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Pacts and Demonic Revelations

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Mammon, Avatar of Greed
Late for Human Pick Up Duty

 

 

Shit, shit shit.

My human was gonna be pissed. I had managed to get everything I'd meant to [my bag full of gems and grimm could attest to that]. They'd sent me several texts, asking if I was coming to walk with them back, and a couple phone calls, too. No voicemails, so they must just be pissed. If my human had magic, they probably would've have just summoned me. But they couldn't, and judging from all the calls, they were probably going to just start thinking of me like my brothers did... Scummy demon who can't even remember when to pick them up at the right time.

Maybe if I bought them something they'd forgive me? I didn't like the idea of them being mad at me. But that should fix it, right? They'd said they needed some grimm and they'd gone out of their way to cover for me in this and--

And I felt the summons. It wasn't as strong as when the witches called me. It wasn't the same type of magic. There was the familiar pull, targeted towards me, and I felt a swell of pride that they were calling me with their magic. Except since when did they know magic? Or how to do that? But I could feel greed. Not exactly for money or things, my human was very rarely greedy for those kinds of things I'd quickly found out. But for.

For me.

It was the same feeling as the other day when they'd kissed me. Except more demanding. My human wanted me there to just take them home and carry them and hold them and... I hurried my steps, already grinning. Of course they wanted me there. Stupid of me to think the other day was just a fluke. When I got there, I was gonna pick 'em up and take 'em home and I'd get to show them what I got and we could just curl up in their bed and watch one of their stupid human shows until we fell asleep. I should definitely get them something though, even if they weren't pissed. They didn't wear jewelry much, but they'd wear something from me, surely. Some gold earrings maybe? Ones that would shine and catch the light when they looked over me and smiled and--

Something was wrong.

The summoning was laced with a fear and a panic that was so intense I could feel the bitter taste of bile at the back of my throat. And then. Pain. It tore through me. Through my side, through the pact mark that was on my shoulder. Ice cold and burning. Taste of blood in my mouth from the sudden shock of it. And I needed to find them. My D.D.D. was already in my hand and I was dialing before I even realized what I was doing, running towards Hell's Kitchen.  I had to get to them--

Where the fuck was Chris?

Their phone went to voicemail and I panicked. Not bothering to leave a voicemail. I was starting to run by that point, because I knew something was wrong. I could feel the pain moving through my body. Knew it meant that it was moving through theirs. Other pacts when shit like this happened were easier to ignore, distance made it lessen. But here? In Devildom?

And it got worse the closer I got. I could practically feel where the demon's claws had tore into my human. I could feel the rawness of their fear and-- Fuck, I was feeling this way more intensely than I should be. Was it because of-- Because I lo-- My phone ringing shook that train of thought out of my mind.

"Chris?! Where the fuck are you? What happened? Who attacked you? Are they still there?" Their answers were mumbled into the phone. Confused. Fuck, humans didn't do well with blood loss. Something about Purgatory Hall? 

I had to get there before things became worse. 

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Levi, Avatar of Envy
Sulking in his Tub and Watching TSL

 

I couldn't believe that Chris had gone out to work with Mammon at Hell's Kitchen instead of coming home and watching TSL with me. I'd told them that I was going to rewatch it again today after classes! I mean, I hadn't invited them to join me or anything because I figured they'd want to watch it!

It wasn't fair!

I shouldn't have expected too much though. Chris is still mostly a normie, after all. And Mammon is an asshole and always demands all of their attention, regardless of whether it's my turn to spend time with them or not. He's probably going to make them do something stupid for money, too. Or make Chris do all the work at the diner because he's just that kind of scummy. But Chris always puts up with it. And just smiles at him like he's the fucking best thing ever.

And somehow even with his terribly obvious tsundere attempts at flirting, Chris is still oblivious to his feelings. Which is so much like the latest anime I started watching, The Familiar with a Heart of Gold and a Mouth of Coal, that it makes me sick.

It's not fair that my stupid scummy brother gets to have his love interest completely oblivious to his pining while also getting to take up most of their time. I bet if he were more forward like Asmodeus, they'd already be dating. At least he's too stupid to see that and let Chris stick to their plan of not getting involved. Because maybe if Chris changes their mind, it'll be like they said and they'll tell me and--

I was already sinking into the tub, feeling flustered at the thought of that. Chris wouldn't want a dumb otaku like me. Especially since I couldn't even pick them up from work on time and--

That wasn't mine.

I could feel Chris's envy of... Of not needing to rely on other people. Envious of all of us that we didn't really need an escort everywhere. That we could just come and go without a care. [Their envy of magic and power was the most familiar kind that ever came off of them, so that in general wasn't a surprise, but--] And there was envy of people actually keeping their word and... My stupid scummy brother must have done something really bad if I could feel Chris's emotions from this far away. Especially since our human wasn't as prone to envy as others. It almost made me want to laugh at Mammon because I'm glad he's getting in trouble. He deserves it.

But I could also feel Chris's panic. I could feel it rising in a way that was way too familiar and that undercurrent of fear. I could taste it hitting the back of my throat, a touch of grief lacing it like...

What the fuck had Mammon done?

I pulled out my D.D.D. to see about giving Chris a call when it hit.

