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Equanimity

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Chapter One|

You woke up with a start, instantly feeling the cold and rough pavement beneath as you lied motionless on the ground, eyes staring up at the crimson sky, a large pentagram in the center-- It was sight you've grown familiar with yet utterly despised.

 

Tears threatened to spill from your eyes wanting nothing more than to scream up into the heavens that this wasn't fair. It wasn't right.

 

I haven't done anything wrong--- at least that's what you told yourself.

 

Whimpers escaped your lips, as you finally felt the need to stand, pushing yourself up from the concrete you felt a sudden jolt, ignoring the pain you quickly stood up and straightened before taking a glance at your wings, the once white as freshly fallen snow was now just a ghost of it's former glory being completely muddied with dirt.

 

You narrowed your eyes and quickly tried to get off the dirt that caked it but it didn't seem to be working-- putting your arms around yourself as you looked up at the tall buildings that stood on either side of where you were.

 

You slowly walked towards the opened pathway that lead out to the street, being mindful to stay close to the wall of the building you risked a quick peek, seeing demons walking around minding their own business.

 

You gagged seeing a few carcases of demons scattered around just left out to rot in the corners of the street; the nearest was to your right beside a bending machine that had blood splatter on its side, putting a hand above your mouth not wanting to risk vomiting or anything else as you backed away slightly.

 

No matter how many dead bodies-- utter dismantled corpses you've seen, it somehow never got easier to see to actually digest the scene-- flashes of blood appeared at the back of your mind; tearing through flesh and snapping of bones, you blinked your eyes harshly and trying to shake it all away.

 

Voices were seemingly coming towards you, panic ran through you quickly trudging towards a large steel garbage container, hiding beside it tucking your wings close as you possibly could; knowing full well this wasn't a very good hiding spot you huffed out in frustration.

 

You felt a sudden weight on your shoulders, you froze as the air around you seemed to get a tad warmer-- and you finally felt it, a presence behind you.

 

There were no footsteps before, nothing that could have indicated that there was even anyone remotely close to you.

 

You turned around and meet eyes with him; the demon smiled down at you-- you weren't entirely sure what kind demon he was but something about him screamed danger.

 

Looking down at his shirt, you quickly spot your answer as to why, seeing blood splattered  across his clothes--  your wings instinctively opened  preparing to fly off but before you could even get a foot off the ground, a hand gripped your wing and slammed you hard into the pavement-- screaming in pain as you heard something crack.

 

“Oh. Lil' bird trying to fly off so quick? We haven't even had any fun yet!” The demon exclaimed, digging the heel of his shoe down against your wing, you thrashed trying to get away but each move the more his shoe seemed to dig deeper.

 

He chuckled and in one swift motion he sat on top you; the sudden weight almost crushing you the air in your lungs  draining away. You lerked forward as much as you could and threw a punch at him which he managed to block, catching your fist between his fingers.

 

The demon shook his head giving you a 'tsk' as if he was scolding a small child.

 

“We'll have none of that.” He muttered, reaching a free hand to touch your face causing you to turn away face so close to the concrete you could practically taste it. “Seems like I'll have to teach you a lesson.”

 

'W-what?'

 

Before you could even process what was happening--

 

 

Snap.

 

An ear wrenching scream pierced through your throat, your mouth hanging a gape staring in horror as the wrist of you wing had been painfully snapped.

 

The demon hummed, leaning forward towards you just taking in your horrified expression. “Such a beautiful scream.”

 

Your breathing quickened, pain and panic surging through you in harsh waves that slowly started to consume you, as you frantically looked around thrashing more and more against his hold, you tried throwing him another punch and even trying to kick him but with how he maneuvered his weight-- you couldn't.

 

Not knowing what else to do,

 

You screamed.

“H-help! Someone please!”

 

“You're wasting your breath.” The demon laughed.“Ain't no one gonna help you. Here,
nobody cares about anyone but themselves.”

 

You gave him the best glare you could muster, roughly squirming beneath him and continuing to scream for help. . . You stopped hearing footsteps, hope bubbled in your stomach believing that someone was coming to help but--

 

Nobody came.

