up... creature. It took all your will-power not to scream right then and there. 

Oh, that wasn't human. That was a monster.

He took a step closer, and you instinctively scooted back. The loose gravel was painful, yes, but your instinct to survive this Elmo’s knockoff long lost cousin was so, so much stronger. 

A loud, dramatic sigh and a roll of his mismatched eyes before he let them trail across your figure. You would have been jotting down that the eyes were curious if you know, weren’t considering that you very well may have fell down Alice in Wonderland's rabbit hole. 

"Right." Angel Dust huffed in a bored manner, his actions remaining idle. You were pathetic. Useless. Why was he wasting his time on you?

"Yer in Hell, blah blah, welcome to yer eternal stay or what’eva." He took another step towards you, leering down. In his explanation, his lower pair of arms leaned upon his hips, the top coming up to fluff up his chest. A moment passed before a single hand came down and pointed at you.

"...Hell?" You managed to croak out. Your eyes were wide, owlishly staring up at the creature in a mixture of awe and fear. 

He snapped his eyes to you. "Are ya deaf or somethin'? Ya, Hell."  He waited for you to respond, and once you didn't, he released an exasperated sigh. "Ya know, fire and flames 'n shit?" You see, this was why he didn't go to these parts of town often. 

He ran into nobodies like you.

You took a glance around. It didn't appear to be a land of suffering or eternal damnation. In fact, it looked far more similar to a large, run-down city.  It hadn't clicked yet that being in Hell meant you were dead. One thing at a time, cowboy.

"How do I leave?" You turned to face him once again. His expression screwed up into a smile, in which looked more like a baring of teeth than an actual smile. He laughed. And laughed. And it took you a moment to realize he wasn't laughing because of what you said, but he was laughing at you.

"Toots, tha' only way yer leavin’ is if yer exterminated by those egotistical pricks up there. so make it worth yer while." He wiped away a stray, humorous tear. And then he began to turn away. He had shit to get done. 

 

You watched.

 

And then you stood up.

 

"Wait!"  Your voice was hoarse, dry. You weren't sure why you had said anything at all, but you knew you needed to find out more. If he was offering you information, if you had a chance of figuring out what had happened to you, what was even happening, he was your best bet.

Hell, Hell, you were in... Hell? 

The effeminate spider paused, shoulders visibly sagged as if truly, waiting for you was the worst thing that could have ever happened to him. Legs still shaken, partly because of your inability to function them after the lack of use and partly because you were scared out of your fucking mind, you cautiously closed the distance between the two of you. It had its first pair of arms crossed and second pair on its hips, tapping its foot impatiently.

“I-“ You were cut off before you could continue. 

"What? I  got places to be, people to do..." A mischevious expression crossed his face, and you knew instantly that you did not like that. 

"Oho, toots! I don't swing yer way, but if ya want something, I'll do it for a quick cash grab~" He held out a gloved hand expectantly. His mood had instantly lifted. 

Your jaw fell open in shock and confusion.

"W-what? No!" Finally, some confidence. You shook your head rapidly. The world swam around you, dizziness suddenly becoming a very well known companion. Maybe slow that down a notch. "I-I just want to know why I'm here, why-" You were cut off by mocking laughter.

The bastard was laughing at you. Again. 

"Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm messin' with ya toots, don't get ya tits in a twist." He waved a hand at you in a dismissive nature.  "I doubt ya got any cash on ya anyways. Last prick sure didn't..."  He trailed off, looking off to the side with a frown before perking up almost immediately. “But hey! Don’t look so drab, yer making me feel bummed out just lookin’ at ‘ya. ‘Yer in the best part of the nine circles!”

He paused, looking at your dumbfounded expression with a dramatic roll of his eyes. 

"Yer here ‘cause ya did some ‘bad thing in your life that eternally damned you to Hell’. It ain't all that bad here though, ya get all the shit you wanted done without repercussions!“  It laughed, “Drugs are my personal favorite, and- and! Doin’ otha demons!" He sure rambled a lot, and he didn't seem like it was finished. You didn’t mind too much, really, though you couldn’t bring yourself to even begin to wrap your brain around his jovial words. 

Truthfully, you had missed the majority of it. 

Demons

You felt lost. Unsure. A fool. Maybe you had just gone insane; yeah, that had to be it because you hit your head too hard on... something and went a little crazy! 

But why did that feel wrong?

The feeling that coiled in your gut only made you feel nauseous. The terrain was unfamiliar, strange, foreign.

There had to have been a mistake, if whatever he had said was remotely true. Hell was a place for the bad people, right? The place where murderers went to suffer, the sinners—You weren’t a bad person. Could it be that any sin damned you to Hell? No. That didn’t sound right! Everything was fuzzy after you went into the water; the beach becoming more of an uncertain thought, in general, the more you were conscious. You weren't certain if it had been a beach, or a lake, or a river at that point.

Something happened to your memories.

“Listen, ya make me feel like shit just lookin' at ya, so I don’t do this often." You looked up at him with knitted brows. "I’ve... ah, been ‘clean’—“ He made bunny ears out of all four of his arms before putting a hand to your back and pushing you in front of him. You supposed that meant to walk. “—For two weeks now; and I take it ya’ don’t got a place to stay. Once in a death-time offer, lady—“ You blinked like a deer in headlights, a frown forming at your lips. The pun wasn’t funny. Perhaps if you had been more into the situation it would have been, but as the creature babbled on about ‘the Princess of Hell’, you couldn’t help but boldly say:

 

"Okay." 

 

You looked behind your shoulder to see him lag behind a bit in surprise.

 

He narrowed his eyes.

 

He seemed surprised that you had agreed so fast, so utterly trusting of something you had no knowledge of. You could have just signed away, through word of mouth, your soul and you would have not known the difference.  Eventually, however, his expression morphed into a smile full of sharp teeth that absolutely screamed danger. Such a spontaneous agreement that you had to wonder why you had done so without thinking twice.

The word 'hotel' was the only familiar thing that you recognized and, until you could figure out why you had been placed here, you needed a place to stay. To think things through. A quiet place to freak the fuck out, alone.

 

Yeah, that made sense.

 

You just hoped that the beds weren't made of the remains of dead people. 

 

How bad could it really be? 

 

Oh, naivety at its finest.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

The sheer number of things you learned in the conversation is limitless.

You had learned that the creature had an actual name, which made sense, you supposed. It was hard to imagine that he had even been human— you had lucked out in that aspect.

You weren’t sure what you would have done if you had been turned into an eight foot tall arachnid. Nevertheless, you couldn't bring yourself to ask further questions, and for that, Angel Dust was more than eager for you to shut up.

Though, he didn’t mind talking about himself.

Buried deep in your mind as the slutty spider babbled away about his latest territorial take-over, in which he explained what it was, taking advantage of the situation. You couldn’t bring yourself to care too much about the nitty-gritty details; lest it became too much and you spiraled down into a rabbit hole of confusion and depression.

Best to stay on the safe side and just let him chat it up. 

The situation was weird, as you’re sure anyone could believe.

Demons? Surely they were only things that parents made up to make sure their children remained good, a folktale, a myth, or a legend.

Creatures with horns and bright red skin just didn't exist and yet... a small frown touched your lips as you glanced up to freakishly tall creature walking next to you. Multiple arms, a fur-like texture, fluffed cleavage. Absolutely not human. Though, it did have aspects, you supposed.

The longer you remained in this place, the easier it was to believe this wasn't some sort of shitty joke.

You couldn't remember.

Couldn't remember the day upon the beach, who you had been, why you were here. The only things you remembered were your name and a few fuzzy details of your past— as if something here had affected you from remembering what it was that you had done that was so bad in the first place. 

If you were truly in Hell, then you must have done something incredibly bad, no? The thought just didn't sit right with you, nausea creeping up from the depths of your stomach. 

And yet, despite wanting to ponder more and more on the how's and why's, your brain simply refused to allow it, blocking off your attention span to focus on the details of the world around you.

For your own sake, it seemed to say.

A defense mechanism. The cloth that hung from your shoulders was thin, raggedy, cold. Scrapes and scratches, bleeding cuts, bruises all decorated your flesh, adorning it in dirt and all-around nasty grime. 

So... ah, whatdja do?~” Angel sang.

If you could have jumped ten feet in the air, you would have, but instead, you looked back up at Angel with wide eyes. You blinked. He didn't seem phased by your reaction in the slightest. It made you wonder what he did to get down here.

"S-sorry?" Your voice was subtle, a small whisper that didn't hold the confidence that it had earlier.

He didn't repeat it, an annoyed sigh released rom the chamber of his 'glorified persona'.

"Hah! Ya really are pathetic, they’re gonna eat you alive down here. Now I’m really curious! So whatdja do? Murder, drug dealing, sexual favors?" He lowered his voice into a suave, flirtatious one upon the last word.

Of course he would have wanted to know.

But you couldn't tell him, because you didn't even know yourself.

With your blood and heart pounding in your ears, you cringed back as he leaned forward, all four limbs on his hips. A demon, he was a demon. Demons were bad, you must have been bad, you had to have been. Discomfort flooded you.

"I..." A singular eyebrow rose. You were absolutely cornered right now-- "I... killed someone." You lied straight through your teeth.

He didn't seem fazed, almost disappointed really- whether or not him hearing that more times than he would like to hear and not having a reaction to it was good, was up to you. It was a lie, of course, but it was one you would have to stand by now that you were one, in a place you didn’t know and two, surrounded by the most dangerous criminals ever known to man.

He looked you up and down with a scrutinizing gaze; as if internally wondering how someone like <i>you</i> would ever be able to murder someone in cold blood. 

Your fingertips twitched at your sides. He wasn’t dipshit— you weren’t very good at lying. He narrowed his eyes before shrugging.

"Whateva’." He didn’t care enough, anyway.

 A sudden weight you didn't know was on your shoulders finally lifted off of you. Silence filled the expanse of the lack of speech as the two of you walked down the very cold, but far from vacant street.

The plethora of strange creatures in vast quantity caused a chill to scurry up your spine. Some had multiple eyes, others had fur like Angel, others looked similar to different things you'd find on Earth, some looked utterly out of place and foreign. 

You suddenly felt exceedingly out of place. 

Nevertheless, you remained as close as the effeminate spider would allow you to while also being wary for your own safety. The stroll was quiet, uncomfortable for you in ways you couldn’t begin to explain. The air remained stale. Your eyes trailed up to the sight above you; the red that painted the skies appeared in a similar manner as if the world had been ending. 

As if this truly were Armageddon.

 

No less, upon reaching the destination, you had slowed your pace.

Even the Hotel looked sinister. Somewhere you probably wouldn't trust to spend the night-- it loomed over the town intimidatingly, exceedingly large, and utterly well-worn.

Each step you took up the stairs creaked as if it threatened to give out at any moment.

Most definitely not somewhere you would have at the top of your list. Upon opening the door, Angel roughly brushed past you and was immediately greeted by what looked like a pig.

An actual pig, you noted in your anticipation of it changing to something far more terrifying. It was just a... swine. 

It oinked happily, the hooves clicking against the hardwood floor. Said slutty spider had managed to release a gasp upon the sound of it meeting his... ears? He didn’t have ear. 

Well, he must have had them, dumbass. How else would he hear?

"‘Nugs!”  Angel cried in utter relief to seeing that his pig hadn’t been turned into bacon. He picked it up and spun around, before he allowed it to take residence in his fluffed cleavage. Your eyes continued to be trained upon them.

You remained rooted in place, a small head tilt as you studied the two.

"They didn't hurt ya, did they? Oh, ’Nugs, I'm so sorry for leaving you! Daddy had to go do his job." It was strangely endearing to see how much happiness radiated from the two in that moment, a feat you would have thought impossible in Hell. In fact, it was so similar to a how relationship between a person and their pet would be that you wondered: Did you ever have a pet?

But even that did not jog your memory from before— you couldn’t help but wonder if it was normal for such a thing to occur. You supposed it wasn’t, considering how he had questioned you. You were also aware that it probably wasn’t a normal thing on Earth, either.

But this wasn't Earth, was it?

No, it couldn’t be further.

"Angel? Who's this?"

There was a feminine voice, sweet in tone, lilted into a curious, hopeful one. It filled the vicinity with such inquisitiveness that it immediately brought all attention to her. Her appearance resembled that of a porcelain doll.

Her cheeks were abnormally dappled with a reddish hue, similar to that if she had been slapped with two pepperonis. Her hair rolled down her back before being laced together with a hair tie, and not only that, but she absolutely fucking rocked her outfit.

It reminded you of a manager of a hotel, someone proper, regal. But she also looked... uncertain. Unprofessional in ways that made you second guess if she had actually been the manager of such an establishment, You blinked, equally uncertain, but nevertheless intrigued. 

"Found 'er at the dump. Thought I could make it up to ya for making yer hotel look—“ The response wasn’t cutoff by a whizzing sound, a thump, and then a loud "HEY!". 


A knife was wedged into the wallpaper, Angel's outfit snagged in it before your attention was pulled to another individual. She was doused in a shade of silvers; her complexion interesting as much as the fact that, for the absence of her left eye, harbored a bolded, floating 'X'. Her face, unfortunately, was morphed into one of anger.

"It wouldn't look sad if you hadn't had that territorial take-over!" Her hands were balled at her sides, nose crinkled in a show of aggression. She hadn’t noticed you yet, or so you assumed. 

Charlie, as you would soon learn, released an anxious laugh before placing a hand onto the woman’s shoulder. 

Surprisingly, it appeared to calm her down in ways that you would never have understood, lest you have experienced it yourself. There was something whispered and then they turned their attention back over to you. You swallowed.

Angel Dust began to try to dislodge the knife from his shirt,  the pig didn’t even look remotely dazed. Instead, it curled deeper into the fluff.

You looked back over to them, and you stared owlishly, unsure of how to introduce yourself.

Charlie took a step forward in order to introduce herself, giving her hand for you to shake and happily chatting about the hotel and how they were happy to have you stay for 'rehabilitation’ if that were something you were interested in. 

"Rehabilitation? I didn't-" You cut yourself off, looking nervously between the trio. Charlie appeared almost defeated, Vaggie looked even more pissed off than before. Thankfully, however, it wasn’t aimed at you.

"You brought her here and you didn't tell her what we were doing?

"Babe, babe, relax! I brought ’er here because... well..." He trailed off, eyes flickering to the knife in his hand with purses lips. Vaggie walked over and yanked it out of his hand. You watched as he scoffed and crossed his top set of arms, using the other to lean on his hips. 

As the two bickered, Charlie called your name and gave a nod to somewhere quieter. She seemed to know that no amount of reassurance would ever change the scuffle that Angel Dust and her girlfriend had. 

She led you down a long hallway, twists and turns that reminded you that you would never be able to find your way around without help. 

It was more like a maze than anything. 

 

Nevertheless, she eventually opened a door to a room and sorted through a closet. You assumed it was her room by how used it looked. Her tongue stuck out as she looked through, before pulling out a shirt, pants, and a pair of shoes that were almost miraculously your size. 

She insisted you change in the bathroom, and so you did. She remained outside the door to escort you back. 

"So, you rehabilitate demons so they can go to Heaven? Why?"

You noted that the shirt was adorned by lettering that stated  ‘Happy Hotel Staff’, alongside a red smiley face.

You weren’t staff, Charlie assured you, but it was better than the raggedy clothes you were gifted with when you first arrived, as did every new arrival. You felt relieved; though, the nausea still pooled in your stomach, your nervousness reignited as she explained. 

"There's an annual extermination because Hell is so overpopulated. I hate seeing that happen, the suffering, the bloodshed, the corpses afterward. If I can make this hotel work and rehabilitate them, then there wouldn't be a need! Everyone could be happy." To say the least, you were stumped. The Princess of Hell yearning to do good? 

It was a laughable feat.

But you didn't laugh, no, instead you flattened out your shirt and stepped out of the bathroom.

"Charlie, I-"

She turned around and grinned, shark-like teeth adorning her mouth innocently and expectantly. It would take a while to get used to that. 

Originally your plan had been to right then and there tell her that you didn't even know what you did in the past that was so bad; as if she could be the source of all of your worries and woes.

For some reason, she felt trustworthy; but you hesitated.

"Oh, they fit! Great!” She beamed excitedly, rocking on her heels.

At least she seemed genuine and, because of that, you just  couldn't bring yourself to crush her dreams of rehabilitating her guest. You still needed a place to stay, however temporary.

"...Yes. Thank you." 

Charlie didn't seem to realize that you had been cut off as you stood there awkwardly, twiddling your thumbs.

And then a standing mirror was grabbed, unnervingly adorned with glass orange slitted eyes glassed eyes, and placed in front of you.

For a moment you stared at your battered and worn appearance. You, thankfully, recognizd yourself-- you had not been turned into a 'monster' like an unlucky few had been. You looked as normal as you could have been. 

But normal was not something that existed down here. Only the strange and wicked. It was not as it seemed. As you leaned in closer, you noticed that your pupils were slitted, and you made a similarity to either a cat or a snake. Or at least, that’s what you could closely compare it to.

You could see normally, thankfully. 

Your confusion has dampened the urge to freak out, and Charlie almost looked relieved. You were sure that hadn’t been and wouldn’t be the weirdest thing you would see today.

Just as you were about to talk, you cut yourself off and noticed that your teeth were the least normal thing about you. How could you have not have felt them? Your eyes widen a fraction.

They too, were sharp, like Charlie’s. Natural incisors and teeth had been molded into something of a far more haunting and dangerous appearance. You brought your hand up to your mouth and poked a singular tooth, as if testing the sharpness and durability.

You gasped and reeled your hand away. Definitely don’t test those waters. Your eyes flickered down to your index finger, staring at the singular ruby rivulet that began to pool from the wound.

It was sharp. Obviously.

While Charlie was turned away doing something, you hastily rubbed your hand onto your pant leg. Thankfully, it was black, so you didn't have to worry about it being noticed. 

Shaken beyond belief, because holy fuck you have sharp teeth and slitted eyes, this was no joke, you brought up two thumbs when the blonde woman turned back around and asked if you were ready to head back downstairs. 

Upon doing so, you were glad to find that it had settled down. 

You sat on the furthest end of the couch, suddenly leeched into watching the '666 News' that just so happened to be on.

Vaggie sat on the other end, head leaning on her hand while Angel sucked on a popsicle in a lewd manner.

Katie Killjoy was rapidly speaking, filling in the denizens of Hell on gossip about the most recent territorial takeover of three demons. Two of them you didn't recognize, one a snake that humorously wore with a 'swag' hat along with holding a skateboard.

He was accompanied by a cyclops with gradient pink and orange hair. The third, however, you did recognize. Angel Dust. Just as you were about to turn your head to question him, a knock was heard.

Once, twice, multiple times in a rhythm that you barely recognized.

Charlie had previously been leaning against the door before trying to peer out of the stained glass, and at last, she opened it. You didn't pay too much attention, too focused on the battle that was being played back on live feed until a loud SLAM! was heard. 

You jumped and immediately snapped your attention over to the suddenly nervous Charlie who was speed walking back over to the group.

"Uh, Vaggie?" She inquirer nervously. 

"Whaaat?" The moth demon held her index finger and thumb to the bridge of her nose, rubbing to alleviate whatever headache had accumulated within the time of your absence. 

Charlie put two fingers to her cheeks and pulled them up into a grin, accompanied by nervous laughter.

"The Radio Demon is at the door!"

Chapter Text

“Well, don’t answer it!”

”Ah- who?”

 The news channel (you were actually surprised they had cable down here) was fading out of your attention and into your peripheral hearing; suddenly entranced by the chaos that was spurring on simply because of the fact that there was someone called “the Radio Demon” at the door. You couldn’t help but wonder if it was an actual talking radio; and if so, these demons weren’t very clever with nicknames. A frown rose onto Charlie’s face, which in turn cause you to frown. Despite Vaggie’s protests, you watch with a keen interest as the demon princess clears her throat, turns around her her heel; fixes her bow tie, and promptly opens the door. 

“May I speak now?”

The voice didn’t sound clear, as if it truly were talking through a radio. Fitting, but odd. Quietly, you remain on the couch next to Angel and Vaggie— their presence was far more comforting than standing on your lonesome or joining Charlie by the door. God, you hated feeling so... so lost. So out of element; it still hadn’t fully settled in with you that you were actually dead because, as you looked on, you felt very much alive. With all the strange things going on today, you almost felt disappointed the the Radio Demon wasn’t an actual talking radio, but instead a dapper dressed, thin, red coated... man? Would you call him a man? Anyways. Hair tufts sprouted upon his head; the color transition from black to red fitting compared to how red this new world was.

Vaggie had already stood up by the time the demon pulled Charlie closer by the arm and, quite literally, invited himself in.

“Alastor! Pleasure to be meeting you, sweetheart! Quite a pleasure!” Loud, brash, it instantly caught your attention, needless to say. Everything was so... dreary here, with all this violence— but him? His presence tickled you funny; but also in a way that made sure you knew that he was dangerous. But that went with everyone here, didn’t it? Your slitted eyes focus back into the conversation at hand, and you notice then that Vaggie had taken some sort of spear and was marching up to where he was blindly walking. 

“-saw your fiasco on the picture show and I just couldn’t resist! What a performance! I haven’t been that entertained since the stock market crash of 1929!” While throwing his hands in the air, you look at Angel who catches your eye while absently, suggestively, sucking on his popsicle and shrugging his shoulders. You found yourself admiring how he didn’t seem to care much; not to mention that it was getting easier to look at his monstrous form. 

 

It was getting easier to accept all of this despite only having been down here for a few hours at most. After a moment, Angel got up and, like some sort of lost puppy, you trail right after him.

“Sooo many orphan-“

“Stop. Right. There.”

Vaggie had successfully stopped Alastor in his steps, now directly pointing the spear at his throat. He didn’t seem threatened by it, even as she claimed to know his ‘game’ and how she wouldn’t let him hurt anyone here. In fact, he glowered down at her, his smile stretching wider and— why did the air feel so weird? It felt like when you were touching a television screen, the static too weak to do any actual harm, but still there nonetheless.

“Dear,” he laughs as if he’s heard this all before, “if I wanted to hurt anyone here,” a pause, “I would have already done so.” Those words made a chill run up your spine, and not in the good way. 

The way that made you very happy that you weren’t the one holding the spear to his throat.

He pushed it away with a single finger, clearing his throat and shaking his head as if there hadn’t been a bunch of demonic symbols floating around just a moment ago. “No! I want to help!” Back to his normal self, and at that point, you found yourself standing next to Angel. He didn’t seem to know what the fuck was going on either, and while doing so, managed to appear disinterested in the entire thing. 

You wish you had that type of self control. 

 

“Say what now?” 

 

Charlie, who had been standing behind Vaggie this entire time finally spoke up, only for their personal space to be disregarded simply because Alastor repeated himself. “Help! Ha ha ha, hello~? Is this thing on?” He taps the microphone that you really only just noticed now. “Testing, testing-“ Imagine your surprise when the actual radio thing on a stick said:

“Well, I heard you loud and clear!” Your mouth felt dry.

“Um...you want to help wiiith...?”

Somehow his physical manifestation forged into something of a shadow, coming up behind them and lacing his hands around their shoulders.

“This ridiculous thing you’re trying to do!” To be quite honest, now that you were listening to his voice, the best way to describe it would be an exclamation point, every day, all day. And yet still, he managed to appear proper no matter how boisterous her sounded.

Remaining with Angel Dust seemed like the safest option right now. You had so many questions: did he know who this was? Vaggie acts like she does, so perhaps you would ask her when things cooled down; but considering this was Hell, you doubt that would ever come to be. Despite the amount of questions that fluttered around your mind, you can't bring yourself to actually ask. This was a lot more entertaining than the 666 News, at least to you. 

The conversation continued on and at last, you turn to Angel. It wasn’t as if you were buddy-buddy with him, but he was the one that had found you. You didn’t know what or who you would be if he hadn’t.

“Hey um, thanks for bringing me here.” You rub your hand against the back of your neck sheepishly. He still freaked you the fuck out, don’t get it wrong, but it was getting easier to talk to him before running away with your tail between your legs. 

 

He looked shocked, eyebrows raised as if he hadn’t been expected to be thanked for doing practically nothing.

“Yeah, yeah, don’t mention it.” He turned away again, leaving you standing alone, before throwing himself onto the couch. You didn’t peep, holding your elbow as your arms hung loosely at your sides. It has only begun to occur to you at this moment that he probably hadn’t heard a genuine ‘thank you’ down here— and no less from a murderer. 

Or so he thought. Right. You had to stick by that.

 

Chapter Text

Within the minute the so called ‘Radio Demon’ had set foot through the door, Charlie had already been whisked off to wonderland. Whatever conversation was going on between them was muffled. That being said, there was a harsh ring of static that seemed to crackle in the air every few seconds. Vaggie had thrown herself on the couch. Her expression was bitter, arms folded in a huff. Angel mimicking her position except he bore a look of confusion, a single eyebrow raised as he pouted his lips.

“Ah, sooo, uh-” he began, rolling his fingers along the fabric of the couch. “What’s the deal with smiles over there?” With a casual wave towards the duo, the spider accidentally point at you as you made your way towards the couch - hovering at the scene and poking a finger at your bottom lip. The pressure allowing you to feel the razor blades that’d replaced your teeth...not that you wanted to touch them again (lesson learnt) but they were there. What else did you have to do, other than listen in to the conversation and act as an ornament to the hotel?

“Wait.” Vaggie replied pointedly, hands out before her as if to crown Angel as the idiot of the year. “You’ve seriously never heard of him before? You’ve been here longer than me!” Exasperated, she communicated with her hands, her arms remaining outright towards as she stared in disbelief at him. Angel simply shrugged his shoulders, a childish innocence plastered on the pornstar’s face.

You remained quiet, picking at your thumb’s nail with your index finger anxiously while also listening in to the story. Eventually, you dropped your hand to your side.

“The Radio Demon. One of the most powerful beings Hell has ever seen…?” Angel replied with another shrug, rolling his eyes in the process.

“Eh-” he shrugged a third time, leaning back into the couch. “-I’m not big on politics.” He folded the top set of his arms to match the others, which causes Vaggie to release an ‘ugh’ in reply. She leant towards Angel, the demon rearing back as you watched on with intrigue.

“Decades ago, Alastor manifested in Hell, seemingly overnight-” It was the start of a story, it had to be, your intrigue only growing as you found your way to the space beside Vaggie; while perching on the edge with a quiet ‘thwump’. It was an old couch. Vaggie paused briefly, gaze darting to you before she returned to her tale.

“-He began to topple overlords who’d been dominant for centuries. That kind of raw power has never been harnessed by a mortal soul before.” She paused, taking a breath. “Then, he broadcasted his carnage all throughout Hell - just so everyone could witness his ability.” It was like the air in the room had become thick; suffocating. It felt familiar, but strange all at once. Foreign in the concept, but, well, you couldn’t exactly put a finger on it. Dangerous, just like this whole new, strange world appeared to be at second glance. An unnatural shiver ran up your spine with tantalizing accuracy; but still, you remained quiet as Vaggie continued.

“Sinners started calling him ‘the Radio Demon’ (As lazy as that is). Many have speculated what unimaginable force enabled him to rival our world’s most ancient and destructive Evils.” As the demon caught her breath, you remained enthralled. Morbid curiosity entranced you, yet concern began to ebb at your heart as you caught sight of the individual that this story was all about. The toothy, sinister grin that remained unmoving only adding to the sense of danger that the world wrought upon the inhabitants, and now you as well.

“He’s an unpredictable source of danger. A wicked spirit of mystery and a vile monster of chaos the likes of which wE CANNOT RISK GETTING INVOLVED WITH-l” Vaggie’s voice rose an octave, confirming your earlier suspicion of having an exceedingly short temper. Whether or not it was concern that caused it to forge into her words or not, was up to interpretation. However, it did manage to bring your attention back to the story, which unfortunately for you, seemed to be coming to a close.

“-UNLESS WE WANT TO END UP ERASED!”

Angel seemed unfazed by her anger, head cocked her way with a simple: “Ya done?” A series of mocking laughs fell from his lips as he turned to look at who you were looking at only moments ago. “He looks like a strawberry pimp!” A small smile appeared upon your own mouth at that; Angel was many things, but he was also humorous. And in a place where you felt like everything could eat you if you looked at them the wrong way, it was appreciated. At long last, you were able to survey how he acted.

Now that you knew what to look for. He spoke with his hands, you noted, jotting that down in your memory to store it for later. “Why do you think he came here, if he’s so bad?” You turned to look at the two of them, eyebrows raised. Surely, someone so bad wouldn’t want to be ‘rehabilitated’, right?

“He says he wants to help.” Vaggie hissed, clearly not as keen on the idea as he was. “He’ll tear us apart though - were you not listening? All he wants to do is pull this place down…” she trailed off, her shoulders sagging. “After all the hard work Charlie’s put in as well- we can’t let him destroy it!” There was a genuine moment of concern that found its way into her voice then, and it made your eyes soften considerably: she and Charlie were exceptionally close, it seemed. Everybody but Alastor and yourself seemed to know each other. Angel seemed to lack any empathy for the other demon, teasing her as you sat idly by. Vaggie, finally having enough, stood to retrieve her friend.

Whether or not they were actually friends, was up in the air.

They did seem a bit closer than what ‘friends’ would be. “Charlie, listen to me.” She grabbed her shoulders, turning the demon princess to her. Alastor only smiled-- as he always did, before shrugging his shoulders and turning to look at a picture of what looked to be the royal family. Since Charlie was the center of the masterpiece, you supposed it was the only thing it could be.

“You can’t believe this creep, he isn’t just a happy face.” They both turned to look at him, the Radio Demon’s humming audible from where you sat. “He’s a deal maker, pure evil, he can’t be redeemed - and he’s most likely looking for a way to destroy everything we’re trying to do!” It seemed as though she was clutching at straws, trying to find the needle in the haystack; something to stop Charlie from falling victim to Alastor’s schemes. The princess fought for words, attention darting between the two of them.

“We don’t know that…” She began softly, and in that moment, she reminded you of yourself in some ways. “Look, I know he’s bad and I know he probably doesn’t wanna change but the whole point of this is to give people a chance!” The demon in question appeared enthralled with the picture still. Angel hung his head over his arm, both of you sat like an audience to the unfolding events. Even with Vaggie pleading with Charlie, she seemed set on enlisting the ‘help’ of Alastor.

It took a long moment of contemplation, but she eventually turned to Alastor and he, in turn, faced her as well. The conversation lasted only a few moments, but as the Radio Demon snapped his fingers together in a flash of green light, a blast of energy of raw power (similar to what Vaggie had mentioned) engulfing the room in a bright hue. It felt far more intense, like a wave crashing over you.

And in that moment, you began to realize why it didn’t feel all that foreign.

Angel shot you a strange look, but you were in a daze, your mind blank but so full of memories that weren’t memories, in a sense, but feelings. And as fast as the wave had hit you, it had passed. With a couple of blinks, you shake your head, clearing your throat, and leaned back onto the dusty couch, watching as the chaos raged on. With some sweet words, Charlie had seemed to win over the Radio Demon. The microphone that’d been in Alastor’s left hand vanished like magic as he proceeded to make his way to the centre of the hall. Angel Dust had found his way to the counter of the front desk, leant against it while simultaneously leaving you alone once again. Alastor took his time, humming away to tune that was similar to the one he had been singing prior as he strolled around, inspecting the hotel until he came full circle to Charlie’s side.

“So where is your hotel staff?” He inquired, bending down to Charlie’s height with an eternally stretched smile. He knitted his arms behind his back like a proper gentleman, keeping that uncomfortable distance between them all the while.

“Uh… well…” Charlie mused, hands pressed together as if she was praying for a miracle. Like clockwork, Alastor rose, facing Vaggie who shot daggers at him from where she stood. Fixing his monocle, the demon didn’t hesitate to share his disappointment with the so called ‘staff’.

“Oh ho, ho, no, you’re going to need more than that.” The clicking of his shoes faded away as he walked in the direction of Angel, who was now sitting on a stool, lips pursed.

“And what can you do my efemininent fellow?”

“I can suck ‘yer dick.”

You could hear a pin drop, your jaw dropping. And then it occurred to you that it probably wasn’t that strange at all for Angel to say it so bluntly-- after all, it’s what he did on the daily as a porn star. “HA!” Alastor exclaimed, the ‘amusement’ on his face quickly dropped.

No.

He scoffed, amused, “‘Yer loss.”

You’d been watching the whole time and somehow, it didn’t click that Alastor was making a beeline straight for you. Even when he bent to your height, he still towered above you, a shadow falling over his face as he beamed at you.

“And how about you, darling? I suppose you are a bit more promising!” It was as if he was just going around asking, already hellbent on the idea that this shit show was not a hotel in the least.

“Oh, I uh…” you trailed off, tongue tied in knots. “I’m just here as a guest.” Each word was torture as you forced them out. Alastor simply tilted his head, your own snapping to Charlie and Vaggie as he leaned in closer, as if he was feeding off your reaction of invading your personal space. But they weren’t much help-- they only shrugged. At least Charlie smiled reassuringly.

“Then why does it say ‘staff’, right here?” Alastor asked, the microphone soon in his hand as he tapped the end against your shirt.

You looked down, mouth suddenly dry.

Shit.

Chapter Text

Your heart thrummed in your chest; the intensity of how he stared at you expectantly made your stomach coil. It felt as if your stomach and heart had switched places; repulsed by, no, not the mere sight of him, but instead the feeling of being expected to answer in a way that would satisfy his pestering. You weren’t sure why his proximity bothered you so much; no one else’s did. It was probably because he had a flare about him that screamed danger; an eternal shadow that cooked up schemes when your back was turned.

You couldn’t bring yourself to answer him verbally, so you simply shrug your shoulders. “No organization,” he muttered, perhaps the quietest you had ever heard him thus far. Until this point, you had been unsure if it was truly possible for him to even achieve. His eyes narrowed at the wall behind your head for a moment, before taking his microphone stand off of your chest, and briskly turning around.

“No, no, this won’t do, not at all!” There it was. The exuberant personality that made you let out a breath you didn’t know you were holding in for so long. At least you weren’t the point of his focus now— aaand you spoke too soon. With a wave of his finger, he summoned a broom and tossed it to you; instinctively you flinched but, with barely successful accuracy, you had caught it. He seemed pleased in some sort of way, as if all his plans were starting to come together one way or another.

“Congratulations-“ he paused, bowing as if he had just performed a grand show: “-you’ve been promoted to Cleaner! Now,” He clasped his hands together in a pleasant manner, eyes closing momentarily to accommodate it. He took a long look around, putting a hand to his chin before, almost impossibly, his grin extended.

“I suppose it wouldn’t be fair to leave you to all this.“ he waved his hand in to show you the wreck that just so happened to be the hotel.

Clearing your throat, you stood up from off the couch, only to watch as Charlie and Vaggie soon followed after him. You supposed you should too. Hesitantly, you stood next to Charlie, suddenly comforted by her presence. It felt easier to breathe; an act of kindness goes a long way. Nevertheless, you turned your attention back to the fire pit that was extinguished, listening in as he claimed that he could ‘cash in some favors.

With a snap of his finger, it erupted in flames, bringing with it an inky black mass that fell to the bottom, seemingly unaffected from the fire but nonetheless remaining motionless. Alastor didn’t seem fazed, not that you were expecting him to be considering how he had created whatever it was, and only walked towards it, bending down to pick it up by some sort of fabric.

Only for a singular orange eye to pop open.

For a long moment it remained vacant, void of life before suddenly snapping up and staring directly at you. Your mouth, previously closed, hung ajar. You only regained your composure when you felt someone leaning over your shoulder: Angel. “The fuck is that.”

His question was answered soon enough, turning your attention back to see that the black mass had turned into a very bright, rather adorable, cyclops. “This little darling is Niffty!” He dropped her, and you were expecting a fall from that height for such a little creature would elicit some sort of recovery period from ‘Niffty’, but it did not seem to be such.

“Hi! I’m Niffty,” she greeted, grinning ear to ear; “It’s nice to meet you!” Her pupil went from one to another, only increasing in speed that you had to look away to not get dizzy. “It’s been a while since I’ve made new friends,” she paused a millisecond before continuing, pointing her finger and shaking her head in a confused manner: “Why’re you all women?”

Your eyebrows shot up, looking over at Charlie who seemed pleased with this new development, Vaggie who was standoffish, and Angel who seemed offended. Within the time you could blink, you were suddenly being lifted off the ground with inhuman strength, a gasp fleeing from your lips as the sound of Vaggie’s spear alerted you.

“Are there any men here!? I’m sorry that was rude. Ohh man! This place is filthy!” If you had thought Alastor’s energy was infinite, you were beginning to think otherwise. “It really needs a lady’s touch, which is weird because you’re all ladies, no offense but this is awful!”

You couldn’t help but be slightly amused by the creature’s antics, eyes wide and following the fast-moving Niffty as she climbed different furniture, dusting around and making sure everything was in tip-top shape. You hadn’t realized you were meant to work with her until you remembered the broom in your hand.

“Hah! Read ‘em and weep boys, full oooo-“ Your attention was pulled to the front of the room along with everyone else, the air turning staticky with a sheer intensity before fading out altogether. There was a nearly perfect cut out room illuminated with the same green hue as seen when Alastor had attempted to persuade Charlie into a deal.
You instantly knew that he had something to do with this.

“-the hell? What the fuck is this?” The winged cat demon, which had been rudely interrupted in his game of Poker, spoke mostly to himself, eyes frantically searching the new establishment that he had found himself teleported to. Alastor, hand on his hip, awaited for some type of signal from the newcomer. In the meantime, you remained silent, inquisitively watching the events unfold.

At last, the demon’s gaze met Alastor’s presence, and immediately began pointing at him: “You.” It became apparent that they knew each other in some sort of way; either that, or Alastor was so well known and feared that even the gamblers and drunks spent time listening to his story. It was weird seeing that this man adorned in a red outfit, was capable of such horrors. But this was Hell, and with his showcase of what powers he had, you didn’t doubt the rumors.

“Ah, Husker! My good friend,” he put his hand on Husker’s shoulder, only to be roughly pushed off-

“Don’t you ‘Husker’ me, you son of a bitch. I was ABOUT to win the entire pot!” He motioned towards the table, the money losing transparency and fading away. Hands behind his back, Alastor simply smiled.

“Good to see you too.”

Facepalming, he grumbled: “What the hell do ‘ya want with me this time?” You remained watching the entirety of the scene unfold; truly, this was the most entertained you had felt in a long time, despite, y’know, the very real danger that was making his way around the Hotel and talking up the commoners.

“My friend,” he hooked his arm around his shoulders, leaning into his side, “I am doing some charity work, so I took it upon myself to volunteer your services! I hope that’s okay.”

“Are you shittin’ me!?”

He hummed, “No, I don’t think so!” And audience laugh that resounded around you made you instinctively look around as if you were truly being filmed. The others did too before shrugging it off and letting it be; surely, it was not the craziest thing you had seen in the few hours you had been down here.

“You thought it would be some kind of big fuckin’ riot, just to pull me out of nowhere!?” Husk yelled. Alastor adjusted his sleeve, smiling to himself all the while, “you think I’m some kind of fuckin’ clown!?”

He now smiled, but without baring his teeth. It was almost as if he was holding in laughter.

“Maybe.”

The same sound of audience noise arose again, but you ignored it, fairly certain who it was coming from. Walking past ‘Husker’, the Radio Demon suddenly appeared out of thin air behind him, just as he finished his sentence of: “I ain’t doin’ no charity job…

Holding him in a tight grasp, the demon exclaimed: “Well I figured you would be the perfect face to man the front desk of this fine establishment.” He motioned toward the bar that had come with the new room. “With your charming smile-“ his fingers found Husker’s lips and spread them apart into a forced grin, and you were in just the right position to see him frown not even a second after.

“-and welcoming energy, this job was MADE for you!” He walked away, holding his hand to his chest; a crooked grin that you could only see the side of from your positioning (which just so happened to be leaning against the wall now), forming on his face as he looked back momentarily. Nevertheless, he continued on his way towards the bar, Husk continuing to frown in his direction.

“Don’t worry my friend! I can make this more welcoming, if you wish.” He turned around, hands in the air and, after a moment of motioning with them, a bottle that you couldn’t see the title of appeared on the counter. Folding your arms, you brought your attention back to the broom that still remained in your hand.

Right.

You began sweeping aimlessly, without any real purpose other than trying to contribute. Niffty had been standing nearby, the small cloud of dust that swirled in front of her face caught her attention as did the majority of other things. She hadn’t been lying when she said this place was filthy! Her single eye darted in the direction it’d come from to see you sweeping away - bouncing on her toes already as she zipped in front of you.

Your work was short lived, now staring at the little...demon girl as she held a brush twice her size.

“You! Lady - you’re a cleaner too!” She chimed, tiny frame almost a blur as she continued to bounce around. You nod, uncertain how to respond as you picked words from your brain.

“I just started, I guess.” You told her your name.

“Niffty! Nice to meet you! Oh my goodness it’s so exciting to meet someone who likes cleaning as much as I do!” She held out a hand, forcing you to bend down and shake. You couldn’t help the small smile that formed on your lips; her energy was contagious.

Alastor had seemingly pulled her from thin air, and whilst they were both spunky, she seemed too small and too sweet to be associated with him. Yet, you continued to remind yourself that you were, in fact, hell.

“You missed a spot over there! And there! And there!” Niffty suddenly piped up, pointing all over the room. You were lost for words as the demon began to sweep where you were.

“I’ll do here, and the upstairs, and everywhere else!” She exclaimed.

“Oh - okay then!” You watched as she darted around in a flurry of pinks, reds, whites, and oranges. Your eyes flicker down to your broom, a soft smile forming at your lips— surely, cleaning couldn’t be that hard.

You glanced around the hotel and immediately realized your mistake. Oh boy.

Chapter Text

For the two minutes you’d been sweeping, it felt like an eternity - the wooden handle of the broom digging into the soft flesh of your palm; it was bad enough you were being directed to a new spot every other second, but the pain was an unwelcome bonus.

Meanwhile, chaos continued to erupt over by the bar.

“Hey - hey, hey hey hey!” Vaggie had placed herself between the group and the bar; arms outstretched as if she were trying to hide it behind herself. “No!

“No bar, no alcohol!” She declared, limbs moving in a furious attempt to take into account what was happening. “This is supposed to be a place that discourages sin. Not some kind of mouth, brothel, man cave!” She finally thrust a finger in the direction of the bar; Husker practically inhaling his cheap booze without a care in Hell. From where you were, you had the perfect view to see Angel Dust suddenly charging across the floor, gracefully leaping into the air like some sort of predator, his words slurring together as he flew.

SHADDUP!” He howled, tackling the goth demon to the ground with less grace.
“SHUT. UP!” His gaze burnt into her skull, taking on a deathly serious tone. You couldn’t quite make out what he said, but he point his arms towards the bar; Husker included as the spider slid from the ground and skid along the counter - face inches from the gambler.

Heeey~

“Go fuck yourself.” There was no hesitation from Husker as he attempted to avoid the insistent spider; Angel Dust capturing his face in his many hands and luring him closer with a bold:

“Only if you watch me.” You almost felt pity for Husker. Being assaulted by one demon after another wasn't much fun. Angel Dust was cast aside, holding his composure perfectly as he merely rest a hand against his hips and sauntered off. Charlie however, was strung across her bar; her hand extended to Husker as she radiated a postivity the likes you presumed was rare in Hell - and you felt moody just watching her.

The way she bounced excitedly like Niffty, her broad grin, you couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by the display. Although, another feeling soon crawled across your skin, one that caused you to straighten up in impending fear - a blur of red passing by you; Alastor soon in your field of vision as you realised you hadn’t known where he was until he’d walked past.

It unnerved you, to say the least. Where had he been all that time?

The thought only made your skin crawl with something akin to uncertainty, untrustworthiness; something that continued telling you that you shouldn’t have taken your eyes off him - but it was impossible to watch him at all times. No, cut yourself some slack, it wasn’t your job to watch him. It was your job to sweep.

“Sooo,” he began, Charlie whipped around to acknowledge him, “whaddya’ think?” You tried your best to keep them in your peripheral vision, nevertheless eavesdropping on the conversation anyway. It wasn’t like you could get reprimanded for it. You dusted some glass shards away, a sigh befalling your lips.

“This is amAZING!” She squealed, reminding you of a child that’d just opened what was the best present in the world; your eyebrows slowly perking up as you watched radio demon batted his eyelashes at her with a sweet smile. Everybody seemed to be destroying any perceptions you’d already developed, or thought. Charlie, the apparent ‘Princess of Hell’, had to have been the most happy-go-lucky person you’d met in both life and death— not like you could remember anything from your actual life, yet.

Meanwhile, the acclaimed Radio Demon, who’d broadcast what was essentially mass genocide across Hell was attempting to win the award for Miss Universe with those looks. The thought made you breathe harshly out of your nose in sheer humor. Still, he was a force to be reckoned with, it was common knowledge at this point.

“It’s okay.” Vaggie huffed, injecting herself into the conversation - Alastor’s attention moving over to her with that same, unnerving smile. He swept them both up in his arms without a moment's thought. You stopped sweeping for the briefest of moments, your eyebrows raised in concern. Charlie had only even been nice to you so far; and at this moment, you could only begin to understand why Vaggie was so insistent about keeping the Radio Demon a good distance away.

Ha ha ha! Well!” It almost sounded sarcastic as he laughed through the static that disguised his voice. “This is going to be VERY entertaining!” Vaggie was thrown to one side for the second time since you’d been at the hotel. Alastor clicking his fingers as a flame lit above his palm. The breath caught in your throat as music erupted from no-where. He shoved Vaggie to the side, your eyebrows raised. Swallowing your uncertainty, you watched from the center of the room to where Angel Dust was just barely managing to keep her under control.

It wasn’t like you could do anything really, so you remained as a support. You remained in an inanimate position, leaning on your broom in an attempt to appease the situation however you could. Things had amazingly gone from strange to stranger in record time, even as you tried to process what was happening in the first place.

Was he going to sing? Was he really going to sing?

The answer already announced the second he opened his mouth. The new suit he donned—somehow—adding to your confusion.

“You have a dream!” He began, your mouth agape as you watched him take Charlie’s arms, spinning her around as her expression lit up further. A feat you hadn’t been sure was even possible.

“You wish to tell-” he bowed, still towering over her as he swirled a finger above Charlie’s head - her hair winding up and suddenly nestled beneath a hat as a dress fell across her frame, “-and it’s just laughable!” It was hard to keep up with what was going on - Alastor moving so quick that by the time you’d blinked he was hovering above a fuming Vaggie; then he was holding Charlie before tossing her up.

“But hey kid, what the hell!” Alastor declared, his hand raised as he waited for gravity to bring Charlie down. Three individual notes sounding out, each one striking fear into your heart as the band struck up - the lights getting brighter, harsher and more colourful with them resounding around you. You squint in the neon scenery, the hotel completely transformed as Alastor and Charlie danced away atop the stairs.

“Cause you’re one of a kind!” You clutched the broom tight as you watched them do the Charleston; gaze flickering towards the bar to find that everyone, including Niffty, remained there - albeit Vaggie still tried to maintain proximity to Charlie. “Charming demon belle!” There was barely time for you to step back as Alastor and Charlie slid down the bannister, hand in hand - hurtling past you as you stifled a yelp.

Your back hit the wall, the pair continuing on merilly.

“Now let’s give these burning fools a place to dwell!” You heard Alastor sing, a click of his fingers following and you found yourself gawking at those standing by the bar - their outfits changed in an instant. The fear swelling to pure terror inside yourself as you felt the weight on your body shift - you were lighter; a swing dress clinging to your frame perfectly, a hat on top of your head.

And the broom - you threw it aside with a yell, the arms of the suit flailing helplessly as it fell to the floor, nothing to support it. Why did it need a suit? It wasn’t even alive! You had no time to think about such trivial things.

Take it boys!” Alastor chimed- six shadow like demons popping from the floor with an array of different horns. Trumpets, tubas, you attempt to scoot out of their way, only isolating yourself further as you stepped back towards the entrance.

As your fingers grasped the handle however, the soft clink of chains and feel of a padlock told you that you couldn’t run even if you wanted to.

Vaggie was soon tossed aside like a ragdoll once more as she attempted to reach Charlie, who seemed to be having genuine fun. The Radio Demon grouped them all together, laughing as the band played, more shadow concoctions appearing around the group with such ferocity that you knew they meant ill.

“Inside of every demon is a lost cause!” Alastor continued as everybody slipped back into their previous positions. With a hug and a hat given to both Angel Dust and Husker (the latter of whom returned the gesture with a middle finger), Alastor slid over to Vaggie.

She stood with her arms folded; a hat adoring her head in an instant as the radio demon tapped her with the microphone stand: a stuffed fox soon curled around her shoulders. As if he hadn’t annoyed her enough, he gave her a slap on the ass before going on his merry way - Vaggie never looked so furious.

“And we’ll ornate this cesspool!” Alastor sang, kicking aside a shadow demon into oblivion as he strolled and danced his way along the red carpet and straight towards you.

Towards you? Realization hit you like a ton of bricks.

Oh God, oh no - you leant back into the door as your insides danced in their own way.

“With some old redemption flair,” With a skip and a bound and a swing of his stand, the demon ripped you from the safe haven of the door. You didn’t know what to do - how to dance, you felt sick, spun around in a flurry as the radio demon dragged you across the floor.

“And show these simpletons some proper class and style!” You were led towards the fireplace, dancing all the way as the demon beamed at you and your clumsy footwork as you tried to keep up with him, let alone dance.

“Here below ground-” you finally stopped, let go as you tried to regain your balance, stumbling nevertheless. He tapped the fireplace with the stand and the next thing you knew you were sandwiched against his side once again - staring directly into the burning eyes of a shadow that looked completely like him, its grip tight on your shoulder as it almost enveloped you both.

You nearly screamed, staggering back and bumping into one of the smaller shadow demons. It spun around and leapt up, blaring it’s horn right in your face, Alastor soon by your side as you were swept away to dance once more.

“I’m sure your plan is sound!” Alastor cooed, casting a glance to Charlie as she tapped her foot away to the beat - attempting to get Vaggie to dance too. All the while, you stared in horror at the demon, his hands clasped just a bit too tight around your own. His attention returning to you as his smile only grew, eyes narrowing slightly.

“They’ll spend a little time-” he sang, certain you were going to vomit as he spun you around, once, twice, your stomach lurching with each turn, suddenly let go. You almost tumbled over, staggering back towards Niffty who danced eagerly in the centre of the floor. She’d jumped up, catching your hands as you fell past her, swinging you back into balance - a nervous laugh passing your lips as she grinned; a crazed shine to her eye.

Alastor now stood before you all, his arm outstretched for his grand finale.

“Down at this Hazbin Ho-” what? To think things had been going fast before; in a fraction of a millisecond, a bright orange light exploded behind Alastor. There was an explosion, from what you could witness from your viewpoint. Beyond all of the chaos, you heard Niffty yell.

Suddenly, she was not next to you.

Surprised and immediately concerned because you were certain you’d just seen half the wall flying in your direction only a moment before.

Oh, you were still holding onto him.

“Watch yourself there!” Alastor exclaimed as you slid from his frame, legs jelly. “Why, you almost lost your head there, dear!” How could he be so calm? A flurry of thoughts as you ripped yourself from his grasp: What was going on? Was Niffty alright? You turned in the direction of the demon, her tiny body arising from the rubble with a cheer and a bold ‘again!’.

You breathed an audible sigh of relief.

You turned back around, noticing through the rubble and smoke that the wall you had been leaning against before the entire fiasco was missing and— was that a zeppelin? You joined the crowd that was peering out of the gaping hole now; then and only then did you actually see the pilot of said zeppelin.

HAH!” The snake cackled. “Well, well, well, look who it is harboring the striped freak!“ You watched from behind the safety of the remaining wall as the others strode out casually to confront the individual.

“We meet again, Alastor!”

“Do I know you?” Stranger to some degree, you assumed. The snake’s hood flared up, anger etched in his features as he leered at the radio demon.

OH YES you do-” he hissed, retreating back into the ship and out of view momentarily. “-and this time I have the element of SSSURPISE~!” Even from your post, you were mortified as you watched the group of demons you’d only known for about thirty minutes came face to face with a gun larger than them all.

As it powered up, a blinding light forced you to shield your eyes - a chorus of laughter accompanying it.

Until it dimmed, the air sucked from your lungs as sheer dread began to swell within you. It was not a nice feeling; it was uncomfortable and coiled in the pit of your stomach, even as the blood simultaneously drained from your face.

The air was static, stronger than before. Even from the distance you stood, it made the hairs on your arms stand on end.

It was like reality had been ripped apart at the seams, what looked like tentacles protruding from the earth itself and crushing the zeppelin with monstrous precision and force, damaging every inch of the ship. You could see Alastor’s hand move, the dread only intensifying as you looked at him, unable to look elsewhere; somehow knowing he was still smiling.

Then, BOOM - the blast from the explosion had you fall back onto your rear, hands splayed out behind you. Taking a glance around, your eyes fell to his form; an expression of utter satisfaction adorned his features, the light from the explosion created almost malicious shadows that danced across his face.

Your chest heaved in short, sharp breaths - Alastor’s voice so loud that you were certain all of Hell could hear him as he casually turned on his heel and began to head back for the hotel.

Well!” He declared, “I’m starved, who wants some jambalaya? My mother once showed me a wonderful recipe for jambalaya, in fact, it nearly killed her hahaha! You could say the kick was right out of Hell!” He laughed, his voice growing louder the closer he got to the hotel.

“I’m on a roll! Yes sir, THIS is a start of some real changes down here!” All you could hear was him rambling on - barely noticing him pass, even as he side-eyed you.

“Come now, everybody’s invited! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to all dine together to celebrate the grand opening of this hotel?” You felt as if all the weight of the world was crashing down around you. Charlie was busily soothing Vaggie as they passed, Husker storming ahead with Angel Dust hot on his heels - the spider hesitating as he saw you still frozen to the spot.

“Hey toots,” he began, curiously raising an eyebrow as he glanced back at the others, “ya don’t look so good…” he trailed off, brows knit together; his lower set of arms reaching for the fluffy peaks of fur that protruded from his cleavage.

“‘M sure if ya asked nicely, that gorgeous fella over there might give you a free drink.” Angel Dust chuckled, as he ‘adjusted’ himself with a wink, using a spare arm to run his fingers through his hair. You weren’t as amused though, the spider only scowling after a moments awkwardness.

“Well, whatever, ‘yer no fun,” he huffed with a shrug of his shoulders, “‘yer loss.”
It took awhile for you to even stand. Every inch of your frame shaking uncontrollably as it settled in; this was your new home and if your experiences were anything to go by—

You swallowed. The thought of sleep was nearly irresistible; silently, you attempted to creep away. Perhaps it would be best if you went to bed early and never woke up again.

This Hotel would surely lead to your demise.

“And where do you think you’re going, my dear?” The harsh crackle of static caught you off guard as you were confronted by the radio demon. His grin grew in intensity, you yourself shrinking back from how he leered over you intimidatingly.

You felt nauseated, a frown beginning to form at the base of your lips. “Wouldn’t you care to stay a little longer?” He tilted his head to the side.

“I-" you cut yourself off, “-I just don’t have an appetite right now, so if you’ll excuse me-" you gave a nervous laugh, half-hearted as you side-stepped away from his demanding presence.

He didn’t move, only watching you in curiosity as you retreated from the scene.

Chapter Text

You woke up in a cold sweat.

It was a dreamless sleep, something that you couldn’t remember-- ironic for your case. It was a voidless expanse that had kept you safe from those that went bump in the night; a security you had not known in a long time. You had sought out your sleep with determination, and it had swept over you like a shadow; precise, knowing, welcoming. At last, you were offered some sort of relief from the stress of your day. Nevertheless, you now sat upon your sheets, sticky from your sweat, drenched, uncomfortable. 

Kicking the quilt off of you, you combed your hand through your hair: a hiss escaping your lips as your hand got entangled in a knot. Right, of course there would be knots when you were dead. This was Hell, after all. Pulling your hand out the same way it had gone in, you gave a heavy sigh, and letting your feet touch the floor. The bed wasn’t the most comfortable, you grimaced as you stretched, but it did its job well enough. The floor was cold, but you managed to tough it out.

The floorboards creaked with each step you took, some sturdier than others, some weaker and louder. Other than that, it was the first time you had actually gotten a good look at the room. There was a red rug that expanded at the foot of your bed, random designs integrated around the texture of it. It was soft, plush— it made you want to curl your toes in it. Despite the temptation, you refrained from doing so. Still, you stood upon it. 

The room, despite the slightly uncomfortable bed and the creaky floorboards, was absolutely gorgeous. If not a bit bright for your liking but nevertheless something that made you feel…entitled. It looked like it was something out of the Victorian Era, and no doubt would cost a pretty penny. 

The bed covers itself were thick; fluffed and primed, a deep maroon with diluted red pillows. Red was a common theme around here, you suddenly realized. There was an intricate wooden frame, dark wood that had carvings within it: you turned around, hesitating to brush your fingers along it as if you hadn’t already slept in what it supported. The smallest of smiles appeared upon your lips. 

The room itself had the same wallpaper as the rest of the interior of the Hotel, not that you minded, of course. You were more in awe that you had been so tired you hadn’t realized the sheer wonder of a simple hotel room. For the moment, all of your worries and woes were gone; only to be replaced with wonder. There was a sense of responsibility that flooded your body as you took a look around further. The closet was smaller, more adequate to fit a simpler wardrobe; and hopeful, you opened it. 

There was nothing inside. You really needed to get more clothes. These, you looked down at the shirt you were wearing: it smelled of ash and something else you couldn’t quite place. Your attention soon fluttered to another door separate to the one that you knew exited the room. Walking over, you twisted the knob; even the knob itself was a golden color. 

Whether it was real or not was up to later interpreting. Hell seemed to have the same basic fundamentals of what was found on Earth, you guesswith . Then again, perhaps everything was made on a whim. You didn’t complain. You allowed the door to swing open, eyebrows rising as it led to an extravagant bathroom. There was a tub, laced with white and red roses; as well as a walk in shower. Of course, there was a toilet as well as a sink, but you brushed them off to immediately explore your surroundings more.  

You knew immediately what you were going to do. 

Making sure everything was there and wouldn’t disappear on you, you stripped and stepped into the shower. A yelp echoed as you turned it on- a stream of ice cold water electrifying your skin. Well, maybe you had been a bit too eager. Turning the knob, you set it on the right temperature, it transitioning rather quickly which you were relieved about. Standing in the corner, naked and freezing, was never good for anyone. You stood under the shower head, closing your eyes and letting the water drown your thoughts and dampen your hair. 

The shampoo was first, and you took a dollop of it in your hand before spreading it through your hair. You felt… safe, confined in the space of warm water and something-smelling shampoo. You weren’t sure what it was, but boy did it smell nice. You rinsed that out and turned to the conditioner, before finally shaving. 

Upon stepping out of the shower, you felt relieved. Giddy. Determined. The past events had not yet clicked in your mind as you ran off this high of just being clean. It felt as if you were committing a sin by getting back into the same pair of clothes. You were now desperate to get some new ones, though you would need some sort of cash, wouldn’t you? 

You looked down at the pile of clothes with a frown, before finally deciding to stay in your towel for a moment and comb your hair. Everything was laid out as if the bathroom itself had been expecting you. You recalled Niffty telling you that she would be the one cleaning the upstairs; so you supposed you had her to thank for leaving it completely spotless. Just as you were about to finish combing your hair, a knock resounded from the door outside, before another in quick succession. 

And then, before you could even put the brush down, the door flew open and a blur of pink, white, and yellow raced towards you. 

“What’re you doing!? Oh my gosh, you can’t be late on your first real day on the job! Come on!” By the time your brain had registered that it was in fact Niffty, you were already being dragged out of the bathroom, through the bedroom and right down the hallway. “Niffty!” You yelled, digging your heels into the ground to slow her down. For such a tiny girl, she possessed a strength that was entirely inhuman. At last, despite the rug burn on your feet, she stopped, a singular wide eye looking up at you as if to ask ‘what?’.

And then it trailed down your form. 

“Oh no, that won’t do.” She pointed, a sneer on her face. It was perhaps the quietest you had ever heard her, a whisper mostly to herself before suddenly you were being dragged back to your room. Upon reaching the door, she ushered you in hastily: “Come on, there’s no time to waste!” A hesitant, amused smile at her antics crossed your face for the briefest of moments as she tapped her foot impatiently, with the speed in which it blurred. 

Closing the door, you walked over to the bathroom and put on the shirt, pants, socks, and tie your sneakers that had been given to you by Charlie; stating that she didn’t need them anymore. They were worn down, but not enough for you to be desperate for a new pair. It was better than the risk of walking on sharp glass with just socks on. 

As you reopened the door and stepped out, there was a small ‘come on!’ that you barely heard, because it was from down the hall. And there she was, bouncing up and down as if she couldn’t wait to start cleaning. She waited for you to catch up to her, in the meantime dusting the railing and other things that she had somehow missed. Picking up your pace, you met her halfway, stifling a yawn with your hand as you followed her down the steps. Niffty must have been working overtime, especially after the shenanigans of yesterday, for even the railings were smooth and shiny. You walked down the stairs slowly, noting how everyone was already awake and dousing each other in conversation.

There was Angel Dust, who was lounging on the couch with his pet pig (the name was something you had forgotten), the red morning light trickling in with a sinister welcome. Vaggie was sitting at the furthest end, eyeing… you followed her gaze, pausing as you noted that Charlie and Alastor were chatting about something that you could only grab bits and pieces about. Upon your entrance, he turned his attention from the rosy-cheeked woman, eyeing you with something akin to a mixture of silent impishness and curiosity. 

Your broom, now without the jacket and hat, was situated against the railing at the bottom; so without further ado, you made your way down the rest of the flight of stairs.

There was a crackling in the air that reminded you of radio silence, but it was too soft for you to actually take notice. “Hello, valued employee!” The chipper voice of Charlie pulled you away from your silent observations. Turning around, your broom now in your hand, you tossed her a small smile. “Hi Charlie,” you greeted in an oddly friendly manner; perhaps it was because her own happiness was contagious. She looked as if she were ready to strike up a conversation, but she caught someone’s eye--you assumed Vaggie’s—and excused herself. 

You barely had time to start your duties before the tell-tale sound of someone else approaching caught your attention. At the moment, you could not base who it was strictly by the sounds they made when they walked; no doubt something that would be a subconscious thing you learned within time: the feeling of dread creeping up on your shoulder made you second guess it was Niffty or anyone that was a welcomed presence. “Good morning, my friend!” You visibly jumped, your determined and spunky outlook on the day diminishing in a millisecond. 

Why did it have to be him?

You dreaded the conversation immediately, already looking for a way out before you finally found what remaining courage you had stored within you to turn around. There was a lingering sensation of dread as you tilted your head up to meet his gaze; his grin extending from ear to ear, only eliciting a forced, meager smile from you. “Sleep well?” He was quite sure you didn’t, simply by the dark circles under your eyes; but that didn’t mean he couldn’t point it out. He seemed pleased when you narrowed your eyes; and it became clear to you that his only intention there had been to get a rise out of you; his eyes crinkling at the ends before he continued on: “Well, I sure hope you did! Because there is a LOT of work to do today!” he laughed, and you felt like it was almost targeted at you because he didn’t have to do anything he didn’t want to. 

You weren’t sure how to respond, so you didn’t. Instead, you watched him snap his fingers and low and behold, a neatly folded paper found its way into his palm. 

Prideful and expectant, he held it out to you, which you took. Opening it up, it rolled out of itself, down upon the floor and curling around your feet once. Your face lost its complexion, blood draining. There was an assortment of ambience in the room whenever he was in it; and now that he was as close as he was, and the sheer amusement you could just feel oozing off of him in waves; you noted an audience laugh that was riddled with static and something that reminded you of an old radio being tuned into station. 

Your eyes scanned the list frantically, thankfully, a lot of it was mainstream things that you supposed you would do any day of the week: dust the counters, make sure the floors are polished, and an array of other things. Only noticing that Niffty had now joined you and had picked up the list from the bottom, you felt a frown deepen your expression. This was a week’s worth of work right here, and he was expecting you to do it in a day? 

You felt him lean in, his odd ambience distorted further into something ominous, fragments of pleasant music splayed within the distortion. You look up-- he towered over you — his large, impish smile greeting your disbelief and agitation with amusement. “Best get started,” he lowered his voice, the sounds only growing more twisted as the hairs along your neck began to stand on end. Your instincts told you to get the fuck away from him right then and there.

You side-stepped away, before tearing your gaze away. “Come on, Niffty.” Your words were strained, clearing your throat as you took the list and began the back-breaking were you were more than sure you were in store for. She took your hand and skipped forward, a grin on her face as if she were truly excited for the day to begin. You, however, were only dreading it, and it had barely begun.

The first two hours had been to the point well enough, sweeping away the impurities and rubble that the blast in the wall had made. Bricks that had lost their structure were put in a large bag, while Niffty worked on stacking the bricks and lathering them with cement. What she couldn’t reach, you helped with, in which you would receive a curtsy. At first it had caught you off-guard, so you released a laugh before you could hide it. 

She beamed up at you: “Between you and I-” You stacked one final brick before turning to face her, hands on your hips and an eyebrow raised. “I don’t think us ladies should be doing this! It’s a man’s job.” She whispered, leaning forward with a hand at the side of her face as if she were telling you a secret before looking over her shoulder to look at Husker at the bar, who was downing a bottle of liquor, and then to Alastor. He was lounging on the couch, his shit eating grin almost relaxed as he conversed with the commoners. 

Your fist clenched. 

“Mopping and dusting and-” she rambled on, stating different things that sounded far more fetching that building up a wall that had been blown to smithereens. You let out a heavy sigh, wiping off a bead of sweat from your head. “Well, we’re done with the wall, just have to let it dry and then we can paint it.” She was giddy, her energy absolutely unending. “Oh! I love painting, but it does get messy! So we have to get you an apron and gloves and oh man!” She was now skidding off to another corner of the room before she even finished her thought. 

A snuffling sound caught your attention quickly, followed by a gleeful little oink, before turning to see the last thing you wanted. There was Angel’s pig, standing in the wet cement pan. “H-hey...” You began walking over to it, trying your best to keep the pig in the pan so it didn’t trek wet cement throughout the polished floors.

“FAT NUGGETS~!”

For the second time that day, the blood drained from your face as you watched the pig immediately dart towards Angel Dust who had been searching for his pet to feed it. 

Oh, fuck.

You watched helplessly as it trekked hoofprints throughout the hotel, your hands immediately going to your hair and fisting it as if you were ready to rip it out. You had just finished polishing that spot. The thought of turning the pig into bacon wasn’t the first thought that crossed your mind as you watched the spider demon pick it up and start cuddling, ignoring the fact that he was getting wet cement all over himself.

“Oh, what a shame.” You just about jumped ten feet in the air, whipping your head so quickly to the side you nearly gave yourself whiplash. There he was, standing right next to you casually as if he had been having a friendly conversation just a moment ago. Except, he had not been; he had been nowhere near you to get there without you noticing. “Better start again,” he grinned down at you like the asshole he was, and you felt your lungs inhale an absolutely enormous breath as if you were ready to throw down right then and there.  

He looked smug, hands behind his back as he watched you storm off. Shaking his head, he looked over to the bar: “Ah, Husker! My good friend--!” there was a loud groan and a ‘fuck off’ in the background.

Just as you were about to pick up the cleaning supplies again, you heard your name being called gently, only for you to turn around again. Charlie. Her mouth was pulled in an understanding smile, and it nearly made you breathe out a sigh of relief because you knew she wasn’t here to badger you for something else. Alastor already seemed to have that under control well enough for you to actually consider second-degree murder. Taking your hand, you scrunched up your eyebrows as she led you to the hallway and into a spare guest room.

There, she let go of your hand and walked towards the bed, sitting atop of it and patting next to her. After some confusion, you swallowed your uncertainty and sat next to her. For a long moment there was silence, “It’s hard down here, as I’m sure you can already see...” She gave a half-hearted laugh, but you could tell that there was some sadness in her tone. Was this supposed to be a heart-to-heart? Whatever it was, you drank up the information eagerly. “To survive down here, you need to adapt.” She paused, glancing over at you. 

Charlie hesitated for a moment, before placing a hand on your shoulder. “You’re going to get pushed to the brink, you’re going to be humiliated.” A pause for a breath, and then she retracted her hand. “If there’s one thing my dad has taught me, it’s that you don’t take shit from other demons!” She mocked his voice, in which you returned the same half-hearted smile she had tossed to you earlier. But it didn’t last long, your eyes drifting to the quilt that was as equally fluffy as your own. You felt cold, sick, a weight on your shoulders as you held her trusting gaze. You felt like you didn’t deserve it.

“Charlie, I-” you cut yourself off, looking up at her with a teary gaze. She was surprised, to say the least.

“I lied to you.”

The words left your lips faster than you could stop them from spilling the truth, soft, embarrassed. It felt as if a heavy weight had been lifted off your shoulders; her eyebrows were now risen in curiosity and confusion. Shifting yourself, you sat cross-legged on the bed, facing her completely now. “I… I don’t remember anything. I don’t remember why I’m here, what I did, what happened to me, how I died, how I-” 

You were rambling now, tears blurring your vision until you closed them, letting them escape and stream down your face. “It’s okay.” Charlie hadn’t ever met someone who couldn’t remember, but she was entirely certain she would have plenty more experiences; the new souls were seemingly infinite, and it only increased the population of Hell. 

“I opened this Hotel in hopes to rehabilitate sinners and give them a second chance. After death, the finality of it, just seems unfair to me! I feel like everyone should have the chance to redeem themselves, y’know?” She looked over at you, and you gave her a strained smile, wiping away your salty tears.

“It’s okay you don’t remember. You can even consider yourself lucky, you have a second chance of becoming someone you want to be, without strings attached. Other demons would kill for the chance to forget.” But that answer didn’t satisfy you. You wanted to know; you couldn’t sit around and not know who you were. You wouldn’t lie, though, the fact that she wasn’t mad at you did make you feel better. She must have seen your expression, since she pulled your face up with a single finger under your chin, and smiled at you in an understanding way. 

“But if it helps, you and Angel can go out tomorrow and get yourself some clothes in your style. While you’re out, you can see if anything rings a bell.” Your eyes widened, your heart lurching as she pulled out a plastic card that was golden and handed it to you. Inscribed on it was your first name, along with ‘Staff of Hazbin Hotel’. A credit card? You looked up from it with a questioning look. “What? You thought you wouldn’t get paid?” She looked off to the side with a shrug, and then you did the thing you never thought you would do down here.

You hugged her. 

She was surprised, that much was for sure— it took her a moment to react, but once she did, she hugged you back with a strength that you imagined would break all your ribs if you had been alive.

Today had been bleak, but tomorrow could hold something… happier. You smiled at the thought, eyeing the golden card as it gleamed in the hotel room lights.

“Thank you.”

Chapter Text

This wasn’t fair.

You groaned, trailing off and wiping down a particular part of the posh floorboard for the third time that afternoon. You didn’t understand what the issue was, but according to Alastor they needed a bit more…shine; nothing was ever good enough for that pompous fool, was it? — your previously clean shirt had been ruined by the seemingly perpetual hours of labor you and your small companion had been doing.

The endless stream of the to-do list partnered with the haunty nature of the Radio Demon’s elegant handwriting brought you anguish. The mere thought of that annoying smile drew your frustration to a close as you exhaled sharply through your nose, drawing Niffty’s attention from dusting a nearby cupboard.

The bright ocular of her eye finds its way to an open window, dusk hardly beginning to grace the features of the sky with its dark ambience; the little thing turns to you, her eye crinkling in slight nervousness at your expression.

“You know, you can take a break if you’re feeling tired,” she said meekly. Your eyebrows knitted together at her tone. Perhaps she felt a little uneasy thinking she’d pushed you to overexertion, too easily caught up in her own list of responsibilities to pay attention to both your dwindling energy and patience.

You look at her fondly, “I think we both deserve a break considering the amount of cleaning we’ve done,” Niffty perks up at the mention of a break before shrugging gingerly.

“I can go for the rest of the evening and some more! Cleaning is something I’m made for, not for taking these ‘breaks’ you speak of!” Chuckling as she huffed dramatically, you reach out to ruffle her vibrant and kempt hair, purposely messing it up to elicit a reaction out of the darling.

Heeey!” She whines, shooting you a rather adorable frown.

You step back to leave and she watches as you go, waving your retreating figure a goodbye as you make your way downstairs into the lobby to cash in the break you very well deserved.

Your wonderful, well-deserved break. No cleaning, no shining, no strings attached.

What more could you possibly desire? That being said, you were alerted to the sound of voices; carried through the lobby by some unknown origin. Some part of you couldn’t help but wish for complete peace, but that was a laughable feat. Peace, down here?

Nevertheless, that didn’t mean you couldn’t take the initiative and try.

Husker was at his usual post, your eyes meeting for the briefest of seconds before he took it upon himself to take another swing of his drink- slouching against the counter with the obvious intent of avoiding socialisation. Alastor was noticeably absent, a relief, as you could almost feel the ghost of his static-laced voice prick at your skin and leave goosebumps in its wake. The longer he was absent the better. You intended to enjoy your break, after all.

What you hadn’t realised was that you’d already been spotted.

You’ve finished early today!” Immediately you recognised it as Charlie’s voice. With a spin on your heel, you turned to see both her and a familiar spider sitting on the couch, the arachnid demon leaning back on his arm as he tipped his head back to see you. His attention soon returning to Charlie as she rose, making for your side to greet you with a smile.

Sooo,” she began, rocking on the balls of her feet, “are you ready to do some shopping?” Honestly, it’d slipped your mind that she’d suggested you do that, maybe even bring back some memories. The enthusiasm that welled up up within you was soon dampened however.

“I’m just on a break,” you admitted sheepishly, “I don’t have the time to go shopping but I’ll do it later!” There was even some optimism sprinkled in at the end, Charlie’s contagious smile having infected you. She wasn’t best pleased by your statement though, pursing her lips as she idly puffed out a cheek.

“Why don’t you take the rest of the day off?” She hummed - her fond smile soon returning as she lifted a hand to her chest and declared with the utmost authority; “in fact, as your manager, I hereby grant you the rest of the day off!” It wasn’t long before she added to her statement, saying it was ‘mandatory’ that you get some fresh air and have some fun, on top of getting yourself a new attire.

“Oh, that’s right!” She exclaimed suddenly, her hands meeting as she aimed her positivity at the spider that was still slouching on the couch. “Angel Dust, could you please accompany her? - you’d be the perfect guide, you could get to know each other better!”

Huh?” He choked; clearly he hadn’t been told about your shopping trip.

Pleeease Angel! You know it’s good to-”

“Yeah yea I know, it’s good ‘ta help people n’ all.” He sighed, finding yourself transfixed as you watched him rise; it was easy to forget how tall he was when he was sitting down. He easily dwarfed Charlie and yourself - although you couldn’t help but feel a tad anxious that he wasn’t really that interested in going with you due to his lack of motivation and drugs.

“Maybe you can pick up something nice for yourself too Angel!” Charlie chirped, the demon in question’s eyes lighting up as he shrugged a shoulder.

Maybe you could get matching jumpers!

Ohhh no,” Angel Dust chuckled nervously, arms out in an attempt to soothe her raging joy, “I think yer pushin’ things a bit too much there toots, but sure, I’ll tag along.” He flashed you a smile as he leant to the side, each pair of arms folded around himself.

“Guess it’s just you and me then huh? Unless,” he shot up a hand, waving towards the bar, “Husker hun, fancy comin’ along on a shopping trip?~” Charlie notably winced at the slurry of insults soon thrown Angel Dust’s way, the spider dashing over to the bar in an attempt to convince the moody demon to ‘lighten up’ and ‘live a little’. There was a grunt as the drunk moved to the other side of the bar’s counter, only to take yet another swig of his cheap booze. You wouldn’t lie, it was a tempting thought to drown yourself in your sorrows like he was doing in this exact moment, and every other moment of the day.

But that was just a bit too bold, even for you.

A hand on your shoulder brought you back to reality, turning your attention back to Charlie; her warm smile contrasted the melancholy in her eyes.

“Make sure you have fun won’t you? Don’t stress yourself out thinking you have to find something to do with your past. I know it frustrates you but…” she let out a sigh, picking herself up, “you need to take some time for yourself in the present.” She reminded you of an older sister of sorts with how she moseyed her way into your affairs.

You nod, offering her your thanks as you brought your other hand to your shoulder, giving her hand a squeeze before parting ways.

First, you had to retrieve your new travelling companion, then, you could finally get out of the clothes you’d been wearing for around half a week. And maybe, if you were lucky, you could find something that would explain as to why you were in Hell.

The curvature of the entrance’s cathedral ceilings were breathtaking as you departed from the main lobby, watching the ageless, ancient columns and intricately crafted stained glass windows disappear behind the heavy door of the hotel. Angel followed suit, even as Charlie watched you two depart into the fading burgundy hues of dusk.

“So, you’ve never really been outside the hotel, eh? Save maybe for a coupla locations nearby?” Your tall companion inquired, leaning over your much smaller form to grant you an exceedingly dangerous smile; a raise of his eyebrows to match.

You nodded, eagerly inspecting your new surroundings with a curious glance and a careful composure, “Didn’t want to cause trouble for myself.” You explained simply. The answer seemed to satiate whatever curiosity had been brewing in his mind.

Approaching the more urban environment, the sightings of demons had gone from light, hardly even noteworthy — to a densely populated metropolitan neighborhood. You were impressed that a group of what were essentially barbarians could operate in a civilized, or at least semi-structured way. Despite them being literal hooligans, they had at the very minimal some form of hierarchy or compensation system; a foundation of civilization.

A flurry of thoughts rampaged through your head: do they have a government? What is their political system like? Who’s running the damn place?

In your mentally inebriated state, Angel took a look around, subtle about the way he gazed at a few shady passerbys. He knew this part of town well, afterall, he could tell just by how the porn studios were angled. After a dawning moment of elongated silence, he snapped his attention back over to you, just as you began to walk past him.

“Hello, hello?” He asked rudely, loudly, waving a few hands in front of your face to snap you out of whatever daze you were in. Angel sighed, irritated, “Do ‘ya even know where ‘yer goin’?”

Nope.” You clarified.

“Do ‘ya even know where we are?” He dead-panned, his expression turning grim in awaiting your probably stupid answer.

“Uh, well...” You trailed, an impish smile on your lips. He narrowed his eyes.

Oh fuck - why me?” Rubbing his temples, he spared you a tired glance before groaning. A singular appendage raised to brush his hair back. Charlie had told him that you had barely any knowledge of the terrain of Hell, if any at all; still, he wasn’t expecting you to be that clueless on the geography.

And despite everything he had done for the Hotel so far (which wasn’t much), he still had to drag a newbie around.

Just great.

In the end, there was no point feeling bummed out - being a ‘good person’ came with perks and Charlie had said it herself, he should pick up a little something for himself.

“Oh hey, look.” He was pulled out of his selfish thoughts when you stopped moving. He looked back, eyebrows furrowing even further before realizing they were standing in front of a large glass window, a perfectly lit exhibit of various clothing hanging in a pleasing fashion. The store, considering its location and general characteristics - seemed classy, though retaining an air of pompsity that was the least bit enticing.

You exchange a glance with him before pulling on the handle; a singular bell chime announcing your arrival; the scent reminding you of an old book store and old spices that brought nostalgic memories to those who entered - it was that warm, welcoming type of feeling that couldn’t help but make you feel comfortable.

It made you feel more comfortable than your own room at the Hotel.

Taking in a deep breath, you allowed your hands to begin to trail upon the fabrics that just had to be expensive. A popular commodity seemed to be satin, specifically in varying shades of red and pink - silk, dresses and even lingerie were presented in a lovely fashion. Whomever owned the place surely took great care of their stock, ensuring it was clean and very beautiful to merely browse.

You smiled softly, at least there are some wholesome creatures here.

“Ya thinkin’ of gettin’ that?” Angel pointed at the very revealing lingerie; a snooty laugh erupting from behind you. Your face began to heat up in such a quick manner that you were sure it would have melted off if it had gotten any hotter.

No.” You insisted, brushing a strand of hair behind your ear in an attempt to soothe your fraying nerves.

He rolls his eyes, “not like ya’d have anyone ta’ show anyways.” You clenched the silk in your palm, focusing on the fine details for a moment longer.

“At least I don’t need to find a new outfit every night to get laid.” You grinned to yourself, and a guffaw was sounded from behind you. Gottem. For the first time in a while, you genuinely grinned, sauntering past him with the lingerie in your hand. Standing on your tippy-toes, you lowered your voice:

“... and anyway, how do you know I don’t have someone to show it to?” He glanced down at you with a raised eyebrow. You didn’t, of course, but now that you had a shiny new credit card that was probably made of literal gold, you were going to buy it simply out of spite.