The panic and the grief and the fear exploded into a moment of pain, the mark of our pact burning with pain.

Where the fuck was Chris?

I was out of my tub and in the hall before I realized what I was doing, scrambling, their number already dialing their D.D.D. It immediately cut to voicemail. And I found myself in the entry hall.

My brothers were there. Asmo and Beel and Satan, all looking just as panicked as I felt. All with their D.D.D.s in hand. We needed to find Chris and make sure they were alright and-- Why was it my human getting hurt? It's not fair, it's not fair.

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Beelzebub, Avatar of Gluttony
Already Preparing to Cook

 

Maybe I should have gone with Mammon and Chris to Hell's Kitchen? I just knew that being there would make it more stressful for Chris. They already had a hard time keeping up with my appetite on their days for cooking duty at home. Me being at Hell's Kitchen on their first day would be stressful for them probably. And it wouldn't have been as worth as if it was their cooking.

Our own kitchen was looking a little bare for me. Only three dozen eggs, five steaks, four loafs of bread... I'd have to figure out what to make without eating through the whole supply. Maybe I should have stopped by the store on my way home instead? I'd figure something out. [I sent Chris a text asking if they'd bring me something home from Hell's Kitchen anyway. I'd probably want a snack after my workout.] I set up a pot of boiling water for the cockatrice eggs and carefully put two dozen in. The eggs could work for an after workout meal if Chris couldn't bring anything home.

In the meantime, I set about preparing a steak.

I could tell Chris was sampling some of the food at Hell's Kitchen. Little flares here and there of 'this is tasty', subtle enough that I could almost taste them. It was making me even hungrier and I had to focus on my own food. I really hope Chris saw my message before heading home though...

I managed to make everything without eating too much and sat down in the kitchen and began eating and it was delicious. The seasoning was just right, and I'd made a big enough proportion that I actually got to taste it as I ate and-- Bile rose up in the back of my throat, the food feeling suddenly bitter to my tongue. I knew this feeling. This fear, this panic. The pain of losing someone else and not being able to do anything about it. The worry that it was happening right now and I wasn't going to be able to stop it and-- And it wasn't even mine.

It took me a moment, my heart tight in my chest at the mirrored memory of those feelings when it came to Lilith and Belph and, I didn't realize it was Chris's emotions at first. That the memory the panic was tied to was 'mother', not sister. Because the fear it was tied to now was for a far too familiar source. Mammon. Chris was this worried about Mammon and I was already on my feet, the rest of my food left on my plate, the panic coursing through me keeping me from feeling any sort of hunger. I had to find them, I couldn't lose them. I couldn't lose anyone else.

And then the pain. I felt it tear through my side as if it had happened to me, could practically feel the blood on my side. This was bad. Really bad. Chris may have stood up to Lucifer before. [And Levi, and me.] And said that they weren't afraid, but... But sometimes that lack of fear lead to really bad things and I wasn't there to protect them and--

Chris wasn't answering their D.D.D. And I was out in the entryway before I even realized it, standing there with my brothers. They'd felt it too. This wasn't good. I needed to be there to protect them...

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Asmodeus, Avatar of Lust
Out on a Shopping Spree

 

 

 

Out of all of my brothers, I think I probably ended up feeling Chris' emotions the most often. I hadn't even needed Satan to tell me that our human was an empath because I knew. How they'd responded at the retreat? How they flushed a little bit every time they were touched by someone lusting after them? It had been a delightful revelation.

Empaths truly were some of the most fun when it came to my powers.

I was out shopping when I felt the first trickle of lust from them. There was a very specific feel to it for a little bit, one I'd begun to realize was tied to my scummy brother [why Chris liked him at all, I'd never understand]. It was a soft sort of lust. Almost innocent, if I focused I knew it would focus on a lot of kissing and running hands down bare bodies, with the tiniest thread of sadism. [Humiliating him was far too easy, so that I could understand, at least.]

But I felt it move into something more general after awhile. And knew that meant Chris was around a lot of demons. The desire to be fucked by a variety of strangers was a very distinct feeling. And my little human was a naughty little thing, thinking about such a thing while working. Just the thought of it had me drifting to the lingerie section, looking through their selection. Feeling their arousal was delightful foreplay, letting it build and build until they finally changed their mind and. And I should get them something for them to wear when that time came that would help them feel sexy. [And make the whole thing more fun for me to undress them.]

I ended up getting them three sets, designed to highlight their delicious curves, one even had a corset, since they seemed so shy about showing their stomach. While I'd certainly help them into it, the idea of helping them out of it was what I looked forward to. Undoing the laces slowly, kissing every inch of exposed skin, peeling off the corset before moving down to the garters holding up stockings, biting on their plump thighs and ass and-- I was getting myself riled up just at the thought of it. I sent them a wave of lust as I headed back home.

I refused to be the only one thinking about it.

I debated finding myself a date for the night to get this out of my system. Perhaps Solomon? That had been fun. There'd been a day when both Solomon and I had been teasing the naughty little thing, and I'd felt them get riled up by it. I'd invited Chris to join us later and-- Well, the naughty little human certainly had in spirit, at least. And I'd been able to enjoy that feeling and share it with Solomon and it had been fantastic. I could see what he was up to-

Except-- Wait. The angels had invited him out hadn't they? He was likely busy.