 

He took a glance behind him towards the street then back towards you, flashing you a smug smile as if he'd won the lottery. “See? This isn't Heaven. Lil' bird. Ain't nobody gonna help you now.”

You refused to believe his words, No matter what they say-- you knew that there was still some kindness deep inside a demon's heart. Someone had to help you, at least one demon to prove you right.

 

You screamed again, louder.

 

He growled, putting more weight against you.

 

“I told you--”

 

“God fucking dammit!” A voice shouted being followed by loud  footsteps, sounding almost like the angry clicking of heels coming towards you. “Will all you fucking shut up?! I'm tryna enjoy my drugs!”

 

You froze for a solid second before trying your best to peer through the demon who held you captive, behind him a rather tall individual, who stopped in they're-- her? tracks seeing the scene in front of her.

 

She looked confused, raising an eyebrow.

“The fuck?”

 

“Mind your own damn business!” The demon on top of you growled out.

 

The stranger glanced down at you, eyes meeting your own. You looked up at her pleading for help.

 

She sighed as if she couldn't be bothered. “I don't wanna cause any  fucking trouble--otherwise those bitches will chew off my ear again. So just fucking let the girl.” The albino demon groaned out as if she was a child being forced to do something they didn't want to do.

 

The demon narrowed his eyes, standing up and before you could do even have a chance to think, had pulled you up harshly tugging at your damaged wing making you hiss in pain.

 

“I said--” The demon growled. “Mind your fucking business.”

 

The stranger raised an eyebrow before shrugging and turned to to walk away.

 

"Wait!”

 

She stopped taking a second before looking over their shoulder towards you-- a sigh escaped her lips, shoulders seemingly slumped in defeat.

 

“Ugh, Fine!”

 

And in a blink of an eye, you felt something fly past you a sudden ringing in your ear as demon who had been holding on to you had staggered backwards his grip on you loosened, taking the opportunity you stumped on his foot hard and ran away from him as fast as you could and hid behind the albino demon, who now held on to a gun, smoke coming out its barrel.

 

The demon barred his teeth, looking down at the fresh bullet wound on his stomach, blood beginning to seep through his already bloodied clothes.

 

“You Bitch!”

 

“Yeah. Yeah.” The stranger mumbled rolling her eyes as if she'd heard it all before--“Just get the fuck out of here before I shoot yer' dick off.”

 

The demon growled his eyes  glancing in between the two of you.

 

“This isn't over.”

 

He disappeared.

 

You felt relief wash over your shoulder before winching in pain  remembering that your wing had been severely damaged and the bruises all across you skin weren't helping either.

 

Turning around to thank the stranger that saved you but when you saw them, her silhouette was already far away from where you stood, ignoring the pain that coursed through your body as you ran after them.

 

“H-hey wait!”

 

If she heard you-- she sure didn't show it.

 

You huffed, trying desperately to catch up which was hard seeing as she took very long graceful strides.

 

“Please wait!”

 

She stopped abruptly and with a swift motion turned towards you, placing a hand on her hips.

 

“What do you want now?”

 

You took a deep breath, then looked up towards her mustering the warmest smile you could. “I--Thank you for the help back there.”

 

She looked surprised before bursting into laughter, crossing both pair of arms. “Yeah whatever. Don't mention it-- ever actually. It'll put a dent in creditability, ya' got that?”

 

You weren't sure how ones credibility could have been dented with such an act but nodded. “Oh, of course!”

 

The demon peered over your shoulder, face scrunching up in what seemed to be disgust as she looked at the sorry state of your wings. “That guy did a lot on ya-- Aren't ya' gonna get that fucking checked?”

 

“I--” You looked over your shoulder. . “Don't know anybody here.”

 

“Tough luck, Toots. Ya' new? Welcome to hell then-- better get comfy cause there's no way of leaving.”

 

You grimaced at the thought of never leaving,words couldn't describe how much you wanted to go home. “N-no! I. . . I'm not meant to be here.”

 

The demon grinned and laughed as if you've made a joke. “Yeah. That's what they all say! What, did you get fucked over by someone? Whatever it was-- must have been real bad to land ya' here.”

