Angel Dust let out a huffy sigh, fingers on his two left arms tapping on the table as he pondered over his most recent little problem.
It was several months into this menagerie that Charlie Magne called 'redemption', and while few new patrons had arrived to take a stab at it, the 'original crew' -as Charlie put it- still remained and began to learn more about one another than they actually really cared to.
Not for lack of trying on Angel's part. He was more than happy to poke his nose into everyone's business, if even to get a rise out of someone for his own amusement. Sometimes they gave him what he was asking for just to shut him up.
His ultimate secret move -Annoying Perseverance.
So far, he'd gotten Charlie to cut his therapy time from an hour to thirty minutes just with sweet talk, and Vaggie to forego searches on his person whenever he came back in from an outing (one Full Monty in the lobby was more than enough for her to just let him pass).
A pretty glass spray bottle of furniture polish for Niffty had her turn the other cheek when she searched his belongings while she was cleaning, and all it took for Husk to ignore the three-drink limit at the bar was talking nonstop for ten minutes.
The one and only person he hadn't managed to crack at all was the Radio Demon himself.
Alastor, it seemed, was unflappable.
He wasn't swayed by Angel stripping during an outing search ("Unnecessary, but I thank you for your honesty!" the Radio Demon chirped, vanishing a bag of PCP Angel had tucked into his panties into nothing.). He couldn't be bought off. He couldn't be sweet-talked.
The closest Angel got to getting under the other demon's skin was through flirting, but even then it was narrowed down to physical touch, whenever possible.
Though, if Angel had to hear the words "Five-foot rule" one more time, he was going to shove all five feet of his leg up someone's ass.
It was always the same; he gets touchy, Alastor puts him at arm-and-microphone length with a firm nudge away, and recants "Five-foot rule!" before continuing on whatever vein of conversation at hand there was at the moment.
To Angel, it was completely unfair; Alastor got to be as handsy-touchy-feely as he damn well wanted, but the moment Angel decided to reciprocate in kind, "Five-foot rule!" Like a broken record.
For everyone else in the Hotel, it only had to be recanted to them once; twice, in Vaggie's case, when she decided to go aggro. She retaliated with her own spear the second time around, and apparently an agreement was made to keep the peace.
Angel had no such respect for such a stupid one-sided 'rule', and figured as long as Alastor got to disregard personal bubbles and use his funky voodoo bullshit on him, then he'd do as he damn well pleased right back. He'd find what made Alastor tick, and claw his way right in tit-fluff first. It was just a matter of finding out what and how.
Five-foot rule was abided, for the time being. Angel used that time to really study what Alastor was all about.
It was a given that the overlord liked pomp and flair, enjoyed music and joviality, and had a fast way of talking that made people want to listen and agree with whatever it was he fed them.
Well la-de-dah, so did Angel Dust. The spider wasn't the top porn star and highest-paid escort in Hell for nothing, if not for his gifts of persuasion and seduction.
So it would appear, Angel mused to himself, that he and Alastor were at an impasse. While Alastor seemed immune to Angel's charms, Angel in turn found himself unaffected by Alastor's charisma. He'd been in the game far too long to not be able to smell bullshit a mile away buried under snazzy clothes and an ever-present smile.
Still, the more Angel watched for a chink in the armor that was Alastor's unbreakable persona, the more enthralled he became.
Logically, he knew he was setting Alastor up as his white whale; pursuing the demon would probably drive him mad enough to actually be another sucker in the long con. But Angel found himself craving for what was beyond the five-foot rule, wanting to know what it was that could make Alastor's smile turn to one of mutual indulgence rather than amusement. What sort of touch he could give Alastor that would be welcomed.
How he could BE with Alastor.
"C'mooooon, Husky baby~" Angel simpered, half-draping himself over the winged cat's bar. "I haven't been nothin' but good to ya, you can throw me a bone, can't ya?"
Husk rolled his eyes, snapping his cleaning rag out at the spider's hands on his nice clean bar. "You want bones, you ask a dog," he replied. "I don't see why I should tell you shit when you're annoyin' the fuck outta me."