You searched around the quaint store, catching sight of some small shopping baskets near the entrance. Quickly, you snatched one and proceeded to casually stroll through the aisles with a rather quiet spider in tow - you’d grown a particular fondness for the clothing displayed so proudly in the front window, possibly leaving with the garments fueled the small semblance of happiness that you carried.

You shot a look towards Angel. His back was turned and he was busying himself by indescretly narrowing his eyes at any article he felt worthy of his critique, perhaps still a little steamed from the previous engagement you two had.

You didn’t feel bad.

Yer lookin’ for clothes right? This might look good on ya, I reckon.” You jumped in surprise as your eyes found the thoughtful expression he held, two arms holding a rather cute formal attire, not unlike Charlie’s.

Quirking an eyebrow at this new development, you just motioned to your basket that was quickly brimming with new items to try. He walked over and threw the outfit uncaringly into the basket as well. “I wonder if there’s a changing room, y’know?” You hummed, putting a finger to your chin and tapping it thoughtfully. It didn’t take you long to catch the sight of a scaly demon at the front desk.

A small, hunched over little old woman sat at the front of the establishment, humming and arranging an array of dedicant candied apples near the front window for all to see.

Your eyes nearly bulged at the sight of such a pure scene, causing you to question if you were truly in Hell.

The sweet alligator’s tail swished around, obviously satisfied with her superior decor skills. She turns, her small and kind eyes falling onto her newest customers, prompting a delighted grin to be strewn across her features.

“Oh, visitors,” she chimed excitedly, placing her claws together in sheer bliss, “I apologize for not coming to greet you, as you can see I was… having a little aesthetic issue.” Mumbling, the gator found your full shopping basket and she perked up.

Oh dear, you’re looking for the changing rooms, aren’t you?” She pointed a claw to the back of the store where two (rather hard to see) changing rooms stood, “They’re over there, honey. Now… if you need any help don’t hesitate to fetch me.” The adorable woman sighed, content with her existence in this twisted place, happy even.

You turned away, disbelief gracing your own features as you attempted to hide the utter shock you were experiencing.

“Whatcha’ waiting for there toots?” Angel Dust huffed; half leant over with a cocky smile. “See something else ya like or are ya too chicken to try on that.” When he flicked his finger towards the basket you knew immediately what he was referring to, the spider attempting to get the better of you, but oh no, you weren’t going to let him. Nose stuck in the air, you strode past Angel in all you confidence.

“No, I was just thinking about how beautiful I’d look.”

He only smirked in retort, watching your figure retreat into the stalls to prove your bold claims; He could hear you rummaging in your wide range of selections followed by some mumbling...

He leant on the side of the stalls boredly, nothing quite catching his eye, only the quaint humming of the alligator accompanied him. He wasn’t known to be a patient spider, and the itch of mischief was beckoning him ever so sweetly — crossing his arms in an attempt of restraint, but failing miserably, he finally gave in to the lingering temptation of the familiar delight.

These damn clothes are going to be the death of me.

Your thoughts clouded your mind as you inspected the massive pile of clothes stacked in your basket, most of which were courtesy of Angel himself; odd, he apparently has some sort of taste for fashion or aesthetic, who knows. That spider was damn quirky, lest even queer.

A shuffle caused your astute hearing to urge you to gaze upwards and you had just caught sight of a pair of eyes that you were very much acquainted with.

They fled quickly and you recognized Angel’s prodding gaze, the familiarity of those beady little eyes made you want to shove your hand through the fine wooden wall and strangle his scrawny neck.

Angel?” you asked sweetly.

Yes?” he replied, perhaps twice as sweet, accompanied with an undertone of smugness. Your blood pressure spiked.

If I catch you peeping on me again, there will be consequences.” trying to sound ominous, you clenched a hanger and weighed the option of using it as a weapon.

The arachnid was silent and you felt a wave of satisfaction wash over you, taking this moment to actually look in the mirror and—

So that’s why Angel was so keen on peeping, huh?

“Lookin’ good there, toots.” Came a giggle from above and a hanger was launched at his stupid face and he barely dodged in. A part of you couldn’t help but agree that you looked damn good in that lingerie, even you had only wanted to purchase out of spite.

“Was that a compliment?” You teased back, your grin dwarfing your impish smile only a moment ago. “I think I’ll get it,” you hummed softly to yourself, running your hand against your side. It fit nice, looked nice. Whether you would ever wear it outside of this stall was another question entirely; the mere thought made your gut clench in a mixture of uncertainty and excitement.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever, just hurry up, will ya?” There was a wave of his hand that you could visibly see simply from his height alone. Squinting your eyes at the back of his head, you began to take off the lingerie and trying on a more passive outfit. There were black leggings that you pulled up, snapping them around your waist, before putting on a white shirt that was loose fitting but just snug enough for it to not look sloppy and unkempt.

It was comfortable, and truly, you couldn’t care less about ‘keeping up to standards’. There were a few other pairs of clothing of the same size in a different variety of colors, but since you liked this, you supposed it wouldn’t hurt to just buy them all.

“Okay.” You mused, opening up the stall door - Angel Dust stood an appropriate distance in comparison to where he’d been before. He waggled a hanger in your face which you quickly snatched. “All done.”

“Let’s ditch this joint - I wanna make a pit stop before we head back to the hotel.” When you’d asked what this ‘pit stop’ was he merely stuck his tongue between his teeth with a wink. You narrowed your eyes. It certainly made the mind wander; but you didn’t mind, whatever it was, probably wasn’t important. Approaching the counter, you were greeted by the same sweet smile once more.

“Everything fits perfectly then, I take it dearie?” The alligator hummed. You nod - handing her the basket, offering her a matching smile as she busied herself with the checkout.

“It did, thank you!” You chirped, still in disbelief that beings such as herself existed in Hell. Charlie must have been right about only ‘perfect’ individuals ascending to Heaven. Although, you couldn’t help but feel your face burn as she lifted the lingerie from the basket; the wry look she cast you causing your body to stiffen. At least Angel couldn’t see your expression, almost able to hear his self-entitled laughter in your head.

“Do you two lovebirds have anything else planned for this evening then?”

You nearly died, again.

HUH?” The choked spilt from Angel almost instantly, you yourself twice as red as you had been before. He certainly didn’t aid the situation as he materialised by your side, a hand against the counter with another on your head like you were some sort of ragdoll - any spare hand used to point at you.

“Y-you-” he released a guffaw, “you think I’m with her?” You wished you could just disappear right then and there.

“Nah - nada lady, no way in a million years. I’m her babysitter not her fuckin’ boytoy.” The alligator chortled merrily to herself, more amused than ever.

“My apologies, you just look so cute together.” Angel’s face contorted into shriveled disgust, but she was quick to save herself. “Here.” You both blinked idly. It took a couple of seconds to click what she was offering you.

Candied apples.

“Take them,” she soothed, “on the house, for my two wondeful customers.” You weren’t as quick to take yours; Angel Dust’s eyes glimmered in delight as he admired the reflective (and delicious) surface. Any resentment that had been felt towards the old alligator was seemingly forgotten.

“Thank you.” You managed, fingers curling around the stick as you took your bag as well. Your foot soon made contact with Angel’s, the spider nearly dropping his treat with a sharp hiss and a ‘whaddya do that for!?’ - although, he soon caught on as you nod your head in the alligator’s direction.

“Ah, yeah, sure - thanks lady.”

It was settled. If things didn’t work out at the hotel, then you were going to work there. Hell, if you kept getting the amount of work you were now you might just quit in protest anyway. You couldn’t do that to Charlie though, or Angel after he’d not only taken you to Hotel when you first arrived, but the store as well without much complaint. Speaking of Angel, the arachnid skipped ahead of you merrily.

Whatever pit stop you were going to make, he was certainly excited.

Chapter Text

By the time you both left the shop, he let go of the desire to keep a slow pace for your short-legged self.

“C’mon sugartits, almost there now!” He looked as if he were on cloud nine itself. As for you, keeping up with him was proving to be a difficult task. One second he was there, the next he’d vanished around a corner.

Angel!” You called out. “Wait up!” Picking up the pace, you jogged around the corner - coming to a grinding halt just as you had. Angel was leant over, lower limbs against his hips as he playfully tapped a button on a vending machine.

Boop!” He chirped - reaching inside the machine. A scowl tugging his lips into a fine line. “Damn it, don’t tell me it’s stuck.” Your attention had wandered from Angel and the vending machine to a group of demons further down the alley. You must have been in the store for awhile, as the red hues of the sky had deepened considerably, only aiding your paranoia. You’d made direct eye contact with one of them which wasn’t an issue in itself until the whole group suddenly turned to glare at you.

Goddamnit!” Angel hadn’t noticed, too busy kicking the machine (an action that had you nearly jump out of your skin), “gimme my damn drugs you money eatin’ pile of shit!” He’d fastened his hands along its sides, all but the hand he used to hold his candied apple, shaking the machine in a crazed attempt to get out what you now knew were drugs. He was meant to be clean but - you couldn’t care less about what he was doing as you nervously glanced towards the group of demons again.

“Angel…” you muttered, the demon too busy shouting obscenities at the metal box to hear. “Angel.” You tried again to no avail.

ANGEL!” You barked, tone hushed but stern.

WHAT!?” He was much louder - your face drained of color at how he seemed to tower over you, a frantic look to his eye as his silhouette was cast against reddening sky. “Can’t ya see I’m busy!” He huffed out in an annoyed manner.

“You need a mechanic?” The gruff voice that spoke made your insides churn; Angel raising an eyebrow at the stranger as he spun around. There stood the origin of the sound, a demon that was clad in a deep purple color, standing a bit too close to Angel to give perspective as to how small he was. Just a bit shorter than you in fact, just passing your shoulder in height; the spider dwarfing him as he looked down in indifference.

“If the machines not working I can get it to give you as much as you want.

“Oh really?” Angel growled - chomping down on the remains of the candied apple in his hand and sprinkling the demon with little shards of crystallized sugar. The demon winced - lips drawn back into a snarl.

Really. You’ve just gotta hand over a bit of cash first.” Angel froze, the corners of his lips tugged into a strained smile.

And what if I don’t got any?

“Don’t get smart with me - I’m not blind bitch, I know you have money and if you don’t hand it over then I’ll have to get rough with you.” The longing sigh that passed Angel’s lips didn’t reassure you that the situation had any chance of improving.

“Wouldn’t that be nice?” He muttered idly, the other demon not amused by the I arachnids antics.

“Look - I don’t like beating up girls, so how about you just hand over your money and you and your lil’ pal can just go home, alright?” You were standing behind Angel Dust now. Fear compelled you to move even closer as you saw the shadows slink around you - his associates. With the snap of the ‘bosses’ fingers they’d approached. Angel hung his head back with an irritated groan.

“Ya have no idea how many times I’ve heard that one before.” He sighed, shaking his head as he folded his arms across his chest; twizzling the once apple-bearing stick between his fingers. “So, we gonna get physical or not?” The demon had clearly had enough of Angel’s attitude, the silver flash of a knife forced a sense of panic to constrict your lungs.

The shriek that tore through the gang leader’s throat was nothing short of petrifying. He’d hunched over to grab his shoulder, a crimson liquid now seeping freely.

Whoopsie!” Angel chuckled, spinning the now blood-covered candy stick between his digits. “My hand slipped, you were sayin’ honey?” The others had all froze in their place as the leader cried out, slumping to the asphalt in a mess as Angel stared in disbelief at the sight before him.

Really?” He gasped. “One little stab and yer cryin’ on the floor like a bitch? Either I’ve outdone myself or yer just as pathetic as you look.” The fear you’d felt only intensified, now aimed in horror at Angel as he swiftly brought his foot down on the demon’s shoulder; the thing now sprawled on the floor as Angel dug his heel into the crook’s flesh.

“Ah!” He exclaimed, whipping his head around with a crooked grin, candy stick aimed at the rest of the group. “Don’t even think about it - not unless ya wanna end up skewered.” They fled, tails between their legs as they went. With a sharp sigh, Angel leant down and picked up the demon beneath his feet, lifted him up...

And slammed him into the vending machine.

He’d hit the jackpot too - greedily collecting the bags that’d fallen from within the damaged machine and stuffing them into his floof; the other demon unconscious (as far as you could tell from his limp form) tossed aside. You gave a concerned glance to the citizen before managing to swallow your worries. He had it coming.

As if nothing had happened, Angel Dust wrapped an arm around your shoulder and wheeled you out of the alley, your eyes widening.

“Ya know babe,” he huffed, “it feels so good to get rid of that anger.” You were silent, your complexion noticeably more pale, more…frightened than it had been previously; your tall companion, somewhat goofy and enjoyable at the clothing store was now something that evoked fear within you.

“I’ve been itching for some action like that ever since that damn ‘Radio Demon’ decided to ruin my fun!” He pouted his lips; childishly stomping along. “He’s a total ass! I always see him lurkin’ around but when I try to talk to him - oh no - you’d think he was celibate or something! Sick fuck waltzed on in and took everything over and now I have to be clean or Lucifer save me I’ll have the damn deer lecturing me like some kid!" The jazz hands he did would have been amusing if you’d not just witnessed him violently pummel a demon against a vending machine.

You especially didn’t need the thought of Alastor playing on your mind, a shiver running down your spine, as if the very mention of him would make him appear.

“I don’t care what Vags said, omnipotent whatever - he can go fuck himself-” he continued his rant, elaborating his point further as you continued your trek back to the hotel. You rubbed the back of your neck nervously.

You hadn’t gone too far, thankfully. Being on your feet all day, including the time you spent cleaning, only worked further pain onto them. The thought of sinking into the couch sounded amazing at that point. Your stomach growled, reminding you that you still hadn’t had a decent meal throughout the day. Nevertheless, despite what your stomach told you, your appetite was null; void. It did not exist, especially after what you had just witnessed.

The rest of the walk was silent, and for that you were thankful.

By the time you reached the door to the Hotel, you never felt more relieved. A feeling that you had thought would be near impossible at this point anyway— but it was all you had ever known down here. It was strange to imagine your existence anywhere else. Angel opened the door, letting himself in and holding it open with a single hand just long enough for you to push against it before his arm retreated, sinking into his body as if it had never been there before.

Oh, you’re back already!”

It wasn’t a moment too soon that Charlie appeared in front of the two of you, casting you both a beaming, joyful smile. “How was it? Did you have fun?” You paused, looking at her with wide eyes and just before you were about to open your mouth, you felt a limb around your neck, hanging down your shoulder casually.

“Ya bet! I think we had a good ol’ time, wouldn’t you say, pal?” He leaned down, giving you an expectant look.

He was making sure you didn’t run your mouth.

You stared at him for a long moment for returning your gaze to Charlie, offering her two thumbs up. “Yeah!” You offered a nervous laugh, a bead of sweat trailing down the side of your forehead. “I got some new clothes, finally.” You did a quick spin, showing off your new stylish, casual outfit, arms held out from your sides before coming full circle.

“Well, that’s great! Maybe you two can run out and grab some supplies whenever we need it since you make such a great team.” You remained silent, looking up at Angel Dust as he shrugged his shoulders.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever. I’m goin’ to my room; ya can come with if ya want,” he looked over to you, only to clear his throat. “Not that I care or anythin’” because he didn’t. He just didn’t want to seem suspicious. You almost felt obliged to go, not wanting to accidentally spill the beans and end up with a candy apple stick sticking out of your throat. You followed Angel upstairs, the long-legged spider swaying with each step. You could make out the grin that'd sprawled itself shamelessly across his lips from your position.

When you were deep within the confines of the halls, he finally spoke.

“Ya ever done drugs before?” He asked curiously.

“Uh-” that was answer enough, Angel Dust stopping by a door with a simple: ‘thought so’. He chuckled at the concern on your face, ‘reassuring’ you that he wasn’t going to share with you anyway. With a push, the door opened and you were almost blinded by the abundance of pearly whites within the room. He’d clearly redecorated - although, he had been living there a lot longer.

And that blanket - it didn’t take long before you were fixated with the fluffy exterior. You couldn’t really sit there now anyway, Angel reaching into his fluff and throwing out the contents within onto the bed.

“Close the door!” He chirped, too excited to snap at you as you hastily prevented any wandering eyes from seeing in. “Make yerself at home - just, don’t touch any of my stuff, ‘kay?”

“Okay.” You muttered, too busy taking in every last detail of his room to really pay attention. Coming to a vanity desk surrounded by bright studio lights, you were distracted by your reflection - Angel Dust’s own casually tearing into a bag behind you. It almost felt rude to watch, fiddling with your thumbs as you let him do his thing. Why you’d tagged along, was beyond you, but you were there now - thinking of some way to strike up a conversation.

“Hey Angel,” you began - his eyes wide as he sat with his finger in his mouth, “thanks for coming along today, I appreciate the help. I’m happy you were there… I dunno what I would have done, if you weren’t.” He nearly gagged, poking the same finger that’d been in his mouth at his chest.

Me?” He snorted, the digit now aimed at you. “Help you?” He caught his bottom lip between his teeth as if trying to stop the eruption of laughter that followed.

“You think I went with ya to help you?” He howled, your grip now vice like against your new attire. “Damn, that’s good. You almost got me.” He wiped away a tear that has sprouted from his laughter. It felt like a hole had opened up within you, sucking out any and all emotion; no joy, not even sadness - you just felt empty. It must have shown on your face, Angel Dust blinking as he felt the reality of your words come crashing down on him. “Oh. Yer serious.”

Ouch.” He couldn’t help but giggle; motioning to the array of plastic bags surrounding him, each filled with the same white powder. “I didn’t do nothin’ for nobody but myself.” He lifted one of the parcels, beaming at it like as if it were his only friend. With a stretch, he stood up and slithered over to you.

“Listen, lemme teach ya a little somethin’ about being in Hell,” he began, a hand waved idly as he spoke in an almost dismissive fashion. “It’s every demon for himself.” The way he told you made it sound like he was reciting common knowledge that you should have known. You narrowed your eyes. A hand reached around your back as he guided you from the seat to the bed so that he could lean against the desk - each finger rolling against its edge.

“And no ones ever gonna have your back,” he sighed, giving you a shrug, “just because you’re ‘friends’.” As you lay down, you noted the writing on a package of the powder.

ANGEL DUST - SIDE EFFECTS MAY INCLUDE: SLURRED SPEECH, BLOODSHOT EYES, UNSTEADY GAIT, INCREASED HEART RATE.

Did he name himself after the damn drug?

“Oh no no no…” he giggled, shaking his head as he hugged his waist as he tipped his to the side. “There’s always a catch. Something to soften the deal.”

“Make connections 'worthwhile’ and all that jazz.” The jazz hands returned as he leant back with a sigh. “It’s dog eat dog…” he trailed off - a broad grin flashing his teeth as his attention found you.

“Damn toots, just take me for example!” He positioned two hands above the peaks of fluff that protruded from his V neck; “I’ve been here long enough to have seen some shit!” He thrust himself from the counter of the vanity desk, approaching you with a crazed look to his bloodshot eyes - the kind he bore when he beat the life from the demon in the alley.

“And I get it-” he huffed, “I really do!” Arms extended in a grandeur fashion. “Hell’s a bitch!” He leered at you as he leant down, face inches from yours as you felt him squish your cheeks roughly.

“And have I laid down and died? Hell no.” He hummed, giving you one final poke on the nose for good measure; adding insult to injury. “If anything, you know…” he leant back, a scowl taking shape on his features.

“I’ve learnt a trick or two about surviving in this cesspit of a place we call home, and I tell ya what, the day I start calling people ‘friend’ is the day I die!” He strode over to his wardrobe and flung the doors wide - buried in it the next second.

“So lemme teach ya a thing or two bud,” he steps into some heels that were strewn about on the floor, gracefully picking up his feet to practically swing himself onto a nearby pole, “because from here on it’ll only be you.”

He’d hung from his legs, grinning at you as he stretched his top set of limbs downwards, the lower pair slithering along his body. You weren’t in the mood for his antics, the hollow cavity in your chest welling with a mixture of spite and sadness.

“This place is a mess and you wanna know why I’m here!?” He cried - gracefully spinning himself round; heels making contact with the ground as he rest a hand against his hip. “Well, it’s not Charlie or the hotel or any ‘friends’!” He barked, irritably storming towards the bed and swiping up his Angel Dust.

“The reason why I’m here is this damn free room,” he hissed, slamming each parcel into a draw on his desk before facing you with a grin - making for the bed once more and snatching your wrist in an instant, “not some schmuck like you!” He yanked you from the bed - your tiptoes struggling to reach the floor as you found yourself staring into the eyes of the arachnid. His eyes suddenly widened - his grip weakening when a sadism finally settled in his eyes.

“It’s every demon for himself down here - the only true friend I have is me,” he hummed, breaking into a sudden laughter as he brought you closer, fingers forcibly entwined with yours as he took your waist. “Because I’m the one who’s staying ‘clean’ and doing drugs where I’m unseen!” He sang - the sheer bliss on his face evident as you tried to wriggle from his grasp, only to be dragged to the side in what was meant to be a dance.

Oh darling, didya’ really think I’d need another me?” He growled, an extra pair of arms sprouting from his side as you soon found yourself swept from the floor, legs kicking as the spider danced with you like some sort of toy. He burst into a short fit of laughter, unphased by your struggles. Like Alastor had once done, he dragged you this way and that, an unwilling dance partner as he continued his song.

“I’m a part of the perfect team - my every need is tailored to by me!” Even as you began to shout and curse, he ignored your pleas, dipping you into a state of silence; your stomach lurching in the violent force of the action. “And I don’t see a mirror stood in front of this!” He motioned to himself with a free hand, giving you a wink.

“And down here friendship is just a load of shit!” With a twirl he cracked up once more.

“So unless yer gonna whip out some cash, and babe, let’s face it,” he sniggered to himself, “ya could never afford this ass - don’t think I’m gonna be your magical friend, buddy!” Just because we crashin’ in the same-damn-house!” It was like looking at you had set off some trigger in his head, the fuse blown as he threw you to one side - back onto the bed.

“It’s much, much better for yer health, if ya just take care of yourself!” He yelled, the melodically insane tune having left his voice - distorted with a bitter distaste.

“Don’t worry yer pretty lil’ head over peeps like me!” You’d risen onto shaky legs, backtracking towards the door in disgust and horror as he followed you with predatory interest.

“See doll, it’s every demon for himself down here,” he chuckled with a malicious smile, getting the door for you as you fell back. “And ah - well, fuck it, I’m sure ya get the idea.” The last you saw of him was that smug expression - the handle tight in your grasp as you slammed the door in his face. A chorus of laughter tearing from within as you stood there in denial.

You didn’t blink, didn’t flinch; a shell of what you once were earlier today, throwing light jokes and having a genuinely good time. The events that transpired descended into something twisted. You reminisced about that far off look in his eye as he slammed that demon against the vending machine, wondering if he’d do something like that to you lest you get in his way.

You didn’t doubt it.

And now you had to keep all his dirty little secrets too.

All the fun that was experienced, every experience you had that brought a smile to your face, had been drained away in an instant; disappointment lingered on your tongue like a foul taste, biting it to quell the curses that threatened to spill. Wanting so desperately to undo the binds to the cage you’ve created, wanting to lash out at him and give him a piece of your mind. But it was meaningless, it would only be a wasted breath.

Fists clenched, tears threatening to spill over, you turned— only to be greeted by an expression of mild curiosity and the very last person you wanted to see. In your bleary gaze, it was hard to tell the emotions he was allowing you to see, but with the raised eyebrow and strained smile, you couldn’t help but feel as if he was revealing a fragment of concern. 

But that was laughable.

 

“Is everything alright over here?” Alastor hummed; his tone chipper and airy as usual, apparently unscathed by your rigid demeanor and glassy eyes. 

The only thing he offered was a tilt of his head, the ambience he carried with him acting as a white noise to drown out your raging emotions and racing heart. The prior afternoon just the mere thought of him caused your anxiety to skyrocket. But now; now you could only find a semblance of comfort in his presence. The thought made your stomach churn in the most unpleasant of ways, for Alastor was the furthest person your would think to give you a fraction of comfort. 

You nodded, indiscreetly biting your bottom lip as you wiped away a stray tear that rolled down your cheek, entirely giving away your internal turmoil. 

You felt damaged, useless, betrayed, backstabbed. The list went on.

Now don’t lie to me,” he mentioned in a warning tone, dropping an octave. It wasn’t meant to be a dangerous warning per se, but one that inferred that he knew better than to listen to your words. He cast a glance at your now trembling fists, his smile seeming to waver the slightest bit.

There was no response from you.

“I’d usually just let you deal with your own issues, but you seem to be in a great deal of emotional turmoil! And oh, if that isn’t a feeling almost everyone feels down here at least once,” he hummed, an oddly pleased noise coming from him as if he reveled in your misery.

His gaze snapped to you after a moment, but you didn’t see it, your eyes refusing to meet his.

He leant in, his form easily towering above your own, his shadow as intimidating as any other time he showed up. “Now, do tell me what’s wrong, my dear. After all, we can’t have our staff moseying around moping!” The demon chuckled at his own cryptic humor. With it you return a look that quelled his obnoxious laughter with a hum, a clicking sound emitting from the depths of his origin. 

The radio static only made the hair on the back of your neck stand up. 

“Is this about that effeminate spider? Angel Dust?” he twists his hand in a contemplating manner, as if bothered to remember his name: “one of our residents, correct?

The way you averted your gaze, unspeaking, told him all he needed to know. His grin only stretched to its limit, his teeth seemingly more jagged and dangerous, even as he intruded in your personal affairs — finally eliciting a response out of you:

“You know, it’s rude to meddle in others’ business.” You frowned, swallowing your anxiety and putting your foot down. “I only know you’re trying to help but—”

But what? I could leave, pass you by—“ he exaggerated his point with his hands- you noticed he talked with his hands quite a bit. “I could, since, well, would you look at the time!” There was an ambient noise of a clock ticking before he lowered his gaze: “But I won’t, out of pure heart.”

You knew better than to trust him.

You rolled your eyes, catching a glimpse of his own narrowing. He shook his head, snapping himself out of whatever daze he had been in for the briefest of moments.

An old tune echoed within the area, bouncing off the walls, seemingly part of his presence as he offered his arm to you, “Come now! What good will it do to just sit around here?”

Offering his company struck you as unnatural, and you frowned even further, staring at his arm for a long moment in silent contemplation. Your emotions defiled you and you found yourself taking it; in a state of utter weakness, it was perhaps foolish, stupid, but what more did you have to lose?

He had already seen you cry, and he would more likely than not poke at you simply for allowing your emotions to take control of you. 

He led you down a perfectly lit corridor, stark light pouring from a few open doors accompanied by the relaxing orange hue of the Hotel’s candles. You suddenly felt tired.

I wouldn’t feel too bad, if I were you.” The demon hummed. Your nerves should have frayed from his mere presence, let alone his touch, but you felt drunk with grief. An experience so severe that left you desensitized to all that was around you, all that was happening. Who you were touching.

“Too late,” Your voice was a mere whisper at first before you continued: “Why’s that?” His presence shifted around you, but you couldn't find the energy to care. He looked at you, his irises practically glowing with something you couldn’t quite put your finger on.

“He’s a fool, is he not?” replied Alastor thoughtfully, “a haughty one at that. I reckon those types aren’t worth wasting your time with, no?” His smile seemed genuine, but you couldn’t bring yourself to trust it simply based on observation alone. 

...Maybe not.” You admitted, mentally noting how the day went with Angel about. You knew not all demons were these vile, wicked creatures; concerning yourself with Angel Dust might’ve been a bad move, interacting with a bad apple that fell a bit too far away from his tree.

Alastor gave a singular nod in acknowledgement, pleased that you had agreed with his statement. And then he stopped. You looked at him in confusion; the area was familiar, but you could only focus on your comfort in that moment.

You could only focus on him.

Wordlessly, he only spun you around to face your door. “Oh.” you said sheepishly. The walk hardly seemed strenuous, and in fact short-lived; wary of this recent development.

“Perhaps you’re just too good for him?” He asked rhetorically. You shrugged.

Really, you had been taken aback by his words, his actions, his sudden desire to comfort you in your time of need. Maybe that’s the only reason why he sought to make the effort, because you needed it? To make sure you did his work? You could feel an inkling of anger begin to work it’s way up into your mind, but you took a breath to aid in destroying it. 

Despite being an overall asshole, Alastor hadn’t done anything remotely infuriating as Angel had.

You hummed in thought, perplexed by what he was insinuating. You turned to face him properly, the ghost of a sentence forming on your lips.

He was gone.

Gone, yet you still felt a phantom of his hands on your shoulders when he spun you, disappearing along with his settling presence.

Narrowing your eyes, you were silent as you merely turned back around, unbothered to search for where your odd company had gone. You’d unlocked your door slowly, almost melancholy — your mood lifted only slightly by the red-headed troublemaker you had come to know as Alastor.

It was ridiculous to think he held any concern for anyone other than himself— certainly he would not for you. 

The first sighting of your bed was your last for the night, it’s plush bedding beckoned your worn form to it’s comforting embrace and you couldn’t give in quick enough. You almost immediately fell asleep, your eyelids heavy and your mind even heavier.

It had been a long day, but you relished the last moments as you reminisced about the rather uplifting company of the Radio Demon. It could’ve been your mind dulling your sense of danger, the day jostling your mind, or perhaps you could’ve genuinely enjoyed the last bit of the evening with such a thing.

Like a fool. 

If anything, it only made your mind wander about him. Enigmatic and difficult to understand, not to mention how utterly mysterious he was. Crude, exceedingly annoying, masochistic.

Maybe even a little bit sweet too.

Chapter Text

You felt the sudden, inexplicable urge to scream at a certain someone while you polished the stained glass windows, taking great care to ignore his presence in all manners during the tedious working hours. It was the only time of day you needed to be around him and you loathed every minute of it. 

It was a process to get through the first brunt of those harsh words. You tried desperately to just… let it go, but you heart utterly refused -- caving in at the last moments of your consciousness before drifting off into a tear-streaked sleep. Your mind, in an attempt to soothe your woes, reminded you of the little things that seemed to be the only occasions that brought you joy.

It was simple, it was minute, but it was important to you. The minor things people will drift right by, downright ignore , were nothing but treasures you held tightly in your embrace, relishing in the feelings those late memories sparked within you. Wandering to a place of comfort, your psyche sought the image of your red-clad companion, his contact an odd consolation to your worries.

“He’s such a jackass.”

You all but growled into your violent scrubbing, skimming the fresh polish off the window in semi-anger. He was the one that sweet-talked Charlie into approving that inhumane list of chores you were expected to do, he was the one that would seemingly revel in your misery and he was the one that you only recently developed a small bud of softness for. 

He was frustrating, you’d soon come to learn. The kindness he could show was something that you admired him for, but the impishness was a constant that deterred you away from his schemes. Alastor was a trickster, at least appearing to be one, so you no doubt knew he was up to no good -- whether it was simplistic nonsense or something more sinister, had yet to be found out; that gnawing thought in the back of your mind persisted for a short while, your labor busying you.

Quiet grumbling was your next distraction, if only momentary; Husk busily tapped a claw against a remote -- a T.V. screen above him close to death, clearly old, with cobwebs and the like clinging to its frame. As the demon grew more frustrated, growling, abusing the remote in an attempt to get the television to work, static crackled from the blurry screen accompanied with growing noises of enragement. With sudden force the remote sailed through the air, coming to land on the floor, bits of plastic shrapnel flung in different directions.

For a moment, your attention remained on the broken remote, only for the loud voice of a reporter to bring you out of your surprise as the T.V. sprang to life. “Welcome back! ” There was an audible cracking noise as you watched the news reporter painfully snap her neck to the side. 

You internally cringed, taking a moment for a break as you leaned against the wall. A heavy sigh was released from your lips as you all but deflated against it, your hand coming up to wipe away the beads of sweat that had accumulated against your hairline. 

Your eyebrows furrowed, the screen showing an image of the individual you were nearly certain you’d seen being mercilessly slaughtered at the hands of the Radio Demon . You grimaced at the memory, doing your very best to push it to the furthest recesses of your mind.

My , I thought I’d gotten rid of that one,” you weren’t sure what scared you more, the sudden proximity of Alastor’s voice or those quiet, shadowy sounds that followed him. He strolled past you nonchalantly, adjusting his monocle as he went to closer inspect the screen. “More like Sir Persistent , if I do say so myself!” There was an audience soundtrack that originated from his ambience. You were kindly reminded of the fact that Alastor was much more of a wisecrack than an entirely dependable individual. 

Nevertheless, that didn’t change the fact that you had more of an acceptance of him than notable others

“There’s always a next time, wouldn’t you say, Husker my old pal?” He leaned against the bar counter with an elfish expression, exceedingly proud of himself as the feline demon grumbled his disinterest concerning the entirety of the situation. You stared idly as he picked himself up again, apparently realizing that he had milked what entertainment he could from the old drunk. 

Your eyes met briefly, his grin smugly increasing tenfold and casting your way as he passed you once more. Dangerous, an abomination, a gentleman in the most ridiculous of ways.

How were you meant to cope with anything in the damned hotel?

A faint hearth resonated within you, your smile unfading as you got back to work. You preferred to remain in good terms with Alastor, despite the feeling of sudden overwhelming uncertainty and nausea whenever he got close to you. But that feeling too, stupidly, had begun to blossom into more neutral grounds.

It was a warmth, which under the correct circumstances, could have even blossomed into an emotion similar to relief. That warmth, in turn, became grew in intensity by the time you locked eyes with the last individual you wanted to see. In the instant it took for him to dismiss you; you could have truly earnt your place in Hell. Biting your tongue hard enough to begin to taste the beginnings of blood, your ground your teeth together; truly, if you could breathe fire, you would have been huffing out smoke in sheer annoyance. 

He felt like shit, the spider casting her one last glance over his shoulder. Talk about having a stick up her ass. The girl looked like she could do with a glass of wine and a full body massage with the way she was angrily shoving herself against a window in an attempt to polish. 

She was gonna break the whole goddamn thing if she continued on the way she was going. The fuck did he care for? He passed her one last look for shits n’ giggles, but it prompted anything but humor. There was an emotion that felt like a sinking in his chest, causing him to groan and slink off towards her as if it truly were the most disastrous thing to apologize for.

So, maybe he was a bit harsh but what else was he supposed to do? It wasn’t like she hadn’t brought it upon herself. Still, he couldn’t stand the tension, and it wasn’t the good kind before sex. It was awkward and shitty and he couldn’t bare to stay another second in the same room as her if she continued on in the way she was doing things.

The moment you felt a presence behind you, you dig your fingers into the polishing rag. Your eyes flickered up into the reflection of the window, head lifting to stare at him through it. “What.” You stated, truly having a hard time controlling your patience since he basically betrayed your trust. 

“Ah, don’t be like that...” 

In that moment, you spun around, throwing down the rag in a fit of rage. “Are you kidding me? Don’t ‘be like that’?” you finally had it, noting how one of his hands darted away from its reaching out position. His eyebrows were raised, as if not expecting for someone as sweet as you to lose your mind over a situation that could have easily been avoided if you hadn’t brought up the whole ‘friend’ thing. 

He crossed all four of the arms, scoffing. 

“Don’t make me out as the bad guy, baby, you ain’t no angel either,” he huffed, your eye twitched. “Yer insults are as pathetic as yer outlook on life down here,” He leaned in, you bared your teeth, a shit-eating smile as if he knew you couldn’t beat him in this standoff. 

You could hear a pin drop. That’s the wrong answer, brotha.

“Pathetic? I’m pathetic?” you gasped, a mocking laugh escaping you. “You.” Your anger boldened the choices that you would have given a second thought on any other day. You were humiliated . You jabbed a finger into his chest, eyes blazing with all the wrath you held contained in yourself, all your feelings pooled in your throat, “You’re selfish. You weave your words and promises on a web of lies.” 

“My promises?,” He almost giggled, “I didn’t promise ya shit, sweetheart. If anythin’, ya hold expectations up to my throat like a damn knife.”

Pausing, you turned away from him, too caught up in your own emotions and questioning conscious to absorb his words. You felt a pang of guilt, only for your words, but the thought of your pettiness sent you in a different state of mind.

You felt a hand on your shoulder, a gesture that should’ve been comforting but only instilled melancholy in your form, warding the fury that once climbed from your mouth.

“--That’s how it is down here. That’s how it oughta be. We didn’t get sent here for nuthin’, y’know. People like us got by, by doin’ the things you condemn so much.” Angel responded lightly, his tone thoughtful, as if he was unbothered by his mentality.

 You understood only a little, but that didn’t make it any less pleasing.

“Heeey!” A sweet voice interrupted your mixed emotions, crashing like an unpleasant wave, your thoughts being swept away from the shoreline of your mind, “Why don’t we just all try to calm it down, maybe break it up?” Charlie suggested.

Of course Charlie would be the only concerned one!

You brought your hand through your hair, lacing your fingers throughout the tangled mess. You refused to look back at them, frowning all the while as you stalked off to the one thing you knew could make you feel better, even in the slightest. Whatever surprise Husk might’ve shown to you when you sat upon the bar stool was short lived, as if he couldn’t be bothered enough. 

There was a long moment of silence between the two of you—dare you say it a rare moment of understanding as he puffed out smoke from his cigar and went to pour you a drink. You rested your head in your hands, a heavy sigh leaving you as you tuned out the background conversation, or argument, between Angel and Charlie. Their bickering echoing within the walls of the larger lobby.

...

“How do you deal with it all?” Your words were slow, tired , just loud enough for him to hear. Your anger quelled and turned bitter -- sorrowful yet again, something that you wanted to drown out with some hard liquor . You felt as if he read your mind, sliding a glass of whiskey to you. For a moment, you thought he ignored you completely. 

Truthfully, you wouldn’t have been surprised if he did. 

“I don’t.” He grunted as you began to sip off the drink, making a small face as the rather powerful liquid burned your tongue in the most satisfying way. He nearly laughed at your meager way of drinking. 

“... You don’t drink that often, do you?” You narrowed your eyes through the glass before setting it down. The taste was disgusting , but the benefits it provided seemed worthy of consumption.

“That obvious?” It was mostly small talk, and when he cast you a shrug of his shoulders and another drag of his cigar, you couldn’t help but feel relieved that you didn’t have to talk. You didn’t have to explain yourself or the reason you came over here to divulge in the contents of the bar. 

As if he hadn’t already known. He just didn’t give a shit, and for the first time, you found solace in being ignored. After a moment, he took the glass from you, causing a single eyebrow to raise. In return, he gave you a shot glass and poured a fraction of the contents into it.

Now this you were familiar with. Taking it, you swung your head back and downed the alcohol in one go, grimacing at the taste alone before coughing into your arm. 

Swinging around from your barstool to face your problems, coveted by the alcohol in your system, you idly observed Charlie sharply narrow her doll eyes at your perpetrator, whom was now sweating profusely at her strict expression.

“So, what happened last night? I know you two were upstairs in your room, doing what? ” Angel tugged on his collar and Charlie only noticed you slowly blink in what she assumed was expiration -- she cast a worried glance your way which you only returned with a shrug, quelled by your drink, but annoyance still stuck your heart.

“I dunno - I might have said something but she’s just being touchy. She’ll get over it.” Charlie’s eyes narrowed to slits, the spider demon feeling the pressure as he’d obviously burst the bubble of the usually bubbly Princess. 

“Angel,” she huffed, “I’ve never seen her look so down!”

“Yeah, well ya haven’t known her for very long either, maybe that’s her normal face!” The spider replied grumpily, their voices hushed yet sharp. Charlie frowned, her foot down as she folded her arms around her chest. There was a moment of silence. Then a second, soon a minute when he finally caved in:

Alright, geez! Just get off my tits, will ya?” He groaned, wringing a hand around his neck with a hefty sigh. “-- She said she appreciated my help and I told her I didn’t do it for her and that we weren’t friends-“” 

ANGEL!” You jumped, Charlie’s hands shooting to her mouth as she tensed up. It irritated you that you knew they were talking about you. Even if Charlie meant well, you just wanted to forget about it, going about your business with a fresh wound to pick at. 

“You can’t say that kind of thing!” Charlie whispered, Angel stretching out his arms defensively.

“Well what do ya want me to say then? We’re not friends!” 

“I-” the demon choked on her words as she cast her gaze towards the floor, “you could have been nicer about it, or just accepted it. You didn’t have to say that .”

Who were you kidding? You couldn’t handle it - the eyes, the words; you were sick of it all. 

Without so much as a look, you slid from your stool (on unsteady legs) and ambled towards the stairs. You’d wait there. Mind made up; you were going to find out how the Hell you ended up in Hell . Charlie bundled her fists tight, your name stuck in her throat as she watched you go.

“See, yer shoutin’ scared her off.” Angel commented idly - Charlie’s attention whipping around to him. The Princess glaring harshly at him one last time before storming off.

What!” Angel Dust called after her. “What did I do wrong this time?” His voice grew louder and he soon found himself making his own way, cursing under his breath as he made for his room and his precious stash.

It wasn’t like you could hide forever, but you managed to clock in a solid hour before Niffty came to retrieve you for more work. Her overly energetic and optimistic personality would usually be a blessing, but you weren’t feeling it. She’d calmed so to speak when she’d noticed you weren’t feeling too great, her smile faltering ever so slightly. In the blink of an eye she’d whisked you off to another spot to do more cleaning though, stating that’s what cheered her up. You’d smiled and gone along with it, but it felt hollow. A front to how you really felt. A smile that seemed absent was Alastor’s, the Radio Demon nowhere to be found, up to something most likely. 

Hopefully pestering Angel, you thought bitterly. 

Even then, your spite was wearing you out; all you wanted was to hit the finish line and go - where? You had no idea, but there had to be something out there, anything, to help you restore even the smallest fragment of your memory. 

All you had to do was wait.

Until the crimson skies darkened, their brilliant color diminished by the creeping dusk that you waited so eagerly for. You waited until the light that pooled from the windows was only an echo from the outdoor street lamps, until the clamor of voices quieted into sweet silence.

Your steps were shallow, astonishingly silent in their wake as you traveled down the grand stairwell that only started from the cathedral hall, lighting your path was unending determination, accompanied with the flickering candles mounted against the high walls; the lobby’s expanse seemed even larger with the previous residences now absent, tucked cozily in their warm beds away from the grasping hands of the cold night.

There was just one thing you needed before you left. Adrenaline fueled you onwards; you figured Husk would have something like it lying around, so you head behind the bar -- crouching down to search the shelves behind the counter. Your gaze leapt over what should have been dark shelves, yet your eyesight was stricken with an aptitude that made late night mischief easy...

Booze, booze, oh -- and there was some more cheap booze. A glimmer caught your attention. It wasn’t much but the broken bottle top was the best weapon you could find. For self-defense purposes only. You wrapped your fingers around what was now the handle, and brandished your broken bottle. As you rose, you gave it a couple of once overs then tucked it uncomfortably into your pocket, non-discrete and rather bulky. 

Other demons probably had worse things hidden in plain sight.

With your weapon, you were finally prepared for your journey. With a head full of frustration and utter resolve, annoyance dancing on the edge of your mind, you set off -- you had to know

And were going to find out, no matter what it took. 

Chapter Text

You waited. Until the crimson skies darkened, their brilliant color diminished by the creeping dusk that you waited so eagerly for. You waited until the light that pooled from the windows was only an echo from the outdoor street lamps, until the clamor of voices quieted into sweet silence.

Your steps were shallow, astonishingly silent in their wake as you traveled down the grand stairwell that only started from the cathedral hall, lighting your path was unending determination, accompanied with the flickering candles mounted against the high walls; the lobby’s expanse seemed even larger with the previous residences now absent, tucked cozily in their warm beds away from the grasping hands of the cold night.

There was just one thing you needed before you left. Adrenaline fueled you onwards; you figured Husk would have something like it lying around, so you head behind the bar -- crouching down to search the shelves behind the counter. Your gaze leapt over what should have been dark shelves, yet your eyesight was stricken with an aptitude that made late night mischief easy...

Booze, booze, oh -- and there was some more cheap booze. A glimmer caught your attention. It wasn’t much but the broken bottle top was the best weapon you could find. For self-defense purposes only. You wrapped your fingers around what was now the handle, and brandished your broken bottle. As you rose, you gave it a couple of once overs then tucked it uncomfortably into your pocket, non-discrete and rather bulky. 

Other demons probably had worse things hidden in plain sight.

With your weapon, you were finally prepared for your journey. With a head full of frustration and utter resolve, annoyance dancing on the edge of your mind, you set off -- you had to know.

And were going to find out, no matter what it took.  

The streets in the surrounding area were silent but not dead; each shadow hosting hundreds of eyes you couldn’t see. The distant murmuring of demons was faint, but audible enough to perk your already fickle attention. One second it was a sound, perhaps the meow of a stray cat -- then the flickering of a street lamp would almost have you prepared to run, a sudden desire for the Hotel’s warmth washing over you. 

Anxiety crept into your mind, the leering shadows striking a nostalgic fear throughout your trembling heart. You couldn’t escape the fact that you were in Hell.  

Alone. 

Your clouded mind’s influence crept further, a small part of you shook with great fear, but you harshly pushed those thoughts aside -- cutting them off before they had even begun to form. You weren’t scared, you refused to be scared.

You drew in a deep breath, counting as you did, exhaling your building panic and forlorn thoughts. 

An alleyway beckoned you; your leg felt the sharp point of your makeshift weapon, instilling a new sense of courage in your steps while you trotted through a space between close buildings -- apartments, perhaps? They were tall, intimidating, and you passed them by with a cautious gaze; your eyes had caught several glints, a deep red in color and glowing with something wicked.

Whatever they were, they must’ve seen your weapon and didn’t feel like trying their luck today. 

For Hell , every bit of architecture was ornate and carefully carved, the craftsmanship something you could admire and a distraction that quelled your emotions. Pressing on through the night, you followed your gut -- those feelings inside that told you to go left, or down that street. The empty scene near the hotel soon flourished into the bustling inner city life. Maneuvering through the crowds, you felt lost in a sea of people, like you were drowning in emotion with each desperate turn of the head. Even if you had a weapon, you found yourself eager to escape the crowds of rowdy looking demons that passed by you, pushing and shoving; it was only a matter of time before one of them tried to start trouble. 

That was what happened in Hell.

It was then that you dodged an oncoming demon and sidestepped your way into a strange alley. At first, you’d been wary of it, but something pulled you on. Fixated on the light that shone at the end of the alley, you walked. Confidence in your journey restored. That was, until shadows contorted the light, their forms twisting into focus and you felt your hand suddenly wrap around the bottle in your pocket. 

You weren’t fast enough to turn; a finger pointed at you by a heavily disfigured demon.

He was missing a few teeth, a long scar hugging his features and coming to finish at the bottom of his disjointed jaw. It was like somebody had thrust his face against a vending machine -- your pace quickening as you head in the opposite direction. The cries behind you followed by the sound of feet hitting the floor harder than they should have been. 

Running. Something you didn’t hesitate to do -- your bottle in hand as you sprang down the rest of the alley in a few bounds, like some newborn fawn with uneasy legs as you came crashing into the street once more. Demons hissed and cursed, a flurry of ‘ watch it!’, but you didn’t care. Without thinking, you ran straight into the road, dodging cars as you went -- some putting in less effort than others to swerve and miss you.

“Get that bitch!” It was then that you learnt just how bad Hell could truly be; the demons behind you spurring on some sort of hunt as you saw a pair of hands appear from beside you -- the unhinged grin of a random demon provoking enough fear in you to make a scream tempt into your throat and almost cry out.

Except, you didn’t. Raising your hand, you brought the bottle down defensively. 

When it collided, it sunk into the side of the offender; something you hadn’t realised until you’d pushed yourself from the concrete, blood painting your clothes from the thing beside you. It writhed in pain, other local demons gathering round, some cheering, some joining in the violence and lunging for the now injured demon. You’d quickly scrambled to your feet - the momentary daze of the carnage soon shaking off as a stream of swearing erupted from nearby; the hoarse battle cry of the demon that Angel had assaulted. You knew they wouldn’t listen to reason as you ran - powered on by your reinvigorated spite for the spider demon as his problems came back to haunt you .

Your lungs burnt with each breath, the bright lights of the city blinding you as you tried to escape. Like a bullet, you pierced the crowd; your target unknown. All you knew is that you had to get away. 

Or you would never return to the hotel. 

The thought terrified you. What happened when you died in the afterlife? Was there another Hell worse than this one or would everything cease to exist? Was there nothing after? The thought of there being an endless void terrified you more than anything of the situation you were fleeing from at that moment. A knot in your throat choked you, only making it harder to breathe as the lights blurred.

Why did everything always happen to you?

You hadn’t stopped your onslaught of sprinting, too distracted by your own thoughts that you hadn’t noticed the indent in the wall until it was too late; an arm shot out from a dark alleyway, and you would have screamed if you were not pinned to the wall. A whisper of a ‘shhh’ that would have sounded incredibly familiar had you not had blood pounding through your ears. 

There was a heavy darkness, but it soon faded from your vision, the weight on your chest easing up as the shadows fled further down the alley. There was no one there.  

The small scapes and injuries dealt to you would have hurt like a bitch if you hadn’t been running purely on adrenaline. Your lungs heaved in the air that surrounded you, your hands on your knees as you caught you bearings. Your moment of recovery was short lived; echoes of screams and shouts reminding you instantly that you weren’t out of the woods quite yet. Not taking any chances, you slid down an incline, your person hidden poorly by the unlevel ground.

And then you spotted a bridge.

That’ll do.

It was near a lake, covered in moss and algae -- reminding you more of a swamp than anything, truly -- large enough for you not to be able to make out the land on the other side. It was calm, glass-like, and made for better cover. Picking your pace up into a jog now that you were semi-protected by the foliage and shadows of the night, you made your way towards the pier. Without a moment of hesitation, the water you greeted you with a large splash. Ultimately, you secluded yourself behind the barnacle-clad support beams.

You could hear them as they emerged from the alley, not daring peek from your compromising position. For a moment that felt like an eternity, you close your eyes, attempting to control your breathing in steady paces. They cursed, another making a pained sound as they dwindled around for a moment longer before hurriedly scurrying off to hunt you down.

You breathe a sigh of relief, chest heaving.

You gritted your teeth. Despite everything that had transpired, you didn’t regret coming out here. If there was any chance your memory could be restored, it was out here. The water slipped out of your hand when you clenched your fist, a frown broadening your features. You remained still for a moment longer to ensure that they truly were gone before surveying yourself, drying dirt and the sickening color of sanguine stained your shirt heavily. 

It was silly to think that you had to dive into a murky lake to escape them; but you were relieved to find out that it had in fact, worked. You shook your hands in an attempt to clean their contents, taking a moment to gaze out into the quiet lake waters in your lamenting. 

You watched a ship float across the lake, stirring those melancholy feelings within you. Something wet and salty, a different consistency than the water began to trail down your cheek. A singular rivulet of a tear, before you gave a huff and wiped at your face roughly. 

Now your face was covered in mud. Damn it

Leaning against the beams, you moved to reach land once again, mud in your shoes causing your trek to be a bit more tedious than it would have been if you had been shoeless.

Slowly, you made your way up the grassy terrain, grunting as you at last reached the concrete. As if pulled along by some sort of calling, you soon found yourself on the bridge, leaning against the barriers of the structure.

Nostalgia was prominent in your mind, as if you were watching a distant memory float by, only an observer in its endeavor and perhaps a participant in its contents. You felt sick, watching a thing sink into the waters, devoured by the depth and taken from light’s reach.

Your face wound into a tight frown of frustration. These memories, these feelings refusing to leave, lingering and making your own emotions sink with this fleeting images. 

Frustrated with all newfound mental baggage and tired from the “festivities” of tonight, all you could do was let sorrow consume you, letting yourself indulge this rare moment of loneliness. 

You wished it could all sink and disappear, you wished you could do the same, leave your troubles behind until they were only a whisper in your mind.

You didn’t know how long you ended up staying there; but the harsh white lights that were cast over the pier forced terror into your weary bones. You didn’t want any more trouble -- you couldn’t bring yourself to move either; the sound of a car door slamming making you flinch, gripping the bridge barrier tight as you narrowed your eyes towards the light that was pointed directly at you. 

When you heard Charlie’s voice, you couldn’t have felt more relieved -- for as much as you wanted to be alone, you knew she cared, and you she’d come to find you. 

You could go home.  

“Hello?” Her voice was soft, unsure if she had even found the right person. Upon moving towards her, she simply stood, shock written all over her expression, even as you picked up your pace and threw yourself at her. It hadn’t occurred to you that you were completely messing up her outfit with mud, blood, and water as you cling onto her taller form, exploding into tears. 

She’d ushured you into the limo, noting the slight red imprint that’d been left against her body. Not to mention the same crimson hue that speckled your fingers and nails to form a slight crust that’d been picked at. Your face wasn’t any better, but you couldn’t care less. Not right now. Not when you felt like complete shit. 

For the majority of the ride, you sat in a comfortable silence; sure , you’d glanced around the limo but that soon became a fruitless endeavor. You found comfort in the sight of the stars outside the window, eyes trained on the bright cloud that silhouetted the sky, a halo positioned just above it.  

Charlie had offered some words of reassurement but she’d not asked you what had happened, and for that you were grateful. 

As long as you were alive and safe, that was all that mattered.

Concern was written on her face, sparing you several glances -- particularly eyeing your bloodied and mud-encrusted clothes like a worried mother. She’d gaze at your face, your expression, trying to pick apart what could’ve transpired on your rather dire adventure. She bit her lip in contemplation.

“What are you looking at there?” Charlie asked softly and had slid across her seat, her eyes twinkling like the stars themselves.

“Just the sky,” you managed, a sigh soon forcing its way out, “it’s pretty.” 

You really think so too? ” Charlie gasped -- quick to calm herself as she gave you a guilty smile. “I mean-” she caught herself, “-Hell can be a beautiful place if you look in the right places.” With a deep breath in, she puffed out her chest and lifted her arms to her side.

“You just have to get past the rubble and blatant ugliness first.” 

You were exhausted , worn out not only by the antics that had gone on throughout the day itself, but because you were emotionally drained to begin with. You didn’t know how Charlie kept up such a good outlook on this life— you admired her for it. The thought of having another girl-to-girl moment made your stomach queasy; so you desperately sought a conversation that wasn’t about you. 

“They call you the Princess of Hell,” You stated, uncertain if it was common knowledge or not. Charlie looked up from her lap, an apprehensive look upon her face. “A-are you?” The stutter made you internally cringe, but you found yourself moving past it swiftly as Charlie humored your attempt at changing the topic. 

She only smiled in return, it was soft, not happy but… pleased? 

Charlie begun by nodding slowly, keen to catch onto your intentions, a twinkle in her eye as she gazed out the window nearest to where you sat.

“Yeah,” was all she said, before a moment of silence passed between you two, as if she contemplated what to say, “But don’t let that make you think of me as different… or special. I’m just like everyone else here, aside from my responsibilites.” She stated humbly, you were quick to disagree.

Are you kidding? You’re pretty much the opposite of most people here -- you’re nice -- you’re kind and you actually care about people. I certainly can’t say the same for a lot of others here.” You responded confidently, shrugging.

Her smile broadened before faltering slightly, giving your form another once-over, she sighed, closing her eyes in trepidation, “despite what you may believe, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.” Charlie rarely frowned, so when she did, it caught you off guard. “Princes and Princesses are for fairytales, not for down here. No one cares if you’re the lowest or the highest in the food chain— because there’s nothing to be afraid of.”  

You blinked. She noted your reaction.

“You’re already in the scariest place there is. It can’t get any worse than this.” She rephrased. 

“That journey did a real number on you, didn’t it?” She tried to change the subject this time, giving you an empathetic smile when you just narrowed your eyes in thought, “ --When I was younger, I was a lot like you… getting bullied, pushed around by demons twice my size,” she traced the pattern on the plush seating of the limousine, “and I didn’t know what to do. I got hurt just like you, because I was afraid .”

You turned to face the blonde, her eyes trained only on doodling patterns.

“Are you afraid?” She asked suddenly, her motions stopping for a moment to readjust her attention to you. You nodded slowly.

“Don’t take shit from other demons.” Gaze flickering to her face, you noted how she was smiling again, her rosy cheeks seemed even rosier now, “At least, that’s what my dad always told me, when I was afraid.” You smiled.

The hotel came into view now, the limousine emerging from a small road tunnel, you exchanged glances with Charlie, nodding in thanks. You would’ve said something, but your fatigue was clearly overtaking you, thankfully she seemed to understand your situation -- the vehicle drove into the front cul de sac, beautifully lit and seemingly prepared for the limo’s arrival.

“C’mon,” Charlie said, placing a hand on your shoulder, “Let’s get you some food and maybe some rest. You need it.” She delicately brushed your mangled hair out of your face, “...and perhaps a shower.” You both shared a chuckle at her statement, appreciating her sweetness in your time of need.

She took your hand, prompting you to follow her out of the vehicle and down the luxurious walkway to the hotel’s main entrance. 

Charlie had opened her mouth to say something as she pushed down the handle of the door, yet the stream of shouting and curses that interrupted her told you that whatever quiet evening she’d offered you was going to be nothing short of chaos.

FAT NUGGETS NO! ” Angel’s Dust voice pierced the air, although the others were just as loud: Vaggie had been desperately trying to diffuse a situation between Husk and Angel -- the shattered glass, booze and blood all over the floor painting a lovely picture about what had happened. Now the arachnid was fixated on Fat Nuggets, his sweet little piggy trotting straight over to Alastor who crouched down in front of it. He wore a misleading smile, yet you could feel the hunger radiating off him in waves -- Nuggets oblivious to the danger. 

Don’t you DARE touch him or I’ll put ya in the grave again myself!” Angel Dust had sprouted a pair of extra arms, two guns aimed at Alastor - the spider reaching inside his V neck as if he was going to pull out another gun - or a bazooka in his rage. 

You remained motionless, your jaw slack as you watched the chaos unfold. 

“HEY!” Charlie cried, arms out like a conductor as all eyes fell on her. “Everybody just calm down!” She added, turning to Vaggie who seemed relieved to have her back. “What happened ? Oh gosh, Husk are you alright?” She left your side to sort out the troubles. You felt guilty, standing there like the mess you were. In the hour Charlie had been gone, the Hotel itself had nearly been dismantled.

“Well, Fat Nuggets indeed, what do you feed this thing? Lead? ” You still weren’t used to him doing that - Alastor cradling the oblivious pig in his arms with a grin that stretched from ear to ear. You eyed the demon who now stood beside you; noting he looked ravenous , rivulets of drool pouring onto the pet pig. 

GIMME! ” Angel howled, nearly tackling the Radio Demon as he successfully unhinged Alastor’s grasp from his dear piggy. He spun Nuggets around before holding him close to his chest. “ Oh you’re safe now baby, Daddy isn’t gonna hurt you - let’s get you some treats, would you like that huh? I bet you would wouldn’t you, my little munchkin~! ” He was off, escorting his pet away- it’s beady eyes watching you from over his shoulder. 

You closed your mouth with an audible ‘click!’ , the smallest of frowns adorning your lips.

Alastor dusted down the sleeves of his suit, straightening his monocle, bow, and outfit from the rough housing that had ensued. He glanced at you from the corner of his eye, narrowing slightly when he saw your disheveled state -- it was then when he turned to you properly, you spared a look at him.

“Did you enjoy the pier?” He asks and you visibly stiffen, your expression bricked as you felt a familiar shudder run through you, the disembodied song was elegant -- clever and dark , you felt sick again.

He just smiled at you, an innocent facade plastered across his features, but you were directed a more sinister look with his eyes. Laughing, he turned away to leave you to your inner turmoil and possible screaming , humming a fine tune as he retreated from the main lobby into a side gallery. You weren’t sure what he was up to, and did know if you even really cared. 

Wait- what?”  

The words shot out from your mouth before you had the chance to stop them, your feet moving on their own accord.  But then you stopped, watching as he went to converse with the others. A heavy sigh was released from you, your shoulders sagging as you shook your head.

The motherfucker liked messing with your mind.

Peering down at your shirt, pants and shoes, you grimaced. You really needed a shower. You’d deal with Alastor’s nonsense another day. 

Chapter Text

Whoosh

You turned the golden handle, feeling the comfortably warm water ebb away the infectious anguish that Hell caused, soothing your tight and stressed muscles. You’d had a rough couple of days: cleaning, working, and getting into all sorts of dangerous situations; you felt more like a burden than anything, always doing things like this, causing Charlie’s already long list of responsibilities to lengthen. The thought caused a grimace to emerge.

Am I a responsibility?

It plagued you as you found yourself treating your hair with aggression -- a bad habit you picked up from just being down here, taking your anger out on mundane tasks or yourself . It wasn’t healthy. You sighed, breathing out your thoughts, trying to be rid of them.

A new thought -- a memory this time, shoved aside your insistent attempts at peace. The pier, how it quickened your heart and saddened your already pathetic state, all these emotions coming back in one crashing wave. 

The crystal water turned muddy, red twisting into the elegant streams as all your venture’s burdens went down the drain, you reminisced with a mixture of horror and sorrow as this… memory, had truly taken its toll; earlier this evening your senses must’ve been too dulled to grasp the intensity of remembrance.

You felt your eyes well up again. You felt even more pathetic. 

The soap was soothing to your abused form, smelling of delicate lavender, rich honey… and something entirely otherworldly. It smelled heavenly— ironic enough, as you were in the farthest place from it. 

Making quick work of the rest of your shower, you only stumbled out of the large unit clumsily, still stricken with this trauma, a fluffy towel wrapped loosely around your body; your mind was dazed entirely and you jumped harshly upon hearing a soft knock, as if a shy, little mouse had wanted entry. 

Though, it was no mouse, but only the appearance of the rosy-cheeked woman that you had the audacity to call your friend, carrying a plate of steaming food, no less.

It looked utterly divine, wealthy, a hearty meal would surely aid in recovering your strength! You smiled warmly at her, her presence alone melting away your anxiety with her own hearth-like aura. 

Oh… I um, didn’t know you would be so-” she motioned to your post-shower and hardly appropriate presentation, “ -Undressed . But I’d be just as eager as you to wash all that grime off, if I were in your situation.” The blonde offered thoughtfully, her surprise replaced with only sympathy.

“And… oh! I brought you food~!” Sparkles suddenly lit up her eyes and she shoved the plate of food eagerly into your awaiting hands, practically bouncing with both excitement and ecstatic joy. “I made it myself.” She stated proudly.

You gave her one of those-half smiles you only recently adopted, tiredness clearly impacting your functionality. Charlie only watched with large, expectant eyes; you shook your head, bringing a rather generous bite to your lips.

Something akin to a moan escaped you, and you were embarrassed by your own reaction. Charlie’s satisfaction was unending, she beamed.

“I’m glad you like it!” She responds sweetly, giggling, “... the apple pie is a family recipe.” Leaning in to whisper the last bit, as if someone might hear.

“Thank you.”

“For what?” Charlie asks as you carefully set down the meal she prepared herself. Your heart swelled at her thoughtfulness. Surely, there weren’t many that were as kind as your rosy-cheeked companion -- your friend.

“For everything,” you began. Slowly, you look back up to meet her eyes once again: “You deal with my bullshit , you let me stay in the hotel, you pay me , and I don’t know how to show my gratitude.” A genuine smile appeared upon your lips briefly before fading away as you continue on. 

“I cause more trouble than it’s worth,” a shrug was offered secondly, her gaze hardened at your words.

“No no,” she shook her head, “everything I have done for you, you have deserved.” She insisted on not giving you ‘special treatment’, simply stating that she was easing you into life down here. She continued on, explaining that it was rough , but you had been insanely lucky. For she was a demon who had been born in Hell, and she knew a lot more than she let on. 

“It’s okay to be stressed out. I don’t expect anything less,” she places a hand on your shoulder. You look over at it for a long moment, your half-smile returning. It was then you heard a familiar voice call from down the hall: Vaggie. Instantly, Charlie’s head popped up. “That’s my cue— rest up, will you?” 

With a smile as gentle as a mouth full of sharp teeth could express, the Princess excused herself, shutting the door behind her. 

You stared at the mahogany door for a while, lost in thought for even longer before you remembered the pie simply by the scent that had begun to fill the room. Your stomach growled, suddenly reminding you that you were exceedingly hungry. Taking the plate, you walked over to the windowsill, grabbing a pillow and nestling yourself against it; pulling your legs up to your chest as you scoffed down the pie. 

Truly, it had been one of the best things you ever had the pleasure of tasting. 

Appetite satiated, you released a sigh. There was a soft sound against the window, then another, and then another: rain. It began slowly, each splash leaving a trail in its wake.

You watched with mild interest as the rain became heavier, small flashes of lightning and the rumbling of thunder accompanying its growing intensity. Peeking over the window on weak legs, you peered out into the wet streets below, illuminated by both the street lamps and hotel lights, your wonderment not unlike that of a child’s.

You pressed your cheek against the window, the glass was cool and soothing to your warm face. It was a good night.

You were clean, fed and watered -- sheltered from the dipping temperature outside, Hell wasn’t that bad right now. It felt good. You were basking in comfort.

It was easy to get lost in thought, you supposed, constantly finding yourself pulled in the false security of your mind. Perhaps you would have called yourself a dreamer had you been any younger and naive than your were now. 

It was a defense mechanism when you found yourself to be uncertain. Disassociate with yourself, be nothing; it was easier said than done, to say the least. Gently, you peeled yourself off the window ledge, flickering towards the bed in blind contemplation. 

Perhaps you would do well to listen to what Charlie had said. Rest always made things easier, didn't it? 

As if your thoughts had become a reality, a yawn was released. With a sigh, you push yourself off of the indentation of the wall, walking over to the small closet that was graciously gifted to you; a small and moveable barrier acted as a seclusion to the rest of your room, removing your damp robe and tossing it into a bin, you put on your jammies. My hair can just dry during the night.

Climbing upon the exceedingly fluffy comforter. The softness welcomed you with an embrace, curling yourself tightly within its clutch, exhaustion prominent on your features and lulling you into a well-deserved sleep.

 

BOOM


A roar of thunder followed by the overbearing sight of lightning lit up your window, flashing across the sky and causing an audible uproar in the lobby downstairs. You groaned, squinty eyes noticing the still dark sky and rather treacherous weather; you weren’t asleep for that long. 

Of course they had been woken up too.

“Ah, fuck,” was all you growled in your sleep-deprived state, crabbiness feral. With the weather as atrocious as it was, chances were the sleep you’d gotten would be the only sleep you got.

A groan passed your lips as you slid your legs from the edge of the bed; all the cosy heat you’d trapped beneath the confines of the duvet’s embrace allowed to escape. Like some sort of drunken grump (quite reminiscent of Husk if you’d been observing yourself), you staggered over to the light switch, muttering to yourself as you went.

When you flicked the switch, it took a moment for your brain to adjust to the fact that you were, in fact, still standing in the dark. You tried again, a third time; to no avail.

The chorus of chaos that had erupted from around the hotel only emphasised the fact that you weren’t suffering from a bust bulb, but a power outage. 

Some classy establishment this is! ” Angel’s voice was the most prevalent. Your eye twitched. “ Ya know without the lights ya can pretend this place isn’t a dump! ” A snooty laugh was heard. There were other voices, but you couldn’t make them out; busily searching for some source of light around your room. 

Yeah yeah, I will, gimme a damn break. ” He sounded pretty close, not that you were really bothered by whatever it was he was doing. You were too concerned with the candle you’d found, matches to boot - each strike against the box amounting to nothing. When a tiny flame finally erupted from the end, you nearly dropped the match; happy to have succeeded in your task nevertheless as you retreat back to the bed. 

Snuggled beneath the duvet once more, you found yourself entranced by the beauty of flame as it flickered and danced in the darkness. 

 

He’d just about had it.

Vaggie had broken up his and Husk’s little love spat and then Charlie just had to bring back that leech that was getting him into trouble. A hand rubbing against his arm, he payed no attention to her door as he traversed down the hall; the dumb blonde’s words playing on his mind. It wasn’t like he hadn’t tried to apologise before, but she clearly wanted none of it. 

Why should he apologise? 

To be a ‘good demon’? It frustrated him to no end, a constant badgering in his heart and mind. He found himself dead in his tracks as he nearly passed by her room. It’d be for the best in the end. Charlie would get off his ass and it was dragging him down seeing his co-worker so pissy all the time.

And why was she always so damn upset? Why couldn’t she just be happy and accept the fact that she was in Hell like the rest of them? They were all fucked; so why did she get to come down here and get the special treatment? He frowned, arms knit tightly across his chest. It was his fault for bringing her to the hotel in the first place.

At least she’d experienced some joy before the hellish reality of Hell had come raining down on her. Nevertheless, he couldn’t bring himself to do it; as there was some sort of damn barrier between him and the door. Something that pushed him away, it was not evil, nor a sudden strike of goodness… akin to a force of nature, his nature that propelled his judgement.

He hissed.

She wasn’t a leech, she was a disease; spreading that infectious joy better than Charlie. He looked down, deep in thought, as images of her damned smile came crashing into his mind.

And she’d been down ever since he’d-- ever since they went shopping. No; she’d been happy then, the way she beamed up at him, her small chuckles, her quick-witted quips and the look she gave him like he was her fuckin’ idol or something.

It made him feel special.

It irritated him. It irritated him that she didn’t look at him the same way anymore when he needed somebody to rant to about stupid power outtages or just -- he could have punched a hole in the door and screamed at her. 

Why the hell should she care about him if he didn’t care about her? 

He grit his teeth, passing on by as he stormed off through the hall - too chicken, too aware of his own emotions for his own good.

You listened to the gentle patter of rain against the window for sometime; head as clouded as the skies above. Whatever drama had been happening had died down and the hotel was left in subtle peace , the mellow atmosphere perfect for making you want to drift off once more; but you knew you couldn’t sleep even if you tried. 

Distant memories danced within your grasp like a candle flame, unable to shake that one thought -- that one memory that blocked out the rest. Fingers sinking into the duvet, you pulled up your knees, hugging them tight as you let the silence take over your mind. 

 

Her face was in her hands, a particular company attempted to comfort the stressed woman; as a manager and a friend, her responsibilities, her wants, mingled with her emotional stability. The power outage enough to tip both of them into a state of dismay; one concerned about the other, who took on too much for her own good.

It was his second time tipping the bottle back and still, nothing came out. He didn’t know what he was expecting; some part of him unconsciously thinking that maybe there’d be a drop of that cheap booze left. Maybe he’d had too much if he was thinking like that -- but the empty lobby looked as depressing as he felt. He might have stopped after a solid day of drinking if he wasn’t stuck in the damn hotel. 

He rolled his finger beneath his tongue, savouring the bitter taste that filled his mouth; even if the only buzz he was getting was that of the slowly growing rage he felt pooling his gut. Eternally frowning, he dabbed his finger back into the bag and coated it in another layer of the powder, eagerly stuffing it into his mouth - and another in the hopes it’d make him feel something other than what he already did. 

 

The peace disturbed only by the storm outside and the haunting tune that echoed throughout the halls. Each note blend into the air, although not welcoming, the dark melody held a comforting, familiar feel to it; as if it was made for a rainy day. It was elegant, thoughtful, something that provoked both a sense of comfort and wonderment.

Perfectly reminiscent of the emotions that stirred within you. 

The wick of the candle had melted away, though only partially, leaving you to ponder if you were really hearing things as you listened to the song of the piano that seemed to seep through the walls. It made you wonder who was playing; who could play? 

Even in your sleep-deprived state, curiosity got the better of you.

The hotel was in Hell after all -- who knew, maybe there was a ghost playing? Some ‘lost soul’? You amused yourself with your thoughts -- fingers curling around the handle of the candleholder. If it was a ghost then did they count as a guest ?

Charlie would probably have a heart attack -- if she had a heart of course. You almost laughed at the thought, but your face remained tired and somewhat grim, only a symptom of your own fatigue. With a huff, you lifted yourself off of the bedside, a single hand rubbing at your eyes in an effort to be rid of the weariness you felt. 

The dim room offered only the most subtle of lighting, causing you to squint in caution so you didn’t trip over your own two feet. The floorboards creaked it’s demise at your sudden weight; truly, with the thunder outside, the lightning, and the sheer unnatural darkness, you felt as if you were in your own haunted house. In some ways the thought was true, in others it was just a laughable expression. 

The floor wasn’t necessarily cold considering it was rather naturally insulated by the plush carpet the adorned the foundations of the room. 

That being said, the rest of the room bore an unnatural coldness to it, like there was a draft somewhere; presumably from a crack in the more dilapidated parts of the walls that Niffty had failed to patch up (although you doubted anything could get past her eye). Moving forward, you only tighten your grip on the candle by its holster, wincing slightly at the heat that radiated off of the metal before willing it through. 

The flame flickered back and forth with each step you took, illuminating your path just that much more. Your eyes had begun to adjust to the vacant darkness that shrouded your peripheral vision the longer you remained in its presence. With a creak, you grasped the door knob and opened it with a swing. Stepping out, you noted how the hallway was seemingly endless. Silhouettes of candles that hung low against the walls made your sleep deprived mind do a double-take; blown out and leaving plumes of smoke in their wake. 

Slowly you made your way down the hall, the darkness ever eternal. Each step you took into the inky blackness, the more it pulled you into an abyss of unknown horrors. As you round a corner, a gust of wind seemingly spiraled past you, as if somebody had rushed past.  Your hair rustled in the breeze, a flash of lightning struck from outside. Chills scurried up your back; pure, unadulterated fear coursed through your body like a wildfire. The candle’s flame had begun to tempt fate, before flickering out completely. 

You stared in alarm as the shadows that had been kept away prior, cast against the walls in hellish delight, forging into something ravenous. It collected itself into something of low opacity, running rampant and beckoning you to follow; floating vacantly for the longest of moments, accompanied by your own shadow. It moved with intelligence , staring at you as if it were waiting for you to follow. But you didn’t. Instead, you found yourself rooted to the spot, mental chains holding you down. 

The sound of the piano continued; a siren’s tune, beckoning you despite your desire to just go back into your room and escape the horrors of the Hotel. It seemed that despite your protests, your feet moved on their own accord. Despite what safety the Hotel offered during the day, you had found unintentionally that it wasn’t quite the same during the night. Until this point, you had dodged every bullet, simply sleeping through the events that preceded the evening.

If you’d learnt anything from your time in the Underworld, it was that to stay alive trusting your gut was the way to go. In this case, your desire to stay safe told you not to go chasing after things that had the potential of being exceedingly dangerous. And yet there you were, following the shadow in a desperate attempt to find out where the music was coming from and who was responsible for the elegant if not eerie tune that lured you closer and closer still.

Your heart thrummed in your chest, the rumbling of thunder outside quaking your bones. Slowly, you brought your hand to the side of your exposed arm, running it horizontally in an effort to ease the goosebumps that had appeared upon your skin. Despite your mind screaming at you to go back into the warmth of your bed, your curiosity overrode it insistently, hand trailing alongside the railing as it led you into the main lobby. Creak. You cringed, the beginnings of a frown appearing upon the corners of your lips as you stepped upon a stair; and then another. Eyes finally adjusting to the absence of the light, your other hand still holding onto the blown out candle more out of a weapon of defense than anything at that moment, you scanned the scene of the room. 

At first, you hadn’t notice anything in particular wrong. There was no burglar nor ghost that haunted the halls, instead, the music only caused your eyes to narrow at the corner of the room. There-- a piano that had originally had a sheet over it, shrouded in dust, was now spotless; harboring an individual upon the seat. Whoever it was had stopped playing the moment you stepped onto the last stair, straightening his back and breathing a sigh that would have been inaudible if the room hadn’t been vacant of any sort of noise. 

The sensation of television static made the hair on your neck stand up while also confirming the beginnings of suspicions that had begun to form in your mind. The closer you got, the stronger it was; and now that there was only silence, the ambience that he carried with him only got that much louder. With a flick of a dime, his person spun around with the flexibility that wasn’t humanly possible. 

Accompanied by the cracking of bones, you nearly screamed.

His grin doubled in size, eyes wide and glowing as if he were intrigued by the sudden turn of events. Like a deer caught in headlights, you stiffened as a rumble of thunder and a flash of lightning illuminated his features. Nevertheless, you discovered yourself missing the fluid notes of music that had originated from the instrument. Stupidly, you moved a few steps closer, peeling off of the railing to stand far enough away while also remaining close enough to hear his next words.

“You know, it can be quite dangerous to wander through the darkness all by your lonesome without-” his eyes moved to the melted candle that you gripped tightly enough for sweat to begin to make it uncomfortable. “- A light to guide you. ” There was an amused chuckle, staring at you for a moment before motioning his hand to the seat next to him, beckoning you closer. Narrowing your eyes in suspicion, you gave into the curiosity that the odd trickster evoked.

Uncertainty was powerful, your will to survive even more so as you placed the bronze casing of the candle upon the surface of the piano. You didn’t know whether or not to actually give into his request, to show the vulnerability that was trust that he wouldn’t kill you right then and there for being in his personal bubble. Rubbing your arm, you watched as he rolled his eyes, the indentations against his cheeks deepening, amused at your ever adamant wariness of him. 

Smart. 

The longer you remained in his presence, the easier it was to tune out the background noises of his being. “...Mind doing the honor of joining me?” His tone was chipper, enthusiastic, inquisitive. Swallowing your fear, you sat down on the other side of the stool; watching the silhouette of his hands dance across the keys masterfully. You recognized it as the one that lured you here in the first place. 

“Didn’t take you much for a pianist.”

You could feel his gaze on you, but you held your ground, still watching his movements with precision. Despite your eyes getting adjusted to the absence of light, it was still hard to make out the finer details. His hands also were cloaked in darkness, but if you squinted you could see them. The enthusiastic tune drifted off, the audible sound of his clothing moving causing you to glance up just in time to see him wave his left hand and conjure a new candle out of thin air, the wax fresh and the wick hardly charred, rested atop the worn and dilapidated ruins of your reliable candle. 

He snapped his fingers; a flame roaring to life at the top of his index finger, silently watching him light the candlewick. You watched, the fear you harbored suddenly being swallowed by a child-like curiosity. Eyes wide and full of wonder, you tilted your head, reaching out in the direction of the candle before pulling your hand away. 

“You sure do have a way with your hands,” an uncertain smile pulled at the corners of your mouth: “how’d you learn to play so well?” He remained silent, your question going unanswered as his once-toothy and dangerous grin relaxed into more of an elfish one. 

That seemed to be a good sign.

His fingers flickered over the piano keys continually, sparking a minor jealousy in your heart as he played with such masterful skill and elegant confidence, your own fingers twitched as if longing to play as beautifully as he.

“A lot of practice,” His hands moved up the piano, playing a light tune, “and confidence,” he fingered a few notes, “and assurance in my ability as a pianist.” The trickster practically hummed the last part, as if this hobby was therapeutic for such an energetic ting, the closing notes of the composition drifting by like your wayward thoughts.

He stopped, “... Ever played?” you shook your head and he cast a wry smile at you, “Ever wanted to learn? ” Alastor interrupted as you were just about to reply to his odd but thoughtful questions, “You’d probably not have the patience.

This annoyed you a little, his underhanded insult sparking a reminder that he was still an asshole; his charm was an easy remedy and pulled seemingly everyone in, though his company was almost always laced with bad intentions and overall unneeded. Your mouth stretched into a displeased line, narrowing your eyes at his perpetually smug look, just waiting for him to say something else.

“But you’d make a charming pianist… well, to look at.”

Ugh, there’s that flattery he always uses to patch up any distaste that blossoms within his company, and boy did it work. Perhaps on other people, but you? You knew better than to trust the things he said, for the most part -- when it comes to Alastor’s socializing he was a snake, you’d come to learn, sprinkled throughout were lies and deceit, if only a small glimmer of truth seeded in his expressions. 

The look he gave the piano, the way his eyes crinkled in utter joy when he played a fine piece, the smalls sighs and almost relaxed posture -- that was passion, true enjoyment from mere composition alone, given by those olden keys. It was almost endearing witnessing someone’s simple indulgences bring them so far to a pinnacle of happiness.

Another flash of lightning pulled you out of your mind, your partner looking at you expectantly as if he asked you a question.

“What?” Was all you could ask, almost incredulous.

He peered at you oddly, the stormy weather and dark ambience all but illuminated his eyes in the most unnerving of ways, his expression alone could cause many’s skin to crawl.

“You’re afraid of storms…?” It was almost a statement and you realized you must’ve jumped at the flash of lightning, considering your debilitating state you didn’t doubt that you may have. 

