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Worse Than Hell

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The war had happened. Well, it really hadn’t been that much of a surprise. Adam wasn’t able to defeat Satan and also lost control of his powers in the end ten million angels fought against ten million demons. Heaven won. Hell, never had a chance, not even a little one. They had been the fallen, lost souls without any hope of redemption. The angels had simply slaughtered them. Well most of them. It was clear how the war would end but it was worse for the survivors. Hell didn’t exist anymore and the earth consisted mostly out of consecrated ground. Even only taking one step on the ground would burn a demon’s feet.

He didn’t know where his angel was and Crowley didn’t want to cling to a useless hope when he wasn’t sure that he himself would survive the next day. The others had forgotten very fast that he had tried to stop the end of the world. Crowley was the originator of sin and not some normal or weak demon. But in comparison with the others he was in good, if not great health.

He had run into Erik barely hours after the war had started, the other demon had pleaded for help and he really hadn’t been one of those who had wanted the war, or had seen forward towards it. Even if the reason for it had been that he had just known that he was most likely going to die. But Erik’s powers were not useless, helpful even. The two or three of them, it varied from time to time had hidden for weeks in abandoned cities and had tried to not step on the now holy ground. Erik had lost one of his doubles, if he tried to duplicate himself there were only two now. But Crowley wasn’t one to complain about this.

When the war had finally ended Dagon had searched him out. She had been hurt, but not too bad and she was way better now. Well at least as healthy as she could be in such a world. But the demon who Dagon had carried around half the globe to get them to safety was in a worse state. Maybe even in the worst state he had ever seen a demon in, black blood had been everywhere but they were still alive. Crowley hadn’t seen it at first but it had been truly horrifying. And it was a demon who said that. The wings of the prince of hell had been ripped out, literally ripped, not even cut of, it had looked like someone had just grabbed them and ripped them out of their body. The fly hat hadn’t been there anymore and there had been only one fly that sat on the skin just above their collar, or what had still been left of their shirt. Crowley hadn’t hesitated a moment to let both of them in.

He didn’t regret it. He and Erik, Dagon had needed to rest more than anything even if she didn’t want to, had patched the Lord of flies up as good as they had been able to do and had let them rest for the time being. Dagon hadn’t been able to tell him and Erik what had happened, she hadn’t been there and had just found the prince lying on the ground in some woods after they had already been hurt. That had happened 2 months ago. And Beelzebub had finally woken up.

 

“Why am I still alive?” was the first thing they asked upon seeing him.

They were leaning against Dagon’s shoulder and Erik was sitting a few feet away on the floor. They were on the top floor of what had been a business building once and they were able to walk and stand without problems. It was far enough away from the ground. Funny that someday demons would hide in the sky and not in hell. Beelzebub looked like they had just fallen again, maybe even worse. Dagon brushed a hand through the prince’s hair as if to calm them down. They let her.

“Why do you think that you should be dead Lord Beelzebub?” Erik asked.

His shyness had gotten better after the world had ended maybe it had also something to do with the fact that he had seen how Hastur had been slaughtered by an angel but Crowley wasn’t sure.

“That bastard ripped my wings out, he just gripped them as I was about to strike him down and pulled. He ripped them out like it was nothing, like any child could have done it. Why didn’t he finish the job?” they spoke.

Their chest was fully wrapped in bandages and it was visible that even the tiniest movement brought them pain.

“Who ripped your wings out?” Crowley questioned.

He had thought that it needed more than one angel to do this to the ex-right hand of the devil, this was bad. Beelzebub bit their lip and pulled Dagon’s hand away from their hair. They still didn’t answer and just looked around in the room that had been an office space once.

They whispered something into Dagon’s ear and the only thing that Crowley was able to pick up was a quiet “purple”. She looked at them and nodded absently. Erik raised an eyebrow while he watched them.

Beelzebub then turned to him, they clearly weren’t able to stand and sucked air into their lungs though they didn’t need to breath.

“Gabriel” only came as a whisper over their lips.

Crowley blinked and took a few steps back. What in Satan’s name?

“Alright. Why are you still alive? I am 100% sure that that arch wanker wouldn’t spare a demon and never the Prince of hell. How in hells name did you got out of this situation.” He asked.

“That’s the problem I don’t know. The only thing I remember after that is falling out of the sky and then everything turned black. I certainly thought that I was dead.” They stopped and hissed in pain, well for them it was more like buzzing in pain “It’s nearly a wonder that the idiot didn’t finish his job. Maybe someone else attacked him, I don’t know it Crowley.”

