In retrospect, Diavolo should have known there was trouble in the air. There had been myriads of signs, yet he had foolishly decided to remain blind in favour of avoiding an uncomfortable truth he was unwilling to face.
The moment those doors closed behind Diavolo’s back and the off-putting silence was filled with the unmistakable echo of a dull thud, Diavolo was forced to recognize that every single one of his actions, no matter how little or seemingly insignificant, had its consequences.
He caught himself thinking back, and the more thought he put into it, the more he grew aware of his own foolishness.
Diavolo was less than thrilled when Barbatos had revealed the plan for the evening he had come up with in collaboration with Simeon. A night out at one of the hottest clubs in town, just Diavolo, Barbatos, Simeon and Solomon. Good grief.
Surely, their intentions were pure at heart, after all Diavolo had spent the entire day holed up in his room, wallowing in his own royal pity.
He had just made one of the biggest mistakes of his life, so he should confidently be allowed to pity himself for a good minute or two.
He had to face reality and remind himself that he had slept with Lucifer. Out of all the irrational choices Diavolo had made in his entire life, this might have been by far the most self destructive one. Normally, people would be thrilled, no, even elated to become one with their most beloved. For Diavolo though, what was generally supposed to be a joyous occasion had turned one of his most detrimental relationships upside down. It did not matter how deeply Diavolo wanted him, he was terribly aware of how keen Lucifer was on keeping their relationship strictly professional.
The one thing Diavolo could allow himself was meaningful side-glances and hands brushing against each other ever so accidentally as they walked side by side. He knew he should feel fulfilled by all of that, yet desire was keeping hold of his heart; there were these bony fingers with nails the exact shade of fresh blood tightening around that beating little thing of his that caused nothing but unwarranted trouble.
In spite of everything, Diavolo’s feelings for Lucifer were one of the Devildom’s most badly kept secrets and often-whispered rumours. To be completely honest, he himself didn’t contribute all that much to stop the spreading of said rumour. Call it laziness or his disdain for telling lies, both assumptions were correct in their own little ways. Perhaps there was a part of him, however deeply hidden inside, that did not mind whatsoever. No, that fluttering part of his soul was filled with the undeniable need to make it known across all three realms just how adored and appreciated Lucifer was. How loved he was. Still, Lucifer was not his, he had never been and would never be.
Gentle feelings had been living in Diavolo’s heart ever since he’d first decided to put his trust in Lucifer. Along the way however, they had ever so seamlessly turned from feelings of pride into feelings of love.
Thinking back, he had never had much of a chance to begin with. It had been a race against time. Falling for Lucifer, that was.
And although Diavolo harboured these certain feelings for Lucifer, he knew better than to act upon them. Lucifer was as complex as the universe; stars cowered before the intensity of his light, the morning star, still shining bright and standing strong, smarter than life and more handsome than death itself.
However, and most importantly, Lucifer was not dumb. By now, he must have surely caught on to Diavolo’s thinly veiled adoration. Lucifer being his ever so obedient self probably simply refrained from acknowledging the fact and now refused Diavolo ever so politely and professionally, in his own subtle ways.
So Diavolo had learned to stick to their untold boundaries, had learned to tease and to compliment and to form one of the most important relationships of his life, always with invisible boundaries in mind.
This specific friday night however, with the cold winter air kissing his cheeks, he had been made aware of how thin the ice he was moving on was when he had let his own warm fingers slip in-between Lucifer’s icy ones. For a second, it had felt ever so divine.
Saturday morning, when he awoke in the early morning hours, entangled in silky sheets and surrounded by Lucifer’s intoxicating scent, he could pinpoint the moment he broke through the ice and sank down to the mysterious depths of a dark yet comforting ocean, struggling for air.
As Diavolo laid on his stomach, naked as the day he was born, his exhausted head resting on his arms, he felt confusion corrupt his heart. Newly born eyes drifted over the man resting beside him. Diavolo’s eyes roamed over Lucifer’s sleeping form next to him and ever so suddenly, he felt the need to avert his eyes. Seeing Lucifer like this felt like a sight he did not have the right to enjoy.