 

“I--” You swallowed.

 

 

“I'm from heaven.”

 

She laughed again.

 

You shrunk.

Did you look that bad?

 

" I'm telling the truth.”

 

“Really?” The demon asked in some what of a condescending tone--“Then what are you doing down here? The extermination ended days ago!” It was soon clear that she was humouring you.

 

“I-- I don't know.”

It wasn't a lie yet it wasn't the complete truth either.

 

She raised an eyebrow, face churning into annoyance staring down at you. “What the fuck do you want from me exactly?”

 

“I want--” You stopped.

 

 

To go home.

 

“A p-place to stay?”

 

“Oh, I get it now! Ya' want a free place to crash, huh?”

 

“I would pay!” You stopped. “Once I managed to get some money but please I just need a place to stay for a while anywhere would be fine really.”

 

“And where do ya' think you're gonna get that money, sugar tits?” She questioned before leaning towards you, face inches away from your own, eyes scrutinizing your features-- “Ya' are kinda decent looking and with the wings it'll be a bit exotic patch ya up a smidge and you'll definitely be able to get into the porn business easy!”

 

'P-porn?'

 

“I'm sorry I don't understand, what--”

 

“Let's go, toots. I'll show ya' a place you could crash for a while. Those brauds are too fucking nice to turn yer' little broken ass away.” She turned back around and started walking away-- like a lost puppy you quickly followed.

 

Trying to keep pace with them was tiring especially with those long legs.

 

You side eyed her for a moment before gathering up the courage to reach out a hand towards her, She glanced at you as the both of you continued to walk-- pushing your hand away as she shook her head slightly. “Not really the hand shaking type.”

 

“Oh.” You muttered retracting your hand back towards your side,  pushing up a smile as you looked up at her introducing yourself.

 

“I'd say nice to meet ya' but eh.” The demon shrugged. . . “The name's Angel Dust by the way.”

 

“Angel?” You repeated the name, letting out a small chuckle--.“N-nice to meet you. You're very pretty by the way.”

 

“Ah, Thanks, Toots!” Angel shouted grinning and chuckling loudly-- “I'm a guy just so you know.”

 

You blinked.

 

"Huh?”

 

 

--

You looked up at the one of the biggest buildings you've yet to see in hell-- it was absolutely massive.

 

“Angel?” You called out, stopping at the front entrance.“Are you sure they'll let me stay here? This place seems great! I don't want to take up space that they'll need for business.” You said, This place was a hotel and it didn't feel right to stay here for free.

 

Angel laughed. “Don't worry about it, Babe! This place is practically a ghost town.” He sauntered over towards the large multicolored doors before pushing it open and walking inside as if he owned the place.

 

Angel looked over his shoulder, raising an eyebrow. “Ya comin' in or not?”

 

You gulped but nodded hesitantly following him in to the building and once you were inside everything seemed to be a lot to take in; the decorations, the intricate patterns that seemed to line within every inch and the paintings that were scattered all around the walls-- it was beautiful, charming in it's own hellish way.

 

Angel looked over at you, flashing a smile as if being amused by your expression. He shrugged. “Ya' should have seen before the place was a real dump--”

 

“Shut your mouth!” A voice shouted.

 

And before you knew it a girl with long white hair was making her way over to the both of you. . . she looked angry.

 

“Where have you been anyway? You better not being getting into anymore fights! Or so help me, Te voy a dar una gal--” She stopped mid sentence now only noticing you, narrowing her eyes and pointing a finger in your direction as she gave Angel a dirty look.

 

“And who the fuck is this? You better not be using the hotel for any of your hookups!”

 

“Oh, no. Babe. Wouldn't even dream of it!” Angel exclaimed raising his hands up into the air--“Plus the girl doesn't even have money.” He muttered, grinning.

 

“Then why--”

 

“Vaggie. . .? What's with all the yelling?” A girl with blonde hair popped up from well you didn't know where exactly-- your eyes widened as you instantly recognized her and when her eyes landed on you, a gasp escaped her lips as she ran over to you.