How annoying.

Oh well. Perhaps I should just take some cute pictures and send them to both of my humans? Make them regret being too busy to spend time with me?

Yes, that sounded like a wonderful idea.

A nice beautifying bath at home later and I began taking some pictures. Very nicely posed, my entire body looking gorgeous, my hair that wonderfully sexy casual half-dry look, where it clung to my face enough for accentuate my features, but not so much that my hair looked flat. Maybe I could take a couple naughty ones and send them as well. I knew Solomon liked them, but I hadn't investigated that little idea with Chris yet. With being able to pull on their casual lust from afar, and sensing their good mood, perhaps I could ask and find out. Even if we didn't have sex, they--

Panic flooded me. Fear. Concern. There was no sexy feeling left.

I'd been holding onto that casual lust from then, and the sudden cut off of the feeling was like being dropped in ice water.

I immediately felt my heart rate pick at the panic. I knew it wasn't mine. I knew it was my little human's. And for them to be this panicked out of nowhere. I called them and their phone went straight to voicemail. No reply. My own panic was starting to grow. I dialed Mammon and his phone just kept ringing. Idiot. He was supposed to be watching our human! Why was Chris panicking like this with Mammon around? It wasn't like there was anything that could hurt them, not really, but--

The pain bit into my shoulder like a branding, causing me to drop my D.D.D.

The last time I had felt this sort of thing from a pact was when Solomon had nearly died, but he'd summoned me, then summoned Vepar. The other demon had been able to heal the sorcerer before it was too late and--I dialed Vepar as I ran down the stairs. He was going to go to Solomon and fucking find and heal Chris or I was going to rip that little mermaid apart. Right after I tore into whatever had gone after my human.

I skidded to a halt in the entryway, spotting my brothers. The fact that they'd felt it too made me even more worried.

Where was Chris?

 

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Satan, the Avatar of Wrath
Doing Research for Their Human

 

 

I had doubted the human when they had joked about their concerns of being affected by my wrath, saying that they had dealt with their own anger issues before. They'd always seemed so mild. So I'd focused more on keeping my anger from leaking into them. But it only worked so well. Especially since they hadn't been lying. I'd feel the little things that rankled them throughout the day. Quite often I'd recognize the specific annoyance as one that could be tied to my brothers. Lucifer was a common one. So was Mammon.

It was amusing to find that Chris and I had more in common than I'd believed. It warmed me to the human. Knowing someone else in the house kept a lid on their anger [besides Lucifer, but he didn't count]. Did I perhaps send a little spike of my own annoyance at Lucifer when Chris was arguing with him? Nothing anyone could prove. At least not until they got a better control over their empathic magic. Which I had been helping them look in to.

I could have invited them along with me to search the royal library for books on empaths. In fact, considering their spike in annoyance at Mammon right after class, I probably should have. But he probably would have followed them and complained the whole time and that would have just been too fucking annoying.

But it meant I was used to ignoring the little flares of annoyance that came off of Chris as they went about their afternoon. Demons being rude, most likely. People in general being inconsiderate was always something that rankled the human, I'd noticed, so they'd always try to be extra considerate with others to soothe themself. It was quite cute, actually. My mask of a smile was just for appearances, really, being the only brother to actually actively restrain himself. But theirs was a countermeasure to soothe. [They'd mentioned there was someone they didn't want to be like, but never expanded on it. And I never asked.]

I hadn't even noticed the wave of annoyance start to spike into something else until after I'd gotten home.

And that something else had hit me so suddenly that I'd dropped the book I'd been reading.

The panic and the fear and the concern coursing through me was so abrupt and so foreign to me that it sent a flare of anger coursing through me in response. The sudden burst of emotions, of tears, biting at the corners of my eyes. It was so foreign to me that it took me a moment to realize where the emotions came from.

Not from myself.

Not some strange swell of unknown panic from just my own state, or any of my brothers, but...

This was from Chris.

Panic and fear were cycling over and over so fast through the empath and into me that I could barely determine what was causing it. These weren't my feelings. Weren't my emotions. I didn't know what to do with these and then--

I'd already had my D.D.D. in my hand to call Chris when the pain tore through me.

Fury. Blood.

Someone had hurt my human.

I could taste it.

The blood was practically on my tongue.

The erratic beat of their pulse through the pain.

The tears trailing down their cheeks.

The salt mixing with the copper. 

I didn't realize I'd moved until I heard my brothers' call my name and I was in the entryway, my D.D.D. now crushed in my hand.

I was-

I hadn't even-

Why had it spiked-

Had I done any-

Where-

"Where's Chris?" I asked them, the pain and panic was fading from the connection. It had been far stronger than it should have been. I don't think Chris had even known what they were doing.

And I don't think any of them knew just how much energy our little human had sent out to us.