Still, he could not refuse to reach out, his fingertips trailing across the sharp angles of Lucifer’s jawline, tracing along soft skin on strong cheekbones, working their way up to swipe beneath Lucifer’s eyes. Diavolo took in every smallest bit of detail he could hang onto; his almost sickly pale skin, slightly swollen lips, elegant hands resting next to his face, dark strands of hair falling into his face, beautiful like a renaissance painting. Lucifer’s face, for once all relaxed and without any signs of stress, so calm, so pristine. He looked so much younger like this, so much more at peace.
At once, Diavolo found himself struck with a single question: Why?
Lucifer had never been one to engage in Diavolo’s flirtatious invitations, no. Actually, he used to make sure to pull up borders between them, set up boundaries to keep the two of them from growing closer than what was deemed acceptable in his mind. So why? Why had he humoured Diavolo this time, why had he allowed to let passion take the lead for once ?
Uncertainty was thick in the air. What would happen once the spell was broken and Lucifer awoke, ready to reject anything that had happened between them just to revert back to a painful working relationship?
Perhaps it was foolish of him, but to avoid confrontation and his own inevitable heartbreak, Diavolo did the one and only thing his old man had taught him all those years ago. He ran away.
A day later, he was now holed up in his room, finding comfort in the certainty of silken sheets and warm blankets.
There was a knock on the door before Barbatos raised his voice.”Young Master, are you ready to leave? We need to make haste.”
Diavolo suppressed a groan trying to emerge from the depths of his soul. “Barely, Barbatos. Barely,” he answered almost dramatically. He was aware of how childish this little act of defiance of his must seem, but after what had happened between Lucifer and him, he felt like he could allow himself this kind of luxury for a day or two, just until he felt either less ashamed or until he had come to terms with having gotten so close to the one person he could never truly have.
For the shortest of moments, he felt tempted to throw a little fit. If that was all he had to do to be allowed to stay at home, he would gladly do it. He was a prince after all, and that did come with its perks.
Of course, there would be no fooling Barbatos though, but it would at least get him off his back for the evening at last.
In the end, that wouldn’t do him any good though. Living in absolute denial was easy, but to move on, Diavolo knew he had to step out of his comfort zone and admit to his wrongdoings. And maybe Barbatos and Simeon were right, perhaps it would do him good to get distracted a bit.
Begrudgingly, Diavolo got up, shuffled towards his dresser and put on the clothes Barbatos had picked out for him. Leather pants and a black dress shirt adorned with crimson roses, fair enough. Diavolo made himself presentable in a routinely fashion. As he was done, he stared at his reflection in the mirror, only to be left vis-a-vis with a stranger.
He had always been so sure of his own strength of mind, of his own restraint, yet now that he’d broken one of his biggest rules, he failed to recognize the demon in the mirror staring back at him. With a bothered sigh Diavolo picked himself up again and snapped out of it.
His dear friends were waiting for him. Only bad hosts would make their precious friends wait.
A twenty minute ride later, Barbatos, Simeon and Diavolo arrived at one of the Devildom’s hottest clubs. Even outside, demons and other creatures were mingling, some with drinks in their hands and others without, apparently having the time of their lives.
Diavolo couldn’t help but feel suffocated. How exactly any of this was supposed to cheer him up was nothing less than a mystery to him, but he still appreciated Simeon and Barbatos’ attempt at gifting him an enjoyable evening, even though he most certainly would have preferred to spend the remainder of the night by himself buried in silken sheets. Not that there was much to change about that now.
It was well near midnight and the rather small building seemed to practically vibrate with music, sweat and an uncomfortable heat, only adding to Diavolo’s avid reluctance to be there to begin with.
Solomon was waiting for them, clad in a leather jacket, standing next to a clearly overwhelmed bouncer. As they all approached, the demon froze in place before greeting the group accordingly. Quickly, he started to press stamp after stamp onto the back of their hands before anyone could protest. The club’s mark shone bright red in the darkness. Diavolo tried to admire it for a moment but all he was reminded of were those piercing red eyes, set aflame, looking up at him from the comfort of silken sheets and quiet moans.
