Solomon has just dropped James and I back off outside of Serenity Manor, asking us to give Leila his best since he has urgent Society matters to get back to. Some members are unhappy about him using his demons to police them and help with the ongoing investigations but with so few qualified Sorcerers that we know we can trust and rely on, it’s not like he has a choice. They can all stuff it for all I care, anyway.
“Lily, wait up!” I hear James call to me as I rush inside the Manor. I want to curl up in my covers and sleep until someone drags me out of bed. I thought today with Solomon would be torture, and it was, but not so much in the way I had thought it would be.
Solomon had wanted to see where I was at in my skill of performing various spells and give James and I some extra training today. Suffice to say the whole day went horribly. My casting was inconsistent and the results unpredictable. It felt like my second time in the Devildom all over again. Solomon promised he’d help me figure it out, but his plate is already so full, at this rate I won’t even be able to help bring the conspirators and murderers to justice!
“I’m alright James.” I try to assure him as I open the door. I don’t want to be comforted right now, I just want to be left alone.
I’m rushing towards my room when I stop short. In our small east wing living room, Belphie is on the floor playing with Pandora and Chimera, and I see Satan is handing another book to...Leila, whom I almost didn’t see sitting behind an already enormous pile. Several pieces of paper with scribbles are scattered around her.
“What’s going on?” James sounds amused from behind me. “Wasn’t Asmo supposed to be the first to visit us tonight?” No doubt these two have found some sort of scheme to cut in line and try to impress Leila at the same time.
I look down to see a tiny little piglet at my feet. It’s snuffling around my feet, its body is a muddy reddish color, with two tiny nubs of black horns on its head, two tiny malformed looking wings resting on its back. Is this a shadow hog?! I’ve never seen one so tiny! It’s even smaller than Shado.
“Aren’t you just precious!” I tell the piglet as I sit down and carefully scoop it into my arms. It’s not really soft but it’s warm and makes the cutest little snorting noises, as it inspects if my hair is edible. Then the most embarrassing thing happens. I start sobbing uncontrollably clutching the little piglet to my chest.
“Lily? What’s wrong?” I hear Leila ask. She looks over her pile of books with concerned eyes.
“I didn’t think she’d cry over it.” Satan says with worry in his voice.
“It’s probably hormones.” I barely hear Belphegor mumble, that jerk! What does he know, anyway? I’m not in my period.
“She had a bit of a rough day.” I hear James answer for me as he’s rubbing my shoulders in support. I take a deep breath to try to calm myself before I scare the poor piggy to death.
I let the piggy go when it starts squirming. “Yeah. Sorry.” I tell them, giving Satan a small smile when he offers me a handkerchief to dry my eyes.
I start to feel better when no one presses me to explain and instead Satan and Belphie take turns explaining their heroic rescue of the runty shadow hog. I’m swooning as I imagine them fighting off the awful Harpies tooth and nail, though I can tell by Leila’s expression that she’s not buying half of what they say. But she’s sold on the pig, as she explains what the stacks of books are for.
“I’m researching for a few practical spells we can implement to keep the manor and garden in one piece while allowing Sir Piggy to live here with us without being locked away in a pen.”
“Are we really going to keep it?” I ask hopefully. And what a cute name for the little thing!
“I mean...we can’t send him back, it’s a boy by the way. He’ll just be turned into lunch by Beel or something worse.” Leila makes a good point. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Lucifer ‘rescues’ poor little Sir Piggy from Beel, just to return it to the dangerous wilderness of the Devildom ‘where it belongs’.
“Lucifer isn’t going to like it.” James reminds us, but I can tell by the way he’s petting Sir Piggy now that he’s on board with keeping him.
“That’s why I’m doing my research.” Leila says. “He can’t complain if I have a perfectly sound and reasonable plan in place. If he does, that’s just too bad for him.”
Her stubbornness makes me laugh, I can see Belphie and Satan are loving it too. “Come here Sir Piggy.” I try to coax him back to me.
“We’re not really calling him Sir Piggy, are we?” Satan sighs.
“I like it!” Leila says, giving him a stubborn glare as she looks up from her book.