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Lucifer, Avatar of Pride
Just Trying to Finish a Report

Sometimes it seemed my brothers forgot about what their oaths entailed. How similar they were to the pacts they made with their humans. How I could feel them through the oaths. Mammon certainly forgot quite often. It made catching him in his lies so easy. So of course I'd known that he and Chris were lying about their little escapade long before they had sent a single staged selfie. Despite his attraction to the human [and desire for spending any time with them he could], he would not be that excited about working at Hell's Kitchen if that was all that was going on. [And not only was he far too shy to have asked them for something more... Intimate, but I doubted that if Chris had changed their mind, that they would have gone to such lengths to lie to me about it just for a date.]

I was sure to find out what trouble he had gotten himself into later. Something stupid, like sneaking into RAD after hours and searching the treasury room. Or into one of the other dorms and gambling with the Succubi [he did that one far too often.]

I had expected trouble from him.

And therefore, hadn't given any of it much thought for the longest time, working on the paperwork that Diavolo had given me earlier in the day. Chief among them being reports of how Chris was doing at our home. I was sure that Diavolo knew I answered theses myself without "properly" consulting the human: none of them made any mention of being kidnapped, after all, their usual 'joke' about living here in Devildom. So they were simply about how our resident magicless human was doing.

Grades were up. They even helped Mammon study sometimes without complaint. I would not be surprised if they were bribing him. Grimm or kisses, he was greedy for both. Though he'd deny the second one. [Hard to believe the two had kissed at all.]

Chris seemed to still have issues sleeping down here in Devildom, but my brothers would slip into their room sometimes and stay with them and I'd noticed that would help. I indirectly encouraged this among them. I'd gone in there one time, hearing the human tossing in their sleep from nightmares. Seen them crying in their sleep.

I'd also known that it wouldn't have been a good idea to wake them. I was not the comforting type, I'd been told.

And so, when Mammon came home, I'd given him the idea to check on his human. Scolded him and asked if he'd kept them up with his nonsense. I'd felt that wash of his sin-his greed-- for the human and watched as he 'snuck' to their room. He'd made a point to be quiet, at least.

He wasn't always as stupid as he pretended. Not when it mattered, at least.

I'd texted him through my D.D.D. near the end of Chris's shift to see if they were still keeping up the lie.

The staged selfie indicated that they must be.

But I still had to expect some stupidity from him.

What I had not expected was the whirlwind of panic, fear, and pain roiling through all of my brothers. The sudden rush of it all a whirlwind of each of their sins rising up and rebelling and searching desperately. The panic and the fear and the pain. It was almost as if they'd been attacked. I was outside of my study the moment I felt them all moving, all gathering in the entryway.

But through the oaths, through the connections, I could not feel any injuries on them.

And seeing four of them standing there, the four that were home and bound to the human, I saw no injuries either.

I reached out through the oath for Mammon, but I could feel no injury on him either.

But the worry and the panic was greatest on him.

And I realized.

This had nothing to do with any of my brothers.

"Where's Chris?" It was Satan who had asked the question, his phone now crushed in his hand. Completely destroyed.

"Mammon just send a text saying that they were finishing up at work." I explained. None of their panic subsided. "Why, what is it?"

There was a mass of talking all at once. And for a moment, I waited. I was keeping an eye on Mammon as best as I could as they all talked over each other.

I could make out bits and pieces.

What they'd all been doing when this wave of emotion hit.

What they were feeling from it.

The intense pain they'd felt.

All of it was strange for a pact, even when their human was down here in Devildom.

"Chris is an empath." Satan's voice once again cut out above the others. I focused my attention on him. It was clear from his trained expression that he wasn't supposed to tell me. But he was worried enough to do so regardless. "When Solomon lent them magic at the retreat, it half-unlocked it, that's how--"

"That's how you're all receiving so many of their emotions." I finished for him.

This wasn't good. I'd specifically made sure that the second human, the one set to stay with us at the House of Lamentation, wasn't an empath. I'd been explicit with Diavolo with how bad of an idea that would be. We'd tested to make sure, even. If we'd known that Chris was an empath, they would have stayed with the angels. Angels could help soothe an empath's magic, keep it controlable. But us? Not only demons, but fallen angels?

It was a wonder they've been in one piece all this time.

Such a rarity on its own, as empaths were usually so fragile amongst so many volatile emotions. It was almost as if--

As if Chris had had practice hiding their emotions from people who would use them to hurt them. Used to being around someone whose own emotions were volatile enough that they caused him to lash out and hurt others. To hurt and manipulate and abuse his lover.

Of course it had been repressed. Of course Chris had figured out how to deal with these harmless idiots.

Despite their power and the volatile nature of their emotions, their sins, they adored their human. Doted on them. Cared for Chris in a way I hadn't seen the care for many things since we'd come to Devildom.

No more clearly evidenced by their obvious panic.

I reached out towards Mammon once again. I knew he was with Chris. And he was... He was calm. Relieved.

"How is Chris feeling now?" I asked them all. Without my own pact, I couldn't judge for myself, but...

"Tired? I think?" Beelzebub was frowning.

"Calmer." Satan cut in. I nodded.

"The danger, whatever it was, must have passed. Chris was with Mammon, and they should be home soon."

They began to argue with me. Still wanting to go out and find the two. We could, certainly. But I knew it would likely do more harm than good at this point.

Mammon was on his way home, presumably with Chris.

And the two of them were going to have to explain what the fuck had happened.

