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Just Fuck Me Up

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Vox woke up.

He was… Where was he? He blinked, watching the space around him vanish and reappear. He remembered this place. It was the last place he’d been, when he’d made his latest backup. One of his safe houses.

Shit.

Well, something had happened, that was clear. Time to pretend he knew what it was until he was up and running again. From how he was feeling, though, that didn’t seem like it would be too far off. Things were better than they’d been in a while, things that weren’t supposed to have been an issue for demons in the first place.

For one, he could focus, mentally and literally. In the background, he could hear the quiet soothing hum of his servers, and his beloved lights didn’t hurt his eyes, anymore. At least that would put him in a better mood to work with Valentino. It was frustrating as all heaven, but Valentino was the best company he had these days, from both personal and business angles. The pimp had been pressuring him to sign their deal, enticing with one hand and holding back with the other. Whatever Vox wanted, he could have… except Angel Dust. Well, maybe once he’d done his catching up, Vox could see about that. In the meantime, he deserved his usual consolation prize.

Vox stored a new hellphone, though not a new number, with every backup; so, if he’d made any new contacts since then, they weren’t on this one. That didn’t matter right now, though. He needed a touch of the familiar….

.oOo.

Across town, near the Gated Community, Spicy keyed into his suite and flopped onto the bed with a noisy sigh of relief. He’d left a dinner order with Yve’s staff when he’d gotten in, and dozed off, planning to only wake at the knock of room service.

His phone rang, and ruined these plans; he groaned, but flopped a hand around on the covers, groping for it and blinking at the number that wasn’t in his contacts, before answering.

‘Hello who’s this?’ he lilted, as always hating his overly feminine Phone Voice.

Vox settled back on the couch, which was nowhere near as comfortable as he’d have liked. ‘How long was I out? Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten about me already, you Spicy thing.’

There was the sound of the phone being dropped on the bed, and Spicy saying, ‘What the fuck, what the fuck, what the fucking fuck,’ in the background, before the sound of a headset being plugged in (Spicy hated bluetooth devices), and Spicy, sounding shaky, said, ‘How the fuck are you alive he ate you.’

Vox got to experience another slow blink. ‘He did, did he?’ he said, feelign the urge to check all the cables at the back of his screen. ‘Well, that explains why I’m here. I don’t activate unless the latest model’s completely fried. Which, uh, did that actually…?’

Spicy was quiet, thinking, trying to understand. It didn’t take long to realise there were backups, and he must be talking to the emergency backup. It was weird to think about. ‘You’ve been dead for a week,’ he said, quietly, not sure how he felt about it, yet. ‘I saw. I watched.’ He wouldn’t feel guilty about it. Spicy had never really known if he thought of Vox as decent; he knew Angel hated the man, and Spicy respected Angel; but Spicy himself had a very, very different experience of Vox. It was like Vox had two sides—the internet Vox, and the TV one. Or maybe it was the difference between Vox-and-Val and Vox-without-Val. People were like that, they acted very different depending on who was with them. Gods knew Spicy had experience with that….

A hollow laugh. ‘Well, I can’t say it’s how I’d wanted to go, but at least I had an audience. A week, huh? That’s about how I programmed it. Can I come and see you, Spicy?’

‘I’m tired, so Idunno how much fun I’ll be,’ Spicy warned, but couldn’t really bring himself to say no. He didn’t want to say no. Vox made him feel beautiful and special and wanted, not in spite of but because of the things he’d always been rejected for.

‘I don’t need fun right now,’ Vox said, and the brightness of Spice Drop’s phone screen cranked itself up a few settings. ‘I need to remember what you feel like. I need to look at you and remember all the fantastic things running through your head. You can fall asleep halfway through, I don’t really care.’

Satan help him, where had that come from? Death must have fucked him up more than he’d thought.

Spicy pressed his thighs together, and Vox could hear the microtone that said he was turned on, when he answered. ‘I’m having dinner sent up,’ in quite a soft, shy sort of voice, the one he used when he was flirting in the way he only did—only could—with Vox. ‘You wanna bring me some champagne and feed it to me?’

One of the few perks of being dead was that Spicy could drink, now, and he really liked Vox’s expensive gifts of strawberry champagne, didn’t mind playing along when Vox got him tipsy—when they were alone, at least. They had rules, and Spicy had always known Vox to follow them.

‘From the best seat in the house,’ Vox said. He loved having Spice Drop on his lap, even if—possibly because—there was a lot of spillover. ‘See you soon.’ Hanging up, he went and checked out the peephole, just to make sure whoever had eaten him wasn’t still on a rampage. There were very few suspects, and one in particular was at the top of the list, more than just alphabetically…

Outside, it was as peaceful as Hell ever got.

Vox hadn’t even known being eaten would destroy him. He’d planned for things like particularly zealous angels, or some electrical experiment gone horribly wrong. The longer he thought about it, the worse it felt. Especially because the power boost his killer would have gotten wouldn’t go away just because he’d woken up. He’d lost a week, and his enemies were stronger.

It was definitely time to get Spice Drop full of champagne.

Yve didn’t surprise easy, but seeing Vox walk in after the news said he was perma-dead was one of the few things that could give her pause. That just didn’t happen. She didn’t let it show as more than a slight double-take when she glanced at him, before she went back to doing the books. Vox didn’t usually need her attention, when he came in bearing gifts; he knew what he wanted, and which floor he was on.

‘Nice trick,’ was all she said, as she looked back down at her ledger book.

‘Don’t ask for a replay,’ said Vox, heading for the stairs. The TV in the lobby sang to him as he walked, showing him everything that had happened in a sped-up barrage of images and sound that only he could easily comprehend. It confirmed all the gossip he’d picked up from the Infernet on the way there.

Alastor. Of course it was Alastor. He’d eaten Valentino, too, and the king pimp was dead for keeps, as far as Vox was aware. That didn’t exactly feel like a problem at the moment, other than how it elevated the Radio Demon. And Angel Dust as an overlord! That was an exchange Vox was more than willing to make.

Vox caught up to the room service just as the server—a pretty, many-eyed, shadowy thing with the kind of unnerving Not-All-Of-Me-Is-Visible beauty that only the Fallen had—was knocking. Spicy opened the door, saw Vox behind her, and smiled without meaning to.

‘Hi,’ he said, his crest still damp from a shower, wrapped in the black and pink fluffy robe that Angel had given him for his birthday one year. The server shut the door quietly when she left, leaving them alone.

Spicy didn’t look like he’d been going without sleep, but he nonetheless looked tired. Had Angel been working him too hard, or was it something else?

Shifting the champagne bottle to the crook of one arm, Vox wheeled the server cart over to the bed, the food still steaming, giving off all kinds of aromas. Personally, now that he was dead, Vox preferred commercials and cooking shows to the actual act of eating, but he liked feeding his Spicy.

‘Rough week?’ he asked, settling on the bed. ‘You know I couldn’t exactly be open about this, but I’m here now. It’s still me, and soon I’ll be better than ever.’

Spicy waited for Vox to sit on the bed before inviting himself onto Vox’s lap. The nostalgic static-crackle shouldn’t have been given off by a flatscreen, but Vox wasn’t an ordinary flatscreen. Kissing a screen had taken some getting used to, but being with Vox meant you never forgot about your teratophilia, and Vox was very good with his hands—and his cables.

One of those cables wound its way around Spicy’s ankle, and Vox smiled to see his own blue glow spark the iridescence in the smaller demon’s feathers. He reached out and stroked them. ‘What do you want to try first, Spicy?’

‘I want to stop having to make decisions,’ was not a phrase Spicy trusted with many people. But he was exhausted, mentally, from having to run the ship while Angel had been moulting, and he wanted the supreme relaxation only his lover could give him. He wanted to feel the buzz of static under his skin, wanted to just lay back and feel whatever Vox wanted to make him feel.

‘Mmmmm.’ Vox’s hum was electric, and more cables wove themselves around Spice Drop, nest and restraints in one. The black circles in Vox’s right eye started to pulse in a steady rhythm, producing concentric copies of themselves, and after a moment his left eye joined in.

‘Look at me. Watch me. Eyes on me, Spice Drop, forget about everything else…’

Spicy turned his face to Vox, the relief in his obedience palpable and sweet. His pupils wavered, then faded into the brown of his eyes, before the whole was abruptly replaced by black-and-white static, his brain stuck between stations as Vox took hold. When that happened, Spicy blinked, and his eyes were twins of Vox’s before they fluttered shut and he sighed.

‘Good boy,’ Vox said. ‘Remember, nothing matters but me.’

Spicy hummed, feeling vague and blissed out; he’d been so relieved to know Vox read… well everything… and knew what Imperius should feel like.

‘Yes, Daddy…’ he said, wet and getting wetter, feeling one of the cables push between his chubby thighs, rooting its way into his cunny….

Their work done, Vox’s eyes slid half-shut in pleasure. He loved connecting with Spicy; the cables gave him tactile feedback and could even transmit a jolt, the exact current and voltage of which depended on how Vox was feeling. If he really plugged in, he could play with the electricity that ran through Spicy’s nervous system, use his visual cortex to show him all kinds of things, but that was delicate work that Vox, himself, was too tired for.

Apparently, being eaten alive took a lot out of you.

‘Open your mouth,’ he told Spice Drop, picking up a fork and breaking into the pot pie that sat in pride of place on the tray, scooping up chicken and vegetables and fragments of golden crust. ‘You’re going to rub your clit every time I give you a bite, because it’s so good, isn’t it?’

‘Ye-es,’ Spicy lilted, in that hummy, sleepy tone that his voice took on when he was under Vox’s power. He opened his mouth, and the food really did taste amazing, when Vox was in control. Unlike most demons, Spicy still struggled with all the brain problems he’d had in life, and Vox was better than anything psychiatric medicine or street drugs had dreamed up. He obeyed, of course he did, he couldn’t do else, and moaned and sighed and savoured every crumb, wondering vaguely if Vox was going to make that cable inside him buzz a little, or go… mmm, deeper. Spicy loved when the cables configured to plug in, it felt so much deeper and more… intense, fit so much more perfectly than a cock, locking him in place and… and…. He’d long suspected Vox could read his mind, when he was like this.

‘Of course I can,’ Vox said. ‘It’s just images and feelings, the most local station there is. Easy as falling off a blog.’ Valentino threw things at him and told him to shut the fuck up when he made puns; it was one of the very few reasons he regretted not having a better relationship with Alastor, who actually appreciated the tricks you could do with words. Vox’s tastes ran more to catchy slogans, shorter and snappier, but it was something.

He didn’t do what Spicy wanted, not yet, but he did tease at it, working the cable in just a little further, another creeping up Spicy’s back to tickle the nape of his neck.

What he didn’t say, as he fed his toy another mouthful, was that he could blur or blank out Spicy’s mind just as easily, leaving him with either a hazy memory of an indistinct good time, or nothing at all. But he wasn’t going to, because he liked Spice Drop, and given he’d just come back from a backup, it seemed mean.

Vox wasn’t mean. He just made other people realise that they were.

Spicy shivered, tensing around the cable, memories of the last time Vox had spirited him away and locked him into the fucking machine bubbling up, as usual. His arousal was soaking everything underneath it, and when the second cable slid into his ass, it was easy, and he moaned.

There was only a large slice of tiramisu waiting, now, and the champagne itself.

‘You do belong here,’ Vox said, making sure those thoughts stayed front and centre as he poured a glass of champagne, the cables pushing deeper in and connecting. ‘You belong with me, you belong to me, isn’t that right?’

As always, there was most of an agreement; but always lingering at Spicy’s core was that hatred of Hell, that delightful rage at Christianity. There were a lot of Wrath sinners in hell, but nobody ever suspected it of Spice Drop. Vox knew better.

Right now, however, Spicy said, ‘Yes, yes, yes, Daddy, yes…’ and drank the champagne as soon as Vox handed it to him, drank it like it was cool water on a summer day. Spicy liked getting drunk and he liked getting drunk quickly. Fortunately for him, it was easy to do.

It delighted Vox that, try as he might, he couldn’t overwrite that anger. It resisted his control like nothing else. But sometimes he and Spice Drop both liked to pretend otherwise, and that was, honestly, more fun than just taking over completely.

‘Good little slut. Now, you’re going to drink this second glass slowly, and as soon as you swallow the last drop and the bubbles fade, you’re going to come for me.’

‘Yes,’ was all Spicy could say, and he loved it. No worrying, no overthinking, no panic. Just yes. Simple. He knew this was only the first of many, he knew they’d get better and better, that Vox would make him scream and it would come out sounding distorted and autotuned and wonderful.

He drank the second flute of champagne slower, little squeaks between them as Vox writhed the cables inside him. ‘Daddy!’ he mewed, at a particularly arresting one.

‘That’s good, babyslut,’ Vox crooned, petting Spicy’s feathers some more. ‘I think you’re going to have one orgasm for each day I was gone, and then you’re going to eat your cake, with as much champagne as I want. But first you’re going to tell me’—he tapped the glass, making Spicy lower it—’what wore you out before I could? What have you been up to, busy baby? Are you trying to break through to the big time after all?’

Spicy hummed, liking the feeling he got when he resisted, even a little. It was like the feeling of pulling at restraints, testing boundaries and falling securely into them. The static under his skin got stronger, and the nostalgic hum of tubes and subwoofers thrummed in his core, the cables pushing not harsher but deeper, and he felt the Almost of a shock building in them. He wanted it, and the anticipatory adrenaline was making him tremble and pulled his breaths short.

‘I asked you a question.’ Vox snapped his fingers, a spark jumping between them, and the equivalent of a violet wand at full power went off inside Spicy’s cunt. ‘And I want an answer. You aren’t on the news, babyslut, you don’t even register on the radar. You wouldn’t even get a special interest piece. Heaven, you barely rate a listicle. But I can get you more followers, Spicy thing, I’ll make them notice you. Just tell me.’ A thin cable wrapped around Spice Drop’s neck, lifting his chin. ‘What were you doing?’

Spicy was a mess, would have had eyes glazed over if he hadn’t had them full of static, and took a moment for words to fully articulate, though Vox could see the answer in his mind.

‘Angel needed to moult, he had me take over for two days.’ It had been exhausting, but rewarding, because it hadn’t been busywork, pointless and helpless. Spicy had been able to solve every problem, been able to do things, been respected and listened to and, when Angel returned, he’d gotten drowned in praise and a shopping spree worth of tips from Angel Dust, who loved Spicy almost—not quite—as much as Vox did.

And Spicy had made a huge purchase off Acheron, Vox could see that very clearly (Spicy would have shopped online even if he hadn’t been with Vox—but knowing your lover was the Panopticon was just icing on the cake). Shoes and makeup and toys and everything that pointed toward him preparing for a show.

Vox considered this, and had Spicy finish the champagne for a reward, using the soothing, familiar sounds of that first orgasm to think. ‘I guess he’d need to, becoming an overlord and all… so I’ve got a new Angel to look forward to. Maybe we can do a little reaction video for you, let everyone know what you think. Now you know you can be in charge, but you’d rather be mine.’

‘Mmm, yes…’ Spicy said, and as always the next word was difficult to get out, but he loved saying it: ‘Master.’

It got easier the more he said it, the more Vox talked to him when he was like this, the more machine was inside him. Spicy hadn’t talked about it—he knew not to mention Vox in front of Angel—but he’d been grieving, missing Vox, going over his old videos and remembering Vox being behind the camera, because Vox didn’t need a tech crew.

Vox was in control, so Spicy didn’t need to be afraid of his emotions derailing their scene; Vox could see them, but he wouldn’t let them affect Spicy, not unless he wanted them to. And bursting into tears of relief while saying you loved someone, and were pretty certain you wanted to be boyfriends with them, was a bit of a derail. So Spicy just let himself feel that, let his heart wander recklessly, because he knew Vox was in control, so he was safe from himself.

‘Come on, baby, you know I’m not the boyfriend type,’ Vox teased, enjoying the display even as he held it carefully apart. He could put emotions—and knowledge, and memories—on what he liked to call pay-per-view, and he was the one with the credit card. Sometimes, if he was feeling generous, he’d fill the gaps with false info. There were a lot of demons out there who’d forgotten what Vox knew.

‘But oh, what’s this? Talk about boyfriends…’ He made Spicy feel him rummaging around, punctuated it with more movements of his cables. ‘Angel Dust and Alastor,’ he said wonderingly, watching from Spicy’s point of view as the Radio Demon was excruciatingly, deliciously awkward, the memory coloured with Spicy’s later discovery of the relationship. ‘Who’da thunk?’ Recalling it might have been painful, as it had occurred only hours after Vox had been eaten, but he didn’t let that reach Spicy either. People under Vox’s control felt what he wanted them to feel.

‘Again,’ he said, and made Spicy have another orgasm.

Spicy screamed just to hear it, grateful to not have to feel, not have to ruin his high, just not feel sad for a while. He’d crashed so hard and had kept crashing, after, and the frenetic mania of taking over for Angel hadn’t really fixed that so much as made it feel worse. Vox’s call had made him feel like everything was okay again. With Val gone, Vox could spend more time with him, doing this, putting the cameras on him and telling him he was beautiful, manipulating the algorithms and making sure everyone else saw what he saw. Angel had fortune and fame for the mainstream, but Spicy had grown up online, and wanted a different flavour, a fame that was more private. He was glad that Vox kept him off the news and off the television, because Spicy liked the infernet much better.

‘That’s right,’ said Vox, guiding him seamlessly into orgasm number three. ‘You’re my little secret, my Infernet star. I’m going to have to reclaim all my territory and it’s a pain in my antenna, but you kept loving me.’ The steady ripple of his eyes paused for a moment as he fully processed what he’d just said, but he pushed past it. ‘That means you get a reward.’

Spicy’s heart leapt, even as he kept orgasming; he loved praise, and rewards, they were the best high he had ever known and maybe that made him easy to manipulate but he didn’t care, he liked being manipulated if it meant he could feel this good….

Vox let him feel more of the aftershocks this time, the slow ebbing, because what was the point of counting if you couldn’t tell where one ended and the next began? ‘We’re going to use some of your Acheron goodies and make a very special video. You’re going to tell the underworld I’m back.’

Spicy was aware of the ripples this would cause; he was a smart boy, he knew how dangerous his friendships were. Angel was an overlord, and his lover was an overlord that Angel hated. He was probably going to be made to pick a side, but that was how everyone was. You couldn’t have more than one loyalty, Spicy had never had more than one friend at a time for this reason. Every time he had more, there was betrayal. He wasn’t sure how everyone else managed it.

‘Yes, Master,’ he said, and it came out easier this time. The idea of only being Vox’s was more inviting than ever, now that it wasn’t at war with Spicy’s fear of Valentino (and he had been very scared of Valentino).

Vox chuckled. ‘Now, now, I think it’d be a lot more fun if you and Angel Dust stayed friends. He hasn’t met this me, after all.’

Vox wouldn’t try to undermine Angel’s newfound authority—that was probably a ticket straight back to Alastor’s dinner table—but he could angle for, say, distribution rights to some of Angel’s films, the older ones that didn’t get shown as much. And from there, well, who knew? Spice Drop could be the Angel Dust of the Infernet, and then they could do a crossover. Sugar, spice, and everything nice, that’s what viral porn was made of…

‘This you?’ Spicy asked—the trance didn’t mute him, just made him obey—he and Vox liked to talk too much for a full offline trance to be a common indulgence. ‘What’s different?’ He leaned back, feeling the shivery static of tearing his gaze from that screen, and tried to figure it out.

Vox didn’t use a cable this time, but reached out and took Spice Drop’s chin in one slender hand, forcing their gazes to lock again. His other hand toyed with the fork, hovering over the tiramisu.

‘Well, for one thing,’ he said, realising it as he spoke, ‘when I made this backup I hadn’t been hanging around Val quite as much. I think he’d started to think I was just another one of his cronies.’ Vox’s pupils glowed brighter, and the image on his screen jumped before flashing to anger. ‘He really gets into your head, Valentino does.’

‘Yeah,’ Spicy said, surprised to hear it. ‘I figured you were immune,’ he said, softer.

Vox’s laugh was the sound of fast forwarding, a paused live feed jerking back to life, uneven and atonal. ‘I figured I was too.’

‘He’s gone now,’ Spicy said, as he’d been telling himself for days. ‘He’s gone, and he didn’t have a backup save.’ He smiled, liking the way they could talk to one another. There was never any danger Vox wouldn’t catch a reference or a term, it was so refreshing.

Hearing the clinking of the fork, Spicy opened his mouth in just the way he knew Vox liked, the way he’d taught himself to as a teenager, when he’d seen his first hentai.

‘Game over,’ Vox agreed, putting the bite of tiramisu in Spicy’s waiting mouth, and making him have another orgasm the moment it hit his tongue. ‘But our game is just beginning.’

Spicy hummed; food was boring, but dessert was his favourite part of the meal. He was so grateful he had indulged in tiramisu, now… ‘What do you want to play after cake, Master? Do you want to take me home, and plug me into my charger?’ he asked, shy as always when he went specific with voicing his fantasies. He was still unsure, still learning Vox was just as fucked up and kinky as he was. Rule 34 falling short of Spicy’s fantasies was frustrating until Rule 34 started dating you.

Vox fed him another little piece. ‘I think I’d better,’ he said, just oozing tenderness. ‘You’re almost out of juice, aren’t you?’ He flicked the cable inside Spicy’s cunt, curling the tip, reminding him how drenched it was.

‘Remind me again, what charger do you take? I can never keep track…’ Whenever Spicy got hesitant like this, Vox clamped down, making Spicy show him every desired detail. It was a reminder Spicy couldn’t hide anything from him, but also a way to indicate he wanted to hear it. Vox liked to remind Spicy of both.

Spicy shivered, smiling after he swallowed, delightfully mortified. ‘I…’ he said, but the hesitance wasn’t a lack of obedience, it was having to fight himself to get the words out. Like a bad connection, his desires flickered in and out of reception, in his thoughts, trying to fight off the shame and fear even now. Spicy wasn’t like any of Vox’s other lovers—he was still so human.

(Unknown to either of them, Spicy was actually the most human creature in Hell, and not technically a demon at all.)

He wanted the one that slid into every orifice between his legs, and into his mouth, rotating (he preferred rotating and squirming to thrusts), shocking, buzzing, overwhelming, his eyes forced open by the visor, the screen inside even more effective than having his face close to Vox’s like it was right now, headphones drowning out everything but Vox’s voice… It was the most intense of the machines, and it spoke to how wrecked Spicy wanted to get, how much he’d missed his lover.

‘Oh, right, you’re a VGA.’ Vox switched the fork to another cable so he could palm himself through his trousers, articulated cock starting to lock into its hard position. Seeing the experience from Spicy’s point of view was a show he was always ready to rewatch. ‘You know I might have to just leave you there to charge, right, babyslut? I’ve got a lot of other things to catch up on.’

Spicy whimpered, squirming and trying to make his eyes plead; they were big dark eyes, they could plead fairly well, especially now that he’d had a bit more practise. His hands held tighter to Vox’s shoulders. ‘Please take me with you,’ he said, before taking the next bite of cake. Usually, long-distance was a fun game to play; but just now, he didn’t want to let Vox out of his sight. Maybe he was even ready to leave this hotel room, and start living somewhere closer to The Server.

Vox’s expression altered by just a few pixels, in a way that might almost have been described as more gentle. ‘I’ll stay, then. There’s nothing that I can’t do from the charging station.’ It was still surprising how much Spicy had missed him, even without any effort on Vox’s part. Vox had figured out a while ago that it was best only to break Spicy in the ways Spicy wanted to be broken, or their little fling would be off entirely. He considered. ‘Maybe I could even whip up a mobile rig. That’d certainly make your commute to work more interesting.’

Spicy’s mind wavered even closer to the Big Question, the one that very few knew was even a question: that of his soul. Despite vocally maintaining that he didn’t belong in Hell, that he wasn’t Christian (and only Spicy made that word a hissing, crackling, three-syllable curse word), few actually realised he was telling the truth in more ways than one. His soul was almost virginal; and no matter what he did, it remained so. But if he signed it away, it anchored him to Hell forever; yet, was Love not the most noble of reasons to sacrifice? Was Love not what Spicy had spent his life pursuing, worshipping? He was happy, with Vox; he wanted… but he had, until now, held back. Vox’s death had both galvanised him and muddied the waters even more. Life in Hell was interesting, after all; he had no belief that his afterlife elsewhere would be.

‘That’s right,’ Vox said, smooth as a bead of solder. ‘What can your gods give you that I can’t? Let’s face facts, they’re a little behind the times. I can give you anything. Including the chance to talk to them. I am the great communicator.’

And Vox had taught him how to communicate with the mortal world—Spicy was now an expert at spirit boxes, ovilus, digital talking boards, and other EVP equipment. But communicating with the gods was done through the mortals, Spicy was no longer able to do it himself. And, well, by Spicy’s definition of god, Vox was one. Any overlord was a sort of pagan god. Alastor was a god of the radio, and now Angel had stepped in as god of sex, but Vox, oh, Vox was a god that had never been worshipped on earth, not as such—the God of the Internet, the God of that intangible country where Spicy had spent most of his time. And, well, Vox had just proven that he was, truly, unkillable—and gods couldn’t die.

‘Captcha,’ Spicy said, their safeword for when he needed to stop, if only to gather himself for a few minutes. He needed to talk, outside of the trance, needed to talk something out.

Instantly, Vox let him go. The cables stayed where they were, because the contact was comforting Spicy (and Vox as well, if he was being honest), but Spicy blinked and his eyes were brown again, all the way open and ordinary. His thoughts were his own, except for those he wanted to share. But even if he didn’t feel like talking, he’d left more than enough for Vox to peruse. God of Media, I like that…

He leaned against Vox’s chest, closing his eyes and breathing in the indescribable smell of the inside of a computer. He wasn’t Christian, he had no interest in God or Lucifer; but Hell, when you really looked at it, had nothing to do with them either. Hell had gods—Lord Sinuous, Proserpine, Yve, those were the elder gods. Then there were the nymphs, like Yve’s staff. But then there were gods like Vox and Alastor, the so-called ‘overlords’, that did… exactly what gods did. Spicy thought about the regular contact he had with his mediums, and with the witch who had gotten his message out and kept updating the world and acting as his priest, and thought about what it would mean to… leave. Well, not stop talking to them, but give up on a pagan afterlife. Wasn’t… this? A pagan afterlife? It was an afterlife, and there were gods here, gods that interacted with everyone the way Spicy had always wanted to interact with gods.

Maybe it was time to stop wanting to leave wherever he was, and start changing it so he wanted to stay.

‘When you died, I realised I should have told you a lot of things,’ Spicy said. ‘I know you know I’m a stupid romantic, and I know we both know this has been a relationship for a while, but nobody wanted to talk about it that way. But… why? Why not be a couple?’ Angel and Alastor are a couple, and nobody thinks that’s going to stop Angel from doing his job or being himself, he wanted to add, but he wasn’t sure if he wanted to even hint at wanting power. He didn’t, but at the same time… he did, he realised; he just… there was only one sin, in Spicy’s religion, and it was presuming godhood.

Vox’s screen flickered again. ‘Why not?’ he echoed. ‘You were the only person who was happy to see me. Velvet will get bored as soon as my resurrection stops trending, and Valentino’s dead. Who else am I going to be friends with? That little shitweasel Tom Trench? I could use a boyfriend, quite frankly, or maybe a consort? Either way, I can’t think of anyone better than my little Spicy. So what the heaven, let’s go steady.’

Spicy hugged him. ‘Being scared of commitment is dumb anyway,’ he said, mostly for his own sake. He’d never been scared of commitment, but everyone else seemed to be; he’d never understood why.

He rested his head against Vox’s chest for a little while, just breathing, coming down from the orgasms a little more, just so that building back up again would be nice. ‘You wanna keep feeding me cake, Master?’ he said, still tasting the ghost of it on his tongue, and wanting more.

‘I very much do,’ said Vox, using both hands to stroke Spicy while the cable moved the fork, bringing another piece to Spicy’s lips. ‘And I like that you wanted it all by yourself, babyslut, because I trained you well, didn’t I? I think we do make a good pair. Let’s see, I think we have another three orgasms left, and then I’ll take you home and charge you up.’ He was, he realised, feeling a lot better. Spicy’s secondhand memories of Vox’s demise were… interesting, but Vox wasn’t going to let that distract him.

Spicy ate, enjoying every bite, enjoying the sound of Vox’s monologuing, wondering if there might be time for them to just laze around and watch some favourite movies, later. Vox had everything, and Spicy was glad he wasn’t stuck with just memories of his favourite movies and shows. He wanted to wrap up in Vox and maybe, just maybe, he’d finally be able to sleep again. He wondered why his mind was on everything but sex, all of a sudden. Grief was a terrible drug. He wasn’t fond of it. He put a hand up to Vox’s neck, stroking over the high collar he wore.

‘Does it feel like anything?’ he asked. ‘Signing a contract, I mean. Will it… change how I look, or something?’ He was really just sort of wondering aloud; but it was the closest he’d ever come to entertaining the idea.

Vox grinned wider. ‘Not unless you want it to. I know you like designing new getups. But,’ he said, lightly massaging Spicy’s lower belly, ‘I don’t think you need more things to think about, right now.’ He withdrew the cables, and they retracted back wherever it was they went, presumably to be cleaned. Vox propped himself up on one elbow, using the other to stroke his cock some more through his pants, making sure Spicy was watching. ‘You’re still all over the place. Let me really make you mine.’

Spicy felt, deep in his story-driven soul, the universe shifting. This was a Faustian moment, and they were common in hell—gods knew Spicy had been propositioned by Val before (terrifying) and everyone assumed he’d already accepted Angel’s (false, nor had Angel even asked; Spicy wasn’t even sure Angel had realised that was a thing, yet); Spicy had listened to Alastor on the radio for a while when he’d first arrived, and thought long and hard about giving over to the Radio God. But he hadn’t. Now, he knew he was on the brink of the actual decision. He couldn’t turn back. He was terrified of losing his free will, his ability to say ‘no’; but Vox had never pushed him, that didn’t seem to be something he found amusing. Plenty of desperate people were under his power, but Spicy’s desperation had evaporated, since dying.

‘Tell me,’ he said. ‘There’s got to be a reason you’ve never let me touch your cum, before.’ And Spicy had wanted to; but Vox had always said that was his contract, and Spicy could either have freedom or cum, not both. For all his reputation as someone as bad as Val, Vox had been… very interested in Spicy maintaining his freedom. Were souls worth less unwilling? Or did Vox actually… like him? Why was that so hard to believe? It wasn’t like Vox wasn’t a person….

The smile vanished, replaced by narrow-eyed seriousness, one pupil flashing brighter in warning. ‘If I come inside you, I can control you. I know you like pretty words, Spicy, but I’m not going to beat around the bush here. Cum means I put a chip in your head, because each and every one of my little wigglers is a nanobot, and they get together and build me a motherboard. I can do so, so much more than when you just look into my eyes. Whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever you are. That’s my contract.’

Spicy felt a chill of terror, at the thought; but, he reasoned, he’d done the trial runs of that a lot, already. Still, some people got… weird… once you made a commitment to them. ‘Would anything between us change?’ he asked, very seriously. ‘We’ve been doing everything but calling this a relationship and committing,’ he went on, nervous but trying to calm himself down. ‘I don’t see why anything has to change, other than my address?’

‘Not really,’ Vox said honestly, because he’d thought about this already. ‘I already have enough people who’ll do things for me, and you’re always so sweet, so I wouldn’t need to override. We’d just open up that possibility, and if anyone else tried to get your contract, or if you tried to get rid of it, I’d know.’ He chuckled. ‘I’ve made a lot of demons suddenly hope they’re natural brain surgeons.’

Spicy thought about it for a while, but kept circling back around to the dawning realisation that here, now, he was talking to a god, and wasn’t that just as good, if not better, than what he’d had in life? He didn’t have to be Christian just because he was here. Maybe he… maybe things were still Happening For A Reason. Maybe the pagan gods had more power over Hell than Spicy had given them credit for. God had abandoned Hell, after all—for that matter, so had Lucifer.

He climbed off of Vox, onto the bed beside him, laying down on his back, lifting his thighs, and took a slow breath, letting it out.

‘Okay,’ he said, and gave a genuine, if nervous, smile. ‘Squip me, then, Master,’ he said, trying to lighten his own mood with a joke.

‘Oh, this is way better than Squip,’ Vox said, putting the empty fork on the empty dessert plate and slowly unzipping his pants. ‘Squip is for people who don’t get to fuck me.’

His cock sprang out, fully charged, and it was quite a sight: polished gunmetal grey, segmented so it could move in all kinds of ways. The head glowed the same cyan as his smile, the colour of screens still going at three in the morning.

‘I’ve been waiting a long time for this.’ He lined himself up, leaning over Spicy with hands braced on the other demon’s softly rounded shoulders. They made a good contrast, with how Vox was all sharp corners. ‘This is your last chance,’ he said. ‘Are you ready? Are you sure?’ Some part of his mind still didn’t understand why Spicy hadn’t immediately given his contract to Angel Dust. They were friends, co-workers, occasional lovers. Angel protected Spicy from Val, comforted him when he was shaken. Vox hadn’t done much other than to redirect Val’s attention to someone more interesting. Why hadn’t Spicy jumped at the opportunity to cleave to Angel Dust? Still… Spicy was the only one who called Vox “Master” when still in possession of his own thoughts….

Spicy was terrified, it was in the pinprick of his pupils, the way he was trembling, the pulse, rapid and shallow—but fear and Spicy were old friends. And anyway, who else could Spicy possibly give himself to? Angel? Angel couldn’t give Spicy what he wanted—what he needed. And… and maybe Spicy didn’t want a healthy relationship, maybe that was the dirty secret he’d been so ashamed of, all this time. Maybe he didn’t want to be anything but fucked and fucked up and codependent. And maybe… maybe that was okay. It was Hell, he was dead, what did he care? He wanted Vox, he wanted to be owned, cared for, loved and adored, he wanted to worship….

‘Fuck me, Master,’ Spicy said, ‘Love me, take me, make me yours.’ Just as Spicy appreciated Vox’s wordplay and naming skills, Vox appreciated Spicy’s poetry and flair for dramatic phrasing. ‘Say you love me when you come, that’s all I ask,’ he added, blushing and shy but making himself ask for it.

Vox touched Spicy’s forehead with a fingertip, his version of a kiss. ‘Of course, babyslut. Anything for you.’ He was proud of Spicy for going on despite the fear, even as he enjoyed every shaking moment of it. Having people fear you was what being an overlord was all about. It wasn’t better to be loved than feared—it was better, in Vox’s opinion, to be loved and feared.

He slid inside in one swift thrust, curling the tip immediately like beckoning fingers, just to show off that he could. ‘Would you believe me,’ he purred in Spicy’s ear, ‘if I said you were the best I ever had?’

‘I want to believe,’ Spicy said; it was so, so easy to talk to Vox in the continuous allusion of media. It was one of the reasons Spicy adored him. The feeling of Vox’s cock was enough to make the back of Spicy’s throat tingle, his whole body going still, like he was afraid one breath would prove this was only a dream. Thrusting sex, ‘normal’ sex, that wasn’t something Spicy liked often—but just now, it seemed like the oldest contract between worshipped and worshipper was the best thing in the universe. He was on the altar, and it was time to make his offering.

‘I love you,’ he whispered, looking into those flickering eyes. ‘My love, my god, my everything.’

Vox groaned softly. ‘Easy now, don’t you want your god to last more than a minute and a half?’ He cupped Spicy’s face in his hand again, leaning down until his antennae brushed Spicy’s forehead, and Spicy heard the edge-of-hearing hum of electronics working away. ‘I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what to say. I’ve never had a contract quite like this.’

‘You’ve never had a contract with a pagan, before,’ Spicy said, feeling strangely free, despite what he was doing. ‘Nobody knows what you are, what you really are. But I do,’ he said, soft and surprised at the words. They were usually words someone in Vox’s position said. But he felt it, felt the magic he’d been chasing for years. In a beautiful moment of realisation, he understood what the contracts were—what they’d always been.

The Old Ways really were the best.

‘I was human, once,’ Vox said, never once taking his eyes off Spicy as he slowly moved his hips. ‘I died in nineteen fifty-nine. And now, according to you, I’m a god. I’m your god.

‘Apotheosis just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?’

Spicy’s grin was the crooked one he wore when in especially witchy moods; but, as soon as Vox started to move his hips, his smile faltered, and his eyes fell closed, brows tilting up as Vox went deep, hit just the perfect spot. ‘Oooh, right there,’ he whispered. ‘Please, please….’ He was almost holding his breath.

Vox drew back a little… but his cock extended, answering the plea. He did that a few more times, moving in Spicy while staying perfectly still, hitting that spot each time. He writhed like one of his cables, experimenting, seeing what made Spicy gasp and cry and let out adorable little squeaks.

Used to monitoring everything, Vox was aware when his orgasm started to sneak up on him, and he wrapped a hand gently around Spicy’s throat. Spicy was bathed in the glow of his screen from head to navel as he softly said, ‘I love you, Spice Drop,’ and started to pulse.

Spicy didn’t move, when the sex was good enough; he couldn’t, and he liked the soft feeling of Vox’s hand on his throat—he wasn’t squeezing, just holding. He had no lips for kissing, so this was what he did instead of kissing Spicy’s neck, or biting it. Spicy felt the pulses, felt how deep they were, and gave a sobbing little moan in his throat. ‘Tell me what they’re doing…’ he begged, loving narration—and no one was better at it than Vox.

‘Mm, the nanites currently flooding your cunt?’ Vox was still going. It would have been an absurd amount of ejaculate from a human, but the control chip was complex enough that it needed a lot of nanites; the extras would hang out in Spicy’s cerebrospinal fluid until they were needed, serving as backups. ‘Well, they’re making their way up to your womb, just the way ordinary cum would, and they’re going to find the blood vessels in there and hitch a ride. If they get lost in your bloodstream, they can follow nerve signals, until they get to the gaps in the blood-brain barrier, the unguarded places where you just needed that information exchange, and they slip inside and set up shop. You like that? Are you going to lie there and imagine you can feel them working their way through you?’

Spicy loved this, loved that Vox found his imagination so fun to play with, loved the images and the buzzing pleasure. ‘Mmm, yes, yes…’ The shivery feeling was like being plugged into a current, but not at all unpleasant.

‘I think I will be able to feel it…’ he murmured, knowing how sensitive he was to changes in his brain chemistry. Will it fix my depression? he wondered. The odd thing about being dead was that he still had depression, and borderline, and everything else he’d had in life. He’d never thought you took that with you, and it seemed like nobody else around him really did—he’d asked. But Vox could always fix it, with his hypnotics or… well, or this, possibly. Spicy looked into those mismatched eyes and smiled. ‘Tell me more, Master,’ he said. ‘Will it come online right away? Can you tell?’

Vox’s grin almost filled the entire bottom half of his screen. ‘They need a few minutes to make themselves into the chip, I’m not that much of a miracle worker. But as soon as it starts up, I’ll know. Then they’ll be able to tell me not just your thoughts, but your heartbeat, whether you need a few extra neurotransmitters…’ He waved his free hand, the other still laid tenderly on Spicy’s neck. ‘If your brain is doing something I don’t like, I can tell it to cut that out.’

‘You are perfect,’ Spicy said dreamily, still holding to the domestic dream of being a perfect tv housewife—and Vox revealing that he had died in the fifties was just acting like whiskey in the tank. Maybe he’d gain powers like everyone else, maybe he’d be able to shapeshift….

'Yes,' he said. ‘I am.'

Vox slipped out and settled beside Spicy, lying with his screen against the headboard, one arm pulling Spicy close to his side. He always felt good after making a contract, for reasons that were pretty fucking obvious, but this was extra special. He'd never had a boyfriend before, only the usual work affairs that a mortal husband was entitled to, except in his case he wasn't going after the secretaries. It was a strange feeling, a new update. Spicy could do with the status boost, though, and knew how to make himself up to look good on Vox's arm. This could work out very well.

Spicy giggled. 'Ass,' he said, nestling close and laying his head against Vox's shoulder, heaving a sigh. He hadn't felt this calm in days. ‘I love you, Master,’ he said, feeling full and content.

Vox lounged, considering his next move. He'd stay here awhile until Spicy dozed off--he himself never slept, he fully embraced that side of being a demon--and then he'd head back to the Server. He'd only been dead a week, and he was one of the most powerful overlords in Hell. His reach was everywhere; every screen was a reminder of his power. The turf wars could rage on, but there wouldn't be any threat. Not to his territory.

Chapter Text

Explosions were really the most fun a boy could have. Sir Pentious’ laughter rang to the steel girders of his automaton as he soundly crushed his opponent into the wreckage of the Studio 7, one of the sound studios on Vox’s recently-vacated territory. For the past week, the territory had been a battleground, though the need for social media—and fear of Alastor—had kept people from advancing too far, testing the edges.

Sir Pentious had never given in to something as pedestrian as caution.

A black and cyan car so sleek it looked frictionless pulled up, or perhaps glided, to the curb, and Vox got out. He’d heard the breaking news—and, as he got closer, all the new breakages—on the ride there, so the tableau before him wasn’t a shock. He’d vented his temper in the car, in privacy, and was then delayed further when he shorted out the battery.

He got out and leaned against the hood, listening to the monologue for a few minutes, and at last strolled up to the wreckage of his gates. Dramatic gestures and violence were the only things demons like Sir Pentious understood, and Vox spoke both fluently. He came closer, keeping behind bits of rubble (it was fine, it was fine, he’d been planning on renovating this one anyway), ducking occasional shrapnel and, once, an entire, very dismayed Egg Boi.

The automaton was charging up yet another death ray when a slender cable wrapped around its legs. It was yanked to a stop, rearing, in mid-rampage, backlit by another explosion that Vox tolerated for how good it looked, and then it toppled.

Really, that was the oldest trick in the book.

Sir Pen was out of his machine in a trice, serpentine bodies nearly as good as araneiform ones for adapting to different directions, and was indignant behind a disintegrator pistol. ‘You dare interrupt my takeov—’ even Sir Pentious’ oblivious grandeur was taken aback by seeing, ‘Vox? But you’re dead!’

Vox did his own Laugh, which echoed and re-echoed as all the electronic devices in the wreckage turned on at once, cracked screens showing whatever they could of his face. ‘I know you’re an antique, but even you should know you shouldn’t believe everything you see on TV.’

Spicy, inside the car, was filming from the best seat in the house, livestreaming the whole thing, getting one up on the official news crews. They’d steal his footage, but that didn’t matter—everyone would know he’d gotten there first.

Sir Pentious was not prepared to go against Vox—Vox had power that Sir Pentious, frankly, respected. He lowered his weapon. ‘Well,’ he said, his hood flaring and smoothing in indecision. ‘Where have you been?’ he demanded, because he had never been able to gracefully concede anything.

‘Oh, you know,’ Vox said casually, buffing his nails on his collar. ‘Reconnecting.’

‘Well—let this be a warning!’

‘You blew up my soundstage, you BITCH!’ shouted a demon from somewhere in the wreckage. ‘We were in the middle of season six! AUGH!’

Vox spun towards the source of the sound. ‘Well, if you want to hash this out, come on down! After all, we’re live! You won’t get a better mid-season premiere!’ Unwise demons had drawn parallels between Vox in this mood and Alastor. It was true they were both showmen, but Alastor, once he got going, generally assumed audience attention was a given. The Radio Demon didn’t ensure, he didn’t snare, he didn’t reach. He didn’t make people want to keep listening.

The demon that picked around the rubble was one Vox knew, of course—it was Mince, one of his directors, and a brilliant man for colour keying. He saw Vox and gave a noise that illustrated why he’d chosen to go by Mince. ‘Daddy, oh, I knew you weren’t really dead!’ His smile was blinding, rather unfortunate considering he was always behind the camera.

‘Hello?’ Sir Pentious didn’t like being ignored.

‘Shut up, I’m working!’ Mince shot back, with all the fearlessness of a director.

Make sure you get him a close-up, Spicy, this is a rare opportunity. Vox was very glad Spicy had let him put in the chip. It made things so much easier.

‘Mince!’ he said, throwing his arms wide. ‘I knew you’d be here working away.’ He winked and tapped Mince playfully on the nose. ‘How’s everyone else been doing in my absence?’

‘Dreadful, darling, dreadful, perfectly wretched! Gildie!’ he snapped at someone just getting out of a car. ‘Gildie, Daddy’s back and the soundstage is ruined, I need you to dash over and see if Akeldama’s done filming that music video!’

He turned back to Vox as the demon ran off, a hand very gently splayed on Vox’s chest. ‘You did tell your little gumdrop about being back, didn’t you?’

That was about when Spicy cut the feed. He knew the tendency for gossip, and he didn’t want to know what people on Vox’s Studiolot were saying about him, lately.

‘Enough!’ Sir Pen drew himself up, his hood flared to its fullest extent. ‘You peons have the unmitigated gall to go about your business as though I’m not even here? Well, I am here! Here I will remain! And I’m going to—’

Vox gestured, and although Sir Pen’s mouth kept working, no sound came out. The snake demon gasped, covering his mouth with his hands, his frantically flicking tongue peeking through his fingers.

‘Now then,’ said Vox. ‘As I was saying…’

Daddy Media’s back! #vox #daddymedia @direct.mincing was the caption, and the video was already at one million likes and counting.

Angel had been scrolling through his feed, reading out various news to Alastor as it hit him, Alastor actually writing with a pencil in the corner. With a pencil. In a notebook. Angel wondered how he’d ended up with someone so technophobic.

‘…Vox ain’t dead,’ he said, after several minutes trying to figure out how to phrase it. Fear tried to take hold in his gut, but was stymied by the fact that Angel never had to deal with the threat of having to do a private session with Vox again. Somehow, the idea of Vox having survived was more believable—the man was more machine than meat—than Val having done the same.

‘Very funny!’ said Alastor, only momentarily glancing up from his list of ideas for new broadcast segments. ‘Yes, what a merry poisson d’avril! Hilarious, except for the fact that it’s July!’ He was using his radio voice, though, which indicated he was more than a little upset, given they were alone. He put the pencil down. ‘I ate his screen, Angel Dust! And let me tell you, that took some doing! This has to be a hoax!’

Anger and betrayal made Angel feel just a little bit cruelly toward Spicy, which might have been why he answered, ‘You want—you want me to get Spicy to come here, tell you in person?’ but a second later, he felt sick at the idea of even implying he would betray his friend’s trust, throw away their friendship like that. Spicy wasn’t under anyone’s protection, not even Vox had his contract; if two overlords ganged up on him, well, he was done for. Did Angel really want to be one of those overlords? He put his phone down, realising he was shaking.

‘I don’t… I don’t mean you should hurt him,’ he said, feeling sick with disgust at himself for thinking it, even for a moment. ‘I don’t. He’s a good kid.’ Possibly the only good kid in Hell, other than Charlie.

Alastor got up from his desk and came to sit beside Angel, crossing his legs and folding his hands in his lap. ‘Leaving aside why I’d wantonly hurt someone you’re attached to, Spice Drop was a witness to the event! What would he have to tell me? Was he the one to author the post?’ He tried to recollect what he’d noticed of the little demon during their brief meetings. A very understated form and an impressive bit of belligerence, protectiveness towards Angel. He hadn’t made a sound while Alastor went about his work, just watched with dinner-plate eyes. What did he have to do with anything?

‘He’s been sleeping with Vox for a while now,’ Angel said, sighing. ‘He doesn’t talk about it, but everyone knows—a-at first, I thought it was somethin’ he was doin’ to protect me, since it only started after he started workin specifically as my dresser. Head put him on set one day, on account’a he knows how to work a corset as well as she does, an she was tired’a repairin’ ‘em when I ripped ‘em up.’ He sighed.

‘Then, onna the fluffers got too handsy with me, an’ Val snapped his head off. Spicy offered ta help, made his case, sayin’ he was good at keepin’ his hands professional. An’ he was, he had to manhandle my tits enough to prove that,’ he added. ‘So, Val let him be my fluffer just for that day; but Spice was real good at it. And… well, I liked him.’

Spicy had been one of the few people working on set that hadn’t been hand-picked by Val. He was Costuming, and Val knew better than to mess with edicts from Costuming. Head may have worked for him, but like most women he called ‘bitch’, she was used to working for men and yet not being controlled by them.

Alastor grimaced, raising a hand to massage his throat, and didn’t say anything for long enough that Angel got even twitchier. When he did finally speak, his voice had a rough edge to it.

‘So, he’d know better than most!’ Interesting fellow, he thought, remembering the avid tinge to Spice Drop’s horrified fascination. ‘Still, he wasn’t complicit in hurting you, so I have no problem with him! In the meantime…’ He coughed and said, ‘This is dismaying and, if I’m being perfectly honest, embarrassing, but if Vox proves to have learned his lesson then we’ll call it even! After all, he’s lost the opportunity to be Valentino’s stooge!’

Angel wasn’t sure. He texted Spicy, worried.

Saw your post. Details?

It was only a moment before he got a text back.

I need to talk to you in person. Fair warning I did give myself to Vox fully, a few hours ago; it’s been a long time coming. There’s a lot that I haven’t talked about in the past week. Grief. Felt like I couldn’t. I still love you v much and want to stay friends n being your asst is the best job I’ve ever had, but I understand if I can’t do that anymore now that you’re an overlord. Conflict of interest etc.

Angel stared at the message for a while. It had come so fast that he was sure it had been waiting, typed up in advance. Being an overlord might have been new to Angel, but Spicy was one of those types that was always hyper-aware of power dynamics. He said things like ‘freedom is a lie’ and ‘there’s no such thing as safety, only shades of danger’; so, it was certain he’d started thinking about taking sides as soon as the bodies hit the floor. It had been a week, and he hadn’t even talked to Angel about signing a contract; Angel hadn’t dared ask, he respected Spicy’s independence too much, had assumed he’d keep working on that dream of getting out of here, getting back to whatever afterlife he was supposed to be in.

Seeing that, instead, Spicy had gone and given himself to Vox, just like that, when Vox can’t be treating him as nice as Angel did… it hurt, it worried Angel. Spicy was candid about why he’d died, and how screwed up he was—at least, when they were both alone. Angel also knew Vox was dangerous, aggressive the way ad-men were about what he wanted. And if Val got along with him, he was Bad News. Angel protected Spicy from Val, and he’d thought… well, Spicy had no squicks, none. Angel had thought he was asexual, like Alastor, which was why he could keep Vox at bay—Angel saw how he dressed in clear boots and sandals around Vox, saw how Vox watched Spicy, flirted with him. It made Angel’s skin crawl, but he was grateful for his friend’s protection.

Maybe, Angel thought gloomily, maybe he’d always known, really, that Spicy was in love with Vox, that it wasn’t just him tolerating Vox, or being unaffected by Vox. The idea of anyone liking Vox was nauseating, but Angel knew damn well that everyone was someone else’s type….

…but I understand if I can’t do that anymore now that you’re an overlord. Conflict of interest etc.

Painful as that sentence was, Spicy had a point; Angel and him weren’t equals anymore, and that might mean… fuck. Angel put his upper two hands on his face. He didn’t want to stop being friends with Spicy, he didn’t want to never see him again, never watch movies or borrow books or laugh with him… but politics. Politics. Spicy was one of Vox’s eyes, now, and potentially everything he knew was there for Vox to take. That was dangerous. That was so, so dangerous. Angel hadn’t been careful enough; but then again he’d never thought he’d end up an overlord.

His phone dinged, and he was afraid to see what the new message was. Alastor, sitting next to him, could see it.

I love you.

Alastor offered a slight, wry smile to his lover. ‘Maybe you should go talk to him. I’ve been led to believe that can help!’

This, he suspected, was what Angel had meant when he’d tossed out that mention of not being exclusive. He was also relatively sure he was supposed to have a different feeling about it, now that he and Angel were open about their relationship. They alternated staying in each others’ rooms at the Hazbin; Alastor, with a long-suffering air, allowed Angel to make seemingly endless Sinstagram posts about the two of them, and a couple times they’d even committed public displays of affection. Wasn’t he supposed to be more jealous?

The fact of the matter was, whatever Spice Drop had with Angel was nothing like what Alastor had with Angel. There was no sense in being envious of someone who had the inferior version of something. Besides, even if Alastor had been inclined, and had the stamina, he wouldn’t entertain Angel all the time. Valentino had been the one to monopolise Angel’s every waking hour (and to remind him that demons didn’t need to sleep). Alastor wasn’t going to do that. Therefore, Angel needed friends. Friends said I love you. Friends you incidentally had sex with also said I love you, or at least so Alastor was informed.

‘It’s not a problem,’ he said, because Angel was still looking at him like he expected static or shadow tricks. He swallowed, feeling the soreness in his throat persist. It had started as a tickle, and now it felt like his pipes had been rubbed with sandpaper. Was that a symptom of jealousy?

‘Isn’t it?’ Angel said, bitterly. His lower pairs of arms wrapped around himself. ‘The kid took a side, he belongs to Vox now. Gave up his freedom,’ he didn’t realise he was going to cry about it until the tears started. ‘Jesus, why am I cryin’ about this?’ he said, angry with himself, wanting to throw something across the room, so he grabbed one of the decorative pillows and hurled it. It hit the wall with a thump, falling to the floor.

‘Because you feel powerless, cher. Which, I might remind you, you very much are not!’ Alastor could switch from one tone to the other like nobody’s business. ‘You’re an overlord just like Vox; the incubus pre-eminent! Your friend did make his choice, but if he regrets it later, he does, just possibly, have recourse!’

Overlords could, if sufficiently persuaded, swap ownership of contracts between themselves, much like baseball cards. Valentino was choosy about his trading, but was willing to dangle the opportunity—or the threat—of switching teams when it suited him. Overall, though, he liked to present himself as the better option, a Daddy who would take care of your every need so long as you behaved. Besides, anyone he let go was still his on the inside, even if Vox put a chip in them.

Alastor blinked. How did he know that? Angel must have griped about it at some point….

Angel was so surprised he stopped crying, ‘Incubus?’ he said. ‘Whaddya mean, incubus?’ He wasn’t an incubus, there hadn’t been one of those in centuries—he’d even asked Yve if she could make him one, after hearing her talk about the good old days, when she had been the Queen of Lust.

Alastor blinked at him. ‘I should think you of all demons would know what an incubus is! Unless you prefer concubus?’

As he spoke, he elbowed the air, and his shadow got up and went across the wall to Angel’s, pulling it to its feet and coaxing it to spread its wings.

‘We are overlords of what we are, Angel Dust, and what you are is pleasure and desire! And since there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, an overlord of sex is a concubus!’

Angel’s shadow swept Alastor’s off its feet in a passionate kiss, and Alastor laughed.

‘Do you see?’

Angel felt a shiver go up his spine.

‘That would make me the first incubus in about a hundred years,’ he said, watching their shadows, feeling the deflected pleasure as they necked playfully—Alastor’s shadow was a lot more playful than Alastor himself. Angel wondered if the wings and long tail his shadow was sporting would show up later, or if they were just a permanent alteration in his shadow only.

Val hadn’t been an incubus; Angel had asked about it. So why was Angel? He couldn’t help feeling a swell of victory—this meant he was better than Val. More powerful, even.

As to Alastor’s reminder that Spicy had recourse… well, Angel hadn’t thought about that, and it was comforting, even as Angel wondered just exactly what he’d do for contracts. Val made you sign, but Angel had overheard a conversation while under Val’s desk once, that indicated Vox implanted a microchip in your brain, instead. What would Angel do? Maybe he could ask around.

‘Hey, what do contracts look like, for you? You just make people sign a piece’a paper, or what?’ Maybe talking about this would make it seem more real. Angel still half-forgot that he had new powers, wasn’t just Some Guy anymore.

‘I like to keep things simple! Just a handshake!’ Alastor made a show of examining his talons. Clearly Angel hadn’t been paying attention when Alastor had made the offer to Charlie, but then again, he had overdone that on purpose. If people mentioned voodoo in that tone of voice, you gave them unearthly green light and a gust of wind from nowhere. It was what they deserved.

‘Every overlord has their own unique method! I believe Velvet demands you follow her on all forms of sociable media! You’ll figure yours out in no time!’

Angel thought about it. ‘I should talk to Yve,’ he said, quietly. ‘She’s told me about the days when concubi were a whole territory of their own, before the Great Dismantling.’ Maybe he could try getting that going again. ‘Say, you think I could turn people?’ That would be fantastic; Angel loved the idea much more than contracts.

Alastor tilted his head, at an angle that just skirted the line from curious into creepy. ‘Into concubi? After the fashion of your vampire fellow? It’s possible! You’ll have all the help you could need with biting technique!’

Angel laughed, even as he got to his feet and went over to change. ‘Not sure you turn someone by biting, sweethart,’ he said, stripping off his outfit as he spoke, opening his wardrobe.

He’d been wearing a lot more black, lately, because nobody was making him wear white anymore. That had been Val’s thing, making him wear white; Angel got out a pink sequined top that set off his pink stripes, and a wet look pair of black leggings. He sat on the sofa to take his boots off, and Alastor knew that Angel didn’t want anyone looking at his feet. The fact that Angel trusted Alastor not to was a very big deal. They weren’t horrific—they were perfectly ordinary feet for a tarantula—but Angel’s aversion to them was because of a private session Val had made him do with Vox, once.

It only took the once.

‘It couldn’t hurt to find out!’ Alastor said, studiously gazing at the ceiling. ‘So you’re off to Every Wickedness, then?’

He hoped Yve would also advise Angel on what, if anything, to do about Spice Drop. She would be much better able to help—assuming Angel told her. In the meantime, Alastor had to figure out what to do about Vox. It was fortunate that he’d left the other overlord’s contracts to sort themselves out, the same with Valentino’s, so strictly speaking they had nothing to quibble over. Perhaps they could return to their usual unfriendly truce. Radio, according to Vox, had no place in modern communication, and Alastor was fine with that, thank you very much.

Angel glanced at him. ‘You don’t wanna come with? Thought you’d like a chance to go out on the town.’ He hadn’t really been able to be seen with Alastor—seen somewhere social, like Yve’s. And Angel knew if they both showed up there, Yve would get more business. Besides, she was the oldest concubus, he owed her the gesture of respect. He was going to be more respectful than Val. Val had enemies, and he’d made them indiscriminately, having little respect for anyone.

Angel picked out his hot pink thigh-high flared boots, having always loved the dramatic look of them. Glitter vinyl was like that, and he wanted to glitter.

‘I wanna take you out, sweethart. Let’s go have a few drinks.’ It felt so good to say something properly; it felt so thrilling to finally have a boyfriend….

Alastor resisted the urge to rub his throat again, as if that helped when the pain was on the inside. Maybe he could talk Yve into just giving him a glass of ice. People would think he was reinforcing his eccentric reputation, making up for the mundane adorability of falling in love. ‘Well, I don’t have to change,’ he said, ‘so I may as well!’ It was nice, he thought absently, to go out and meet people.

Angel smiled, stopping to kiss his face on the way to the vanity table. His makeup was always perfect, but it was nice to style his hair, line his lips, and brush a little mascara on.

.oOo.

Vox had been busy with organising cleanup and assessing damages all day, and Spicy had been left in his penthouse, which was atop the Server building. He’d spent the first ten minutes just sitting on the balcony, looking over Pentagram City from the highest vantage point in town, and enjoying the silence. Up here, the city was just a dull roar, and there was actual quiet. Spicy hadn’t experienced true quiet in years. After that, he’d taken a bath with oils, laying on Vox’s huge bed on a fluffy towel, enjoying the sensual joy of being thoroughly moisturised and relaxed for he wasn’t sure how long.

He’d found food in the kitchen, all of it aesthetically arranged and completely untouched. Spicy knew Vox didn’t—couldn’t?—eat, so the food was just for show. He’d felt, therefore, no guilt about making himself something to eat.

It was curious that the bathroom and kitchen were both pink; Vox didn’t live with anyone, so the pink had been his choice. Did he like pink? That was so sweet, Spicy thought. Spicy liked pink too, but had felt, since coming here, that pink was forbidden, that all the pink belonged to Angel Dust. Angel had never made any indication of that, of course; but Spicy was oversensitive to such things.

Just like the rest of his territory, Vox’s penthouse was all futurism; Spicy loved how he incorporated ultramodern tech into the vintage aesthetics. Pink had been a popular colour for kitchens and bathrooms, but there was no reason Vox had to have it—bathrooms and kitchens had also come in ‘masculine’ colours like green, blue, and even dark red. So, it stood to reason that, in a place that was solely his, Vox had chosen pink because he liked it.

Spicy smiled to himself, as he washed the dishes. That was really adorable, and made his heart flutter with yet one more way they matched.

There was a miniature television on a shelf above the kitchen counter, and it clicked on by itself, showing, of course, Vox’s face. ‘How are you holding up, baby? One of my former contracts got his chip out and sold—get this—to an independent studio.’ Vox said the words like each syllable personally offended him. ‘Heads and film are going to roll. Anyway, I could use a break. I hope you’re not in the middle of anything.’

Spicy blushed and smiled at the attention, the trust, the domesticity. He loved it and wanted more.

‘Just doing the dishes, Master,’ he said, but there was a strange hesitance as the word ‘husband’ almost came out. Spicy looked away in embarrassment, realising a beat too late that Vox would know that was why that had happened.

‘Is there… is there anything you want, when you get home?’ he asked, trying to cover up his fear with a smile. He wasn’t quite good enough at it, but trying counted for something.

Vox made a thoughtful noise. ‘Surprise me. Put that imagination of yours to work. And next time, tell me when you’re going to propose.’ It amused him greatly that Spicy had a kink for the television’s version of the Fifties, the one that even Vox himself had never experienced, the perfect parody of nuclear family life.

‘Don’t tease,’ Spicy begged—and it was begging, there was desperation there. He wanted to be a wife, to have a big wedding and a pretty dress and a cake, to greet his husband at the end of every day—he couldn’t indulge, it hurt too much. People in Hell didn’t want those things; people in his own time didn’t even want those things anymore. Certainly, queer people weren’t supposed to.

‘I might not have strayed if I could’ve married you the first time,’ Vox said thoughtfully. ‘Or… well, not as much.’

‘You could have brought them home to me,’ Spicy said, trying to recover and flirt. Since giving over, it was a lot harder to maintain composure and normalcy, knowing that Vox could see the layers and layers of masks and walls that Spicy erected to protect himself from scorn and ridicule.

Vox laughed, and it was genuine—a rare thing. ‘Maybe next time. What can I give you for the time being?’ He really felt as though Spicy’s contract had been more of a gift than a business deal, and he wanted to repay it in kind by making Spicy as happy as he could. And not even just because of the sex.

Spicy took a moment to gather his thoughts, but the desire was clear as a crystal display: to be shown off, for Vox to be proud of being seen with him. He’d spent his life being someone’s dirty secret, and he’d hated it. He wanted to be on Vox’s arm, to be taken out, to be given gifts meant to show him off better—shoes and jewels and pearls. But, mostly, he wanted to be more than a house wife.

‘Please,’ he said, barely louder than a whisper, putting the last of the dishes on the drying rack, eyes on his work, a little too shy to meet Vox’s own.

Vox watched him dry his hands and fuss with the dish towel. Well, the promise to be a couple stood, and this was part of it. Taking his latest acquisitions to bars was the kind of showing off that Vox knew best, even if he was used to a more select clientele. Here, no one cared if you had a man on your arm instead of a girl; and, considering that was one of the reasons Vox was in Hell in the first place, it was very satisfying. Even exterminations were really just bar raids taken to another level, really. He raised his brows in an exaggeratedly thoughtful expression.

‘Hmmm… how about we go on back to Yve’s place, for old time’s sake?’

Spicy’s smile was genuine and unguarded, like most of his smiles—but this one wasn’t laughter or flirtation or sex, this was the shy smile of someone unused to being asked out, unused to being pursued. ‘I’d like that.’ And Yve made his favourite cocktail, which was nice; and she had top-shelf gin for it, too. ‘What do you want me to wear, Master?’

‘Something that really makes you pop,’ Vox said. ‘Maybe incorporate some of the accessories from our latest video. Hell is going to know you’re part of the new me.’

The latest video had featured something that wouldn’t have been possible without a telepathic link: a facemask that had, at the time, contained a gag on the inside in the form of Vox’s cock. Spicy loved the idea of going out with it on, as much as he loved the fact that he could finally, finally have Vox’s cock in him, whenever (and, because of Vox’s unique anatomical abilities, wherever) he wanted.

Vox blew a kiss, a little heart appearing on his screen briefly. ‘And, of course, that I’m part of the new you.’

Spicy knew he didn’t have to stay by the screen, but he didn’t want to leave Vox’s face; still, he had to get ready. ‘Am I allowed to have an orgasm, Master?’ he asked, relieved he’d pushed through his shyness enough to be coquettish again. He’d been so shy lately, it was uncomfortable. He hated it. He knew grief fucked you up, and he knew his emotions were a wild ride, but it didn’t make it any less uncomfortable or frustrating.

Somehow, Vox took the villain laugh that should have been cliche and made it work, perhaps because he knew just how overdone it was. ‘No. Not until we’re home for the night. Get yourself as close as you want, add whatever you’d like, but you’re not allowed to go over that edge until I personally push you. And if you try, well, I can absolutely ruin it for you now, Spicy thing. You don’t want that, do you?’

Spicy shivered, pressing his thighs together. ‘No, Master,’ he said, delight in every syllable. He loved orgasm control, he loved control—at least, of his body. But Vox had never tried to control who he was, it was always strictly orgasmic control. ‘See you soon?’

‘As soon as I can,’ said Vox. ‘Make sure you’re ready when I get there. Until then, dearest.’ He winked, and the television shut off.

Chapter Text

When Vox came home, it was to Spicy in his black high-necked bodysuit, neon lines tracing his curves and chains draping over the outside of his hips and thighs, an acid green arrow on his belly pointing downward at his cunny. The cyberdreadfall was on, with all its shimmering tubular crin and foam and plastic strips, and shredded layers of fishnet accented his luscious legs. He was wearing clear boots with a heel in the shape of a crystal that was acid green. His makeup was also black and green, though the lower half of his face was covered by a face mask, spiked and with Vox’s symbol on both of the ventilator discs. Goggles pushed up on his head disguised where the dreadfall was attached.

He did not match Vox’s decor at all, but that wasn’t the point.

Master! he thought loudly, dark eyes in a smile that went down to his bones.

Vox winced theatrically, a hand going to his brow, as a VOLUME indicator appeared on the bottom of his screen and ticked downward a few bars. Spicy blushed at the gentle admonishment; but Vox just shook himself and laughed, sauntering forward to walk a slow, appreciative circle around Spice Drop.

‘Oh, this is excellent, this is perfect.’ Vox stopped in front of Spicy and tapped the face mask. ‘Just needs the finishing touch, doesn’t it? I hope no one at the bar expects a lot of sparkling conversation out of you.’ Aren’t you glad you took my chip?

He was happy, glowing at the admiration and taking the front plate off the mask. I don’t drink at bars, you know me, he thought, looking up at Vox and waiting. It was kind of relaxing to not need to speak, to not need his mouth to do anything but have a cock in it.

I do know you, babyslut. And I know all your weaknesses, and all the things you think are weaknesses, but I’d never hurt you with them. That’s too easy. People only play dirty pool when they can’t win. As he was talking, Vox was unbuckling his belt, pulling down his zipper, and detaching his cock with a neat twist. He touched the base, and it woke, sliding and locking straight out until it was perfectly erect. It could have been a metal dildo, if you hadn’t been watching where it came from—and Spicy wasn’t looking, because he knew.

‘Ready?’ Vox said.