They stopped talking again and leaned back against the Lord of Files. Beelzebub seemed to be in more pain then before and Dagon was trying to help them as best as she could which wasn’t much. They stayed like this for what felt like hours.

Erik was the one who stood up and spoke up some time later.

“Maybe food would help” he suggested.

Beelzebub blinked a few times tiredly, Dagon looked unsure and Crowley was just caught unprepared. Demons didn’t need food what was he talking about.

“The prince is a demon of gluttony right? Maybe actual food or something that was at least eatable would help them heal faster. I am not sure about it but people have worked in this building once. Some food should be here I think” Erik explained.

“He is right food does help. But I don’t need it that much” they replied.

Crowley looked at them.

“It really shouldn’t be that hard to find some spoiled disgusting food for you here. I don’t think any of the humans had time to eat something before they were killed.” He said.

Dagon gave Beelzebub a questioning look and opened her mouth after the prince of hell had nodded.

“They need something sweet and not something spoiled. I can watch over them while you search something. Maybe clean their wounds up again if they are alright with it.” she spoke.

Crowley sighed.

“Alright we are going to look one floor downstairs. If anything happens just scream. Because if I am sincere, I think that we are the last demons left. And we need to stick together at least now, what happened between us before Armageddon doesn’t matter anymore.” He didn’t like that he was the one who for some reason acted like a leader right now.

After all, two people in this room had been way above him in the hierarchy of hell. But hell didn’t really exist anymore. Erik, well two Eriks followed him towards the door.

 

“Do you think they lost a lot of their power?” he asked as he was sure that neither Dagon nor Beelzebub were able to hear them.

“I am not sure. An angel losing his wings would be worse for them. But I think the prince will at least be able to fight again when they are better. After all, if you ignore the fact that they don’t have wings anymore then it is really just a flesh wound. They are definitely able to heal.”

The voice of the Erik who spoke was full of sorrow though and Crowley could understand it.

Beelzebub had been the second in command in hell since the very beginning, the only one above them was Satan himself, they weren’t a good boss per say but it never seemed like they hated anyone down there. The prince had just been tired, they had always been tired.

They took the stairs to get to the other floor and his feet were still fine as the three walked into what had been another office area once. Most of the chairs and tables were lying on the sides and one a part of the windows was broken. Crowley opened one of the drawers. A few lose papers were in there and a cellphone with a slightly broken screen. The snake of Eden didn’t even try to turn it on, what if it belonged to someone who had family. Every single human was dead but he still couldn’t bring himself to look at something like this. He found a coffee machine, or rather the pieces of what had been a once a coffee machine. Crowley rubbed a hand over his eyes.

He was thinking about Aziraphale again. The angel was dead and he needed to find a way to make his brain shut up. There was simply no way that someone like his angel was able to survive the war. For now, he needed to focus on something else. Maybe Aziraphale had been right, maybe he was too soft for a demon. But that wasn’t something bad, well at least not at the moment.

“Are you coming Crowley?” asked one of the Eriks.

Crowley was ripped out of his thoughts and turned around.

“Yes sure. Have you found something yet?” he replied.

Erik held a hand out. There was a package of chewing gum in it, well it was better than nothing but he was pretty sure that they weren’t going to stop now. A few minutes later he opened another cabinet and waved Erik towards him.

“I think I found a jackpot my friend” Crowley said.

It was filled to the brink with sweets and Crowley handed both of the Eriks a few bars of chocolate. Most of the things seemed to be eatable and he put most of the things in the hands of the other two demons. Then he spotted something. There was something hidden behind a few bags of chips, they hadn’t planned on taking them because chips weren’t something you would normally call sweet, and he pushed them to the side to grab what had been hidden behind them. It was a bottle of wine, good wine. He took it with him, not to give it Beelzebub though but maybe all of them needed a bit of alcohol after what had happened. They needed to get the Prince of hell at least back to a part of their original power and the threat of heaven finding them was still more than just a mortal danger.

Crowley didn’t want to think about what would happen if they found them, if it wouldn’t be death than it would be something worse. They headed towards the stairs and went back up. Crowley was pretty sure that heaven wasn’t going to leave them alone for all eternity.

 

Beelzebub buzzed in pain. Their back had gotten worse in the last few minutes and Dagon was still trying to calm them down.

“I think we still have one or two sets of fresh bandages. It would be better if I could check the wounds again. Only if that is alright for you my Lord” she added.

Beelzebub just nodded and tried to sit up as straight as possible. She felt sorry for them, really sorry. No one had actually ever lost their wings before or rather got them ripped out. She didn’t want to imagine the pain it brought them. The female demon stood up from the floor and walked towards one of the desks. They used it to store medical supplies. Mostly only for safety reasons nonetheless. She picked a fresh roll of bandages up and also took a few fresh wipes with her.

