As anxious as it makes me to have Lily under someone else’s roof for the night, I’m glad she stayed behind. I’ll have to get used to the feeling again anyway, once my brothers and I return to the Devildom. Lily is in no shape to deal with these morons anyway. As expected, a huge fight starts as soon as we’re inside the Manor.
Accusations are flying from every direction and Levitation flip flops between indignantly defending himself, to extreme self loathing. It’s all very pathetic. “Would you like to know what transpired or shall I just skip to stringing you all up by your feet?” I ask them calmly.
As much as I hate to relive the harrowing moments I witnessed in that other reality, my brothers need to know. They’re all uncharacteristically subdued by the time I finish explaining everything. I can tell they have a better understanding of the depths of James and Leila’s grief and fears. Belphegor especially looks defeated.
“I’m going to bed.” He announces, standing to exit the living room.
“Belphie I’m-” Leviathan has sobered up and looks especially repentant.
“I don’t want to hear it!” Belphegor snaps at him before stomping off.
I sigh, rubbing my temples as I watch the others avoid eye contact with Leviathan. I can tell this will remain a source of trouble until Leila can find it within her to accept Belphegor again, if she ever does.
We ended up putting on one of the Harrison Porter films while the four of us demolished the whole gallon of ice cream. With lots of small, silly, pointless talk and banter.
Eventually Leila passed out exhausted and Mammon carried her up to her room while James showed me to the guest room. It’s a nice room, the bed is comfortable, but as soon as I’m left alone with nothing but my own thoughts...Solomon wasn’t at the party tonight, and while there’s nothing to hint of him in this room, I can feel him here, like an energy imprint that my whole being recognizes. And Mammon...I love this Mammon and I’m glad he’s here, I’m thankful he’s safe but it doesn’t take away the sting and the grief of losing my own. He might be the same demon in all the ways that count, but we don’t share a history. And poor Belphie...poor Leila...will we ever truly be whole again?
A knock on my door has me sitting up, wiping away my tears. “Come in.” I call out, expecting it to be James, maybe he forgot to tell me something? It’s not James in the doorway though, it’s Mammon looking like he probably overheard me in here crying. I try to tell him I’m okay, that he doesn’t need to worry about me. Instead I devolve into a sobbing mess. I hold my hand over my mouth and try to cry silently.
“Hey..” The bed dips as his weight falls next to me on the bed. His rough thumbs are wiping away my tears. “I got ya.” He says softly, pulling me against him. I cling to him as my tears soak his shirt.
“Why did he do it?” I ask tearfully, “He shouldn’t have done that.” All my feelings are twisted up in guilt and anger as I look up at Mammon, his brows are pinched, not understanding me but wanting to listen. “It’s my fault they’re both gone.”
“Ya can’t do that to yourself, Lily.” Mammon tells me and I’m surprised by the strength in his voice. “Nothin’ good will come of it. They wouldn’t want ya blamin’ yourself.”
I swallow my arguments as I blink, staring into his crystal blue eyes full of gold flecks. I can see my pain reflected in his own misty eyes. A flash of guilt, here I am desperate for his comfort and yet what about his pain? He left his brothers behind to protect the others.
“It ain’t fair, I know.” He tells me, his voice low and full of emotion as I hold him again. “I might not be him..but I’m still countin’ myself as your first demon.” I can’t help chuckling through my tears as I hear that. And just like that, even though it’s not MY Mammon, I know I can trust him, that he’ll be here for me as much as he’s here for James and Leila.
When I accept that truth in my heart, I feel our tenuous connection surge as our ghost pact snaps into place. With our souls connected to each other, I feel closer to him than ever and while my own Mammon could never be replaced in my heart, I feel a piece of my soul knit back together. I have room in my heart for this Mammon too.
Mammon shifts me onto his lap as we cling to each other, as if we both can’t get close enough to each other in this moment of soul bonding. When I lift my eyes to look at him, his own eyes are searching mine almost frantically. I realize I’m probably overwhelming him with my emotions right now but I can’t seem to put my walls up. “Please Lily, don’t cry anymore.” He’s pleading with me as his large, warm hands cup my face. I feel his lips kiss away my tears fruitlessly as his own tears fall to wet my face as well.
I’m wrapping my arms around his neck to pull him close again when our lips accidentally brush. We freeze, his blue eyes searching mine. I’m not sure who moves again first, but his lips moving gently with my own infuse me with warmth. Gentle, tentative touches soon turn into a needy frenzy. My own hands touching, tracing and mapping a body I know so well yet never so intimately. A wanton moan escapes my lips when I feel just how affected he is by this. Clothes become discarded quickly and I find myself pressed into the mattress with his hard body pressed against mine. A low rumbled growl escapes him as he nips at my neck.
