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Love You to the Core

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Prologue

The day following the Apocalypse that Was Not

Roughly Midnight

 

In the millennia since her Fall, Hastur had done a lot of things to make her hell’s most feared duke.

Disobedience had never been one of them.

Well, to Her, yeah. That was sort of the point of Falling, wasn’t it?

But not to her. No, Beelzebub had something many had sought, but only two demons had ever gained: Hastur’s absolute respect and loyalty.

But, well, that was before some flashy little nobody had murdered the second said demon.

The slap of metal against demonic flesh echoed through the dingy corridor as Hastur stalked through the flickering florescent half-light.

It wasn’t Crowley’s duplicitousness that got to her. Oh, no. Demons betrayin’ each other to discorporation, that was the way of things, wasn’t it? But that was the watchword here: discorporation. Not—

Fuckin’ heaven. The way Ligur’d screamed. The way he’d grabbed that bucket and tried to tear it off his head like—

Hastur smashed her crowbar against the wall, shattering both the thought and the sheetrock.

“The bastard,” she snarled. “The fucking bastard!” The last word came out as a shriek that not even another blow to the wall could cover.

 

“No.”

The word was cold, final, loud in the chamber that Hastur’s underlings had built specifically for Crowley’s execution. And so was Beelzebub’s expression. You did not cross the prince of hell when she looked at you like that.

Not that Hastur wasn’t about to.

“You think I’m afraid of him?” Hastur asked, hand on her chest. She didn’t have a heart, not a proper one, but what she felt for Ligur was better than having one. And it was cracking and boiling over. “You think I’m afraid of that freak?”

“Has—”

“Because I ain’t!” she snarled. “No one else wants to? Fine. But I can take him. You’ll see, Your Lowness. One minute—one bloody second alone with him, and I’ll—”

Hastur!” Thunder snarled through the room as Beelzebub grabbed Hastur’s lapels and yanked her close; white flames coiled through her fingers, scorching the material as the flies encircled her head, their buzzing loud in the thunderclap’s wake.

“I will only say this once,” Beelzebub hissed. “You will leave the traitor alone. That is an order.”

“But Your L—”

“No. You are not above the rulezz, Duke Hastur!” Beelzebub shoved her away. “None of us are. And you are not the only demon I have to think about right now. Are we clear?”

Hastur’s lip trembled. But she refused to let it do anything more. Instead, she nodded once, stiffly, spun on her heel, and stormed away.

 

Of course, she’d lied.

That’s what dukes did.

And no disrespect to the boss, but frankly, on this one?

Beelzebub could shove it.

“I’m not the only demon she’s got to think about,” Hastur snarled as she swung the bar. Another chunk of sheetrock gave way. “Fuck her.”

Another swing. Another chunk.

“Fuck her. Fuck her. Fuck—”

“Now what’s got my best girl so upset?”

Hastur froze midswing.

No. It couldn’t be.

She’d seen it happen. Seen him— And—

“Surely it ain’t the wall, is it?”

She was losing her mind. Or what little was left of it.

“Can’t be the wall, I’m thinking.” The voice had started out in the alcove behind her. And now it was coming closer. “After all, what’s a wall ever done to you?”

Hastur tried to snort and failed. “Made me lick it, didn’t it?” she stammered out the usual rejoinder.

“Funny old wall.” And there was the usual answer.

“Please.” Hastur closed her eyes. “Please, if this is some prank, just—just whoever you are. Stop it. It’s not fair. It’s not—”

But when a pair of strong arms wrapped around her waist, she knew. And when a kiss was pressed against her neck, she knew it even more.

Her crowbar clattered to the floor as she turned in the embrace.

She didn’t know what to say. And it didn’t matter.

Because Ligur was here. And Ligur was holding her. And Ligur’s eyes were that beautiful dark green they turned whenever he—

Whenever he was thinking only of her.

With one great sob, Hastur threw her legs around his waist and slammed their lips together. Her eyes overflowed with thick, black tears as she sobbed into his mouth.

“Here, here now,” Ligur soothed, running a hand over his lover’s neck. “I’m here, darlin’. I’m here.”

“How?” Hastur croaked. “I—I saw it. I saw—I saw— Has it happened?” She stared into those green eyes. “Have I gone mad?”

“No, oh no,” Ligur reassured. “No madder than I am for you, anyway.”

“But I— I don’t understand how—”

“Shhh.” Ligur’s kiss was gentle, but not without just a little tendril of heat. “Plenty of time for that later. Need you now.”

“Mh, right here,” Hastur agreed, her hands all over his hair. His neck. His face. Oh, God, it was beautiful. He was beautiful. Everything about him.

How had she lasted one moment without him? How had she not thrown herself in front of Crowley’s spray bottle and insisted—demanded

“Shhh,” Ligur soothed with a kiss. “Can hear you thinkin’ in there. Don’t think now. Just let me love you. Let me take it all away.”

Somehow, the wall behind her was solid again. And her back was bare and pressed against it, and Ligur’s chest was equally bare and flush against her own. Smooth, so smooth and even, not scarred and bumpy as Hastur’s was. And his lips were all over her as his cock—

“Oh,” Hastur moaned, arching back against the wall. The sheetrock scraped like sandpaper across her back; she didn’t care. The only thing that mattered was Ligur, pushing into her again, and again, and again. Ligur whispering, “I’m here, sweetheart. I’m here. Never going nowhere again.” Over and over until Hastur came with a wail, spilling all over him, just as Hastur emptied his own heat inside her.

There was nothing to do then but to sink to the floor in a tangle of limbs and embraces, and sob as they held each other.

***

“Beelzebub, you know,” Ligur said later that night as they lay curled up in their bed. Not that demons needed sleep, of course, but well—tonight they were going to indulge.

“Hmm?” Hastur was too busy trailing lazy kisses along his neck to think too clearly just now, but since she had disobeyed the boss and all, this might be important.

“First thing I did when I— Well, reappeared, I guess you could say. First thing I did was look for you. Figured she’d know where to find you.”

“Yeah?”

“‘If you’re here for Hastur, you’ve just missed her,’ she told me, cool as you like. ‘She’s got a five-minutes start on you. You’d best run her down before she does something stupid, like confront the traitor who killed you. She’s taken the main tunnel to Trafalgar Square. You know how she is—familiar routs and all.’”

“She didn’t, ah, wonder how…?”

“Oh, she did. Told me I could tell us all later what had happened.” Ligur kissed the tip of her nose. “Oh, and one thing more. About you.”

Well, here it goes. “Something worse than discorporation, I reckon.”

“Hm, well. Her exact words were: ‘Speaking as the prince of hell, she should be cast into the pit for disobedience.’”

“Oh.” Hastur swallowed. Well. Fuck.

“No, no. Listen.” Ligur kissed her cheek. “‘But speaking as a fellow demon, I understand. But she’d best not make me understand like that again.’ Also, you’re to see her first thing. Something about seeing Dagon about reorganizing the Black Plague files.”

Hastur groaned. “Not those blessed things again!” They were the principal secretary’s never-ending project. No matter how she and her assistants filed and refiled, checked and rechecked, named and renamed, Dagon was never satisfied with them.

“Could be worse,” Ligur reminded her, running a hand up her chest. “Could be muckin’ out the hellhounds’ kennels.”

“I’d much prefer that,” Hastur grumbled. She rolled onto her side and peered up into his eyes. They were a lazy dark blue now, the way they always got when he was peaceful and content—well, content and peaceful as a demon could get.

Which was always when he was where he was now.

Her lips were trembling like reeds in the wind.

“It was the worst twenty-four hours of my life,” she whispered. “Horrible. Worse than anything. Worse than the Fall. Please. Don’t leave me again. Not like that. Not in any way. I couldn’t bear it. I—”

“Shh, I know, doll. I know. Whatever happens, we’ll not lurk near any churches again, yeah? At least not ones with fountains.” He winked at Hastur and elbowed her in the side.

“Yeah,” Hastur said, letting a smirk break through her tears. She flicked a few of them away. “Cathedrals too. They’re right out.”

“Christian bookshops.”

“Little pop-up chapels.”

“Anywhere with water, really,” Hastur decided. “Don’t know if it’s been blessed, do we?”

The possibility should have terrified Hastur—not that it didn’t, of course. But Ligur’s easy smile made an equally easy smile slide across her lips.

“No lakes, ponds, oceans—not even a puddle.” He pecked her lips. “Now, that’s settled? Good,” he said as Hastur nodded. “Because my best girl and me, we need to spend the night together, just as we are, doin’ what we’ve just done the last who knows how long. Everything else can wait, yeah?”

Oh that smile. So fierce and firm, and so very, very assured of everything.

“Mh, yeah,” Hastur agreed as she coiled herself around him and fell right into it.

Chapter Text

Two Years After the Failed Apocalypse

Heaven and hell’s top dogs had a lot more contact with each other than most angels and demons realized.

Take, for example, this dingy old private room in this dingy old pub in a dingy old corner of Southwark. It had stood here since the seventeenth century just for that purpose. Really, Ligur thought with a snort. He didn’t have what humans called “creativity,” but even he could’ve come up with a better name than Heaven and Hell’s Arms.

But with the way his girl was rubbing his thigh right now, fuck if he could think of what that name would be.

“Why d’we have to be here again?” Hastur complained.

She knew blessed well, of course. But Ligur never missed an opportunity to let Hastur touch him.

“Aw, c’mon, doll,” he cajoled, placing his hand on top of hers. “You know there’s always somethin’ interesting to do when the boss calls us and only us to one of these.”

Not that Beelzebub used them like her personal flunkies. The boss was real businesslike like that. So when she did summon them all hush-hush like this, you knew it was probably for something real important to her.

Which meant her dukes would do their blessedest to deliver.

“Hm,” Hastur mused as she moved her hand higher. “And it involves angels, apparently. More of that backchannels stuff, you think?”

Ligur didn’t blush—indeed, most wrath demons didn’t. But when he felt sheepish, he had a bad habit of looking down at his hands. Which he was doing right now.

Hastur’s hand stilled on his thigh, then drew away. A second later, it curved over Ligur’s shoulder as Hastur pulled him against her side in a one-armed embrace.

“You still fancy them, don’t you, pet?” she asked.