Simeon placed his hand atop of Diavolo’s shoulder to lead him to the table they had reserved. “Let’s go inside and see what’s happening,” he said with a pretty smile which Diavolo didn’t appreciate all that much at the moment. Still, he obliged and followed the angel into the overfilled club. As they entered they found themselves surrounded by whispers and mumbling. After all, both Simeon and Diavolo had quite the reputation and were well known across the lands.
Solomon, being the one most familiar with the club due to multiple nights out with Asmodeus, lead the way towards their table.
Diavolo suppressed a sigh. Normally, he knew better than to show himself in public looking this miserable, yet this night, he simply couldn’t bring himself to put on a smile either. He was currently facing the crisis of a possibly crumbling relationship, a good amount of gloom seemed quite appropriate to him.
“There we are,” Solomon finally said as he motioned towards a table for four and stopped in his tracks. Diavolo swore he could hear the faintest train of curses leaving the sorcerer’s mouth.
Upon surveying the room, Diavolo immediately zeroed in on the reason for Solomon’s uncharacteristic reaction.
The table next to theirs, littered with several half-empty cups, was currently occupied by two men clinking their glasses together before indulging in their drinks. Without any hesitation one of them downed half of his drink while the other one took a solemn sip, looking rather miserable.
Out of all the places Diavolo could even consider running into Lucifer at, a sweaty night club was set dead last, yet somehow, fate had once again managed to betray Diavolo’s trust in an epic fashion.
Despite his inner turmoil, Diavolo couldn’t argue against the fact that Lucifer looked ravishing, even though there was that certain look to his eyes that suggested a high level of discomfort. Guilt gnawed at Diavolo’s conscience as he couldn’t help himself but feel responsible for that. He wanted to do nothing more than run to him, cradle his face and make everything bothersome go away. However, he refrained from doing so. To be perfectly honest, he could not place what their relationship was at the moment. After that night, nothing was certain anymore. Years upon years of suppressed feelings had finally boiled over in one night of glorious intimacy. Perhaps, Diavolo should have seen it coming. He was terribly impulsive by nature, and going against his own flow rarely worked out in his favour.
Diavolo looked at Lucifer and before he could so much as start to worry about how he should act now, their eyes met and Lucifer -ever so prim and proper, all elegant in his skintight onyx turtleneck- choked on his drink. He quickly wiped his mouth with the back of his hand before he averted his gaze again. As he turned his head to talk to his little brother, the collar of his turtleneck shifted slightly, revealing the quietest hint of a hickey under his jaw.
A sad smile flashed across Diavolo’s face. What he wouldn’t give to turn back time and unmake all of that night’s mistakes, for now he knew what it was like to have a taste of this otherworldly perfection, only for it to be cruelly taken away from him.
“Oh, Lucifer! It’s rare to see you out of your office,” Simeon greeted. “In a club nonetheless.”
Diavolo watched the way Lucifer’s eyebrows furrowed in slight annoyance. “I am solely here to keep an eye on Asmodeus,” he swiftly answered before taking another sip of his drink.
Barbatos, Diavolo, Simeon and Solomon joined the two demons at the almost vacant table in spite of the strange aura that seemed to surround them.
Slowly, they lost themselves in trivial conversations, and if Diavolo buried his head in the menu to avoid Lucifer’s illegible gaze, then he would allow himself this foolish behaviour for one night before having to decide on what to do about the Lucifer situation. He spent the night sneaking glances while simultaneously avoiding to make eye contact with his right hand man, unable to face him yet but also unwilling to look away.
Several hours into the night Lucifer got up and left the table, turning his back to Diavolo as he headed towards a far-away corner of the club, probably to threaten Solomon, who seemed to have gotten himself in quite the situation with Asmodeus.
As Diavolo’s eyes followed Lucifer’s retreating figure, he spotted the faintest of lines peeking out of the collar which covered most of his neck, but had slid down a bit during the evening.
In that moment, Diavolo hadn’t thought much of it. He was too occupied with the problem at hand, which was trying to find a way to fix what he had broken apart. So he shrugged off what he had seen as a fata morgana, as nothing but a mere illusion. His mind was probably just playing tricks on him.
Had he not been so distracted he would have taken note of the implications of those lines, still almost translucent in their newborn state.
The next time he saw Lucifer in more than passing was several days later due to Barbatos calling in an emergency student council meeting.