“Maybe only right now, I seem to be afraid of everything .” You answered off-handedly, shrugging away his widening smile, “Afraid of the damn shadows, this storm, the fucking creaking--”

He chuckled loudly, placing a hand to his head as if your words were a hilarious thing. You blinked slowly, trying to conjure a rebuttal, “Why, it’s the perfect weather for lounging, my dear! … Afraid of it, pah! What an entertaining answer.” His eyes creased at the ends, lifting up in amusement while waving his hand in mirth in such a way that it was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard. Second to the idea of the Hotel, of course. You couldn’t find a good counter-argument.

It was silly. 

Thankfully, Alastor had swiftly moved on, continuing to play casually as he kept his gaze firmly rooted on you. Show off . It was a different tune this time, one that jumped from note to note gracefully in a way that only emphasised how well he could play; even if he wasn’t looking.

“I’m surprised you didn’t come down here just for a drink-” the near comedic nature of the song that rolled from the piano nearly mocked you more than his words, “ -especially with that spider’s nonsense you’ve been dealing with. ” As if the weather wasn’t bad enough - your face contorting into a grimace at the thought of Angel. 

Why couldn’t you escape him?

The grin that lined the Radio Demon’s lips strained itself in his amusement, unable to grow any larger. He’d left you stuck for words once more - turning back to the piano. Each chipper sound that sprang from the instrument at the demon’s mercy filled the void. Left to your own device, your spite began to simmer down to sheer uncomfortableness. 

You’d only come down to find out who’d been playing the piano, and now you knew. Now, with your curiosity satiated, your discomfort of being so close to him while he quite literally showed off was at an all time high. 

There was no reason for you to be there. A silence hung between the two of you as you watched him play. The longer this went on, the longer you got the feeling you’d overstayed your welcome. It was a creeping feeling upon your spine, the hairs that had laid dormant now stick up straight as your stomach coiled in nausea. There was no easy way to dimissis yourself without looking like a fool.

Without showing you were afraid.

“Leaving so soon?” Alastor cooed, attention not drifting from the piano the moment you began to stand up. Despite standing up, his height still dwarfed you; his smile was still visible - the static on his voice unusually distorted to the point that you could feel it on your skin.  

“It’s late.” You commented, a lousy excuse. “...Goodnight Alastor.” He acknowledged your words with a nod of his head, a knowing smile still prominent on his features as he watched the candle flame flicker— his only company for the rest of the night.

As you began to exit the room, you’d hesitated; a flash of lighting causing the tension in your body to grip you. The fear reaching its peak in a single, horrifying moment - Alastor’s voice carrying through the air as the thunder passed. At first, you’d thought he hadn’t finished talking to you - your life having already flashed before your eyes only mere seconds ago.

Except, he wasn’t talking, he was singing. Or had been, whatever words that’d left his mouth now a tuneful humming. And it tugged at something in your mind -- eased you, the faintest trace of a memory coming back. It wasn’t a proper memory so to speak; but it was something and that something made you stop in your tracks. 

It wasn’t a memory in the sense that it was a vivid scene or picture, it was a fuzzy thing, a feeling that invoked solace and familiarity . You found yourself smiling at his soft humming, and in that moment, he didn’t seem so bad. With this newfound appreciation and a warmth that did nothing but make you feel good.

Singing— his singing— comforted you. 

“Still standing there, darling?” His condescending tone fluttering through the air, prompting an eyebrow to raise irritably as you were pulled out of your high. You could hear the grin in his voice; you narrowed your eyes, turning to look back at him with an annoyed-- yet still charmed smile, an odd mix of expressions for sure, but it did nothing but further provoke Alastor’s attention.

He quickly turned; making you jump, yet again.

A mirthful smile of his own, not entirely impish, was directed at you; scoffing at his seemingly genuine expression, you simply returned yet another look, this time one that looked entirely fed up with his bullshitery.

Oh, well… I’m just here to make sure you’re not going to keep playing,” you replied through gritted teeth, sharply looking at a large grandfather clock that stood in the corner, “at, I don’t know, three in the morning?” he chuckled.

“I wouldn’t dream of it, my dear.” He rested his head on his hands, batting his eyelashes at you oh-so innocently , and you might’ve fell for it taking your overall pissiness and exhaustion out of the equation. Your lips twitched as if they were about to pull into a smile, daring you to laugh at his pure, undeniably hideous acting.

But you didn’t.  

All you did was storm off, and he watched as you went, hearing your footsteps linger onwards, muffling out, each becoming more distant. Your annoyance lingered on, he could taste it in his mouth -- and it was a sweet flavor indeed.

Oh but no, his endeavors wouldn’t end there.

They had only just begun.

Chapter Text

The warm embrace of sleep had begun to take your resting form to the other side; blessed with pure and utter relaxation after a night of horror. It was that wondrous time when nothing could disturb the transition to the dreamworld.

THUMP

Eyes sealed shut, white hot fear pierced your body. The tightness in your chest hurt as you remained perfectly still - suffocated by the heat that had once comforted you.

What the Hell was it now?

Images of that thing in the hallway crossed your mind; the shadow you’d seen, reimbursing a sense of dread within you. Something was in your room. Drawing in a shaky breath, you found the courage to pull down the covers. You’d already been clinging to them for dear life anyway - your eyes sealed through the whole process, every other sense strained for any sort of noise or disturbance in the environment.

With your body exposed to the unnatural chill in the air, you peeled back an eyelid, then another. The darkness void of any sign of life. The sound had come from beneath the bed though - your torment not over as you lay there with only the knowledge that you were already dead for reassurance.

That didn’t mean you couldn’t die again of course.

The air was trapped in your lungs as you slipped your hands beneath your body - head light as you saw black dots swim around your vision. Just because it wasn’t in front of you didn’t mean it wasn’t there. Just because you were on your bed didn’t make you safe. The only thing you could do if you wanted any chance of sleeping was to see what it was. You were brave.

You’d run from demons...that was a terrible example but you’d survived in Hell this long; what was it going to be? Husk’s moody face?

Your fingers curled around the edge of the bed - digging into the mattress as you brought yourself to the edge. The creak of the springs made your soul cry out; flinching as your insides churned. No light touched the space between the floor and the edge of your bed.

Chest heaving by this point; you could have been sick.

But you weren’t going to chicken out; lowering your body onto the mattress below you and hanging your head off the side. Lower and lower until your peeked into the darkness - eyes wide in fear, a fear of nothing.

There was nothing.

There was nothing beneath your bed that could have made that noise. It was probably somebody moving around the hotel; sound travelled weird like that. It’d only take you another hour to settle before you’d come close to sleep again, but there was nothing there. A hand fumbling for the duvet, you kept a close eye on the darkness beneath you.

Soon, you lowered yourself onto your side, duvet pulled across yourself defensively. You’d had enough excitement for one night, you thought with a huff. Too much.

And now, it was time to sleep.

Duvet held tight to your body, you rolled onto your back to get settled; seizing up as the colour drained from your face - mouth agape as the scream that’d lurched into your throat never left. Terror coursing through your veins at the sight of that - thing.

It hung from the ceiling; drooping like it’s body was too heavy for the distorted limbs that kept it there - claw tipped protrusions fastening it to the roof as fragments of paint chips fell from above. It’s outline was unlike any demon you’d seen; lanky and painstakingly humanoid, even as its neck folded back on itself with grotesque display of piercing eyes and teeth.

It was far from human though.

If anything truly belonged in Hell, that did; air failing you as your chest heaved short sharp breaths. It jittered, as if threatening to fall - but its voice; high pitched whines were interrupted by bursts of what could have been other voices, reversed snippets of sound piercing the air.

Then you moved.

You’d reached for the bedside table, a single hand almost slamming down against the nightstand in an attempt to grab something. The search immediately abandoned as a guttural cry tore through the creature’s throat. Your hands flying to your face as something warm splashed against it - your hands soon coated in a viscous liquid as you threw yourself from the bed. Collapsing to the ground, you scrambled to your feet - gaze darting to the ceiling to watch as it detached itself onto the bed below, shattering the main frame. You crashed into the wall, stumbling over your feet as it adjust its body, spine twisting on itself as it brought an arm over its head, the other pulled from underneath it.

The saliva that dripped from its maw shone in the dim light from the door - your only escape.

You’d crashed into the wooden frame in two steps, snatching the handle and ripping it open. You didn’t look back this time either - you ran. Straight into the first door you saw; behind you, the shrieks of the monster telling you it had followed. With the door slammed shut behind you, you twist the lock; knowing full damn well it wouldn’t stop whatever the fuck that goddamn thing was!

You were shaking.

Pacing around for some sort of protection, you caught sight of your reflection; the colour having drain from your face. Sheet white. You were a ghost. You would be a ghost. Nothing - nothing - in Hell looked more ready to put you in a grave than that. It couldn’t even speak; panic overriding your system as you searched for a weapon of some sort, tried to think of a plan.

Surely the others had heard it, right? Maybe if you screamed loud enough somebody would come for you.

And you did scream - the door nearly splitting in half as that thing through itself against the frame; giant splinters caving inwards as shrapnel was scattered against the tiles. An beastial roar shook the room, followed by a rumbling as it prepared itself for another round. It rammed itself into the door once more - a deer-like horn piercing the frame and becoming wedged.

You saw yourself impaled on it - the horn sliding back through the door and catching against the frame. You saw it then; a fire extinguisher beneath the sink. Diving for it, you snatched the contraption in your grasp, rifling through a cupboard to find a spray bottle and a lighter. The items seemed forlorn in a bathroom, but you hadn’t the time to think about this as you heard a garbled scream, that thing preparing for yet another, and likely final, attempt to quite literally break down the door with it’s massive body.

You watched in horror as it’s sickly tendrils writhed beneath the door, trying to worm its way into where you were.

In a desperate thought, you came to an epiphany - quickly, and with sudden resolve to survive this encounter you had decided upon using the spray bottle, unsure of its contents but worth a try, using this newfound lighter to catch the stream on fire -- a wave of fire roared to life, it’s heat explosive and highly effective against the wildly thrashing tendrils.

Another shrill sound could be heard, pained, suffering, but not a trace of sympathy fled into your mind as you watched its appendages retreat.

You kicked down the door of the bathroom, armed with your makeshift flamethrower - it doesn’t like heat, you thought and were ready to set that bitch on fire when--

Nothing was there.

Nothing, as in, no creature; you didn’t let up, however, and hurriedly peered around the room with spray bottle outstretched in hand, lighter in the other. Looking up at the ceiling once more, nothing was there, it looked like nothing had been there. You shook your head with a frown, prepared for it’s arrival.

A few seconds pass, silence.

A sudden bump and you were swiveling around, already beginning a wave of fire aimed at the perfectly pristine bathroom door. You’d quickly stopped.

Something the matter?” A familiar, smug tone almost sung, his feigned concern almost tempted you to use your little toy on him.

Adrenaline proceeded to course through you, your heart rate fast, eyes still searching every crevice the room had to offer; Alastor had become the least of your problems, for now, his presence paled in comparison to that thing you had witnessed - he was an annoyance, though.

“W...what are you doing in here?” you inquired sharply, quickly, his eyes glowing with delight, “That thing still might be in here.” Voice a whisper, it prompted your new - and rather welcome - companion to look around.

You could tell he wasn’t taking you seriously, as if you were some child having a nightmare and you’d just asked mommy to look under the bed for monsters. After quickly glancing around the vicinity, his eyes flickered to yours and narrowed at your bold expression. He raised an eyebrow condescendingly.

“What thing, my dear? All I see is a disheveled employee who should be asleep,” you’d lit up another stream of fire again and almost jumped, surprise written on his features.

“Don’t fucking talk to me like that-- I know what I saw.” You refused to hear his words, cutting off the stream again to see his smile twisted into a visible strained one, almost a grimace, “We need to get more fuel for this, it’s running low; we can make a break for the lobby, look for a--”

You eyes searched his in inner hysteria, and sighed. Perhaps it’d been too much. “No, that won’t be necessary,” he shook his head and a nearly empty spray can whipped passed his head, missing him only by an inch; it soared passed the candle he so graciously had returned to you from the gallery, your off-handed aim expertly putting out only its flame, save for making the candleholder itself wobble slightly upon skimming.

The room was darker now, his eyes brighter. There is silence, the only ambience howling wind and loud pattering from the horrid storm outside, it’s noises causing a visible flinch to emerge from your reflexes.

Leave,” Alastor only narrows his eyes in response.

You flatten your hands against the wall, pocketing the lighter just in case and sought out to find a light switch - running your hands along the wall, you could only see Alastor’s silhouette growing closer as you searched.

“But,” he started and you growled, “with you so shaken, would it be a good idea? ...Perhaps you need a babysitter?” You remember that, indeed, there was no power to the establishment and you were making a fool of yourself.

His words caught your ear quickly, however, and you gaze snapped to his form next to you. That condescending, motherly tone back and more prominent than ever in his venom-laced words, sending you into another fit entirely. He leaned down while he spoke, towering over your much smaller form in what seemed to be mockery, even giving your cheek a light squeeze with his clawed hand - still treating you as if you were a child, something lesser than him.

You already had the adrenaline to just pick him up and throw him out the door.

In the blind fit of fury, you’d taken his collar, the demon essentially begging for it as he loomed over you - your noses practically touching as you dropped your voice this time.

Get the fuck out, before I remove you myself.” You hissed, the corners of his lips twitching in amusement. You could see it in those smug eyes, noticeably furrowing at your utter dismay - a mocking smile contorting your features as you tried your damned hardest to keep it together. As you shoved him aside, Alastor simply adjusted his collar, straightening himself out with a merry brush of his hair.

“Are you sure?” He hummed, peering down his nose with narrowed eyes.

Much to nobody’s surprise, you’d reeled back your arm - and the fist attached to it had collided with Alastor’s face. It knocked the monocle clean off his annoying face, the Radio Demon lifting a hand to his face and yet that goddamn smile remained. He didn’t even look shocked.

Your teeth grit in an attempt to keep the pain that’d erupted in your hand low key, but blood was quick to pool at your wounds and even drip onto the carpet.

The trickster gazed at you from under his lashes, going to adjust his monocle only to be kindly reminded it was on the floor, shattered by the little one that stood so bravely in front of him. Instead, he folded his arms behind his back.

Tsk, tsk, taking your aggression out on another? My dear, I thought better of you!” his chipper tone was quick to dismantle this tension, his face thoroughly satisfied with your reaction and would hopefully bruise in the morning.

He shakes his head dramatically, “... but perhaps it is time that I leave, though I worry about your behavior,” he cast a motherly gaze at you, eyelids lidded and speaking again in that voice, the kind you would speak to your pets with.

He sauntered past your shaking person, not from fear, far from it now, but from pure, unbridled annoyance and anger. You were fuming, and continued to do so as he spared you an attempted subtle glance from the corner of his eye, opening the door slightly ajar and stepping out slowly.

Oh and,” you were about to scream at him, “you’ve got a damn good arm on you.” And that was the last thing you heard before you slammed the door on his face, his smile nearly face-splitting; the door was quickly locked and you waited to hear his footsteps, just to instill some sense of comfort within you.

Sighing, you slide against the door in exhaustion, almost falling asleep in that position. You stayed there for a few moments, hearing out for any noises and when you didn’t hear the distinguishable tapping of his shoes against the floorboards, you massage your temple in sheer stress.

The last of your strength was used to straighten yourself out, gazing at your one true lover - the bed, that soft…thick, expensive bed. The one that didn’t mind to hold you every night, all night, didn’t mind to comfort your stress and woes; your adrenaline was fading as well as your will to live, but your will to sleep was as strong as ever, and you force yourself on unsteady legs towards your lover for the upteenth time that night.

Literally falling into the confines of your covers, sleep was immediately gifted to your worn self; nothing to worry about, no more monsters lurking in the dark, but perhaps there was one right outside your door.

Oblivious to his deceit, his smile, the proud strides he took down the hall as if he owned the place. The horror-filled night only anguish for you, though fruitful and positively exhilarating for him.

He licked his lips, appetite sated for now.

Chapter Text

Waking up had never been so dreadful. 

Your alarm --set on Niffty’s insistence-- rang off the walls; causing you to groan, reach over, and slam your fist down onto the metal. It wasn’t a cheap thing (nothing in this Hotel was), but your desire to go back to sleep was stronger than the pain that suddenly coursed up your arm when it connected with the object. 

It didn’t turn off, instead vibrating around the end table and somehow ending just out of your reach. The thought of chucking it out the window wasn’t the first idea that crossed your mind. With a groan, you sat up, casting daggers at it before rubbing your eyes blearily. Sleep was very much attached to you in that sense, and despite the badgering of the alarm clock, you took your sweet time with stretching. 

The morning light trickled in from the open blinds; dousing the room in a light red hue instead of a welcoming yellow. It was always red. Adjusting yourself to let your legs dangle off the edge of the bed, you reached over and grabbed the clock; the smallest of frowns dancing upon your lips. You held it in your hands, the constant metallic trill bouncing off the walls, but to you, it was faded background noise.

There was a creeping feeling of dread upon your shoulders as you took the time to reflect upon the previous night. It made you want to leap off of the bed as you recall the faint crash that’d echoed from beneath the bed, then - picturing it was enough to invoke another dose of adrenaline to scour through your body. A dull ache throbbed across your hand, causing you to look at the hand that clenched the clock. Black and blue knuckles; a somewhat more pleasant memory you bore the wounds for. 

Still, you didn’t want to dwell on the past for once, wishing you could forget it; not that your dreams would let you of course - nightmares. Damn night terrors. It’d all been in your head, that was it, one big figment of your imagination that embodied Hell into a grotesque mass that hung from above you. A weight upon your shoulders! Clearly that was it, you just had to let it all go. That was right. 

When you’d been awake, that was a false start. 

When you’d been asleep, the disjointed maw of the creature snapping your neck clean in two - that was all the evidence you needed to come to the conclusion that it had simply been brought on by sleep deprivation. Slowly, you moved your thumb to the button-- pressing it in and ending the shrill chime of the clock once and for all. With a sigh, you fell back onto the bed, the mattress bouncing underneath the sudden disturbance. 

Running your hands through your hair, you lifted yourself back up with a grunt and hopped off of the bed. 

You opened the closet, the rustic doors creaking audibly against your favor. There wasn’t much to pick from in terms of style, but there were different color choices. Instantly,  you were attracted to the lighter of shades, as if the complexion would scare away whatever shadows still lurked on your form. 

Blue looked good on you.  

Nevertheless, you were eager to get out of the room once and for all, for your sacred space had been violated and torn to shreds by your mind. The memory left a foul taste on your tongue, chills trailing up your neck and causing the hair to raise instinctively. The one room where you had felt safe, was taken from your grasp. 

There were a plethora of rooms to choose from in the Hotel, and despite Charlie probably not minding if you decided to up and move to a separate one— would it really matter?  Would it happen again? Had it really been your mind playing tricks on you? It had felt as real as the way your fingers played with the fabric of your shirt; the texture soothing you and bringing you back into a state of reality. 

Letting out an uneven sigh, you turned your head; anxiety and paranoia telling you to make sure nothing was going to sneak up behind you. The only thing that was of informality was the dust that floated through the room, visible by the streams of light that brightened up the room that much more. 

Moving to the other side of the bed, you noted the candle that had been earnestly and innocently given back to you by Alastor. That part had been real, as if you needed any additional reminders from the throbbing of your fist. 

Leaning down, you pick it up, frowning at the wax that was now stuck to the once flawless carpet. Despite your best efforts, you couldn’t find it in yourself to clean it up at that moment. The spray can was next, this time reaching over the counter to remove it. You cringed at the marks on the wall, burn marks, from you using your makeshift flamethrower. 

You shake your head.

The bathroom floor was colder than it needed to be, the sudden change from fluffy warm carpeting to tiling made a hiss fall from your lips. On second thought, you look down at the nearly empty can, shaking it a few times before briskly turning it around and placing it gently back next to the table beside you. 

Just in case. 

With a swing of the door, you let yourself out into the extended hallway. It was quiet at first, the excited chatter only becoming audible by the time you reached the turn which lead to the stairway. What you could hear, you guessed, was Charlie chattering away and the common background noise that filled the silence. 

It didn’t take you long to reach the flight of stairs; letting your hand glide against the railing, immediately setting your sights onto the new guest that had been all the talk. Your eyebrows immediately rose to their absolute highest, surprise evident on your features at the realization of who it was.

“Oh hello, darling!” The scaled hand of the Alligator woman waving at you from across the room and beckoning you closer. Whatever traces of exhaustion quickly faded away into curiosity, a ghost of a smile pulling at your lips. 

Passing by the kitchen, the scent of something pleasing wafted into your nose, immediately making your stomach growl with the intent of ingesting whatever it was that had created the scent. Peeking in, eyebrows knitted, you noted the second to last individual you wanted to see in that moment, putting a damper on your mood in seconds. 

He was cooking. 

You nearly lost it at the sight of him in an apron, a semi-red apron, almost pink in appearance. You squinted at the words ‘Don’t Kiss the Radio Demon’ in large, sparkly, deep red letters, adorning the ornate apron he bore. He was humming while he cooked, currently craning himself down to take something out of the oven— at least your humor wasn’t impaired. 

With a roll of your eyes, you ducked back out of the kitchen before he could notice your presence, but you caught sight of him swivel his head around just before you retreated. 

Perhaps he already knew and he wasn’t acting upon it, which you silently praised God himself for because if that were to happen, you wouldn’t get out of that conversation even if it were your second death wish. You wouldn’t lie to yourself and say that whatever he was doing smelled good, because it did and your stomach rumbles in favor of the thought for a second time. 

“Oh my gosh, they look amazing!” Charlie’s voice was enthusiastic, motioning to the plate of candied apples. Her happiness was contagious, your eyes mirthful as you strolled up beside her. You suddenly felt incredibly dwarfed in comparison to the individuals that stood around you.

You felt bad for Niffty.

“Your hospitality won’t go unnoticed, Miss...” she trailed off, looking at you for a moment before the alligator lifted up a singular claw and spoke. 

“Just Allie, dear.” 

Husk nearly lost his shit, howling in laughter from his positioning against the wall where he had been silently eavesdropping on the conversation. “Of course it’s fuckin’ Allie. She’s a fuckin’ Alligator.” You saw Charlie stiffen, nearly in time with your own.

He fucked up. 

Out of the corner of your eye, you watched the old woman as she gave a restrained grin in his direction, her teeth adorning the majority of her face and ultimately appearing far more threatening than you would have expected any sweet, old lady to be. He watched as she approached him, wearily making her way with her cane to guide her.

And then, as if she hadn’t needed the cane to begin with, she spun it around and hit him directly between the eyes with enough precision to ensure the fact that she most likely had experience in defending herself. His head slammed against the wall with a loud ‘FUCK’, rubbing at his face with his hand. Your attention found its way back to Allie who you suddenly had a lot more respect for. 

Charlie’s jaw hung slack, the Princess at odds with herself as her eyes widened; caught somewhere between horror and amusement.

“Ah-” she choked, staring at the scene as she fumbled for you - digits pawing your arm. “You wouldn’t mind giving Allie a tour - please?” Charlie turned to you on the ‘please’, her usually happy demeanor tainted by concern.

“You two know each other so I think it’d be better if you did it!” As she explained her reasoning behind why you, the cleaner, should show around Allie, her smile grew; obvious excitement becoming prominent. “It’ll be your chance to shine!” 

What other choice did you have than to agree? 

“Of course!” You chirped, nervously. It wasn’t like you could say no to your manager, but the opportunity to spend some time with Allie was what sold it to you. 

Oh thank you! ” Charlie squeaked, offering you a wide grin, bouncing on her toes as she escorted you towards the aforementioned Alligator and a sulking Husk. “Miss Allie, if I may , would you like a tour of the hotel since you’re here?” She sounded so professional, and yet the giddy undertones still managed to slip through - even if Allie hadn’t showed an interest in staying yet, she’d at least shown an interest in the hotel.

The first sign of business

Allie’s expression softened with the kind of look a grandmother could at the sight of her grandchildren. It was warm, joyous, radiating a comforting aura. So what if she’d just clobbered Husk over the head, she was precious

“Of course darling, I’d love a tour!” Charlie still had it together - practically buzzing as she spoke, tone notably an octave higher.

Great!” She chimed - nearly shoving you forwards, you yourself stumbling a few steps. “I’ll leave you to it! Take all the time you need!” You glanced back at her with wide eyes 

“Why thank you dearie, it’s not everyday you have an opportunity to see the work Lucifer’s own daughter has produced. I think it’s a wonderful thing you’re doing here - good to see someone with a fresh take on Hell.” Charlie’s pale face was aflame, although she didn’t seem entirely thrilled at her words. Perhaps it was from the sheer embarrassment, recoiled from the statement with quiet thanks. 

You’d taken it upon yourself to begin the tour anyway, guiding Allie away from the scene.

Allie plod along beside you, taking her time to inspect the hotel while you moved forward, dipping into hallways, explaining the blueprint of the Hotel from what you knew. You hadn’t been here very long. Whenever you stopped she’d engage with that you were saying; inquiring and pointing out even small details about the hotel you hadn’t noticed.

It made the place seem a little bit more charming, those minuscule touches of detail you’d overlooked and the way she managed to describe it all with a passion. You finally grasped the idea of why she was a tailor; her expertise in picking out small details only worked in her favor. 

She deserved everything she had.

“Ignore the mess, we’ve been trying to find a home for the paintings.” You quickly said as you caught a glimpse of them as you approached. Yet, the intrigued ‘ooo’ that spilled from Allie in sheer intrigue and curiosity only showed her lack of concern for the mess. You supposed being under Alastor’s watchful gaze had you on your toes, eager to not mess up.

“A portrait of the Magne family!”

The who now?

She’d come to a halt after ushering towards the paintings with an energy you didn’t know she possessed, her tail swishing in delight as the alligator peered up at the large image, clasping her claws together in what seemed to be endearment. “Oh, look at them!” piping up, Allie had turned to look at you with excited eyes, “A true family, that is, truly something Hell can be proud of!” 

You glanced up, assessing the masterpiece; painting large and lined with an expensive frame as if to emphasize its importance, its status.

You sent her a confused frown, “The Magne family?” You trailed off into a question only for her to nod, her look deflating only slightly as if taken aback by your lack of knowledge. You didn’t particularly blame her, it was a tad foolish to be in this place without having a clue on its intricate fundamentals or political climate.

“The head honcho of Hell,” she tapped her cane lightly in the general direction of a rather funny looking thing, “Lucifer,” she continued and you could only squint in amusement at the pipsqueak of a ruler, “His wife, Lillith, and of course you know Charlie. The Magne family.” The darling alligator summarized, glancing at your face as you were trying not to laugh. 

You nodded quickly, but then, your eyes caught sight of something painted carefully in the bottom right corner, only a mere sliver of it was viewable.

It was a stool.

Lucifer was standing on a stool.

You almost lost it then and there, lungs flexing in your struggle against your will, your mouth twitching; a laugh threatening to burst from your lips while Allie looked so kindly at your face. You could tell she harbored a lot of respect for the family, and the last thing you wanted to do was disrespect something she liked.

“Let’s move on,” it took everything from you to just say that one thing, hardly even a sentence as you cleared your throat and beckoned your sweet company to follow. She waddled after you and your heart warmed at the sight, babbling all the while about the paintings, the nice carpet, random little tidbits of information that were just endearing.

You paraded around your room with a sense of pride, using it as a prime example of the quarters the hotel had to offer; finally taking Allie on the last stretch of the tour.     

Everything was going fine.

Fine until you almost crashed into a pink and white striped mass. Allie had barely stopped you, a scaly hand catching you as the other flew to the tip of her snout in shock.

Woah, hey-” your eyes locked; Angel stiffening as he stared down at you, quick to avert his gaze with a frown, “watch where ‘yer goin’.” He sounded tired, eyes bloodshot from either lack of sleep or his possession of drugs that you still kept secret for his sake. 

“Yer gonna get hurt walkin’ round careless like that.” 

Certainly dismissive; offering Allie a half-assed smile as he passed on by. That damned spider - you knew there was no way he hadn’t not heard your screams last night, considering how close your room was to his. He was probably too high to do anything, not that would have even if he wasn’t high. 

Allie watched you from the corner of her eye.

You were tense, a frown adorning your face as you watched him disappear down the hallway. 

“I suppose there’s a reasoning behind your frown?” Allie’s voice snapped you from your exasperated thoughts; blinking at her a couple of times as it sunk in what exactly had left her mouth. You failed to respond in the time it took for her to rest her shaky hand on your shoulder. 

“I-“ 

The look in her eyes made you feel cornered. It wasn’t necessarily in a bad way; your thoughts running rampant as you wondered if it was truly okay to detach from your work and express and share your inner demons. You hated feeling so useless, so uncertain of where to go next. Was there some sort of mental path you had to take to go to bigger and better things, or were you going to eternally be a cleaner for the Hotel? 

“No.”

But you stood up straight, despite only reaching her her upper abdomen in height, placing your hand on hers with a small pat. You had to be strong. “Angel is an asshole,” you began, and once you let that phrase slip from your lips, you continued to rant about everything that annoyed you about him and how he practically betrayed your trust. 

A series of ‘I see’ and ‘yes’ we’re given to you as she nodded her head along, letting you express all of the horrors that plagued your mind with a sickening intensity. 

“You really are in Hell, dear...” Allie sighed, bringing her index finger and thumb to the bridge of her nose; her weak smile reinforcing the emotion behind this action, “did you think it was going to be fun living here?” You didn’t know what to say, her expression softened as she motioned for you both to walk and this time you followed her. She kept a hand against your waist, guiding you along the hall.

“I’ve been here a long, long time and let me tell you, it wasn’t easy for me either.” She began. “Now, I have my own shop and try to live as peacefully as I can.” The alligator explained her story, how she’d fallen down and the struggles she faced: how demons would walk all over you, as Angel had done, if you let them. It was reminiscent of what Charlie had told you; and you started to ask yourself if it was something you were actually supposed to listen to.

Maybe there was some truth hidden within the depths of their extravagant speeches.

“I don’t know much about you or Angel, dear, but from what I’m hearing, he is just looking out for himself. I understand that even if he is selfish about it, my dear, you need to learn that this place is not somewhere you can just throw your trust around aimlessly.” Although you did feel a twinge of irritation that she’d sided with Angel, it made sense what she said; hearing it from her made it possible to see why he’d behaved in such a way. 

“It takes time to build relationships even when you’re alive; but now we’re not only dead, dear, but we’re in Hell. You need to watch your back, there’s a lot of demons that can’t wait to see your head on a silver platter.” Her descriptions made it easier to believe her phrases, it instilled a sense of uncertainty and nausea low in your stomach. 

“But why? I haven’t done anything.” 

She stopped in her movements, resting her hand against your cheek in a motherly display. “Oh, but you have.” Your lips pulled into a frown, staring up at her through your lashes. “Dear, you are kind— it’s a rarity in this circle of Hell. Some worship that, others are threatened; many will see it as a weakness.” She then narrowed her eyes at you.

“Has he tried to apologize?” You purse your lips, nodding in response before speaking.

“I mean- I think. I kinda… shut him down…” you trailed off, looking off to the side, Allie’s eyebrow twitching upwards. You felt like a child. She didn’t say anything - but you knew what she would have said: she was telling you to listen. You should have listened to Angel when he tried to apologize to you. 

You’d just been so angry.  

The tour came to an end and you quietly thanked Allie for her wisdom, embarrassed but grateful to have spoken with her; in turn, she thanked you for the tour - the pair of you heading for the staircase; your hands tracing the wall gingerly, gently continuing the conversation of an entirely different topic that you were entirely thrilled to speak of. 

How your clothing had come out. 

She complimented on how it fit to your form and gentle feminine curves with elegance even when you didn’t try. It was common attire, something that made you look down with a flushed face. It didn’t look like anything wonderful, but then again, your self confidence was at an all-time low. “Thanks,” you beamed, turning the corner only to slam into a wall that hadn’t been there before. 

Except, it wasn’t a wall at all.  

There was a grunt that was pushed from your lips, moving back and rubbing the top of your head with a frown. His arm had found your other upper arm, holding you steady before abruptly letting go. There wasn’t a word passed to you as you walked backwards, standing side by side with Allie. 

Alastor. 

He was looking from you, to Allie, and then back to you, the air around you holding a wave of radio static. Allie must have not been used to it, sparing her a glance and seeing her stiffen. At least, you supposed it was because of the static. “You get used to it,” you commented briefly, reaching up on your tippy toes to pat her shoulder just like she had done effortlessly. Allie herself was surprised at how at ease you were in the presence of one of the only individuals Hell feared.

Before you could read her expression further, you glanced back at your new guest. Entirely unwelcome. You hated how he just was there when he hadn’t been only a moment before, explaining as to why you had blindly walked straight into him. 

“A guest!” He tilted his head, his grin expanding with an intensity; he was in his normal attire again, you noted. He quickly held out a hand, his microphone in the other. “Well, this is the first one we’ve got since the hotel opened!” Hesitating, Allie shook his hand in which he accepted with exuberant enthusiasm. Letting her hand go, you watched as he brushed down the garments that adorned his frame. He looked down at you then, your expression remaining neutral and totally done with his antics. 

He grabbed your arm, pulling you to him in one fellow swoop, pinching your cheeks in the process just to annoy you that much more. “Thanks to this lovely little darling here, of course! Wouldn’t you agree, Allie?” Her eyes flickered between the two of you as you pulled and pushed against him to attempt to get his hold off of you. He didn’t, instead grabbing your chin and forcing you to look up at him. You bared your teeth in a grimace, watching his own lips stretch into a shit-eating grin. 

“Why, maybe you should go out more often!” A stupid laugh track played before he released his death grip on you, letting you return to Allie’s side again. You rubbed your jaw with your hand gently, hissing at the tenderness that still radiated off of it. There was a crash in the kitchen and a shrill ‘fuck!’ from Angel Dust, causing his ears to twitch at the sudden sound, clearing his throat. 

“As swell as it was for you to introduce me to such a lovely dame,” you hadn’t even said anything. He had probably eavesdropped on the entirety of your conversation anyway: “I really must be on my way, quite a pleasure!” He gave a dramatic bow before spinning on the heels of his shoes and moving back to the kitchen. 

Good riddance. 

“Um,” you said finally, breaking the silence, looking up at the alligator demon that you had befriended. “W-would you like some tea?” You rubbed the palm of your hand against the back of your neck, motioning for her to follow you to the other end of the kitchen. You refused to go through the same one that the pompous, cheesy bastard had disappeared into. 

Allie and yourself had spoken on the way around the hotel, but it was nice to sit with her - appreciate her company. She sat on the couch next to you, merrily related tales to you from her life, both present and past like you were her grandchild; a cup of tea in her hand. When she’d asked about yourself, you quickly mentioned you couldn’t remember much, only that you enjoyed singing and remembered something about water.  

Ironic, considering she was an alligator. 

When she’d asked you to sing, your face had set aflame and a flurry of ‘no’s’ being released. Allie chuckled away at your bashful refusal. Eventually, the tea was gone and she rose; stating that it was best for her to take her leave. You’d been disheartened by this, finding her company pleasant . You set aside her tea cup momentarily, seeing her to the door where she asked you to thank Charlie for you - surprisingly not doing it herself, yet she seemed to shift uncomfortably - making you wonder if it had something to do with Alastor. 

It probably had something to do with Alastor.

Nevertheless, you promised her you’d do just that, bidding goodbye to your friend ; certain she was one even if you’d only known each other for a few hours. She seemed to care about you, then again, Angel had seemed that way too. You were sorely wrong in that field, maybe you were just being too soft, but you sincerely doubted she’d double cross you. 

With her gone, you were left with the cup, you yourself not having one quite yet, before deciding it best to wash it; it was common courtesy after all. 

With a sigh, you went back over to the counter, picking it up and walking towards the kitchen. The double doors swinging as you passed through them— immediately, the scent of freshly baked spices and goods entered your sensitive nose, seeing the creator of such mouthwatering scents. Silently, you crept over to the sink which just happened to be right next to where he was. Just your luck. 

The memory of the previous night was still very much fresh on your mind. 

You filled the cup up with water, moving your arm to grab the soap to clean it further. There were words that wanted to escape the confines of your lips, to question the meaning behind all of this food that would no doubt take up the majority of what had been stored in the refrigerator and freezer. He was humming, sprinkling salt over some sort of meaty dish that you instantly thought of as human.

Of course, that was just because you were paranoid around him, even if his actions last night at the piano had been a bit charming. 

“Why’re you doing this?” The words escaped you before you could stop them, you could see his grin widen in your peripheral vision as you busied yourself with cleaning the cup. It didn’t take too long, considering that you were now just scrubbing to scrub. You weren’t against the idea of a feast; you just thought it would have been more enjoyable without him or Angel. Your bitter thoughts were simply laced together from your lack of sleep, and because it was a lot easier to hold a grudge than just accept it as it was. 

You wouldn’t lie and say that Allie’s words hadn’t hit home, though. Perhaps, if Angel tried again, you would give him the chance to appease you. But would you seek him out? Nope. You truly were a stubborn girl.

“Oh, my poor, stressed employee,” he stopped his humming, confidently turning to you just as you put the cup down to the side to let it dry. “-worn from your night terrors,” his eyes narrowed, your movements ceasing. 

You turned to look at him, crossing your arms for mainly your comfort. “And you.” You drummed your bruised knuckles against your arm, watching as his eyes flickering down to it, his grin expanding, eyes crinkling at the edges mirthfully before he chuckled.

“I’m delighted you asked! I couldn’t help but feel a little frazzled from our encounter last night,” Oh, he felt frazzled. “So, I thought something like this would put a smile on your face!” 

Excuse me, what? 

He looked enthused by your reaction, jaw opening and closing like a fish out of water. “For me?” You narrowed your eyes, entirely disbelieving of what he insisted on making you believe. 

Well, I don’t see why not!” He leaned down again, bringing a hand to your face and squeezing your cheeks in a condescending maternal way. You were beginning to speculate over the idea that he had some sort of interest in your face, considering how much he affirmed his grip on you. You brought your own hand up and swatted his hand away successfully, his grin stretching to its limit, but he still remained hunched over to be closer to you. 

You stood your ground this time instead of backing down

“My dear, you’ve been oh, so burdened with these measly, silly tasks, and what better way to unwind than this!” He spun on his heel, motioning with his hands in a specific way towards the table. Before your eyes, decorations adorned the surface, tea pots, plates, cups, and even simple aesthetic ones upon it. You felt your arms unravel themselves, your current state of awe making you whisper under your breath in disbelief: 

“...A tea party.” 

“Yes indeedy!” Was his only response, your attention being pulled to the new face in the kitchen, Charlie. Her face was shrouded in a grin, hopping up and down as she walked over to you. 

“Isn’t it great!?”

Brow furrowing but a slight smile adorned your lips, conflicted awe tracing your features, “Uhhh…” Charlie’s large eyes gazed at you. You winced, feigning a larger smile, “Yeahhh, I suppose it is?” She squealed, her hands suddenly seized your shoulders.

“You have to attend! Look at all that hard work Alastor is putting into baking all the food!” she bounced, motioning to the intricately set table and rather fancy china, “And he’s making scooones~!” Your face was pressed against hers as she hugged you in utmost giddiness, the broken smile you presented pulled itself into a thin line of annoyance - not with Charlie, heavens no, but with Alastor.

This act of kindness was shady, he was shady. After the stunt you’d pulled last night, shattering that precious monocle of his, you didn’t doubt his intentions were laced with revenge.

You made a face, the bitter consequences swarming your thoughts with terrible things.

He probably poisoned your food. 

Gaze suddenly leaping to said demon, prepared for him to brandish a butcher knife and jab it through your throat merrily, your anxiety only crept further up as you noticed he was staring. It wasn’t his usual off-handed look, you’d come to realize when he was feigning interest - he seemed… perplexed, though a pleasant softness graced his features you’d yet to distinguish, as if he’d been truly excited for an event like this.

You raised a brow and squinted at him as Charlie detached herself from your form, briskly jogging to Alastor who’d offered her a sample of a brownie, calling the woman like a dog. However, she seemed all too keen to answer his bidding.

“Would you like one?” He sung, batting those eyelashes you were so keen to rip out, his mood seemingly mithful and positively brimming with this happiness you didn’t know he contained. You found it pleasant, though his disembodied ghastly sounds reminded you of his true nature.

You gulped, shaking your head, fingers digging into the hem of your uniform in both anxiety and bashfulness. His sudden behavior was something you wanted to preserve, you’d much prefer working for someone who would make brownies for you. 

He narrowed his eyes and shrugged, watching as Charlie snatched the other brownie from his claws with a sly smile, seemingly proud that his cooking was enjoyable.

You shot him a look, and he simply turned around, proceeding his obnoxiously warm humming. Then, you noticed, he was wearing that goddamn apron again. He swatted a creeping hand - no, several - away with his spatula, and you realized that it was none other than Angel’s little fingers that were being abused.

“Ugh, come on!” You almost jumped at the sound of his voice, but you weren’t entirely sure what you were expecting - he always complained, so perhaps it was foolish to not expect.

While Alastor was preoccupied battling the intrusive spider’s hands away, another demon crept onto the scene; stealthily picking the freshly-baked muffins from their pans with diligent claws before the Radio Demon swiveled around, his annoyance paraded through his actions to summon that bizzare microphone from apparently oblivion, and absolutely clobbered poor Husk in the face - the second time the feline had been struck today.

Motherfucker!” He dropped the pastries to the floor, rubbing at his face with something akin to a grimace upon his brows. You almost felt bad for him, your eyebrows knitted together in slight concern. Of all the Hotel’s residents, Husk was the only one that didn’t get on your nerves; mostly because he rarely interacted with anyone, much less you.

He’d slunk to your side, grumbling under his breath when his gaze flickered to you.

“What are you staring at, kid?” He huffed, rubbing his cheek idly in the process.

“Your face,” he continued to rub it, a scowl on his mouth. “This is the second time today-“ 

Yeah, yeah, no need to point it out.” He huffed out, his wings drooping against his back. You were entirely sure if he hadn’t had fur, there would be a huge bruise indented into his face. You couldn’t help but let an amused breath harshly escape your nose, his eyes snapping to you with a glare. 

Sorry.” You said quickly, offering a small smile of appeasement.

He didn’t respond, sliding his hand down his face, leaning against the kitchen wall. “The fuck is that music comin’ from?” It was odd seeing him outside of the bar; you yourself blissfully unaware of the fact that the Hotel was out of alcohol. He was taller than you, as were the majority of the other Hotel residents— the only one that you were taller than was Niffty, and even then, it wasn’t that much of an accomplishment. You didn’t mind, really. 

Unless you were being dragged around against your will.  

It was common for you to have a pain that originated from the back of your neck, simply from having to look up all the time. Being pulled from the expandless edges of your mind, you recalled his question; finally realizing the music that had begun to drift around the room. Polka. 

You turned to take a glance at where you suspected it was coming from. The two of you glanced at the one individual who would have the audacity to do such a thing before instantly turning back to silently come to an understanding of the situation that was taking place. 

Truly, his nickname made more sense now than ever. 

He’s fuckin’ insufferable,” he grumbled under his breath, a slur of ‘creepy-ass motherfucker’ and other colorful array of words. Well, he wasn’t wrong. You were pretty sure he was talking out of pain though, instead of actual truth. You weren’t sure why you felt so bold all of the sudden, but holding up a finger in a ‘wait’ motion. 

Impishly, perhaps even stupidly, you took a few strides to the counter and leaned over with your hand to attempt to grab a singular brownie from the intricately stacked pile. Powdered sugar was sprinkled over them, training your eyes on them closer and closer still, closing in on your prey ever so slowly. 

With a swift movement, you watched a glint of a knife slam down into the cutting board not even an inch from your fingers. The blood drained from your face, staring with wide eyes and darting your hand instinctively away from the knife that was now etched into the wood. There was silence, your breath catching in the back of your throat, holding your own hand in your other one protectively. 

You stared at the knife for a long moment, the merry polka music suddenly cut as you felt static brush against your skin, it’s cheerfulness soon plagued by this menacing aura, choking you with an iron grip. Your gaze moved hesitantly to the individual who was still gripping the knife, albeit flexing his claws around the handle. His patience was limited with these absolute hooligans.

It was only when he noticed that it was you that you saw his hand leave the knife, your eyes glancing between it and him quickly before settling on him once again. “Don’t you know it’s rude to take something that isn’t yours?” He tilted his head, his quip met with a strained smile. 

“But you offered-

“-And you declined.” 

In two long strides, he was in front of you, your form losing the boldness and turning into a pathetic cowering shell. He leaned down, eyes wide with amusement at the thought that this girl had been the one that quite literally cracked him in the face the prior night. He grabbed your chin, eyes narrowing for a long moment, drinking in your expression. 

So?”  It was the only thing your frantic mind could think of in the spur of the moment, wincing as his claws dug into your chin. You felt his breath fan across your face in amusement. 

So?” He quipped back in a mocking tone, his grin extending across his face, from his mere lack of respect for your personal space, you felt your heart pick up in pace— whether it be in anger or embarrassment was something left to be found out. “You would like one now, wouldn’t you?” 

His claws dipped deeper into your soft skin, threatening to pierce it. You narrowed your eyes, frowning against his rough behavior. Why did he always have to mess with you face? Your eyes trailed down to stare at what you could of his hand, feeling his claw lift and brush across the bottom your lip gently. 

You should really smile, darling.” 

Just as quickly, however, he let go of your chin and straightened himself, a sly expression on his face, humming as he rubbed his own chin as if actually considering it. “Ah, I suppose I could spare another for you, since you did such a good job of getting word of our Hotel out there!” at last, he motioned towards the pastries. 

You didn’t move at first, angrily rubbing at your mouth and jaw as if it would get rid of his insistent, filthy touches, the ghost of which still could be felt as you agitatedly huffed out your nostrils in utter annoyance. Finally swallowing your hesitance, you walked over to the brownies and plucked a singular one off of the top. 

Two could play at that game. 

“Alastor,” your attempted to grab his attention, before moving over to Husk and placing it into his paws. Looking back at him with an equally shit eating grin that rivaled his own, you narrowed your eyes.

You can’t win that easily, not with me.

You turned your attention back to Husk, his gaze flickering between you, Alastor, and then back to the brownie in his paws before quickly stalking off, his tail both oddly and cutely swishing in kitten-like glee. That left Angel, who rose from underneath the kitchen table- the spider folding his arms across his body with a pout.

“Why the Hell don’t I get one?” He huffed; leaving you uncertain if he was talking to Alastor or yourself, but you took the liberty of responding.

Because nobody knows where your hands have been. ” It felt good to take a stab at him, to watch his apparent disgust as he flipped you a middle finger. 

“You should pull yours out of yer ass,  I wasn’t talkin’ to ya, I was talkin’ to fuckface over there.” The finger that was aimed at you, then moved to point at Alastor (whom you were also moody with) who only stood with his usual expression; an endless, eternal smile. Your face creased up in mock anger, biting your lip as you attempted to fight back the urge to laugh. 

You just couldn’t help yourself.

“Well, maybe you should make it more clear when you’re talking to them. Didn’t you ever learn manners?” You retorted; apparently striking a nerve, the sentence tickling you funny when you remembered that you had tried to steal a brownie only moments ago. Angel took a single stride towards you. leaning down so that your faces were inches apart, one of his arms folded across his chest while the other remained against his hips. 

Alastor only leaned against the counter, watching the chaos unfold with expectant glee, coffee in a spare hand. 

Yeah, I did, more than you.” He unraveled an arm to point a single finger to your chest. “Did ya never learn when to keep ‘yer trap shut and respect ‘yer elders?” He sneered. 

Despite being utterly pissed at him, you couldn’t help but respond to his words with less heat than it would have contained if you hadn’t felt particularly mischievous.

Sure oldie, whatever you say. Maybe you shouldn’t start fights you can’t win.” Angel straightened up with a scoff, inducing a minuscule amount of uncertainty as he  towered over you. Against all better judgement, you managed to stand your ground.

I. Am. Not. Old.” He growled. “Don’t ya dare call me that ever again, toots, or I’ll cut out ‘yer tongue and stuff it down that throat of yours.” You released a guffaw, losing your ability to hold your amusement back, your hands flying out to your sides and into the air.

“You just called yourself old! Don’t blame me, blame yourself!” Letting your hands drop down to your sides again, your laughter fading from the room, the smallest of frowns peppering your lips. “I’m just looking out for myself.”

Before Angel could even think of a response, there was a sharp whine of a microphone, the likes that made you both wince, your hands pressing against your ears instinctively; attention darting to the origin of the sound: Alastor, who was smiling over the rim of his cup. 

This coffee is certainly piping hot!” He exclaimed; realisation settling in that the fuckface would of course finding your little spat entertaining. “Please, don’t mind me! Although, if you wouldn’t mind, I’ve got a tea party to prepare.” He casually took another sip of his coffee before the cup vanished into obscurity. 

The motherfucker didn’t even clean it.

“Wouldn’t want to miss your own tea party, now would you?” Angel narrowed his eyes at the Radio Demon who in turn appeared as if he were actually contemplating a response before shrugging it off. Looking back down to you after a moment, he narrowed his eyes; stalking away after flicking you on the nose and calling you a bitch. 

Ushered from the kitchen, Alastor clapped his together, a notion that had you turn around to face him - a mistake on your behalf as your cheeks fell victim to his mocking affection once more.

“Now, go round everybody up, my darling little employee!” You swat away his hands almost instinctively by this point. “Be quick about it too, I’ve almost finished setting everything up. Can’t have a party without guests…” he trailed off, glancing around the hotel then shrugging with a smile; humming merrily to himself as he strode back to the counter to continue his preparations.

You did just that, soon organising the few staff members and residents of the hotel, directing them towards the long table that was situated in the middle of the dining room. It was hard to miss it, really. You weren’t entirely sure why you were needed to do it in the first place. Nevertheless, you found yourself marvelling at the spectacle before you. 

The dining room had been transformed; the table was lined with a burgundy linen, adorned with elaborate detail in gold, each seat having its respective napkins and saucers with tea cups that matched the aesthetic. Tea pot after tea pot stood beside one another, the pattern interrupted by plates of baked goods you’d seen Alastor so lovingly prepare; save for the centre of the table of course, in which stood a vase, delicately decorated with an assortment of red roses and tulips - disrupted by droplets of white from snowdrops. 

Although, at the centre of it all sat a bizarre looking flower you’d never seen before, akin to a venus flytrap maybe; beautiful but threatening all at the same time with the fang-like growths on its petals. The warming glow from the fireplace illuminated the room as the guests began to poke their way around in awe. 

All aside from Husk who’d already fallen into a chair. 

If he had his booze, he’d be doing the exact same thing he always was and probably wouldn’t have given the thought of, in his own words: ‘attending a fuckin’ tea party.’

“This is amAZING!” Charlie cried, Vaggie jumping at the sudden shriek of joy.

“Yeah I guess… ” Vaggie soothed, trailing off as she narrowed her eyes at you with a raised brow: “Did you do this?” Charlie was already by the table, admiring the treats as Angel eagerly helped himself; his attempt at sitting on Husk’s lap far from successful. 

Nonsense!” Alastor’s voice boomed over everybody else’s, nearly his own static too. “She could never pull off a feat like this. That is why I took the liberty of hosting such a wonderful event!” He brought through a plate, ducking as he entered the room to avoid smacking his head on the doorframe, although his ears brushed against the top. You didn’t even look at him, you and Vaggie sharing a rare moment of sudden understanding with an unamused expression. 

When he set down the platter, The Radio Demon brushed at his ears and hair with a proud grin. Charlie seemed to shrink away from the snacks, fixated on the plate that Alastor had placed down with a forced smile.

“That’s…” there was a moment’s hesitation, “great! It’s so nice that you’d do something like this for us.” The rosy-cheeked woman exclaimed; Alastor straightened his back, eyebrows raised before falling into a fit of chuckles. Other guests, however, exchanged looks upon hearing that the Radio Demon prepared this audaciously divine gathering.

At his laughter, you immediately had a sneaking suspicion that this is where he would get his revenge, quite literally calling you out. With a sigh, you closed your eyes, accepting your fate.

“Oh Charlie, no no no!” He hummed, pinching her cheek playfully. “Don’t be silly, I did this for your fabulous employee over there!” You could feel her pain as she rubbed her now freed cheeks, at a loss for words as she turned to you. 

Opening your eyes, you shot her a look that held the promise of explaining later.

“Yeah, yeah - whatever,” Angel cut in with a sigh, draped over the back of his seat, waving a brownie, “listen, just sit ‘yer asses down and get on with it.” Charlie did just that, Vaggie on the other hand took her time - attention not once leaving Alastor as he watched her pass. His head falling to the side as she stopped, brows furrowed. 

“What happened to your thing?” She asked, narrowing her eyes.

“What thing?” Alastor chirped inquisitively - Vaggie drawing a circle around her eye with a harsh look. “My eye?” He was playing dumb, your teeth grit as you watched them play charades with one another; Alastor finally saying what he knew all along.

“My monocle! Why, Vaggie why didn’t you just say so, my dear!” He exclaimed, grin widening as he rolled his eyes, gaze falling upon you in the process. “It’s… out of commission.

So were you, taking to your seat and deeply sinking into it without input, trying to seclude yourself from the company of the table, but Alastor’s gaze penetrated that false security.

The tea party was a blast - literally; it’d started off peaceful, Alastor insisting on serving everybody tea. You couldn’t have felt more uncomfortable having him hang over your shoulder with a pot of boiling, flavored water. If you were alone with him, you wouldn’t doubt he would have just spilled the contents onto you instead of into the actual cup. Small talk was made, jokes were shared (Alastor’s painfully bad), treats were eaten after neither Angel nor Husk had died from the suspected poisoning. 

Alastor had excused himself politely, his form elegantly escaping from the festivities to disappear back into the kitchen - to which a series of banging could be heard, an audible locking sound following suit, the demon emerging from the doors; he nearly hit his head on the doorframe this time, all too excited for the continuation of this… quaint gathering. 

Quaint. Not chaotic. Alastor seemed to genuinely enjoy the company of the hotel’s residence, however, craved something far more entertaining. He wanted to ruffle a few feathers.

Husk almost had a conniption at the sight of the liquor, Alastor carrying two large, fancy bottles that beckoned him forward - he growled.

What the fuck is this?” Alastor blinked slowly a few times, innocence laced within his expression as he gently set the alcohol down; the feline harshly eyed him, then the booze.

Then Alastor.

Then the booze again.

He lunged over the table, Angel immediately bursting into a fit of cackles at the feline’s sheer desperation, his desire for the tastefully fine liquor - the good stuff. Husk knocked a few intricacies off the table, but he didn’t seem to care; too focused on either strangling Alastor for keeping these wonderful additions under wraps, or getting his filthy little paws on those stunning bottles. 

While Angel doubled over in laughter, you seized Husk despite the sheer size differences between the two of you, attempting to hold him back from potentially ruining the decorations and toppling the alcohol. You couldn’t care less if he was going for that cheesy red-haired trickster - in fact, you’d welcome that, but if he wasn’t and was making a mess simply over the fact of the alcohol being in his line of sight— 

“Husk, stop!” Charlie cried out over the sudden chaos.

His wings had fanned out across the length of the surface, his face in a grimace as he plucked the bottle from the tray, his claws ripping at the fabric on the table. A talon immediately corkscrewed the opening, popping it off and letting the sweet nectar of the alcohol fall down his throat. He got off of the table then, totally and blissfully in his own alcoholic mind as he sauntered off without excusing himself. Angel, who’d been in hysterics the whole time, nearly fell back off his seat, clambering after the feline in a tangle of limbs.

Needless to say, the tea party ended soon after.

The aftermath; while it had all gone to shit, had you inspecting what you thought was a tiny fragment of glass. You were too distracted to tell, picking at it with your nail before flicking it into the dustpan. It didn’t belong on the floor anyway. To think you’d end up cleaning at your own party - then again, the party probably wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for the previous night. 

If you hadn’t punched him.

The dustpan vanished from beside you, Niffty whisking it away to promptly empty it once more. Without the correct tools, you sat silently, pondering your actions before you decided to do something productive and wash the dishes that hadn’t been broken.

Of course, going into the kitchen meant seeing him; Alastor resting against the draining board with his cup full of coffee. Despite being the previous host of the most unsuccessful tea party known to demon kind, he refused to drink the stuff; settling for coffee instead. Tea was too sweet.

Without paying him much attention, you made your way to the sink, preparing it aptly as Alastor continued to drink his coffee.

“You did that on purpose, didn’t you?” The words fell from you lips before you had the chance to think of how to assess the situation properly. There was simply no way he hadn’t intended for the peaceful gathering to take a completely bonkers, one hundred and eighty degree turn from sane to insane. The bastard had known what he had done.  

“I suppose I did put a bit more sugar into the brownie mix than there needed to be.” You rolled your eyes at his response, because that was not what you meant The hearty sigh was nothing if not fake as he smiled sweetly into the brim of his cup. “You know, you should never give children too much sugar, it makes them go a bit crazy!” 

You felt your eye twitch, a sigh, nearly silent except to you, falling from your mouth. His response alone was more than enough of an answer; with how he twirled your words on his lips. Sometimes you felt like you were interacting with an extremely tall, toothy, child than a feared presence. Picking up the last plate, you ran it under the warm water, cleaning the grime off of it without a second thought. You responded to his feigned innocence with silence. 

Sorry,”  a murmur, but just loud enough for him to hear. Your words were hesitant as if it were a laughable feat to ever apologize to the all powerful, all feared Radio Demon. 

That pulled him out of whatever mirthful reverie had plagued his mind, but he didn’t look over to you, even as you reached behind him to pick up the drying towel. 

“Whatever for, my dear?” His voice echoed into the cup he help to his lips.

You dried the plate, mewling over your thoughts before looking up to him with an expression akin to ‘ really?’ You knew exactly what he was doing; playing coy and stupid just so you would have to say the exact words. 

For punching you in the face.” 

That still didn’t let him off the hook though for sneaking into your room to begin with. Now that was off limits. But you couldn’t bring yourself to stay angry with him, as in his own stupidly charming, vile, disgusting way, he had taken the initiative just to return a candle to you. At least, that’s what you thought, and you remained blissfully unaware of the true intentions that were laced behind each silhouette of his actions.

“...and thanks for the pleasant morning, before everything.” You motioned towards the trash can that was filled with shards of broken plates, plastics, and other assortments of silverware. At long last, he put the cup down next to him, turning to you. His grin faltered into a smile, his eyelashes batting down at you. You nearly rolled your eyes. 

And then, raising his hand and swirling his finger, his monocle was situated on his face again in one piece.

You suddenly remembered why you hated him.  

You watched as his smile turned into a light-hearted grin (though, his sharp smile would never be light-hearted in your opinion) as you narrowed your eyes on the piece of glass. You flexed your fingers against your palms, sincerely considering doing some actual damage that he wouldn’t be able to perform some voodoo magic on. You closed your eyes, taking a deep intake of air and composing yourself. It just wasn’t worth the effort.

“I hate you, just so you know.” You huff out dramatically, reopening your eyes. The words held no heat behind them though, and for that, you couldn’t help but release a breath of amusement at his insufferable, quirky antics. 

“Oh darling, you break my heart!” He put a hand to his head as if he were swooning. If there was someone who had to be more dramatic than you had just been, it was you. He always tried to one-up you. 

Your lip twitched, suddenly becoming bold in your words as you stood on your tippy toes, putting your hands behind your back, and batting your eyelashes at him. 

You don’t have a heart to break.”  Your words were sickeningly sweet, before dropping the poorly constructed act and, without a further word, you walked right out of the kitchen to find Niffty. You had work to do, after all.

Chapter Text

Generally, you were not someone who complained very often-- verbally at least. However, when you were forced to use the hand in back-breaking work of cleaning up the absolute disaster of a party, you may have released a wince and a hiss a few times. Somehow, while being entirely focused on doing her part in cleaning, Niffty had picked up on the sounds you were making and at last discovered the malformation of black and blue bruises surrounding your knuckles. Needless to say, you found yourself forced into the kitchen to search for a first aid kit. It was hard to say no to a face like that, even if it wasn’t necessarily your definition of ‘cute’ like a dog or some other kind of pet would be. 

 

Her one eye did make you uncomfortable at times, though. 

 

Finding the first aid kit hadn’t been too difficult, the practice of actually bandaging your hand proving to be the actually challenging thing. Without the ability to flex your knuckles without a searing pain to race up your hand, you had to hold the first line of bandaging close to your chest in order to start the process. Your company was not exactly sought after, instead merely accepted as the rustling of cabinets caught your attention; you looked up from your current assignment. You weren’t sure if you were zoned out in thoughts to not have noticed Husk at first, or if he had just entered without grabbing your awareness. 

 

It was a rather large kitchen, you supposed; it wouldn’t be that hard for him to skirt out of your peripheral vision if he had chosen to do just that. 

 

There was an empty alcohol bottle next to him causing you to piece together the rapidly approaching puzzle in your mind swiftly and without fault. Your thoughts fell back to the moment in the gathering just before it had gone to hell, the sound of rustling and cabinets closing still fresh in your mind before Alastor had returned with two of the finest of alcohol bottles-- none of that cheap booze that you so often saw Husk drown himself in. Despite the bottle being something in itself that would take multiple visits for it to be finished, he had downed it in record time, drinking it as if it were water. 

 

Your regard to your knuckles had slowed as you watched him search the cabinets at least twice, each time his eyes lighting up with hopefulness that somehow a new bottle would be in it despite only checking moments ago, only for his attempts to come up fruitless. His tail would swish behind him with frustration, his expression falling into a grim one before he lifted a paw and swiped the bottle off of the counter. It met the tiling of the kitchen, the bottle that was purely made of glass shattering when it connected with it. You jumped at the sudden sound, your eyes flickering to the ground before narrowing. 

 

“I’m not cleaning that up.”

 

“I didn’t fuckin’ ask you to.” 

 

Right on time, however, Niffty had entered the kitchen with a twirl, her hands holding a dustpan and brush with contents inside that you must’ve missed before. Her singular eye immediately focused on the mess, a large gasp exiting her as she dropped the dust pan, bringing her hands to her face in horror. 

 

“Oh my gosh!”  You grimaced at her shrill exclaim.

 

She didn’t even question it, going straight to work, cleaning up the broken glass with a precision and rapidness that made you briefly worry for her safety. You decided to go against the desire to say something, letting silence take up your response. Husk seemed satisfied that he didn’t have to do the cleaning himself, shrugging it off and continuing to look through the pantry a third time. In the time that it took the little show of aggression to fizzle out of the room completely, you had finished bandaging your hand albeit a bit absently. For one reason or another, your thoughts drifted to the sheer amount of food that had been used in the entire fiasco of that earlier day.

 

Stepping over the broken bottle and side-stepping Niffty, you pulled open the refrigerator with your non-bruised hand. You weren’t entirely sure what you were expecting. One side of you was sincerely hoping that he had just creating the concoctions of his work out of his voodoo powers, or something. The other part of you was entirely certain he would have used everything in the kitchen to make you go out against and get groceries because apparently that was your thing now. Going out and doing things.   

 

Eggs, milk, and a singular apple. Nice. 

 

Your mood continued to dampen when you heard the door swing open, your inquisitiveness causing you to turn your head to peer over your shoulder to see whoever it could be. For once in his damned life, you had actually noticed Alastor take initiative and help out. It was probably only so he could ease over the suspicions that had been placed on him for taking it a bit too far. Because, let’s face it, Alastor didn’t help just because. Closing the door, you were about to walk right past him and continue your work now that your hand was wrapped enough to ease the discomfort that your sudden attention to it had caused. 

 

You weren’t even able to take a single step before his voice littered the room.

 

“What’s the matter with you two? Smile! There’s much to be happy about on this wonderful day!” 

 

You rolled your eyes, Husk only growling in annoyance. His growling drifted off into furious mutterings, finally coming to terms with his fate of not easing the itch his alcoholism caused. Alastor’s grin only increased, his hands once behind his back now coming forward to place a single claw to his lips in an epiphany. “Ah! We’re out of alcohol, aren’t we?” In a blur of a moment, the second bottle that had remained on the counter had been picked up and thrown in the very direction of the Radio Demon himself.

 

He caught it. 

 

His reflexes were frighteningly accurate, but he seemed pleased with the frustration he was bleeding out of Husk. You however, were only mildly annoyed, clearing your throat after a moment of shaking off the unsettling feeling his precision had caused. 

 

“We’re almost out of food.”

 

Alastor’s attention moved to you for a moment, eyeing the refrigerator with a hum. His eyes narrowed then, snapping back over to Husk. He removed his claw from his chin, returning both of his hands behind his back as you leaned against the counter idly. Your eyes pinched when his did, because when Alastor was up to something mischievous, it was often seen on his face before he even spoke. 

 

“I suppose that problem can be resolved quite easily, can’t it?”

 

You caught on rather quickly, thinking back on how he hinted on it and with how your job took a detour whenever something was needed in the Hotel. You could quite literally see a lightbulb go off on top of Husk’s head. “Go shopping?” His face was pulled up into a grimace, an annoyed tone fitting the expression almost perfectly. He waved a paw in front of his chest, already set on walking out of the kitchen right then and there. “Well, I’m not fuckin’ goin!” he stated with a huff, crossing his arms together.  

 

Well, you certainly weren’t going to go with Angel.

 

I could go.” Alastor offered, and you whipped your head to him, only to find that he was looking at you. You were about to open your mouth with a guffaw and tell him a flat out ‘no’, because you would much rather die a second time than go out anywhere alone with Alastor. But thankfully for you, that didn’t seem to be what would happen, as Alastor wasn’t quite finished with his statement. 

 

“Perhaps… stop by one of those quaint little places everyone adores so very much,” his eyes moved back to Husk, an elfish smile now adorning what was once simply a mischievous grin. Husk’s ears were now perked, standing attentive at what he was referring to. “Have a drink, possibly?” Alastor looked back over to you with an odd look, only to be met with a confused expression. If you could have had “???” above your head in flashing lights, you would have.

 

What the fuck?

 

“FINE!”  Husk was shaking now, giving into the manipulation with an exasperated yell, throwing his hands in the air. “I’ll fuckin’ go,” he turned his attention to you, pointing in your direction with a frown. “But I’m pickin’ out the damn alcohol.” You deflated, ultimately relieved at Husk’s sudden eagerness to accompany you, just so you wouldn’t have to go with Bastard™ that was now staring at the two of you with a pleased smile. You shrug your shoulders, your hand going to your pocket and pulling out a gold card, a smile on your lips as if you were luring him further into the point of no return.

 

You saw him physically relax, most likely because he wouldn’t actually have to pay for anything, or maybe it was because he knew you weren’t too much of a troublemaker

 

With a motion of your head (because you actually wanted to get this done and over with as soon as possible-- the day had been so exhausting already), you passed Alastor without a single word or acknowledgement of his existence, heading to the main entrance with Husk in tow. With a sigh, you were nearly able to pull it open when a throat cleared a bit behind the two of you. What now? 

 

The two of you turned around, coming face to face with the insistent gremlin who was now holding up mittens. A moment passed, and then two, but when Alastor didn’t pull them away, Husk pointed at it with a gruff voice: “the fuck is that?” He didn’t seem amused, and, truth be told, you weren’t either. 

 

You were just tired. 

 

Alastor leaned in, grabbing Husk’s arm and pulling him towards him in a similar way he had done to you earlier. His arm was around his neck, his hands holding the mittens out in front of them, cheeks squished together. “Husker, my dear friend! It’s so chilly out.” His grin was stretching ear to ear, Husk visibly fuming. 

 

“I’ll wear them.”

 

They both looked at you at the exact same moment, seemingly both surprised by you cutting in. Alastor let go of Husk immediately, chuckling and brushing down his attire from the brief roughhousing. He handed you the mittens, eyes narrowing with amusement. He knew you didn’t want another argument. Taking them briskly, you put them on in front of him. You were surprised there weren’t any scorpions hiding in it. It was actually sort of warm and fuzzy, not that you would ever admit it. 

At long last, the two of you escaped the clutches of the Radio Demon. You weren’t sure where the dramatic change in temperature came from, but it was absolutely freezing. For the briefest of moments, you found yourself actually to be relieved that you had taken the mittens. Husk was probably fine, considering he was covered from head to toe with a thick coating of fur. 

 

You were wrong. 

 

It wasn’t even a mile away from the Hotel that you noticed he was eyeing the gloves. Instead of saying anything, your mind fills in the gap of silence with curious piques of interest. It was ironic that it was so cold, considering you were in Hell. “Why is it so cold?” you break the tranquility with your question. Husk looks at you as if you were stupid. 

 

“There’s still seasons. Did you think it was goin’ to be a fuckin’ hellfire?” You don’t respond, watching how your breath becomes visible against the cold air. You shrug your shoulders. With a sigh, as if it was absolutely the worst thing in the world to explain it to you. “It’s more extreme than on Earth,” he elucidated, “it’s Hell, so it ain’t goin’ to be pretty, kid. That’s for the petty bitches up there.” He pointed to the sky, the darkness of the evening easily silhouetting the bright cloud with a halo upon it.  

 

You suddenly found the stars that were simply absent here. 

 

All that there was here was a red hue, some clouds, and the Heaven’s gates that were positioned directly in front of you, just out of reach. If that wasn’t cruel, you weren’t sure what was. He continued on to explain how the elements were extreme. It was either freezing or blistering in the months that they were most noticeable; there was no inbetween. You rubbed your arms as the two of you feel into silence again. Truthfully, you hoped that Husk knew where he was going, because you absolutely did not.  

 

It was only when you looked to your surroundings and entered a more populated part of the city did you catch Husk looking over at your mittens for a second time. The later it got in the day, the colder it became, the more he found the idea welcoming.  “Do you want them?” You look ahead, only sparing him a glance once he responded.

 

“Nah, kid, keep ‘em.” he gruffly said, despite you being in the process of removing them. Without a word uttered, you pushed them in his direction. He stared at it for a moment, then at you, and then took them. You stuck your hands into your pockets with a pleased smile. It didn’t take long for a conversation to bud between the two of you; albeit, one-sided at first. With time, he began to relax and respond, warmed by the gloves and willingness for conversation. 

 

So, last night-” he began and you winced, flinching as he continued. “-someone fuckin’ sounded like they were getting murdered.”

 

You grimaced at his expression, he looked like he needed some alcohol, “That was me.” Husk’s head whipped around to look at you, brow furrowing in question, “There was a… thing.” 

 

“A thing?” he almost laughed, but his face remained grim and moody, a little concerned obout a monster supposedly terrorizing people, but also apparently uncaring as he merely grumbled, muffling his thoughts into his thick fur, “that doesn’t fuckin’ sound good.” You gave him a look, nodding.

 

“I mean-- it wasn’t a real monster, I don’t think… some sort of hallucination? But it seemed so real.” The rocky path was frozen over, layers of frost glassed over the brickwork, making its home in any indentations or imperfections, crunching under your steps; you looked down, shutting your eyes in memory of that horrid night: “It wasn’t fun,” you added lightly, “especially with Alastor there, but he was the least of my problems with that thing I thought was running amok.”

 

Husk remained silent, though his eyes could occasionally drift to you, as if he was still praying attention; you sighed, watching the feline slowly blink in your direction, he seemed unsurprised about Alastor’s presence.

 

“I was tempted to burn him alive, to be honest, I didn’t have my wits about me, especially in that predicament - I was waving that dumbass flamethrower everywhere, now I got scorch marks all over my room.” You were ranting now, sulking at this reminder. Husk burst into a small chuckle - causing you to question the authenticity of your surroundings, “... You alright?”

 

He nodded, shaking his head as his sudden laughter died down, “A damn flamethrower? You had a fuckin’ flamethrower!?” he howled with amusement laced with this kitten-like excitement. His tail swished behind him.

 

Well…” you begun again, as if you were telling your grandchild a story, “I made it.” He guffawed, “with some can filled with something, I don’t know, and a lighter that was in my room - I was desperate at the time, locked in the bathroom as it tried to break down the damn door!”

 

That’s fuckin’ badass.

 

You questioned whether or not he was talking about the monster or you, but continued on, “After I managed to hurt it, it retreated and I kicked down the door only to find asshat innocently returning a candle. Which is bullshit.” You threw your arms in the air, “I mean, who returns a candle!?” 

 

Husk nodded sagely, for once, “Anyway, I ended up punching him in the face and breaking his precious little monocle,” you shrugged as if it were no big deal. To be quite honest, seeing his reaction made a sense of pride rush through you, “because he was being… what’s that word you said?” 

 

He looked at you then, “ --Asshat? Piece of shit? Motherfucker? Insufferable-”

 

Insufferable, thank you.” You pointed at him with a snap of your fingers, “Even when I’m losing my mind and hallucinating he insists on irritating me, y’know? Why can’t he just fuck off?”

 

That laughed started up again, it was gruff at first, but true joy from hearing of your ventures with the Radio Demon seemed entwined within his chuckles -- he couldn’t believe you punched him, but was thoroughly satisfied with your action against his annoying smile.

 

“You ain’t so bad, kid.” He turned to you, another slow blink, and a small… smile?

 

He was smiling?

 

He was smiling. 

 

You weren’t sure when you arrived at the supermarket, but before you could comment on him actually smiling at you, you remembered Allie’s advice referring to your kindness: ‘some worship that, others are threatened; many will see it as a weakness’. Your smile turned into a strained one, breathing out a sigh as you walked along the sidewalk of the supermarket, kicking a pebble. There were demons around, of course, of all shapes and sizes. Some attempting to smuggle, some passing drugs to each other, some offering services. The supermarket itself was run down, but you weren’t there to nit-pick.

 

Get in and get out.

 

Nevertheless, it all went pretty seamless. You got what you needed at a surprisingly swift speed, possibly because Husk was quite literally bouncing with excitement over going to the alcohol aisle. That took a bit longer, him being as close to Heaven itself there. You let him have his fun, if only for a short while before hurrying him up. The darker it got outside, the more your anxiety began to creep up your spine. Nothing good ever happened after dark. 

 

You ended up carrying the groceries. The alcohol was an important commodity too, in Husk’s eyes. 

 

He held as many bottles as he could carry. The food you’d managed to collect would barely last everybody a few days with the lack of spare hands. That being said, you didn’t want to tell Husk ‘no’. He seemed happy.

 

Approaching the counter you were faced with a weasley looking demon, it’s beady eyes darting between the pair of you. Without a word, he scanned all the items and bagged everything up - Husk proud of his collection as you head back in the direction of the hotel; chest puffed out. He’d been so content with his drink until something caught his attention. You hadn’t even realised he’d fallen behind. When you stopped to see what had caught his attention; you saw him staring, wide-eyed - suddenly grateful you’d turned as he bolt into the bar. 

 

You would have never known where he’d gone, otherwise.

 

You’d thought he’d forgotten about you too, until his head popped around the door frame.

 

“What’re you waitin’ for?” He’d spoken so fast you barely caught it, lost for words as he vanished like some cat on crack. It seemed like you were going in there then. Edging to the hole in the wall (that must have held a door at some point), you peered inside. There was no bouncer, nobody to stop you. 

 

Husk had already made himself comfortable at the bar. Those red feather-like eyebrows stuck out above his head, a literal beacon to say ‘I’m here’. Gingerly, you walked towards the open seat next to him, feeling out of your element. He noticed your presence, acknowledging it with a nod.

 

He already had a drink.

 

“Where’s the bag?” Was all you could ask, Husk pointing to the aforementioned thing on the floor, ‘safe’ for now. 

 

“Sit down would you?” He patted the seat you’d refused to sit on until now. Whatever he’d asked the bartender for wasn’t like anything you’d heard of in life before. The deep black substance shone purple around the edges where the glass and the liquid made contact. 

 

“Trying to kill your new friend here, Husk?” The bartender inquired, amusement tugging at his lips as Husk shrugged. “Are you sure she can handle it?” He was a demon that looked akin to a dinosaur. His skin was scaled, his color a mixture between green and blue. Man, you had lucked out.

 

“I’m sure I can.” You didn’t sound as confident as you’d hoped you would, the bartender picking up on this as Husk tipped the foul looking liquid down his throat in one. 

 

It wasn’t as easy as it looked.

 

The scent alone should have acted as a warning, the pungent acidic smell making you recoil before you’d even put it to your lips, of course, the action happened so fast - there was no stopping it from hitting your tongue. For a split second, everything was fine, until your tongue burnt like it’d been hit with a white hot poker; the taste like death itself as the fire coursed down your throat. 

 

Like that, you placed down the glass. 

 

Well?” The bartender hummed, leaning against the counter top with a smug smirk. You took a shallow breath, staring at the glass as you focused on the heat burning in your chest. It hadn’t gone down though, it’d gone up - an overwhelming queasiness washing over you as you lift your head. 

 

You’d failed to recognise you’d even done that, the lightheadedness catching you off guard as you turned to Husk, amazed at how everything seemed to happen in the blink of an eye. 

 

“Ha!” You covered your mouth as Husk burst into laughter, the bartender taking your glass from you, his shoulders shaking as he washed it out and placed it back on the shelf behind him. As for Husk, he poured him another drink.

 

“I remember my first fuckin’ time trying this.” He chuckled, trailing off, gazing fondly at the glass in his claws as he swirled it around idly. 

 

“Can only drink the stuff like this now cuz I’m used to it.” Another glass of that vile liquid gone, sucking in your lips as you watched him drink - stifling the laughter that bubbled up your throat. As if life couldn’t get better for the feline demon, the bartender slammed down a crate of something in front of him, causing you to jump.

 

“For that bet.” He hummed - Husk grinning like a madman. 

 

You felt so good.

 

“Bet?” You blurt out, perhaps a bit louder than you would have normally, Husk nodding as he pulled the crate towards him. You’d immediately lost interest however, gazing around the establishment as it swam in your vision; attention drifting here and there with a distant, dumb smile on your face the entire time. It seemed like a nice place - all the demons were smiling and happy and it just seemed so wonderful.

 

You heard something distantly, it sounded like you were underwater.

 

“-hey!” Husk barked again, clicking his claws together. You heard him with a sudden clarity, head whipping around to him so fast you nearly gave yourself whiplash, feeling your entire body almost fall into the counter with you. 

 

“Husk, am I in Heaven?” When he’d said no, you were in Hell, you’d almost cried with laughter. It was safe to say, it was the most fun you’d had since you fell into Hell - definitely Hell, you couldn’t fall up, that was just silly. Like Husk - he was a cat… thing, a silly looking cat thing! 

 

And Charlie had pepperoni cheeks, Alastor was a freaking sleep paralysis demon! Angel - oh gosh, Angel was an asshole and where the Hell did Vaggie go? 

 

Niffty too, she only had one eye that swirled around and around when she was excited. So funny! Husk had given up asking you what was so funny after the stream of consciousness he’d received least time. 

 

The harsh lights of the city swirled around you like pixies, fascinating and intriguing you; but everything was so damn funny, your feet dancing beneath you and tripping you up. Oh, you were moving now. 

 

You were going places.

 

Back to the Hotel apparently, a soft ‘nooo’ escaping you as Husk took the groceries you’d ended up carrying the whole way back from the bar.

 

“But I dun wanna go back - Ass -” You had to think about that one, falling into a fit of giggles before you finished laughing, “Alsssster will… uhh,” your brain lagged, you hiccuped, suddenly leaning against Husk. “--make... worhhk,” yeah that made sense, “-and I dun wanngo back!” You whined like a child, flailing your arms this way and that like a complete idiot as Husk was surprisingly patient with your mannerisms.

 

But the thought of your bed lured you ever onwards, the thought of those soft, silky sheets. It made you want to curl up then and there and sleep. You hiccuped again, giggling at the sound.

 

Ohh, or the sofa; you’d stumbled into the lobby, nearly tripping over your own feet as you spied that comfy-looking sofa, ready for your attention and basically just throwing yourself at it. You could hear Husk in the distance, Angel Dust too - giggling to yourself at the sound of Husk swearing and Angel being a bitch

 

Your eyelids felt so heavy too, letting them close on their own as you laid on that glorious sofa. Drifting off to the netherworld that was sleep - of course, as if you’d ever get a moment of peace. 

 

There was mumbling, you could hear, such an annoying sound pinching at your skin uncomfortably as it grew louder, closer. The fuzzy ball, the kind one that had accompanied you; his voice was prominent and louder than the rest, than that other one. You made a face.

 

Trying to tune them out, you huffed, annoyed with their insistent babbling and that damn noise - you opened your eyes, which was not an easy task for your heavily intoxicated self, nearly screaming at the red devil inches from your face, seemingly inspecting you - his neck and body craned at an inhuman degree. 

 

Straightening himself out with a few bone-crunching sounds that utterly sickened you, he turned sharply to the massive teddy bear-cat-thing, “My, someone’s had a lot to drink! --” you could see the disappointment and amusement dance on his features almost teasingly, “I suppose I have Husk to thank for that; what did you do to our employee?” The red man called from over his shoulder, his tone a little wary but demanding.