“W-what happened?! Are you alright?!” She questioned, looking down at you with a worried expression, peering over towards the others silently asking them what was happening.

 

“Ask Angel!” The girl from before huffed out crossing her arms together. “He's the one that brought her here.”

 

Angel groaned.

 

“I was--” You piped up stopping for a moment as their eyes were  now all on you. “I was being harassed by some demon and then he came in and saved me. I don't know what would have happened if he wasn't helped. . . I'm really thankful for him being there.”

 

The girl with white hair looked surprised. "He helped you and you didn't even have to give him money?”

 

You nodded.

 

Angel for some reason looked surprised as well.

 

The blonde next to you on the other hand seemed rather ecstatic, a grin speared across her face as she gave the tall demon a tight hug. “Really?! Angel! I can't believe it! Progress!”

 

The spider demon blinked before grumbling something under his breath and pushing her off. “Yeah. Yeah. Whatever!-- Just take care of her, will ya'?! She looks fucking horrible!”

 

“Angel!”

 

Angel rolled his eyes then walked off.

 

The blonde turned her attention back to you, a gentle smile appearing on her lips. “I'm sorry about him. But it's best if we patch you up first! Your wing. . .” She trailed off.

 

"Is really bad?” You guessed.

 

She nodded though she seemed apologetic. “I'm Charlie by the way.” She introduced then gestured to the girl with long white hair. “And that's Vaggie!”

 

“N-nice to meet you both.” You said pushing up a smile as you then said your name.

 

Vaggie only nodded in response, looking away from you. 

 

“Nice to meet you too!” Charlie beemed-- “And welcome to the Happy Hotel!”

 

 

--

You had decided to take a shower to get rid of every dirt and grime you had on your body-- and boy saying it hurt would have been the understatement of the year, as each time water dripped to your skin and to your open wounds it had stung more and more and your wings weren't doing any better though you managed to wash off what felt like a pound of mud it seemed to had.

 

You smiled at your wings-- though they were no where near up to their previous state, they were fluffed in a bad way but at least they were back to their pearly white selves.

 

The clothes you wore were Charlie's-- she said that she didn't really wear them anymore so you'd be free to have them, they were a tad too big for you (and you had to cut holes for your wings which was exhausting to say the very least) but nothing too major; the clothes were pretty and very comfy.

 

You finished buttoning up your clothes and patting down any ruffles as you hear a knock on your bathroom door.

 

“Just a second!”

 

You walked out of the bathroom already fully clothed, a towel around your hair.

 

Charlie sat at the edge of the bed, holding a large box labeled as 'emergency kit', she smiled noticing you and gestured for you to seat next to her.

 

You bit the inside of your cheek, taking a hesitant seat beside her.

 

“I. . .” You began and prayed she would believe after all her father was a fallen angel himself though he on the other hand deserved it.
“I don't want you to think that I'm lying or trying to pull anything here but I have to let you know that. . . I'm an Angel.”

 

She smile didn't falter. “I know.”

 

“R-really?”

 

Charlie chuckled. “I've been seeing them all my life so I think I'd be able to spot one. . . Though i haven't heard of an angel being banished from heaven in a long long time-- What exactly did you do?”

 

You felt as if a ton of bricks at been stacked on your shoulders, looking down to your lap, gritting your teeth as your fingernails dug into your palm.

 

“I- I mean it's completely fine if you don't want to tell me!”

 

You glanced at her. “I'm. . .sorry.”

 

She out a hand on your shoulder.

 

“It's fine. I understand if you don't want to talk about it. For now, Let's just worry about bandaging your wounds!”

 

You smiled.

 

“Thank you.”

 

As time went by as the princess of hell cleaned and bandage your wounds and as she did she told you all about the hotel and would ask questions about heaven ("Are there really a lot of dogs in heaven?") Some questions you'd answer without hesitation and some that couldn't indulge-- you wouldn't even dare.

 

“And done!” Charlie muttered.

 

Looking at your bandages and back towards her--" Thank you again, Charlie. I really don't know how to repay you.”

 

She stood up, the bed shifting as she did. “Oh, It's nothing! I'm just glad I could help and that you didn't suffer further injuries who knows what would happen.”