By then, Diavolo had made up his mind. To no surprise, a few days without any distractions, just him and his thoughts, were just what he had needed to come up with a solution.
All he had to do was apologize in complete sincerity. Lucifer deserved at least that much. He would apologize, he would do whatever was needed to set things right again.
Diavolo joined Lucifer’s side, his right shoulder brushing against Lucifer’s left one just as Barbatos opened the meeting.
Half-heartedly, Diavolo paid attention to the meeting. Apparently, someone on the council had managed to get themselves sick enough to be put on MagiMeds. Interestingly enough, the demon in question refused to reveal themselves. Not that they had to, but it was well known that it was generally the easiest way to fess up so you wouldn’t inconvenience the rest of the council.
Normally, this would spark Diavolo’s interest and he would find himself hell bent on finding out every single detail about the who, what, where and whys, but this day his mind was preoccupied with nothing but Lucifer.
After the meeting ended, Diavolo and Lucifer were joined by Barbatos. As they talked about the meeting, Diavolo found himself more interested in the matter the more Barbatos explained about the whole situation.
An unplanned bonding, he had called it. Something like this could only happen to the truly unfortunate. Diavolo expressed this sentiment to Barbatos just as Lucifer joined the conversation, his crimson eyes roaming over Diavolo’s face, perhaps searching for something Diavolo himself wasn’t aware of just yet. They talked, and even when faced with the hypothetical situation of an unplanned bond, Lucifer was being unapologetically, well, Lucifer. No one but him would write off an illness this logically and this removed from any sort of sentiment.
Diavolo didn’t know whether to feel concerned or endeared, but in the end gave up on trying to figure out which one was the right one. After all, he was delighted to finally be able to talk to Lucifer again. Things weren’t right just yet, but talking to him was already a step above pitiful pining from a safe distance.
Their eyes met for a moment and without any explanation, the strangest thing happened. Just as honey met glowing coals, a peculiar feeling ran through Diavolo’s body. It felt almost as if he had been shocked by electricity; a subtle tingling followed by an uncomfortable buzzing. There was an additional stinging sensation running through his chest, right where his heart was. Subconsciously, Diavolo rubbed his chest to alleviate the discomfort.
Strangely enough, Lucifer’s expression mirrored Diavolo’s shocked one.
So he hadn’t been the only one to feel it.
All at once, stronger than ever before, he was filled with the urgent need to touch Lucifer. Diavolo’s heart was racing wildly, and without thinking about it, he reached out, the pads of his fingertips landing upon Lucifer’s cheek, softly like the shyest of butterfly kisses. Diavolo felt another harsh sting run through his heart. There was no denying that he was absolutely helplessly in love with this man.
Suddenly flustered, Diavolo pulled his hand back again just as Barbatos joined them once again to pester, or perhaps remind Diavolo about his royal duties.
As Diavolo, thankful for the distraction, whined to Barbatos he noticed Lucifer twitching violently out of the corner of his eye, just once, before fixing his posture and rejoining their conversation as if nothing had happened whatsoever.
Diavolo decided not to comment on it, after all, it was nothing but a little twitch.
He paced back and forth in front of Lucifer’s study. During the day, he had felt good about apologizing to Lucifer, almost excited even to fix their cracked relationship. Now though, that the time to take action had come, he found himself uncharacteristically nervous.
He was minutes away from being open about the fact that they had slept with each other, suddenly making it feel more like reality and less like a dream.
Just as Diavolo was leaning against the wall next to the door, mustering up enough courage to walk through that door, his pointer tapping against the door frame in a jumpy manner, the door flew open and Diavolo jumped out of the way right before he could be hit by the door.
“WHO-” A pissed off Lucifer was staring at him, his expression quickly changing to one of bewilderment as he realized who his visitor was. “Diavolo?”
As Lucifer invited him, his face a blank canvas void of any sort of emotion, Diavolo felt his skin crawl. Whether this was his body telling him that something felt off or his brain trying to stop him from being a fool was unclear.