 

“You’re-“ you forgot what you were going to say the moment you began before it suddenly came rushing back to you. “so loud.” You brought a finger to your lips and shushed him. “‘Sss… one drink.” Barely. “One drink...” You weren’t sure who you were trying to convince, before you trailed off, letting your hand fall to your side. With a groan, you move your arm to block the light from the chandelier that looked so pretty. But it hurt your eyes, so.

 

At the bar, Husk couldn’t get a break - his head in his hands, shaking as if he were about to rip Angel - who so kindly was trying to flirt with him - apart. He didn’t respond, sending a harsh eye over to Alastor, flashing him a middle finger that held so much sheer emotion behind it.

 

“Go ‘way, Al - ass - stor.” You nearly lost your mind at your little play on words, giggling to yourself like some schoolgirl who just saw their crush, before your face snapped into a frown, shooing him away with an uncoordinated hand.

 

“Oh dear.” Was all he said, adjusting his monocle as if it were messing with his vision.

 

He narrowed his eyes, a chuckle in his throat as he came to a sort of mental conclusion, his wry smile twisting into a darker one, a malicious one. It was a subtle promise of bad things to come.

 

“What’s your name?” he asks oh-so lightly, so sweetly -- and when you responded with only an incomprehensible slur, his grin became ear-splitting. He placed a clawed hand to his head as if he were so worried about the Hotel’s precious employees, “Poor, poor employee!

 

“-- How Husker has ruined you!” Angel averted his attention from Husk, who had fallen asleep on the counter, snoring quite loudly, drool already spilling down. His face crinkled up at the rather pathetic sight of your drunken form, minute concern flashing through his mind as he watched Alastor take rough hold of your chin, squishing your cheeks in both playful and dangerous interrogation, “Now…” Angel was about to get up, stalk over there and perhaps intervene. 

 

He understood bad intentions just from that tone of voice alone

 

You tried to swat his claws away, but they just dug deeper into your flesh as he angled your face up, “Do you like piers?” he started casually, unsure of exactly how he should word this, his other hand tapping on his mouth in thought. 

 

You nodded lazily, completely at his mercy, “Aye, water is nice sometimes.”

 

Very good,” he nodded at you as if you were a dumbshit - a proud motherly tone adorned his voice, “You were at one earlier, you know that?” He started slowly, too focused on your drooping eyelids and sleepy form to notice a certain spider get up to intervene.

 

A hand landed on Alastor’s shoulder, “Hey, uhhh… I think she’s had enough ta drink today, ya know? No need ta bother the dunks, Smiles.” he almost jumped when the demon’s head practically swiveled around with a sickening crack, to face him; his smile obviously forced and upset.

 

Don’t touch me.” 

Chapter Text

Angel yanked his hand away protectively, ensuring that he wouldn’t get it bitten off by a mouth full of teeth that was inhumanely connected to the individual standing behind the couch. “Alright, alright, I get it.” Don’t touch the Radio Demon. His eyes narrowed slightly before ultimately backing down because there was no way in the Nine Circles of Hell he was dealing with that. You couldn’t pay him to do it. Alastor’s gaze narrowed back at him before sickeningly cracking his body back into the original positioning, flattening down his outfit, clearing his throat as if everything that just happened was simply part of his daily routine. 

 

“Why is my hearing - why is everything fuzzy?” You waved your arms in the air aimlessly, trying to feel the static in the air that was suddenly drifting away as Alastor’s own temper fizzled out of existence. 

 

“Static.” Angel piped up from the other side of the couch, crossing all four of his arms with a huff. 

 

Static.”  You agreed loudly, wincing at your own volume. You had to use your inside voice.

 

Despite everything that led to this moment, your eyes remained closed, blissfully unaware that the red devil was leaning his hand down next to your ear, snapping his fingers and causing you to jolt your eyes open at the sudden sound. 

 

As you’d gulped down air it’d become trapped in your throat, panic seizing your chest as you stared petrified at the demon - you couldn’t breathe, adrenaline flooding your veins as every inch of your conscious body screamed ‘ run ’ and yet you remained so utterly paralyzed. It was like you could see him through the water, them, your friend; holding you just beneath the surface and watching on with that leer.   

 

Then, you did it; you could breathe, launching yourself into the air as you swallowed down that precious oxygen. A hand must have hit Alastor as you felt something press against your palm, legs scooting you back to the other side of the couch, closer to Angel.

 

Your friend had taken your life.

 

“Woah-!” Angel cried, arms extended your way but not going near you. “Sheesh, Alastor what in tha’ HELL did ya do to her?” Alastor maintained his smile, lips pursed as he stared on like a deer in the headlights. His head was tilted, eyes pinching together in amusement once the initial surprise faded.

 

“That’s a very good question!” He chimed. It was as if someone had put you into overdrive; you’d felt yourself drown, you’d felt it. There was no relief though, just a dull ache that kept its vice like grip around your chest; panic sending every muscle into a spasm as you frantically tried to control your fear. 

 

It was like you’d woken up to a demon above your bed - a feeling you knew all too well. You sunk your nails into the couch, every hair on its end. You’d been so weary, now sober as you felt tears well in your eyes; chest heaving. 

 

Alastor raised an eyebrow at the whole ordeal, his inquisitive nature getting the better of him, Angel edging backwards and forwards from the sofa uncomfortably, as if unsure what to do. It wasn’t like he cared, okay?

 

“Ya alright there, toots?” He chuckled, hints of anxiety lingering in his tone. She was hyperventilating, the damn girl looked like she was overdosing on something. He knew too well what that looked like. He hesitated putting a hand on her shoulder considering that the smug radio talk-show shitlord host-ass bitch basically broke his neck to tell him to get his hands off. “Hey.” Angel was more stern this time, regretting his actions as she leapt out of her skin at his touch.

 

“C’mon,” Alastor watched the whole scene unfold, finding yourself being assisted onto shaky legs that threatened to give way at any second. Angel’s occasional comment passing over deaf ears as you fought to concentrate on basic procedures. 

 

Do take care! ” Alastor called out behind the pair of you, the haze hiss of static that lay over his voice made you convulse, every inch of your body was repulsed by the thought of him, your friend and the water... you couldn’t cope with this anymore

 

Angel had whisked you away to the safety of your room - a wreck as you sat on your bed; feet tucked beneath you almost immediately to prevent them from dangling over the edge. In case anything grabbed them. 

“D’ya need anythin’?” In a moment of fear and confusion you let the words spill from your mouth.

 

Just leave me alone! ” You’d barked, Angel narrowing his gaze as he folded his arms.

 

“I was just trynna,” he hesitated, face scrunching up as if there was a foul taste in his mouth, “yeesh, kid, I was just trynna make sure yer okay. Talk about moody. ” As sudden as you’d snapped at him, you’d reached out, snatching the spider’s sleeve as he threatened to leave. He tugged it away from you, recoiling at your touch with a look of disgust, one that softened as you spoke.

 

“I’m sorry, I don’t know Angel, I’m just scared. I-I died my friend they, they- ” each word came with a forced breath - the demon groaning as his fickle gaze travelled from the door to your sob wracked frame.

 

Then, with a hefty sigh, he let his head fall to the side.

 

Hey now~” he began, voice unnaturally soft if not a little sultry, “it’s all in the past hon, nothin’ to get worked up about.” Fighting back the tears was impossible for you. You let them fall, curling up into a ball as Angel found himself standing idly in the center of the room. 

 

“Ya know, ya should get some rest, toots, everythin’ll be alright when ya wake up…” he trailed off, upper limbs clasped together at his chest, another hand awkwardly patting you on the head like some sort of dog; something that made you blearly look up at him from amidst the tears. “Listen, I’ve gotta go but, look after yerself alright?” 

 

This made him so fuckin’ uncomfortable. Gotta blast. 

 

Alright...” you managed, too weary to hold any emotion other than the melancholy you’d become so attached too. 

 

“Alright.” Angel repeated with a heavy sigh, turning heel to see himself out.

 

“Wait!” He nearly groaned, set him free already. He looked over his shoulder with a frown and a raised eyebrow. What, did you want to be tucked in now?

 

“...Thanks.” 

 

He stared at you like you were out of your goddamn mind. “Yeah, yeah, whatever.” Before you could say another word, he disappeared out of the door, eager to get the fuck out of town. Needless to say, you passed out soon after.

 

The next morning, you woke up with the worst hangover of your life. 

Niffty didn’t pester you, and the alarm clock didn’t go off, indicating that someone either turned it off or you just forgot to set it. The last one was more probable. Everything was a blur, pushed together that made you wince whenever you tried to make out the nitty gritties of what had happened. Okay, there was Husk. Groceries. The bar. Friend drowning you in the water. Angel Dust. Everything else was to the wind. You clenched your fingers into the blankets at the thought of the new memory that had been stirred up, before ultimately peeling yourself out and forcing yourself into a new, cleaner attire. 

 

You didn’t want to think about it. 

 

But it was inevitable. Who was the friend? Was it a friend? The face was unrecognizable, blurred out from the ripples of the water. You couldn’t help but feel some recollection to the memory, however, some sort of forlorn emotion of betrayal. You had known him, her, it, them somehow. You swallowed down the lump in your throat with a breath, grabbing your handy dandy broom from its positioning of leaning against the wall, and heading down the stairs.

 

The first one to grab your eye is Husk, who is walking back towards the bar. His ear pivots in your direction before his eyes do. He flashes you a half-assed twitch of his lips because apparently you’re ‘friends’ now. “They’re makin’ you fuckin’ work?” He points to the broom, his rough voice scratching at your brain. He shook his head, turning back around and walking back to the bar. “I know I ain’t.” He mutters just loud enough for you to hear. 

 

You wonder briefly if you’re even allowed a day off.

 

You mind wasn’t allowed to wander for long, the sudden feeling of a presence behind you capturing your attention long before you went down that road again. You weren’t sure what you noticed first, his actual body standing side by side with you or his shrill, very loud voice.

 

“My, someone’s not off to a very good start!”

 

You jumped, looking over your shoulder at the individual that literally materialized out of oblivion. You would never get used to that. At least you had your broom to keep you steady. “I just woke up.”

 

“Considering how shaken you were last night and full of giggle juice, I wasn’t sure if you’d ever wake up, my poor, poor employee !” He pulled you into him by the shoulders, chatting your ear off about how absolutely ‘out on the roof’ you were. His slang wasn’t the thing that bothered you, but instead a mixture of the proximity and how you didn’t remember. Right when he was taking a breath before ultimately continuing how entertaining it had been, you took your chance to interrupt him.

 

“What’d I do?” You pulled away from his grip, and he let you. A wry laugh spilt past Alastor’s lips, the demon giggling away like a schoolgirl that knew one too many secrets.

“What didn’t you do, darling?” 

 

Your eyes immediately widened, the blood draining from your face as you looked him up and down.

 

I- We--” You stumbled over your words, a heavy blush adorning your face all at once. “We didn’t.” 

 

He looked stumped. The crack of his neck breaking silence as he tipped his head to the side. “Didn’t what?” Just by his confusion alone, you were able to let out a very heavy breath of relief. You raked your hand through your hair, suddenly laughing at the nonsense of the thought. A ‘thank God’ fell silently from your mouth, unsure if it was actually legal to say His name in vain.

 

“Although,” Alastor quipped, lifting a finger - you could almost see the lightbulb that went with it, “you did seem bothered by something last night.” 

 

And just like that, you spun back around with a singular “Nope.” Alastor seemed ready to question you when he simply shrugged it off.

 

“Very well, it’d be a shame if our employees felt uneasy in the very hotel they live in.” He sighed in dissatisfaction with how you were adamant on not telling him every little thing, hand pointed inwards to his chest. “Just checking in! But since you’re so very eager to get to work, ” he shooed you away. 

 

That didn’t mean he’d given up, however. 

 

Routine was comforting, to say the least. What more could you want than a peaceful time sweeping the same halls you’d swept every single day? It did take your mind off things, for the most part - occasionally finding your girp tighten on the brroom as you felt yourself swallow phantom mouthfuls of water - like you were still drowning. You even had the pleasure of being jumpscared to aid the process of distraction.

 

“My! What a wonderful job you’re doing, my dear!” Suspicious. You narrowed your eyes. He was never ‘nice’ to you. Every time you would look in his direction, he would turn his way inhumanely fast as if he had been staring at you. 

 

“Alright, what’s the deal?” You huffed, finally having enough of his shenanigans. 

 

“A deal?” His eyes lit up like a child on Christmas. He was in front of you in an instant. “Why didn’t you say so!” The blast of emerald flame that erupted from his outstretched palm didn’t tempt you whatsoever to make whatever deal he was on about, regardless of what you were thinking. Husk immediately was looking up from whatever drink he was absolutely guzzling, nearing choking on it. 

 

“Nooo-” you managed, not even wanting to push his hand away at fear of what might happnen to you, “-thaaaank you.” In another flash, it was gone. He looked down at you with disappointment, before looking at a clock on the wall. 

 

“Oh, dearie me! Would you look at the time, farewell! ” Just like his little magic scheme, he was gone too.

 

You were going to have an aneurysm.  

 

It wasn’t the last time he bothered you either.

 

“Do you happen to have a minute?” 

 

“My dear, I believe you missed a spot!”  

 

“Hel-” you’d slammed the door on him before he could finish his sentence. Charlie taught you that one. In any case, you’d managed to slip away to a quiet, undisturbed area of the hotel; avoiding Alastor only to allow the thoughts in your head to consume you once more. You sighed.

Your splitting migraine was going away over time, albeit slowly. It made working difficult. 

It made everything difficult. 

An unusual silence hung over the foyer; the usual hum of chatter void. Overall, the Hotel itself was all too quiet. The gentle scrape of the broom against the floor was all that there was to keep you company along with your frantic mind; still trying to make sense of all that there was to make sense of. The more you thought of it, the more you came up empty handed.

It frustrated you to no end.

With a sigh, you ‘kept up the hard work ’ - voices conversing from the lobby catching your attention, only for it to die down after a few moments. You stopped in your aimless sweeping. 

“Ugh, this is pointless …” you leant on the broom, a frown lacing your lips. It was hard to not let your mind wander.

Would it have been better if you never got those memories back in the first place?

Perhaps you would have been able to bring yourself to believe your own lies if you knew in the first place. Murderer. The claim didn’t stick with you. With a deep breath, you close your eyes for a long, drawn out moment in desperate thought. It just didn’t add up. You were forced to make assumptions that had the possibility of being completely wrong, and worse of all, you weren’t sure how to trigger more memories. You were left at a dead end. 

Perhaps you belong here, you mused silently; truly, it wasn’t half-bad. It wasn’t ‘Hell’ in the sense of eternal fires and whatnot, in fact, there were actually ‘nice’ people here. The thought of it being a mistake was inevitable, but you couldn’t bring yourself to humor the thought any longer than necessary.

Because God didn’t make mistakes. 

Did you even want to learn the rest of your past? All you could recall was a fuzzy memory from your childhood and that blurred image of somebody you called a friend above you as you sunk deeper and deeper into an abyss, drowning.

But that was merely speculation. Was it a friend? Was that how you died? Maybe you weren’t at a beach at all. You had no clue!

With a heavy breath, you ran your fingers through your hair. You vaguely remembered that singing often brought you happiness as a child; but would it now? You hummed, the buzzing upon your lips a welcome sensation. A sense of familiarity rushing through you; it felt natural. Perhaps you could try. 

You peeked out of the door, looking left, then right, then left again. Silent. Quiet. Alone. 

“Hear that music, isn’t it sweet?” The words fell from your mouth before you could even process it, your humming filling the silence. You looked back to your trusty broom, the first of rare smiles during this trying time forming against your expression. 

“Come on baby, shake your feet.” It sounded silly, considering that you were just talking to yourself than actually singing

You didn’t want to disturb anyone, in fact, you didn’t want any attention to fall onto you during this. It was easy to feel free when you were alone. Of course, there were a few exceptions. You recalled briefly the events that had occurred the previous night. Sincerely, you couldn’t remember a time what you had as much fun as you had with the winged feline.  

Husk didn’t seem to care about much, only drinking, gambling and other hellish delights. He was selfish, but perhaps even a bit kind. You stepped back into the room once you were confident you were alone, allowing your humming to grow louder - swaying your hips in the moment. A strange, foreign confidence sprouting from within, and, even if you weren’t certain where you were going with it; it felt good.

“Walk right in, sit right down,” like your body, your hands are articulative and full of motion -- shamelessly pretending a customer had come into the Hotel, you motion to the bed, imagining it to be a couch; free of cobwebs and collecting dust.

And baby, let your mind roll on~,” you continued to sway in a silly manner with the broom, as if you were truly dancing with someone. You remembered how there had been a moment when the broom had been dressed up in Alastor’s fiasco, a laugh betraying your inner turmoil. You looked down at the inanimate object in fondness; your trusty broom. 

You extended your arm as you continue on your merry little way: “Hey, walk right into this Happy Hotel, stay a little while,“ you spun, leaping over to the doorway that lead to the balcony. With a dip, you used the end of the broom to sweep up an non-existent coat and winked a goodbye to the invisible customer. You followed ‘them’ out and took one glance at the crimson skies above: “-but baby, you can’t stay too long.” 

You longed to see Earth again, the bright blue skies ; the glorious sights. Despite the horrors you faced inside the Hotel, you felt at home . You felt like you belonged. “What a glorious feeling!” You shut the door again with a wink, a small giggle playing at your lips. Nevertheless, you found yourself drifting out into the hallway, peering at the portraits of the Magne family that adorned the walls. Your voice had become quieter, your thoughts wandering over the thoughts of whether or not you had a family. 

Well, you had to have come from somewhere.

There was an image of Charlie’s mother—Lilith—holding Charlie as a toddler. They were at a beach. You imagined yourself upon the beach, alongside blurred features. You felt… happy.  “I’m happy again, I’m laughing at the clouds,” your song was soft and full of heart, and despite the feeling of unease and of being watched, you held your nerve. “So dark up above, the sun’s in my heart, this is a brand new start!” A childish giggle being released as memories began to flood into your mind of the good times in your life. 

Your finger dragged along the intricate designs of the picture frame. Expensive. You pulled your hand away after a moment.

You had to have had a family. Somewhere deep inside of your gut, you knew that they had loved you, too. 

Then as if you’d returned to reality, you frowned. You were dead. Gone. Six feet underground. That didn’t mean you stopped though, no, you were too stubborn for that.

You couldn’t let this feeling fizzle out of existence. It was perhaps one of the only times down here that you felt like you. And that was scary and enticing in itself all at once . Moving into the main lobby, you found that the muttering had ceased long before you arrived. Even Husk was somewhere that wasn’t at the bar. You were completely and utterly alone. You watched your shadow move along with you with expert precision. “Let all the others fight and fuss— whatever happens, we got us…” you close your eyes, hooking your arm around a column and swinging yourself. 

The momentum and feeling of wind briefly in your hair rejuvenated your movements. Your shadow mimicked your actions, winding through the light the windows cast against the floor. It vanished - and he saw his chance. As you stepped into the light once more, your shadow followed in your footsteps, the two of you moving in synchrony as you beamed at the apparition at your feet. 

“My shadow and I - we’re close than pages that stick in a book,” you sang, striding along upstairs and picking up the pace as your watched your shadow against the wall, “we’re closer than ripples that play in a brook!” You turned to face the silhouette - managing to sidestep and shimmy your way with each word.

“Strolling down the avenue, wherever you find him, you’ll find me -” you twirled around, arms swinging by your side in a march as you gave your shadow a wink, “just look! We stick together like glue.” With that, you gave one last spin, imagining that your shadow would peel off the wall and catch you as you dipped into yet another unused room. There were a lot.

“We’re alone but far from blue-” you cut yourself off, breath caught in your throat for a split second as you found your way along the room, cobwebs and dust adorned, the shadow having left you behind in the darkness, “-well, way down yonder in the depths of Hell, in the land of screams and screams …” you spun, falling into the unused bed, sighing.

“There’s a Garden of Eden, ah, you know what I mean… ” you slowed, leaving reality behind you as you sung; the muffled babbling from company indicating a presence. With a grunt, you pulled yourself off of the bed again, turning to a balcony, watching the red sky and the lights of the city flicker from both afar and below.  “And then you stop.

You were in Hell. You were really in hell. 

“You bet your life you’ll linger there for a little while,” your voice was barely a whisper as you got up to approach the balcony, hands grasped at your shirt, soaking in the city scene. Some pornstars face flickering with a crooked smile on a broken screen, a banner with the words of Lucifer, and a broken down sign that stated ‘fuck heaven ’, with blood spattering around it to cover the rest of the words. 

The spur of joy you’d felt turned into a dark pit that settled low in your stomach. Still, you continue, leaning on the ornate railing with melancholy in your heart.

“I don’t ever care to rise to power, I don’t want to set the world on fire- I’ve lost all ambition for worldly acclaim,” each breath felt like you were descending down a staircase, your heart sinking as you fell deeper into despair.

“I’m all alone every evening,” you muttered, a tightness constricted your throat as your eyes pricked with tears. You were in Hell and there was no going back.

You’d left everyone behind, your parents, your friends, you had to have had friends, despite how fuzzy the memories you were able to obtain. Did they miss you? Did they know you were dead? You took a shaky breath, trying to settle these forlorn emotions.

“All alone, feeling blue,” you didn’t understand. Singing was meant to make you feel better and it had, briefly. But it wasn’t an eternal fix. You would never get that eternal fix. For that, you looked up at the lit up cloud that floated in the sky, a halo upon it, was close enough to touch it but far enough for it to just be out of your reach. 

“And I wonder where you are, and how you are,” your voice cracked as you allowed your body to slump to the side of the wall, “ and if you’re all alone too… ” the last note of the song was an ugly sob, replacing what had once been a happy tune. With your hands pressed against your face, you turned around, crumpling into a ball against the railing.

Alone.

You sniffed pathetically into your sleeve, a frown adorning your mouth. There was a quiet click that caught your attention because you could drown in your depressing thoughts. You looked up from your arms, finding a curious and concerned individual looking directly at you. It was ironic with how many times she found you like this; so utterly swept up in your emotions that you couldn’t bring yourself to say anything that made a lick of sense. You felt pathetic. You didn’t even know who you were before you died. 

It wasn’t normal. 

Charlie walked over to your curled form, standing just in front of you before giving you her hand. You stared at it for a long moment, deep in contemplation. “It’s okay to feel lost in the moment, it’s okay to feel lost at sea,” she sang softly, her voice drifting around her softly. You looked up at her again, brows knitted before finally taking her hand. She pulled you up. “Because as long as you’re here, you have me.”  

She must have heard your song, a blush brought on by emotion and embarrassment adorning your face. You watched uselessly as she tapped her cheek, pulling her own mouth into a smile. “Let’s turn that frown upside down, take the initiative to push it away, ” she spun you around to look back over the hellish nightmare that was your city.

The lights flickered stunningly, a beauty that you hadn’t even realized. She lifted a finger beside you, a plume of smoke suddenly netting out of it as something flew into the atmosphere. Fireworks. She seemed pleased at your reaction, seeing the reflection of blues, greens, and colors that simply weren’t found here, light up the sky. You were in awe. 

“... and maybe tomorrow we can begin a new day. ” She trailed off at last, turning to look at the fireworks as well. The two of you watched as demons of other complexes open the windows to look at the fireworks as well. When they ended, the two of you remained in a silence that was neither comfortable nor uncomfortable. “...Are you okay?” Charlie was the first to speak up, causing you to look up at her.  

“I remembered something that I don’t want to remember. I mean, I thought I wanted to, but it was-”

“Scary?”

You pulled your lips into a tight smile, your head nodding weakly as you wiped at your eyes with the sleeve of your shirt. You turned around, leaning your back against the railing. A breeze made your hair flutter forth before lying still again. You take a breath, letting your shoulders slouch in defeat.

“You don’t always have to come to my rescue, Charlie.”

You could feel her eyes on you, but before she could talk, you were already ranting away. “I just- I feel so pathetic sometimes. I hate feeling so down, like I can’t do anything about anything. It my own personal hell.” She remained silent for a long moment, either at a loss for words or contemplating on what to say next. 

“I’m… not as happy-go-lucky as you think I am,” she said, causing you to lift your head slightly. This heart-to-heart, whatever it was, filled you with a sense of determination. “I’m a disappointment to my father. I’m just… not who he expected. An embarrassment to his name.” You weren’t really expecting Lucifer himself to be a good parent to begin with, so it didn’t necessarily surprise you. The thing that had surprised you most about him was the fact that he was practically an imp. You wondered how he managed to woo Lilith to begin with, then again , the promise of power did things to people.

  “My mom isn’t really… there, either.” She continued on with a heartfelt sigh, leaning against the railing in the same manner you were. “But I can’t really blame her. She’s a famous singer down here; she’s a busy woman. I just… wish things were like when I was younger.” Yeah, that would be nice, wouldn’t it? 

“You remind me of myself, if I didn’t have to wear this mask all the time for the sake of everyone else. For the sake of myself. ” She ended there, letting you process the information. 

“If… it makes you feel better, you’re a really good manager.” You weren’t necessarily trying to be funny, simply stating the truth as it was, but when she laughed, you couldn’t help but look up at her before letting a giggle flutter up from your chest. “I want to be good at something too, but I can’t. Not like this, Charlie.” You looked at the broom that was leaning against the end of the bed across the room with a forlorn expression. “I can’t be a cleaner for the rest of eternity.” You couldn’t amount to nothing. 

Just like that, something clicked, a lightbulb going off in your mind. 

“I want to learn to defend myself.”

Chapter Text

There was a long moment of silence, drawn out enough to make you start to question if there would ever actually be a response. The ambience of the room consisted of the Hotel settling in, the creak of the floorboards made you believe that the facility was a lot older than you were originally led to discover. There was a subtle breeze that ruffled your clothing; the chill of the air causing goosebumps to appear across your skin. Perhaps it was time for yet another wardrobe change— this one was better suited for the hotter months, the thin fabric doing little to accurately protect you from the elements. You brought a hand to your arm, rubbing it gently to elicit some sort of friction of heat. 

“...Are you sure?”  

She sounded uncertain, wary of the many ways that could go terribly wrong. You were a smaller individual in comparison to the hellish creatures that wandered the streets, but not as small as Niffty; you still towered over the energetic concoction of Alastor’s powers immensely. Charlie often felt bad that you had to look up all the time, but you didn’t seem to mind it. Nevertheless, she reminded herself that while you were still small, that didn’t mean you weren’t capable of defending yourself. 

She just never wanted the day to come where you actually had to. 

“I don’t want to always stand behind someone and hope for the best, Charlie!” You noticed the worried expression that she had failed to hide beneath a poorly veiled facade. “It’s just so I stay safe. Defense, that’s it.” There was a hand that was placed on your shoulder, and you looked up with wide eyes. And then you were suddenly pulled into a rib-breaking hug, the breath leaving your lungs in an instant. For a moment you remained still, contemplating on whether to try to breathe or to actually return the hug. 

You did both. 

“...You’re a really good friend, Charlie.” Your cheeks engulfed in a warmth, embarrassed but touched over the fact that she truly was the only one you could actually rely on as an individual to see things through. You squeezed your arms around her tightly, endorphins flooding into your brain at the sheer thought of the fact that this was your friend. This is what friends did. Friends didn’t drown you. You frowned slightly at the memory, shaking it off because truthfully, it only gave you the heebie jeebies. Nausea settled low in your stomach before she finally released you. 

You stumbled back with a giggle, before she caught your arm to steady you— just so you didn’t flip off of the railing. “Just be careful, okay? We’re not… exactly equipped to deal with injuries.” You nodded, anxious to get started. Charlie was the only motherfucker in this place that understood you. You were about to turn towards the door when she stopped you by calling your name. You turned your head over your shoulder to look back at her.

“You’re a really good friend, too.” 

Needless to say, you were quick to discover what you wanted. You wanted to feel the adrenaline to course through your veins, you wanted to show them you weren’t some weak-link, you wanted to kick ass. You were entirely certain that you would be the one to get their ass kicked, but that didn’t mean you couldn’t be hopeful! The moment you stepped foot into the hallway, a wave of uncertainty and wariness rushed at you, covering you in fissures of doubt and indecision. The problem wasn’t that you couldn’t do it, the problem was that you weren’t… entirely sure who to ask to help you. 

Charlie would be soft on you, not take your efforts seriously. Bless her heart, she no doubt knew how to hold her own and would be a formidable foe on the battlefield; but you wanted a real training session. You didn’t want to be useless. There was Vaggie, but she didn’t seem to be interested in the actions of the residents; simply remaining on the sidelines and making sure that the Hotel was running successfully. Niffty was someone you could probably just kick down the street, Alastor was— ha. No. That left Angel Dust. Begrudgingly, as you still were absolutely pissed at him for making you feel worthless and stupid, you could recall bits and pieces of the situation from last night. 

Even though the memories were blurred together.

It was hard to accurately determine what happened and what didn’t ; so as you continued down the hallway and his looming wooden door came closer and closer, you tried to figure out what to say. You hesitated in front of the door, pausing for what seemed like an eternity. The last time you had stood in front of it was when you had been rejected his friendship with a big fat ‘ no.’ 

But this time you weren’t looking for his companionship. You were determined to prove you weren’t someone they could just walk over. You didn’t need to be friends with someone to work with them. Your knuckles connected with the mahogany wood, knocking once and then twice pathetically. Your lips turned into a frown, swallowing your apprehension and knocking a third time— harder. There was silence, the one thing that filled the gaps between one moment and the next, and suddenly you were beginning to wonder if this had been a mistake. You had been impulsive. 

At last, to your relief or sudden demise, there was angry grumbling behind the door. Before you could even think about walking away, the door swung open. The blood drained from your face at the sight of the massive arachnid demon; it had been quite a bit since you had been this close to him. “The hell ya want now ya stupid—“ Your eyebrows pinched together in confusion. Whoever had been previously pestering him was simply not there. He cut himself off, eyes lowering to find you

You crossed your arms. 

“I have a proposition,” you feigned your boldness because truth be told, you were nervous. There was a constant ambience of complete lack of sound, and you took that moment to peek up to gauge his reaction. He was staring down at you like you were some three-headed creature, speaking a foreign language. He looked at you as if you were a idiotic. As if you were in any position to make a proposition! He nearly lost it, holding his laughter in for the grand moment you revealed why the hell you had bothered him. 

Leaning against the doorframe as if he had all the time in the world, he humored you. “Yeah? And what’s that?” 

I… want you to teach me to defend myself, to fight. In turn, I’ll help you get more…” You trailed off, voice lowering as if you were keen to keep the secret only the two of you knew about. There’s a pause, and then you watch in slow-motion as he reeled his head back and howled with laughter. He’s not laughing with you.

He’s laughing at you.

You felt heat engulf your face in sheer, utter embarrassment, but you manage to hold your ground, his obnoxious laughter dying down into a fit of chuckles before wiping away a stray tear. “Toots, quit the tough gal act, it don’t fit ya.” He leered down at you now, the two of coming to the realization that you were still on extremely shaky grounds. It would take more than a drunken ‘thank you’ to stitch up the wounds that had been created. You deepen your frown, staring right back into those heterochromatic stupid eyes. There was a long moment between that point and the next, and you were entirely certain that he was attempting to intimidate you. You were insufferably stubborn. 

With a scoff and a shrug of his shoulders, he leaned back and sorted through something just out of your view, grabbing something, and then roughly brushing past you. He makes an effort to keep whatever he’s holding out of your line of sight. 

“Wait, really? ” 

There was no verbal response, no, there was a physical one. You watched as a third set of arms appeared from his waist, harboring a wooden bat. You trail behind him in uncomfortable tranquility, taking a moment to inspect the details as it hung carelessly over his shoulder. It was adorned with an array of spikes and nails, the wood encased in dry, stained blood that, despite trying desperately to wash off, simply did not. A feeling coiled low in your gut, uneasy and sickening. Nauseous. 

But you had come too far to just… chicken out. 

The moment the two of you exited the Hotel and walk down the driveway, you were being tossed a crowbar. The suddenness of action nearly made you have it fall from your grip. A crowbar? Your confusion was paramount but short-lived, your legs being swept from underneath you as you fell to the ground with a grunt. Suddenly, there was a bunch of nails and screws just barely touching your nose; so close you could almost feel it. Your eyes traveled up the bat to the origin of your fall, the arachnid standing with a bored expression embellishing his features.

“Yer dead.” He huffed, leaning an arm on his hip.

Eyes narrowing, you watched as he idly rocked back a few paces, almost bored. He swung the bat by his side casually and you took the time to push yourself up, attention on the ground as you winced in pain, a sharp sting rippling through your coccyx. If it hadn’t been for the click of his heel as he lunged forwards, you would have felt those nails drive into your flesh - clothes fluttering against your skin at the wind that’d been disrupted by the powerful swing. 

Angel! ” tripping over your own two feet as you staggered back, barely holding your balance.

Even with the force he’d used, he remained perfectly poised, now hitting the bat against the palm of a hand as if there weren’t sharp objects jutting out of it. 

“What!” He snapped, “too much for ya?” With that, he scoffed; originally to hide the laughter that crept up his throat and yet it soon spilt out. 

“Did ya really think it was gonna be easy? Wait - wait, ya thought I’d go easy on ya, oh that’s even better!” Bat now resting as a crutch, he tried to steady himself from the fit that’d come over him. “I thought we was meant ta be fightin’ not crackin’ each other up! Ya sure yer serious ‘bout this toots? ‘Cuz yer sure don’t look it ta me...” he trailed off, a smug pout adorning his features as you lift your crowbar - tight between your palms as you stared him down. The heat of your breath fanning your face as you felt the anger dye your cheeks a flush pink. 

Oho honey no, gettin’ angry won’t solve anythin’.”  He hummed, the amusement in his tone replaced with something more sinister. “Yer just gonna get hurt.” 

But you were going to learn. 

You’d show him that you weren’t some coward and that you weren’t some loser. A plan that was easier said than done as you fell to the ground over and over again. He barely used his bat - commenting he didn’t usually swing that way much to your annoyance. He’d been the one to tell you that you weren’t taking things seriously only to have him cracking jokes at you. That being said, when he did use it, you felt your insides churn, breath caught as the bat cracked against the crowbar, nearly wiping it from your grasp - pain shooting through your wrists with each hit - the blunt force vibrating through the crowbar in a moment of terror.

Each time you fell down he’d repeat the word ‘dead’. It happened again and again, driving you insane as you stood, arms and wrists aching only to be forced back and struck and eventually knocked down again. You could see it on his face that he was getting a kick out of your failure, in the way that you were utterly useless.

You gritted your teeth.

Dead! ” He called out obnoxiously, tipping his head to the side with a hand on his hip. “Ya really got a deathwish, don’t ya?” The additional comment wasn’t necessary— his behavior wasn’t necessary. You sat on the hard ground, bearing the pain that ricoheted along your spine like a bullet. You declined the thought of letting go of the crowbar; fingers curled around the metal frame. Each digit that rest beneath it felt raw , as if the skin had been torn upon impact with the gravel. Without a word, you attempted to push yourself back up. 

You refused to give up. Not now.

At the sight of the red scratches that’d been etched into your fingers, you winced. He made a ‘ tch-ing ’ sound between his teeth, shrugging off some unknown thought before taking a step forward. There were a few things you learned by watching him over and over again. You knew to watch him, to keep an eye on his musculature; to try to figure out where he would strike next. No less, you wouldn’t go on the offensive— you had made a promise. That, and you didn’t want to be anywhere close to him because that would mean-

“Shit!” You hissed, barely dodging the bat as it ruffled past your abdomen, the mere force alone would have been exceedingly painful if it had landed. Your hesitation was something that had been thrown out of the door the moment you picked up the crowbar, and in that moment of anticipation of the next move he’d make; you angled the bar so the bat would hopefully connect with it and not yourself. 

A moment of beautiful realisation as you felt a flurry of splinters, loose bolts, and screws  scatter to the ground with a metallic ringing; a cry escaping your lips.

You’d let go of the crowbar at the white hot pain that’d momentarily struck your wrists, the instrument having been pushed closer to your body.

“Oooh well would ya look at that?” Angel cooed, fascination in his eyes as he lifted his bat, the crowbar wedged deep into the wood. By that force alone, you were certain he would have broken your wrists if you had been alive. The effeminate spider inspected the weapon thoroughly. “Ya really did a number on the poor gal.” He hummed, tugging out the crowbar with a grunt. 

The crowbar was bent. 

“Damn.” He tossed it back to you, said weapon clattering to the ground as you stumbled back. As the crowbar finally came to a rest, you felt your hopes of becoming stronger disappear into a hopeless reverie. The adrenaline that you had sought did not ease the pain in your wrists, your fight or flight instinct briefly taking control of your moments before you snapped out of it. 

There was hope for you yet.

Angel already looked ready to murder you, as comforting as that thought was, poking the gaping wound in his bat idly.

“I see ya picked up on my lil’ routine there, guess imma have to change things up a bit now, ey?” Your eyes widened at his statement, causing you to recall what you’d forgotten in your forlorn thoughts.

Your weapon. 

Even if it was the last thing you wanted to do, you couldn’t be a coward. You winced as you went to pick up the bat, your wrists nearly giving out by the pain alone, holding it unsteadily in your grasp. He’d been teaching you in his own way, and you’d learnt something. You could learn more. Even if it was the knowledge that he was going to strike a certain way, you’d known because you’d watched him. 

You had to be aware of everything around you.

A giddy excitement coursing through your veins as he stepped forwards once more, a broad grin lining his lips as his shadow fell over you intimidatingly. You didn’t move from the spot per say, but instead turning in place as he sauntered around you. Fear nipped at your spine as you repositioned yourself, waiting for the moment he reeled the bat back and took another life-threatening swing at you. 

Just as you were about to immerse yourself in the moment, there was a shrill microphone screech that omitted from directly next to you. Instinctively your attention faltered, jumping out of your skin as you snapped your concentration to your left. There was a moment of radio silence before you felt the currents of air rush past you; the bat whizzing by your face. You managed to trip back at the very last minute with an exasperated and startled yell. 

It wasn’t like you could have been on the lookout for him, considering he just appeared. 

“Whatever could be happening over here, hm?” He stood a few feet from you, not appearing worried or remotely phased that he nearly teleported into the strike-zone of the bat itself. You take that moment to ensure that you wouldn’t be struck at by searching for the gaze of the arachnid demon. You watched as he placed the bat over his shoulder. That was the only agreeance you could make out from his shrouded expression, but truthfully, it was all you needed. 

The two of you were audibly panting from the exertion of your actions, you more so than Angel, understandably. Hands on your knees, you allowed the damaged crowbar fall from your grasp and clatter to the ground distinctly. 

“The fuck ya doin’ here?” Angel took the words right out of your mind, a frown adorning your lips as you peered up at them through your lashes. As if he weren’t just trying to kill you, the spider demon displayed a change of heart, striding over and batting his eyelashes at the Radio Demon. “Ya want in? Oh Alastor~, I didn’t take ya for someone who enjoys threesomes.”  

His tone was suddenly seductive, and you nearly choked on an inhale of air. The moment you felt static prickle at your skin, you took the chance to answer long before Alastor had the chance to. “No. No.” You pointed a finger in accusation at the pornstar, before leaning down and picking up the crowbar. 

“Yer no fun, toots.” 

You were sweating, despite it being absolutely bitter outside. The air burned your lungs as you inhaled deeply, turning to look up at Alastor. “Training.” You breathe out with a huff, shoulders slumping. You pushed the bent crowbar against his abdomen, considering it was actually where you stood in comparison to his height. You attempt to push him away: “ So if you would be so kind.” You had desperately underestimated the situation you were in, considering that Angel Dust was even taller than he was. 

If just barely. 

You turned to said demon then, returning your crowbar to your side. Like some gift that came down from Heaven itself, he took the initiative of how to fix your stance, without you even asking. He didn’t go into much detail, of course, sincerely believing you needed to discover for yourself and partly because he couldn’t be bothered. It didn’t take long for you to figure it out, thankfully, despite the few clumsy steps in the beginning. 

Alastor let out a hum, stalking off towards the Hotel when Charlie had quite literally thrown herself in front of him, arms outstretched in distress. 

“Wait, wait Alastor, please!” She exclaimed, the Radio Demon stopped, twirling his microphone before looking down on her with a smile.

“Why, what ever could be the matter Charlie, dear?” He inquired inquisitively, Charlie pulling herself together and sorting out her attire with a polite smile in return.

“You see, I’m pretty busy right now and I was wondering if maybe you-” she pointed at him on ‘you’, following through with the rest of her sentence and motioning to the respective parties, “-would mind keeping an eye on those two, while I head on inside to get some things done.” He held up a palm, silencing her. There was no need to ask again, Alastor glanced over his shoulder at the sparring pair, oh how you were failing miserably! How entertaining it would be to watch you continue.

“It’d be my pleasure!” Alastor exclaimed, shooing along Charlie and ushering her towards the door, “now go on, I’m sure you’ve got plenty of work to do! I’ll be perfectly fine here!” A choked sound left Charlie’s throat as she went to say something, cut short as Alastor bid her farewell. With that, he was free to return to the fight, situating himself on the outskirts of their playing field as he crossed his arms behind his back. 

Observing the match, he kept his composure - unable to smile much more than he was already. Yet every time you staggered at the force of a blow or fell to the ground, his grin stretched to its limits. Why, it was entertainment at its finest!

So much so he couldn’t resist but crack a laugh. It’d distracted you at first, your gaze whipping around to see where it was coming from and low and behold: Alastor. His laughter went right through you, striking every nerve on the way. You’d barely even noticed Charlie who worriedly had been looking on prior, but Alastor. Alastor stuck out like a sore thumb for starters - but that static ridden laughter made your face heat up in embarrassment. 

As you desperately tried to maintain your focus, it nagged at you, that mocking laughter

You couldn’t focus like this. You hated it. Whipping your head around, mouth open to yell at him, you found yourself reel back as something connected with your abdomen. Angel stepped back, his eyes wide as you glanced down at your stomach. Your white shirt was torn, a red stain seeping into the fabric and gradually growing as you both stared in horror and fascination at the wound.

You’d felt the flesh tear, felt the skin being ripped as the bat had caught you; it burnt. 

With your hands hovering just above your belly, you tried to process what had happened, your mind  in shock. You daintily picked at the bottom of your shirt, peeling it upwards to get a better look at the gash now carved into your body, chest heaving as you bit your bottom lip - cutting short the hiss that’d seeped past them.

It didn’t look that deep, not fatal at least - the only thing breaking the silence being the quiet comment dropped by Angel, a soft murmur: “Aw shit.” You could barely hear it over the blood rushing through your ears. Instinctively, you placed your hand over the slices, the rivulets of blood encasing the silhouette of your hand. 

Alastor had the perfect view for the whole spectacle; arching back as he stood tall, torn between her expression of pure horror and the crimson liquid that pooled over her fingers - his own face warming to a similar shade. 

Your heart rate was slow, everything set in slow motion as a gasp reeled all three attentions to the origin. Your reaction was slower, dazed, while the other two looked like they had been caught doing illegal shenanigans. Your eyes danced across Charlie’s face, narrowing your eyes. Well, your efforts of being able to protect yourself had all gone to moot; and worst of all, the princess still stormed out of the Hotel’s entrance like some sort of knight in shining armor. You didn’t need her to always be there to save the day. You didn’t want a knight in shining armor. 

You didn’t want to be useless. 

Suddenly Angel Dust and Charlie were found to be in a heated argument. A soft sigh passed from your lips, training your eyes back down to your stomach that you were now holding pressure against instinctively. The adrenaline from the training session and shock from what had actually happened did well to numb the pain, at least. 

“You almost killed her!” Charlie stomped up to the effeminate spider.

“That is practically impossible! ” Limbs were flying in exasperation, held out at the sides of his body. There were slurs passed between the two of them, Angel automatically defending himself by stating ‘how could you learn if you went easy?’ You felt your lip twitch, coming to terms with the fact that neither of them were going to help you. 

Maybe you could do something for yourself for once. You weren’t a child. 

“Well, that doesn’t look good!” You barely jumped at the exceedingly loud voice that originated from a presence next to you. You looked up, still confounded by what exactly had happened and the pain that was beginning to ebb slowly back into your body as the adrenaline faded away. “You should get that checked out.”

His tone was proud, matter-of-fact as he bent over to look at the wound on your stomach. You gingerly placed the shirt back down over it, wincing as the fabric sank into the slices, before replacing your hand over it. A face was made in response. 

He straightened back up in a blur, tilting his head, a mischevious expression adorning his face. You immediately knew not to trust it. Your physical reaction was enough to spur on his continuation:   “Well, you’re in luck! I just may happen to have a few tricks up my sleeve!” That didn’t make you feel better at all. Eager to decline his offer because you could wrap yourself up just fine, you were cut off by a familiar voice before you even opened your mouth.

“Wait in the kitchen! I’ll be right there!” 

Your eyes immediately narrowed, darting back to Alastor. He seemed pleased with this turn of events. With a huff, you nonetheless let him escort you to the Hotel, and when you question why he insists on doing it, he explains with an annoyingly chipper voice: “So you don’t hurt yourself more!” At the very least, he didn’t touch you, and for that you were entirely too relieved. ‘Escorting’ was a loose term, considering while you limped, he strolled in front of you as if he had a very important meeting to attend to. 

The Hotel smelled welcoming, and with the bitter cold being chased away by the warmth, you felt yourself begin to relax. And you would have completely, if you weren’t injured and bleeding. Thankfully enough, you didn’t have to walk too far, as the kitchen was rather close to the entrance. Upon entering, you’re half-surprised to find that the Radio Demon stays, half disappointed that he just won’t leave you alone. 

“Get on the counter.” 

Excuse me, what.

The moment his command is realized, you stare at him blankly, your mouth forming a straight line. For you to succeed on ‘getting on the counter’, you would have to jump up and ultimately stretch your stomach to sit on it.

“I can’t.” 

He approached you with a roll of his eyes and the moment you’re about to tell him not to touch you, you felt his hands beneath your shoulders as he lifted you onto the counter with ease; as if you weighed no more than a feather. It immediately dawned upon you that he could literally beat the shit out of you if he truly desired. A chill ran up your spine, suddenly uncomfortably with his close proximity-- as if you weren’t already before.

“May I see?” 

“No.” 

You watched his hand in silence, narrowing your eyes as he completely disregarded your request of not touching you , and peeling your hand off of your shirt with little resistance. There was no point to fight him on it; your chances were laughable. Grimacing, you looked away the moment he peels up your shirt, the sharp inhale he takes causing your face to heat up in embarrassment; it was as if he thought the slices across your stomach looked utterly delicious. 

He stood there for a moment too long, forcing you to look back up to him. His face was contorted in feigned concern, not bothering to hide the amusement that littered his features. Your embarrassment started to fade into anger, because if he hadn’t laughed at you, you wouldn’t be here right now. You watched the bastard subtly lick his lips, shaking out of his reverie. Your heart lurched uncomfortably as you met his eyes. His gaze was still wholly focused on the wound, before turning his attention to you. 

“You should know better.” He tsk’ed at you. You frown further, deciding that staying silent was your best option at this moment. Oh, but the things your would say if you were not wounded! Your fingertips picked at your pants anxoiusly as he leaned over you to grab the first aid kit, placing it beside you before balling up your shirt around your waist so it wouldn’t fall back down. You had to hold yourself back from pushing him away when you felt his claws trail up your sensitive skin, exceedingly close to the wound itself. You managed, barely.

He didn’t spare you a glance as he sorted through the kit again, snatching an alcohol disinfectant and a medical towelette. He doused the cotton in the disinfectant before, not even waiting for you to prepare yourself, pressing it into the slices against your skin. His strength truly knew no bounds, enforcing his grip just enough to illict a reaction of pain. He was searching for a wince, but not to damage the poor employee further. The bastard got what he wanted, your stomach clenching the sudden pain shooting through it. You let out a whine, involunarily and naturally. 

“Does it hurt?” He hummed, continuing to hold the towel to your stomach. Despite your face contorted in pain, you managed to get enough space between him and the cupboard to kick his leg. He deservered it, even if he was helping you.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to.” You spoke quickly, as if to save your own ass. “It just hurt.” 

He pressed down harder, making your eyes squint. His smile contorted unnaturally into a crooked grin. Biting your lips, you finally released a breath you didn’t know your were holding once he released the pressure off of you. With it, the blistering pain began to fade away, the disinfectant already seeping into the slices and relieving you of any concern of infection. Your eyes fell to where he now stood, pulling a gauze out of the kit.

“Well, good news! You don’t need stitches!”

“Did you get hurt a lot when… you were alive?” Your voice was small, uncertain as to why he would know about whether or not you would need stitches. He paused in his movements, and you sincerely thought you fucked up when his grin stretched inhumanely across his face.

No.”  

The silence that followed was uncomfortable, the static dancing across your skin. The quicker you got out of here, the better. Strolling back over to you with a hum playing on his lips, he wrapped the gauze around your waist until he was pleased with what it looked like. It was a bit too tight for your liking, but you remained quiet. 

The sound of approaching footsteps made you perk up, hoping it was exactly who you wanted it to be.

It was.

“So sorry for the wait! I- oh.” You slid off of the counter, finally allowed to flatten down your blood-stained shirt as you looked to Charlie. Now that your gauze supported your wound, you could let your arms fall to your side in ease, nevertheless, any movement you made brought you discomfort. 

Once realizing you were safe and already patched up, she was ultimately pleased over how Alastor did a fabulous job. The demon in question radiated pride as if he were getting praised for being a good boy scout. 

Rubbing your side gently, you decide to take the rest of the day off. 

Lucifer knows you deserve it.

Chapter Text

Losing time in wallowing was something you were an expert in. 

Of course, there wasn’t much to do when you were couch-ridden. The moment you had sat down, you sunk into the cushioning and were more than happy to remain there for all eternity. The television offered some entertainment to appease you, but the shows were less family-friendly and had more to do with the demise of others. It was hardly something you found appealing, more appalled by some of the more grotesque films. Pornographic shows were a fan-favorite apparently, and you nearly choked on a lung when you saw a very well-known individual pop up on a screen in a very lewd and revealing outfit. And then he was without it.

Time to switch channels.

With a couple of clicks, you flicked past a channel - immediately regretting your actions as a bold ‘hi there’, caught your interest. Cursing silently, you jammed the remote, going back to see the interesting looking demon.

“-Blitzo-- the O is silent --and I’m the founder of I.M.P.!” The advert already had you hooked, “are you a piece of shit that got yourself stuck or are you an innocent soul who got FUCKED over by some-one-else?” The burly looking demon that was presented to you made you giggle, out of sheer boredom maybe,   something about the poorly painted sign that read ‘some guy who hired us’ in all capitals, or perhaps even  the aggressive nature of their ‘client ’.

You leaned your head in your hand, repositioning yourself in a more comfortable position. Pain seared through your abdomen, yourself briefly forgetting the fact of why you were watching television to begin with.

“After lovingly killing my wife for FUCKING A DELIVERY MAN, you can imagine my surprise when I wound up here, after the State of Ohio killed me! I really wish I could stick it to that yappy jogger who saw me hiding the body!” It definitely sold, you mused, intrigue piqued as it returned to Blitzo. 

“Well luckily for you, thanks to our company’s special access to the living world, we can help you take care of unfinished business by taking out anyone who screwed you over while you were alive!” Images of your death shrouded your mind, the emotionless gaze, the blurred faces. The thought crossed your mind for a brief moment that maybe you would. But you couldn’t bring yourself to go through with it in that instant, finding entertainment in the dumb jingle that played, despite the grotesque scenes that were laid out on screen for you to enjoy.

It was a thought that lingered on your mind, even as you sought out some genuine demon connection or something, after all, the television wouldn’t entertain you forever.  

“Husk?” You called out, voice somewhat meek to draw sympathy you knew you wouldn’t get.

“What?” He huffed, muffled by his arms - causing you to shout for him again. “What, I said what! ” 

“Is there really a portal to Earth?” There was a moment of silence, your head craning over the back of the armrest as you waited for a response. 

“I don’t fuckin’ know, probably?” You let out a hum, attention focusing on the ceiling as you pictured a portal to Earth above your head, immediately reaching out for the pen and paper behind you on the end-table to scribble down information. Perhaps to even doodle what said portal may look like.

You also jotted down the name ‘Blitzo ’ as well as the company name just in case you ever needed it. You doubt that there would ever be a day, but you reassured yourself it may come in handy. Maybe. The thought of using them as your guard dogs when Alastor pestered you ensured the fact that your humor was still very much in tact. 

“My, don’t you look like death itself!” Speak of the devil, Alastor casually strolled into your line of sight. You barely caught Husk mumbling something although what, you weren’t quite sure. You felt his annoyance on a personal level. “It must be so boring for such an active soul such as yourself to be bound to a dismal routine of lounging around!” His voice was literally an exclamation point, and you never did get used to how insufferingly chipper he was, constantly.


Without a care in the world, he’d rounded the back of the sofa, palm skimming the top of the backrest until he came to the other end. 

“Something has been bothering me for quite some time, however, and I thought you might be able to enlighten me!” The static whined momentarily as he grinned at you, resting daintily on his hands on the edge of the arm rest. You moved, briefly, wincing as the muscles in your belly tensed uncomfortably; a sharp sting pricking at your nerves. “Besides,” Alastor began. You internally groaned, letting your head fall back on the arm rest again.

“A bit of company would surely cheer you right up!” 

What fun.

It hadn’t been as bad as you’d originally thought, the mere thought of Alastor’s presence annoying you to some extent, but as he interrogated you on modern day affairs, you couldn’t help but enjoy the chance to reminisce at the time when you had been alive. There wasn’t much you could remember, of course, but simple talk of radio was enough to hold your attention for a brief time. At business he had lost you a bit, and by the time you had hit politics you were long gone. 

He spoke of catalysts of human displeasure and anguish and you’d just kind of drifted off. 

You continued to drift off until you felt a pressure on your leg, glancing down to see he had rested a hand against it, each digit tapping against it in a repetitive pattern. Watching him like a hawk, you barely registered the way your face twisted into a disapproving expression. 

“Whatever is the matter, my dear?” Alastor cooed, head cocked to the side. “Are you too warm? You know this blanket will be smothering your wound.” That made no sense. Before you could protest, he had alleviated you of your ‘burden’, the sheer sadness reflected in your eyes as you watched your blanket being taken from you.

“Oh,” you managed, Alastor cutting you off as he crouched beside you; unnerving you in the process. 

“Now, I’ll hear no complaining. Have you ever had a wound like that before?” You both knew the answer. “Just leave things to me.” He looked proud of himself. The smug bastard.

“No - it’s fine though, just gimme the blanket!” You attempted to grab at it, Alastor already standing a few paces from the sofa, the blanket safely in his arms.

“Ah, you’ll hurt yourself more if you behave like that.”

I want the blanket.” You bit back the hints of pain that tried to show, Alastor shaking his head and patting the blanket with a chuckle.

“I’m afraid not!” He exclaimed, glancing over his shoulder as he whisked away your perfectly good cover. “I’ll be right back.” 

Perfect, because that’s just what you wanted.

You crossed your arms at your chest with a huff, a frown upon your lips. The chill of the Hotel always managed to ensure you didn’t overheat during the warmer months, but now it was just an unwelcome reminder of how the dapper, unfair, insufferable demon had ripped you from your warm clutches. 

“Husk!” 

“...Not this shit again, the fuck do you want now?” You heard an alcohol bottle slam against the counter, his grumpiness a refreshing trait from the cheerful presence you had just encountered. Except, he wasn’t entirely cheerful. He was a shark behind a thin glass enclosure, a presence that you were fully aware of having undeniable strength and power, demonstrated just fractionally about how easily he had lifted you onto the counter. He was quick, his true motives unknown, his purpose in the Hotel a guessing game at this point. 

“He stole my blanket.”

“So?”

“Can you pretty please get me another one?” You would have batted your eyelashes at him if he hadn’t been across the room, drinking away his sorrows and problems. There was silence, before a grumbling was heard, briefly picking up bits and pieces about how he wasn’t a ‘fuckin’ maid’. This blanket would be something you held onto. You had made a mistake by letting Alastor have the upper hand, and, if you had to reopen the wounds on your still healing stomach to hold onto it, you would.

It was cold. 

Without grace, he dropped the blanket onto you. The journey to the other end of the room having worn him out as he fell to the floor in front of the couch, hunched over as he folded his legs and eyed you with the same level of irritation you might get from bartender that was not only working overtime, but on a holiday. You furrowed your brows, wrapping yourself in the blanket.

“What are you staring at?” You huffed, Husk raising an eyebrow at you. 

“Your ugly-ass face.” He deadpanned. With that, a moment of silence, an impish smile creeping its way onto your lips. “What?”  

The look on his face the second your hand made impact with his head - not in a violent way, you pat him; it was something you wish you had caught on camera. You ruffled his fur and began making for an ear before he could realize what was even happening.  

He had cute little baby cat ears. 

You nearly lost an arm as he lashed out, batting away your hand in a slur of curses. Even after his little temper tantrum was over, he simply remained put, scolding you for being such an annoyance, put politely compared to what he really said. Eventually, however, he asked you how you felt.

You looked at him in surprise, before the smile that had been chased away met your lips again. Albeit lightly.

“A little better,” you sighed, “much better with a blanket.” His ears splayed across the sides of his head, attention drifting to the fireplace. Even with the fire that crackled, it was freezing. He hadn’t been kidding when he stated that the elements were extreme.

Suppose it could be warmer.” He grunted, a familiar voice calling your name, and with it, your hopes of forgetting his little fiasco. You had the honor of hearing exactly what Husk called the Radio Demon for once, his focus solely on you. “That son of a bitch botherin’ you too?” 

“You’re not the one he’s been pestering constantly!” You barked, voice hushed to ensure Alastor didn’t hear. He strode into the room, seeing your little ‘gathering’ and skipping a step in his stride.

“Isn’t this just cozy!” He chirped, clapping his hands together. He stepped over Husk, the feline forced to lean back or be kicked in the face. For a moment you thought he’d get up as Alastor took up residence on the arm of the chair furthest from you. “What were we talking about?” Something about the strained way the static seemed to hiss made you uneasy, pulling your legs up despite the pain to put more distance between the pair of you.

“Nothing.” Husk quipped, deciding to remain seated. 

“Then shouldn’t you be tending to the bar?” The tension that hung in the air only added to your unease, finding yourself curling into your blanket further. The stinging in your stomach forced you to not take things too far, lest you reopen the wounds underneath the gauze. 

“He’s okay, he just brought me a blanket.” You narrowed your eyes briefly at the last word, making a show of holding the fabic closer to you. 

“Ah yes, a blanket that’s smothering your wound!” Alastor repeated his earlier phrase, “Nothing screams loyal employee more than a man that’s one step away from being a dewdropper and a stubborn wallflower.” It didn’t help that you didn’t understand half the words that just left his mouth, but Husk clearly did to some extent, flicking the demon a middle finger. Both of them refused to budge.

Alastor led the conversation as he always did, making subtle jabs at Husk at every opportunity that revealed itself. 

It eventually got to a point where the feline had had enough of it and decided to do what he did best: drink and wallow in his misery. 

Alastor watched him go, giving him a wave before tapping your knees with his microphone. The tap to your knee immediately made you kick your leg out, similar to how a doctor would determine your reaction times.

“Don’t even think about it.” You hugged your blanket closer, narrowing your eyes at him.

“I truly do not understand why you don’t listen to advice.” 

“It’s not advice,” you muttered, annoyance in your tone over the fact that he chased away any conversation that was welcome. It wasn’t advice when he literally stole your blanket, fully aware of the fact that you couldn’t get up and try to take it back from him. You weren’t sure why he insisted on pestering you without end; his actions and demeanor cryptic, changing often from one to another. There was never one singular reasoning behind it, never illicting a shallow meaning. 

Whether it was out of malicious intent, curiosity, true concern, or if you were simply just another form of entertainment, you weren’t sure. Whatever it was, it wasn’t simple. In fact, it had the power to be thought-provoking when you had the tolerance to wonder.

But right now, you didn’t have that patience. He had helped you, sure, but at what cost?

He’d taken your blanket too. The heartless monster.

Turning around with a wince, you settled onto your side, curling up and hugging the pillow and blanket closer to you. As if that could protect you from the shenanigans that no doubt were about to occur. Surprisingly, you found yourself to be comfortable, despite the pain that originated from your stomach and the pressure that the little-too-tight gauze caused. 

Your attention fell back onto the television that had been playing in the background, tuning it in and tuning him out. 

The more you ignored him, the more he touched you. At first it had been the threat of him pulling away the blanket again, in which you held it tighter. He pinched, prodded, poked, invaded your personal space, but miraculously, you managed to succeed in flushing him out just like you did with everything that wasn’t of importance to you.

Of course, you had a line, as did everyone. Your head had been leaning comfortably across the armrest, your hair falling off it. He came around to your side of the sofa, hiding from your view. You didn’t care to follow him with your eyes, suddenly wondering if you had gotten the pest out of the room at long, long last.

And then there was a harsh tug at your hair, a roughness that made you yell out. You were pissed. 

You sat up the moment he let go, pushing up and ignoring the pain that surged through your abdomen. “Leave.” You turned around, walking over to him and pressing your hands to his own abdomen. “Me.” You attempted to push him away. “ALONE! ” In your fit of brief rage, you could feel the sensation of your teeth growing sharper, nicking your lips and drawing out small rivulets of blood. 

The moment you caught the slow blinking eye of Husk, you snapped out of it.

You didn’t dare look up to see his expression. “Just… leave me alone.” You removed your hands off of him and limped back over to the couch, lifting up your shirt just to reveal the gauze. Blood was beginning to stain it. 

Just your luck.

Without much hope left, and like hell you were going to let Alastor lay his hands on you again, you brought the remote up and lowered the sound of the television just enough to have the fireplace tune out the background noise. You curled yourself gingerly, gently, to be careful of your now reopened wound. Sleep had never been more welcome. 

Alastor remained closeby, the demon unable to draw his eyes from the vulnerable thing that slept on the sofa; fascinated with her mannerisms, her reactions. She was enticingly entertaining. Out of all the inhabitants currently residing within the Hotel he’d grown an interest in her, pestering and berating her just because the kick was truly, always worth the effort

Every time.

Chapter Text

The fireplace still remained alive, you found out as you stirred from your light sleep; fed by the rich oxygen and wood of the Hotel. Though, you weren’t entirely sure if it run off of the same elements that it did upon Earth or rather, if it was simply a constant that roared to life whenever commanded to. The heat was the same intensity, warming your face and causing your cheeks to succumb to a light red shade. The flickering flames enticed you to simply drift back into the void of slumber, but your stomach growled its dissatisfaction of the idea. With a sound of despair and misery at the fact that you would indeed have to pull from the welcoming clutches of your comfort, you allowed your eyes to adjust to the low light; finding a body silhouetted just in front of the fireplace.

The sounds emitted from said individual were more akin to loud purring than actual snoring. Lifting yourself up with a single arm, there was a moment of confusion from the fatigue that plagued your mind before you came to the realization of who it actually was. Husk. His left wing was folded against his back while the other was shielded around him side like some sort of cover or blanket . Clarity pooled within you over the speculation that the only other blanket in the lobby was somewhere in Alastor’s clutches. You frowned gingerly. There was a bottle of cheap booze next to him; you weren’t surprised that he had gone back to his origins, most likely drowning himself in the exquisite alcohol the moment he laid his hands on them. 

Fleeting thoughts eventually caused you to pull yourself together, your gaze moving to the armrest in order to help support your lower abdomen in pulling yourself up. There were countless relics in the Hotel you had yet to discover, an infinite amount of things that could pique your interest, but nothing did so suddenly when you saw deep indentations against the cushioning of the armrest itself. Despite your better judgment, you let your fingertips trail against them, eventually coming to an enlightenment of what, or in this case, who caused them when you caught sight of an empty chair next to you. You stared at it for the longest time, your lip twitching.

You would give him the benefit of the doubt, lest you go apeshit over the fact that he was watching you sleep.

Slowly, you pulled yourself up after a moment of preparing for the pain that would no doubt crawl up your stomach the moment you tried such. It was less intense, thankfully, but it still hurt. You supposed rest did wonders, though. Or maybe it was because you were still in a state of stupor. Whatever it was, you couldn’t bring yourself to inquire over it for more than a few heartbeats, bringing your hand up to rub the sleepiness out of your eyes, releasing a small yawn. 

In doing so, you failed to miss the swinging of the doors to the kitchen, a well known and unwelcoming figure approaching you, as if he had known you would be up at this time.

“Now, what do we have here? An injured employee up and moving about?” 

The second your heard his voice, your dropped your hand from your eyes, internally groaning. You couldn’t escape him. He was quick in his movements, suddenly next to you and wrapping an arm around your shoulders before you could have time to react. “Oh, darling, this won’t do! You need your rest! ” He paused, leading you back to the couch, smushing you against his side painfully. 

“I just rested!” You declared softly, because people were sleeping.

“Well, you can’t be wandering around like some twit and getting injured again!” 

You tried to push yourself away from him, to no avail. “I’m fine, ” you muttered against his suit, entirely too tired to deal with this right now. Negotiating with the devil never turned out well, your words going in one ear and out the other. He sighed, loosening his grip on you as he motioned towards the couch.

“You don’t want your uselessness to reign, do you?” 

You felt your eye twitch in annoyance before you ultimately sat back down on the couch. Again. 

“Now stay right there,” Alastor chirped. You simply stared him down, the demon humming to himself as he took off in the direction of the kitchen. It bothered you that he knew how you felt about yourself. He bothered you.

With a shiver running up your spine, you glanced towards the fireplace. In any case, you knew you wouldn’t be left for very long, unfortunately.

A stuffy heat lingered throughout the hotel, seeping from the kitchen, soon carrying the scent of food , only enticing your stomach to rumble. It then clicked in your head, was he cooking... for you? Hands skimming your arms, you found yourself doing as you were told; mind wandering to other ruminations, like the thought of him wearing that apron. Did he wear it every time he cooked or was it just a fever dream you had?  

When he finally strode in, he carried a bowl proudly between his palms. Then, he stood in front of you, offering it wth nothing but a grin.

“No - um,” what could you say? He’d already made it and really, you could eat anything by this point but not that ; no, nothing made by him . It was probably poisoned or something . When you failed to add any further explanation as to why you wouldn’t accept your bowl, he let out a hum, claws drumming on the ceramic; eyes narrowing as he sifted through a multitude of potential ways he could get what he wanted - you could see it .  

“Come now, surely you must be hungry? Think of your poor body trying to repair itself, only to be denied the sustenance it needs!” Yeah, like that made you feel any better. You audibly groaned, showing your disapproval, Alastor only moving the bowl closer to you with an expectant grin.

When you continued to be stubborn, he simply bent over, placed the bowl in your lap, and proceeded to stand there.

It was scorching hot , burning your lap and forcing you to lift it by the sides almost immediately. Obviously you didn’t get a choice, about to put it to the side when there was a particularly static clearing of the throat, that had you place the bowl back on your lap. Albeit, it was on the blanket that’d been previously discarded over the back of the sofa.

The second you picked up the spoon, swirling it in the suspiciously nice looking meal you’d been given, Alastor decided to speak up.

“All of it.”  

“Alright, I will.” You snapped back, irritated by his presence. Not him in particular, no, more so the fact that he stood directly in front of you, watching you eat like a creep. “Can you not stand there, please?” He tapped a finger against his bottom lip, mulling the request over for all of about two seconds.

“Have you finished eating yet?” Caught off guard by the question, your gaze flickered from him, to the bowl, then back to him; the realization settling in that he meant he didn’t intend to move.

Not until you were finished.

So you ate, knowing the sooner you finished, the sooner he’d stop standing there. Each mouthful of the exceedingly good meal only reinforced your bitterness as you refused to let any of the enjoyment show. It was harder than you originally thought. Finally, you scraped the bottom of the bowl, taking the last mouthful and returning the spoon to its origin. Satisfied, Alastor took the bowl from you as you offered it back, leaving you to fume in silence. 

He was mothering you just like how Charlie had done; forcing you to debate whether it was possible for Alastor to even do this with good intentions, or if there was some sort of catch. He had to be up to something, although you didn’t doubt for a second he may just be using ‘kindness’ as an excuse to be an asshole

Lost in a reverie lured in by frustration, you were left vulnerable; Alastor confirming the latter of your thoughts the second he appeared beside you. You’d leapt and screamed - pain erupting in your stomach at the sudden movement. The way his grin extended told you that he had been searching to elicit such a reaction from you. 

You were a toy. 

“Now, let’s see those bandages, shall we?” At those words, you nearly had a conniption, defensively holding the blanket to your body as if it would save you from the boogeyman. A frown laced your lips, shaking your head and attempting to shoo him away, the demon refusing to acknowledge your near assault at his own. 

The blanket was torn from your grasp within an instant, patience dwindling as he folded it up, pat it down and held it between his arms. The force of his grip against it strained the edges of the blanket, the atmosphere changed in an instant as he beamed down at you. 

“Dear, don’t make this any harder than it needs to be.” Despite the smiles and chipper tone, each word struck fear into your heart. Muscles rigid, you were unable to do anything but stare up at him. “Let’s take a gander at how those gashes are doing, shall we?” 

The way he always spoke like he was presenting, the static; it made you feel like there was an audience watching you suffer, bystanders in the game.

Reaching for the bottom of your shirt, you begrudgingly lifted it to reveal the array of bloodied bandages that enveloped your body. No wonder you were in so much pain; the wound must have reopened itself. You didn’t know when it happened, but it had . Perhaps when you had been walking around in which case, you couldn’t believe you were thinking this, but Alastor was probably right about keeping yourself well rested. You were still set on believing that it was due to him.

You watched warily as he kneeled down in front of you, your breath suddenly nervous and ragged as he brought his hands to your body. The closer he got to you, the more confidence that fled from your reach, despite your desperate grip to hold onto what little you had. With precision, you watched as he hooked a claw under your bandages and carefully sliced through them like a fine razor. You could feel the serration and sharpness, the tips just barely ghosting over your skin. 

You involuntarily shuddered, a chill running up your spine at the sudden understanding of how utterly acutely sharp they were. It was odd. Everything about him was odd. How he carried himself, how he spoke, acted, revealed, all the attributes of someone you couldn’t begin to understand. He was mysterious; hard to know. If you could, would you want to? You supposed it wouldn’t hurt to try, the mere thought coiling low in your chest uncomfortably. 

“Were you a doctor?” Your soft voice broke the silence that had been a fine line between uncomfortable and comfortable. He looked up at you for a moment, a forlorn look in his eyes already answering your question. Taking the old bandages, he placed them on the chair next to the couch, plucking the roll of gauze. He brought his attention back to your stomach, staring at it in contemplation or perhaps even some more malignant way, before tossing you a smile, different from his norm.

“No, my dear.” His response was simple, as if it were a mundane conversation.

“...You just like healing people then?” You tilted your head, eyebrows furrowing. He leaned down to observe the damage you had managed to do to the wound further, your question eliciting a visible reaction from his face as a laugh bubble in his throat.

Healing? Oh, if that’s what you wish to hear!” He joked. You weren’t amused. He noticed. “I don’t heal people normally, especially those who have a knack for getting themselves injured again .”   

You remained silent, wondering why he was so insistent on bandaging you up and refusing to let Charlie or someone else do it. He worked in mostly silence, humming merrily as he brought disinfectant and a towelette to your wound again. You instinctively prepared, face knotting up as if you were expecting it to be the worst thing in existence. It stung, but you at least had been expecting it. He grabbed the bandages and gauze, wrapping it around you tightly, constricting you. You made a face and a light noise. He looked up at you.

“It’s too tight.” 

“You’ll have to make do!” He replied in a flourish, standing up. His hands went to fix his hair as if caring for you had been such a daunting task. The moment he was finished, he leaned down. “ You’re welcome,” there was a dark undertone, almost akin to irritation or anger. “You should really learn some manners! ...It could save your life.”

“I’m already dead.” You didn’t even think about what you said, the words leaving you as if your brain were on autopilot.

He burst out laughing, a wince adorning your features at the booming sound. His previous threatening demeanor had disappeared immediately, replaced with his mirthful chuckling. “Oh, you’re so entertaining! That’s why you’re my favorite!” He speaks as if it were some sort of declaration, as if you should have been proud of such an accomplishment. You watch his hand reach down to your face, before roughly pinching your cheek.

“Is that why you pester me constantly, Alastor?” Your tone was dead panned. He had the audacity to give you an impish grin and shrug, turning on his heel. His insufferable humming proceeded, carried down the hall until it faded. The ghastly sound echoed in your mind. It left you uncomfortable and even more confused than you had been before.

Your attention was pulled to a clearing of a feminine throat. 

“Hello~” Charlie sang softly, suddenly eyeing the feline demon that was still sleeping in front of the fireplace, even after what had just occurred. She was holding bandages, and before you could say that Alastor had already done it, she discovered it for herself, eyes falling to your abdomen in a dumbfounded expression. 

Approaching you, she laid down the bandages on the armrest, eyeing your abdomen. The fresh bandaging.  

“Did you open your wound?” She asked anxiously, picking up the old bandages that were now covered in blood. You nod.

“You need to be careful!” You wince at the whisper-shout, a frown pulling at your lips from the fact that this was the second time you were being scolded like a child. You knew there wasn’t any bad intentions from Charlie, but Alastor? You could bet on it. “Who did it? Alastor?” The fact that she guessed it so quickly made you wonder if she had picked up on how much he had been pestering you as well. 

“Yeah, he yanked my hair really hard. I got up and pushed him away.” Your nose scrunched up at the foul memory.

“I’ll have a word with him later.” She was fed up with his constant berating of her precious employee. You thank her.

“He also uhhh, patched me back up…” You trailed off. Charlie seemed confused but didn’t question it further, beginning to understand Alastor’s enigmatic nature. He was an asshole underhandedly, but then he did something to literally or figuratively patch up his damage.

“Too tight. He patched me up too tight. Can you make it… less tight?” Your face screwed up in uncertainty of whether or not that was the best way to describe it. She seems surprised, but agrees. Her hands are gentle but cold, nevertheless far more welcoming than his own were. Charlie was far higher on the totem pole than Alastor was in regards to how much you respected them and trusted them. He was an insufferable, confusing Radio Demon.

Feeling like you could breathe once she was finished, you let out a sigh of relief. Charlie pat your head gently. You frown. She simply smiled. “You should get some rest,” she stated, pulling herself up from her seated position and exiting the lobby, old bandages and items in hand. Despite her mother henning you, you were appreciative.

Curling into yourself, you drifted off into the welcoming embrace of sleep, the crackling of the fireplace aiding in the aimless reverie of your mind.

Chapter Text

There were no dreams to be had in a place such as this.

The ones you had were often forgotten before the brink of consciousness had begun to filter through your mind; the ones that remained behind were the ones you wished you could forget. The beginnings of daybreak had begun to filter through the stained glass windows, shrouding the lobby in a deep red hue, the warmth presented from the fireplace filling the entirety of the area with a comfortable warmth that originally would not have been found beyond the walls of said Hotel. A soft, gentle feeling dusted across your forehead, similar to a stray strand of hair that had been swept up by an overhanging ceiling fan; but it was more controlled, precise. 

As if someone were brushing it out of your face. 

The motion was welcome, your brain not truly conscious or comprehensive to your surroundings. You were too comfortable, adorned in the warmth of the blankets that shrouded your frame to be even remotely aware of what was actually happening. When you subconsciously leaned into the touch with a contented sigh, it recoiled for the longest of moments, and just when you were about to drift back into a deeper sleep, the motions, hesitantly, started up again. By the time they retreated once again, this time for good, you had already succumbed to the fatigue that plagued your body, drifting further and further still into the gentle lull of sleep. 

You weren’t entirely sure how much time had passed from that point, too swept up in your drowse to try to figure out if what you had felt had been a fever dream or a reality. You shoot up, a sharp stab of pain blossoming from your abdomen at the very sheer, sudden intensity of your movements. What surprised you more was the fact it had a far more dull sensation than the previous day; as if you had been asleep for a lot longer than you had originally been. You take a deep inhale and release it with a tired smile, coming to the realization that it didn’t hurt to breathe. 

“Feeling better?” The gruff voice of Husk made you turn your head in surprise, eyebrows knitting at the fact that he showed concern, no matter how guttural and uncaring his tone actually made it out to be. He took a slow swig of his alcohol, and you immediately notice the familiarity of it being the stuff you had the pleasure of drinking that one time; the kind used to wash away the cruel memories that should’ve been long forgotten to the winds of the past. A small grimace makes it way onto your face, but your features soften once you manage to respond:

“A bit.”

The moment he puts the bottle down to offer you a response, it goes unsaid at the sound of clacking shoes; completely dominating the rest of the quaint ambience with his own. You didn’t even have to turn around to know who it was; you just knew. The moment you turned your attention to confirm your suspicions, you realized how jovial he seemed, a skip in his step, a hum on his lips; the static was lighter.  

“Are you up?” He flashed you one of his more charming smiles, as if he truly had something planned. 

You rolled your eyes visibly, his own expression crinkling giddily. 

“You’re more smiley than usual,” you comment lightly, considering the fact that he never didn’t smile. You release a yawn, rubbing the sleep out of your eyes. Nevertheless, you keep your eyes trained on him after bringing your arm down. 

He shrugged, “Is it not a good day to smile?” He leans down, hands originally behind his back untangling from each other as he points at you, “perhaps you should do it more.” His smile becomes closed-lipped, seldom. He leaned back, rocking on the balls of his heels like a kid in a candy store. You narrow your eyes suspiciously, a silence filling the lobby uncomfortably. “Are you feeling better, my dear?” He breaks the tranquility with the question.

Shaking your head, you release a sigh and push yourself up, ignoring his question and heading to the kitchen. You were absolutely starving. The sound of his shoes behind you and the feeling of a looming presence above you told you that he wasn’t going to let you out of his sights that easily. You continue to ignore him.

You should really learn some manners,” Alastor stated idly, watching as you walked over to the counter and grabbed a bread roll. He didn’t do well being ignored by those who he liked.  

“You already said that.” You shove the piece of bread into your mouth, exchanging looks. His was disapproving and motherly, while yours was tired and unamused. Before you can react, he ripped the bread away from you, shaking his finger.

“You really think bread is going to help you heal faster, darling?” He quipped. You shrug. You watch as his fingers suddenly conjure a steaming bowl of something from somewhere. Your stomach growled the moment the scent entered your nose; while you didn’t let him know you liked his food, you did. 

“How did you do that?” You question in awe, a dumbfounded expression shrouding your features. 

He laughed in a string of ‘ha’s’, noticing how astonished you were by one of the most menial tasks he’d performed thus far. Wiggling his claws at you in a teasing manner, you narrow your eyes at the bowl. “Are you really impressed by something like that? Ha!” His laugh envelops the kitchen in an annoying, posh tone. “Oh, dear employee… you’re such a charm!” An audience laugh track played in the background, but you manage to tune it out, practically darting towards the food, starved of such things.

You were stopped by his hand encircling both of your wrists, claws sinking into your skin tightly. When you try to tug away, his grip tightens. “Ah, ah, ah.” He waggled a claw at you despite still holding your wrists. He sure likes making things tight. You frown, forgetting the bowl for a minute and instead focusing on his hands and how they were growing unyielding. “You don’t mind my food now, but last evening was a different story.” He leans against the counter like a snooty brat, and you just mutter incomprehensibly under your breath. His grin extends from ear to ear, before the sweet, life-saving voice of Charlie was heard from somewhere that wasn’t here. 

You nearly release a sigh, entirely too thankful for the coincidental interruption. Alastor narrowed his eyes.

You feel his grip tighten causing you to raise your eyebrows at him, attempting to hold back a wince when it nearly becomes bone crushing. You fail horribly, fear starting to dance up your spine because you know if he wanted to, he absolutely would break your wrists and leave you to writhe in pain all on your lonesome. At last, he lets go, smoothing out his outfit as if he were getting ready to meet with Lucifer himself. 

Sorely, you rub your wrists, watching as he capriciously hummed cheerfully, walking out of the kitchen to find Charlie.

Leaning against the counter, you stare at the spot he was once in, still feeling the ghost of his hand digging into you now throbbing wrists. After a moment, you glance over to the bowl that was still steaming, the scent luring you closer and closer still. You peer over the rim of it. Oatmeal. It was oatmeal. Stomach growling, your last two brain cells found over whether to trust the meal simply because the last one was okay, or to just ignore it and grab another piece of bread. You glance to the loaf of bread, and then back to the bowl.

You give into your desires, taking the spoon and leading it to your lips. It was good. Nevertheless, the longer you remained in the silence, the more the dread began to creep hauntingly up your spine at the realization that Alastor would not be too thrilled about you ‘telling on him’. The longer you think about the reasonings behind it, the less you began to care. He deserved it. You just wanted him to leave you alone. 