Spicy’s love was something Vox had never been privy to, before; it was warm and glowing and was this how it was supposed to feel? My favourite dessert! Spicy thought, opening his mouth eagerly, wanting to reach for it himself but knowing he shouldn’t. Vox was still a man, still possessive of what was his. Spicy understood, respected that. He clasped his hands, and it looked like some obscene prayer. There was worship in his eyes, in every line of his code. He’d really gone full tilt with the idea that Vox was a god.

And honestly? Vox loved it. What was capital-G going to do, send him to hell for blaspheming? Better to rule in hell than serve in heaven, and given the actual ruler of Hell was on vacation for fuck knew how long, and his successor had gone into the hospitality business…. Okay, maybe he was getting ahead of himself a little there, but it was nice to have dreams. Dreams were what television was all about, and as he slid his cock into that waiting mouth, Vox knew he was helping Spicy live out quite a few of his. The aperture in the mask fit it perfectly, as it had been designed to do, and now Spicy was thoroughly gagged, with no one the wiser. (Of course, it was Hell; there had been a period where walking around with a cock in your mouth had been the latest fashion trend, although some had suspected it was Velvet trolling. But Vox and Spicy both liked having it be a secret.) Vox zipped up with one hand and adjusted his hat with the other, savouring Spicy’s adoration.

‘Well,’ he said, ‘let’s go show you off.’

Spicy carefully fastened the front plate of the mask back on, and squinched his eyes shut in a smile, trotting over and taking Vox’s offered arm. Yes, Master. Having it as a thought made him even more able to mimic the jeannie he always thought of, when he said ‘Master’.

One of the things about Vox’s cock was that it was able to change shape, and Spicy very quickly found out that it configured itself to perfectly fit in his mouth. He struggled with his tongue, but it only got heavier in response, arching deeper into his throat. He whimpered in delighted helplessness.

‘That’s what I like to hear,’ Vox said, and they went out to the car. Vox’s ride had an extremely luxurious backseat, partially because there wasn’t much front seat to speak of. The car drove itself, because Vox had that technology down pat, while the humans were still fumbling around with sensors and lane detection sixty years after he’d died. Of course, they couldn’t network with themselves, poor dears. The point was, there was more than enough room to stretch out (Vox didn’t see the point of seatbelts) and pull Spicy onto his lap again, running his fingers down that sleek bodysuit, almost like a casing.

Spicy squirmed, with muffled giggles, and spread his thighs for his lover, resting his head against Vox’s chest. Yes yes yes yes yes Master yes please….

The bodysuit zipped down the back, all the way down between the thighs; it had been designed that way on purpose, and right below the point of the arrow was the pull.

Spicy was so eager he had started whimpering.

Those little noises, and the knowledge of what they were muffled by, were positively hellish. Vox let himself twitch inside Spicy’s mouth, telegraphing his approval with a very gentle jolt right to the soft palate. He toyed with the zipper pull, tugging it down by millimetres and then stopping again, moving it around so Spicy’s clit registered the slightest, maddening bit of pressure. Yes please, what? he said, stroking Spicy’s feathers in long, slow motions.

Instantly, Vox got a barrage of clashing images and sensations; Spicy loved being taunted gently like this, driven to madness by inches, petted and stroked and squirming in Master’s lap. His throat swallowed reflexively around Vox’s cock, and the moaning only felt like so much gentle vibration… but, oh, the want. Spicy’s body wanted to come—even if his mind knew holding it back and teasing up and down the edges was going to be better—because base human instinct wanted instant gratification.

Some people would have said instant gratification was Vox’s entire purpose. They would have been wrong. Vox was the promise of instant gratification, never quite satisfying enough, the itch that didn’t ease no matter how you scratched it. Orgasms from him were expensive, and only a select, lucky few ever got them. The rest got tormented until they begged for the relief of hypnosis. Do you remember what I told you earlier, baby?

Yes, Master, Spicy’s response was immediate. No coming until you want me to. But the relief at not having to control that; Spicy loved being teased, but he had very poor impulse control when it came to orgasms. It was why he didn’t like masturbating without a camera on him.

Good. And I don’t want you to. Vox pulled the zipper down, following Spicy’s curves up to the base of his spine, baring his cunt to the air (which was climate-controlled to the best of Vox’s ability, but still hot). He laid two fingers on Spicy’s labia, pressing gently, and a V shape glowed there for an instant as he took them away.

‘I should have made you mine a while ago,’ he said. ‘Let’s spend the ride making up for lost time.’

Spicy moaned, and it was the high pitch he didn’t like (he feared being misgendered even now), but Vox loved. He also didn’t squirm away, or toward; unlike many who had been in Spicy’s position, he went deathly still, breaths heaving his soft belly. He loved this, he loved being surrounded by Vox, being his only little star; it was one of the reasons Spicy had always turned down even Cherri’s offers to let him on camera—a regular set had too many people to give him the attention and control he craved.

Vox closed his eyes, hid his smile, and the screens in the corners of the backseat lit up, showing him grinning. ‘Surrounded, you say?’ Vox’s own screen started playing one of Spicy’s videos. ‘That can be arranged, we don’t even have to do it in post…’

On-screen Spicy pushed a toy slowly in, and Vox slid a finger into the genuine article. If this was what love was like, he was absolutely in favour.

Spicy’s moan got louder, and he pressed against Vox, tensing around his fingers, but trying not to grind. He was soaking wet, and the scent filled the car with the smell of sex. Spicy loved this, loved knowing Vox could minutely control his arousal, could make him shiver and tingle, was deeper inside him than anyone else could go. And, as always, the inhuman nature of his lover was about half of the arousal.

‘Oh, I was so boring when I was human. You would have hated me.’ Vox spoke from the screens and inside Spicy’s mind at the same time. ‘I was so limited.’ He hadn’t, for instance, had a removable cock that could go for hours at a stretch, and was actually more sensitive than the flesh and blood equivalent. The clitoris had double the nerve endings of a cockhead, and in Vox’s opinion that just wasn’t fair, so he’d put in a few extra receptors in his own cock. It made anything he put it in feel exquisite, but especially Spicy. Vox’s feedback loop from his partners’ pleasure was very much literal. ‘Never regret being dead, Spicy, your life was a commercial break. Down here is where the show really gets going.’

Spicy replied with an awareness that thinking suicide was a problem-solver was ‘unhealthy’, but a conscious decision to ignore what was ‘healthy’. Advice about suicide was for the living, not the dead; and the hard truth was that Vox was right: Spicy’s life had sucked, but his afterlife had been a vast improvement. This may have been Hell, but the real Hell, to Spicy, had been living. Maybe that made him fucked up. But he had a rich and powerful boyfriend, he had a fulfilling job, he had friends, and he had autonomy. Yes, he handed it over to his boyfriend; but—here was the thing—he did it because he wanted to, not because he was being forced. That made all the difference.

I love you, he thought, trying his best to suck but knowing it was a little futile; still, trying was the important part. His clit ached, but he knew Vox wouldn’t touch it until he wanted to, and the denial was deliciously maddening.

I love you too. Vox figured he’d better get used to saying it. There were things you could withhold as special treats, but those words weren’t among them. Not when he’d never had the chance to actually mean them before—and it was a damn good thing Spicy could only read the thoughts Vox wanted him to. He quickly switched back to Master mode. And I love your sweet little mouth in particular. He added a second finger.

Spicy’s pitch ratcheted higher, cutting in and out, and he couldn’t keep his hips from tensing around Vox’s fingers, his clit pushing against his hand. The best part was that Vox, even knuckle-deep in his cunt, had never decided he was a girl. There had never even been a conversation about it. That made the sex even better.

(It occurred to Vox that Spicy did not know he was homosexual, and was assuming Vox was bisexual, because Spicy assumed everyone was bisexual until they said otherwise.)

Vox pushed back with his palm, rubbing slow half-circles as he curled his fingers. The revelation that there were boys with cunts had been one of the best things about Hell. It meant more boys for him, with more to play with, more to own. He’d probably missed a fair few of those in life, and he meant to fill in the gaps.

Touching Spicy’s clit was an exercise in edgeplay, seeing as it was so enormous and sensitive; Vox had found it necessary to coach him through how to masturbate for an audience, in fact, because on his own, Spicy just stroked his clit and ignored insertions entirely. So, knowing that, the scream was not entirely unexpected, nor was the shaking—but that didn’t make it any less delicious. Even in his thoughts, Spicy was well past articulation, wanting more and less and relief and more suffering all at once, conflicted and every definition of a mess.

And then the car stopped.

‘Oh, look,’ Vox said, ‘we’re here.’ He pulled his hand out, zipping up the bodysuit with still-slick fingers, which he wiped off casually across Spicy’s thigh before opening the door. Neon fell across him as he left the car, all long legs and self-satisfied screen. He stretched ostentatiously before turning back, holding out that same hand.

‘Are you coming, baby?’

In his head, he played Spicy’s stifled scream to himself, willing it to become as much of an earworm as any jingle. Maybe he’d figure out a tune to go with it.

Every Wickedness was never as densely-packed as the more high tech nightclubs—it was, at heart, a public house—but tonight it was busy, and there were more than the usual regulars. Spicy was glad to have the anchor of Vox’s arm as they went in, and Vox could see over the crowd enough (and see the social media posts) to know why: Hell’s newest power couple was here, currently on the dancefloor, Angel looking magnificent in his new body, and wearing pink glitter and black leggings. He looked happier than Vox had ever known him to be.

Yve was in the crowd, rather than behind bar, acting the experienced hostess she was, in a long and backless satin dress that left nothing to the imagination, her red hair up in curls. She smiled at them as she came over, adjusting her absolutely simple white mink—a gift from Vox some years ago. Many of the Fallen had gifts like that, from him.

‘Lord Vox,’ she said politely. ‘And Spice Drop. Here to celebrate?’

Spicy nodded eagerly, even as he pressed a little closer to Vox’s side, nervous; he hadn’t thought Angel would be here. He really hoped Angel didn’t talk to him—he’d get the wrong impression from Spicy’s silence, because he didn’t know this side of Spicy. Angel didn’t subscribe to streams or watch camshows; he was a little old-fashioned, didn’t really get it—though that didn’t mean he didn’t respect it as Work.

‘When I woke up, I realised I’d been missing a lot of opportunities,’ Vox said, putting a comforting arm around Spicy. ‘I’m here to take them. You look good, Yve. Tempting as ever.’ He made a gracious hand gesture, but his eyes narrowed, looking over her shoulder, as Angel’s dance partner swung him around in a move that was about ninety years out of date.

Knowing Angel Dust and the Radio Demon were dating was one thing. Actually seeing it—and knowing that he’d been closer to that bronze grin than he’d ever wanted—was another. It wasn’t jealousy, per se, so much as he felt that Angel should be available to the public, and he was baffled as to what Angel could possibly see in Alastor. Word had it Alastor didn’t even fuck; and he certainly acted prudish, fussy and faux-erudite, probably scared of his own cock. If all it took to get Angel into bed was getting rid of Valentino, Vox might have done the deed himself.

He had to be careful not to let Spicy hear any of that, and that reminded him that he had Spicy, who was more satisfying than the loud-mouthed spider could ever be. Spicy wanted to be his, and that made all the difference.

Yve, owing to her nature, knew exactly why Spicy wasn’t going to talk back, and gave them both a knowing smile. ‘Let me know if you want to give in to that temptation sometime,’ she said, and touched Spicy’s shoulder affectionately. ‘And congratulations,’ she said, just for him. He blushed beneath his makeup.

Tell her thank you from me, please? Spicy was glad for Yve always knowing what to say, how to react, to anything. It helped Spicy stay on an even keel a lot, and Yve had been a better therapist than anyone he’d ever had.

‘My baby says thank you. He’s very appreciative.’ Vox slipped his hand lower, squeezing Spicy’s spandex-clad ass, trying to figure out if it was possible to be less than fifty feet from Alastor and still have fun. They’d never actually participated in any kind of gathering together; the Radio Demon was always lurking on the fringes, occasionally popping up when he was least wanted, usually to make a terrible joke off what someone had just said. He could be ignored if you tried hard enough, and Vox had always been more than willing to put in the effort. This was going to be more difficult, however, because he was and wasn’t the person Alastor had killed. He was already doing things the Vox of a week ago would have scorned, but he wouldn’t have chosen to do them without everything that had led him to this point, including the parts he hadn’t been around for. Did he have to make the first move, offer a new treaty, or could they each just pretend the other didn’t exist?

Yve was subtly herding them to a table far away from Angel and Alastor’s—across the room, in fact. She knew better than to offer them a drink—Spicy’s mouth was occupied, and Vox didn’t, as far as Yve knew, ever consume anything but, presumably, electricity. Being a concubus, Yve understood not consuming things of tangible substance.

‘Any music requests?’ she asked instead. Spicy didn’t mind the swing, but they both knew that swing was likely because Angel and Alastor were both of the jazz proclivity. Spicy danced, but the way he was dressed, the music would have to be… far more modern.

‘Our song’s a little too short,’ Vox said, ‘and most of the actual music from when I was alive was shit. Let ‘em have their big band.’ He tapped the edge of his screen with a finger. ‘I’ve got everything I need in here.’

And he played Spicy’s scream from the car again, just for the two of them.

Yve quirked a brow, looking at Spicy. ‘You planning on dancing, sweetheart?’

Spicy shook his head, scooting closer to Vox. He had no intention of dancing, and Yve knew it was a slim chance anyway; but she always asked. It was a great pity that Spicy was so afraid of ridicule, he was a beautiful dancer when he forgot anyone else was watching. Yve was walking away when she felt his arousal ratchet up a few notches, and smiled. The curse of a concubus was knowing when someone was unhappy in a relationship, or felt coerced—but Yve could tell, even if she hadn’t known Spicy as well as she did, that he was blissfully happy. Good for them. It was about damn time they made that official….

Velvet slid into the booth.

‘And here I thought I’d get a chance to do your job,’ she joked, though as always with the Influencer, there was an edge. She had her own intangible territory, but it paled in comparison to Vox’s. They were best frenemies. ‘I had a mood board and everything.’

Spicy felt smug, even though he was also a little afraid of her; after all, Spicy was not exactly the kind of beauty that the algorithm was usually kind to. He liked the unseen, pre-social media internet, where nobody knew what you looked like. Velvet was all about social media, and always looked perfect, was always taking selfies and pictures of everything. Spicy tried to sit up straight and not attract too much of her attention. But—and this was important—Velvet hadn’t been chosen by Vox. Vox didn’t think Velvet was worthy of his cock, or his trust.

‘Now you can make another one for eternally being second best,’ Vox said. ‘I can get you some good pictures of fiddles and bananas.’

Velvet flipped him off, already looking at her phone again. It was not an ordinary hellphone; it took pictures from angles that shouldn’t have been possible, flattered Velvet while catching everyone else at their most inelegant, and updated all her social media precious seconds before anyone else’s. Vox wondered how many people actually knew that, like Alastor’s microphone, it was the manifestation and focus of her powers. As for himself, Vox didn’t bother with a Focus, unless you counted every electronic device in Hell, or maybe his cock. Both of those were a lot harder for someone else to grab.

Spicy knew he looked his best, but he was terrified of Velvet’s camera; he never posted photos of himself, and Vox had always encouraged him to keep it that way, as it drove up hits—and tips—on his cam shows. His Sinstagram was all costumes and toys to promote a new show, and he wasn’t on Vie or The Rack.

Velvet could smell his fear, and usually she’d twist the knife with a little negging—but Spicy was Vox’s now, and Vox was territorial about his pet whore. She snapped a selfie, and was slightly disappointed that Spicy was wearing such flattering clothes that his fatness looked cute. She looked amazingly thin next to him, though.

Look who I found at @Yve.Daqoa ‘s! Now we’ve got #sugar and #spice in the same room! @AngelDust @Vox @Spice.Drop #overlordparty #MediaDaddy #clubbing #retro #vintage #fyp #velvet #green #cybergoth

Instantly, Spicy knew, attention would be all over him. Well, he wanted that, didn’t he? But not from her. He always felt so ugly around her. He really wanted Vox to let him know he wasn’t ugly, that Vox thought his fat was part of his allure. He tried to remind himself of all his viewers, all the money he’d made from people whacking off to him. He was sexy. Dammit.

I’d fuck you on the table right now if Yve wouldn’t make us get a room, Vox said, casual as though he was talking about the weather. You know how she hates unscheduled orgies. Are you really going to let the undisputed overlord of Trying Too Hard get under your skin? I love sinking into you, molding you to me, feeling my hands fail to contain you. I fucked enough skinny twinks when I was alive. You do one, you’ve done ‘em all.

The comment about twinks made Spicy giggle, and he tried to remind himself a little harder that he was now more than a nobody, he was Somebody and he was a Consort. Velvet may have been an overlord, but Spicy was fairly certain he outranked her because he had Vox’s ear. She may own the apps, but Vox owned the app store.

Across the floor, Angel was setting Alastor’s sidecar in front of him, his own Pink Angel balanced in his left upper hand, a cigarette (that Alastor was currently lighting) in the right one. Alastor was learning that part of Angel’s fame was people coming up to him every moment, asking for autographs or selfies (and Yve’s place usually filtered out the rabble that would ask for more).

Alastor was focusing on the flame of the lighter, so much so that he had to force himself to turn it off when Angel took the cigarette away. The crowd of devotees, many of whom were elbowing each other and giggling at getting so close to the Radio Demon, weren’t helping the headache that was starting a slow beat behind his eyelids. He tried to will it away, reminding himself he didn’t have a body that was subject to aches and pains anymore. In many ways, he was pure idea.

His form continued to have the idea that he had a headache, and his throat hurt, and that also a nap might be in his future. He picked up his drink and swirled it around unenthusiastically, wondering how long they had to stay for Angel to have fun. Even on the dance floor, it had taken all his skill and practice not to let anyone see how his limbs wanted to shake and buckle.

Serves you fucking right, he thought, in a voice that didn’t sound like his own. Feeling a little out of sorts, huh? Not like yourself?

Alastor’s tired grin locked itself in place, and he nearly slopped fancy alcohol over the rim of his glass. He set it down hard, which made him realise that his palms itched. He turned them over. It could have been the mood lighting, but they looked… off, somehow.

Angel was working the crowd, and saw Yve’s shadows start to help it disperse—one of the reasons he loved coming here was his adoptive mother helping protect him. during his worst days with Val, he had always been able to come here and know she’d protect him—protect anyone—from any overlord. You didn’t start shit, at Yve’s. He noticed Alastor looking like he had a headache, and abruptly turned all focus on him.

‘Hey, you wanna get outta here?’ he asked, knowing better than to ask if Alastor was okay, in front of this audience. Overlords didn’t show weakness like that.

‘Nothing would please me more!’ From the shape of his smile, Alastor knew that just as well. ‘I have done our official couples’ meet and greet, I have both met and gret, and now I believe I will retire!’

His skin felt strange, itchy and prickly, as though he’d rolled around in a thistle patch, and every word made his throat hurt more. He felt… he felt sick; but demons didn’t get sick. He reached up to adjust his monocle, and saw with a start that there was some kind of sore on the back of his hand, an oval of weeping skin.

Unpleasant laughter circled the confines of his skull.

Chapter Text

They managed to make it to the car without incident, but Angel felt uneasy—he hadn’t come into his powers, hadn’t had much chance to ask Yve about them; but he trusted his instincts, and every instinct was telling him something was wrong with Alastor. He tried to listen. What was wrong? What was it? There was no specific answer, which him feel like he was talking to Lassie. His shadow was fluttering and trying to comfort Alastor’s shadow.

In the passenger seat of the car, Alastor shifted, and Angel, drawn to the shine of something wet, saw the sore. He stopped the car on the side of the street, tried to master the clawing panic.

‘Sweethart,’ he said, slowly. ‘How long has that been there?’ It can’t have been long. ‘How long have you felt sick?’

Wouldn’t you like to know, Angel cakes?

Alastor shook his head sharply. ‘In the order of inquiry, it wasn’t there when I first got my drink, and I’ve been feeling somewhat out of sorts for the past day or so!’ He was still in full radio voice, and there was a tinge of static to it. He was an overlord. This couldn’t be happening.

‘Okay,’ Angel said. ‘We are going home, and you are taking a shower, okay?’ He didn’t have to panic. He didn’t have to panic.

Except he did have to panic. Angel was a potential supervector, he fucked so many people; and even with condoms it could spread fast… unless Alastor had caught it from Angel, in the first place. Angel didn’t know. How the hell else could Alastor have caught it? With all these thoughts racing, Angel was a mess by the time they got back to the studio, but he wasn’t showing it. He pulled in, gave the guards a smile, and they were up in one of the large shower rooms on soundstage 4 in a trice. He didn’t want to use his bathroom at home, it wasn’t as easily sterilised….

‘I’ll call Dr Scarpa while you shower off, okay? And we gotta burn those clothes.’ He tried to balance what needed to be done with care. ‘I love you, babe,’ he said. ‘It’s gonna be okay.’ But Alastor could tell he was scared.

Alastor gave him a long look. ‘Don’t lie to me, Angel Dust! Since we began our affair, I’ve done you the same courtesy!’ He turned away and started to undress, so that he didn’t have to see if Angel looked at him again before leaving. He decided not to mention that it was well within the scope of his powers to destroy his clothes utterly. Angel was clearly judging this on the standards of some other illness, and if burning Alastor’s suit made him feel better, he could do it. Alastor hadn’t been to a good bonfire in many years, anyway…

You’re gonna burn up good now, that’s for sure. Was it his imagination, or did the voice—Valentino’s voice, he had to admit it—sound less confident with its mockery? More harried? Surely that was a good sign. Alastor showered, first as hot as he could stand, then as cold as he could stand, and changing it over was about the last thing he remembered well. He ended up on the floor of the shower, hurting to the marrow, staring at the dozens and dozens of sores that had opened up on his arms, his legs, his chest… He wasn’t sure, because water kept running into his eyes, but there seemed to be new ones each time he blinked.

Fuck this fuck this get me out before they get here should have known the fucker found a doctor just to spite me get me the fuck OUT!

-

Scarpa’s phone rang to voicemail once, but the second time was picked up by the ghoul he kept as an anaesthesiologist.

‘He’s in surgery, but you’re on speaker.’

‘I think Alastor has syphilis I need you to come right now,’ Angel said all in a rush. ‘Demons don’t get sick, Idunno what’s happening but I’m scared.’ God, surgery, that meant hours before Scarpa would get here. Angel could already hear Alastor screaming. He wasn’t sure he wanted to go in there. He wasn’t sure he couldn’t go in there. Angel didn’t flutter a lash at blood, guts, gore—but sickness shook him up like nothing else. Sickness didn’t care how strong or rich you were, and syphilis had always been a spectre looming large over any good time. Angel had thought he’d escaped that—demons didn’t get sick. They didn’t.

Except… Alastor was sick.

‘I can only be there in two hours,’ Scarpa said. ‘It is only syphilis, Angelo.’

‘He’s—he started screamin,’ Angel was shaking.

‘Then I will call upon another. She can be there sooner. I suggest calling upon your metallurgist, and asking if he might spare all the mercury he has.’

Metallurgist? Angel tried to breathe, tried to think. Who would have mercury? Who? Vox? Vox had… Vox had all the tech, he was the hardware guy, right? So he’d have it. Lord Sinuous certainly wouldn’t have that stuff. Proserpine didn’t deal in mercury, that was… that was a useless metal for smithing. ‘Okay,’ he said, feeling a little calmer for having some kind of plan.

‘If you can acquire enough to fill a bathtub, submerge him in it until we get there.’

‘Are you fucking insane, mercury’s toxic—’ the ghoul began.

‘To the living,’ Scarpa answered calmly. ‘And the only living being down there is the pox, at the moment.’

‘Idunno how he caught it—oh god, I gotta go.’ Angel hung up, the phone slipping from shaking fingers as he heard Alastor’s screams. ‘Alastor!’ he rushed for the door, but was terrified of opening it. He steeled himself, swallowed, and put a gossamer mask over his face first, before unlocking the door and opening it. ‘Sweethart, I’m here, I’m—

‘Oh hell.’

Alastor had managed to stagger out of the now freezing shower, but was curled in on himself on the tile floor, screaming his head off with harmonics that were making the lights flicker and the air itself seem to shake. The sores—plural, there were so many of them—had changed colour in the centres, the skin beneath them swelling, and that was all Angel could bear to notice.

OUT OUT OUT GET ME OUT—

‘Sweetie, I’m gonna get you help, I promise, okay?’ Angel pulled on a glove and turned off the shower. ‘I’m getting help. Please just hang on. I’ll be back.’ He left again, throwing the glove into the bin meant for the incinerator and calling a number he was, suddenly, glad he hadn’t deleted.

-

Vox’s phone rang a number that had never called it before.

Alastor had left, and Velvet had chased after him, phone raised high for candid shots, in a frenzy of speculation. Now there was nothing standing between Vox, his Spicy, and a good time. He was about to get Spicy on his lap again, ask how his cock was feeling, when his hellphone rang. Everyone who could possibly be calling him was either here, or, thanks to Velvet’s incessant updating, knew he was here. No one had the fucking nerve. He pulled it out and looked at the screen, then did a double take. Screens never lied to him, but how? And more importantly, why? Well, he wasn’t one to look a gift spider in the mouth. He swiped to answer the call, saying simply, teasingly, ‘Vox.’

-

‘C’manc’manc’manc’manpickup,’ Angel chattered, feeling like he would rattle out of his skin, unaware that he was starting to take on his ultraform as he paced, webs appearing all over everything in the large hallway, his eyes starting to glow pink.

‘Vox.’

‘Vox, listen, I need mercury, about a hundred gallons.’

-

He was terrified, Vox could tell. What did he need that much mercury for? Why was that a solution to whatever was scaring the fuck out of him? Mercury had a lot of uses, industrially, but people had stopped even touching it in science class decades ago….

What’s wrong? Spicy was hypersensitive to mood changes, and anyway he saw the screen. Angel would never call Vox; it had to be something serious.

He wants a hundred gallons of mercury. And it’s not a prank call. Go figure. Vox snapped his fingers, and when he spoke, to anyone else in the bar, his lips moved without sound. Yet his voice came loud and clear out of Angel’s hellphone. The trick he’d used on Sir Pentious was a variation on this, not that the self-professed genius inventor had appreciated it.

‘I can get it to you, but aren’t you a little worried what I might ask for in return? That shit isn’t free. Well, it is for me, but I get a special discount.’

‘I know what you want from me, and I don’t care, okay!’ Angel was yelling, swinging wildly to comforting rage to cover up the fear.

Daddy, Spicy began, hesitated. He knew the futility of asking someone in Hell to be nice, but Vox was suddenly aware of just why Angel was so prickly toward him, so hateful. It all came down to that one little private show, the one Val had offered him. Spicy was privy to details, and everything became clear.

Angel didn’t just hate Vox—Angel was afraid of him. Sure, Vox had been from a violent and objectifying era; but everything violent he did, he was conscious of—or so he’d thought. He was the manipulator, he was never the manipulated; but Val had made a rapist of him, and that could not stand. He may have been an ad-man, but, by god, he was not without a little integrity!

Vox almost dropped the hellphone. Valentino said he was fine with it.

The television playing quietly on the other side of the room blipped and pixelated, lurching from frame to frame as the sound cut out, leaving only little sputters of noise, monosyllables.

Angel’s phone grew hot to the touch.

Vox was suddenly hit with a very recent image of himself, poised above Spicy. Are you ready?

He hadn’t asked Angel. Why hadn’t he asked Angel? Because he was paying Angel, and Valentino had said it was fine, and Vox came from a time when you took the word of the man in charge, especially when disputing it meant you didn’t get what you wanted.

Besides, Angel had gotten compensated, hadn’t he?

But Spicy was showing him there was no amount of money, no lavish present, that could make up for what he’d done. That wasn’t how it worked. Valentino had had a field day dropping threats about what he would let Vox—and others—do to Angel if Angel refused a job, after that.

Vox had thought Angel was just being sullen, probably impatient for his next fix. Not this. Never this.

‘I didn’t know,’ he said in a monotone. ‘I’ll send the mercury over. Text me or Spice Drop the address. I didn’t know.’ And he hung up.

What the fuck did that mean, Angel thought, stunned at the lack of demand for payment. It couldn’t be that easy? Could it? But he was an overlord now, was that it?

Alastor screamed again, and Angel shoved the thoughts aside, texting Spicy that they were in the showers of studio 4. He got a call from Scarpa’s phone, which he’d lent to his contact, who sounded nothing like as creepy as Scarpa. She had a southern belle accent, and said her name was Miss Leigh, and she was coming with ‘enough antibiotics to choke an elephant’.

-

They’re at Studio 4, but I have to go with it or the guards won’t let it in. Angel had banned Vox and his people from the lot, but Spicy wasn’t listed as one of Vox’s people yet—and it was lucky, too. That’s enough mercury to drown in, why would he…

Vox was hit with the realisation as Spicy had it.

Mercury was the first antibiotic.

-

All the ambient light in Hell was red, but there was a distinctly different scarlet aura around Studio 4. And there were voices, or the suggestion of voices; it was the aural equivalent of the metallic taste that being around liquid mercury left in your mouth. The driver had, up till then, been relieved she was dead already. Now she was being reminded that things worse than death were what Hell was all about. In the bed of the truck were two industrial drums, each filled to the brim with mercury. There were no hazard labels on the sides, just PROPERTY OF VOX, which some might argue counted anyway. In the passenger seat of the cab was Spice Drop.

The gates stayed closed, and Spicy rolled the window down as they approached.

‘Hi, Fish, special delivery for Angel Dust.’

The hulking and sharkish demon guard glanced at the nearby studio 4 building, where a very unhappy overlord currently was.

‘Everything okay?’ He felt emboldened to ask that, knowing Angel was a bit more forgiving of questions than Val had been.

‘It will be once we get this to him,’ Spicy said, and Fish could tell he was only slightly more informed; but he opened the gates.

-

Angel felt guilty about not wanting to be near Alastor, but he’d compromised, sitting against the door as his lover screamed, and talking to him, repeating the same words over and over as he texted furiously with Miss Leigh and Spice Drop.

‘Alastor, Spicy’s here, so I’m gonna go meet him. We’re gonna run you a nice bath, okay?’ There was a steel bathtub in here, and Angel didn’t want to touch Alastor, but he knew he’d have to eventually. ‘I-I’ll be right back, sweethart, promise.’

It was all Alastor could do to keep his powers under control. His body was trying to tear itself apart, and the more incorporeal parts of him wanted to tear the world apart in turn, just to see if it would ease the pain. The sores had grown into swollen lumps, distorting him, and he was barely aware of where he was or even what he was. Anything in the building that utilised radio waves was going haywire, and Alastor never stopped screaming from his shredded throat, wordless rage and terror and the futile attempt to drown out Valentino’s voice.

Move you piece of shit—fucking roadkill—move get out of here before they come—they’re gonna drown us—drown you—fucking move!

Valentino’s plans were going all wrong. Alastor was aware of that, even as he couldn’t hold onto any thoughts of his own. Valentino had been going to incubate in Alastor, because you worked with what you had, and then take his new host. He had been grooming Vox, but now that Angel Dust was an overlord, and Alastor was in close proximity to him… it seemed like a great way to repay the spider whore for all the grief he’d caused. But Angel had noticed, and he was bringing doctors.

Valentino hated doctors.

Spicy heard the screaming and was worried, as he waited for the stevedore to put the mercury on a flatbed trolley. Angel opened the door to the studio just as she finished, and was a towering silhouette with four glowing eyes

‘This way,’ he said, and led them into the back of the studio, where the full-room showers were—and these weren’t the decorated ones for shoots, they were the kind people used for actual cleaning. Sex was messy, and a shower this size would mean less waiting in line. Angel opened an empty one, which was across the hall from the one that was currently emitting staticky screams.

‘Put the first one in the bathtub,’ he said. ‘And then you, get outta here. Spicy, you stay, I need your help.’

‘Sure, yeah,’ Spicy said immediately. ‘Whatever you need, Angel.’

Sensing the presence of mercury, Valentino redoubled his efforts to take over, to escape, forgetting the paralysis he himself was causing. If he could split off from Alastor before they came in, or drag Alastor’s body somewhere quiet, he might be able to get away. He’d be vulnerable, in desperate need of a new host, but desperate was better than dead. He’d come back even from mercury, he always did eventually, but it fucking hurt. Even worse than being eaten.

He wished he could make Alastor stop screaming. It had stopped being satisfying after the first five minutes or so.

-

As Angel steadied the drum, and they both watched the mercury pour in, Spicy broke the silence.

‘Sounds like he’s um, in pretty late stage syphilis already.’

Angel felt his heart go out to Spicy.

‘Yeah it’s—yeah,’ he said, not asking how Spicy knew. He knew by now that one of Spicy’s macabre interests was plagues, and not just because his historical crush was Beau Brummell. ‘Any thoughts on how he caught it? Or… or why it went so fast?’

‘Yeah, that is weird… you know you can cure it, right?’ Spicy said. Angel set the empty drum down.

‘Say again?’

‘You’re a concubus, they can cure STDs or infertility, it’s kind of their thing. Yve told me once, I thought that was pretty cool.’

‘That means he caught it after I fucked ‘im,’ Angel said, relieved for his own sake. ‘I don’t have it?’

‘You can’t,’ Spicy said, ‘Now, come on, I brought some stuff to help with moving him.’

Angel’s phone buzzed, and Angel looked to see that their vampire was here. He gave Spicy the phone.

‘Scarpa’s friend is here with antibiotics,’ he said, ‘let ‘er in, I’ll get Alastor.’

‘It’s gonna be okay,’ Spicy said, as they went out into the hall again. ‘I know it’s hard to see someone in that much pain, but we’re going to nuke this, okay?’

Angel managed a shaky smile.

‘Yeah.’ He watched Spicy go back down the dark hall, and looked at the door to the room Alastor was locked in.

He steeled himself and opened the door. He’d have to touch Alastor, and that was… well, wait. He was a spider, he could maybe… yeah. Angel remembered one of the types of spiders that cast a net, and made one, snatching Alastor up and holding him in a sling carefully, trying his best not to let any fluids touch him. He got Alastor into the mercury bath, and the screaming finally quieted. He hoped that meant Alastor was feeling relief.

‘…Alastor, babe, can you hear me?’ He asked, looking into those red eyes, looking for some kind of sign of lucidity.

Slowly, Alastor focused on him, dialed pupils gradually shrinking back to dots. ‘Saint Expedite…’ he breathed, speaking in his natural voice, tired laughter carried on a rasp. ‘Needed that quick fix.’ He blinked, looking at Angel in wonderment. ‘Of course you’d know it was mercury, cher… don’t suppose anyone’s got some moldy bread?’

Angel immediately felt his eyes prick with tears, but resisted the urge to touch. ‘On the way, babe,’ he said, just as there was a knock on the door. ‘Here it is,’ he said, and got up, answering the door to see someone that looked like she’d stepped out of a Dior fashion plate from 1950. She was wearing black latex gloves and holding a little plastic case.

‘Hi there, slim!’ she said. ‘Now, I’m told it’s okay that I don’t rightly know how to use a needle, because you do.’

‘Yeah,’ Angel said, ‘yeah, I do. Uh, you may not want to come in.’

‘Nonsense! It can’t do anything to li’l ol’ me, I’m dead.’

‘Yeah, so are demons. Idunno what kind of mutant strain this is, okay? I don’t want you hurt.’

She gave a little bow, handing over the case. ‘Well, all right then. I’ll be outside, just holler.’

‘Thanks.’ Angel shut the door, and started preparing the injection. Who knew he’d ever use his skills in taking cocaine for legitimate medicine? (Not that cocaine wasn’t, to certain eras, legitimate medicine). ‘Fair warning, I’m givin’ you all of this.’ There were eight full phials, and Scarpa had been thoughtful enough to include very big syringes, though the needles were a normal gauge.

‘I—’ Alastor started to say something, and then his face snapped back into a rictus of a smile, every tooth showing and lit from within, eyes burning. Painfully loud static issued from his unmoving mouth. Valentino spoke.

‘Get that the fuck away from me, Angel cakes. It’s not going to do any good, you know that? You don’t know who I am. You think I was really some trashy pimp who ain’t been dead even forty years? I am a son of Pestilence himself! I am the pox!

‘Radio boy here ate me, so I ate him back from the inside out. He’s mine. You’re mine. You’re all mine, and killing me once or twice or forty times doesn’t change that! I come back. I always come back; and you never know it’s me until it’s too fucking late! So, why bother? Why trick yourself into thinking you won? I am a son of the Apocalypse; and until Judgement Day comes, I get to use all you fucking sinners for target practice! You can’t stop me! Throw out that mold and let me go!’

Hearing Val’s voice felt like a bad dream; but Angel saw his own shadow, felt wings and tail because his body was reacting to feeling threatened by going into his full Overlord form, and seeing the tail and his shadow reminded him, grounded him.

The last, desperate order made him feel giddy, almost. He had always thought Val wasn’t afraid of anything, but this little syringe in his hand contained Val’s worst fear.

Angel turned, holding up the needle like a threat in his upper right hand, his middle pair of hands holding the tourniquet like it was a belt.

‘Yeah?’ Angel said, grinning. ‘Well, I seem t’be the one holdin’ the gun, Val.’ He tied the tourniquet around Alastor’s offered arm, which was already looking better, thanks to a demon’s regeneration powers and the mercury. He slid the needle in. ‘An’ you ain’t got nowhere to run to.’ He slid the needle in.

‘And I’ll fuck every single demon in hell even without knowing it’ll kill you dead.’ He grinned. Val had been fond of trying to backhand compliment him by saying he was an undiscerning slut; now, that very trait was a threat to Val’s existence.

Alastor—Valentino—arched his back into an impossible curve and screamed. It was differently pitched this time, hurt the ears in new ways, and the sores were healing but the lumps on Alastor’s body started to writhe, slithering together under his skin, forming a shapeless thing that was trying to claw its way out of his back, but kept recoiling at the touch of the mercury.

‘Fucking freak!’ Valentino spat. ‘I thought we got rid of all the concubi, and you went and made yourself one?’

Angel tried not to think about how much it must be hurting Alastor, and kept his eyes down on his work, emptying the syringe before immediately refilling it. ‘Hang on, Al, we’re almost done…’ He didn’t dare use endearments right now, didn’t want them ruined by Val saying them back in a mocking tone. He slid the needle back in.

Alastor was healing fast, as soon as the infection burned away he was healing very fast, indeed; Angel had to have faith it would work. He wanted to call Yve, ask for her help—was it true? Was it true he could cure anything? How?

Valentino hissed, and the sound was inhuman, indemon, like nothing Angel had heard. It bubbled with sickness, it was a death rattle, but it formed words. ‘Sssseee you ssssooon…’

Angel didn’t reply, focussed on getting every last drop inside his lover. ‘Al, after this is done, I need you to submerge for a little bit, okay?’

Alastor’s lips moved; it looked like he was trying to say, ‘Mais oui.’ The mass inside him was rippling more slowly, its thrashing sluggish.

The syringe emptied, and Alastor shut his eyes and half-sank, half-collapsed into the mercury.

Angel showered off, scrubbing himself all over for a minute at least, before going back outside to see Spicy and Miss Leigh had already called Yve.

‘Angel,’ Yve said, looking strange in her true form—concubi were shapeshifters, and Yve had always been laying low, making it seem like she was only a Fallen, not a concubus. ‘How is he?’

‘…It was Val,’ Angel said, feeling numb. ‘Val’s some kinda… he said he was Syphilis—like, he’s Pestilence’s kid? Is that true? Can we cure Alastor?’

‘We can cure sexual diseases, yes,’ Yve said. ‘It’s part of the whole fertility thing. But if Pox is outside of his cage, then we need to get the Goetics involved.’

She knew Angel had an idea of what that would mean; but, unlike Angel, Yve knew that the Goetics weren’t just the idle rich children of Fallen servants of a cruel God and the Nobility. They were rich in magic, and had the responsibility of keeping caged the beasts God had created for the Apocalypse—including Pestilence, and all of his children. Humans may have a tenuous ability to keep the plagues at bay, but the personifications were another thing entirely.

Angel made an apprehensive noise. ‘And who’s gonna tell them that?’ Angel preferred to keep the Goetics at all six arms’ length, which they enabled by not letting anyone into their little private club. When he’d first heard of them, he’d thought his fame as Hell’s latest and greatest porn star would get him a ticket in, because everyone knew the obscenely rich lived up to their title and were into the really weird shit.

Then, he’d heard a little more, and decided being snubbed was a good thing.

Yve was already calling The Librarian. ‘I am,’ she said, grimly.

‘Stolas? It’s Daqoa. We found The Pox.’

Chapter Text

Stolas fluffed every feather, going very still. ‘Are you sure.’ Oh no, the Book was still with Blitzo, the very book they’d need to reopen and seal the Cage Pox was supposed to be in. But there had been false alarms before….

‘Are you willing to risk losing him over not wanting to look foolish? Get Marbas and get down to Lord Angel Dust’s territory.’

‘You can’t order me around!’

‘I can when it’s something you’re supposed to be doing already, little boy.

Stolas felt the raw power in her voice, but was not about to submit to anyone, even an elder. ‘I resent the implication that I would not do my duty, Madam!’ he said, because his pride would not allow him to say anything less.

‘See you soon, then.’ She hung up, and Stolas nearly crushed his phone before realising he needed it in order to call Blitzo. He didn’t let it ring, putting through the call with a touch of magic.

‘Blitzy,’ he said, ‘I need my book back.’

Blitzo had been in the middle of creating a new presentation when his phone just turned on. He’d shut it completely off and locked it in a cabinet across the room just to make sure, but there it was, lighting up with Stolas’ voice coming out of it.

‘Uh,’ he managed, looking at the Book, which sat in pride of place on a special stand next to his desk, beneath a glass case with a sign on it that said CLAWS OFF! He looked at the window and tried to remember how far his office was off the ground. He didn’t bother going to pick up the phone. If Stolas was pulling shit like this, he would be able to hear.

‘Is it too late to say “what book?”‘

‘I am not fucking around, imp!’ Stolas reminded with every syllable just how much power he had; he was not merely rich, he was Nobility; and all the forgetting did not make less true the fact that he and he alone could walk into the Wood Full Of Shining Eyes and walk back out again.

‘Bring me my book immediately.’ There was no ‘or else’. It would be done.

Blitzo felt the weird, uncomfortable sensation of being pulled, as though someone were wrapping a talon around his neck and squeezing.

‘Ngk,’ said Blitzo, his mind’s eye suddenly replaying, in lavish and lurid detail, his night with Stolas.

Him sucking Stolas off.

Swallowing, because what else could he do?

Stolas offering him cool water after fucking him seven ways to Judgement Day.

Him drinking that, too.

(Of course, then the Prince had climbed back into bed and snuggled Blitzo to him like a child’s favourite stuffed animal, but that wasn’t the important part.)

Blitzo had thought he was smart, refusing the wine Stolas had first offered him. The order didn’t matter. The substance didn’t matter. Not to Them. He belonged to Stolas, and he was only allowed to run around with the Book as long as it was entertaining. Now, that time was up.

He walked unsteadily over to the case, feeling the choke hold lessen as he came closer to obedience, and sighed. ‘This is really gonna put a crimp in our sales this quarter….’

-

Stolas had already hung up, feeling the pull working on his thrall already, and called The Doctor.

‘Marbas, suit up, we have a Plague to catch.’

-

Stolas was wearing black robes when Blitzo came up to the gates. He plucked the book from Blitzo’s hands. ‘Good boy. Go home.’ Usually, he gloated, or flirted, or threatened; but he was strange and serious now, and focused.

It was terrifying.

Much to Blitzo’s dismay, there was no way for him to obey that order fast enough to avoid running into Marbas. Literally.

‘This is your imp?’ A yellow-green stare held Blitzo transfixed as Marbas held him at arm’s length. The Doctor wore a heavy, shapeless black robe that covered his entire body, giving no hint of what lay beneath, but his face was purely leonine. A luxurious mane framed it, shading through all the colours of golden-brown to black, and beneath his broad-brimmed black hat, he wore some kind of ivory headpiece that followed his hairline and extended down his cheeks.

‘Hi,’ said Blitzo, in a tiny voice.

‘Yes,’ Stolas said. ‘Rather magnificent specimen, isn’t he?’ Biltzo was taller and… larger… than most imps, and Stolas had found that very alluring, as alluring as the bravado mixed with innocence. ‘Run along, Blitzy, I’m sure I’ll be in the mood for fucking you later.’

‘Mm,’ Marbas said, and that single sound, in that deep, indolent voice, did a number of things to Blitzo’s insides. Then, he turned away, and Blitzo, to his lasting embarrassment, scarpered.

Marbas yawned, showing fangs. ‘So, Pox has escaped again, has he? For such a slowly progressing fellow, he’s very impatient.’

‘You are far too sanguine about the whole affair of his escape,’ Stolas snapped. Pox had been missing for decades, possibly longer, as he’d left a decoy in his place that had fooled them for fuck knew how long. Yet Marbas would never speak of it in any urgent way. Unlike Stolas, disease didn’t alarm him—it was why he was what he was. ‘As I recall, it is technically your fault.’

‘Don’t talk to me about humours, Prince.’ A low rumble underscored Marbas’ words. ‘Unlike you, I have much to do. I am needed often. I understand if you can’t imagine what that feels like.’

Stolas fluffed up his chest and a soft and very avian hiss underlay his words. ‘I am not needed because when I do something, it stays done.’ He opened a portal as he spoke, showing off just a little. The dark energy was smooth as glass and silent as the grave, because he could make it like that if he wanted to.

‘True,’ said Marbas. ‘However ineptly. Speaking of which…’ He gestured at the portal. ‘Where exactly does this lead? Ours is a small realm, but I would prefer not to come out on the opposite side of where we need to be.’

He didn’t add that they could have taken Stolas’ car. If asked, the Prince would only have said that the Goetics’ gates did not open for such trifling matters as this. It was true that with portal travel, no one among the commoners knew where they were going until they showed up.

And, of course, it was a much more delicate working, requiring refined skill. Coincidentally.

‘Where we are needed,’ Stolas said, and vanished inside it with a smug flip of his tail.

-

Miss Leigh had departed, her work done, and Spicy had stayed to offer his friend moral support, Angel damp from a shower for the second time in less than an hour. The shower room Alastor had been in was in a sterilising cycle, because a lack of disease didn’t mean sinners weren’t concerned about it.

Currently, Spicy was reading some of Wilde’s more recent poetry to Angel from his phone. Yve was waiting beside the tub of mercury, listening and not taking her eyes off of the quicksilver. She had, however, given permission for Spicy and Angel to be in the room, as long as they stayed at the other end of it. She’d done a controlled burn of all the stray droplets, so the room was as clean as possible right now.

The portal opened in the centre of the room, and Stolas stepped out of it, looking like himself—not the dandy he’d become, but his true and princely self. He was holding a book and his kit bag. Close behind him was Marbas, in full mask.

Yve stood. ‘He tried to find host in the Radio Demon, Alastor,’ she said.

Stolas raised a brow, silently asking how on earth the Pox had convinced Alastor to fuck anything.

‘He was posing as Valentino, so the entry point was Alastor’s charming propensity for cannibalism.’ Yve wasn’t surprised Alastor had figured out eating someone permakilled them; but he was a fool if he didn’t realise that it put him at risk. You couldn’t just eat anything you wanted, this was Hell.

‘Ah.’ Marbas’ voice was no less rich from behind his mask. ‘Still, technically, a carnal desire.’ He looked to Angel. ‘We’ve heard the news of your promotion. I think you’re best suited to tell me what’s happened thus far.’

Angel swallowed, not wanting to relive it, but knowing he was an overlord and had to act like one. ‘He started gettin’ sick a few days ago, he said he had a sore throat but ignored it, and then… then all the sores started a little while ago, maybe an hour? It got. It got—bad. I called a doctor friend, he sent some antibiotics down and told me to drown it in mercury. Al’s only had contact with me, since he caught… caught it. And Yve says I can’t be a vector, right?’

It wasn’t that he didn’t believe Yvelle, it was that he was scared.

The moments when he’d thought he’d given it to Alastor had been the worst moments of his existence.

‘No venereal disease can take root in a concubus,’ Marbas said, now sounding positively bored. ‘Even if you’d shared Alastor’s meal, once you metamorphosed, you’d have been clean. The generative power is too strong to tolerate anything that would pervert it. You did well with the mercury. How long has he been under?’

‘Five minutes,’ Angel said, finally feeling safe to come over, and reached down into the quicksilver, groping gently for Alastor’s hand, knowing he couldn’t hear anything. He pulled gently, and was relieved to find Alastor looking more like himself, if in need of a serious shower.

‘Alastor, uh, Yve called in some of the Goetics, so they can… what are you gonna do, anyway?’

‘Extract the Pox and put him back in his cage,’ Stolas said, turning over the pages of the book as it floated in front of him. ‘And seal him away.’

‘Not kill him?’ Stolas let Marbas answer that; such things weren’t his department.

‘Oh, well,’ Marbas drawled, ‘I was under the impression God Himself had to strike him down and unmake him, but we may as well try.’

‘Fuck God,’ Spicy said, with more venom than sinners usually had. ‘Fuck God, and fuck his plan, and fuck Lucifer. You’re all fucking pathetic, waiting around for some stupid Ragnarok and letting people suffer because “Oh it’s all part of some big ineffable fucking plan”—

‘Spice…’ Angel was afraid for him. He’d never been around the Goetics, and, too late, Angel realised Spice Drop would have no fear or respect for their status and power. He hated aristocrats.

‘No, I’m sick of this bullshit! Nobody is on the throne and you’re still bowing to it! Am I the only fucking person who sees that Hell has gods in it already? Am I?!’

Angel was in shock, because Spicy’s mouth was glowing and his voice was starting to get all synthesised. Tiny electric sparks were travelling between his crest-feathers.

Stolas was also in shock—the actual audacity was so offensive it circled right around to devastatingly attractive.

Marbas was the first to recover. ‘My, my,’ he said, sounding sincerely impressed. ‘Usually Vox’s little toys don’t remember how to speak with their own voices. Do go on, this sounds like a fascinating theory.’

Why was this little soul even here in the first place? His resonance was all wrong, even under the seal of Vox’s power. Yet another responsibility Lucifer had abandoned.

‘Spicy’s pagan,’ Yve said, coming to his defence gracefully. ‘Nobody’s sure why he’s here, but he’s as insightful as priests of the Old Gods always are.’

‘A witch,’ Stolas said, tuning back in and looking alarmingly keen. Spicy didn’t cower, his crest fluffing higher in response to another avian.

‘The definition of a god is that of an immortal being with power over a certain domain, and those who worship them. Hell has been abandoned, you have been abandoned, by your kings and your Heavenly Creator. But I look around and see a whole pantheon sprung up and walking around. Lord Sinuous, Vox, even Angel—they’re all gods the same as Loki and Hades and Bastet.’

‘And what are we?’ Stolas couldn’t help but ask.

‘Always got sidhe vibes from you,’ Spicy said, and Stolas fluffed, startled at the sharpness of that insight. ‘It’s the way people talk about you. “The Community”, “Them”, “The Goetics”.’

‘And you are not afraid?’

‘I’m afraid of everything, so I’m afraid of nothing,’ Spicy said. ‘I’m angry. There’s so many of you higher ups that make life better and talk about how you want to do more, but you’re too scared and have so much learned helplessness you’re just—just sitting there!’ He wasn’t sure how he’d gotten into this conversation right now, but he wasn’t going to fight it.

Marbas chuckled. ‘I like this one,’ he said, turning away from the tub and tapping his mask with a gloved finger; it opened like a flower and retracted back into his headpiece, leaving him free to openly look Spicy up and down. ‘What a clever little firebrand. Sinners can have whatever shape they like, but their minds are still human, and human minds make gods. That those gods then turn around and condemn them to eternal suffering doesn’t seem to register. But you would have us, what, improve Hell?’ He gestured to himself and Stolas. ‘Knowing what we are?’

Spicy grinned. ‘That’s cute, you think nobody’s actually doing it yet, just because you haven’t been.’

Yve stifled a smile behind her fist; she knew Spicy slightly better than Angel did, but she was still surprised. Angel was still sort of reeling at Spicy calling him a god.

‘Look, uh, scintillating as this conversation is, could we focus on the task at hand?’ Angel said, and was relieved that Spicy was still himself enough to look abashed.

‘Sorry, Angel,’ he murmured.

A weak laugh from Alastor made every head turn. ‘“Scintillating?” I must be rubbing off on you, cher… go on and make a joke about that, now…’

He was leaning forward against the edge of the tub, a thin film of mercury clinging to him, giving him a sheen, beading in heavy silver droplets from his hair. He felt utterly drained, so much so that he was amazed he wasn’t just floating facedown, and there was still occasional shuddering and pulsing from his back, but Valentino was silent. Valentino was silent, and Angel was here, and that was enough.

Stolas sighed, slitting his arm with a silver knife and letting the shining blood drop into a goblet that materialised out of the aether. ‘Yes, do let’s get on with the chore, so we can get back to this fascinating discussion. I am taking you home,’ he said to Spicy, who flipped him off, but—with a glance at Alastor—didn’t say anything.

Angel knelt by the tub. ‘How you feelin, babe?’ he asked, quietly. ‘You look better.’ And he did—Angel had a deep-seated feeling, like the one before, that Alastor was much better.

Alastor automatically reached out to touch him, then pulled back. ‘I feel like myself,’ he said, pained as he vaguely remembered Valentino saying something similar, but too tired to come up with anything else. ‘I’d very much like a proper sleep and somethin’ to eat… doesn’t have to be you, mon ange, Sinuous gets me meat sometimes…’

As he spoke, Marbas was palpating the mass on his back, examining it with more than just clinical fascination. ‘I’ve never seen him at this stage before,’ he murmured. ‘Let alone after being dosed and doused…’

Angel’s shadow conveyed his territorial anger at someone touching his Alastor without asking Alastor first. However, he kept his attention on Alastor, even as he noticed Spicy edging closer. Yve caught the little bird.

‘I don’t want to risk him noticing you, hon,’ she said quietly. ‘Cybernetic parts or not, you’re still a potential host, and he’s gonna get cranky in a minute.’

Spicy stopped. ‘Should I leave?’

‘Can’t risk opening the door at this stage,’ Yve said, going over to the far corner and standing between him and the bathtub. ‘Just stay here with me, okay, honey?’ She held him, turning her back to the room and letting him watch from over her shoulder, making sure she was short enough for him to see.

Stolas was deep in concentration, carefully undoing the metaphysical lock on Pox’s cage, and trusting that Marbas would extract the Plague at the right moment. Despite their bickering, they took the threat seriously. The ‘Pure’ forms of the Plagues could ravage Hell—and would—as normal versions of disease could not. It was in their best interest to keep this contained.

A golden scalpel appeared in Marbas’ hand, the edge glinting with a sharpness mortal gold could never hope to achieve. ‘Pox, we bind you anew,’ he said, and his voice was even deeper and more sonorous than before. ‘Relinquish that which is not yours to take, and await the end of days.’ And he started to cut.

It hurt, of course it hurt—but it was a clean pain. Angel didn’t watch, and Spicy focussed on Stolas, who was doing something that was making reality ripple and the sound of huge locks grind and click open.

Are you seeing this, Daddy? Spicy thought, because he needed to talk to someone about what was happening.

Am I ever, Vox said, and Spicy could feel his Master’s fascination as something claw-shaped wriggled its way out of the incision and swiped at Marbas. This is something you don’t see every day. So Valentino was a fake, huh? I always thought his image was a little too on the nose. But I never would’ve guessed fucking syphilis. You know I had to make a poster or two about that?

It’s a horrible disease. Spicy said, and Vox felt his fear—and his fascination. He knew… a lot. A lot. About syphilis. Plagues were one of his childhood interests, along with demons and hell and paganism. Death and decay had frightened him, but sickness had been the kind of fear he wanted to know more about, even as he recoiled in horror. Too, he liked knowing how things worked. He was watching Stolas with a witch’s eye, and a witch’s admiration of his skill.

‘You’re doing great, Alastor,’ Angel was saying, ‘I love you, it’s gonna be okay.’

‘It’s a more concentrated pain,’ Alastor said dreamily, ‘but it’s not worse, actually. I’ve always wondered what it felt like on the other side of the knife…’

Angel grinned—and maybe it was a little brittle, but he was smiling. ‘You want—you want that to be your next lesson? We can do knifeplay, if ya want…’

Oh my stars they are so. Cute. Spicy thought, smiling. He loved seeing love, it gave him a very non-sexual kind of euphoria to see or hear other people being happy and in love.

And here I thought they couldn’t get any worse, Vox said, but it was teasing. It was much easier to handle Alastor at a remove, and if seeing them made Spicy happy, he could tolerate a few minutes of what Velvet had immediately dubbed #RadioDust.

Marbas made the final cut, and Pox emerged. There was no way he could be remotely mistaken for Valentino, not anymore. He was little more than a tangle of grasping, limb-like shapes, the colour of necrotic flesh, dripping mercury and blood and worse.

‘Hello again,’ Marbas said. ‘And goodbye.’

Stolas had a glowing cage of what Spicy could only describe as octarine open, and it sealed tightly, contracting around its prisoner before winking out of sight with the sound of a huge door shutting and being locked.

‘Thanks for your help,’ Angel said, knowing when graciousness was the better part of valour.

Stolas closed the book, giving the slightest little bow of his head, before turning to look at Spice Drop, who glared. Daddy, please come get me, there’s creeps. he asked, knowing full well Vox could see the way Stolas was looking at him.

‘Stolas, don’t,’ Yve said. ‘He’s not some little imp for you to toy with.’

Everyone is for toying with, my dear.’

‘Fuck off and die,’ Spicy snarled, and felt slightly more panicked when Stolas just laughed.

He’s not going to be intimidated, baby, just more turned on. The Goetics are the creme de la creep, all of ‘em. I’m sending the car for you right now.

Marbas was regally ignoring all of this, carefully pinching Alastor’s flesh back together, watching as it sealed itself. ‘Be more careful of what you eat in future,’ he said. ‘I don’t often take the same patient twice.’

Alastor, his head bowed and his shoulders slumped, didn’t say anything.

Angel narrowed all four of his main eyes, and stood. ‘No creepin’ on my employees,’ he said to Stolas warningly. ‘No creepin on my territory, you wanna do that, go home.’

Stolas turned his head slowly toward Angel, not moving anything else, and it was disturbing, the way all birds were—but Angel had bird friends, and didn’t flinch.

Yvelle backed him up. ‘You know the rules, prince,’ she said firmly.

He huffed a small sigh that had the barest edge of a hoot to it, reopened the portal, and stepped through.

It closed before Marbas could get through.

‘We should all shower, yeah?’ Angel said, and Yve nodded. Angel turned to help Alastor from the bath. ‘You good to stand, sweethart?’ There was a chair they could use, that helped when you had to wait for your conditioner to soak in.

‘We’ll find out,’ Alastor murmured, clinging to Angel and swearing softly in French as his legs proved as wobbly as a fawn’s. ‘Don’t suppose you care to shower together?’

He should have known, he should have known! Valentino had gone down too easily for an overlord of his reputation. What would have happened if Angel hadn’t caught him in time? He had been able to feel Valentino clawing at his mind, trying to reach the levers that controlled his body. Trying to get close enough to infect.

‘Course we can, babe,’ Angel said gently, glad when Spicy got the chair set up under one of the shower heads for them. Angel carried Alastor over, setting him gently in it. He was gentle as he used the warm water to rinse Alastor thoroughly, before getting the rose-scented soap and smoothing it everywhere; and, soon, everyone was clean again, and slightly damp, and Angel was waving goodbye to Yve and Marbas as they headed out. Only Spicy lingered on the stoop, turning to Angel, who was standing in the doorway.

‘You said I was your employee,’ he said, mouth seeming to glow brighter now that he was standing on the stoop, in the dark.

Angel smiled. ‘Yeah, you’re still my employee.’

Spicy hugged him. ‘Thank you. I love you, see you soon?’

‘Yeah, soon. Gonna take a day off, tomorrow. Maybe a couple.’

‘You just found out your old boss was the personification of Syphilis, I would take at least a week.’

‘Nah, I’ll be fine,’ Angel said, ruffling Spicy’s feathers. ‘Go home, Spice. I can handle it. And—I love you too.’

Spicy beamed, relieved to hear it.

‘Good night, Angel.’

‘Night.’

Chapter Text

The car, there when Spicy walked out to the curb, somehow managed to look expectant. It was idling almost soundlessly, just a low hum that Spicy could feel in the pit of his stomach. The door opened almost before he got there, and closed so quickly that it pushed him the rest of the way into the backseat. The screens were already on.

‘Well,’ said Vox. ‘Wasn’t that just the most fun you can have with a hundred gallons of mercury?’

Spicy settled in, used to a lack of seatbelts by now, and feeling safer than he did in other cars, because he thought of Vox’s car as being part of Vox’s body.

Even so, he was a little shaken by Stolas, who was really the most sidhe-like sidhe he’d met in a while, and Spicy was reeling a little over the revelation that the Goetics really were fae—were they fae pretending to be demons, or some hybrid? The latter was, frankly, more disturbing. He suddenly wanted some iron.

He also wanted Vox to save all of this emotional processing for later.

‘My mistake, baby. Here, let me make it up to you.’

From between the seats, a seatbelt emerged, a simple over-the-waist one. It reached out like a time-lapse of a vine growing, building itself as it went, and clicked Spicy securely into place. Beneath him, the leather started to retract, leaving only two pads under his thighs. The rest was machinery, cold, intricate metal. Vox’s eyes widened.

‘Do you want me to take you under before we start? Because either way, I’m going to remind you you’re mine.’

Can you just… mute the trauma stuff right now? Spicy did not want to deal with it. He was so tired of the trauma cycle. Didn’t he deserve nice feelings, happiness, lust, flirtation, love? He deserved those emotions to be just as loud as grief, fear, and anger, right?

The seatbelt was sweet, a familiar comfort; and then the seat started to reconfigure, and he felt cool metal close to his pussy, and grinned.

‘Ooooh, Daddy…’ He didn’t call Vox ‘daddy’ often, mostly because it wasn’t special, since everyone called him that; but sometimes, sometimes….

A mental wall came down between Spicy’s self and everything that had hurt him. If he tried to reflect on it, or something triggered a flashback, it just rebounded off of blankness, leaving his brain no choice but to engage with his present environment.

An environment which currently contained a neat little mechanism that was unzipping his bodysuit.

‘So, Stolas thinks he can just swan in and take what’s mine by royal decree? Doesn’t he have a chambermaid or a stableboy to be fucking? No pellet-hacking relic is going to get his claws on my boy.’

Spicy shivered, biting his lip. ‘Daddy,’ he purred, letting the honourifics fall where they may. ‘Daddy, daddy, yes… yes, fuck me good and hard and deep, please… break me, take me, fuck me…’ He was really hitting a stride, squirming a little, dripping. This was marvellous.

Cables snaked out of the headrest and the back of the seat, fixing Spicy’s head in place and locking around his arms. There was just enough slack for Spicy not to lose circulation, which just so happened to be the right amount for him to struggle in delicious futility. The cables were Vox’s version of carbon fibre, and couldn’t be broken.

‘All that and more, baby. All that and more.’

What felt like a speculum spread Spicy wide, and a thicker cable than any he’d had before slid into his cunt and kept sliding, going as deep as his body could hold.

‘My cock might be back home,’ Vox said, ‘but I always have alternatives.’

Spicy moaned, feeling the cable go deeper than a cock, his favourite element to Vox’s cables—the smooth, perfectly-sized plug—sliding around and into his cervix. Vox had been the one to show him that being a demon meant your body worked however you wanted it to, when it came to sex, and Spicy had done wonders with that, pornographically.

‘Are you going to fill me up, Master?’ Spicy asked, breathless and shivering with anticipation.

Vox’s laugh filled the car. ‘Eventually.’

A much smaller, slimmer cable threaded itself between Spicy’s spread legs, curved, and dipped to stroke down over the hood of his clit, delivering a very gentle buzz.

Across Pentagram City, Vox reclined in his office, one hand behind his head and the other down his pants, directing the car with his slightest thought as he played with his cock, luxuriating in the pleasure from both. He could feel his cable inside Spicy and feel his own stroking at the same time, and it meant he would come even harder when the time came.

Spicy screamed, and kept screaming, because the buzz did not let up, but also didn’t allow him to become desensitised, changing the frequency and pattern, the current making him tense, but Vox’s control not allowing him any release. Spicy started to cry, soon, his makeup running down his cheeks in streaks of black and green glitter, as he strained helplessly against the restraints, his voice once again getting synthetic, mouth lighting up with Vox’s cyan. Vox could tell Spicy was starting to be more synthetic, which wasn’t the usual direction Vox’s people went. There were a fair few of them that were, of course, but it hadn’t ever happened this fast….

One of the screens stopped showing Vox’s face, and switched to a live feed of Spicy, who had no choice but to stare into the technological mirror.

‘Take a good look at yourself, babyslut. Maybe snap a picture, send it to Stolas. Ask him if he thinks he still has a snowball’s fucking chance in downtown.’

Spicy was eager to do this, even if he knew it was poking a very dangerous creature. But Stolas had laughed at him, had presumed to own him; and Spicy was a witch, and had a temper.

‘Make him regret, Master,’ came the growl, breathless and with the perfect growl of a bass boost.

Vox’s pleased noise was amplified through the cable touching Spicy’s clit, the current pausing to deliver pure vibration. The cable rippled inside Spicy, arching to press against the most sensitive parts of his inner walls. ‘Oh, I will. I’m your god, remember? Gods are good at that kind of thing.’

Spicy’s smile was wickeder than any Vox had seen before; he’d always been holding back, before, keeping a little part of himself back for his gods. But now, Vox was one of his gods; and Spicy was showing Vox just how devoted to religion Spicy had always been.

‘And right now, I have a command,’ Vox said, keeping his own groan to a separate audio channel, where Spicy couldn’t hear. ‘Come for me.’

The release switch finally flipped, and Spicy’s orgasm hit him so hard his throat shredded on the scream, and he blacked out for a few seconds, lost in a swoon of endorphins. It was so much, he was so stretched, and the pulsing just made it more intense, a feedback loop only pushed and nudged and encouraged by Vox.

It was a lot for Vox to handle as well, and when Spicy was able to see again, he was met with the other screen having switched to Vox in his office chair, screen tipped back, cock glowing, hips riding the air in the same steady rhythm currently going through Spicy’s cunt. ‘That’s it, baby, that’s it… Fuck, I can feel all of you, and that’s saying something, gorgeous…’

Spicy’s eyes were glued to the sight, pupils blown wide and dark, and he was panting, letting himself drool at the sight of his Master’s pleasure. There was the slight ripple of a power shift, though Spicy wasn’t trying consciously.

Yes, yes, Master, yes, you’re so beautiful like this…’

Spicy, Vox was learning, got off on other people’s pleasure.

Vox cracked open an eye, smirking. ‘Whoops,’ he said, as though it had been unintentional. ‘Well, now that you’re here…’ And he gave both of them another jolt of pleasure, not enough to orgasm, just ratcheting it up to show his approval. ‘What else do you want me to be, Spicy thing?’

Spicy wasn’t sure how Vox could possibly do that just after an orgasm, without causing another one—but that was the best part about giving himself to Vox, really. Having a cunt meant orgasm control was very difficult… until now. Now, he could feel that jolt, and shriek, and not come. Still, Spicy’s eyes were on Vox’s cock again soon after.

‘Fill me up, Daddy. Fill me all up,’ he panted, breathless, still feeling the plug at the end of the cable. ‘I want more of you inside me.’ He wanted to be full of Master, he would feel safer, that way… for, despite his bravado, Spicy was still a witch, and still had a learned and very reasonable fear of the Fair Folk, particularly the Nobility.