“A little bit, yeah.” It wasn’t a confession. These things never needed to be between them. Hastur had plenty of fancies when it came to other demons, and she liked having a little bit of fun every so often. Ligur, on the other hand, hadn’t felt the need for a bit of fun with another body—celestial or infernal—for centuries now. So when he’d noticed that his feelings for the archangel Michael had gone from entirely professional to far less-than professional, he’d been surprised. Not only at the gradual way in which his opinion had changed, but at the fact that Hastur had already suspected as much.

Hastur hadn’t expected the archangel to gently turn down her partner’s affections, however. But she hadn’t been at all pleased with Michael for making Ligur look so unhappy.

“It’s all right,” she’d said then, just as she did now. “Not your fault angels’ve got bad taste, and Wank-Wings’s worse than most. Besides.” She leaned in and flicked her tongue against Ligur’s ear, like a frog capturing a fly. “More for me now.”

“Oh, you’ve always got all of me, doll.”

“That right?” Hastur teased as she always did. She kept her right hand where it was as she scooted her chair closer and trailed her left hand up his thigh. “Even this.”

They probably shouldn’t have, with the boss and the archangel due at any moment. But, fuck it. Ligur spread his thighs and turned his head to capture her lips in a soft kiss—one that grew more fevered as Hastur’s long fingers unfastened his trousers and reached inside.

Neither of them startled when the door eased open. But Hastur was polite enough to withdraw her hand and put Ligur’s clothes to rights—

Before easing off her chair and settling onto his lap. All the while, her gaze remained on Michael’s face. Even, somehow, as she leaned in and pressed a tender kiss to Ligur’s forehead.

“Michael,” she said with a smile. “’S nice to see you. I’d get up to greet you properly, but, with a chair like this … well. I’m sure you understand.” Her voice was throaty, with just a hint of jauntiness.

And that, right there, was one of the many reasons Ligur loved her—always had and always would. Plenty of demons were rude to angels, sure; but how many of them would look an archangel straight in the eye and hit them with the cut direct like that?

No one but his best girl, that’s who.

“I wouldn’t dream of asking you to move, Hastur,” Michael replied. Ligur knew Hastur hadn’t caught the millimeter upturn of their mouth. She’d tear apart not just the pub but half of Southwark if she knew that Michael found her rather charming.

She’d tear the rest of it apart if she knew that, deep down, she really didn’t dislike “Wank-Wings” as much as she thought she did. It was always best to let Hastur figure something like that out on her own.

“’Lo, Michael,” Ligur piped up, prompting Hastur to shift her weight on his lap and drape her arm around his shoulders.

“Ligur.” The smile was more than a few centimeters this time. Though Michael was a more secretive archangel than any Ligur had ever dealt with, they didn’t make a secret of their feelings for him—even when those feelings were entirely on the friendly side, not the sexual side of things.

But that was one of the many things he appreciated about them. None of this beating-around-the-bush bullshit angels always pulled. Just a simple explanation that while they appreciated how Ligur felt, they just didn’t feel the same way for him—or for anyone, really, infernal or celestial.

And that appreciation was why he returned the smile. When Hastur gave a haughty little sniff, he pressed a kiss to the back of her neck.

Mean it every time I say it: You’re my best girl, doll; the only one I come home to. Just like I’m the only one you come home to.

He didn’t need to say it, though. Hastur knew what that kiss meant. Still, she gave Michael a haughty little sniff as she settled back in Ligur’s arms and cuddled closer to him.

“Can we call this meeting to order, or are you two going to scent each other all afternoon?” Beelzebub buzzed from the doorway.

Hastur was on her feet so fast, she nearly fell over. “Your Lowness,” she said with a breathless bow, hands spread out to her sides like wings. Ligur stood and gave her the same salute. If there was one thing you never did, it was piss off the boss. And not being acknowledged when she entered a room was one of the fastest ways to do that.

Beelzebub rolled her eyes and backhanded the air in dismissal—their cue to shut up and sit down. When Michael didn’t follow them, she remained standing. And oh, wasn’t that interesting? Usually at these things, the boss just plopped herself down in a chair, put her feet up on the table, and stared at the attending angel(s) blankly. Even when they didn’t sit, they got the point.

Well, everyone seemed to get it but Gabriel. And … huh. Why hadn’t he ever noticed before just how quickly Gabriel sat down when in the same room as Beelzebub? Without being glared at, no less.

There was a thought there, but Hastur jostled in his lap, and there it went.

Beelzebub gave the still-standing angel her most bored look and shrugged, all “Okay, do as you please. No skin off my nose.” Michael, for their part, looked back, all “I know what you’re doing, and I will, thank you very much.”

Fuck, no wonder humans thought of them as a prince among angels. As if sensing his adoration, Hastur glanced over her shoulder, rolled her eyes, and shifted her weight; the fact the movement mashed the cleft of her bony little arse right up against his cock was surely no accident.

“You cheeky little thing,” the stroke across her thigh both scolded and reassured her.

“All right, Michael. We’re all here and listening. Why’ve you called this meeting, then?” Beelzebub said in a tone that was, somehow, even more bored than her expression.

Michael folded their elegant hands over their stomach. “Speaking as one of heaven’s leaders, Beelzebub”—and if calling the boss by her name only wasn’t a ballsy move, Ligur didn’t know what was—“I am here because heaven is having a leadership crisis. Speaking solely for myself,” they went on before that bombshell could explode, “I am here because Gabriel is having a personal crisis.”

Silence followed those two detonations. Hastur and Ligur shared a look which they then turned toward Beelzebub.

“Iz that right,” she said. “And why iz this my problem?”

Everyone had tells. Even the most stoic of demons. It was just the way of things, wasn’t it? And if you knew the boss, then you knew that her mouth was one of hers. When she was interested in something—truly interested, not pretending—her lips pulled out of their disinterested moue into the smallest of smiles, which softened her forehead and eyes ever so slightly.

And she was doing it right now.

“I think we both know the answer to that.”

When Hastur’s back straightened by just a fraction, Ligur knew they were thinking the same thing: Michael had just touched on the one thing you never, ever did in hell—not even in whispers. The one thing that was so top-secret that he doubted anyone but he, Hastur, and Dagon knew it was true for sure.

And Michael had just said it, casual as you like, like they were informing the boss that hellfire was hot.

“No, we don’t.” Beelzebub’s smile had hardened back into boredom now. “But all right. You’ve come all the way down here, so you might as well tell me what hiz problem is.”

Hastur’s shoulder gave a little hitch as she successfully suppressed a chuckle. Yeah, the boss was walking right into the trap Michael had set for her. Interesting, that.

Maybe she wasn’t as dedicated to keeping this whole Gabriel thing such a secret after all.

Michael’s own subtle smile indicated they’d come to the same conclusion. “Well, to start, he hasn’t known what to do with himself since the Misfortune.”

No one liked calling the cancelled apocalypse by its real name. Not that Ligur disagreed with that.

“Yes, well, we’ve all had our misfortunes ever since.” Beelzebub’s tone was just a bit too casual to be genuine. “Tell him to make some bzzywork for your side—you lot invented that, didn’t you? Or tell him to go shopping. Again. New suits always cheer him up. Fuck knows why he’s so fussy, though. Lookz fine as he is.”

Hastur’s shoulders twitched with another suppressed laugh. Ligur agreed. The boss had it bad. The fact she’d discorporate you if you said as much wouldn’t change a blessed thing about it.

“Yes, he’s been shopping a lot lately,” Michael observed with a nod. “The trouble is, he isn’t looking fine at all. For anyone.”

“Then tell him to stop moping and get on with things.” But if Beelzebub’s voice were a blade, it had been significantly dulled. “We’ve all had to,” she added, as if in an attempt to whet it.

Michael took a deep breath they didn’t need to and splayed their slender hands across the scuffed tabletop. “I’ll be candid, Beelzebub,” they said, leaning in just so slightly. “He’s not moping.”

“Hmph. Pouting, then.” And the blade dulled even more.

“Well, fretting at first. Then pacing. Then forgetting things. Missing meetings. Staring out of windows; snapping at us when we finally got his attention.”

“And you’re saying, what? That he’s—” Beelzebub waved her hand in circles. “That he doesn’t want to be there anymore?”

But the irritation in her tone had also blunted, and with that Beelzebub had stopped pretending and put the knife away completely, and oh, there it was.

Might as well just have said she’d walk through a lake of holy water for him. Ligur shuddered, but there was a reason that particularly horrific image had popped into his head. And if Beelzebub had realized he’d just thought that, she’d probably throw him into a lake of the stuff, at the very least.

“It depends on your definition of ‘there,’” Michael went on.

“We both know what definition you mean,” Beelzebub swung her ankles down from the table and leaned forward in her chair. “And I’m not an azzazzin for hire. Neither are my dukes. Or any of my demonz.” She started to rise. “If you want to play at starting a civil war, then you can go fuck y—"

Michael held up a hand. “Please, Prince Beelzebub. I’m not asking anything of the sort. I’m asking you to give him what he wants. Not a suit. Not a pair of shoes. Certainly not a job. The Good Lord knows he’s had far too much of that.”

“And what might ‘that’ be?” But she knew. And from the way she was leaning forward, Ligur could tell his own sweetheart did too.

“Gabriel wants a cage,” Michael said, as if it was the simplest thing in the world—and really, wasn’t it? “He’s had … too much space. Too much sky, if you will. The door to that cage has been open for him, but he won’t go in.”

“And you want me to give him a push.”

“And close the door.”

Well, and there it was.

“Mh. And this hazz nothing to do with a power grab, I take it.”

Like the prince they were, Michael didn’t even blink. “In the end, you and I have one thing in common: we can never simply be an angel”—they touched their chest—“or a demon”—they gestured at Beelzebub. “Others can get what they want.” They gave a brief nod toward Hastur and Ligur. “We aren’t so fortunate. But this time, we can both get what we want—and what we need.”

“What Upstairs needs,” Beelzebub corrected. But she rose and offered her hand, then withdrew it as Michael reached for it. “I don’t agree until I know the termzz.”

“Yes, of course.” Michael nodded. “He’s been twitchy all week. Pacing more. Startling. That means he’ll go to London soon for another suit—to his favorite tailor, I suspect. I trust you know the place?” They directed this question to Hastur and Ligur.