Angel propped his head up with two hands, batting his eyelashes. "Because I asked nicely?" he pressed, lips twitching at the foul look Husk returned. He huffed when Husk gave him a middle finger. "Classy. But seriously, Husky, can't you just tell me a LITTLE about Al's deal?"
Husk let out a 'tsk', cracking open a bottle of bourbon. "What 'deal'?" he muttered. "That deer-faced sonofabitch don't got a 'deal'."
"Puh-lease," Angel drawled. "EVERYONE has a 'deal'."
"Not him," Husk insisted. "No 'deal', no interest, nothin'. He's got about as much need to get fucked as I do to get sober. So you're shit outta luck, you pink pest. Now fuck off before I get the insecticide."
"Aww, didn't know you were into THAT sorta thing," Angel giggled, then yelped when Husk threw the dirty cleaning rag into his face. "Hey, watch it! This mascara ain't waterproof!"
"Cry me a river an' drown in it," Husk replied. "You wanna keep pesterin' Alastor about his nonexistent 'deal', you go right on ahead, but leave me outta it. He ain't turnin' me into his next pot of gumbo, nosiree." He turned his back to Angel Dust, splaying his wings to enjoy his alcohol in peace.
Angel stuck his tongue out, and in an added childish display of retribution, stuffed a 50-dollar bill into the full glass of vodka and used a coaster to leave it upside-down before leaving the bar, hands on his hips and crossed over his chest as he stalked back up to his room. Useless winged cat, he thought, wondering if he could tempt Niffty into talking before scratching that option off his list. Niffty could be talked into silence, but not into doing or saying anything against her top boss.
Letting out a dramatic groan at having to actually put MORE effort into this, he kicked his door shut and fed down some cherries he stole from Husk's garnish stash to Nuggets before grabbing his hellphone and bringing up the search engine.
While not interested in Hell's politics, finding about it was easy enough when he wanted to know. There was even an app available that could give him on-the-minute updates about overlords and their territories, bios, etc. He installed it just because, and opened it to scroll down to Alastor's bit.
He knew about the Radio Tower already, it was already here when he died. While didn't have a lot of time to listen to the broadcasts because of work, he did catch a few bits and pieces of an oldschool music and broadcast screams, but figured that was general Hell business and didn't think more about it. Vaggie letting him know that Alastor was the one and only king of the radio and had been since his arrival let Angel know that it had been all his programming that he'd been enjoying.
Now, the app had a stream of Alastor's eternal radio show that had different stations of music both old and new, a weekly talk show, and on rarer occasions, a broadcast of carnage.
Angel Dust never heard a full broadcast, but the app had archived 'Fan Favorites' for him to listen to, to which he picked one at random and listened in.
He wasn't aware that he was THAT deep into listening until it was over and he realized he was hugging his pillow so tightly the seam on the side burst. What he'd heard was what he ACTUALLY thought Hell would have been like coming down here; chaos, screaming, torture, and a neverending stream of begging and pleading for it to all stop. What was most unnerving about it was the sound of a knife cutting through flesh and soft, polite chewing between Alastor giving calm and collected blow-by-blow of the session for those listening.
When Angel collected himself, he thumbed back through the app to Alastor's bio, finding out more about him that either everyone else knew, or that he didn't think to ask about.
Died and spawned in Hell in 1933 after a life of a radio host and serial killer, whose modus operandi seemed to include dismemberment, disembowelment, and then cannibalism, which translated well into his demonic workings after death.
Well. That made Husk's comment about not wanting to be in Alastor's gumbo make a lot more sense. It also made Angel wonder what flavoring that jambalaya really was.
Angel Dust knew that hearing that broadcast should have put a weight of wariness in his gut, made him rethink the whole 'figuring out Al's 'deal'' thing, but instead, Angel felt his four arms hug his pillow tighter, a tickling wriggle run down his spine as he recalled the broadcast's little details concerning Alastor's presence. Hearing the other demon's conversational tone, smooth effortlessness in his voice as he butchered another demon to soft jazz playing in the background...