There was a distinctly mechanical groan, as of metal nearing the end of its tensile strength. Vox’s hand moved faster, harder, and then blue-white electricity was arcing out of his cock as he gasped out, ‘Don’t worry… saved the best for you…’

The cable started to pulse in steady waves, and it felt as though each, individually, was pumping as much into Spicy as all of what Vox had given him the first time. The plug was so far in, and the cable filling him so completely, that there was no chance any of it could leak out. Spicy couldn’t move his head enough to look down, but he could watch himself—and his belly—on the screen.

The look on his face was blissful abandon, feeling his belly fill, watching it swell; and he knew it was just his imagination, but he indulged in pretending he could feel all the nanites swimming around, forcing their way deeper inside him. Throughout this, over and over, he replayed the moment Vox had come, and purred. All he ever wanted was to see Master in that moment of abandon, to be trusted that much, to have Master know he was safe, could relax, around his babyslut….

You know, with this many, and the chip to boot, I get a lot of feedback… And Vox, even slowing his own hold on his cock, shared with Spicy a feeling of blissful warmth and snugness, of being in exactly the right place, of the nanites swimming steadily through a cradling darkness, buoyed by themselves.

Of being safe, inside of Spicy, where they belonged.

Spicy hummed, struggling to keep his eyes open, but not wanting to miss a second of his Master’s bliss. The growing bulge of his belly only fuelled this, and he pleaded silently with Vox to bring his arousal back down, so he could enjoy it ratcheting up again. He was still soaking wet, flushed and, he started to realise, no more pink but the same cyan as his Master. The thought was blissful.

A little stray part of his mind that was always wondering connected this up with anglerfish, especially given the great size disparity between him and Vox; this only added to his arousal. The idea that every day, every moment, every renewed contact, was making him more of a monster… his clit twitched at the thought. He’d long been discontent with how little his appearance had changed, in comparison with all the very monstrous demons around him; to finally see it changing was glorious.

On his chair, in his office, Vox lay recumbent, still giving his cock the occasional stroke, the electricity coming in longer intervals now. He himself was still coming, but he eased Spicy down, letting him breathe—at least, as much as he could, being so full.

‘…Anglerfish?’ Vox said, thoughtful. ‘You want to just melt down and be a little boycunt for me, is that it? You want to be a part of me?’

Spicy’s shivers of pleasure were answer enough, as was his hum. ‘Nnnnmaybe.’

And it was, definitely, “maybe”. Spicy was still rather attached to having a body, but the idea, the idea was attractive. He always lived and breathed whomever he was in a relationship with, and he’d never had any personal qualm about that. Symbiosis was part of nature, and it wasn’t always supposed to be exactly equal. Furthermore, this was, he reminded that nagging side of his brain, Hell. He was dead. The rules of the living no longer applied, and he was free to be as terrible and unhealthy and problematic as he wanted. And he was happy, finally. He was happy to need, to cling, to worship and adore his partner like a sublime being. And, oh, fuck, he was so full, so full of Vox, and he still wanted more.

‘Nnnhh, Master, I need you, I need you…’

You’d still have a body,’ said Vox. ‘I wouldn’t ever get rid of that nice little housing, you worked so hard on making it pretty for me. It would just also become me. An extension of myself. Just like this’—the cable pulsed again, forcing in what had to be the last wave of nanites, there couldn’t possibly be any more—’but with a brain.’

‘Master, yes, oh, yes…’ Spicy was overwhelmed, starting to cry a bit, though he wasn’t sad, just… full. Full of emotions, spilling out through those big dark eyes.

You want to just melt down and be a little boycunt for me…? echoed in his memory, and his cunt twitched to it. Just now, he wanted nothing more or less than that.

‘Look at me,’ Vox said, the intonation familiar as always, both screens in front of Spicy switching back to his face. His eyes glowed, the black rings starting to move, and everything that wasn’t Spicy’s cunt and aching, swollen belly fell away.

Spicy opened his eyes immediately, happily, and immediately glazed over. The relaxation was immediate, but for all that his body had gone completely pliant, that didn’t mean he wasn’t feeling all the sensations Vox cared to give him.

‘Perfect ending shot, and… cut. That’s a wrap.’

Spicy’s eyes were guided to the right-hand screen, which now had a freeze-frame of him just getting into the car, the universal PLAY symbol hovering over it.

‘Congratulations, baby, you just did your first private show.’

Spicy giggled—that is, after his orgasm-addled brain was able to connect the dots.

.oOo.

Stolas’ phone shattered into powder, before igniting; and the unearthly shriek of a very, very angry tyto alba shook the chandelier in his bedroom, the sound of shredding fabric and flying feathers filling the air as he tore up his curtanis, his sheets, his pillows, anything within reach of his talons, furious.

He didn’t even bother calling Blitzo, yanking him into his ruined bed and throwing him down.

‘You are going to fuck me, Blitzy,’ he hissed, shredding Blitzo’s clothes with little care for their expense.

‘You’ve been redecorating,’ Blitzo managed, gasping as the talon shredding his suit drew a thin line of black blood down his torso. ‘I always wanted to fuck someone in the middle of a disaster zone…’

The imp would never admit it, but he liked when Stolas cut loose and got rough with him, put that Goetic temper on full display. Smug, smooth, collected Stolas was terrifying. A Stolas mad enough to teleport him directly into bed was a Stolas that Blitzo could handle, because that Stolas just wanted to get fucked into insensibility. They’d done this enough times that Blitzo’s cock was ready the moment Stolas destroyed his pants.

‘I didn’t know you liked my, uh, specimen that much,’ he said, and had just enough time to give it an encouraging stroke before Stolas was on him.

Like their Noble parents, the Goetics were perfect bisexuals (in more ways than one), and Stolas’ cunt was as tight as ever as he shoved himself down on Blitzo’s cock, the prince’s own floriform cock looking strangely beautiful (for Hell) as it wept his silvery arousal. The pace was punishing; but, soon, Stolas’ rage gave way to pleasure, as he ground, and bounced, and used Blitzo like a toy.

‘Blitzy! Blitzy! Yes!’ he screamed, with the complete and shameless abandon he always did.

It was about now that Blitzo could usually get him on his back—that Stolas would want to be on his back.

Bracing himself among the feathers and shreds of satin, Blitzo growled and flipped them over, hips hammering away just as hard as Stolas had ridden him, because Stolas was still bucking at the same pace and he had to match it, had to keep going, couldn’t stop…

‘Is there anything,’ he panted, ‘I can do… to get you… to shut the fuck up?’

Stolas fell silent, looking at him with those glowing eyes in the dark, and his smile was maddeningly smug. ‘Never,’ he said, and laughed as he came—the first time, his pretty cock twitching, spilling silver-blue cream that Blitzo knew tasted as sweet as honey. Stolas arched, digging both pairs of talons into the bed, and pressed his head back into the shredded pillows.

‘You’re so big, Blitzy! It’s so good…!’

There were scattered moments, like this one, where Stolas actually sounded near tears, sounded heartbreakingly sincere. It was why people came back to them, what made them more frightening than just another set of overlords, or Fallen. There was something a little… good… a little more pure and achingly sweet than infernal, there, in all of them.

It weirded Blitzo the fuck out, if he was being honest. But… there was something nice about seeing Stolas given over to ecstasy, knowing it was because of him. Something more than just an ego boost. He pushed the feeling down before it could start explaining itself, thrust harder into Stolas’ orgasm.

‘We’re just getting started,’ he said, and for once the thought didn’t fill him with dread.

Those eyes flashed red as they opened to look at Blitzo, and the smile was wicked.

‘Good,’ he said, like the spoilt creature he was, and the moment of sweetness was over. ‘Fill me up, Biltzy, I want to feel your infernal seed dripping down my thighs, to feel you paint my insides….’

Like most rich people, Stolas was vulgar and crass of tongue, in the bedroom; it was quite a contrast to his elegant exterior.

Somehow, it was always a shock when Stolas talked dirty.

‘What’s gotten into you? Other than me.’ Summoning up the last of his coherent thoughts, Blitzo made a hopeful stab at a pun, which had been officially forbidden in the I.M.P. boardroom. He couldn’t stop to hear the answer, though, because Stolas tightened around his cock, and before he knew it, Blitzo was coming his brains into that slick, hot cunt, pushing as far in as he could.

Stolas’ moan was decadent and inhumanly beautiful, his cock still hard and wanting attention.

‘Yeeees, my Blitzy, yes, fill me up…’ he cooed, and Blitz felt his magic reaching deep, making Blitzo’s body produce more cum for him.

Blitzo blinked, very slowly, because his muscles had to be forced to perform literally any other task, at the moment. ‘That’s… new… what, did you wake up with a craving?’

Normally, Stolas was fixated on his cock, not what came out of it. At this rate, Blitzo was starting to worry he wouldn’t have any more cum, ever. Could Stolas do that? It felt like the kind of thing Goetics could do and oh, Satan, fuck, he was still going…

It felt good, it felt good the way drunk felt good—there was a sinister, poisonous edge to it. Even supernatural creatures had limits, and Stolas was pushing them, greedy, uncaring, and selfish as a strangler fig. His slim belly was starting to bulge with its lade.

‘Mmm…’ he said, on a high of his own making. ‘Blitzy…’

Blitzo’s arms were starting to shake as he held himself above Stolas, and he’d all but stopped thrusting. It felt like his cock was driving him, instead of the other way around.

‘Yknow, if you keep going, you’re not gonna have… any more… for a while…’ he panted out, each word an effort. ‘Gonna… wipe me out…’

Was the room getting smaller and darker, or was it just him?

Stolas finally relented. ‘Oh, yes,’ he said, as though he’d forgotten that was a possibility, and abruptly let go.

What Blitzo had given wasn’t enough. Stolas had had no idea Vox was capable of such feats; Stolas had been surprised to find himself wanting to be in the fiesty little partridge’s position, more than in Vox’s, after seeing that little video….

Blitzo got through ‘Thank fu—’ before his eyes rolled up and he toppled off Stolas and off the bed.

Stolas sighed, staring up at the untouched canopy of his bed and putting a hand on his barely-full belly, sliding it down to caress his cock, imagining what Vox might do to him—filling him so, so much…

While Blitzo lay unconscious on the floor, Stolas had another orgasm in the shredded nest of luxury above him, before falling into a restless sleep.

Chapter Text

With Pox safely sealed away, Marbas had expected things to return to normal. Instead, he found himself with a new preoccupation: that fierce little sinner, Spice Drop. With such passion and determination as he clearly had, how had he not forced his way out of Hell and into whichever domain had awaited him? How had he remained here long enough to devote himself to Vox? How had he come to be here in the first place, if he did not believe? And were there others like him? Marbas was inquisitive; he sought knowledge as much as he shared it, and he loved a good puzzle. Now that he had been coaxed back to the affairs of Hell, instead of his private studying and the Goetics’ endless intrigues, he wanted to solve this one.

He started by acquiring a hellphone, which he had previously disdained. He did not call others. Others called upon him, in the old fashion, if they had need.

He paid for access to Spicy’s private channel and watched all the videos, trying to learn what he might of Spicy’s psyche through them. Etiquette demanded he ‘like’ as well as subscribe, leaving a record of his presence, which would, if nothing else, hopefully intrigue the little fellow.

Spice Drop was alone in all of his videos, and some of them were highly stylised with a narrative. They showed, until the newest entry, a very human soul, scars and all; and one wondered if this was why he was so popular.

The earliest ones were charmingly shy and quiet, with little pretense or artistry; the newest one showed him in harsh and unnatural makeup, his crest covered by a headdress of synthetic materials and wires, his mouth half covered with a gas mask, his moans and screams muffled as a machine penetrated him twice over, eyes glazed and echoing with Vox’s red and black concentric circles, instead of the very doe-like brown they had been, in previous videos (and during Marbas’ first meeting with him—brown eyes, human eyes, were unheard of. Even the newest sinners had red or yellow).

You’re just sitting there!

What, Marbas wondered, did Spice Drop want out of Hell? Did he mean to truly install the overlords as gods? Lucifer would be very surprised to be met with an entire pantheon when he returned. Perhaps it was for the best. Marbas had come to realise that Hell was too stagnant. The four underkings of the Goetics were loath to bestir themselves in the first place—not entirely their fault, they were directions, fixed and unchanging—and the rest of the peerage had been left to their own petty devices, none of which had any real meaning outside their gates.

And what of the reluctant princess? Marbas was very interested to know what Spice Drop thought about her.

He was already contemplating ways to arrange a meeting. Spice Drop’s time in Hell might be limited, if one of his gods came to contest Vox’s claim, or the infernal bureaucracy actually checked his case. Marbas did not like to waste time.

As he watched, a notification popped up, indicating there was a new live show starting.

Spicy looked even more of a piece with Vox than even a few hours ago, when Marbas had first seen him. His face looked different when it wasn’t angry—softer, sweeter.

There was no introduction, the video began in the middle, Spice Drop impaled by three writhing cables, bound midair by many smaller ones, the ones fucking him having transparency, so the viewer could catch glimpses of the inside of their victim. His cunt was glowing and cyan, like his mouth, and the copious arousal frothing from the way he was being fucked glowed cyan, too.

But he still had those big doe eyes, looking at the camera, looking right at the viewer, begging.

Begging for what, exactly, Marbas didn’t know; but he wanted to find out. He was always the dominant during sex, always the giver of pleasure; and, though he often required much from his subjects, he always took care of them. An orgasm or two for Spicy’s thoughts; that was a fair trade, wasn’t it?

He recognised the thoughts with mild dismay, but accepted them. It was so rare for someone to pique his interest—that someone had to be rare. If the price of motivation was having it be desire, he could stand that.

And then he could show Spice Drop wonders.

Vox—for that must be who was controlling the cables, the pistons, the machines fucking Spice Drop so harshly—seemed intent on punishing the little sinner, making him scream, the cables flushing with glowing blue liquid that filled Spice Drop’s belly out, finally withdrawing to leave him panting on the black surface of the bed, his cunt and ass stretched out from the girth of his mechanical assailants, glowing fluid leaking from him and trailing down his fat thighs.

A cursor appeared on the screen, blinking a few times before leaving words in its wake.

Whose are you, Spice Drop?

It went to the next line, and blinked again, waiting. In a hoarse, ruined voice, Spice Drop replied.

‘Yours, Master.’

‘And what a harsh master he is,’ Marbas murmured. Among the Goetics, the Doctor was considered horrifically deviant, because he tended towards soft words and the most gentle torments, hours of light strokes and teasing, making his victims beg just by talking to them. Spice Drop deserved a sweeter touch, because how was he to pursue his revolutionary ideas if he was too fucked out to move or think?

Poaching from Vox was, supposedly, a recipe for disaster, but even though it would have been imp’s play for a Goetic, capture wasn’t necessary. Just one session with Spice Drop, that was all Marbas wanted. Enough to show him the difference, to whet his appetite.

Enough to learn.

-

The video ended, and Spicy smiled at Vox, looking forward to the aftercare. Due to the nature of the webshow, they could film it anywhere, and Spicy was currently on Vox’s bed, which was, like the kitchen, mostly for show, as the Media Demon didn’t sleep.

‘I love you, Vox,’ he said, and it felt odd, to call him by his name; but Spicy wanted to try it. ‘That was amazing.’

‘And I adore you, baby. Especially like this.’ Vox ran an appreciative finger along the slickness of Spicy’s inner thigh. ‘You were so good for me. I think you took even more than you did in the car. Soon you might even be ready for a real load.’

Leaving that tease hanging, he got up and went to fetch water and towels. Vox, owing to his nature, had almost as strong an aversion to plain old water as regular demons did to holy water, but he respected its importance, especially for Spicy. Still, he didn’t fill the tall glass all the way, and carried it over with care.

Things were good.

Things were really good. So good, in fact, that Vox was starting to get a little suspicious. It was Hell. The other shoe always dropped, and usually there was a scorpion in it. But here he was, making video after video with Spicy, Valentino gone for good, and Alastor weak as a kitten from his bout of food poisoning, unable to trouble him. The siren song of relaxation affected even Vox.

Spicy sat up, still shaky, taking the water and draining it, setting the glass down before flopping back down on the bed with a soft moan. Everything throbbed and ached in the best way. He didn’t want to shower just yet, liking the feeling of being so messy; it just reminded him how fucked out he was, how utterly wrecked….

‘Can you make them… sort of wiggle or something? I like feeling you inside me….’

It was becoming a common desire, Spicy wanting to be able to feel the tide of nanites flooding his body. It might have been why his demonic form was becoming more and more luminescent.

‘You heard him, boys, get a wiggle on.’ Vox snapped his fingers, and not only did Spicy feel the nanites shift inside him, schooling and swirling, his entire body lit up with glowing blue points of light, like a firefly squid. But the dots were moving beneath his skin, through his veins and even the smallest capillaries. It was hard to tell what of the light in the room was him, and what was Vox’s smile.

Spicy giggled, as a very different pleasure started to take hold. He hadn’t expected it to tickle; and he squirmed, laughing.

Vox massaged Spicy’s belly lightly, patches of blue appearing wherever his deft fingertips touched. ‘I’m inside you, on top of you, all around you… you’re never alone with me, babyslut. You know that, right?’

As the tickling faded enough to let him speak, Spicy felt blissful. ‘Yes, Daddy. Can we cuddle? Just for a little bit?’

Asking for tender things was a lot scarier than asking for kink; kink was normal, affection… affection was weakness, or so Spicy assumed.

I’d like to see what anybody else would do about it, Vox said, because he liked to speak directly in Spicy’s mind when he picked up on a worry there. He settled himself more firmly on the bed and gathered Spicy to him, putting Spicy’s head against his chest. I’m still getting used to this too.

Spicy snuggled into him, nestling between his legs comfortably. Vox was in shirtsleeves at the moment, and Spicy reached up to unbutton his shirt a little, sliding his hand over the void-black skin that was traced with glowing circuit patterns.

He fell asleep there, his own glow pulsing in time with Vox’s.

Vox watched him for a while, allowing that strange tenderness he only felt around Spicy to fully realise itself. All right, it was love; he meant I love you every time he said it. There was no one like his Spicy, who wanted so powerfully, who craved playing the obedient wife and then getting strapped into a fucking machine within the same hour. Love was a weakness; but it was one Vox was willing to accept. All overlords knew that everything had its price, Vox more than most, and the cost of loving Spicy was… loving Spicy. But, as Vox had assured him, who was going to try and mess with them?

After a while, he got up and left the room.

That was the mistake.

-

Using all his guile, Marbas had crafted an intricate plan: He would shift into the guise of an ordinary sinner and walk among the people, finding fellow devotees of Spice Drop’s work and seeing how they felt about his other interests. He would leave a trail for Spice Drop that way, the promise of people who would listen. There would be hints that only a pagan would pick up on, offers of secrets and confirmed suspicions, leading him to think. Leading him to Marbas. It would take time, but the Doctor, unlike most of his kin, was patient. And it would, in the end, be worth it. After having rewatched several of the videos, he was quite confident of that. The only problem was that as healer, he was bound only to go where he was bidden. If he wanted to travel independently outside of the gated community, he needed one of Stolas’ many books.

Well, there was nothing else for it.

-

Spicy didn’t even stir, so smooth was Stolas’ work; and Stolas didn’t wake him, leaving him locked in one of the windowless guest bedrooms of his manor. Well, he wasn’t uncouth, even to a hostage!

Spicy woke up in a strange, nightmare version of Versailles, and immediately went on alert.

Daddy!?

It was like screaming into an anechoic chamber—he knew, with certainty, that Daddy couldn’t hear him.

Contrary to fear, however, Spicy was surprised at how calm he felt. So, the damn sidhe had kidnapped him. Well, he could handle that. He knew what to do….

-

Stolas was, like the owl he resembled, a patient hunter. He used his scrying pool to watch Vox, taking breaks to attend his beloved daughter, who often needed him to help her with her studies.

‘…And it’s very important to use low heat on anything in a lambic,’ he was saying, when he became aware that someone was at the Library door. He nuzzled Octavia’s head, preening at her feathers. ‘I’ll be right back, precious.’

‘Yes, Papa,’ Octavia said, fondly pretending weariness at his antics, head buried once more in her notes.

-

Marbas was waiting, unmasked, when Stolas opened the door.

‘Prince,’ he said, which passed for a polite greeting.

Stolas bowed politely. ‘Doctor,’ he returned, and led him into the library. Stolas always knew when someone was coming to him as the Librarian, rather than making social calls.

The Library was the only one of its kind, all the books in it containing the collected knowledge of centuries of esoteric study. Shelves went up for three stories, and scrolling spiral stairs wound up to the upper mezzanines, ladders on the shelves shining silver in the light from the tall, grand windows. There was a sprawling but finely-organised workspace on the ground floor of the library, covered in the accoutrements of a bookbinder. Even Infernal books needed re-binding, every hundred years or so.

‘What is it you need, Doctor?’ Stolas asked. He was perfectly willing to do his duty, which was a sharp contrast from how he behaved socially. But, like Marbas, Stolas was the Librarian because he enjoyed the occupation of finding and preserving knowledge.

‘Another of your books on travel,’ Marbas said, with an ever-so-casual air helped by his familiarity with the Library; he had visited before, once to peruse, and once to gift a grimoire he’d found. His eyes shone as he looked around. ‘A prior volume in the same series as that which you lent to your imp, I believe.’

Stolas raised a brow, turning his head to look at Marbas in curiosity. ‘You know I can’t help if you’re that vague. Planning to do something naughty, are we?’

Oh, this was too good. What on earth was staid old Marbas up to? Stolas’ eyes glowed brighter as he sensed every Noble’s bread and butter:

Intrigue.

-

Blitzo woke up on a different floor. He knew it was a different floor, because the eye-bleeding arcane pattern of the rug wasn’t the same, and the room smelled of less recent sex than what he’d just had. His memories came back about then, and he was just glad he’d woken up at all, even if he was sore as all heaven and his legs felt about the consistency of vitreous humour.

‘Ugh,’ he said, sitting up and rubbing his head. Even his horns ached. Oh, and he was still naked. Of course.

Spicy was, very suddenly, awake; he had been struggling toward it, enjoying the crisp sheets and the soft bed; but the sound of a voice jolted him to full alert, as did the movement of a pair of horns poking up from the floor beside the bed.

‘Who the fuck are you?’ he asked, trying not to sound as scared as he felt. He’d somehow assumed he was here alone, but this unknown person was a potential threat, and Spicy was, at the moment, without any of his allies.

Blitzo raised himself to his knees, peering suspiciously over the side of the bed. Another demon, a sinner by the looks of them, and scarcely taller than the average imp, although much rounder. Feathers. Big eyes that were a weird, murky colour. And, as it happened, also naked.

‘That depends,’ he said. ‘Who the fuck are you?

‘A hostage,’ Spicy said, unsure if this imp was also a hostage, or a servant. His mouth had lit up, and his crest was fluffed, revealing there were bits in it that looked more technological than biological. Coupled with the cyan colour of the glow, it was obvious to Blitzo that this was one of Vox’s sinners.

Blitzo snickered, relieved, in the way of all imps, that no matter how bad his day was, someone else’s promised to be worse. ‘Ooh, it’s been a while since one of the lords and ladies grabbed an overlord’s pet. Tough luck, spark plug. Or are you more of a socket?’

‘Witches make their own luck,’ Spicy said, maybe a little snappishly, but he’d never been very good at dealing with being laughed at. He tried to focus through it, getting to his feet and silently starting to pray. Hermes? Are you there? I need your help, I’m in danger….

‘You might want to go back to the drawing board, then,’ Blitzo said, then stuck a hand up over the bedclothes. ‘Anyway, I’m Blitzo! If you’ve seen my commercial, which you obviously have, then you’ll know how to pronounce it!’ He winked.

Spicy just looked at him. ‘I don’t watch commercials,’ he said, but Blitzo had managed to soften his regard a little, just by mentioning them. He took Blitzo’s hand gently. ‘Spice Drop. If you’ve ever been on the infernet, I’m sure you know who I am.’ Blitzo certainly had a vibe like someone who would watch porn….

Blitzo did a double take, and, without being asked, hoisted himself up onto the bed, squinting at Spicy.

You’re Spice Drop? That can’t be right, I’ve seen some of his videos. He wasn’t so…’ He gestured vaguely. ‘Vox-y. Clearly,’ he said, looking smug, ‘you’re some knockoff the Media Demon thought up as a cash grab. Pretty smart. I wonder if I could get one?’ His hands moved to frame an invisible marquee. ‘“Get turned on by I.M.P.!” Whaddaya think?’

Spicy hadn’t considered this, before; he looked down at himself, at his hands, sitting up on his knees, glancing around the room. ‘What… what do you mean, I don’t look like myself…’ He knew he was a little glowy in his mouth and cunt, but he still looked the same otherwise, right?

There was a mirror above the giant marble fireplace, and Spicy climbed off the bed, padding over to look at himself.

‘…Oh my gods,’ he said, staring.

His crest wasn’t just feathers anymore, and his skin was no longer a human pale colour but had lightened to a bluish white, the white of a tv screen, and his nails were black. But… his face hadn’t changed much, his eyes were still big and brown and human. He thought of the nanites, and smiled, despite the situation. ‘Gosh, they’re really working fast…’

‘Who is?’ Blitzo was instantly suspicious. ‘My competitors? Oh,’ he said, before Spicy could so much as take a breath, ‘you mean Vox’s nano…things. I dunno, Loona’s the tech expert. So you are Spice Drop. I do really like your work, Spicy. Can I call you Spicy? It’s great for those lonely evenings when Moxxie locks me in my office.’

He sat bolt upright. ‘Shit, my office! I can’t stay here playing permanent fucktoy! I have a business to run!’ He gave Spice Drop another, more speculative look. ‘Hey, this wouldn’t be the first time I’ve snuck out of here. You want to come with me? I won’t even ask for a heavy-airquotes-favour or anything. It’s just what Stolas deserves.’

‘Is that his name…’ Spicy’s smile was wicked, his voice dangerously soft. He turned from the mirror, ‘I think that’s a great idea. As soon as we get outside, I might be able to contact Lord Vox, and I’m sure he’ll be very appreciative.’

Distantly, Spicy was surprised at how easily he fell into the role of dangling reward and dropping names; but was it really so surprising? In life, he’d grown up in the movie capital of the world, and now he was dating the Media King.

Blitzo rubbed the back of his neck. ‘Yyyyeah, well, about that, I take cash, checks, souls, most major credit cards, and barter as long as it’s something cool.

‘But first, we need to actually get out, so get back over here and start helping me tie sheets.’

He wasn’t doing this to be nice, he was doing it to get back at Stolas. And he definitely wasn’t trying to garner Vox’s appreciation, or his attention in any way, shape, or form. Vox was fickle even by Hell’s standards, and any fleeting fame he might be able to give Blitzo would cost far more than just returning Spicy.

Not that Blitzo wanted Vox’s handouts. He could do this on his own.

Spicy was good with knots, and it was a lot easier to rappel down when you had a second person helping you steady the rope. As soon as they were able to climb out a window and outside, Spicy felt less stifled, though still rather far away.

Daddy! Stolas kidnapped me and I’m escaping!

He got a strange feeling rather like the one of being on a slow connection; but the message didn’t fail to send. It was just… weak? He’d have to get further from this building, maybe.

Below them was a garden in the highly-structured 18th century style, complete with hedgemaze. Spicy followed Blitzo into it, since the imp seemed to know where he was going.

Hermes, please give us swift feet and our pursuers feet of lead… Spicy prayed.

‘Wh—’ Blitzo stopped abruptly, shaking his head and batting at the air like he was trying to swat a mosquito. ‘Are you praying?’ He laughed, although there was more amazement in it than malice. (Not a complete lack of malice, though. Just less of it.) ‘Were you doing that inside, too? Well, come on, pray and walk, the secret exit out of here changes every fuck knows when, and I don’t want to crash another garden party.’

‘I’m pagan,’ Spicy said, automatically. ‘My gods haven’t abandoned me.’

Daddy, please come, I’m being helped but he’s just an imp and I’m scared….

He heard a raven’s call, for the first time since dying, and saw the shadow of one land on a nearby lamppost.

‘Hi Munin!’ he said, feeling heartened, feeling safer; if Odin was watching him, he couldn’t be doing too badly.

‘You want to watch out with that,’ Blitzo said. ‘Could be one of Andras’. But pagan, huh? I don’t think I ever met a pagan before. How do your gods feel about you and Vox, y’know…’ He made an obscene hand gesture.

Vox’s voice was distant, fading in and out, but, all of a sudden, it was there.

—fast as I can—private network, nothing I can—

‘Shh!’ Spicy said, straining to ‘hear’ his lover. Private network? Damnit!

He and Blitzo finally found themselves having to climb a wall, and Spicy gave Blitzo a boost up, because the imp was the lighter of them both, before attempting scrambling over, himself. He was just watching Blitzo balance on top of the wall when he heard the baying of hounds, and his blood ran cold.

Dogs.

He hated dogs.

Spicy backed up a few steps and ran at the wall, trying to mimic a parkour move, trying to apply what he knew about momentum. Adrenaline helped, but not enough.

Helphelphelphelphelp he prayed in a blind panic, sending it to anyone who would listen, struggling to find footholds and get up the wall as the dogs got closer. Don’t think about them, don’t look down, just look up at Blitzo, look up at the wall, you’ve got your fingers over the top, just pull up, come on, you can do it—

Pain exploded from his leg as teeth snapped around it, and he screamed, but didn’t let go. He felt Blitzo’s claws scrabbling against his arm, trying to help pull him up as the dog weighed him down. Maybe it was the panic, maybe it was the fact that Spicy’s brain immediately turned panic into rage, maybe it was the fact that they were within sight of the city border, the treeline of shadows more terrible than any in Hell—but something happened, some ripple in reality that came from Spicy, and there was a yelp and the dog let go, as she suddenly found the flesh beneath her teeth made of iron, and Spicy suddenly found himself strong enough to pull himself up easily, jumping down without a thought—or any pain. He was bleeding red—demons didn’t bleed red—and glanced at the imp next to him.

‘Thanks,’ he said, ‘which way?’

A passing car stopped, and the door opened. The driver, a glittering sinner with an accent straight from Brooklyn said, ‘You kids need a lift?’

Spicy trusted that accent, and leapt into the car.

Chapter Text

Blitzo scrambled in afterwards, because even if Stolas could transport him back at any moment, it felt better to get as far away from the estate as physically possible.

‘Forgot about the hellhounds,’ he said to Spicy, apologetic, even as Vox surged with anger at the feeling of Spicy’s pain.

‘Wild Hunt,’ Spicy said, gritting his teeth through the pain. ‘Not hellhounds. This is fae country.’

The driver—a very colourful spider—chuckled, making a turn suddenly. ‘You’re pretty knowledgeable, ragazzo, what got you tangled up with The Librarian?’

‘He kidnapped me,’ Spicy said, glad for a distraction, and the comforting voice, so similar to Angel’s… wait. Spicy looked at their rescuer, and wondered. ‘Are you… Are you a spider?’

‘Yeah. And no, I don’t know Angel Dust.’

‘You sound like him,’ Spicy said, wondering. ‘I’m Spicy,’ he said, unwilling to give a full name, here.

‘Zo,’ said the colourful spider, pulling onto the Loop, the road that circled the Community and went up to the Gates. ‘Can’t take you farther than the gates, but you’ll be all right outside ‘em.’

‘Thanks,’ Spicy said. ‘Do you have a phone?’ He didn’t have Vox’s number memorised, but he knew his usernames.

‘Sure, kid, it’s… you’re probably sittin’ on it.’

‘Oh, sorry!’ Spicy dug beneath his prodigous thighs, finding it. Zo reached for the phone with a free hand and unlocked it, handing it back.

Spicy didn’t get the chance to open an app or even touch the screen before it filled with Vox’s face. ‘I can’t take my eyes off you for a second, can I? So, Stolas thinks you’re a real hot commodity. I’m going to have to do something about that…’

‘Well, I’m glad they’re not hellhounds,’ Blitzo said brightly, feeling left out. ‘My daughter is one, and I don’t want them becoming a bad influence. Also’—he poked at the headrest of Lorenzo’s seat—’just because the O is silent doesn’t mean you can steal it from me, mister.’

Zo laughed, and it was, again, so like Angel’s laugh. Laughter was inherited, you didn’t just laugh similarly to someone else if you weren’t related… when this was over, Spicy thought, he was going to come back for Zo, and get him out, and drag him over to Angel and see if they knew each other.

Spicy hesitated, feeling small and used to being blamed when something bad happened to him. Things going wrong and being his fault because he fell asleep was a familiar and oft-trod path of trauma…. yet, the nanites immediately went to work, and it felt… distant, far away. Spicy could see that yes, it had been that way; but that Vox wasn’t angry, he was teasing. He was trying to calm Spicy down by making him laugh, by flirting.

‘We need an iron bed, and salt at every aperture,’ Spicy began, slowing down, looking at his bleeding leg, which was already glowing with the busy activity of his nanites. He glanced over at Blitzo. ‘Daddy, this imp saved my life.’

Blitzo side-eyed the hellphone, wiggling his talons in a nervous wave. ‘Hi,’ he said. ‘I’m part of Stolas’ frequent hostage program. I’ve seen your…’ His tail lashed as though it could swipe the right word out of the air. ‘Your Spice Drop. I thought it was the least I could, uh. Do?’

He was well aware that the exorbitant cost of his ad spot had gone directly into Vox’s pockets, that Vox controlled whether it ever saw the light of television again. Also, and this was important, overlord. Overlords were so far above imps in Hell’s pecking order that it wasn’t even funny. Vox’s gaze turned to Blitzo.

‘Hang on, I know those markings. Right! The little entrepreneur. Slitz, or Spritz, or whatever.’

‘…close enough,’ said Blitzo, in a very small voice.

‘Blitzo, Daddy,’ Spicy said, always willing to correct pronouns and names. ‘I want to give him a present, he’s been so kind.’ Kind, to Spicy, was very important. He put a lot of stock in kindness, and Vox had known that even before Spicy had become his.

‘Well, for getting you back to me, he can have pretty much whatever he wants,’ Vox said, in a tone so affable that Blitzo gulped.

‘I…’ the imp tried. ‘Look, first of all, you’ll keep the whole kind thing from getting out, right? I have a reputation to uphold. Second of all… fuck…’ He knocked a fist against his right horn, trying to get his brain in gear. Vox was offering him anything? His first instinct was to ask for more broadcast time for I.M.P., but if he was going to be a good boss he had to think of his employees, too.

Millie would be thrilled with some new weapons; Loona would say she wanted more games for her hellphone or a renewed subscription to Hellhound Monthly but he knew she’d love a new outfit; at last count Moxxie wanted “some fuckdamn peace and quiet”….

‘Can I have some time to think about it?’ he asked.

‘Also, Zo deserves something,’ Spicy said, glancing at Zo. ‘Are you… you said you can’t take us farther than the gates….’

‘Can’t leave,’ Zo said. ‘You have your overlords, and I have mine. I needed shelter from the exorcists—wasn’t a very friendly town, when I showed up, and I didn’t wanna throw in with your man Vox. Wouldn’t know what to offer ‘im. I’m just an old queen, babe. Live performances only.’

‘I only do live performance,’ Spicy said, quietly. Zo laughed, but kindly.

‘Do ya! Well, Hell’s sure changed… used t’be the only stage was in here. The Rainbow Web; it’s my place, now,’ he said, proudly, and pulled up not to the main gate, but to an otherwise nondescript bit of the wall surrounding the Community. ‘These riches love a comedy queen.’

Spicy smiled. ‘We’d love one too; we don’t have drag queens, I think we need some.’ There wasn’t much of an queer culture, in Hell. People were queer, but there weren’t drag shows or gay bars or balls, or even live theatre. Spicy had always disliked that. Was all the live theatre here? He hated the Goetics even more, for hoarding it.

‘Still, I owe you a favour for getting us in touch. Call me if you think of something. See you at home, Spicy.’

Vox hung up, and the phone returned to Zo’s home screen as though nothing had happened.

‘I’ve been thinking of doing gift cards,’ Blitzo said tentatively to the spider. ‘I could put you down for one? Or… maybe a raffle?’

Zo’s laugh was loud and brassy and friendly. ‘You’re a sweetheart, but all my living enemies are dead already, killed most ‘em myself.’ He slid up to the curb, but kept the car running. ‘There’s a service entrance just around that false corner; you’ll have to climb over, but it’s not hard.

‘You kids be careful out there,’ he said. ‘Sorry I can’t offer you nothin’ to wear.’ It was obvious why—people couldn’t usually share clothes, in Hell, owing to the vast array of body sizes and types. But Zo could have borrowed Angel’s clothes—well, the stretchier ones, anyway.

‘Thanks again,’ Spicy said. ‘I’ll be in touch.’

‘Sure thing, babe; nice meetin’ ya!’ Zo said affectionately, and drove off.

The raven landed on the top of the wall, dropping a silver key at Spicy’s feet on the manicured sidewalk. Spicy smiled, picking it up. The bow had a winged sandal stamped into the iron. Spicy showed it to Blitzo.

‘The gods provide,’ he said, maybe a little smugly, and went toward the optical illusion of a solid wall, realising as he got closer that it was slightly overlapping, and a tall silver gate was around the corner. Just like in Labyrinth, he thought, and slid the key into the lock. It hissed at the touch of iron, but opened easily.

Vox’s car was on the other side, looking, as ever, as though it had every right to be where it was, because any objections would just slide right off. The chrome gleamed, reflecting a distorted version of Blitzo’s impressed face as he wandered up and looked at it. ‘Wow,’ he said. ‘Forget the gods. Now that’s a ride.’

Spicy smiled as the door slid open, knowing, in his heart, that Daddy was inside. He launched into Vox’s arms, clinging to him, nuzzling and kissing his neck. ‘Daddyyyyyy,’ he said, hugging tight. ‘Daddy daddy daddy.’ tears were falling but he didn’t sob. Knowing he could just pour out his emotions directly helped. Now that he was safe, he was terrified, in pain from the bite, and, as always, the love for Vox was strong as a tide coming in.

Vox took all of those feelings, acknowledging each and storing them carefully.

‘Hey, Spicy thing,’ he said in Spice Drop’s ear. ‘I thought I’d surprise you. And I couldn’t wait for you to get back to the Server.’ He was already having the iron bed constructed, and was considering finding out if he could get some iron jewellery made. Stolas was not going to be able to pull this trick more than once.

In a way, though, it was actually fun, although Vox didn’t share that with Spicy. Vox liked having things—and people—that other people wanted; and Spicy had come out of the ordeal pretty much unscathed. The bite would heal quickly, and Vox could take away all his Spice Drop’s fear.

Blitzo hunkered down on the opposite side of the backseat, close to the door, folding his hands uncertainly in his lap. ‘Thanks?’ he ventured, unsure if he should ask to be dropped off back in the imp district or not. Maybe he should just have walked back, but the car was so slick…

Spicy felt much the same; he was afraid, but it had all turned out all right, and someone had come to save him, and all in all, it was very exciting to be so wanted that some beautiful rich sidhe actually stole him away. For now, however, he was glad to rest, and feel Vox numb his pain. And, Spicy realised, he had power. He found his phone on the seat beside Vox, and snapped a picture of his bite, of Blitzo, starting to make a Sinstagram post as Blitzo and Daddy schmoozed.

Storytime! Got bitten escaping from @Prince.Stolas’ house. He KIDNAPPED me, how pathetic is that lol. As if anyone can take what belongs to @vox! shoutout to @blitzo.imp and a really great drag queen spider named Zo! #teamwork #gore #biteme #mediadaddy #daddysboy #whoisqueenzo #Mondays #failowl

Feeling the @mention, Vox turned a little of his attention to Sinstagram, and smirked. Stolas had no way to comprehend the storm he’d just unleashed.

-

It had taken quite a lot of beating around the bush, but at last the words ‘Spice Drop’ fell from Marbas’ mouth. He rallied magnificently, though, determined not to let Stolas’ resulting expression stop him. ‘I suspect he has great implications for the current state of Hell, and though he’s obviously cunning, I will have him. That is the benefit of planning, in case you weren’t aware.’

Stolas’ smile boded ill.

‘Is that the creature’s name?’ he cooed, as though indifferent. ‘I have set my sights on something higher. …I suppose, for a favour, I might let you have him when I no longer need him to honey my trap….’ He was lounging on one of the many, many sofas in his house, head back over the armrest, and twisted his head to look at Marbas expectantly.

Marbas gritted his teeth. ‘And what sort of favour might that be?’ He would steal the sinner away at the first opportunity, but it was best to play along until then. ‘Presuming that, once you’re done with him, he’s in a condition to talk.’

Stolas lilted a hum. ‘I’ll know when I need it, Doctor,’ he taunted, in the manner of all courtiers, his long tail switching back and forth mischievously. That was about when his phone began to ping. And ping. And ping. Soon they were coming so thick and fast that it simply sounded like ringing. It was all Stolas could do to unlock the phone, scrambling to get through them enough to figure out where they were coming from. Like most vain people, he tracked his own name in the tags. It was suddenly getting a LOT of activity.

@Prince.Stolas loser! haha #failowl

@Prince.Stolas you mess with the cinnabird you get BURNED lol #failowl #spicedrop

@Prince.Stolas just got PWND omg bad. ass. #failowl #greatescape @spice.drop #youredoingamazingsweetie

‘Oh dear,’ Marbas said, positively oozing concern as he padded over. ‘Whatever could all of that be about?’

Stolas’ eyes were blazing with fury, and he stalked out of the library, doing the hall, even as he finally was able to turn banner notifications off and actually check Sinstagram. Spicy had posted about his escape, and Blitzo was there with him! The snurge! Stolas was going to kill him….

He threw open the doors, and saw the open window, the sheets.

The shriek he let out was pure barn owl rage.

Marbas’ laughter started low underneath it, then swept into a crescendo of delight. ‘Oh, my dear Librarian, where can your honey have gone? Never mind, I’m sure you’ll know when you need it.’

He took out his own hellphone and liked Spicy’s post.

Stolas reached for Blitzo, but found himself blocked; of course, the little bastard would be surrounded by Vox’s Cold Iron by now; but it wouldn’t be forever. Stolas could wait.

Stolas was very patient.

-

Despite his cock being buried deep inside his favourite porn star’s cunny, Blitzo felt very clearly that he was not the one in charge right now. For one thing, Spicy’s mouth was wrapped around Vox’s fingers, and Vox was, well, directing—and offering narration, and praise, and temptation. Nobody bothered to tempt imps.

Nobody but advertising, anyway.

Vox’s proximity was a constant prickle down the back of Blitzo’s neck, never going away despite how wonderful Spice Drop felt. Vox seemed entertained by him, which Blitzo had to imagine was a good thing, and the scene was a lot better than he’d been expecting—they’d dispensed with the usual “ooh, you’re such a cock-hungry slut you’ll even let an imp fuck you” routine, which Blitzo wasn’t sorry to see go. Instead, it was being framed as a reward for Blitzo, Spice Drop being ever so grateful to his rescuer, offering himself under Vox’s indulgent, watchful eye.

It was… it was the kind of thing Blitzo could really get used to, except he couldn’t allow himself to even think that. Better to focus on being amazed that he had any fucking left in him at all. The sight of Spice Drop spread and ready for him had given him a fourth wind (Stolas had already taken the second and third).

Vox ran a finger down his spine, all the way to the tip of his tail, and Blitzo made a very embarrassing noise. The overlord’s chuckle zapped him right in the small of his back, just above his slowly working hips.

‘You two really are such a pretty picture…’

‘Mmm,’ Spicy agreed, pausing from deep throating Daddy’s fingers enough to turn those exotic eyes on Blitzo. ‘Can he stay, Daddy?’

Not can we keep him, but can he stay! Given Blitzo had just betrayed Stolas beyond all hope of seeing that book again, there was a certain edge to the allure that idea had. Stay doing what? He’d happily be their sex toy in exchange for safety from the prince….

Spicy was still wondering on Zo’s hints that whatever Blitzo’s business was, it was something to do with the living world; he was intrigued, by that. Wanted to know more. And Blitzo was, to Spicy’s eye, rather handsome, with his bedroom eyes and his striped horns.

The problem was, Blitzo thought, that if he stayed, I.M.P. was likely sunk. Then again, without the Book, they lost their single greatest selling point, the thing that distinguished them from all the other murder-for-hires. Blitzo wasn’t so starry-eyed that he couldn’t see the problems there. They’d be sunk even if he went back.

Either way, having Spice Drop looking at him like that absolutely did not help.

Vox hummed thoughtfully. ‘You know, it might be time we had an imp in something other than craft services. How wedded are you to the whole assassination biz?’

‘I don’t think we’d be able to keep Millie on if we didn’t kill anyone,’ Blitzo said, tipping his head back to look up at Vox’s screen, intrigued despite himself. ‘Do you do snuff films?’

Spicy had forgotten about that sector of the industry; he shuddered, and the nanites had to keep him aroused, or he would have tapped out immediately. However, he was putting together the details. So, Blitzo’s company did hits in the living world? Spicy went to the living world often enough, and Miss Leigh had said there was even a way to physically go there.

He showed Daddy this, as he got busy sucking Vox’s fingers again. He loved fingers in his mouth, especially nice long ones, that could, occasionally, zap him a little.

‘That was more the shtick of certain former coworkers,’ Vox said delicately, the hand that had been stroking Blitzo delivering a low warning current to the nape of his neck. ‘But there are other routes to the mortal world. Think about it. Your company can go forward, I just get the rights to your exploits. And you get to fuck Spicy here all you want, at least when I’m not using him.’

The thought of being able to do this again unceremoniously shoved Blitzo past orgasm, and he collapsed on top of Spicy, groaning, spilling into that glowing cunt.

‘Do I… do I have to sign a contract with you?’ he asked, wobbly-voiced, after the pleasure ebbed.

Vox laughed. ‘Not yet. Not unless you want to.’

Spicy’s laugh was low and half a moan, as he recalled his own contract with pleasure. ‘Can I watch, when you do, Blitzo?’ he said, no stranger to the subtle art of advertising’s manipulation. Not if, when. Speak as though it had already been decided. ‘Can I help?’

Contract signing being more symbolic than literal was nothing new, in Hell—but just exactly who required what was the mystery of the overlords. Some, like Alastor, were very obvious; others, like Vox, well… Vox was a master of making you believe it had been your idea, whatever conclusion you came to, whether there had been substance or evidence to back it up, or merely hints. Thinking on it, Blitzo realised that he had no idea how one signed with Vox.

‘Well,’ he said. ‘Um. We’ll see.’

He pulled out of Spicy and sat back with his legs folded underneath him, unsure of what was supposed to happen next. ‘Would I get an office?’

The Imp City building they’d set up shop in had been slated to be demolished, and Blitzo had “revitalised” it by sneaking in and taking all the CONDEMNED signs off. His company might function better in an environment that wasn’t one sneeze or accidental grenade toss away from collapsing.

‘Of course,’ Vox said. ‘Didn’t I tell you I’d give you anything you wanted?’

Spicy’s hand went quietly to the front of Vox’s pants, a quiet plea. He wasn’t exactly sure of Master’s policies on having his cock out during business meetings (the idea that he was in a business meeting was thrilling).

Seeing the smile Vox turned on Spicy, Blitzo felt like a voyeur, and not even in the fun way. Overlords weren’t supposed to be capable of faces like that.

‘Fingers not enough for you anymore?’ Vox teased, and guided Spicy’s hand to unzip. Blitzo looked on in fascination, his embarrassment forgotten.

‘I’ll need a guarantee you can get us access to the mortal world,’ Blitzo said, trying his best to talk to Vox’s face and not his cock.

‘You want proof?’ Vox was stroking Spicy’s crest, enjoying how the vanes of each individual feather now glowed at his touch. ‘Can we give him proof, baby?’

Spicy thought, as he pulled the zipper down slow enough to make it purr, and started to lavish Vox’s cock with slow, hot, open-mouthed, worshipful kisses. I have contacts in the mortal world; ghost hunters mostly, but also a vampire, and a witch or two. We can figure something out. The vampire had her own gate, but Spicy imagined she wouldn’t want to have it used as access for murder. His witch friends, however, could work with him on a summoning spell….

‘And would only the witches be able to cast the spell?’ Vox was unrepentantly showing off. It didn’t matter whether Blitzo was jealous of the telepathic connection or not; the perks were going to be on display either way. ‘Or could they show prospective customers how to do it?’

‘What do you mean, customers?’ Blitzo said, blinking up at Vox. ‘We kill mortals on behalf of people in Hell, not—oh…’

Vox shrugged. ‘I’m just saying. You could expand your market. If you let mortals hire you, their targets might even put out hits on them once they get down here. Double the jobs.’

‘Double the jobs…’ Blitzo’s eyes went even wider with avarice.

‘You’re just starting out,’ Vox said, his own eyes half-shut as Spicy’s kisses got even deeper. ‘Let me show you the ropes.’

Magic is magic, but the kind I do is divine, which means you need to worship and adore a god to achieve anything. Some of my witch friends may use more arcane magic; I can ask, next time I have a session in the ghost rig.

The ghost rig was something Vox had given to Spicy as payment; Spicy hadn’t wanted wages from Vox, so he’d commissioned a way to talk to the mortal world instead. It didn’t transport physically, but ghost hunters used all kinds of delightful communications technology, nowadays, rather than relying on magic. Another delightful thing about magic was that it was, for humans at least, largely about what you thought you were doing. You could use all the pop culture you wanted, if that was what you truly believed would work—and there was plenty of pop culture on how to summon demons.

Spicy conveyed all of this—the first time he’d really shown Vox what his religion was like. Even before he’d met the Media Overlord, Spicy had essentially worshipped his domain as part of Hermes’ and Hephaestus’, though as usual it was a struggle to ascribe modern things to ancient gods.

With that, he finally, languidly took Vox’s cock into his mouth, his hand wrapped around the base to steady it. Vox groaned, screen flickering between expressions.

‘Spicy says the mortals have it basically nailed down. You just need to let them know you’re—nnnh—available…’ He wasn’t exaggerating how Spicy was making him feel, just letting down a few shields. People were more likely to work with you if they thought they were privileged enough to see something special.

He was, he realised, pretty invested in getting this imp to sign up. Was it just because Spicy liked him? Lately, Vox had had the feeling that Spicy’s emotions and ideas were bleeding over into him through the chip, simply because of how powerful they were.

…Of course, It didn’t hurt that, from the hellphone on the seat nearby, he could see that Blitzo was getting hard again, watching Spicy enjoy his treat. Imps bounced back quickly.

We’re headed into the future, Spicy, Vox said. Your gods are just going to have to come along for the ride.

Spicy’s laugh was mischievous, and layered with someone else’s voice. His light flickered from cyan to green laced with gold, and there was an intangible feeling that someone else was in the car with them, someone older than even Lord Sinuous.

𝕭𝖊 𝖈𝖆𝖗𝖊𝖋𝖚𝖑 𝖜𝖍𝖆𝖙 𝖞𝖔𝖚 𝖜𝖎𝖘𝖍 𝖋𝖔𝖗, 𝖘𝖔𝖓

Spicy giggled in more than simple delight; he hadn’t heard from his gods until today, and had been afraid they’d abandoned him. Maybe he’d just been difficult to find…. Mamaloki! he thought happily, wiggling.

Blitzo hissed, his tail going straight up as he recoiled. He’d only just been starting to accustom himself to Vox’s presence. An actual bona fide god was too much, slamming the big red button on all his danger instincts.

Vox considered the god’s words, which was both helped and hindered by the fact that Spicy was now sucking his cock even more skillfully. At last he said,

I wish for everything. It’s what I do. And besides, we might be working together someday.

Vox felt Loki’s presence slide around his circuits, playing merry havoc and teasing at filling him up, with the memory of laughter and the sensation of wolf fur against his skin. Then, quite suddenly and with no fanfare, Loki was sitting in the car, androgynous and wearing layers of clinging, draping black and green, gold rings on every finger and torcs and necklaces around his long and freckled neck, red hair braided with feathers and bones and shells, green eyes glinting not with technology or hellfire, but the older fire of Creation.

His feet, beautiful and long and pale, were bare, and adorned with beads of green amber.

He ran fingertips along Blitzo’s horns, soothing magic flowing into the imp.

‘Calm yourself, little one,’ he purred, his thin, dark lips in a curl of smile that couldn’t help seeming mischievous. ‘You’re in no danger from me.’ It was the work of a moment to heal the little creature; but Loki didn’t free him from his Enchantment. That wouldn’t have been any fun; and, besides, he wanted to see how Spicy dealt with it.

Speaking of… the little soul looked very different now, and Loki regarded him with love as he watched him worship a new godling. Spicy—as he called himself now—had always been a powerful seiðmann, but to come to the Christian afterilfe and immediately make new gods there… that really was something. Clever little warrior-mage, Loki had missed him.

Spicy was giddy with euphoria at being in Loki’s presence. The love was more than for Vox, and different, older—but, given time, what he felt for Vox could turn into that.

Vox felt, if not reverence for Loki, at least a greater measure of respect. More than anything else, he was pleased simply to have the experience, to be witness to this. And there was also relief. Relief that, through the medium of Spicy, he knew Loki was not dismissing him out of hand, that Vox was already something like a god, to a god’s eyes, and could be more.

Blitzo had been thrown headlong into relief as well, as though into a warm bath. He couldn’t help but calm down, especially since that feather-light touch to his horns felt so good…

‘Okay,’ he said dreamily, ‘whoever you are…’ Some imps were cognisant of the powers beyond Heaven and Hell, but were too busy just trying to survive, unable to devote the necessary attention. Some, like Blitzo, only knew of them in the abstract, as a secret the angels had failed to hide. Either way, what was the point? Gods didn’t notice imps. Up until right now, anyway.

‘Oh, you are a god, little one. A young one, but he,’ he gestured to Spicy with his foot, knowing exactly what he was doing, ‘has made you a god. Remember that,’ he said, quirking a brow. Spicy’s gods were protective of him, and had never abandoned him; they had just lost him, for a little while, behind the curtain of noisy interference that was Hell.

Loki kept stroking Blitzo’s horns, knowing well how to charm cats—all Norse gods could charm cats, even the Mother of Fenrir. A purr had already started up, and Loki knew that soon, he’d have the sweet creature in his lap.

Humans were known to joke that foxes were the canid family’s attempt to make a cat. Imps were Hell throwing its metaphorical hat in the ring. Blitzo, up until now, had not been aware of this.

Vox’s eyes were unashamedly on Loki’s foot. It had been so long… His misadventure with Angel Dust had really just been making the best of a bad situation, most of the allure coming from the porn star’s fame and exclusivity and the idea of feet. Loki had the real deal, and for the first time since arriving in Hell, Vox wished he had a mouth to kiss along those gorgeous arches.

Loki’s smile was not temptation, but power; the Norse did not tempt, for there was no purity and no sin. There was, however, a touch of the forbidden about Loki—he was argr, a man who transgressed the strict gender boundaries of Norse culture. All of Spicy’s gods were like that.

Spice Drop hummed, feeling Vox’s reaction to Loki and knowing, somehow, that Loki was teasing him with his feet; because Spicy knew Loki, and knew what Loki was like, all mischief and seduction. Go get ‘im, tiger, he purred to his lover.

Hearing this, Loki chuckled, still coaxing Blitzo to snuggle against his side.

(‘I fuck too, you know,’ Blitzo muttered, although he did give in to the now all-consuming urge to cuddle. ‘I was just doing it.’)

Vox reached out a hand, fingers shaping the air just short of Loki’s foot, showing that he wanted only to touch, to caress. ‘May I?’ he asked.

Loki had the cheek to look surprised. ‘Hm?’ he asked, feigning ignorance even as he slowly rotated his ankle.

Spicy giggled, sliding off of Vox’s cock with a kiss, looking up at him, his face all mischief curls; but then he saw Loki, and his mischief faltered a little, as he mastered the urge to launch himself at Loki and bury his face in him.

Loki caught his eye and smiled, beckoning with the hand not skritching Blitzo’s jawline. ‘Come here, darling, let me kiss you.’

With one last hesitant glance at Vox, Spicy went, settling on Loki’s other side and whimpering, tears falling from his eyes, as Loki kissed him gently—not to show off, not to make Vox feel jealous or inferior—simply because he knew Spicy had missed him, wanted to reward him for his faith and patience, to remind him Loki loved him.

‘My clever witch,’ Loki said, and looked at Vox again, expectant and every inch a god. Yet he wasn’t like the other overlords with such power—he didn’t flaunt it, wasn’t proving anything. He simply was, and was whatever he wanted.

‘Would you like to ride me, Vox?’ he asked, calling back to the phrase Vox had used, his smile soaked in secrets.

‘It wasn’t top of my list until right now, but… absolutely fucking yes,’ Vox said, figuring honesty was the best policy, even—or, perhaps, especially—with the god of lies.

Deep down, Vox knew he had needed that reminder that any divinity he had was sourced in Spicy’s love for him, rather than just something an overlord of Hell deserved. He understood, from Spicy, that Loki, ever-changing, had reimagined himself for the modern era through the wildly popular Marvel series, even if the people making them didn’t think they were religious—they didn’t need to be. Fans had filled the role of worshippers admirably. Vox admired that power, that cunning—and that luck. He, too, had gone through reinvention, with the advent of the modern Internet, the changes in advertising….

He undressed fully, baring himself for Loki to see, a lean, hard, long-limbed body that shouldn’t have been able to support the weight of his screen—but Hell didn’t care about things like that.

Hell cared about style.

Loki dragged a heated gaze down him, that reminded one that Loki was the original teratophile. Loki shifted Blitzo slightly as his clothes—but not his jewellery—vanished, revealing freckled skin laced with battle scars and sharp black and green tattoos. Vox watched as Loki’s cunt slowly shifted, clit enlarging into a cock with more smoothness than a time-lapse video, until it was rosy and elegant and perfect.

‘Come here, boy,’ Loki said, his voice low and smooth as honey. ‘I know you want to.’ It was a pity Vox could not use a mouth, but he may eventually learn he could shapeshift.

Loki might even teach him.

There was, in all likelihood, no one else on any plane of existence who could have called Vox “boy” and gotten away with it. Certainly there was no one who could have had Vox get down on his knees, moving to straddle Loki’s spread thighs, but not presuming to even brush that cock without being told. Sitting poised over it, with his head bowed, it was possible to see that Vox’s spine didn’t have the usual arrangement of vertebrae, but instead resembled a long, flexible cord.

‘I do,’ he said, softer than Spicy had ever heard him.

Loki did not lord it over him, but tilted his head back to smile up at that screen as he ran his hands down Vox’s body.

‘Aren’t you beautiful…’ he purred, sending sparks of what did and did not feel like electricity through Vox. It wasn’t mere lightning, it was magic, as pure and elegant as only the god of magic could make it. Loki’s hands eventually reached Vox’s cock, and thoroughly caressed, exploring the segmented metal that was too soft and warm to be real. He reached between Vox’s thighs, behind his cock, with slick fingers.

‘You know what a story is,’ Loki said, fondly. ‘What it means. My witch worships stories, Vox, and you might be a child of mine, with your domains…’ His fingertips circled Vox’s entrance. ‘So, you know symbolism. And I do too.’ He respected Vox, there was respect in that gaze. Vox was younger than him, but that did not mean Loki was going to grind him into the dirt.

‘Let me welcome you to the family, little one,’ Loki said, his fingers working Vox over, warm and slick and perfect. ‘Let me make you mine.’

Spicy just watched, entranced and so, so happy for Vox’s sake.

Vox’s entrance felt more like a port than any part of a living body, but like his cock, it was built to feel all the right sensations, connected to all the right things. Such play was more than enough to render him putty in Loki’s hands.

‘Yes,’ he said, ‘yes, god of false promises, I am yours.’ On the last word, he sank down onto Loki’s cock. If Satan or God or whoever wanted Vox back, they could try and give him a better fuck.

Vox’s eyes rolled up, his screen pixelating, and he knew that wasn’t likely.

Loki, like any shapeshifter, shifted to fit whomever he fucked perfectly. This was a new shape he hadn’t tried, and for that, Vox had his attention. He used their connection to flow magic into Vox, changing him, truly making him one of Loki’s children.

Vox felt his blood sing with lightning and fire and the sheer dizzying wildness of Loki, felt the ancient god gift him with a little boost, like mother’s milk, that was what contracts were a pale reflection of. Vox tasted the blood and smoke of sacrifices, felt the stone of the altar table and the mist of breath in cold air as Loki’s name was spoken, over and over and over and over, begging, cursing, loving, fearing, hating, worshipping. God of stories, god of lies, god of magic, god of the wilds… and Vox was much the same, a son of this ancient creature, who had been created by humanity and who even now received power from them—and, thanks to the new stories, the media, Vox’s domains, had received a power boost like he’d never felt, before. Loki showed all of this to his new son, showed him exactly what the overlords of Hell pretended at—exactly what was possible for those overlords to become….

As Loki let Vox down, Vox could still feel the singing in his very soul, which was… different. Gods didn’t have souls or bodies. Gods were. And Vox had become more god-like than any overlord, by embracing fully what he was.

‘Beautiful godling, use it well,’ Loki whispered.

Vox laughed in sheer wonder. ‘I will,’ he said, which was as good as thanks, from him. Who would have thought that getting Spicy’s contract would lead to him getting fucked by a god?

Well, Spicy might have. Vox would have to ask him about that….

Chapter Text

Alastor woke up to the smell of what was unmistakeably an Italian flavour palette. The scent of tomato, basil, garlic, and oregano reached his nose, and he heard music—not jazz, but something modern—playing, Angel singing along, off-key but clearly having fun.

Want me to love you moderation
Do I look moderate to youuuu

It had a beat Alastor liked, that he knew would be mirrored in Angel’s movements, and the singer’s voice went from low and throaty to ethereal and back again with scarcely a pause. He sat up, gritting his teeth against the resulting wave of dizziness, refusing to collapse back down.

He focused on the notes of the music, how endearing it was when Angel fell just short of them but made up for it with enthusiasm, and he focused on that very appealing smell. He sat quietly for a little while, taking in his surroundings.

This was Angel’s space, no doubt about it, and that would have been obvious even if not for the webs everywhere. The bed itself, tucked into a corner and up a little retractable flight of stairs, was made of layers upon layers of spider silk (pink, no less), and was positioned so that Alastor couldn’t see Angel at the moment, only hear him. At last his stomach growled loudly enough that it briefly drowned out the music, and it startled a laugh out of him.

The music was turned down, and Angel called up, ‘Alastor?’ softly.

Angel had been cooking for hours. This was just the latest batch. He had a lasagne in the oven, and there was eggplant parmesan already in the icebox, ready for Alastor to reheat. The sauce had been hours of work, as good sauce always started from scratch (and there were no canning facilities in Hell). Angel hoped Alastor was willing to eat things that weren’t meat, because after what had happened yesterday, Angel wasn’t letting meat anywhere near his lover, for a while.

‘It’s me, cher,’ he said, trying and failing not to wince at how hollow and weak his voice sounded. ‘No one else but me. I’m hungry enough for ten, though. What are you making?’

He had to wrap his head around the concept of Angel cooking for him. In Alastor’s mind, as expressions of heartfelt love went, cooking was near the top of the list. He felt a little like he’d been struck by lightning and then immediately hit with a satin pillow.

He hadn’t even known Angel could cook.

‘Everything!’ Angel said cheerfully, and turned the heat down, taking off his apron, washing his hands and coming up the stairs. He was wearing soft pyjamas and slippers, and crawled into the bed with Alastor, hugging him close and nuzzling his hair. ‘I love you,’ he said, ‘How you feelin?’

Alastor caught his breath. Seasoned with the aromas of his cooking, Angel smelled even more delicious than usual.

‘Empty,’ he said, swallowing hard. ‘Which is nice in some ways, and… not so nice in others. I love you too, mon ange, more than I can say; but right now I love remembering the way you taste. Do you think you could help me to the table? Tomato sauce in bed raises too many questions.’

Angel laughed, but gently, and deftly helped Alastor down the short flight of stairs, settling him at the table, knowing someone like Alastor would likely value rituals like eating at a table, even if it wasn’t as comfortable as curling up in a blanket and eating on the sofa.

A timer rang, and Angel was soon setting a pile of layered cheese, sauce, and pasta in front of Alastor, feeling more like he was proposing than if there had been a ring and a dress. Food was love. It just was.

‘Mangia,’ he said, and dropped into the chair adjacent, ‘you need to get your strength up.’

Alastor groaned around his first mouthful. He could taste the lack of meat, but in that moment it didn’t matter, not when Angel’s touch was on it. He didn’t say anything for a long time, ravenously preoccupied; eating like, well, a demon.

Angel soon found it was easier just to bring the dish to the table, so that he didn’t have to get up to give Alastor thirds, and fourths, and fifths… By the time Alastor finally laid his fork down, he had to be at least half lasagna by volume. Rail-thin as he was, his stomach was notably rounder, and he had a dreamily content expression on his face, along with a considerable amount of sauce.

‘ ‘s very good,’ he said, and yawned.

Angel smiled at him, and it was likely silly and besotted, but he didn’t mind. He helped Alastor to the bathroom to get in a brief shower, stepping into the shower with him to steady him, wash his hair, paying special attention to massaging the base of his ears, and then dried him off with a warm fluffy towel, carrying him back to bed and kissing him goodnight, weaving more silk over him.

‘I love you,’ he said softly, stroking Alastor’s belly to lull him to sleep. ‘I love you, sweethart. You’re safe. Just rest.’

‘Just rest,’ came Angel’s voice back to him, because Alastor was asleep already.

-

The next day was much like the one before it. Alastor plumbed the depths of his newfound love for Italian cuisine, putting away all the eggplant parmesan in one sitting and a truly impressive amount of pasta with sauce in another, and sleeping in between.

By the evening, though, he was more lively, and actually seemed to want to intersperse dinner with conversation.

Angel slept wrapped around him at night, and kept music on because at this point, all music reminded him of Alastor. He’d called the station and reported that Alastor and him were on a honeymoon, because he had a very keen feeling that admitting he had been sick would cause mass hysteria. They were in the studio, so Angel was able to pop out and look into business, make sure things were running smoothly. He had little time for social media ordinarily, but even less so now, and so he missed quite a lot of what was going on outside his own little world.

When Alastor perked up, however, Angel was willing to listen.

‘You look a little more awake,’ he commented, pleased, as he served Alastor thirds of that evening’s dinner—he’d attempted red beans and rice today, and it had turned out all right. It wasn’t exactly Alastor’s childhood recipe, but expecting such would have been folly. It was still very good, and tasted of home.

Angel still wasn’t serving him meat, however, nor wine. It was milk and water only.

‘I feel that way,’ Alastor said, and all told it was quite possibly the longest he’d gone without at some point snapping back to his radio voice. ‘The past… however long… has just been a blur of nice sensations.’ He supposed that balanced out the blur of fear and rage and pain that came before. ‘Now I can actually appreciate things.’ He actually coloured a little bit, and quickly put another forkful of rice and beans in his mouth, so that he had a little time to compose himself before he said, quietly, ‘Including you.’

Angel smiled, blushing just a little. ‘Aw, shucks,’ he said, playfully. ‘Ya can’t just say sweet things like that, Al, c’man…’

He loved it, secretly. He loved how clumsy and ill-timed it was, the realness of it was a grace and poise all on its own. He ate his own bowl for a while, and said, quietly, ‘I love you too.’

‘I’ll say whatever gets me more food,’ Alastor countered, delighted as ever that he, of all people, could make Angel Dust blush. ‘But really, cher, that you went to all this trouble…’ He gestured around them, which took in most of the apartment.

‘I knew that you loved me. I didn’t know that meant getting taken home and fussed over.’ He cleaned his plate, looking at it a bit wistfully. ‘But do you think you could fuss with something I could really sink my teeth into?’

