It was said that demons couldn't cry. Beelzebub knew too well it was true.
On nights like this, ze'd go upstairs, to Earth, to walk under the dark sky, all pretenses forsaken in zir office along with the shoes and anything beyond a black shirt and trousers. Ze missed the open air so deeply; the cool grass under zir feet and the leaves rustling in the breeze. So ze walked, trying to breathe, trying to make that stupid corporation understand tears would never come to zir eyes. But, Satan in the deepest pit, the need to cry was overwhelming.
Because it was said that demons couldn't love. Beelzebub knew too well it wasn't true.
Zir heart couldn't make sense of the feeling: now so different, all sharp edges and blunt tips, broken glass and dull knives. It now hurt to think of it, and ze ached, longing for warmth and security, longing for what ze once had. What ze had Before. It was etched in Beelzebub's shattered heart what love was, how it felt, and that ze loved and was loved once.
“What is it, Malakbel? It is beautiful...”
“It's a new thing I'm doing with colors, for insects’ wings. Looks good, doesn't it?”
“I agree... Stunning.”
The Archangel smiled. It was beautiful indeed: a clear material in which green, blue and even purple would show as light hit it, in a phenomenon they'd later call iridescence. But truly stunning, as he had reverently intoned, was Malakbel and that smile; the excitement; the honey colored eyes and the wonderful match they made to the jet black hair, and the adorable freckles crossing that pretty face. How much he loved that angel! He looked at the colors once more, memorizing the effect, and leaned in for a kiss, which Malakbel reciprocated. In honest happiness, the angel didn't notice how the Archangel's hands miracled something until it was too late; he took a step back as a veil fell over zir head: thin fabric made of the iridescence Malakbel had just created, coloring the world outside the delicate cover. Ze laughed, a sweet sound that came from zir whole being.
“Gabriel! What are you doing?”
Leaning again, he pressed his lips to Malakbel's once more, through the sheer veil, and then lifted it off zir face, offering the angel one more kiss. This time, though, it was slow and tentative as it deepened. Gabriel and Malakbel embraced each other.
“I'm using this beautiful thing to grace the most beautiful angel in Heaven”, he whispered tenderly, violet eyes full of joy.
But it was over. Why did Beelzebub remember? It was clear, after the Rebellion and the Fall, that God was cruel. And ze discovered that the Almighty could overdo the cruelty, allowing the Prince of Hell to remember how things used to be, when so many Fallen forgot, living in pain, yes, but in blissful ignorance of their pasts. It didn't matter if they were loved Before; what they didn't know couldn't hurt them. But ze knew, ze felt it. Yet ze couldn't put it into words, for those specific ones wouldn't form and flow from zir lips. Those blessed three words.
I love you.
Don't forget me.
Please, remember me.
I love you.
Ze had faced Gabriel more than once after the Fall, and tried to say them, but as zir mouth fell open, there was only silence. It was frustrating; such frustration lead to immediate anger, making the demon lash out a string of offenses at the Archangel, not caring to notice how he drew back, not caring to ask if he could remember the closeness and intimacy they shared - Beelzebub wished ze'd forgotten, so why should it matter if Gabriel could remember or not? And slowly, as the frustration merged with the pain, it created monsters inside Beelzebub, more than the ones which already existed after zir wings turned as black as zir hair, and the beautiful, useful creatures ze helped develop started clinging to zir in a mockery of what ze'd done. Jealousy and envy joined the anger and sorrow, and the Prince of Hell started wearing zir flaws and monsters on zir sleeve, taking the mockery and using it as a flag, as a shield, giving birth to zirself as the Lord of the Flies.
And the Lord of the Flies didn't love, didn't care, but felt the need to give in to lust. It was easier than other options, and it did numb the pain that insisted in finding its way into zir damned existence. Ze tried humans, and lesser demons; in the end, it was Dagon that managed to stay in zir bed enough to make it warm.
It was enjoyable, to a degree. Surely there was no love from coming from the sharp-teeth kisses Dagon cut from zir lips, or from the angry red lines Beelzebub scratched at the underDuke's back, even drawing blood. There would never be love there, especially because the Prince still loved an Archangel, and Dagon had an infatuation of her own to deal with, one that was grown within centuries of working on... back channels. But there was a level of trust and complicity which allowed that sad excuse for a relationship to go on, and sometimes, limbs tangled lazily and bodies still relaxed, they'd face each other so close to the point of sharing a breath, and would whisper softly of their wishes, their affections for the Archangels they didn't dare to name even though it was obvious who they were.
Then, they'd laugh at the ridiculous, pretentious wank-wings. And at themselves. Dagon still made fun of how much the Prince talked about Gabriel after they briefly met at the Armageddon't and tried to sway the Antichrist together; and when Beelzebub noticed the glances the Master of Madness stole at Michael at the traitor's failed execution, ze made sure Dagon would never hear the end of it.
It was comfortable, but lacked substance; it was real, but it wasn't enough. They both knew it – at the faintest possibility, at the slightest whim of the ones they really wanted, this thing would be over – not going down in flames, not really – just like a thin trail of smoke scattered and undone in the wind. And none of them would really blame the other.
But would Gabriel ever remember that there was a Before, and that Beelzebub was in it, under a name that still felt more real than the one ze bore for millennia now?
The Lord fell to zir knees and screamed out all the pain, rage and frustration until zir voice gave out. In an unknown collateral, all flies dropped dead everywhere zir scream could be heard; ze felt a sting for doing it, but even then tears wouldn't come. No tears would ever come. Ze could have killed all humans in a small city, and it would still have no effect. The emotions would always be choking, trapped tight in zir throat, making zir eyes burn, to absolutely no release. Why couldn't ze cry? Was the Almighty so cruel, still so mad at zir, to make sure zir cries and pleas would never be heard? When would it stop? Why was it like this? Why?
Why couldn't ze say the words?
I am sorry.
Take me back.
Bring me home.
I love you.
Nothing was more painful than knowing there was no way back to Before. To a simple life, to the feeling of being whole, loved and happy. And it wasn't only because ze was a demon now. The Prince of Hell was well aware of all the changes that took place in Heaven after the Rebellion, making the place much more of a minimalistic decorated power hungry multinational company than... Heaven, itself. Not only there was no way back, that place didn't exist anymore. And ze wasn't sure if even that Gabriel ze loved existed anymore, hidden behind the obnoxiously wide grin and fake enthusiasm he sported along with tailored suits these days.
And if there was no going back, if the words wouldn't be spoken, if the tears wouldn't fall, and if zir world wouldn't change, there was nothing to be done. So Beelzebub doubled over zirself until zir forehead rest on the grass, allowing deep breaths soothe zir shaking body. It took a very long time, and when ze finally felt able to stand again, the night sky was already fading as the sun slowly made its way to come up in the horizon.
One of the dire truths about existence is: you play the game with the hand you're dealt with. If that meant no love, no tears, no warmth and no joy, well, it is as it is. On the other side, ze was a Prince of Hell, after all. Could be so much worse. It was time to lock zir emotions again, no matter how hard it was, and go back to work. That's what ze told himself to ease the pain, and though it worked, it would be temporary, it always was. When the time came, Beelzebub would go back to some place on Earth, enjoy the view, dwell in sadness, scream the air out of zir lungs and then go back. It was pretty much routine, after all this time. But it was zir life now, and at that very moment, there was work to be done. Hell wouldn't run itself alone.
Buzzing a dissonant tune, ze went.