Coming back to reality, you note the scraping of the spoon against the bottom of the bowl. With a sigh, you manage to clean it and place it back on the counter. It didn’t belong to the Hotel, so you didn’t put it with the rest of the Hotel. In your mindless silence, you pulled up the bottom of your shirt to peer down at the bandages and gauze, eyebrows furrowed when you gently pull it just far enough to see how the healing process was going. It was further along than you would have expected; but you guessed that it had something to do with Charlie’s bandages. Perhaps she had gotten ahold of bandages that had some sort of healing property.

You knew Alastor sure didn’t. No, he wanted you to suffer as much as possible, in your humble opinion. Though, it wasn’t painful suffering despite how he nearly broke your wrists, no doubt bruising later on. No, it was dangerously playful;. An annoyance, a pest. He called you his favorite. 

The sound of swinging doors pull you out of your painful reverie, half expecting it to be Alastor himself already returning, but you were immediately relieved to find that it was not. Instead, it was the ever elusive Vaggie, carrying groceries.

“Hey,” she greeted you half-assedly, her eye trailing down to your stomach just as you lowered your shirt back down. She returns to her task, putting away a carton of milk and a few other necessities. Just as you were about to offer help, she paused, sparing a small sigh and facing you in slight concern. It was sweet, you’d hardly even spoken to her and yet here she was. “I heard what happened.” She stated, continuing on, crouching down to place cheese and a container of eggs in their proper places. You remain quiet.

“Are you okay?” Her tone is worrisome, showing more concern than you had ever seen her able to possess. You nod lightly, taking notice of how she didn’t really know how to talk to you about it. 

“Getting there,” you felt like a broken record, saying the same response over and over again. “I’m just glad Charlie was there when it happened…” you murmur. It’s her turn to remain quiet, continuing to pull the groceries out and put them in their respective places. Half of you wanted to quietly excuse yourself, while the other half of you had the urge to remain where you were and attempt to warm up to Vaggie. You didn’t know much about her.

“You should be careful,” she finally breaks the silence.

You rub your arm as a gust of cold air blew through the window. “Well, I definitely won’t be asking Angel to teach-”

“No, I meant with Alastor.” She cuts you off.

You stiffen at his name, your hopes of a peaceful conversation fleeing from you. “He’s been pestering me constantly,” you draw a sigh. Your curiosity spiked the moment you thought back on the time when she had told you the story of his origins here in Hell.

“I know.”

“You know?”

She hummed in confirmation. “I don’t trust him.”

Welcome to the team.

“It’s gotten really bad after he patched me up.”

“He helped you?” Her eye was wide, eyebrows raised.

“Twice,” you respond with a frown, a knowing expression crossing your face, “and now he won’t leave me alone.” As if what you just said had struck her with an epiphany, a look of horror on her face, she dropped the bags and stood in front of you, putting your hands on your shoulders.

“He’s a deal maker. He doesn’t help others unless he’s getting something out of it.” 

The concern on her face evidence enough that she was just as annoyed with his presence as you were.

“I know, Vaggie. He’s the last person I’d trust with anything.”

She seemed to relax at that, albeit slightly. At least he wasn’t going after you because you were easy prey; no, you could hold your own mentally, but perhaps not physically. Vaggie doubted many could go against him physically.

“What else has he done?”

“Let’s see….” you think back on the last two days. “He stole my blanket, pulled my hair, made me soup and oatmeal, hit my knee with his microphone, appeared out of nowehre during the training session and laughed when I failed, he nearly broke my wrists just now when I was trying to get some food.” Vaggie’s mouth was parted slightly. “He called me his favorite.”

“His favorite.” She echoed, blinking owlishly at you. She didn’t know what to say. Whatever he was doing to you didn’t sound good, but nothing in regards to Alastor ever did. She shook her head, “you can’t trust him.” She repeated. “Don’t believe what he tells you. Charlie cares a lot about you, and she would be devastated if anything happened.” The moth demon frowned. “I… know you barely know me, but if you need anything, if you need to get away from him, just let me know.” She seemed awkward saying it.

But she would do anything for Charlie.

You were surprised, but managed to nod. “Thanks.” 

Letting you go, she returned to her task at hand. Taking that as your cue to leave, you exited the kitchen with a soft huff. Strolling over to the couch, you fell onto it with a groan, staring up at the ceiling as you sprawled across it. 

“You want somethin’?” Husk’s voice broke your silence, and you leant your head back over the armrest to peer at him across the room, upside down. He was sipping on the same alcohol as he had been previously-- whether or not it was the exact same bottle or a new one, you weren’t sure. You made a confused face. “A drink, kid, you want a drink?” 

“I want peace and quiet.” You groan, looking over at the television.

“Yeah, I could use some of that too.” He laughed gruffly.

You hummed, watching as different colors flashed across the screen, said device just loud enough for you to just make out what was being said. Something about another territorial takeover, but you weren’t able to tune it out in enough time when your thoughts invaded your mind. If Alastor wouldn’t leave you alone by words alone, you would have to show him how he made you feel. The annoyance and attention that he demanded just by being near you. With a loud sigh, you reached over and grabbed the piece of paper from the day before.

Before you could even go over the details, something grabbed it out of your grasp before you could even contemplate what had even happened.

“Hey!” 

“Whatever could this be?” You supposed it could have only been a matter of time. You were so over this.

Rolling over and standing up, albeit carefully, you turned around to stare at the nuisance that had appeared out of thin air. He was reading the note, muttering something under his breath. You didn’t care. “Give it back!” The further you reached, the higher he lifted the note until you could reach no more. When he was done reading, you backed down almost immediately. 

He stood a bit too close to you, leering down at you with a grin full of exceedingly sharp teeth. He held a silent air of intimidation, static dancing acros your skin just barely. 

So Charlie had spoken to him, good to know.

“Can I please have it back?” 

That seemed to do the trick, the static and uncomfortable feeling in the room vanished in an instant as he brought his hand to your head and ruffled you hair like a child. He hummed, handing the note back over to you as if it were not something he had stolen from you, but instead awarding you for good manners. You grabbed the note out of his hand the moment it came into reach, stuffing it into your pocket.

“IMP services?” He stated the moment you began to turn around. You stiffened. 

Alastor turned away with a smile, his hair obscuring whatever expression you would have been able to make out if you had been looking at him, muttering something about an ‘insufferable little chickling’ and something akin to a ‘stolas’. That was the second time you heard that word fall from his lips, but you ignored it, attempting to tune him out. Continuing to the couch again, you laid across it lazily, turning your attention to the television again. At the sound of the sofa settling, he spun around again, meeting your gaze once more.

“Whatever would you need such cretins for?” His tone was lighthearted and cheery, delving off to a more sinister and manipulative tone. A tone you knew not to trust. “Somebody you’re not happy with?” He blinked expectantly in your direction. Ignoring seemed to work wonders, so you did just that. He disappeared behind the couch; leaving you to just wait for it. The moment you felt the ghosting of claws on your head, you snapped your attention to the top of the couch. 

But he wasn’t there. 

Nothing unnerved you more than Alastor appearing and disappearing at will. 

“I do believe you’ve been watching too much of the picture show.” 

You jumped, looking in front of you to see him peering down. 

“What do you mean?” You humored him a response, briefly. It wasn’t like you could do much other than laze around for the past day and a half, your injuries forbidding such exertion. But now you were confident enough they wouldn’t reopen if you bent down to pick something up. Still. You had to be careful.

“It can hold many dangers, you know! So many affairs to get involved in, all because of some box…” He walked over to said box and clicked it off, but before you could grab the remote behind you to turn it back on, it disappeared. Exasperated, you spun back around, about to ask why he even cares when you silence yourself at the shit-eating grin plastered on his face. With a single stride, he was in front of you again, leaning down painfully into your face, “it could taint youuu.” His voice was higher pitched in a similar way you would speak to your pet dog.

“What are you, the Television Demon now?”

He cocked his head, a disapproving hum filling the immediate area. He brought his hand to your head and tapped his claws along it playfully. “Television Demon?” His voice held an inquisitive lilt, raising a brow before releasing a chuckle; thinly veiled by his annoyance. “You’re such a character! Always needing to make those funny little comebacks of yours… oh, you’re so innovative.” Condescending bastard. His claws threatened to grab at your cheeks again, and if they had connected it would have been in an oddly affectionate display, but the moment you felt the ghost of it, you flinched back.

He looked like he wanted to peer into your thoughts, your mind a lexicon he wished to decipher. 

“Maybe she wants to use IMP services to take you out.” Husk’s gruff voice suddenly piped up, and you let your head fall back against the armrest to look at him upside down sillily. You flashed him a grin, trying to hold on your laughter, instead releasing a heavy breath of amusement before looking back up to Alastor. You narrowed your eyes playfully; this was your ticket to annoying him. You wanted to show him just how you truly felt. That absolute bastard. 

Before you could begin to play on from Husk’s words, the sound of light taps caught your attention. “Alastor! There you are!” An equally energetic voice spoke up, causing you to sit up. Niffty. The sudden thought of the little cleaner made your chest tighten. You had forgotten her. Guilt shrouded your expression, your playful mood simmering out of existence. Suddenly realizing you were there, she hopped up and down excitedly, peering up at you with her one, large eye. “Oh man! I heard what happened! Are you okay? Take all the time you need, I can do everything!-“ She rambled. 

“I’m okay.” You offered a light smile. In some ways, Niffty reminded you of a younger sister; and that hit you harder than you would have liked to admit. Her grin extended before looking back up to Alastor. 

“Come with me, please! I believe there’s something you’d like to see!” 

Oh, you could hear the angels themselves singing hallelujah. 

“I’ll be back in a jiffy!” Alastor stated to no one in particular.

Please don’t.

The moment he was out of the room, you and Husk let out a sigh of relief simultaneously. Your breath wavered out into laughter.

“I didn’t know you had a sense of humor,” you lightly broke the silence; looking back over to your favorite drunk. He put down the liquor bottle that he had been nursing, tossing you a shrug of his shoulders. He leaned under the counter, his wings the only part that was visible for a moment before he popped back up, slamming a remote down. He pressed the button and, like magic, the television turned back on. 

I don’t.” He muttered. “When you see an opportunity like that, kid, take it.” 

Oh, you would. 

Standing up, albeit gingerly because you didn’t forget your wound, you stretched. “I’m getting some fresh air.” He didn’t respond, apparently not caring what the hell you did. 

The moment you opened the door, you see Charlie and Vaggie sitting on the steps, chatting idly and holding hands. You couldn’t help but let your thoughts wander to how cute they were; and how that even in Hell, love could thrive. Needless to say, plans ruined, you shut the door quietly to not disturb them. The moment you sat down at the counter to the bar, Husk raised his exaggerated eyebrows at you. 

“That was quick.” He commented, half-assed, taking a swig. 

“Charlie and Vaggie are out there.” 

“So?”

“So… I can’t just disturb them. They were having a moment.” You whispered the last part, swinging your legs playfully against the stool.

“Fuckin’ hell.” He gagged as if your sweetness was disgusting. 

“Why do you drink so much?” You question bluntly, curiosity suddenly no bounds, even if it did come across as a bit rude. He didn’t seem to give a shit, offering you a side-glance and another shrug of his shoulders before placing the booze down. 

“To forget the fact that I’m in Hell.” 

Made sense.

“I wish I could forget a lot of things. Alastor, for one.” There wasn’t much you could remember , though. Husk nodded absentmindedly. You weren’t even sure he heard you or comprehended what you had said. With a heavy sigh, you let your head fall into your arms, getting lost in your thoughts as you listened to the audio of the television in the background. Gunshots, screams, a happy news channel host chatting away about things that were happening across the nine circles of Hell. 

Your peace was butchered the moment Husk groaned out a ‘fuck do you want now’, your shoulders slumping before you even brought your head up to see who it was that was looming behind you. “Ah, I apologize for ruining your time with our darling employee here, but we-“ He places an arm on your shoulder causing you to jolt up and swat his hand away. “-have some business to attend to. Niffty has found something quite interesting indeed.” He didn’t sound the least bit sorry as he practically yanked you away from the bar before you could protest.

Stumbling after him, you frowned in grumpiness over the fact that he ruined your peace and quiet. In a moment of evil ingenious, you came to the conclusion to go with your earlier thoughts and annoy him back . As Husk had said— if the opportunity presents itself. So you waited, letting him drag you around like a doll, offering him what he wanted to hear, all the while a sort of inner smugness began to pool in your gut. At one time, a smile found its way upon your lips; thinking of all the ways you could show him how annoying he actually was. 

He commended you at the smile. 

His pace increased and, soon enough, you found yourself beginning to trail behind him. No less, you managed to increase each step by moving faster , and just when he picked up his foot, you slid your own under it and tripped him up. Instantly, you let out an explanation, even as he stumbled for a moment, clarifying that it was a ‘mistake’. His eyes narrowed suspiciously, but he managed to keep his cool and brush it off. 

You felt a surge of pride in your chest, but you managed to bite your lip to mask the smug smile that do desperately wanted to appear on your mouth. Walking in front of him, since he now refused to, you followed his directions to the room. 

“Oh! Just on time! I was worried you two wouldn’t come!” Niffty immediately greeted you as you stepped through the door. Your mood immediately increased tenfold at her exuberant personality. The room you had entered looked perfectly normal. Except for the chipping of some paint and the peeling of wallpaper that had been the cause of a lack of maintenance to the room. 

“What’s wrong?” 

“Nothing really! I’m actually not too sure why he brought you here! You’re not really needed-“ she cut herself off with a gasp, “-wow that was rude I am so sorry!” You watched her dart around, a blur that you couldn’t make the details of until she stopped. Even then, it didn't last for long. She stared up at the wall, bringing a hand to her chin. “Do you know how to get wallpaper to stay on the walls?” 

“Uh… no?” There was a questioning lilt in your voice, before you stepped through the door and finally walked into the center of the room. 

“Well, that’s okay! We can just tear it down and repaint it!” She replied giddily. You felt envy over how positive she remained even when faced with such a grueling task for someone of her stature. She was already beginning to peel off the wallpaper that she could reach, and slowly, you followed suit. You were also annoyed over the fact that Alastor had brought you here just to peel off wallpaper. 

And said asshole was just observing while you did so. 

With the task underway, the inner workings of your mind began chipping away at the seams over how you could feel his eyes on the back of your head. Pulling away the wallpaper, you gave a loud ‘hm’, looking at a plain wall that had nothing wrong with it whatsoever . “Alastor, can you come check this out?” Your tone was innocent enough, despite the small smile twitching at the corners of your lips. You held it in, hiding it under a sigh, even as he joined you at your side. 

He leaned down to your height, scanning the wall, and before he could state that could couldn’t see anything wrong, you reached over, grabbing his hair and yanking it down, just like he had. Before he could tear you apart, you stepped back, just to see his head crack towards you with a sickening sound and quite literally slam into the wall, creating a hole. You bring a fist up to your mouth, biting on it to stop yourself from losing it right then and there. 

Revenge at its finest. 

He looked dazed. Whether it was from the initial impact or the fact that you had touched him; you didn’t have time to contemplate because, once you were certain you could control yourself from bursting out in laughter because Lucifer help you, he was such a jerk and deserved it, you extended your arms from your side, gasping dramatically.

“Look at what you did!” You exclaimed, as if he were the child who had just colored all over the walls.

An equal, more genuine ‘ohh man’ resounded from behind you, the urge to look at Niffty strong, but your will to survive this so much stronger. He looked at the new hole in the wall, and then at you, face scrunching up into a malice-filled smile, narrowing his eyes as if he knew you were being a little shit. You noticed him flex his claws at his side as he straightened himself out, suppressing his aggression. Peering down at you with a leer, he fluttered his eyelashes at you passive-aggressively. 

“My mistake, you’ll just have to patch it up.” He purred, and you look down at Niffty. She looked confused and horrified at the same time and you felt bad for bringing her into this mess. If Alastor wasn’t so persistent on pestering you, this would have never happened. You don’t respond verbally, instead turning back around and continuing to pull down the wallpaper. 

It didn’t take too long for you to finish the task of such a measly thing, as the room was smaller compared to the rest;  but as you found yourself looking at the hole in the wall again, you released a huff. “Niffty?” You leaned a hand on your hip. It didn’t take long for the little lady to be bouncing at your side, her previous emotions long forgotten. Al ass tor still remained of course, as if he would ever truly leave you alone. 

You would never get the pleasure.

“I don’t think we have anymore cement to fix this. You know, after he last hole he blew through the building, it’s a surprise it’s still standing.” The moment you felt static dancing across your skin, you grinned smugly to yourself. 

“Oh- well, we could ask Charlie if we can get some more!” She beamed up at you and you gently smiled down at her. Despite the game you were playing, you managed to break the facade of pride to offer her a genuine smile. “Tomorrow, though, yeah! You should still rest, you know! I can do this!” Niffty chirped happily, bouncing on the balls of her feet. 

“Thanks, Niffty.” 

Taking that as your cue to leave, you completely ignored Alastor as you passed him, a random hum on your lips as you disappeared back down the hallway to the lobby. To your surprise and utter relief, Alastor didn’t follow you down. Instead, you were allowed some peace as you lounged on the couch. 

By the time the evening rolled around, the red light streaming in at a darker shade, you found yourself seated at the familiar table. You, against your better nature, made sure to sit right next to Alastor. Vaggie was surprised but didn’t comment, you yourself only offering a look that basically said ‘I got this’. Charlie and her exchanged a concerned glance before subtly digging into the steak that had been presented to everyone. It was really good; as was all of his food, you wouldn’t comment on that , no, as you were certain he would most likely poison your next meal. No, when you did take your opportunity, it was when there was small talk around the table. 

You leaned closer to him, and when he noticed, you took your shot. “Do you wear eyeshadow? It doesn’t look that good on you. You should probably learn from Angel how to do it properly.” Your voice was low to not attract attention. He managed to keep his cool, but you watched as he sawed his cut of meat a bit more aggressively. Of course, he couldn’t be without his smile, so he attempted to laugh it off.

“Oh! I didn’t know you stared at my face so much to make such an assumption!” 

You narrowed your eyes, shrugging your shoulders and turning to your meal again, beginning to chat it up with Charlie, Vaggie, and the rest of the residents. Needless to say, it was going smoothly, not to mention your mood was up because you were having a blast. Angel just happened to be sitting next to you, who you didn’t necessarily ignore, but it was definitely awkward. 

The moment the talk got loud enough again, you leaned back over into Alastor and made a smart-ass decision: “You say you have manners?” You grin, getting a kick out of this. “Wow, even Fat Nuggets eats better than you do.” Of course, it was something that you pulled out of your ass.

But boy did it work wonders. 

You watched as he tightened his grip on his knife, completely disfiguring the utensil from his strength alone. He seemed to get even more agitated once he noticed that he broke it, sighing sharply. Peering at you out of the corner of his eye, he offered you a look of warning. “Are you finished?” he asked finally. 

“Finished with what? I’m still eating!” You reply with an air of innocence as if you had no idea what he was on about. 

Then shut your mouth.” He leaned into you, gritting his teeth into a grin before straightening himself out and sending you one last look over his shoulder, only to resume being the happiest piece of shit in the world. But you weren’t done.

You examined your meal, poking idly at it. You start up again almost awkwardly but giddy to throw another insult at him. “Hey Al—“ you see his grin twist up aggressively.

“Yes~?” He replied airily as if he hadn’t demolished a metal knife out of anger. 

You nearly snort, just barely holding back your laughter. “You have something right… there.” You open your mouth to scratch at your teeth, attempting to get it across to him that he had something stuck between them. But he didn’t. You grinned up at him with the most bratty smile you could manage. “Oh wait, nevermind, it’s just your piss-colored teeth.” 

You watched as his fist clenched, visibly shaking. You almost felt disappointed by his lack of reaction until he suddenly turned to look down at you with a bone-crunching sound. His smile curved to his eyes, said eyes hollow and glowing, his dangerous claws flexing in anticipation as his lust for brutal anarchy skyrocketed along with his blood pressure. 

“W h a t.”  

His voice was distorted along with his ambience, calm. The residents began to notice the tension in the room. You tossed them a wary smile, just as Alastor snapped out of it, glowering in silence. Needless to say, you backed down immediately, finishing your meal in silence before eventually being excused from the table along with the others. 

You find yourself back in your room, eager to just sleep in your own bed. The couch was comfortable, you supposed, but it was a couch, and nothing would ever be able to compare to your bed. You fall into the bed with a happy sigh, even as your weight makes you bounce off of it a few times. You didn’t want to move. Unfortunately, you were forced to at a knock on the door. With a groan, you lifted yourself off and padded over to the mahogany entrance, pulling it open to see just who exactly wanted to speak with you. 

The moment you saw his towering frame in the doorway, you moved to slam it in his face. After having this happen to him three times, you stared in horror as he slammed his hand against the door, nearly unhinging it right then and there. Before you could yell at him, a hand darted to your neck and encircled it. Tightly. He let himself into the room with a single stride, your own hands immediately and instinctively going to your own neck to try to pry his hands off of you.

It wasn’t to the point of choking, but you were well to find out it was on the verge of it. Your fight or flight instincts began to kick into overdrive. The moment he’s fully in the room, he began to go off on a tangent.

“You’ve been awfully obnoxious today, you know.” 

Each step he took made each reminiscent sentence more aggressive. 

“Why are you acting this way?” Another step.

What is it? You’ve been acting so strange—” Another. 

The moment you felt a wall against your back, you stiffened. He towered over you, his expression furious; a display nothing short of terrifying. You could hear your heartbeat, fear drowning out whatever confidence you had previously. 

Because you do the same thing to me!” You gasp out, drawing in what precious breath you can.

“Because you let me,” he spat venomously, regaining an egotistical expression, rolling his neck as he tightened his grip on you. “You let me have all the fun I want; you’re so passive, so reclusive… toughen up, won’t you?” His reasoning was an excuse to bully you further. His anger is flaring now. He closed his eyes for the moment, and the moment he reopened them, his smile flatlined as he lost himself. 

There were a thousand things that you could have said that would have terrified you, but nothing terrified you more in that split moment then when he stopped smiling. You let out a whine, trying desperately to get him off of you. 

“But you want to know the real reason… don’t you?” He leaned in, his face so close to your own that you could nearly taste his breath. Another hand was brought up to your face, running along the side of your face as if you were a fine porcelain doll. “You’re so much fun,” he whispered, his eyes lidded as if it were a flirtatious endeavor when it most certainly was not. His claws dipped deeper into your skin, a whimper fluttering from you as you felt the indentations let up and release rivulets of blood. 

Upon noticing it, he dipped his head under your chin, his expression just out of view, as you struggled against his grip. The vibrations of his chest against you told you he was speaking, but with the blood roaring in your ears and your heart hammering in your rib cage painfully, you could only hear him as if he was muffled. As if you were underwater.

“...a taste for humans.” 

And that’s all you needed to hear for you to realize that he had been a fucking cannibal. No wonder he knew so much about the human body. It all made sense. The best part of it all, was the fact that you still looked relatively human compared to other demons. His breath fanned over your shoulder, strings of drool dribbling down as if he were ready right then and there to take a bite out of you. He was thriving off of your fear. 

Slowly, he pulled his head back to look down at you, releasing your neck just enough for you to get a breath lest you pass out. You made pathetic noises, cringing as he brought his face closer to yours once again. In a last attempt to save yourself, you looked down at his teeth. 

“M-my, what… what large teeth you have.” You were so fucking stupid. You strained, stating the first thing that came to your mind. He paused, processing what you just said before a dark chuckle escaped him. His eyes were still lidded.

“Keep it up and I won’t be so forgiving.” 

Letting up your assault, he let you go and disappeared

You sank down against the wall, gulping in the air desperately, dumbfounded and terrified at what had just occurred. And then it sunk in. 

You showed him.

You released a nervous laugh, leaning your head against the wall with a thud, bringing your hand gingerly to your neck. 

You won.

 

Chapter Text

You were certain that the bandages had some sort of healing property, considering the fact that you could sit up without a single ounce of pain. That, or there was an increased healing rate; you supposed both were plausible explanations. At times it was easy to forget where you were, to come to terms with the fact that you were, in fact, dead. Death had been a notion on your mind ever since you learned exactly what it was: the absence of life that plagued every breathing, living thing. Nothing escaped its clutches.

A lurking thought that remained at the back of your mind simply because you never were put into a situation that it had become a worry. You had always been aware that there would come a day that the universe would close the book on the last page, to have your memories live on through the people you made an impression on. If you were lucky, you could live on through paperback books or through the educational system. Not many had such a pleasure; who you were something long forgotten, a shell of someone you once were. For you, your story began after your untimely demise; the first hundred pages of the book ripped out and sent to flutter through the winds of lost time. 

You rubbed your eyes with your fist, ridding yourself of your stupor; a small yawn escaping your lips. Seamlessly, your eyes moved to the corner of the room that was shrouded in a shadow cast upon it from an array of different items found around it. Your mind caught up with the present and suddenly came to the realization of why you were staring at said corner. You slid your hand down your face, hovering over your neck gingerly. Memories that you wished you could forget afflicted from the shrouds of your consciousness; stemming from nothing and everything all at once. 

Trailing your fingertips across your neck, you pulled away with a wince at the sudden pain. You paused, uncertain if you actually wanted to witness the damage that had been caused to you in the bout of aggression you had been victim to. Soothing your qualms and swallowing the thickness at the back of your throat, you peeled the covers off of you and stepped onto the floor. Nervousness ran up your spine, horrid feelings of desperation in hopes that he hadn’t done too much harm to your poor neck. From the tenderness that sparked when you touched it, you expected the worst. 

Opening the door to the bathroom, said door squeaking slightly on its hinges, you flicked the light on and braced yourself. When you leaned over the sink to peer into the mirror, the sight that greeted you wasn’t horrid; and you released a soft sigh of relief before moving your hair out of the way. There, upon the indentations against your skin, were dark blue and black bruises adorning the sides, silhouetting where he had suppressed your desperation to breathe. Your heart skipped a beat upon the awareness that it had not been a dream, slowly sinking low in your chest as dread filled the void: you would have to face him eventually. 

Your mouth went dry, leaning in to further inspect the wounds of your consequences. Where he had pressed his claws into you was crusted, dry blood, flaking off when you ran a finger over them. He punctured your skin; something you had not felt in the moment when the adrenaline had taken over your mind; flight and fight responses going haywire as you had been deprived of air. Instinctively, you take a deep breath, relieving yourself of the breath you had forgotten to take while coming to terms with your injuries. 

Your fear, beginning to ebb away into annoyance and pure, unadulterated, pissed-off energy, you found yourself desiring to rid yourself of his filthy touches. Opening the glass door to the shower, you turned it to the right temperature and stripped. For the first time in days, you finally relieved yourself of your bandages, taking a look at your exposed stomach. You ran your fingers across the healing wounds, finding relief in the fact that you didn’t experience pain; of course, until you pressed down or did some idiotic movement to stretch your stomach. Then it hurt. 

You were confident enough that you didn’t need the bandages; but if somehow the wounds reopened from exertion, you would get more. Stepping into the shower, you remained still for the longest time; disassociating with yourself as you stared at the way the water ran warmly down your head, neck, back, arms, and finally your fingers; getting lost in a daydream of the turmoil of emotions and thoughts that plagued the silence of the space you inhabited. 

They began at how you seethed off of the fact that he thought he had the audacity to touch you like that. You supposed only a select few were in their right of mind to be in a place such as this; though, you hadn’t exactly been the bigger person, had you? His antics had been annoying, and you had dropped to his level, and for that, he had exposed you to a force that had been unimaginable. The terror you had released in the moment that you had been certain you would perish; the way his antlers had curled from the stems that just barely were present normally. How his smile had grown, strained against his face unnaturally and inhumane. Nothing short of terrifying. 

And when he stopped smiling. An uncomfortable chill ran up your spine.

You wanted to ignore him not out of spite, but because he scared you. You wanted to forget his existence, wanted to forget the stinging pain around your neck, wanted to forget how he lost himself in his anger over trivial things that he had done to you in a similar way more times than you could count. It wasn’t fair. When it came to him, nothing ever was. You clench your fist, bringing your hand to your head to wash your hair. Your thoughts wavered over to how you couldn’t remember anything other than a select puzzle pieces that, to your knowledge, could be things that weren’t every connected. You were the detective to your own life.

You wanted to get away from Alastor and his enigmatic, psychopathic self. Several thoughts, several plots ran through your head; yesterday had been a turning point, the bottom of the iceberg slowly surfacing all its secluded glory. He proved himself to be dangerous; he proved himself to be unhinged. How far was this all going to go? No less, you couldn’t live in fear; the smallest semblance of comfort you had being tossed away in accompany of yesterday’s events. 

Having something so trivial had set him off to that degree confused you deeply. Why did he care so much? Was he truly this sensitive? If so, why did he do it to you? You were not some game he could try to win; you refused to play it, and yet, despite trying your hardest, you were overthrown constantly in order for his entertainment. He had an incredible array of powers; the advantage he held over the Hotel; he frightened you. If he had truly desired, he could have broken your neck, a simple task for one such as him, if not a bit mundane. Simple, thoughtless actions. He could have made it look like an accident, or a suicide. 

Down in the lobby, Charlie found herself to be distressed; fretting over the events that had occurred over dinner the previous night. She carried a box of old antiques and baubles to a shelf to be held for later sorting; indirectly alluding to the problem being Alastor, as he had been the one that had been picking on her employee and dear friend, he had been the one that was so… clingy. She was nervous; a sensitive topic, she believed. But it needed to be laid to rest; she needed to let sleeping dogs lie. 

“Dinner last night— what was all that about?” She didn’t look at him, pushing the box into the shelf fully. 

Alastor had been inspecting something along the walls idly, peering over the wallpaper that Niffty had only recently asked him to supervise, lest they had to tear up the rest of the wallpaper in the Hotel. That would do them no good. At the question, he didn’t turn, humming in response. “Dinner…?” The question was stated aloud, bring a claw to his chin as he tapped it in thought. “Oh!” He snapped his fingers as he remembered, “you mean that darling employee’s little show?” His tone dropped slightly. How could he ever have forgotten such an event?

“Quite a spectacle, wasn’t it?” He paused. “You know, perhaps she’s been given too much freedom over the others?” He questioned Charlie, as if accusing her of being too light on you; insinuating that it was your fault for the entire situation. Manipulative, entirely untrustworthy.

Charlie was silent for a moment, returning to the flats of her feet as she secured the box onto the shelf. “I wouldn’t call it a show.” Her tone was quick, something she had no doubt picked up from her father, molded from her experience in Hell itself. She turned to face the focus of her conversation. 

“She’s going through a lot, don’t you think? The girl lost her memory. She was nearly killed.” Apparently she also had a flare of exaggeration, as she was plenty aware of the fact that it wasn’t possible to die from such weapons; the only way she was aware of was the extermination that occurred annually. Charlie crossed her arms over her chest, peering up at Alastor with a frown. “You know, if you have enough time on your hands to be with her constantly, maybe I should give you more work.” 

She wasn’t having it. 

“But—“ he shot back, relinquishing his spot near the wall to glide effortlessly over to her, taking a glance at all the nonsense baubles she kept close to her in those old boxes that cluttered the majority of the rooms. Charlie scoffed. “There isn’t much work to be done, you see? Not right now, we’ve got a system going that you’re the head of! I help you run this Hotel, this dream, but I certainly don’t own it, darling.” Alastor grinned down at her, leering down from under his lashes. A long moment of silence passed. 

“And besides… I only look after that ‘valued’ employee of yours! What would happen if I wasn’t there?” He questioned, toning it as if you would get into heaps of trouble without his supervision. 

Charlie released a sigh, bringing her thumb and index finger to the bridge of her nose. “Just— I don't want it to happen again, okay? No drama. Sort it out.” It was like she was running a kindergarten at times. This dream she had would succeed; she needed it to. “ Peacefully.” Her eyebrows raised briefly: “...Sound fair?” 

He narrowed his eyes. “It does.” He turned away from her, finger rolling some sort of ornament on the countertop haphazardly, “but then again, there isn’t much to sort out on my part, is there?” Alastor defended, turning on his heel. He glanced at her from over his shoulder with a grin, “perhaps for her, however...” And with that, he sauntered out of the area, leaving a slightly agitated Charlie in his wake. 

He didn’t enjoy authority figures, did he? 

Alastor clenched the small bauble he had stolen for Charlie’s collection, turning it in his hand curiously as he mulled over her words. Perhaps he out to speak to you. It wasn’t as if he wasn’t going to in general; no, he’d made it sort of a scheduled thing - he showed up nearly every day , turning your once peaceful moments bitter, you yourself being kept away at night by his impending visits. 

Oh, but how he craved it, he wanted to see you. It was odd, even for him to hold such fascination for such a little thing. Perhaps it was her difference in comparison to others: you were kind, somewhat innocent— something a demon would oppose, perhaps. You were no she-devil; not a red-horned demon, but instead something unique and unusual for Hell to see.

Stepping out of the shower, you wrap yourself in a warm fluffy towel; it’d been a damn good morning compared to yesterday. Combing your hair, brushing your teeth— something that Alastor ought to do— you felt clean er. The sight of the revealed bruises on your neck made an uncomfortable feeling swell in your chest, a tightness that constricted you. With a deep inhale, you released a sigh and exited the doorway that lead from the bathroom to your room. 

Stepping over to the closet to indulge yourself in some comfortable clothes, you pulled back the sliding door. Instantly, you were greeted by an unusual feeling, that child-like emotion you got when ascending the basement stairs after turning off the light, in fear of a monster chasing you. Unnerved, you reach over and flick on the light. Whatever monster you had been expecting hadn’t been the one that was directly in front of you. There Alastor stood, all up in your business. Screaming, you take a few steps back before hitting the edge of your bed, leaning against it for support, your chest heaving. 

“What the fuck are you doing in my closet!?”

Your voice had been demanding before you began to instantly regret your rather impulsive choice of words. He held up your lingerie that you had bought with Angel, such clothing left untouched; having his other hand to his mouth as if he were stifling laughter. “Absolutely scandalous—“ he shook his head, putting it back down somewhere that wasn’t near him. It didn’t really click that he had been holding the intimate clothing, too stumped over the fact that he was in your damn closet.  

Alastor emerged with a jovial smile, walking over to the door and testing the hinges as if to preoccupy his mind. Upon moving towards you, he noticed the exhaustion in your eyes, contemplating and probably knowing that he was to blame. He craned down, and you leaned back. “I wanted to speak with you, darling! No need to look so distraught at my arrival!” A pause. “ It almost hurts my feelings…” He cooed, causing you to cringe. Your heart was beating so fast that you felt it might combust if he got any closer to you.

You watched as his eyes trailed across your form with a mocking look, his mouth parted slightly as if he had not been expecting such a display: “Oh, dearie, I wanted to see you, but not that much of you!” He joked airily with that annoying posh laugh of his; a wolf-whistle track playing in the background as if a disembodied audience was spectating. That, or it could have been an extension of himself. 

Your face immediately burned in embarrassment; not only from his comment but because you now realize that only moments ago he had held up your lingerie. Your damn lingerie! He had gone through your clothes like a bastard! You remained silent for a long moment, looking anywhere but him. “I don’t want to talk to you,” you whispered, leaning off of the bed and ducking past him. “I don’t want you near me.” Each phrase, similar as to how he had done, made you angrier. “I don’t want you in my room, I don’t want to be your favorite!” Spurred on from the emotional trauma, a mist began to cloud your eyes, spilling down your cheeks in the form of tears. “Look, Alastor, look.” 

You moved your still-wet hair away from your neck, allowing him front row access to view the bruises and puncture marks that he did to you. Just leave me alone,” you move your hand to your face to rub away the emotion, moving over to the ajar door and motioning for him to get out.

He blinked slowly, his failed attempt at jovialness deflating albeit slightly, cracking somewhat of a grimace once he saw tears; followed by an emotion that sparked within: the thrill of seeing you cry. He adored playing with his food, enjoyed breaking them down; destroyed them, dissecting them, but it wasn’t entirely fun with you… for some reason. It was exhilarating, the smallest semblance of an emotion that was foreign to him— what was it? Guilt? Plagued his unfeeling heart.

“Leave?” He questioned aloud, head cocked to the side as he approached her with an almost apologetic tone. “ Whatever for? I’ve only just come here to speak with you— to greet you on this fine day!” He responded cheerfully but paused once more when he saw your expression. You looked on the verge of a breakdown; and a long, drawn-out sigh escaped him. 

“Would it be… suitable to speak later, perhaps?” He asked finally, as if you were truly such a chore, making him wait for you to get your shit together; but hey, there was some sympathy there for once! He didn’t completely undermine your feelings this time. Alastor brushed his hair with a flourish, a hand on his hip as he stared at you expectantly. “ Well?”

Was he serious? He was serious. 

You didn’t want to speak to him at all, you didn’t want to see his stupid grin again, hear his over-friendly tone, you just wanted to forget he existed. “...If I say yes, will you get out?” A heavy breath escaped your lips, shoulders slumping. 

He laughed, “Of course I will! But remember…” his tone dropped and he leaned down into your personal space, his microphone tapping against your chest as if pointing to you, “I want to speak with you later. I’ll expect you midday!” Alastor hummed, quickly snapping into his usual proud posture before leisurely strolling out of the room, nonetheless staring at you the entire time. “Oh, and please put some clothes on before seeing me!” 

You slammed the door in his face, silence filling the room. 

Leaning your head against the door with a thud, you let out a long groan before twisting around and moving back to the closet. He went through your clothes. He disregarded your privacy. You gritted your teeth, grabbing a hoodie off of a hanger, the necessary underclothes, pants, and shoes, you got dressed rather quickly, allowing your hair to remain down not only to hide the effects of his anger, but because it was cold. You turned your attention to the crumpled up paper on your desk.

It had all the information you needed scrawled onto that tiny scrap; a starting point to the chaos that already wrecked havoc with your afterlife. A phone that hadn’t been turned on was placed next to the note on the desk, something that Charlie had given you; as she wanted to make sure you had a way to contact her if you ever needed to. Until this point, you had no actual need to use such a device. With all the necessary tools at your disposal, all neatly tucked within your hoodie pocket, you trot downstairs with a singular goal in mind. 

The outside world would be freezing, no doubt,  but you were willing to go to the ends of the nine circles if it meant you could get some answers. You were well aware of the fact that you shouldn’t get your hopes up, but the antsy feeling you felt itched in your chest; you wanted to know. 

The lobby was quiet, Husk stuck in the same spot as usual - head against the counter with a string of drool dribbling down the wood. A broken alcohol bottle lay on the floor, shattered this way and that. The thought of cleaning it crossed your mind briefly, but you ultimately decided that Niffty would notice it soon enough. The fireplace that never seemed to run out of wood, warmed the room in a comfortable heat. You turned your back to the sight and, grabbing something quick to satisfy your hunger, exited the Hotel. 

Alastor, thankfully , was nowhere to be seen.

With a gentle sigh, you take a breath of the freezing air, suddenly second-guessing your choices of coming out here in the first place. There weren’t many demons around; only those who had fur or otherwise heavy, insulated outfits. You remained in place, contemplating where to go. You itched to stretch your legs after days of remaining practically motionless; you wished to go somewhere private. And apparently, your own room was too much to ask for. You let out a hum of inquisitive nature, brushing the hair out of your face when a gust of wind blew past you, unhinging strands of strays from the warmth from beneath your hood.

The Pier.  

It wasn’t too far, practically secluded compared to other parts of the circle the Hotel inhabited; not only that, but it was one of the only places that had spurred a memory. You walked down the driveway, thoughts of refusing to go out during the night fluttering through your mind; reasoning with yourself that perhaps it would be best. It was far too dangerous when it came to the later hours; it was the time that the monsters lurked behind every corner and alleyway, the time when creatures scarier than your worst nightmares came to prey upon the unsuspecting. Stuffing your hands deeper into your hoodie pockets, you continued on.

Despite the deep red sky that took over the gentle blue of Earth, there was familiarity with how the shops and tourist attractions were set up. Though, there were not exactly tourists, were there? Clubs lined the streets, a singular one catching your attention simply by the name alone: Killer Club. You breathed a breath of amusement over how unoriginal it was. Without the flashing lights of the night, the streets looked more akin to a ghost town than an actual overpopulated city.

 Trash rolled down the street which caused a frown to press into your lips. The urge to throw it in the trash crossed your mind until you looked around and found there was no garbage can in sight. Of course, there wasn’t. This was Hell after all.

You passed by a plethora of different stores; some names were clever and unique, such as: Evil Doughnuts, Devil’s Diner, Nightmare Nightclub… while others were less: SuperMarket, Dentist to name a few. It was ultimately a quiet journey, and you found yourself relaxing. The cold air burned your lungs with each inhale, but each breath made it a bit easier to bear. Sinking deeper into your hoodie, you kicked a stone down the pavement thoughtlessly. It felt nice to not think, for once. 

Upon arriving at the pier, you walked down the creaking boards that threatened to give out with each step you took, somehow remaining sturdy enough nevertheless. The immediate area was vacant, a low fog shrouding the waters; a lone boat releasing a low, deep blast of air in the distance. 

You pulled out the letter in your pocket, contemplating whether to actually call IMP to see whether or not they could offer you assistance, in whatever form that may have been. According to their catchy jingle, they had the means of having access to the living world; and with that, the possibility of helping you out for a price. You leaned against the wooden pole to your right, staring at the crumpled piece of paper that had gone through so much. Why were you feeling guilt over a piece of paper? You released a heavy sigh. 

Eventually, you found yourself obtaining enough confidence to at least pull out your phone. You stick your hand through your hoodie pocket, said pocket empty of such items, despite you being entirely certain and clearly remembering tucking it safely in it. Your eye twitched. He did something, that stupid Radio Demon. You recalled how he had made the remote disappear right in front of your face when you went to grab it. 

Crumbling the piece of paper in your fist, you turn around, staring at the paper bitterly. Something akin to a shadow crossed your peripheral vision causing you to look in the direction immediately for your own safety. There was nothing. You were just being paranoid now; your nerves were shot. Turning back around, the familiar form of Alastor greeted you, causing a sharp gasp to be released from your lips, jumping back and nearly falling off of the pier itself. 

Alastor, ever such a gentleman, grabbed your arm roughly, pulling you back before you could fall to your untimely demise. Instinctively, you let out a small ‘thank you’, barely audible and absolutely not directed at him. A habit, if you will.

“How quaint, who would have guessed we’d meet in such a place?” 

“...Did you follow me?”  

You were fed up, knowing the answer for yourself. No matter what he said, you just knew. He was a creep; a predator and, unfortunately for you, you were the prey.

“Of course not, my dear! Although, the next time you decide to go on a stroll, do be sure to tell someone!”

You frowned. 

“Looking for something?” His tone screamed ‘asshole’, using your phone akin to something of a poker chip, forcing you to converse. 

You clench your fists, coming to terms that you very much dislike him. He was a nuisance, annoying. He hurt you. It wasn’t like he didn’t mean it; Angel hadn’t meant it, you were sure, but he was too stubborn and proud to admit it. Alastor knew exactly what he had been doing, even in the midst of his rage. 

“Why do you have my phone?” 

“You left it on your nightstand—“ He replied. 

Bullshit. You release a huff, becoming aware of that fact simply by the smirk on his face; his large eyes peering down mockingly at you. You lunge at him and attempt to grab the phone, face reddening as your blood pressure spiked from his constant antagonization. When he lifted it higher, you grit your teeth and ceased your childish and desperate acts in favor of watching him in seething silence. 

He bent down, rewarding the phone back to you, batting his lashes. “Try not to lose it again~” he cooed, speaking to you in that insufferable baby voice. You snatched the phone. Alastor hummed in disapproval at your antics, as if his patience had been dwindling ever since yesterday’s incidents. 

You didn’t invite him to join the pier, no, but he bulldozed his way in as if he were entitled to your time; your presence, and overall access to you when he most certainly was not. Just because he was frightening and powerful, did not mean he could push you around. He was abusing his abilities and ultimately you , taking advantage of his position and superior power like a true psychopath. 

“I didn’t say you could join me.” You state matter-of-factly, moving to seat yourself at the edge of the pier, dangling your legs off of the edge as you watched the water lap at the wooden poles.

He leaned against the pole you had once been on. 

“—You know,” he broke the silence, “if there’s something you need to talk about, you could speak to me about it.” He offered thoughtfully. You grimaced. The act would have been considered kind if it were not coming from Alastor. 

“Aren’t you the one that wanted to talk to me?” You shot back defensively, feeling eyes on you without even turning your head. You swung your legs back and forth, thoughtlessly. He most likely would just try to pull information out of you; you held no doubt that he would pull such a petty move on you. 

He found himself to be smug with your frustration; a hint of desire for your submission as he watched you rub your temple out of sheer stress. “Ah yes—“ he purred, moving his claws to clasp around your shoulders, delighting himself in the feeling of you stiffening; digging into your flesh in a teasing manner as if flexing his strength mundanely. “I’ve… ruffled your feathers, haven’t I?” He began slowly, his condescendingly happy demeanor certainly not helping to seem genuine. 

It didn’t help that your first instinct was to shoot back with an ‘it seemed that my actions made you a bit sensitive’, but you managed to bite down on your tongue. Your silence was an answer enough, you presumed; staring out into the open of the lake; wincing when his claws came in contact with your shoulders, instinctively recoiling at how close they were to your neck, 

Alastor sighed with an air of static; and if you had been looking at him, you would have caught a glimpse of his ear twitching slightly. “ Oh, I have… ” he placed another claw on your shoulder to turn you around, “Charlie’s spoke with me, you know—“ he gazed down at you. “What would make you feel better, darling?” 

Being forced to turn around, you released a small groan before lifting yourself back up into a standing position. “You already know, Alastor. You just don’t know how to take a hint.” Your words didn’t hold a sting to them; you were exhausted over his neverending nosiness and pestering. It was as if he were a kid who constantly poked you with a pencil even after telling them to stop. You looked at his hand, bringing your own up and attempting to peel it off of you. 

He liked touching. 

He tightened his grip, claws threatening to ruin part of your outfit as he leaned in, “I suppose I could give you a little more space, but who’s to say you won’t get in any trouble…?” He ran his tongue over his teeth, “Who’s to say you won’t die?” He released you, taking a step back with a hefty, malicious laugh. “I’ve got to keep an eye on you, can’t you see? What would happen to my dear employee…?” 

Every alarm in your head rang off their stands, a large red flag that you couldn’t miss even if you tried. “I didn’t—“ You wanted to strangle him. “I’m not a child! I don’t need you to watch over me.” You mulled over his words, running your hands down your face with a groan. He just didn’t get it. “I’m already dead, I can’t die again.” 

He threw his head back to elicit a posh daddy laugh, “That’s what you think.” He brought a claw to your hair, twirling it before yanking on it roughly to pull you towards him. “You really don’t know much about this rather drab place, do you?” He placed a hand on his hip, drumming his claws gently on the surface of his suit. “Perhaps it would do you well to get to know where you’ll be staying then, yes?” He cooed, smiling down at you like a creep as if alluding to ‘showing you around.’

Before you could respond or even struggle against him, he spun you around, arm around your shoulder and holding you directly next to him; even as you struggled to keep up with his large strides.

“What are you doing?”

He looked down at you for a moment, before resuming forward. “My dear, a bit of courtesy goes a long way,” he hummed, “I believe Angel tried to show you once but, with his personality… what shall I say?” His tone was airy, song-like. 

“I’m giving you a detour around the Hell you must now endure, the place of your eternal stay; your unfortunate getaway.” He motioned with his arm to the vacant streets as he strode down the block with you secured tightly to his side. 

“And if I say I don’t want to?” You questioned.

“Oh, don’t be such a bore!” He exclaimed.

You sighed: “I think I would much rather bid you adieu.” 

The further he led you, the more he got into his little song; making a tune on the spot. “Consider it a bonding experience then!” He leaned down to you, pinching your cheek harshly: “I dare say, you might enjoy it too.” He tightened his grip on your shoulders, though, he did slow his stride once he realized you were having a difficult time keeping up, lest he have to carry you. You would much rather die before that happened. 

The deeper you went into the city; the more populated it became, passing different stores and attractions on his merry, and your bitter, way. 

“You see, it all begins here my dear, with this little thing between you and me,” he sang, grabbing your chin and pulling your head up to look at him, even while walking through a crowd of demons. “I was never one to hold such a fascination with those around me, except for when I was about three.” He grinned, letting his hand fall from your face, in which you rubbed your chin gingerly. 

“A fascination-“

“-Now how about here, ah yes, here you can see the boozers and your common losers,” he pointed to different crowds, “the beggars, the gamblers, and everything in between.” 

“What makes you so different?” 

“Me?” He laughed, leading you through the crowd and it parts for him. Demons began whispering, some staring at you, others trying to grab you, in which Alastor pressed your face against his form as if protecting you from the wayward demons. Others were too scared to even lurk in his presence— he was the Radio Demon, and apparently extremely well known.  “Oh darling, the only thing different about me is that I strike fear into the heart of demons who ever dare to come near.”

You remained silent, worried and concerned over the fact that he was leading you deeper and deeper into the city. 

“Don’t worry your pretty little head, you’ll learn soon enough about the things that lurk and dwell above your bed.” He grinned, tailcoat swaying behind him as he sauntered on, introducing you to parts of the city you hadn’t yet discovered for yourself. 

He slowed his place, b-lining it for a clock tower. “Of course, I’d never dream of hurting those I hold dear, so let me make myself clear.” His tone dropped, bringing his face close to you; “While you’re in Hell, I suggest you stay right here.” He held you tight against his side. You felt nauseated.

“Because, sweetheart, don’t you see?” His tone picked up again, jovial as if what just happened hadn’t just happened, “There’s no better place to be down here in these filth-ridden streets.”

You felt used. Abused.

The two of you stood beneath a towering clock tower. His song had faded away, silence and static from his person surrounding the immediate area. “See that there?” He pointed to the ticking hands, “a countdown, you see— for the extermination!” There was giddy glee in his voice; unnerving you. He continued to hold you close, against your will. If it was up to you, you would have been across town already. 

“Thousand of souls lost each year, many more to come.” He turned to you, you trained your eyes on the clock before breaking out of your daze and looking at him. The moment you did, he continued: “But not you, darling! I’ll make sure of that!” 

You felt nervous. Sick. “Why don’t you show this much concern for the other employees? Vaggie? Charlie? Angel? Husk? Why me?”

He grabbed your hand and twirled you around with a gleeful chuckle. “Oh dear! Don’t you understand? You’re my favorite! Such a charm, such a dream, surely something that must be preserved—“ He spun you into his chest, clenching you too roughly because he was fucking crazy. You struggled to get away, and when he allowed you to simply return to his side, he leaned down. 

“You keep saying I’m your favorite.” Your eyes were wide, eyebrows furrowed, confused.

“Of course I do! What other way to put such notions together, darling~!” He brought a claw to twist a strand of your hair delicately, almost affectionately. “You’re my favorite because you’re the most entertaining! The most heartbreaking! A wayward demon who acts more like an angel, lost to such unholy pits! What is there not to love?” He exclaimed dramatically, an audience cheering erupting from behind him— from him, 

He leaned in too close to your face, and while you wanted to run away, you managed to stand your ground, narrowing your eyes. 

“How do you do that audience sound thing?” 

“My dear, there are secrets that must be kept.”

He sounded like a magician. A crazy magician. Groaning and leaning back, suddenly uncomfortable with his proximity, he allowed you to detach from him for the moment. “I’m going back.” You stated monotonously. 

Like a dog to its master, he was suddenly at your side. “Since we both happen to be out, how about we take the journey back together?” He insisted, leaving little room for retaliation. 

“Do I have a choice?” You peer up at him, stuffing your hands into your hoodie pockets. 

He laughed. “Don’t be silly!” 

The journey was short, leading you to believe that he hadn’t actually taken you too far into the city as it had originally been made out to be. He talked your ear off, though, you weren’t necessarily listening , offering an absentminded nod here and there. He didn’t seem to notice. You gave up trying to get away when he grabbed you and pulled you back against his side, pressing your cheek against his suit. 

You were too tired.

Upon the return to the Hotel, he let you go, causing you to stumble forward a bit. You blinked warily up at him, a frown touching your lips, watching silently as he turned away to interact with the other Hotel residents. Left angry and confused, you returned to your room to mull and ponder Alastor’s strange, creepy mannerisms; yet again. 

Reaching into your pocket, you pulled your phone out and the crumpled piece of paper.

Perhaps tomorrow would be a better day.

Chapter Text

Sleep didn’t come easy that night. 

To say that you had been kept up would have been a laughable feat; your blankets and sheets telling a story that declared you had been twisting and turning for god knows how long. Seconds turned into minutes, minutes turned into hours; time was a figment of imagination that followed you into death, revoking you of the pleasures of floating in a void of eternal oblivion. The moment you thought you could get some shut eye, a thought would pop into your mind that would make your face contort into a grimace. 

He had given you space, but at what cost? 

You couldn’t catch a break even while you were alone. He was a total dick. He played you like a yo-yo, treated you like a porcelain doll that would crack under pressure. A toy. One second he was fine, the next he wasn’t. Alastor was an uncontrollable force of nature, a demon of unimaginable power and the ability of such catastrophic destruction. The only viable option was to fear him, and you did. You couldn’t avoid him forever, you were certain he wouldn’t allow such a thing. Would he do well with his promise?

What was the root of all of this? This ‘fascination’?

The foul thought curled low in your stomach, harboring you in a constant state of nausea. Holding yourself up with your elbow, you flipped a pillow over and screamed into it as loud and for as long as you possibly could until your lungs frenzied desperately for air. You were torn, stressed, you couldn’t catch a break. He plagued your thoughts like a disease, and despite your best efforts, there wasn’t an antidote. How could you deal with him? Who could you tell about his constant pestering? What could be done? 

Was he your personal hell? 

There was a hesitant knock on the door, causing you to freeze. Stiffening, you pulled yourself up and stared at the mahogany wooden door with daggers in your eyes. Suspecting it was Alastor himself, you bit your tongue and remained silent in hopes that if you didn’t answer he would actually go away. No, he wouldn’t. The bastard would probably just warp space and time to situate himself in the room, once again failing to respect your privacy. You wouldn’t put such a feat past him, after all, he had already gone through your closet. 

There was another knock and, with a tired exhale, you pulled yourself up and off the bed, walking over to the door. Composing yourself, you closed your eyes and turned the knob, opening it to see a familiar arachnid demon who had ultimately been the last individual you expected. You furrowed your eyebrows, surprised to find yourself secretly relieved. He looked just as surprised as you did. 

“What are you doing here?” You questioned, rubbing your eyes sleepily. “I thought you hated me.” You stifled a yawn, exhaustion suddenly hitting you full force with no intent on stopping. 

“We needa talk, mano a mano.” An accent and a phrase slipped past him that you couldn’t quite place, perhaps a bit too lost in your mind to begin to contemplate. 

“...Okay.” You stepped out of the way, letting him shuffle inside and closing the door behind you with a subtle ‘click’. Turning around, you watched as he fidgeted, beelining it for your bedside table out of sheer habit, searching for booze before ultimately coming to the realization that hey, not everyone drowned their problems in liquor. 

Uncertain, you walk over to the bed before sitting down, nervously watching him tear through your drawers. “Angel, what—“ you cut yourself off, too stumped over the fact that he had willingly come to your room and initiated a conversation. Except, it wasn’t much of a conversation. He was an eight foot tall spider; there wasn’t much you could do even if you tried. You sat up straight, your expression flatlining. You were too tired for this right now.

With a loud groan, he flopped onto your bed, a slur of curses and other unforgiving phrases leaving his mouth. You leaned back, sitting crisscross applesauce and refraining from touching him. You had never seen him act in such a way; and you weren’t sure if you ever wanted to again. His lower set of arms were crossed, grip tight. His top set viciously rubbing at his face. He was muttering and making faces of all sorts before flopping his arms to his chest and staring at the ceiling. His leg, foot still touching the ground despite him sprawled out on his back, bounced quickly in what appeared to be agitation.

He sneered, turning his head to look at you; a hint of remorse wrinkling his brows. “So, ya got a fuckin’ boy toy, huh?” His tone was sarcastic, sitting up almost violently, hands now gripping the sheets as he averted his gaze to the space in front of him. You were at a loss for words, truthfully.

He certainly had caught on a long time ago. Alastor was attached and almost committed. You were avoidant and tried to repel him, despite having almost no power to actually do anything about it. He had been in your position more times than he’d ever like to mention or remember. It frightened him. The moment he spoke again, his voice was uncharacteristically soft, quiet:

“...Alastor?”

The world seemed to crash around you, confused at his choice of words, and only once he had actually elaborated, did you release a wheeze. You almost wanted to laugh at him for coming up with such a wacky concept. But you didn’t. Your eyes searched his face for any hint that he was pulling your leg and, when your search came up fruitless, you remained silent. There was a heaviness in the air. It felt a lot more personal than your other conversations with him. “I think I’m the toy.” You sighed. You fell back into the bed, grumbling the words as you ran your hands down your face. 

Angel leaned his elbows on his knees and heaved a heavy breath. He knew you were smart, and he found himself to be glad that you understood. “One way ta put it. He’s been followin’ ya around like a shitty version of a lost dog.” His voice grew in frustration, running his fingers through his hair. 

He turned his head in your general direction, opening his mouth to say something further before ultimately decided against it. Slowly, he laid back down, generously spaced from you, returning to his previous state of staring at the ceiling once more as if it would open up and offer the answers the two of them sought. 

The air was tense, and Angel wasn’t entirely sure how to get the conversation rolling smoothly. He didn’t even know how to help you out in a situation like this. He didn’t know how to help himself out. Not only that, but he had to mention the fact that he had been kind of… a dick lately. Not that he would ever admit it. No, you probably thought that— he knew he was innocent. Er, innocent-er than you.

You wouldn’t have called it uncomfortable in the sense that it would have been if it had been Alastor there instead of Angel; but even then, he was on shaky grounds with you. He hadn’t apologized either of the times, and truthfully, you were beginning to accept the fact that he most likely never would. But this— this was something a friend would do: to come talk to you. Needless to say, you felt the inklings of relief trickle over you. 

“I don’t know why.” You stated suddenly, breaking the silence. “I didn’t do anything to cause him to do this. He won’t leave me alone.” You weren’t sure why it felt natural to talk to him about such matters, but for a reason you would never figure out, it did. “You remember that store we went to and how I bought that lingerie?” A question that didn’t seek a response. “He was in my closet, Angel. Holding it. He was in my closet!”  You then began to go on a tangent, speaking with your hands as if to get across your frustrations easier. “He called me his favorite, he dragged me around town earlier and told me he had a ‘ fascination ’” you mocked his voice, “with me.” You took a breath before continuing.

“He followed me to the pier. He stole my phone and used it as a bargaining chip to talk to me,” and for the grand finale, “he’s ALWAYS touching me!” You let your hands fall to the sides of you, allowing them to bounce off of the mattress as if it were too much to even keep them in the air. 

And so he listened. He let you curse that stupid bastard’s name and he felt better. At least you still had your kick. “Maybe that’s why.” He stole a glance at you, looking away immediately after. “Maybe… he’s so interested because yer so…” he trailed off, a hum coming from his throat as he began flailing his hand around in the air as if fishing for the right words. He settled for a word, “... you.” He pinched the space between his eyes and groaned. “Like, yer not like otha’ demons, kid, yer somethin’ special, I’ll say that much.”

When he stated it was because you were you, you felt as if you were talking to the jackass himself. So cryptic in his words and never giving you an exact, basic word-for-word answer, always beating around the bush. Before you could question it, he gave you a further explanation. Not like other demons. You didn’t fit in with the hooligans. You were something different. At the end of the day, did you even want to be different? Would Alastor eventually get bored of you when he had his fun? Would he ever truly let you rest? 

You didn’t want to know the answer to that, entirely certain you already knew just by how he acted thus far. 

Angel clicked his tongue before continuing, “and I know that’s because ya can’t do shit against it. Touchy feels ain’t no game for him, take me fer example—“ he gestured with an exaggerated flourish to his chest, “—he ain’t gonna do shit, ‘cause I’d do the same right back.” He paused, narrowing his eyes.

With a slow blink, you recalled Alastor’s words regarding your passiveness. “So what, I just have to touch him and he’ll back off?” You frowned. “If I show him any attention I feel like he would think that was a win in his book.” 

“... Kinda like he’s got a twisted crush on ya, huh?”  

You already shot up, staring owlishly at him, eyes wide. “The infamous Radio Demon having a crush on me like a schoolboy?” You shook out of your initial shock, laughing and falling back into the mattress. “ Nooo…” That thought was going into the trash can ASAP.

Angel shrugged, resting his arms behind his head as he kicked a leg to rest over the other, “I mean, it ain’t too wild ta think about, honestly.” He watched your movements briefly and without much interest. 

The thought of Alastor having a crush on you made you want to sink into oblivion and never return. You bit the inside of your cheek. “It can’t be that simple, Angel,” you sighed, “it never is.” Having disregarded that thought, you offered him no further explanation; the mere idea causing you to desire the sweet release of the extermination. 

“What do you think I should do, though? I just—“ you sat up, running your fingers through you hair. “ I can’t avoid him forever.”

He fell silent, closing his eyes briefly. “So, ah...how’s, uh, how’s the booboo?”

At the topic switch, you felt yourself breathe out a sigh of relief. His choice of words regarding your wound tickled you. “...Which one?” You alluded to the fact with a look that Alastor has indeed hurt you. 

He resisted the urge to leap on you and turn your head this way and that just to fuss, causing his body to convulse suddenly before he brushed it off with a stretch and yawn. “ No, stupid . The one from yer’s truly.” 

You narrowed your eyes, placing your palm on your stomach. “ I almost died.” You quoted Charlie, the ghost of a smile on your lips. You weren’t mad at him for that, not exactly , at least. “It’s not your fault. It was his.” You didn’t even want to say his name.

He let your statement pass without so much as a bat from his eye, returning to the previous topic much to your dismay. “Maybe ya should try steppin’ up yer game. Not yer… insults, yeah, don’t think I ain’t picked up on that.” His voice lowered to a mumble as he scratched his forehead, “fuckin’ kindergartener level shit.” His voice continued at a normal level, “Like… try holdin’ his hand. Make kissy faces at him. HA!” Angel began laughing his ass off, curling into himself, his amusement shaking the bed as he kicked his legs childishly, “and then— AND THEN! Ya—“ he gasped for air, “ya smooch him!” As he settled down, he refused to mention your stomach again.

He wasn’t quite ready for that conversation.

Long gone was the gentle promise of an apology, and an uncomfortable feeling of uncertainty crept up your spine; settling low in your stomach as he got his rocks off by laughter alone. You forced a smile, sitting up and looking down at your hands, anxiously twirling your thumbs together. “I don’t think he’s capable of something as light-hearted as a crush , Angel.” You sigh. “And if, for some awful reason that were true, he’s done an awful job at relaying it.” Was it so awful to think that Alastor had a crush on you?

Yes. Yes it was. God forbid. 

“He hurt me.” You stated, brushing your hair back to allow him sight of the puncture wounds and bruises. You narrowed your eyes, annoyance starting to take over. “And… and then proceeded to act like he didn’t do anything.” You looked over to Angel then, lip twitching. 

“He frowned.”

Angel choked on an inhale, sputtering and wheezing in bewilderment. It took a few minutes for his breathing to regulate again, and once it did, he sat up; rubbing his throat and he eyed your own. “Frowned… huh?” Not gonna lie, his stomach dropped sixty-nine feet and then some. “That’s an… odd way to confess, heh.” He offered a sheepish grin, going to reach out to you before retracting with a frown. The air was gaining weight again. He had trouble tearing his eyes away from your neck, his teeth gently working at his bottom lip, almost nervously. 

You nodded absentmindedly, bringing your legs up and hugging them close to your chest. “ I don’t know what to do.” You were at a loss, “I’m tired of this. I can’t escape him not matter what I do.” You watched his hand reach out to you before retracting, your eyebrows furrowing. “He told me he would give me some space,” you laughed without an inkling of humor, “but he hasn’t really left me alone.” You mind was plagued with thoughts of him despite wanting to do nothing more than run away. “I’m scared of him, Angel.” Your eyes were glassy, staring ahead at a wall. “ I’m really, really scared of him.” 

He saw that emotion. He felt it. It… felt raw and uncomfortable. Angel noticed the tears begin to build and he shifted awkwardly. Jesus. Shit. Uhhh, fuck? His mind churned for something, anything to say. Be it smart or something witty. Like a breakthrough across his mind, his eyes widened and a smirk spread across his face. “ Hoooly shit. ” His tone was a whisper, but filled with realization nonetheless. 

You brought a fist to your eyes, rubbing them as a stray tear rolled down your cheek. The whisper made you turn you head to face him, and when his eyes widened and a grin crossed his face, you felt called out. 

He began bouncing in place. “HOOOLY SHIT, TOOTS. He likes ya because ya don’t show yer afraid!”

“I don’t show I’m afraid?” You whispered back; eyebrows furrowing in confusion. “That makes no sense. I cried in front of him once.” Earlier today, actually, but it felt like so long ago. 

“Nnnnuh! Shhhuddup! Look!” He moves behind you now, one set of arms holding your shoulder gently while the others were spread out in the air. You looked at his hand, surprise evident on your expression. Whether he knew it or not, he was comforting you in his own way. At least, that’s what you made of it.

“That’s why ya got his eye! Everyone else showed some form of submission or somethin’! Like a… like a pack of dingos and an alpha!” A hand snapped proudly beside your ear. You jumped. He was bouncing again. “Cryin’ can’t be what he’s after. Cryin’ in front of him is…” he paused, “is fuckin’ brave. That ain’t fear. You ain’t… you ain’t caved yet.” With a gasp, he leapt from the bed with a clumsy fumble, barely catching himself before whirling around to you once more. 

“Yer fuelin’ the fire, girlie, and I ain’t too sure how to put it out.”

“I ain’t caved yet…” you repeated his exact words slowly, mulling them over one by one. “Caving? He wants to break me?” You grit your teeth, watching as he leapt from the bed, beginning to reach out when he lost his balance for a moment until he caught himself. You pulled your hand back, hesitant, having it rest upon your lap once more. “Do I just… tell him I’m scared of him and hope for the best?” You tilted your head, pushing yourself up into a standing position.

His grin was absolutely bright. “Again, I ain’t no pro on Al’s mental.... Whatever the fuck he’s got goin’ on. But whateva ya doin’, he likes it. Tell ya what,” he placed himself in front of you, bottom arms fixing your tie and shirt while his top set brushed your hair and baaarely swiped away any remnants of tears. “We pull an experiment. A week of bein’ scared openly. See how he does, yeah?” Angel stepped back, giving you a once over before nodding in approval. “I’ll be keepin’ an eye on ya too, don’t worry.”

You blinked, looking up at him with curiosity and uncertainty. “And- And what if it gets worse? Angel, what if that’s not it?” You hoped it was. For your sake. Taking a step forward, you stood on your tippy-toes, reaching up and repositioning his own shirt, a small smile playing on your lips.

He froze, hands twitching in an unsure manner. With fluttering lashes and a cleared throat, he sneered. “Well then, oops.” With a sly sway of his hips, he spun on his heel and made for your door, briefly pausing before it. He glanced from your door to you, expression softening ever so slightly. “If it does, ya got me, girlie. It’s ah, late.” He turned without another word and twisted the doorknob.

“Does that mean we’re friends?” The words fled from your lips before you could stop them, letting him go while holding your wrist behind your back.

His foot was out the door the moment you spoke. Friend. His blood ran cold. Guilt ate at him. Even after what he had done, you still refused to give up. He rolled his shoulders, repeating softly, “It’s… late.” He didn’t spare you a glance in fear of his utter surprise and endearment showing plain as day. “Nighty. Ring me if ya need somethin’. Ciao.” And with that, he strode out into the hall and disappeared from sight.

You tilted your head, your eyes trained on the space that he once inhabited. He was a good friend, even if he didn’t want to admit it, despite being an asshole simutaniously. A yawn brought you out of your silent thoughts; your internal worries and woes, finally coming to terms that you would live with what you got. Striding over to the door, you closed it and moved over to the bed with a tired gait. Leaning over it, you peeled back the covered, crawled under the quilt, curled into a ball, before promptly and unceremoniously passing out the moment you closed your eyes. The shadows that shrouded the corners of your peripheral vision had never been so welcome.

For once, your dreams had been gentle and sweet; lulling your into the promise of never waking up again.

Of course, all good things ended eventually; be it for a hiccup or something more dire. When you found yourself on the brink of consciousness, your stretched out, intelligable grumbles falling from you in an attempt to ride over the hump that made you never want to leave your bed again, for all eternity. Getting up had never been more difficult and yet, for once in your afterlife, you almost felt rejuvinated. Perhaps you really did need that talk with Angel; perhaps your broken relationship had bothered you more than you originally realized. Rolling to your side with a sigh, you slid off of the bed and got dressed.

This time, there was no monster in your closet. 

Heading down into the lobby had been a cinch, passing by a clock on a wall and stating that you had actually slept in somewhat; you couldn’t help but feel nervous to some degree and perhaps even a bit relieved. It felt like a weight had been lifted on your shoulders, only to be replaced with something akin to anxiousness. Your hair was down again, and you refused to tie it up or doing anything creative with it until the remains of his rough touches fled from your skin once and for all. The first individual you noticed was Husk who, unsurprisingly, was drowning himself in his sorrows through different assortments of alcoholic beverages. 

You felt your nerves alleviate at the actuality that you didn’t have to brave this morning alone.

Alastor had been anticipating your arrival, his head turning to watch you enter the lobby. You caught his eye and watched as his eyes narrowed, his smile curved into some twisted form of friendliness, or at least attempted to. You squint at him, releasing a huff before going into the kitchen and grabbing a granola bar from the top of the counter, thankful that Vaggie had gone out and stocked up. 

Exiting the kitchen, you made your way over to Husk, ultimately ignoring the feeling of being stared at the best you could. “Do you ever eat?” You sat down on the stool, leaning your elbows on the counter and swinging your legs; only being able to dream of reaching the ground. The stools were tailored to demons that were far taller than you.

Husk side-eyed you, then the granola bar, before looking back up at you again. He shrugged. “Why eat when you can drink? Ain’t like I’m gonna fuckin’ die from starvation.” He rolled his eyes, putting his drink down with a gruff sigh.

Returning the shrug, you glance at the granola bar and break a piece off, reaching over the counter and offering it to him. To your surprise and utter joy, he begrudgingly accepted it, commenting under his breath about ‘ if it was free, he wasn’t going to complain. ’ The lobby fell into a rare, comfortable silence, the two of you munching away. Your eyes trained to the television, watching the news with little to no interest; simply to keep your mind occupied. 

“How’s life and stuff?” Husk piped up gruffly, mouth half full. 

“We’re both dead-”

“No shit, I was just trynna start a conversation.” He huffed, swallowing and then going back to his drink to wash it down. He was interrupted by clicking shoes, both of your gazes turning to see Angel coming through the door with long strides, pig in arm, and making a beeline for his target. You. 

On his way, he noticed Alastor and, like a child, stuck up his nose and turned away. He was at your side in no time, scooting up onto a stool next to you. “Gooooood mornin’, toots. Huskie…” his tone dropped seductively, eyes lidded at the alcoholic demon. Husk grumbled under his breath. Angel turned his attention to you after a moment, quick to offer you a gigantic grin. “Sooo, ya ready for today?” Fat Nuggets wiggled in his arms with a grunt, causing him to set him up on the counter, much to Husk’s dismay.

He leaned into you with a wink. “Pretty nerve wrackin’, huh?” 

Husk was looking between the two of you with disinterest and a hint of confusion. You leaned forward, “SHH!” you pressed a finger to your lips, before reaching over and petting Fat Nuggets for the first time. It looked up at you with an oink, causing you to grin when it pressed into your hand, seeking out your affection. You rubbed behind it’s flopped over ear, relaxing slightly, breathing out an amused sigh.

You had to admit, it was cute. 

Angel rolled his eyes, leaning his elbows back behind him on the countertop, crossing his legs in the process. “Oh, please.” He fussed with his chest fur and hair, shifting to get comfortable. A spare hand reached to pat Fat Nugs, a small smirk on his lips as he passed a lot to Husk. “Ya ready or not?”

Nervously, you nod, uncertain about what exactly he was planning to do.

You were answered quickly. The arachnid started laughing loudly at absolutely nothing, causing you to jump. You started to laugh in a confused manner, and if you could, you would have had ‘???’ floating above your head. Husk was drinking ten fold, drowning himself in his misery. What happened next occurred in slow motion, Angel leaning back into the stool, which causes the chair to lose its balance and him to fall to the ground with a crash, completely and utterly unintentional.

His expression was something you wished you could have gotten on picture and had it framed all over the Hotel. 

“Oh my gosh! Angel! ” You couldn’t help but burst into true, genuine laughter. 

He started laughing in an unadulterated, authentic tone. Husk began to drink even more. 

In the hallway, Niffty was chatting Alastor’s ears off, and he was listening. The moment he heard cackling, his ear pivoted in your general direction; eventually poking him head out to peer at the perpetrators. The moment he sees you laughing, heard you laughing, he felt himself melting. He clawed into the wall; a deep shade adorning his face. 

Hey! I’m down here, buster! We gotta keep working, there’s still so much to do! Oh gosh, look at what you did! Now we have to repair that too!” Niffty scolded him, peering up at the wallpaper than now had long indentations in them. 

With a groan, Angel propped himself up on his arms, nevertheless continuing to chuckle while shaking his head. He stood and dusted himself off, rubbing his now probably bruised ass, before picking up the stool and resituating himself back on it. “Oh! Wanna hear a joke?” His smile was absolutely giddy and downright boyish. He narrowed his eyes the moment he caught a glimpse of Alastor before turning back to you.

“Fuck no.” Groaned Husk.

“A joke?” You giggled, ignoring the feline. You didn’t know he had it in him. “Hit me.” You grin, settling back down into the stool and turning to face him.

Angel swung his legs, “Can I getta drink before I spill?” Husk passed him one. “Thaaanks, sucha doll.” He sipped it and giggled, “What’s the diffference between a tire and three-hundred and sixty-five used condoms?” He stared at you expectantly for a second, scratching Nugs under his snout before bursting out: “One’s a Goodyear, the other’s a great year! HA!” 

You laughed, a blush enhancing upon your cheeks, his humor was… lude, but you supposed it was simply because he was a pornstar. He found those types of things funny. “Okay, okay,” you giggled. “I got one too.”

Angel swished his cup, grin almost splitting his face in half, “Oh, dooo tell, girlie.”

“What do you call a dwarf mystic who’s also a murderer?” You were grinning ear-to-ear.

He blinked rapidly, already tickled pink at the base. “Jesus, I’unno. What?”

“A small medium at LARGE!” 

Husk choked on his alcohol the moment Angel throwed his head back with a guffaw, sloshing his drink on the counter. “A small me-- Dat’s good!” You felt pride swelling in your chest. He snapped his gaze to Husk with a sly grin, “Ya got any, pussy cat?”

“No, fuck off.”

Beginning to forget it was all a hoax and actually having a genuinely good time, you leaned in. “Are you suuure?” You bat your eyelashes at him playfully. Husk grimaced, frowning, before releasing an ‘alright, alright’. 

Angel glanced over at you in mild surprise in which you shrugged.

“What do you do if a blonde throws a pin at you?” Husk’s gruff voice finally piped up.

Angel indulged at last, taking a swing before coughing, “I’unno, kitty. What?”

Run! She has a grenade in her mouth!” He howls in laughter; the joke itself wasn’t funny to you, but his laughter was so rare and uncharacteristic of him that it caused you to laugh.

Angel tries to keep a straight face, but ultimately ends up breaking at your own expression. Finishing his drink, he slams his glass down. “Wait, wait, I got one,” he paused briefly, glancing at the doorway with a malicious glint, “How does a woman scare a gynecologist?”  

Husk goes back to drinking after not getting a good reaction out of the two of you, muttering under his breath about how he didn’t do jokes. You don’t notice. 

“How?” 

Reaching over the counter, he nudged Husk gently with another shit eating giggle, “By becoming a ventriloquist!” His eyes bounced between the two of you, mouth open in an ‘Eh? Eh?’ expression. He was having fun, experiment almost slipping from his mind. Meanwhile, Nugs began cleaning up the mess Angel made on the counter.

Husk frowned at Angel, whisking his arm away with a shooing motion. You giggle lightly at his joke, not entirely sold on it, but it tickled you at least. You eyes dart to Fat Nuggets, a gasp escaping you. “He’s--” Was it a he? The pig was drinking.

Not deterred, Angel waved his hand. “He’s had worse, don’t worry. Gotsa high tolerance. Can I get anotha’?” He winked at Husk.

You gave an uncertain glance to the pig and then to Angel. You suppose it wasn’t an actual pig; you weren’t going to ask, though. That would be rude. Husk muttered under his breath grumpily before passing him another drink. “So, um, Angel,” you lower your voice then, just in case there were any eavesdroppers. You tossed him a look. 

Angel caught the slide with ease, tipping it up to his lips, “Hmmnghn?” When he made eye contact with you, he nearly choked, but swallows anyway before hacking, “JEsUS. AHEM. Euh. Shit, eerrm…”

Alastor was leaning further out of his hiding spot, craning himself from the wall with wide, doe-like eyes. They narrowed once more in something akin to displeasure and ahem-- desire? Jealousy? He turned back and straightened himself out. Niffty was dead silent with her arms crossed and an intense frown on her face; she’s being ignored! Ignored for some shitty jokes! Narrowing his eyes, he parted from the energetic cleaner with an excuse.

You began to feel nervous, your humor fizzling out for the briefest of moments. “Is… is it working? What’re we doing?” You were whispering, leaning closer to Angel just to ensure fuckface didn’t hear her. 

“There was so much noise over here, I wanted to see what all the ruckus was about! Sounded like some fine jokes to me!” 

He spun the microphone he conjured elegantly; claws grasping around it tightly. He wanted your attention. Charlie narrowed her eyes from across the room where she had been silently unpacking some festive-looking decor.

You stiffened and go silent almost immediately; looking at Angel. 

Said demon managed to hide his eye roll before he turned to face the counter properly, talking into his cup. “Just some actual jokes. Oh, yaknow.” He nearly snorted in liquor, “until you walked over.” He turned his head and snickered, kicking your shin lightly. Nugs nudged his wrist for a drink, effectively distracting him from the two of you for the time being. 

Taking the as your cue to put up a facade of cowering and avoiding eye contact, you catch Husk’s eye who’s raising an eyebrow at you before ultimately shrugging. He couldn’t be bothered. 

Glancing at Husk as well, Angel decided to kick it up a notch. “Ey, Smiles. Back up. Can’t’cha see ‘yer freakin’ her out? Geez, the nerve, am I right?” His question was directed at no one in particular, mouth now occupied with liquid. 

“Shouldn’t you be manning the bar instead of joking?” Quipped Alastor, who sent a disapproving look toward Husk, ignoring Angel for the time being. Not for long, however, as his head snaps in his direction, “And you, my feminine fellow! Why, you shouldn’t be drinking, now should you?” Alastor purposefully raised his voice, prompting Charlie to saunter over.

Angel’s eyes narrowed, his lip curling slightly. “ You fuckin’ snit-- ‘Ey, Chucks!” Quicker than she could speak, he downed his drink and chucked the glass behind the counter with a loud shatter. “ Oops.” He maintained eye contact with Alastor before scoffing, picking up Nugs, and moving to the couch. There, he draped himself in the most dramatic of fashions.

You immediately looked over at Angel with an exasperated expression. Your attention turned to Charlie the moment she spoke up. This was a disaster. 

“What’s going on over here?” Charlie piped up, somehow managing to fit concern, confusion, and curiosity into one tone. You couldn’t possibly fake being uncomfortable even if you tried. You didn’t have to. 

Alastor didn’t seem to care about the mess, Niffty zooming past him, muttering about the broken glass. “So, how’s my dear employee doing?” He asked in a baby voice, clasping his claws together as if you were the cutest damn thing. 

Charlie made a face, frowning and shaking her head in disapproval before quickly and loudly scolding Angel for shattering the glass, preoccupied yet worriedly glancing over at Alastor and you, who was now leaning down and making an oddly affectionate face at you.

Angel began to prickle almost immediately, eyes wide and locked on your face. “Yep, yeah, sorry Chucks. ‘Ey, ‘ey, buckaroo! Back off, can’t’cha see yer weirdin’ her out?” He tried to keep his tone neutral, sassy even, but there was a small waver. Maybe toying with one of the most powerful demons Hell had ever seen wasn’t the smartest idea. Dammit. Play it cool, girlie. “Here, since I can’t drink, why don’t you have a drink? Right?” He desperately looked to you.