Oh, the ideas...
Angel locked his door and put his expensive surround-sound headphones into his phone, finding another broadcast to listen to whilst he got some shuteye...as much as he could get with two of his four hands between his legs, anyway.
Finding Alastor the next day wasn't very hard; the Radio Demon was there for his weekly stat report with Charlie, followed by a drink and friendly banter in the bar with Husk. Angel Dust was patient as he waited for a moment alone, keeping mostly to himself as he watched Alastor's rounds and took another eyeful of the demon in the new light he had for the man.
It wasn't hard at all to imagine Alastor at work; he'd only seen a small bit of what Alastor was capable of when Sir Edgelord was taken down with summoned eldritch monstrosity and almost no effort. Even before, when he was playfully manipulating reality for them, showing what he could do without having to touch anything. But Angel Dust heard a practiced ease with Alastor getting his hands dirty, a familiarity with knives and anatomy, and couldn't help but imagine the sort of carnage he could do with a roomful of demons and a butcher knife in each hand.
Truly, a smorgasbord that would take Niffty weeks to get out of the carpet.
The irony of Alastor being a cannibal with attributes of an herbivore prey animal wasn't lost on Angel, which only made his ideas only the more interesting to see where they could go. He had another idea entirely of how Alastor could comply with the phrase 'what that mouth do', and he really had only one shot to get Alastor's attention before making his move. He had to make it count without an audience to better his chances.
Alastor gave a final farewell to Husk before leaving the bar area, and Angel Dust made sure the coast was clear before following, his long legs easily catching up to stride next to Alastor. "Hey~" he drawled, seeing the corner of Alastor's smile twitch.
"Hello, Angel Dust," Alastor replied, keeping his eyes forward. "Staying out of trouble, I hope?"
"Keep hopin' and dreamin' away," Angel replied, tucking his hands behind his back in a gesture of good faith; no use dwindling his chances by being handsy. "I actually wanted to talk to you."
He saw Alastor side-eye him. "About what?" Alastor asked.
Angel made a thoughtful hum, schooling his features casual despite the thrill that was vibrating throughout his body and almost making his fluff stand on end. "Nothin' much," he replied. "Just stuff I've been thinkin' about for awhile now." He slowed his pace, keeping by Alastor's side. "Liiiike, what it is I can do to get into YOUR good graces. So to speak."
"Five-foot rule," Alastor said, using his cane as a measuring meter between them, a glint of annoyance in his eye. "I believe we've already had this song and dance, old boy."
"Same song, different dance," Angel replied, using his finger to push the microphone from his shoulder. "I've got a couple of new moves I'd like to try, and figured you'd be the perfect partner for it."
"Not interested," Alastor said cheerfully. "I only perform solo acts, dear."
Angel Dust internally huffed, but kept his tone casual. "Oh, you know that's not true, Al," he replied. "You've got plenty of guest stars to work with."
"I believe our lines of work differ entirely as to what constitutes as a 'guest star'," Alastor said, and Angel could HEAR the effort it took to keep a polite spin on it. He could appreciate that, though he wouldn't be offended if Alastor outright said 'there's a huge difference between a whore and a radio host'. True, if not irrelevant to this particular thing.
"Not as different as y'think," Angel Dust pressed, taking a quicker step to gain the front ground. "Especially with what I got in mind."
The air around Alastor crackled with the sharp static of changing stations, a tic that Angel came to recognize was Alastor's patience thinning, even if the smile never waned. The Radio Demon stopped and stared at Angel Dust just long enough for the spider to see static in the other's red eyes. "Angel Dust, as I have said before, and will say few times before all patience is lost," he said, his voice a static-filled hum, "you have nothing to pique my interests in the least."
He smiled wider, showing more teeth than was necessary in a friendly smile, and turned on heel to stroll off, shoes clicking on the floor like a bad omen. Angel Dust stared after him, hands behind his back clenching as he steeled his nerves and his conviction before speaking.
"I want you to cut me open an' eat me."