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Belphegor, Avatar of Sloth

Still Locked Away

 

Being stuck in the attic with little to do gave me a lot of time. Most of it spent doing nothing in particular. Lucifer could have at least given me fake-homework or something.

I ended up spending most of my nights dipping into my brothers' dreams. Since they weren't inviting me into them, I usually could only watch. But even that was boring most of the time.

Mammon dreamt of Chris quite often. I'd learned to recognize when things were going to start heading towards wet dream territory when Chris started wearing gold. I didn't stay to watch those times, but I always laughed when he would speak about being their only. Even if it had been in a dream, I'd already seen that face crying and wanting more. How upset he'd be if he knew. The idiot.

Beel's dreams were the ones I visited the most though. Lucifer had made sure that he couldn't tell I was in the attic, and it stopped me from getting any sort of permission to enter his dreams, but I could see them. I could feel them. I could never help on the nights when he had nightmares. I could only sit back and watch and all of that made me even angrier at Lucifer. There were some nights where they were calmer though. He'd wake from a nightmare, then go to sleep a little later, his dreams much calmer. And I could dip into Chris's dreams and find the human dream of food.

Chris was the strange element in all of this. Unlike my brothers, I could enter the little empath's dreams as I pleased. I hadn't done anything sexual since that first incident, not with how it had scared them off for a bit, but it was the easiest way to call to them, get them to visit. The human was smart and didn't trust me. Probably knew I still hated humans. But guilt worked fine to get them to come upstairs and keep the boredom at bay.

I was drifting between sleep and seeing if I could peek into any dreams when I felt a wave of fear from Beel. I wanted to send him something, anything to calm him back. Feeling it from up here was like seeing a fire in the distance. I couldn't do anything about it. Except... I'd been trying to see if I could reach Chris and I could feel them slip unconscious and I ducked into their mind. The human seemed to care about Beel enough to do something, surely.

But they weren't asleep, and they were back awake before I could fully process what I'd seen.

The harpy that had attacked them had come as a shadow, but I recognized the despair and the chaos that harpies from the layers gave off. The ones they used to keep the suicides mired in their guilt and shame and stuck in the Woods. I felt how it buried into Chris in that moment of unconscious.

Beel was worried about the human. Something had happened.

Part of me hoped that it was terrible. A gorey horrifici mess. That the human was dead or close enough to that it proved that Diavolo's plan was a failure. That I hadn't even had to lift a finger for the plan to fail and to be proven right. That humans should steer clear of demons. The sadistic rush of 'good, that would serve them right' was like a high, my smile stretching wide across my face, making me laugh without restraint at how foolish Lucifer had been in the first place. For all of this. 

Except.

Except Chris had promised to get me out of the attic. Had made pacts with most of my brothers to do so. Visited me just when I was bored.

And Beel was very attached to the human.

It was a couple hours of sitting there, trying to get the slightest hint from any of them towards what might have happened, my thumb brushing over the lamb-painted-cow keychain, trying to reach out towards Beel and Chris to see if I could get into either of their dreams.

It was Chris who fell asleep first.

And I recognized it for the maelstrom it was.

Memories melted into contorted surreal imagery, the truth twisting into things both cartoonish and horrific to someone who was awake before slipping away before the human could even recognize and latch onto anything.

Instead, Chris was just in the middle of it, crying, curled in a ball in the dark.

I tried to interact. To reach out, and I felt my image shift through my brothers' faces as I put my hand on their cheek.

I didn't stop it, as it seemed to calm them down enough to stop crying and let them drift into something peaceful.

It was harder to do, without having a pact with the human, without touching them, but I let some of my own apathy drain into them to perhaps keep the dreams on the quieter side.

I went to check on Beel when he finally went to sleep, and his own dreams were bordering on nightmares. It was back to normal for him.

Still with me being stuck in the fucking attic.

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Solomon, King and Sorcerer
Skipped Dinner with the Angels

 

I knew something was wrong before my D.D.D. even rang. A general unease had been growing in the pit of my stomach for quite some time now, pulling at me. I'd feel trickles of emotions like this since the retreat. Most of them were benign. Occasionally trouble sleeping, but more often the urge to feel more affectionate. It had made for a very interesting night with Asmodeus.

But there had been moments of unexplained despair and guilt eating away at me. I had no reasons for them, and I'd managed to brush them aside, some lingering effect of one of the demons here, I was certain. But tonight the feeling had come with such a level of anticipation that I'd skipped going out for dinner with the Angels, despite their invitation, feeling as if I needed to stay in. I'd felt the pain in my gut like a cramp. I'd been pacing my room in Purgatory Hall, trying to determine the cause of it when the answer came.The ringtone was unique. I'd chosen something from the human world just for them: I wanted it to stand out, should they ever call. And they hadn't, seemingly preferring to send texts if given a chance.

It didn't bode well that now Chris called me.

And I could barely make out their voice as they spoke. The confusion and pain were clear enough, however. I needed to find out where they were, before things got worse. I made out them saying 'Purgatory Hall', as if wondering why they were near here, and I didn't bother with shoes as I ran out of the dorm. They said something about calling Mammon and hung up as I hit the bottom of the stairs. I stuffed my D.D.D. into my pocket and began a tracking spell. I didn't have components for a long distance spell, but. Notes Chris had given me for class that I'd missed because of Asmodeus.