 

Your lips twitched, nodding.

 

You knew that there was a high possibility that you couldn't fly for at least a month or two--that is if you could even fly at all.

 

Charlie shifted, nervously. “C-can I ask you another question?”

 

You looked up. “Of course.”

 

Charlie sighed placing a hand on her own shoulder. “Do you think that this. . .What were doing will actually work?”

 

You blinked.

 

Yes, The thought of rehabilitating demons so that there would be no need for exterminations sounded amazing, a real solution to end further bloodshed but as much as you didn't want to admit it-- It sounded farfetched. There were just too many questions about it that was left unanswered.

 

“I'm n-not really sure.” You muttered seeing her expression guilt flooded your system. “. . .I'm sorry.”

 

She seemed to deflate for a moment, before giving herself a light tap on the cheek. “Well! No giving up now! We won't know until we've tried.”

 

“R-right!”

You felt your lips curve up into a smile, admiring her determination.

 

“I can help you. . . if you want me to that is. . .” You offered as there was a part of you that thought maybe very everything that had happened was leading up to something-- maybe just maybe this was it. Because nothing else seemed to make sense.

 

Charlie gasped, grinning. “Of course! Someone from heaven actually helping our cause! Ah! Thank you!” Before you could say anything else she pulled you into a hug, which fortunately wasn't too tight to disrupt your bruises.

 

“Oh! You have to meet the others!”

 

“Others. . ?”

 

 

--

You and Charlie were inside the kitchen watching as a small pink haired demon zoomed from counter to counter, cutting up ingredients and several other things you couldn't quite keep up with.

 

“That's Niffty!” Charlie said happily gesturing to the said demon. “The hotel's cleaner and cook!”

 

Niffty stopped working for a moment, appearing in front of you. “Hey, I'm Niffty!” She exclaimed then titled her head slightly looking at you with curiosity, grinning. “You have really pretty wings!”

 

“Oh. Thank yo--” But before you could even finish thanking her, she zipped off continuing with her work.

 

Charlie laughed, linking your arm with hers and proceed to drag you off towards somewhere else in the hotel.

 

“A-angel?” You stopped seeing the familiar demon seating on a stool elbows propped up on the counter.

 

The spider demon merely took a quick glance at you mumbling a 'hey toots' before turning back towards the counter taking a sip from his glass.

 

Was this a . . .

 

You looked up, reading the sign.
“Caviar Bar?”

 

Charlie continued to smile, now gesturing towards a demon who was behind the counter. “This is Husk-- our bartender!”

 

“Hello Husk.” You greeted. “Nice to meet you, I'm--”

 

“Don't care.” Husk exclaimed taking a swing on his drink mumbling something along the lines of 'another one' something like that.

 

You bit your lip then looked towards the blonde about to say something but--

 

"Why, I didn't know we had a guest!” A voice rang through.

 

You looked towards your side and nearly stumbled back meeting eyes with another demon.

 

The unnamed demon peered over your shoulder before turning his attention back to you tilting his head his sharp teeth seemed to gleem as he leaned down towards you-- eyes narrowing.

"And who might you be, darling?”

 

You gulped feeling something off, the air around him just seemed to radiate something that you couldn't quite put a finger on but nevertheless you mustered up the brightest smile you could  before introducing yourself reaching out a hand towards him, to which he more than enough shook vigorously--“A real pleasure to meet you! The name is Alastor!”

 

You nodded letting your hand slip away from his.  “I-It's a pleasure to meet you too.”

 

Charlie walked towards the both of you clasping her hands together.

 

“I'd like to make an announcement!”

 

You turned to look at her, though your shoulders tensed feeling eyes burn into the back of your head-- He was watching you.

 

You felt him now stand beside you, glancing up at him through your peripheral vision flashing him a small smile, one he oh-so returned the grin on his face vividly growing wider.

 

Charlie suddenly put a hand on your shoulder almost making you jump in surprise, tearing your gaze away from him and back towards the blonde.

 

Charlie smiled.

 

“I'd like for all of us to welcome,  a new member to our hotel!”