Angel frowned. ‘No,’ he said, firmly. ‘Not until I’m sure you’re all recovered. I don’t want to risk it.’ He’d been giving Alastor plenty of milk and vegetables, eggs, legumes—but not a speck of meat. And he wouldn’t, not until he was sure Alastor was strong again.

He spooned more red beans and rice on Alastor’s plate.

‘Mangia, ragazzo magro.’

And this time, it was a little more commanding.

Alastor blinked, then gave Angel an odd, almost sly look that didn’t seem to be entirely sure what it was doing on his face.

‘Yes, Daddy,’ he said, and put the next bite in his mouth and chewed. Very slowly.

Angel watched him, sensing that perhaps they’d both stumbled upon a kink neither were aware of before it happened. He hummed, feeling tingly and pleased in a way he associated with dominating a lover. ‘Good boy. If you clean your plate Daddy will suck your cock, doesn’t that sound nice?’

Alastor swallowed hard. ‘It does,’ he got out at last, but in the next breath he was eyeing Angel curiously, an irrepressible grin playing about his lips. ‘Does it scale? I might be able to manage one more plate after this…’

This was, he supposed, a combination of food and Angel the two of them could do more often.

Angel raised his left brows. ‘You… you sayin you want to have sex, Alastor?’ he asked, hardly daring to hope.

‘In as many words.’ Alastor was silent a moment, pushing together stray grains of rice on his plate as he tried to organise his thoughts.

‘…You saved me, Angel Dust. I wouldn’t have figured out what was happening to me in time, but you got it right off the bat. I’m… well, alive is still most assuredly the wrong word, but I’m still here because of you. I need to remind myself of that. And sex with you is… different, even if we aren’t having a lesson. It means something, it feels like something. It makes me feel…’ He scooped up the rice, ate it, then waved his fork helplessly at the air. ‘Something.’

Angel could have laughed at how cute that was, even as it melted his black little heart. He put a hand to his chest, reaching another to hold Alastor’s unoccupied hand. ‘Of course I’ll make love to you tonight, sweethart.’

Alastor squeezed the proffered hand gently, then ran his fingers over Angel’s, eyes half-averted. ‘I’d like a little more than that,’ he said, soft but steady. ‘I want to know what your power feels like. You’ve had more than a taste of mine already. You’re a concubus, and neither of us hardly knows what that means, so let’s find out together.

‘Drive me wild, cher, take my inhibitions for the night. See what you can do.’

Angel did not ask if he was sure; Alastor had more of his respect than that. Angel’s eyes glowed, as they never had before, and the air got a little heavier with intent, his voice becoming something tangible on the flesh, a feeling of satin and velvet against the skin, calling blood to heat and breath to shorten, a grin curling his lips and showing sharp teeth.

‘Mangia, caro cervo.’ And now, there was power in it, enough to clench things low in Alastor’s hips.

Alastor shivered, feeling the need rise through him, the desire centred between his legs suddenly less important than the need to taste. To taste anything, everything, because there were so many delicious things in the world and he wanted them all. He left his hand loosely holding Angel’s, using the other to eat, and he savoured the spices, the play of textures, the fullness. His fork clattered to the plate when he was done, and he looked back at Angel, grip tightening again.

‘What else did you want me to eat?’

Angel grinned, for once not pushing him to another helping. It would keep. He stood, and caught Alastor in a kiss, relaxing his stranglehold on his power, his aura, letting Alastor feel was he was really like, now. Maybe a few days ago he would have been worried about overwhelming him, but not now. Alastor had asked more than once for this, and Angel had been eager to give it to him for almost two weeks.

Alastor’s own aura rose to meet it, a few stray sigils appearing and flashing from red to pink as he moaned low against Angel’s mouth. He responded to the kiss as he always did, biting Angel’s lower lip, but didn’t linger, instead raising his head to speak.

‘I mean it,’ he breathed. ‘Let me try? Maybe I just don’t like kissing mouths…

Angel laughed, low and wicked and ringing pleasantly in Alastor’s bones, his hips. ‘What are you asking to eat, caro cervo? I want to hear you say the words…’ He watched for a blush to flush those ashen cheeks, delighted in the dilation of Alastor’s pupils, his hands divesting Alastor of his clothes, which the radio demon had manifested as soon as he’d gotten out of bed.

‘If I can’t have meat, I want some seafood, cher.’ Alastor pressed against him, draping over him as much as was possible, nuzzling because Angel had no earlobes to nibble. ‘Let me have your cunt.’

Angel laughed, having not expected an elegant use of that particular epithet for a cunt. He savoured Alastor’s clinginess, pulled away from him to feel his want, going up the stairs just to enjoy him following—it wasn’t teasing if you intended to give him what he wanted….

Angel was undressed in a trice, laying back in his rosy nest and lifting his long legs, hooking the claws of his toes into the web above him, so he could relax.

‘Come and get it, big boy,’ he purred, and the voice led Alastor by the cock, which was so flushed it was throbbing in time with Alastor’s pulse; and that pulse was going fast as Alastor practically leapt on Angel, opening ceremonies by taking as much of Angel as he could in his mouth and sucking, making a noise around his mouthful that was something between a groan and a rumbling growl. He stayed like that for a moment, poised, letting Angel fill his mouth and flood his senses, and everything Angel’s powers had awoken said it was good.

Then, he drew back, licking more delicately, exploring with his tongue. It was plain he’d never done this before, and just as plain that he didn’t care. It satisfied at least one small part of the need in him, and just then he liked it even better than actually eating Angel. It felt gentler, more playful. The sounds Angel made were similar, but not quite the same, and they were music to his ears, so that he tried to draw out as many of them as possible. All his fastidiousness was forgotten; he was wet from nose to chin with Angel, and loving it.

Angel moaned, arching, pushing into that devouring mouth. This was a hungry Alastor he could get into.

‘Yes! Yes—ah, caro cervo, caro mio…!’ His lower hands tangled in the web tightly, middle ones playing with his tits, pinching his nipples lightly, his upper hands buried in his hair. ‘Oh, Alastor, è così bello, non fermarti, non fermarti…!’

Now that he was more accustomed to the taste and feel of it, even Alastor’s heated mind could appreciate the pleasure Angel was demonstrating. It made him want to do more, and in a sudden burst of hungry inspiration he slid his tongue fully inside Angel. It was longer than a human’s, and much more agile—as he took care to demonstrate.

Angel screamed, ‘Fuck!’ he gasped, and started breathing fast and shallow. ‘Alastor—Alastor—oh, Christ!’ The boy was a natural, as Angel had suspected he would be. Someone that orally fixated had to be.

Delighted, Alastor kept going, paying new attention to the shifts and hitches in Angel’s breath. His entire mouth was nothing but Angel, all other tastes mere distant memories, as he flexed his tongue, seeing just how far it could go. He wasn’t sure, but it might just have been able to outstrip the reach of his fingers.

Angel’s screams turned to wailing, and then he was pulsing around that tongue, into that mouth, his cream only serving to inflame his lover more, as was a concubus’ power. Angel didn’t know anything about what that would do to a deer.

He heard the cracking, groaning sound of bones lengthening, opened his left eyes enough to see Alastor’s antlers growing, sprouting point after point after point, and saw Alastor’s shadow on the wall, growing larger, transforming into his true form.

‘Ȯ͓̬̪̼̺ͦḫ̭̲̳̬,͔̹̥͉̜͉̇̊ ̳̯͓̹̱̾ͧ̏̂́y͕ͮͫ̽̐ͩo̺̣̗̞͚̯͐u̯̘̙̻̔̇͒͋ͅ'͍͚ͭr͍̲̳̥͈̓͋̎è̲̙̘͕̒ͬ̓ͦ̅ ͇̘̘̱̝̓̒i̪̼̰ṇ͎̣̟̳͌͑͒̎ͦͥ ̗͖͖͈̋f̤͔̲ͅó͉̲̂̓̇̚ȑ̪͚̝͈̤̦̲ͦ ̙͕͕̬̰͎̜̅̊i̗ͮͩͮ͊ͤt͖̂͗̿͋͌ͫ̇ͅ ̪̱̯̖̜͙̲̊n̥ͨ̉͌̃o̪̱̞͌̐̽ͮͭw̫̫̞̹̦̥̣,͒̀̽͒ ̱͇͖̗̜c̜ͧh̜͈̹̣̄ͥ͂̏ͨė͎r͕̗͓̘,̠ͤͮ̏͋ͅ ̲̼̫͈̳ͫͦ͌̎̓ͪ̇ä̦͈͙̞̺̩́̊r̹̯̭͖̉ͪ͂e̟̫̤̓ ̘̣̋̐͑͂ͮy̹̻̼̜ͮͭ͗̑o̘̼̥͑ͧu͙̱̭̺͉ͨ̉̉ͮͫ̑̚ ͓͒̑̄̍͋ͫ̚r͕̻̼͖̥̖͉͛͛ẹ̩͍̩̌͋̽ͅa̞̯͓͎͗̽̓͐d̯̘͔͓͇͍͆̑ͯ̍ÿ́̎́ͦ̅?̭͍͖̫͓̦͂ͥ̂̈́̍͊ͅ came the Shadow’s whisper in Angel’s ear, gleeful and thickly accented with the bayou.

Alastor drew back just enough to eagerly swallow. He was dimly aware that his head was heavier, but that only seemed more reason to keep it bent to Angel. He licked in long, dedicated strokes with a tongue grown longer yet, catching everything that Angel had, getting every last drop. Orgasm had flushed Angel’s pink labia even larger and brighter, and Alastor savoured the change, mouthing and even suckling gently, knowing how much blood ran close to the surface, how much more sensitive Angel was. When Angel’s noises rose above a certain pitch, Alastor slipped his tongue back in, this time in teasing, darting little motions, drawing back every so often to lick just shy of entering. He had the basics down, and now it was time to… experiment.

Angel was dripping, and moaning, sighing, ragged, hungry. His lower hands grabbed those antlers and pulled up.

‘Fuck me, caro, I can’t stand it…’ he begged, yet didn’t feel as though he were submitting. Fuck wasn’t covering it, and Angel’s mouth knew what would. ‘Fuck me, take me, claim me… breed me….’

‘Breed’ wasn’t a word Angel could spit out without working up to it; it had always felt more forbidden, required more trust, as it was so easily twisted. But now, here, with this man…

Angel trusted.

Alastor’s eyes had darkened to a colour that might have been called sangoire, and his pupils were turned on their sides. He was still for a heartbeat or two, just staring, and then all of a sudden he surged upwards, seizing Angel’s topmost pair of shoulders and bearing him down deeper into the silk. His cock slammed in all at once and without warning, smooth with Angel’s arousal, and Angel could tell it was the same shape, but had it gotten bigger…?

On the edge of hearing, Shadow was laughing.

Angel’s moan was layered with inhuman hisses and rasping, thrashing in his web, subconsciously tangling his own limbs in it, trapping himself and only heightening his arousal as his buck drove into his swollen cunt, Alastor’s fur brushing, teasing Angel’s cock with every thrust.

‘Caro! Caro! CARO!’ Tears streamed down Angel’s cheeks, as he felt not only the physical pleasure, but a concubus’ satisfaction at feeding on such a powerful overlord, one who had been so virginal for so long, one who had never touched another since coming to Hell.

His.

His.

Alastor felt Angel taking from him, but his body seemed to replenish the energy in the same instant, building like a static charge as he moved—and the taking itself felt delicious.

He gave everything he had and gladly, never having really understood before how much pleasure he could give and take at once, what his body was capable of. He wanted to say this, or something like it, but the rut had stolen all his words, and he could only cup Angel’s face with one hand, tender even as he pushed harder.

Angel was blissfully lost in sensation, desperate to come and unable to move much, crying, screaming, wailing, hissing: ‘More, more, more, harder, faster!’ feeling like he was drowning, even as he felt like there would never be enough. ‘Alastor!’

Every more was answered with a deeper thrust, and if there had been bedsprings they would have been shrieking without pause as Alastor’s tempo sped up. He had never felt anything like Angel, never really wanted to feel anything else.

M͍̪͓̬̮̤̞͐̽̉̌ͭ̚o̽̂̍ͮ̈͑͌ǹ̰͚͚̲ ̳̗͕a̋ͤ̀n͕͉̗͔̆ͩg̈́ͭ̈́͌̌ͩ͋e̟̣͙̝̙̜͈͆ͥ̔̄͋͊ͮ’ Shadow breathed, ‘m̥̮̹͒̅̊̑́ͯo̳̰͈̮̯̘̐͆͛ͤn̻̣͚̰͖̉̒̆̈̃ ̼͈ͤͬ̈å̰̗̠̞̣͙̜͐̑ͧn͇̖͋̄ͥͪ͒g̞̪̱̘͕̙̀ͪͮͅëͭ.̬̒̓̅.̐͆.̩̫̺̩͚̲̗̿͋́ͫ̒.̗͈̰͓’

Angel’s moans started to echo in more than the physical realm, as he truly, fully, finally had enough sustenance to come full into his power as a concubus, his wings flinging wide and his tail seeking and finding Alastor’s entrance, sliding into him and writhing as good as Alastor was fucking Angel, slick and strong and perfect, claiming as its owner was claimed; and Angel finally started to come, just as his tail found that spot within Alastor, the one all animals with a cock had….

Alastor made a noise too deep to be a scream, and started to come inside Angel, each pulse shuddering through him down to the tips of his hooves. If his previous orgasms had been added together and thrust on him all at once, they still would not have come close to how this felt. It was a warmth like being bathed in sunlight, an ecstasy he had never imagined, and it kept—on—going!

The shockwave enveloped Hell, like a star exploding, rocking Pentagram City down to its foundations. Every single one of Angel’s contracts collapsed in sudden transformation, as they all became concubi in the span of an orgasm; thousands more lesser demons were overcome with Lust.

Hell’s newest overlord had filled his spot in the hierarchy, taken his Throne of Sin—and now, everyone knew it.

It even got through to Alastor, who was prouder than he could say (although everything he was feeling right now was more than he could say). He had taken his Throne of Gluttony almost as soon as he’d arrived, in the murder spree that had made him infamous, and it was about damn time Angel did the same for Lust.

Slowly, it began to fade, the aftershocks each like little deaths themselves. Alastor’s rapt face gradually relaxed, taking on that serene non-expression that was happier, for him, than any smile. When his eyes opened, they had returned to normal.

‘Mon Dieu,’ he said, still buried inside Angel and making absolutely no move to change this. ‘Is it going to be like that every time?’

Angel was panting, eyes slitted and entire body vibrating with a rasping purr of contentment. Spider or concubus, purring was part of being sated for both.

‘Dunno,’ he said, a lazy smile on his face. ‘Wanna find out?’

The fact that he could still go for another round was new; but he was content enough not to, which was a relief. He’d been sort of worried that he’d never feel afterglow again….

From how Alastor’s face changed as he worked his hips, he was seriously considering it, but at last he sighed and let himself slip out, shining-wet cock retreating back into its sheath. ‘Maybe in a little while,’ he said, moving off Angel and cuddling up beside him. ‘After a rest and another good meal. I’ll cook this time, if you want.’

‘I gotta better idea,’ Angel said, and struggled. ‘Cut me down, sweethart?’ he asked, laughing a little at the predicament he’d gotten himself into.

‘Ah!’ Alastor laughed too. ‘I hadn’t noticed, except that you were easier to hold down…’

He extended his talons, and what little light there was in the alcove gleamed off them with a soft shing! as he reached out to slice through the silk. ‘What a mess you got yourself into, cher. Did you think you were going to float away?’

Angel giggled. ‘Idunno,’ he said, ‘I’ll ask Spicy, later, he’s my arachnologist.’ He reached for his phone, seeing the flurry of social media updates, and messages from his friends. He would read them in detail later, right now, he wanted to call Lord Sinuous….

‘Hiya, babe, I was wonderin’ if you wanted to hear from me….’

 

Chapter Text

Lord Sinuous was currently wound around another serpent, listening to sinner he’d been gently seducing writhe helplessly as Sinuous sucked him to within an inch of his damnation.

And then, his phone rang. One of his many coils wound around the phone and brought it to his hand; Seeing who it was, he slid his mouth off of his little cobra inventor. Two shadowy mouths winked into view and took over, while Lord Sinuous answered,

‘Yesss, Angel?’

Sir Pentious hissed in dismay. Of all the people he’d least want to hear him in such a compromising position, Angel Dust’s recent escapades had landed him on the top of the list. He aimed wounded eyes at both Lord Sinuous’ turned back and the newly formed mouths, the latter of which only smiled around their prizes.

‘Tell him you’re alone!’ he said, and then had to hope the hellphone wasn’t sensitive enough to pick that up.

The phone did pick it up, and Lord Sinuous’ smiles—all of them—widened, curling at the ends.

‘Busssy? Yesss, I ssuppose I am busssy at the moment—but not too busssy ffor my ffavourite cccelebrity.’

He watched Sir Pentious, enjoying the better vantage point as he listened to Angel’s reply.

‘Mm, yesssss, I am currently sssucking his beautiful cocksss, how did you guessss…?’

Sir Pentious was learning that his new boyfriend was a bit of a sadist, when it came to Sir Pentious’ (very American) hangups about sex.

This wasn’t really how he would have preferred to come by this knowledge. Although… ‘You think they’re beautiful?’ he asked, or tried to, because just then one of the mouths did something that shorted out his cognitive functions entirely.

He’d had his cocks sucked before—because the kind of people who lured Sir Pentious into bed generally had very specific goals in mind—but never for so long, and never so well. The mouths were teasing now, licking at the tips with shadow-wisp forked tongues; but he got the impression they had quite a bit of throat to go with them.

Lord Sinuous grinned, looking at Sir Pentious. ‘Whhhy, of courssse I thhink they’re beautiffful, o my mossst beloved. Ssso elegant and sssuch a delicccioussss shhhade of violet….’

You’re an evil bitch and I love you, Angel laughed, on the other side of the phone.

Sir Pentious made a strangled noise, discovering that not only did his body remember being human enough to blush, he had enough blood to spare, at the moment, to do so. Hopefully, it wouldn’t show, his scales being, well, scales, and dark as midnight. …And now his brain seemed to be going back to his youthful attempts to write poetry. Fantastic.

‘I’m sure he doesn’t want to hear about that,’ he said desperately, trying to silence both Angel Dust and, if possible, his brain.

Aww, is edgelord insecure about his cocks? Can’t imagine why, he’s got twice as many as most people…. But Angel delighted in riling up the prudish, and Lord Sinuous knew it, which was a kink they shared.

‘Perhapsss I might shhhare hhim withhh you, sssometime, precciousss…’ Lord Sinuous said wickedly, watching his lover squirm between embarrassment and arousal. He loved breaking shy boys like this.

Was it Sir Pentious’ imagination, or did one of the mouths flash a gold tooth at him as it grinned?

‘I am not to be shared,’ he said, trying to sound bravely defiant and ending up with distractedly petty. ‘I am your most beloved, you wouldn’t…’ The right word eluded him; he struck out desperately. ‘Diminish the experience? Besides, I have no idea what Angel Dust would even do…

Sir Pentious heard layered laughter in several dimensions, and one of the mouths bit his neck, long fangs sinking venom into him, that elevated his arousal so completely it felt rather like he might die.

‘Sssupper?’ Lord Sinuous was saying to Angel Dust. ‘Of courssse, preccciousss, I would love to cook for you and your beau. Now, I mussst go, and teachh my mossst beloved a lesssson….’ He hung up, and leaned over Sir Pentious.

‘Are we ready to be fffucked, brat?’ he hissed, oh-so-gently….

What little bravado Sir Pentious had managed to gather vanished entirely at being swallowed in that shadow, at that soft whisper. He tried to speak, but could only nod, and present himself.

Good boy….’

.oOo.

Vox still had fires to put out, and the new spring in his step didn’t stop him from getting surrounded by people the minute he stepped out of the car. He managed to get Spicy covered with a robe, and sent Blitzo to escort him to the Server tower, but was too busy to be able to notice something Spicy himself hadn’t yet noticed, not until he had already gotten Blitzo’s number and gotten into the silence of the penthouse. He’d thought he was just overstimulated, or tired; but a few moments alone filled him with dread, as pain started to grow, behind one eye, and faded when he covered his eyes.

Oh no.

He turned off all the lights, drew all the curtains, unplugged everything, tried to start coffee brewing—but the kitchen had screens that couldn’t be unplugged, and the high-pitched whirring of EMF was like a needle in his eye. He ripped apart the cabinets trying to find a wire, a power cord, anything, only to find nothing. Pain fuelled panic that was only barely under control, and he finally just got the meat tenderiser and hit the screen over and over and over until the noise stopped.

…But then he heard a new source of that high-pitched whirr, and tore around, trying to find it.

It was a while before he was left in silence, and, coffee forgotten, tipped into bed as nausea overtook him in waves, curling up under the blankets with a whimper. He passed out, and only woke up again when his headache informed him someone had turned something back on, and was bringing it closer. Spicy curled up, hands over his ears, starting to cry with the agony.

‘Spicy?’

Oh no.

‘Migraine,’ Spicy said, his own voice lancing into his ears like a knife. He hoped Vox would be able to tap his infernet connection to learn everything that word entailed. He hoped he wouldn’t start screaming.

He hoped Vox would forgive him.

Vox felt a bizarre sinking sensation, like some of his cables weren’t plugged in just right. Was that… guilt? He pushed it away angrily. There was no point in being ashamed of what he was, he never had been, and yet it hurt him that he was causing Spicy pain by his very nature.

He turned off every device in the penthouse—those few that hadn’t been smashed beyond functionality, anyway. That was irritating but, from what he was learning from the search he’d started as soon as Spicy said the word, understandable. Spicy had been panicking, feeling as though there was no other recourse. He hadn’t been thinking, just reacting. Besides, it was nothing that Vox couldn’t easily fix, and nothing that hadn’t been wanting an upgrade, anyway…

Vox spoke very softly through Spicy’s chip: I’ll send someone to take care of you, baby. Someone without any screens.

I’m sorry I’m sorry I don’t mean to be like this— Spicy felt overwhelming guilt, frustrated at his body for still having this sensitivity, even in death. I’m sorry I had to break things I needed them to stop making noise

Vox didn’t know what to do. He could reach in and forcibly stop Spicy from having those thoughts, but they’d come back unless he put in a permanent block, and he was not going to resort to that. Not with Spicy.

Sometimes things come down here with us, he said. Some demons are lactose intolerant. It’s a grab bag, it really is. And… you’re more important to me than anything else in this place.

He tried to think of someone he could send. Most of his more trusted employees were already heavily modded, bearing tech that would trigger more pain, and besides, Spicy didn’t know them. I’m going to get ahold of Blitzo, okay?

Okay, Spicy said, sounding weak and shaky, even in his thoughts, which had gone all sharp and oversensitive and agonising.

-

‘Bliiitzo, it’s Vox!’ Loona yelled across the office. Millie and Moxxie both froze mid-argument. Their boss had come back walking on air, but also naked; they’d assumed it was Stolas, because it usually was. But how had Vox gotten their number? Were they all about to be electrocuted to death?

Blitzo hopped over, in the middle of getting his pants on. He didn’t want to find out what happened if he brushed Vox off to get dressed.

‘This is Blitzo!’ he said, trying to keep it as upbeat as he usually did. ‘What can I do you for—fuck, you know what I meant. Not that I wouldn’t—if you wanted—’ He glanced around. Millie was looking at him, fascinated; Moxxie was eyeing him with apprehension, and Loona rolling her eyes as she usually did.

Vox didn’t laugh, only said, ‘Cute. Now down to business. I need you to go watch over Spicy for me. He’s having some kind of amped-up headache and anything electronic hurts him. Turn your hellphone off when you get to the penthouse, or I’ll call you back outside and fry you through it. Understood?’

The overlord’s clipped, sharp-edged voice was very different from his tone in the car, and Blitzo quailed before realising he hadn’t done anything wrong. Well, not yet, anyway. Vox was just mad because Spicy was in pain. Probably because they can’t fuck, Blitzo thought, unwilling to entertain the thought that Vox might have other emotions.

‘Understood,’ he said, and Vox hung up. Blitzo took a deep breath. Although normally he would have liked the idea of doting on Spice Drop, he was under pressure to reimagine his entire business. He couldn’t spare the time to mess around with cold washcloths and… whatever else it was you did for headaches. Who was good at that kind of pampering thing?

‘Moxxie! You’re going to the Server on a very special assignment!’

Moxxie opened his mouth to argue, then closed it. Going to the Server on an assignment from Vox was not bad; he knew people in craft services, they had pretty good lives. It was the actors that got run ragged, but imps were never actors….

-

The apartment was beautiful.

It was also completely trashed.

Every screen was smashed to splinters, everything that wasn’t smashed was unplugged, and there was food scattered all over the counters, cabinets hanging partially empty. Someone had clearly tried to find where all the screens in there were connected into the wall, and when they hadn’t, they’d just smashed them.

A coffeemaker was standing open, a can of coffee waiting next to it. Unlike the other food, which had been tossed aside willy-nilly, the coffemaker looked like someone had gotten halfway through making a pot and given up.

Spice Drop—that was his name, Spice Drop—was in the bedroom, curled under all the blankets. He heard Moxxie’s soft hoofsteps and stirred.

‘Blitzo?’

Moxxie hung back in the doorway. He’d known Blitzo was delegating, what with all the pointing and the Delegating Voice, but it was different actually being there.

‘Not exactly,’ he said, considering and abandoning a plan to impersonate his boss in the same breath. It wouldn’t work; he didn’t have the pep, or the horns. ‘I’m one of Blitzo’s associates. He sent me because he’s busy.’ And he fucking well better be. ‘Can I come in?’

Spicy sighed. ‘Yeah,’ he said, sounding relieved, his voice barely above a whisper (only because a whisper would have been too high pitched and sharp). ‘Can you make me coffee and get me a cold for my head?’

He was avoiding sibilants, sibilants hurt. He knew he sounded slurred and weird, but he wasn’t about to perform normal right now.

‘Sure,’ Moxxie said, glad Spice Drop had enough presence of mind to ask for the few things that weren’t in smithereens. The place looked like Millie had gone through it with an industrial combine (which Moxxie knew, from experience).

He turned and went back to the kitchen without further ado, wondering if he was getting paid for this weird not-really-a-job, or if the reward was continuing to be alive. He made the coffee, which was comfortingly mindless. He made the coffee at I.M.P., too, because no one else did it right. Really, that was almost a bigger part of his job than “weapons specialist,” which, in practice, translated to “make sure Millie has all the guns and blades she wants and point her at the target, assuming we have one.” Business had not exactly been booming since their first job. He’d half been considering leaving, but Millie loved the whole idea of I.M.P, and what else was he going to do?

There was a freezer, and after fishing around he came up with a cold pack and a dish cloth to wrap it in. Thus prepared, he sighed, poured coffee into the largest cup he could find, squared his shoulders, and went back into the bedroom.

Spicy’s hand, pale and surprisingly human, other than the colouring, reached out from the blankets and took the ice pack.

‘Thank you. Co…coffee white with a lil s-sugar, please,’ he said, trying not to feel guilty about not accepting black coffee. But bitterness was… not a good idea, right now.

Moxxie noted that he tapped out any sibilants, as though wincing away from knives.

‘Only because you said the magic words,’ Moxxie said, only half-joking. Sinners, especially not overlords’ sugar babies, weren’t polite to imps. No one was polite to imps, especially not imps serving you drinks, and that’s what most of them ended up doing. Yet he’d definitely heard correctly. Maybe it was the excruciating pain.

He tried to imagine, as he poured cream and made his best guess on the sugar, what kind of headache could lay someone out like that. Was it a side effect of being hooked up to Vox all the time? Taking care of this sugar baby was, he had to admit, an easier problem to deal with than anything back at the office, or worse yet out in the mortal world. Just give Spice Drop what he asked for until Vox said he could go home. It wasn’t like he even had to try and make small talk.

It occurred to Spicy that he had access to drugs, could just go and buy some if he needed them. So, when Moxxie came back, Spicy had emerged from the cocoon enough to sit up and drink.

‘Thank you,’ he said again. ‘Would you mind getting me morphine?’ Spicy wasn’t sure if there was any in the bathroom cabinet. So far, he’d never needed medicine, not since coming down here. He knew the cost, though, since he’d had to get some for Angel, before. He slowly opened the drawer of the bedside table, getting come coin from his wallet and offering it.

‘Please.’ Sibilants still hurt, but kindness trumped pain. Normal didn’t, but Kindness did. He sipped his coffee, and he knew it was likely the placebo effect, but he felt a little better.

‘There’s gotta be a vending machine somewhere downstairs,’ Moxxie said. ‘Product placement, right?’ He offered a feeble grin that Spice Drop, hunched over his precious coffee, probably didn’t notice. This was starting to get a little too weird. Was this guy trying to butter him up for… something? He already had Blitzo practically worshipping the ground he walked on. What did he need with Moxxie?

Spicy nodded, concentrating on the coffee. His stomach was trying to rebel, even as it screamed for food. He liked so much milk that it had cooled down enough to not give off a smell, for which he was grateful.

There was, in fact, more than one vending machine downstairs—all of them the newer, shinier ones, that had SQUIP, along with seven discrete flavours of cannabis, opium beads, and even whipits. When Moxxie brought the morphine back to him, Spicy actually read the label, which nobody did, and took one rather than a handful.

‘Thank you,’ he said again. ‘What was your name?’

‘Moxxie,’ said Moxxie guardedly, supposing being asked was technically better than Imp or Hey, You or Not-Blitzo. ‘I’m supposed to stay with you until Vox gets back, or I guess until you feel better. Whichever comes first.’

Easy as this task was, it was going to be even easier with his charge in a morphine haze. Was this really a test? Was Vox watching to see if, given the chance, Moxxie would ransack his penthouse? Well, he was going to be disappointed. Moxxie was one hundred percent legitimate now. Good, honest assassination.

‘That’s a pretty name,’ Spicy said, finishing his coffee and nestling back down. ‘Um, if you don’t mind cleaning up the mess, there’s spare Acheron boxes in the hall closet for the broken glass…’ He could talk again, thank fuck. The coffee was working; and, with his empty stomach, the morphine would kick in soon.

He was only a little worried, about the morphine—he’d never had morphine, only hydrocodone. Still, he knew a little of how his body might react, and it wasn’t terrible….

He was glad it was cold, and that there was central air, which didn’t make as much noise, especially since the fans were all far below him, inaudible and too low to hurt his head. It meant it was cold enough to hide under all the blankets….

So, Moxxie thought, it was back to general housework, then. Well, there was fuck-all else to do, and Millie had gone through an improvisation phase where a box of broken glass would have thrilled her beyond belief.

‘Sure,’ he said again, wondering if the entire time was going to be spent walking to the bedroom, getting a new task, and walking back again. Blitzo had been making noise about an employee fitness program…

He found the boxes and carried them out to the epicenter, wondering if little Mister Pampered Please-And-Thank-You knew that imps had probably packed and shipped whatever goodies had originally been in there. Somehow, most sinners never felt they needed to get their eternal suffering done in an Acheron warehouse. That was imp work.

Fuck, was sweeping up broken glass in an overlord’s pad the key he needed to start getting political? He’d keep it to himself. No point worsening Spice Drop’s headache, and he’d probably get in trouble, anyway. He wished he could sing, and at last settled for whistling so quietly that he could barely hear himself.

Spicy didn’t hear him, buried under the blankets and a closed door in a sound-dampened room.

By the time he woke up, Moxxie had finished cleaning up the mess, and Spicy was hungry, but knew from the feel of it that there was little he’d be able to stomach. Something dry and salty would do it… did they have chips? Chips sounded nice…. Spicy got out of bed carefully, pulled on some pyjamas, and left the bedroom.

The house was sparkling.

‘Oh gosh, thank you, Moxxie, this is beautiful,’ he said, still talking softly, his crest fluffing a little in impress. He went over to the low, aqua sofa and curled up, tucking the fur they used as a throw blanket around himself, nuzzling the texture. He felt drunk, he wasn’t in pain, but his stomach would still be upset. Opiates were not kind to one’s guts.

‘You have such a nice soft voice, I’m glad Blitzo sent you instead of coming himself.’ Trthfully, Spicy had been dreading Blitzo, who had such a strident, loud voice, and was one of those people that was loud even when he wasn’t saying anything. And, perhaps to make up for how harsh people were with service workers, Spicy was always effusive with praise and gratitude. He’d been a service worker, in life, and just wanted to treat them the way he wished others would have treated him.

‘There are explosions softer than Blitzo,’ Moxxie said, mostly to hide his surprise. He couldn’t think of the last time someone who wasn’t Millie had appreciated his presence (Blitzo’s tendency towards over-appreciation didn’t count). ‘And I don’t half-ass things.’ He was about to muster up his courage and ask what exactly Spice Drop was playing at, before he abruptly froze. ‘Unholy shit,’ he said. ‘You’re just like this all the time. You’re the one at the Studio who’s actually patient. My cousin Malice brought you a towel five minutes late once, and you didn’t have his tail docked or anything.’

Spicy didn’t remember, because why would he remember something like someone else’s mistake? He smiled.

‘Am I?’ he said, pleased with this revelation. ‘Nobody’s ever called me patient before, that’s so nice…’ He’d always thought of himself as impulsive, impatient, and angry; it was the whole reason he tried so hard to counterbalance it. He tipped over, laying on the sofa, rubbing his cheek against the fur idly. ‘Would you get me some chips or… or something like that. I don’t know what we have….’

Moxxie did a heel turn and headed back into the kitchen proper. ‘I think I put some chips away earlier…’

He tried not to rummage too loudly, but all his rustling and shuffling seemed magnified. ‘…Okay, no chips, but there are some of those snake crackers with the little smiles, you know, the cheesy ones?’

The machine to press those had actually been one of Sir Pentious’ successful inventions, which reportedly annoyed the serpent no end. He’d sold the patent immediately, saying it wasn’t worth his time if it didn’t have so much as a rotating saw. There had been an article about it in one of the ancient, crumbling newspapers Moxxie had unearthed from the drawers in their new building, which he’d saved for the periods of mind-numbing boredom he’d known would come.

‘Oh, goldfish!’ Spicy said happily. They were goldfish, even if they weren’t… goldfish-shaped. They were also too expensive, even for Spicy—though Angel had gotten him some, once, for his birthday. He giggled, feeling buzzy.

In the middle of a meeting, Vox suddenly got a very strong urge to sing a jingle. It was distractingly loud, and cheerful, and pleased.

‘Nnnno,’ Moxxie said slowly, ‘they’re snakes.’ He got the bag out anyway, figuring it was the morphine talking, and after a moment’s consideration poured some into a bowl, even picking a colour that matched the sofa.

‘I’m not sure what to do now that you’re, you know, ambulatory,’ he admitted, fidgeting. ‘But you’re too doped up to leave alone, so here I am.’

Spicy ate one at a time, slowly. ‘They’re goldfish shaped, on Earth,’ he explained. ‘So I still call them goldfish.’

He was quiet for a while, thinking about what Moxxie could do. He didn’t want Moxxie to leave.

‘Could I have some cold water, please? Then… oh, I have books in the bedroom, if you want to read something. Or… I think I’m okay to talk, now.’ He couldn’t play on his phone or message anyone, that was out of the question, even with morphine he wasn’t going to tempt fate.

My head is full of bees Daddy, sorry if the feed gets loopy.

Moxxie blinked.

‘You… want to talk? To me? What do you want to talk about?’

He tried to figure out if the prospect was better or worse than trying to hide in a book, pretending he wasn’t in an overlord’s penthouse, and came up blank. He went to get the water, because that at least made sense.

Whatever it takes, Vox said. Trust me, you’re livening this up.

‘Idunno, man, what do you do? What’re your hobbies? You wanna… you wanna bake something, what?’ he said, and giggled. He’d sounded like Angel, just then.

Moxxie got me some morphine, I’m doing better but probably can’t see you until tomorrow at least, I’ll have to see. Not sure if this is my period or not. He hadn’t gotten a period since dying, but migraines usually went hand-in-hand with them, for him, so it was an automatic thought.

‘I’ve never baked anything in my life,’ Moxxie said. ‘The first time I tried to cook I set a salad on fire.’ He adjusted his bow tie, trying to loosen the damn thing. ‘What I’m good at is music, I sing and play the guitar. And I write my own songs. The notes line up together and they just make sense, like slotting bullets in a chamber… y’know, things like that,’ he said hastily, aware he was going down one of the paths Millie always rolled her eyes at.

I should hope not, Vox said. Even with your circumstances, do I look like a concubus to you?

‘Oooh, that’s how I feel about writing!’ Spicy said, sipping the water. ‘I’d love to hear your songs.’ It was true; Spicy loved hearing musicians do their thing, especially with a guitar. It was hard—Spicy knew it was hard, because Spicy had tried to learn guitar several times, and failed—and he also knew a little about how the creative process worked.

Mm, maybe. I just never had migraines without a period, before…. Vox was treated to Spicy’s wondering if he would become fertile if he ever let Angel fuck him again… followed by the question of whether that would be allowed.

I’d allow it, Vox said. The bigger rules that even I’m subject to… not so much.

‘I’d need my guitar to really be in the mood,’ Moxxie said, a little desperately, as all of his current compositions promptly flew clean out of his head. ‘Uh, groove. In the groove.’ Where had that come from?

‘For sure,’ Spicy said, his own faint accent showing more in the word choice than pronunciation. ‘If you come back tomorrow maybe bring it? If you want,’ he said, ‘It’s okay if you don’t wanna perform for a stranger, that’s cool.’

What rules? Who enforces them? came the Wrathful snap, immediately. Spicy’s crest rose with it, even though he was relaxing. Luckily, people were even less aware of animal body language here than they were on Earth (seeing as Hell had few animals, and no plants, other than those in the manicured gardens of Lord Sinuous or the Gated Community).

You’re going to give me a hard-on in the middle of this meeting if you keep that up, said Vox, not exactly reproving. So I probably shouldn’t tell you it’s an angelic mandate. They catch so much as a suggestion of a sinner procreating, and oh look, it’s time for an unscheduled bonus extermination. Don’t ask me how they find out, I wish I knew.

‘Tomorrow?’ Moxxie repeated. ‘Come back?’ Having someone request his presence just for fun was yet another brick in the pile of experiences Moxxie had never had before, and it felt like all of those bricks had been thrown at his face. He’d grown accustomed to being a behind-the-scenes guy, a background scowl, while Millie rampaged and Blitzo… Blitzoed. Even when Moxxie performed, he was an imp with a guitar, not… himself.

Was this what being noticed felt like?

‘Um, yeah, I don’t… I don’t know how long this migraine is gonna last.’ Spicy ate the last cracker from the bowl. ‘They can last a few days, at worst.’

Good thing I’m not a sinner then, Spicy retorted. And if I ever get pregnant I feel sorry for the angel that tries to fuck with me. I have two pantheons on my side, and I’m pretty sure they’d love an excuse to tear into some motherfucking servants of God.

‘And none of those days should have Blitzo in them?’ Moxxie could sympathise. Blitzo was his meal ticket, and he did have tolerable or even fun moments, but most of the time he was just unbearable. ‘I can come back, then.’ Blitzo would be in a frenzy of inspiration with whatever he and Vox had talked about, and would bounce ideas off a filing cabinet if he didn’t have living victims to ramble at. And it was highly unlikely they’d get any jobs, in the meantime. Moxxie would have nothing to do but inventory, again, even if Millie kept changing her mind and taking new things out of the armoury.

Vox was silent for a long moment, offering Spicy nothing, and then said, Let me know as soon as you can stand to be around me again.

Spicy made a face. ‘No. Confidentially, I don’t really like him. I’m grateful that he helped me escape Stolas’ place, but… I can tell he’s not the type of person I can stand.’

Why, Daddy? You okay? I don’t… I don’t actually want a baby, don’t worry. Spicy wasn’t actually aware of how his anger affected certain people. He’d always seen it as a fault, if anything….

What? I’m fine, I just need to know the exact microsecond I can get back to fucking your brains out. I love it when you get mad.

Spicy fluffed, chaser lights tracing down his feather-vanes. He shook himself, trying to clear it, so Moxxie wouldn’t be disturbed.

You can still use our voice in my head, and the nanites… he said to Vox, feeling sort of bold. Aloud, he said, ‘Are you hungry, Moxxie? You can have anything you want in the kitchen, I don’t mind, and Daddy doesn’t eat….’

Imps, being opportunistic hunters and scavengers with fast metabolisms, were pretty much always hungry. Not that anyone, including imps, really knew why this was. Infernobiology wasn’t exactly a growing field. Moxxie was only aware that his stomach definitely wanted him to take Spice Drop up on the offer. He started to head back to the kitchen, then paused, awkwardly turning.

‘Maybe… you could show me how to bake something?’ he ventured, unsure of where the idea had come from. If Blitzo was changing I.M.P., though, it might not hurt to have as many skills as possible. He could pass it off as learning to poison someone.

‘Oooh, okay! What do you wanna learn to bake? Cookies? Cake? Bread? Pie?’ Spicy usually had little motivation to bake; but teaching someone to bake was another matter. He was always ready to teach someone something. Of course, the migraine might throw a wrench in all of that; but that’s what scopolamine was for… and, being that scopo was a recreational drug, that meant he could get it. Gods forbid he get a cough, but a migraine? Hell was equipped with the drugs aplenty for pain and nausea….

‘Millie loves cake,’ Moxxie said. Bread and cookies sounded good, too, but he didn’t want to push it.

Vox, meanwhile, was fondly amused, using the nanites to send tingles through Spicy’s whole body. How many imps are you going to end up with? We could start a sitcom.

‘Okay, what kind?’ Spicy was not about to push ‘this is hard and that isn’t’ on a new student. You should learn to make what you liked to eat, regardless of how ‘hard’ it was. Besides which, shortcrust pastry had been presented to him as being ‘really difficult’ and it… really wasn’t.

Mmmm… thank you Daddy, you’re helping… does your screen have a low blue light setting?

There was a few seconds’ pause, the kind that meant Vox was looking up something he didn’t know. It will by the time you’re ready to see me again. He very lightly touched Spicy’s pleasure centres, the equivalent of tapping his clit. And I’ll make sure there’s scopo for you.

Moxxie scratched his horns. ‘Chocolate death, but I think she just likes it because of the name.’ A brief, undeniably goofy smile crossed his face. ‘But then Loona wouldn’t get to have any…’ Staying on Loona’s good side was a crucial part of the work environment of I.M.P. She held grudges, and was as inventive as any imp at making life miserable in a thousand small ways, when she actually roused herself to do it. Blitzo was incredibly proud.

Spicy pressed his thighs together, tensing his clit in response. ‘Chocolate’s expensive,’ he said, thoughtfully. ‘I don’t think I’ve had any since I got here…’ But, he thought to himself, Vox could afford chocolate, and vanilla, and all manner of expensive treats from Lord Sinuous’ gardens…. ‘If you look up a recipe, I can help you make it.’

He couldn’t use his phone, currently, because he knew the light would stab him in the eyes. ‘Go ahead and check if we have all the ingredients. If not, I can give you some money to get them, okay?’

This was the best. Baking was a great way to pass the time….

After some thought, Moxxie went to one of the food blogs Velvet had promoted, the kind that naturally assumed its audience could afford what Lord Sinuous had to offer. Sure enough, there was a “death by chocolate” cake that promised to be easy; Moxxie prided himself on not being overconfident, like Blitzo; he knew every skill had to start somewhere. You had to learn chords before you could play a song.

‘…What’s caster sugar?’ he asked, scrolling through the ingredients. ‘Is it used in spells, or what?’

Spicy giggled, not unkindly. ‘No, caster sugar is a little finer than granulated sugar, but not as fine as powdered sugar.’

It still amused him that Hell was, like everywhere but America, on the metric system—mostly due to Lord Sinuous, who controlled the way food was measured, and had a fondness for, it seemed, logic and patterns. Thinking about food made Spicy wonder again if Lord Sinuous was hoarding all the animals, too. He knew Hell didn’t have food factories, but food required animals…. He sighed, feeling his heart long for a cat again. He saw them around, sometimes; but he’d never been able to coax on close enough to pet, let alone catch—and nobody seemed to have the same idea.

‘I don’t even remember which is the kind you can pass off as cocaine,’ Moxxie muttered, deciding it was time to progress to the poking-around-in-cabinets stage. He duly investigated the fridge, too, which was gently rounded and looked like something out of one of Loona’s sci-fi magazines. He half expected it to glow or make a whooshing noise as he opened it.

‘Okay, we need cocoa powder, chocolate chips, some other, different chocolate to break into pieces, something called buttermilk… oh, and eggs.’

‘Powdered sugar,’ Spicy said, ‘looks like cocaine.’

He pushed himself up, slowly, carefully standing up. He felt better, but was still cautious as he moved across the living room to the bedroom door. He had money, especially since he wasn’t paying rent anymore, and came back with more silver (Hell was still on the silver standard).

‘Not sure how much you’ll need, but do your best with that, and we’ll figure it out if you need more.’ Distracting himself from everything was helping, and he wondered if the migraine had started because of the stress he’d been going through lately.

Moxxie’s going out to get groceries, so you can distract me a little harder, for a while, he told Vox.

I’d love to, baby. Would you believe there’s no consensus yet? I’m bored out of my mind, so I’d rather be in yours.

Moxxie gingerly accepted more cold, hard cash than he’d ever had at once in his life, all for the purposes of making a cake. Hopefully Spicy would keep him from fucking it up too badly.

‘Do… do you deal directly with Lord Sinuous? When you do this?’ He tried not to sound terrified. The Serpent of Eden had been the first in Hell to employ imps, keeping them to tend his gardens, but there had inevitably been stories that he ate the ones who displeased him.

Spicy paused. ‘Oh, I… I’m not sure, actually. You said one of your cousins was in craft services, right? Would they know?’ Spicy hadn’t actually gone grocery shopping, since coming to Hell. Being able to immediately afford to live on takeout and room service, as well as having a job that fed you well, kind of made it so Spicy didn’t feel the need to cook, anymore. It was a load off of his mind, decisions-wise.

Moxxie lost half an inch of height from how much he slumped in relief. ‘Yeah. Yeah, I’ll ask Mal.’ Even though Malice was an incorrigible gossip, and would have the news all over the Studio in five minutes, it was still worth it. He wasn’t sure he had it in him to face Lord Sinuous unprepared. ‘I’ll be back when I find the ingredients, if that’s all right with Vox? You seem a lot better.’

It’s all right with Vox, the overlord said in Spicy’s mind, but he has to give you at least one slice, and I want to watch while you eat it.

‘He says it’s fine,’ Spicy said. ‘Before you go, do we have cake pans?’ Spicy knew there was a stand mixer—Vox had been home when Spicy discovered the stand mixer, and had reaped the full benefit of his little housewife’s elation at the kitchen being equipped with one (especially in pink). However, Spicy wasn’t sure about cake pans.

Moxxie checked the recipe again, and his tail curled in dismay. ‘It calls for a fancy one. Who in Hell is going around making springform pans?’

‘Just check; Vox has a lot in there,’ Spicy said cheerfully. As it happened, there was one, in one of the lower drawers. It looked unused.

Moxxie, having only found the fucking thing by virtue of doing a separate search for “springform pan” to see what it looked like, lifted it in triumph. This was already fun. He didn’t get to do things like this, and he had a weakness for scavenger hunts (which he and Millie had put to inventive use in the past).

Now, to find all that chocolate.

‘Yaaaaay Moxxie!’ Spicy giggled, laying on the sofa again, kicking his feet in the air and doing a little achievement fanfare noise.

‘Okay, Morphine and company, I’m going out now.’ Moxxie backed away. Spice Drop high really was something.

Spicy hummed, wiggling around on the sofa and sighing. Okay, house is empty, Daddy. Fuck me up.

Mm, you don’t think the new guy would want to watch? Vox activated the nanites again.

Spicy moaned, arching. He’s cute, but we just met, and he has a girlfriend… He was aware, a beat later, that this was ridiculous to say, in Hell, but didn’t regret it. He’d been The Other Woman before, in his own marriage, and he wasn’t going to do that again.

Just for an instant, Vox deepened the arch and froze Spicy in that position. Still, you have to wonder if his cock is as big as Blitzo’s…

Despite his teasing, he was impressed with Spicy’s integrity. Vox could tell it wasn’t just some part of his humanity Spicy was clinging to, either. He really believed it.

He has a nice voice, Spicy said. I wanna make him feel good.

Chapter Text

Malice couldn’t pick up, he was working; but he texted back quickly enough with instructions on where to buy chocolate and other delicacies, before adding.

How did you get the money for chocolate, Mox?

Moxxie debated lying, but he knew from experience he couldn’t craft a story that Malice wouldn’t find the holes in.

It’s an errand for my boss’s rich friend.

There. That was innocuous enough. And he didn’t even have to face Lord Sinuous, as it turned out. Not unless he wanted to, and that was a massive Fallen-shaped pile of No Thank You.

Stolas? Be careful, he’s on a rampage ever since the #failowl incident.

No, thank fuck. Moxxie hesitated, then went for it. Maybe Mal could give him some insight. It’s a guy who works at the Studio. Spice Drop? He’s in good with Vox, if you know what I mean.

Oh, the traitor.

I mean, I don’t know if he’s a traitor

he had a chance to fuck shit up when Angel put him in charge last weekend and didn’t fuck anything up even a little bit

but that’s what everyone calls him now…

Isn’t he nice tho?

I miss him.

Yeah, Moxxie replied, and put the hellphone away as he arrived at the store.

Well.

That was interesting, and would probably be more so if he had any kind of involvement with the Studio, but Moxxie was guessing he was about to start seeing a lot more of the Server, both on the clock and off. It didn’t affect cake, though, and that was higher on Moxxie’s list of priorities than who’d betrayed whom.

Only… did Spicy know what they called him?

.oOo.

Lord Sinuous was in love.

He did not disbelieve in love, but he had never thought he would be in love.

It was the most pleasant diversion he had experienced in millennia, he thought, as he lay with his lover in a warm pool, their bath well over and having progressed to twining around one another while nuzzling each other’s sensitive places, leaving little nibbles here and there.

Sir Pentious was a flustered boy—until you actually made him cum, apparently; then, he melted. Lord Sinuous was enjoying the sense of pride and triumph the change gave him. Temptation was really so rewarding, especially on those who had not experienced it since coming to Hell.

In that moment, Sir Pentious was pretty sure they had made a heaven of Hell (to steal from Milton). Lord Sinuous had given him the most marvelous orgasms he’d had in his life or afterlife (not that they’d faced much competition), and was so caring, and patient, and knowledgeable…

All of Sir Pentious’ eyes, at least those which were out of the water, were half-lidded in contentment. Even his top hat (which he never took off) had relaxed. He let out a sigh of pure, indulgent pleasure.

‘I like you like thisss, brat,’ Lord Sinuous cooed, flicking his tongue against Sir Pentious’ cheek. Sir Pentious giggled, the warmth of the pool elevating that little sensation from teasing to extraordinary.

The nickname had become common, initially a reaction to Sir Pentious’ more egotistical tendencies, which amused the Fallen angel greatly. The Prideful were so adorable….

‘Oh,’ Sir Pentious murmured, ‘but I shall never get anything done… s’posed to invent for you…’ He ought to have been used to the dreamlike languor Lord Sinuous inspired in him, whether from venom or food or soaks like this, but it caught him off guard every time.

‘Ohh, I thhink you got a great deal done, precccioussss….’ Lord Sinuous said, eyes glowing slightly as he trailed a fingertip down his boy’s slit, which was still a bit flush and loose from their play. He chuckled, low and velvety.

Having died in the era before that particular slang term, Sir Pen was initially a bit blank, but the amount of stress Lord Sinuous put on the word—to say nothing of his touch, and Sir Pen wanted to say a great deal about that—clued him in.

‘I didn’t invent you, though. Which is a pity, you’re marvelous. I’d be very proud if I had…’

Lord Sinuous laughed again, touched by the sentiment. After all, the one who had made him had never been proud of him….

His fingertips slid a little deeper inside, coils sliding from the shadows to tease the edges, as well, hungry to burrow inside and fill the cobra again…. ‘Preccciousss boy, would you like another, hmm?’

Sir Pen’s cocks presented themselves, which was answer enough; especially combined with his little whimper. It was difficult for anything male-snake-shaped to be the receiving partner, but Lord Sinuous had ways.

It always helped when your lover could manifest extradimensional shadows.

Said shadowy tendrils dove gleefully in, past the base of those pretty cocks, filling Sir Pentious up….

‘O mossst beloved, I do like you like thisss…’ Lord Sinuous purred, looking into his lover’s eyes, his own glowing a soothing red, the glow pulsing just slightly, enchantingly.

Vox wasn’t the only demon who could hypnotise; serpents had always been able to do it….

Motes of red, like drops of ink, pooled around Sir Pentious’ pupils and spread outward, until his eyes matched Lord Sinuous’.

‘Mossst beloved…’ he echoed, hissing more as being mesmerised overcame propriety.

(It was all right for Lord Sinuous to hiss; he was the ophidian equivalent of being rich enough to never be insane, only eccentric. Sir Pentious, on the other hand, had been mocked for it. He’d had a lisp as a mortal child, which had made it worse.)

‘I could be like thisss alwaysss….’

‘I know,’ Lord Sinuous said, reaching in and soothing all of that fretfulness, all of that competition, all of that thought….. Lord Sinuous did not use this power often, as he’d rarely any need of it; he’d forgotten how much fun it was…

‘Are you my boy?’ he asked, as he writhed inside Sir Pentious’ body, luxuriating in his warmth.

‘Alwaysss,’ Sir Pentious sighed again, ‘for… ever and alwaysss…’

It was strange, not to have even a single idea in his head; but there was a kind of reassurance about the emptiness, still and peaceful like the waters of the pool. Nothing mattered but this….

‘That’sss right.’ Lord Sinuous cupped Sir Pentious’ face in his hands, gently stroking his thumbs over his cheeks, which pressed on the venom glands beneath. He knew how it felt—soothing, arousing, a little teasing. ‘Jussst relax, preccciousss….’

And Sir Pen did, going utterly limp, letting Lord Sinuous hold him up, until the only rigid parts of him were his cocks, wound about with shadow. ‘Yessss…’ he agreed.

Oh, he might do anything, with Sir Pentious like this. He could eat him, and it would be so easy…. Of course, he had no intention of doing that; but the fact that he could….

With a muffled, surprised little cry, Sir Pen expressed his venom and orgasmed at the same time, spilling doubly into the water and all over Lord Sinuous. And that was wonderful, too.

.oOo.

Angel was catching up on social media as he sat in the bathroom, supervising Alastor’s shower. He didn’t much like social media, but it was important to stay up to date, and was a lot more informative than the news, when it came to his business. Eventually, he found himself on Spicy’s feed, the most recent picture one of a bloody bite, and a story about escaping from Prince Stolas. Spicy had been kidnapped by a Goetic, and Angel hadn’t been there for him.

Vox had.

Angel scowled; he hated that the past few days had seen fit to tear them so far apart so quickly. He started a text message to his friend.

Finally heard about what happened. If you need anything please call me. I miss you. I know we’ve both been busy, but I will make time.

.oOo.

The cookies—chocolate chip, made with leftovers from the cake supplies, and Moxxie’s first solo venture—had just gone in the oven when Spicy’s phone buzzed. The imp, setting the timer, startled.

‘What was that?’ For all he knew, the oven had a special You Fucked Up noise.

‘Phone,’ Spicy said. ‘I can’t look at it, so could you read whatever it is?’ It might be Angel, because Spicy didn’t know of anyone else he wanted to hear from. He didn’t give out his number. It might also be work, but Angel had said that Spicy was getting some paid leave while he figured out Spicy’s new role and Spicy recovered from the stress, because Angel was thoughtful like that.

With a last wary glance at the oven, Moxxie went and retrieved Spicy’s phone. ‘You have a message from Angel Dust.’

What a world, what a life, when Hell’s premier porn star just casually sent you texts!

‘Are you sure you want me to read it?’ Unlike Blitzo, Moxxie wasn’t into gossip. It was better to be sincere when you claimed you’d never heard something.

‘I can’t look at the screen, honey,’ Spicy said, patiently, ‘You’re here to do that for me.’

Like all people with disabilities, Spicy was used to having to walk people through accommodation. Maybe he shouldn’t be so trusting; but he couldn’t really help it, right now. It was either trust Moxxie or leave the message unread for a few days.

Clearing his throat, Moxxie read out the message, trying to keep his voice as neutral as possible. He generally stayed off social media, except for his latest Sinstagram, which he nowadays tried to restrict to business promotion and the occasional music post (he’d gotten banned too many times for posting wholesome, work-safe content about Millie); but, he was up to speed enough to know what what happened meant, if only because Blitzo hadn’t been able to stop talking about it.

Spicy choked up, at that, and rubbed his eyes at the tears. ‘Um,’ he said, ‘Text him back.’ He couldn’t call Angel, the speaker would not be a good idea. He got the scratch pad Vox kept on the kitchen bar and wrote a reply.

I miss you too bby! I have a migraine rn so I can’t call, but would love your company. We need to have a heart to heart about these new boyfriends fucking up our lives huh? 😅

Moxxie dutifully typed out the response, emoji and all (Spicy had done a pretty good rendering of it, for a quick scribble, although he’d forgotten the horns). He was grateful for Spicy not trying to make this weird. He’d been a go-between before for people who were refusing to talk to each other, and it had been a fucking nightmare.

-

Angel felt relieved to see the friendly words. Lord Sinuous had arranged to host them in a few days, which meant Angel was free that night; and if Alastor was feeling well enough to go back to the hotel…. Still, Angel was an overlord now, and going into someone else’s territory… was fraught. But, dammit, Spicy was his friend, and Vox had done him a favour.

I didn’t know.

There was still that, as well. Angel hadn’t had time to mull that over, and maybe it was time to talk to Vox about it…. He texted Vox, not wanting Alastor to overhear the conversation.

I wanna visit my best friend tonight, is that gonna be a problem? Angel couldn’t help but sound aggressive; fear still tensed him up, made him hold the phone tightly.

Vox answered almost instantaneously, as he always did, not even giving Angel time to navigate out of the app.

Fine by me.

Then there was a pause, which was strange, and just as Angel was about to close out and try and calm down, another message appeared:

Should I make plans to be somewhere else?

Since when do you care how I feel?

Was it petty? Yes, but it felt good.

Vox, sitting in his office chair (which now had some very nice memories attached to it), suppressed a flare of irritation. Couldn’t Angel tell he was trying?

Since I found out Valentino was a fucking liar, he sent back. News at eleven.

Angel stared at that, and felt… really, really stupid.

We should talk about this. he finally texted back. You wanna meet at Yve’s?

He wanted to fight on neutral ground, and Every Wickedness was the one place in Hell where you could do that. There were few neutral zones, but Yve maintained hers. You could yell; but you couldn’t use powers, or punches, or weapons, and Angel needed that.

Another pause. Then,

For Spicy’s sake, if nothing else.

Vox was torn. He wanted Angel to stop being afraid of him (he mentally corrected from ‘treating him like the plague,’ having heard Alastor’s pox-ravaged screams through Spicy), but he didn’t quite want to admit that he felt things like remorse. Not to someone who was now his competitor.

-

The shower turned off, and Angel looked up from his phone.

‘How you feelin, sweethart?’ he asked his lover. ‘You think you’ll be okay by yourself, tonight?’ There were leftovers in the fridge, and plenty more ingredients, and everything from morphine to heroin if Alastor was in pain….

‘Nothing against you, but I’d like some alone time,’ Alastor said, shaking his wet hair out of his eyes. ‘I’m a little honeymooned out.’ He offered a lopsided smile. ‘I promise not to run out and eat anyone while you’re gone, but they do amazing things with delivery these days!’

Angel handed him a towel. ‘Please stick to chicken, okay?’ Chicken was a compromise Angel figured they could agree on.

Alastor’s tail wagged and flicked as he dried off, occasionally flipping up to show the ivory underside. He was glad Angel, who was undoubtedly looking, knew better than to say anything about it.

‘No good, I’ve known too many chickens! That was a joke,’ he added, turning to face Angel. ‘I do promise.’

Angel looked up a few moments after Alastor had turned around to face him. He’d been really good, so far. He had. He hadn’t said anything. He wasn’t going to say anything. But the expression on his face was very loud. It was lucky Alastor could not read minds, because Angel was thinking a lot of things that probably would get him swallowed by the tentacle-filled void Alastor could summon.

Still, Alastor wrapped the towel firmly about his waist and folded his arms, fixing Angel with a Look that was only slightly diminished by the faint flush to his cheeks. ‘Have fun on your night out, cher.

Angel tucked his phone in his tits and hugged Alastor, kissing his cheek. ‘It’s cute,’ he whispered into Alastor’s ear, and then ran away, giggling.

‘You owe me now, Angel Dust!’ Alastor shouted after him.

.oOo.

‘The Queen arrives,’ Yve said with a grin, as Angel came in. Angel’s answering smile, however, was not exactly what she’d expected. ‘What’s wrong?’

‘I’m meeting Vox here. We have… things to discuss.’

Yve nodded. ‘I’ll keep fans away then.’ She was used to crowd control for overlords having informal meetings, it had been part of her hotel’s function since she’d founded it. She handed him a glass of the finest wine. ‘On the house, luv,’ she said, waving aside his coin.

‘Thanks,’ he said, and headed for the booth that gave him a view of the room, nestled safely in a darker corner.

Vox, who had probably been watching through the television, came in shortly afterwards. He didn’t move with the confident saunter he’d had the night he brought Spicy on his arm, but instead actually seemed subdued. He nodded to Yve, then made for Angel’s booth, sitting on the opposite side so the entire width of the table was between them.

‘I’ll be honest,’ he said. ‘I may have the gift of gab, but I have no idea how to start this conversation.’

Angel’s eyes glowed now, pupils flashing green in the dark. Spicy knew the name of that, it was some fancy latin word. Angel sipped his wine.

‘You said you didn’t know, and that Val had lied to you.’ Angel actually made eye-contact, for once. ‘You didn’t know what, exactly?’ He needed to hear it, needed to confirm his suspicions.

Vox’s screen jumped between a grimace and some odder expression that Angel couldn’t place in the few seconds it appeared.

‘The private show you gave me,’ he said. ‘I thought you had… I thought you were on board with it.’ And now he probably thinks I’ve been coercing Spicy, too. Wasn’t it enough that Vox could no longer recall that night without wincing? He’d even debated erasing or at least partitioning off the memories; but hadn’t gone through with it, yet.

Angel nodded, sipping his wine. He was no stranger to having to work with people who had done terrible things to you, or been on opposite sides.

‘Val used you as an enforcer, a threat if I misbehaved,’ he said, and if he used a harder voice, a butch-er voice, well, that was just because he was finally settling into being the head of a Family, again.

There was a kind of gallows mirth in Vox’s voice. ‘Was that before, or after?’

Angel had to think about it. After a few moments, he set his glass down, contemplating it.

‘After.’

He actually found himself smiling, however faintly. ‘It’s a relief, you not bein’ in on it. Means it’s just one more thing Val did, and he’s taken care of now, ain’t he?’

He took a deep breath, looking back at Vox. ‘So,’ he said. ‘That was a nice mink you sent me.’

‘It’ll look even nicer on you now,’ Vox said, making a little gesture that encompassed Angel from head to toe. ‘Better against black.’ He hesitated, took a deep breath, and there was a hint of static in it, of the painstaking screech of an old dial-up modem.

‘I know what I am. I love what I do. But I didn’t force him at all. I didn’t fuck with his head until he asked me to. He decided he liked me. He decided he liked feeling my powers. And he decided he wanted to contract with me.’

Angel thought back on the day Spicy and Vox had met—it had been a hot summer day, much like today had been, and Spicy had been barefoot. Angel wasn’t sure what Vox had said to Spicy at first, but, looking back, he had to admit that Spicy had never come to fear Vox, the way he’d come to fear Val. Without the trauma-tints on his memories (and without the drugs, he had to admit), Angel could see that.

‘Yeah, and if you break his heart, he’ll fuck you up so bad you’ll wish an exorcist was the one that took you down.’ Angel said, smiling. ‘I wouldn’t worry about him, Vox—’ His smile widened to a sharp and predatory grin. ‘I’d be more worried about whether you know what you got yourself into.’

Vox tipped his screen back and laughed, the set of his shoulders finally relaxing. ‘Believe me, I’m still finding out every day.’

Angel felt better. ‘We know how Val survived…’ he said, narrowing his left eyes slightly as he contemplated Vox. ‘But how did you?’

Vox’s smile diminished sharply. That wasn’t a secret he wanted to give out, because knowing he had backups was one step closer to finding and destroying all of them; and he couldn’t bank on Angel not understanding the concept, just because the spider had died before the Korean War started….

‘I guess I owe you that much,’ he said, finally. ‘I have… copies of myself. If the main one dies, another wakes up. I made this one a week before things heated up.’

Angel raised a brow. ‘Well, that’s… weird and science fictiony,’ he said, and left it there. He hadn’t been sure Vox would even answer, but it had been something on his—and Alastor’s—minds.

He finished his wine, and found one of Yve’s staff at his side, with a bottle. He let her refill it, waited for her to go, before looking at Vox again.

‘You and Val had business together. Is there anything outstanding you want to discuss?’ He modulated his tone this time, careful and calmly neutral.

‘Fuck no,’ Vox said. ‘It’s a clean slate, as far as I’m concerned. If you want something distributed or advertised, talk to me. Otherwise, you mind your business and I’ll mind mine.’

It had only been with his backup’s clear mind and unclouded eye that he’d seen exactly how ruinous the deals he’d been making with Valentino had promised to be. And Vox had thought he’d been winning.

‘There is the matter of Spicy’s job,’ Angel said, still in that voice that was almost accentless, but not quite the Mid-Atlantic diction he used on film. ‘He has privileged information, and worked freelance for the Studio. Given he’s now yours, still employing him would be a violation of common truce.’

There were no laws or courts, in Hell; but there was ‘common x’, which was simply the way things had been done for so long that people thought of them as unspoken rules. It was a kind of system that Angel knew very well—organised crime ran on similar unwritten codes of conduct.

Vox eyed him with the wariness of someone who made the rules, and so usually got to ignore all of that.

‘As long as he’s with me, he doesn’t need to work,’ he said bluntly. ‘If we break things off, he can go do whatever he wants, because I cut off access to anything compromising. Are you going to make an alliance with me because you want to keep your favourite fluffer?’

‘Are you really gonna get on a high horse and say that’s a bad motivation?’ Angel countered, arching a brow and leaning back in the booth.

‘…But no,’ he said. ‘I don’t need a dresser or a fluffer anymore, cos I ain’t got time to be a movie star anymore.’

Angel also had a sinking feeling that Spicy wouldn’t be welcome on the Studio lot, any longer. He’d been going into work while taking care of Alastor, he’d heard what people were saying. How they were talking. Spicy was no longer remembered for being kind, he was just That Traitor. Angel felt guilty about that, but tried to turn it into anger at Val, not himself.

‘If he’s your new sugar baby, fine; but he’s my friend, and we ain’t giving up our friendship.’ Angel looked away, and then said. ‘Look, I don’t… know much about what you might want, what kinda deals we could work out. I know there’s a lotta tech stuff I don’t know shit about. I know movies. Idunno nothin’ about TV or the infernet, only that you can watch movies on there, so there must be some kinda deal you wanna make. So,’ he said, folding his middle arms. ‘Shoot.’

‘That round’s staying chambered for now,’ Vox said dryly, leaning back in his seat. ‘If we make negotiations, I’m bringing someone in who can explain everything to you. Maybe Spicy, maybe someone else. Doesn’t matter. I’m just out of practice at explanations that don’t involve shunting all the info directly into your brain. Like I said: you figure out what you want, and you come to me. The ball’s in your court and it’s staying there, because getting eaten alive once was more than enough.’