Distracted by the strange vibe he got, comforted by Lucifer’s presence, disturbed by the look in Lucifer’s eyes, Diavolo finally found the courage to apologize for his wrongdoings. Of course, it took two to tango -and tango they did- but Diavolo was ever so aware of the fact that all things Lucifer were deeply intricate and seriously complex matters. So as he had done so often before, he told Lucifer the truth by simply leaving out several crucial details.
Per his own rule, he refused to lie. However that didn’t mean that he couldn’t evade certain unspoken facts.
Lucifer was difficult, Diavolo knew that. They had strenuously built their relationship up from the ashes of a seemingly endless war, had gone from enemies to rescuer and rescuee, to allies, to friends up to something else entirely. And because of that, Diavolo knew he could not tell Lucifer the entire truth.
The relationship they’d had before that certain night had been fine. It had been safe despite those unspoken truths they often found in stolen glances and lingering touches. Diavolo was fine with pining as long as that meant he could keep Lucifer by his side. As long as Lucifer felt comfortable, he would be fine as well. They had been doing this spiel for decades now and Diavolo had gotten quite skilful at figuring out how far he could push their boundaries before they would inevitably crumble to the ground.
This was their little dance, he knew where to step and how to move just as Lucifer knew when to lift his right hand in unison with Diavolo’s left one, palms mere inches apart as they slowly spun around each other to the soft tunes of solemn piano music.
Diavolo knew painfully well that the one thing he desperately wanted to say, he could not allow to be heard.
“I need you in my life,” he finally said after having apologized for what had happened. You don’t know how much I love you, he conveniently left out.
The air was cleared yet still, Diavolo couldn’t shake the undeniable feeling of discomfort prickling up and down his spine. So he did what he knew best; he deflected.
“Oh, Lucifer! This reminds me of this thing I overheard Solomon and Yuuta talking about. I think they called it ‘kissing the homies goodnight’ ?”
The joke came bubbling out of his mouth before he could properly think about it, no matter how ridiculous it sounded. Lucifer fixed him with a strangely twisted expression. “Please don’t even joke about that,” he forced out without any hesitation.
Once again, he twitched and before Diavolo could dismiss it again, he moved without thinking and cupped the back of Lucifer’s neck.
There was no logical reason for him to do so, yet somehow, it felt completely and utterly right in the way it made his heart buzz and the palm of his hand tickle.
The moment was over as quickly as it had begun.
Diavolo was hastily sent off by Lucifer and as the door to his study closed behind him, he was able to breathe freely for the first time in days. The sensation of relief did not last for all that long though. As his mind was finally freed from the crushing weight of uncertainty, reality set in.
The moment those doors closed behind Diavolo’s back and the off-putting silence was filled with the unmistakable echo of a dull thud, Diavolo was forced to recognize that every single one of his actions, no matter how little or seemingly insignificant, had its consequences.
“Lucifer?” he asked, but received no answer. There was no sound coming from the room whatsoever. Diavolo knocked multiple times in quick succession. “Lucifer?!” he asked, louder this time. Still, he received nothing except for an eerie silence.
An unsettling feeling started to bloom in the pit of his stomach. Throwing any resemblance of caution or appropriateness to the wind, Diavolo pushed the door to Lucifer’s study back open.
He felt like his heart was ready to jump out of his chest as he took in the sight of an unresponsive Lucifer lying face-down on the floor. A pool of blood was slowly starting to form around his head, a deadly crimson halo standing in stark contrast against Lucifer’s almost sickly looking, ashen skin.
“Lucifer!” Diavolo rushed to his side and carefully turned Lucifer’s body around, cradling him with one arm as he pushed his hair aside to inspect the source of the bleeding. There was a big gash across his forehead, blood oozing out of it and dripping down the side of Lucifer’s head, landing on the marbled tiles on the ground.
In the middle of his panicked state, Diavolo came to the hasty conclusion that he was an utter buffoon.
Deep down, he had felt uneasy whenever he looked at Lucifer. What he had written off as anxiety due to their broken relationship status, now turned out to be so much more than that. All along, there had been several red flags which Diavolo had foolishly written off as either coincidences or mere trifles.
Diavolo pulled Lucifer closer to his body as the air filled with ashes and embers and he transformed into his demon form. This time, he wouldn’t fail Lucifer, he refused to.