“Well, I like Baron von TruffleSnout.” Satan argues with a smile on his face. “It’s more sophisticated.” He laughs as Leila rolls her eyes at that and goes back to her spellbook and notes. I can tell he very much likes this back and forth with her. “And since I’m the one who rescued him…”
“We rescued him.” Belphegor interrupts, as he tickles Pandora’s belly. “And I vote for Major Truffles. What about you, Pandora?” Pandora makes cheering noises at him as if she completely agrees, making him grin.
“Maybe. But I healed his injuries.” Leila points out, watching him play with her daughter with a soft smile. I’m pretty certain that Satan and Belphie have thought this part of their visit through, as well.
“How about Lieutenant Bacon?” James says, playing devil's advocate and earning a look from his cousin.
“Or Mister Oink.” Lucien finally chimes in with a laugh.
“I like Sir Piggy, too.” I tell Leila in sisterly solidarity. She beams at me in her sunny way and I immediately feel much better from all the trials I went through today. “Let me help you with that research.” I say with determination, giving up on my plans to go wallow in my room.
Leila has great ideas for Sir Piggy and protecting the manor and gardens from his natural piggy instincts. It doesn’t take us long to have an ironclad plan to strong arm Lucifer into accepting our newest member of the household. It also cheered me up to see Pandora so happy and making the most excited noises as she engages with her ‘pseudo fathers’. Even if this is just some ploy on their part to earn Leila’s favor, I think it’s good for Pandora and I just know that little babe will have their hearts wrapped around her little fingers for real, in no time at all.
Shado and Chimera on the other hand seem less pleased by all the attention being lavished on Sir Piggy. Shado adjusted to Chimera eventually and I know they’ll learn to accept Sir Piggy in time too. Maybe for now they will take sides with Lucifer though, I giggle at the thought.
Leila’s DDD rings suddenly and Satan gets it for her from the coffee table. “Tristan?” We can all hear the anger in his voice as he reads the caller’s name. “Who’s that?” He growls almost threateningly.
“Someone I know.” Leila tells him, holding out her hand expectantly. But Satan doesn’t want to give her DDD to her, he just glares at her. “Come on, what’s your problem?” Leila complains as the ringing ends without giving her the chance to take the call. She snatches her DDD from his hand and huffs. “Seriously…”
Of course. We haven’t really gotten a chance to tell our demons all about our reintroduction into the Magical Society yet. How that went and who we met. We’ve all been chatting and texting with our new friends. Even if we can’t provide information about our work for the Sorcerers’ Society and Solomon, we still have plenty of other stuff to talk about.
I think Lily and I both vaguely anticipated that Satan and Belphie would get jealous when they found out that Leila has found herself an admirer. Even if she doesn’t even realize herself that she has. But I think we both underestimated how much.
Leila’s DDD rings again and this time she can take the call. With a glare Satan’s way - which he returns just as fiercely - she gets up to stand a bit away from us. “Hey Tristan.” She greets him with her sweet voice. “Sorry, I was just a second to late…”
“Yeah, we’ve been very busy the past few days.”
“No, I’m sorry. Tell Vivian that we don’t know how long it will take.” She apologizes. And continues with. “Well, I’m tired, but I try to get enough rest. Yes...”
Suddenly our new Lieutenant Bacon lets out a loud startled squeal as Shado whacks him on the snout for coming too close to him.
Leila bursts into giggles as she listens to what Tristan says to her, he’s probably wondering what the hell that sound was. Heh. “Of course that wasn’t me! That was our newest pet. Shado hit him on the nose.” She explains, giggling. “He’s a very cute little piglet. No, I’m not kidding!”
We can all clearly see how she enjoys talking to Tristan. Her conversation goes on for a few more minutes and I can see the looks of growing anger and contempt on Satan and Belphie’s faces: They don’t like this at all! Oh boy.
“Who the hell is Tristan?” Belphie growls, sounding furious. Pandora lets out a sad whining sound, not liking that scary sound he makes at all.
Lily and I look at each other and decide to tell as much as we dare, without making Satan and Belphie angrier. Leaving out most of what we think Tristan really feels for Leila. After all, so far she doesn’t return his feelings. Not as much as he probably hopes.