Angel shrugged. ‘A’right, but I want it known I’m open to an alliance; for Spicy’s sake, and for mine.’ He spread his hands. ‘You, me, and Al, we control the entirety of an industry. Be advantageous to be allies.’ And I’m willing to act as a buffer between you and Al, Angel implied. It was a new era, and Angel was not going to let himself follow in Val’s isolationist footsteps.

He got to his feet, and didn’t hold out his hand to shake—that was a very powerful magical gesture, in Hell, people didn’t do it casually as a greeting—but the sentiment was there.

‘Good talk,’ he said.

Vox nodded, crossing his legs (in any other establishment he would have swung his feet up onto the table) and putting his arms behind his screen. He’d been dreading his next encounter with Angel Dust, but this tied everything up with a neat little bow and a card reading Thanks for nothing, Val, you sick fuck.

‘Good talk.’

‘I’m gonna go visit my sick friend now,’ Angel said. ‘And, uh, if you wanna work together on getting revenge on the prince, gimmie a call.’ His grin turned crooked. Spicy had already gotten Stolas pretty good in the Reputation, but Angel liked juicier forms of revenge.

‘Now that,’ Vox said, ‘is an offer I can get behind.’

Chapter Text

Zo knew he had to keep his eyes open, because owls didn’t make any fucking noise when they moved; Stolas had already snapped off two of his arms, and that beak was sharp.

‘Come out,’ Stolas lilted softly, crushing Zo’s phone in one talon. ‘Come out, come out….’ He wended through tables with chairs stacked on them, the mirrors lining the walls of the bar showing him at every angle, his mien turned beautiful and terrible in his rage. ‘Come out, little spider….’

Zo wanted badly to snark, but held his tongue; he didn’t have any weapons, sinners weren’t allowed weapons, here. If only he could get behind the bar, his access point to his ceiling webs was behind the bar….

Stolas finally gave him an opening—Zo darted from his spot in the coat closet and threw tables and chairs behind him as he went, jumping behind the bar and finally feeling safe as he swung into his webs, the room echoing with hissing shrieks.

‘Come down here so I can kill you!’

‘Fat chance!’ Zo said, still on the move, dodging bolts of magic.

.oOo.

Angel had never been here before; Vox’s studio lot was… a lot like his, really, just with more tech scattered around, and different people. People who stared and held up their phones. Well, Angel wasn’t going to do a walk of shame; he was here to visit a friend. He crossed the blacktop, the heels of his boots clicking sharply, and went into the marble-tiled lobby.

‘I’m here to visit Spice Drop.’

The sinner at the desk was more machine than person, cords coming out of his head and connecting into the computer in front of him directly. He raised a glowing brow.

‘Yes, my lord,’ he said, with no inflection that indicated sarcasm. He did something, and the shining elevators down the hall opened. ‘It’s just that way, top floor. Please turn off all electronic devices before you go up.’

Angel raised a brow, ‘Why? Ain’t this electric city?’

‘Ours is not to question why,’ said the receptionist. Angel had heard that before.

‘Do or die, yeah, yeah,’ he said, switching off his phone. That was weird. Was there something sensitive up there? He went up the elevator, which took a while. There was music.

It wasn’t terrible.

.oOo.

The door to the bar opened silently, and a long, spiralling horn shone in the low light like black pearl, cloven hooves crunching on the broken glass from a mirror Stolas had smashed in his rage.

The owl turned and, seeing it was the owner of the bar—and of the spider he was hunting—narrowed his eyes.

‘Your Grace,’ he said, purring and smoothing his feathers.

Amdusias did not smile. ‘And why,’ he said softly, ‘have you trespassed, Stolas?’

‘And pulled off my arms!’ Zo called, from somewhere above them. Stolas’ smile did not waver.

‘He betrayed us, all of us!’

‘Did he,’ Amdusias deadpanned, in his soft, breathy voice. ‘And you did not think to inform me? He is my property, Stolas.’

‘He unlawfully trespassed and freed my rightful prisoners!’

‘Trespass shit!’ Zo yelled. ‘I was outside on the street, that ain’t your territory!’

.oOo.

Spicy had gone to take a shower, and was still in it when Moxxie heard a knock at the door. When he opened it, Angel Dust was standing there, dressed in a black and pink suit jacket and a pink skirt, with his signature thigh-high black boots.

‘Hiya, kid,’ Angel said to the imp. ‘Spicy invited me over.’

‘Kinda figured,’ Moxxie said, determined to just act like a regular demon (one who didn’t mind being called kid—although Angel probably did that to everyone). Angel had a presence, even without the whole overlord thing, but he was probably tired of people getting wide-eyed and wobbly-kneed around him. ‘I’m going to assume you can come in. Want a cookie?’

‘One of Spicy’s? Fuck yeah. Where is he?’ Angel looked around, seeing that Vox had already let Spicy make the kitchen pink, and possibly the whole apartment mid-century modern. Or maybe Vox shared that aesthetic with Spicy, he had shown up about then….

‘Showering.’ Moxxie’s tail flicked in the general direction of the bathroom. ‘And, uh, I made the cookies, actually, but Spice Drop supervised.’ He didn’t feel familiar enough for “Spicy.” It felt like presuming something. He watched Angel take in the apartment, and thought about Malice’s text. Maybe this visit would ease some of the sting, once people found out? But minds had likely been made up, and the damage was already done.

Angel perched on one of the high stools at the kitchen bar, leaning on the counter and accepting a cookie.

‘These are great,’ he said, after the first bite. ‘Made ‘em today, huh? They taste fresh.’ They were still warm….

He heard Spicy singing, muffled, from the next room; Angel had heard him sing in the shower before, it was an unexpectedly homey feeling.

‘Are you angry?’ Moxxie asked suddenly, abandoning his pretext of checking for crumbs on the counter. ‘About everyone calling him a traitor? Normally, when an overlord’s friend gets insulted, heads roll. Not to mention other, less aerodynamic parts.’

Angel raised his left brows, and sighed. Spicy was probably friends with this little guy, too; he was always nice to the imps, it was why Angel tried to be nice to them.

‘Eh, doin’ that wouldn’t change nobody’s mind,’ he said, resting his top two pairs of arms, folded, on the counter. ‘If there’s one thing my Zizo taught me, it’s that ya gotta stick by yer friends. You know ‘em better’n some schmuck who ain’t never bothered to.’

On the other side of the bedroom door, Spicy overheard, and covered his mouth to muffle a sob. Angel was such a good friend….

Moxxie again became absorbed in making sure the countertop was sparkling clean. ‘Friends. Right.’ He’d lost most of his old contacts after joining up with Blitzo, who wasn’t well regarded in the circles Moxxie had run in; and although Blitzo sure wanted to be friends with him… sometimes, it felt like all Moxxie really had was Millie.

Spicy came out of the bedroom, a towel on his head. Vox didn’t have towels that fit around him, so he didn’t bother. Besides, he was at a stage where he didn’t want things close to his skin.

‘Hi, Angel,’ he said, and was instantly in a six-armed hug.

‘Hiya, Spicy!’ Angel said, squeezing tight, before holding him by the shoulders at arm’s length. He noticed the wince. ‘What? Oh,’ he said, quieting his voice, remembering the research he’d done. ‘Right. Migraine. You wanna lay down?’

‘Yeah, actually, we can catch up in the bedroom…’

.oOo.

Amdusias did not outrank Stolas, meaning the situation had to be handled delicately; however, being The Musician had advantages. Amdusias reflected on them as he watched the owl struggle to stay standing while his hollow bones only magnified the vibrations Amdusias was sending through them. Birds had such wonderful acoustics….

From his webs above, Zo watched, always fascinated by his master’s refinements of his power over not just music, but sound itself. His instincts were screaming at him to pull off the mates of the two arms Stolas had snapped off, to make it even—but he ignored the thought, however difficult it was.

.oOo.

Spicy settled down on the bed, Angel sitting on the edge of it and crossing his legs.

‘So uh, we had the help of this spider, up in the Gated Community. Zo. He sounded… he sounded like you.’

‘What, New York Italian?’ Angel said, and laughed it off. ‘Babe, don’t be racist.’

‘He had your laugh, Angel,’ Spicy insisted, and Angel’s smile fell so fast you could almost hear it shatter on the floor. Spicy was scared, but pushed on. ‘I know you… Zo said he’s a drag queen, and he’s always been in the Gated Community, because that’s where live entertainment is. He owns a bar.’

Angel did not want to hope. He did not; but it was adding up.

‘Jesus,’ he said. ‘Jesus, Spicy.’

‘Sorry, I just wanted to help, I just—’

‘Nonono, you got me all wrong, I’m not mad atcha, sweetheart!’

‘Oh,’ Spicy said, retreating into the blankets. Once again, Angel realised he’d been loud again. it was so hard to not be, and usually Spicy didn’t care, but… but he was having a weird headache that made sound feel like a stab in the face, and Spicy wasn’t asking Angel to be whiter, that wasn’t the kind of ‘please be quiet’ it was; he was in pain. Angel softened, putting a hand on his shoulder.

‘Sorry, I’m tryin’.’

‘I know.’ Spicy had ‘you’re too loud’ in common with Angel, and Angel knew it. ‘Anyway,’ he said. ‘You’re… you’re an overlord now. And if it is your Aunt Zo, I just… wanted to tell you the good news.’

Angel gave a rueful little smile. ‘Of all the family to survive, I’m not real surprised it was Zizo….’

.oOo.

‘You can come down, now, my dear,’ Amdusias said softly in the silence, cleaning off his horn with a black handkerchief edged in lace. Zo had made it for him, years ago when he’d still been figuring out his silk.

‘Get him outta my fuckin’ bar,’ Zo said, staying put. Amdusias sighed, but understood, and got out his phone.

‘Arpeggio, Allegro, Prince Stolas needs to be transported back to his home. And… bring Capriccio some ice-cream, please; he’s had a difficult morning.’

.oOo.

‘So,’ Angel said, ‘I read somewhere that orgasms help a migraine.’

Spicy grinned. ‘I know, right? Is that an offer?’

‘Fuck yeah it is,’ Angel said, peeling back the blankets.

Outside, in the kitchen, Moxxie was just finishing up making a new cup of coffee for Spice Drop. Sure, Spice Drop had gone into the bedroom with Angel and closed the door; but they were clearly having some kind of intense conversation, not sex. Spice Drop was too ill for sex, right? Coffee had really seemed to help Spice Drop, and Moxxie knew how he liked it this time, so he didn’t want it to go to waste.

He settled for a gentle knock on the door and saying, ‘Coffee,’ figuring if he got no response he’d just leave the mug in the kitchen, maybe with a sign saying COFFEE THIS WAY —>. Millie liked when he did little things like that. Yeah. That was probably what would end up happening. He was so confident of this that he almost regretted knocking in the first place.

‘Coffee!’ Spicy said, even as Angel was kissing his neck. Angel laughed, knowing well how much Spicy loved coffee. He let Spicy get up and answer the door.

‘Thank you,’ Spicy said, and Angel called, from the bed,

‘You wanna join?’ He could feel that the imp did want to join, could feel the awkward crush from the minute he’d gotten into the penthouse. He wondered if his aura would tip the scale in the little guy’s favour. It was cute, him being so in awe of Spicy. Spicy was a celebrity; but since it wasn’t the kind paparazzi chased around, Spicy never noticed when people were star-struck.

Moxxie turned roughly the same colour as wine. ‘I never thought this would actually happen,’ he said after a long moment, amazed. ‘Wait till Millie hears about this… my wife and I have a rule,’ he quickly explained, wishing his face would cool down. ‘If we have an outside fling, we have to tell each other how it went. And I was never tempted until…’ He waved a hand at the bed, then backed off a step, looking worried. ‘Is that okay? We can probably pretend I’m cheating, if you’re into that?’

‘I’m not,’ Spicy said, shutting the door behind him. ‘You wanna text her first?’

Angel enjoyed being around Spicy and his ethics—they were so weird, he loved it. You couldn’t cheat with Spicy, but he had narrowed down the definition to mean ‘lying’, and that was the one thing Spicy would rip your head off for, was lying to him.

Moxxie grinned, too hugely for it to be anything but unintentional. ‘She’s not going to believe me, but sure.’ He got out his phone.

This is probably the part where you walk over to the bed, he told himself after Millie texted back saying it was fine, but his hooves suddenly felt stuck to the carpet. Could they tell he’d never been in a threesome before? He was betting on “absolutely.”

Spicy sat back on the bed, sipping his coffee. ‘Take your time,’ he said, kindly, and hummed at the first taste of a perfect cup of coffee. Perfect temperature, perfect sweetness, perfect everything. ‘Oh, Moxxie…’ he purred, finally letting his attraction show a bit, now that he had permission. ‘This coffee’s so good….’

Angel let Spicy lead, since Moxxie was his pal, not Angel’s. Angel just moved to press behind Spicy, letting him drink but cupping those boy-tits in his middle hands, knowing how much Spicy liked them played with. Chubby boys had so much to squish and tease and play with….

‘You like that?’ Moxxie said, trying to put on some semblance of a dirty-talk voice. Millie just got wet when he recited weapon specs in her ear… He remembered one of Spicy’s more recent videos, and dared, ‘I can make you a lot more. So much coffee you can’t hold it…’ He needed a clincher. ‘But it tastes so good that you won’t want to stop?’

Angel hid a smile in Spicy’s crest; subs trying to dom was so fuckin adorable….

Spicy tried not to choke on the coffee. It’s mean, it’s mean, don’t laugh at him, he’s trying… He told himself.

‘You know, Moxxie, you’ve been so nice to me,’ Spicy said, ‘Can I suck your cock, sweetheart? Would you like that?’

Angel had never heard this side of Spicy, before; Spicy had always wanted Angel to dom him, which was fine with Angel, really, because Angel never got to even top anyone, at work, let alone dominate…. He wasn’t naive enogh to think his friend wasn’t versatile and a switch, but still, it was somethin’ to see in person….

‘You could’ve just said I wasn’t convincing,’ Moxxie muttered. Louder, he said, ‘I would, but can you go lighter on the fake sugar? Only Millie gets to call me sweetheart or her little Moxxie-cocks or… you know. Things like that.’

He was blushing again. Fuck.

‘Spicy? Fake-sweet? Nah, babe, that’s just how he is,’ Angel said, supportively. ‘C’mere,’ he said, reaching out one of his upper hands and beckoning, his powers reaching to pull at Moxxie, coax that Lust higher than the imp’s shyness. Spicy’s crest fluffed in a blush, and he hid a smile in his coffee. This was going to be delicious, if Angel kept saying things like that….

Moxxie’s hooves might have left the ground for a few seconds as he came closer. Suddenly, he felt a lot more confident. After all, sex was supposed to be fun, and you didn’t have fun looking over your shoulder every thirty seconds to see if you were embarrassing yourself or not. He was going to have fun.

‘You ever tasted imp before, Spice?’ Angel asked, as he helped Moxxie up onto the bed.

‘I don’t swallow,’ Spicy said matter-of-factly, realising too late that offering to put something in his mouth might have been a bad idea, given his condition; but the scopolamine patch was still behind one ear, and he hadn’t felt nauseated since it had gone on, so he tried not to worry.

Angel caught on to Spicy’s worry, and added more hands to the mix, knowing how much Spicy liked being petted and stroked and touched. He turned to mouth at Spicy’s soft neck. ‘You want me to bite you, sweetheart?’ he murmured. ‘I know you like venom, I got special stuff now….’

Moxxie saw Spicy shiver. ‘Yes,’ he said, on a breath. ‘Yes, ple—ah!’

Moxxie had been about to explain that he was more than willing to pull out of Spicy’s mouth when the time came, and, further, that an imp’s come was liquid shadow intangible to anyone but other imps; but, as he watched Spicy’s pupils dilate even wider, turning those dark eyes almost black, he wondered if that was too complicated a concept. His suit might also have been a little too complex, so Moxxie started undressing, Angel’s powers giving him the courage to just toss his clothes to the floor instead of looking for somewhere to carefully hang them up. He knelt on the bed, feeling acutely conscious of his body all the way to the tips of his horns, and let himself be looked at. He didn’t have Blitzo’s bold markings or, when it got down to it, his length and girth, but once he’d met Millie he’d stopped caring about anyone else finding him attractive.

Even two of Hell’s most famous porn stars.

Spicy felt the venom heat his blood and raise his pulse, flushing his cunt and making arousal stick in a way it never usually did, without Vox’s help.

He wondered if Vox could feel the venom, however distantly.

Angel pulled away from Spicy, taking the coffee and setting it safely on the nightstand. He looked at Moxxie, reaching a gentle hand to stroke his horns, his fluffy white hair.

‘Ain’t you pretty…’ he said, ‘That’s cock’s the perfect size for Spicy—ain’t it, babe?’ He knew Spicy’s taste for more modest proportions, the better for sticking in one’s mouth.

Spicy managed to get his eyes open, and practically drooled at the sight of Moxxie, surging forward. ‘Oh, yes….’ he purred. ‘Yes please let me taste it, Moxxie….’ His crest was lit up, his mouth was glowing, as was his cunt—the glowing was new. Of course, so was the unnatural white of his skin, that only made his brown eyes seem warmer.

Moxxie wasn’t entirely sure that he wouldn’t get shocked, but Millie had gotten frisky with the jumper cables from work before, so he figured it would be worth it.

‘Go ahead,’ he said, leaning back a little, trying to get in a good position. ‘Maybe I can return the favour?’ Later on or simultaneously, he didn’t care which. Imps were very flexible.

Spicy didn’t mention the little faun legs and horns were a huge turn-on, and dove in, burying his nose between Moxxie’s legs and inhaling deeply, savouring his scent. He didn’t smell human, which was the point. He smelled like… like an animal, something mammalian, but also a little of black powder. Spicy exhaled, warming Moxxie with his breath, and laying soft, languid kisses over his cock, adoring it. It was red, and it was nowhere near as big as Blitzo’s, which was such a relief, honestly, because Spicy was the opposite of a size queen….

Angel was content to bask, for the moment, settling within arm’s reach and petting both of them, knowing to caress the base of Moxxie’s horns, knowing how to stroke through Spicy’s feathers to make them fluff—and, apparently, shimmer—happily.

There was a little bit of a tingle to those lips, just enough to make Moxxie dig his claws hard into the bedclothes. Between that and Angel knowing exactly where to put his fingers—had he fucked imps before, or did you just get the knowledge when you became Overlord of Sex?—Moxxie wasn’t sure how long he’d hold out. He wanted to give Spicy enough time to explore, because he wasn’t sure how long this interlude would last, or if Angel or Spicy was going to pretend it hadn’t happened, afterward. Maybe encouragement was the key.

‘That feels so g-nnnh, fuck…’ he moaned, eloquently.

Spicy took his time, kissing the soft insides of Moxxie’s thighs, nuzzling him, his feathers tickling Moxxie’s skin slightly. ‘You’re so pretty, Moxxie, thank you for joining us…’ he murmured, holding back his urge to turn the praise dominant, knowing what it was to be assumed submissive bc of your small size—people did it to him often enough.

Moxxie squirmed, too lost in sensation to make words, arching his back so hard that he almost collapsed against Angel. At last he gasped out, ‘I could visit more often… ‘specially if Blitzo signs on with Vo-ooox!

He’d never had his cock sucked quite like this; Millie always went after him like there’d been a years-long drought….

Oooh, Daddy, did you hear how he said your name? Spicy thought, all mischief curls and Lust.

‘He’s gonna take his sweet time, Mox, you just lay back….’ Angel said, half-taunting, half-soothing. It was sinister, almost villainous, as he settled Moxxie to lay back against him, knowing his soft fluff was going to just cause more pleasure to the little guy.

I did, Vox said, and he even got the pronunciation right. I have to admit, I was discounting this one, he’s not as flashy, not as camera-ready. But he suits you well.

Moxxie let out a little whimper. There might have been a hint of smoke curling out of his ears, especially when one of Angel’s wandering hands found his other patch of little white markings, right in the hollow of his hip.

Spicy pulled away, looking up into those gold eyes. ‘Will you talk to me, Moxxie? I love your voice, it’s so sexy…’

Angel hadn’t known Spicy had a voice kink. Spicy had a pretty versatile voice—he’d been able to mimic Val’s accent, and Angel’s, and had talked about how he used to have about eight accents he could do, back when he was alive and role-playing all the time. Angel, however, didn’t know it went both ways.

He wondered if Spicy would like Alastor’s voice….

‘Thanks,’ Moxxie said, dazed, the word almost indistinguishable from his panting breath. ‘I love your mouth…’ He blinked a few times. ‘Okay, I can talk to you or you can suck my cock. Sorry to make you choose.’

Spicy giggled, and pouted. ‘Aww, I can’t be that good.’

‘You can be that good,’ Angel said, ‘You serious? Spice, you’re great at sex.’

Spicy’s crest fluffed, and Angel couldn’t get over the complete lack of awareness he had, about how sexy he was.

‘C’man, Mox, show him,’ Angel said, ‘Lay back, Spice, let’s work you over…’

Spicy purred, settling onto his back, thighs spread, showing off his cunt had gotten more lush, since Angel last saw it, as well as glowing blue, glittering every time it was touched, like ripples of light. Angel leaned over to catch Spicy’s mouth in his, both of them adoring kissing and unable to really get it from their lovers. Both of them moaned, and kissed like it was oxygen.

Seizing the opportunity, Moxxie crouched between those plush thighs and began licking and kissing, immediately enamoured of the smell, the taste, and, as before, the very faint electric charge. He could feel his heartbeat pounding to the tune of, I’m going down on Spice Drop! The tempo was faster with the knowledge that Blitzo—charismatic, photogenic Blitzo—had only gotten to plow Spice Drop; and that with Vox right there, watching every thrust. Of course, he reminded himself, he was worse than an idiot if he thought Vox wasn’t watching right now.

Spicy loved Moxxie’s hot little tongue, Moxxie’s delicate little hands stroking his labia, pressing Spicy’s thighs outward, sinking into the softness there…. And then Moxxie found his clit, and Spicy screamed, gasping, Angel pulling up to let him breathe.

‘Don’tstopdon’tstop,’ Spicy begged, and Angel’s sinister laugh only made him wetter.

Daddy I think you can come home, tonight… Daddy please talk to me… can you feel this? Can you feel—it’s so good….

I’m starting to think I should come home early. Vox’s voice was cut-glass sharp, the way it got when Spicy really turned him on. Fuck, I’m going to bluescreen in the middle of this fucking meeting…

(It was only half a euphemism. Sometimes Vox’s little deaths were so powerful, and so literal, that he had to reboot afterwards.)

Moxxie didn’t stop.

Spicy was sobbing soon, his clit sensitive and swollen from Angel’s little hit of venom. ‘Moxxie,’ he sobbed, ‘Moxxie, Moxxie, Moxxieeeeee,’ the last turned into a wail. ‘Fuck me, fuck me, please…’

Angel had switched to playing with Spicy’s tits again, and stroking his feathers, switching his kisses to Spicy’s neck so Spicy could do his usual litany of begging, encouraging, and noising.

That please hung in the air for a good few seconds before Moxxie raised his head, although he hadn’t meant to torment; he’d just been so absorbed in Spicy’s cunt that he’d forgotten about everything else, including other things he could do with said cunt. His face was visibly dripping, tongue swiping over his lips again and again as he looked at Spicy.

‘No one’s ever begged me like that before,’ he said softly, and that fired him up more than a concubus’ magic ever could. Trembling with excitement, he climbed up to straddle Spicy, gazing down at him, letting his cock nudge at the entrance he, personally, had made even wetter. ‘Say it one more time?’

Angel grinned against Spicy’s neck; he and Vox knew one secret about Spicy, and that was…

‘Please,’ Spicy begged, ‘Please, Moxxie, please fuck me, please, please I need it!’

Spicy could beg.

‘I’m so empty, Moxxie, please fuck me, please, I need your cock!’

He cried, actually cried, for real, and Angel got wet and hot at that, his own tail sliding between his thighs and frotting slowly. He didn’t want to push himself too far, he loved how long sex could take, with someone like Spicy.

Moxxie groaned loud and long, and there was a hint of ‘Fuck…’ in it, but no more than that, because he couldn’t be bothered to spend effort on making a whole word. Not when he needed all his energy to push into Spicy. Or fall into Spicy, was what it felt like, because that glowing cunt was just so unbelievably wet, slicker than sin and twice as hot.

‘Here it is,’ he sighed at last, ‘here you go, I’ve got you…’ Where had that come from? If asked, Moxxie would have said unequivocally that Spicy had him….

Spicy let out a broken moan, at that; he was weak to a few kind words from his dom; and Angel’s opinion of Moxxie went up a few notches. Was this why they were friends? They were both sweet in a world of sinners?

‘Keep goin’ like that, Mox,’ Angel encouraged softly, unobtrusively, knowing Spicy was concentrating on sensation, right now. ‘You’re doin’ great.’

Moxxie would have liked to say that he didn’t need the encouragement, but he absolutely did, and if he was being honest it felt almost as good as the sex. ‘You’re so good, Spicy, you feel so good, I’ll fuck you as long and hard as you want, as long as you need…’ He had to stop and catch his breath again as he rocked slowly, knowing that even if he had been capable of really jackhammering it, this wasn’t the time.

Spicy’s cunt was, of course, larger than the cunts Moxxie had fucked before—he’d never had a sinner, only other imps—but it was soft and hot and tingled slightly, not with electricity but something… else.

(Had he been at all familiar with life on Earth, he would have known it was similar to touching a sea anemone; but Hell’s only animals were visiting cats, and it had no bodies of water to speak of)

Angel was surprised how content he was to just watch; usually, he wasn’t a voyeur, he wanted to participate. But it wasn’t just wanting to pamper his friend, it was true satisfaction, a passive skimming of the sexual energy in the room. He lashed his tail idly through the air and kept petting Spicy all over, toying with his nipples and stroking his crest, and just watched this earnest little imp that matched Spicy for sweetness.

Moxxie was lost to everything but the softness of Spice Drop and the smell of sex and coffee. He couldn’t have said how long he lasted, or remembered all of what he said, though he knew at one point Angel’s tail curved over Spicy to entwine with his, and that was so achingly familiar in all this newness that Moxxie had to blink back tears. He did remember looking down at Spicy and saying, ‘I want to give you everything you want,’ because he didn’t know how else to express what he was feeling.

When Spicy came, it was less like a gush and more like the tide, big and all encompassing and dragging them all under. Instead of a scream, like most of his videos, Spicy led up to it with breathless chanting of, ‘Moxxie, Moxxie, Moxxie, yes, I’m going to—I’m—Moxxie!’

A few floors down, in his office, Vox felt it, more strongly than before, as Angel’s aura extended down that far, partially encompassing him.

Vox savoured the novelty of it, how each partner played their own variation on the theme of Spicy’s orgasm. Clearly, Moxxie was more aptly named than he appeared. He’d ended the meeting early, because he was the overlord and he could do that, and had taken refuge in here to bring himself off. Part of him wanted to join in on the festivities, even remotely, but it would scare the imp out of his skin, and Angel hadn’t been that enthusiastic about an alliance yet.

Maybe someday….

For Moxxie, that tide’s slow ebbing was what pulled his own orgasm from him, and, as with Blitzo, Spicy got to feel his cum for just a moment or two before it dissolved into shadow, which was an odd little chill deep inside.

Afterwards, Moxxie lay across Spicy, panting, looking bonelessly, deliriously content.

Spicy’s hands quite naturally found Moxxie and combed fingers through his hair, instinctively tracing around the base of his horns, more out of curiosity than knowing how good it would feel…. ‘Thank you, Moxxie,’ he sighed, feeling much better.

Angel leaned down to kiss Spicy some more, and he hummed, kissing back with a sort of relaxed enthusiasm.

‘Oh! Ohhh—’ Moxxie writhed so hard that he fell off, landing heavily next to Spicy, and instinctively shoving his head back for more of that touch before he blinked. ‘Oh,’ he said again. ‘Um, you’re welcome. Anytime.’

Spicy kept petting him, Angel’s kiss making him forget that Moxxie wasn’t a cat, and starting the familiar, almost meditative cat-motions, reacting subconsciously to the purr that had started up. Angel’s tail caressing Moxxie’s gently wasn’t helping.

Everything was warm and wonderful, and Moxxie was having to redefine what he’d thought bliss was, until he realised he was making The Noise. He cleared his throat loudly, curled in on himself a little tighter.

‘Sorry,’ he mumbled.

The two demons above him paused their kiss.

‘What?’ Angel asked. ‘Sorry for what, babe?’

‘Moxxie, it’s okay,’ Spicy said, ‘whatever it is.’ He didn’t stop gently running his nails along Moxxie’s scalp, wanting to soothe him. ‘C’mere, sweetie, come cuddle with us…’

From the noise Moxxie made, that wasn’t soothing, but it was distracting. ‘You can’t just say everything is okay without knowing what’s going on,’ he muttered, less obstinate than bewildered. He did come and cuddle, though, even if his movements were a little cautious around Angel and he stayed closer to Spicy.

‘Then tell us what’s going on, love,’ Spicy said gently, pulling Moxxie to his side, one hand still in Moxxie’s hair. He hoped Moxxie wasn’t feeling guilty—he’d just had a really nice orgasm, he wanted to relax….

Angel settled down on Moxxie’s other side, one of his hands moving from Spicy to lightly rest on Moxxie’s little hip. ‘You’re safe, Mox,’ he said, and kissed the nape of Moxxie’s neck.

Moxxie shivered a little, but he arched back against Angel, at the kiss. ‘It’s hard to explain,’ he said. ‘We always have to prove we’re good enough to hang around with you sinners, you souls, and that means not doing imp things. And… and The Noise is an imp thing.’

‘The Noise?’ Angel echoed. Spicy also frowned.

‘What noise is that, sweetheart?’ Spicy asked, trying to recall any unusual noises Moxxie had made.

Moxxie sighed. ‘Stroke my hair again, the way you did before, with your fingers curled a little bit.’

Spicy did so, and Moxxie saw him smile, genuinely smile, at the Noise. His pupils dilated and everything.

‘You like it?’ Moxxie’s voice was rough with shock. ‘Y-you don’t think it’s like having a hole drilled in your skull?’

‘Sweetie, that’s a purr. Humans love purring, it’s a healing frequency. We use recordings of purring to calm down, sometimes.’ He skritched a little more. ‘And don’t ever be ashamed of something you naturally do, especially when you feel good.’

Moxxie could tell, from how he said it, that Spicy knew the difficulty of listening to one voice over the demands of an entire society, but that he was saying it nonetheless. He also noticed that Spicy still said humans and we in the same sentence. Neither of those were topics he really wanted to broach, so instead he offered, ‘I don’t know where you get it from on Earth, but I could record myself…’

‘We get it from cats,’ Spicy said, knowing Moxxie must know what cats were; cats were everywhere. Granted, they were aloof, never let you close enough to pet them, let alone hear them purr—but they were cats, all the same. Most of them were dark colours, and about half of them were black, but Spicy’s favourite kind of cats were black ones.

‘And you don’t have to record yourself for me, sugar,’ Spicy went on. ‘You’re right here, now. Just relax, and let yourself be.’

‘Oh,’ Moxxie said, relaxing into his touch, ‘so that’s what those do…’

Spicy chuckled. ‘Oh, cats do much more than that, my dear. Humans keep all kinds of animals as pets, but only cats keep us as pets….’

Angel smiled, knowing how Spicy got about animals, but especially cats. More than once he’d lamented seeing cats everywhere without being able to coax one to come live with him; he wasn’t the only sinner, but he was certainly the one who never gave up on it.

‘…You know,’ Spicy said, after explaining cats for a while, ‘I wonder if the cats down here are… from the Eternal Nile.’ Spicy had, in his youth, worshipped the Ancient Egyptian gods (as best he could, considering there was very little an eight-year-old could find about how to worship them), and wondered, now that he knew the pagan gods were down here and paying attention….

From the pause, it was a daring or even dangerous thing to say, and it would have helped if Moxxie had the faintest clue where or what the Eternal Nile was. He couldn’t say something like, Don’t all of them? because Spicy had briefly delved into cats’ evolutionary history, and the scope of even that brief glimpse had unsettled him. Had imps evolved from something?

‘What’s the Eternal Nile?’ Angel asked. Spicy hadn’t really talked about Egyptian stuff before.

‘Oh, the afterlife of Ancient Egypt. It’s exactly like Ancient Egypt on Earth, but like… no natural disasters. That’s their paradise, isn’t that sweet?’

‘So what happens to bad people?’

‘I think they get eaten? Your heart gets weighed against a feather of… Ma’at? And if its heavier, you… get eaten? By… uh… what’s her name… the lion goddess… Sekhmet, I think? It’s been a while since I researched this stuff.’

‘Jesus. What about your afterlife?’

‘Oh well I… um, I always thought it was like… you have to judge your own life, and decide if you want to stay a while or if you want to get your past life memories erased and be reincarnated. Or…’ he said, trailing off, before pushing on. ‘Or my death counted as me dying in battle and I get to go to Valhalla or Fólkvangr.’

Hearing himself explain it, Spicy realised that he wouldn’t have been happy either way, he would have been bored and upset. Was that why he’d finally given his contract to Vox? Because he feared, more than death, more than pain, more than suffering… boredom? It made sense, unsettling as the realisation was.

‘And… where does all this happen?’ Moxxie was sitting up now, looking bewildered and a little suspicious, which was exactly how he felt. ‘What are these places? When humans die, they go to Hell. You were humans. This is Hell. That’s how it works.’

‘Not for all humans,’ Angel said. ‘Only the ones that are Christian. Or… Spicy, but he’s here by mistake.’

‘Humans have lots of beliefs about the afterlife, and whatever you believe, that’s the one you go to,’ Spicy was happy to talk cosmology after sex, that was fine. Animals and religion, those were his two easiest subjects to lecture on. ‘Hell is probably one of the newest realms down here, all things considered. Pagan religions pre-date Christianity. That’s why I call them the old gods.’

‘So that’s what pagans are,’ Moxxie said. ‘I kind of thought they were an urban legend. Blitzo said you were one, but I figured he was… being Blitzo. So there are even more humans up there that aren’t going to Hell? Ones that aren’t Chris…tian?’ He sounded very dubious about the word, putting the syllables down as though they might explode if not handled carefully.

Spicy couldn’t help giggling at being compared to an urban legend. ‘Believe me, babe, some humans think pagans are an urban legend.’

.oOo.

‘He’ll come back,’ Zo said, as Amdusias tended his wounds. ‘You can’t watch me all the time, and that little sinner I helped ruined his reputation.’

‘Is that all.’

‘Don’t you dare go after that boy, the Prince deserved what he got,’ Zo snapped.

Amdusias put a hand softly on Zo’s shoulder, reassuring. ‘I am not nearly as unwise as some of my cousins, my dear; I felt the ripples in the air, I saw the raven in the sky. That little sinner is more than simply adept at ruining reputations… how is that, my sequin? Too tight?’

‘No. What do you mean?’ Zo asked. His phone was broken, and he hadn’t thought to look up Spicy before Stolas had attacked him. Amdusias looked away in thought, for a few moments.

‘He is a priest of the old gods,’ he said finally. ‘And those are very dangerous.’

Indeed, Stolas wasn’t the only person who was alarmed about Spicy—any sinner escaping so easily, even with help, was a threat. Any sinner without fear of the Goetics’ wrath was a threat to Hell’s tenuous hierarchy. Alastor, The Bokor, had been dangerous enough—but he had little ambition. Vox’s newest darling, however… he had ambition. He had not given up, even after a year and a half of being in Hell.

Amdusias was not certain what his position on that would be. The Musician was not someone very much needed, his talents only to entertain his cousins, making them view him as only one step above their servants and slaves. It gave him a different perspective on the matter of power. In a lot of ways, sinners were freer, even if they weren’t as safe, and Amdusias wasn’t sure he would want to discourage this witch from… whatever chaos he was starting to unleash.

It would, if nothing else, be a surcease of ennui.

Chapter Text

Despite Moxxie’s protestations, Spicy was adamant that what he’d been doing counted as work, and so packed him off home after eight hours, saying that he could come back tomorrow. Moxxie decided not to mention that Blitzo had said a healthy work-life balance was for cowards, and went.

Scarcely after the Server’s main doors had shut behind the imp, Vox asked, Can I come up and see you now, baby? Or is Angel still there?

Spicy took a few moments to answer, and Vox could sense he was doing inventory of himself, his symptoms. Yes, I think so, as long as you can cut the high frequency blue light. I’m gonna take a little more morphine. Angel is gonna make me food, because I can’t reliably do that myself, right now, and we’re Italian-American and need to feed each other.

His tone was a little firm, expecting Vox to protest Angel’s presence; he still was very unsure about everything, despite Angel having told him about the truce.

Then I’ll be there afterwards, Vox said, in a carefully neutral tone he never used but couldn’t seem to help. Enjoy your food, buy anything you need. Spicy and Angel needed time to reconnect, and it was just going to get weird with Vox in the room. Besides, no matter how understanding Angel had been of Valentino’s deception, Vox was wary about demonstrating affection to Spicy in front of him. He might still go on the warpath, feeling protective; concubi were so emotional…

He got a flash of stubborn. No, you’re coming home. We can’t just avoid this, Angel says you already talked, so…

Spicy was, distantly, surprised at how he felt less submissive now that they were together, officially. Was it the legitimacy, the fact that Vox had agreed and kept agreeing? Spicy was naturally a switch, not a submissive; just like Angel had started being more dominant, after Val was gone, so had Spicy….

Vox was impressed, and, as always, more than a little turned on. Wanting more, he said, I make terrible dinner company, given how I don’t eat. And since we already talked, what else is there to talk about? He did genuinely want to know—that just wasn’t his sole motivation.

This is your home, Vox. Why are you being an ass? Spicy could sense something was amiss, insincere, and it snapped up his hackles like nothing else.

It was a good thing, Vox thought, that all the electronics in the penthouse were still unplugged, broken, or both. He wasn’t sure he could have kept his anger out of them. Because when you and Angel are together I feel like I’m intruding, and I hate that. Intrusion is kind of my whole deal. I’m not used to it feeling bad. And you may be mine, but you deserve time without me.

Spicy was surprised; jealousy never occurred to him, ever. It was foreign, just like sin. He said, quieter, …I miss you, honey. Angel’s my friend, not my husband.

It was the first he’d dared let himself use the word out loud; but it needed to be said, he needed to make a point.

There were a few seconds of just silence. No words, no emotions. Dead air. Then there was a rush of pure stunned vulnerability, and Vox said, I’m on my way.

Angel watched Spicy come back to earth. ‘Everything okay?’

‘Yeah,’ Spicy said. ‘Yeah, he’s just… uh. Jealous of you, I guess. For being my best friend.’

Angel huffed a soft laugh, as he continued chopping up fresh oregano and basil. ‘What’dja tell ‘im?’

‘That he’s my husband,’ Spicy said, and Angel paused, for a moment.

‘…There’s a lot I don’t know about you, isn’t there?’

‘Now that Val’s gone, I don’t have to be so careful, anymore,’ Spicy said. ‘But… yeah, there is. A lot.’ He swallowed. ‘I hope you like it.’

‘You’re still gonna be my friend, Spice. Nothin’ changes how you are, it’s just… kinda fun, thinkin’ there’s more to know. You pack a lot into that little frame,’ he joked, grinning.

Vox came in to the sound of Spicy laughing.

That made him comfortable enough to smile and call, teasing, ‘Honey, I’m home!’ And that was enough to carry him forward into the kitchen, where he leaned against the bar, watching, pretending he wasn’t still trying to get over I miss you and husband in the same sentence. There had to be a ceremony of some kind that they could do—and Spicy deserved that much. Anything Hell had prestocked probably had too much Christian influence for Spicy’s taste, though, even if it was intentionally perverted. Maybe Loki knew….

Spicy giggled, and Vox was flooded with pleasure, knowing that it wasn’t just a joke—that, like all little references and allusions, it truly gave Spicy joy to hear. And it wasn’t just the morphine giggles, either, because Vox could tell.

Spicy hugged him, holding tight for a long time. ‘I love you,’ he said, face pressed into him. The height difference meant he was about cock-height, but Vox could tell that despite acknowledging and adoring the cock his cheek was pressed against, Spicy had no real Intentions just then.

Angel kept cooking, not looking up at Vox, letting the couple have their time. Didn’t mean he didn’t clandestinely watch, though, curious. He’d never really had a chance to see them together.

‘I love you too, baby.’ The words came out more easily every time he said them, until they felt almost natural. For Spicy’s mind only, he added, My Spicy wife. ‘How do you like the new setting? Is it working for you?’ He’d taken a quick look at himself on the way up, and while the distinctly orange tint was going to take some getting used to, it was definitely worth it.

Spicy glanced up, cautious, and smiled, pressing his face into Vox again. A bit. Still hurts to look too long, but I appreciate that you care. It’ll get better.

The hiss of cooking meat and the smell of herbs spread through the air as Angel added the first chicken breast to the pan.

Vox had a sense of smell, because he needed to know when he was overloading himself enough to burn, and he inhaled appreciatively. ‘Chicken parmesan?’

‘Yeah.’

‘Smells good.’ The most ethnicity Vox could lay claim to had been an embarrassingly Polish last name, bequeathed from a many-times-great-grandfather whose descendants had scrupulously married the WASPiest folks they could find. He didn’t usually think about his human life at all. Maybe it was the whole husband thing.

Angel grinned. ‘Yeah, well, kid hasn’t eaten much in the past few days, we gotta keep that meat on his bones.’

Spicy made a blushing noise, crest fluffing and shimmering—it had gone from blue to a soft ambery red, mimicking Vox’s new colours. ‘Angel.’

‘What? You think I’m gonna be a bad friend, not feedja when you’re sick?’ He snorted, but knew that the more he talked about feeding Spicy, no matter how much Spicy didn’t know how to react, the more loved Spicy would feel. And maybe Vox would feel less like Angel was a stranger or a lover, and realise Angel was Spicy’s family.

‘Make sure he gets seconds,’ Vox said. He wondered if he could binge-watch enough cooking videos to make something that Spicy could eat, or if that was best left to Angel.

Spicy squeaked, trying to bury himself in Vox harder—but there was, just barely, the hint of a giggle. The smell of the food wasn’t making him feel sick, and he was getting hungry….

‘You wanna go do couple stuff while I finish dinner?’ Angel said, ‘I don’t mind, I can put the radio on.’

Vox arched a digital brow. ‘So no couple stuff will be happening in here in the meantime. Got it.’ He looked down at Spicy. ‘Is the scopo going to let me scoop you up and carry you to the bedroom?’

‘Slowly,’ Spicy said, glad to be asked.

‘I just figured you didn’t want me watchin,’ Angel teased Vox, flipping the chicken. ‘Gettin’ you all intimidated—’

‘Boys.’ Spicy said, half warning and half exasperation, sounding even more like a wife.

‘I’m not going to yell at him for a little wishful thinking,’ Vox said, keeping Spicy’s head as still as possible as he bent down and picked him up. ‘We all have dreams.’

Angel’s laugh followed them to the bedroom, but it was the kind of teasing that was comfortable, even homey—at least, to Angel.

‘Yeah, keep dreamin’, medigan!’ Angel called after him, before the door closed.

Spicy knew the word, by now—Angel had taught it to him—but he also knew the tone. Boys teased each other, so maybe this was a good sign…. He snuggled Vox’s shoulder, tugging gently at his tie, undoing it.

‘I know it’s been a while, and I’ve been an awful tease,’ he said, ‘but do you think you could go slow and gentle?’

What he wanted, after the events of the day, was for Vox to eat his pussy, for Vox to finger him, fuck him, while they kissed. And, there in the small corner of Spicy’s mind, was the wondering if Vox would be, as a son of Loki, able to shapeshift… eventually… but he wasn’t sure he wanted to even mention it, feeling guilty that he was discontent with his monsterboy’s limits.

Vox let that be, hiding both his own recognition of it and the wry, gentle amusement that could too easily become patronising. It was a nice thought, but it would probably never happen, at least not from only fucking Loki once. Still, that wasn’t enough to stop him from saying, ‘I can do anything you want, baby.’

Spicy’s smile was a little sad, as Vox set him on the bed, which Moxxie had made before he’d left for the day. Spicy loved the feeling of sinking into the luxurious layers of duvet—it was kept comfortable for computers in the penthouse, not people. Spicy didn’t mind, he preferred being a little chilly to being too warm.

‘Make love to me, then,’ Spicy said, spreading his chubby thighs, showing off a cunny still wet and flush and glowing. Was it just Vox, or was the blue slightly different, now? Slightly more organic…? ‘I’m all ready for you,’ he added, a little wickedly.

Vox paused in the middle of undressing, bending close so that the warmer light of his screen fell over Spicy’s knees and belly. ‘You sure are,’ he said, outlining with an approving finger. ‘I could almost pretend I didn’t know how. But I like it a lot better, having felt you getting fucked like you deserve. Now, it’s my turn, because I’m home from work, and a demon has needs…’ He ran his other hand down Spicy’s side. ‘And you’ve spent all day doing exactly what I wanted.’

Spicy practically squealed in delight, wiggling happily, ripples of light spreading outward from wherever his cunt was touched. It hadn’t glittered like that, before….

‘Oooh,’ Vox said, ‘some of you little fellas went and specialised, didn’t you? And without telling me. Naughty.’ He tapped Spicy’s clit lightly with his index finger, watching the light show. ‘They must really like you. Of course, you’re basically a block party. I’ve never had a contract take so many before.’ There was real admiration in his voice as he settled himself above Spicy. ‘Ready for some more?’

Spicy gasped at the tap to his fat little clit, and was all giggling enthusiasm, biting his lip and holding his thighs up and apart, long fingers pressing into the softness of them. ‘Always,’ he said, then added, only slightly furtive. ‘Husband.’

Husband was what Spicy’s heart dealt in. Fiancé barely merited a mention, and boyfriend even less. He was not interested in anything but Husband, commitment-philic rather than -phobic. In a heterosexual, it would have seemed strange; but queer people had to navigate in shadows, and bond quickly or not at all. Vox understood that—he’d been from a time even more dangerous than Spicy’s own, in that regard.

Vox’s cock slipped between those thighs, its glow blending with Spicy’s until they seemed one and the same. ‘You know,’ Vox said casually, ‘when I was alive, a lot of people told me to go to hell, but I didn’t think I’d meet the wife of my dreams there.’ With Spicy presenting himself, Vox was free to wrap a hand around Spicy’s foot and stroke his thumb gently up and down over the sole. ‘I’d wonder how they felt now, but they’re probably all down here too.’

Spicy hummed, shivery at the gentle touch, after so long without Vox. It had only been a day or so, but it had felt like so long…. When Vox’s cock slid home, Spicy gasped, arching into it. ‘Mmm, didn’t think I’d’ve met anyone like you, Hell or otherwise…’ he murmured.

‘I love you,’ he said, and it felt woefully inadequate.

Vox’s warm grin shone down on him. ‘I know.’

.oOo.

‘The fact that the Witch has come into the employ of Vox is bad enough,’ Foras said to his kin, looking around the council chamber at the gathered nobility. ‘But with the new Queen of Lust upon his throne, the witch has two allies.’

‘We must assume he will gain the Bokor’s favour, unless we do something to prevent their meeting,’ Stolas’ undertone suggested this be done with blood, and lots of it.

.oOo.

Spicy loved when Vox played with his feet; he was so gentle, and Spicy could only imagine what he’d do if he could actually kiss them….

Vox felt an ache deep in what could be called his heart. Spicy wasn’t begging aloud, because he wasn’t in the mood to beg for what he couldn’t have, but he yearned so badly, and it was calling up so many memories of when Vox had been alive. When he’d had lips and a tongue for that soft, smooth skin, could murmur endearments against those sensitive spots and feel his partner giggle and squirm…

Still inside Spicy, he turned and bent his screen, wanting at least to give him a kiss emoji and maybe a tiny hint of current, the best he could do. In the moment, he closed his eyes—and only then noticed that his proportions felt off.

It felt—it felt like he had a face.

Spicy’s eyes flew open when he felt warm, soft lips on his arch, and his breath caught.

‘Vox?’ he said, in a hushed voice. Vox looked… human. His skin still glowed faintly, like it was lit from within, and his eyes were the same mismatched set, red and a much dimmer cyan… but those ink-black lips were present, and pressed against Spicy’s skin.

The burst of actual religious praise could have powered a sun.

Thank you, Mamaloki! Thank you, thank you thank youthankyouthankyouthankyou…. Spicy was in tears, silent and shaking a little.

Vox blinked. Slowly, carefully, he put a hand up to his face, patting, stroking, even poking himself in the nose once (this last didn’t seem intentional). He pursed his lips, working his mouth, dropping his jaw experimentally to show teeth that still glowed cyan, and were still much sharper than a human’s. There was no denying it. He felt the skin and bone, felt the play of muscle when he made a new expression. Of course, for now it seemed as though shock was going to be his only expression.

‘Loki gave me a face,’ he said flatly. ‘Where’d he get it from?’

‘Loki is a shapeshifter,’ Spicy said, ‘He made you his son. I was hoping… that meant you could shapeshift, too….’

He curled his toes a little, wanting his lover to focus on what was important, right now.

‘I guess it does.’ From what Vox could tell, the contours of his face were very similar to how they’d been when he was alive, if perhaps a little sharper. He hoped Spicy liked it. It felt strange, vulnerable, raw; but he could kiss, kiss with lips that tingled for any or all of a thousand reasons. He caught Spicy’s little toe in his mouth, just to tease.

Spicy giggled, and then sighed. ‘Kiss me,’ he whispered, his voice a little watery, as tears pricked behind his eyes. ‘Please, I’ve wanted it….’

It was all he could do to keep from reaching for Vox with grabby hands. He wasn’t just human, he was handsome, and just Spicy’s type, all sharp angles and shadowed eyes and dark, full lips….

‘I’m not sure I remember how,’ Vox murmured, but he moved in Spicy as he leaned down, bringing their mouths together.

Spicy loved kissing, and Vox was shown the full scope of just how much his wife adored him, as Spicy cupped his face and pressed his full little mouth to Vox’s, tasting faintly of sweet coffee and mint, hands wandering through all that slicked-back dark hair….

Fuck, you’re beautiful. Did you look like this in life?’ Spicy sighed, when he finally came up for air, breathless and starry-eyed. ‘I’d sell my soul to you in a heartbeat, you fucking ladykiller.’

‘Too bad you already did,’ Vox purred, thrusting just a little. ‘I always could have any boy I wanted. Just a smile and a wink and they’d come running. And… I’m pretty sure this is faithful to the original, although I was maybe a little bit rougher around the edges, before.’

He couldn’t entirely hide his relief. He knew he hit Spicy’s monsterfucker buttons, and if his most monstrous feature was taken away….

Spicy’s crest fluffed in a blush, ‘And you picked me…’ he breathed, still not quite able to believe it—even more, now, now that he knew how handsome Vox was, by human standards…. It was almost enough to make him feel ugly, except…. Except Vox was fucking him, Vox had pursued him, Vox had wanted him… so much that even Spicy’s prickly caution hadn’t scared him off….

‘You were never ugly,’ Vox said softly, pressing his forehead to Spicy’s. ‘All I did was improve on perfection.’

Spicy looked up at him, into those warm red eyes, and felt the fullness of Vox’s cock, the pleasure of it hovering in his throat somewhere. ‘Gods, I love you,’ he whispered, and there was a certain… difference in the tone. Spicy was as human as any sinner, and even a teratophile had human instincts. Seeing Vox with a human face just made a lot of things clearer, more concrete….

Spicy pulled Vox down, burying his face in Vox’s neck and biting with a little growl; but it was rather like an affectionate cat’s mouthing, a fierce little pointy kiss because he was so overwhelmed he didn’t know what else to do. He felt like this was their wedding night, like he was fucking Vox for the first time all over again….

‘I love you too,’ Vox said, and it didn’t matter that it was almost inaudible against Spicy’s skin. They both knew.

Spicy growled, wrapping his legs around Vox’s hips and pulling himself up. ‘Faster,’ he said, nails digging into Vox’s back. He was starting to feel desperate.

Vox let out a very human grunt, his back arching. ‘Done with slow and gentle?’ He was cautious, but not at all opposed and, though he definitely didn’t want to trigger another migraine, the thought of wearing Spicy out enough that Angel and Moxxie had to fuss over him some more was appealing.

‘Done with slow,’ Spicy said, smiling crookedly up at him. ‘Fast and gentle, if you can,’ he said, quirking a brow challengingly.

‘I’m game,’ Vox said. ‘You know I can’t resist that face.’ He switched to shallow thrusts, bouncing Spicy as little as possible, kissing whatever he could reach for the sheer thrill of the sensation. He hadn’t fully appreciated kissing until he couldn’t do it anymore. …He could change back, right? Shapeshifting implied you could do it more than once….

.oOo.

In the kitchen, Angel had the radio on, softly, and tears were falling in a never-ending stream as he felt the love from the next room. If there was ever any doubt in his mind that Spicy was happy, safe, it was gone now. He was still getting used to being able to just feel everyone’s relationship…. And right now, feeling what Vox and Spice Drop had was making him miss Alastor terribly. He drained the pasta and started plating for Spicy, trying not to get tears in the food. He wasn’t sad, exactly, just overwhelmed with the love and the longing for his own love….

.oOo.

Spicy lay back. ‘Daddy,’ he said, and tensed his cunt, watching Vox’s face, fascinated at being able to actually see expressions, subtle ones.

‘Mmmm…’ A crease appeared between Vox’s brows as he momentarily shut his eyes in pleasure. ‘What is it, babyslut?’ He felt giddy like this, like he was getting away with something he shouldn’t, something that would land him in a lot of trouble. It made him feel like he could do anything.

‘Eat me out,’ Spicy said, trying out an order rather than a request. He had… an inkling of something, a hypothesis to test. Vox had said he liked it when Spicy was angry, so it followed that he would like if Spicy gave orders, right?

From the way Vox’s eyes literally sparkled, his mismatched pupils glowing brighter, the hypothesis was correct. ‘Should I leave my cock in while I do, or are you going to want the extra room?’

Ooh, that was nice, that was a good look on him; Spicy felt himself getting more aroused, just at the reaction. And, too, he hadn’t remembered he could have both…. ‘Leave your cock in,’ he said, his voice growly and grin sharp. ‘I want you to eat me out until I come, Vox.’

He couldn’t bring himself to say ‘boy’ yet, but he felt it would, eventually, get easier.

Drawing back enough to give himself access, Vox detached, using his fingers to push himself back in all the way. ‘Sure thing, baby,’ he said as he crouched down. He was glad he could play this like an open-book test, using everything the infernet had on the subject to guide him. ‘It starts like this, right?’ And he licked a little stripe down Spicy’s foreskin.

Vox felt the startle, the little missing-a-step-going-down-the-stairs feeling that accompanied being reminded that not all boys had a cunt. The dysphoria was shoved aside impatiently, and he reached a hand down to spread his labia.

‘It’s just a little, furled cock, my love,’ he said, voice softer-edged than it had ever been. It surprised Spicy, too, but he went with it. ‘You know how to suck cock, don’t you?’

‘With this mouth?’ Vox raised his head enough to blow Spicy a little kiss. ‘You better believe it.’ On that note, he closed all his mental tabs. He was just going to go with what Spicy told him.

When he wrapped his lips around Spicy’s clit, things suddenly made a lot more sense.

Spicy adored the images that put in his head; but more, adored the possessive surety, the indulgence in the fantasy of monogamy that had he’d stayed increasingly longer in. Why was he so hypocritical, liking the idea of Vox wanting no other partners, and yet he, himself, having numerous others? He supposed everyone was a little like that….

Vox’s tongue was gentle, tracing Spicy’s clit in a way that said he was learning it, and being a very studious about said curriculum….

‘Vox, Vox…’ Spicy said, breaths coming a little faster.

‘That’s it, baby, say my name…’ Cliche and predictable as it was, Vox couldn’t help loving it. A clit was certainly easier to speak around than a cock, that was for sure; and, speaking of cocks—his own flexed inside Spicy, fucking him steadily. It was a cute story, the heartbreaker playboy having found The One, and if it was the story Spicy wanted…

Well, it wasn’t very far from the truth.

‘Vox,’ Spicy said, and it was such a good name for sex, able to be hissed—or growled, in this case, Spicy’s voice going low and shredded. ‘Fuck, Vox, baby, I’m going to c—’

He sobbed, the orgasm hard, perfect, overwhelming and sparkling.

Vox kept Spicy’s clit in his mouth all through it, feeling him shudder and pulse, that delicate flesh twitching under his tongue. His tongue. Vox had never been the praying kind, but he was, in that moment, very grateful to Loki, for giving him the best of both worlds.

‘Good,’ was all he said, and his own orgasm felt like an afterthought, an extension of Spicy’s pleasure rather than something that belonged to him.

He kind of liked it.

Spicy panted, but pulled Vox up to kiss him after a moment, wrapping him in a tight hug, his thighs squeezing around Vox’s narrow waist. ‘So good,’ he sobbed, full-blown crying now, overwhelmed. ‘So good, so good, I love you so much….’ He buried his hand in the hair at the back of Vox’s head, and pressed his face into Vox’s shoulder.

Can I call you a good boy?

‘Why not,’ Vox said, wanting the feel of the words on his lips, which still tingled and tasted of Spicy. ‘It’s certainly a first.’

‘Mmm… good boy, Vox,’ Spicy said, carding fingers through his hair, sliding nails that were more claw-like than before against Vox’s scalp. ‘My good boy, aren’t you, babe?’ He squeezed with his thighs a little at the ‘my’, in emphasis.

The way he said it… Vox actually shivered, and his cock twitched in Spicy’s cunt. It felt right, somehow, that when he had his screen he was Spicy’s Master, his Daddy (and oh, he loved when Spicy couldn’t decide between them!)—and when he had this face, this face made for kissing, he was Spicy’s boy.

‘Yes,’ he said, voice unsteady. ‘I’m yours. All of me.’

Spicy studied him. ‘You like that?’ he asked, sharing that surprised pleasure he was feeling, at liking the role-reversal they’d never tried, before.

‘I never lie to you,’ Vox said. ‘I always thought I just wasn’t the type, but with you… I like it with you. You understand.

Spicy wondered if ‘understand’ meant ‘gentle’; there was a running theme in his lovers, from Vox to Angel to Moxxie to even Blitzo, that he was different than everyone in Hell, and given the clues, Spicy was willing to hazard a guess that it was just that he wasn’t mean, and didn’t take advantage of people. He kept skritching Vox, letting it go and humming low enough that it sounded like a purr.

‘Mmmm, you like following orders, darling? Worshipping me with that gorgeous mouth?’ Now, his tone was a little more teasing, a little wickeder.

Vox actually kind of liked the petting, even if he suspected it was a habit left over from playing with Moxxie.

‘As long as I have it,’ he said, perfectly candid. ‘After all, you’re the one who gave it to me. If not for you, I wouldn’t have gotten railed by a pagan god in the backseat of my own car, and I definitely wouldn’t have known that meant I could shapeshift.’

Spicy’s gleeful chuckle was worthy of a supervillain.

‘Good boy…. Now,’ he said, ‘Kiss my feet.’

The crackling tension, never fully resolved, had always been on the back of Spicy’s tongue; now, it felt electric in the bedroom, with the promise of Vox’s lips, his tongue, on Spicy’s arches.

Vox wasn’t the only one with a foot fetish.

Vox felt… the best he could come up with was as if he’d been searching for loose change between the couch cushions and found buried treasure. He’d known Spicy loved it, but he’d thought it had mostly been a feedback loop: Vox paid his feet a lot of special attention, so Spicy got to enjoy both the feelings and the knowledge that he was scratching Vox’s itch.

He hadn’t fully grasped that Spicy wanted it as badly as he did.

He pressed his lips to the spot he knew Spicy would love the most, giving the tiniest, teasing flick of his tongue. This was an excellent new game.

Spicy moaned. ‘Yes, gods, yes…’ His feet, like his hands, were very sensitive, and he made sure to give Vox lots of feedback, lots of reinforcement, even when he started just squeaking breathlessly.

It’s so good, so very, very good, I’ve wanted this since you came up to me that day last year…

Being in charge gave Spicy a sense of freedom, an openness. He seemed so frank and open that the idea that he was, actually, holding back was a revelation. But the floodgates were opened, and the praise came out with them.

Good boy, my good boy, your mouth is so delicious, I’m glad it’s all for me because I don’t want to share it with anyone….

No one else is even going to know I have it, Vox promised, never stopping. It’ll be our secret. Inwardly, he felt such a rush he could barely focus on the thoughts to send to Spicy. He was used to making people covet things, never being coveted, himself. Vox had thought, by this point, that there were no new sensations.

Spicy had always coveted him, it seemed; but it had been suppressed, tamped down. It wasn’t safe to want things, it gave people power. The reason Val had never been able to do to Spicy what he did to everyone else was because Spicy had put up walls of ice, had leaned hard into the stereotype of the numb ace who thought sex was a bore no matter what you added to it. That had been a lie; but it had been a lie that kept Spicy safe. Val had been only the latest in a succession of familiar oppression, and the closet was not a place Spicy liked to be; but even after Val’s death, Spicy hadn’t been sure if Vox would accept him, would want all of Spicy.

Until now.

Now, he finally relaxed, finally had confidence that Vox wanted this part of him, was okay with it. The snippet of conversation from earlier, the one where Spicy finally found out that Vox liked his anger, had been percolating for hours.

Closets were for clothes.

‘Mine,’ Spicy said, eyes closed to better focus on the sensations on his skin. ‘Mine, mine, mine, my Vox, my boy, my husband, mine….’

Vox had never heard Greed in that voice, before; it was the single sweetest thing he had ever heard; It was better than I love you; the word mine was practically an orgasm, and Vox was hard again inside Spicy, come to think of it. His kisses became wilder, less refined, almost desperate. He could hardly draw breath, but he still did his best to say, ‘Yours.’

Spicy had to restrain the urge to grab him and yank him down again, wanting to bite, to mark, to claim. Now that the cat was out of the bag, it wanted to climb the curtains…. Spicy took a moment, refocussed all that greed, reforged it into words.

‘That’s it, boy, worship me like the sublime being I am.’

That had felt so fucking forbidden; but this was Hell, and Spicy was high on endorphins (and a cocktail of half-doses of PCP, MDMA, and morphine that Angel had brought for him, but that wasn’t really driving so much as just tamping down the depression and anxiety), and his husband was home and wanted to submit to him, and was kissing his feet, and was gorgeous, the most perfectly beautiful man he’d ever seen in his life….

And Vox was only making little noises that encouraged Spicy to keep talking like this.

‘Pretty boy, I’m never sharing you with anyone ever again…’ he growled, feeling the delicious rebellion of breaking rules. ‘You’re mine and no one else’s…’

‘Yes,’ Vox said against Spicy’s foot, ‘yes, yes…

In that moment, he was worshipping Spicy like a sublime being—more, in fact, than he had done for Loki. He didn’t know Loki. He knew his Spice Drop. From Spicy, he would even accept “pretty boy.” Not just tolerate it, but welcome it—because Vox had not been sorry to shed his human form when he arrived in Hell, “pretty boy” always flung like an insult, when he’d been alive. He hadn’t missed his face, even when technology marched on and he ended up moulting screens.

Now… it was all right for it to be his again. It was all right to hear those words out of Spicy’s mouth, when he was writhing and moaning on Vox’s cock, when he was obviously out of his mind with attraction to this pretty boy, called Vox Daddy and Master on top of pretty and gorgeous….

Yeah, he could get used to having a pretty face again, if this was what it got him.

Chapter Text

‘Hey, Chaz,’ Angel said, sitting on the balcony and looking out over the city. ‘Just wanted to check in. I’m doin’ great, just cookin’ for my best boy-buddy.’

I’ve been worried, the news is kind of all over the place.

‘Yeah, a lot’s happened. Haven’t had a minute to call you until just now. Listen, I… I wanted to thank you for everything. It’s kinda because of you that Al and I met, and my life kinda turned around.’

…Thanks, Angel. And it means a lot that you called to check in.

.oOo.

‘We must do something about the Bokor, before he has chance to ally with The Witch. Amdusias,’ Foras began. Amdusias took his time looking over, one of his highly-arched, thick brows raising. It was all the reply he cared to give. ‘The Bokor has your role, among the rabble. Perhaps you should subdue him.’

Amdusias scoffed. ‘That presumes I care to risk being eaten. I do not.’

‘For the good of all, Amdusias.’

‘Lick my ass,’ Amdusias retorted in a bored tone, not even bothering to use a gesture.

‘Only if you’re very good and actually do as you’re told,’ Foras said, not missing a beat.

‘Why should this be left to one of us alone?’ Marchosias growled. ‘We will be more likely to destroy him if we work together.’

‘Spoken like a true hellhound,’ Crocell said, in her soft murmur of a voice. ‘For all his stolen power, he is but a sinner. He can be drowned.’

‘Or burned,’ Aim’s three heads said in unison.

Foras rolled his eyes. ‘Or disemboweled, if it please you and he stands still long enough. If we decree his death, the manner of it will follow.’

Amdusias gave the barest hint of a scoff. ‘You fools,’ he said, in the deep, silken tone that carried to every corner, even if he was barely murmuring. ‘You would call down a pantheon upon us all.’

‘The Bokor’s are not a pantheon,’ Stolas insisted. ‘Not properly. They are shadows, spirits—’

‘They are gods in all but name, and I will not be dragged into suicide over your ego, Stolas.’ Amdusias never snapped, but he was a champion at interrupting, at cutting off. He tossed his head, horn gleaming sharp as shadows in the light.

‘There are the Witch’s gods to think about as well,’ Andras said, before Stolas could reply. ‘If he is speaking with his gods, he will bring down at least one true family of them on our heads. He may well be the more dangerous.’

Marbas eyed him sidelong, but said nothing.

‘He is, at least, not an overlord,’ Marchosias said. Amdusias snorted.

‘Yet.’

‘Which is precisely why we must strike now!’ Stolas hissed. ‘Now, before he gets any stronger! Marbas has his eye,’ he added, with wicked smugness.

Many eyes turned to the Doctor curiously, at that.

‘Not literally, I feel I should assure you,’ Marbas said. ‘But I met him in the process of recapturing Pox, and made it known that I found him quite striking. In, of course,’ he added, slanting a gaze at Stolas, ‘a subtle fashion.’

‘Subtle,’ said Stolas, smugly, ‘as a rhinocerous.’

‘You’re one to talk, you old whore,’ Amdusias said, crossing his long legs.

‘Silence, you—you self-important—treasonous—sparkletart!’ Stolas snapped.

Amdusias was having the best time.

‘So, to be clear,’ Marbas said, unable to resist a chance for a barb, ‘the new definition of treason is stopping someone from breaking the toy they’ve stolen from you?’

Foras sighed. Every time, he thought surely his wit and eloquence would command attention. That was his great folly. The Goetics made cats look herdable.

‘Why not simply kill them all?’ Crocell said softly. Of them all, she looked the most unnerving, the most like the Heavenly Host, radiant with light and many-winged. ‘We could flood the City. It would be no loss—’

‘No!’ several voices protested, for varied and selfish reasons ranging from porn to illicit lovers to sheer boredom.

A dark smile tugged at Foras’ perfect lips. He was among the most human-seeming of all his kind, looking like a sculpture of the ideal male form come to life, and there was often a statue’s stillness about him. ‘That, at least, appears to have a consensus. Besides, if we were to destroy the City, I imagine there would be a queue.’

There was a laugh that echoed in every corner of the chamber, and a glimmer of gold and silver.