“Oh, we do,” Hastur said with a little wriggle that made Ligur smile. “Good old Severin’s.”

Oh, yeah. The same one they’d set up in 1748 to keep an eye on Gabriel. If this was going where Ligur thought it was, his girl was just gonna love this assignment.

They turned back to Beelzebub. “When he leaves, I’ll know. I’ll call you then, and you may … cage him however you see fit.”

“No bullshit.” Beelzebub raised her eyebrows.

“None whatsoever.”

“And no take-backzz.”

“Of course.”

 “I don’t make bargains lightly, Michael.” It was the voice she used when making a point during one of the Dark Council’s quarterly meetings—usually the point that you would obey her or things would get very ugly for you, very quickly. “You’re not going to use us as a cage for him until you’ve taken over things. If he comes here, he stays. Unlezz,” she added, her voice softening just slightly, “he says otherwise.”

And if Ligur hadn’t already figured out why Beelzebub had agreed to this meeting, he would have then.

“Yes, of course.”

Beelzebub made a disapproving noise but offered Michael her hand. Michael shook it, then released it.

“Is our buzinezz concluded?”

“Yes, that will be all. I’ll leave the arrangements to you, and I will give you as much warning as I can when he is on the move.”

“See that you do.”

Michael nodded. “Good day, then, Beelzebub. Hastur.” They nodded at her. “Ligur.” And gave him that slight smile again before turning and departing the room.

“‘On the move,’” Beelzebub huffed in perfect imitation of Michael’s posh voice. “Really! As if we’re going to shoot him.” She turned to face her dukes. “Did you hear that?”

“Yes, boss,” Hastur grumbled. “Just typical angelic bullshit, I reckon.”

“Cheek,” Ligur admonished, giving her thigh a little slap, but his tone was teasing. He jiggled his own thighs until Hastur took the hint and slid off them, grumbling. “They don’t mean nothing by it, I don’t think,” he said, rising himself.

“And you’re biased,” Beelzebub informed him stiffly. She ran a hand through her tangled black hair and sighed. “All right, then. We need to plan. Suggestions?”

A little blossom of pride opened inside Ligur. Not the sinful kind of pride that made you feel too full and too hot at the same time, but the kind that made him almost feel as though he had a heart. The boss had asked their opinions. And every time she did that…. Well. He and Hastur could have ended up in any of hell’s courts. And choosing to join Beelzebub’s when they were newly Fallen had been, in his opinion, the third of only three good choices Hastur had made in his long life.

The first two, of course, were falling for Hastur and then Falling with Hastur.

“Wait outside the main door all dressed up like humans, then snatch him when he comes out,” Hastur suggested as she took out a cigarette.

“No, I don’t think so.” Beelzebub shook her head. “He never uses that door when he can help it. It’s alwayzz their globe. Fuck knows why,” she muttered. “Alwayzz got to be fancy.” But her frown didn’t look put out at all.

It never did when she talked about Gabriel in private. In front of a group of demons, of course, her expression was much different—anywhere from bored and annoyed, to disapproving and wrathful. But alone with her dukes, the truth came out.

And really, after watching this go on for millennia, in Ligur’s opinion it was about blessed time that Beelzebub did something about what she wanted.

So he raised his hand.

“We use the tailor shop.” When Beelzebub’s thick eyebrows raised with interest, he continued. “I mean, it’s like Michael said, innit? Whenever he’s feeling twitchy, he goes shopping for a new suit.” His smile widened. “And what’s better to an archangel like him than a bespoke suit?”

Hastur’s grin was as wide as a guillotine blade. “And who better to come to Severin’s for that?” she drawled. “Best tailor in London, serving him all faithfully for centuries.”

Ligur knew that smile, heard the sweet darkness in his best girl’s voice. His snort would tell her everything: Oh, I know what you’re about, doll. Want to touch his goodies while taking his measurements—one last feel up before we give him to the boss.

And you know how I like watching you do that. Makes me hard enough to fuck you all night.

The moth-flutter of a wink Hastur gave him showed that she’d understood him quite clearly.

Beelzebub, meanwhile, was rubbing her hands together—which she always did when deep in thought. “That haz promise,” she agreed, “but we can’t what shop he’ll choose. Michael won’t tell him where to go, of course. He’d know immediately that something was off.”

Ligur and Hastur nodded. Demons often though that Gabriel’s cheery, somewhat bumbling disposition meant there wasn’t much to him. But going up against him with that attitude typically didn’t end well for you. Ligur knew from personal experience, and oh, never again.

 “How ’bout we put a Watcher on most of his favorite places? Me and Ligur, we go to Severin’s, since that’s likely.” Hastur lit up her fingers and brought them to the cigarette in her mouth. “That way,” she said, after puffing out a burst of smoke, “if we’re wrong, we just go wherever he is and—” She slapped her hands together.

Beelzebub nodded. “Yes. I like it. Except for the part where you crush him,” she said, narrowing one eye at Hastur.

Hastur held her hands up in mock placation. “Just sayin’.”

Beelzebub’s eye stayed narrowed as her lips pursed in thought. “Actually, I think you’re on to something,” she said after a moment. “It’z a kidnapping. They’re not polite, are they?” she explained when both dukes gave her a quizzical look. “You’re free to rough him up however you want. Except”—she held up a hand before Hastur’s smile could turn truly sadistic. “Not too much. No seriouzz injuries. Nothing he couldn’t heal from in a few days.”

Hastur’s smile sharpened, as if Beelzebub had just given her a present. Though, really, she had. Hastur’s wasn’t only a sadist when it came to tempting a human or collecting their soul for heaven. More than one demon could attest—with more than a little lust in their voice—to just how vicious she could get with a whip, or a flail, or sometimes even a crowbar. Everyone in head office had wondered at least once about why Hastur wasn’t a lust demon.

Well, the answer to that was easy, wasn’t it? His girl found wrath even sweeter.

And celestial and infernal corporations were far more durable than human bodies. Gabriel could take a lot of what Hastur would want to dish out without being any worse for the wear. Well, at least not after a day or so.

But it was interesting. The fact Beelzebub would not only permit her, but encourage her to manhandle the archangel. Very interesting.

“Oh, you know me, boss,” Hastur purred. “I’m always the picture of good manners.”

Beelzebub snorted. “I’ll put the Watchers on standby,” she said. “Any questions?” When they both shook their heads, she smirked. “Let’s get the heaven out of here, then.”

Chapter Text

It wasn’t typical for Hastur to go for more than about ten minutes without saying something. Chain smoker though she was, she also didn’t usually inhale three cigarettes in less than half an hour; twelve minutes after they left the pub, she lit up her fourth as they entered head office through the main entrance.

Ligur unlinked their arms and put his hand on her shoulder. “What is it, doll? What’s got you so quiet?”

The huff of smoke that came from her nose made her look like a particularly beautiful and dangerous dragon. “Thinkin’. That’s all.”

“Yeah?” Ligur slid his hand down her arm and tangled their fingers together as they stepped from the escalator. “About what I’m gonna do to you, soon as we’ve threatened everyone out of our office?”

“Oh, yeah,” Hastur growled before blowing a cloud of smoke into a passing demon’s face.

“Up yours, Hastur!” said demon shouted, flipping her off, but Hastur merely returned the gesture as she kept walking.

Which was good. The last thing Ligur wanted right now was her getting too distracted to talk.

“But it’s more than that, ain’t it?”

Hastur nodded as they turned the corner of a hallway that led to the dingy room where both kept their desks. A few demons in the shuffling crowd nodded to the two dukes, but Hastur ignored them as she continued to puff away.

Also unusual behavior. Hastur typically at least grunted in acknowledgment when you waved at her. But Ligur decided this was just one of those times where she’d open up when they were alone. And sure enough: “Talk to you about it when we’ve got the office to ourselves, yeah? Not really somethin’ that should be talked about in public.”

Ligur nodded and gave her hand another squeeze.

“All right,” Hastur growled as they walked through the entryway to their office. “Everybody out now. Me and Ligur are gonna fuck.”

As ways to empty out a room went, it was a particularly effective one, which was why Hastur always used it.

As soon as the last demon scurried off, Ligur picked her up and sat her on his desk. Hastur’s, of course, was out of the question, due to the perpetually leaking pipe above it that maintenance seemed unable—or more likely unwilling, the bastards—to fix.

“No, doll,” he said, bringing his hands up to hers as she started to unfasten the belt of her mackintosh. “Want you as bad as I ever do, but you’ve got somethin’ heavy on your mind. And you said you’d tell me when we were alone. Looks like we’re pretty alone to me.”

“It’s nothin’.” But when Ligur’s firm expression didn’t waver, she sighed. “All right, all right. It’s … well, it’s the boss is all.”

“What about her?” Ligur squeezed her hands.

“It’s not like she doesn’t know what she’s about. She always does. But this is different.” Hastur stubbed her cigarette out on the sole of her boot and tossed it across the room, where it landed in the small pile of cigarette butts that had accumulated under her desk. “He’s an angel, love. And yeah, what you see’s what you get with him—maybe. Still an angel, though, ain’t he?”

“You don’t trust him.”

“Fuck, no. Not enough to think he won’t play stupid games.”

Ligur couldn’t help but smile. It was the most Hastur of all Hastur worries. “The boss can play better ones, though,” he reminded her.

“Yeah, but that’s not the reason she’s going along with this whole scheme. You know what I mean?”

He did. But he just nodded. It was best that Hastur talked through her worries until she asked for his thoughts.

Hastur took a few breaths that she didn’t need—a habit she had when working herself up to say something that troubled her. “I mean, you and me. We’ve been together how long now?”

“Ten thousand years.” Ligur pecked her cheek. “One week, three days, four hours, five and a half minutes—”

“G’wan, you wanker.” Hastur pecked his lips in return. “But that’s the thing, innit? We know what we’re about. Lots of other demons know what they’re about too. Even those that can’t say ten thousand years—down to the second, even.” She winked and poked Ligur’s shoulder, then grew serious again. “But the boss, she ain’t one of them, now is she? Never so much as looked at another demon that way.”

“Well, it’s not like Gabriel can’t say the same about anyone on his side.”

“We can’t know that.”