He made sure that his grip on Lucifer was strong before he unceremoniously stepped around the desk and kicked in the large window, glass raining down onto the ground like sharpened tears.
Without any hesitation Diavolo, holding onto Lucifer’s unconscious body like it was the most precious thing in the world, stepped onto the window sill and leapt off the edge. Big, leathery wings carried the both of them through the glowing lights of dusk.
Diavolo was getting Lucifer the help he so urgently needed and after that, he would find out what was going on with the demon he loved so ferociously.
It was time to face the facts. Diavolo couldn’t keep on living in this false state of ignorance anymore. There was something going on with Lucifer, and as his closest friend and superior, it was Diavolo’s job to find out exactly what that was.
There was still blood running down Lucifer’s terrifyingly pale face as they landed safely next to a hidden cottage in the woods. They must have made quite the sight, the demon prince himself covered in blood, dishevelled by the wind, his right hand man Lucifer cradled in his strong arms, unconscious and certainly unwell.
Diavolo’s heart was beating ever so quickly as he knocked on the door, his body coming down from the adrenaline as he waited impatiently.
Finally, he could make out movement from behind the door before there was the sound of a key turning in its lock and a head of pretty red curls peeked through the doorway. “Lord Diavolo?” the woman asked incredulously before her eyes moved downwards and landed on Lucifer’s lifeless form.
“Oh gee!” Quickly, she turned her head around and shouted towards someone inside of the house. “Darling, I told you this was going to happen! It’s Mister Lucifer, you know, the one from before!” She opened the door and motioned Diavolo to come inside. Diavolo simply followed suit. There would be time to ask questions later. Right now, his priority was Lucifer and nothing else.
A second woman hurried down the hallway, seemingly unimpressed by the picture in front of her as she quickly put on a pair of medical gloves. “Follow me.”
Diavolo followed her into what seemed to be an examination room. Although it was strange this woman had such a room inside of her own home, he decided to keep quiet about it for the moment.
“Put him down.”
Diavolo did as he was told and reluctantly took a step back as Doctor Naamah started to check Lucifer’s vitals before treating his head wound. “Normally, I would have to ask you to leave the room, but considering the situation I’ll make an exception,” Naamah muttered as she hurried across the room, yanking open several drawers in search of the correct medical supplies.
Diavolo leaned his back against the wall as he focused on the way Lucifer’s chest rose and sank with every breath he took.
As he pushed back his hair, breathy laughter escaped his lips. “You couldn’t get rid of me if you tried,” he said.
Naamah raised an eyebrow and chuckled. “My Lord, you better not test me.” There was a short moment of silence as she finished treating Lucifer’s head wound. “He will be alright,” she started. “He is a fool, but he will be alright.” She beckoned Diavolo closer. “Lend me a hand here, I have to check his sigil.”
Diavolo halted in his steps. “What sigil, doctor?”
Quickly, Naamah’s gaze shot upwards. “You don’t know?” she asked incredulously. “Aren’t you his superior? I made sure to give you a call about it since I put him on MagiMeds.”
He moved closer to Lucifer’s body and helped the doctor turn him onto his side as his brain tried to process what had just been revealed to him. “My butler handles these sorts of things,” he eventually muttered.
Naamah pulled Lucifer’s collar down as quickly as one would pull off a band aid, revealing a dark red sigil, tainted with splotchy black blots. “Oh, fuck!” she exclaimed in either surprise or shock, Diavolo wasn’t too sure which one would’ve been more appropriate.
His head snapped around to the doctor as she examined the mark with careful fingers. Eventually, she sat up straight and faced Diavolo. “He is even more of a fool than I’d originally expected.”
For once, Diavolo found himself at a loss for words. His eyes were glued onto the alluring sigil on the back of Lucifer’s neck. It all made sense now.
Before he could even think about it, his body moved on its own and he reached out, fingertips running along the pretty edges of this tainted sigil.
Naamah watched Diavolo closely as he had eyes for nothing but that ornate little thing on the back of Lucifer’s neck. And just as his fingers had reached the epicentre of the sigil, Diavolo could feel a rush of electricity running through his body.
With a startle, Lucifer suddenly and unexpectedly awoke.