“Lily…” My name sounds rough and strangled on his lips as he stares into my eyes once more, his pupils blown with lust, golden rims glow in the dim room. He presses his forehead against my own. “I...I don’t wanna hurt you.” He gulps. My heart only grows for him as he restrains himself, worried about taking advantage of me in my grief. Maybe it’s madness, maybe it’s folly. But right now, I’ve never wanted anything more than to feel as close to him as I possibly can.
“Please..don’t go...unless you want to.” I manage to breathe out. I don’t know if I could stand it if he stood up and left now but I’d never pressure him to do anything he didn’t truly want.
“Are ya sure?” He breathes out on my neck, already peppering the skin with kisses. I nod, my hips pressing into his own.
“I need you.” I practically whimper, shamelessly. It’s all the encouragement he needs. His talented fingers make quick work of me, I’m still falling apart when I feel him join our bodies in the most sacred and complete way. We spent the rest of the night greedily losing ourselves in each other.
In the morning I wake up in a tangle of limbs and last night's events come rushing back to me. I immediately wall off the guilt that tries to stab at me. I don’t want to ruin this moment. Strange as it is, I feel more whole, like somehow, everything really will be okay eventually. I try to sit up but Mammon pulls me back. That’s when I realize we're both still very nude and I’m suddenly feeling shy, as if we didn’t just do the devil’s dance all night. My mind is screaming at me from all directions, part of me wondering what in the world did I do while another part thinks we should go for another round. Another part is anxious about how Mammon is going to react when he’s fully erect, er... I mean, awake! Ahh! Mammon’s hands begin wandering and I’m spurred to action as I escape the bed. I see his shirt on the floor and immediately pull it over my head.
“Where ya goin’?” Mammon mumbles, still mostly asleep.
“I gotta pee!” I whisper loudly back, rushing to the door. I peek into the hallway to make sure the coast is clear before rushing to the bathroom. It wasn’t an excuse, I feel like my bladder may explode!
I’m overthinking everything, half wondering if I will return to the room to find Mammon gone. If it were my Mammon, I’d be expecting some jerk tsundere move at this juncture. Well...maybe not? I try to push those thoughts from my head.
“Mornin’” Mammon greets me with a shy smile when I enter the room. His cheeks are cutely flushed and he’s rubbing his neck in that way that he does when he’s not sure what to say.
I climb back into bed, relieved that he’s put his boxers back on. “Good morning.” I smile and give him a friendly kiss on the lips, surprising him. Okay...good. He’s not running. I need to bolster myself to get through this awkward morning after, this is a first for me! I’ve never had sex with someone I wasn’t in a relationship with!
“Uh..so…” Mammon clears his throat. “Ya don’t regret it, do ya?”
I shake my head, my mouth pressed into a firm line. “No! Not at all!” I try to reassure him and I’m relieved that he looks relieved. “It was actually really amazing.” I tell him, feeling shy again. “I’m so happy our pact is active, last night was special... and I think I really needed it.” I confess.
“Yeah..I think I might have needed it too.” He smiles back but I can tell there’s still something bothering him. “Do ya...um...think ya might want to do it again?” He blushes.
I gulp, blushing like mad as well. “I don’t know…” I tell him honestly. “I’ve never done casual sex before and I wouldn’t want that to complicate our relationship.”
Mammon laughs and suddenly he seems more like himself again. “I think I feel the same way…” I watch as he struggles for the right words. “Even though we ain’t in love like that, ya know not like Leila was with…” He clears his throat again. “I just want ya to know. It wasn’t meaningless, I’ll treasure it.” He tells me seriously and I feel my emotions welling up again. “But ya know I’m greedy so…” His tone suddenly changes to teasing. “I wouldn’t mind another tumble in the sheets.” He wiggles his eyebrows at me.
I laugh and give him a friendly shove. He catches me up in a hug. “Thank you, Mammon. You’ll always be my best demon.”
“Damn straight!” He laughs. “Ya know what’s up.”
We’re both getting dressed now, picking up my pants and turning them right side out, something falls out of a pocket. “Oh! I can’t believe I forgot to give this to you.” I pick up the tiny wrapped box and hand it to Mammon. “It’s your birthday present from me.” I explain.
Mammon laughs. “I can’t believe THE Great Mammon, forgot about gifts on his own birthday.”