Your heart immediately began to pick up in pace when he stared down at you in a… strange manner. Rubbing your arm, averting your gaze and refusing him the satisfaction of meeting your eyes, you slide off of the stool and tossed a knowing glance to Angel who now looked like he was regretting his decisions. He had a front row seat of Alastor’s behavior, and you felt relieved; you began to walk away.

Alastor stared, eyes burning into your retreating form with something akin to displeasure. His claws flexed idly by his side as if they were to snatch you up at any moment, whisking you off to who knows where! “ Darling?” That static-filled voice called, its ambience distorted slightly as if it were ruined by his rampant emotions -- his dissatisfaction. 

Alastor’s voice, his nickname for you, made your stomach clench with nausea. You felt like you were going to be sick. You weren’t playing anymore. You didn’t want to play anymore.

After the prompt scolding Angel received, Charlie had come to your side, reaching out an arm, her soft voice soothing and full of comfort. When Charlie reached out to you, you were half tempted to latch yourself onto her like a leech and never let go.

Angel stood, shoving Nugs at Husk haphazardly before making his way after you. He ignored Alastor and Charlie, grabbing your arm gently with twitching fingers before he pulled you out of the room and down the hall. His long legs made nervous strides before he stopped abruptly. “What the hell did I tell ya? Twisted. Crush.” He fussed with his suit top and hair out of habit, muttering under his breath.

“I’m sorry, kid. I just. Shit. This is reaaal bad.”

You felt numb. Angel had been right and it was just now clicking with you. “I don’t--” You felt emotion well up in your eyes, “I told you, Angel; what do I do? I just, I can’t. He has a crush on me.” You laughed humorlessly, muttering under your breath. “A crush.” You couldn’t believe what you were hearing. You couldn’t believe what was coming out of your own mouth. You were shivering.

Alastor almost visibly cringed, Charlie’s hand recoiling as she watched both Angel and you hurry down a corridor. The blonde frowned, not thinking much of it but certainly concerned. Alastor was almost tempted to approach the two again, an unheard neediness and clinginess swelled in his… heart? The likes of which hadn’t been seen; it was a want - a desire to be the one to so forcefull lead you; to grab that delicate arm and dig his claws into your flesh - gently now - no need to spoil such a dame, he’d already tarnished that poor neck with his little outburst. Alastor straightened out. Oh, but the time would come. He turned on his heel, sending Charlie a charming and almost flirtatious smile as he joined Niffty again, her rambunctiously applying wallpaper to the renovated room. A bounce in his step, a hum on his lips; a monocle adjusted and cleaned with a fine handkerchief…

Angel felt a bit of panic when he saw those tears. Those fuckin’ tears. He patted your shoulder lightly, an uncertain smile on his face. “Well… lookit this way, you have an extremely powerful demon lookin’ out for ya, haha.” His tone fell flat, and he drew his limbs close to himself, almost insecure. “Welcome to the party, toots. I’m… not sure what we’re gonna do now. Have you uh… talked to Chucks?”

You looked down the hall nervously, paranoid that he followed. But there was nothing. The air was silent, heavy, and you found yourself longing for the same jovial moments earlier. You wiped your eyes, sniffling. “Yeah, she spoke to him.” You looked back up to him. “I don’t think it changed anything.” Breathing out a heavy, emotional sigh, you leaned back against the wall. You were silent for a long while, thinking over everything. You were at a loss. 

Why did he like you? You were entirely certain there were far more powerful demon, more gorgeous demons than you. Demons that could give him the time of his life. Demons that could give him the life that he didn’t deserve. 

“Ah, well… shucks.” He looked uncomfortable, uncertain, trailing off and running his hand through his hair habitually. You shake your head. His compliment made you feel uncomfortable. 

“Can I stay with you tonight? I don’t-” you lowered your voice. “ I don’t feel comfortable in my room.”

He stared at you like you had four heads, face contorting and showing an array of emotion before leaning his head back and groaning loudly. “Yer such a fuckin’ baby.” He acted like it was the worst thing to ever happen before offering a very drawn out ‘fine’.

“But just tonight, ya hear? I ain’t yer babysitter.” He frowned.

“Okay.”

Chapter Text

The rest of the evening went on without a cinch to say the least. Perhaps for your own betterment or sanity, you had spent the majority of your time bonding with Fat Nuggets. You had come to discover that the pig was adorable, originally not giving it the time of day; but now that you had, your heart soared. With time on your hands, you had taught the pig to sit and lie down on command; which Angel waved off with a ‘because he likes ya’ and not because you had spent the last few hours trying to teach a pig to do tricks.

Angel wasn’t entirely present during the stay in his room; too coked out on an assortment of drugs that had originally been stashed beneath his bed, burying himself in habits that he had originally been clean of— you didn’t exactly blame him. It was a common theme around these parts, you guessed. While your mind was in such a delicate state, you had limited your actions to smaller, more manageable tasks lest your sanity collapse and spiral your existence even further out of control than it already was. 

What a story that would’ve been.

Needless to say, you had done your best with keeping Alastor and the stress he put on you out of your mind, focusing on other activities to keep you busy. 

Sleep found you more delicately that night, curled into a mess of blankets and sheets that insulated you from the nipping cold just outside of the Hotel. Your rest would have gone undisturbed if it were not for the soft knocking against the door. Blinking blearily, your mind struggled with the sudden change from absence of consciousness to an overload of information being processed through your brain. 

You nearly brushed off the knocks as something your mind had fabricated to get you up, but when you noticed how dark it was in the room, you began to suspect otherwise. Eyes blinking a few times to adjust to the lack of light, you stared at the door with a frown. Another knock resounded from the other side, growing in intensity. “Angel.” You state softly, sitting up fully and promptly alert. Loud snores were your only audible answer. 

“Angel,” you twist around and grab a pillow, throwing it at his sleeping silhouette. At the impact, he woke up with a flail of limbs, nearly falling off of the bed in the process. Fat Nuggets, who had been peacefully snoozing at the end of the bed, poked his head up and quietly oinked in a confused manner. Perhaps the pig was smarter than it let on. 

“Wh -what? I will fuckin‘—“ Angel stated out of drowsiness, a string of drool still attached to his mouth. Snapping out of his daze, he glanced at the pillow and then at the offender: you. You were glad it was as dark as it was. You weren’t able to see the utterly pissed expression adorning his features over the fact that you had disturbed his slumber. Before he could curse you out with a string of slurs, another loud knock was heard, successfully steering his attention to the mahogany door. 

He grumbled, wiping the drool off of his mouth with a fist. “What!?” He snapped, his pissiness seeping into the single exclaim.

You winced, almost expecting the voice that answered: “Is my employee in there?” Angel doesn’t answer, staring blankly in either disbelief or stupor. You ran your hands down your face with a groan. Alastor, however, didn’t seem to be finished with his inquiries, and with each word he spoke, it made it easier to believe he was outside the door. “Where’d she go? You must let me in, I need to speak to her.” 

You grimaced, eyebrows knitting together and holding the blanket up to you as if to offer some form of comfort. 

Angel glanced at you with raised eyebrows. “No, go away.” He fell back onto the bed and pushed the pillow that assaulted him to his face, attempting to drown out the knocks that continued. Sighing, rubbing your eyes sleepily, you pick yourself up and walk over to the door, hesitating only for a moment before ripping it open and staring at the annoying persistent individual that towered in the doorframe. His fist was lifted as if he had been ready to knock again. 

“It is-“ you bring your hand down, leaning back to look at the alarm clock. “-four in the morning, Alastor, what?” Your grumpiness came through your words, annoyed that he was not only bothering you, but waking you up at an ungodly hour. You just wanted to sleep. Drowsily, you watched his expression twist into something giddy and happy when he saw you. 

“HEL-“ 

You slammed the door in his face before he could finish the obnoxious greeting, retreating to your makeshift bed of comfortable blankets and otherwise. You knew he wasn’t there for anything important, so you didn’t care. You couldn’t catch a break. He was utterly and completely ridiculous. Angel was already snoring and, before long, you were also eagerly swept into a dreamless sleep; lulled into a false promise of safety and comfort. If only it would last. 

It didn’t

From your sound slumber, you had been awoken to the sensation of dampness on your face; snuffles emitting from the culprit. You bat a hand away at said offender lazily and without real motive. Your expression twisted into a grimace before relaxing and, the moment you had begun to drift back into your sleep, it started up again; now accompanied by oinking. The sight that greeted you first was the ceiling; red light seeping in from the window positioned upon the wall to your right. Daybreak. Morning. 

The second thing you noticed when you flickered your eyes instinctively down was the door that was ajar just slightly. Rubbing your eyes and releasing a yawn, you peered over at the thing that had woken you. Your first thought was turning it into bacon; spurred on by your annoyance of being woken up against your own will. The thoughts were without heated intensity; leaving your mind almost instantaneously when you realized the pig gave the impression of being excited to see you. 

It was an endearing little creature. 

You breathed out in amusement; reaching over to rub Fat Nuggets behind its floppy ear. It oinked happily, the spiraled tail twitching slightly. “Hey bud,” you whispered softly, tiredly, affectionately watching it shake it’s behind like a dog would, a gentle smile playing on your lips as the pig toddled over, rubbing against you with similar mannerisms of a cat. The quirks it had never ceased to amaze you; it looked like a pig, but it acted like every lovable creature you had ever encountered. Adorable. 

You didn’t want to move. You were content. Plus, while the floor was surprisingly comfortable— you had also made a friend. 

Unfortunately, the sweet moment didn’t last too long; you would have been perfectly fine with laying there for the rest of the eternity you had left to endure if it were not for Angel’s voice calling for Fat Nuggets down the hall. Said pig wiggled out of your grip with a happy squeal, and you watched as it darted out of the room and out of view. You sighed, pulling the warm and comfortable blanket off of you before grabbing the comfortable attire you had situated beside you. After your trip to your room the previous night, you had changed into pajamas and, as quick as you could, grabbed a change of clothes out of the closet. 

Oh, the wonders of being harassed enough to be wary of your own closet. 

Getting changed in record time because of the very real possibility of Angel walking back into his own room, you stretched, and pulled the door open further with a creak. It took a moment of navigating than you normally would have, considering the fact that you had been used to your normal route, but you eventually made it into the main entrance to the lobby. The light that filtered in from the stained glass windows would have been considered beautiful if it weren’t for the fact that you were met with an all-too chipper individual situated just at the bottom of the stairs. 

He was waiting for you. 

When you finally showed face, Alastor noted your almost disappointed expression with seeing him. He had stated he would give you space, certainly, but he hadn’t promised how long. “Rise and shine, my darling employee!” He exclaimed in a positively delighted tone; passive-aggressive with his words to bring attention to the fact that you were late. Sleeping in, you would claim, but oh no— you had duties to attend to. His arms opened as if expecting a hug, or perhaps just to accentuate his greeting. As if he didn’t already exaggerate his physical motions. 

You stared at him for a long moment, still waiting for your brain to fully comprehend waking up. You didn’t respond, ducking past him with a heavy sigh. At least you had been right about him not leaving you alone for too long, much to your disappointment. Not having a particular appetite, you saved such dining for a later hour, walking over to the broom that had been situated against the wall, ironically gathering dust. Alastor’s presence followed you.

“My dear, would you like to hear a joke?” 

Nope.” You countered sharply enough that you surprised even yourself. 

“Why was the broom late?” He positioned himself next to you, sorrowfully reminding you that he would not consider leaving you alone lest you humor him even by the most meager amounts. Your shoulders slumped, another yawn escaping your lips. Why were you so tired? Oh, that’s right. 

You narrowed your eyes at the reminder that he had disturbed your sleep. “Why?” You finally gave in with a sigh, waiting for the punchline that he would most likely give you that would make you want to internally combust. 

“It overswept!” An audience laugh-track echoed in the close vicinity, a string of ’ha’s’ escaping him as if he truly thought his joke had been the bee's knees. You looked up at him, lip twitching because okay, it was sort of funny.

“Are you a banker?” You inquired innocently. 

“Hm, I don’t think so!”

You leaned up to him, squinting: “because I’d like you to leave me a loan.” Deadpanning, you turned to inspect your broom idly. Of course, it had the opposite effect, Alastor bursting into loud, boisterous laughter that made you wince. It was too early for this. Except, it wasn’t. You looked at the clock situated upon the wall, the time reading that it was half-past noon. Ah, well. You blinked slowly, turning your attention back to Alastor the moment he finished his request for another joke. Oh, he knew it irritated you

Your eye twitched, suddenly standing on your toes to peer past him with a gasp. “Do you see that?” You state, pointing in a direction away from you in hopes he would turn around and give you just enough time to make your escape. There was nothing out of the ordinary and there wouldn’t be anything either. 

He turned around and you whisked your broom off of the wall, making a break for it. After a long moment of Alastor attentively watching for something, he spoke up, beginning to turn back around: 

“Oh? But there doesn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary—“ You were across the room, sweeping away. He felt disappointment swell inside of him, but he eventually did get the memo, remaining motionless for a moment.

Taking the initiative to look back at him, you nearly screamed when he appeared directly in front of you. Instead, for your own sake, you released a sharp gasp, taking a few steps back and grasping at the broom as if it were your lifeline. 

“That’s mighty rude, don’t you think?” He inquired, feigning a tone of sadness. “We can’t have employees acting like that!” When you looked up at him, you were met with the smuggest expression you had ever seen in your life. 

A flurry of jumbled and only slightly annoyed mumbles escaped your lips - pursed and ready to spill whatever nonsense you’d been bottling up. Shrugging off his casual harassment, you’d brought your trusty friend closer, perhaps as a means to be armed. However, the utter horror that struck when the broomhead simply detached sent a most unfathomable sorrow though your heart.

“Aw man,” you curse, picking up the remnants of your partner. The attempts of reattachment were fruitless, the mourning that followed filled with this quaint sadness and melancholy - manifesting themselves into a harsh frown as if truly, a friend had passed. 

It had been with you since the beginning, you recall, your first days in Hell, at this Hotel , were made lighter by the busyness of work and the accompaniment of the broom. Your angst seemed childish, but it was the sentiment that preceded such a notion… Like a corpse, the broken item was dragged behind you in the most dramatic of fashions as a red devil followed in tandem, pivoting his head to gander at the cause of your helplessness.

The heartbreak that came with the loss encompassed you, your thoughts - and you threw open a door into the most dust-clad, sorrowful room you’d come to know; idle, secluded in the backend of the bar for others to forget about. Mostly used for storage, boxes both neatly stacked and torn ajar lay scattered amongst the metal-beamed shelves.

It was small, smelling of mothballs and contained only one very, very dim light - or, perhaps influenced by the harsh light that invaded through the entry; you’d stuck a nearby doorstopper and prayed, a demon leering over your shoulder.

His hair jostled you, proximity close enough to fall near your shoulder and tickle - an annoyance to be sure, but certainly welcome in comparison to his usual antagonizing. 

He crept - no, slithered - to your side like a spindly shadow, closer still. A sharp gasp followed, disembodied audiences manifested in the darkness while you were yet reminded of your burden. 

Your face hardened, “Oh, dear--” those large, doe-like eyes stood perplexed, “what’s happened to your friend there, my darling?” He almost seemed concerned.

“Why, that’s a mighty disappointment indeed…”

Hands grasped the handle you’d once happily wielded during the combat of cleaning, tightening until a dull ache blossomed in your palm and knuckles turned white. 

Insufferable was a good term for him - truly a demon, an annoyance and danger to be sure; so mocking, his enigmaticness knew no bounds. You’d not dare to open your mouth, lest your mind snapped at the seams or insults pooled on your tongue; your last thread was indeed frayed. 

Busying anger with something more productive, you’d set to work and departed from Alastor’s crooked form - but like a parasite, he followed with a light and bouncy step, so unlike your own. 

Tape, tape, tape - where’s the damn tape? He stared owlishly while your hands scrambled through and against the clutter than lined the furnishings, angersome in your actions only enticed his curiosity whilst the uncomfortably odd cocking of his head followed by the raising of brow - internally praising him for those illuminating eyes. 

You’d caught him from the corner of your eye, a slight and soundless movement as his ear twitched in the general direction of the lobby, he narrowed his eyes.

‘BOOM’ 

The tape now a figment of your memory that had been long forgotten, you nearly hit your head on the top of the shelf, too deep into the boxes in your endless search to accurately determine such distances. The Hotel quaked, foundations trembling at the substructure of their placement. Releasing an abrupt yell, you pulled your hand out of the box, grasping onto the metal pole of said shelf for support. 

A turf war?

Your eyes were wide with confusion and alarm, the reverberation throughout the entirety of the facility causing the door stopper to shift just slightly. The door, heavy in its expensive structure, did the rest of the undertaking, setting the following moments into action as the creaking suddenly ended with an audible ‘ click’; successfully shrouding the room in complete and utter darkness. 

You straighten up instantaneously, bumping into a hard form— Alastor, before pulling away, lack of light disorienting you. What light there was just happened to originate from the slit beneath the door that had betrayed you. 

Silence, but soon followed the jingling of a mechanical thing - the trying of a doorknob cutting through the atmosphere and disorientating your thoughts, a very noticeable franticness in the sound as failure ended its attempts. A defeat - a sigh came from your lips.

“Well,” His tone was even, though giddiness ran rampant underneath as if he wanted such a scenario to happen; a perfect excuse to present to Charlie! “This is a fine mess!” 

You glowered.

He turned - you could see his eyes - peering and full of delight while you only sent a grumpy and quizzical look towards him; you’d made an attempt to seem questioning through your actions, unwilling to speak with an asshat of biblical proportions. 

“It’s locked.” 

Those few words shattered your expression and the remnants of the hopeful outlook you took regarding the latter part of the day; you’d had plans to relax, rid yourself of the crippling pressure that this… hazbin Hell so kindly bestowed upon you. But that fleeting moment of happiness was ripped from your grasp. You stared blankly.

The only one who had the key was Charlie, and she was out on a date with Vaggie.  

Silence was the only thing that was shared in that moment; and if he had quipped something smart, you would have combusted into a million pieces right then and there. The static that caressed your flesh reminded you of just who exactly you were locked in with. Your luck was such shit. Letting your eyes adjust to the absence of light; you mull over the events that led to here in the first place. The broom, the closet, light bulb, door stopper, tape, explosion. 

You paused, recalling the fact that there was indeed a hanging light. Standing on your toes, you reach up and hesitantly pull down the chain; hoping for the best but expecting the worst. The light was exceedingly dim, offering little to no relief for the shadows that plagued the small room. Despite expecting the worst, you couldn't help but feel the inkling of disappointment begin to make headway. You lowered yourself back on the soles of your feet,

“I suppose that could lighten up the mood.” Alastor piped up, his pun making you turn your attention to him and stare as if he had four heads. The bastard wasn’t taking this situation seriously; which meant he didn’t have an inkling of worry. Which meant he didn’t care. Which meant he was pleased with the outcomes. Your fingers twitched at your sides.

“Can’t you… can’t you do some sort of hoodoo voodoo and get us out?” You were entirely too tempted to just say ‘me’, considering the fact that you would have absolutely locked him inside if you had the opportunity. You didn’t. Your voice didn’t hold the confidence you were known to have; exhaustion plaguing your mind from his constant game. 

He chuckled, the resounding noise far more ominous than usual due to the odd architecture of the room; sounds bouncing off of the walls and throwing off his location. You were frightened and annoyed, but mostly tired of his shit.

“Well, well, well—“ He tapped a claw to his mouth, that grin just about giving off an illumination in itself, lantern-like and warm. You watched as his large eyes wandered around the room, either searching for something or looking for an excuse, “ This room is proofed!” 

Fucking bullshit. 

You narrowed your eyes at him, having a silent conniption at his antics as he stared at you oh, so innocent; like a deer in headlights. He was such a liar. “You didn’t even try!” Your arms flew out from your sides, hitting a metal shelf with a loud thrumming sound. Instantly, you brought your wrist back to yourself, rubbing it with a frown. If your frown could have gotten any deep, it would have. 

You were not happy.

“Oh, why the unhappy face?” Alastor cooed, the smallest semblance of those claws approaching from the shadows, threatening to poke at your face in a maternal fashion - “You could be stuck in here with someone worse, imagine that! ” He laughed that infamous posh laugh, throwing his head back in such a manner as if he were all too aware that this was the worst-case scenario.

You squinted at the feeling of a ghosting presence near your face, not exactly touching you, but almost. Without the ability to lean back further without literally cracking your head into the wall (and let’s face it, it would have been a better way to go than this), you attempted to side-step him, the memories of being cornered before inducing your heart to pick up in pace dramatically.

With those large, stupid ears of his, you wouldn’t have been surprised if he heard it. 

“Chances of finding someone worse than you is like hitting the lottery,” you muttered under your breath, easing up the frown. It had managed to get to a point that it began to hurt your jaw. You brought your index finger and thumb to the bridge of your nose, rubbing it in small circles as if to ease the headache that had become a reality, and was standing directly in front of you. Trapped.

You were trapped in a closet with Alastor. 

Said asshat laughed again, his claws motioning you to shoo as if you were too funny for him, “ And there it is! That comedy only you can bring! Those crude remarks that I— we can't all help but love!” Alastor made a small motion with his hand, the very atmosphere springing to life as he conjured the microphone; holding it to that splitting grin as if he were announcing this to a large audience. 

His voice glitched midway assuming that there had been an audio cut, his speech diced to better fit a narrative he so wanted you to believe. You could tell he was attempting to keep his touchiness to a minimum, those claws preoccupying themselves by hiding behind his back in such an orderly fashion. He stared at you expectantly on the assumption that you would reward him with a smartass quip.

You were having the week that came from hell.

“Why do you—“ you stressfully brought your hand to the top of your head, running your fingers through your hair, “you know what, nevermind.” You release a heavy exhale, eyes flickering to the light above you as it grew dimmer, shrouding the two of you even further into the pits of darkness. You looked back over to him, wary of keeping him out of your peripheral vision; zoning in on his microphone. You tilted your head slightly as if said motion would give you all the answers you ever desired and more.

He could summon a microphone; he could make the television remote disappear, he could make your phone vanish and appear in his hand—

You gasped loudly as if returning from an epiphany. “Charlie has the key. Do the-“ you snapped your fingers, “the thing you did with my phone!” For a moment your actions became sporadic, excited by the possibility that he could do something like that. You were excited because if he did, you could get out of here. 

He rolled his eyes in amusement, adjusting that monocle and peering at you, “Can’t.” Alastor casted a child-like smile at you, exhilarated at the promise of your furious answer. He leaned forward and decided to make matters worse: “ My darling, hadn’t you heard what I said? The room is proofed, I tell you! Nothing can be done outside of the confines of it… only inside.” He snapped his fingers, the clutter and contents of the room immediately rearranging themselves neatly. 

Can’t. He couldn’t. He just summoned a fucking microphone and he couldn’t? When he rearranged the contents of the room, almost ironically, the already dim light went out. His eyes and teeth highlighted your face. 

This day just got worse and worse.

As if giving you clarity on the situation, the thought of this bastard having a crush on you made an idea pop into your head. You remained quiet for a long moment, staring directly at him. Taking what was given to you from how his light illuminated the space around him and faintly allowed you to see his collar, you reached up without a thought of resistance or care for your own safety and attempted to yank him down to your level.

“You know what I really want?” You lowered your voice into a whisper, your eyelids heavy in an almost seductive way, despite the absolute rage that caused you to do such things. Leaning closer, you ghosted your lips over his before glancing up to meet his eyes, a feigned grin toying upon them.

I want to kick your teeth in. ” You released him, deadpanning and turning to try to sort through the reorganized boxes for a light bulb. 

Only the sharp and piercing sound of a microphone graced the unholy silence that followed, the air filled with both confusion and static as he stared at utterly nothing. 

Alastor turned his head to you suddenly, neck cracking loudly, causing you to jump slightly with a grimace. “Don’t.” He managed to choke out, apparently both surprised and speechless at your confusion words and actions, “Oh— you shouldn’t do that!” He tried to cover up that fleeting moment of seriousness. 

He turned away from you as if contemplating something, muttering low to himself. That odd, new habit he picked up arose again, flexing his claws. He peered over his shoulder at you.

Oh, you probably shouldn’t have felt it, but the pride that swelled in your chest at the fact that you caught him by surprise and hopefully made him respect your boundaries, caused you to give a tight-lipped smug smile.

“Don’t what?” You replied innocently enough, you supposed. The cracking of his neck had frightened you, sure, but you tied it to his surprise, shrugging it off easily. You sorted through the boxes blindly, feeling as assortment if bottles, rags, and other cleaning supplies. Not that box then. You side-stepped to the next one quietly.

Alastor sighed dramatically, attempting to rid himself out of whatever daze you had gotten him in. With a few strides, he stood tall behind you.”I don’t appreciate people touching me. Remember my five-foot rule!” He reminded thoughtfully, grasping his microphone defensively. 

You felt a sharp and stabbing pain, claws tracing themselves along your shoulder, grasping tightly onto you in some sort of episodic conniption. You hissed as they dug into your flesh, pausing in your efforts to stiffen as you felt him lean in, his breath tickling your ear.

But you don’t have a five-foot rule, do you?” He asked slowly, that smugness returned to his tone as he attempted to take control of the situation once more. 

“...If I had one, you wouldn’t care,” you winced, leaning forward and searching through the boxes, sorting through the appliances sightlessly. You rolled your shoulders in an attempt to get him off of you, finally looking over your shoulder and craning your head up to look at him, “would you? ” You narrowed your eyes before turning away from him again, standing on your toes to pull down a cardboard box from a higher shelf, despite the discomfort it caused.

He started to lean his weight onto you, breathing down your neck: “ No, I don’t think I would,” he whispered in a distorted voice, “in fact… it’s more fun when you want me to back off,” he sighed, “But oh, how can I resist those large eyes and that pleading look you give me? Darling…” Alastor placed another hand on your shoulder, his microphone nowhere to be seen, “ you’re so cute—“

You were going to kill him. You didn’t care if he was already dead. You were going to do it again. You clenched your fingers around the cardboard box, chills running up your spine when he breathed on you. Hands still searching through said box that held more promise than the others; your fingers ghosted over what felt like glass, though not having the same bulbous shape. Your heart rate continued to speed up nervously at his proximity of quite literally pressing against you. He had gotten off of you when you touched him. Angel told you to touch him

He didn’t get to win like this. Treat you like this. Reaching behind you, you exposed your palm and grabbed his face, pushing him away: “You said a five-foot rule, right?” 

He didn’t make a sound, his poor hair tarnished beyond repair - making a vain attempt to fix the unkempt you had cursed him with. His monocle was promptly adjusted, brushing himself down with somewhat of a huff before seizing you, clutching you in his arms tightly. “Oh! But that was my rule!” He sang, “You must follow it!” He placed a claw to your nose brattily, his other arm practically encompassing your form as it hung over your shoulder, he tuts.

When he grabbed you, your heart dropped into your stomach, eyes wide and a gasp falling from your lips. “Get off.” You hissed out, trying to pry yourself out of his grip fruitlessly. You couldn’t do anything, so you relied on your words as your defense.

His ear twitched as he heard footsteps from above them, head pivoting upwards; that brilliant red cutting through the dust-clad darkness, his features alone illuminating,

Angel’s voice was muffled yet distinguishable, apparently bullshitting with someone or something; the oink that followed was endearing at the very least, but enticed a noticeably harder grip from Alastor - holding you tightly, like a child - he didn’t want to give up his toy, his favorite little thing in the whole damn underworld. 

The moment you heard Angel, you brought your leg up and slammed your foot down on his shoe, taking the initiative to yell out the arachnid demon’s name in hopes for a savior. 

Alastor hissed, his claws retracting from you as he took a moment to collect himself; he knew he’d gotten a bit carried away, so he stood back for a moment as if he understood Angel couldn’t— or wouldn’t do a thing. Anger was not found in his body; annoyance the only thing that plagued him. He enjoyed playing with his food and adored when it played back, the entire ordeal more of an entertainment to him than an actual harassment. 

He side-eyed you, gazing at those claws dangerously, pretending that he wasn’t or didn’t do anything wrong.

You craned your head to look up at the ceiling. With the footsteps stopping momentarily, Angel's irritating and muffled voice was barely audible; a flummoxed jumble of words from above. Then, like music to your ears, there came a merry oink, accompanied by the loud snorts of a certain marvelous pig. Oh, that stupid, wonderful pig. 

"I'm down here, bud!" You called, a sensation of hope that it would lure the beautiful creature towards your location somehow .

The noise apparently alerted the arachnid demon to your current, unfavorable whereabouts. Until another voice bearing a husky and gruff tone that could barely be heard, annoyed, but curious. Husk? Your brows furrowed, squinting into the darkness. Was Husk up there too?

Fat Nuggets was rarely separated from his master for any magnitude of time. It was that hope that allowed you to imagine a future in which you would be freed from the confines of the damn closet and live to see another day. Navigating your vision towards the sound of snuffling that originated directly above you, you released an exasperated sigh when it was cut off into silence; the sound of the Hotel settling the only ambiance following. 

Fueled with a determination and desire to be released from the hellhole you found yourself in, you shot Alastor a pissed-off glance, the search for a light bulb continuing. Hands dug into the box once more, you hovered over a few glass-like objects until the bulbous shape of your goal caught your attention. Fingertips drifting over it a couple of times to ensure what you were feeling wasn’t a mirage but the real deal; you released a soft sigh of relief, closing your eyes for the longest of moments and holding onto that foreign feeling of reassurance.

Truly, your own excitement could have lit up the room.

With thrill buzzing at your flesh at the notion of a possibility that you would be able to finally see the bastard properly with your own two eyes, you pulled your arm out of the box without any regard or awareness that it was a box full of glass

A sudden and sharp pain shot through your hand, intense enough to grab your own in some primal act of reassurance or defense - the lightbulb, your only harbinger of safety - mishandled, dropped to the floor and shattered in moments discord, loud enough to elicit a wince for a variety of reasons.

You could feel the warmth of your own blood trickle down your palm, heavy on your hand; how it dripped from between your fingertips, falling with an audible and echoing sound that consumed the room.

A cry escaped you, but there was no assurance - no aid to wrap you in a clean bandage and tell you it was going to be okay, there was only silence and the peering eyes of that demon.

That demon, whose ears twitched only at your anguish, his eyes squinting at this new dismay that overtook you; he relished in your pain, tasted it in the air and smelled it on your skin. For the first time today, which was a feat in itself, a grin split his face, failing to conceal the hostility he harbored and aggressiveness that threatened to snap from his now drooling maw. 

Oh, when you’d caught his eyes - utterly bloodthirsty and full of this… lust completely foreign and alien to you, their glow seemed to only grow more vibrant, wilder as his large form towered over you - he was effective in his cornering, subtle to trap you against the metal shelves that lined the walls. His gaze on your wound like a starved beast, neck angled in such a painful position, said neck sickeningly cracking as he’d craned himself down to peer further, closer at the sweet, crimson nectar that fled from your wound - you could feel his breath, the lantern glow of his grin and bright, menacing red of his eyes illuminating your trembling form. 

In attempts to distance yourself, albeit only slightly, you’d turned your head to its side to press your cheek against the cool metal; he was salivating, you’d finally noticed, he was going to eat you.

Your pulse quickened, heart desperately thrumming in your chest as it was only pure ecstasy in Alastor’s mind - he’s gone mad, by such a simple thing? He licked his lips - he’s been craving this.

The slightest movement, the smallest most futile, pathetic attempts to escape were vain as he all too eagerly established his proximity - leaning down, his hair tickled your face as those claws clasped over your wrist - you winced. He wanted it to hurt, he wanted to see you squirm.

He’d noticed your wound threatening to clot up, relinquishing him of that fountain of youth; he only squeezed harder as if trying to coax more from the small gash. You cried again, pitiful in your tone, prompting his hungry gaze to flicker to your face this time - a hue adorned his face.

But it could’ve perhaps been from the lighting; if it were true, and you wouldn’t be surprised - it was a most sick and twisted thing, a blush, caused purely by the pain you’d witnessed.

He was sadistic.

Your stomach clenched in uncertainty and fear, his grip so painfully tight that you released a whine; being paralyzed without the ability to move; circulation in your hand minuscule as he successfully caused your palm to swell with blood; continuing to drip through the spaces of your fingers and onto the floor.

“You’re hurting me.” Your voice was soft, bringing your other hand to try to pry his grip off of you.

He said nothing, that infatuated and almost hypnotic expression dominated his features, your pleas falling on deaf or uncaring ears as his lips ghosted over your flesh, lightly dipping his lips into the blood like it was some sort of cruel sample;  pushing your smaller form into the shelf further, his demeanor seemed perplexed. Infatuation lingered in his eyes.

He released a heavy sigh, similar to a moan, coercing his desire further from your wound.

You watched in horror as the next moments played out, too helpless and frightened to fight him.

Mouth clamping over the wound greedily, his tongue almost hesitant to indulge in such a treat, and yet, the warm and uncomfortably wet appendage slithered over the wound in an act of harassment that wouldn’t be forgotten, a violation of sorts as he squeezed your poor wrist tighter. His other arm coming to soothe those whimpers with an elegant hand, affectionately rubbing your opposite arm in some form of comforting gesture, his sharp claws careful and soft against your flesh as his mouth was anything but - acting a leech, his teeth grazed your skin with a harshness akin to ferality. 

You leaned your head back against the shelf beam in an effort to get further away, the agonizing pain engulfing your thoughts as you tried to place yourself anywhere but here. He was licking your hand. Drinking your blood. You felt nauseated, gross. Violated. They were rough movements, intent on keeping the wound open as he leeched off of you.

“Al, please…” you whined, rivulets of tears beginning to fall down your cheeks, staining them most deliciously. Your thoughts were racing, heart slamming into your ribcage; it wasn’t just a crush. He was completely and utterly obsessed with you. Your vision was blurred and, truthfully, you were glad that it was. You didn’t want to see him, see this act of violation he performed. 

He grinned up at you, revealing those sharp teeth stained with blood - your blood, as he licked them with a satiated sigh, “No, no, no - this won’t do,” Alastor muttered with such manic glee , lifting himself to properly face you; you were unsure what he was referring to, but you’d felt that soft handkerchief tending to your tears, his smile twisted maniacally before settling again to your wound.

He stared at it for a moment before his gaze flickered up to find yours; attempting to offer something akin to reassurance upon his expression but failing miserably. 

A moment passed - he, in deep thought and seemingly conflict. Another emotion this time swelling from behind his grin, perhaps the only truth in his facade. Guilt, albeit only the smallest and minuscule amount. 

Snapping his fingers the room was once more filled with that dim glow - he repaired the light, “Lights on!” he announced curtly, “... now, where is that medical kit? Can’t have our employee bleeding on the carpets!” he covered himself, the urge and now habit of referring to such a darling as my played on his tongue. He turned again, bloodied mouth still present as he chipperily began to search for mentioned medical kit.

You felt like you were going to faint. You leaned against the shelf for support, grabbing at the metal with your unwounded hand. When he turned the light back on, you barely noticed; too dumbfounded and numb over what just happened. Vulgar. Disgusting. Vile. An abomination. Evil.” You whisper oh so softly under your breath as he continued to search for something. You weren’t exactly all there. 

For your own sake, you were glad you were dazed. Bringing your hand to you, you detached from the shelf and stared down at the deep indentations that he made with his own tongue and teeth. It still bled, no doubt from his vandalization of your hand. 

“I don’t want to play your game anymore,” you spoke up suddenly, surprising yourself, tears continuing to stream down your face despite his wicked efforts of appeasement only moments ago. 

He turned with a flourish, presenting the kit in such a manner it seemed like a gift descended from the heavens. he blinked a few times as if surprised, a wry smile coming to his lips, “Game?” he played with the idea, thoughtfully humming as his proud strides brought him inside your personal bubble once more.

“Why, this isn’t a game! Darling, look--” Alastor takes your hand gently this time, but upon your attempts to jerk it back he only stared as if you were a misbehaving child. “Hmmm…” his tone was lower and displeased, but the gauze and alcohol he presented seemed to soothe your woes if only hardly. He stared expectantly at you as he tipped the alcohol onto a fresh cotton pad, staring through those bambi lashes, “I need your arm, dear.”

Staring at the bottle of alcohol, the cotton pad, then his outstretched hand, you gave him the last bit of trust you had in hopes that he wouldn’t tear your arm off and serve it on a silver platter. Entirely embarrassed and numb, you begrudgingly gave him your arm. “Then whatever it is! My darling, my dear, my employee, my entertainment.” You looked up at him; your frown a direct opposite of his eternal smile. 

I am not yours.”

He rolled his eyes and tended to your wound, watching the small wince that came with the alcohol contact. Alastor raised a brow, “Of course.” he replied happily, waiting a moment before wiping down the wound and applies something to the gauze before fastening it to your hand. “ You know…” he states, flattening down the large bandage gently, “You get into a lot of trouble! I almost feel sorry for you.

You stared up at him like he had five heads. “I mean it, I’m done. Whatever sick pleasure you get from this — it’s done.” You were fed up with him completely and utterly, even when he brushed off your statement. You narrowed your eyes, taking your hand back hesitantly and inspecting the bandages as if expecting a tracking device to be under the bandages. You were paranoid, but rightfully so. You doubted if you put the idea in his mind he would be able to pass up such a thing. You decided to stay silent until he spoke up again. “You know,” you mocked him, “it’s almost like I get hurt because of you.” 

His retaliation was nothing but an amused squint, the following moments of you inspecting your hand caused him to take action, “Ah, ah ah,” he wagged a claw at you condescendingly, your hand snatched back into the hands of a psychopath. 

“It’s not done yet.” he drawled and you couldn’t help but utterly dread what was to come next. A soft, warm thing was pressed against your bandage, his lips as he kissed where he injured worse; a perhaps genuine show of affection that lingered for many moments. It was fascinating how a demon could be so delicate. He recoiled then, holding your hand as he flashed a charming smile,

Now, it is done.”

Despite your emotions in utter turmoil and being about a second away from having a meltdown , when you saw him lean his head down to press his lips to your hand, you couldn’t help but feel your heart flutter. It was something that was foreign; strange, unwelcome. You passed it as nervousness because that’s what it was. He never ceased to confuse you, to have you guessing what he would do next; a true enigma to mankind— to you. 

There was a long, uncomfortable silence during the act, your shoulders slumping as if too tired to keep them stiffened, lest your muscles spasm and just collapse. “Al,” 

He stared at you with those eyes, “Oh? I was expecting the silent treatment again…” Alastor commented, holding a hand to his mouth as if stifling laughter, “But, please continue.” He brushes himself down yet again to preoccupy himself.

You remain quiet for the longest of moments; long enough for him to begin to wonder if you were ever going to answer. “I know.” You state simply, looking up to him as if he would know what you were referring to. 

He looked away for a moment, eyes narrowing slightly when they met yours yet again, “You know… ?” was all he said for a moment, “ My recipe?” He asked thoughtfully, but his tone was full of manipulation as he tried to divulge your thoughts or play innocent, “Darling, it is difficult to understand what you’re referring to!”

“You know, it’s funny. Because I don’t think you even know why you mess with me so much.” You were going to fish it out of him if it were the last thing you ever did— it was the one thing you held above him. His delirious interest in you.

“Why you can’t get away from me. Why I slept in Angel’s room last night.” You crossed your arms with a sigh. 

He leaned in, “I think I know quite well why I jab you so; you’re so entertaining, full of all the reactions I crave and more, always a player in my games when the need arises, an avid source of playfulness.” Alastor’s lidded gaze greeted you, “Isn’t it obvious?” He chuckled.

Oh, it was so obvious. “You,” you leaned in, narrowing your eyes back at him. “Are such a terrible liar.” Perhaps you could have fun with this; you could mess with him a bit longer— have him chase after the answer like some dog after a toy ball. 

For the first time, you smiled at him— he was so proud that he couldn’t see the answer he was literally giving himself with his own actions. Blinded by a desire to keep his twisted entertainment. Your smile, however, wasn’t because of him, it was because you had the ball in your field and you weren’t letting it go anytime soon.

He only inspected his claws, feigning a disinterest for a moment, “A terrible liar?  Why, the blood loss must be making you delirious--” he comments smugly, “Perhaps you need something to eat? Some rest? Maybe then you’ll stop making foolish accusations.” Alastor hummed, his rather rude comment thrown by his happy tone.

Oh, Alastor,” you grinned now, your cheeks beginning to hurt from how big you were smiling. Oh, this was too good. “I know something you don’t~” You sang.

“You think you do,” he argued, his tone a tad frustrated with your behavior. Alastor scoffed, a shit-eating grin splits his face as his claws grab at your face for the umpteenth time - “If you’re so sure, why don’t you tell me?” he inquired in a cool tone.

You released a soft giggle, “Oh, you are so,” you leaned in, even with him holding your face, “ so…” Hold it for a dramatic pause. When you saw his face, you realized he really didn’t know. You sighed, coming off of your laughter high, pausing and letting the smile drift off of your face with an air of silence. He really didn’t know. 

“Alastor, you’re infatuated with me."  

His smile broke into a million pieces, that wonderfully fun moment ruined by that statement. Staring at your face with a mix of horror and utter shock as if questioning both himself and the reality he was faced with - silent, for once. Those hands that once grasped your face trembled slightly as if you’d struck fear in his heart with those words. Alastor was caving, but you’d not gotten to see the outcome of such events as he’d almost snatched himself away from your form as if you’d burned him. 

He looked at you no longer, his posture stiff and impossibly quick to retreat from the closet. The door was supposed to be locked, but when Alastor had demanded freedom it gave, the beautiful light from outside silhouetting his tall form as he soundlessly exited the room, leaving the door ajar as silence followed in his wake.

Chapter Text

Whatever amusement that had built up in the short amount of time in the previous moment, fled from your mind almost instantaneously. Nausea was a well known feeling that coiled low in your gut, unwelcome but familiar. A strange pallor graced your skin, heaving as chills ran rampant on your body in an effort to show your discomfort. Sickness began to chase up your throat until abruptly being forced back down. He made you sick. Uncomfortable. You could still feel the phantom of his hands on you, his teeth, his tongue. 

But nothing ever left your mouth, a blatant reminder that you had yet to eat that morning. Your appetite was non-existent at this point; the thought of eating was a foreign thing. If anything, it made you feel even more sick. Your eyes remained trained on the particular spot Alastor had stood only a moment ago— and yet, to you, it felt like an eternity. Your confidence in yourself and the situation walked right out the door with him, lip twitching. 

Your adrenaline had caused you to push away his evil deeds he had violated you with, the humor you had allowed to slip from you a fight or flight response. In your inability to fight or flee from the situation; a defense mechanism had been summoned, primal and a last act of self-preservation, despite his actions turning to, dare you say it, a more gentle nature. You released a shaky breath.

You recalled Vaggie’s words of him being a wicked, violent monster of chaos from so long ago, and truly, you could not have said it better yourself.

The creaking of the settling Hotel was the only ambiance in the immediate area, the normal chaos non-existent. The distant resonations from explosions confirmed your suspicions on what exactly caused everything prior to play out, much to your utter disappointment. You turned your head, snapping back into reality and ultimately into focus towards the entrance to the Hotel, almost dazed, waiting to see if he would come back. He didn’t. Silence was your only company. 

Tough facade thoroughly cracked and transparent, heart slamming in your chest; you watched the stained glass windows flexed the light in what would have been a gorgeous way if you weren’t already on your way to having a breakdown. Stress and emotion clouded your gaze, finally spilling over once you reanimated yourself by slamming your palm against the door, just as another distant explosion reverberated through the foundations and threatened to close it again.

You take that as your cue to make your escape; darting out of the closet and beelining it straight to the movement you heard from upstairs. You doubted you had ever moved so quick in your life, tripping over your own feet as you climbed up the stairs in alarm. The moment you reached the hallway, a blur of darkness shrouded you as you slammed into a hard frame, a loud grunt and a ‘ fuck’ being released from said individual. The impact caused you to fall onto your ass unceremoniously.

In your state of hazy confusion and fear, you briefly expected it to be the Radio Demon himself-- until what was said caught up with your frantic mind. You bring a hand up and rub away the tears that continued to threaten to spill down your cheeks, clouding your eyes and blurring the feline demon who now peered down at you with a mixture of annoyance, ignorance of what to do,  and thinly veiled concern.

Husk.

Whatever was being held back was released upon coming to the realization you were now in the presence of someone who didn’t want to eat you alive. His wings were unraveled in surprise, and you watched as they returned to their original drooped positioning after a moment of comprehension of, in his own words, what the fuck was going on. Husk remained motionless for a long instance of inner monologue. 

“C’mon kid, get up.” He gruffly said at last, grumpily offering you a paw. You’re careful of the long claws, and when you hesitantly accept the help, he pulls you up silently. You were sniffling pathetically, fat tears bubbling down your cheeks. He stared at you, assessing your expression. You weren’t sure if you were supposed to remain there helplessly or just go somewhere quiet and private to bury your woes. You room sounded like a good idea. But your privacy had been invaded in there too, hadn’t it?

Husk’s tail rested on the ground, twitching in what was probable concern, betraying his pissed off and grumpy expression that adorned his face. There’s another minute of hesitation before you release a choked sob and fall into him. Said demon stiffens, placing a single foot behind him at the sudden, unexpected force. His arms were raised half-way, paws outstretched in surprise. He’s as still as a statue, your tears staining his fur, a permanent grimace nearly tattooed on his face.

There’s a defeated sigh above you before you feel his frame relax just enough for purrs to rumble through his chest. You weren’t sure if he was even aware he was doing it; it was deeper, but more matching to his ill-tempered and peeved persona. His fluff begins to take the initative of calming you down, he was surprisingly comfortable and warm. No wonder he barely wore clothes. He didn’t need to. His purring continued on at a low frequency, loud enough to offer you consolation in his own way despite him still useless standing there as you cried against him. 

The tears were nearly infinite, a dam broken; every single stress that had been laid on your shoulders by Alastor making itself known with each tear that was shed. You were a mess. 

 

Husk had begun to wonder whether you would ever stop crying. His purring picked up a notch, now able to feel it through his fur. He wasn’t even aware he was doing it. Immediately suspecting that the reason for your crying was regarding Alastor, his tail began to twitch behind him, annoyed and concerned over the fact that the Radio Demon was preying on this young woman to the point that she was finding comfort in him. 

 

The last individual you would  and should have gone to for comfort. He supposed it ignited a sense of concern and protectiveness deep inside him; but he would never admit it. Hell to the fucking no. 

 

When no more tears could be produced and there was a lot, you remained still, regaining some control over your emotions. You were so exhausted. Emotionally, physically. While you were unable to die from exhaustion at this point, it felt like you could. You supposed that was one of the reasons it was Hell. Reminding you that you still had to suffer through the side-effects of life, despite it being the afterlife. Was Heaven free of these stresses? A sense of envy sparked deep in you. 

 

What did you do to deserve this?

 

Husk slow blinked down at you once you regained enough skill to hold yourself up appropriately, watching as you rubbed your eyes blearily, offering a whispered ‘sorry’, before rubbing your nose. “So, you’re going to tell me what the fuck that shit was about.” He grumbled, holding up a claw. “But not here.” His ears pivoted this way and that as if listening for something or someone. 

 

He seemed eager to get out of the Hotel, which indicated that it was most likely Angel he was fed up with. The arachnid had been all over him from day one; but a lot more muted and playful than the situation you found yourself wound up in.

Your heart felt heavy in your chest, watching as Husk passed you and turning to follow after him like a lost puppy. His mannerisms were interesting; you take time to notice the not so subtle details of his design. Card designs decorated his wings— could he fly? The random thoughts were for your sake lest you slip into a fit of depression once again. His tail curled and twisted between each step he took in a frantic fashion; thrashing back and forth that made you believe he was pissed about something. 

 

Eventually, the two of you reach the lobby once again, silence the only conversation the two of you had on the way. He led you to the front door, a gust of cold air reminding you of the frost biting weather that originated from outside. Even snow had begun to collect on the ground. It had been so long since you had seen a shade of such purity, and your heart lurched at the sight of it. Uncertain, you glance back at the coat hanger, debating whether or not take one despite none of them being yours. 

 

Trying your luck, you’re cut off by a happy squeal that resounded down the hallway of the lobby, hooves of a certain endearing pig being made known. Your eyes widened slightly at the impending pig that hopped towards you. Confusion knitted your eyebrows together before you released a soft breath of amusement, watching as Angel hurried after him. 

 

It had heard you

 

It’s intelligence made you admire it, even as you it was whisked up and placed into the arms of Angel Dust. Fat Nuggets nearly skipped up to you, squealing and snorting the entire way before stopping and wiggling his body at you in excitement. He bounced from hoof to hoof, ignoring the clatter of fast paced heel clicks coming behind him.

 

"Nuggets, I fuckin' told y--" Angel trailed off mid sentence, both sets of arms crossed sternly. His eyes bounced from the pig, to you, to Husk, and back to you. Confusion was scarcely hidden on his face, "You wanted her ? She's leavin', bud." He didn't bother asking where or why, he simply scooped up Fat Nuggets in his arms and turned to go back upstairs. 

 

"And don't keep the door open. 'S fuckin' cold. " He called from behind him.

 

“I’m okay,” you said to the pig as it wiggled in Angel’s grip to peer from his shoulder. If someone would have told you you would be speaking to a pig about your health, mental or physical, you would have laughed in their face. But here you were.  

 

Husk grunted, and you turned to face him. He made a motion with his head to hurry up. 

“I don’t have a coat.” You stated lightly to the feline. Truth be told, you didn’t really want to go outside. Al ass tor had been last seen out there and like hell if you were willing to deal with him anytime soon. You wouldn’t be able to handle it.

 

Angel simply glanced at you again, eyes shooting up and down your figure. His face began to contort into a series of uncomfortable expressions. "Mnn. Just take my fuckin' coat. God, just," one hand came up to brush up his hair, his eyebrows furrowed as he looked away pointedly, tapping his foot. "Don't get shit on it. Ya got it?"

 

“Your coat?” You looked back up to him in confusion and perhaps even a bit of awe. You stared at the effeminate arachnid for a long moment, coming to the conclusion that he didn’t have a coat. At least, he wasn’t wearing one. You tilted your head slightly.

 

Realizing you were staring, he flustered, gold tooth flashing as he violently pointed to the pink fluffy mass of a coat hanging on the top notch of the coat rack, "God, kid. Blind or somethin'? Get her eyes checked while you're out, Husky." He spun around and took a step forward. Husk rolled his eyes.

 

Oh .” You followed his finger and stared at the very big and very fluffy pink jacket. It was more fur than actual jacket and far too big for you. You didn’t move, staring owlishly at it. 

 

Frustrated and embarrassed, Angel took two strides forward and grabbed the coat, tearing it off the hook, and turning to you. He didn’t even look at you when he raised it and dumped it unceremoniously on you. The entire time his face was a pale pink and he began muttering curses. “There. Happy?”

 

The coat swallows you whole, the weight causing you to stumble a bit before regaining your balance. You mutter a muffled response that sounds like a thank you, but with fur in your mouth, you could barely be comprehensive. 

 

“Great. Fantastic.” Husk muttered, raising a paw and, grasping the pink fluffed hood, gave a harsh, impatient tug.

 

You felt yourself being tugged out the door, and you offer a small glance to Angel before it’s slammed behind you. The moment it is, you spit out a pink fur ball from your mouth, the arms of the coat nearly dragging across the ground. So much for not getting stuff on it. It was pretty, if not exceedingly flamboyant. And heavy. And probably very expensive.

 

  It was warm though, and you suppose that's what you had been after.

 

Walking down the three stairs that lead from the balcony, a silence met your ears other than the wind that ‘ruffled the feathers ’ quite literally on Husk. 

 

So, uh… ” Husk starts as if unsure how to speak to you. He was well aware that you were  a mess, you look like a mess and he couldn’t help but feel… not good , “What the fuck was that back there?” 

 

You recoil at the sheer volume of his voice, the ntensity in his voice about the subject because you’re so torn up about it. You were meek at first, avoidant and trying to hide in the massive mountain of fluff - attempting to escape, you note the smell of the overbearing garment and the comfortability it harbored as Husk’s sudden tangent, his rapid-fire questions unanswered, were muffled. You just wanted to hide.

 

“-- and about that fuckin’ red-headed, microphone bastard.” 

 

You wince and you get a fresh reminder of what exactly you’d been trying to take your mind off of. You manage to bring a finger to your lips, shushing him. “Quiet down, please.”  

 

He released a furious huff, “but he won’t leave you alone!” he exclaims, throwing his paws up in frustration. 

 

You glance up at him warily, anxiously messing with the fabric on the coat. You were paranoid. Alastor was probably listening in right now - you were never truly left alone, and if you had learned it the hard way. “He’s infatuated with me.” You release with a sigh, shoulders slumping as you craned your head to the red sky— if only that would give you a semblance of comfort. It didn’t. You looked back up at Husk.

 

He’d gone quiet, expression contorting into one of annoyance, “Yeah, you fuckin’ bet he is,” Husk grumbled, that long and endearing tail twitched behind him. He crossed his arms, “Fuckin’ weird as it is, it’s not some secret. He blows at covering his shit up.” The feline looked like he needed a drink, grimace looking even more dire than usual - concern lingered in his eyes for a moment, glassy and overbearingly warm. But he turned quickly as if to shade such a weakness, trying to push away the trying and exhausting feelings of care.

 

Bitterly musing through the memories of earlier that day, you kicked a pebble in your comfortable stride. Unlike Alastor, you could actually walk with Husk. “He’s out of his mind.” You stated the fact, solidifying your disgust with the situation by bringing your hand up. “Husk, he licked my fucking hand.” You pointed to the bandaging with an exasperated expression; still feeling the ghost of his tongue on the wound. 

 

“I just— I guess it’s not right to assume but, you’ve been down here longer than me. He has too, so you know more about him than I do.” You were ranting now, spilling every worry and woe to the feline, every stress the Radio Demon had given you just by enchanting you with his presence. “So why me? Has this happened before? Why-“ you wanted to rip your hair out, “Why me!?” You snapped, ironically ignoring the fact that you had just told Husk to lower his voice.

 

Husk only listened in silence, his demeanor colder than ice and exceedingly serious - each time you’d gotten passionate, angry about something that Alastor had tortured you with, the feline could feel his own anger grow, the frustration and feeling of helplessness bubbled in his chest and acted as a heavy weight on his conscience - he didn’t dare say a word, he’d save them all for him, that… radio fuck. 

 

“He never tells me why. He just says that I’m his favorite-- Favorite? What does that even mean!? ” He was so cryptic with his words, never giving you a solid answer, always dancing on the fine line of just letting you know enough. 

 

But it was never enough.

 

You weren’t different. You were just you. “I don’t know how much longer I can put up with it, Husk. I told him I was done with his game, I told him he was infatuated with me and- and he fucking dipped.” Perhaps you were beginning to let Angel rub off on you. You had picked up on his way of speaking. His vocabulary. You didn’t notice.

 

Husk’s eyebrows rose, pupils narrowing into pinpricks while a sneer adorned his whiskers, “Oh, man--” he guffawed, bitterly chuckling at Alastor bullshittery, “He fuckin’ bailed the moment you called out his shit?” He howled with laughter, wheezing at the unfortunate antics of his… ‘ boss’. His laughter wholly in amusement, twisted with venom and utter distaste for the red-headed demon that taunted his friend so. 

 

Husk turned  to her, as serious as the grave, “He’s not gonna give up, you know.”

 

His laughter was contagious, mostly because it was so rare to hear him laugh. Despite a small smile adorning your lips because of that, it eventually sizzled out when he turned serious. You furrowed your brows. “What does he want?” You questioned aloud as if Husk would have all of the answers.

 “What is he chasing?” Was it so bad to wish for a happy and peaceful afterlife?

 

Hell was not a peaceful slumber, it was restless and harsh and terrible - monsters lingering at every corner threatening to consume you whole… Husk knew this and understood you only wished for something that your reality was not, “Sounds like he’s chasing you.” That gruff voice interrupted, head hung low as both their feet crunched through the snow, the only sound aside from their angry conversation.

 

“How do I make him quit it?” 

 

Well, have you asked him to stop?” Oh, how Husk knew it was foolish to ask such a question, but it was a poor attempt to lighten the mood and ease her nerves - that still didn’t quell the internal berating he’d given himself.

 

You stared up at him for a long moment at the humored question. “I think I’ve said it in every single conversation,” you offered a response nonetheless. You felt tired . While easing a bit of stress and sharing the burden just barely with Husk and Angel, it still was your burden to bear. He didn’t know, despite his experience that rivaled your own in life. He didn’t seem like the relationship kind of guy in your very humble opinion. “Can we talk about something else?”

 

The slight cringe of his features that accompanied the question was answer enough to his guilt - he made you uncomfortable, just great - his paws coming together to warm themselves while a small moment passed where he wished he’d worn those mittens again. Husk grunted, nodding, “Sounds like a damn good idea to me.” His lip twitched upwards again, thoughtful, as he’d sent you a slow and deep blink - he felt almost calm.

 

You weren’t sure what the blink meant, but you supposed it was some sort of hidden message you would never figure out. And for some reason, that was fine by you. Your cheeks had grown red by the cold, your breath visible. The silence was welcome, comfortable even.

 

 “I don’t remember anything of my past life.” You blurted. “Not really, anyway. I don’t know what… I did.” You admitted heavily; as if the statement in itself was something to burden on his shoulders. “...And it’s hard to know how to react and respond to situations when I’m missing out on everything I ever was.” Your heart felt heavy, but not out of the discomfort of the conversation.

 

No, the topic was surprisingly easy to talk about with Husk. “I’ve gotten memories here and there but… they’re not anything significant.” 

 

He hummed in acknowledgment, coming to flex those large wings as if in some deep thought - truly attempting to absorb all this information you’d fed him, attempting to help. Husk was unsure of what to say exactly, hesitant in his words, “A lot of us don’t know what we did… “ he started lowly, gaze fixated on the snow under his feet, “You know--” like an elderly gentleman, he’d gotten that look; the expression of someone lost in memory, ready to exploit words of wisdom upon his favorited youngins for their betterment, “Your past isn’t everything you ever were - I mean, fuck - I’ve seen a buncha assholes build an empire without even knowing their damn names .”

 

Suddenly, a high-pitched and utterly endearing sound escaped him as he’d inhaled a bit of snow - a kitten sneeze. He rubbed his nose. You glanced up at him with amusement, but decided to not comment on it.

 

 “And let me tell you, I fuckin’ bet you could do the same even without your memories. You decide who you are, don’t let some shit— some memories determine what kind of person you are. A past is a past.” Husk replied solemnly, his wisdom perhaps unhelpful but certainly he was trying - the poor feline looked almost awkward and flourished his words with his paws as if in nervousness.

 

If you had been in an anime, your eyes would have had stars in them, pupils blown out of their normal slitted shape. You were in awe , you truly hadn’t known he had it in him. The moment he had finished, you latched onto him in a tight hug; not caring for his claws or whatever rebuttal he would give. People needed hugs, okay? And you gave some pretty gosh darn good ones. Husk stiffened but gave into your affection a lot easier the second time around. 

 

“Thank you.” You pulled away after a moment, beaming up at him before your expression softened into a hesitant one. “But I should really find out what happened. I think... I think it would help, y’know?” You thought back onto the commercial with a comical loud gasp, patting your pockets and breathing a sigh of relief at your habit you had practically made with bringing the paper with you everywhere. 

 

You dug it out, the paper crumbled and barely legible at this point. You tried your best to smooth out the paper, but it was past redemption. At least you could make out just enough. “Do you know what IMP is?” 

 

“The fuck is that?” He deadpanned.

 

You took that as a ‘no’. “Um,” you leaned the paper closer to your face, squinting. “Imme…” You huffed out in frustration before bringing it to your face again after attempting to straighten it out more. “Immediate Murder Professionals? ” You questioned allowed. That sounded right and wrong at the same time. “I don’t want to kill anyone.” You state quickly before he had the chance to comment on it.

 

“Their jingle said they had a portal to the human realm, I can— I can see if they can help me find out something. It’s my best chance, Husk, please.” You had stopped walking, causing him to look back down to you and following suit. 

 

“Kid, I don’t give a shit what you do. Just—“ He paused, wrapping his arms together. “Don’t do anything stupid.” He mumbled the last part. You didn’t hear it, already buzzing with excitement over the fact that this was it. 

 

That was all you needed. Pulling your phone out of the second pocket, you dialed the number and nervously held the phone to your ear. It rang once, twice, your excitement fading into anxiety when it continued to ring. It ended without a voicemail and you hung up. You looked at the number again on the paper, and then at the phone, biting your lip. 

 

Husk was tempted to tell you to not get your hopes up. But he remained silent, furling out his wings and covering himself in their shelter. He really needed a fuckin’ drink. 

 

By the third time you dial the number, it finally picks up, a monotone feminine voice that sounded like a moody, emo teenager responding: “Hello, IMP.” You froze with an “um,” and there’s a groan on the other end. “Listen, if this is that telemarketing again, you can go sit on a dick.” Your eyebrows shot up, looking over at Husk who was wrapped up endearingly in his wings. He gave you a raised, grumpy eyebrow. 

 

“Uh, yeah, um, I mean no, it’s not. I was wondering if I could speak to whoever’s in charge… please?” Your voice ended in a hopeful lilt.

 

There was silence for a moment before a loud “ BLITZØ! YOU GOT SOMEONE ON THE PHONE FOR YOU!” Made you pull the phone away from your ear with a wince. There’s silence for a long moment, and you hear a faint ‘No, it’s not Stolas. I don’t fucking know! How should I know what she wants?” Stolas. There was that name again. Suddenly a grumble was announced before a recognizable voice took control of the phone. 

 

“Blitzø here, the o is silent. You’ve called the IMP—who can we murder for you?” Your cheeks paled, nervously toying with the fur of the coat. 

 

“No no , I don’t— I don’t want to get anyone killed,” you paused and there was dead silence on the other side before he spoke up again: 

“Y-you do know what IMP stands for, right?” He sounded baffled as if you were really fucking stupid. 

 

“Yes! I saw your advertisement. I heard you had… a way to get to the human realm. I can’t remember anything of my past— what I did to get down here. If I was killed, what was the cause of my death—“

 

“We’re not investigators.” He cut you off. “We get the job done, quick and easy. Without a trace. Catching my drift?” You could hear the sneer in his voice. 

 

“I have money.” You blurted, desperate. 

 

The silence is so long that you thought that he had hung up already, but once there’s a heavy intake of air and a loud sigh, he begins: “Fine. Fine. You can come down to the facility and we can go over what you want. It’s a case by case thing. No promises though, we don’t do this type of thing often.” He continued on to say that it would be a hefty sum of cash, and you paled when he said the price before hesitantly agreeing.

 

You needed to. 

 

Giving you the directions, he bid you farewell by hanging up on you without a word. 

 

You tucked your phone away, unsure of what to do now. “Where’s the third circle of Hell?” You turned to Husk who released a low grumble as if recalling. 

 

“Far.” Was his only answer, voice muffled by his wings.

 

Far.” You repeated with a whisper. How would you get to ’ far’? You felt nervous. Uncertain. Had you done the right thing?  Was this what you were supposed to do? Your stomach did flips before releasing a sigh. You watched him return his wings to his back properly. 

 

It is only after a few moments the feline started to feel the effects of the hospitality you brought upon you beaming up at him. “Should probably head back to the Hotel, don’t want to catch a cold.” He gruffly stated, turning back to the direction of said Hotel, but walking slow enough for you to keep pace with him. 

 

You and Husk make it back to the hotel in sweet silence. Good things never lasted, you supposed, as the sound of yelling greeted you outside of the facility before Husk opened the door. 

 

Vaggie and Angel are at it -- Charlie and her had apparently returned while you were out on your little walk; the moth demon looked like she was going to pull her hair out, or better yet, throw hands with the tall and feminine arachnid who was purposefully tipping over expensive glasses just to spite her.

 

The two of you enter just as a bottle falls to the floor and shatters, the bickering coming to a halt for a single moment to see you (or what can be presumed as you) in a giant ball of pink fluff and Husk, who was begrudgingly helping said ball of fluff out of Angel’s massive coat at the doorway.

 

“Welcome back!” Charlie greeted from across the room, turning to approaching you-- Angel following in suit. The rosy-cheeked woman jumped at the voice of Vaggie having a conniption over Angel.

 

Hijo de puta! You’re not taking this seriously!” The moth demon is holding up a bag of white powder and it becomes immediately clear what caused the argument. 

 

By the time the coat was removed from you and boy, were you glad for that weight to be off of your shoulders, Charlie had pushed herself between the two as they got into each other’s faces, nervously but calmly trying to break up the heated argument and impending fight - briefly sending a look over at you and Husk as if asking for help.

 

Angel pushed Charlie out of the way which pisses off Vaggie even more. He turned to the porcelain-like demon, towering over her:

 

“It don’t fuckin’ help that while ya were out on yer fuckin’ date, yer Radio dickwad had gotten stuck in a closet with her.” All of Angel’s arms were pointed in your direction. Your felt your throat close. Had he eavesdropped? 

 

You could hear a pin drop as Charlie glanced over at you with horror in her expression. The argument that was taking place once again between Vaggie and Angel ultimately being tuned out as you watched Husk return to the bar, sorting through different bottles of alcohol. 

 

The moment you look back, your met with the concerned expression of the Princess of Hell.

 

Silently, she leads the two of you down a long hallway, one that was dramatically familiar to you in a way that you could traverse it with your eyes closed. Nevertheless, the paintings that adorned the walls never ceased to get your attention. A majority of them consisted of different assortments of family portraits; always so elegant in the making and beautifully, exceptionally painted. 

 

“...Are you okay?”

 

Charlie’s voice is soft, light with the acknowledgement to you. You turned your attention back to her, her pace slowed once the two of you turned down a hallway that was littered wall-to-wall with different paintings. 

 

“Husk made me feel better.” You responded softly, and she turned to you, pausing in her steps. You followed suit, rubbing your other arm as a heavy breath fell from your lips. She crossed her arms in a motherly manner, heavy concern on her face. “...He did a few things I don’t really want to talk about right now.” You were embarrassed, disgusted, uncomfortable. Alastor made you feel an assortment of emotions you didn’t want to feel. 

 

Despite having the ball in your field, it was deflated. 

 

She noticed immediately and latched onto you, causing you to wrap your arms around her. You would have cried right then and there if it weren’t the fact that you physically couldn’t anymore. Still, your face warmed at the notion, and you buried your face against her shoulder. Her perfume she had on from the date smelled good and you released a soft sigh. When you reopened your eyes, your eyes remained trained on a painting behind her of her family. They looked like royalty.

 

She didn’t offer you words of comfort, but her actions were more than enough to appease you.

 

It was hard to believe that Charlie was the daughter of Lucifer. 

 

When a crash is heard from the lobby, shaking the paintings, you feel Charlie stiffen around you. She was ready to march right back out into the lobby and scold both of them, and yet, even admist the chaos, you focus your attention the painting, narrowing your eyes. Subtle movements that you chalked up to your stress and skyrocketed anxiety. You blink quickly, eyebrows knitting together as Charlie finally pulls back, offering you a small, sweet smile, until she notices your expression.

 

You separate from her and leant in to look at the painting when it happens again, the subtle movements turning into… ripples, a certain and common painting suddenly water-like and tangible. You were going insane. This was it. You finally cracked. Charlie turns around as you watch on in confusion and awe only to observe as a claw suddenly curls around the frame of the art. 

 

You nearly scream, jumping behind Charlie as more and more of something is revealed. A finely-clad leg this time coming to brace itself on the frame, and an otherworldly creature slowly coming to crawl out of it. It paused briefly before it finally released itself into the confines of the hallway, a face not unlike Charlie’s being revealed from beneath a tall hat.

 

Dad!?”

Chapter Text

“Good afternoon, Charlie!” 

 

Lucifer’s expression was the epitome of delight , lingering in the frame as a void of oblivion pulsed around him; bending to his will in such a way that sparked a sensation of awe and wariness deep inside of you. 

 

He remained positioned within the support of the picture; said painting somehow not collapsing under the weight of such an interdimensional portal. You supposed that wasn’t the most bizarre thing you had ever witnessed down here, but it was definitely up there. You blinked up at him owlishly, peering from behind Charlie.

 

Unintentionally, you had begun to search for a method to the madness, trying to pick apart such otherworldly powers that you didn’t and would never fully come to understand. 

 

Charlie appeared to be in some sort of a revelation of thoughts, lost in her mind as the devil escaped the clutches of the darkness that now wisped from the painting. He landed in an elegant, refined manner just before said daughter piped up and began to converse quickly (in what sounded to be much more based on anxiety and tension than actual excitement).

 

His grin was sharp, if not a bit predatory.

 

From what you could see from behind her, a placement you had taken up in instinctually for self-preservation, Lucifer’s hat reached just above Charlie. When you peered around, you lightheartedly began to recall the soapbox upon realizing that he was, in fact, shorter than her. You couldn’t help but stifle a small laugh at the thought of such a high and mighty demon being so utterly miniature. 

 

He was still taller than you though, if just barely. 

 

His eyes snapped to you as if he heard your thoughts, appropriately causing you to jump and remind yourself that he was indeed the head-honcho in Hell and, despite the polka-esque and jovial mood he possessed, he had powers and strength unimaginable to you. You never wanted to find out . Luckily for you, he did not seem to be here to smite anyone out of existence, much to your utter relief. 

 

You could stop - proverbially - sweating buckets. 

 

He had a comical nature of jolliness, the air far lighter than you would have expected for such a demon of high caliber. He possessed no red horns or sharp tail— no, he looked important. You began to notice the specific artifacts and objects integrated into his attire: a worm that curled around his hat that you hoped wasn’t alive. There was an apple atop his cane and one positioned upon his hat, held in place by said gigantic worm. 

 

He didn’t look much like a demon, in your personal belief. No, he had the same pepperoni cheeks as Charlie did. 

 

You were beginning to notice a theme. 

 

Charlie, in the meantime, had a positively adorable smile adorning her features at the fact that, while it was her father, he was still a guest . Perhaps she wasn’t a failure, after all. A spark of hope lingered low in her chest that he had come here to support her dream and not smush it underneath his cane like a bug. Her smile twitched slightly at the thought, snapping out of the anxious reverie she had found herself in. 

 

“So, who is this?” Lucifer inquired, staring directly back at you. 

 

You gulp, stepping from behind your protector to come face to face with him completely. Charlie happily introduced you, and upon her finishing, you were met with an utterly devilish grin as he stuck out a clawed hand for your to shake. You stared down at it for a long moment, watching as it twitched impatiently before grasping his hand in yours. 

 

His skin was cold, uncomfortable , but you kept your hand in his until he let you go, all for the sake of not standing on thin ice with Lucifer .

 

Pleasure to meet you,” he tested your name on his tongue, sounding pleasantly exotic from his accented voice. “Delightful name!” He piped up in a continuation excitedly, and you couldn’t help but offer an amused laugh at his energetic nature, a bashful smile at his compliment as he shook your hand a few times before releasing you.

 

You brought your hand back to your side, tilting your head over to the painting behind him. The tendrils of an expanding, absence of light were nowhere to be seen. Simply a memory of what could have been your sanity finally snapping under the pressure of your daily stresses if it were not for the culprit standing directly in front of you. 

 

When the conversation hit a stalemate, you went over and gave into your biting curiosity, reaching up and poking at the painting inquisitively and cautiously. The texture was smooth, cool beneath your touch. It was just paper. 

 

You weren’t sure what you were expecting, whether or not a vacant abyss of darkness would swallow you up suddenly; but you found yourself slightly disappointed that whatever portal Lucifer had traveled through was simply nonexistent. Amusement danced on said devil’s features, watching you the entire time as Charlie looked down the hallway anxiously, just as a shatter echoed through the walls. You flinched away at that.

 

Squinting, you turn your attention to Charlie and her father, blinking up at him. Would it be right to question such an entity’s powers? You had with Alastor— but that was Alastor. This was the devil. You felt off-put by his presence suddenly, a silence hanging in the gallery.

 

“Curious?” Lucifer chuckled, seamlessly running a finger along the cane that had… just appeared. He gave the impression of a certain smug outlook regarding your behavior, as if being completely aware of the inner turmoil and overwhelming curiosity you faced. You weren’t sure how you felt about that thought, and in doing so, you made a small face.

 

His eyes crinkled joyously at that. He supposed it was of no surprise that you repressed your innermost desires and interests in the presence of a being such as he. 

 

You decide to remain in rooted silence, tearing your gaze away and moving over to Charlie in search of her overbearing and almost suffocating comfort. She offered you a small smile, returning her gaze to the two of you as you attempted to ignore the screaming that arose from the lobby. 

 

He came at the worst time.

 

Lucifer adjusted his bowtie as it had become far too unkempt, mumbling about ‘ damn transportation ’ and some unfamiliar magics - those sharp eyes glanced around the hotel, something lingering in them before he turned to Charlie with a flourish, masquerading a demand with a light-hearted tone:

 

“Show me around this hotel, I want to see how your project is coming along, my dear - it looks… unfinished.” His tone dropped, eyes narrowing slightly.

 

To say you were slightly offended would have been the statement of the year. A small frown touched your lips— what made it seem unfinished? You took a glance around you, albeit under the radar. A light huff marked your discontent with his comment; squinting at him. Said the man with a worm on his head. In situations like these, it was better to speak when spoken to— you did not want to get on the wrong foot with Lucifer. 

 

You supposed it was ironic, though. 

 

Despite there being a thing in the room of unimaginable powers and abilities, the air felt... lighter than it did with the one who should not be named who, to your understanding, had abilities similar to him. 

 

Charlie had powers, or a power, for lack of better terminology. Though, hers were more for show. You were not stupid to let the wool be pulled over your eyes; you had to remind yourself to not get too comfortable despite his polka-esque jovial essence.

 

You look over to Charlie then, almost awkwardly. “Should I come talk to you later?” You whisper softly, leaning up to her ear. You didn’t want to intrude.

 

Charlie’s large eyes met yours, she shook her head quickly, almost pleading, shooting back with, “I could really use a buddy right now—” she offered a smile, nudging you playfully. You offered a nervous smile before nodding gently, nudging your friend back. 

 

“A buddy?” Lucifer inquired, interrupting as he tapped a claw on his chin, “Well, isn’t that just sweet,” the devil laughed - he laughed a lot. It wasn’t malicious nor mocking; he seemed surprised and amused more than anything. Luci flashed another grin, “ Tooth-rottingly so.”

 

Looking back over to Lucifer, a single eyebrow raised. “Don’t you know what a friend is?” You blurted before you could catch yourself, and your face paled when you realized. 

 

Sometimes it was easy to forget that you needed to watch yourself— that not everyone was as, well you wouldn’t say laid back, but you were entirely too used to cranking out the comebacks for a special someone , you thought bitterly, that it became second nature to you.

 

“I don’t need friends, they disappoint me.” He responded darkly, holding the tense atmosphere for a moment as Charlie shook her head disapprovingly, “Ahah! Gotcha! ” he giggled, pointing an accusatory claw at your pallid face and worried expression, “My dear, you should’ve seen your face!” Lucifer almost doubled over in laughter, he was a troublemaker for sure; perhaps taking just as much pleasure in bullying you as Alastor.

 

You laughed humorlessly, nervously bringing a hand to rub at the back of your neck, the laughter trailing off quickly despite Lucifer’s own posh daddy laugh continuing. Your cheeks warmed in embarrassment. My dear. Your stomach clenched, face continuing to pale as the blood drained from it. Charlie noticed your discomfort, resting a hand on your shoulder. 

 

“Uh, dad… the hotel?

 

He shooed Charlie with a hand, “Of course, just having a little fun.” Lucifer responded as if Charlie was such a spoilsport, “However! I do wish to see what you’ve been so busy with - what’s been going on, wouldn’t want you to be wasting your time.”

 

Charlie seemed nervous again, he knew there were hardly any guests, Well… ” she started, “What would you like to see first? What would you like to know about?” She sounded almost hopeful, twiddling her thumbs as a hum escaped him.

 

He snapped his fingers in epiphany, “The lobby! It should be utterly thriving , no?” The sound of another item shattered could be heard muffled through the wall. Lucifer’s grin twisted upwards as he sent a most disapprovingly smug look at Charlie, who was now sweating. You could feel her distress; it was suffocating. 

 

“Um, how about we see the rest of these paintings?” You pipe up lightly, helping out Charlie in turn with a nervous grin because you knew of the reason behind why you so desperately could not bring Lucifer to the lobby. 

 

It would end up destroying whatever small amount of respect he still had for her dream. You couldn’t let that happen. 

 

Lucifer’s eyes snapped to you again, his lidded gaze appeared bored, “But the lobby sounds like so much fun... ” he argued as muffled screaming could clearly be heard, “Remember now,” wagging a claw at you with a smirk that seemed eternal, “ I’m the guest.”

 

You glanced at him for a long moment, and then to Charlie, and then back at him. Charlie doesn’t respond; in fact, she looked like she’s about to have a fit. Another crash causes the two of you to jump: “It’s not finished, that’s what you’re hearing! You gasped out in an exclaim, “It’s construction— so boring.” You flashed a small grin at him to cover up your nervousness and blatant lie. 

 

You weren’t good at hiding your emotions.

 

He stifled a laugh. He was onto you, “Oh, very well… ” sighing, his gaze flickered back to his daughter, “If it’s under construction - it must be a trifle!” He was mocking you, wasn’t he? Before any complaints could be made, he turned on his heel (but not before shooting you a knowing look, as if teasing your nervousness) to gaze at the paintings that lined those grand walls - he’d seen these so many times before.  

 

You suddenly recalled one of the reasons you wanted to talk to Charlie to begin with, being lost to your mind until this point for some subconscious, unaware reason.

 

Before Charlie could follow after him, you reached out to her and stopped her in her steps. “I did something… and I don’t know if it was a mistake,” you blurted softly, your voice a whisper, but just loud enough for her to hear. 

 

She looked confused and concerned, but her silence was an answer enough for you to continue on in your explanation. “I called I.M.P. to help me get my memories back— and I think I made a mistake. I promised to pay them for something I don’t have. I-It’s so far, too, apparently and— “ you were ranting now, Charlie’s expression flatlining, you didn’t notice your voice had risen. 

 

She appeared wholly confused, stressed. You felt guilty.

 

Impulsive decisions never ended well.

 

Charlie finally snapped out of whatever daze she was in and attempted to calm you down. “It’s okay, it’s okay, we’ll—“ she paused, frowning slightly to herself at the sound of yet another glass being shattered, “We’ll figure it out.”

 

How was Charlie the daughter of Lucifer?

 

Said devil twirled that cane, parading along and idly eyeing the large frames in utter disinterest - a particularly annoying one catching his eye and causing him to pause in his mindless stroll. ‘ Luclfer’ he recalled the bitter memory of an artist that misspelled his name, something akin to a grimace on his features. Of course, only until he heard something positively j uicy being pathetically whispered, a horrible attempt at being secretive.

 

He glanced over, seeing both you and Charlie talking in whispers. Consider his curiosity piqued. 

 

The moment you pulled away from Charlie at the sudden looming presence next to the two of you, you look back over to Lucifer, unnerved at his demanding attention with being the center of the spotlight. 

 

“Sooo… what are we talking about?” He asked happily, his expression betraying his tone, that plotting and devilish smile ever-prevalent. Before you could respond, Charlie, thankfully, spoke up:

 

“...Do you know anything of I.M.P.?” She sounded… uncertain as if she hadn’t heard of it before.

 

You look between the two of them before rubbing your arm with your hand. Despite not meaning to, you couldn’t help but feel intimidated by Lucifer’s presence alone. 

 

I.M.P.?” he repeated, blinking, “Why, of course I know about them - they’re that assassin group,” Luci glances at his claws boredly as if inspecting for any impurity, “Quite troublesome they are; if you want someone killed do it yourself !” he declared, understanding that this will lead to more trouble… which he wanted.

 

“But I don’t want anyone killed,” you eased into the conversation, picking your piece and playing it. You supposed by his expression, you would have to elaborate. “I can’t remember who I was or what I did to get down here,” you paused briefly, “all I have is a few pieces that, from my understanding, could have nothing to do with my death.” You rocked on your heels anxiously.  

 

“...I can’t spend an eternity down here not knowing who I was.” Despite what Husk had said, it was still very much an important fact that you stood by. 

 

He stared at you, those pin-pricks for pupils seemed to bore into your very soul, attempting to pick you apart - and he did so with ease, “An oversharer you are,” Lucifer’s hat was apparently slightly out of position because he adjusted it, treating the conversation as if it were mundane and unimportant. 

 

You frowned and he squinted in delight, taking satisfaction in your discontent with how the conversation was going. 

 

Charlie sent you a worried look, placing a hand on your shoulder as if she could sense your discomfort, “But that’s not the point,” he waved his hand, “You’re trying to understand your past?” he questioned, delicately holding that odd cane.

 

“...Yes.” 

 

“How adorable,” he sneered, “Not many demons are concerned of such a thing, you know?” Lucifer rose a brow.

