Alice was exasperated; she was passionately in love with an angel of all things. The thought made her feel nauseous until she thought about how simple it was to get lost in Jasper's golden eyes, the sweet taste of his mouth on hers, or how at ease she felt when he held her. Who could have possibly known her direct opposite, a being she was forbidden to love, would be the one to bring comfort to her ancient soul. Alice shook her head, clearing the overwhelming thoughts; those were for later. Right now, she had a bigger problem, Isabella Swan.
Alice was a swayer for the underworld. When a neutral soul passed away, it was her job to persuade them to spend their eternity in the underworld. Swayers worked in pairs, a demon with an angel attempting to convince the soul to move to the underworld or heaven, respectively. For decades, her partner had been an angel named Rosalie; they made an exceptional pair, having built up an almost tentative friendship. However, Rosalie had recently been promoted and consequently replaced.
Jasper was fresh out of training. He'd shadowed on a few assignments before Rosalie moved on. Still, their first official assignment as a team was Isabella. Jasper's lack of experience dealing directly with mortals, as well as his insistence on doing everything by the book, had initially driven Alice crazy. They had immediately butted heads disagreeing on the best way to inform mortals that they were now, in fact, deceased.
"Bella, it's nice to meet you; my name is Jasper. This is my partner Alice." He gestured to the small demon who sat legs crossed on a table, filing her nails.
"Yeah, um... where am I?"
"You had an accident, Bella. I'm so sorry."
"An accident, so this is like a hospital."
"No, you fell through a window." He placed a sympathetic hand on Isabella's shoulder.
"Then where am I? What the fuck! If I fell out a dang window, shouldn't I go to the hospital? Who are you, people? What is wrong with you!"
"Ya dead babe, welcome to purgatory," Alice had interjected in a disinterested tone, not even glancing up from her nails to look at the human.
Later that night, they went to a bar in the neutral zone of purgatory for a drink. Jasper chastized her almost immediately after they'd sat down with their drinks, a whiskey on the rocks for Alice, and a glass of champagne for Jasper. He cited the training manual all swayers received, rambling on about how it clearly stated mortals were to be informed about their deaths gently to prevent shock.
"Fuck the manual," She had laughed. "I've been doing this job for 800 years; you've been at this what? Like two months, you haven't even had your training wheels off for a full day. I think I might have a better idea of how things should be done than you.
Most jobs lasted a week or two max; Isabella, however, was proving to be difficult. They'd been working on her for two months, both putting forth their best efforts yet neither gaining any ground.
"See this, Bella," Alice materialized a milkshake. "Get a taste of that."
"It's good; what is it?"
"Mint Oreo, M&M's Cheesecake. Can't get that in heaven, gluttony is a sin."
It was the third week when Jasper and Alice had crossed the forbidden line. While they had started their partnership at each other's throats at nearly every turn, it didn't take long for them both to become comfortable in the other's presence. Their arguing quickly became snarky flirting, evolving into racing hearts, stolen glances, and feeling that they both tried to bury deep inside, neither succeeding.
Alice had been going over some paperwork in their shared office after another unsuccessful day of attempting to sway Bella. "You look tense." Jasper had said, leaning over her shoulder to get a look at the report she'd been working on.
"Of course, I'm tense; this girl needs to pick a side so I can move onto a new assignment... to a new partner."
"You're going to request a different partner... I thought we were really getting along?"
"We might be getting along a bit too well." She smiled up at him, "I'm likely to cross a point of no return if I don't get away from you soon."
"What if what?" She asked, suddenly very aware of how close his face was to her own.
"It goes against all logic, but gods help me, I want to cross that line, Alice."
"Oh... well, in that case." She grinned nervously, moving in as close to him as possible, bumping his nose with her own, their lips mere centimeters apart. "This is your opportunity to cross it."
This was a cumbersome issue that neither of them knew what to do about. On the one hand, Jasper and Alice both knew they were in love and wanted nothing more in the entire afterlife than to be together. On the other, relationships between angels and demons were expressly forbidden. It was one of the very few cardinal rules strictly enforced by both sides. They usually skirted around the topic enjoying secret dinners, Netflix nights, and sleepovers at Alice's apartment in the underworld. Alice had dared broach the subject on one occasion.
Laying in bed, Alice was playing gently with Jasper's golden curls; she'd felt insecure for a few days. At this point, she was head over heels in love with the angel and had begun to worry he didn't reciprocate her feelings as intensely. After all, they were in an insane situation committing a crime that no one had dared touch in all the history of the universe. "Jazz?"
"Hmm," He hummed, content from next to her, eyes closed as he relaxed with a serene smile on his face, enjoying the feeling of her pressed against his side."
"I don't want to push you away, but... this can't end well. I would understand if you don't want to do this anymore." She held in a breath waiting for him to respond, terrified that he would take her up on the offer to flee. She was terrified of the consequences should they, inevitably, be found out. The offer was her last hail mary before falling too deep to escape.
"Alice," Jasper chuckled, pulling her closer to him and planting a kiss on her head. "I think we're both fully aware of the dangers here. There is nothing anyone could do that would get me to leave your side."
"Aren't you afraid?"
"Of course, I'm afraid. But you're worth it."
This left the duo in the present, with two problems: a secret forbidden relationship and an extremely difficult mortal.
"Bella, you need to choose." Alice sighed in annoyance, pinching the bridge of her nose.
"Yeah, here's the thing. Heaven and hell both sound like great options, but you two are better than Netflix." She leaned back in the chair, placing her hands behind her head. "Gotta say, I kinda ship it."
"What is ship it?" Jasper asked with a tilt of the head.
"Bella thinks we should fuck."
"Well, I'm fairly certain you already have if blondie's blush is any indication."