I'd worry about the fact that the spell burned through the paper later.

The flame burned purple before separating from my hand, floating off in one direction, weakening as it went. Relief flooded through me when the flame stopped over a figure that was already headed towards the Hall. But the relief was short lived when I noticed the blood.

Khara.

I needed to get Chris inside immediately. I didn't even ask before scooping them up in my arms and turning back towards my dorm, running over who I could call over. Of course the angels were out. And they were both already terrible at answering their D.D.D.s. Mammon, on the other hand, could be heard very clearly through the phone. Still in Chris's hand, I leaned forward to make sure he could hear me. "Go to Purgato--"

But I heard the demon come round the corner, the phone echoing his worried shouts, even as it slipped out of Chris's hand and smacked against the cobblestones. The string of expletives told me he'd spotted me and he followed as we entered the Hall. He must have picked up the D.D.D. as it was in his hand by the time he caught up to me, their bag as well, and he looked like he wanted to take Chris from me. He was smart enough not to, however, instead just talking to Chris through the haze.

I tuned him out as I called through my pact for Vepar. Being in Devildom meant I didn't have to do a summoning circle just to contact him, but hopefully the demon wasn't busy. The angels weren't great about answering their phones and not many demons under my purview could heal, and -- I felt the response. The equivalent to a 'yea yea I heard you'. And by the time I'd managed to set Chris down on my bed, Vepar was there, climbing out of the tub. Good.

"Mammon, I need you to help me. Turn Chris on their side, we're going to get the shirt off." I told him. He was staring at Vepar, wide eyed. Did those two have a history? I didn't recall. It wasn't something I thought about. I knew that sometimes Vepar and Asmo didn't, but Mammon wasn't one of my demons.

"Their shirt, why do you need to get the shirt off, can't you just..." He waved his hands, his voice rising in his panic. Weren't the brothers supposed to have been soldiers once?

"To inspect the damage. If there's any magical injury, we might need to do more." I explained. He was still panicking, I could see the tears pricking at the corners of his eyes as he stared down at Chris's form in despair and guilt, but he did as I asked, carefully unbuttoning the shirt and lifting them to let me slide the shirt off their shoulders. "Vepar, I need you to take a look. Heal what you can. Tell me if there's anything you can't."

I noticed tattoo inked into Chris's skin immediately, but Vepar's eyes locking onto it with a frightening intensity. He was in human form, that of a handsome young man, as he came up to sit on the bed, running a hand over the wound, humming slightly as he assessed it. His hand brushed across the tattoo and in an instant, he was in his true form, the sort of mermaid that sailors told tales about. Mammon was babbling something or other, but Vepar looked at me, his eyebrows raised, pointedly letting me know he had questions. He rarely showed his true form, and few things could draw it out of him on accident.

But the touch had sent pain through Chris. An eruption of emotions that had them awake enough to start becoming aware and they were-- Crying. Muttering something incoherent. I reached out, brushing their hair away from their face. I heard a name in all of it and glanced at the demon in question.

"Mammon's fine, Chris. You're fine. You're safe." Mammon was staring at his human as if afraid they'd break, his hands shaking as I spoke. Chris calmed only a little, still crying and reaching out weakly. Mammon took one hand tightly in his own and I did what I could think of to calm them.

It was an old lullaby. I doubted many people still sang it. I didn't know if it even had ever been translated into any language Chris would know. But I infused some of my magic into it, brushing tears away from their cheeks. This time it seemed to work.

"There's no magic or poison. Just flesh." Vepar told me, hands moving back to the wound. I nodded at him to proceed, but kept singing. He paused another moment, staring at the tattoo. "To think, this one isn't even your wife..."

I sent Vepar a glare, but he shrugged it off and collected the water around his hands, placing them on the wound and letting his magic stitch up the flesh. I knew how the process worked. Had felt him knit back together my own skin with that magic. Using the imbued water to speed up the healing process in very much the same way that blood would gather and heal a wound and--

"That's amazing." Chris's voice was so quiet I had almost missed it. Vepar's smile towards Chris was actually genuine. Chris showed no fear of his form, only quiet awe at his skill. This was how they'd charmed all of the brothers so easily, I suspected. The revelation made me smile a bit, even as Vepar introduced himself.

Their attention suddenly turned towards Mammon and I took that opportunity to dismiss Vepar.

"Thank you for getting here so quickly." He shrugged, glancing over at Chris as they doted on Mammon as if he'd been injured.

"Asmodeus's other human, I take it?" My confusion must have shown because he waved a hand. "Seconds before you contacted me, Asmodeus called me insisting that I come to you and help with his human."

I glanced over at Chris, frowning slightly. But I nodded at Vepar. The pacts always informed demons if their humans died or were very hurt. But it was difficult to select a specific demon to ask for help on its own. Much less without any training. Especially to a demon like Asmodeus, who focused on himself and his own desires so much that it shouldn't have been possible, except-- "Did he give them the seal? Steal it from you again and burn it into their skin or something? Perhaps threw it into the sea again? I can tell that human likes the sea. Would get a tattoo of something found in there."