When Leila has finished her call, she sits back with us as if nothing happened. Well, nothing did happen, as far as she is concerned. But I worry that her other admirers think differently. They both glare at her DDD as if they can murder Tristan this way.
There’s no time to further debate our new friends from the Sorcerer’s Society when Leila’s D.D.D. is going off again, this time it’s Mammon with Asmodeus requesting entry at the portal. A whole new drama is about to break out when Asmo finds Satan and Belphie here. I tell them as much.
“Maybe you two ought to head back now.” I suggest.
“We can’t go yet.” Belphie argues. “Satan hasn’t spent enough time with Pandora yet.”
“That’s right.” Satan only takes a moment to agree, stepping over to take Pandora from Belphegor. “I’ve been too busy helping Leila.”
I shake my head. I’m sure they planned this all out ahead of time too. But regardless of their intentions, Pandora does seem really happy. Leila seems to be thinking the same thing, because I see her resolve weaken as she heads towards the portal to allow Mammon and Asmo in.
“Well maybe just a little longer…” She tells them as she walks out the room to get the others. Satan and Belphegor share a triumphant smile that they don’t even try to hide from myself or Lily.
A little later Leila returns with Mammon and Asmodeus and his two large suitcases. No surprises there really. Asmo never travels light. Not even if he’s just staying one night with us. Still it’s not the suitcases that draw our attention to him, but his very dramatic act.
“What are YOU two doing here?!” He exclaims indignantly. “Out, out, OUT!” He tries to push them both out of the room. “Leila, send them back! It’s MY turn to visit and-”
“I know Asmo.” Leila quickly answers, trying to soothe both a startled Pandora and a very offended demon at the same time. “Shh, Pandora. Uncle Asmo won’t hurt anyone…”
“Oh, I’m sorry Sweetpea.” Asmodeus comes down from his high horse, but only halfway. “Of course I won’t.” Still, he turns to his brothers with his face twisted in such a glare that you don’t often see him make, as afraid he is of getting wrinkles. “Still it doesn’t explain…” Just then he’s interrupted by our new piggy, inspecting his shoes with enthusiastic snuffling sounds. “AAAH! What in the WORLD?!” He screams and jumps on the low table, scattering books and notes, as if he sees a fully grown, raging Shadow Boar. In reaction, our poor baby pig starts squealing in fear and makes a run for it, knocking over another stack of books until Mammon catches him before he can run out the door.
“Okay, Asmo.” Lily sighs and shakes her head with a resigned smile as she takes his hand. Seeing that Leila is still busy soothing a scared Pandora - Satan and Belphie both made sure to be at her side to ‘assist’ her - she sets Asmodeus down in a chair. “Calm down, so we can explain.” She’s gentle but firm with her command to stifle his dramatics.
“Yeah. I kinda wanna know what’s goin’ on here too.” Mammon still holds the piglet under his arm as he’s finally able to walk into the room as well.
“Seriously, you're such a drama queen, Asmo. It’s only a baby Shadow Hog.” Satan scoffs as he takes Pandora back from Leila to play with her. “Come Pandora, let’s read one of those baby books of yours.”
“She likes ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ .” Mammon tells his brother with a mischievous grin as he releases the calmed down piglet to the floor. Lucien snickers with him.
“You do?” Satan picks up the book and settles with Pandora in a chair. “Alright… ‘In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf’ .” Pandora excitedly ‘helps’ Satan turn the page. “Whoa, calm down! I’m getting it… ‘One Sunday morning the warm sun came up and - POP! - out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar’ .”
Pandora made an excited popping noise with her mouth as Satan was reading that, making him chuckle. Just as Leila always showed her. We softly explain to Asmo and Mammon what happened, how we acquired another pet now and how happy it makes Pandora to have her ‘fathers’ around, while Satan is reading the story of how the Very Hungry Caterpillar eats its way through all kinds of food.