“Well things did take a turn there at the end.” I watch as he opens the small box and takes out the small white enamel crow charm with a black diamond eye. “I bought that for him the first year I came to the Devildom.” I explain, feeling emotional again. “I’d like you to have it.” I hold up my lizard keychain with my matching charm attached. Mammon just pulls me into a great big hug again and he doesn’t need to say anything for me to know that he likes it. I start feeling like I might cry again so I tell him. “Oh and Lucifer and the others' gift to you is that they’ve cleared out all of Mammon’s debt so you have a clean slate here.”
“Wha?!” He pulls back to look at me to see if I’m pulling his leg. “Wow...a clean slate with my Goldie…” He grins happily. “Oh wait, I don’t have my Goldie anymore…” He actually looks devastated now and I giggle.
“I think that will be sorted for you too, Mammon.”
Surprisingly I’m the first one up in the morning. Leila was emotionally exhausted and from the sounds of it, I don’t think Lily or Mammon did much sleeping. I can’t help grinning like a Cheshire cat when those two walk into the kitchen together. They’re both acting skittish like two school kids who got caught sneaking out.
“I’m making a scramble...and there’s bacon.” I point to a plate. “I’m sure you two worked up an appetite.” I’m terrible, I know, but I just can’t help teasing them.
“T-Thanks James.” Lily says politely, looking red as a tomato.
Chimera is hopping around from Mammon’s head to Lily’s shoulder to mine. Loudly chattering in my ear about something only Leila would probably understand. She immediately flies over to Leila when she comes down for breakfast with Pandora on her arm and followed by Shado.
Leila listens patiently to the excited, and maybe indignant chattering of her fairy dragon and then looks from Lily to Mammon and back. A small smile on her lips, that makes me extremely happy. “So, you two restored your pact?” She just asks with a sweet smile and a mischievous glimmer in her eyes. “I’m glad to see you both feeling a little better.” Oh yeah, Chimera definitely just told her all about Lily and Mammon making noises all night long. Heh.
They both blush again and Mammon wraps his arm around Leila’s shoulders, looking relieved that Leila can still laugh, despite everything. “I now finally have the completed set.” He boasts with a shy crooked grin. “Let’s eat, I’m feelin’ hungry.”
“I bet you are.” Leila smiles at him. “Lily, would you like to feed Pandora this morning?”
Lily eagerly nods, looking relieved that we’re all acting so normal about it. I don’t blame her. I’m sure reactions would have been different if this happened in the other Manor. Heh.
We’ve mostly finished breakfast when there’s a knock on the door. I don’t even make it out of my seat when I can hear the brothers barging in through the front door. I glance at Leila and I can already tell she’s thinking about revoking all the permissions to enter the house that we granted for Mammon’s birthday.
Beelzebub is the first to enter, holding a big crock pot of something. “We brought an apology breakfast.” He tells us, setting it down on the table. The others file in with more platters and dishes full of food. We receive all sorts of excuses why they’re here, unannounced, from just picking up Lily to making up for wrecking Mammon’s party.
Leviathan is a wreck, bowing low in front of Leila and spouting off one apology after another. I’m sure he thinks she hates him but he really needs to back off, they all do before she blows up.
“Right…” Leila whispers, barely audible in the chaos. I can see she wants to escape all this. Patting Leviathan shortly on his head, she says. “I’m just… Going to go have a morning walk with Pandora…” She moves for the door, avoiding to look at anyone and I notice they all get a hurt expression on their faces. They try so hard to help, but all they really do is make it harder for her.
Lucifer stops her at the door opening, a hand on her shoulder. “Leila…” He sounds stern. He probably thinks things can be solved if we just force ourselves through it. But that’s not how it works for most humans. We want to get through this, but we need time for healing. Leila does stop for him and stares back at him. It’s one of the silent stand-offs I know so well from our own reality. Her new Lucifer must be getting used to those by now, because he sighs. “Don’t wander off too far…”
She smiles faintly back at him and squeezes his hand still on her shoulder. I think they understand each other. “We’ll talk later, Lucifer.” She promises and then quickly disappears from the room. Soon after we see her walking briskly out the door, Pandora in her stroller and both Shado and Chimera following her.
“Ugh. What’s the point?” Belphegor grumbles, collapsing into a chair and pretending to fall asleep with his head resting on his arms. I do feel sorry for him, but they just need to be patient. I notice Satan is silent but clearly thinking about something.
“Lily flower, I brought you a change of clothes.” Asmodeus changes the subject, embracing Lily with a bag on one arm. “You must feel dreadful having to wear the same thing…” Suddenly he stops mid-speech and pulls Lily in for another hug, breathing in her scent deeply like some sort of weirdo. “Lily!” He gasps and I really can’t tell if he’s horrified, jealous or proud? Maybe a bit of all of those. “You wicked little thing, you slept with Mammon?!”