The tattoo was now hidden by where Chris pressed themself against Mammon as the two spoke. I shook my head at the question. "No, I still have my ring as before."

Vepar just hummed, his true form sliding away to the human form of earlier and he shrugged. "The attack looked like Harpy claws, so keep an eye out for despair."

He gave a little wave before walking out, giving Chris another smile as he passed. One I don't think they noticed. The two were still talking and I could hear Chris's words. The pain in their voice was clear. And when they started to cry again, I sat gently down next to the two of them, singing against softly, stroking Chris's back soothingly.

It calmed them enough to thank me. Voice quiet as if they didn't want to be a bother as I looked over Vepar's handiwork. Barely a scar left. And the wound had somehow gotten so close to the tattoo but hadn't crossed it. Such an unusual thing. Their own magic had prevented the seal from getting damaged. Had kept them safe enough that it remained entirely unharmed against their soft skin.

I could feel the magic radiating from it. My own, and some of Chris's and-- I recognized Asmodeus's magic, so I assumed that the rest I was feeling must be the other demons Chris had made pacts with. But one was-- One was not demonic. But I couldn't tell what it was.

And I knew we had to have a little conversation about all of this. Because Chris clearly didn't understand what it meant to have my Seal inked into their body. What it meant that I had imbued it with my magic. When the two of them left, I knew that the full conversation would need to happen soon. Mammon and Lucifer were both unlikely to be happy about any of it.

But I didn't mind this new union. It would be interesting, if nothing else.

 

Chapter Text

Mammon, Avatar of Greed
Also a Sad Boy

Chris left with Lucifer. Carried in his arms, cradled against his chest. Like they'd been just a little bit ago in mine. And I was told to stay and explain myself to my brothers. Not only by Lucifer, but by Chris as well, the magic of the pact strong enough that it made me listen. I didn't have a choice. So I told them. I explained to them the plan that Chris and I had come up with, where they'd go to work at Hell's Kitchen and I'd go and get some grimm my own way.

"Why did Chris need money?" Satan asked. And I knew that accusatory glare. How fucking dare he insinuate that I stole from Chris!

"I don't fucking know!" I was trying to defend myself. It didn't work very well when I'd technically stolen from them before. I mean, I paid them back. Eventually. Somehow. But. "I didn't ask, okay?"

Their doubtful looks hurt. This was already all my fucking fault. If I hadn't been late picking up Chris, none of this would have happened. I even told them the lengths we'd gone to to keep it a secret from Lucifer. It had been foolproof! Chris even got some money for the hour of work I did! I let them keep it because I was being generous! And I'd known I'd make more at my own thing. And then something had happened and...

"Chris was supposed to stay there and wait for me! The owner said he didn't mind letting them stay there until I got there!" Why had Chris left? I still didn't understand that. They really could have stayed a little longer. Gotten some extra grimm maybe. Eaten their food there. Something. "I mean, I'd assumed that when I didn't answer my phone, Chris would know I wasn't done and--"

Beel was the one to cut in this time.

"Did Chris ever tell you about how their mother died?" His voice was quiet, but the understanding on his face made it clear this was important.

"Chris doesn't talk about family much..." It was Levi who said this. I was glad I wasn't the only one who was missing information here. Because no, they never had. Not a thing about their mother. Ever. Fuck, I hadn't even really known they were dead.

"It was a human illness. Out of nowhere and... They found out right after work. Had been trying to call her all day." Fine one moment, gone the next. Without any warning. And.

And the only sign had been her not answering her phone.

Chris had mentioned not liking phone calls before. And how they liked when I answered. I'd never given it much thought beyond wanting my attention even half as much as I wanted theirs. And they'd... They'd run to check on me.

Chris's first thought when I didn't answer my D.D.D. had been to make sure I was okay. This had been what they'd been trying to tell me earlier, when we'd still been with Solomon. I'd heard the words, but they hadn't clicked. Between the crying and the mumbling and me just being glad they were still alive... I needed to see them! I needed to tell Chris how much they meant to me and--

The order was keeping me there because I needed to finish explaining.

So I let it all out in a stream, not giving them time for questions. This was my fault and I didn't want Chris to hate me for it. And it took me a second for me to realize I was crying because I was trying to talk so fast to get it all out so I could see them. I didn't care about the comments from my brothers right now about how I was stupid and scummy and an idiot. My human had been worried about me. Even knowing that I'm the great Mammon. And I wanted to see them. I needed to. I didn't need my brothers reminding me it was my fault. I just needed to get Chris and pick them up and cuddle them and keep them close and the moment I finished telling them about the Seal and Solomon's reaction and our walk back home, I left my brothers behind.

I checked Chris's room first, but there was no sign that they'd been in there. But I did hear the music coming from the direction to Lucifer's room, so I headed there. I could hear voices on the other side of the door, and I raised my fist to knock when I heard Chris, their voice loud and clear and filled with a need I hadn't heard before.

"Please. Lucifer, please. Please just fuck me..."

My heart dropped.

Of course they wouldn't want me right now.

It was my fault that this had happened.