“... ’On Monday he ate through one apple, but he was still hungry’ …” Satan reads and Pandora does one bounce on his knee. “... ’On Tuesday he ate through two pears, but he was still hungry’ ...” Pandora bounces twice, happily cheering. Satan quickly figures out what's going on and helps her bounce with the three plums on Wednesday, the four strawberries on Thursday, the five oranges on Friday, etcetera. She’s so into it that he has to really keep her steady afterwards. “... ’Now the caterpillar was no longer small. He was a BIG, FAT caterpillar’ ...” Pandora snuggles against Satan with a tired satisfied sound, sucking on her little hand. “... ’He built a small house called a cocoon for himself and stayed inside for two weeks. Then he nibbled a small hole and pushed his way out and... What do you think he looked like, Pandora?” She looks at him intensely: maybe the story has changed? “A beautiful butterfly!” Satan tells her and Pandora cheers again. The story still ends the same!
“Okay, that was adorable.” Asmo has to admit. He knows, just as well as any of us, except maybe Leila, that the real reason his brothers hi-jacked his turn is because they want to be close to Leila. But since Pandora is benefiting the most of it, he can’t really stay mad at them.
“And it looked exhausting.” Belphegor comments, but with a slight smile. “She almost bounced off your lap there…”
“Told ya she liked that one.” Mammon grins.
Satan looks proud. “I’m surprised she can already count. Must be my genes.” He smirks Belphie's way who rolls his eyes.
“Hardly.” Leila helps him out of his daydream. “She only remembers one bounce and two bounces. Anything up from there she just does whatever she wants.”
“What do you say to us going out tonight, Asmo?” I suggest trying to please him. “Just you and I. Lily and Leila are tired from our Sorcerers’ Society work.”
“Oh, all right…” Asmodeus finally gives up. “But only I get to stay here overnight!”
“Of course.” Leila promises him, giving him a hug for not causing more drama in Pandora’s presence. “When you get home, it’s just us and Mammon.”
Leila doesn’t see the look Belphegor and Satan are sharing: We’ll see about that! Though I think they’re out of luck on that. Leila just lets them stay for Pandora’s sake, I’m sure of that.
Asmo and I go to his new Human World room in Serenity Manor with his suitcases. He complains a lot about how it doesn’t have all the comforts of home and his own room. And if he might snuggle into my bed tonight and more of that, but eventually we make it out of the Manor to go to a restaurant first and then some clubbing.
We’ve only been back home in the Devildom for one week. But it has felt like such a long week, and much less like home without our human family members. Between my brothers arguing who gets to go visit our humans first, our RAD responsibilities, the unrest in the Devildom that is still a hot topic in the news, council meetings... Diavolo even assumed he could visit Lily in the Human World on the seventh day of our visiting schedule…Of course I told him no, it’s a family schedule and I will not play a part in encouraging him as long as Mammon, Leila and James are still recovering. If Diavolo wants to visit, that's his own business and he can arrange it on his own time. I’m not sure if Diavolo understands or wants to understand, but luckily Barbatos backed me up on this. It’s not as if his duties allow him to leave so often anyway, it was a miracle Barbatos had let him have an extended stay in the Human World in the first place.
I’m already feeling exhausted.
I’ve decided that we will wait one week before we start visiting our humans. One week for us to settle in our normal routine and to establish some sort of order. It wasn’t easy to create the schedule. I wanted to keep it simple and go from eldest to youngest, but that idea was met with a lot of opposition. Someone suggested going in order of the pacts, but that didn’t work out either because we have three humans now, all different. Because which pact would count: the old one or the restored one? Eventually we just played a game of rock, paper, scissors that shook the Devildom on its foundations. Oh well, at least we have a schedule now.
Today would be the first day that one of us would join Mammon back to Serenity Manor after the council meeting. Of course some of my brothers immediately undermined my authority and not only did not show up for said council meeting, they also weren’t home at the House of Lamentation when we all came home.
“I thought Belphie was home, when I quickly went to get a snack before the council meeting.” Beelzebub explains as he starts preparing to make food from the hideous bloody mess he’s left in the kitchen. “I found these Shadow Hogs on the way and thought to bring them home for dinner.”
“Oh that’s what that is?” Asmodeus sniffs contemptuously. I honestly can’t blame him, nor am I looking forward to this meal. “Ugh, I’m glad I get to go to the Human World tonight.”
“Speakin’ of…” Mammon tells him. “Ya better hurry up, or I go without ya Asmo. I already texted Leila.”