The sound of a record scratching paired with Alastor going stock-still mid-step away let Angel know his catch noticed the bait. 'C'mon, bite, you fucking deer creep.' Angel stood patiently, watching Alastor's back stiffen slightly before the Radio Demon regained composure and gave a glance over his shoulder, enough for Angel to see one red eye gleaming behind that damn monocle.
"I believe my frequency might have been a tad off," Alastor said, an overlay of shifting stations coating his voice. "That, or it's one of these newfangled innuendos I'm not sure I understand."
'Reel 'er in gently...' "No innuendo, Al," Angel said, putting a set of hands on his hips. "Entirely literal, I assure ya. I..." He used another hand to point to himself. "...want you..." He pointed to Alastor. "To eat me."
Between-station static filled the room for another long moment before Alastor turned around fully, his smile frozen but eyes flickering with visible static and most definitely certainly absolutely hungry. "...I must say, Angel Dust," he said, tucking his hands behind his back. "I would have never pegged you down as suicidal."
Oh, the pegging jokes Angel could make, but this was SO much better. "Then you'd be right," he replied. "I ain't suicidal. I'm just...curious." He mirrored Alastor's posture, hands behind his back, and then took a striding step forward. "There's a 'deal' for everyone, Al, and my 'deal' is ALL deals, even the ones I ain't tried yet." He gave Alastor a grin of his own. "You might be a full deck of Aces, but I know there are some things that don't require me to touch you at all while we both get our own brand of satisfaction."
Alastor's smile twitched. "And you think you can get satisfaction out of me...eating you."
"What, and YOU won't get satisfaction out of fresh meat harvested the way YOU want?" Angel retorted, arching a brow. "Bonus deal for this one, even...it'll take days for me to regrow and heal, and I'm outta everyone's hair while that happens."
A beat of silent consideration. "...and that is a part of your...'satisfaction'?" Alastor asked. "Hard to imagine."
"Imagine harder then," Angel said, taking another stride forward, still within the five-foot rule. "It's easier to list the shit I'm NOT into than to list what I am into, and even easier than THAT to list what I ain't done yet. Usually, that list gets put in the first one in the end, an' I'm game to do it again." His grin widened, rivaling Alastor's own. "I'm a masochist, Al, an' what better indulgence and SATISFACTION would I get, than t' get sliced open an' eaten alive by someone a hellova lot stronger than I am?"
Alastor gave him a silent once-over, the static having died down to a soft hum that even five feet away Angel could feel prickling at his fur. "...you are a strange one, aren't you, Angel Dust?" he asked, the tinny radio effect of his voice absent for a moment. "Didn't think you were a glutton as well as a lustful deviant."
"I ain't in Hell for nothin', and neither are you." Angel Dust slipped his second set of arms from behind his back to cross them in front of him. "So whaddya say, Alastor~?" He looked the other demon in the eye, intent on getting through to him, overlord or no. "Hungry?"
One corner of Alastor's smile lifted in a facsimile of a smirk. "I am. Always." He lifted a hand, summoning his microphone into it and using the speaker end to prod Angel Dust's fluffy chest. "But I'm a man of standards, Angel, and I don't eat garbage. If you want to do this, then you're going to suffer for my standards. No drugs, no alcohol, noONE, in your body for one week." He lowered the microphone, beaming at the look on Angel Dust's face. "Then we'll see if you're worthy of my consumption."
He walked past Angel, pausing to press a hand to the spider's abdomen fingertips first just enough for it to not hurt. "...and eat a bit more," he said as an afterthought. "I like some meat on the bones." He withdrew his hand, walking away with a drawling hum that lingered well after he was gone.
Angel Dust almost felt like his stomach was burning from where Alastor's fingers had dug in, taking a few moments before realizing that he'd all but reeled in his catch with only a small caveat for getting it completely. Alastor had agreed! YES.
He felt his shoulders slump as he thought about that caveat; no drugs or alcohol or even sex for a week. Detoxing himself for Alastor's....consumption.
A shudder down his spine was almost as thrilling as the reality that was just within his grasp. One week.
Just one week.