‘Well, well, well,’ Loki said, settling above them all on the ledge of the dome of glass that made up the ceiling. He clasped one knee in his hands, the other leg dangling, swinging to and fro. ‘This is entertaining.’

A great cry went up, some with weapons reaching for them, others going stock-still. As the noise faded, it was just possible to hear Andras saying, ‘I told you.’

‘Silvertongue,’ Foras said, as evenly as he could. ‘You honour us with your unexpected presence.’

Loki answered that with a raspberry and uproarious laughter that abruptly faded to a frightening seriousness. ‘Do not lie to the god of it, child.’

Amdusias merely watched quietly; he was not foolish enough to speak to a god unless spoken to. Besides, like many, he had a love of witnessing drama.

‘All politeness is lies,’ Foras rejoined. ‘Let us excuse my poor skill at the craft and speak.’ He was painfully aware that everyone else had gone silent. Well, if he died, it would be his words that killed him, and he could ask for nothing better.

‘You are not my children, but you are children, and I am fond of them; so, some advice, from a mother you never had and don’t deserve:

‘The only thing constant is change.’

‘So, you would have us accept this as the natural order? Just roll over and take it?’ Marchosias bared his teeth and flared his wings. ‘Some change is too much to be borne.’

‘We are supposing,’ Marbas said, trying to be the voice of reason, ‘that they intend to overthrow us at all. I’m not sure where this started, other than your insecurities. The Bokor is content with the City, and his new lover; the Witch can be reasoned with, if he is shown the possibility. We can’t stop the change, but we may be able to shape it.’

Amdusias raised a brow. ‘Or perhaps we should finally take whatever consequences our actions earn,’ he said. ‘Stolas is getting no more than he deserves, and so are the rest of us.’

‘That is all very well for you,’ Stolas retorted, in a high sulk. ‘You never do anything, outside these gates.’

Amdusias raised a brow. ‘That you know of.’

Crocell’s scoff was the rushing of rapids, and those around her found they had to avert their eyes. Sometimes, even for them, it was hard to remember that she had never been an angel, for she mimicked one so perfectly.

‘Since when,’ she asked, ‘have we ever accepted consequences?

‘I think you’ll find that witches deal exclusively in consequences,’ Loki said, with wicked glee, and disappeared with peals of mocking laughter.

.oOo.

Vox had half expected his head to turn back as soon as they’d finished cuddling, but it remained the way it was, even after he got his cock back from Spicy and plugged it in again. He lay on the bed, really feeling the pillow against his face, and felt like he was dancing on air. What else could he do while this lasted? Afterglow said this was fun, not concerning. He remembered the smell of the chicken parmesan cooking, and why they’d retired in the first place. He could try eating again! Maybe he’d strike gold twice and Spicy would get off at seeing him eat, as well…

He was off the bed, haphazardly dressed, and halfway to the door before he remembered Angel. The migraine moratorium meant he couldn’t check through the kitchen television, but he couldn’t sense Angel’s hellphone signal. Maybe the spider had gotten bored and left.

Vox, who was usually exactly on the mark with time, couldn’t say how long he and Spicy had spent in the bedroom. He peeked out down the hall, annoyed at how grateful he was to his human head for making that work. No radio, no dishes clattering, no glimpse of Angel in the part of the kitchen he could see. Perfect. He headed out.

Angel had evidently not only put away the food already, but left a plate warming in the oven for Spicy, and done the dishes. He’d been serious about taking care of Spicy.

Vox was just settling down at the dining table with a glass of wine and a plate of his own when he felt the cool steel of a gun barrel at the back of his neck.

‘Who the fuck,’ Angel growled, ‘are you?’

‘I am wearing,’ Vox said, pained, ‘the same exact suit. It’s me, Angel. I know you know how shapeshifting works. No one else could have gotten in here.’

He was still holding his fork, which felt faintly absurd compared to the much more important piece of metal pressed against the base of his skull. It wouldn’t kill him, even if long-buried head-having instincts were now screaming, but it would be a fuck-awful mess. ‘Put the gun down and take a good look at me.’

As soon as Angel heard that voice—that voice coming out of a face—he put the gun away, opening his shadow-eyes along with widening the rest, coming around the table to get a look at Vox.

‘What…’ He sat down slowly, across from Vox. ‘Is that… is that what you really look like?’ He hadn’t meant it to come out sounding so… entranced. ‘Hell,’ he said, realising who he was looking at, scrubbing at his face with his hands. ‘Hell. Hell, Vox. What the hell.’ It spoke to how agitated he was, that he was reverting back to ‘hell’ being the curse word penultimate.

Vox took the opportunity to sneak in a couple bites of chicken. It was, he had to admit, very good. ‘Nothing in Hell, actually. When I picked up Spicy after he escaped the gated community, I… how do I put this… got fucked by a chaos god known for shapechanging and having a unique sense of humour—it was excellent, if you were wondering—and, just now, Spicy wished really hard that I could kiss him, and I thought about kissing him, and here we are.

‘And no,’ he said, ‘this isn’t “what I really look like.” What I really look like is me. This… is the face I used to have, more or less.’

Angel listened, even though his head was in his hands and he was staring blankly at the surface of the circular table. And then he started laughing. It was only slightly hysterical.

‘Fuck,’ he said, disbelieving and half-angry about it. ‘You’re so fuckin’ hot….’

Now, he got it. Now he saw what Spicy saw in Vox.

Fuck.

Fuck.

‘And you make a mean chicken parmesan. Want to call that even?’ Vox took a sip of wine, savouring the taste. He’d made his best guesses at picking the good shit, and it was nice to know he’d been right. ‘Word on the Spice Drop-vine is I’m a pretty good kisser, too.’

‘You would be,’ Angel grumbled, ‘that fuckin’ mouth is a sin all on its own….’

If Angel fucked Vox, Alastor might never forgive him. Angel wished he had some kind of mind link with his lover, just then.

Vox twirled pasta around his fork and looked at it meditatively. ‘I’d say it’s about… thirty percent of why I’m down here? Maybe thirty-five, forty.’ He flashed a familiar grin. ‘I’d change back, but I want to finish my dinner.’

Angel groaned, burying his face in two pairs of folded arms, his lowermost pair just hanging limply forward. The silence that followed was electric with sexual tension.

The door to the bedroom opened quietly, in the middle of it.

‘Angel? Is everything okay?’

Angel was on his feet again, heading for the balcony. ‘I gotta make a phone call.’

Spicy crossed the room, draping slowly over Vox from behind, still damp from his shower and wrapped in his favourite robe. He looked out to the balcony, where Angel was furiously waiting for someone to pickup their phone. ‘What’s eating him?’ But Angel wouldn’t be that dramatic if it was something truly serious….

Vox smiled, nuzzling him, breathing in the smell of warm water and clean Spice Drop. ‘Not nearly enough, I’m guessing.’

.oOo.

‘Cher?’ Alastor managed to pack a lot into that one word: concern, curiosity, a certain amount of morbid excitement, and the suggestion that his quiet evening alone had some of its shine worn off by now. ‘What’s going on?’

‘Alastor, it’s… I gotta question.’ Angel knew he sounded tense, and it was because he was tense. He’d never been any good at resisting temptation, and now he was a type of demon that was even worse at it.

‘Is it on a more effective way to murder Vox? Because I haven’t been doing any research into the subject, lately, and welcome new intelligence!’

Angel sighed, running a hand through the fluff on his head. ‘It’s… about a different kind of killin’ him…’ he said, worrying his lower lip in his teeth.

There was a long, static-punctuated silence, followed by what might have been a noise like someone playing a radio on the lowest possible volume. At last Alastor said, ‘My darling, dearest, beloved Angel Dust, I know we agreed you weren’t the exclusive type, but what could possibly have brought that on?’ Even you have standards, ran unspoken beneath the words.

Angel noised in mingled frustration, sexual and otherwise, and resentment.

‘Cos he’s hot now!’ he said, fighting the urge to stomp his feet or jump up and down. He settled for pacing and sharp gestures with all five of the hands that weren’t holding the phone. ‘He got fucked by a shapeshifter god and now he can shapeshift and I saw his actual face and he’ssofuckinhotAlastor!’ He realised he was sounding dangerously close to furious whining, but he couldn’t help it.

Alastor’s reply was only two words, and each was crisp, exact, bitten off. ‘Which. God?’

Angel had mentioned something about Spice Drop being a witch—but he hadn’t mentioned the little sinner was any good at it….

Angel sobered up immediately at that tone. ‘Uhh… hang on.’

He poked his head back inside. ‘Guys? Which god?’

‘Loki,’ Spicy said.

‘Loki,’ Angel said, sliding the balcony door closed again.

‘Loki?’ Alastor said, and didn’t wait for Angel to reply before he started cursing a blue streak. Angel was getting better at picking out some of the individual words by now. At last, Alastor switched back to slightly hoarse English. ‘Well, at least it’s none of mine, but have you considered that might be why he seems so… attractive?’

‘He’s fucking attractive because he’s attractive, Alastor! He looks like a goddamned model! His cheekbones could cut glass!!!’ He wasn’t yelling at Alastor, just yelling because he needed to yell about it.

‘I… went out to talk to him, before I came here to see Spicy,’ he said, in a calmer voice. ‘We’re… okay. Ain’t gonna be trusting him to top me anytime soon, but we’re okay. It helps that I’m an overlord now, same as him,’ he added, as he tried to remember who Loki was. Spicy had opened up a little about his gods, but Angel’s memory—whether from the drugs or the trauma—was fond of just blacking out huge swaths of things.

‘You said the same thing about my cheekbones,’ Alastor said. It was hard to tell if he was mollified by this or not. There was another pause, and then he asked, ‘You said you wouldn’t let him take control? You mean, in other words, to very soundly fuck him? With all your considerable skill, until he can’t remember his name?’

Angel, hearing dirty talk from that radio voice for the first time, actually came with a moan, sitting down shakily on one of the lounge chairs scattered around. ‘Alastor, don’t tease…’ he begged, and Alastor could hear his voice shaking.

‘I never tease! I only state and enquire!’ Alastor was laughing now. ‘You have my permission to go and ruin him, cher. Fuck him till he can’t look you in the eyes, and make him beg for it. Go on now!’

The bayou growl made Angel whimper, pressing his thighs together and squirming. ‘Y-yes, Daddy.’

.oOo.

Spicy was still eating, but Vox had finished, by the time Angel came inside. As per usual, Spicy had one foot tucked under his thigh; and was drinking iced coffee Moxxie had made a pitcher of earlier that day, instead of wine (he hated wine, unless it was sweet champagne).

Angel’s shadow loomed in the doorway, and his eyes were glowing with full power, tail lashing the air.

‘So,’ he said, with a smile that glittered, prowling toward Vox. ‘About that mouth…’

Spicy watched, eyes widening. Ooh, dinner and a show….

Vox had tried industriously to listen in on Angel’s hellphone conversation, but with no luck. As before, he couldn’t even pick up that there was a phone. Still, he could put the pieces together. Angel left like that, and came back in like this—he’d been drawing up terms with the Radio Demon. Or, more likely, Alastor had just thrown up his hands and acceded, because what could he do? You didn’t get between a concubus and something they looked at the way Angel was looking at him. Not unless you were confident you had something better.

Vox dabbed his already clean lips with his napkin, leaning back in his chair. ‘Technically speaking,’ he said, ‘it’s Spicy’s mouth, because he wished for it. You should ask him.’ Only Spicy was aware of the heady, reckless delight Vox felt in saying that, the thrill of something that felt forbidden because it had, up till now, been unthinkable.

Spicy grinned at his best friend, gesturing grandly. ‘Oh, be my guest, Angel, dear. We are family. Mio amante es tuo amante.’

Sharing with Angel didn’t count, especially if Spicy got to watch. He kept eating, slowly but surely; but his glowing got brighter, crest raising and flashing in interest. Unlike a human, his pupils pinned like a bird’s, and did so now, making them look browner, gleaming in the rosy light infusing the room.

‘Then give it a whirl.’ It was getting harder for Vox to sound quite so casual. His fantasies about Angel Dust had always been hindered by how acerbic and spiteful the spider got when given orders (though, admittedly, those orders had always been from Valentino); he only begged to be fucked when he was acting. Even Vox had limits on how unrealistic something could be… but this way, with Angel calling the shots and Spicy supervising… Vox liked that a lot.

Angel was right next to Vox now, and was still two feet taller than him. Angel was taller than most people, and yet it was never apparent unless he wanted it to be.

He wanted it to be, now.

‘Get on your knees,’ Angel said, lifting his skirt to reveal a striped cock. ‘And suck my cock, boy.’

And maybe, Angel thought, if Vox was good enough, Angel would forgive him.

Slowly, his heart pounding till he thought it must be shaking his whole body, Vox knelt. ‘Now that’s what I call a nightcap,’ he said, looking appreciatively down the length of that cock. Custom jobs were always the best.

‘I hope this new throat didn’t come with a gag reflex….’

If Angel was trying to shut him up, it wasn’t going to work.

Angel’s lower hands fisted in his hair and threatened to push him down onto it, his eyes narrowing in response.

Vox just smirked, and it was even more insufferable than it looked on his screen. He gave the head of Angel’s cock a little kiss, his dark lips a very nice accent. ‘I’m just saying, if it would make you feel better…’

‘Don’t make me ask again,’ Angel snarled.

Spicy was surprised at how much he liked this; and how much he knew it meant to Angel. Stop it, Vox, or you’re on the sofa for a week.

So that was the story they wanted. Vox could do that. In fact, he’d set it up all the better for mouthing off beforehand, in his opinion. He lowered his eyes to the floor.

‘Sorry, Lord Angel Dust.’ And he took as much of Angel’s cock as he could in one go—which, despite his being out of practice, was considerable.

Oh.

Oh, that was good.

Angel liked that, and hummed softly at the feeling of that mouth, watching Vox’s cheeks hollow as he sucked, his long black-and-cyan fingers wrapping around the base of Angel’s cock.

‘Mmm… you know exactly what you’re doing, don’t you, you fucking whore….’

Spicy was surprised at Angel using the word ‘whore’ and not ‘slut’, but not upset, exactly; it was one of those words only New Yorkers could really pronounce properly, in that sense. Or maybe it was just Angel….

‘Mmm-hmmm,’ Vox agreed, stroking what little he wasn’t sucking, and sucking harder. He’d have to compliment Angel on his craftsmanship later. It was as nice to go down on as it was to look at. Enough to make him wonder what it would feel like elsewhere….

‘Fucking knew it,’ Angel said, pleasure showing in his velvet growl, but not affecting his composure. His tail lashed, and he pushed Vox’s head down—even despite who it was, and the mood Angel was in, he did it slowly, not liking his partners to gag, even if he was playing rough. ‘Take it all, like the bitch you really are.’

Spicy was not usually into this, this was not usually his thing; but… maybe knowing it was Angel, and Vox, and knowing how important this was, how much it was doing for them both…? He was confused, but it was more curiosity than anything. Hm, didn’t know this could be a thing I liked kind of curiosity.

Vox groaned low in his throat, but not low enough that Angel’s cock didn’t hit it on the way down. He would have killed anyone else who even thought about putting him in this position; but Angel could do it. It wasn’t just that Angel deserved it as recompense, either—it was a mark of respect. And for that, Angel got to experience all of Vox’s skills.

Yes, Lord Angel Dust, he said, a nudge of his powers putting it on a “frequency” that the other overlord could hear.

Angel growled, but said nothing else. ‘That’s right,’ he said, his tail finding Vox’s waistband and sliding roughly beneath it, ignoring his cock and sliding, slick and warm, against his entrance.

The noise Vox made was louder this time, and there was an edge of need to it, need he expressed by deepthroating Angel even more avidly. It sounded a little like Please.

It occurred to Vox that, incredible as this was, it was made even better by the fact that Valentino would have absolutely flipped his shit.

Angel smirked over at Spicy. ‘He go down on you like this?’

‘Mhm!’ Spicy said, squirming at being included, at having all that incubus attention on him. He had a thing for incubi, always had, ever since he was a teen and had first learned about them.

‘Good. I wanna see that, after I fuck his throat.’ Angel said, and Vox only got a little warning before Angel pulled back and thrust. ‘Ya hear that, boy? When I’m done with you, you worship Spice like the fucking treasure he is. And then, maybe,’ he said, feeling giddy and growling and delicious, ‘Maybe I’ll fuck you until you forget your own name.’

He wondered, idly, if an incubus could kill someone. The idea was, at the moment, very inviting….

Vox made an encouraging sound, muffled and roughened by Angel’s cock. He wanted Angel to see how much he adored Spicy, how well Vox could please him. He was really giving these new jaw muscles a workout. Hopefully demons couldn’t strain things. Even if they could, though, it would be worth it, because Angel was magnificent like this. Did he use that voice on Alastor? Vox couldn’t decide if that was gratifying or unsettling, but the good news was, he didn’t have to think about it. He just had to think about getting fucked.

Angel fucked his mouth, slowly at first, speeding up to a rougher pace, both lower hands fisted in Vox’s black hair. He came with a rattling hiss that did things to Spicy, Vox could feel it. Angel could, too, and looked at Spicy, letting his voice go all hissing and wet with venom.

‘You like that, preciouss? Like being reminded I’m a ssspider demon?’

Spicy whimpered. ‘Yes, sir,’ he breathed.

Licking shining lips, Vox sat back, head still bowed. Swallowing might come back to haunt him, depending how Angel felt, but in the moment, he didn’t mind. His eyes glowed brightly enough that they cast faint red ovals on the kitchen floor, like pools of blood at Angel’s feet.

Angel hooked a claw under Vox’s chin and tilted his head up, the other hand sliding messily through Vox’s hair.

‘Let’s see…’ he said, admiring those shapely lips, swollen and wet, that oh-so-pale skin flushed, eyes glowing but blown wide and helpless with Lust. Helpless, Angel thought, with immense satisfaction.

Spicy pushed back from the table, and put his plate and cup over on the kitchen bar, before coming back to climb onto the table, sitting on the edge, his legs swinging slightly. It was a very high table, being that everything in Vox’s apartment was sized to fit Vox; but Spicy rather liked feeling small. And he couldn’t believe he was horny again, as though he hadn’t had about twenty-six orgasms today already. He very much liked that.

‘Oooh, sweetheart,’ Angel purred at Spicy, ‘You smell delicious….’ He knew Spicy liked when he played at the big predatory spider to Spicy’s helpless little bird; so, he came over, tail sliding from Vox’s clothes, still shining and slick, lashing the air.

Spicy leaned back as Angel advanced, eventually ending up on his back, breathing fast and shallow. ‘Oh, no,’ he said, breathless and delightedly afraid. ‘Please don’t bite me, please…’

Angel opened his mouth, showing not only the long fangs, but the new pedipalps. He knew Spicy would like them, but actually seeing it happen was amazing—Spicy made a strangled moan, looking up at Angel like he was the epitome of gorgeous, and Angel loved him for it.

In the background, Vox let out a wordless protestation; but it was so dismayed, so dramatic, that Angel knew he was just playing along. Vox always liked getting to see a show, and he loved that Spicy, who was so utterly insatiable when you got him going, had chosen him.

Angel grinned, gratified Vox was finally cluing in to his part. He reared back before sinking his fangs into Spicy’s neck, delivering just enough venom to make Spicy so horny he couldn’t think, watched his cunt flush and drip with Lust.

And Angel got an idea.

An awful idea.

He glanced at Vox, and pulled up a chair between Spicy’s fat little thighs. ‘I’m going to eat him out first,’ he said, Spicy whimpering softly in the background, struggling futilely as Angel’s hands held his hips and thighs still and spread, ‘and you,’ he said, eyes flashing with wicked glee. ‘Are going to watch how much better I can do it.’

Vox was starting to get a crick in his neck from keeping his head lowered for so long, but it might have just been because he thought he was supposed to. Still, he didn’t look up as he asked, ‘May I come over and get a better view, then, Lord?’

It was turning out to be a fun challenge, really, not allowing himself to go with the knee-jerk snarky comeback, having to think on how to play it.

‘Oh, I require it,’ Angel said, revelling in the rush of it, breath warm against Spicy’s flushed quim—and, fuck, it was sparkling, just like his favourite sea creatures—as he spoke. Spicy cried, and Angel liked that too, but didn’t make his friend wait any longer, sliding a long and pointed tongue around that fat clit.

Spicy screamed.

Vox got up just long enough to stretch and find a better vantage point, before kneeling again. He wasn’t sure how he’d have felt if Angel had made him crawl. Under the circumstances, though, he’d probably still have done it (and wasn’t that a thing to realise!) He used the better view to look at Angel’s tongue closely, taking in not only his technique, but the shape. Maybe it was a little early to start messing around with the fine details, but this was a challenge now, a game.

And Vox always played to win.

Spicy was wailing, screaming, sobbing, as Angel feasted on his quim, plunging his tongue inside as he kissed as deeply as he might kiss Spicy’s other lips, sucking gently at the fat little labia, enjoying how taut they were beneath his lips. And, too, there was something… sparkling, and not electricity. Something sticky-stinging, and Angel pulled away, glowing, flashing precome all over his mouth.

‘You taste like pineapple.’

Spicy panted, and moaned, and tried to find words. ‘S-stinging cells,’ he finally managed.

‘Oooh,’ Angel lilted. ‘I like ‘em. You turnin’ into a little fish monster, like you always wanted…?’

Spicy squirmed, thighs quivering against Angel’s grip. He used to be able to actually match Angel for strength, at least with his legs—but not anymore. And, oh, he really loved Angel for pointing out he was finally getting to be less human….

Out of Angel’s sight line, Vox grinned hugely. He hadn’t given the nanites any particular commands; they’d just responded to what Spicy had wanted most. If he kept coming inside Spicy this often, Spicy was going to be able to mod himself in ways Vox’s other employees and contracts couldn’t achieve without cutting themselves open. Ways that Vox himself, clearly, couldn’t even anticipate.

And it was going to be fantastic.

Angel traced around Spicy’s front entrance with a delicate fingertip, his claws put away for now. The contrast of his black and pink striped fingers and Spicy’s bright blue cunt was something, as was the way it sparkled and flashed in response to the touches.

‘Mm, you’re so pretty, little one,’ he purred. Spicy whimpered. ‘You want me to fuck you, darling?’ Angel said, getting to his feet, letting his voice slide smoothly into his screen voice, because he knew it drove Spicy crazy, that accent. He liked screen accents.

The noise Spicy made was delicious.

‘That wasn’t in the rules,’ Vox dared. He was still being playful, because he’d wanted to watch Angel fuck someone for a long time. He’d never been able to convince Valentino to give Angel any topping roles, no, Val had only wanted to hear about what Vox could do to his number one star. That probably would have been a warning sign, except for the whole mind-warping thing. At least he hadn’t had a brain for Val to eat literal holes in….

‘Ooh, you’re right, hm,’ Angel said, sinking his tail into Spicy’s body slowly, enjoying the way he started to keen. ‘I don’t care….’

The protest let him assert this new incubus persona thing he was doing, it was great—as long as he could see how desperate Vox was, maybe a little envy, a little insecurity…. Angel wasn’t used to being inarguably the biggest cock in the room, and he really liked it….

Vox pushed a little further, wanting to see what happened. ‘You know,’ he said, ‘I didn’t really believe you were an overlord until right now.’ He wondered if the state of his cock, which was achingly obvious by this point, helped or undermined him. It was hard to tell, with stakes like these.

Angel snorted. ‘Oh, honey,’ he said, still in that same Mid-Atlantic starlet voice, more and more of his tail disappearing inside Spicy. ‘I’m not an overlord—am I, Spicy?’ he said, soft and sinister and knowing exactly what Spicy would say, and revelling in it.

Spicy’s eyes were wide, and Angel felt the devotion, the power Spicy flooded into him; it made him breathless.

‘No,’ Spicy said, all awe and hope and love. ‘No, you’re a god….’

That stung a little—but, Vox reminded himself, Spicy was a polytheist; it was natural for him to worship Vox and Angel and Loki and whoever else side by side, even if they created sparks by rubbing shoulders. At least no one was calling the Radio Demon a god.

…Right?

Angel’s laugh was a little shaky, but he didn’t mind, looking at how Spicy was looking at him. ‘That’s right,’ he said, and even though he felt like lightning was going to strike him down, he loved it.

‘Nothing in Creation like a lapsed Catholic,’ Vox said, not quite under his breath.

Spicy giggled, despite the pleasure building in his hips from Angel’s tail coiling inside him, deeper than anything before, full, full, full…. ‘Can I have Vox, sir?’ Spicy asked, still wanting more. ‘Please? Can I have both of you at once?’

Spicy deciding to call him ‘sir’ was cute, Angel decided, as he thought it over. He snapped his fingers at Vox. ‘You heard him. Strip.’

‘It’s detachable,’ Spicy added, in a stage whisper. ‘You don’t have to let him participate.’

Oh, Spicy was not granting Vox mercy—he was colluding with Angel, helping him torture Vox….

Angel’s eyes lit in a terribly evil smile. ‘Is it, now…’ he said, turning to look at Vox hungrily. ‘Isn’t that interesting….’ He opened his hand. ‘Hand it over, Voxy.’

‘Yes, Lord,’ Vox said, unzipping and doing the little push-and-twist, and saying mentally, half a beat afterwards, Sure thing, Dusty. At least being a smarmy bastard came naturally; he was bursting with pride for Spicy—and, of course, arousal—so intensely that it was even harder to think than before.

‘Yes, Lord Angel Dust,’ Angel corrected, ‘let’s not get lazy, you uppity fuck.’ He took the cock, having never really seen it before, and turned it over in his hands, running his fingers over it. It looked and felt like a very artistic dildo, possibly one of the strange ones that Spicy so favoured.

‘He made it as sensitive as a clit,’ Spicy said in a stage whisper, and Angel’s smile got so wide it curled at the ends.

‘…Was hoping you wouldn’t tell him that,’ Vox said, with entirely unfeigned difficulty. That was what he got for being smug about it before he was home safe. ‘And yes, I am an uppity fuck, but Spicy seems to like it.’

Angel squeezed the cock, flashing his eyes, before smiling sweetly. ‘What was that, darling?’

Oh no, Daddy, you forgot to call him Lord Angel Dust! but Spicy sounded gleeful.

‘Ngk,’ said Vox, one hand splaying out on the carpet to catch himself as he nearly fell over. Unfortunately, putting all his weight on that wrist didn’t work, and he collapsed onto his side anyway. ‘Nn… nothing, Lord Angel Dust.’

‘I thought so,’ Angel said, almost shivering in bliss, seeing Vox like this, having him by the literal cock. He turned back to Spicy, the sadism softening now, knowing Spicy didn’t like pain (but, apparently, didn’t mind facilitating). He put the cock up to Spicy’s glowing mouth. ‘Get it nice and slick for me, baby doll,’ he said, his middle hands sliding up Spicy’s body and playing softly with his nipples, squirming his tail just a little.

Spicy moaned, opening his mouth, letting Angel push the cock inside slowly, gently, tenderly.

‘Thaaat’s it,’ Angel purred. ‘Gooood boy, Spicy….’ He knew Spicy loved that phrase, and needed praise while he was sucking cock, needed encouragement. It was the one sex thing he wasn’t confident about, yet. ‘Beautiful, baby,’ he purred. ‘Just like that, good boy….’

That’s my job, Vox would have said, if he’d been capable of speech or even telepathy just then. He had to settle for blinking up at Angel and what he could see of Spicy, unable to raise himself back into even a sitting position.

This had been a heaven of a day.

‘What a pretty mouth you have, Spicy, darling,’ Angel continued. ‘I really should come up and see you more often….’

Spicy’s giggle was muffled but no less sweet, and Angel’s lower hands started working Spicy’s back entrance open, slick and gentle. Spicy’s eyes fluttered closed, and he squeaked. It had been a while since he’d had anal, and it was so, so good, with Angel….

In the little interlude, Vox was able to get up onto his knees again, feeling the carpet warmed by his body heat. He’d never felt the distance from his cock so keenly as when it was no longer under his control. Still, at least Angel was putting it in a good spot. Wait.

‘We’ve never done that,’ he protested, adding a hasty, ‘Lord Angel Dust. With my cables and the machines, yes, but never my cock.’ A little quiver of hesitation, not too much, just right, really lean into the grain of truth there… ‘It was going to be special.’

Angel’s laugh was like nothing Hell had ever heard before, a low and Villainous crescendo that merited thunder and lightning. Spicy came, moaning around Vox’s cock and drenching Angel’s hands and tail.

‘Too bad…’ Angel said, sliding two fingers easily into Spicy’s orgasm-loosened body.

Chapter Text

Across town, Alastor was finally getting back to his weekly broadcast. He’d resigned himself to a certain amount (and calibre) of callers when he confirmed that he’d been on his honeymoon with Angel, but he moved on to the next segment and the calls kept coming. And coming. And coming, like a concubus on… never mind.

He was thinking about Angel an awful lot.

He got a blip in his ear from his tech, who was just next to him, but separated by a soundproof glass wall.

‘Boss, you… have kind of a husky southern purr right now.’ There was a pause, and Alastor could feel the stunned realisation click into place, the tech’s four arms freezing in the middle of what they were all doing. ‘Is that… is that your real accent?’

Alastor blinked, then mentally replayed the last forty-five minutes or so in his head. ‘Oh, fuck me.’ He cleared his throat, then said, very fast and at the top of his usual radio voice, ‘DUE TO TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES WE ARE ENDING RIGHT THIS MINUTE! TO PRESERVE THE INTEGRITY OF MY USUAL SIGN-OFF IN THESE TROUBLING ABSOLUTELY ONE-TIME CIRCUMSTANCES, I WILL NOT BE USING IT! HAVE A HORRIBLE DAY!’

It was, however, too late. The calls increased in number as Hell protested, and the infernet, though Alastor never went on it, exploded.

THE RADIO DEMON IS A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN AND I WANT HIM TO RAIL ME INTO NEXT WEEK #radiodaddy #thirstposting #alastor

H E L P #radiodaddy

People started posting orgasm faces, with captions like,

My face after listening to tonight’s broadcast #radiodaddy #unf

Never knew I liked radio until today #radiodaddy

ANGEL COME GET YOUR MANS BEFORE I DO #angeldust #radiodaddy #radiodust #ohlord

‘Sir,’ said his assistant, ‘Um, I know you don’t do social media, but… you should probably… know that you’re trending.’ She tried to smile, a little nervous. ‘You’re popular again?’ she offered.

Alastor, sitting with his head in his hands, only groaned.

‘Sex does sell, sir,’ she went on, trying to be comforting.

‘I am not,’ Alastor said, with chillingly precise diction, ‘selling anything.’ He sighed and lowered his hands. ‘They are going to expect a repeat performance, Dirge! They’ve seen behind the curtain! I may be ruined!’ He and Angel were going to have to have a talk about controlling auras.

At least, Alastor thought, it meant his lover was having a very good time.

Dirge pursed her lips, twisting them to one side as she held back what she was thinking; but Alastor was her Overlord, he knew she was holding something back….

‘Speak,’ Alastor said, and there were echoes to it. On the wall behind him, Shadow stood up.

‘You are selling something, sir,’ she said. ‘That’s the whole point. Radio isn’t a service, it’s entertainment.’

Dirge was one of his oldest of his souls, a former hostess from a local station in Missouri; but she had adapted to the times, unlike her master. Most of the station wasn’t as stubborn as he was, though they’d learned by now not to try and introduce him to concepts like podcasts and social media presence. He didn’t even allow the station to have a social media account run by someone else. It made it very difficult for them, and popularity had been waning.

Alastor stared at her. ‘Entertainment,’ he said, ‘should not be a commodity! The price of a radio set, the price of admission, fine! Everyone has to eat! But beyond that, it should be understood for what it is—art! Art is a part of our souls that Hell itself cannot take away! Imagine, my dear, a violinist playing on the street corner! He’s comfortable at home, he has no need to have coins tossed at him! He plays for the joy of it, for the joy of those hearing him! That is my radio show!’

He was standing now, and the ON AIR light was flickering.

‘I bare more of myself to them doing it than they’ll ever know, but because I’m not talking about sex, it doesn’t count! They do not get to have with me what I have with Angel!’

Dirge considered her reply; she knew what it was to be intensely private and yet just as passionate about being on the air.

‘I think you expect too much of people, Alastor,’ she said, gentle but frank. ‘Just because it’s art doesn’t mean it’s not allowed to stir people’s passion up. People have been lusting after entertainers and performers of all kinds since ancient days. It’s part of the whole… you can’t control the audience… thing, you know? They like you, you’re popular again. That’s what you said you wanted, you don’t get to control how or why you’re popular.’

She hoped he’d finally see sense; but if he wanted to take off her head, at least she had tried.

Shadow paced back and forth along the wall as Alastor stood in silent thought. ‘But I can control my voice,’ he said at last, ‘usually,’ he added, with a laugh; but it was tired. ‘I worked so long and hard on doing just that.’

He thought about the first time he’d let Angel hear his real voice, in this very building, not so far from this very room.

‘I let down my guard,’ he said. ‘I didn’t mean to. And now I’ve turned it all upside down. No one will hear me again. Just the sound of my voice, and whatever they want to pretend it means. I thought I was done with that.’

‘People hear what they want to hear, regardless,’ Dirge reminded him. ‘There’s been people out there getting off to your voice for decades, Alastor, whether you want them to or not. It’s just…’ she gesticulated. ‘One of the things about having a radio voice. I know you don’t like to think about that, but…’ she shrugged. ‘It’s true.’

‘But they weren’t working themselves up into a frenzy over it before…’ He shook his head, passed a hand over his face, and when he looked up there was a positively rebellious cast to his expression. ‘No one can embarrass me out of doing what I love! Not even me! I’ve had worse disasters in the kitchen!’ He had a proper Radio Demon grin now. ‘They’ll just have to be on tenterhooks wondering if I’ll do it again or not! I wager they’ll be on the edge of their seats! And if they call in with requests, I will do as I have always done, and hang up!’

‘Or,’ Dirge said, and waited. She was bolder than most, with the Radio Demon; but she wasn’t going to even attempt a suggestion, not without a signal it was wanted. Still, the station hadn’t been this successful since television had shown up, and Dirge had heard all the employee reactions, while the calls were pouring in, and the radios were switching on. This could be their salvation—if they could only get their boss to stop being such a goddamned stubborn goat about it….

His eyes narrowed, and he leaned in uncomfortably far without moving anything below his ribcage. ‘Or what?’

‘Or you could use your normal accent, or whatever that voice was. I’m not saying you have to be flirty—but if that’s your natural voice, then… what’s the shame in it? It’s warm, it’s nice to listen to, and people these days aren’t as prejudiced about accents.’

Missouri was one of those states that was and wasn’t the south, depending on who you asked, and Dirge understood the hesitance to Sound Southern, and the stereotypes people had; but people weren’t reacting like Alastor was stupid. People didn’t think that anymore. People thought a Southern accent was sexy, and warm, and welcomingespecially one from New Orleans. Everyone liked New Orleans—even more, in the past ten years.

Alastor blinked, reverting to his normal position. ‘But that voice—this voice!—is a part of me now, Dirge. As much as my suit, or my microphone. It’s hard to imagine putting it away. Even for all the adulation I could dream of.’

‘So use it off the air,’ Dirge said, with a wry smile.

He gave a little huff of a snort, one that almost seemed to call for a stamp of the foot to go with it. ‘I was about to say as much! Now, since I may as well… what are they saying?’

Dirge pressed her lips together, scrolling through her computer screen—she was allowed a computer, as long as it didn’t have a camera or a microphone.

‘Well,’ she said, trying to summarise. ‘They’re buying radios… they’re excited about the next show… they’re wondering if you sing…’ She hid a laugh in a huff of breath. ‘Ahem, sorry, there’s… a lot of good-natured jealousy toward Angel for “having that all the time”.’

She dared look up at his face, searching around his eyes for an expression. She wasn’t going to mention the #radiodaddy tag. Alastor didn’t understand tags or trending topics, and trying to explain it was always a headache.

He cocked his head. ‘Well, Angel is used to being envied, I imagine! I just never thought it would be for me!’ He looked much calmer now, somewhere between acceptance and amused resignation. ‘If they’re excited, well, I suppose you’re right—shouldn’t look a gift nightmare in the mouth! I could even take a spin with the band sometime!’ He hummed a few bars of something Dirge didn’t know, in a vibrant tenor that matched his radio voice, before dipping a little lower and softer. ‘Don’t spoil the surprise, though!’

Dirge splayed a hand on her chest. ‘I would never, sir,’ she said, awash with relief. Maybe the station could be saved, after all….

.oOo.

Spicy woke up in an empty bed, with a handwritten note by the bedside attached to a bouquet of pink cattleya orchids. His migraine was gone, and he wasn’t even sore from all the sex. He also smelled the most delicious coffee, and stretched under the blankets, before heaving up and putting on his robe, Vox’s love-note in one hand as he left the bedroom and saw Moxxie already arrived. The clock on the wall said it was ten in the morning.

‘Morning,’ Spicy said, muzzy but good-natured, as he used the step-stool by the kitchen bar to climb up onto one of the stools, leaning on the counter.

Moxxie finished stirring cream into a mug of coffee and pushed it down the counter. ‘Morning.’ He eyed Spicy, taking in the note. ‘You look like you’re doing better.’ He tried hard to say the last part casually. If Spicy didn’t need him around anymore, it was back to I.M.P., where he wouldn’t even be able to practice guitar because of Blitzo’s habit of bursting in and adding his own words to the songs. Moxxie estimated it would be another good week or two, and probably another couple of stolen whiteboards, before Blitzo figured out what he wanted to do with his newfound patronage. Until then, zilch.

At least the sex had been amazing.

‘I am,’ Spicy said, sipping the coffee, pausing to smile. ‘Mm, you’re really good at coffee…’ He unfolded the note, admiring the fact that his husband was perfect in yet another way by having pretty handwriting, and read:

Work calls, my darling boywife. Television never sleeps, although I think I just had my first nap in about seventy years. L.’s shapeshifting is the real deal. I’m back to my usual self for now, but I think the remote is still in your hands, if you catch my drift. I can just about turn it on and off. Maybe we can experiment some more tonight.

All my love (and you know how much that is),

Vox

Spicy’s crest fluffed, and Moxxie recognised his smile, as he gazed at the note for a few moments more to savour the signature, before folding it up again, taking another drink of coffee, and returning his attention to Moxxie. ‘I think I feel well enough to meet with Blitzo, today,’ he said, unsure if he wanted to meet with a huge group. Imps could be loud, and were very physical, and while Spicy normally liked both, he was… still just barely okay. Still, he was well enough that he’d be bored, otherwise.

‘Oh,’ said Moxxie. ‘Great?’ It would forcibly yank Blitzo out of brainstorming, or at least redirect his energy a little more productively. On the other hand, Moxxie had been kind of looking forward to another quiet day of coffee-making and chatting and maybe some more mind-blowing sex if Millie was all right with it. Oh well. Things like that were always too good to last.

‘Do you want him to come here, or do you want to take the trip back to I.M.P. with me?’ It would set the rumour mill grinding, but that might be beneficial for Spicy, if he was going to be open about being I.M.P.’s… Blitzo wanted to call him a ‘liaison,’ but Moxxie wasn’t positive his boss knew what that meant.

Spicy thought on it. ‘Well,’ he said, slowly. ‘I don’t think going outside is a good idea, just yet. It’s nice and quiet up here, and that’s a good thing.’ It would also, hopefully, subdue Blitzo a bit, to be in an overlord’s territory. Despite his irreverence toward Stolas, Blitzo had shown that awe of Vox made him quiet, and Spicy needed all the quiet he could get. ‘You said it’s just you, him, his daughter and your wife right?’ Could he handle four guests? Spicy wasn’t sure. ‘Would all of them come, or not? Be honest,’ he added.

‘Millie is probably out at the weapons range, which is what she calls the parts of the back alley she hasn’t blown up yet, but she likes meeting new people. It’s gonna be harder to give Loona a reason to care. You’re not her type, video-wise.’

‘She doesn’t have to come,’ Spicy said. ‘I’m sure she has things she can do on a day off.’ He had little interest in forcing interaction. ‘Besides, you said she’s the receptionist. I don’t really need to meet with her.’

‘She’d probably say the same thing,’ Moxxie said, taking out his hellphone. ‘But more sarcastically. So just Blitzo and Millie, then.’ He smiled just thinking about her. ‘I’m sure she’ll be excited.’

Spicy smiled; it was nice to meet people in love. ‘Let them know to come up around noon, then, I want time to eat breakfast and wake up.’

Breakfast took a few hours to be wanted, for Spicy; but something had changed, last night, and he was actually hungry, hungry like a normal person. Bacon sounded absolutely wonderful, and so did pancakes…. he climbed down and went into the kitchen proper, pulling out the cookbook Vox kept there (the familiar red plaid was comforting and homey) and flipping through it to find pancakes. Hell had a dearth of convenience food, due to the lack of space for factories, and so most things had to be from scratch.

Moxxie, having sent the requisite texts, followed, trying not to hover. ‘Can I help?’ he asked, peeking over Spicy’s shoulder at the recipe. ‘Do pancakes count as baking or cooking?’

‘Baking, because you mix and then heat. Cooking is just heat.’

He waited for Moxxie to climb up on the dining chair they’d dragged in here for him. They really needed more step-stools, Spicy thought. It was bad enough being more than two feet shorter than the apartment, but Moxxie was even shorter than Spicy….

‘You’d think Vox could build you your own kitchen,’ Moxxie muttered, clearly on a similar wavelength as he balanced on the chair. ‘He can probably just add rooms to this thing whenever he wants.’ It was just like an overlord to have a kitchen made to his beanpole specifications and then never use it because he didn’t eat. Moxxie wondered, absently, if anyone had used it at all before Spicy. Not that he kept track of the overlords, he wasn’t like that, but he couldn’t remember Vox being so public, or so domestic, about a contract before.

Spicy giggled. ‘You’re right, I should ask him. Hestia knows it needs some serious work, after I smashed it up.’

Daddy, when you remodel the kitchen, could you make it me-size?

He started supervising, helping Moxxie practise reading a recipe and following the directions, and found a pancake bottle, which made mixing the batter much more fun (and meant there was lots of laughing, because shaking things was fun). He taught Moxxie to make shapes, and Moxxie took to shapes like a duck to water. Given they ended up with enough pancakes for four, Spicy decided they may as well make a whole meal for everyone, and started on the bacon—a rare treat, for imps, meat was expensive—Spicy taking delight in arranging everything on the circular dining table, setting places, before the receptionist buzzed up that there were visitors, was Spicy expecting more.

‘Oh—I’m expecting two imps, Blitzo and Millie. Send them up.’

‘Okay.’ came the answer, and as always there was a hesitance, as the receptionist tried yet again to decide if Spicy merited an honourific, but felt weird using his name. It was becoming an ongoing thing. Spicy rushed into the bedroom to pull on some leggings and a fluffy sweater.

‘Is that bacon?’ was the first thing out of Blitzo’s mouth when he came in the door. Millie swatted his arm.

Moxxie fidgeted, resisting the urge to go rearrange the place settings or something. He wasn’t sure how he felt about these two worlds colliding. Either way, any chance for him to relax was gone. Then his gaze fell on Millie, and his heart lifted a little. She lit up any room she came into, with or without her flamethrower.

‘Hi,’ he said, rejoicing in the fact he didn’t need to add any other words, because she already knew.

She gave him a little wave.

Spicy came out of the bedroom, smiling. ‘Hieee,’ he said, waving, settling down at his plate and starting to spread jam on his star-shaped pancakes. ‘I haven’t had breakfast, and there was enough to share.’ Spicy felt so happy at having so much food that he could afford to spontaneously feed guests as much as they wanted. That had never been true, until today.

Daddy, I love you. I love living with you.

I love you too, baby. I’m glad you’re here. Not that Vox hadn’t enjoyed those trips to Spicy’s hotel room, with their memories of similar excursions when he’d been alive, but it was even better to know that Spicy was right there in his building, waiting for him.

Moxxie was carefully setting pancakes on Millie’s plate. ‘See, this one is a grenade, and this one is supposed to be a throwing knife but I messed up the handle, and this one is a heart…’

Blitzo, meanwhile, had taken one pancake and was now piling as much bacon on his plate as he could get away with.

Spicy assiduously did not comment, except to say, without looking up from his plate. ‘There’s plenty of everything if anybody wants seconds,’ because he knew imps were working class, and probably had food insecurity, and he knew what that felt like, and he was not going to comment, no matter how nervous he was about everyone not getting enough. There was more. There was lots more.

‘So,’ he said, after the initial first wave of eating was out of the way. ‘I have some ideas for portals, but I think first we should figure out how much you remember from the book we no longer have. That’s a good starting point.’

He’d never had a business meal, and it was sort of thrilling? Vox could feel his giddiness. I’m a grown up I’m doing grown up things! wasn’t really directed at Vox, but he could hear it nonetheless.

‘I still can’t believe the same book creates portals to the mortal world and seals away the Apocalypse’s kids,’ Millie said, making her heart pancake bleed syrup. ‘I mean, talk about a broad scope.’

‘Maybe it was an anthology,’ suggested Moxxie.

‘Scope, shmope.’ No one at I.M.P. knew where Blitzo had picked up that quirk of speech. According to Loona, he’d been doing it for years. ‘Whatever. The point is, it had a lot of diagrams and incantations and… and things. And the portals are vertical ovals of hellfire.’

‘It makes sense, if the book covers inter-dimensional travel; and, really, that tells us more about the nature of the seals and location of the cages than anything…’ Spicy said, with a dangerously musing tone. He took a sip of coffee. ‘Regardless, my magic is divine magic—granted by the gods. I find that makes it more reliable.’ He waited for them to voice concerns—to Hell, the word ‘divine’ was a problem. Spicy needed to open the conversation up to that, before they could move on. He didn’t do arcane magic, he did divine magic. Cleric versus wizard….

The imps eyed him.

‘And… your gods are okay with us going to murder people not on their behalf?’ Moxxie asked.

Spicy chuckled. ‘Do you know what a “viking” is?’ he asked them.

‘A kind of helmet you wear in opera,’ Blitzo said, smugly crunching another piece of bacon. ‘Next question.’

‘No,’ Spicy said, ‘In ancient days—before Hell, before Heaven—there were the Norse gods, and their people would go every summer to raid and pillage and murder all the people in the next nations over. They called this viking. Later on, people started calling them Vikings. Anyway, so, the Norse gods are very much about war and battle. What IMP does is basically viking.’

‘I still can’t get over the “before Hell” thing,’ Millie murmured. Moxxie had come home and explained about “Christians,” but it was still sinking in.

‘But that’s what I meant,’ Moxxie said. ‘We aren’t their people. We aren’t doing it for them. We might even kill some of their people.’

‘I fink he means they just like violensh,’ Blitzo said with his mouth full.

‘There aren’t many of us around anymore, darling. And anyway, that’s not how it works; even if one of your contracts is someone who worships the Norse gods, they earned their death—either in battle with you, or because they were too cowardly to fight.’ He shrugged. ‘There’s no concept of mercy, that’s a Christian thing.’

‘They can battle us?’ Millie’s eyes lit up, and she swiveled around to jab Blitzo with her fork. ‘You didn’t say they could battle us!’

‘They aren’t supposed to,’ Blitzo said, aggrieved. ‘It takes up too much time.’

‘Not if they’re really bad at it,’ Millie said, batting her eyelashes.

‘So your gods will create the portals for us, or let you create them,’ Moxxie said, trying to steer the conversation back on track. ‘Will you need to be there every time?’

‘That’s what I’m wondering,’ Spicy said. ‘To start out, definitely; but I want to work toward teaching y’all to do them yourselves.’ Even as he spoke, Spicy reached out to Loki and Hermes jointly, inquisitive. I want to do travelling magic, I don’t know where to start, help?

‘I wonder if we could turn the incantation into a song,’ Blitzo breathed. ‘Songs are easier to remember.’

‘Millie has the steadiest hand, so she could draw the sigils,’ Moxxie said. ‘But I don’t think you can accompany spells on guitar.’ Blitzo always chastised him when he put himself down, but often he couldn’t help but feel like he was extraneous, mostly there because Millie wouldn’t work without him. At least he was an extra pair of hands to hold down stubborn contracts.

‘Songs are the oldest kind of spell,’ Spicy said, mentally going through the songs he knew that felt of magic.

He heard soft laughter, in the back of his mind, and a silvery voice. What are you doing, and where are you going? Hermes sang teasingly, and Spicy, unable to help it, giggled to himself.

Come find out, why don’t you? he teased right back, happy to feel his gods’ presence again.

‘So, are you going to want a cut of the profits, or what?’ Blitzo asked, completely missing the dreamily introspective look on Spicy’s face. ‘Wait—are your gods going to want a cut of the profits? I heard you pay pagan gods in blood, we generate a lot of that…’

‘Dedicating the blood to us makes you pagan,’ came a voice as light and charming as a summer breeze, from the kitchen. A young man with silvery-blue skin and windswept, sun-streaked curls was perched on one of the high stools, leaning back against the bar counter. He was dressed in running briefs and well-worn boots with wings at the ankles.

Spicy was across the room like a shot, hugging him.

‘Hermes!!’ he said, and Hermes laughed, hugging back tightly.

All the imps’ eyes went huge, their tails shooting straight up.

Blitzo was the first to recover, or at least to pretend to. ‘We can’t be pagan,’ he said, and Moxxie thanked Satan and Lucifer and Whatever that he wasn’t using his Talking To Idiots voice. ‘We’re imps.’

One brow raised. ‘And?’

‘I mean, you have free will,’ Spicy pointed out, reasonably. ‘You can worship whomever you please. Who’s gonna stop you?’

Blitzo, wordlessly for once, pointed a finger at the ceiling.

Hermes laughed. ‘You think we would not protect you, little brother?’

Spicy’s heart melted; he hadn’t known Hermes called people like that, it was so… so sweet.

The imps looked at him, then at each other. Then Blitzo said, very carefully, ‘I appreciate it, uh, Mister God, Hermes, sir, but you’re not… really in the same weight class, are you? You’d get curbstomped.’

‘They have the numbers,’ Millie pointed out.

‘And He has angels. Spicy says the overlords are gods, and angels can sure as fuck kill them.

Hermes didn’t seem fazed by any of this. ‘Angels cannot kill gods,’ he said, ‘the overlords were not gods until recently.’ He slanted a quicksilver gaze to Spicy, at that, watching his crest fluff as Spicy realised he had done that.

Hermes looked back at the imps, contemplated, and then stood, gathering his power, growing taller, his eyes glowing and his tongue flashing silver as he spoke, voice the echo of a thousand years of human cleverness, of every witted word and sly insult ever spoken, of every diplomatic victory and every con.

‘You’re absolutely right about that,’ he said, and yet was not threatening—Hermes was not threatening, he was charisma personified. His smile could rewrite history. ‘He is but a witling child, to me.’

‘I like him,’ Millie said decisively. ‘I’m on his side.’ She cocked her head at Hermes. ‘How do you feel about high explosives?’

‘…Can we go back to the part where the overlords can’t be killed anymore?’ Moxxie asked, in a small voice.

‘Gods cannot be killed,’ Hermes said, pulling back his mien and settling back on the barstool. ‘We come back the next day, even if we are destroyed. The only way to kill a god is to forget.’ Hermes was old enough to feel secure in saying that; if even one person remembered the gods, they would live on. If even one person spoke their name, they would be immortal. That was how it worked. That was how it all worked.

And Spicy would never forget them.

‘I’m gonna assume that’s a yes,’ said Millie.

‘Wow,’ Blitzo said, knocking at his head like he was trying to get water out of his ears. ‘It’s like when Spicy was praying, but worse.’ He looked back at Hermes. ‘If we worship you, will this feeling go away?’

Hermes cocked his head. ‘What feeling?’ he asked, curious. He’d never met imps before, and curiosity was half the joy of his existence.

Blitzo frowned. ‘It’s a little like microphone feedback in your brain…’

‘And being pricked all over with needles, but not in the fun way,’ Millie chimed in.

‘And a little like something very big and nasty is about to come up from behind and eat you,’ Moxxie said. ‘Um, no offence.’

A pair of serpents—one silver, one black—twined slowly around Hermes’ curls, whispering to him, and he listened for a moment, before his face lit in understanding.

‘Ah,’ he said. ‘I see. Imps are creatures of Hell, and Hell is… antithesis to Heaven. There weren’t supposed to be gods down here, so you evolved to feel divinity as a threat. That is the problem with The Only Child, isn’t it?’ He tapped his lips contemplatively.

‘My hypothesis is that, should you become of our family, that would fade; but there’s no precedent, we’ve never had worshippers who weren’t human, before. Still, what’s life without a little risk?’ he asked, with all the guile of a casino dealer.

‘I say the same thing!’ Blitzo puffed out his narrow chest.

‘I always say “safer,”‘ said Moxxie, deadpan.

‘Would we still be imps?’ Millie was looking speculative. ‘If we’re creatures of Hell, and we swear our loyalty to someone not of Hell…’ She frowned, hugging her arms about herself. ‘I know it’s a rough gig, but I like being an imp. We’re small enough to get lots of places and no one notices you until you step up and kill them.’

‘You are what you are,’ Hermes said, a little taken aback. ‘Who you worship does not change your species, little sister. Though,’ he said, ‘confidentially, you taste more of my uncle Ares than of me.’

‘Oh yeah,’ Spicy said, nodding. ‘Definitely Ares or Thor, for Millie.’

‘Ooooh,’ Millie said, cocking a flirtatious hip, ‘tell me more about my taste, why don’t you?’

‘Species?’ Blitzo looked dubious. ‘Those are the things humans keep killing, right? Because the endangered ones taste better, or something?’

Hermes put a hand over Spicy’s mouth gently, radiating calm. ‘What you are, rather than who. You are imps, as you said. I am a god. Spicy is a human.’ His tone was patient, understanding.

‘And sinners were human, but now they’re demons,’ Moxxie said slowly. ‘That explains why Spicy isn’t very… you know, demonic. Imps are demons, too, though. Are sinners a different demon species?’

‘Probably, though I haven’t had a way to get into Hell and observe them, before now…’ He ruffled Spicy’s crest gently, mindful that it was feathers. Spicy surprised himself by cooing softly, involuntarily, at the affection. ‘Demon’s one of our words, anyway,’ he added, smiling at Spicy’s noises and continuing to pet him. ‘Daimōn. It means “spirit” or “lesser god”.’

‘Who do you mean when you say “our?”‘ Blitzo wanted to know. ‘Are you and Loki on the same…’ He gestured vaguely. ‘Team?’

Hermes laughed again. ‘Oh,’ he lilted, ‘you might say that… he is my husband, after all….’

Blitzo snickered. ‘I hope you two have some kind of arrangement worked out, that’s all I can say.’ He elbowed Moxxie knowingly in the ribs, which was not well-received.

‘Hermes,’ Spicy said, ‘we’re trying to find a way into the mortal world; I’ve never made a portal before, can you help?’

‘Of course, little brother,’ Hermes said. ‘Let’s move over to the couch…’

Chapter Text

Having found his way into the eye of the storm, Vox had a moment of quiet. He was, to his own total lack of surprise, using it to think about Spicy. That idea was back: how much harm could getting hitched really do? It would afford Spicy a whole new kind of status, because Vox knew there were people who didn’t understand the fame of being Hell’s premier camboy, but could understand “overlord’s wife.” And he knew Spicy would love it to be real.

How could he propose, though? He knew Spicy well enough by now to know that a ring would not be appreciated, even if it were in a little velvet box presented at dinner. But that was how Vox had been brought up, and it was all that media really had to show him. He might once have thought of a collar (or, preferably, anklet), but that would have been before Spicy took his chip, and definitely before they’d started switching things up.

Well, he didn’t have to sit here in isolation and stew about it. Maybe some of his staff knew something. They’d better—it was why he kept them around.

The mix of souls in Hell meant that Vox’s studio was run more like a British set than an American one—everyone had firm breaks, everything stopped at five, and while overtime was not unusual, all-nighters were rare.

As Vox moved through the commissary lobby, he was greeted by nearly everyone—unlike Val’s fear, Vox ruled with the sparkling charisma of his domain.

Mince, director and the demon officially in charge of television that wasn’t journalism, was taking a much-needed lunch break, sitting at his usual table in the commissary. Glitz was with him, making sure his boyfriend remembered to eat, between cigarettes, as always.

Everyone got a smile in return, those who didn’t look up treated to Vox’s face winking briefly from their hellphones. But Vox was on a mission, having set course for Mince immediately after spotting him. Glitz liked to play the airhead, but Vox suspected he might have some insight, too.

‘I know this is a tall order,’ he said, sitting down opposite them without preamble. ‘But it’s coming from me, so I know you’ll at least pretend to listen. Keep this under wraps, okay? I need to ask your advice.’

‘Sleeping on the couch already?’ Mince asked, teasingly as always. Glitz narrowly missed choking on his mimosa.

‘Projecting?’ Vox returned. ‘It’s the opposite, actually.’ He didn’t tilt his screen, but the angle of his expression changed as he eyed them. ‘I want to propose to Spicy, but the only method I know is bland as a TV dinner. Or maybe graham crackers would be a better analogy, seeing as I want to avoid anything Christian.’ Fuck, was he rambling?

The two demons—birds both, one of the nicknames of the Server was The Aviary—glanced at one another, fluffing in intrigue.

‘He doesn’t like diamonds?’ Glitz asked. Vox knew the answer to that; Spicy was very casually bitter about capitalism, and had mentioned once that all minerals were on loan from Dis Pater, and could not belong to anyone else.

‘Everyone likes diamonds, Glitz, don’t be ridiculous,’ Mince said, lighting another cigarette.

‘Spicy isn’t everyone,’ Vox said, with more than a trace of smugness. ‘He hates diamonds for the exact reasons I love ‘em.’

‘Fur?’

‘You can’t propose to someone with a fur, darling,’ Mince said. ‘Furs are sugar.’

‘Are you so sure he’ll want to be married? The boy does wander,’ Glitz said, worried. ‘We all saw Angel Dust arriving at the Server, last night, and not leaving until this morning.’

It occurred to Vox that, things having been as they were, nobody was as caught up to the details of the power shift.

He tried not to laugh. ‘That was less wandering and more of a, let’s say, supervised excursion. In case you missed it, Angel is an overlord now, and he and I have mended some fences. He knew Spicy before I did, and they have something together that, I’ll be honest, I don’t completely get, but I know it’s important to Spicy. And if Angel and I can improve our relations that way… so much the better.’

‘Oooooh,’ Mince cooed, appreciatively, his crest raising entirely.

‘You finally got him, you sly dog,’ Glitz added, with a grin.

‘I also heard a rumour that your little cinnamon morsel had the balls to insult some Goetics,’ Mince said. ‘I didn’t believe it, but…’ he trailed off, implying that, clearly, in light of this new information, he might be so inclined.

Vox raised a brow. ‘You wouldn’t believe it of the man who caused #failowl?’ He didn’t comment on bagging Angel; even for him, there was nothing he could say that wouldn’t give away at least a hint of how things had really gone.

‘You think I’ve had the time to check hashtags, Daddy? Everything is on fire,’ Mince said peevishly; but Glitz was pulling it up on his phone, and gasping, grimacing at the image.

‘Oh my lord, that poor baby…’ he fretted, and showed Mince, who slipped his narrow little reading glasses on.

‘…Oh my god,’ he lilted. ‘The little bitch,’ he added, warmly, glancing at Vox. ‘You really know how to pick ‘em, don’t you?’

‘I sure do. And now I want to keep him. Can you propose with a remodelled kitchen?’ Glitz’s earlier suggestion was nagging at him. They already had plenty of furs, and Mince was right, so why was he still thinking about it?

‘To a housewife,’ Glitz said, with the authority of his position as Head of Advertising. He raised a brow, scrolling through Spicy’s Sinstagram, looking for clues. ‘Is he a housewife?’

‘Is that why we haven’t seen him come out of that tower, yet?’ Mince asked, putting a hand on Vox’s arm for emphasis.

‘We haven’t what?’ Vox’s expression shrank as he was taken aback. ‘He hasn’t left the penthouse at all? I didn’t think he liked being a housewife that much. What, he hasn’t even thrown a Tupperware party?’

‘We haven’t seen a single downy feather of him, darling, didn’t you know?’ Mince asked.

‘We thought you had him locked up behind a paywall,’ Glitz joked. ‘…There is not a single selfie in this gallery! It’s just pictures of shopping hauls and stray cats.’

‘Cats…’ Vox repeated. ‘Now that’s an idea.’ The idea, in fact. It didn’t take a mindlink to know that Spicy longed for a cat, which was why Vox was annoyed he hadn’t thought of it earlier.

But that was going to have to be postponed until he solved the issue of Spicy apparently deciding “recluse” was the look he wanted. It didn’t make any sense. Once you got Spicy going, it was very hard to make him stop. He needed the company of others. When Vox had met him, he’d been arguing with Angel and had drawn an audience, fielding comments from all sides and batting them back effortlessly. He’d clearly been in his element. Was it environmental? Had he only felt that comfortable at the Studio, and being persona non grata there had taken it away?

Had Vox really been so busy that he hadn’t noticed this?

‘I wanted him to meet all of you,’ Vox said. ‘I thought you already had.’

‘No, darling,’ Mince said, almost primly, and glanced over as another of the Old Queens—the nickname given to Vox’s department heads—came to sit with them. ‘Hook, have you ever met Spice Drop?’

‘Is that what we’re talking about?’ Hook said, settling down with them.

‘He’s been up in the Server for days,’ Mince went on, and Hook’s eyes widened in surprise.

‘He has?’

Mince gave Vox a Look. See?

‘And he’s going to be there every night,’ Vox said, a little tartly, pointedly ignoring the Look. ‘You did at least get the news he’s living with me now? Is the gossip mill broken?’

‘That cobra isn’t the only one that we’ve had to defend against during the week you were gone,’ Glitz said, finally setting his phone down. ‘But, honestly, I thought you were protecting the merchandise.’ It wasn’t unreasonable, to Glitz; Spicy’s entire business model relied on subscriptions and on the idea that you couldn’t just buy a film, you had to subscribe to the service and the streams—not all of which were available in his archive. Seeing too much of him for free would damage profits. And, Vox knew, the advertising genius that was Glitz would think along exactly those lines. It was what made him so good at his job.

It also, however, pointed out that, unlike Angel’s studio, Vox’s was full of people who specifically saw sex workers as a product, not entertainers. Sex sold, but more importantly, the promise of sex sold. Actually cashing in on that promise did not.

‘Gossip says he’s a firecracker,’ Hook said with a charming grin. ‘And I heard some of the crafties are thinking of leaving the porn studio to follow him, so the little people like him, at least.’

‘Is he ugly?’ Glitz asked, with the blunt frankness so signature to him.

‘He’s a fat little chicken, not that we mind; but you know how she is,’ Mince said, keeping to the unspoken agreement not to mention Velvet’s name.

‘Ah, he’s shy, then,’ Hook said. Plenty of performers were shy unless they were in front of a big crowd….

.oOo.

Cables as dexterous as tentacles bound him with his arms over his head, his legs struggling to close, quim flushed and pink and dripping despite his protests and the fury in the set of his mouth, his eyes hidden by the ever-present visor.

‘You bastard, let me go!’ he snarled at the camera, all fury and spitfire, even after the tinest flash of a shock was given to his clit in reply, and his face, his little noise in his throat, betrayed him….

Marbas couldn’t purr, being neither a concubus, an imp, or modelled after a much smaller cat, but he was making a noise of deep satisfaction. ‘No,’ he murmured, because the person behind (or rather in) the camera wasn’t saying anything. ‘I don’t think I will.’

He wondered, stroking himself, what look would grace those eyes at a real dilemma.

The cables pulled his arms further upward, his legs further out, and his narrow, soft chest heaved as he strained, cables pressing into his soft limbs. The only sounds he made were grunts of effort, and his tormentor seemed content to let him tire himself out… and, of course, focus on how all that motion was moving and tensing his cunt.

At last, Spicy relented, and gasped as his clit was trapped in a suction cylinder, whimpering. ‘No,’ softly over and over. He never begged—not with his mouth, anyway. But those pouting lips were very clearly begging….

‘Oh, little one, how would you feel if I made that permanent? Suction fades, but what I can do to you is forever…’ Marbas savoured the thought, of simple leather cuffs holding Spice Drop down instead of coils of technological nonsense, of a needle’s slow slide. Of some mechanism or other—he could rough out a sketch later, if he still had the inclination—that would make it so the sinner could only come when his clit swelled to a certain size.

These videos were so wonderful for inspiration.

.oOo.

‘Spicy, doll, would you meet me for dinner at the commissary?’

There. He felt the fear, quickly covered up with caution, hesitance, trying to rationalise it as Sensible, before Spicy answered.

‘Um, sure. What… what should I wear?’

‘It’s warm today, maybe those gladiator sandals.’ Vox never suggested anything but shoes; he knew enough to know that with the kind of shoes he liked, the outfit around them had to be simple. ‘I want to show you off,’ he said, slightly lilted, and felt Spicy’s hackles lower a little, soothed by flattery as always.

‘O…okay, Daddy.’

‘Good boy.’

.oOo.

He wasn’t screaming so much as wailing, as his swollen clit was tormented with the vibrator; his cunt dripped, empty of anything, no matter how it tensed and begged, no matter how much he wept.

Beg. ▌

‘No!’ Spicy said, still resistant enough to glare and spit fire, between overwhelmed gasps and cries. ‘Never!’

Marbas had watched enough videos by now to know that on this, at least, Spice Drop remained unbroken. Whatever he did eventually receive was a “punishment.” Like most of Spicy’s viewers, Marbas was currently wondering if he could be the one to win that coveted distinction. He had techniques the sinner couldn’t possibly have imagined. Now, would it be more fun if he begged for surcease, or for more…?

.oOo.

Spicy put on some foundation makeup and stood in the closet, trying to decide what to wear. It was hot out, being the end of July, and the gladiator sandals in question were summery white, though the straps around his feet were clear plastic, the better to show off his feet. Spicy was glad he’d painted his toenails (gold) earlier that day. Now, what to wear? He picked out his black, sequined suit jacket with flattering cut that made him look wide in the shoulders, and nipped in his waist with illusion and piping and peplum. It was far too hot to wear a corset, and you couldn’t wear one to eat in, anyway….

.oOo.

A lack of penetration meant Spicy was free to actually ejaculate—and, with the help of that torturous vibrator, he did, while sobbing, his makeup streaking down his cheeks beautifully.

At that, Marbas’ tongue swiped briefly across his muzzle, as he imagined lapping up that wonderful cream. He’d only meant to put on the video to relax, having just finished up preparing Amdusias’ newest boy, but it left him still unsated and deeply certain: He would have Spice Drop, in the luscious flesh, in all his wonderful defiance.

 

Chapter Text

Spicy was full of tiramisu and very good coffee, and had just finished saying good-bye to Vox’s friends, when his phone rang; he answered.

‘Blitzo?’ His brows immediately turned up at the distress in the imp’s voice. Daddy, get me the car and some iron nails, please. He sounded calm, but urgent. I have witch business across town.

‘I’m at the gated community. You’ll notice I didn’t say in.’ An unsteady laugh that had more than a touch of hysteria. ‘‘Cause I’m not. Not yet. I’m more on. Uh, on the gates. Clinging to the gates, specifically. Stolas is calling me and he didn’t bother using his phone, if you get me. I don’t want—’ There was a break while Blitzo audibly tried and failed to take a deep breath. ‘I can’t do this again. Not right now. Can you… can you do anything? Any magic thing?’