“He’s Gabriel, doll. He ain’t so much as nibbled on a chocolate, let alone another angel. Not cunning enough to hide it even if he had.”

“I won’t let him play games is all. I won’t,” she insisted as Ligur patted her hands again.

“I know you won’t. I won’t let him, either.”

“Well, then.” Hastur released Ligur’s hands and reached for her belt again. But when Ligur didn’t look away from her face or move to assist her, she sighed. “Okay, it’s more than that. Why’d she give me permission to do all that with him?”

“All what, now?”

Hastur rolled her depthless eyes. “She knows what I’m like, love. What I am. Why I’ve enjoyed running that little spy operation with you at that fake tailor’s for centuries.”

“That she does.”

“So why put me on this particular job with you, then? Why not send Dagon, or—heaven, anyone else? I don’t trust him a bit, but that doesn’t make that arse any less appealing. And I’ve never exactly been shy about just why I take his measurements every time he comes in. So why—”

“I’d imagine she knows and doesn’t mind a bit.”

Hastur stared at him “What?”

“I mean, two hundred and fifty years we’ve been running that little ruse of a shop and she’s never said anything about you touching a bit more of him than you should? And us knowing that she was more than a little fond of him.”

“Yeah, but we didn’t exactly know how fond, now did we?”

“She ever been shy about giving you orders, or telling you when you didn’t do them like she wanted?”

 “It’s not that, though. Not really,” Hastur said. “This time when I get my hands on him, I’m gonna rough him up, just like she said. Only it’s not gonna be just business. It’s gonna be pleasure all the way.”

And that was another reason Hastur wasn’t a lust demon. Precious few of them would’ve hesitated even a second if they’d had an opportunity like this.

“She knows you’re gonna get drenched knocking him out, doll. Else she would’ve sent you.” When Hastur still looked unsure, he leaned in and pressed a kiss against her lips that moved from gentle to fierce in moments. “That’s my girl,” he murmured, resting his forehead against hers. “Thinkin’ of others more than you think you do.”

“Oh, stuff it. Next you’ll be sayin’ I’m a blessed angel.” But that got her to laugh. And then to moan as Ligur swiped his tongue across her lips. “Oh, that is nice, love. Now enough of this, yeah? Don’t want our staff thinking we’re not gonna make the beast with two backs and start drifting back in.”

“Now there’s a lovely picture,” Ligur mused as he untied the belt of her mackintosh. “You want that, doll? You on your hands and knees, me pounding you in your hot little arse?”

“Yeah.” Hastur’s mouth sharpened into a sadistic little grin as she stood from his desk. Ligur slid her coat from her shoulders and let it slide down her arms.

“Well, then. We’d best get to it, hadn’t we?”

Undressing Hastur was always one of the best things about fucking her. You never knew if she’d placidly go along with you, if she’d tease and wriggle away, making you chase her around, or if she’d just squirm and giggle trying to make you even hornier for her. Or if she’d do something entirely unexpected.

Today, however, she let Hastur undress her right down to that dead-sexy pair of lacy black panties that were his favorite.

Hastur didn’t even bother removing anything but Ligur’s coat before she took hold of his tie and gave it a gentle, encouraging pull as she eased down onto the floor, encouraging him to follow. As if he needed any encouragement. As he settled onto his knees, his chameleon uncoiled his tail from Ligur’s neck and crawled from his head down to the floor, his body a near-neon green. Hastur’s frog rustled out from her wig and joined him on the floor, and the two waddled off to give their masters some privacy.

Hastur watched them disappear behind her desk. Then, giving Ligur a saucy wink, she rolled onto all fours and offered up her arse. Ligur had her panties off and his cock out in seconds.

For millennia, heaven and hell had known that the corporeal forms of celestial and infernal beings didn’t need the same considerations that human bodies did. They didn’t need to eat or drink, sleep or rest, or even breathe, really. They also didn’t need to go through the same preparations as humans did when it came to sex. But teasing each other was something Hastur and Ligur enjoyed just as much as the act itself, so Ligur miracled up some slick and trailed his fingers along her pucker.

There were a lot of places he enjoyed being, but all of them had one thing in common: Hastur would be there with him. And no place, however nice, could match the one he was in right now: thrusting in and out of his best girl as she moaned his name and scrabbled her hands for purchase all over the dirty stone floor.

It was over all too soon, just as it always was. So after he spilled inside her, Ligur flipped her onto her back and fucked her again.

By the time they were finished and lying in a panting, wet heap, their familiars had fallen asleep in the bucket behind Hastur’s desk, and the dukes’ staff had long since given up getting any work done that day.

Chapter Text

Even for the most fulfilling of jobs Hastur hated changing her form. She’d chosen her tall, gaunt corporation for a reason, bless it. Nothing like standing at a bit over two meters and looking like a scarecrow for terrifying the humans, or intimidating underlings. She scowled at the human man looking back at her in the fitting room’s full-length mirror. Its name was Severin, and it ran the shop named after it. And it was the worst thing she had ever worn.

During the centuries in which Hastur and Ligur had spied on Gabriel from this fake tailor’s shop, Hastur had forced herself into the same shape, one Beelzebub had designed to look as nonthreateningly human as possible. Severin’s body was short, soft around the stomach and thighs, and had hair that was roughly the same straw color of Hastur’s wig—though far heavier on the gray. However, Hastur couldn’t quite conceal Lily’s arms while wearing this disguise. Her familiar’s hands splayed across Hastur’s temples like burn scars, and no matter how Hastur tried, the bumps on the body’s left cheek never went away completely.

“Bugger all this,” she grumbled. “I’ll be glad when this is over. I mean, look at it!” She gestured at the mirror fiercely, looking over her shoulder at Ligur. “Is it anything like me at all?”

Ligur walked toward him. As always, he wore the equally middle-aged body of Davidson, Severin’s only assistant. And like Severin’s, his form hadn’t changed in the entire time Gabriel had frequented the shop. Hastur knew she wasn’t the most observant of demons, but the fact Gabriel hadn’t ever so much as commented on their never-changing appearance….

Well, perhaps he was thicker than Hastur had thought.

“You look fine, doll,” Ligur assured as he wrapped his arms around her waist.

“No, I don’t,” Hastur insisted.

“You say that whenever we’re playing dress-up, and I always tell you: a disguise is just a disguise. You know what you really look like; I know what you really look like. And since it’s you inside that human costume, how could I ever think you looked anything but beautiful?”

“Hm,” Hastur rumbled. “Not sure I agree with that, love. I might need some more convincing.”

Not that Ligur really needed to do that right now. But this was how things usually went after he’d reassured her.

“Oh, do you now?” Ligur murmured as he tilted his head and began trailing kisses down the body’s stubby neck. “Well, how about I get you out of that suit and do some more convincing while I pin you against the wall and—”

And then, of course, the bell over the door made that irritating little twinkly noise and it was back on the clock for them.

Wasn’t that always how it went?

“I’ve got this,” Hastur said before giving Ligur a kiss that spoke of every filthy thing she wanted to do when this mission was over. And then she straightened her vest and walked out into the showroom.

And there was Gabriel, looking as delicious as ever in a three-piece slim-fit Gianni Feraud wedding suit in baby blue. Burberry shirt. Brown wingtip oxfords. Fucking heaven, not having to learn another blessed thing about the history of human fashion would be almost as good as not having to wear this awful body again!

But something about him just seemed … off today, somehow. Like that heavenly light burning deep inside him was a bit dimmer. Or maybe a bit hotter. Something.

“Ah, Mr. Mann,” she greeted instead of thinking too hard about it.

“Severin, how are you?” Gabriel’s handshake was as warm as his smile, but there was that something again. Hastur returned the greeting in a completely professional manner and didn’t let the handshake linger, even though she would have loved to explore his palm. She settled instead for stepping back to look Gabriel over. Why did he always look like he’d just floated into his clothes? Well, of course, it was the fact his suits were all bespoke, and Hastur could tell. She and Ligur had had to learn a great deal about actual tailoring too. Enough they could probably open up a shop like this in hell, if they ever got tired of being Beelzebub’s right-hand demons.

Hell’d have to freeze over before that happened, of course.

“Ah, a 1998 Feraud,” she went on when she realized the looking-over was probably lasting a bit too long not to be disturbing. “Normally, I’d accuse someone of being painfully out of style if they came in here wearing that. But on a body like yours, anything looks good.” Not so good, though, that she wouldn’t have loved to tear it off him. But that was the boss’s job.

Lucky.

“Thank you!” Gabriel chirped. And then that something became clear. He was all smiles all the time, but today those smiles were just a tad bit forced.

Hastur fought back a little hiss of laughter and pleasure. The boss’s phone calls and that ringtone-thing with the suggestive song she was using had to be getting to him. And his nervousness was starting to affect Hastur too. Gabriel always looked delicious, but this anxiety seeping from him made him even tastier. Hastur wondered what he’d look like on his knees, hands bound behind his back, staring up at her with absolute terror in his eyes—terror from being entirely at the mercy of hell’s most merciless duke, and terror at just how aroused that made him.

Good thing Hastur hadn’t bothered to give this temporary body anything between its legs that could get hard or wet. Way too distracting.

“Shall I help you pick out something for today, sir, or would you prefer to browse?” Hastur prompted when Gabriel just kept staring at her as if he’d lost the plot.

“Oh, browse, I think,” he said with just a little bit of a start. He began looking at the suits. “But you have so many good outfits, it’s always just so hard to choose,” he said, his tone far too jovial.

Hastur wasn’t sure when she’d moved up to stand beside him, but suddenly Gabriel was turning to face her, looking even more nervous.

“Okay,” Gabriel said, clapping his hands together. “I’ll tell you what. If I need some help deciding, I’ll just— Well. I’ll just give you or Davidson a holler. He’s around today, isn’t he?”

Gabriel on his knees as Hastur ran the leather thongs of a cat-o’-nine tails through her fingers….

On all fours as Hastur straddled him to trail them along his broad back….

Or on his back staring up at her in lust and terror as she—

“Yes, sir,” she said quickly. “And of course, sir. We are both always glad to help.” And with a little bow, she turned and headed back for the fitting room, trying to walk with grace, rather than with speed.