They'd said they didn't want to get involved with any of us like that, but. But what if Mephistophiles had been right? He'd suggested so long ago that maybe Chris was just trying to go for Lucifer and didn't want any of the rest of us like that.

It would explain why they'd jumped and tried to hide our kiss when Lucifer had come that time.

Chris--

I left before I could hear anything else. Even if Chris didn't want me like that, they were still my friend and they still meant so much and--

Fuck. I shouldn't care this much about a stupid human. I was the great Mammon! I didn't need a human to want to kiss me or touch me or dance with me or-- Or make lo-- No!

I didn't need it.

I didn't need a stupid human to care that much!

I just needed.

To go to sleep for the night.

I cracked open the door to Chris's room and bundled all the blankets and pillows up and wrapped myself up in their scent.

I was the great Mammon and I didn't need a stupid human. But at least they were okay.

Chapter Text

Lucifer, Avatar of Pride
Has Feelings Sometimes

 

From their spot cradled in my arms, I could tell when Chris had fallen asleep, their slow, steady breathes brushing against my chest. They were curled into themself so tightly, making themself so small, that it was hard to believe it was the same human that, during the day would face down any of us with a grin and a sarcastic comment. That acted like nothing bothered them. I stroked their hair softly, freezing when they let out a little sigh, worried I'd woken them. No, instead Chris just pressed further against me, their form relaxing into me, hand spreading out against my chest and I hissed in a breath.

It had already taken all of my willpower to stop myself from taking them earlier. And now that their crying had passed-- Now that they were back to being naked and vulnerable and their skin against mine-- I was going to get aroused if they kept this up. I knew if they woke up and gave me that look they'd been giving me before, begging for me to fuck them-- I needed to stop thinking about that.

I'd felt every emotion they'd pushed into me, and it had been their feelings at the end that had bothered me the most.

The shame that had washed over them. The despair.

Trying to get them to focus on that lust had only been able to stave it off for so long before it had all become too much. And the bitter taste of regret had lingered until they'd fallen asleep. That was not a feeling I wanted them to associate with me. If I had continued...

It may have been left over feelings from the Harpies. The despair and guilt and shame were all things that the harpies in the layers pushed unto those in the woods. They had likely done similar to Chris when they'd attacked.

But I wasn't going to have them regret a night with me. I wasn't going to risk that. They were-- I was stroking their hair still. Their naked body still pressed to mine. It seemed I was no exception to the human my brothers were so fond of. Solomon's involvement meant I was going to have to tell Diavolo.

In the morning, though. Moving now would certainly wake Chris up. And after their emotions finally calming down? They needed the rest. I pulled them against me and tried to rest myself for a little while.

I woke before Chris did. Which was probably for the best. I slipped out of the bed to call Diavolo to tell him what happened, that Chris would be staying home, and that I'd tell him more when I saw him. I saw Chris shiver when I slipped out of bed and as I was talking, I slipped into my closet to pull out a shirt. After everything the night before, they couldn't get sick on top of this. I was amazed they stayed asleep as I put the shirt on them. Only the merest mumbles of noise as I moved them. And I prayed Diavolo didn't hear the sound through the D.D.D., but I suspect that he had, as he let me off the call sooner than he otherwise would have.

This incident was a problem. Them being an empath was a problem. The Seal on their stomach was a problem. The one imbued with magic. My fingers brushed it again and I felt my true form melt into shape once again. Chris's emotions had hit their peak when they'd seen my true form last night. Every time they see me like that it's never in a good light.

I needed to be more careful. Especially with this mark.

Chris was tied to Solomon as much as they were tied to each of my brothers.

I needed to get ready for the day.

I was bombarded by questions from [most of] my brothers when we had breakfast. Chief among them being where Chris was. I insisted that they let the human continue to sleep. And that since Chris was fine, they needed to still go to school. Especially if we were to find out who had done this.

That had been the only thing that had actually given any incentive. Each of them had perked up at the idea of punishing the demon that had hurt their human. I did warn them that we would need to tell Lord Diavolo who the culprit was first, but... If the harpy got banged up on the way to him, well. I certainly wasn't going to argue that. Between Asmo's bloodlust and Satan's rage, if they didn't find the harpy by the end of the day, I'd be shocked. I was not surprised when Levi offered to stay home and make sure that Chris wasn't alone.

And I was also not surprised when I found Mammon curled up in Chris's bed. It was clear that he'd been crying through the night.

I cleared my throat, letting him compose himself. It was clear I didn't need to lecture him. Even I could feel the guilt roll off of him in waves.

"Chris is staying home today to recover. You will tend to whatever they need and you will not leave their side, is that understood?" I could punish him in a thousand different ways for his stupidity last night. He knew not to leave the human alone under any circumstances.

But I would deal with that later. Especially since I suspected that this was my own fault, not his. Not that I was going to tell him that. The harpy never should have been able to sense Chris when we'd travelled through the layers to London. Even with their past, with their magic. My own magic should have prevented that. But I had been careless. I told him to gather some clothes for Chris to change into while I made them some tea.

It was time for me to see if they blamed me for what happened to them. If they resented me for allowing them to get hurt. For nearly taking advantage of that.

The idea of the human being afraid of me was perhaps the worst of the ideas that crept into my mind.