 

You didn’t respond, your face twisting. You weren’t a child— you didn’t need to be called adorable. The way that these self-entitled demons addressed you wanted you to want to kick them off their high-horse and get them off their damn throne.

 

You released a huff, crossing your arms. “That’s why I want to know why I’m down here.” You weren’t a ‘ normal’ demon, you supposed. Your case was a bit more complicated.

 

“And you’re turning to this…” he rolled his hand, “ assassin group?” Lucifer questioned, not even offering you a second glance.

 

Oh. Your face warmed in embarrassment once again at the fact that while you were an ‘oversharer’, you had forgotten the fact of the reasoning why you chose them to begin with. “They have a portal to the human realm.” Charlie raised her eyebrows then, looking down at you, but she decided to remain wholly quiet for now.

 

His expression twisted into a mischievous one, “A portal to the human realm…?” Lucifer knew only very specific entities had such an access; Stolas was an idiot to be sure - “ And when will you be… attempting this little rendezvous? ” He smiled, baring his sharp teeth at you. 

 

And with no money ...?

 

The blood drained from your face, confidence already way out the door. “Ha, well you see—“ you rubbed the back of your neck, entirely too uncomfortable under his scrutinizing gaze. “... Debt is always an option. ” You whispered under your breath, avoiding both Charlie and Lucifer’s gaze. 

 

Charlie bit her lip, “I could pay for it,” she declared, earning a small frown from her father - “It’s the least you deserve, for being such a hard worker… and a good friend.” 

 

You looked up at her with wide eyes, wanting to decline the offer, wanting to work for it— but you couldn’t bring yourself to say anything. Did that make you selfish? The thought did not bode well with you; your lips parted just slightly as if wanting to respond. 

 

You didn’t get the chance. 

 

Oh, this was just precious, “ So you’re staff,” he responded, blatantly ignoring Charlie’s wholesomeness, “And… that’s not going to go over well, the imp that runs the place is positively greedy! A con-artist, a scammer. Charlie should know better.” He jabbed.

 

“Oh, this should be fun to see!” The little man clasped his claws together, another muffled scream tearing through the walls, he looked pleased, leaning on his cane. A moment of silence passed and he only glanced between you and Charlie as if you two were insane.

 

Well?” he dragged a claw through the air, through the atmosphere and slicing the very fabric of the room to his will - creating some sort of opening, a passageway, “What are we waiting for?” Lucifer grinned, ushering both of his company through in a particularly excited way - he could taste the failure, surely to come.

 

You stared at the pulsing portal with wide eyes, a gust of air blowing your hair and ruffling your clothes before you took a step back. Charlie looked back at you. “No thanks,” you said after a moment, rubbing your arm anxiously. You felt queasy staring at the portal— you could feel the emptiness that oozed out of it. “I um, I’ll find another way—”

 

“— Too late!” He cackled, pulling you through by your shirt with Charlie following suit - his claws so sharp, causing tears where they grasped. 

 

The journey - and a journey it was, or felt like - was utterly sickening, as if all your senses had become disorientated and were plagued with the most beautiful scenery you’d seen; twisting hues of color, an utterly fantastical display veiled over your vision as a devil pulled you through - your lifeline in this situation, as he seemed to be the only thing guiding you through this odd wonderland. Though it felt like several moments, it was truly a blip in the timeline- you’d immediately emerged upon entering, this time in a different place. 

 

You stumbled forward with a gasp, eyes wide; mind a jumbled mess and confused as time caught up with your existence.

 

The front of the Hotel greeted you, it’s lights stunning along the entrance and its limo greeting the three of you. Lucifer’s grasp no longer fitted over you, instead clasped around his cane as an annoyed expression crossed over his features. Your hands rested on your knees as a heavy breath escaped you; ruffled from literally being pulled through space itself. 

 

Charlie nor Lucifer appeared dazed, causing you to believe it was more common of a transportation than you originally believed.

 

“I-“ you started, cutting yourself off right after. It felt like your atoms were piecing themselves back together— it would never be something you could get used to. Like hell you would ever do that again. “I don’t want to do that again,” you wheezed, finally regaining enough stability to stand up straight again, blinking rapidly.

 

Charlie came to your side in case you lost your balance. She remembered her first time using an interdimensional rift like it was yesterday— the memory clear and fond in her mind. She had been enticed to go through it, only to be surprised by her mother gifting her Razzle and Dazzle on the other side.

 

Of course, her mother was far too busy these days— being a famous singer in Hell as well as the wife to Lucifer made her schedule packed . Perhaps that was why she so rarely returned her calls. The blonde woman looked down at you then, offering her presence as a comfort.

 

You were a good friend. 

 

You didn’t deserve what was happening to you. She felt guilt at just letting everything play out and remaining on the back burner. There was not much she could do. Alastor and you needed to fix your dilemma yourselves. In her own belief, Charlie was fully aware of the fact that you could figure it out yourself. You were one of the strongest demons she had ever met, mentally. 

 

If it were her in that situation, she would have broken down long ago.

 

Nevertheless, she understood chasing after something that mirrored a dream. Her dream was to run a successful hotel— yours was to find out who you once were. Your past, your present, and your future as well. 

 

If she had to pay a scam artist to help you along, she would. Friends were few and far between for Charlie, though, she was glad that she had met you. Her life would be a lot less interesting if you hadn’t shown up with Angel. 

 

Fate was a fickle thing, but it sparked a sensation of hope deep in her bones that you had a bigger part to play than any of them could ever realize— and perhaps you never would. It felt foreign to think of a hotel without you in it; just as much as it would have been without Angel Dust, Husk, Vaggie, or yes, even Alastor by her side. 

 

You were family. 

 

“The damn limo driver quit?” Lucifer seethed, peeking at a pink sticky note stuck to the outside of the front window - he scoffed, the little man shaking his head disapprovingly, “ Might have to pay him a visit later… ” he mumbled, spinning on his heel to face his two companions. 

 

Your attention was pulled to him warily. Why couldn’t you have just walked? You were right outside of the hotel anyway— it wasn’t like you had gone far. It was then and only then when you recalled the fact that you had told him there had been construction going on. For the third time that afternoon, you made a face; a habit you had begun to pick up.

 

Oh, what’s that face for, miss-sss-y?” Lucifer inquired; a snake’s tongue darting out of his mouth dangerously, mood flatlined and turned bitter due to the recent development. A long, comical sigh escaped him - the devil was surely expressive. 

 

Before you could respond, a silken glove waved dismissively, targeted at the annoyance - you - as he plucked the sticky note from the window in the most curt of mannerisms. Re-reading it multiple times, he shook his head, “ This won’t do.” Mumbling, he’d tried the door handle. Locked

 

Charlie and you stared on silently, sharing a concerned glance to each other as you watched him peer into the limousine’s front seat.

 

Damn, no keys. 

 

Lucifer cleared his throat, straightening out his elegant attire as if preparing to perform for an audience, sparing a glance accompanied with a dazzling razor smile. 

 

He reached through the window, claws outstretched and coming to scramble for some sort of leverage - something. Your mouth had parted slightly at the fact that it was a solid he managed to phase through. And then you remembered the painting. Perhaps you shouldn’t have been as surprised as you found yourself.

 

A few staggering moment passed, a few aggravated huffs escaping the little man during this escapade; the devil paraded upon his toes, attempting to gain a better angle, a string of curses spilling. 

 

A pleased expression briefly crossed his face, a hum spilling from his grin.

 

‘Click’

 

You watched as he pulled his arm from out of the glass , swinging the door open. Turning to Charlie who didn’t exactly look fazed by this turn of events, you voiced your question aloud: 

 

“Is he driving?”

 

“I guess so...” Charlie responded slowly, causing your attention to falter back towards the ruler of Hell. The look that you were met with caused chills to run up your spine, your comfort levels ceasing to exist completely. His stare frightened you - it’s maliciousness expertly masqueraded beneath mirthfulness, his temptation teased with tongue, sliding viciously over those teeth.

 

At least they weren’t piss yellow. 

 

You blinked rapidly, clearing your throat, tearing your gaze away and remaining rooted to the spot. It was as if his stare commanded you to remain still, and the awkwardness (more so to you) in the air made you shrink back into your own damn soul. You felt incredibly small in that moment, and it was only when Charlie took a step forward did whatever had happened eased up. 

 

Needless to say, you followed after her like a lost dog.

 

“We appreciate this, dad. Thank you.” 

 

It was odd seeing Charlie so… composed. You had an inkling it had to do with the fact that the two of you had just barely managed to escape his disappointment of the mess the lobby surely was at that point. 

 

Said father nodded in Charlie’s direction with the epitome of a gentleman, “It’s my pleasure, dear.” When Charlie falls into the back seat, you’re nearly about to go to the other side when your gaze flickers to the devil once more. He possessed an expectant expression, and you paused mid-step when you realized he was holding the door open for you. The blood drained from your face. 

 

You glanced back at Charlie with wide eyes, “A-are you sure you don’t want to sit with your daughter?” Oh please say he was motioning with a claw for Charlie and not you. God forbid.  You were met with an impossibly large, haunting grin as he continued to beckon for you. 

 

The sound of a door slamming from behind you caused your attention to falter towards whoever it was. A particularly ruffled Husk emerged from the confines of the lobby, venturing out into the biting cold. Clasped in his paw was one of the larger bottles of alcohol, and you manage to notice that it was the more expensive brand Alastor had hidden in the kitchen. He had found it.

 

You were mildly surprised at his determination, considering the fact that he was so incredibly lazy.

 

The winged feline froze in mid-step, his entirely too grumpy eyes coming to recognize you before falling on Charlie and then finally Lucifer’s looming presence. His kitten senses had been tingling - an unnatural, perhaps borderline supernatural force had bothered him further, which was a feat in itself. Slowly he ventured towards you, voicing his gruff discontent with the cold and whatever the fuck was going on:

 

What the fuck?” 

 

Lucifer burst out into a hearty laughter at Husk’s utterly confused expression as well as his incredibly bold remark - he always did enjoy forthright people! Needless to say, you took a step forward to Husk, finding comfort in the new company. 

 

“You’re goin’ now?” Husk inquired down to you, gruffly and grumpily as always, his words betraying the disinterest he held in his expression. He ignored the ray of sunshine that stood just next to the door. You offered a weak nod, and he blinked, a rumble escaping his throat as he wordlessly went to the other side of the limo and took a seat with Charlie. It was a tight fit considering the fact that his wings were large, untameable things. He complained the entire time.

 

“Wonderful!” Lucifer exclaimed at the unsaid fact that he would have even more entertainment, clasping his claws together in a pleased way. He watched in amusement as the demon struggled to fit inside of the door - like hell Husk would sit next to the devil; you could take that bullet for yourself.

 

Speak of the devil, he swiveled around, impatiently tapping his claws along the roof, accompanied with a tilt of his head; you still weren’t in the front seat. In perhaps a vain attempt to soothe your woes, he stepped back and went to the other side of the transportation vehicle, situating himself in the driver’s seat. He tossed you a daring look your way before falling out of view, hidden to the confines of the limousine.

 

Charlie and Husk exchanged a glance in the back seat, the blonde wordlessly questioning the feline’s sudden hospitality and willingness to participate in such… chaotic things. 

 

“Better than the fuckin’ lobby.” He grumbled, tipping the large bottle into his grimace.

 

With a small uncomfortable noise, your ankles were released from the proverbial idea of ‘chains’, and you hesitantly walked to the door, leaning down and peering down at the seat as if expecting something that was simply not there. 

 

Lucifer slithered from his seat, coming to lean across - sliding his claws across and patting the seat almost seductively , as if taunting your cautious demeanor.

 

Your shoulders slumped, a light sigh falling from your lips as you finally ducked down and took the seat for yourself. Buckling yourself in, you found yourself unnerved at the proximity Lucifer and you shared, your body stiffening as you leaned back into the leather. Placing your hands on your lap, you supposed that the presence of Husk and Charlie just a ways behind you comforted you more than words could say; and for that, you relaxed only slightly.

 

They wouldn’t let anything happen to you.

 

The car didn’t move. Suddenly remembering that there were no keys, you look over to the ignition lock and confirm your memory by that alone. You were about to comment on it when a claw was pressed to your lips. Your eyes widened and you leaned back, confusion and attentivity skyrocketing.  

 

Lucifer let you do so, he was a gentleman, not a beast - well, only when he wanted to be. Oh, but it was so tantalizing to provoke the little thing further, such entertainment to be had!

 

”Just start the fuckin’ car already--” Husk grumbled and Charlie nudged him painfully, he sputtered out a ‘ sir ’ and almost spilled his liquor. His frown deepened.

 

The top-hatted menace leaned back and pointed a finger accusingly skyward, “ Limousine, kitty-cat,” he spoke, gazing in the rearview mirror with a narrow of his eyes at Husk - whose fur stood on end, was he being scolded? Was this what it felt like? You peered back as well, eyebrows raised.

 

Charlie waved at you from her position, and you couldn’t help but let a small smile form upon your lips. 

 

That face-splitting grin was back again, stretching Lucifer’s pepperoni cheeks. Husk’s claws coming to flex and apparently raise a middle finger; your expression dampened into an offended one, face contorting into displeasure at the recent development. A moment passed, a heavy silence, before, to your utmost surprise, Lucifer returned the gesture. 

Husk choked on his liquor, nearly spitting it out all over the leather seats. An exclaim from Charlie came next, and your eyes ventured to the devil, brows knitted and your lip twitching in the first shows of amusement. Perhaps it was best that Lucifer was… laid-back in such a way that he did not smite the first individual who dared to question him or his decisions, rudely. 

 

With a wicked smile, Lucifer turned back around to reposition himself into the seat, plunging a claw into the ignition and turning it in a specific way that would reenact as some sort of key. The original went unneeded as the limo roared to life, causing the entirety of his company to jump out of their skin, or in Husk’s case, fur. 

 

Said demon was positively stumped by such magic, “The shit? What was that?” He sounded like a drunkard grandfather, mumbling over each method that could accommodate for the madness that had ensued with wide eyes. Charlie seemed giddy, her excitement hardly contained. About time. The nervousness had only managed to make you nervous, and upon noticing that both of your… friends

 

Oh, she had seen that trick more times than she could count! 

 

She was particularly fond of the idea that both of you had the luck and privilege of witnessing it first-hand! A small giggle escaped her.

 

“There’s no need to be frightened, my dear!” Lucifer exclaimed jovially, and perhaps with a bit of cringiness. His posh daddy laugh attempted to warm the tension, and he tossed you a wink in which you scrunched your nose.

 

“Let’s get this show on the road!”

 

Amidst the jovialness, a shadow lingered - hidden, secluded, thoughtful . Within the deeper confines of the city, he was a passing apparition one would see for a brief moment; a wandering demon masqueraded as a lost soul, striding through the harshness with resolve - thinking, attempting to conclude the actions past… frustration never bubbling, inner machinations never stopping as Alastor thought long and desperately about you.


That sickening grin crossed his features, his posture proud and domineering as his harmonious hums echoed throughout the long and shadowy alleyways, taking long strides back where he came.

Chapter Text

The worm was alive. 

 

It twitched and writhed the moment that the limousine hit a bump in the asphalted road; or perhaps that was just another demon, and you wanted to scream. Your eyes remained trained on the fat, sluggish creature, watching it with an intensity that could burn holes straight through the hat it resided upon. Whether it was just a sick trick being played upon your unsuspecting eyes or if this man had an actual worm on his head, was something that would forever remain unknown to you. 

 

You didn’t want to know. 

 

The devil’s grin extended upon feeling your eyes on him, and you flinched when the pinpricks of his own peered at you from below a lidded gaze. “Something wrong with your eyes?” He jabbed, drumming his fingers alongside the leathered wheel. You stiffened, never once letting go of your fixation falter of the worm. 

 

“I-

 

He hummed, narrowing his gaze as he turned his attention back to the road when you began to search for the right words to say. “Speak up. You look like a suffocating fish.” His lips pulled at his grin in a haughty sneer. 

 

“I-It’s alive?” You choked out at last.

 

“Why, yes it is!” His sneer turned into an excitable grin, puffing out his chest in a manner of pride. “What do you take me as, little girl? An uncultured swine that wears taxidermy?” He leaned sideways then, his hat unhinging from his head as it got caught on the roof of the expensive limousine, never taking his eyes off of the road. 

 

“Isn’t it neat?” 

 

Well, you wouldn’t call a worm neat, but to each their own you supposed. You cleared your throat, offering a quick agreement despite the grimace that adorned your features. Lucifer readjusted his hat as he returned to his original position, you yourself being left to blink owlishly before leaning back against the seat, biting your lip anxiously. 

 

Needless to say, you turned your attention to the window soon after.

 

The sights that passed you by were interesting enough to capture your attention. It was especially engrossing to note that there weren’t just cities. There were mountains, swamps, oceans, a plethora of different biomes that made you question if this was some sort of different world instead of just a place your soul had been laid to rest. You didn’t feel dead— you felt very much alive. 

 

In fact, you never felt more exhilarated with the desire to keep yourself alive. But that would defeat the purpose of an afterlife, wouldn’t it? The concept was confusing to you, and you felt as if you would drive yourself insane trying to break it all apart one by one. 

 

Some sights were pretty, if not a bit red.

 

Husk had found himself in a slumped position upon the leather seats, wings unfurled and effectively stretching out within the space of said limousine. He essentially began swigging alcohol in a repetitive motion throughout the entirety of the ride, caring less and less about taking up less space the more drunk he got. 

 

He continued practicing his slothful desires of comfort as Charlie had taken up residence advantageously upon the seat just behind yours, mother-henning Husk about the dangers of continuous drinking. He responded with flat, grumpy answers that made less sense the more intoxicated he became. 

 

“This silence is astounding.” Lucifer piped up, his grin extending as he took his hands off of the wheel and reached over to mess with the radio. Upon realization of what had happened as the limousine jerked off-course, Charlie and you yelling out simultaneously. 

 

Dad, watch the road!”

 

With a wave of his hand, the transportation vehicle righted itself, your nails gripping into the leather as the radio spurred the life, static waves fluctuating randomly as he searched through channels. 

 

So, the car ride was going great. 

 

The sound that graced the speakers eventually trickled into a cheery brightness that made you want to shield your eyes and step into the flames that assuredly would swallow you whole from the noise berating your ears.

 

Polka music.

 

There was a sound of a bottle shattering as it hit the back of Lucifer’s chair, glass shards inbedding into the leather. “Turn that shit off.” Husk gruffly remarked, sounding very much like he regretted coming in the first place.

 

You however, had managed to let the up-beat sound usher you into a state of happiness. Unbeknownst to you, the silence had bothered you more than words could have ever described. Your grip relaxed on the leather slightly, bringing your hands to your lap. 

 

“Charlie, I like your friends!” Lucifer stated humorously, eyes crinkling despite the fact that there was glass all over the back of the car and some even caught in his hat.

 

He didn’t seem remotely worried or fazed.

 

Charlie laughed nervously, rubbing her hand across her forehead as she tried to get Husk to calm down enough so he didn’t claw his ears out. 

 

Being intoxicated and annoyed over the fact that he didn’t have more liquor was never a good combination of feelings. Husk grumbled such claims under his breath.

 

“It’s not that bad, Husk,” you state softly then, peering back at them as Charlie shot you a relieved smile at your attempt of appeasing the situation that had arisen. 

 

“Yeah, well when you have fuckin’ ears that can hear,” he paused, hiccuping as his brain lagged, “—when, uh, you can hear things that you don’t want to hear, let me know.” That made no sense but you nodded anyway in an attempt to placate the drunk. 

 

To Husk, it sounded like he had just recited the entire Declaration of Independence, and for him, that was fine. What wasn’t fine was the polka swing music that was amplified from the shape of his ears.

 

It was times like these where he hated being a cat demon. 

 

You blinked back at him before turning your attention to Charlie who offered you a reassuring smile. She had been dealing with shit like this for longer than you had existed. 

 

It was… difficult to wrap your head around everything that had happened, everything that was about to occur. Your mind had begun to block out the more traumatic experiences you had the pleasure of taking in, storing them away for a later time when you were in a… better place.

 

It was a lot easier to forget about Alastor than you had originally believed to be true. 

 

Husk had somehow passed out in that brief lapse of attention causing you to relax slightly in relief that he would stop complaining. 

 

A breath fell from your lips, the action causing a stray hair to blow in front of your face. Slowly, you turned back around and slumped into your seat, repositioning yourself slightly out of discomfort from the fact that you had remained in that place for about an hour at that point.

 

The polka music had begun to fade out as your thoughts became loud, leaning against the door and pushing your cheek against the chilly window. Your breath made a fogginess curl around the glass before fading out into the atmosphere once more. 

 

Other than the polka music and the loud snoring of Husk in the background, you couldn’t help but falter in the tension of your shoulders; your eyes trailing against the buildings and demons that whizzed past you. 

 

Were you doing the right thing? 

 

Was there even a ‘right’ thing down here? 

 

Your thoughts were wild, those only to name a few. Despite it being too easy to forget about the Radio Demon, you couldn’t help but feel guilt over the fact that he hadn’t known— the thought of that ever present smile vanishing never ceased to make your stomach curl in the most unpleasant of ways, knotting and returning the tension in your shoulders for the briefest of moments.

 

You held onto the worry that your words would have caused a massacre of sorts. In whatever way he chose to deal with his problems, and boy did he have a lot, was of no worry to you. 

 

You just hoped he would get the message and do it away from you. 

 

Without a care for your privacy, much like Alastor, Lucifer had been digging into your thoughts and broken woes— a perk of being such a demon of high caliber. 

 

His grin had turned mischievous at the thought of such a mortal demon; a respect was to be had at an individual who had managed to become powerful enough to garner the attention of the council.

 

Knowing that Alastor was the root of your loss of enthusiasm simply by a few moments of sifting through your mind, he decided he wanted to stir things up. 

 

So, Charlie, how is your hotel holding up!” A loud statement that made you jump slightly, successfully pulling you out of your rather depressive thoughts. Lucifer didn’t seem to be finished, however, much to your utter disappointment to follow, and you peered back over between Charlie and him. It wasn’t your conversation yet , but you were part of the hotel.

 

If anything, you had as much say about how it was turning out as Charlie did. 

 

Lucifer side-eyed you for the briefest of moments before turning his attention back to the road: “I heard that the Radio Demon has come to offer you his assistance?” His grin extended at the turn of events.

 

The ride had begun to be such a bore.

 

You felt your face lose complexion, stiffening in your seat as your fingertips twitched at your side. Discomfort manifested in the purest form of nausea at the fact that the conversation just so ironically had turned to the one who should not be named. 

 

But he dared anyway. 

 

Your thoughts had been private, ones that were very briefly even thought about— just enough to possibly begin to sort through that shitstorm. But that was possibly the shittiest storm that you had the unasked privilege of partaking in. How coincidental, you mused.

 

“Uh, well…” Charlie twiddled her thumbs, her ‘impeccable improv skills’ certainly coming to use as her mind blanked.

 

“Alastor has actually been a great help!” She chimed after a moment, stealing a glance to you in which you slumped further into the chair. Charlie released a quick breath, insistent on proving to her father that her dream wasn’t some shtick and she could do this. 

 

There was no need for an annual extermination. 

 

“Not only has he helped the hotel with staff and...attracting attention to potential guests, but he’s also formed a relationship with our dear employee! Yaaay… ” her voice trailed off and you never wanted to disappear more than in that moment. 

 

Lucifer must have had found said revelation hilarious because a loud laugh escaped him, drawing on and on as he rioted over the fact that the Radio Demon had created a relationship with you. Your thoughts made sense now. 

 

His shoulders shook in delight as he regained composure, the limo swerving into the other lane for a moment before a loud horn effectively pulled the devil out of his mocking humor. 

 

Truthfully, he wasn’t entirely certain of what this relationship entailed, but by the appalled look on your face and the fact that you were desperately trying to bury yourself into the cushioning of the chair, it wasn’t hard to guess that it made you uncomfortable.

 

“Little girl-“ he chuckled that posh chuckle, shoulders shaking as he came down from his humored high. “Say it isn’t so!” His grin was stretched to its limits, eyes crinkling from the amusement that glinted within those depths as he side-eyed you. You pushed yourself up slightly with a huff, leaning against the door once again.

 

“...I don’t really want to talk about it.” 

 

“Well, that’s just too bad!” Lucifer chimed in with good nature, the thinly veiled threat that reminded you of his stance reinforcing the chills that threatened to run up your spine. 

 

His grin looked inhumanely sharp in that moment and you swallowed the knot that had begun to take residence in your throat. 

 

He was the Devil and he always got what he wanted. 

 

Charlie released a low noise as if sensing the sudden tension in the air, taking the initiative to reach across the chair in front of her and patting you on the shoulder for reassurance. 

 

She had unintentionally buried you into something not even she could dig you out of. When you sat up slightly, you couldn’t help but feel a sense of nervousness at the fact that he was prying at something you wanted to forget.

 

In some ways,  the devil reminded you of Alastor — they both never took ‘ no’ for an answer. 

 

“Don’t get cold feet on me, now!” He snapped his fingers as if giving you the cue to start talking. You didn’t want to find out what would happen if you didn’t. 

 

“Well, he’s creepy for one,” you look down at your hand, “He’s weird, strange, obsessed, disgusting.” You began to list all the bad traits about him, his actions of earlier seemed a thousand years away but also so raw. 

 

A hearty laugh escaped him. “Well, you’ve had quite the enjoyable start down here, haven’t you? He shot you a wink, and you made a face at him in which his eyes returned to the road, half-lidded and satisfied with your reaction. 

 

“I remember when I met Lilith,” there was a glint in his eyes then— adoration. Charlie leaned in, eager to hear the lovely story of the start of the creation of the world.

 

They had been together for the longest of eternities and they had a long while to go still. She had heard the story many times before and she hoped that it would be something that you could hear too. 

 

Even the most despicable of individuals, tainted souls without redemption, could love. 

 

“Though, I wouldn’t dream of boring you with such a tale.” He dismissed it as if it were unimportant. It was odd to note that the devil could love. 

 

Whatever advice had been veiled deep into his short words only managed to make you uncomfortable. He shook his head, before turning the volume up of the polka music, finding satisfaction in your discomfort and rather basic answers. 

 

He was nosy, but he knew when to stop unlike Alastor. 

 

Afterall, he had an innumerable amount of years against him regarding experience. Either he knew when to stop, your reaction had turned the mood sour enough to deter him from his entertainment, or he just didn’t care. 

 

Whatever it was, you were glad to be out of the spotlight.

 

With a shaky sigh, you drowned the conversation between Charlie and her father out, leaning your head against the window once again in defeat. 

 

The volume helped drown your thoughts, music enforcing your desire to remain thoughtless. Much to your utter disappointment, they still bubbled in slowly. Love and infatuation were two extremely different things— a crush was something you could deal with, but love? 

 

You were so tired.

 

You began to focus your attention to the passing sights. 

 

The deeper circles of Hell were fancier, more classy . Though, it could only get so clean; there always seemed to be a limit of cleanliness. It looked like Earth from what little you could remember of it, and it made you feel homesick. 

 

A homesickness with an unknown home— ironic. It was odd to see the clock tower so far away; it didn’t feel too long that you had been back at the hotel, but from the darkening skies, you supposed you had been gone a lot longer than you had originally thought. 

 

“Alastor told me there was an extermination annually.” You spoke up suddenly, cutting off the conversation as your eyes trained on the silhouette of said countdown. The reflection in the window told you that Charlie and Lucifer were looking at you, causing you to look back over at them. 

 

If you wouldn’t get answers from Alastor, you could try with them. 

 

Charlie appeared uncomfortable, Lucifer turning back to look at the road just as a demon began to walk out into the road without a care for their safety. The devil didn’t even honk, apparently without little care for their safety to begin with.

 

Their decision, their pain. A cruel world, but in his mind, a fair one. Make stupid decisions, get equally idiotic outcomes. 

 

Lucifer’s grin extended maliciously as he pressed down on the pedal, the limo roaring down the road towards the unsuspecting individual. Right when Charlie and you had realized what exactly was happened and had yelled out at him for the second time that day, he swerved out of the way at the last moment, leaving the demon in a cloud of dust and smoke from the tailpipe of the limousine.

 

Lucifer snickered malevolently. “Don’t be such a sour-puss, Charlie, I raised you better.” He sneered, causing you to turn to look out the window to the mirror, seeing the demon, unharmed but perhaps a bit shaken, flipping a middle finger at the car that had nearly decapitated them. He didn’t comment on you , cut off from whatever insult when you clear your throat.

 

You hadn’t forgotten. You weren’t that easy to deter.

 

“Well, the extermination is something that the hotel is for, y’know?” Charlie started, causing you to look back at her by turning in your seat. “It’s uh, not that simple to say. To explain, I mean,” it was obvious that the topic caused ill feelings to surface. 

 

The polka music had lowered somehow without Lucifer even touching the radio, as if he were interested to see how Charlie would explain such a thing. Or perhaps he was just interested to hear her phrase it in her view. To him, the extermination was necessary - any daughter of his would need to toughen up in such a way that the ways of their world could and would never change. 

 

But Charlie had her mother’s stubbornness. Insufferable, truly. An embarrassment of the council and hierarchy.

 

What Lucifer thought was insufferable, you found admirable. You blinked up at the blonde woman, interest piqued. 

 

At the sudden attention, Charlie shifted in her seat as if that would give her a better advantage of explaining it better. You took that moment to look back at the passed out drunk who had sprawled out across one section of the leather seats, a string of drool connecting him further to said limousine, small snores escaping him. 

 

“Al was right in saying that it happened annually. The extermination is to help the overpopulation problem in Hell.” She explained, “However, I think there is a more… peaceful alternative, and you’re helping that dream become a reality.” She beamed at you appreciatively, and you raised your eyebrows at her. 

 

You felt… better , somewhat. But it wasn’t simple to explain it just as that. 

 

“Who does it?” 

 

“The Exterminators.” She stated.

 

Heaven suddenly didn’t sound too pure. 

 

“...They come down from Heaven to… help.” She continued, her expression telling you that she didn’t really think it was helpful in the sense that it didn’t really fix things long term. “The only thing that can actually kill a demon are their weapons. After the extermination, tools can be found and sold on the black market.” 

 

It was always so painful to know that the wrong demons did in fact have the chance to have something so powerful in their possession.

 

You blinked, mewling over your thoughts silently, mind suddenly blank for the longest of moments.

 

“So… there’s death after death?” Your face scrunched up in confusion, and Charlie looked over to father after a moment. Without even looking at her, his grin widened as if he had been waiting to describe such a dangerous situation. 

 

“An eternal void of nothingness, always conscious, floating in your lonesome,” he began to state the most terrifying facts that you decided you wished you never asked for. 

 

Wondering how he knew such things was a common inquiry, but you supposed even the basic of life forms could figure out that Lucifer would know such things. 

 

“Such a fun time, wouldn’t you agree?” 

 

You remained silent, discomfort levels at an all time high as he squinted in earnest. His slitted eyes flickered over to the fuel gauge then, the sudden blinking red light signaling that their voyage would need a pit stop.

 

Lucifer’s face contorted into one of strained displeasure at the fact that there needed to be a pause in their adventure, but upon muttering under his breath, he made headway for the nearest gas station. He could map this part of Hell out with his eyes closed— such a whimsical part of town. 

 

The gas station was as run down as you would expect a pit stop in Hell to be; the sign was misspelled, humorously missing a light in one letter and causing it to say ‘Ass Shop’. Your lips contorted into a small smile, a breath of amusement escaping you— oh, if only Angel were here. Though, you guessed one of the reasons Husk had come anyway was to get away from the effeminate arachnid. You didn’t blame him, though. 

 

You understood on a scarily personal level.

 

Said demon grumbled awake from his cat nap , blinking tiredly out of the window as he tried to get comprehension of where he was. The small side-store lit up with ‘Liquor’ , as lazy as that name was, immediately garnered his attention, the feline sitting up so quickly that his head slammed against the roof of the limousine. 

 

You looked back at the thump , watching him rub his head with a string of curses escaping his eternal frown. 

 

You decided not to say anything, and by the time Lucifer pulled next to a gas pump, you had returned to your original position. There was a moment of hesitation and silence before the doors opened simultaneously with a wave of Lucifer’s hand. The powers that some demons possessed would never not surprise you. 

 

“Shoo.” Lucifer made the motion with his hand, eliciting the three of you to unbuckle yourselves and escape the vehicle. Your legs felt like jelly, and you wouldn’t lie and say you didn’t lean against the limo for support, because you did. At the movement, however, you stomach had also made itself known to you, grumbling and ultimately reminding you that you had not eaten. 

 

Husk sauntered over time the liquor store almost immediately.

 

“I love this part of town,” Charlie beamed at you, causing you to look up at her after almost immediately. Her smile was contagious, the lightness of her voice easing the stress upon your shoulders just slightly. She waved you to follow her after stretching herself.

 

You followed. 

 

“Dad used to take me to his meetings a lot when I was younger, it’s not much to look at,” she referenced the run down shop, pushing open the door, entering and holding it open for you with one hand. A bell chimed at your entrance. It seemed musky and like cigarettes. 

 

“But I have a lot of memories,” she sighed longingly, “and I take whatever good ones I can get.” You weren’t sure what to say, so you simply offered her a genuine smile. Sometimes silence was better than any sort of response.

 

Your eyes danced across the shelves of the different foods, blinking as she turned to you with a flourish. 

 

“You can get what you want. My treat.” 

 

She had already done so much for you . You weren’t sure how to respond a second time, at a loss for words. “You know, um, Charlie, you don’t have to pay for all of this. The I.M.P—” Your fingers flexed at your side almost nervously and Charlie took a step forward, placing her hands on your shoulders in a comforting motion. 

 

“I know. But you’ve been through a lot,” her tone turned serious then. “It’s the least I can do, so please let me do it.” You blinked up at her, eyebrows furrowed in deep thought as you scanned her sincere expression. You nodded hesitantly and she grinned, as if excited to be able to help you with something. Your other case was something that, unfortunately, you would have to deal with yourself. 

 

There was only so much she could do, even as the Princess of Hell.

 

After a long moment of remaining in that position, she let you go and the two of you looked through the shelves. There were bags of different items scattered through the floor, the frozen packages not exactly… frozen . You grab a few bags of chips for the road, a granola bar for Husk, and, just as you were about to go to the counter and wait for Charlie, you passed the produce section. 

 

An apple. 

 

You grabbed that too. Despite the discomfort the devil caused you, he was still Charlie’s father and he was driving you to your destination. You could make room for a bit of thoughtfulness. At the counter, a sloth-like demon with razor teeth— that didn’t make a lick of sense but who were you to judge —scanned the items tiredly and exceedingly slowly. 

 

Charlie drummed her fingers on the table anxiously before grabbing the items, leaning over, and scanning them for them. The demon stared at her quietly for a second, and Charlie beamed down at them. Needless to say, the two of you were ushered out of the shop soon after out of annoyance. You thanked the blonde demon and she replied with a smile, swinging her bags almost joyfully.

 

By the time they return to the car, Lucifer was already sitting in the seat, Husk still nowhere to be found. You pull the door open and settle down, reaching into the bag and grabbing out the apple. The sound that met your ears at the sight of such a tantalizing fruit both surprised you and humored you. Excited delightfulness. 

 

“Here, um, as a thanks for driving us.” You offered the apple to him. 

 

He didn’t respond verbally, eyes glinting and shining as if he were bouncing in his seat as if you had just given him a lottery ticket that had won . His clawed hand took the apple in his grasp and you watched in horror as the next moments played out. You stared with large eyes.

 

Lucifer leaned back, opening his mouth and unhinging his jaw in an effort to swallow the apple whole like the monster he was. Sure, he could have eaten it like a normal fucking person, but what fun would that be? He watched your expression the entire time, taking pleasure in your thoughts of internal screaming.

 

His snake tongue flickered over his teeth at you.

 

You gulped, looking away at that moment and taking a sigh of relief at the sight of Husk returning to the car with multiple bottles of liquor in his paws. Charlie nearly had a conniption at the sight of it before realizing her efforts would be futile if she were to try to get him to quit his habits.

 

It was something they would have to work on. 

 

You squeeze open a bag of chips with a loud pop, immediately delving into appeasing your hunger, you appetite once again returning. Once Husk stumbled into the limousine at last, you reached into the plastic bag and pulled out the granola bar. Turning in place, you snapped your fingers for his attention because you did not want to talk with your mouth full. 

 

He looked between the granola bar and then you, expression contorted into annoyance as if you were beckoning him like a dog. Being a feline, that was the worst insult of them all. Begrudgingly, he whisks the granola bar from you, grumbling under his breath that the ‘audacity of some people’ or something or another. 

 

Your thoughtfulness was staggering. 

 

The return to the road was peaceful enough, the polka returning into the speakers much to Husk’s utter demise. At the very least, he now had his alcohol to intoxicate him to the point of no return. Cheap booze often had that effect; downing it quicker and quicker with each bottle as if it were the end of the fucking world. 

 

Conversations were had, some silly, some actually eliciting laughter from you, some taking a twisted and darker turn and Lucifer kept everyone on their toes for his own leisure. 

 

The further into the circles of Hell you traveled, the more the shadows seemed to contort around the world. Late afternoon, evening, night. Your attention had turned to the hovering moon-like disc that hovered high in the sky, a halo silhouetting it. 

 

You couldn’t help but feel the intensity of the brightness was to ensure the fact that the denizens of Hell wouldn’t forget where they were. A tease. 

 

Perhaps Heaven wasn’t as light-hearted as you had originally been raised to believe.

 

The polka began to fade off as you leaned against your arm just upon the window sill of the door. You weren’t even sure when you had drifted off to sleep, but when you did, for the first time that week, you felt at ease.

 

Chapter Text

Fatigue had begun to unravel from your mind as consciousness had begun to swell in the depths; dreams almost peaceful and less chaotic than the norm. You wouldn’t have minded staying in that state with a lack of awareness if it were not for the manner in which you were suddenly awoken. It wasn’t a pleasant way and one that would no doubt leave a bruise upon your ribs by the sheer force of the movement.

 

No, in fact, Lucifer had come to the decision to get one last gag for that specific car ride. By slamming his foot down on the break as they reached their destination, his actions successfully jerked you from your sleep. A gasp flew from your lips, being cut off by the seat belt that locked you in place, securing you in such a manner so that you wouldn’t go flying through the glass window. 

 

Early bird gets the worm!” The devil sang out cheerfully. 

 

The limousine stuttered to a halt, your back slamming against the leather seat as Lucifer snickered to himself at the visible emotions contorting upon your expression. Shock, concern, confusion, and then finally exasperation in that particular order as you realized exactly what just happened. It went without saying that you never snapped out of your state of torpor so quick. 

 

You slumped into the seat with a sigh, rubbing your hands down your face. Charlie had already been awake at that point, and she offered you a small ‘good morning’. 

 

You returned the greeting with less enthusiasm; her happiness contagious enough to a point to hype you up for the upcoming moments. Only when you had finished running your hands down your face did it click where you were. You didn’t recognize it, of course not, but the sign that read ‘Free Murder Estate Here!’ in some sort of sick joke regarding free real estate made your lip twitch. 

 

The ‘free’ was crossed out with what you hoped was red paint, but you were more than prepared to face the truth that it wasn’t. 

 

You forced yourself to be. 

 

From what you could see from your position, the office (the thought of professionalism being performed by a bunch of sinners and demons was a bit humorous, you found) building was worn down enough to be noticeable, but not enough to bring you a worry that it would crash upon you in a heap of rubble. But then again, this was Hell, and not everything was what it seemed. 

 

Your annoyance fizzled out quickly once your thoughts moved to more personal matters. It had occurred to you in that moment that while Lucifer remained in the front seat, that he had driven without rest. You couldn’t help but feel a bit… touched. Though, his curled grin and lidded eyes that scanned the building in front of the still running limousine caused a sensation of wariness to crawl up your spine. What did he have to gain out of this? 

 

Was it just to have a laugh?

 

Did he do this just to have a story to tell at the dinner table? 

 

The worry of it being a veiled attempt to jab at Charlie’s progress, or lack thereof, caused you to steal a glance at the blonde woman in the backseat who was now scribbling down on a pink post-it note to attach somewhere. Husk, despite being victim to the rude awakening, had somehow slept through the entirety of it. 

 

You watched in bleeding curiosity as Charlie scribbled down the finale of words, posting it on the drunk feline’s hat. Despite your best efforts of trying to see what it said, you couldn’t make it out from the distance and the surprisingly fancy handwriting. Charlie noticed your expression and turned to you after a moment. 

 

“I’m letting him sleep,” she lowered her voice, “he drank the rest of the alcohol last night anyway, so…” You picked you what she laid down. It probably wouldn’t be best to have an already grumpy cat without what he so desperately nursed on a constant daily timeline. You nodded silently before turning back around. 

 

Lucifer was fixing his bow and hat in the rear view mirror before moving to unlock the doors. Sticking a claw into the ignition once again, he turned off the limousine before clasping his hands together delightedly. “Well! Let’s get a move on, children.”

 

Children? 

 

You made a face. You supposed it made sense, considering he was eons old— of course he would consider you a child. Pushing open the door, you unbuckled yourself and stepped out. The air was musty, stale. There was a stench that you couldn’t exactly place; but it basically clarified the fact that, if it hadn’t already been apparent, that this was a run down city. 

 

Upon entering the building, you were greeted with the scent of old avocado salad and disappointment. Each step that Lucifer took was marked by a tell-tale tap of his cane, and it took you a moment to drown it out to take a look at the interior. Bland, chipping grey paint; sparse gothic decorations. Some of the technology was… outdated, but you suppose it was because everything in Hell was made of less than appealing quality. 

 

Still a rather professional place.

 

There were a few posters, some curled at the edges, some called to the floor from lack of tackiness of the tape. One in particular caught your attention; a circus-themed poster that read in bold, meant-to-capture-attention print: ‘INCREDIBLE! Blitzø, one night only! Tickets Now!’ You stared at it; the dark silhouette of the supposed Blitzø appearing far more sinister than you would have advertised with.

 

It looked old. Worn. A memory of something too far in the past to remember properly but one too important to forget completely. 

 

You nearly walked straight into the back of Lucifer if it were not for Charlie’s hand grabbing your shoulder and bringing you back to your reality. You halted, tossing her a small bashful ‘thanks’ in which she nodded with a smile. Nervousness made its presence known in gooseflesh that danced across your skin, a transparent double door that had a painted arrow directly next to it, reading I.M.P. 

 

The paint had wept down the wall haphazardly, and you only tore your eyes back to the double doors when they were opened. The door was passed to you last, Charlie taking the initiative after her father as they escorted you in with surprising silence. The aroma of the old avocado salad hit you hard; your face crinkling up for a moment before a loud, audible scoff made your attention turn to what you supposed was the front desk. 

 

Loona found herself nonplussed to see Lucifer, unsure of how to accurately respond or react to a demon of such high caliber. Then her eyes trained onto you, completely ignoring Charlie in the process. You were the least eye catching of the trio, and the hellhound was entirely too reluctant to not believe that the voice from that weird ass telephone call she had received yesterday belonged to you. 

 

There was a long moment of silence. 

 

“Um, hi—“ You finally started, beginning to make your way towards her, only to be cut off by an edgy sneer. 

 

“Why do you smell like a fuckin’ cat?” Loona growled, muzzle crinkling.

 

Your face contorted into confusion before realization settled in. You were about to give her an explanation of how you were in an enclosed space with one for such an incredible amount of time when Charlie strolled up next to you and placed her hands upon the desk. 

 

Loona’s eyes darted to the princess, muzzle relaxing just slightly. The hellhound remembered seeing her news broadcast, and her own mouth curled into a half-assed smile, leaning back into her chair and crossing her arms in the process. This should be good. 

 

“That’s unimportant. We have a meeting scheduled with…” Charlie glanced at the door behind Loona, mouth curling into her own polite if not a bit passive-aggressive smile. “Blitzø?” The blonde woman had always been protective of the ones she held near and dear to her heart. She also knew when other demons didn’t take them seriously. 

 

You were surprised at her intrusion, taking charge of the situation. You watched as she dug into her pocket, pulling out what looked to be an incredibly expensive credit card; you hadn’t even been aware that diamonds could even be integrated into the plastic. The Magne Family Credit Card. But that was a topic for another time. Charlie flashed the card before Loona could respond with an emo, thirteen-year old like response. 

 

“Payment will not be an issue.” She folded her hands together after returning the card to her pocket. When Charlie meant business, she meant business. She supposed she had her father to thank for that serious side of things. Her genuine goofy and fun-loving behavior was sweet, but you found yourself in awe at how quickly she could turn. 

 

Apparently these demons were scam artists, and Charlie was on high alert.

 

Loona looked between the two of you, eyes flickering to the devil who was messing around boredly with the trinkets that adorned the tables before groaning, leaning her head back. This meant she had to do actual work today. 

 

“BLITZØ!” 

 

Her yell was just as obnoxiously loud as it had been on the phone, and you winced back slightly at the sheer intensity of it. This hound had some pipes on her.

 

“Yes, my precious secretary!” Blitzø was delighted to hear that there was a need for him in the front office. When Loona called for him like that, it typically meant there was business to be done. He practically pranced into the room, his coat fluttering about him in a very unprofessional demeanor when his eyes settled on the most glorious of sights.

 

Lucifer and Charlotte Magne. The Royal family, only one missing and he would have had the full set in his own building. Well, his own leased building. It was so difficult to save up for a down payment. The true reality of Hell, taxes were astronomical. 

 

But Lucifer! His eyes were blinking in awe as a wide smile curled over his features. “Lucifer and Charlie! The top bananas! How wonderful to see you in my humble office! What are two such fine demons doing in such a,” He coughed as he said the word, ‘shitty’, “spot in Hell!” His hands were wrung together as he drew closer to the group. 

 

He had never seen such clear pristine skin on demons before. Maybe it was genetics, maybe it was genocide, hell, maybe it was Maybelline, but they were the most beautiful demons he had ever set eyes on, and they were royalty! 

 

This could do wonders for his business, if he was able to take a photo of them in here, he’d be set for months. Maybe he wouldn’t even have to take anymore calls from that weird mouthed bastard anymore. 

 

Lucifer rolled his eyes. Of course such lowly demons would fawn so obnoxiously over him and his daughter. He felt his patience wearing thin, his gaze hardening on the splotchy imp. “We’re here in this mediocre place, that reeks like old salad by the way, on Charlie’s little friends behalf.” Charlie and you both felt the weight in those words. 

 

You, however, started to blush, because of course he wouldn’t call you by your name, you were still just a thorn in his side. 

 

The only reason he was putting up with you was because you were a friend of Charlie. “Rest assured I’d never set foot in a dump like this otherwise.” The smarmy grin that spread over his face as he insulted the demon made you cringe. He didn’t have to be so rude, but then again, he didn’t have to do anything he didn’t want to do, so maybe you would just try to keep your intrusive thoughts to yourself.

 

Not that that would help, apparently he could read minds.

 

Blitzø was completely unfazed at hearing such words directed at him. He was well aware that imps laid at the bottom of the totem pole; the lowest in the pecking order. It was rare that anyone took them seriously enough as it was, and, to hear that the top banana himself didn’t hold him with a high regard, needless to say it was hardly news. 

 

However, Blitzø found himself to be quite disappointed that he wasn’t going to assist the Magne family today.

 

No, instead he would be helping you . The smallest, most unassuming one in the bunch. Of course it was difficult to compete with such shining specimens, but really, you just looked… so boring… and human . It was disgusting. 

 

He would have thought the only reason they brought you here was to execute you, but no. You were the client . He could have cried.

 

He let out an exasperated sigh, his eyes landing on you. You felt taken aback by how hard his disappointment hit you. He didn’t have to be so obvious about it, but you had to remind yourself constantly that polite society was long gone. 

 

“You, little shaky thing. Come on. Magne family, you are welcome to follow.” Blitzø grabbed your shoulder, yanking you forward, physically separating you from Charlie and her father before shoving you forward into a very run down boardroom. 

 

“Hey!” You gasped out, did everyone have to shove you around down here!?

 

Blitzø bowed lowly as he ushered the Royal family in after you.

 

As if you needed a reminder that no one took you seriously. You took a seat with a heavy exhale, holding onto the hope that this meeting would at least be decent . Honestly, you didn’t have much faith in this striped horned asshole. He was not very nice, and it was grating on your nerves. 

 

Charlie took the seat next to you in an effort to comfort you and, while it did manage to ease you just enough, you couldn’t help but feel the beginnings of annoyance at the fact that even the imps didn’t take you seriously. You were very aware of how Lucifer took to standing behind both you and Charlie, looming. 

 

Maybe it would have been better to just hire someone to steal the book for you. You would have never dreamt  of doing such a thing before getting down here, but with your desperation, you were ready for anything. 

 

You watched silently as Blitzø strolled around to the other side of the desk before resting within the chair. He kicked his feet up onto the desk, his boots crossing at the ankles, successfully blocking your face from his view. 

 

“How can the Immediate Murder Professionals help you today?” He wasn’t even looking you in the eye. He was still looking at Lucifer and Charlie, it sent a spiral of panic and nerves into your gut, making you squirm in your seat. You opened your mouth only to close it. 

 

You had come all this way, Lucifer had driven you all so far, and now you just had to spill it out. 

 

You opened your mouth once more, only to snap it shut when you heard a cane bang into the floor. The stare that was set on the back of your head could have set it on fire, and you were entirely sure Lucifer was more than capable of doing such a thing.

 

He had driven non-stop for this little excursion. It had taken roughly a day and a half. He had listened to the grating nerves of both his daughter and your own anxious ones, as well as the drunken mess of that feline. Now that you were all here, you were hesitant. How was it such a fickle creature had caught the attention of such a powerful demon?

 

He wasn’t sure, but he would not let his time be wasted by the likes of you. He leaned down, lining up his mouth to your ear, and with a dangerous grin, he spoke up. 

 

“We came all this way. Don’t disappoint me now, little girl .” 

 

You buried your anxiousness, and attempted not to let your discomfort of his presence show upon your face. The last thing you ever wanted to do was to make the Devil disappointed in you.

Regardless of your own desires to tuck tail and flee, the ultimate goal of the entirety of your trip was sitting just before you with an expectant, if not rather bored expression. You wanted answers, and answers were what you would get. Clearing your throat, you sat up in a stiffened expression.

“IneedyoutofindouthowIdiedandwhokilledmeandwhy.” 

 

Instead of it coming out collected and professional, it was rushed to a point of illegible comprehension. You were met with a blank, mildly surprised stare. You blinked owlishly, the heat returning to your cheeks at the sheer embarrassment you felt for yourself. Lucifer leaned back with a snicker. Charlie frowned worriedly but ultimately decided not to reach out and offer you comfort.

 

This was your spotlight.

 

“You’re going to have to repeat that again, and a lot slower.” Blitzø leaned forward and hooking his claws together upon the desk in an effort to appear more… professional. 

 

“I… need you to find out how I died, who killed me, and why.” 

 

His disappointment in your words were thinly veiled. 

 

“We murder people. I remember telling you that.” He recalled his phrase on the phone, speaking to you as if you were a dipshit. Your eye twitched, his snippy attitude mellowing down your nervousness and patience. It was supposed to be a meeting to discuss things, not point out facts that you already knew. You were so tired of being treated like a child; so fed up with individuals telling you what to do, with Alastor plainly manipulating you and never being upfront with anyone.

 

If you had to put your foot down, you would.

 

“And I remember telling you that money is not a problem, so you’ll do what I ask of you because we’re paying you.” Your eyes narrowed, releasing the phrase with an annoyed huff. 

 

Lucifer was pleasantly surprised to say the least, releasing a string of laughter. Oh, you reminded him so much of his wife in that moment; truly, such a vivacious woman. To you, however, you weren’t sure what or who he was laughing at; but you supposed if he was entertained by this shit show, it was a good sign. Charlie found herself a bit relieved that you were entirely capable of holding your own.

 

Blitzø’s claws drummed across the table, his desire to kick you out right then and there nearly winning him over. He glanced towards the royal family who in turn shared expectant taking-no-shit expressions with him. “Yeah, alright, fine.” He lifted a hand and made a motion with it.

You released a breath that you hadn’t realized you had been holding the entire time. 

 

“MOXXXIE!” The grating yell that left the imp caused Charlie and you to nearly jump out of your skin. Lucifer barely reacted. Such utter unruly behavior, he mused with lidded eyes. You turned to glance at Charlie then who in turn offered you a under-the-radar thumbs up. Your shoulders relaxed slightly. 

 

A smaller imp opened the door then, going through letters and offering a very worn out, annoyed sigh. “Yes, sir?” Moxxie was irritated at the fact that he had been summoned in such a way; but it had also gotten to a point where he expected no less. Dammit, his bills needed to get paid. There’s no response, and when he lifted his head to repeat the question, his eyes immediately connected with Lucifer’s. 

 

His papers fell to the floor in a dramatic heap. 

 

“Y-you’re--” he stuttered pathetically, pointing a finger at Lucifer who eyed him idly and silently. The small imp gasped, darting out of the room. His wife needed to see this! “Millie! You won’t believe who’s in the office right now!” The voice is muffled from the door being shut in his exhilaration, excited chatter being thrown back and forth before the door was thrown open again.

 

The imp starts nervously collecting the fallen papers and bills again, stuffing them haphazardly in his arms. A curious feminine imp leaned over his shoulder, batting her eyelashes in surprise. You could only watch on in amusement and surprise at how they fawned over the two Magne’s. 

 

“H-how did you find out about us?” Moxxie began, wonder written over his face. He’d never seen the Royal family in person before, this was an honor!

 

“Why are you here?” Millie spoke up.

 

“Do you need someone killed?” They both said it together before beaming at each other. Cute.

 

Wow, Blitzø, the ad actually worked!” Moxxie turned back around excitedly. Blitzø took pride, puffing out his chest.

 

“Why yes, Moxxie, it did work!” 

 

The smaller imp, now affectionately known as Moxxie, twisted his face up at the sudden change of his boss’ pride. He shook his head, before turning his attention back towards Lucifer, drowning in curious and excited chatter and questions that would never go answered. Said head banana began to grow weary with the constant flattering comments; and that was saying something, considering Lucifer was never one to not take a compliment. 

 

“Blitzo,” the devil pronounced the O just to aggravate the situation, “Is this really how you conduct your employees?”

 

The room stiffened, the air, everything becoming so utterly tense in that moment. Moxxie and Millie fell silent almost immediately. Lucifer was tired, and surprisingly hangry; nevertheless alive and well. Charlie and Lilith had been the only ones that have ever seen the fallen angel annoyed; and you took the initiative to appease the situation, requesting for something to snack on.

 

You were silent the rest of the time, leaning back into your chair. The rest of the room was not so flippant.

 

“Of course not, miss! Moxxie! Order lunch, put it on Loona’s business charge!”

 

“S-sir, she’s already maxxed it out on ordering magazines!” Moxxie stuttered out.

 

“Then put it on Millie’s!” Blitzø hissed out. 

 

“But, we--” They didn’t even have a company charge. 

 

“How do you feel about Mexican?” Blitzo turned back to Lucifer then, ignoring the reason they were there to begin with. The imp tried to salvage any chance of a relationship with the head honcho. He wanted to make a good impression on Lucifer, damn it.

 

“That depends.” Lucifer drummed his fingers on the handle of his cane, eyes lidded in boredom. 

 

“On…?”

 

“If they have empanada’s.” He sneered. Lucifer had a sweet tooth, not to mention a weakness for apples.

 

“Only the best for such an impressive denizen of Hell.” He was smiling like a cat that got the canary, and then was able to dip it into the cream. He had just locked in a lunch with the royal family, and got to pass it off as a business expense.

 

The real part of hell, was the taxes of course.

 

You were beginning to grow annoyed. They weren’t taking you seriously. 

 

There was idle talk until the food had arrived, and once it did, the lunch went as smoothly as was expected. Charlie, after making sure you understood that she would not leave here without the promise of getting you answers, had begun to converse with the residents of the building. The princess was happy to meet with the other denizens of Hell that were under her family’s charge; and in conversing with them, she had told them of her passion project. 

 

Lucifer had gotten the empanada and stole it from underneath your fingers, hoarding it for himself, which had finally mellowed out his annoyance and hangry attitude. He had driven all the way here, for his daughter, who had done this for you. He was taking your pie. You had tricked him into doing a good deed. The least you could do was give him your dessert.

 

He did, however, have fun with messing with you and Husk, though.

 

Thankfully, however, once you finished your meal, Blitzø piped up and began to actually converse with you regarding your desires, inquiring about what you could remember, in which Moxxie jotted it down on a board behind his desk. The most you were able to narrow down to how you died were the memories you had recovered, and the week you were sure you had died. 

 

The board was covered in question marks. 

 

But it was more than nothing. 

 

Charlie remained close to you the entire time, ensuring that you were aware that she was there to support you no matter what. In her mind, you were the key to finding success in the hotel; you may have been the only one that could be redeemed, the only hope she had at letting her father and the council know that she was not a failure. She would prove them wrong; she had to.

 

If you could have read her thoughts, you would have told her that you weren’t sure if you even wanted to be redeemed. Heaven, after learning what you did, seemed more hellish than even here.

 

And if anything, you had friends down here, even if some refused to call it that.

 

All in all, this meeting could have gone so much worse than it had.

 

“Alright, well after having so much to go off of,” Blitzø rolled his eyes, but, luckily they would all be monetarily compensated for this stupid job. “We should be able to find out some shit about how you died. Happy now?” His stupid smile was really starting to piss you off. 

 

“Yes, thank you. You’ve been so helpful .” You replied, feeling just as tired as you were sure he was. 

 

The striped imp narrowed his eyes at you. “We’ll be taking your preferred method of payment now.” His hand was itching to have that shiny credit card in his hand. Oh, he was going to charge the Magne family out of the wazoo for this, after all, you hadn’t asked for the going rate.

 

Charlie stepped forward, fully prepared for this turn of events. She leaned forward on the desk, and for the first time during the meeting, Blitzø saw a flash of Charlie’s true eyes, the whites of her eyes turning red, and her pupils flashing into slits. He gulped, remembering that this was the Royal family, and that they were all eternally powerful.

 

“About that, we never discussed the going rate for this type of business exchange.” She held her head in her hand while she drummed her fingers on the table in a move that was very reminiscent of her father. You would have to remember not to piss her off, because while you knew she was a pretty happy person, right now she was giving off the same air her father did. Intimidation and blind power. 

 

It was a bit scary, as well as thrilling to feel this type of change coming from her. She was a very protective friend. 

 

The boss imp coughed. “Right, well, normally for our usual services, our portal rate is one- thousand flat for activation. The murder part normally costs about three-thousand, unless, of course, it’s a child. In which case, it’s free.” You had to blink at that tidbit of information. You had thought it might have been a joke during the jingle that you had imagined due to the pain in your abdomen, but alas. 

 

That was not a joke, these imps killed children, for free .

 

“But, considering your… request, we might have to activate the portal several times, and we’ll have to cross into the human realm more than once in order to find out all this shit about your, um. You know.... What’s your name again?” The way Blitzø had forgotten your name, after all the times Charlie had mentioned it made you want to scream.    

 

You pointed to the board behind him, where Moxxie had scrawled your name across the top of the board in bold, hard to miss print. He rose a brow and turned over his shoulder. “Whatever. For starters, we’ll say we’re going to open the portal three times and venture into the mortal world, at great cost to our lives. You know, humans are absolute assholes. So, we’ll start out at ten-thousand.” Charlie thought about what she had in her savings. This was pocket change for her family. 

 

You felt the blood drain from your face. How would you ever repay her?

 

“You know what, here,” She pulled out her debit card. This way it was all on her, and not her family. “And go ahead and add two-thousand, I want you to make sure you do the best job possible or else I’ll just have to make sure that everyone under the pentagram knows just how useless this place is. Unless, of course, you do your job well, then, I might just endorse this little business venture for you.” 

 

You were pale. Yes, definitely do not get on Charlie’s bad side. Noted.

 

Blitzø was grinning ear to ear. With an endorsement from the Royal family, they wouldn’t have to worry about anything ever again! They could murder all the bastards roaming Earth for the little shits down here. This might have been the best job that had ever fallen into his lap. 

 

“Sounds great. Here’s Loona’s number.” He slid a little black card over the table, in which you grabbed it. On it had Loona’s number and name, and other possible ways to contact her in case she didn’t have her phone on her. Or just didn’t answer. “We’ll keep you updated on your case through her and let you know if we need more funds on this little adventure.” 

 

He spread his hands out before him, eyes sparkling as a flutter of demonic magic created a rainbow between his hands as he said the word, ‘adventure.’ Just because he was an insufferable asshole. You were sure Moxxie would be able to back you up on that. 

 

They would be set for years if this went well.

 

“We’ll be in touch,” Charlie smiled, standing to her full height before leaning over the table. “And remember, don’t fuck this up. ” She was not going to play around with your past. You were a good person, she just knew it. 

 

Blitzø nodded, rising to his feet, intent on showing you all to the door. This time, he didn’t shove you out of the door, considering Charlie was directly behind you at that point. Loona didn’t give you or your party a glance upon leaving, listening to too-loud music with cheap headphones. The smell of the old salad had been something you had gotten used to; and upon escaping the building in silence, the smell that greeted you of your normal hell made your nose crinkle. 

 

“Well, that was fun!” Lucifer sang out, and you peered over at him as he made his way back towards the car. You looked over at Charlie then.

 

“I really appreciate this, Charlie.” You clung to the business card in your hand as if it were your lifeline. Without it, you would never get your answers. Without Charlie, none of this would have come to be.

 

“Don’t thank me, you deserve it.” She lowered her voice, slowing her pace to let you keep up with her. “You’ve been through so much already. I couldn’t imagine not knowing where I came from.” She didn’t understand the stress of not knowing, and she couldn’t exactly help you with the Alastor problem because, while you were her friend, Alastor was also a big part of helping her with her dream. But she could be there as a shoulder you could cry on. Charlie wasn’t perfect.

 

If she were, she would have been in Heaven.

 

You nodded rather than verbally responding, trying to hold back a yawn. Charlie noticed.

 

“Hey dad, how about we stay at a hotel for the night so we can all rest up?”

 

Lucifer had already made it to his side of the car; Husk was still passed out in the back which surprised you. You had been in there for a few hours at least. The grin that curled over his face should have let you know what was coming. “Charlie, didn’t you know?”

 

Charlie looked up from behind the door she opened. “What?”

 

“We’re already headed to a little place called the Hazbin. I heard about it on the news, seems a little odd, but I thought you’d like to check it out.” 

 

Charlie’s face fell, and you didn’t hold back your sigh. “Dad, you’re not funny.”

 

“And you’re not the most adorable demon I’ve ever seen, tell me another lie.” He fluttered his eyes at you and his daughter. You could have been another child of his, but you were just so nice. Well, so was his actual spawn. Perhaps Charlie just needed demon therapy for behavioral correction. The thought made him upset for some reason. It wasn’t like he actually enjoyed the company of kind demons, that was just ridiculous. “Get in the car, kids.” He would ruminate over this for another day, perhaps speak to his wife about these confusing emotions. 

 

He would stop at a hotel at the halfway mark. He was also feeling a bit rundown, even a fallen archangel like him needed rest. You and Charlie were tired from the last few days exertions and excursions; the demon princess didn’t even want to imagine what she would return to when she got back to her hotel. She hoped Vaggie had stepped on their tails and made them clean up their mess.

 

You also didn’t want to think about was waiting for you back home. Who knew how aggressively Alastor would greet you, whether or not he would just give up or eat you at this point. Perhaps if you were lucky, your words would have scared him off for good.

 

The demon that greeted you inside the hotel was wary at the sight of, not Lucifer, but Charlie. Oh yes, he had seen her advertisement. She was competition. Nevertheless, the money that was given was from Lucifer, and the clerk would be fired if his boss caught wind that he gave the devil the worst room. Instead, they were three of the nicest rooms; one for Lucifer himself, one for Husk, and one for you and Charlie.

 

Husk abused the mini bar that was in his room. It was filled with the expensive kind of booze and if the Devil was paying, well, he wasn’t one to look a gift horse in the mouth. Especially when that horse was a bottle of booze. 

 

Upon getting changed for the night, Charlie and you faced each other on opposite beds.

 

“You’ve been going through a lot, even though you haven’t really been here that long.” Charlie started softly.

 

You shrugged with a soft sigh. “It doesn’t really seem like my time alive was any less complicated, I’m going to assume it’s normal.” Your humor hadn’t died with you, so that was a good sign at least.

 

“Humor is a great way to cope, you know.” She stated the fact, and you repositioned yourself into a more comfortable position. “...But really, how are you?”

 

You looked back up to her, sorting through your thoughts. “...I don’t want to go back, Charlie.” Despite the hotel feeling like home to you, it also felt like a prison. “Alastor is treating me like I’m some game, and he can’t even understand the way he feels! How am I supposed to handle that?”

Charlie hummed, eyebrows knitted together in concern as you vented on how it wasn’t fair.

 

“I know you think you’re probably not doing a good job dealing with it, but you’re doing great. I don’t really handle pressure like that too often.” She admitted with a half-smile. 

 

“But your dad seems…” You weren’t sure what you were saying, but luckily, Charlie did.

 

“Dad is Dad, but I know he cares.” Her father was a conundrum few had the patience to solve, but she had seen him be more than kind to her mother. And though there were times she forgot, he was a good father to her as well. He did just drive them all across Hell, just so she could help her friend get some answers. 

 

“But do you feel it?” You blinked up at her. There was a big difference between knowing that someone cared about you, and actually feeling it. 

 

Charlie hesitated. “Sometimes. It’s not easy raising a kid in the bowels of Hell, y’know?”

 

Your silence was an invitation for more; you didn’t know much about Charlie at all but she knew plenty about you. And the woman was a wonderful bean; and your friend. You wanted to know more.

 

“Dad and Mom made sure that I had the best classes available, but ended up teaching me most of the time… Even though they had busy schedules.” She started slowly, unsure of how to piece her past together, much like your own dilemma. It was hard to get it out in words. She understood it herself, but explaining it to another person? 

 

“I know my parents love me, but I also know my Dad sees me as a failure, because… I’m too nice, and I care too much.” Charlie took a breath,  “But I think everyone kind of forgets that Dad wasn’t always what he is… I mean, I am half angel. I guess I’m just meant to battle with my own nature forever. But even if I can save just one soul… just one . All of this will be worth it.”

 

You were quiet for a moment. You had forgotten that Lucifer had been an angel at one point; you supposed it made sense with how porcelain and lovely both Charlie and Lucifer’s appearances were. Dare you say it, they were almost angelic. “I think you can do it, I mean, I think Vaggie is doing a really good job. She let me know she’d help me with… with my problem. Maybe Vaggie will be the first to be rehabilitated.”

 

“Vaggie was actually the reason I started the Hotel…”

 

“What?”

 

“I met her, and she was so lost, but still so sweet. I know she’s a little rough around the edges, but… I wanted better for her.” Charlie explained bashfully, face warming at the thought of her lover.

 

“That’s adorable.” You couldn’t help but offer a small smile; “You must really love her to do all of this.”

 

Her face then turned to the same color as her pepperoni cheeks. “Of course I do.”

 

There was a comfortable silence on Charlie’s thoughts, uncomfortable on yours as you backpedaled. “So…” you trail off after a moment, unsure of how to bring up the conversation.

 

Charlie nodded, urging you to go on.

 

“Do you think that… Alastor even has the capacity or ability to love?” Someone other than himself, you thought bitterly. The thought made you feel nauseated, but you questioned it because you were curious. Curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back.  

 

The fact that Alastor had a crush of you still blew your mind. 

 

Charlie was quiet for a long moment. The couple they met today at I.M.P. crossed her mind, as did an image of her parents. “A lot of people think that my Dad just tricked my Mom, but that’s not true.” She reminisced at the memories. “He loved her, he knew he wouldn’t be able to survive eternity without her. So he spent all his energy on wooing her.” You weren’t sure what this had to do with anything.

 “If my Dad can find love… If even he can love, I think Alastor can too.”

 

Oh.

 

You were silent, ruminating on this along with her before she continued

 

“Though I think if you do want this, you will have to teach him how to show it.” Charlie hesitated in offering you the advice.

 

Good thing you didn’t. You pulled your lips into a strained smile, suddenly uncomfortable the topic. That was enough for tonight. “Goodnight, Charlie.”  

“...Goodnight.” She hesitated for a moment, as if wondering what she said was perhaps the wrong thing. She watched as you turned around and cuddled into the blankets, the softest of sighs escaping her. You had it rough. Perhaps she would try apologizing for what she said tomorrow.

 

She reached over to the light and pulled the chain, dousing the room in darkness.

Chapter Text

To say you rarely had a full night's rest was an understatement.

 

Charlie had allowed you to sleep in as long as possible, until she was forced to get you up by a soft shake to your shoulders. Rivulets of drool had stained the pillows, your grasp tight against the fluffiness of them as you muttered sleepily, bringing your hand up and waving her away. Your hair was silhouetted around your head in a crazy manner; and she blinked down at you for a moment, hesitating her hand before bringing it back down and nudging you with more force. 

 

This time, she spoke to you, successfully dislodging you from your state of welcoming sleep. 

 

The bed was so incredibly comfortable that, if you could have, you would have slept for an eternity and then some. But alas, the odds were stacked against you. 

 

Taming your hair, getting changed, and then meeting your other two travel buddies down in the lobby— it was strange resting in another hotel, considering the fact that you had made your home in one. Bringing a fist to your mouth, you released a loud, uncaring yawn. 

 

Early bird gets the worm your ass, you were going to step on the worm if you got the chance. Sleep was of high importance to you and, needless to say, when disturbed, you were grumpy. Husk, somehow, looked even grumpier than you, slumped in his stride as Lucifer merrily strolled towards the car. Hungover, you theorized. 

 

Then again, it wasn’t a hard thing to guess, considering how heavy of an avid drinker he was. You felt guilty, somewhat, to see him in such a way; the liquor must have hit hard. 

 

You were always surprised to discover just how many different kinds of alcohol’s there were. Even with how long he had been down here, the other demons were constantly churning up new recipes to get other companies out of business. 

 

Husk just had the pleasure, or perhaps dissatisfaction , to taste test them the previous night. He was entirely too certain that it had been laced with something. That, or he was finally succumbing to alcohol poisoning. About damn time. 

 

It was even worse now that he had begun to sober up. 

 

It was a bad hangover. 

 

The car ride was as quiet as expected when accompanied by a literal disney princess, the Devil, and a hung over drunk. Said devil had insisted on playing polka even at nine in the morning, much to everyone’s demise.

 

He finally gave in and lowered it by one percent when the complaining got loud enough. 

 

Husk began to pray for death, again . If he had an empty bottle, he would have smashed it over Lucifer’s head, no doubt that even the death that would follow would be bittersweet. 

 

Jet lag was the easiest way to describe the way everyone felt; though, Lucifer still either was non affected or simply didn’t show such.

 

It was easy enough to drown out your worries the further away you were from the Hotel, but the closer the silhouette of the clock tower became, the more the anxiety began to make its presence known. Anxious for it meant you were not only getting closer to home and you wished nothing more than to lay in your bed for the rest of this hell you had to endure, but it also meant you were looming closer to the one who should not be named.

 

Not knowing what would go down when you got back was much worse than had you known what was waiting for you. There was simply no plausible way to prepare yourself; nevertheless, Charlie and you set yourselves expectations to be at an all time low for different reasons. Charlie had left the hotel when the lobby was practically in shambles; you had left it when you had frightened away the Radio Demon with the revelation of a lifetime.

 

Yet, even that event felt like it had happened ages ago than the reality of it simply occurring yesterday. 

 

By the time the trio stepped out of the car, Husk muttering under his breath about how he would never get in one ever again, Charlie stretching her legs, you turned around and bent down to peer into the vehicle. 

 

“Thank you, Lucifer.” You said after a moment; truly, it wasn’t a phrase you had ever thought would leave your lips but here you were, thanking the Devil. You were all too aware that he didn’t have to do any of that and it probably would have been a lot more enthusing to revel in your struggle to get to the place on time than willingly drive you. 

 

He tipped his hat towards you, the worm slipping into the seat you had abandoned. 

 

“Thanks for the entertainment.” 

 

You were painfully reminded of the demon who was enamored by you but also by the entertainment you laid on the table. Lucifer was all too aware of exactly who he sounded like in that moment, and his grin twisted up haughtily.

 

You pulled your expression into a feigned, tight smile, even as the top banana’s eyelids lowered teasingly at your reaction. As much as you wanted to take it slow towards the hotel, you booked it. You had already spent more time than was necessary with the Devil. 

 

And you know what they say: better the Devil you already know. 

 

To your absolute relief, by the time you swing open the entrance door, the sight that greets you is not said asswipe. The lobby was as neat as you had last seen it; you were thankful to see it was not torn to shreds. The scent of home greets you, and despite this place causing you a lot more chaos that you had never signed up for, you couldn’t help but have a large smile dance across your face. 

 

You had not missed one specific resident, but you had missed your other friends. It also didn’t smell like old avocado salad, which was a bonus in your book. 

 

Charlie entered the double doors after bidding farewell to her father; and you glanced over to her after a moment. She didn’t even try to hide her utter relief to not see innumerable, irreparable damages across the lobby. Husk was the last to enter with a heavy, gruff sigh. 

 

“They had some good fuckin’ alcohol, but nothing beats mine.” He strolled over to his bar without a glance to the other residents who had been alerted by the sound of the closing doors. Vaggie had come out of the kitchen, a genuine smile appearing on her face at the sight of you and her girlfriend returned safely.

 

Mostly her girlfriend. 

 

Angel Dust immediately snapped his head in your direction, upside down, as he had been lazily lounging on the couch. Fat Nuggets sheepishly peered from atop his stomach, immediately perking up at the sight of you. The pig jumped down, making a mad dash for you in a fever of wiggling and happy squealing. Angel, of course, rolled off of the couch in the most dramatic fashion, accompanied by a groan. 

 

Upon seeing Husk, he flirtatiously waved his fingers, in which the feline simply muttered to himself.

 

You leaned down, picking up the pig with a rare, happy grin; letting it sniffle and snuffle your face in greeting. You felt your heart soar; all previous negative thoughts of making it into bacon were long gone; speaking to it in a baby voice as it wiggles in your arms with enthusiasm. Angel Dust had begun to smooth out his outfit haphazardly as Vaggie and Charlie hugged; Charlie kissing Vaggie’s cheeks adoringly. 

 

They were definitely a cute couple. 

 

“See yer finally back.” The arachnid cleared his throat, sauntering over to inspect you. “Anyway, this bitch,” he jabbed four thumbs at an already annoyed Vaggie, “doesn’t understand rehab is a ‘ween off kinda thing’. Found my stash.”

 

He wiped away a fake tear, “Threw plates and shit at me.” He tattled to Charlie and you. In a way that he would probably never admit to, he was glad his harassment buddy was back— as in, you and him could harass Husk again. 

 

“You started it.” Vaggie turned to Angel, already willing to throw down right then and there. 

 

Angel gasped, feigning offense. “I ain’t done nothin’ wrong.

 

Charlie attempted to ease Vaggie down by placing a hand on her shoulders. You blinked owlishly at the three of them before quietly turning your attention back to the pig. “Angel, I’m stealing your pig.” You stated finally, trying your hand at playfulness. You brought a hand to caress the happily oinking pink fat thing in your arms. 

 

The arachnid crossed his first set of arms then, the other leaning on his hip sassily. He didn’t respond verbally, watching to make sure that you didn’t hurt his beloved little piggy. He knew that you wouldn’t dare, hell, you didn’t have the guts to, and not to mention you also seemed entirely too captivated and charmed by his pet. 

 

“Oh! You’re back!” The squeaky, high pitched voice of Niffty caused your attention to fall to the tiny, energetic cyclops. “How was it, wherever you went? Did you bring anything back? Are you ready to get back to cleaning? You’re really slow but that’s okay!” She bounced around you, genuinely excited for her cleaning buddy to have returned safe and sound. Cleaning had always been easy for Niffty, but it had been a bit… drab without you. 

 

It had been a really long time since she last had friends. 

 

Amongst the greeting, Vaggie had pulled Charlie aside after hearing about what exactly had gone down. The moth demon had always known her girlfriend had a particular fondness with you, seeing you as a little sister of some sort, but now that she had spent an incredible amount of money on you, Vaggie had to step in. It was without a doubt that Magne family was well in regards to money, it wasn’t a problem that the money was spent on you, no, but Vaggie was worried in regards to how much Charlie was babying you, even when you didn’t ask for it. 

 

“Hun, you have to let her deal with this on her own. She has to learn to fend for herself down here, just like how everyone else learned.” Vaggie places her hands on Charlie’s shoulders, the corners of her eyes softening. She glanced at you again, a sigh fluttering her hair for a moment as she tried to piece together her thoughts. 

 

“I know. But she’s gone through so much—“ Charlie cast a gentle gaze to you, watching as you interacted with the other residents. She wanted better for all the demons under her charge, but she also knew that she had taken you under her wing. For you to grow and prosper, she had to let you do that on your own. 

 

Just because she was aware of it, didn’t mean she liked it. You were too much of a good soul to have deserved any of this. She didn’t want to have you tarnished. 

 

“Just like the rest of us…” Vaggie eased. “Charlie, she is more than capable of protecting herself.” She dragged her finger under the porcelain woman’s chin affectionately, causing her to look at her, “She just has it a bit… harder, with Alastor as a thorn in her side.”

 

Said demon was well aware that the object of his most recent fascination had arrived. His room just so happened to be several floors above the others, requiring such for much needed privacy; despite his rarely respecting others— particularly yours. He sat elegantly, poised in a high backed chair within the confines of it, fingers knotted together as his chin rested upon them. 

 

In the shroud of darkness, the only light that illuminated the room unnaturally originated directly from his rather vacant stare. He hadn’t blinked in hours, he was so lost in his own thoughts.

 

His legs were delicately crossed at his knees; a record skipping in the background of a jazzy tune that was ever infinite. It sounded far more horrific and unsettling than melodic; just like the depths of his mind. Certain sounds from the lobby of the hotel were far too easy to hone in on; but none the more concerning than the sound of your laughter. 

 

It could have been confused with a scream had he not been listening so intently to it. 

 

The mist rising from the swamp terrain of his room clung to the floor, wrapping around the chair and himself like the serpents of old. The only visible movement that left him that betrayed the thought of him being a shell of a man, were the twitching of his ears. The intensity in which he listened was riveting to a point. 

 

You were a figment of interest to his confused, erratic, enticed mind; entirely too disappointed with the fact that you had not only spent your time chasing after something that did not deserve your attention, but alongside individuals who had intentions that he did not want you to partake in. Not worth your time, and yet you had gone to them, rather than him. 

 

As if there wasn’t a plausible reason why you wouldn’t do such a thing. 

 

A blur of a movement that would have been easy to pass up as a mirage, a twitch of his fingers; a tap upon his own flesh as his shadow retreated from his form; escaping from the crack under the door with the determination to keep him updated on everything you did. 

 

It had taken residence in your own shadow, contorting it in a way that was both unnatural and foreign, a fleeting sight as you continued on with the events of your day. 

 

While it had been easy to forget about Alastor on your road trip (the majority of the time), and despite you attempting to brush off the feeling of paranoia because you had yet to see him, you couldn’t help but go about your day with the apprehension and uneasiness as if he were there all along.

 

But he wasn’t. 

 

You released a heavy breath; rattled from both jet lag and the building nervousness of the possibility that he was up to no good. You were relieved that, when turning on the television, there was nothing regarding a mass extermination of demons. You were just being paranoid. You needed to kick back and relax. 

 

The rest of the afternoon consisted of getting up to speed with Angel, despite his lack of attention regarding you. That, or it was blatant discomfort with you getting close to him. He did seem to enjoy bringing you along to mess around with Huskie though, and for the first time in… well, the first time, Husk was sober. 

 

Angel took advantage of it. Husk immediately started drinking.

 

Well, it was the thought that counted, you guessed. What better way to get over a hangover than to drown yourself in even more liquor? You had begun to wonder if he did it just to have something to do. Sure, there was stuff that happened in the hotel, but you couldn’t imagine how utterly boring it was to just… sit behind a counter all day. 

 

Though Husk would never admit it, he did enjoy your company. 

 

The rest of the evening went smoothly enough; but Alastor still didn’t show face. “Angel.” You called out, strolling up to the arachnid who was sucking on a popsicle. 

 

“Ha?” A ‘pop’ resounded loudly, a string of saliva connected him to it still. Was he practicing on the popsicle? Your nose scrunched up before you shook your head, clearing your throat.

 

“Have you seen...” You brought a finger to each side of your cheeks, pulling them into a large grin. Honestly, you were surprised at yourself for inquiring about it. You didn’t care more so than you were worried you would be the cause of a global genocide; but you couldn’t control other people’s actions, you supposed.