“Oh! Wait for meee!” Asmodeus quickly leaves the kitchen and soon we hear them laughing and arguing in Lily’s old room. Until their voices suddenly go silent.
“So then, where are Belphie and Satan?” Leviathan asks, looking a bit worried to Beel working on plucking the dead Harpy on the kitchen table. “I...think I’m going to eat in my room tonight, Beel. You don’t have to cook for me.”
“Okay.” Beelzebub gives him a beaming smile, as he starts tearing the limbs from the Harpy with a sickening sound, skewers them and starts cooking them over the fire. Soon the smells and sounds of sizzling demon flesh fill the kitchen and Leviathan and I make ourselves scarce.
“Maybe they went out for dinner, after they saw what Beel brought home…” Levi mumbles. “I dunno, maybe I’m spoiled, but I can’t wait to have a Human World meal tomorrow when it’s my turn…” He walks up the stairs to lock himself up in his room for the rest of the night.
“Human World, hm…?” I say looking contemplative to where he disappeared. Could it be that…? Oh yes, they would definitely do that. Those two! When I get my hands on them, I’ll roast them next to that Harpy above the fire!
I let Beelzebub know I’ll be eating out tonight as well and then leave for one of the seals that lock the Devildom from the Human World. I won’t bother Leila with opening the portal for what I assume the third time tonight. Though I am a bit disappointed in her: Why would she let those two troublemakers stay? I thought she would be firmer than that.
It takes a little longer for me to arrive at Serenity Manor, since I have to make a detour via the Devildom city and I obviously don’t arrive right inside Serenity Manor. I can already hear the sounds of laughter and arguments coming from the house when I ring the doorbell.
It’s Lucien who opens the door, looking very surprised. “Oh, hey Lucifer!” The laughter in the dining room instantly stops. “What are you doing here?” He does sound genuinely surprised.
“I’m here to fetch my fractious brothers.” I tell him and he nods in understanding, letting me in.
When I enter the dining room, I see instead of Asmo and James, indeed Satan and Belphegor sitting at the dining room table. Big challenging grins on their faces. Pandora sits on Belphegor’s lap, making excited noises to Satan who does some kind of foodgame with her. Oh, that’s why. They have somehow convinced Leila that they’re here for Pandora… Of course she couldn’t say no to that.
“Welcome! Have a seat, Lucifer!” Leila beams at me in the sweetest way. “Do you want to join us for dinner?”
“If you don’t mind…” I find myself already in a milder mood when I sit next to Lily who gives me a similar sweet smile.
I do get the feeling that I’m being lured in a false state of equanimity and that they’re all up to something. Especially when Mammon and Lucien are wearing the same sort of grins as Satan and Belphegor. As if they’re all about to watch some sort of show…
“Well, that whole schedule is already out the window, isn’t it?” Lily starts with a laugh as Leila heaps my plate with delicious types of food. Much better compared to what was waiting for me at home. Even though I do like to eat Shadow Hog, the smell of roasted Harpy made me feel a bit below par. “The only ones who haven’t popped up here are Beel and Levi!” She laughs.
That reminds me: I can’t be distracted. “What are you two doing here?” I ask my brothers sternly. “And why haven’t James and Asmodeus joined us for dinner?”
The girls just continue to eat, while the rest of them still have conspiratorial smiles on their faces. “James and Asmo went out.” Mammon finally answers me after a mouthful of food.
Out? Out where? I want to know but they are skirting around the real issue here. That’s when I hear Leila’s cat make an ungodly yowling noise that is followed by a heinous squealing. My eyes widen as I see a tiny Shadow Hog come barreling into the dinning room, running under the table to seek refuge from the cat hissing and swatting at it from behind. The little fae creature flies in, alighting on Leila’s shoulder, chittering away.
“Shado!” Leila scolds her cat who cries pitifully at her but stops his pursuit. “Sir Piggy ate Shado’s bowl of food.” Leila says to the rest of us as if that explains this uncouth dinner side show.
“What is going on?!” I demand answers as I watch Lily reach down under the table, sitting back up to reveal the revolting little Shadow Hog in her arms. “What is THAT doing here in the Manor?!” I glare at my brothers who are all snickering. Now all the pieces fall into place! I would have roasted the runty swine, if it wasn’t in the arms of my beloved sister right now, and they all know it!