It had taken Beelzebub longer than it should have to wake up and Dagon hoped that she would finally be able to take the rest of the blood off. There hadn’t been able to actually see the actual wounds, the bleeding had never stopped when she had taken the bandages off the last times and Dagon just hoped that she could finally take a lot at the actual damage that was still there from what that arch wanker had dared to do to their prince. She carefully took off the bandages one after the other and was this time actually able to get all of the black blood off. The places where their wings had been would definitely scar. But that wasn’t the reason she kept starring at the skin between their shoulder blades.

There was a mark, it looked like someone had turned it on the side but it was still very clear what it was. Dagon sucked air into her lungs and began to clean the wounds again. The mark was some order of different symbols put beside each other and though she didn’t know what it exactly meant it was definitely something heavenly. It was the name of an angel written in some an old language, demons weren’t able read it anymore. Well, they were in most cases able to write their old name in it, which they didn’t remember at all, but nothing else.

She patched the prince of hell back up and fixated the bandages. Beelzebub just fell back against her, their eyes were closed and Dagon mumbled a few things into their ear. Trying to calm them down. Why were they suddenly in so much more pain then before? Had she done something wrong?

“I am fine, just exhausted” they said.

Dagon brushed a hand through their hair but her thoughts wandered to something else. Why in Satan’s name would an angel place their name on the back of a demon. There was simply no reason for doing something like this?

Well, one thing came to her mind but she just hoped that her suspicion was wrong. But the color of the mark clearly wasn’t on her side. The mark on the prince’s back was purple, that was the most disturbing thing for her at the moment. But Dagon tried to push these thoughts into the back of her mind. It wasn’t going to help anyone if she just overreacted.

Dagon looked down at them, she was loyal to them, maybe even more so then to Satan himself and yes Dagon wanted to make them trust her, to make them know what she would do for them. She wouldn’t call it love, at least not in a sense that humans would have been able to understand. But Dagon would give their life for them if it ever came to such a situation.

And some angel just placing a mark on them without their consent wasn’t going to change anything about it. Lord Beelzebub would always be a prince of hell, heaven simply had no right to put a claim on them. If they belonged to anyone then it was hell, the pits and the eternal suffering they had been the first demon to crawl out of them after Satan. The order in hell, though it had never been really that much, had been their achievement alone. Heaven had thrown them out, now they weren’t going to get them back. Not after what they had gone through.

 

“We found something. Should be enough I think”, Crowley said.

He and the Eriks placed the sweets on one of the tables. Beelzebub was sleeping in Dagon’s lap and she signed them that all of them should sit down.

“We should let them sleep for now. Can we talk in the corridor? It seems like we have another problem” she replied.

Crowley nodded, still slightly confused and waited as Dagon carefully lifted the prince up and placed their head on a pillow before dropping a blanket over them. The snake of Eden turned towards the now only one Erik.

“Could you watch over them while we talk. Just if anything happens, I don’t want to risk anyone” he spoke.

Erik just smiled at him and nodded.

 

“Someone had placed their mark between the prince’s shoulder. An angel dared to put it on them.”, she hissed. 

Crowley looked at her, this was just making everything worse.

“Do you know who’s mark it is?”, he asked.

Dagon looked around, as if to make sure that no one was listening to them and sighed.

“The mark was purple. I have a feeling that it was Gabriel. He was the one who ripped their wings out after all”, Dagon replied.

“But Gabriel would have killed them, probably in a mostly fair battle, or at least one of which he thinks that it is fair. But ripping their wings off and not killing them is the move of a coward. Gabriel is a lot of things but clearly not a coward” he meant.

What she was saying didn’t make that much sense. Dagon sighed again.

“Alright. I was fighting like for most of the time but at some point, something changed. The angels changed. The look in their eyes, it wasn’t hatred anymore. It looked like they were remembering something. Like I am not a hundred percent sure. But I know the way that Michael had looked at me. That wasn’t normal, it wasn’t any bloodlust. I don’t know exactly what the look in her eyes meant but it felt worse than bloodlust. I don’t remember how I even got out of there. I found Lord Beelzebub a few hours later, after I had just left, I saw someone land where they had been. I think that I know why he ripped their wings out” she explained.

Crowley didn’t understand at first but than it was like someone just flipped a switch in his mind and it was clear as glass.

“Oh my”, he mumbled.

Dagon forced herself to smile a little and spoke again.

“If you take someone’s wings they can’t fly away. They can’t leave you ever again”