Trouble was, she didn’t have any whips to subdue him with. That’d take too long, for one thing. And for another, they weren’t her implement of choice.

No, that’d be a crowbar. Sure, it wasn’t the nicest thing to use on someone you fancied, but the boss had told Hastur to rough him up to her heart’s content—so long as that content didn’t discorporate him, of course.

And roughing up Gabriel was pretty high on Hastur’s list of content.

“He’s rattled,” she told Hastur after she closed the door to the fitting room. “But I don’t think he’ll bolt. A shame, though.” She sucked her lower lip into her mouth. “I might fancy a chase down Cork Street.”

“I know you would.” And even though Davidson’s body wasn’t Ligur’s at all, that wicked smile sure as heaven was. “And I know that look of yours, doll. What’re you planning for him, I wonder?”

“Somethin’ painful.” As Hastur miracled her favorite crowbar into her hands, Ligur’s eyes widened and turned a vibrant green.

“Yeah,” he growled, mouth pulling into an even toothier smile. “Oh, I do love you.”

“Mh, and you know I love you.”

The ring tone the boss had put on Gabriel’s phone blared from the showroom, and they pulled out of a kiss that was becoming far too distracting. As they opened the door and peered out, Gabriel was fishing through the pocket of his elegant jacket for his phone.

What?” Gabriel whispered as he answered it, sounding a lot like a librarian scolding a noisy patron (and Hastur would know; one had caught her and Ligur rutting in the religious titles back in 1958). Hastur and Ligur ducked back into the fitting room as Gabriel started to turn toward it, as if trying to make sure no one was listening in. Scowling, he pushed a button on the phone, ending the call.

He turned back to looking a rack of suit jackets mere seconds before the phone sounded again. Hastur had no idea what the boss was saying, but whatever it was, it sure had Gabriel tensing all the way from his broad shoulders down to his narrow hips. Which meant, of course, that she was probably telling him all sorts of filthy things.

“Look at that,” Hastur purred. “Ain’t he hot to trot? Hardly trust myself to go out there and fetch him.”

“No worries, I’ve got this.” Ligur pinched her rear and winked at her before heading out into the showroom.

Hastur moved into the corner of the room that was farthest from the full-length mirror. As she listened to the rich, smooth tones of Ligur’s voice and the increasingly pitched and fractured staccato of Gabriel’s, she could almost feel the weight of the crowbar in her hands.

Just a few more seconds. Just a few more seconds….

And there he was, cringing through the door as though he expected someone to ambush him at any second.

Heh. Well.

He shut the door behind him, but that was all right. Ligur simply opened it and sneaked inside, sending Hastur a saucy wink as he sidled over to her.

They watched as Gabriel shed his jacket, sending the phone tumbling from a pocket onto the floor. He made a little frustrated sound but didn’t reach to pick it up as he dropped the expensive-looking garment on top of it.  

The sight of his back covered by slightly less fabric was all Hastur could take. Unwilled, the hateful body she’d forced herself into began to crack like an egg, letting her stretch and uncurl from the prison she’d been wearing for what felt like years.

Meanwhile, Gabriel’s fingers were trembling as he struggled with the windsor knot on his tie.

“Shit,” he growled, yanking harder at it.

“Aw, now,” Hastur drawled as she stepped toward the door, “that’s not very nice language for an angel to be using.”

Ligur stifled a laugh as he joined her, his own disguise melting away too.

Meanwhile, Gabriel stared into the mirror as the terror locked in his back seeped into his face. His beautiful violet eyes blew wide like fuses before he turned to face them.

And there it was; under all that fear and uncertainty, a tremor of desire that, if left unsated, would crack him wide open.

He’d never looked more delectable.

“Well, hello there,” Hastur cooed as her mouth finally returned to normal. She could feel her grin—feral and hungry.

“Hi,” Ligur said with false cheerfulness, giving him a sarcastic little finger-wave.

Until now, Hastur hadn’t known that angels could blanch. But Gabriel was certainly doing just that as he stepped backward toward the mirror.

“You. What do you want?”

He was trying so hard and failing even harder to sound all brave and archangel-y. It was kinda cute—and very sexy.

“Oh, now, there’s no need to ask silly questions,” Ligur said as he sidestepped toward the door and stood in front of it. “Hastur here she doesn’t really like it when people ask silly questions, you see.”

“Tends to piss me off,” she agreed. “And believe me, archangel, you don’t want to see me when I’m pissed off.”

Miracling a crowbar—or any other weapon, really—into her hands was so easy that Hastur barely even needed to think about it. When she pulled it out from behind her back, Gabriel’s eyes somehow widened even further. The battle between dread and arousal raged on across his chiseled features. But as Hastur tapped its claw against her left palm, a glint in those violet eyes suggested that arousal was slowly getting the upper hand.

You dirty angel. You protest, but you’re loving every bit of this, aren’t you?

“You—you’ve both—” Gabriel stammered, looking around the room as though he could discover some alternate exit. “All these centuries, you were the ones running—”

“That’s right,” Ligur said with his cruelest smirk. And oh, didn’t that didn’t soak Hastur’s pussy.

“Surprised?” he went on. “You shouldn’t be. It was a great way to gather intelligence when you and that assistant of yours thought you were the safest. And let me tell you, we weren’t only gathering one kind of intelligence for the boss.” If Hastur’s pussy hadn’t already flooded, the sharp, lecherous twist to his lips would’ve been more than enough.

“Hastur here loved getting her hands all over that nice body of yours. Especially when she had to take your inside-leg and seat measurements.”

“What?” Apparently angels could blanch and blush, and lose their words all at once. “You were seriously okay with that?”

Oh, you pretty little thing. If only you knew just how much my husband’s okay with, that pretty blush would burn you right up.

“Yeah, why not? It was just a bit of fun,” Ligur said with a shrug before hooking an arm around Hastur’s waist and pulling her up against his side. “You are easy on the eyes, after all. And besides”—the possessive little squeeze against Hastur’s hip made her whimper with pleasure. “I know who she really wants. Don’t I, baby?”

“Mh, yeah.” As Gabriel looked on, she leaned in and kissed Ligur harder than she had all week, moaning as his tongue parted her lips and glided along the top of hers like a serpent coiling across a pond’s slick floor.

“Mhh,” Hastur agreed as she circled it with her own slick tongue. There was no reason to keep a close watch on Gabriel, so she plunged her tongue even deeper, letting it elongate like a frog’s. But she wasn’t so distracted that she couldn’t swing her crowbar at Gabriel when he actually did try to bolt around them.

Little brat. Oh, the boss is gonna just love taming you.

The images of just how Beelzebub would tame him made her cackle as she moved toward the cowering archangel, slapping the hook end of the crowbar against her palm in time with the waves of lust that crested through her.

“That’s right,” she informed him as she stalked closer. “I know who I want. Now, question is, d’you know who wants you?”

Gabriel didn’t answer. Not necessarily because he didn’t want to, Hastur could tell, but because taking a swing from a crowbar right to the stomach probably hurt like fuck, even for a celestial being with his power. The way he crumpled to the floor, wheezing and grasping at what was probably the first injury he’d taken in centuries.

Ligur smiled at her in approval as he circled behind Gabriel. “Well?” he asked as he kicked the archangel in the side. “Do you?”

Gabriel let out a gorgeous wail of pain as he hugged himself tightly. His violet eyes shined with tears, only they weren’t born of fear. At least, not the unpleasant kind.

The battle had been won. Only time would tell if fear would launch a new attack.

“You’re going to force me to say it, aren’t you?” Gabriel asked, turning his face up to Hastur. The tears spilled over and glistened down his cheeks like trails of silver.

“Yeah, that’s right,” Hastur said as she caressed the back of the claw through one of them. “Because we’re not done up here ’til you do. You understand?”

“We’ve got orders,” Ligur clarified, giving Gabriel’s arse a good prod with the toe of his boot. “And our orders are to keep you here ’til you admit it. Even if we’ve got to beat it out of you. So.” A nice push of his foot against those firm cheeks sent Gabriel sprawling onto all fours. “Why don’t you just say it so we can get on with it?”

Hastur trailed the claw of the crowbar through Gabriel’s hair. He always wore it slicked down, not a strand out of place. So neat and elegant, so posh.

She wondered what it would look like after the boss tugged on it.

“Or, you know,” she said, “you can keep crying and making excuses. Because I can do this all night.” She ran the curve of the bar down his cheek, then pivoted it to catch his chin with the prongs. A gentle tug had Gabriel staring up at her, the very picture of eager submission.

And more slick flooded from Hastur’s channel.

“Say it! Say it or I’ll beat your face in.”

“Fuck, oh fuck,” Gabriel implored as the tears started up again.

“Say it!” Hastur hit him across the face so hard that his head turned. Golden ichor, the angelic equivalent of human blood, fountained from his mouth.

“Beelzebub,” Gabriel confessed on a sob. “Beelzebub wants me.”

Fuck, he was beautiful. His face already bruising up in amber wheals and lumps where Hastur had hit him. Golden ichor trailing from his nose down to his lower lip, which was also dripping with ichor. Drops of it collecting on that crisp white shirt and that half-undone lavender tie.

Oh, she’d be wanking to this pretty picture for a very long time.

“There, was that so hard?” Ligur soothed from where he stood behind Gabriel. “And what do you want, then, hmm?”

“I … I can’t. I can’t—”

Definitely wank fodder.

“Aw, it’s no problem, love.” Hastur ran her hand through his hair, making sure to muss it up as much as possible. “That’s the reason we’re here, you know. You can’t because you’re a nice angel, who only wants nice things, and you can’t. Of course you can’t.”

He couldn’t.

But she could. And so could Ligur.

And so Hastur swung her crowbar back. It seemed like she should say something. The piece-de-whatever right before Gabriel passed the point of no return.

And just like that, the lyrics from the song Beelzebub had somehow sneaked onto Gabriel’s phone flittered through her mind. They seemed appropriate enough.

“Do you get the gist of this song now?” she asked before smashing him across the face just one more time.

And those violet eyes rolled back as Gabriel keeled over onto his side and lay there.

Well, and wasn’t that fun?

But as golden life force continued to trickle from Gabriel’s lip, another thought occurred to her.

Shit.

And what if I went too far?