 

Angel blinked at you for a moment, waving the wrist holding the popsicle around as if actually thinking. “Smiles? Nah. He’s been holdin’ out in his room.” 

 

Oh, the room that even Niffty refused to clean. 

 

You nodded absent-mindedly, narrowing your eyes in thought. Despite everything, the knowledge that he was in the hotel didn’t exactly sit right with you. You would have had an easier time accepting the fact that he went out on a murder spree than that there was a chance of running into him.

 

You weren’t sure how you would react if you did. 

 

By the time you headed to your room for the evening, you stared at the mahogany door for a moment longer than necessary. It had been so easy to detach from the fact that this was your room, that you had a place here, that this was your home. The creaking of the settling foundations of the hotel brought you out of your reverie, and with a sigh, you twisted the knob and let yourself in.

 

Immediately, you went through your drawers, looking around the room in suspicion. You didn’t put it past Alastor to go through your stuff when you were gone. But he hadn’t-- if he had, he did a spotless job at covering his tracks.

 

Everything was exactly how you left it.

 

The pit in your stomach, the weight of a gaze on your shoulders; hair standing upon the back of your neck. The feeling of eyes on you despite being completely and utterly alone was something you couldn’t shake. You ran a hand through your hair from the top of your head, muttering under your breath about how you were just being paranoid. That was it. All you were being was paranoid.

 

Grabbing a pair of fresh clothes, you headed to the shower, stripped, and stepped in. The warmth that greeted you was welcoming, and for a moment you forgot the uncomfortable feeling that resided physically within your own shadow. Needless to say, the shower was quick, but did manage to relax you slightly. But that was enough for you to hop back into your own bed, flick off the light, and fall asleep.

 

You dreamt of eyes. Thousands of them. They filled your room completely, every single corner had such familiar eyes, and all of them were focused on you. Red, unblinking, never letting up, staring. It was as if they drew closer to your form, bringing the void they resided in closer as they neared you.  

 

You shot up; the red light of morning streaming through the windows. Despite it only feeling as if you had slept for a mere blip of time, the clock stated otherwise. A full eight hours of sleep. You fell back into the pillows with a grunt, hoping to remain there for the rest of this hell you had left to endure. 

 

The start to your day consisted of you sweeping; your determination to try to pay Charlie back even though she insisted it was alright and you didn’t have to, caused you to sweep with a bit more vigor. You had responsibilities, unlike the manager who shirked his own to wallow in his own thoughts. Whatever. It wasn’t your pay grade. Charlie had spent literal thousands on you; you couldn’t just… accept it. 

 

Well, you could, but you wouldn’t. 

 

Whenever you went back to push the dirt into the dirt pile, either the pile would be messed up, or moved just enough to get your attention. It got to a point where you knew you weren’t cracking up because you set up a plan. Turn around for a bit, hone in on your senses, and right when you were about to sweep up a few glass shards Niffty had missed, you spun around.

 

There, long, black, misty tendrils messed up your dirt pile.

 

“A-HA!” You had caught the culprit red handed. Only when you recognized what exactly they were from, or who , did you throw the broom at the tendrils, which in turn dissipated at impact before reforming. The broom snapped upon hitting the ground once again, and you cursed lowly. 

 

Your anger began dull, harbored by shock at first, before it really began to settle in. 

 

He had set them to follow you. 

 

You hadn’t been paranoid. You knew exactly what was happening. You whipped around, your shadow moving so quick that it deterred his own, causing you to catch the tail end of the antlers.

 

He had been watching you the entire time. 

 

Kitchen, bathroom, the shower, your bed.  It was him. 

 

“Hey, can you go to the grocery store and get a few things--” Charlie’s voice cut off with a small ‘oh’, and you spun around to meet her eyes. Your anger was silenced, before you sighed. At least you were aware now. You narrowed your eyes at your shadow, and Charlie wondered briefly if you had finally lost it. 

 

“Riiight, well,” she held out the note to you and you took it out of her hand lightly. It wasn’t a lot. “Be safe, okay?” She reached over and almost patted your shoulder before hesitating. She couldn’t baby you. Instead, she returned her hand to her side, and you looked up at her with knitted brows. 

 

“I’ll try.” Grabbing a coat, you headed out, still borderline about to snap at the tendrils that now tried to curl around your legs and keep you close to the hotel. The shadow contorted around you; acting as if it hadn’t been spotted just yet. 

 

Until you had gathered what you needed at the store and a demon tried to talk to you. Within the grocery checkout line, the shadow made it’s presence known with a gaping maw, scaring away a possible guest to the hotel. The sheep demon that had beautiful, white flowing hair had only wanted to know more about it; it had even been a little sheepish in her question. Now. Now you were pissed. Did you not get through to him? This had to stop! 

 

Upon reentering the doors, you threw down the groceries.

 

“The shit is up with ya?” Angel piped up, thoroughly surprised. Husk slow blinked in shock at you; you were rarely angry, and when you flipped out like this, he was entirely certain that radio prick was the cause of it. Leaving the groceries at the front door, you didn’t offer any sort of response, storming up the stairs as the tendrils and the shadow chased after you; despite the anger that radiated off of you in waves.

 

Just when you had gotten back.

 

He couldn’t have given you a break? 

 

He completely disrespected your privacy!

 

When you reached where he pent himself up, the mist of the swamp forming from underneath the crack in it, you brought your fist up and banged on the door. The sheer intensity hurt your fist, face contorted angrily.

 

ALASTOR! HEY ASSWIPE , OPEN UP!” 

 

You were beyond pissed. The shadow tentacles were wrapped around your ankle, and you kicked the door in an attempt to dislodge it from you. It didn’t feel like anything because it had the consistency of a shadow, but that didn’t leave you any less pissed at the fact that it was touching you.

 

When he opened up the door with an eerie calmness, you had almost forgotten how tall he was. His frame alone filled up the doorway, his ever present smile leering down at you. God, he was a creepy bastard.  His calm demeanor pissed you off even more. Nevertheless, you swallowed, the beginnings of anxiety over how utterly intimidating he was in that moment. This was the man who literally had it out for ruining whatever happiness or contentment you could find down here.

Your face contorted, anger reigniting.

 

“Can I help you, my darling little employee?” He cooed; bambi eyelashes fluttering down at you. He could not let your presence unhinge his reverie, for he had finally come to terms with what it was that he was feeling. What it was that he wanted, because it was standing right in front of him. 

 

You mutter angrily under your breath, seething quietly but visibly. You point down to your ankle then; about to lose your damn mind at the thing when you were met with the sight of, drum roll please, nothing . You stared down at your ankle, eye twitching. Your fingertips twitched at your sides. 

 

Alastor had pulled his shadow back into his own bodily orbit in the time it had taken you to realize; his head tilted to the side at your absolutely adorable furious expression. “If that’s all then.” He hummed, leaning down to bring his face closer to yours. “Unless you need something else~” he sang, eyes crinkled in some form of twisted amusement.

 

You had a realization that he wasn’t smiling at you more than he was baring his teeth at you. 

 

Oh, you didn’t miss him at all. You wanted to wipe that smile off of his face. “Keep your voodoo magic to yourself,” you hissed out, your anger causing you to spout out words you didn’t exactly mean. “Or else I’ll tell everyone that I made you frown twice.” You held up two fingers. If he wanted a game, you would play your own. 

 

He ‘hmm’ed obnoxiously at you, his lips closing over his teeth, smile still dramatically present. He straightened out then. “Very well then.” He stepped back, and you hadn’t realized that he had agreed to keep his stupid powers to himself because, when he began to close the door, he grinned again.

 

“Welcome back,” he stated your name, closing the door with an audible click. 

 

You felt your heart stop, expression going slack.

 

He said your name.

Chapter Text

He had said your name.

 

Upon reentering the lobby, you had discovered that the groceries had been put away for you by some resident of the hotel that you had chosen not to inquire about. 

 

There were only a select few, but those who were, were your friends. Though they did not wish to publicly admit such a fact, nothing was more blatant than that in such a tense moment. They could have also been told to do it, of course, but you would give them the benefit of the doubt. 

 

They, being Angel Dust and Husk. 

 

You released a heavy sigh at the realization that you were safe here in their presence, even as you settled down upon a stool at the bar. 

 

The winged feline busied himself with cleaning a shot glass before pouring some liquor into it. You had some shit going on; and what better to wallow in your thoughts than by being drunk? He passed you the drink, and you stirred it absentmindedly, not bothering to actually bring it to your lips to ingest the contents. 

 

Well, to each their own.

 

Husk knew when to talk and when not to talk, and, based on your expression, he knew that the latter was perhaps the best option. It wasn’t like he was the best with his words to begin with. 

 

You couldn’t get the fact out of your mind that he had said your name. It was probably a weird thing to get stuck on, but up until this point, he had only ever referred to you as an employee. It was so mind blowing to you that, when you felt a hand rest on your shoulder, you jumped.

 

“Ya… ah, okay toots?” The familiar voice of Angel Dust eased your nerves, but your reaction caused the hand to retract. 

 

“Um, yeah, yeah I’m fine.” You lied straight out of your teeth, and in a rare moment of vulnerability and understanding, Husk and Angel passed a thinly veiled look of concern towards you. Angel rolled his eyes before leaning against the counter with a huff. His lips pulled up to reveal a sneer in an action that was less mean, and more of a jest. 

 

“No yer not.” 

 

You glanced up at him then, pausing in your movements of swirling the drink. You blinked. Once, twice, before letting your shoulders slump. “No I’m not.” You agreed half-heartedly, and Angel nodded alongside you as if you were a dipshit. Husk took a swig of his drink on your behalf, knowing perhaps a bit too well that the radio bastard had done something. 

 

It was apparent. 

 

“So, ya gonna spill or…?” Angel trailed off, turning his attention to the screen of the television that added ambience to the room. Crack, snap, and pop spoke of the latest territorial takeover that just so happened to be close to the hotel. You would have found interest in finding out what exactly had caused the most recent of your traumatizing experiences to take place, if you had enough patience.

 

“He said my name.” 

 

Angel was silent for a moment, peering over at you owlishly with a raised brow as if wondering if you were serious. And then he burst out into a fit of laughter. You supposed it did sound funny to someone who was unaware of the struggles you faced— well, he did, but whether or not he took such things seriously was another question. 

 

In reality, Angel did and, dare he ever say it, cared for your wellbeing to some degree. 

 

Which was a staggering idea in itself. 

 

That’s what’s got ya mopin’? Spilt milk? Huskie, can ya believe—” His laughter ebbed off at your expression, uncertainty plaguing his own as he fought for the right words to say. 

 

Your face warmed, and in that moment wanted to sink into the pits of oblivion and never return. 

 

He found it hilarious that you would act in such a way over some shithead calling you by your first name; but then, as if he had some sort of epiphany, he remembered all the shit said shithead put you through. 

 

Ah, that made him uncomfortable. Memories that he had laid to rest were revived, and Angel found himself going silent. 

 

“Kid, I don’t have anything to say that you haven’t already heard before.” The gruff voice of Husk made you turn your attention to him. Like he said, he wasn’t good with words or… emotions. Drinking his woes away was far easier than actually dealing with them. He admired your determination to get through this, though. 

 

Maybe he could try. 

 

“I would’ve kicked the bucket a long time ago if I were you. You sure are uh…” He wasn’t sure how to tie it up. He took your glass away then, noting that you weren’t going to drink it, and then swung it back into his own mouth. You raised an eyebrow at him just as he turned around and began to reclean the glass again.

 

Tough .” 

 

It was the thought that counted. 

 

The rest of the evening was spent in their presence; Angel attempting to crack jokes here and there because your mood was ‘putting him in a shitty one’. You had learned that he would never apologize for the acts he had committed; for the hurt he had laid upon you. 

 

Whether it was pride or just because he was a stubborn asshat at times was something you were still trying to figure out yourself. His actions, however, despite seeming distant at times, spoke far louder than his words ever would. At the sound of scampering hooves and oinks entering the room, Angel had picked up the pig and placed it on the counter, much to Husk’s disapproval. Who knew where the pig had been? 

 

Fat Nuggets waddled over to you, and in that brief moment, surrounded by your two friends, you felt at ease. 

 

Nevertheless, you retired early that night, utterly spent. It had been so long since you had a decent night sleep and, god damn it, you were going to get one. Thankfully enough for you; you did. You were not plagued by shadows nor red, glowing eyes. You had peaceful dreams, or at least, as peaceful as they could get. 

 

The fluffiness of the blankets only lulled you into a deeper rest.

 

When you awoke, albeit later than you normally would, your sat up. Rubbing your eyes with a fist to remove whatever sleepiness resides within them, you released a yawn; too tempted to just stay in bed for the rest of the day. Or perhaps the rest of what you had left to endure in the wretched bowels of Hell. It was only when you forced yourself out of bed, did you notice a broom situated just next to the nightstand. You blinked.

 

The broom was exceedingly extravagant; appearing as if the handle were made out of obsidian itself. The bristles… were red. 

 

The first thought to enter your mind was not who had given it to you, but how a broom got into your room. You decided not to question it for your own sanity. The second thought was the one that flared your veins up with annoyance. The broom had a striking color scheme resemblant of a certain someone who you couldn’t bear the thought of at such an early part of your day. 

 

You hesitated, ghosting your fingers across the coolness of the handle. 

 

It wasn’t wrong to state that you needed a new broom— your other one had gotten to a point where it would break apart even despite your best efforts. Perhaps it was time to put that one to rest. With a sigh, you begrudgingly wrap your hand around the handle. While you had an inkling suspicion of who it was from, you decided you would accept it for the hotel’s behalf.

 

Not his. 

 

By the time you reached the lobby, you were greeted by the sight of Vaggie helping Charlie put on a coat; her hands full of baubles and antiques that simply had no room in the hotel. They explained to you that they were going to run to a storage unit and they would be back shortly. Charlie had told Vaggie that she would be there after a moment and to wait in the car, noticing the shiny new broom in your hand. She looked unsure of how to ensure you wouldn’t overwork yourself.

 

“Just take it easy, okay? ”

 

“Okay.”

 

You wouldn’t. You couldn’t take it easy; it was a hard thing to do when you had eyes on you constantly. With a sigh, you retreated in your work the moment the door was closed. 

 

It didn’t take long for you to fall into the depths of your mind, the background volume of the television and gentle clacking of Husk’s claws tapping on an alcohol bottle idly. Angel was nowhere to be seen, which generally meant he was snorting coke or some other drug in his room.

 

You didn’t doubt that he had restocked on his stash just to spite Vaggie.

 

“Hello, darling employee!”

 

Your scream got caught in your throat, jumping back at the sight of a chipper individual appearing directly next to you. Your hand flew to your chest, eyes wide as you snapped your head in a manner so quick you would have given yourself whiplash if you had gone any quicker. His grin extended ear to ear at the sight of you alone; so utterly tickled at the fact that you were using his gift. 

 

“I see you’ve gotten some new cleaning supplies, don’t you look ravishing in those colors!” He loomed over you, giving you a once-over and humming in approval. 

 

Your fingertips flexed upon the obsidian-like rod, deeply contemplating with just hitting him with it. It had taken you a bit to realize he had complimented you, and once you did, you couldn’t help but feel taken aback. You would have been flattered if, you know, it had been someone else. 

 

Annoyance fluttered inside of your mind; because, even when he was being ‘ nice’, which was a red flag in your book, you couldn’t catch a break. 

 

“You’re the reason my other broom kept breaking.” You muttered, a forlorn expression forming on your face at the memory. That broom had been with you since the beginning.

 

“I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about!” He straightened out his back, bringing a hand to mess with his hair in a flamboyant manner.

 

You narrowed your eyes in suspicion, cracking down on the idea that it was him that had given the broom to you. “Did you give me this?” You weren’t expecting a solid answer.

 

He looked down at you then, and then to the broom, and then back at you, before squinting impishly. “I thought investing in some proper cleaning supplies would assist Niffty and yourself in your daily duties.” He wiggled his claws teasingly at you, reaching over and pinching your cheeks in a familiar act that you did not miss

 

You made a face, in which he fluttered his eyelashes in feigned innocence

 

It was then you realize that you were holding the only apparent upgrade in the room. Niffty, ironically, darted into the lobby in a blur of pinks, whites, and yellows; immediately taking note of such a wondrous and fabulous tool in your hand. 

 

She gasped with an ‘ohhh man!’, giddy that you could now work properly. She started poking at it, making sure that it wouldn’t fall apart on you, all the while speaking with such a speed that made you dizzy. You watched on with amusement and surprise.

 

“Ooohhh! So pretty! I wish I had something like that!” She flashed you a grin, her pupil blown out of proportion before she darted away. 

 

Your eyes went lidded, lips pulling at the edges as you turned to slowly look back up at Alastor. You were absolutely radiating superior, self-congratulatory smugness. You had caught him in his bullshit; and you were damn proud . Tossing him a look , you watched as his grin twitched before a heavy breath escaped him. 

 

He brought his fingers up and snapped them, replacing all of the supplies in the room with the same style and importance of your own broom. 

 

Niffty nearly cried in happiness, inspecting all the new tools and running up to the bar, pushing it in front of Husk’s face who grunted in grumpy acknowledgement. You couldn’t lie and say it didn’t look good— the new cleaning spray even had a nice scent.

 

Alastor had his gaze set on you the entire time as you inspected the different items; twitching his claws at his side. 

 

Perhaps he would just have to try harder. 

 

Shaking away his surprise and annoyance with a flourish, his grin returned to full intensity as he made two long strides towards you. He leaned down, pressing a claw to your nose teasingly.

 

Don’t you come in the kitchen, now!” Despite his baby tone, much to your annoyance, you couldn’t help but believe it was a thinly veiled threat. You shrugged his words off your shoulders; tempted to just go into the kitchen to spite him right then and there. But you didn’t. You were confused, and your eyebrows knit. 

 

Why was he trying to be nice to you? 

 

You knew the reason, but you didn’t want to even humor the reality. 

 

You turned your attention over to Niffty who now acted like a child on Christmas. Sure, everything was nice, but you would never understand her intense interest regarding cleaning. You did it because you couldn’t bear sitting around while the rest of the world went on without you.

 

You didn’t want to be left behind. 

 

The cleaning was more laid back; Niffty easing you back into her insane workload that she never tired of. She was an endearing little woman (though, she acted more like a robot than an actual living, breathing person).

 

She deserved the upgrade more than you did. 

 

Skipping towards you, she took your hand into hers and tugged you along; snapping you out of your reverie. You had missed her energetic presence, the way she bounced off the walls and made you think she was on a sugar high. Honestly, at any moment you almost expected her to just collapse in a pile of sparkles. But she never did. You were a lot slower than her, but that also meant that she often missed spots in her marathon. 

 

That was your job. 

 

After an hour of doing such, the scent of vanilla and flour had begun to make its presence known. By the second hour, it was all you could smell and you cast a glance towards Husk who… was knocked out. You didn’t blame him. You wished you could conk out as easily as he did. There was clattering and cluttering originating from behind the closed doors of the kitchen. 

 

You had only found out exactly what he was up to when you were on your break, his egotistical voice practically singing as he beckoned you to where he was. You groaned, letting your head fall back against the headrest of the couch before pulling yourself up and dragging yourself, perhaps a bit dramatically, towards the kitchen. 

 

When you entered the room, your exhaustion hit you full force with no intent on stopping. It was decorated extravagantly, banners and other ornaments that looked so out of place hung from the walls. The treats that were laid out around the tables were realistically shaped and iced hearts. And, in the center of the dining table, resting in a pile of red and white roses...

 

Was an actual beating heart. 

 

Your breath was caught in your throat, the blood draining from your face. Your arms fell limp at your sides. The smell was utterly putrid, even with the roses that decorated the space— they barely did anything to mask the smell of the seemingly still living organ on the table . Alastor stared at you with a large grin, expectantly, proudly, before he scanned the room with you.

 

“What do you think, darling? I think it’s rather swell!”

 

His tone was jovial, suave . He spoke with his hands before, with a few strides, coming up to you and pressing you flush against his side, motioning towards the room as he dragged you along, against your will. 

 

Again. 

 

He showed you everything, the banners that were also hearts, and the writing scribed upon them that said ‘Welcome Back!’ in bright, bold pink lettering. He tried to get you to eat a cookie, but you refused. 

 

When you questioned why , he responded with: “Why? Oh dearie me! Did you think I wouldn’t welcome my employees back?” You knew he wouldn’t do this for Husk. Charlie was out for a few hours. That left you. His eyes burned the top of your head; and you grew uncomfortable. You wanted to run far, far away.

 

This was unwanted, it was too much. He was a fucking psychopath. Crazy. Off his rocker. And yet you found yourself unable to tear your eyes away from the most disturbing centerpiece you had ever laid eyes upon. Alastor, of course, noticed. As if he would ever miss a thing. 

 

When it came to him, he often times moved so quick that you had to invest yourself in his presence just so you didn’t miss anything important. 

 

“Oh yes, that.” He took a step forward, still holding you against his side, eager to have you in close proximity to him. He stopped just before the centerpiece, puffing out his chest as if he were proud that you had noticed such an unmistakable and unmissable decoration.

 

“It’s such a lovely centerpiece, wouldn’t you agree? It really ties this entire thing together!” His tone was flippant, jovial, excited. A cool sheen of sweat had begun to appear upon your forehead, sickness threatening to spill from your mouth; and it would have if it were not for the sound of the swinging door being opened.

 

“C’mon Nugs, why ain’t you comin’? It’s just the kitchen—“ 

 

Angel Dust hadn’t known what he would walk in on until it was too late; and for the longest of moments, he didn’t know how to respond. His eyes were wide, scanning across the demented festivities, his words getting stuck in his throat. He was glad he didn’t have a nose. 

 

There was a low, disbelieving ‘ wow’ and a whistle accompanied by it. When he saw the two of you, he immediately understood what was going on. 

 

He hesitated, but knitted his brows together upon noticing you looked like you were going to faint at any moment. 

 

The arachnid turned his attention to the one individual that was fucked up enough to even consider doing such a thing. “Ya know, I’ve seen some shit…” he glanced down to the realistic heart-shaped cookies. He had always been a glutton for sweets, but even that was something he wouldn’t put to his mouth.

 

This was a lot worse than just a crush. This was on par with Valentino. His stomach flopped uncomfortably in his abdomen. No, this was worse. To think such a thing was definitely something; considering how bad Valentino actually was.

 

He was glad that he had bumped into Charlie when he had. 

 

“But this is ah… pretty fucked up. ” He appeared nervous, and you peered at him the best you could, even with Alastor keeping you plush to his side. 

 

His claws drummed across your shoulder as if in deep, contemplative thought. You remained there, the movement of his claws offering you some sort of lifeline, just enough for you to keep conscious. You weren’t sure if he was even aware of his own actions. 

 

Hell, he hadn’t been aware of his own crush

 

Focus on the small things. There were roses. They were red and white. The banners were sparkly and pink. You nearly blacked out right then and there, holding a breath you hadn’t known you were holding until your lungs screamed for oxygen. You took a large inhale of the absolutely putrid scent, before attempting to pull away. 

 

There was some resistance, the feeling of Alastor’s arm tightening around you before letting up and allowing you to escape him. You couldn’t stand to stay in that room any longer. 

 

Darting out of the kitchen, you immediately collided with a larger, harder, yet fluffier frame. A clawed hand steadied you and you peered up to realize the feline’s presence. His face still maintained that infinite scowl, and you noticed that he had been only centimeters away from the kitchen door; most likely giving into his curiosity and trying to find out what the fuck was going on. 

 

There’s no words passed between you, Husk scanning your expression; his own turning even more sour (which you didn’t think possible). That radio fuckhead had messed with him, enslaved him in this hotel, and now that he was messing with the one soul that he could even tolerate? He brushed past you angrily. 

 

His tail swiped against your ankle before it disappeared behind the closed door he had just gone through.

 

His expression was unreadable when he discovered what exactly Alastor had done this time ; and to say that his wings knocked down all the utensils, plates, and cookies would have been an understatement. They unfurled behind him, a primal way of appearing much larger than he actually was. Far more threatening than just an old drunkard.

 

Not even Angel had ever seen ‘Huskie’ legitimately pissed.

 

You’ve been harassing that poor girl, and for what!?” 

 

His already gruff voice sounded even huskier, venom being spewed with each word. Even from behind the door, you shrunk back. With each word, he grew closer to the Radio Demon. “What do you even want from her? She ain’t got shit? You just tryin’ to collect her, you fuckwad?” Alastor wasn’t fazed. In fact he, like the literal piece of shit he was, leaned back on the counter and grinned. 

 

His eyes were pinched at the ends in what appeared to be amusement. In what could have been missed, and was, he tapped his claw onto the mahogany counter, dislodging his shadow from himself and having it follow you.

 

Husk continued to get in his face, tail lashing behind him, pointing and yelling about how he couldn’t accept ‘no’ for an answer and how he was so utterly fucked up in the head. “Where do you even get off, you sick fuck? You’ve been on your own for years and now you want some shitty romance!?” He was fuming. 

 

You didn’t stick around to hear more.

 

Throwing open the door to the hotel, you run out and slump down on the stairs, gagging at the smell that continued to burn in your lungs. The sound of increased volume of incomprehensible yelling holds your attention for a moment, but you barely react. Your flight or fight instincts were at an all time high. 

 

A shadow moved across the boards of the patio; slinking closer and closer before becoming gaining mass and ultimately becoming physical. 

 

It loomed over you a few paces away, somehow holding a plate of undecorated cookies despite having the literal consistency of an amalgamated shadow. You didn’t notice until your gut feeling told you someone was watching you. 

 

When you turned around, you nearly booked it right then and there. 

 

You could hear the blood roaring in your head, your heart thrumming against your rib cage with a beat of a war drum. You were a deer in the headlights, so close to hyperventilation and losing your damn mind that you barely realized it held the cookies out to you in offering. When you did, you took a deep breath. 

 

You recognized what it was. You just… had never seen it take a physical form before; always running amongst the floors and walls but never becoming a tangible object. 

 

You scoot up against the railing, bringing your legs close to you. The gaping, blue maw of the… creature, the antlers that curled out intimidatingly, didn’t do much other than spook you more. It looked like a creepier version of Alastor in a more wicked sense; void of coloration. 

 

You supposed it made sense, considering it did belong to Alastor. You glanced down at your own shadow then; half-expecting it to jolt to life, but when it didn’t, you looked back up to the thing , shakily. 

 

You look at the cookies as it offers it again, silently, your lip twitching. The cold air freezes your breath, and you note how there’s steam coming off of the cookies. They were just out of the oven. That explained why they weren’t decorated gruesomely. “...I don’t want it.” 

 

It stared at you as if calculating your response; and in that time, you found yourself to be utterly disappointed in the fact that Alastor disregarded your request without any sort of consideration. You couldn’t say you were surprised, though. 

 

The shadow insisted.

 

“I DON’T want it.” You snapped. The last thing you wanted were cookies. What you did want was to run to the ends of Hell and never look back; you wanted you curl into your blankets and never wake up again. You were so tired of his game. You didn’t want to be a game. 

 

The shadow bent down and placed the plate to the ground, shadow tendrils forming at its command and pushing the plate as close as it could get to you. 

 

You watched, silently. Seething. Why did you even try to get through to him? His skull was too thick. Too proud. 

 

And that was just the thing. He was an entity far more powerful than you; incredibly too egotistical after building himself up to such a state of incredibly ability. 

 

It nodded its head at you, appearing more of a blur instead of an actual solid movement. It insisted again. It wouldn’t leave until you ate a cookie. Well, guess you were stuck with a second shadow then. Or third? Alastor was practically your shadow at this point now, you thought bitterly. 

 

Whatever, you weren’t going to eat a damn cookie. 

 

“Why is he doing this? Are you him? What the fuck even are you?” The questions spill out of your mouth before you could even stop yourself. And then you laugh humorlessly. You had finally cracked, you had officially lost your marbles. You were talking to a shadow.

 

It hovered above the patio in an eternal silence, and you had begun to believe that it was just some sort of puppet that couldn’t talk, until it opened its pulsating blue maw and emitted a sound. It was a dying echo, the wail wholly unnatural, longing, lost and it succeeded in only unnerving you further. The shadow took note and silenced itself almost immediately. 

 

Slowly, it passed by you and floated down the stairs. 

 

Knitting your brows, you couldn’t help but push yourself up and peer down towards it from where you stood. Despite being in a mixture of shock and pissed off energy, your curiosity truly knew no bounds. 

 

It hovered in the snow just next to the last step, and, with a movement of its hand, words began to appear in the white dust, engraving the message in such a way that made you realize that this thing was sentient. That answered one question. Hesitantly and almost nervously, you walked down the stairs, still maintaining distance, but getting just close enough to see what it was writing. 

 

Enchanted… to life.’ 

 

There were symbols next to the words that you could only guess were what was done to ‘enchant’ it. You stared for what felt like an eternity. It was talking to you. You opened your mouth, only for silence to escape you.

 

  It was alive, in a way. 

 

You watched it side step, and despite it appearing to be affected by the snow, it left no trace of its existence behind other than the words that were scrawled. And then, with a wave of its shadowed hand, more words appeared. 

 

‘Likes you.’  

 

An arrow was drawn, pointing to you. 

 

‘You don’t like.’ It finished, turning to look at you. 

 

It’s expression never changed, and that unnerved you more than anything else. It was a shadow, you reminded yourself, but it was a sentient shadow. Shadows didn’t have expressions. You weren’t sure why you were so baffled at that, faced with all the other nonsense you had the pleasure of taking part in it. 

 

Nevertheless, at the words, you found yourself to be wholly confused but concentrated. 

 

Only when you tried to piece together what it was referring to, did it click. It was talking about you and Alastor. Your mouth felt dry, but you swallowed anyway. 

 

“I-if you, his… shadow, can figure that out,” you croaked out, nervous. Was all of this feeding directly back to Alastor? “Then why can’t he?” You watched as it turned back around, and began to respond. Your eyebrows were raised in confusion and inquisitiveness. 

 

Despite being in the state that you were in, this thing was giving you answers. 

 

Likes you lots.’ It began underlining the word ‘lots’ over and over again like a broken record, and it only got its point across more dramatically. It stopped when you responded with the most basic question known to mankind. 

 

“Why?” 

 

It didn’t respond, motionless. Either it wouldn’t say or it didn’t know. 

 

Albeit shakily, you walked over to the shadow warily, entirely untrusting of it. Leaning down, picking up a stick, you circled, ‘you don’t like’ over and over again. You let the branch fall from your grasp, eyes darting up at the creature with a huff. That was your final answer.

 

It’s consistency was like smoke, but cold. It was hauntingly terrifying. It remained there, wavering and silent. The odd movements of its being fluctuating between being physical mass and a mirage. It couldn’t stay there forever, and somehow you were just able to tell. 

 

It would eventually return to Alastor’s being, eternally enslaved to his side; but you supposed that was all the shadow was meant for. It’s maw opened and closed, blue saliva dripping down as it until, at last, it showed you what it wanted. 

 

The cookies. 

 

You glanced over along towards the direction of the heart-shaped cookies, a heavy sigh falling from your lips. Stalking over to the plate, you pulled yourself up the stairs and leaned down to grab a singular one. Inspecting it thoroughly as if expecting it to start beating right then and there, you brought it to your lips and took the most minuscule of bites you could do.

 

You refused to accept that the cookie was good

 

The shadow departed with a bow; and you watched as it lost its mass in a concoction of dark smoke and flinted sparks. Placing the cookie down back to the plate, you turned and took a glance back over to the indentations in the snow. Such a pure coloration didn’t belong in the red world; but the bitterness of the temperature did keep you stable enough to process your thoughts. 

 

You didn’t even know where to begin.

 

Perhaps, in another life, you would have been honored to be a subject of interest for Alastor— but after all the shit he pulled, he wouldn’t get off the hook. The thought of all of this being based off a childish crush, was something so utterly odd and uncomfortable for you that you didn’t really… know how to respond. 

 

He had not only violated you multiple times, but obsessed over you in the unhealthiest ways. He had made you paranoid, he had caused you to lose sleep over him, you had shed more tears than you could count over him. He had caused you far more trouble than it was worth and by god were you infuriated with him. 

 

But how could you get through to someone who didn’t want to listen?

 

Lost in your stubborn thoughts, you barely noticed the doggy-door (that had only recently been installed) being pushed open by a pink snout. The clicking of hooves had managed to pull you out of your contemplation and deliberation. Peering down at the sound of something being munched on, you noticed a very familiar pig oinking happily, seemingly unaffected by the chill of the winter weather. You were happy for the distraction. 

 

Just thinking about him made you exhausted.

 

Notwithstanding the idea of remaining in your own thoughts, you leaned down and grabbed the plate. It was much to the disappointment of Fat Nuggets who in turn peered at you with such sadness that his beady little eyes that you wanted to give him ten plates. 

 

“Nope, come on. Angel will kill me if he finds out you’re out here.” You take a step forward and the pig oinks sadly, but upon realizing that it wouldn’t get anymore cookies, squeezed through the small opening of the door and went back inside. With a heavy sigh, as if bracing yourself for the worst, you opened the door and followed. Thankfully nothing was destroyed— inside the kitchen, however, you didn’t want to find out. 

 

You were still trying to wrap your head over everything. 

 

The pig now followed you around, now that it wasn’t being given attention from its rightful owner. Said owner was trying to soothe an extremely pissed off feline behind a bar, which you didn’t stick around to see the aftermath of. Instead, you took comfort in it’s presence. “You’re cute, I’ll give you that.” You looked down to the pig, placing the plate down briefly onto the counter, and crouching down; making a grab by hand motion. 

 

It came to you, and you scooped it up. It oinked happily before finding interest in your hair, trying to eat it. You shut that down quickly by pushing your hair to the side, reprimanding the pig by a stern baby tone, stating how it should know better. Sheesh, you had really gone soft for the pig. In some way, you had begun to think of it as your pet too. 

 

Angel would just have to share. 

 

“Angel, I’m taking your pig.” 

 

“Whateva’. Now, Huskie—“ you stopped listening after that.

 

In spite of that, you took the plate of cookies and carried the happily wiggling pig to your room where you would retire for the rest of the day. You couldn’t bear the thought of being in the same vicinity as Alastor, especially after that stunt he pulled. Said demon was blocking your path towards the hallway leading to your room, and without even stopping , you ducked past him, completely ignoring his presence. 

 

His eyes narrowed, watching as you disappeared down the hallway, head turning to follow you at an unnatural and inhuman angle. He noticed you took the cookies with you, and his grin extended. Perhaps you had liked them, then.

 

Upon reaching your room, you had begun feeding the cookies to the pig when it succeeded in a trick. You were proud of him; he learned quickly. He learned even quicker when you had food. He was gluttonous, but you supposed it was to be expected by a literal pet pig. 

 

“Roll over, Nugs.” You had adopted the nickname for an easier time. 

 

The pig stared at the cookie in your hand, making no movement to do what you requested. 

 

You snapped your fingers, letting out a sharp whistle to get its attention. “Come on, you know this, bud!” When he finally rolled over, you let a genuine grin appear on your lips. Such an endearing little creature. You cooed, and upon rolling back over, it hopped from hoof to hoof squealing excitedly.

 

You gave the cookie, as promised, to Fat Nuggets. 

 

The hours passed quicker when you were having fun, and by the time you were out of cookies, it had been a few. The already dark, red sky had grown to an ever darker shadow, signifying the time of day. Or night. Releasing a yawn, you picked up the plate and the pig, and returned to the lobby. Charlie and Vaggie had returned at that point, and upon hearing what had happened by the two blabbermouths in the lobby, Vaggie had stopped you. 

 

“Hey uh, are you alright?” 

 

You instantly knew what she was referring to, and you didn’t offer her even a glance of confusion. Her eyebrows were knitted, and with a soft sigh, you leaned down and let the pig go. It scampered over to Angel Dust who immediately began to gush over him. Straightening back up, you frowned slightly at the memory. 

 

“I don’t think I’ve been alright for a long time, Vaggie.” You joked humorlessly, and she gave an equally humorless half-smile. Vaggie was rough around the edges, but she did care about the residents of the Hotel at the end of the day, and that, of course, included you

 

Vaggie knew how deep in the bullshit you were, and she pitied you. But there wasn’t anything any of them could do— if there had been, it would have been done a long time ago. She was glad to see that you hadn’t broken under pressure yet; despite not being there for Husk’s compliment, she did admire how tough you were. 

 

You were perhaps the only one who was resilient enough to deal with the Radio Demon. 

 

After a short conversation, more so brought upon by Charlie’s concern that she had expressed during their trip to the storage facility than anything else. She had also been told to try to be more open with the other residents, and after much contemplation, she had decided to approach you first. It was progress, at least.

 

After bidding you goodnight, and hopefully it would be a good one, you had begun to return to your room; the door open ajar just slightly. You had closed it. You remembered. Your eye twitched, pausing to gaze at the slit in the mahogany wood almost nervously. You shouldn’t have to be afraid of your own damn room. 

 

Bracing yourself for seeing Alastor himself, you were surprised to see that the room was empty. Everything was the same, nothing was touched or moved. When you took in a deep inhale, the scent of roses met you. 

 

Turning your attention to the bed, you noticed a beautiful bouquet settled upon your pillow. You were touched, the slightest bit, until you realized who they must have come from.

 

Stalking over to the bedside, you reached over, hesitant as if the roses would come alive somehow and bite your fingers, but when you ran them over, they didn’t turn into a ferocious monster. No, but they did do something else.You watched with a mixture of curiosity, confusion, and annoyance as the flowers wilted immediately, dying under your touch. You pulled your hand away. 

 

This man really had an audacity

 

A few roses snapped off of the stems, dousing your pillows with dead petals. Now you had to clean your bed off before you could sleep. Placing the bouquet on your end table, you did just that. By the time you got changed into the most comfortable attire that you owned, fluffy pajamas that insulated you in warmth, battling the chill of the outside world, you had pulled the quilt back. 

 

Settling in, you turned out the light and settled in for the night. 

 

You laid there for what felt like hours despite your exhaustion, tossing and turning, kicking your blankets off and returning them to cover you again. You were kept up with the memories of that earlier day— who’s heart was that? Why was he doing this? Would he continue to pull things like this? Not only that, but he had completely disregarded your request for privacy. 

 

You couldn’t even think alone without having some part of him, be it physical manifestation or just the thought of him, on your mind. He not only had gotten himself in deep with whatever sort of obsession, but if that weren’t the worst thing, he was completely infatuated. 

 

You felt nauseous.

 

Leaning over, you pulled on the chain for the lamp, dousing the room with light. You ran your fingers through your hair, blinking and wincing as your eyes became adjusted to the sudden change. This was ridiculous. Sitting up and crossing your legs, you ran your hands down your face, groaning all the way before heaving yourself off of the bed. A heavy sigh fell from your lips, stomach tightened uncomfortably. 

 

You wanted this to be over, was that too much to ask for? He just… didn’t understand. Grabbing the bouquet of dead roses, you pulled open the door, you make your way down the dimly lit hallway. The shadows that were caused by different sorts of furniture would have made you paranoid if you weren’t in such a rut. The stairs creaked under your weight as you made your way up.

 

The fact that you had to do this now, and that it couldn’t wait until the morning was insane.

 

You find your way towards his door almost too easily, and you hesitate. Your annoyance and frustration drown out your worries though, and you bring your fist up to knock at the wood. Once. Twice. A third time. There’s silence. 

 

And then there’s a light that flickers on. Your heart lodged in your throat— any thought of escaping while you still could, left your mind the moment the door opened. His attire was changed which was a surprise in itself; he still adorned the tell-tale reds and blacks that he always did, but he was wearing pajamas. They were striped, silk. His monocle was still posed over his eye… The weirdo.  

 

You would have laughed if you hadn’t found yourself at his door at such a late hour for reasons that you had to face. 

 

“How can I be of assistance…” His tone is deeper by an octave, brought on by lack of use through sleep, “At such an hour?” His eyes flickered to a clock behind your head that was so conveniently placed. You could only he hope he was an inkling as annoyed as you were. He was loud, which shouldn’t have been as much of a shock as it was. He had no consideration for the rest of the sleeping residents. 

 

He looked down at the roses then, his lipped smile now turning into a full-fledged grin. “So you received them! I—“

 

You bring a finger to your lips, shushing him just as loudly. The reason for your loudness was from your frustration. Pushing the wilted flowers towards him, you let them fall from your grip, not caring if they fell to the ground or if he caught them. Without any regard for your safety, without a care of being polite anymore, you barged right past him and into his own damn room.

 

You had a long day, and he was the reason you were in such a crotchety mood in the first place. He was the reason for all of this. 

 

He remained positioned in the doorway for the longest of moments, claws flexing around the bouquet of dead roses in contemplation and perhaps even surprise. You weren’t sure what he was thinking; you never did and never wanted to. You had a feeling you would go to the point of no return even if you had the tiniest look-see. 

 

You hoped, in your anger, that he was getting a glance of all the violation of privacy that he had caused to you and others. You wanted him to experience all the uncomfortable, shocked emotions you had to deal with on the daily. 

 

He turns around them, placing the flowers down on his own bedside table. The sound of crickets filled the silence of the room, and if you had looked around, you would have found that they were coming from inside.

 

Half of his room was a literal swamp, stumps of trees, water that somehow didn’t seep through the cracks of wood, grass… in the center of it all was a single round table with a high-backed chair. The other half, the half that you could see from your position, was an actual room that was adorned with the fanciest furniture and draperies you had ever seen. 

 

But you didn’t notice, because it wasn’t your priority. 

 

You point to the bed with an almost unreadable, annoyed expression. Your neck hurt from having to look up so often. If you were going to talk, then you weren’t going to do it through discomfort.

 

“We need to talk.” 

Chapter Text

Alastor let out a low hum, the act in itself causing a vibration to race up his throat; truly, he had been hoping you would compliment him on how creative he had been.

 

You watched with a scornful expression as he contemplated your request; he had every right to just ignore it, you had been expecting him to. But here you were, in his room, completely and utterly overwhelmed and disbelieving of all the things you had to go through; even so late at night. 

 

He was out of his damn mind, and you were so tired of having to put up with it. 

 

It was then that you noticed, as he walked towards the bed, that he had a tail. Your anger faltered for a moment, confusion taking its place. Your eyes trained on the fluffy thing that just so happened to be the same shade and coloration as his hair with a raised brow. Only when he turned back around did you snap your gaze to him, and with it, your annoyance reignited at full intensity.

 

The tail was forgotten for another time. 

 

He sat down, the bed dipping under his weight; unlike your bed, it didn’t cry out from the creakiness. It was silent; he was silent, claws nicking at the quilt, stare ever undecipherable.

 

His expression, paired with his own raised eyebrow, indicated that he was waiting for something to happen. Waiting for you to pipe up and unravel all of your worries and woes to him in a less than pleasing manner. 

 

The smile, ever eternal, was lipped; at ease. Nothing pissed you off more. He didn’t even want to humor the thought that he was in the wrong.

 

What are you doing?” You hissed out.

 

“Well, I believe I’m doing exactly what you just asked of me. Sitting!” 

 

He sat up straight, poised, motioning with his hands to bring attention to himself, tone light and chipper. He cocked his head at you, ruffled hair from a night’s rest appearing all the more disheveled and billowy.

 

You wanted to scream. Your eye twitched. Of course he wouldn’t just get to the point, of course he wouldn’t just give you a straight answer. No, the bastard in the striped pajamas would take all the routes possible to avoid such a thing. Taking a deep inhale, you close your eyes and collect your bearings, lest you lose your mind right then and there. 

 

And let’s face it, you were already borderline. 

 

You were in disbelief that he, the infamous Radio Demon, could be so stupid. So utterly thick in the head.

 

“You seem troubled,” his voice lilted at the sound of your name on his tongue, tone wavering between an impish smugness that he always had and legitimate concern. 

 

You opened your eyes, taking a step forward. Whatever patience you had, whatever self restraint you possessed, had snapped in that moment. 

 

“I am fucking troubled, you are my trouble.” You point at him, face contorting into a grimace. “You need to stop invading my space, no more gifts, no more shadow people, I didn’t ask for any of this. I told you, I told you that I don’t want any of this attention on me, but you won’t stop!” Your hands were in your hair, threatening to pull it out. 

 

You were overwhelmed, understandably, beyond your own comprehension.

 

Alastor remained motionless, deep in thought. Or so you supposed. 

 

The ticking of the clock outside the room reminded you that time still existed even after death, and you were wasting it on him. You weren’t sure what was going on through that wicked head of his, but whatever it was, you hoped it had some semblance of reality kicking him in the ass. 

 

He squinted his eyes at you, and you narrowed them right back. 

 

“Darling, it pains me to see you so bothered.” Alastor was well aware that he was unable to stop, so you would just have to come to an agreement. There was no such reality of deterring him from his desires, however, if he had to go about it in a different, more minute manner, he would. “How am I to make this better?” 

 

You literally just told him. He was so dense. 

 

That, or he had the inability to listen to reason. “Don’t come in my room—“

 

“Sweetheart, I only did that twice!”

 

“—Don’t touch me, don’t look at me. I don’t want to see anymore organs in the hotel. I don’t want you to even breathe in my direction.” Only in Hell, only with him, did you have to make such a specific request. 

 

He released a hearty laugh of amusement. “Oh no, don’t be ridiculous now.” He waved a hand at you as if you were the funniest thing. 

 

However, that did manage to take a few of the running ideas out of his demented head. Such an absurd little dame you were, and to boot, he had an almost infinite amount of entertainment just by being in the same vicinity as you. 

 

You watched with a burning intensity as he lifted himself up and strolled over to you, an airy grin spreading across his lips. He leaned down, violating your personal bubble. His next words felt like a punch to the gut. 

 

“You see, I’m at a loss.” A singular claw twirled around a strand of your hair. “For how else am I to win your heart?” He tilted his head, disheveled hair flopping to the side. His ear craned towards you, genuinely curious; tone inquisitive yet holding a brief breath of a tease. 

 

You blinked, once, twice, thrice. This idiot, this stalker, this monster, had not only disregarded everything you had just said, but did it in front of you. He had shown no sympathy nor any indication that it had not gone through one ear and out the next. 

 

You balled up your first, reaching up and yanking him down to you, blatantly disregarding his ‘five foot rule’ and, in doing so, your own safety. 

 

You brought your face close to his insufferable one. “You are a piece of shit, fuck you.” You seethed. “I TOLD YOU I AM DONE WITH YOUR GAME!” 

 

Letting go of him, you pushed him back roughly, in which he allows you to. “Leave me alone!” Offering one last pissed off glance at his own amused and mildly surprised expression, you made your getaway, swinging the door open—not bothering to close it behind you—and storming back down to your room.

 

Upon returning, nausea had crept up in your stomach. You felt weak; even more exhausted than you had been before you went up there. It caused you to second guess going up to his room in the first place; at the very least, now that your daily rant was out of the way, you could rest your weary head. Curling into the warmth of the blankets, your slumber was welcoming and light, your mind trying desperately to repair the damage the onslaught of stress Alastor had caused you. 

 

When you woke up the next morning, you were pleasantly surprised to note that said pain in your ass was nowhere to be found. Knowing him, you had not gotten through to him and it was just another case of him figuring out what he was going to ‘woo’ you with next. 

 

You could hope, though. 

 

You had been hesitant to enter the kitchen, but once you did, you were relieved to find that it was vacant of the rotting smell and the overwhelming pink and red decorations. It was normal. It was just a regular kitchen. Stealing a granola bar, you had begun to turn around when an excited and very light voice caught your attention. 

 

“Congratulations! You’re invited!~ Vaggie had a wonderful idea that we should hold a New Years costume party to not only celebrate the recent opening of the Hotel, but to hopefully show some demons around the premises! We have a lot of rooms, we need to start filling them up, ya know?” Her word vomit made you blink, and she bounced off of her toes in an action reminiscent of childlike excitement. You smile tiredly. 

 

“When is it?” It occurred to you that you weren’t even aware what day it was. You brought your granola bar to your lips. 

 

“Tonight!” 

 

You choked on your food, “W-what?” 

 

Vaggie remained in the background, tidying up. She shook her head mildly— Charlie needed to stop babying you, but she was endeared by the thought of you and Charlie having such a sweet relationship. It was nice to see someone so accepting of Charlie’s nature. 

 

When Charlie explained to you the reasoning and how this could be such a boost for the hotel, you couldn’t help but give in. You weren’t aware that someone could put together a party so fast. You guessed she got that trait from her father. He seemed like a party type of dude. 

 

“Could you run up to the attic and bring down the decorations? Bring someone with you, though. Some of them are heavy.” 

 

You turned your attention back to her, face twisting up because hadn’t she spent the day yesterday putting decorations that weren’t needed in a storage facility? She noticed your confused expression and nodded. 

 

“Those were for a season that has already passed. Now off you go!” She pushed you gently out the door, motioning for Husk to help you out. Her stern expression held no room for rebuttal, Charlie was a busy woman and if she were to make this party as well as she wanted it to turn out, everyone needed to get started immediately. 

 

The beginning of the walk was quiet enough; the attic at the furthest side of the hotel for a reason. No one liked attics. They were creepy, dark, and dusty. Luckily for you, Husk doesn’t seem sober enough to talk about what happened the previous day and, with the desire to just put it behind you and move on, you didn’t comment. 

 

The swishing of his tail against the carpet did aid in the silence, though. 

 

“Did you know about the costume party?” You broke said silence.

 

“The what?” His ears perked at the question before pivoting towards you. 

 

Oh. 

 

“The costume party— y’know, the thing that we’re walking to the attic to get decorations for…?” You trailed off. 

 

“Wasn’t aware of no fuckin’ costume party. I ain’t dressin’ up, either.” He grumbled, and by the time the two of you reach the attic and top up with decorations— you were glad you had brought him along. You had three boxes, all rather heavy and stacked high; Husk carrying two heavier ones. He muttered under his breath the entire time. 

 

You were hesitant to wonder if Charlie’s true reason for this surprise party, was to make everyone happier. You also wondered if you, for once, could actually have fun. The word tasted funny on your tongue, but it was tantalizing. You were in desperate need of getting your mind out of the constant thoughts of ‘what if’s’ and ‘why’s’. 

 

When you return to the lobby after a few stops to rest your arms, you note that Angel and Fat Nuggets we’re finally up. They watched Vaggie and Charlie decorate idly, eating popcorn, and not bothering to assist despite you struggling to hold up the heavy boxes. 

 

“Angel, can you give me a hand? Or two, or three?” It could have come across as a joke, but your tone stated otherwise. Who knew how many arms the arachnid had. 

 

He chewed his popcorn louder, trying to drown you out. 

 

Angel!” You snap, nearly about to drop the boxes.

 

The effeminate spider threw his head back dramatically, a long ‘ugh’ dousing the otherwise semi-silent lobby. He finally got up, letting the popcorn fall to the couch, in which Fat Nuggets happily munched on it. Walking over to you, he took a single box out of your hands.

 

You make a face. A moment passes. 

 

He grabs the other box with his other set of arms. “There, ya happy?” He stated sassily, resting the boxes with the others. You’re left with the heaviest box, and you mimic his movements. You manage a ‘thank you’ in which he waves his hand to dismiss you with a ‘yeah, yeah.’

 

Alastor, the ever elusive Radio Demon, had returned to the lobby; pretending to manage over everything, giving the most basic command to those who inquired. A singular ear remained pivoted towards you, constantly. 

 

“Why don’t you go get changed into more comfortable attire and help set up?” Charlie piped up as she passed by you. She was holding a notebook, scribbling down and making sure everything was coming together fine. 

 

You release a silent sigh of relief at the fact that you would not only be able to play your part, really, you hadn’t done much, but also get into a more comfy clothes. That was a plus in your book. Heading back up to your room to change into a more comfortable attire. 

 

You briefly wondered what you could wear to  a costume party. Alastor could go as himself, because he was already a fucking clown. You huff, pushing your door open. You were never one for holding creativity for costumes.

 

The first sight that meets up is an old pistol that you hope is fake on your nightstand. 

 

You immediately think of shooting Alastor in the face. 

 

The second sight is a beautiful hunting outfit that was set out on your bed. You start to laugh, softly at first, before it bubbles up into true, genuine laughter. Charlie must have set it out for you when you had gone to the attic, knowing you wouldn’t know what to dress as. 

 

That wasn’t what tickled you, but it was the fact that there was a deer in the hotel. You wiped away an amused tear before moving to your bed to inspect it further. 

 

Instead of the usual beige color, everything, except for the red coat, was in black. Even the hat, which had velvet lining on the inside. The capris appear as if they would fit you nicely, the design reminiscent of a time long before you with how they flared up and fit at the bottom of your knee. 

 

Complete with black hunting boots, she had thought of everything. You hoped that this was just something she had sitting around— you had seen several of the paintings in the hotel, and you knew she had many different outfits from several different eras. Red and black were definitely a common color down here. 

 

You couldn’t help but feel the beginnings of excitement. This was something to look forward to, which, for as long as you could remember, wasn’t something that existed in your little world. Nevertheless, you hurried and changed into a more comfortable attire suited for moving things around. 

 

When you returned, the sight that greeted you of baubles, lights, and different items surprised you.

 

You hadn’t been gone long at all and yet, everything was already done. You blinked owlishly and stopped Charlie to inquire about it. She shrugged, taking a look around with a happy grin before nodding towards Alastor who was peering around as well. 

 

“He finished up while you were upstairs.”

 

Your fingertips twitched, glaring daggers at him. This was your job. He should just go back to baking cookies. He was so annoying. Charlie noticed and smiled lightly. 

 

“Don’t worry, we’ll find you something else to do.” So much for not babying you. She gasped then, and you could literally see a lightbulb going off in her head. 

 

“You can help with the hors devours!” 

 

“The what?” You question. Whores detours?

 

“Hor devours. The appetizers.” She clarifies. “Al is going to make them.” She turns to face him in the corner of the room. He finally caught both of your gazes. “In the kitchen. Alone . By himself.” His grin extended, and with an obnoxious bow, he disappeared into the kitchen.

 

Good riddance. 

 

Charlie turned back to face you with a goofy smile. She placed a hand on your shoulder to reassure you. “You can hand them out. All you have to do is hold the tray.” 

 

You nodded, agreeing to the terms. It sounded simple enough. 

 

“Charlie, don’t you think this is all a bit… sudden?” 

 

She had forgotten how overwhelming it must have been for a newcomer like yourself. “Oh not at all, that’s how the party scene works down here!” She paused for effect. “I mean, you should have seen the Great Depression party my Dad threw together after the stock market crashed! He pulled that together in an hour!” 

 

There was an audible gasp emitted from the kitchen, something clattering to the floor. You eyed the door warily. Charlie tossed you an apologetic smile, suddenly remembering that Alastor was a buff for that time in history, or rather, for the suffering that occurred.

 

But before either of you could comment on it, the kitchen door burst open. Alastor held a mixing bowl in his hand, whisking away at some concoction. He strides right over to the origin of the conversation that he eavesdropped on. 

 

The Great Depression!” He stated loudly, a look of recollection forming on his face. 

 

”It was only a depression for all those pesky orphans, some of us had the time of our lives! The separation of the peasants from those with class, it was filled with Jazz and the best parties of New Orleans, why Mardi Gras was just splendid in twenty-nine, you should have seen the crawfish, darling, oh! And seafood feasts that were just resplendent!” His eyes never left you and you paled at the realization of it. 

 

He was talking to you.

 

Charlie’s eyes widened, and she started shoving him back into the kitchen. “Don’t you have work to do? Those pigs in a blanket aren’t going to make themselves!” 

 

Angel yelled from over the couch: “Ya leave ‘Nugs outta this!” 

 

You took that as your cue. Now that you had an outfit, you needed to get ready. Strolling over to the other side of the couch, you looked over at the arachnid. “Angel?”

 

He glanced over at you with a sneer. “What ya want now, toots?”

 

“Can you help me with my makeup? You do it so well!” Yes, you knew how to kiss his ass. You fluttered your eyelashes in appeasement.

 

He groaned even louder than the first time, which you hadn’t thought was possible. He desperately wanted to flat out say ‘no’ because he had his own costume to get ready. That shit took time. “I gotta do EVERYTHIN’ in this household.” He rolled his eyes dramatically before, with a flourish, picking himself and ‘Nugs up. 

 

He pointed to you. “Fine, but only because yer so hopeless.” Without a reply from you, he shoved you down the hallway and up the stairs. He was busy, okay? He doesn’t have time for helping! Much less a lost soul like you. 

 

His thoughts didn’t hold venom, however; and that pissed him off. He didn’t like getting close to people; it was easy to just… detach. But you and Charlie and the rest of the crew were making it incredibly difficult.

 

When you near his door, he struts in front of you, let you in, and promptly closed it behind him. 

 

And then you were pushed into the vanity chair; watching as all of his arms popped out; muttering how he wasn’t a stylist and didn’t have enough time for all of this. His comb yanks your hair and you hiss. He doesn’t apologize. 

 

“If ya think gettin’ into drag is easy, yer damn wrong. That wig—“ he motions with an arm towards the wig in the bed. It was the same color as his fur, very flamboyant and probably just as expensive as his coat. “—Is gonna take me thirty minutes to wrestle into!”

 

“I don’t want to go into drag.” You wince as he pulls on your hair again. He notices this time and, just by a fraction, does he let up his frustrations. You weren’t sure what he was frustrated about; perhaps he just didn’t like to go to parties on such short notice. You understood.

 

“Not everything is about ya, toots. I’m talkin’ ‘bout me , and when we get done ya betta be grateful!”

 

You remain quiet, and when you tried to nod, he told you to not move. He moved from your hair in record timing, and took upon working on your makeup. As he took the eyeliner out and brought it to your eye, you flinched back. 

 

With a mutter under his breath, he set down the comb that he still had in one of his hands, and used it to grab the bottom of your face to keep you still. 

 

Eyeliner could be dangerous. 

 

Thankfully, he doesn’t go over the top. Angel knew when enough was enough, which was ironic based on his… costume. You were thankful, and in doing so, you listened to him vent about different things. 

 

Of course, they weren’t the things that plagued his mind when he tried to go to sleep at night; no, the two of you weren’t at that part in whatever this was. He didn’t want to humor the thought of ‘friendship’. 

 

Subconsciously, the smallest of smiles teased at his lips as he looked at his latest art piece. Perfect. Well, as perfect as you could get down here. You were all a buncha fucked up sinners one way or another.

 

Letting your face go, in which you began to bring your hand to rub at your jaw, your hand was swatted away. 

 

“No touchin’. I ain’t goin’ through that again.”

 

He brings an arm around and spins the chair, allowing you to take note of yourself. There wasn’t anything dramatic that stuck out to you. He had accentuated your features; perhaps even exaggerating them with the winged eyeliner and the glittering eyeshadows; all brought together with a gloss upon your lips. 

 

Natural as it came.

 

You couldn’t help but feel the giddiness start to rise in your stomach-- or was that just nervousness? For you, they were two in the same. Anxiety, excitement, whatever. 

 

You were ready to get down there and drink all your agonies and woes of this place away. You didn’t even care about the wicked hangover you would get the following day. 

 

A grin made its way upon your face, and getting up from the chair, you offered a word of thanks and sprinted out of the room before he had the chance to respond, eager to get things started. 

 

When you reached your room, you began to change. It was all rather straightforward, the pants, then the socks, shoes, shirt, jacket-- oops, almost forgot the hat. Wedged under your arm, you dart out of the room. 

 

The outfit was light against you; it definitely didn’t look it, but you were thankful that you wouldn’t be held down. As you reached the bottom of the stairs, the lights flickering and appearing exceedingly gorgeous, even with how hastily they were put up, there was a knock on the door. 

 

Charlie barreled past you to open it.

 

She had been expecting early party guests, and she had been partly correct in that at least. Though, when she opened those wide doors, she couldn’t help the tears that started to sting the corners of her eyes. 

 

Lucifer and Lilith Magne were knocking on the door. At the sight of her daughter, Lilith bound in, wrapping her only child in a big hug, crushing the smaller demon hybrid to her chest. Lucifer let himself in without saying anything, quite used to how his wife and daughter got when they were in close spaces. It had been a while since they had all been together like this.

 

For you though, well this was your first time laying eyes on Charlie’s mom. Out of all the demons you had laid eyes on, by far she was the tallest. She was taller than Alastor. Her height was impressive, even if you weren’t taking into account the added foot of her horns. Lucifer looked like a child in comparison to her. When she finally released her daughter from her grip, you’re taken aback by her stunning beauty.

 

Her hair laid around her as if it had its own life, and that life was only to make sure that her face was perfectly framed at all times. You could have sworn she waxed her horns as well, because they were incredibly and irresistibly shiny. In short, Lilith was breathtaking

 

If you had been gay, you would have been absolutely devastated that she was already taken… especially by such a short demon. You supposed power did speak louder than physical appearances, though. 

 

After you finished fully taking in Lilith, you were finally able to take notice of the costumes they had both arrived in. Lucifer looked as if he had just strolled out of a party from the roaring twenties: his suit jacket was perfectly pressed, white pinstripes only flattering his form as he tapped his cane impatiently on the floor, awaiting his daughter's attention. 

 

His hat even had what you could of sworn was an angel feather in it. You wondered if it was one of his… If he even still had wings.  

 

Lilith looked every part the picturesque flapper of the twenties. Her pearl strand was wrapped around her lithe neck, before fluttering down her body. The pale colors of her dress made it seem like the dress had been made for her. Considering Charlie’s family, and how financially well off they were, it probably was.

 

It wouldn’t have shocked you to find out that the fabric had been based off of the royal family’s pristine skin. The beading alone on her dress must have taken someone’s lifetime to finish. It was truly stunning.

 

It took you a moment to realize that they were dressed as characters from The Great Gatsby, and Lilith had arrived as Daisy.

 

You had noticed the same time Charlie had, because Charlie started giggling, pointing out the little daisies that adorned the edges of Lilith’s dress. Her mother was beaming down at her, and you realized that was precisely where Charlie’s own smile came from. “We are both darling creatures now, my sweet girl!” Lilith pulled Charlie back into her to give her another bone crushing hug. Charlie didn’t seem to mind at all, wrapping her arms back around her mother. 

 

Lucifer looked on with a smug look on his features. He was content with the way his family interacted with one another, his own father had a horrible temper, but he had never thrown his own child out of the house so to speak. No, he actually adored his own child, he couldn’t imagine treating Charlie the way he had been treated. 

 

Besides, his ladies were the most beautiful in creation, he was allowed to be smug about it.

 

Angel whistled to get everyone’s attention on him as he started to strut down the stairs. His long legs were adorned in pale stockings, his pale pink garter on full display from the short wrap skirt spanning his hips.

 

His lean toned abdomen was decorated with a shimmering chain that was spotted with white swarovski crystals, they moved with him as he stepped down the stairs. 

 

His hair, well, you understood why it took him a long time to wrestle into it. It was half his height. White blonde, curled in perfect waves that fluttered about his shoulders as he took elongated, dramatic steps down to the main room.

 

When he set eyes on Lilith, a fellow entertainer, his eyes brightened considerably. They had crossed paths several times performing in clubs over the years, though he only saw her when he was performing in the nice clubs

 

He waved at her, a goofy, suave smile adorning his face. 

 

“Heya dollface, thought ya’d be singin’ in some hoity toity place tonight?” He was level with Lilith with the stilettos he had on. You wonder how he didn’t trip to his eternal suffering in such stilts. 

 

Lilith wrapped her arms around Charlie once again, reaching to her side to pull Lucifer into her deadly grasp as well. “I’m right where I need to be. Celebrating the New Year with my family!”

 

Lucifer looked ridiculous with half of his face crushed into his wife’s hip, that giant predatory grin still manifested upon his face. You supposed you would be grinning like an idiot too if Lilith was your wife. She probably manhandled him in private, much to Lucifer’s own delight. It wasn’t even a guess anymore, no, you were sure of it.  

 

Slowly you make your way towards the bar, in which Husk was leaning on his elbow and making idle motions with his drink. His frown formed even deeper into his face, and if you could have seen him over the counter, you would have noticed that his tail was lashing. Taking a seat upon the stool, you gave him a once over.

 

You couldn’t tell what he was supposed to be, at first. In fact, you had briefly wondered if he had just flat-out said ‘no’, which wouldn’t have been a surprise. And then you landed on his ears. Or, the extra ears on his head. Before you could open your mouth, the sound of shoes tapping against the hardwood caught your attention. Taking your eyes off of the winged feline, you looked over to the devil himself.

 

“And you’re supposed to be~?” 

 

Husk grumbled underneath his breath. Lucifer put a hand to his ear, indicating that he was the smug bastard that you were already aware he was. At least he wasn’t as bad as Alastor. You could actually find yourself enjoying his goofiness at times; but that didn’t change the fact that he was just as intimidating. If not more.

 

“I’m a fuckin’ cat, get off my back.”  He busied himself with pouring you a drink. 

 

His grin was extended, just as sharp as you had remembered. His gaze was solely focused on Husk with a raised brow before, with a wave of his hand, a glass levitated towards him. Silence filled the small space, except for the tapping of Lucifer’s claws as he hummed a song that didn’t exist quite yet. 

 

“Oh, Huskie~” 

 

Angel strutted up to the bar with elegance, Lucifer calmly sipping on a drink with a cocked eyebrow; he watched the interaction with amusement; you looked on in confusion. You weren’t drunk enough for this. Husk, apparently wasn’t either. Then again, he never was. 

 

Angel hopped up onto the counter, pushing away the glasses that were lined up. He leaned back against Husk who pulled away from him; uncaring if the arachnid fell. Your face began to heat up in embarrassment for Husk when Angel began to sing. A song that wasn't one that wasn’t made up from the top of his head. 

 

“If ya want my body and ya think I'm sexy,” he hiked up his legs, swinging them over the bar so he sat directly in front of Husk. An arm reached over to dance across the feline’s fur. “Come on, suga’, let me know.” 

 

Husk looked like he was ready to walk out right then and there. You didn’t blame him. 

 

“If ya really need me, just reach out and touch me,” Angel’s voice lowered an octave in thinly veiled seduction, his exaggerated eyelashes fluttering at the feline. He hopped off of the counter, running a hand along Husk’s chest. Said demon had his wings extended as he tried to right himself properly, before he reached back and shoved Angel away. 

 

Angel hit the back of the counter with a slam, and you could only watch with wide eyes, you face threatening to melt off as the arachnid moaned, cutting off his song right then and there. “Oh, harder daddy~”  

 

“If you fuckin’ keep this shit up, I’ll drink the whole bar myself.” Husk grunted, flickering an ear in an annoyed manner. He was glad he had fur, lest his slightly flustered cheeks give away his true feelings. 

 

Whatever the fuck those were. 

 

Lucifer burst into loud, hearty, posh laughter, slamming his glass down onto the table and causing the three of you to look over at him. “Oh,” he chuckled, noticing that the entertainment had stopped after a moment, “Don’t let me stop you! Please, continue.” His laughter faded, before he made a motion with his hand for Angel Dust to carry on with his seductive flirtatious technique.

 

The effeminate drag spider blinked before a sly smile crossed his expression.

 

Say no more, Apple Daddy. 

 

Clearing his throat, he turned his attention back over to his boy toy, bringing two hands up and pushing up his chest fluff, exaggerating them into breasts. “Do ya like me better with these tits on display?”

 

You choke on your drink.

 

Husk’s ear pivoted towards the sound, and he sends something similar to a pleading look in your direction. If there was one person in this fuckin’ hotel that could understand the discomfort of a persistent presence, it was you. You sip, grimacing as the liquor burns your throat. The aftertaste tasted like a mixture of mint and cinnamon. An odd choice, but you couldn’t complain. 

 

“Are those even real, Angel?” 

 

Said arachnid spins around to face you so quick that it should have been illegal for him not to have tripped on those stilettos, a dramatic gasp falling from his now cherry colored lips. He looked down to his chest fluff and then back at you, and you almost felt guilty. He looked offended. 

 

“Are you kiddin’ me, toots? I paid good money for ‘em, they betta be real!” He fluffed up his chest in a proud manner, second set of hands on his hips while one of his top ones were on the counter, the other was pointing at you. 

 

“You ain’t eva gonna have tits as great as these babies.” 

 

Taking a once-over at his exaggerated features, you smiled into your drink. That type of lifestyle just wasn’t for you. To each their own, you guessed. You remained quiet. 

 

With a ‘hmph’, he escaped from behind the bar and went to do… something. You lost him after he turned the corner. 

 

Lucifer watched you with a close lipped smile, eyes darting around the room as his wife gushed over some of the decorating Charlie and Vaggie had done, reminiscing over some of the paintings, and the memories associated with them. When you caught his gaze, you stiffened. 

 

“So, the construction went well?”

 

Your confusion at first told him all he needed to know.

 

Aw man.

 

Of course, he had known all along, but making you uncomfortable and react the way you did made it all the more entertaining. 

 

You would have commented, but by the look in his eye, you just knew staying silent was the best response you could possibly give. He hummed, turning his attention back towards Husk, the shit eating grin returning to his face. 

 

“Husk, have you ever been sober?” The Devil inquired teasingly as the bartender popped a cork out of a bottle and began to down it. Husk removed the bottle from his mouth after a moment to respond:

 

“Hey, it ain’t fuckin’ easy to stay drunk all the time.” He grunted, before looking out over the lobby with a frown. “Once. Got real tired, real fast in this place.” 

 

Lucifer smiled into his drink, and you leaned idly against the counter, drumming your fingers against the glass. You could relate with Husk on a personal level there- you were tired too. 

 

“That wouldn’t be because spider tits is trying to get into that…” He looked Husk over, “Gnarled fur, now, would it?” Husk didn’t respond, returning the bottle to his mouth and chugging his drink. With a roll of your eyes, you noticed, out of your peripheral vision someone waving you down. 

 

Charlie. 

 

Excusing yourself, you slid off of the stool and headed over to her. 

 

“Hey! The guests will be here soon, so go get a tray and come back. The appetizers should be finished!” She was talking excitedly before you even reached her, but her excitement was contagious, and soon enough you found yourself smiling too. 

 

You wanted her to succeed in her dreams— she was your friend; you only wanted the best for her. And with free food and drinks, what better way than this prime opportunity to get people interested in living here? She even had found herself proud of Angel. He was rough around the edges and… after finding out about his stash of drugs, she had been disappointed, but it was a weaning process. 

 

It wasn’t going to be easy. Charlie hadn’t signed up for easy. 

 

But with you, he was beginning to open up little by little. Nodding lightly, you notice then that Charlie and Vaggie are dressed up as a knockoff version of Thelma and Louise. They were a cute couple, you couldn’t lie. It would be blasphemy to state otherwise. Well, no better time to start than the present. You began to walk towards the kitchen. 

 

And with it, began to mentally prepare yourself.

 

At least you felt a bit warm from the liquor.

 

Before you could reach the door, however, Vaggie, or better known as ‘Louise’, stopped you. You knitted your brows, pausing in your step and rocking on your heels for a moment. 

 

“I’ve got this hun,” She was hesitant, unsure of how to be friendly, but she wanted to try. Especially with how nice you were to Charlie. You also deserved a break from the Radio Demon. You didn’t ask for any of this. “I’ll grab a tray for you and be right back, no need for you to… Uh, you know, be in closed spaces.” 

 

You were pleasantly surprised at how thoughtful Vaggie had become towards your predicament with Alastor; nevertheless, the initial surprise made you blink a few times. 

 

“Are you sure?” 

 

She gave a single nod. “Stay here.”

 

You did just that, watching as she turned and disappeared behind the door. You waited a moment, and then another, and then another before the door had swung open again. She held a tray full of all sorts of delicate treats and savory bites; your stomach growled at the sight of them alone. 

 

Despite not wanting to admit to it, Alastor was actually  really good at cooking and everyone just seemed to fawn over it just as well. You wouldn’t give him the pleasure, for all you knew, he was watching you through his voodoo powers or something, waiting for the moment you snagged a bite and then he would never let you off the hook. 

 

Vaggie and you watched in a comfortable silence, upbeat music had begun to play through the lobby, as Charlie opened the doors to the public. There were demons of all different forms and sizes, some flooding in from the cold, so many costumes, you guessed that it was just how parties worked down here. With a soft sigh, you followed with your eyes as a few flooded towards the bar. A few headed straight for Lilith, gushing over her like the paparazzi would. 

 

She didn’t appear as cheerful after that. 

 

She had become more reserved and careful with her words and who she said them to; it was interesting to watch such the sudden change. You could see the facade of Royalty make its presence known just by how she moved. 

 

You didn’t blame her. 

 

You supposed it was because, down here in Hell, even the most powerful of demons had a target on their back.

 

Suddenly remembering the pistol in your back pocket— despite it only being a prop, it looked legitimate, you gripped it. Despite it not being able to do anything, perhaps other demons wouldn’t be too willing to get close enough by the silhouette of it alone. At the very least, you could hope that would be the outcome. 

 

You decided to thank Charlie for such a wondrous costume before it got too busy. The blonde woman was greeting guests excitedly at the door, some were rudely brushing her off, some were actually indulging in conversation, while the others just went straight for the goods: other demons, drinks, and food. You let your eyes fall onto the winged feline for a moment; a crowd was eagerly forming around him. 

 

It might have been the very first time you had actually seen him work. 

 

“Charlie,” you reached out, tapping her on the shoulder. The two of you were now standing half-way between the kitchen and the front door; and from the liquor that pooled in your belly, you couldn’t help but feel a bit warm. It was a comfortable warmth in the center of your body. 

 

She turned and beamed at you, practically bouncing. 

 

“I just wanted to uh, thank you.” You thanked her bashfully. 

 

“For what? The party? Oh! It was about time the hotel had one. Don’t worry about it! Are you enjoying yourself so far?”  Her voice was giddy, her speed-talking only highlighted her enthusiasm and excitement. You nodded, a smile toying on your lips before motioning towards your outfit.

 

“Yeah, it’s great so far! But I meant, I wanted to thank you for the cos...tume…” you trailed off, eyes narrowing on the door to the kitchen just as Alastor kicked it open; two trays in his hands. He proudly offered his creations to the hotel’s new guests, and you felt annoyance bubble up deep inside you. 

 

What had you suddenly pissed was not his presence, but the fact that he was wearing an identical outfit to yours. You clenched your fists at your sides. He fucking did it again. He didn’t listen to you. Charlie didn’t give you the costume, Alastor did. Which meant he was in your room. Which meant he disregarded your requests again. 

 

Charlie remained wholly confused. 

 

“Excuse me,” you pardoned yourself from Charlie. You were going to fucking kill him. 

 

But first you needed a drink. Maybe ten. 

 

Tearing your eyes away, you headed over to the bar to notice that Husk is not only drowning himself in alcohol, but also other demons. You tried to contain your anger for the moment, but your pissed off expression still remained prevalent on your features. 

 

There was a wait, but you worked here damn it. 

 

Pushing through the crowd, you headed behind the bar. Husk offered you a glance to make sure you weren’t Angel Dust, before continuing on with his job. 

 

“Guess whAT?” You slammed your hands down on the counter, the glasses clattering for a moment. Your words lilted in the end, increasing in volume. Husk didn’t even seem fazed by your sudden change in emotions. 

 

“Radio Dipshit is being a dipshit?” He replied gruffly.

 

Yeah , and you know what the best part is? I thought Charlie gave me this costume.” You point towards said ‘dipshit’ who was serving others, nearly whacking a demon in the face. You apologized half-heartedly, wincing as they grumbled, took their drink, and turned around. 

 

Husk looked out over the sea of demons who had suddenly come from fuckin’ nowhere , at the word that there would be free food and drinks. He looked at the Radio Demon and then back to you, raising his brows and clearing his throat. His actions spoke louder than any shitty word of advice he could have offered you in that moment. 

 

After serving a demon, he took a swig of his own drink. 

 

Then it began to dawn on you that the pistol might not have been a prop at all. In your apparent annoyance and anger, you pulled it out, noticing in that moment how Husk’s eyes seemed to sober a bit. “You think he’d be dumb enough to give me a loaded gun?” You ran your fingers down the coolness of the silver engravings that followed the barrel of the gun. 

 

He hoped not. He also hoped that you weren’t about to shoot a loaded fucking pistol in the middle of a party that was aimed to get more guests for the hotel. 

 

The thought was irresistible. Your lips curled at the thought, entirely too expectant of the fact that he would. Bringing your hands up, a few demons noticed and began to clear a path, only making it easier for you. You lined it up at said bastard who was now chatting it up with Lucifer— man, did they look like a bunch of pals! 

 

You clicked off the safety, steadied your aim, and squeezed your finger down on the trigger.

 

‘BANG!’

 

The recoil shocked you more than the fact that it was actually loaded. You were expecting a click that signified it being empty! 

 

With wide eyes, you dropped the gun to the counter with a clatter, smoke emitting from the muzzle. All the music, all the guests, went silent as they all turned to face you; and no gaze was more thrilled than Alastor’s. 

 

“That was a good shot!” He called over the crowd, his smile very telling of how impressed he was with you.

 

For some reason, that let up whatever tension had built in the room. There was a hole in the wall just over his left ear, and you could feel yourself losing your cool, not at his words per say (because let’s face it, they were infuriating on their own) but the fact that you missed. 

 

Lucifer sighed dreamily, a goofy grin adorning his lips as he shot Alastor a lidded, amused glance. “I remember those days with my sweet Lilith.” Alastor nodded wistfully as if the two of them were sharing a bro-to-bro moment. 

 

You weren’t sure what pissed you off more. The fact that he didn’t even seem fazed, or the fact that he had actually given you a loaded gun. After the guests were gone, you were going to sit him down again , but this time with your new weapon.

 

Husk wasn’t too sure about the pissed off look in your eyes. He ultimately decided to keep an extra eye on you in order to make sure you were level-headed enough. You did not need to be drunk and have a loaded weapon. 

 

“I’m going to take this now.” His gruff voice pulled your attention to him as he confiscated the pistol, putting it under the bar counter. “You can have it back after the party.” You blinked, staring up at him with an annoyed expression. Alastor was so fucking dumb. 

 

“Whatever.” You huffed out with a sigh, “I need to get another tray anyway.” 

 

The rest of the party went smoothly enough; the fact that you had blown a hole in the wall had been forgotten almost immediately. It just went to show how unpredictable and dangerous demons really were down here, with how they didn’t seem to care. Handing out appetizers, you busied your mind and hands with your job, lest you spiral down a rabbit hole of anger and emotion. 

 

No. There was a time and place for that. 

 

Needless to say, after the last tray had been given out, you returned to the bar and began to drink your life away. Now that you didn’t have the gun, Husk was more than happy to serve you different alcoholic beverages. The later it got in the night, the more drunk you became, until you were a dizzy, giggly mess. 

 

Some demons were drunk off their asses and passed out on the floor. Others were grinding, others were mingling, but there were now less demons by a mile. A lot had already left. You, however, were only on your fourth drink and in your already intoxicated mind, you had the brilliant idea of drinking even more. 

 

Husk found you an endearing drunk, you were funny. A lot of the time, down here in the bowels of Hell— drunks often varied between sad or hopeless, sometimes even angry. You, however, looked happy. When Husk showed you a simple magic card trick, you nearly lost your mind.

 

The moment he noticed a particular demon approaching, his placed his cards down and cleared his throat. 

 

There was confusion in your eyes at first before you felt a muted fuzziness dance across your skin and, having an inkling of what exactly was happening, you waited until a clawed hand reached over you to grab at your drink to elbow him in the gut. He was not taking your drink. 

 

“Darling, I think you’ve had enough.”

 

Yeah, you had enough. Of him.

 

“Fuck you, Al ass tor. Fuck off.” You grab at a second glass, and motioned for Husk to fill it up. Alastor glared at him, watching as Husk gave in anyway, perhaps just to spite him. The static grew in intensity, but to you, it only felt like a fuzzy kitten. You swung back the drink and laughed. The room was spinning.

 

Was he still behind you? You turned around.

 

Oh, too fast. You were dizzy now. 

 

“Oh dear.” He tutted, catching your arm so you didn’t fall off the stool. “I think it’s time you went to bed.” At this point, you were just making a fool of yourself.

 

“You’re not my dad.” 

 

“Luckily, I am no one’s father, but I insist.” 

 

“I think it’s high time you left her the fuck alone,” Husk cut in.

 

You snickered to yourself at Husk’s behavior. He was such an angry little kitty. The clawed hand resting on your shoulder shattered whatever drunken happiness you had found in that moment. 

 

He was touching you. He was trying to take your drink away and he was touching you. 

 

You stiffened, and Husk watched as your face contorted angrily. 

 

Husk remained close to you, as he had been for a good portion of the evening, which was why he was now concerned over the fact that your hands were reaching over the counter and towards the last place he knew you had seen him place your weapon. 

 

He knew what you were reaching for, and was battling with himself as to whether or not he should let you have the gun back.