"You can't stay in purgatory forever, Ms. Swan." Jasper ignored Bella's transparent attempt to distract them from the issue at hand.
"But, you're both such good salespeople." Bella spun around in her chair. "The bitchy pixie says I can enjoy whatever I want down in Hell."
"The underworld," Alice corrected.
"Yeah, sure, whatever. I can enjoy anything I want that isn't inherently pure, but I have to be tortured twice a day. So like, pretty similar to earth. Sounds great, but been there done that ya know."
"There are no puppies in the underworld; your file says you love puppies." Jasper prodded.
"Yeah, I was getting to that, McCherub. You tell me how heaven is super lit, as long as you're cool with living the rest of eternity without any of the sinny things. Does the fate of my literal eternity come down to puppies versus milkshakes?"
"Well, I did try to tell you that heaven is a bit too great. Think about it; the bad makes the good worthwhile. You'll get tired of having everything you want all the time forever. I know you watched 'The Good Place' Bella; I also read your file. They hit the nail on the head with what heaven is like. What's a little torture if it means actually enjoying those milkshakes. What good are all those puppies if you become so numb to joy you can't appreciate them? The puppies deserve better than that Bella; the puppies deserve enthusiastic adoration!"
"Yeah... but torture doesn't exactly sound fun, my dude."
Jasper and Alice exchanged a look of shared exasperation, "How about we pick this back up tomorrow." Alice suggested, redirecting her attention back to Bella. She snapped her fingers, not giving her a chance to protest transporting the annoying brunette back to her quarters. With a long tired sigh, she propped herself up on the table Bella had been sitting behind just moments before, rubbing tiredly at her eyes.
"Are we sure she's a neutral soul? Because I swear to gods, that girl is an ace candidate for the underworld."
"Alice," Jasper chuckled as he wrapped his arms around her waist, peppering loving kisses along the side of her face. "We've been over this; she falls absolutely within the karma range for a neutral soul."
"Maybe we should bring in a third party? I wonder if Rosalie would be willing to come down for like a day... she was always so good at this."
"Wouldn't that tip the scales in my favor?"
"I honestly don't care at this point; I just want her to move on to an afterlife, any afterlife."
Jasper was about to respond that they should go back to her apartment for a 'movie' when the door opened and in stepped James, Alice's boss. This was very unfortunate as Alice was still sat on the desk, Jasper standing between her legs. His arms were still embracing her, and he'd chosen that moment to press a kiss to her jawline.
"Oh... Oh my, gods." James gawked at the pair in such a compromising position, jaw agape. The couple stared back at him, eyes wide frozen in terror. James eventually shook his head, bolting from the room, leaving the door wide open. Curious onlookers peeked inside, wanting to see what had shocked the notorious demon. James had run for the guard, a group of only the most skilled angels and demons. Their job was to enforce the laws of the afterlife.
"Fuck." Alice gasped softly. The condemned couple stayed in that position, holding each other tightly, savoring what they both knew would be their last moments together. Undeterred by the gathering crowd at the door, they were doomed now regardless of who saw.
"I love you, Alice." He had whispered into her ear, a private sentiment meant only for her. The clock was ticking as everyone in the office heard the sound of hurried footsteps making their way down the hallway. The guard was on their way.
"I know." Alice choked out, clutching onto him with all of her strength, wanting to be as close as inhumanly possible in their final moments. She sobbed openly into his chest as he rubbed little circles on her back with his thumb, his face buried in her hair. "Aren't you supposed to tell me it'll be okay? Isn't that what angels do?"
The guard was only a few doors down now. "I care too much to lie to you." Those were the last words he would ever say to her. The guard had finally arrived.
Alice and Jasper were pulled apart and carried away by the masked enforcers of the law. They were dropped unceremoniously in the great hall. The highest-ranking angels and demons lined the left and right sides of the room, respectively. At the head of the hall, on two thrones, sat the kings of the afterlife. Carlisle, who ruled over heaven, sat kinglike in his elaborate chair. Aro, whose domain was the depths of the underworld, leaned casually against his own.
"My dear Alice," Aro stood, striding over to stand in front of her, making tsk sounds as he walked. "One of my best agents. A pity, honestly, to lose someone so very talented over a silly tryst with an angel. Wouldn't you agree?" Aro looked over to the demons gathered in witness, all of whom nodded in agreement. He placed one hand on her shoulder and bent his head down to look her in the eyes. "I'd like to give you a choice, and please do think it over very carefully. Cut him down where he stands, or endure the very... creative punishment I've devised just for you."
"I refuse." Alice held her ground unblinking with staggering confidence that sent a chill down Jasper's spine. If they weren't both about to face the infamous punishments of the gods, he might have found the display to be an extreme turn on. "If he goes down, I do too. I will not betray the one I love."
"Then, so be it." Aro flicked his hand at her; she was immediately engulfed in flame moments later, only ash remained where she had stood just moments before.
"Au revoir, Carlisle." Aro nodded in the direction of the other god. "Until next time." With a snap of his fingers, he, with his entourage, disappeared in a plume of smoke, leaving Jasper alone with Carlisle and the angels.
"Jasper, my child." Carlisle remained seated, hands knitted together as he looked down at the disgraced angel before him. "Have you anything to say for yourself?"
"I love her." The simple response held an enormity of weight that echoed Alice's statement. Carlisle needn't offer him an opportunity for redemption; he would choose to go down with the demon who'd captivated his heart every time.
"You'll have to be punished."
"I don't regret a thing. I never will, no matter what my punishment may be."
Carlisle shook his head slowly, offering nothing in response; with a flick of the god's hand, Jasper's wings began to burn away, the ground beneath him opened up, and he began to fall.