‘Yes, baby, I’m on my way. Just stay on the phone with me, okay?’ He knew there wouldn’t be any iron within reach of Blitzo, and salt burned demons the same as fae. ‘Do you have any idea how he got a hold of you, Blitzo? Does he know your True Name? Did he give you anything, at any point? No judgement, I just need to know so I know what I’m countering.’

He gave Vox a blown kiss and a quick hug before getting into the car.

There was a drawn-out exhale of, ‘Fuuuuuuuuck,’ before, ‘You mean it about the no judgement?’

That last question was a double-edged sword. If Spicy knew what was going on, he might know some antidote or countermeasure. But it was also another reminder that Blitzo really, really should have remembered how comprehensive the binding was.

‘Sweetie, this is your safety I’m concerned about; everybody makes bad calls, that doesn’t mean you deserve to be in danger.’ Spicy was aware how alien this was as a concept, but that was exactly why he was so emphatic about it.

In a terse voice that wasn’t helped by how much his fingers were starting to ache, Blitzo gave Spicy the highlights reel of his first venture onto Stolas’ estate. He was pretty sure the pattern of the wrought metal (not iron, no, that would have been gauche) was imprinted onto his skin by now.

No sooner had he related the events, though, than the pull redoubled, as though the memories were a cue to go and do it all over again. Blitzo felt himself sagging, beginning to drop to the ground, where it would be much easier to just let himself be taken…

‘Fuck no fuck no—’ he chanted, scrabbling to keep hold.

‘I’m almost there, just hang on. Listen to my voice, okay? You’re gonna be okay, Blitzo, I’m gonna help you through this.’ Spicy started gathering his power, and pushing it into the nails. The stage hand that had fetched them had also seen fit to give Spicy a hammer and some chain, and Spicy had an idea of what to do…

The car pulled up, and Spicy got out, ignoring how he was dressed and made-up for a summer date, his heels clicking business-like on the stones as he walked up, reaching out his hand.

‘Take my hand, Blitzo, I’ve got you.’ And there was utter confidence in that beautiful face, his mouth glowing bright with power.

Blitzo did more than that. As soon as he cracked open his squinched-shut eyes and saw Spicy, he launched himself off the gate, turning in mid-air so that he was positioned to wrap his arms (and legs, and tail) around Spicy when he landed. He was shaking from fear and exertion, and grated out with difficulty, ‘He’s still trying.’

Spicy wrapped his arms around Blitzo and hugged him tightly, careful of the spinal ridge, and even pressed his face into Spicy’s neck a little, out of instinct. ‘Shh, it’s okay,’ Spicy said, surprised at how easily he took to comforting someone that he didn’t much like. He supposed this proved he didn’t judge, though, which pleased him. Judgement was for Christians. ‘I’ve got you, Blitzo, it’s okay.’ He draped the chain around Blitzo’s neck, and the breath-stealing pull in Blitzo’s chest eased. ‘How’s that? Better?’

Blitzo panted, chest heaving, and at last said weakly, ‘Yeah… lots. I guess we’re even, but if you want to have sex again, can we do it in the car?’ He wasn’t sure how else to express how thankful he was, and he wanted to be out of here. He didn’t know how much longer they had before Stolas realised the command wasn’t working. The Prince did first have to allow the possibility that he could be foiled more than once, though, which might take a while.

Spicy carried him to the car. ‘Let’s focus on getting you free of this leash, babe.’

Once in the car, Spicy locked the doors and said. ‘We need to go to your home, Blitzo. Somewhere that you feel is your territory.’

‘I.M.P. headquarters!’ Blitzo said proudly, almost before Spicy had finished the last word. ‘Which is… also our only building, but it still counts!’ He tried to put some extra verve into it, to show he wasn’t startled by babe or sweetie or anything else Spicy might suddenly try and call him.

The car heard, and turned toward IMP’s address, while Spicy counted the nails. ‘How many corners does IMP have?’ he asked, half to himself, ‘And how many windows and doors?’

They’d have to stick a nail in every corner, every window, every door, that would keep the Folk out. Spicy also had chalk, for sigils, though he had ordered a bucket of paint impregnated with iron filings from the stage-hand, just in case he needed it. He was glad he had, now, Blitzo was in serious trouble….

Daddy, I might be late home. I’m safe, for now; I’m about to make one of the Nobles very angry again, however, so I don’t know what will happen next. Vox felt him harden his resolve, his rage. But people aren’t things.

When the car pulled up, Spicy got out… only to suddenly feel very tall, and also like he’d just returned to Inwood, Manhattan. There were voices everywhere, people living their lives loudly, and—a rare sound outside of Imp City—children. Spicy stopped to take it all in, smiling faintly. He hadn’t realised how much he missed neighbourhoods, real ones like this….

He drew a fair amount of attention, wary curiosity radiating outwards, and it didn’t dissipate when Blitzo jumped out, slung an arm around Spicy’s waist, and said, ‘He’s with me.’ Some of the looks were suspicious; sinners never came down here for any good reason, especially not one of Vox’s crew, who might be looking to strike it big with a funny imp video. But there was dawning recognition, too—Spicy’s videos were popular among more imps than just Blitzo and Moxxie, due in large part to his unconventional shape and size.

‘Come on,’ said Blitzo. ‘I’d say it’s a circus out here, but that implies some kind of organisation.’

Spicy waved and smiled at some kids that were staring, realising he had some stickers in his purse, because he liked stickers, and he crouched down, offering them some. ‘You want a sticker?’

They glanced at each other, and the oldest edged forward. ‘Aren’t you… Spice Drop?’

Spice Drop was not surprised a kid was having unsupervised infernet time, not in Hell. ‘Yep, that’s me,’ he said, and the kid took the stickers, showing them to their younger siblings, who were more of a sticker age.

‘Why do you carry stickers?’

‘I like stickers?’ Spicy said, laughing and straightening up, waving. ‘It was nice to meet you kids!’

Blitzo looked baffled, then shook his head and gestured impatiently. ‘Keep it down, or everybody’ll want one.’ He figured he probably shouldn’t be surprised, and honestly, the concept of stickers being a way to people’s hearts was a useful one. He’d already been considering awarding them to his employees. It was just… he wasn’t good with kids. They laughed at him, they always had, and not when he was trying to be entertaining. It was better to have them at a safe distance, in the audience, where they were lost in the sea of faces.

One of the reasons Blitzo was hoping Millie and Moxxie would get cracking on making babies was so he could have another chance. Maybe if he was around from the get-go….

Spicy laughed, following him. ‘Always be kind to the public,’ he said, as they went up the steps and into the lobby. It was late, so Spicy didn’t expect anyone to be there.

Except, there were people there. ‘Oh,’ he said, a little surprised. ‘Hi, everyone.’

‘Why do you have a chain around your neck?’ Loona asked Blitzo, raising a brow.

‘It’s a fashion statement,’ Blitzo said. ‘Meeting Spice Drop has been very inspiring.’ He shot the sinner a significant play along look.

Spicy, however, knew teenagers could smell bullshit a mile off—and Loona was definitely giving off teenager vibes; besides which, Spicy had a weird job to do, and he wasn’t going to Winchester this with lies. He was no good with lies anyway.

‘It’s iron,’ he said, simply. She went back to her phone. ‘I didn’t know we had a fairy problem,’ she muttered, affecting nonchalance—but her ears went back slightly, betraying she knew the threat.

‘What’s a fairy?’ Millie asked, eager to do anything but fill out forms.

‘Don’t call them fairies, first of all,’ Spicy said, going to the first corner and moving the coat rack so he could put a nail in the floor.

Blitzo watched him hammer it in. ‘Technically,’ he said, ‘we have a Stolas problem. And he and his pals, they, uh…’ He needed to tell them; he himself had found out from another imp, after all. I got it, he remembered saying impatiently, waving off the rest of the explanation. Talk about famous last words. ‘They aren’t like the rest of us. They play by different rules. But the good news is, those rules can’t be broken.’ He looked back at Spicy. ‘Right?’

Spicy was already walking over to the edge of the door, driving in another nail. ‘Iron is to fae what salt is to demons,’ he said. ‘Not a rule, an allergy. But I wonder if the Goetics are half demon, too. You’ll still have to deal with Stolas as a demon, which is harder to ward off, since salt would hurt y’all as much as him. Still,’ he said, driving a nail on the other side of the threshold. ‘As you’ve experienced, fae are… uniquely awful. I’d much rather force him to deal with you as a demon, wouldn’t you?’

Demons were lawful evil; fae were… chaotic neutral. Lawful evil was predictable, and a playing field imps probably knew better.

‘So they’re half demon and half…?’ Millie let the question hang in the air, waiting to be filled in. She raised her eyebrows significantly.

Blitzo had started to pace. ‘So his ability to control me, that’s fae, and iron stops it. What about the teleporting? A lot of demons can do that. The iron doesn’t stop him from doing demon shit.’

‘I provide all the salt,’ Loona said, without looking up from her phone. ‘It’s why we don’t get any customers.’

Spicy laughed at Loona’s joke. ‘Saaaame,’ he said, with feeling. ‘It’s why I do webshows alone in my room, instead of working more legit in a studio, or doing full service—oh,’ he said, looking up as Moxxie opened the breakroom door. ‘Hi, Moxxie!’

Moxxie stared. ‘Look,’ he said eventually, ‘I know it’s not as nice as Vox’s penthouse, but is it really time to renovate?’

‘Yes,’ Blitzo said. ‘Come down here and help. Do you expect Spicy to do this all by himself?’

‘I am the witch, Blitzo; doing this is kind of why I’m here,’ Spicy reminded Blitzo, before looking back to Moxxie. ‘Stolas has a Binding on Blitzo, and so I’m warding the office. Do you guys have any boltcutters?’ he asked the room. ‘Maybe a small padlock also?’

‘We have boltcutters!’ Millie said cheerfully, getting some.

Blitzo frowned, tail switching. ‘I guess I could take the padlock off the Super Secret Filing Cabinet…’ It was the only one they had, and he’d commandeered it immediately. Removing it painted an easy target, but when it came down to it, the contents of the cabinet were much less important than keeping Stolas out. He didn’t want to find that out the hard way.

‘It’s temporary, until I can get you a torc,’ Spicy assured him, sitting on his knees and waving Blitzo and Millie over. He measured around Blitzo’s neck without removing the length of chain, using one dangling end, then used the boltcutters to cut it to the right length and lock it around his neck. ‘Do not take that off,’ he said, firmly, handing the bolt-cutters back to Millie.

‘Should we all get one?’ Millie asked, curious. Spicy thought about it.

‘Has Stolas ever noticed any of you, before? Ever talked to or seen you?’

‘No.’

‘Then don’t draw attention to yourselves, and don’t give him your names.’

Blitzo fingered the chain, remembering in painful detail how exactly he’d broken that rule. It had been after he’d gone down on Stolas, hoping frantically that cum didn’t count, as the Prince geared up for round two.

Tell me your name, darling. I want to know what I should be screaming.

At the time, even without the binding, Blitzo had simply been disappointed that Stolas hadn’t heard of him.

‘Does this mean we don’t have to work?’ Loona wanted to know.

Spicy shrugged. ‘After I’m done, this place is safe. I can be back to keep working on portals tomorrow.’ It would give him something to do, as he had a feeling, given the way things were going, that Angel wouldn’t be working again any time soon; which meant Spicy was out of a job.

He sort of minded that, he missed seeing Angel every day; but he’d made a choice, and got to see Vox more often, and Angel and him were still friends. It was okay. People’s lives changed, when they got married—not for the worse, either.

‘Let’s get that torque going!’ Millie said, slapping Blitzo encouragingly on the back.

Do you want to officially be their portal guy, Spicy thing? Vox asked, and Spicy could feel his attention. You’d still be working for me, of course. You’d just be a consultant.

And maybe, with Spicy around, Blitzo would realise his true calling. Vox had never met an imp so suited to advertising.

I don’t see anyone else stepping up to help, do you? Spicy asked, finishing the main office and heading for the break room. He spotted a huge crack in the wall, and got a little nervous. Could we make sure this building isn’t going to collapse, Daddy? he asked, layers of old fear bubbling up. He didn’t like to think of how little OSHA and building codes mattered, in Hell. They hardly mattered to people on Earth, so Hell had to be worse.

I’d bet money Blitzo thinks a building code is something you have to solve to get inside, Vox said, but there was fondness in it. How much of a scene do you want to make, baby? I could be inconspicuous and only send imps, or I can get a whole crew out here.

Inconspicuous is best, right now; we’re already pissing Stolas off, and I fully expect him to come after me. Spicy had a vague idea of how to deal with that, however—he had been actually dreaming, lately, and had spoken to Odin and Loki about how to use his magic for combat.

Vox’s anger sizzled through the mindlink. He’s going to have a lot to get through. Come see me as soon as you’re done here. I have a present for you, and it’s the kind you’re going to take out in public.

Spicy immediately thought of plugs and toys and all manner of naughty things, eager and flushed. He was glad he was wearing a black suit, though he was still nervous that people could see flashes of blue light between his legs. He kept his head down, working studiously and letting the imps converse and bicker around him.

He started humming to himself. I love when you get protective, Daddy, he thought. People had never fought over him, in life—quite the opposite, he’d always ended up with people that ignored him, that didn’t care, had always been the one giving the attention. It was nice to just be wanted, enough that people got angry, fought, even kidnapped you. It made a boy feel wanted….

I take care of what’s mine. A feeling that could only be described as electric shivered through Spicy’s body on the last word. It made Blitzo’s sudden tap on his shoulder feel… interesting.

‘Hey,’ the imp said, ‘I’m guessing you’re doing this because Vox wants to protect his investment, but I wanted to say, y’know. That I appreciate it. You could’ve just left me to Stolas, but you came back for me, and now… Fuck, this is hard. Do you want to have sex again?’

Spicy paused, turning to face Blitzo, still on the floor because it put them on eye-level. ‘Blitzo,’ he said. ‘I did not do this because Master told me to. I did this because you were in danger and asked me to help you.’

Spicy fully expected any and all of them to not understand this, but he was trying to be patient. He smiled, touching Blitzo’s shoulder gently, squeezing a little. ‘I appreciate your gratitude, but you don’t have to fuck me as some kind of compensation.’

Blitzo blinked at him. ‘Then what else do you want?’

‘Nothing, Blitzo. This is just what witches do for the community. That’s what community means.’ Spicy checked all the baseboards, and got out his chalk, drawing sigils on the window frames meant to keep out all folk, no matter what kind. He didn’t usually use those—pixies were always welcome, as were trolls and brownies and other Smallfolk—but in Hell, the only fae he’d met so far were the Goetics, and it was best to not leave cracks in the ward.

‘No one else here considers imps part of the community,’ Moxxie said. ‘You’re going to take a real hit to your reputation, hanging around with us.’

‘I think if that mattered he’d be gone by now,’ Blitzo said, almost sardonic in an effort to hide his amazement. ‘Also I’m open to non-compensatory sex, just so you know. Moxxie can come too.’

Millie suddenly took an interest in the conversation. ‘Can I?’

‘Listen, if anyone wants to stop liking me because I refuse to be specist, I don’t want them to like me in the first place,’ Spicy said, putting the chalk away and dusting off his hands. ‘As for sex,’ he said, and paused thoughtfully. ‘Well, maybe tomorrow, after we’re done working on the portals. Right now, I have to get home.’ He wound the extra chain around his arm as he spoke, and offered it to Blitzo. ‘Put this around your bed, if you’re nervous about sleeping, tonight. And do not leave the ward.’

There was a clatter as Loona almost dropped her phone. ‘We’re not all stuck in here, are we? What you said about Stolas not knowing who we are? That still counts?’

‘I keep telling you, you didn’t need to move out,’ Blitzo muttered.

‘All of you are fine, as far as I know,’ Spicy said. ‘But don’t participate in the tag, just to be safe. And that goes for you too, Blitzo,’ Spicy said, narrowing his eyes and putting his hands on his hips. ‘Don’t do anything stupid. You’re not safe, just safer.’

‘The tag?’ Moxxie tilted his head. ‘Are you asking us not to go near Blitzo’s bed? Because that’s not difficult.’

‘Hey!’ said Blitzo, looking wounded. ‘That was uncalled for.’

‘He means the failowl tag, dipshit,’ Loona said, not looking up from her phone. ‘It blew up when he made that post—pretty gory,’ she added, admiringly. ‘How’d you make them let go of your leg?’

‘Wild magic,’ Spicy said. ‘I’ll be back… say around nine, tomorrow?’

Loona flicked an ear. ‘If you guys are having an orgy, can I have the day off?’

‘We’re only maybe having an orgy,’ Blitzo said primly. ‘We’re still going to be testing the new portals, so we’ll need someone to take calls.’

Loona made a noise that was pure exasperated teenager.

‘No orgies at work,’ Spicy said, mentally noting that he’d bring bacon tomorrow, maybe Loona would like bacon… it was rare, expensive, and Spicy had plenty of it. He also had the urge to make Loona smile, she seemed so upset…. ‘I’ll bring breakfast tomorrow,’ he said, and left, trusting that the three imps would fill Loona in on what ‘breakfast’ entailed.

Chapter Text

Going back out to the street, Spicy took photos of various parts of the building that were in need of repair, and got back in the car, checking his social media feed and messages. Several coworkers from Angel’s studio had blocked him, and he felt the familiar sting of betrayal, before talking himself through it. Well, you work for Vox now, he told himself. If they only liked you as long as you seemed allied with Angel, they didn’t really know you at all, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re not Angel’s friend.

Still… he called Vox, wanting to hear his voice. ‘Hi, Daddy,’ he said, his voice a little blue. ‘What’s my present?’

‘Nice try, babyslut. You have to come to the Server and see for yourself. I think you’ll be very happy.’

To his own surprise, Vox found himself carefully refraining from referring to the present as it. Loving Spicy’s anger didn’t mean he purposely tripped the switches to see what happened. (Not unless Spicy wanted to be mad, which was a fun game.)

Spicy tried to smile, ‘Okaayyyy,’ he said, faux-pouty, and bit his lip. ‘Sorry I ran off so quickly.’

None of the people who had blocked Spicy would have believed the tenderness in Vox’s voice to be genuine. ‘You wouldn’t be my Spicy if you didn’t. Just keep in mind I’m not starting an imp rescue.’ The car’s engine turned on. ‘Ready to go?’

‘They’re not animals, Vox,’ Spicy said, frowning, as the car pulled into traffic. ‘They’re—they’re my co-workers,’ he said, realising it as he formed the words. ‘It’s not like I have a job at the studio anymore, anyway,’ he added, a little glum.

They didn’t know what they had. And you can still touch Angel Dust all you want outside of work hours.’ There was a pause. ‘About your co-workers… old habits die hard. I do really like Blitzo. I’ll work on it.’

‘Thank you,’ Spicy said. ‘I’ll just be sorta sad I guess, for a while. Mourning. If I stay busy and maybe get involved in the Server lot, I think I’ll bounce back,’ he added, thoughtful. He’d really liked Mince a lot more than he’d thought he would. He was bitchy but also very, very much liked Spicy, which was unexpected. Spicy had always assumed Mince would find fault with him.

Spicy was treated to the oddly distinct sound of someone slapping their hand against a TV screen. ‘I was so excited for you to see your present, I almost forgot. Everyone would love you to get involved, baby, they thought I was keeping you behind a fucking paywall! I should have noticed you were always home.’ Vox sighed. ‘Even the Panopticon fucks up sometimes.’

Spicy giggled, and it was louder and more relieved that anything. He treasured Vox admitting wrong; not because he liked to feel right, but because he valued honesty, vulnerability. ‘I haven’t really done a lot of writing in a while, but I think… I think I might have some ideas….’

Ideas like, possibly, figuring out a way to teach people about animals, or fae, or any of the other things Spicy knew a lot about, was passionate about. He could, he realised, probably do whatever he wanted. He was Vox’s wife, and all of the Old Queens liked him….

The possibilities felt like the drop of a roller-coaster—exciting and giddy.

‘Sweeter, more arousing words were never spoken,’ Vox said, and was quiet for the rest of the car ride.

When the car pulled in, there was someone waiting to greet it. A massively built demon with scaled skin that rippled like quicksilver in the fading light was standing just outside. His face boasted several piercings, large round eyes that were darker even than Spicy’s, and a set of unevenly protruding fangs that put the Radio Demon’s teeth to shame. He was holding a small box wrapped in holographic paper, which at first glance was hard to make out against his chest, except for its added cyan glow.

Here’s your present, Vox said through the chip.

Spicy got out of the car, and immediately had both fear and arousal equally. Fear, because his first thought, when confronted with a being that had fishy qualities, was merrow, and merrows were Very Dangerous—but, also, Spicy was deeply attracted to fishy beings. ‘Um,’ he said, looking up at the demon. ‘Hi,’ he said, and it came out a little lilty and husky.

‘Hullo!’ the demon said cheerfully, proffering the box. ‘This is for you. You, of course, being the one and only Spice Drop. I’m Steele. I’m your new bodyguard. Didn’t think you’d ever have one of those, didja?’

There was a certain amount of smugness in Vox’s voice. Do you like him?

Spicy took the box. ‘Hi, Steele,’ he said, shyly. Am I allowed to climb this mountain, Daddy? he asked, biting his lip and trying in vain not to look Steele up and down admiringly. He had the kind of bulk that looked very soft and inviting. Well-hydrated bulk, Spicy’s favourite.

As much as you want. Just make sure he can walk well enough to do his job.

Steele noticed him looking, and just so happened to shift to a pose that required some flexing. As he turned his head, the light glinted not just off his teeth, but through them, showing silvery translucence given a bloody edge by Hell’s red sunset. ‘Gonna open your present?’ he asked, over one carefully turned shoulder.

Spicy’s crest was all the way up, and glowing brightly, as he looked down and carefully opened his present—he wasn’t a ripper, he was one of the kinds that carefully worked the tape up and unfolded. Always had been.

Inside, nestled in a silky cloth, were a matched set of plugs. The bases, all three of which had PROPERTY OF VOX engraved around the edges, were set with polished dark stones that had an almost gunmetal gleam, the sheen of a television that wasn’t quite turned off.

‘Surgical steel and hematite,’ Steele said proudly. ‘Wear those and His Princeliness is in for a whole other round of failowl.’

Spicy squeaked. ‘Did… did you make these?’ Oh gods, if he was a blacksmith Spicy was going to die….

Steele grinned, showing even more teeth. ‘How do you think I made these?’ he asked, patting his bicep.

Would you believe I didn’t custom-build him for you? added Vox.

Another squeak, which sounded very avian, now. ‘Please fuck me,’ he said, feeling his own arousal drip down his thighs, even under his suit. Of course, he’d been wearing one of the pairs of panties with a slit in the gusset, because it had been date night, so it wasn’t like there was much to absorb it all….

We’re still having date night, Vox said. Don’t wear yourself out too much. Or do. I’m happy either way.

‘Boss intimated that might be your reaction,’ Steele said. ‘Can I pick you up?’

Please pick me up,’ Spicy said, his voice half a moan. He was ready to just be fucked on the hood of the car, really; it surprised him.

I’m keeping that in mind, Vox said.

Steele scooped him off his feet, encouraging Spicy to wrap his legs around him. His skin was cool to the touch, the texture of his scales palpable through the thin T-shirt he wore. ‘Let’s go inside, then. I figure this counts as my interview.’

Spicy pressed his face into one luscious boytitty, moaning in a tone that said he was very sexually frustrated. Steele was the kind of attractive where Spicy almost wanted to be angry about it.

Steele only needed one arm to hold Spicy against him, so he used the other to gently stroke the smaller demon’s crest. ‘You been pent up all day?’ he asked, sympathetic. ‘Me too.’

Spicy trilled, feathers quivering even as they fluffed up in response to the stroking. He really, really regretted wearing trousers, sometimes….

‘Do not ruin my clothes,’ he said, in a low, strained voice, ‘but please, please fuck me as quickly as possible.’

The hand petting Spicy dropped considerably lower. ‘What, like right out here in the lobby? All right, which wall strikes your fancy?’

The receptionist tuned in, at that, and looked over at them. Am I… allowed to watch, Daddy? he asked Vox, half-terrified.

Of course not, Vox said. I don’t pay you to jack off. Now if you like having retinas, you’ll put some headphones in and get back to work.

He looked back down at his screen. Yes, Daddy, he said, knowing he couldn’t sneak off to Spicy’s site either, not until later.

Spicy was ignorant of all of this, breaths shallow and ragged as he helped Steele get his pants off, his black panties saturated with glowing arousal; the scent was, as Angel had pointed out, rather like pineapple. And he was flush, the lace pressing into his plump hips, labia fat as a ripe fruit, his clit like a cyan cherry hidden in the halves of a plum….

‘Oh!’ Blue light danced over Steele’s face and chest. ‘You’re a deepsea kinda guy, like me. I know what I look like,’ he added. ‘My mum was an oceanographer, back when I was alive. Didn’t think she rubbed off that much, but here we are.’ He backed Spicy up against the wall, running a finger down the slit in Spicy’s panties and holding it up to admire the slickness and sparkle. ‘Never seen mods like this before.’

‘I, um, I fuck Daddy a lot…’ Spicy said, breathless and still fluffed up in a blush. He had started to notice that he was… a lot more glowy and chimerical than everyone else—except for Steele, who looked like a mixture of several fish. He was dreamy, and all the moreso for the safety of him being a fish-shaped human, rather than a human-shaped fish.

‘More than anyone else here, I bet,’ Steele said. ‘Which is nothing against the boss, of course, I’m contracted and all, but you two…’ He shook his head, stroked down the slit again, using his other hand to free his cock, Spicy supported between the wall and the press of his body. ‘What do you think, can I fit through this? You did say as quickly as possible.’

Spicy bit his lip. ‘The slit’s big enough, don’t worry,’ He was afraid to move, couldn’t see the cock being bared, though he felt the warmth of it, somewhere below his hips. ‘Don’t… know how big you are, but… I’m very wet….’

Steele laughed, and even through those teeth it was a warm, friendly sound. ‘So’s water. News at eleven.’ He reached out to steady Spicy, setting one massive hand on each hip, thumbs meeting at Spicy’s navel. ‘Here, it’s safe to look down now. You won’t fall.’

Spicy looked down, and a keening noise started up in his throat. In a more mammalian demon, it might have been a whine; but it sounded more ethereal than that, because Spicy was rapidly metamorphosing to something that was more piscine and avian. ‘Stop teasing,’ he said, almost begging. Almost.

‘Was I? Here you go, then.’ And without any further ado or any kind of warning, Steele slid Spicy down his cock. It was big, although not disproportionately so, and had a shark’s-fin curve, with ridges spiraling down the shaft. His hands found Spicy’s ass and squeezed.

Perfect, said Vox.

Spicy moaned, then gasped, clutching at Steele’s shirt, eyes fluttering closed. It was so big, he could feel it in the back of his throat, and the curve was going to make him scream, he could already tell… His hands loosened on the shirt, and dug short little nails into Steele’s pecs, fingers searching for nipples, hoping there were some….

There were, and both had bars through them, making them easy to hold on to. Steele chuckled when Spicy found them, the sound low and just that side of a groan. ‘You know what you like, don’t you?’ He thrust very gently, pushing Spicy up against the wall. ‘I’m thinking I’d like to end every outing by giving you a very thorough checking over…’

Spicy was panting, ‘Nnh,’ he said, in agreement.

‘Harder… faster…’ but he didn’t want to order Steele around so much as plea….

He’ll do whatever you tell him,’ Vox said, in that immensely self-satisfied tone of voice he had whenever Spicy fucked someone else. Very agreeable guy.

‘You are used to the boss and his machines, huh?’ Steele reflected, and then really went at it, making the entire wall shudder in a steady drumbeat as he pounded into Spicy.

The receptionist was practically under his desk, he was trying so hard not to notice.

Spicy only made little squeaks, but the lightshow in his crest and cunt made clear he was only quiet because the breath was being fucked out of him. His hands pulled and kneaded at Steel’s tits.

So good so good so good…

Do I know how to pick ‘em, or what? Vox purred. Maybe sometime we can both take you at once. If you stay out of trouble, that is.

‘So,’ Steele said conversationally, in between thrusts, ‘I heard you’re—hhhn, so good—gonna be going to Imp City a fair amount, is that right?’

Spicy felt his orgasm crest, but it was the kind that wouldn’t satisfy, could go on forever. He wanted to answer, but was too full to speak. He finally realised he could nod, and did so, mouth sparkling and glowing as he parted his lips to say, ‘Uh-huh,’ weakly, between the little huffs of breath Steele was fucking out of him.

‘Gorgeous,’ Steele said, admiring. He leaned in, nuzzled his cheek against Spicy’s. ‘Sorry I’m not much of a kisser. But you must have someone else for that, eh?’

Spicy nuzzled back. ‘Nnhn,’ he said, ‘Please…’

And then Daddy arrived home, walking through the glass doors, and Spicy came again at the mere sound of his footsteps.

Chapter Text

Vox’s footsteps were loud in the abruptly silent lobby. With a slow, deliberate step, he came up and leaned over Steele’s shoulder. ‘Please what?’

Mouth clit now dying please came all at once, overlapping with sense memory of Vox’s mouth on his clit, Vox’s cock in his cunny.

‘Fuck it,’ Vox muttered, ‘I can wipe their memories later.’ And he switched heads. This time there was definitely a glitchier look to it, less of a change than a sense that reality wasn’t transmitting properly for a few seconds. With ease granted by his slim frame, he slid in between Steele and the wall, bent his head, and wrapped his brand-new lips around Spicy’s clit.

Spicy screamed, pulsing stronger around Steele’s cock, which had slowed in response to Vox coming closer. That was just what Spicy needed, though, and he wept, thrashing from the sheer overwhelm of pleasure.

‘I take one little business trip…’ Vox sighed mock-heavily, breath teasing Spicy’s cunt. He drew back just as Steele went rigid, responding with his own rhythm, filling Spicy with warm but strangely inert cum that was the most human thing about him.

The bodyguard let out a beatific sigh and hugged Spicy close before handing him off to Vox, carefully draping Spicy’s pants over the overlord’s arm. ‘Thanks, boss. I’d say I owe you one, but…’

Vox smirked, back to his screen. ‘We all know it’s a lot more than that.’

Spicy clung to Vox weakly, humming. ‘ ‘nk you, Steele,’ he said, buzzy and warm with afterglow. Vox was treated to Spicy’s orgasm-addled brain raving happily about how big and fat and yummy Steele’s cock had been, and how soft and big his tits were, and oh, Daddy, you get me the nicest presents….

Yeah, Vox said in Spicy’s mind, carrying him to the elevators, he’s a real catch. ‘See you tomorrow!’ Steele called, waving.

Spicy felt afterglow fading, his head full of the feel of Daddy’s fine suit under his cheek, the warm motherboard electrical scent of him, the soft humming whirr of his screen, the glow from it, and his cunt started to flush again, wanting more, any sensitivity already gone, like it had never happened.

Through his haze of endorphins and arousal, Spicy started to suspect Daddy might be, possibly, doing this to him on purpose.

And he loved it.

‘Let’s lay down a couple rules,’ Vox said, as the elevator rose smoothly into the heights of the Server. He didn’t push any buttons; for him, there was no point. ‘Steele can’t fuck you in the penthouse, because that’s my territory.’ The memory of Angel gave that a whole new twist, one Vox liked very much. ‘Number two, on the off chance he can work out the logistics, his mouth stays off your cunt. Number three, he doesn’t give you anything that I didn’t tell him to. Number three subsection a, you’re wearing at least one of those plugs whenever you go out. Are we clear?’

Spicy nodded against his chest. ‘Yes, Master,’ he said, and Vox felt how seriously he was taking the last one especially. ‘They’re very pretty plugs,’ he added. ‘Will you fuck me open and put one in me, when we get home?’ he asked, tracing his fingernails along the front of Vox’s shirt teasingly.

Vox grinned so widely that it almost went off the edges of his screen. ‘Sure thing, baby. Which one did you want?’ He loved being able to keep Spicy constantly turned on, constantly needing it, and he loved the way Spicy embraced that. Normally he used it as a punishment….

Spicy keened a little in his throat. ‘The biggest one,’ he said, his hips tensing already as he imagined how it would feel. Solid steel, so heavy… and unlike all the sets of jewelled plugs he’d ever seen before, these ones were thick in the shaft, not just the bulb….

Vox settled Spicy a little more firmly in his arms. ‘And where do you want it?’

Spicy glared up at him, but there was a delighted mortification there. ‘I want you to…’ and then he got an idea, and his embarrassment settled into wicked flirtation, as he leaned up, kissing Vox’s screen. ‘Destroy my ass, Daddy,’ he said, sweetly. ‘And then plug me up so none of your cum drips out.’

Vox laughed, and the sound echoed off the elevator walls, filling the gleaming little space. ‘See, this is why I ask you for ideas. You always deliver.’

Spicy trilled, and it wasn’t entirely avian, echoing a little on the mirrored walls of the elevator, sounding a little siren, a little synthesised. For all that they had played, Vox hadn’t yet fucked Spicy’s ass—not with his actual cock, anyway. Spicy felt shivery and excited, a little bit of it being that anal sex with a cismale always made him feel much more secure and accepted as a gay boy.

It had, also, never happened.

‘Mmm,’ Vox said, ‘you like that I’m going to be the one driving, this time? Although Angel did know how to use it, I’ll give him that.’

And if he didn’t ruin you for anyone else, I’m sure as fuck going to.

Angel, Vox got from Spicy immediately, was not the same gender of ‘he’ as Vox. Angel was not cis, but he also, and this was important but difficult for non-Italians to understand, not male. Spicy wasn’t male either, they were both femminielli, which was different. And Angel using Vox’s cock to fuck Spicy didn’t count, exactly.

Virginity, in Spicy’s mind, had as many layers as the closet. You were constantly a virgin to anything you had never experienced before. It was exciting every time, especially if you’d been anticipating it all your life, craving it, fixated thanks to years and years of smut and media programming him to want it as the ultimate evidence he belonged in the community.

But what he said was, ‘I’ve wanted this forever…’

I see, Vox responded, because he did, now; he always appreciated new information. Being told he was wrong about something was an acceptable price to pay for an update, provided the update was given to him. Aloud, he said, ‘Then I’m going to make it an occasion.’

I am the media, after all.

Spicy hugged him tightly. Like a wedding night? he asked, too shy to actually say it aloud.

The elevator doors opened to the sleek black and silver foyer, the door to the penthouse blue, even in the dim evening glow of the city.

Like a wedding night, Vox agreed, deeply amused that they’d already had one. Two, if you counted the contract. That was fine by him; he liked pretending that things were brand-new. He especially liked being the one to offer them. That is when you show your wife the ropes. Explain how things are going to be.

Spicy trilled again happily, fluffing up his crest, which lit up again, and wiggling. He only didn’t nuzzle Vox because he was still wearing makeup, and didn’t want to get it all over Vox’s clothes.

‘Maybe I should just keep marrying you,’ Vox teased, switching to speaking aloud as he opened the door. ‘Then the honeymoon’s never over.’

‘Still want a dress an’ a cake an’ a party an’ dancing…’ Spicy said, but Vox could feel him almost shivering with arousal. There was, also, the sure knowledge that, until they got a cat living in the penthouse, it would not be a home.

Vox carried him into the bedroom. ‘We’ll get to that. The Old Queens will have a field day with the planning.’ In all the sudden uproar with rescuing Blitzo and chasing down Steele, the epiphany he’d had at lunch had been shoved to the back of his mind. It couldn’t be too hard to catch one of those cats, right?

Spicy giggled, feeling warm and happy at the thought that he had family—more than just Angel—now. ‘Are you gonna throw me on the bed, Daddy?’ he teased, looking up at him. ‘Or hypnotize me to make me relax?’ He pursed his lips, widened his eyes. ‘I’m so awfully nervous, I’ve never done this before….’

‘Then you’re going to be all tense,’ Vox said, ‘and we can’t have that.’ He set Spicy down on the bed with pointed care. ‘Why don’t you just look at me, look into my eyes, and I’ll guide you through it?’ His hand abruptly locked around the back of Spicy’s neck, forcing Spicy’s head up. ‘Because when I’m done with you, this is all you’re going to want to do.’

Spicy had hoped they’d still play like this, even after committing; it was just too much fun, he’d never had a chance to really cultivate that particular kink before—usually because whenever he’d run into it in life, it had been straight. This was much better. He feigned innocence, squeaking as Vox ‘forced’ his gaze to lock with the pulsing red and black circles….

Would it feel different, now that he had the chip? Would it feel more complete? Those were Spicy’s last thoughts, before going under.

For just a second, he saw himself from Vox’s point of view, saw his eyes change and his face go soft and slack. Then he was back in his own head, as much as it was his own anymore. Vox was everywhere, could see and hear and experience everything, cradling Spicy’s consciousness within his own.

‘How do you feel?’ Vox asked softly, and loved already knowing the answer.

‘Good, Master,’ Spicy lilted, blinking slowly, breaths already slowing, body only upright because otherwise his eyes couldn’t stay glued to the screen.

Vox looked him up and down, taking in Spicy’s still largely immaculate suit jacket and shirt, the way his soaked-through panties clung to him. ‘I was going to tell you to take your clothes off,’ he said, ‘but I like this look too much.’ He straightened up, one hand at his side, the other caressing Spicy’s crest. ‘Undress me.’

‘Yes, Master.’

Spicy’s hands were deft and smoothed over the fine worsted of Vox’s black suit, sliding down the lapels before unbuttoning it, gently pushing his hands beneath and sliding up Vox’s torso, pushing the jacket off his shoulders, before starting on the waistcoat, face still tilted up to his screen, like a flower to the sun. His crest fluffed up at the caress, purely reflexive, and was pulsing red with the hypnosis—that was new; but then, everything the lightshow on Spicy’s feathervanes did was new.

‘Now stop,’ Vox said, when Spicy’s hands moved to the buttons on his shirt. ‘Tell me what you need. I want to hear why just getting fucked wasn’t enough for you, babyslut.’ Being able to watch Spicy slowly form the words was half the fun, forcing confessions out of him that would have stayed hidden otherwise.

‘You’re gay, you have a cock, fucking my ass is… gender affirming and euphoric,’ Spicy’s tone wasn’t halting or matter-of-fact, like he usually got when explaining anything to do with his gender, or even acknowledging it was unusual. He was just relaxed, and that allowed Vox to hear, to feel, that yes, gender was entwined with sexuality, for Spice Drop. He just never let himself telegraph that, because it felt forbidden.

‘I know I’d feel secure in my masculinity, if you fucked my ass.’ There was no addition. Conscious, unhypnotised Spicy might have lampshaded how counter-intuitive that was with a joke. People under trance didn’t make jokes.

‘Good boy.’ Vox rolled up his sleeves, baring his arms to the elbow, and reached for the bottle of lube (labeled Machine Oil) sitting on a little table beside the bed. ‘Right now, security involves you pulling those panties down and getting on your stomach. Why don’t you do that for me.’ It didn’t end in a question, because it wasn’t one.

‘Yes, Master,’ Spicy said, but there was enthusiasm there, just a microtone, but enough for Vox to know. He hooked his thumbs under the waistband and pushed the panties over his hips, letting them drop to the floor, climbing onto the bed on his stomach. He was too deep under to have independent thoughts of obedience, like pulling up the tails of his black shirt to bare his ass a little more, or spread his thighs, or get on his knees.

Vox did those for him, not even bothering to give orders, just arranging Spicy how he liked. That was his prerogative, as he made sure Spicy was aware. Vox’s boys didn’t move, Vox moved them. Moving suggested there was too much thought going on. He wasn’t overly gentle, either, yanking the shirt, forcing Spicy’s thighs apart, pulling him up to hands and knees. ‘Stay just like that,’ he murmured in Spicy’s ear, when he was done.

Spicy’s quim was dripping, glittering red now that he was under, and wasn’t that interesting. He didn’t mark easily, Vox knew this by now—but then again, Spicy didn’t like bruises that weren’t hickeys. As usual, he was soft and pliant, almost sleepy, under trance; you never really found out how tense people held themselves until you put them under, Vox knew from long experience. It was one of the many secrets he got to have, one of the many small intimacies.

‘Yes, Master,’ Spicy hummed.

‘One thing you need to understand about marriage,’ Vox said casually, reaching out with oil-slickened fingers to stroke the outside of Spicy’s ring, ‘is that I can do this whenever I want. You signed your ass over to me, baby, and I take that literally. And death isn’t parting us any time soon.’

Vox felt, rather than saw, the shiver; Spicy was aware, he just couldn’t control anything. It was Spicy’s favourite level, because he never really gave Vox any reason to switch off his awareness—he wasn’t that kind of contract.

If Spicy had been able to control anything, he might have made one of those noises he did whenever Vox said something that set off his little housewife kink.

‘Yes, Master.’

And you already know what good boys call their husbands.’ Adding a little more lube, Vox slid his first finger inside. ‘Maybe I should make this off-limits to Steele, too. And Blitzo, and whoever else you might fall into bed with. Maybe this should be just for me. What do you think of that?’

‘Yes, Master,’ Spicy answered, because that’s all Vox was letting him answer; but they both knew that’s what Spicy would have said, anyway—perhaps in a less tranced-out lilt, but…

He opened up to Vox’s fingers easily, and Vox could feel the sharper, brighter pleasure Spicy was feeling; it was so much more acute than his cunt, more glittering… synaesthesia was really a delight for anyone reading the synaesthete’s mind.

Slowly, Vox worked him further open, relishing how Spicy was too far under to even beg for more. ‘See,’ he said, ‘that’s not so bad, is it? Now that you’re nice and calm, it feels good, doesn’t it?’ Quick as a blink, he slipped an experimental cable in beside his fingers. ‘And no matter how stretched you get, it’s still going to be nice and tight and hot for me, because you fit me like a glove.’

His voice dropped lower, abandoning the soothing pretence. ‘You were made for me, Spicy. I remade you. Don’t forget that.’

His quim twitched, at that, getting (if possible) wetter. ‘Yes, Master.’

Vox could feel the want behind that calm, the screaming need that was kept locked away, unable to even voice begging, unable to come, unable to do anything but obey.

And, more than anyone else Vox owned, Spicy loved it.

‘I think that makes you ready for my cock,’ Vox said, running an approving hand down Spicy’s side. ‘Don’t move a muscle. Well, not until I’m in you. Then I’ll let you writhe a bit, if you really feel like it.’

‘Yes, Master.’

Vox could feel Spicy’s blissed out state, behind the trance; submissive space, some called it. There hadn’t been a name for it, in Vox’s day. He’d learned it from various, more modern souls.

The lube was Vox’s own spin on some wonderful modern designs, refined through a lot of thorough testing with his contracts. Spicy was lucky enough to feel the finished product, and Vox made sure he did so liberally. The overlord took his time, positioning himself at just the right angle, humming softly under his breath. He gave Spicy only the press of his cockhead, the suggestion that it might slip in, and just stayed like that, one hand steadying himself. With Spicy out of commission, if Vox wanted to be teased, he had to do all the work himself.

Not that he minded.

The sudden calm, in the part of Spicy’s mind that held his gender, was so profound that it pointed out just what a loud background noise the constant thrum of stress was. His body was soft and warm and, as Vox watched, his glow spread back to encompass his ring as well as his cunny, the nanites working so fast….

‘Look at you powering up.’ Vox rubbed himself against Spicy some more, moving his hips in a maddeningly slow circle. ‘You know, you’re mine more completely than anyone else has ever been. And every time I come in you, it brings us that much closer. Until one day…’ He slid inside all at once. ‘You’re going to be just another part of me.’

Spicy was warm and slick and welcoming around him, physically and otherwise, and when Vox let go of him enough to let his body move, Spicy’s arms collapsed, his face pressed into the sheets, makeup and glitter smearing on the white linen. And when Vox let go a little more, Spicy’s moan rose up through parted lips, feral and yowling like a cat in heat.

‘That’s it,’ Vox said, letting Spicy bob back to the surface, guiding him back to just enough awareness, making sure he knew he’d gone under empty and woken up full of cock. ‘Come on, let it out, make some noise for me…’ He’d given Spicy back the ability to make words, and he was curious to see if any came out.

‘Daddy!’ came the raspy, high moan, cracked and broken. ‘Daddy! Daddy!’

It was amazing, it was so much better than a toy, than tentacles, than anything he’d ever had before, and there was an amused sureness that he was absolutely going to be a slutty bottom for the rest of eternity, after this taste of paradise… and how much he delighted in that.

A slutty bottom who gets his feet worshipped on the regular, Vox couldn’t help but add. Spicy had been right, simply handing over his cock to use as a toy had nothing on really doing the job himself. ‘Better get used to it, baby,’ he said out loud, ‘because I might just forget about your cunt for the next month or so.’

The giddy delight that replied to this, the way Spicy struggled against Vox’s control only because he wanted to buck back against him, was overwhelming. He would have been shaking, coming already from the sheer promise, had Vox not had him under control.

Vox loved it, pinning Spicy with a hand on the small of his back as a physical reminder, pushing him further down into the mattress, hips snapping harder, faster. ‘I didn’t tie you up because I figured, if he’s not going to behave on our wedding night, when is he? But maybe I was mistaken.’

Spicy really started to fight, only because he wanted all those cables to whip out and snap around him, wanted Vox to pin him down, wanted to know his Daddy would, could, control him utterly. It made him feel safe.

And, oh, being utterly fucked in half on Daddy’s cock while it was happening….

Vox tsked. ‘This is what I get for waking you up,’ he said, as cables wound themselves around Spicy’s wrists and ankles, spread-eagling him. Another dipped down and encircled his neck, Vox taking up the end to use as a leash. ‘Honestly, I should just fuck you and see if you remember why you’re sore in the morning.’

Spicy struggled, physically, fighting the losing battle against his lover’s strength and power. Vox felt something more than physical and mental resistance, and realised his Spice Drop had power now, power of his own, something along his sides sparking and sending a jolt of electricity back through Vox—but it was playful, only as intense as scratches up his back.

It made Vox moan, the sound completely unedited. He put his whole weight onto Spicy, forcing him down. ‘What was that?’ he breathed in Spicy’s ear. ‘You aren’t trying to play in my court, are you? With that little tickle?’ He thrust, giving Spicy a jolt along with it. ‘This is power, baby.’

Spicy screeched, and it was half a hiss, and as Vox started ravaging him, his struggles slowed, his defiant growls and hisses becoming moans and sobbing, as he slowly pretended to become aware he wasn’t going to be able to come until Daddy wanted him to.

‘Do that little party trick again and I’m going to come,’ Vox said. ‘Is that what you want? Because you don’t even get to think about an orgasm before I’m done.’

Vox felt the electricity charging, this time; it wasn’t at all like a stun gun or a live wire, it was more like lightning—or an electric eel. Spicy submitted to the cables restraining him, but the electrocytes didn’t need him to move. Vox started to feel a bit of a charge building in Spicy’s cunt

Vox made a satisfied noise, pretending he hadn’t noticed. ‘That’s more like it, babyslut.’ He kept going, his strokes slower, deeper. ‘Just give in.’

The jolt was more powerful this time, and shot down Spicy’s sides and went straight to Vox’s cock, a high voltage crack of energy.

Vox actually shorted out for a moment, in a crackling sound and a beat of total, unnatural stillness. Then he was back online and coming like a bullet train, rapid-fire pulse after pulse after pulse, and the sound he was making was almost too high a frequency for Spicy to hear.

Spicy screamed, rubbing his face on the sheets. ‘Yes, Daddy! Yes, Daddy, yes, give me—aaahhnDaddyyes!!!’ he sobbed, still held just a little back from the edge, loving every torturous second of it, screaming himself hoarse, his voice shredded on synthetic notes, body limp in the coils of cable holding him up, as he felt Vox’s cock fill him up again.

It went on and on, in what Vox would later realise was the longest orgasm of his afterlife (which was already much more impressive than his regular old life). Every time he thought the pleasure was fading, it came back stronger, and the nanites were replicating as fast as they could, trying to make enough of themselves to keep up with the signals Vox’s cock was sending. He only stopped, in the end, because he ran dry, his stores exhausted.

There you go, baby, he said, spoken words too much of an effort.

Spicy was full, felt like he could hardly breathe, and his belly wasn’t just bowed out—it was glowing faintly, the spidery veins in his skin ghostly silhouettes, red having turned to blue once Vox had let go of the trance. Still, he hadn’t come, and he was throbbing with arousal, quim so flushed it ached, the pressure in his belly only increased from how he was being pressed face-down into the bed.

It was delicious, it was more than he’d ever imagined, and he started to cry soft, colourless sobs, wanting Daddy to not be done with him, not really caring what that meant, but wanting more Daddy.

The cables released, and Vox slid onto the bed beside him, molding himself around Spicy. ‘Can you turn over for me?’ he asked, gentle as anything.

Spicy did, revealing his face was a mess of gorgeously smeared makeup and drool and tears and sweat. He panted softly, eyes fluttering closed with little mews as the motion shifted all of that liquid inside him. ‘Plug,’ he begged, feeling the warmth of some slipping out. ‘Please, please, I don’t want to lose any…’

Vox was already reaching for it, choosing the biggest one and pushing it into Spicy with hardly a pause, lube and cum combining to give one smooth motion. ‘You feel how well that fits?’ He raised the same hand to Spicy’s belly, slippery fingertips gently tracing the network of veins. ‘You were so good for me, and they know that. They’re going to give you something extra special this time… although,’ he added, with a wry laugh, ‘your newest update is going to be hard to top.’

Spicy finally relaxed, trilling softly as Daddy stroked his belly, slowly working his way onto his back, just breathing. ‘I love you, Daddy,’ he murmured, still trembling a little with arousal and anticipation, wondering what exactly this newest batch were going to do to him.

‘You’re going to love me even more in about thirty seconds,’ Vox said, moving his hand back down. ‘Let’s see how that sweet little cock of yours is doing.’

Through the mindlink, he let Spicy know that the love was utterly, wholly reciprocated. He hadn’t said anything that wasn’t true, and he was never going to stop being amazed at it.

Spicy whimpered as Vox’s fingertips found their mark—which had been neglected, and was aching to be touched—and he felt deliciously pinned down by the lade in his belly, unable to squirm, unable to do anything but spread his thighs and submit….

Vox used his free hand to prop himself up on his elbow, watching Spicy intently as he drew slow circles. ‘I’m always going to take care of you,’ he said softly. ‘You know that, don’t you, baby? I’m going to break you a million different ways, and I will always put you back together again, because that’s how Daddy is. You and me, we’re a match made in hell, and now that I’m lucky enough to have you, I’m never letting you go.’

The praise was a surprise—Spicy never expected Vox to be vocally affectionate, never, because he was Vox, the Media God, all wit and snark and teasing, never this, never… Spicy tried not to cry, failed, knew he was smiling a big wobbly smile as he nuzzled his lover—his husband. The pleasure from Vox stroking his cli—his cock, mmm, he’d never dared even call it that in front of anyone in Hell, it was too… well, Vox was doing it now, and it felt amazing and good and he loved so much

Vox smiled, and it would have made most demons run screaming. ‘Now that you’ve enjoyed that special one-time offer of me being sentimental… come for me.

Spicy gave a shaking gasp as his orgasm dragged him under, stealing his breath, made all the more intense by the unforgiving plug his body was pulsing around. He sobbed, hardly daring to move, not wanting Vox to stop stroking him, eventually flooding the sheets with ejaculate. It was rare, that he could, because his cunt had to be empty for him to do it; and it was so, so good, so much, and he was so far gone he couldn’t even feel embarrassed by how wet he was making the bed….

Fuck, how long had it been since he’d ejaculated? Had Vox ever done that to him before? Did he… know that Spicy was capable of doing that?

The feelings rushing through the mindlink said no, Vox hadn’t known that, as a matter of fact, because he’d never made anyone with the right equipment feel that good in just that way before. He was very impressed, especially with the way ripples of light flowed outward through the liquid with each movement, and he was definitely making a note of the requirements.

He didn’t pass out, but he was supremely satisfied, more than any other kind of orgasm left him with, and his eyes were half-closed, lips parted. Please… kisses? came the thoughts, and even they were quiet with intense afterglow.

‘I wanted to taste some of that anyway,’ Vox said, and shifted. It was getting easier each time he did it, although his eyes were sometimes, if you looked close enough, still display panels. He peppered Spicy with kisses, starting at his forehead and moving steadily downwards, until he was able to lap a little bit of ejaculate from Spicy’s inner thigh. ‘Interesting,’ was his verdict. ‘I think I need to try it a few more times, though.’

Spicy gave a little bereft noise when Vox didn’t linger at his mouth, but squeaked happily as he felt Vox taste his cum. ‘Takes a while,’ he said, on instinct, though it occurred to him a moment later that it may not, anymore, given Vox’s control over his body. Still, at the very least, he needed more water before he could do it again….

‘I can be patient,’ Vox said. ‘Sometimes.’

Spicy giggled. ‘Kiss me more? On the lips, silly,’ he said, as Vox started kissing his thighs again.

‘You’re going to have to be specific,’ Vox murmured against Spicy’s mouth. ‘I might be a mind reader, but I have an agenda.’

‘Oooh,’ Spicy said, kissing him back—gods, he’d never get enough of that mouth! ‘What agenda is that, my love?’

The endearment just slipped out, on its own, Spicy’s usually-iron control gone, washed away in orgasms and fullness and Vox’s soft, sinful mouth….

Vox heard it, and treasured it. Lost control that he didn’t have to take—at least, not directly—was the best kind of all. ‘The one that involves using Loki’s little present to eat you out as much as demonically possible.’

‘Mmm, he’d approve,’ Spicy murmured against Vox’s lips, before kissing him again. ‘Sleep with me?’ he asked, softly. He remembered Vox curling up with him, the first time he’d had a face, and he liked it. ‘I promise you can wake me up with your mouth, in the morning,’ he whispered, between kisses. ‘I’ll even pretend to be asleep.’

‘Good boy,’ Vox said, settling his arms around Spicy. ‘You’ve got yourself a deal.’

‘Mm,’ Spicy squirmed. ‘Dry sheets, first.’ He quickly found out that moving was still very difficult, and bit his lip at the feeling, putting a hand to his swollen belly. He didn’t dare voice it, but Vox saw his thoughts flicker to a kink he hadn’t shared with Vox, yet…

He liked the idea of being pregnant. He wasn’t sure babies were for him, but pregnancy, oh yes, he very much liked that….

‘Close your eyes.’ When Spicy did, Vox snapped his fingers, and there was a rising hum and a growing warmth, culminating in a flash that Spicy registered even behind his eyelids. When it faded, the sheets were not only dry, but felt freshly pressed. Normally Vox wasn’t one for using his powers in ways that didn’t directly involve electronics, but he certainly didn’t feel like getting up. Not when that would have meant leaving Spicy behind.

Spicy sighed. ‘Oooh, and you do laundry,’ he teased, snuggling closer to Vox, nuzzling him. ‘You are the perfect husband….’

Vox was quickly learning that flirtatious marital bliss was Spicy’s new default state, after being thoroughly fucked.

‘The entire point of the mindlink,’ said Vox, ‘is for me to find out things I don’t know.’

Spicy nipped him, a little, for that. ‘I like you Greedy, not Proud,’ he teased.

Chapter Text

Spicy stayed asleep, though Vox woke up after a couple of hours, and decided he wanted a clean slate for the morning; keeping Spicy deep, he cleaned the makeup and tears off of his face, and cleaned the mess of lubricant and arousal from between his thighs, before carefully dressing him in the softer, less lacey panties Vox knew Spicy wore to bed.

Spicy slowly became conscious to someone stroking up and down his slit with the backs of their fingers, too sleepy to do anything but move his hips ever-so-slightly against the feeling, humming.

‘I wonder what you’re dreaming about. Seems like something nice.’ Vox’s voice was so soft it was almost unclear whether he was speaking aloud or not. ‘Just relax, stay there and enjoy it. Enjoy whatever comes. You never know, with dreams.’ He continued to stroke over the fabric, lingering, purposely holding Spicy back from any kind of real wakefulness. That state of drifting in and out, when you weren’t entirely sure what was real and what was imagined—that was Vox’s favourite thing about sleep.

Spicy hummed, slowly rubbing his face against the pillow, his belly still rounded from last night, but softer than before, smaller. His panties started to dampen, beneath Vox’s fingertips, and his thighs spread a little more, hips chasing the feeling.

‘That’s my good babyslut. All the sex you can have when you’re awake isn’t enough for you, is it? You just need it twenty-four seven.’ The whole time Vox was talking, he was very slowly sliding Spicy’s panties down, so gradually the movement could have been mistaken for a twitch in the sheets. ‘It just so happens I can provide.’

Spicy was… vaguely aware of what was going on, only because Vox wanted him to be, and he adored being too relaxed, too sleepy, to resist, to move—not that he would have wanted to, but he treasured being half-conscious. It was his favourite state of being; it was why he asked to be put under, so often.

Those teasing fingers slid inside him and curled. ‘When I can do absolutely anything I want to you, it’s hard to choose,’ Vox said. ‘What are you even going to remember? Maybe in a day or so you’ll have a great idea, something really hot, and you won’t quite know where it came from. And then I’ll get to do it all over again.’

Spicy moaned in his sleep, his cunt glowing weakly, glimmering in counterpoint to Vox’s fingertips. Vox could watch his cunt, his cock, flush with arousal, slowly.

Spicy’s first stray thought was that morning sex was his favourite luxury….

‘Oh, is it morning sex? I personally think morning is whenever you wake up, which means we aren’t even there yet.’ Vox thrust his fingers slowly, working his whole hand and wrist. ‘I know what I said last night, but does it really count if I fuck your cunt while you’re asleep?’

Vox’s favourite part of the whole thing was, if he was being honest, getting to monologue.

Spicy felt shivery, buzzing with a slow, maddening tease of pleasure spiked with a heavy dose of trust and love. Vox’s fingers shifted the plug, and Spicy’s moan spiked upward slightly in both pitch and volume.

‘Of course, I’m not sure it’s safe to take this out yet,’ Vox said, sliding his other hand up to press against the plug’s base. ‘So I don’t exactly have a lot of other options.’ Withdrawing, he pressed up against Spicy’s back, their hips nesting snugly. ‘Besides, you get your cunt filled so often, it’s only reasonable that you’d dream about it…’

Spicy relaxed against the feeling of his lover against his back, slipping further into slumber again, safe and warm and tingling with pleasant arousal….

Vox reached down between them, guiding his cock between Spicy’s thighs. ‘I think by the time I’m done here, you’ll be ready in back,’ he said in Spicy’s ear, voice still little more than a whisper. ‘Your body is still working on taking every last drop, and I might just overload it. But hey, that’s why the plugs came in a set of three. Well, one of the reasons.’

And, gently, he slipped inside.

The sigh this garnered was blissfully content, and Spicy’s body was warm and wet and welcoming. He made tiny, sleepy squeaks and mews as each of Vox’s thrusts shifted the plug inside him, Vox’s cock curving just right to push against the perfect spot with every one, filling him like nobody else could. His hips ground lazily back into Vox.

Vox held him closer. ‘Maybe sometime I should plug you into one of the machines like this, see how much you can stand before you wake up. Get a better view of your body moving without your control, acting on pure sensation, needing it. You don’t need to think. You just need to get fucked.’

Spicy’s moan was muffled by sleep, but his cunt tensed around Vox weakly, wanting more sensation than only a cock gave, instinctively chasing orgasm.

‘I still know what you want,’ Vox said, moving his hand so his pointer finger was lined up with Spicy’s cock, just barely touching the hood. ‘After all, no matter where my cock is, I’m inside you all the time.’

Spicy’s moan got sharper, and instead of grinding back, he rocked forward, toward the teasing, his little cock twitching, trying to reach more of Vox’s fingertip.

‘Is it fair to get you worked up when you can’t even say please?’ Vox wondered, actually drawing back a bit.

A desperate little sob answered this, and Spicy’s brows tilted up, a furrow between them.

‘N…no…noplease…’ he begged, still asleep. ‘ ‘llbegood…’ another little sob.

‘Oh, you can,’ Vox crooned, delighted, and rewarded him by rubbing harder. ‘You didn’t do anything wrong, baby, I just can’t help tormenting you sometimes. The better you are for me, the more I just want to be cruel…’

Spicy moaned, squeaked, gasped, and Vox felt him at the edge of orgasm, his cunt soaked already. ‘ ‘nce…’

Vox’s connection deciphered the half-word easily: Mince. What was Spicy dreaming, exactly…?

Curious, Vox pulled that climax just far enough away that Spicy couldn’t reach it, keeping it from clouding his thoughts. ‘You want Mince to do this to you? He’s even meaner than I am, and he won’t work without an audience. Besides, once he got bored, you’d probably end up getting passed around.’ He added in that mental image. ‘Silver would dazzle you, Hook would make you scream, and Chyron, well, he’s into everything…’

Spicy’s dream was fuelled by that first meeting; he adored them, he wanted all of them, they were all his type, the old-fashioned queen that Spicy’s life had been devoid of. Dreams being dreams, his fantasy was vague and unsettling, though he was still as aroused as ever by it.

‘And they’re all going to want to fuck your ass,’ Vox said, voice more silken the cruder he got. ‘One right after another, maybe two at a time with a little movie magic, until you’re almost as stretched out and full as I can get you.’

Spicy mewled and cried, wanting to come, enough to fight the torpor Vox had him under, tears wetting his pillow as he bucked and twitched desperately.

Vox kept on holding him back, loving the struggle. ‘Now is about the time where Glitz would be trying to put in a good word for you. He’s such a softie, he’d be begging on your behalf, pleading with Mince to let him make you come… and what do you think they’d say? Have you tried getting them to agree on something?’

Spicy was clutching his pillow, hard, drooling now as Vox’s words changed his dream to something a little more… vivid. ‘Please! Please!’

‘I’d just have to step in,’ Vox concluded, with an artful sigh. ‘No one else can get you off like I can, and they’d all just have to watch…’ And he started rubbing steady, harder circles over Spicy’s foreskin.

Spicy calmed with a noisy sigh of relief, quickly ratcheting back up again—but this time, the teasing seemed to have stimulated the organs along his sides, which thrummed in Vox’s bones and tensed as they charged, crackling with more energy than last night…

Prudently, Vox manifested a surge protector and slipped a cable into it. Sometimes being prepared went a little beyond having a condom. ‘This should be good,’ he said, and kept going.

The arcs leapt back and forth down Spicy’s sides, and grounded in Vox as he came, the voltage higher than the night before, enough to kill a mortal, or fry the shit out of another demon. Spicy only gave a soft little noise as he came, though his body was going absolutely haywire—but that was how he was, Vox knew he got quieter the closer he was to coming.

As before, the feeling reached in and unceremoniously yanked Vox’s orgasm out of him, so that he was barely aware that, through the shock, he was pulsing into Spicy’s cunt. After what felt like either a few moments or an hour, he found himself spent, limply draped over Spicy.

Normally Vox used electrostim on other people, and reached into their minds to see how it felt. This was… this was something else.

Spicy slipped back into dreamless sleep, waking a little while later with the thrilling sensations he put together to mean that Daddy had fucked him while he was asleep. Was that why he had that vague happy feeling like he’d had a very good dream he couldn’t remember? He hummed, wiggling his hips and pushing back to try and get Daddy’s cock further inside him. ‘mmmmmwhat happened to not fucking my cunt for a month?’ he teased, voice raspy from sleep.

‘That only applies when you’re awake,’ Vox said. ‘I swear, no one ever reads the user license agreement. But now that you mention it…’ He slid out, slowly pulling out the plug as he did so. ‘Want me to make it up to you?’

Spicy’s lip caught in his teeth as the plug pulled out of him, a soft whine in his throat. ‘Nnnnyes Daddy please Daddy…’ he pleaded immediately, breathless and wanton.

Vox used a cable to retrieve the lube bottle. It had taken him a while, when he first assumed this form, to be able to use them for more than writhing and looking intimidating, but now he could do all kinds of fine motor control tasks. And, of course, use them for their intended purpose as well. Many of his employees, those who hadn’t contracted with him for whatever reason, still had ports on the back of their necks (or elsewhere) that he could connect to as necessary. It was a reminder that the mind chip was a privilege.

He started prepping Spicy again, the steps familiar as an old dance. ‘I love sending you off to work like this,’ he murmured.

Spicy hummed, a trill beneath it, as his crest fluffed up and sparkled with pleasure, along with everything between his legs flushing, glowing, and generally telegraphing his lust. He shifted, raising his thigh and pushing back against Vox’s hand. ‘May I have tiny sparks?’ he asked sweetly, almost in a baby voice.

‘And where do you want them? I can think of so many options…’ Vox slid a finger into Spicy, liking the contrast between this careful politeness and the ferocity he showed in his videos. Vox thought of Greentext (as the fans had named his visible commands) as a kind of alter ego, his state of mind as Spicy’s Master distilled. Greentext, he thought, would have said No.

‘Mmmmon my cock, Daddy, pleaseplease,’ Spicy said cheerfully, his feathers brushing softly against Vox’s face as he nuzzled his head back affectionately.

‘What did you do to me while I was sleeping?’ he asked, curious. It had long been a fantasy, but this was the first time he’d ever had someone indulge it.

‘Oh, I just encouraged you,’ Vox said, letting Spicy feel the charge build in his fingertip before the spark jumped, his other hand occupied adding a second finger. ‘You know me, I can’t help but give you everything you want.’ As he spoke, he gave Spicy a mental highlight reel, focusing on his favourite moments, giving extra detail to Spicy’s dream about the Old Queens.

Spicy jerked with the electric spark, his cock singing with the pain-pleasure, before Vox’s imagery made him fluff up in a blush and trill, shivering. ‘Ohhhh, Daddy… you… you like that?’ That’s okay? I’m not bad?

‘I love it.’ Vox lifted his hand to run it gently down Spicy’s belly. ‘I’m all about wanting things, baby. The more you want, the happier I am. You could spread your legs for the entire population of Pentagram City, and I’d still know you were mine down to the core. You can’t cheat on me even if you wanted to, so go ahead. Let yourself want.

Spicy bit his lip and shut his eyes tightly, trying to keep from crying; but his heart was so full, shocked by how much he’d always needed to hear that from someone… he swallowed hard around the lump in his throat, and said. ‘I don’t want to think anymore, Daddy,’ which was shorthand for when his emotions and trauma were ruining something by healing messily.

Vox leaned over him, tilting Spicy’s chin up so their eyes met, in the same moment as he slid his cock into Spicy’s ass. ‘You don’t have to.’

The trance came on so much quicker when they were willing—Spicy’s eyes turned red and rolled back almost immediately with a sigh of bliss, and everything was light and empty and just about his body, about the cock inside him, the way it felt, the way it moved… ‘Thank you, Master…’ he purred, in a very different kind of sleepy voice.

Vox’s smile could have powered the Server for a week. ‘My pleasure.’

Spicy moaned and sighed, loving the feeling of being Daddy’s fucktoy, addicted to the new permutation of pleasure that felt so, so good, he’d never get oversensitive, not here, and that was glorious…. He let himself make any noise at all, unburdened with self-consciousness, and patiently, adoringly waited for Daddy to come, to let him come….

Vox didn’t hurry; why should he? He was the one who decided whether Spicy was late or not. He kept the pace luxuriously, torturously slow, hands around Spicy’s waist to move him up and down. No matter what technology came up with, living toys were the best kind.

Spicy wasn’t asleep, this time—he was blank, but very much conscious, and his moaning went all the way down to his subconscious. Love you, Master, love being your babyslut….

I love you too, Vox said, and meant it just as deeply. While Spicy was out with the imps, he decided, he was going to make some serious strides in cat-finding. He wanted to show that he could grant more than just Spicy’s sexual wishes, that he wanted their relationship to last.

Vox had a certainty that Spicy would be content with anything, so long as Daddy was happy at the end; even his electrocytes were calm, and given the state of him, likely wouldn’t set off unless Vox reached in and triggered them, himself.