“Isn’t it adorable, Lucifer?” Lily has that pleading look on her face that I know oh too well. Oh no. I don’t think so! I steel myself against her charms. I look around the table to see the smug looks on my brothers’ faces and while Leila smiles at me charmingly, I can’t miss the challenging look in her eyes though.
“Satan and Belphie brought him to me this afternoon. Since they knew I was the only one who could heal his wounds.” Leila explains, while taking her cat on her lap to calm him down. It seems the animal is the only one on my side right now, as I hear him softly growling at the piglet.
“Leila, Lily…” I try to calm my anger as much as I can. “I can’t allow you two to turn the Manor into a petting zoo, as soon as I turned my back on you-”
“Oh but Lucifer...” Leila interrupts my lecture - I really hate it that she does it, but for some reason I also like this challenge she provides me - looking pleadingly. “You can’t let him return to the Devildom. You don’t have things like petting zoos there. Not really, right? And he can’t go to a Human World petting zoo, for obvious reasons. And you wouldn’t want my efforts of healing poor little Sir Piggy to go to waste just so Beel can eat him tomorrow…?”
Lily and Leila have similar expressions on their faces. Pleading, almost in tears by the idea that Beel will eat their piglet tomorrow. I’m not entirely sure if they’re acting. Probably partially. But they are weakening my resolve by doubling their forces this way.
“We have made plans so it can have a good life with us.” I guess it’s now Lily’s turn to try to convince me. Have they been planning it like this? My brothers are suspiciously quiet as they watch the show, as they no doubt see it. Lily and Leila take turns explaining the spells and solutions they have come up with to keep the Manor clean and intact.
“Shado just needs a little time to get used to him.” Leila then promises, petting her cat who is already purring in her lap. “He needs time to show Sir Piggy who is in charge and then he will accept him and there won’t be too many fights.” I notice her choice of words: She expects more chaos, but pretends there will hardly be any. “The only animals he really has problems with are dogs, honestly. But I doubt you want to bring Cerberus to the Human World.”
“Oh! And Leila thinks she can teach him to find truffles and roots and that kind of stuff for us.” Lily starts cooing to the animal. “Yes you can, can’t you? You’re so smart, aren’t you Sir Piggy?”
Okay, stop that, Lily… They’re already so attached to the beast. What am I going to do? I can’t allow them to get their way every single time they find a stray or wounded creature… It surprises me that they don’t just try to command me to accept the animal. I know Leila’s commands are powerful enough, but she doesn’t seem to want to use them for trivial matters like these. It means she really respects me and wants to be on equal terms with me. I sigh. I should respect her in return.
“Very well…” I hear myself say and I secretly feel very proud to see the faces of my two little sisters light up with joy. “I want to see the results of those plans you mentioned within one week, or I will personally bring the animal to Hell's Kitchen. Furthermore, I want to see proof that this creature will be a useful animal to keep. You are going to train it once a week in the Devildom during a walk with me, Leila.” That’ll teach her to use her charms on me and this way I can get to know her a little better. Besides, my two brothers won’t like me spending personal time with ‘their’ Leila at all. I give them a smirk and raise my glass at their glaring faces in a mocking salute as Leila nods and agrees to these stipulations without protest. “And lastly: We are not naming any creature under my roof ‘Sir Piggy’. I will give it a suitable name, like for example-”
Before I can finish speaking, there are already two squealing girls hanging around my neck. “EEEEE! Thank you Lucifer!” I’ve never seen Lily so excited. At least not since that dreadful day. This, and the fact my two trouble-making brothers are now scowling, that alone almost makes it feel worth the yield. Besides, I’ll think of a suitable punishment for those two later.
After dinner, it is time to put Pandora to bed. Belphegor offers to help. I agree on letting him, there’s something I need to talk with him about. I have Mammon join me too.
“Okay guys, tell me.” I start, when we’re in my room. “Why are you both acting suspicious around Lily? Especially you Mammon, you suddenly started treating her like she’s made out of glass. Tell me if my own suspicions are correct.” Belphegor smiles at me as if he’s proud of me, a strange reaction, while Mammon just begins sputtering nervously. “Is she pregnant?” I finally just ask them, straight out.