Chapter Text

There were three things about Hastur that few demons knew. The first: despite all her posturing, glaring, and fuck-yous, she was often one of the most self-doubting denizens in all of hell. The second: if she let down her guard enough around you to show even a bit of that anxiety, reassuring her wasn’t all that hard. Really, all you needed to do was shut your mouth and fucking listen to what she was really trying to say.

The third? Well, the third was actually pretty obvious if you paid attention to anything other than your job—which, to be fair, most demons didn’t. For equally obvious reasons.

The third thing was that as much as he and Hastur gave lip service to the idea that demons didn’t trust each other … well. Like a lot of things in hell, that idea wasn’t exactly the truth. Somewhat true? Absolutely. Mostly true? Quite possibly.

Then again, Ligur mused as he and Hastur descended one of hell’s many twisting staircases while dragging an unconscious archangel behind them, what was truth supposed to be anyway? And if some demons became demons just because they’d asked that question, then maybe the whole idea of truth really was just bullshine.

Still, hermeneutics or whatever you called it aside, the fact demons didn’t trust each other wasn’t solidly, unquestionably true. And if you needed proof of that, you only needed to look at Hastur. What Ligur had with her went beyond mere trust, and what Hastur felt for Beelzebub was trust incarnate.

And that was why he’d had to reassure her that, no, she hadn’t beaten Gabriel too hard. And why she kept glancing over her shoulder from time to time as Gabriel’s head thunked against every uneven step on this narrow staircase.

“I know,” she sighed when she noticed Ligur looking at her. “I know.”

And he did. When you trusted someone, giving them an archangel with smashed-in pate was about the last thing you wanted to do. Not that being dragged down a flight of stairs—well, okay, six flights of stairs—would do much more than give an archangel a little vertigo at worst.

Especially one as powerful as Gabriel here.

“What d’you think the boss’s got planned for the welcoming party?” Hastur asked as they descended.

Gabriel’s head thunked against another step, as if its owner wondered the same thing.

“‘It’s a surprise, but I’ll tell you one thing: you’ve got front-row seats,’” Hastur quoted what the boss had told them before they headed up to the tailor’s. “Well, that could mean anything, couldn’t it?”

“Yeah. But you’re having fun imagining, aren’t you?”

Hastur flashed him a truly feral grin. “She always plans the best parties.”

It was true. In addition to being hell’s prince, Beelzebub was also the archduke of gluttony. And while head office wasn’t the most luxurious of hell’s seven courts—the boss, after all, had a blessed lot more to think about than luxury, unlike the archdemons who ruled over each other sin—it could be the rawest and most excessive when Beelzebub had a mind to make it so.

And given that everyone in head office was to attend this … whatever it was … the boss had to be planning something incredibly excessive. And given that it involved Gabriel, Ligur had no doubt the event would also be debauched.

Beyond that, though, Ligur had no more idea than his lover. But “front-row seats” made it sound much more complicated than the usual raves head office held.

Gabriel chose then to moan back into semi-consciousness, ending the discussion.

“Fuck’s sake,” Hastur hissed, bumping his head down a few stairs in quick succession. “We’re trying to have a conversation here. Fuckin’ heavy bastard.”

Another few thunks, punctuated by Gabriel’s dissatisfied groans.

“Now you’re just dragging him for fun, baby,” Ligur said with amusement.

“Course I am!” Hastur chirped with equal amusement. Gabriel made a half-coherent noise that sounded like “Hmh? Whagh?”

“Hey! Who told you that you could wake up?”

Before Gabriel could make another sound, Hastur whipped out her crowbar and smashed him across the face again.

Ligur tsked. “Oh, doll. That’s the third time on this staircase! You keep doing that, he’s gonna be one big bruise.”

“Well,” Hastur huffed, “serves him right for not listening to me the first time. Besides, we’re almost to the office.”

“If by almost you mean one more long staircase,” Ligur teased. “You’ve brought him this far. Let me carry him the rest of the way.”

“It’s funner to bang him up,” Hastur groused. But she allowed Ligur to pick him up.

“Besides,” Ligur said as he hefted Gabriel over a shoulder, “the sooner the boss has him, the sooner we get to see what this party is.”

 

***

There were three things about Dagon that every demon knew. First, Beelzebub had not given her the title master of torments as an empty courtesy. Second, if you had an urge to play silly buggers with her, you’d do well remember that she’d done plenty to earn said title.

And third, when she was standing outside your office looking like thunder itself, you were in trouble.

Fortunately, Dagon only looked mildly irritated as Hastur and Ligur arrived outside of theirs. Nevertheless, a mildly irritated Dagon could be just as dangerous as a fully wrathful one, especially if you didn’t do everything your blessed power to make her less irritated.

“Well, you two certainly took your sweet time,” she snapped. “What the heaven were you doing, fucking in room eleven again?”

“That was only the one time,” Hastur helpfully reminded her, and hell’s bells, Ligur loved her more than sin itself, but his girl really had no sense of self-preservation sometimes.

Dagon’s lips pulled into a sarcastic smile that showed far too many of her teeth. “You know, I’d almost forgotten all about that! Thank you, Hastur. Now I can relive every detail of what I saw when I walked in on you. Really, I’ve no fucking idea how I got by without doing that!”

Hastur opened her mouth again, then shut it as Dagon shot her a glare that could’ve frozen an ocean’s worth of hellfire. When she turned to Ligur, that glare heated enough that it might as well have been hellfire.

 “Satan’s scabrous nut sac,” she hissed as she stormed around Ligur, he assumed to study the archangel’s face. “He looks like he’s been mauled by a rabid hellhound! What the fuck did you do to him?” This she directed straight at Hastur.

“Well, don’t look at me like that! The boss said—”

“Yes, to rough him up! Not pulverize him!”

“Haven’t hardly done that, now have we?”

Dagon growled as she lowered to her knees at Ligur’s side and craned her neck to study Gabriel’s face. “You are both blessed lucky he’s healing up so quick,” she said as she straightened to her feet. “If you’d fucked this up for her—”

“We wouldn’t’ve done that,” Ligur insisted, just as Hastur said the same thing—albeit in a far more desperate tone.

Dagon huffed in pure disbelief. “I don’t really have time for this, and neither does the boss. Get that ichor cleaned of his face and get him ready. Chained up. Wrists and ankles. Then bring him to the great hall.”

Ligur’s eyebrows arched of their own volition. That was the first real hint they’d gotten about what the boss had in mind. An obvious hint, sure—where else would she hold something that anyone could have “front-row seats” to? Still, it was confirmation enough to keep Hastur and him guessing.

And while his girl didn’t always enjoy guessing games, Ligur almost always did.

“Yes, Principal Secretary.” Dagon had many titles, but that one in particular usually seemed to put her in a better mood.

And sure enough, Dagon’s pissed-off expression softened into one that was more businesslike—albeit one that was more disgruntled than neutral.

“Okay. Just don’t take too long.” She pivoted and held a finger up in Hastur’s face—“Do not ruin this for her,”—and stalked off before Hastur could respond.

“Yes, you said that twice,” Hastur groused before looking over at Ligur. “Guess we better get on with it, then.”

Ligur murmured in agreement and followed her into the office. He couldn’t help but notice that their staff was absent.

No surprise there. A fourth thing about Dagon was that a glare from her could empty a room of underlings even faster than Hastur’s threats of having sex in front of them ever would.

“What d’you think she was going on about with that great-hall business?” Hastur asked as she hauled a battered cardboard box from the top of a rickety shelf. She thumped it down on the floor and bent to rummage through it—deliberately turning so Ligur could look at her arse while she did so.

Even though it was covered with several layers of cloth, its outline was enough to be of more than passing interest.

“Dunno,” Ligur admitted as he dragged the chair out from behind his desk. Grunting with the effort, he shifted Gabriel from his shoulder and onto the seat. Aside from his head lolling to his right shoulder, the archangel was still.

“Should be fun, though, yeah?” Hastur asked as she removed a dusty plastic box with a cracked lid and put it to the side. “And hopefully pretty rough on our saucy little guest here.”

“She never does anything by half-measures, our Beelzebub,” Ligur agreed as Hastur removed a tangle of paperclips (“So that’s where they all went.”) and then a bunch of torn and crumpled papers.

“Remember the time she did the—” Hastur winced, then pulled out a hand covered in white glue and a few crumpled up, equally glue-smeared papers. “Agh, will y’look at this? Why’s everyone’s first thought when they break a glue bottle’s to just toss it in any old box?” Muttering under her breath, she lit her hand up with hellfire, which melted away the mess stuck to it as if it were wax. “Bless it, it’s all just more of this shit in here.” She shoved the box against the wall and sighed, running a hand over her wig and knocking it askew.

“It’s all right, doll,” Ligur soothed, going to her side. “We’ll incinerate a third of our staff tomorrow as a reminder, yeah?”

“Mhn,” Hastur grunted. “And where the heaven d’you think the tosspots’ve put the manacles and leg irons, now? Probably in the fucking copier or some shit,” she groused. “Bastards.”

Ligur stroked her back in little soothing circles as he had a ponder himself. But just as he remembered where he’d seen them last, Hastur snapped her fingers, then rose onto her knees and tugged out a filthy cardboard box from the middle shelf.

“Ah, yes,” she hissed in delight. “Now here we go. All the best ones.” She pushed aside a battered wooden box of thumbscrews and a flail that had seen better days, then grinned as she pulled out a set of manacles and then a set of leg irons with a bit over half a meter of rusted, but serviceable chain on each pair.

“Should be strong enough to hold an archangel,” Ligur observed. “But just in case.” He trailed his finger around the loop of each cuff, setting off a few sparks as he miracled the metal into far stronger stuff.  

“You always think of everything, love.” Hastur pecked his lips before taking both sets from him and crouching at Gabriel’s feet. When the first manacle fit a bit too tightly around his wrist, she growled in frustration and miracled a few more centimeters onto the cuff.

“Guess these should be a bit looser. Don’t want him distracted—”

Ligur caught the sight of one violet eye slamming shut at the same time Hastur did. And when she spoke, her tone was anything but playful and amused. Just as it often wasn’t when you interrupted her in the middle of doing something.

“Fuck! How can he keep doing— You hit him this time, Ligur. Apparently my blows aren’t good enough for Archangel Fuckface here.”