“WHAAAA?!” Leviathan practical shrieks, momentarily snapping out of his state of self-pity and loathing.
“You’ve gotta be kidding me…” Even Belphegor raises his head to look at Lily and Mammon. Satan doesn’t say anything but he looks like he might explode.
“Asmodeus, this is no time for your lewd jokes.” Lucifer is growling a reprimand, and I’m doing my best not to laugh. Then he notices it too: Lily is red again and Mammon is trying to sneak out of the room. “Liiily!! MAMMOOON!!”
“Yikes!” Mammon tries to escape the room, grabbing Lily’s hand. “Uh… Let’s go for a walk with Leila too, Lily!”
“O-Okay!” Lily agrees, looking extremely flustered as all her demons stare at her as if she’s just grown an extra head. “A walk sounds good.”
“Stop right there!” Lucifer thunders, blocking their path. “Explain to me THIS instant!”
“Calm down, Lucifer.” I try, but he glares at me like it’s all my fault. Yikes, wish Leila was here with her forcefield. But I have to be brave. This is our reality now and these are our demons. Our family. “They’re both adults…” I feel strengthened when both Satan and Belphegor move to protect me.
“Exactly!” Lily nods, I can see she’s feeling braver with my support now too.
“It ain’t as perverted as Asmo makes it sound!” Mammon blurts and I have to clamp down a laugh. He’s really not helping us here. Even Asmo is scoffing in amusement.
“Oh please...like we don’t know-”
“Did it make you feel better?” Beelzebub asks, cutting off Asmo and looking completely undisturbed by the news as he’s the only one munching from the lavish breakfast they brought. I feel my heart melt a little for him again. He’s more like Leila than she thinks, always caring about people’s happiness first.
I see Lily squeeze Mammon’s hand as she smiles at Beel and nods her head, looking shy again. “Please don’t be mad.” She turns wide pleading eyes on Lucifer and the rest of them, at least the ones who can meet her eyes. I can’t help smirking as I see Lucifer’s internal struggle, his features are already softening.
“I suppose I won’t punish you...if you’re feeling better.” Lucifer sighs.
“It better have been a one time thing.” Satan says with a glare to both of them.
“Oh lord!” Asmodeus gasps as if just having a thought. “You two aren’t a couple now are you?!”
“No!” Lily and Mammon both refute at the same time, they look at each other and laugh. “It’s not like that.” Lily insists.
“Oh good.” Asmo sounds relieved. “Hey! Does this mean I finally have a chance?”
“No!” Mammon growls back, “This was uh...a special circumstance. And the rest of ya better keep your dirty mitts off my humans.”
“Despicable.” Satan is unamused and the rest of the brothers groan. Leviathan is still staring at Lily as if she’s grown a second head.
Eventually Lily’s demons did get somewhat used to the idea of their Lily and the new Mammon doing the bedroom rodeo. Not that they wouldn’t watch these two like a hawk from now on. And Mammon is basically back to being a scumbag as far as they are concerned right now. But that’s nothing new, really. Still I find it all a bit hypocritical of them: I know Satan and Belphegor would love to have this sort of intimacy with Leila. And Asmo himself… Well, we know how he is. They really have no right to judge Mammon and Lily seeking comfort with each other.
Later, Lucifer sends his brothers home ahead of him, together with Lily. For once he’s probably glad that Mammon stays behind, so that he doesn’t have to deal with this headache at home too. He’s patiently waiting for Leila, wanting to have that talk with her. Leila returned from her walk a little while after they all went home, looking a little better. She’s been doing some self therapy by picking flowers and herbs in the area to put in one of her vases. I’m happy to see some color back in her cheeks and a smile on her face as she tries to pry the handful of grass out of Pandora’s chubby clutches.
We had a nice talk together. Lucifer was telling us about how he sees the future, how the renovations of the Manor are coming along, but that we don’t have to feel obligated to join them there right away.
“I don’t like the idea that Lily stays there all alone.” Leila simply says, implying she’s willing to move back once RAD starts again. But she makes sure she’s not promising Lucifer anything. Still he takes it as a small victory on his part.
“I would like to suggest that all of us visit each other more often.” Lucifer tells us, making it sound like it isn’t a suggestion. “I don’t like this situation right now, where my family is split up. It’s already an annoyance that you all stay in the Human World when my brothers and I have to return to the Devildom.”
“I understand. And… That’s fine.” Leila sighs to my surprise in resignation. “But please, can you not come all at once?”