“She is.” Belphegor nods. He looks like he’s about to say something more, but Mammon interrupts.
“Huh!? How’d ya know that?!”
“Probably the same way you did, Moron.” Belphegor scowls, mumbling the insult. “I heard the baby’s heartbeat.”
“Okay.” Everything is starting to make sense now. I feel both nervous and excited for Lily. “She doesn’t know, does she?” If she does, Lily is a much better actress than I ever gave her credit for.
“She’s so dense, she probably won’t figure it out until her stomach starts swelling.” Belphegor rolls his eyes but there’s a lot of affection in his voice.
“I guess it’s still early in the pregnancy.” I defend her. “First trimester women often don’t notice much difference themselves and with everything else going on…”
“We shouldn’t tell her yet!” Mammon blurts. “What if somethin’ goes wrong? It would make her even more sad!”
Belphegor rolls his eyes again, but gives him a small approving nod, “I agree. Let her figure it out on her own, it’ll be better that way.”
I’m not sure if I agree. I mean, they’re not entirely wrong, but if it were me, I think I’d like to be told. But it is still early, maybe we should give her the chance to find out and tell us? “Well I’m going to talk to James about it at least.” I tell them. I can see Mammon looking panicked. “You know we don’t like to keep secrets from each other, Mammon. But I won’t tell anyone else, for now.” I assure him.
“Thanks Leila.” Mammon sighs in relief and hugs me, giving me a kiss on the head - which causes Belphegor to huff and roll his eyes for some reason - before heading back downstairs.
“Can I help you with something as you put Pandora to bed?” Belphegor asks then, as if the whole news of Lily’s pregnancy is something boring. Though I doubt he really thinks that. “I mean… It would be sort of practice for Lily’s baby too.” He blushes.
“Sure.” I smile at him. “She’ll like that. Here, let me show you how to clean her and put her pajamas on…”
I’m pleased to notice how Belphegor is paying close attention to what I’m doing. He really doesn’t have to do this, as he’s not her real father or her real uncle even. But I think he really cares about her. That makes me happy. And Pandora too. She’s going all out for him: babbling, cooing, bouncing in his arms when he picks her up, grabbing onto his collar and hair. It’s so cute to see them together like that again!
“You’re really a handful, aren’t you?” Belphegor mutters to her, but I can hear a little laugh in his voice. “Stop pulling my hair, I need to put you in the crib and I want to keep my hair on my head.”
“She always liked it when Belphie sang.” I mention to him with a bit of a laugh. He probably won’t, but it’s worth the try, right? He looks up to me as if he’s debating if he should glare or smile. “It’s probably because you have that sort of sleepy sounding voice…?”
“Ugh… Fine…” Belphegor sighs as if it’s the hardest thing he’s had to do in his life, but I already don’t believe this act of his anymore. I’m convinced he really loves my little nephilim so I beam at him. “You’ll owe me for it.” He then tells me, blushing for some reason.
“Sure.” I don’t see any harm in that. “What is it?”
He grins in triumph, but blushing even more. “I’ll let you know in due time, don’t worry.” He starts softly singing and Pandora is practically swooning. She really missed this. I’m so happy that Belphie wants to do this for her. I should think of doing something nice back. But later, when I’m feeling more at ease around him.
After Pandora is asleep we go back downstairs. “Well I suppose you two should go back.” I tell Satan and Belphegor. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but they were only here to bring Sir Piggy and to play with Pandora after all. Now that Sir Piggy is allowed to stay and Pandora is in bed, they have no reason to stay any longer.
“Quite right.” Lucifer agrees.
“Are you sure?” Satan asks. “We could always help you with Pandora in the morning.”
“Leila can manage just fine.” Lily assures them, gently pushing them towards the Portal room. I can imagine she’s worried what sort of punishment Lucifer will have in store for them.
“Well, what about you?” Belphegor doesn’t budge, glaring at Lucifer. “Aren’t you coming with us? It’s not your turn to be here either.” He points out.
“Because you two disrupted my schedule, I think I’ll enjoy my time here a little longer.” He smiles in both a smug and threatening way. “At least until Asmodeus returns, I’d like to have a word with him about his behavior as well.” No doubt he thinks missing dinner to go clubbing is a terrible offense.