Ligur popped Gabriel so hard in the jaw that his knuckles cracked.

“Blessed iron head, this one’s got,” he said, shaking the little sting of pain away. “Appropriate, though, with how stubborn he is.”

“Mh-hm. And here Dagon was worried we’d hurt him too much when he’s actually got that iron mug,” Hastur groused. She snapped on the next manacle a bit harder than she needed to, then got to work on his ankles.

“He’ll look so lovely wearing these,” she said as she stood from the floor and swept her wig from her head. “The heaven do I still have this blessed thing on? Anyway, he’d look even better if he wasn’t wearing nothing else but them. Maybe covering himself up with his hands for good measu— Oh!” Her inky eyes widened and she turned to Ligur, her chapped lips parted so wide, it was a wonder her jaw didn’t unhinge. “Well, bugger me senseless with a rake.”

“Well, that’s new, but all right,” Ligur said, adding it to his mental list of ways in which he and his girl hadn’t tried fucking yet. (It was a very, very long list, even for two ageless infernal beings.)

“What?” Hastur’s shocked expression took a brief detour through confusion before settling on understanding. “Oh. No. I mean—not that I’m turning that down, mind—but I mean I think I’ve figured out what the boss is gonna do. ‘Front-row seats.’ That’s from the theater, innit?”

“Yeah,” Ligur said with a nod. He had an inking that he could see where this was going.

“Well, then. Maybe he’s the theater show.”

Nodding, Ligur considered that for a moment. “Yeah,” he said at last, his mouth sharpening into a grin.

“Yeah,” Hastur agreed with the same sharp smile. “Yeah,” she laughed, and oh what a sadistic laugh it was!

It was a bit sad that he didn’t have the same interest in Gabriel that his girl did. Because thinking of how excited Hastur would get while watching whatever kinky theater the boss had planned was getting him pretty excited too.

That gave him an idea.

“Well,” Hastur said, clapping her hands together. “Guess we’d better wake him up and get this road on the show, hadn’t we?”

She walked to her desk to retrieve the bucket of foul water, which never seemed to stop dripping from the corroded ceiling, shaking her arse all the way.

And oh, didn’t Ligur have a good idea for what he’d do to that arse as soon as the curtain went up.

Chapter Text

The boss wasn’t pleased with how long they’d taken getting Gabriel ready for the show she’d planned. And since everyone from head office was packed in here like Sardinians—that was the word for those little fish, wasn’t it?—Hastur knew it’d be a blessed good one.

Ligur had shoved an old sack over Gabriel’s head before they brought him here, and the archangel hadn’t liked that a bit! But he’d settled down well enough after Hastur had threatened to split his lip. Probably wanted to look his best for the prince. Not that she’d mind seeing him in a state like this: face still healing and wrists all raw from the manacles around them.

The moment she and Ligur walked through the doors, the catcalls began, and they only got louder as the pair marched Gabriel up to the dais at the front of the room, where Beelzebub’s throne usually sat. Yeah, they didn’t even need to see his face to know who their dukes had captured; the fancy suit gave him away immediately. When Gabriel took a step back, as if to shield himself from the attention, Ligur shoved him forward into Hastur’s arms.

“Welcome to hell,” she purred in his ear. “Do enjoy your stay. It’s going to be a long one.”

At least she knew that much about what Beelzebub had in store.

With that, she shoved him away and yanked the sack from his face, smirking as he landed on the floor on all fours.

“Oh, what a lovely picture that is,” she murmured to Ligur. He winked at her, then grabbed Gabriel under the armpits and yanked him onto his knees. Hastur dug her hand into his hair, messing it up even further as she yanked his head up to look at the boss.

And the prince was in fine form today indeed. Usually when she held court, she sat in her chair all slouchy, looking like she’d rather be on the rack than listening to one more fucking demon talk. But now she was perched on the edge of it, legs crossed, the toe of her right shoe touching the floor like one of those ball-et dancers, or whatever you called them.

She always looked princely, the boss did. But today she looked fierce, regal. Determined.

Oh yeah, she wants him bad.

All the demons knew it too. They were sure babbling loud enough about it.

The boss shot them all that fierce look she used when she’d led legions during the War in Heaven. The one she also used at her quarterly meetings with the archdukes, when one of them—usually Mammon—was being a thick fuck. It meant you’d do well to shut your face right now. The court didn’t take the hint—probably just excited about the delicious piece of heaven on his knees. But they sure did when Beelzebub slammed her left fist against the armrest, like it was a gavel, and roared for quiet.

“Duke Hastur. Duke Ligur. I see you have a very interesting deed to recount today.” She met Ligur’s eyes, then Hastur’s. “Tell uzzz.”

Ligur was the first to speak. He always did, Hastur not being the biggest fan of talking in front of an audience. “Your lowness,” he said as both dukes turned to address the demons. “As you know, all has not been well in heaven since our—unfortunate ceasefire.”

A few demons were dumb enough to murmur and whisper, but this time the boss’s glare was more than enough to shut them up.

“Our operatives have learned that the archangels have been questioning its leadership.”

Yep, it was business as always Upstairs. You didn’t even need to listen in on Hastur and Michael’s little talks—which Hastur did, of course—to know that Michael thought Gabriel was shit at his job. Pretty much everyone did.

Still, were his angels devious enough to mutiny like this? Michael’s talk hadn’t been just, well, talk?

Not bad, Wank-wings. Not bad.

“Seems they don’t want him around anymore,” Ligur went on. “Seems they think Michael would do a better job.”

“No shit.” The room was quiet enough to hear at least four demons say that at once. But when the boss let some white hellfire dance through the fingers of her left hand, they didn’t say anything else.

For his part, Ligur pretended they hadn’t interrupted. “But how d’you disappear an angel, Your Lowness? Especially one so high-ranked they can’t help but be missed?”

From his place on his knees, Gabriel gave a little whimper that was somewhere between fear and excitement—but more excitement.

“Simple,” Hastur took over. She may not know just what Michael was about, but she had enough to fill in the gaps, which meant she had more than enough to work with. “You call us. And just like that”—she snapped her fingers, giving the dirty little angel a toothy smirk. “Problem solved. Both our problems.”

Gabriel did that little noise again.

“Yezz,” the boss said. “And heaven has just given itself another problem. Michael may have the brains their superior—well, former superior lacks, but they’ve already made a mizzztake.

“Heaven isn’t stupid. Heaven notices. And then heaven spies. And soon enough, heaven will find out exactly what Michael did to their rival.”

Huh. Maybe not so devious after all.

“And exactly what we’re doing to them.

“We may not have gotten Armageddon, my friends. And I was as disappointed as any of you. But we were patient. And we waited. And we watched. And now, we’ve been rewarded with something even better: civil war in heaven.”

Hastur glanced over at Ligur as cheers filled the room. Anyone else would’ve missed the millisecond his brows pulled together.

Devious or not, though. Michael could take care of themselves. She and Ligur, they’d both seen that ten thousand years ago, hadn’t they? Personally so.

Funny old world, isn’t it, when you get the hots for the angels that kicked your arse?

Maybe Gabriel felt the same way, because he was looking at Hastur as if to say, “I’ve really fucked up here, haven’t I?”

And that wouldn’t do at all.

Hastur gave him a good clout to the ear and yanked his head back so he’d look at the prince. She probably didn’t need to tell him to keep his eyes on the boss, but she did anyway. He probably didn’t need the threats, either, but they were fun.

“Your deed has rendered us a great service today,” the boss said, in that voice that meant it was time for her dukes to face her. “And you will be commended appropriately,” she said when they did. “Later. For now, you are dismissed.”

Hastur bowed a few seconds before Ligur did, and she held her arms out just a bit faster than he did too.

My wings are at your service ever, my dread prince. The gesture was a formality for a lot of demons. Some, like Mammon, even did it with just enough sneaky snideness that you might not even notice if you were only being half-hearted about it yourself.

Of course, both her dukes meant it when they did it. But Hastur meant it even more. In her head, she always recited the gesture’s meaning to the boss, along with something more: So’s the rest of me.

And as she always did when Hastur bowed to her, the prince gave her the smallest of nods that Hastur always returned with the smallest smile.

When Hastur caught up with her lover a second later, Ligur took her hand and squeezed it softly. He kept walking, and she followed.

Even though the great hall was pretty much like the ones humans made in their buildings, it had still been made in hell. That meant its parts didn’t entirely all match up. It had its little and not-so-little slopes and holes in the floor that you could fall over—or into; its little exposed wires on the wall that could electrocute you so hard you’d discorporate. And its little corners where you could—

Well, since Ligur was pulling her into one now and electrifying her with a kiss, yeah, you basically used these for fucking. That is, if you didn’t want to do it right out in the open.

After all, Dagon hadn’t put up any posters saying not to fuck against the walls, or on the floors, or in front of other demons, now had she?

Not that Hastur gave two shits right now. Not with Ligur kissing what would’ve been the life out of her if she’d been human.

“Mhh,” he murmured as soon as he pulled out of it. “Having a great time, ain’t you, doll?”

Hastur stepped closer and moved their joined hands to her groin. “Hm. Yeah. You gonna fuck me here, darlin’?” As questions went, it wasn’t an unusual one. Hastur and Ligur had fucked in just about all of these little nooks.

“Yeah,” Ligur purred as he miracled up a chair and settled into it. With a wink at Hastur, he patted his lap. Hastur couldn’t get out of her tattered mackintosh fast enough.

“No,” Ligur said as she stepped between his legs. “Not facin’ me, doll.”

As requests went, though, that was an unusual one. “What?”

Ligur smirked as he raised his left hand and spun his index finger in a circle. Hastur turned around—

Just in time to see the boss rip the shirt right off Gabriel’s back.

“Oh,” she growled, turning back to Ligur to find him grinning at her. “Oh, I just love you.”

“And don’t I just love you.” Ligur beckoned to her. “Come on now,” he said as he untied his coat. When he took himself out, he was already hard. “Been wanting to come inside you all day.”

He guided Hastur by her hips as she backed up and eased down into his lap.

Hastur moaned as she sank onto his cock. If she’d believed in such silly things as destiny, she would have thought that her and Hastur’s efforted genitals were made to perfectly fit one another, no matter what combination they used. No, she believed in something much better than destiny.