“Come on.” Lily tells or rather gently commands them. She’s trying to save them but as usual they are intent on digging their own graves deeper. They reluctantly follow however as I lead the way to open the portal for them, leaving behind a very self-satisfied looking Lucifer.
Hours later Lucien has already gone to bed and Lily and I are getting tired ourselves. Lucifer keeps glancing at the clock and muttering darkly.
“I told ya.” Mammon laughs. “Ya shoulda gone home, they’re not gonna be back anytime soon.”
“You might as well stay the night now.” I tell Lucifer with a yawn.
“Asmodeus obviously is a bad influence on James. I should revoke his rights to visit for the next several months.” He growls in irritation.
“Psh.” Mammon laughs. “James is a valued member of Team Party! He’s a natural party animal!” He boasts. “He never had an issue keepin’ up with me and Asmo.” He chuckles as if recalling fond memories.
“I don’t think that speaks for his character.” Lucifer answers grumpily.
I’m honestly a bit surprised as to why Lucifer is so disgruntled about it. Our work at the Sorcerers’ Society always starts late in the morning and I believe Asmo also has late classes tomorrow.
“I would really like it if you don’t revoke Asmo’s rights to come here, Lucifer.” I sweetly but firmly object. “Having my pact with him restored cheers me up. It energizes me. I’m looking forward to breakfast tomorrow and our couple of hours of Asmo-time before he has to go back.”
“He… cheers you up…” Lucifer looks as if he can’t believe it. “With his dramatics?”
I shrug and grin. “My old Asmo was always really sweet too. And Lily and I will look so pretty tomorrow after he’s done our hair and make-up.”
I THINK I saw Lucifer suppress his eye roll. “Fine, I won’t revoke his rights. For now. But I will have a talk with him about this sort of behavior.” He starts muttering as if he’s already practicing his lecture. Poor Asmo...
“I think I’m going to bed.” Lily tells us as she scoops up Sir Piggy. “You can sleep with me tonight.” She coos at the pig earning herself some snorts. “That way you won’t upset Mr. Shado, who would definitely not like it if you slept in Leila’s room yet.” Nope, he definitely would not.
I glance at Lucifer, whose face twists in disgust. “Lily, you’re not sleeping with that animal.”
“Ya!” Mammon seems to agree with his older brother. “It could have diseases or somethin’.”
I roll my eyes at the same time Lily does. “I think that’s a good idea.” I tell Lily. “At least for tonight. We will buy some comfy bedding soon. Right?”
“Yup, exactly.” Lily agrees and ignoring Lucifer and Mammon, she makes her way to bed with Sir Piggy tucked against her bosom.
VERY late that night, Asmo and James finally show back up at Serenity Manor. Or is it just VERY early this morning? I must have fallen asleep against Lucifer’s shoulder as we were talking and waiting. I didn’t want him to wait alone as some sort of angry father of a teenager, so when he finally barked at Mammon to go to bed, I gave him some of our homemade spiced hard cider, which he of course just called Demonus. He was very pleased with it, at least.
We hear them come stumbling through the front door. Asmo drunk and giggling. He really can’t hold Human World liquor that well. James sounds just a bit tipsy.
“Hrm...Hrhmph.” Lucifer startles awake too and fixes himself up, clearing his throat and setting his face in a glare. He takes a deep breath when the door to our living space starts opening.
“No lectures now, Lucifer.” I tell him, placing my hand on his arm and he has no choice but just to exhale and glare churlishly as I cheer to Asmo and James when they stumble through the doorway. “Welcome home! Now go to bed!”
Asmo’s drunken eyes widen as he takes in Lucifer next to me and gives James a quick smooch before stumbling back to his own room. Otherwise I’m sure he would have passed out with James, he’s made it very clear that it’s not fair that their new guest rooms aren’t as nice as ours.
Breakfast wasn’t exactly full of warmth, the next ‘real’ morning after we all slept. Lucifer still held a lecture during the whole meal and I doubt that Asmo or James heard half of it. Lucky for us, Mammon and Lucifer did have early classes, so we still got some fun Asmo-time after that. After I had to heal some hangovers away.