She believed in Ligur.

One of the many reasons she did was squirming on the dais right in front of them. Watching her take a fancy to someone else only made him want her more—even though he knew, the silly bugger, that she’d taken much more than a fancy to him.

As her husband bottomed out inside her pussy, Hastur moaned and turned her gaze to the dais. Gabriel was now kneeling as the boss stood behind him, rubbing her thumbs in little circles over his stiff nipples. And oh, wasn’t that a pretty sight, his face red as the hot end of a poker, his eyes glistening with tears, and darkened from their usual violet to a deep indigo.

The sight made Hastur even wetter.

“Bet he’s real turned on,” she murmured as she rocked against Ligur’s cock. “By all that noise. All those eyes on him. Not to mention all that attention from the boss.”

“Gluttony and lust. What a disgusting angel,” the boss told the assembled demons, shaking her head in disgust that was so exaggerated you could just see how she was smiling with her whole body.

She yanked on his tie as she walked around to his left side.

“Look at him,” Ligur murmured in her ear. “Standing to follow her. Knows exactly what he wants, doesn’t he?” He slid his hand over Hastur’s bare thigh, and she moaned as his fingertips brushed the very top of her labia. “And I know just what you want, doll.”

“Bless it, darling,” Hastur whimpered in frustration as his fingers left her mound. Seconds later, though, they were plucking her left nipple into a hard little point.

“Shh, just watch,” he whispered. “Just listen. Don’t he look beautiful like that?”

Gabriel had his head back, nearly resting against the boss’s neck as she ran her hands down his chest, lower, lower, lower. The position reminded Hastur of one of those vampire movies she’d had to watch once while she and Ligur were out hunting for a few more souls to add to their monthly tally. In the film, the human woman was leaning back, all hypnotized or some such, while the vampire turned his head to her neck and bit down on the artery inside.

Did humans find that whole idea as sexy as Hastur did? Did the boss? Heaven, did Gabriel?

“He’s a slut for it, ain’t he?” Hastur said as she raised her hips and lowered them.

Yeah, it sure looked like he did.

“That’s right, doll,” Ligur said, squeezing her right hip as he pinched her nipple even harder. “Just like you’re a slut for me.”

“No,” Gabriel whimpered, and then a bunch of other incoherent protests that sounded like he wanted the boss to do just what she was doing.

When she reared back and slapped him across the cheek, Hastur hissed in pleasure, then growled as she caught a few other demons making the same sounds.

“Mh, my best girl’s a little jealous, ain’t she?” The slap Ligur gave her cheek wasn’t nearly as hard as the one that had turned Gabriel’s head, but it stung nicely enough that Hastur’s clit pulsed. “Oh, but my girl’s naughty. Should learn to share the toys she likes.”

“No,” Hastur said with a cheeky little laugh, just like she always did, as she squeezed her pussy around Ligur’s cock. “Sharin’ takes all the fun out of it, don’t it?”

Gabriel cried out as the boss tore his trousers away. In the split second before he covered himself in humiliation, Hastur saw the erection straining against those lavender satin briefs.

“Fuck,” she moaned. Then, “Fuck,” as Ligur smacked her hip.

“Keep riding me, doll. And tell me. D’you think she’s as interested in sharing him as you are in seein’ him shared?” He pressed his palm over Hastur’s mouth, stifling the scream the mere idea wrung from her as she ground down against him. “Bet you’d love that, huh? Making him eat your hot little pussy while the boss fucks his arse.”

“No,” Hastur moaned against his hand. “No,” she repeated breathlessly as Ligur uncovered her mouth. “Not unless you’re there.”

“Oh, I would be,” Ligur assured her, teasing at her folds again. “You think I wouldn’t be there rawing your arse?”

“Fuck, darlin’,” Hastur growled as she rocked harder. Why did he always know just what to say to get her hot and bothered? Why did his cock always feel so blessed thick and hard and good inside her? Why did he always know just how to pinch her clit, not too rough, not to gentle, but just right to make her—

“No, not yet,” Ligur admonished as he eased off rubbing it. “Want you to last. Want you to see what I think she’s gonna do to him before you get me all drenched like I know you will.”

“Yeah,” Hastur promised. Though when the boss ripped Gabriel’s last shred of clothing away, she had to bite the insides of her cheeks until the rich, inky taste of ichor prickled along her tongue. When the boss started circling Gabriel like a wolf that’d cornered her prey, though, Hastur had to close her eyes for a moment to control herself.

“Zzzzzo modest,” the boss crooned. At least that’s what it sounded like she’d said; the fact the entire hall was echoing with catcalls and cheers kind of made it hard to tell. So Hastur opened her eyes to see what all the fuss was, just as Ligur covered her mouth.

Good job that he did, too. The sight of the boss manhandling Gabriel’s balls had her screaming right into his palm.

“Yezzz, that’s right,” the boss soothed. Gabriel was staring at her as if she’d hung every star in the sky—including the ones he’d been responsible for. Tears overflowed his violet eyes; the more that fell, the brighter the hall became—or was that just her imagination running away with her since her orgasm couldn’t?

Hastur wondered if they tasted shimmery too.

Her own tears, now—well, they were thick, black, and anything but shimmery. They were also pouring all over Ligur’s hand, which uncovered her mouth briefly so its owner could lick them up, just like he always did when Hastur got into this state.

“No,” Gabriel begged as Beelzebub yanked on his tie, forcing him back to the floor. “No, please—please don’t. Please don’t take that too.”

“Fuck,” Hastur bawled into Ligur’s palm, which had returned to its place over her mouth just in time to catch the sound.

“Mh, he is a pretty sight if he can make my girl lose control like this,” Ligur said as Hastur bucked harder against him and continued to keen into his hand. “Look at that, now, yeah? Look how he’s coming undone for her.”

And then the boss was pulling his arse cheeks open and teasing at him, and then—

And oh, oh this archangel. With his pressed suits and slicked-back hair and that smug-arse little smile like only smug-arse archangels could pull off. Of course he’d want to be stripped and befouled and beaten and fucked wide open. And not just in private either. Oh, no. He wanted to lose it all—his pride, his power, his chastity, and most of all, that white-knuckled control—in front of an audience.

And the boss was rutting against him so hard that hell’s fiercest duke wondered if Gabriel was seeing the same stars that Hastur was.

Hastur had no idea how long they both remained there, she on Ligur’s lap and Gabriel on hands and knees. Time got all slippery when you were watching sex this good, while having sex that was even better. But when two flawless wings, white with just the barest blush of lavender—erupted from Gabriel’s muscular back, two of Hastur’s burst from hers—far darker, far less hale, and far less blushing. Ligur slammed up into her so hard that her entire body trembled. He snarled in pleasure just as the boss threw her head back and roared right along with him. Hastur’s body and Gabriel’s writhed with their release—his pouring out between his knees and onto the floor, and hers drenching the still-hard cock inside her.   

“Well, now,” Ligur chuckled as Hastur shivered against him. “What a bad girl you are, doll, coming before me.”

Hastur huddled in his arms, unable to put any words together as the boss righted her trousers and stood. As Gabriel remained panting and shivering at her feet, she swept her left hand downward, as if she were brushing a bit of dust from her jacket, and brought it back up with a few loops of delicate gold chains draped through her fingers. Two small golden combs dangled from them—or at least they looked like combs.

“What’s she— I don’t get it. She’s gonna to groom his wings now?” Hastur asked. But the boss answered the question before Ligur had a chance to. As she flicked her fingers toward Gabriel, the combs shot from the chains like hellhounds loosed upon their prey and circled the archangel’s wings. And just like hellhounds, they sank their teeth into the median primary coverts on each one.

When Gabriel arched up from the floor with a cry of pain, Hastur’s wings shivered with automatic sympathy. That part of an ethereal being’s wings was not only close to their back, it was also one of the most sensitive places on their bodies—and one of the most intimate. Hastur knew a lot about restraints, so the fact she’d never seen anything like this was puzzling indeed.

It’s just jewelry, she realized when no ichor poured out and Gabriel moaned in pleasure. Kinda painful, but not like real clamps’d be.

“Now that? That’s fuckin’ sexy,” she told Ligur as her clit pulsed again.

Ligur murmured in agreement as he swirled a fingertip around it, making it pulse even harder.

“All right,” Beelzebub said as the audience started to calm down. “That’s enough for now. We’ve all got jobs to do, including me. But they can wait until tomorrow. Just remember”—she raised her voice before the cheers could even think of starting—“you break it, you fix it.”

“Now where’s the fun in that?” Ligur chuckled.

“Oh, I do think she’s excluded us dukes from that, don’t you, darlin’?”

“I do, doll, I do.”

The boss led her archangel down from the dais and through a door at the back of the hall, showing that his backside was just as sexy as the rest of him.

Especially when come was dripping down his thighs in rivulets of infernal silver and celestial gold.

And that was that. When you gave demons the day off, they usually didn’t stick around.

Well, aside from a few who decided to use some of the alcoves for the same thing Hastur and Ligur were.

Or the floor.

Or the walls.

Or—well.

Not that Hastur was one to judge.

“Baby?” She could hear the frown in Ligur’s voice as she stood from his lap.

Hastur gave him her sultriest smile as she turned. To face him “You heard the boss. Show’s over, yeah? And anyway,” she said as she straddled his lap again, “that was just a show. I’m ready for the main act now.”

She was pretty sure she’d gotten that expression wrong, but it didn’t matter. What mattered now was Ligur.

“You didn’t come, poor thing,” she whispered as she cupped his chin. “What’s that bad old girl been playing at, you reckon?”

“Oh, she ain’t a bad girl,” Ligur said, curling his fingers around the slight swell of her hips. “Just a greedy one.”

She’s greedy, now?” Hastur gave his chest a playful little slap, then lowered herself just enough to take the tip of his cock inside her. “And what’re you, then?”

“Just as greedy a demon as she is, I reckon.”

“Mh, yeah, you better be, love.” Hastur pulled him into a kiss as she sank down onto his cock. And just like she did whenever she came before Ligur did, she gave him the ride of his long, long supernatural life.

They barely noticed when Dagon came in an hour or two later to secure the room.