Which, Vox had to admit, he was seriously considering.

Chapter Text

Sir Pentious was, to put it mildly, out of sorts. Like many of his inventions, his demonic form had unexpected surprises, and one of these was a kind of parthenogenesis. (Sir Pen didn’t like being lumped in with aphids, but it was the closest term he could come up with.) Despite being, in his opinion, incontrovertibly male, once every year his body decided what it really wanted to do was make eggs. And since he couldn’t be expected to carry them around forever, his body was also extremely insistent that he find a warm body and put them in there.

It was most inconvenient. He certainly couldn’t ask Lord Sinuous, because there was no telling what would happen if he gave them to a Fallen (Satan help him, they might even hatch), and it was hugely embarrassing besides. He would just have to find a sinner with the appropriate equipment.

Boiling over with more than usual impatience, Sir Pen sallied forth.

After getting fucked thoroughly, mind and body, Spicy kissed Vox goodbye and texted Blitzo, saying he’d be there soon with breakfast, and did they have butter or should he bring that along with the maple syrup and jam, and then started on breakfast—lots of bacon and lots of pancakes, and all of the sausage since Spicy didn’t eat sausage and was concerned about a teenaged hellhound getting enough meat. Steele arrived right on time, and offered to help him carry it all downstairs and into the waiting car.

Breakfast was well-received, even Loona cracking a genuine smile afterward, and everyone’s temper much better in check, as they started on the hard work of continuing to research and brainstorm portals. After an hour, Spicy needed to step outside for a break, and lit up a cigarette—it was Hell, he didn’t need to be concerned about his lungs anymore—inhaling the sweet, numbing smoke of the clove, savouring the sweetened filter, and the crackle. Nothing was better, and he was so grateful to Angel for cluing him in that cloves were still good, down here. Smoke breaks were so much easier to ask for than just ‘I need a social break’….

Because he was polite, and because of the new confidence he had in his electrocytes, Spicy moved a little away from Steele, downwind of him, and relaxed. The noise of the city was something you learned to tune out—or, at least, not to startle at. There were screams, and other sounds, but you quickly got used to them.

Sir Pen didn’t watch porn, having been from an era where the closest you could get were particularly naughty zoetrope images, and feeling in any case that it took up valuable inventing time. He had no idea, therefore, who exactly his automaton snatched up and lifted into the hatch in its belly, only that they looked promising, and that it was quite entertaining to watch the hulking demon near them make futile leaps, attempting rescue.

Panting as the hatch sealed, Steele stopped and considered the situation. Spicy had just been kidnapped again, and on his watch. On the surface, it did not look good. On the other hand, it wasn’t Stolas, and compared to the Goetics, Sir Pentious’ threat level was laughable. Well, Steele thought, he might as well follow the giant robot spider and see where things went.

Spicy had not run when he’d seen the giant spider, had simply stood and admired it, holding securely to his cigarette when it became clear it was going to take him. His phone was securely in one of his cargo pockets, and he didn’t struggle.

‘Can I finish my cigarette, before we do whatever?’ he asked, as soon as the hatch finished closing, and he was on solid ground again. Distantly, he was amused at how deadpan he sounded. Well, he had been hanging around a Cool Snarky Deadpan Goth all morning….

‘Certainly not.’ Sir Pen flicked the offending object away with his tail; an Egg Boi immediately ran up with an ashtray and stubbed it out before carrying it off. ‘I need you in perfect shape for what’ss to come, my capaciousss friend.’ He always started to hiss more when this happened, because his instincts didn’t see why he had to waste precious energy on elocution.

He drew a circle around Spicy with his body, not coiling yet, just blocking off a space, eyes taking him in. ‘Yesss,’ he breathed, ‘you’ll do just fine…’

Spicy bit his lip, ooooh, Daddy, I’ve been kidnapped properly please don’t be mad at Steele…. He made a stifled noise in his throat. ‘Ummmhh, a-and you are?’ he asked, voice small and shaky with want, his crest flaring up, his cunt flushing—and he could, he was delighted to observe, very surely feel it. He absolutely adored having showy genitalia….

If Hell had had a moon, Sir Pen would have been over it. This one trembled! This one trembled and stammered and didn’t know who he was! Perhaps this whole ordeal would be more than barely tolerable. He leaned in close, flaring his hood, all his eyes offering intimidating glares. ‘I, little sssinner,’ he said, relishing every phoneme, ‘am Sir Pentious.’

Oh for fuck’s sake. Vox was barely containing hysterics. You’re fine, you’re fine. Have a ball, baby, Steele will pick you up when you’re done. Remember, he’s more scared of you than you are of him.

Spicy shivered, noising, and couldn’t stifle the coy smile spreading over his face. ‘Oooh, Sir Pentious…’ he said, kittenish. ‘Are you going to do terrible things to me? Please?’

The hiss got worse as Sir Pen practically tied himself in a knot with glee. ‘Oh, yesss, my aimsss are posssitively heinousss, even by the ssstandardsss of He—what do you mean, please? You forgot the “don’t”,’ he said, bewildered and not a little offended. ‘Or the “no,” that one can be a prefix or a sssuffix.’

Spicy considered his options, then decided to go with what Sir wanted. ‘Oh, please sir, please don’t take advantage of me, please, I beg of you!’ It was so easy, surrounded by steam and copper, to fall into exactly the right dialect. And if Sir wanted the Victorian Vice of no-means-yes, then Spicy would happily oblige.

Sir Pen relaxed. Now that was more like it. ‘You’ve come to your sensesss too late, I’m afraid,’ he said, drawing his coils tighter, the eyes along his scales gleaming hungrily. ‘Feel free to keep begging, I like musssic while I work.’

Spicy couldn’t hide the soft mewling noises with every exhale, watching those coils slowly come for him. Daddy oh god he’s amazing.

‘Please, please…’ Please tell me you’re going to fuck me with those hemipenes you fucking steampunk supervillain….

Ordinarily Sir Pen would have been deeply flustered to have his cocks out in front of a stranger, but not now. Now he felt compelled to show them off, especially given how one had enlarged, flushed even darker than arousal normally made it. From such a close vantage point, the sinner would even be able to see how the opening in the tip had enlarged, permitting eggs (soft-shelled, of course) to be squeezed through. ‘Ssspread your legsss, or I’ll do it for you.’

Is it that time of year already? Vox said. I should really get someone to do a documentary.

What time of year? Spicy asked, eager and immediately dropping to his back, lifting and spreading his legs, holding them open and showing the flashing, lush, dripping cunt there. He was still wearing one of the plugs for safety, but his cunt was the more inviting flower. His eyes were glued to Sir Pentious, trying to figure out why the hemipenes were uneven, and then—

‘Oh gods,’ Spicy breathed. ‘Eggs.’ He nearly choked on nothing, trying not to beg, trying not to jump all over that ovipositor and scream and claw until he had eggs stuffing him full.

Sir Pen, his tongue ready to flick through a smile full of malice, stopped and blinked. ‘Er, yesss. How did you know?’

‘It’s summer,’ Spicy said, breathless, and then struggled to pull his chubby thighs wider, fingers sinking into the softness. ‘Nnnnh, please, please I need it….’

Sir Pen had a number of questions about this, but that cunt was an engraved, gilded, personally addressed invitation, and he couldn’t ignore it a second longer. All he said, in the end, as he sheathed himself in Spicy with one long thrust, the first egg already straining at the tip of him, was, ‘Sssso do I.’

Spicy yowled, wrapping his legs around Sir Pentious and locking them, pulling close, moaning desperately. ‘Yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesfill! Me! Yes!!’

Sir Pentious’ cock-turned-ovipositor slid past his cervix with a delicious stretching feeling, the first egg was welcomed in, and Spicy concentrated hard on how much he wanted his body to take this, to reconfigure for this. ‘Fffffuck, more, more, please….’

As far as Sir Pen was concerned, this was not in the playbook for the one being ravished. It was, however, still very difficult to care. He did his best to work with what he had. ‘You won’t be sssaying that for long,’ he cautioned, making sure to show his fangs.

What he didn’t know was that Spicy’s womb was undergoing some new and expansive renovations, Vox’s nanites and Spicy’s own desire working in tandem to make sure he could accommodate everything Sir Pen had to give. This was Hell, after all. Being fucked full of eggs by a giant snake-person was the kind of horrific thing one would imagine went on there, so it was very easy to accomplish.

Spicy’s laugh was low and filthy and wicked. ‘Bite me,’ he taunted, flashing his eyes. ‘Bite me, make me scream, make me come…’

He had no idea what the venom would do, of course—he knew what snake venom was like, but it was unclear if Sir Pentious was a python or a cobra, and pythons weren’t venomous. Yet he did have the front fangs of a cobra… but he was also a demon, and Spicy had heard from Angel what Lord Sin’s venom did, the glorious high of the intense aphrodisiac. For a demon snake in heat, well, Spicy hoped….

Sir Pen had no problem obliging him on the first count, not with such a tempting treat before him. He lunged, sinking his fangs deep into Spicy’s neck, groaning low as his venom sacs emptied. He could feel the rapid pulse that would help him flood the sinner all the faster. They would see how eager he was then.

(It should be said, at this point, that Sir Pen bit people very rarely, and was not entirely clear on what his venom did at the best of times.)

Spicy moaned, going limp in Sir Pentious’ coils as the venom flooded him, spreading rapidly, revealing it made muscles relax and Spicy’s body, if possible, open up further to the eggs still steadily shoving into him. ‘Fuuuuuck….’ Spicy purred, feeling as relaxed as a cat in sunbeams. ‘So good, mmm….’

‘Vulgar little thing.’ Sir Pen couldn’t resist stroking Spicy’s cheek, cupping that narrow chin in his hand. ‘You are magnificent, though. Perfect for my requirementsss.’ He made a soft noise as—it felt like—at least three eggs chose that moment to push through in quick succession. ‘I think I’ll kidnap you again next year.’

‘Mmmnnn,’ Spicy said, nuzzling into that cool hand. ‘I’m a whore, we’re allowed to be vulgar.’

It still felt so forbidden to claim the title; but he was, Spicy said firmly to himself. He had sex and got paid for it, and just because he did it at a remove and wasn’t full service didn’t mean he wasn’t in the Profession.

‘Well, you’re my whore until I’m finished with you,’ Sir Pen said, and didn’t even feel the need to shiver at his own daring.

‘Mmmm, yes, sir,’ Spicy said, with enthusiasm. ‘Daddy doesn’t mind at all, don’t worry.’

The assumption of fame went both ways. Spicy had gotten a bit more used to being known, recognised, in the past week or so, and had been encouraged by people he respected to behave ‘more like a star’.

‘I wasn’t.’ Sir Pen was glad for a riposte that didn’t betray the fact he had no idea who Daddy was. Other than, thankfully, not him. He’d also never had someone use his title in quite that way. It was… exhilarating. ‘Call me ssssir when you beg, and maybe I’ll think about it.’

‘What should I beg for?’ Spicy said, ‘you’re giving me everything I want already….’ He poked his own glowing tongue out at Sir Pentious just a little. ‘I’m a spoiled brat, just a warning.’

Sir Pen couldn’t help but laugh—although it was, inevitably, more of a Laugh. ‘I’ve had the sssame sssaid of me. Nhn—here comesss another—’

Spicy purred again, squeezing tightly with his thighs. ‘Mm, yes, please yes, moremoremore…’ His belly was already taut and only getting bigger, full of something much more solid than nanites, this time….

The pressure made Sir Pen put some thrust into it, the eggs coming faster as he actually started to fuck Spicy properly, rather than simply holding him there. He made his own little noises, hums and hissing sighs, his eyes sliding half-shut in relieved bliss.

Spicy, in turn, got much more vocal. ‘Oooh, yes, harder, sir! Ravish me! Ravage me! Make me scream!’ He wondered how vulgar he could get….

‘That sssounds like a challenge.’ And there was nothing Sir Pen liked more. He put everything he had into it, which in this case was more eggs. It felt like he had more than usual, this time. His thrusts became so punishing that he had to grab Spicy’s shoulders to brace himself, but that felt good…

Spicy didn’t scream, not yet, because Sir Pentious was fucking the breath out of him, and the eggs, and—’gonna come gonna come—’ he said, high and breathless. ‘Pleasesirmayicomeplease?’ Don’t let me come Daddy don’t! I’m doing my best but—

‘No,’ Sir Pen said smugly, basking in the chance to finally do something evil. ‘Not till I’m done. Posssibly never.’

I don’t know, Vox wondered, should I really step in? I’m thinking I should be powerless to intercede.

Daddy I have a cunt I can’t hold it back myself but I want to be good! Spicy was almost frantically scared, so conditioned to please, so unused to being with anyone that couldn’t just hold it back for him. I want to be good Daddy please help me be good! He was crying, truly crying.

You’re good. You’re so good for me. Realising his mistake, Vox locked down Spicy’s orgasm securely. Even if Sir Pentious suddenly decided to start lavishing Spicy’s cock with attention, Spicy wouldn’t be pushed over the edge. I’ve got you. You’re safe.

Spicy grabbed tight to Sir Pentious’ wrists, sobbing in relief and excess. Thank you thank you thank you I love you… He tried to let it pass, safe, letting himself feel safe, before looking up into Sir Pentious’ eyes. ‘You’re a snake…’ he said, hopefully. ‘Can you… hypnotise people?’

‘I’ve tried,’ Sir Pen said, a touch despondently, slowing a bit. ‘It never ssseems to work.’ He blinked. ‘You… do you want me to?’ He had very pleasant, if vague, memories of falling under Sin’s sway, so this wasn’t too far-fetched, in his mind.

‘Mmmhm, I love it,’ Spicy said, eager and wanton and gazing into his eyes with those big, innocent, tear-shining brown eyes of his…. ‘Please, sir, please… I don’t want to think anymore….’

Sir Pen was still a little uncertain, but this sinner was exemplary, and that should be rewarded. He squared his shoulders, and thrust a bit more assertively. ‘Look into my eyesss,’ he hissed, less because it was necessary (it wasn’t) than to get himself in the right mindset. His eyes began to glow, bright as gaslamps, scarlet light reflected in Spicy’s eyes, which then began to glow in turn.

It felt less like when Vox put him under and more like Sir Pen had delivered another dose of venom right to his brain…

Spicy loved it, submitting willingly, ‘Yes sir…’ he murmured happily, feeling Sir Pentious’ much more… magical-feeling powers. Oh gods above, it felt like Legilimency…. His legs loosened, no longer clinging hard around Sir Pentious’ body, his cunt soft and pliant, no longer tensing as though hungry for the eggs….

That disappointed Sir Pen, who had been greatly enjoying the feeling. Wait. He could fix that. ‘Put your legs back around me,’ he commanded, his top hat glaring. ‘Grip hard, use your thighs. Use…’ He poked Spicy’s cock lightly with his tail tip. ‘Whatever’s in there.’

Spicy obliged, his thighs rather strong—though, of course, nothing compared to a python’s embrace—and made a small cry as his cock was touched. The order was too vague for him to obey, but he ground against Sir Pentious anyway, hips bucking softly.

‘So… good….’ he murmured, eyes glowing a dimmer version of Sir Pentious’ ghostly red.

‘Yessss…’ Sir Pen gasped. ‘My little egg whore, my treasssure…’ He closed his eyes briefly, forked tongue dancing lightly over Spicy’s cheek, examining the mind he held in thrall. ‘My Ssspice Drop.’

Spicy moaned at the sound of his name, at the praise. ‘Yes, sir,’ he said, ‘again,’ he pleaded. ‘Tell me again, sir, please…’

It was a testament to how much weaker Sir Pentious’ hypnosis was, that Spicy could still talk; but he didn’t mind, he was still having fun either way.

‘Which part?’ Even with as much confidence as the need to lay his eggs gave him, this was all unexplored territory for Sir Pen.

‘All of it, sir, please,’ Spicy said, ‘Call me filthy pet names, say my name, please, god, please, I can’t get enough of your voice….’ He moaned again, tensing, the eggs having trouble fitting, now. ‘Nnnngh, so full….’

‘You’re taking them all,’ Sir Pen breathed, so full of wonder that he almost forgot to gloat. ‘I don’t think anyone’sss ever taken them all before. What a marvel you are, Ssspice Drop, boy…’ He caught himself before he could say strum, which was a shortening of a word only used for women of the night, and that was another thing he’d seen—that, despite possessing what Sir Pen would, if pressed, have called a cunnus, Spicy was very emphatically not a woman. ‘I think I might just keep you.’

Spicy hummed. ‘Oh no,’ he said, ‘Don’t say that, Daddy will be so cross if I don’t come home….’ But he was gleeful. Stolas wished he had this much style, this much panache…. Spicy was perfectly happy to try and escape from a supervillain by himself, using only guile and wit and a silver tongue….

His belly was so full, he was sure he would burst. It was delicious. ‘Nnnh, I don’t… I don’t know how much more I can take, please…’ he said, letting a desperate little whimper turn his voice into a mew again.

‘We’re going to find out,’ Sir Pen said, all wicked delight. Spice Drop was a masterpiece, stuffed to his limits, the marks of Sir Pen’s fangs plain on his neck as his head lolled. This had never been so much fun.

In truth, he could feel that he only had a few more eggs, but the mere possibility of being able to give them all was euphoric. He wasn’t clear on what would happen to them afterwards—usually his recipients had escaped by this point—but it was occurring to him that he might have the opportunity to discover that as well.

Spicy could only mew and whimper, clutching desperately at Sir Pentious and squirming weakly. ‘Nnnh… please… ohgod,’ he whispered, tears falling again, smearing his makeup (he never wore waterproof, he liked the smearing and so did Vox) even more.

Daddy Daddy Daddy Daddy Daddy…. was the mantra in his head, because it was torture not being able to say it aloud.

See, this is something I never thought of, Vox said. But you’re having such a great time. Looks like you’re on the way to making some kind of record, too. Should I get Steele to cast a medal?

Sir Pen was simply relishing the opportunity to ask, in just as low a voice, ‘Please what?’

‘Please…’ Spicy said, unable to figure out if pleading for more or less would be better, as the next egg worked its way in, the snake inside of him giving harder, slower thrusts to help it along, not pulling out much with each one, and Spicy squeaked and gasped with his every movement, now. ‘Please…’ his eyes closed as the egg worked past his cervix. ‘D-daddy,’ he begged, in a broken little whisper.

‘Ssssir,’ came the correction, along with the added pressure of yet another egg.

I’m right here, said Vox.

Spicy’s scream was more of a whine, at this point, as he gasped for breath around eggs and tears, the pale skin of his belly stretched taut and flushed red from the strain. ‘S-sorry, sir,’ he said.

SogoodsogoodI’mgoingtodie…

As if I’d let you get away that easily, Vox said, an undercurrent of laughter through the words. You don’t even get your little death until I say so.

Sir Pen reared back a little, startled. ‘What wasss that? I thought I heard—’

Spicy opened his eyes, and Sir Pentious saw one was still his colour, but the other—the other glowed with Vox’s concentric red and black circles. The blue glow… it wasn’t that of a fish, it was Vox.

Daddy was Vox.

Sir Pen made a strangled noise. ‘Lord Vox,’ he said, sweeping as much of an awkward bow as he could while still inside Spicy. ‘I had no idea…’

‘I know.’ Vox’s voice issued from Spicy’s parted lips. ‘Don’t jump out of your skin just yet, Kaa Junior. As long as Spicy is enjoying this, so am I.’

‘Thisss’—Sir Pen’s breath hitched—’thisss is the last egg.’

Spicy sighed, eyes closing again, biting his lip and furrowing his brows in effort. He wanted to take them all, even though it was… so much…. ‘Oh, sir…’

At that, Sir Pen practically melted, reaching out to pet Spicy’s crest. ‘You’re doing wonderfully. Jussst one more, I know you can take it. You’re m—you’re a very good boy.’

Spicy trilled, leaning into the touch, feeling the last egg push into him, slowly, maddeningly slowly…. ‘Say filthy things again…’ he begged, voice still at a whisper. ‘Please…’

Sir Pen brought his face very close to Spicy’s. ‘You want to be reminded that your deliciousss little body is so well-trained that it holdsss every lassst one of my eggsss?’ he asked, in a voice like scales on silk. ‘Is the sssensation not enough, whore? Knowing that Daddy is going to have to sssend someone for you, because you can’t even ssstand?’

Spicy made the most beautiful, helpless noise, at that, feeling that throbbing, aching pleasure that meant his body should be coming, but was being held back. He was starting to adore that feeling.

The last egg finally, finally slid home, and the long, slow orgasm that had been building the entire time crashed down on Sir Pen like a wave, shaking a scream out of him.

Vox held tight, keeping climax at bay as Spicy’s body strained to answer, saying simply, Not yet.

Sir Pentious, being as skilled with electricity as he was, felt the buzz of it in Spicy’s body, in his sides, and was reminded of acquaintances and colleagues that were piscine, and had electrical organs. For all that Spicy had feathers and avian warmth, he was also equally fish—of the stranger kinds, that lurked in the dark of murky rivers or deep sea.

Spicy was of two minds about being held back—Vox knew he loved it, that orgasm was never as good as the build up, not to Spicy; but his instinctual subconscious, the animal side of him that wanted simple gratification, hated it.

Ideas started to unfurl in Sir Pen’s mind. With them came a gush of liquid that should have dripped right back out of Spicy’s cunt, but instead solidified almost immediately into a gooey substance Sir Pen hadn’t known he was capable of producing. He withdrew quickly, lest he get stuck—there were worse situations to be in, but it would be an issue when he wanted to go to the drawing table. ‘Do you think you might come and visit me sssometime?’ he asked, as casually as possible.

Spicy expected to feel bereft, but when Sir Pentious pulled out… something stayed behind, in his passage, leaving him feeling thoroughly full. ‘Am I… going now?’ he said, hazy and confused. Sir Pentious hadn’t seemed like the type….

‘Of courssse not.’ Sir Pen waved an impatient hand. ‘But if I keep you here until I have the plansss drawn up, Lord Vox will be… dissspleased.’

Quite a few of the Egg Bois had gathered around to watch, and Sir Pen sent them scurrying to fetch his slate and chalk; though he worked with all these incredible new technologies, he preferred to make his designs in the way he’d always been accustomed to. It helped him think better.

‘Plans?’ Spicy asked, curious. He was still hazy due to lack of orgasm (they usually gave him clarity), but curiosity was a powerful drive in his life—and he was talking to an Inventor, capital I.

‘I’ve noticed you have other capabilitiesss,’ Sir Pen said, ‘whether innate or from being one of Vox’s… associates, it doesn’t really matter.’ The need to hiss quite so much had thankfully eased, his body, content with a job well done, letting his mind take the reins again. ‘I think they’re very promising. Would you believe the worst part of eternal damnation is never being able to find a good power source?’

Spicy held onto those words with bated breath, practically drooling at the ideas that burst forth from dormancy. ‘Yes?’ he said, encouragingly, breathless and twitching.

‘Oh. Because it is. Regardless!’ Sir Pen did another circuit around Spicy, this one rather wider in diameter, and then slithered in close once more, running his hands up and down Spicy’s sides while the eyes along his body watched in fascination. ‘If you can generate electricity, and the only input you require is food…’

The soft tickle was not enough to make him recoil, but it was pleasantly shivery, especially with the soft scales of Sir Pentious’ hands, the slight drag of those pointed claws…. Spicy was reminded of the hooked spurs in pythons, at their texture. ‘Mnnn, but how will you get me to discharge them…?’ he asked, his coy tone and expression stating clearly he knew exactly how to do it, himself.

‘I haven’t figured that out yet, if you must know,’ Sir Pen said peevishly, ‘but I’m sure a breakthrough is imminent.’ He paused, looking contemplative, then flared his hood to its fullest extent, fangs bared in a malevolent grin. ‘I could sssscare you!’

Spicy didn’t react but to freeze, eyes wide; there was fear in his pinned pupils, but not the kind Sir Pentious was looking for, and it faded quickly into something more fascinated. ‘…You’re so pretty…’ he gushed, admiring the hood. ‘Is that… is that all of a piece, or is it feathers…?’

Sir Pentious could recognise the tone, the fascination, the admiration—Spice Drop had a streak of the scientific in him.

He blinked, completely and simultaneously, which was quite a feat. ‘There are feathers on the outside,’ he said. ‘The inside is skin, supported by cartilage and such.’ He’d poked and prodded and given himself enough neck strain to figure out that much. ‘I don’t quite—pretty?’ he echoed, trying and failing to recover his footing in the conversation. ‘What does that have to do with anything?’

‘Would you prefer gorgeous?’ Spicy asked. ‘You are,’ he added, wondering if Sir Pentious would let his hands free; he was faintly surprised that his neck didn’t ache where the fangs had gone in, but was willing to chalk it up to the nanites being far more efficient than his body could be on its own….

‘I would prefer you didn’t try and flatter me into going easy on you,’ Sir Pen said stiffly, half afraid that it might succeed. ‘I’m going to find out how you work, and I am going to utilise you in my next project, and that’s that. No amount of compliments will turn my head.’

‘Is it flattery if it’s true, sir?’ Spicy flirted, even as he thrilled at the threat. ‘You’re beautiful.’

Sir Pentious was treated to his egg bois agreeing with Spicy wholeheartedly.

Even though they were created to obey his every whim, their support was enough to tip the scales. Sir Pen visibly wavered. ‘Am I really? Lord Sinuous thinks so, but he’s… very different from you.’

‘I’ve never met him,’ Spicy said, truthfully. ‘I’ve seen him though, he’s pretty in an “eldritch entity of unspeakable horror” kinky kind of way. You’re a different kind of pretty. Pretty like… like…’ he sighed. ‘Like nature.’

Oh, a naturalist.

Sir Pen had a passing interest in the field, as befitted a gentleman, but it had never really seized him the way that engineering had. Nature didn’t work fast enough for his tastes, even now that he had eternity. ‘All right, if we accept that I’m pretty, what then?’ He waited, trying not to scrunch his eyes shut, for Spicy to suddenly execute a daring, painful escape.

Spicy laughed, the movement distracting him momentarily, as it highlighted his fullness. ‘Mmnn,’ he said, voice husky again from arousal. ‘must we do anything? Is it not enough to be beautiful?’

And an Aesthete. Oh heaven… would he start spouting poetry next?

The languor of having laid all his eggs was fading, and Sir Pen felt a bit of a headache coming on. ‘You’ll have ample time to ponder that and other questions,’ he said, snapping his fingers at the Egg Bois, who scrambled away and back with a makeshift litter onto which they hoisted Spicy. ‘I need to think. Which is like pondering, but more productive. Take him away.’

Chapter Text

Spicy settled back, glad he still had his phone, and started texting Blitzo.

Hi, got waylaid, probably can’t come back in. Gonna see if I can call you in a little bit, not sure if I’ll get the privacy but I’m gonna try! How are the wards working?

A reply blipped back almost immediately.

wards seem fine, not so much as a peep out of P.S. but he’s probably planning something. what do you mean waylaid?

Spicy tossed the notification back up, already on the Rack making a little teaser post. Got kidnapped by a fucking #supervillain who made me do #oviposition 😍 i’m in LOVe how did i not know about this HOTT #steampunk #naga sooner??? #sirpentious #dontsendhelp 🥚💗🥚💗🥚💗🐍

He had to tag because he could not at all find a username that matched his captor. Did he not have a Rack? Was he like Alastor, that way? Oooh, speaking of Alastor… if Spicy was going to really enjoy this, he needed the latest stream of Alastor’s nightly jazz hour….

The Egg Bois carried Spicy through a series of cramped hallways until they finally reached a dead end with a door set into one wall. This was heaved open, and Spicy was deposited in a cell, which boasted little except a small porthole window to look out of.

Before the door could close behind him, his phone chirped again with another message from Blitzo.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN OVIPOSITION???

Angel was also texting him. Didn’t know you were into ovi. Didn’t know he could do that. I assume he wasn’t as much of a disaster virgin as usual?

And Yve. Get him, tiger. 🐅

But Spicy rapidly found out that Sir Pentious… did not have the best reputation. People were confused. People did not believe that Spicy could have enjoyed it. The words ‘disaster virgin’ and ‘edgelord’ were thrown around a lot. Spicy frowned, and texted Blitzo back first.

Are you expressing disbelief or do you not know how to use google?

(Hilariously, you could still get to things like google down in Hell. V, the site and system admin, had tried to explain once how Hell could access the normal internet of the living, as well as having a discrete infernet of its own, and Spicy knew enough to almost understand it. Almost.)

There was a considerably longer pause before Blitzo texted back, …the first one.

Spicy only texted back an emoji: 😈

To Angel, however, he said a little more: Do people not know? He’s a little inexperienced but it’s not like he’s not a professional or anything so i wasn’t bothered. He’s still a SUPERVILLAIN!

Spicy could almost hear Angel’s laugh in the reply: He must be a better lover than fighter then. 😆 How did he ovi you? Is onna those cocks an ovi?

Yep.

Man, I missed out. He’d do a lot better if he used that more than his gadgets.

u want an extraction team? The hopefulness in Blitzo’s next text was practically legible.

(extraction team is me and Millie!) followed almost instantly.

Then: mostly Millie.

Spicy chuckled, biting it off with a moan as it jostled the eggs, and replied: No, I’m fine. Gonna set up for a recording soon, so I’ll be on radio silence.

With that, he turned off his message notifications and went looking for the latest episode of Alastor’s show. He was an avid listener, and often listened while prepping for a livestream. With everything that had happened in the past week, however, he’d missed out on the latest one—and the drama. He saw hints of it in V’s description of the episode, which was as witty as usual, and Spicy’s heart skipped a beat at the words ‘southern drawl’.

He hit ‘play’.

.oOo.

‘Sir Pentious?’ Marbas’ anger was rarer than Stolas’, but that was by Goetic standards, which weren’t exactly generous. ‘How dare that wretched little snake steal—how dare he defile—they’re not even fertile,’ he growled, tossing his hellphone on the table so he could pace more effectively. He could deal with this; there was even a lesson in it, for one careful enough to look.

‘So he’ll go along with abduction if there’s something to sweeten the deal.’ Marbas ticked the points off on his fingers, his claws still showing with frustration. ‘He likes being stuffed full of anything.’ A curling smile graced his muzzle. ‘He likes villainy that isn’t taken for granted. He’ll see—I can provide.’

.oOo.

Spicy, meanwhile, was laying back, lost in Alastor’s voice, stroking his hands along his belly blissfully. While the southern drawl had not shown up as yet, he could tell that Alastor was… huskier, more relaxed than usual. He sounded like a man who had gotten fucked, and fucked thoroughly, before coming into work that day….

‘…And next up is a quiet little something by Mr Fats Waller, one of his slower pieces, and a favourite of mine….’

Vox had tuned out after Sir Pentious had finished. He had, as ever, other business to attend to, and if he was being honest, after Spicy was satisfied, his interest in the matter rolled over and went to sleep. He had settled into enjoying the quiet background noise of happy and full, and it took a few minutes for him to realise it had crested again, and that the tone of it had changed.

Spicy had found another voice that turned him on, something special, and wasn’t that a fun fact for their next cocktail party… Vox listened closer, and almost shapeshifted just so he’d be able to grind his teeth.

Alastor?!

‘I had the privilege, the enormous pleasure, of travelling to New York City to see Mr Calloway once, and he was really something in person, listeners! Such showmanship, such alarming charisma! This next song really captures his vocal prowess. The man could have been in opera; aren’t we glad he wasn’t, though! So, without further ado…’

Spicy sighed, biting his lip and drifting pleasantly on the arousal from eggs and his favourite radio voice, when Vox’s voice startled him from his reverie. He paused, and his eyes searched the dim of the riveted walls, despite knowing Vox wasn’t going to be there.

Daddy? That lash of anger had frightened him; he was very sensitive to anger, it still tensed him up unless Vox reassured him immediately.

You just startled me, baby. I… I guess I feel a little differently about sharing you, when it comes to him. Not that the Radio Demon was likely to take Spicy up on any proposal—Vox still wasn’t sure Alastor even knew what to do with Angel Dust—but it was the principle of the thing. Besides, there was Angel to be factored in. The spider might be able to sweet-talk Alastor into playing with his friend, just like he’d gotten him to—

Vox wasn’t going to think about that.

He’s just a voice on the radio, Daddy. But Vox could tell Spicy would absolutely come in his panties if Alastor told him to. Yet there was a professional admiration too, as Spicy thought of himself more in terms of a vocal than a body performer. I just have a thing for cannibals, he added, guiltily. It’s nothing I’d act on, I know what he’s really like…. But he didn’t have that security anymore, now that Alastor was with Angel. Now, it was all a big question mark that was rapidly being infected with guilt and resentment and shame, because of Vox’s reaction.

Well, a new contender had just appeared in Vox’s list of the top ten reasons he hated Alastor. Actually, now that he thought about it, this might be two or three reasons all by itself. He loved when Spicy was aroused, but given his experiences, that particular kink, well, ate at him. That it hadn’t been this version of him had never seemed more like a technicality.

I’m not going to tell you what to think or what to get turned on by, Vox said eventually. Not unless you ask. He couldn’t deny, part of him wanted to replace Spicy’s lust for Alastor with, if not abhorrence, at least indifference. But a Spicy he’d edited like that wouldn’t be Spicy, not really. Vox couldn’t handle that prospect.

Spicy wouldn’t let it go; not letting things go was kind of a defining trait, for him—he worried at things until he was sure that all the rough parts were smooth.

What if I promised never to do anything with him unless you were there? There was a silent addition that Spicy wouldn’t dare without Angel there as well, for safety. He knew Alastor was dangerous. He knew that, deep down. He didn’t want to fuck Alastor The Overlord, he wanted to fuck Alastor The Radio Host.

Vox didn’t bother holding back his amusement, hoping it would help Spicy realise the anger had passed. Baby, if you can get us to stay in the same room for that long, you can do whatever you want.

Is that a challenge, Daddy? Spicy asked, smirking. You know how I get about those…. but his relief was palpable.

Spicy went back to his radio show, his arousal a little slow to wake again; but wake it did—he was full of eggs, after all, and his nanites knew enough about him to make that a low buzz of arousal, as did Sir Pentious’ venom—and soon he was humming and pressing his thighs together, squirming slowly.

.oOo.

Vox felt someone lightly tap his hand with a pen. Mince.

‘Loverboy, you’re working,’ he lilted.

‘This was an urgent call,’ Vox said, taking the pen. ‘It’s resolved for now.’ Any and all of the Old Queens could actually argue with him and get away with it—and, what was more, even be listened to. But they hadn’t earned their title by not knowing the time and place. Besides, wasn’t Glitz always saying something about how maintaining a relationship was work?

Mince sighed fondly. ‘You’ve been head in the clouds since you made him legitmate,’ he said. ‘We need you too, Daddy dearest.’

‘My head is the cloud,’ Vox said, ‘so there’s a lot on my mind.’ He said it lightly, though, and made sure Mince knew through his own chip that Vox would be more careful with how he divided and subdivided his attention. ‘Now what was it you actually wanted?’

.oOo.

One recuperative brainstorming session later, Sir Pen had some workable rough drafts and, he was surprised to find, a continued desire for Spice Drop’s company. He’d assumed that with the eggs gone, his body would finally calm down, but it continued to demand more. He tried to get back to work, but after he actually messed up an equation due to daydreaming, he realised there was nothing else for it.

‘Bring him back in here,’ he commanded the Egg Bois. ‘And be quick about it.’

Spicy had finished the radio show, and messaged V to update the description—not just a southern drawl, but a New Orleans one—before starting to record some audio on his phone.

‘Hello, everyone,’ he whispered, not wanting any guards to overhear and interrupt. ‘I’m in a beautiful airship, and… mmm…. full of eggs….’

When he heard the door open, he shoved the phone in his pocket; he thought it would automatically shut of the recording, since he’d locked it.

It was still recording.

There were rustling, thumping noises as the Egg Bois manoeuvred Spicy back onto the litter, and then the rapid scuttling tapatapatap of their little feet on the metal. After what Spicy could have sworn was a different labyrinthine route than before, they emerged back into the main room at the airship’s prow. Sir Pen was there, looking out over Pentagram City, surrounded by new calculations and diagrams. He turned his head.

‘I hope you’re ready to assist me again.’

Chapter Text

‘Assist you how, sir?’ Spicy flirted, voice breathy and wanton. ‘You’ve already filled me all up…’ He let his lower lip catch between his teeth.

Sir Pen had to admit that was gratifying. ‘I’m going to fuck you regardlessss,’ he said, emboldened, ‘and then we’re going to see about your ssspecial talents.’ He cleared his throat and indicated a large cushion, somewhat the worse for wear, which had been put on a carefully chalked off area on the floor. ‘Lie down and spread your legs.’

Spicy didn’t have much choice, as far as moving went, but the cushion wasn’t uncomfortable—in fact, he figured it was likely ugly because it was so comfortable, well-loved and all that. He settled back, asking the little henches for extra pillows under his hips, and getting them (saying ‘please’ got you a lot of places, with henchlings).

‘First,’ said Sir Pen, ‘we must see about that obstruction, from earlier.’ Dropping low, he worked his head and shoulders between Spicy’s thighs, pushing Spicy’s knees further apart.

Spicy moaned, and it was more playfully enthusiastic than overwhelmed. ‘Oooh, sir…’ he teased, giggling. He was wearing the smallest of his three new plugs today, since he had little experience having a plug in for long periods, and the low light caught the polished hematite on the hilt of it, as Sir Pentious pushed his thighs apart.

The inventor paused to consider it. ‘I suppose I’m not to remove this?’ He wasn’t too dismayed; though it would have been interesting to see if he got different results from anal penetration, being inside of Spicy in any fashion was his first priority. His cocks twitched impatiently, as though to remind him.

Spicy considered it, looking around at the airship. ‘This airship…’ he said, softly. ‘it’s made of steel, isn’t it?’

‘Mostly,’ Sir Pen said, his hood flaring a little as his chest puffed out with pride. ‘Also titanium—it’s very easy to extract down here—and an entirely new element I’ve been calling tartarium.’ He eyed Spicy with a kind of quizzical suspicion. ‘Your lord isn’t moving into the airship business, is he?’

‘You can take the plug out,’ Spicy said, not answering directly. As long as he was surrounded by some kind of iron, he was safe….

Sir Pen looked about to say something, then shrugged, his gaze falling eagerly back between Spicy’s thighs as he gently pulled out the plug.

‘How does that feel, my prize?’ he asked, more curious than solicitous, though his voice wasn’t harsh.

Spicy moaned, ‘Good, D—sir,’ he purred, squirming and wet, the plug having kept his body loose and ready. ‘You gonna… fuck me?’

A smirk. ‘Eventually. As I said, something curious happened before, and I mean to find out what. I can taste how ready you are.’ Sighing happily, Sir Pen slid a finger into Spicy’s cunt, pushing inward until he met the soft resistance of the material from earlier. He didn’t have far to go at all; it seemed as though it had blocked the entire passage, keeping any of the eggs from slipping out—or anything else from getting in.

‘That,’ he said. ‘What are we going to do about that?’

Spicy’s breath caught as Sir Pentious pushed at the thing plugging him up. ‘Mmm, do we have to do anything?’ he asked dreamily. ‘It’s likely a plug, lots of critters make those….’

It was hard, in a world of people who had animalistic traits, being a person who thought of humans as animals, to navigate around knowing a lot about animals and talking about them, without making people feel weird.

Spicy was currently too high on endorphins to care.

Sir Pen blinked at him. ‘Well,’ he said, after a moment’s thought, ‘if it’s all right to take out Lord Vox’s plug, I suppose we can leave mine in.’ He giggled at that, though only briefly, unsure if Vox was still listening and might take offence. ‘I’ll just stuff you that way—yes, yes, well done.’ He waved away an Egg Boi who had handed him a bottle of lubricant a little too quickly, before returning his focus to his captive brood-host. ‘I should explore every option while I have you…’

‘You definitely should,’ Spicy agreed, in a husky purr, and squirmed. ‘Fuck me, you bad, bad man….’

At that, Sir Pen shivered and let out a dreamy, ‘Oohhhh…’ before starting to slick his fingers—and, after a glance at how open Spicy still was from the plug, his other cock, the one that hadn’t yet had the privilege. ‘I’m going to make you scream that.’

‘Mmmm, I bet you will, villain,’ he said, delighting in the knowledge that Sir Pentious had a slightly different interpretation of the word, one that was mutually intelligible with a more modern one….

It was still hanging in the air between them when Sir Pen slid his fingers inside. He’d noticed that his cock was still a bit larger around than the plug had been, so it would take some working to get it to fit, but for once he was glad to expend the effort. Lord Sinuous had been instrumental in helping him to actually relax enough to enjoy sex in its own right, and he wanted to share the benefits of his new experience. Especially now that it felt like sex was all he wanted to do.

Spicy was… very appreciative, trilling and moaning and pushing his hips down onto Sir Pentious’ fingers. ‘Ooooh, sir, I love your fingers…’ he said, breathless. They were so long, Spicy had such a thing for men with long fingers….

‘They are my best feature,’ Sir Pen said, using his other hand to preen himself for a moment before trailing it down the slope of Spicy’s belly. ‘I can do all kinds of things with them.’

‘Mmmshow me, sir,’ Spicy said, still getting used to the honorific, and adoring the touches to his belly.

‘…Admiring your handiwork, you wicked creature?’ Spicy added, thinking maybe he was starting to have a handle on what kinds of flirting Sir Pentious liked….

‘So perceptive,’ said Sir Pen, practically purring in a way that confirmed all of Spicy’s suspicions. He kept on massaging gently, the hand inside Spicy still slowly working. ‘No one’s ever taken so many that they couldn’t run away…’

Spicy trilled softly, his crest fluffed and glowing blue, just like his cunt, which was dripping onto Sir Pentious’ hand, Spicy’s tingling arousal mixing with the lubricant nicely…. ‘Mmm, their loss…’ Spicy purred. ‘More for me…’

Sir Pen looked at him wistfully. ‘Don’t tell Lord Vox, but I wish I’d found you before he did.’ He’d always wanted a proper assistant, but it was Hell, and anyone smart enough to help him could only be trusted to stab him in the back. He made do with the Egg Bois, but it wasn’t the same. ‘Will you see if he’ll lend you to me next year? I can abduct you again, if you want,’ he added, hopeful.

‘You could hire me, darling,’ Spicy said, surprised at how much the notion thrilled him. He’d never been a full-service, but… he’d never had any motivation to be, considering he thought of baseline sex as so boring it was almost repulsive. But being hired for ovi? Oh, he could definitely get into that….

‘That’s right,’ Sir Pen breathed, ‘I almost forgot.’ His top hat leered. ‘I like the idea of egg whore being a permanent position.’

‘Mmm…’ Spicy said, delighting in the next words, ‘well, you can certainly negotiate with Daddy for it….’ He gave a shuddering gasp as Sir Pentious curled his fingers. ‘Ohfuck!’

Hearing that, Sir Pen couldn’t wait a second longer; his cock had replaced his hand, pushing in all at once, before all his eyes could blink. ‘Indeed,’ he said, low, when he was able to speak again.

Spicy’s moan was low and obscene, and despite the heaviness in his belly pinning him down, he squirmed to get as much of Sir Pentious’ cock inside him as he could. ‘Oh, oh gods, yes, yes…’

Gods plural should have caught Sir Pen’s attention, but the added pressure from the eggs was so exquisite as to blot out everything else, and he only registered that Spicy was making noise, which he liked. ‘That’sss it, take everything I give you and asssk for more…’

Spicy was gone, a mess of moaning and keening and, ‘Yes, yes, fuck me, you wicked man! Nnnso big, so—ah—yes!’

‘And this is the sssmaller of the two,’ Sir Pen couldn’t resist adding, dimly recognising that he’d never been so proud of his body before, especially not during egg season. ‘Perhaps when I’m done I should give you another round with the other.’

The noise that answered this was almost a yowl. Spicy was nearly in tears from the pleasure of it all, it was so much better in reality than he could have ever imagined, being fucked while full of eggs….

Sir Pentious started to feel that same buzzing charge of electricity, as he let his body dictate a rhythm that seemed (to a gentleman like himself) rather punishing… but the harder and faster he thrust, the stronger the charge became, until finally, like an orgasm in itself, the realisation hit him.

‘Sex!’ he said triumphantly, eyes lighting up as he buried himself to the hilt in Spicy once again. ‘Your electricity builds with sexual arousal, so to effectively—’ he interrupted himself with a groan ‘—utilise you, I need to…’ What he needed to do didn’t actually seem important enough for words, though. Not when Spice Drop felt so good, and anyway it was probably self-evident.

Spice Drop Laughed, and it tensed his body around Sir Pentious’ cock. Please may I come now, Daddy? he asked Vox sweetly.

Hmmmmm… Vox’s consideration almost sounded like Spicy’s electricity had been given a voice. He lifted the block just a little, let Spicy feel how close orgasm was—then slammed it back down. No.

Spicy wailed, in delighted torment, screaming and crying and letting Sir Pentious think it was him. Daddy please, Daddy please!! Please!! He tossed his head.

You come when I say you can come, Vox said, as Sir Pen picked up the pace even further. You come when I’m good and ready. And I’m not done yet.

Spicy was crying, aroused and frustrated, blissful with utter submission and trust and being held forcibly at the edge, his body taking more and more and the itch never satisfied. He opened his eyes.

Harder, sir! Fuck me harder!’ came the growl, aggressive with sexual frustration and pent-up lust.

Sir Pen wasn’t sure how much harder he could go, especially if he was eliciting tears, but his body outvoted him, and his brain had to concede that Spicy had delivered an extremely compelling argument. He rammed into his prize, too focussed even for words, trying his utmost to satisfy them both.

Vox could tell Spicy was testing his limits, having no real experience with having someone controlling his ability to orgasm, with edging, and wanting to dive into the deep end. Spicy screamed and he cried and he shrieked, pinned by coils and eggs and held at the edge—not just disallowed from coming, but purposely held at the edge—by the love of his life.

Love of your afterlife, baby. And that means I get to spend eternity doing this. Again, Vox let him slip, just as Sir Pen thrust particularly hard, then reasserted his control. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to it.

Spicy’s broken gasp was gorgeous, and his cries echoed on the metal walls of the ship, new claws digging into the pillow below him. He loved that he wasn’t going to get oversensitive or chafed, because Sir Pentious seemed to not be slowing down anytime soon. He tried to find information about snake mating behaviour in his mental database, but came up empty when it came to how long it took. He knew that the hard, blunt claw-like feelings on his hips were likely the spurs found on pythons, he knew eggs were laid in summer, but how long did mating take? Were snakes marathon fuckers?

If they aren’t, he’s looking to take the title, Vox said. Want me to look it up for you? With the chip, Spicy could, if permitted, share Vox’s access to the information superhighway, but it was understandable that he wouldn’t remember that right now. Vox found it impressive that he was accessing any memories at all; it showed how much that knowledge was embedded into him, that he could think about it even when being fucked senseless.

It made his requests not to think make a little more sense.

Oooh yes, wiki cobra mating behaviour please, Spicy said, now happily distracted from kink things and headlong into his other big love: ethology. Renewed focus gave him the ability to banter again.

‘Trying to—nn—wear me down, fiend?’ he asked, almost managing to sound defiant instead of desperate. Almost.

‘Quite the contrary,’ Sir Pen said, after a few moments spent remembering how to make words. ‘I intend to prove you’re inexhaustible. It’s going very well so far.’

So if he leans more to the “under an hour” side of things, you’re almost done, Vox said conversationally. Or he could go the entire day. Don’t worry, he’ll probably take notes.

Spicy thrilled at the idea of being a needy mess—because he would be, if Vox kept using this as an opportunity to tease him.

‘Liar,’ Spicy moaned, wanting to see what an accusation would do.

Sir Pen drew himself up sharply, thrusting hard into Spicy and staying there as he looked down, indignant. ‘Oh? Then what do you think I’m about, boy? And what evidence do you have?’ He was, secretly, very glad that Spice Drop could still talk; it wasn’t nearly as much fun otherwise.

Spicy’s smirk was the only warning Sir Pentious got.

‘I think you’re a slut just like me,’ Spicy said. ‘You need this, don’t you, sir? You need some willing little fucktoy to warm your cock and—’ he tensed, hard, around Sir Pentious, ‘milk you dry. It’s summer, you’ve probably been in season since spring, and in denial, because men of intellect don’t give in to basal urges. But oh, honey, you can’t fight nature, you can’t will all those eggs away, and you just let it build until you were helpless, and it’s sheer luck that you snagged me. But do continue lying to me, o most beloved,’ he added sweetly, using the Kipling-esque endearment because… well, because Sir Pentious was a giant fucking snake, that was why.

Sir Pentious hissed, and there were no words in it, just frustration and the kind of anger that only comes with being very accurately called out. ‘We’re both liarsss, then,’ he said, ‘because your most beloved is Vox. Still, you gave yourself to me, you begged for more. And now that I have you, I can do as I see fit.’

‘Who says Daddy’s not here right now, o most beloved?’ Spicy taunted, and unknown to him, his left eye flashed in mirror to Vox’s for just a moment, reminding the sinner that Vox was always watching.

Without the hypnotic trance to allow him to feel Vox’s presence, Sir Pen had quite forgotten about that. His throat moved visibly as he gulped, but then his eyes narrowed. ‘That’s for my beloved to call me, ssso mind your place, whore.’ His hips moved sharply on the last word. ‘I told you how to address me.’

Spicy moaned at the thrust, unable to help himself. He immediately made note to refrain from ‘o most beloved’ing, but that didn’t stop his reaction to being told to know his place, and he tensed as Sir Pentious pulled back again.

‘I am allowing you to fuck me, you slutty bastard,’ he growled, his sides arcing with electrical charge. ‘And I will allow it only so long as you please me.’

That’s my baby, Vox said proudly.

Sir Pen’s eyes were immediately drawn to the flickers of electricity, but it was clear, from his and his hat’s expressions, that the point had gotten through. ‘Then I would ask if it pleases you to call me anything else,’ he said, carefully as he could, considering the circumstances. ‘I greatly enjoy your… company, and your wit, but those words are special to me. It—hurts, if you use them to play.’ He felt fumbling, unsure; he hadn’t banked on needing to talk about his feelings at all.

‘I know you’re not from an era where people had multiple partners, or respected sex workers, but you are now, and you need to respect us,’ he said. ‘I won’t say it again,’ he said, then added, quietly, ‘but I don’t lie with endearments. This isn’t just a game, to me; I’m enjoying you, you’re hot and my type.’ His crest was a little fluffed up as he said it, flustered. He hadn’t expected things to go this direction, either.

Sir Pen looked stunned, at that. ‘I’ve never been anyone’s type before…’ His hood half-flared, the eyes on it glancing away in different, abashed directions. ‘You are doing me a great ssservice,’ he said, ‘and it’s clear you love your work as much as I love mine. I—I do like you very much. I shouldn’t turn a word you’re proud of against you.’ His hands went to Spicy’s belly again, running over the uneven curve. ‘I did like when you called me wicked, though,’ he added, almost shyly.

Spicy smiled again. ‘I do like that you’re a supervillain, darling. That’s… my type,’ he said, giggling.

He was curious as to who Sir Pentious’ beloved was, that called him that; but he didn’t poke it, for now. He’d find out later.

Sir Pen’s smile was a touch hesitant, but it was there. ‘I should probably have guesssed.’ He had flagged during the discussion, but never stopped fucking Spicy entirely, and now he sped up again. ‘May I come in you?’ With the reminder of Vox’s presence, it was best to be polite, and he’d just been through enough embarrassment that saying such a thing was easy by comparison.

‘Yes please,’ Spicy said, his politeness only slightly teasing. He closed his eyes, bit his lip, started tensing every time Sir Pentious pulled out, listening intently for any gorgeous boy-moans.

Sir Pen did in fact deliver on that score, although they were soft and sighing, easy to miss—except for the last, which was loud indeed as he seized Spicy’s thighs tightly, pulling the other demon close and digging his fingers in. He stayed that way for several seconds, giving up what seemed to Spicy, by this point, a sadly miniscule amount of cum.

‘…Magnificent,’ he said at last, before withdrawing, both cocks retreating back into his vent. ‘Truly magnificent.’

‘I know,’ Spicy said, mostly to make himself believe it. He was still buzzing with arousal, but thankfully Daddy had let it down a bit, so he could talk, and think a little. ‘Curl up around me, lover,’ he purred. ‘Admire what you have wrought.’

‘But you haven’t come yet.’ Etiquette and, more importantly, Sir Pen’s experiments demanded that Spice Drop be brought to climax as well. That suggestion was very appealing, though, and he settled into that position despite himself, enjoying the press of his eggs from the outside.

Spicy nuzzled him, his feathers soft against Sir Pentious’ face. ‘Oh, I’m not coming until Daddy wants me to, it’s nothing to do with you,’ he purred, enjoying that smooth, inky skin.

‘I’m going to have to have words with Lord Vox,’ Sir Pen grumbled, feeling a very non-sensual shiver creep its way down his back. The eyes on his hood gave Spicy a wary sidelong look. ‘Has he decided to let the past be? I wouldn’t have dared encroach if I’d known he was alive.’

‘Aww,’ Spicy said, kissing his nose playfully, stroking at his frill, mindful of the eyes. ‘But I’m very naughty, I would have begged you to kidnap me, if I’d known you were going to fill me all full of eggs….’

Sir Pen’s face heated at the kiss, and he twisted his hands together for a moment before stroking Spicy’s crest. ‘Might I ask… what are you going to do with them?’

Spicy’s feathers fluffed up at the petting, as always, and he leaned into it. ‘Mmm, idunno. Are they fertile? I’m guessing not….’

‘I should hope not,’ Sir Pen said. ‘I doubt Heaven would see a lot of little copies of me as an exception.’ Even as he spoke, though, he couldn’t help but wonder… what if Lord Sinuous just so happened to fuck him at the right time? The Fallen could beget children just fine, as Lucifer had proven. Could Sir Pen be merely a hapless sinner, taken by the first and greatest tempter?

And why did he like that idea so much?

‘I don’t want them,’ Spicy said, very seriously. ‘But I’ll carry them for you.’ He kissed Sir Pentious gently, not pressing for longer than a chaste kiss to his mouth, before tucking his head against Sir Pentious’ chest.

Tentatively, Sir Pen put his arms around Spicy, who was small and warm and very different from snuggling with Lord Sinuous. ‘If there’s anything Lord Vox can’t provide,’ he said suddenly, full of a kind of daring fondness, ‘I’ll take care of you.’

Spicy hummed, smiling against him. ‘Such a gentleman,’ was all he said in reply.

Chapter Text

Stolas hated the little witch. First, the creature had insulted his hospitality; and now, he had taken Blitzo. Stolas couldn’t reach the imp, not with all of his power, Blitzo was simply not there, in a particular way that said he was protected. Even with all of Stolas’ power and acumen with magic, he was still half fae, and had their weaknesses.

By the end of a week, he was desperate enough to use pornography, though he disdained it as pathetic and for lesser creatures. Yet he couldn’t simply indulge in the vindictive, cruel video sent to him by his nemesis; he exhausted its charms after a few days, and it only ever left him wanting more, anyway—more that he refused to even ask for, because it was humiliating, wanting lowly sinners—especially when Stolas knew these particular sinners wouldn’t kneel to him, would be able to overpower him.

When Marbas came calling upon his services as Librarian again, Stolas nearly pecked out his eyes; only his sense of personal pride in his nobility kept him in check. ‘What do you need, Doctor?’ he said, and the leonine demon could tell Stolas was… pent-up.

‘Your continued strength in the days ahead,’ Marbas said, not batting so much as a whisker. ‘It pains me to see you in such a state—at least, when I didn’t have the pleasure of putting you there. So, I am offering my…’ He raised his brows, let the significant pause go on for longer than it really needed to. ‘Services. In your hour of need.’

At that, Stolas seriously considered pecking out the Doctor’s eyes, before his fae hips prevailed over his demonic pride.

‘Yes, Doctor,’ he said softly, thrilling at the way Marbas had framed it. Of course the Doctor would see it as part of his health. He led him down the sunlit halls to his current favourite bedroom, the Violet Room. ‘I had not thought I needed—but of course, you are right…’ he said, coy and flaring his tail a little, fluffing his feathers as he slid his dressing gown off his shoulders. He sighed softly, eyes downcast. ‘I really am so awful about my health, you know me…’

‘Otherwise I would be quite at loose ends,’ Marbas said soothingly, stepping up behind him. ‘But you mustn’t let that wretched little sinner get to you. I’m worried about the toll he’s taken already.’ And, too, perhaps if he diverted himself with Stolas, his own longing wouldn’t trouble him as much. Physician, heal thyself, he thought, and hid a smile.

Trysts between the Goetics were much more common than ordinary demons thought, and twice as fractious. There were those who flatly refused to bed any but their peers, disdaining sinners even as toys. That Stolas was willing to fuck sinners and imps was a mark of his insatiability—though, to a Goetic mind, imps were actually preferable, having no stain of mortality.

‘Tell me,’ Marbas said, his breath warm against Stolas’ neck, ‘what ails you.’

Stolas shivered at the caress. ‘That wretched little whore has taken my toys away,’ he said, a pout in his voice, brows tilted up with all the heartbreaking beauty his sidhe parent had given him. ‘And has teased me. I hate him.’ He leaned against Marbas’ softness, slimmer than the leonine demon. ‘And I feel so bereft, cousin. So empty….’

No one could dramatically exaggerate their tragedy like the Nobility.

Spotting an unoccupied side table, Marbas crossed to it and laid down the black leather case he’d brought with him. ‘Ah,’ he sighed, ‘melancholy… well, I believe I came prepared for that.’ He unrolled a length of fabric and began to lay out toys of various shapes and sizes, some made of glass and some made of stranger things. A variety of medical implements followed, only a few of which would have been recognisable to any casual watcher, all the parts that would have been made of ferrous metal cast in gold or ceramic instead. ‘But then, I prepare for most things.’

Stolas stifled a moan of delight, moving to the bed and letting his robe slip further down his arms. ‘Should I disrobe, Doctor?’ he asked, eyes glowing in delight and anticipation.

‘Do,’ Marbas said, face still turned down and away so Stolas couldn’t see his grin. ‘And lie down on your back.’

Stolas would never admit that he enjoyed taking orders, but it was what he craved, and, in a mood like this, what he needed. Marbas’ vocation gave him a kind of plausible deniability, as well as pressing several of Stolas’ numerous buttons—though, if there was a button Stolas didn’t have, Hell was yet to know about it.

‘Yes, Doctor.’ The dressing gown fell to the floor with the soft noise of luxurious fabric, and Stolas stretched out on the bed, arching his back a little and letting out a wholly gratuitous moan as he did so. He hoped Marbas would praise him for being so obedient. He hadn’t even given a teasing protest.

Marbas paused to examine his claws, eyeing Stolas over them. ‘Normally I’d be concerned at such acquiescence, but I’m glad you understand how important your health is, Prince. The easier you make things, the more I’ll reward you.’

Stolas almost protested at not getting his anticipated reward of praise, but held his tongue. It wouldn’t do to ruin the game during the opening gambit…. ‘Yes, Doctor,’ he said again, almost demure—for Stolas.

At two in a row, Marbas relented. ‘Good, Stolas. Very good.’ For one of them to use a title and the other a name made the balance of power very clear, and Marbas relished it, even as he was careful not to put it on display. Gloating had a time and place. From his array of tools, he chose a speculum and a dildo of a size that, he imagined, might correspond to that of a particularly spectacular imp. It was best to start simply.

Marbas was rewarded with Stolas shivering, his feathers fluffing and his beautiful cock (it was uncommon beautiful, even for one of the Goetics) furling smoothly from the stormy grey of his hips, his breaths hitching.

‘You know he wouldn’t appreciate you, little prince.’ Marbas came up to the bed, gazing between Stolas’ spread thighs. ‘He’d bite and tongue-lash and be appallingly rude. You’ll be much better off rid of him.’ He could feel the heat radiating from Stolas as he moved the speculum into place. ‘Breathe deeply, now.’

Stolas obeyed, it not being the sort of order where you could reply but to obey, and spread his long legs further, lifting them to better bare the dripping flower beneath his cock. The soothing words were also inflaming, reminding him of his awful guilty pleasure of being sassed at by those inferior to himself. What was it about commoners that made them so very, very good at insolence?

When the speculum slid in, it was warm as Marbas’ gold instruments always were, and Stolas gave the softest noise as he sighed at the feeling of it, sliding deep but yet not deep enough. Oh, but this would be awful, delicious torture… Stolas knew exactly what came next.

This was Marbas’ favourite way to turn the screw, and he opened the speculum as far as it would go, farther than the width of the toy really required, just for the pleasure of it. He clicked his tongue. ‘Oh, yes, this has been neglected. It’s good I came to see you before things got too much worse.’

Stolas gave a soft noise, it would have been a whimper in someone less avian. He tried to speak, but couldn’t, and just moaned, eyes fluttering closed, waiting with bated breath for whatever Marbas would do next.

‘Lost for words, mm, that’s very dire,’ Marbas said, still in that same what-have-things-come-to tone. In truth, he was trying to decide if he really did prefer this rare silence to the opportunity for verbal fencing. ‘Let’s see if this helps…’ And he slid the dildo home.

Stolas moaned, his cock streaming the sweet, slippery nectar that had ensnared many a lover into his thrall. It didn’t flash or glow, but it somehow caught even the dim light in this room, sparkling like dew at dawn.

Marbas nodded approvingly, starting to move the dildo slowly in and out, putting a little extra pressure on the blades of the speculum each time. ‘A proper response, good, very good. Can you tell me how it feels, little prince?’

Stolas was already shredding the sheets, mouth open, pointed tongue hanging out. ‘Good,’ he managed, twisting his head to press desperately into the satin of the pillowcases. ‘So… ah-h… Doctor….’

Had sex ever felt this good, before? Was this what it felt like, after a long dry spell? Or was it that Marbas was doing it—Marbas, the only expert in the peculiar and unique biological makeup of all of them, the only expert in Goetic demons in the universe…. of course, of course he would know exactly what to do, would not have to try so hard as every other person that had ever pleasured Stolas, including himself….

‘So me. I like that,’ Marbas murmured, mostly to himself. Seeing Stolas pliant was quite the experience, and well worth whatever he might try and do to regain his dignity later. Especially, Marbas had to admit, because his lack of struggle made him entirely unlike Spice Drop. ‘Are you ready for the next one?’

Stolas cooed softly. ‘The next one?’ he asked, in a a beautifully small, desperate voice. He already felt near to dying with pleasure and desire, relieved and yet even worse than before. It was glorious.

Marbas withdrew the toy entirely, knowing Stolas would ache even more for being held open. ‘Oh, yes, we must be sure you’re still able to tackle all…’ He smirked, showing the tips of his fangs. ‘Comers.’ A gracious flex of his powers brought a still larger dildo immediately to hand, this one with a pronounced curve. He held it up for Stolas to see.

Stolas was drooling, eyes wide and glowing brightly. ‘Yes, Doctor,’ he begged. ‘Yesyes, please….’

Marbas’ eyes closed almost to slits as he savoured the notes of his favourite word. ‘Good boy,’ he said, daring, but making sure to get at least the head inside Stolas in the same moment. ‘You’ll be back in fighting trim in no time.’

Stolas moaned, at that, the speculum better than any restraint at keeping him pinned down, but wanting to buck, and small, chick-like noises in his chest rising up in place of whimpers. His eyes were shut tightly, now, and he tossed his head, cock twitching.

Marbas ran the back of one fingertip up the stem (shaft was too crude, too mortal a word). ‘I’ll have to tend to this, too, of course. Do your lovers ever remember, or are they too busy exploring your other delights? Must you prompt them, if you remember?’ He pushed the dildo further in as he spoke, establishing a slow, clinical rhythm. ‘You mustn’t neglect any part of yourself, my dear prince.’

The softness of his fur, of his touch, set Stolas’ thighs to trembling, and he cooed, soft and sweet and haunting. ‘D-Doctor…’

He was a mess, after so little. It would have gratified so many of his enemies, to see him like this, wanton and as undone as a virgin upon the altar.

Marbas knew better than to pretend he was exempt, especially when the dildo hit a particularly sensitive spot. This was just what they both needed. ‘You do still know your own body the best. What else needs relief?’

‘Everything, everything….’ Stolas pleaded. ‘Fill me up, please, I need it….’ It hadn’t left his mind once, and none of his objects d’art could compare to the delights that spoiled sinner witch enjoyed—but maybe, maybe Marbas had something. Marbas always had something….

Marbas felt he had held off on a satisfied smile more than long enough. He let it take over his face, not caring if Stolas was looking or not as he said, almost sweetly, ‘But I am filling you up, Prince Stolas. What else could you mean?’

‘Cum,’ Stolas said, shameless and unrepentant. ‘Lots of it, enough to swell my belly…’ the very thought made him moan again, remembering the way the witch had looked, the bliss. ‘Please, Doctor, please….’

Marbas was the picture of regret, if regret had been a still distinctly smug-looking lion. ‘I’m afraid I don’t have that much,’ he said, shaking his head as he straightened. ‘But I might be able to cobble together a substitute.’ Leaving the dildo where it was, he returned to his table, rummaging in his bag. A large phial of translucent powder was first to be removed, followed by a glass flask, a silicone bulb, and a length of slender tubing. At his touch, the flask half-filled itself with water, and he poured a careful measure of the powder in, humming softly to himself. ‘I’ll just be a moment.’

Being that he was a spoiled prince, Stolas immediately reached between his thighs to move the toy, careful of the speculum but thrusting nonetheless. He was hungry….

Marbas’ tail-tip flicked, and the base of the toy rippled outward, flaring until it covered Stolas’ entire stretched cunt, leaving his talons raking uselessly over smoothness that was perfectly flush with his body. ‘Consider patience less a virtue,’ the Doctor said mildly, stirring the solution in the flask, ‘and more a vice that you now have the opportunity to practise.’

Stolas gave a soft shriek of distress, bucking his hips a little but not daring to move from laying on his back. His long hand stroked up his cock instead, as consolation.

Secretly, perhaps so secret he did not yet know, himself, he loved it.

Marbas let him have that, knowing it wasn’t what he really craved, and selected another toy, this one made of a softer, more yielding material, and hollowed narrowly through the centre. The solution went into the bulb, the bulb attached to the tubing, and the tubing slid inside the toy. Marbas liked sequences. They were much more satisfying than trying to do everything at once.

He approached the bed once more, the toy held low at his side, where Stolas couldn’t see it.

Stolas did not stroke harshly at his cock—there was a reason Blitzo was not allowed to touch it with his hands, and that was its delicacy. Like the flowers it resembled, Stolas’ cock was soft and almost velvet in texture, exceedingly and exquisitely fragile, and easily bruised. You could not squeeze, nor pull—he stroked, gently, mindful of his own hooked talons. With slitted eyes he looked up at Marbas, and his hand stilled, slowly removing from his cock.

He nearly apologised for touching it.

Nearly.

Marbas didn’t say anything, merely tapped the toy still inside Stolas, so that it returned to its normal dimensions and suffered itself to be removed. The speculum he removed as well, just for the change in sensation that losing it would bring. If Stolas wanted to consider it a punishment, that was his decision.

‘Are you ready to be filled now, little prince?’

‘Yes,’ Stolas said, spreading his legs wider, reaching down to hold himself open. ‘Yes, Doctor, please…’ His voice was warm and sweet and Marbas could smell the heady, slightly daze-inducing scent that rose from between his thighs, heady as a peony bloom.

It was almost a pity, Marbas thought, that the Goetics’ abilities didn’t work on each other. He wondered what it would be like to succumb. But if he were to lose his composure, he did not mean for it to be with Stolas.

The toy went in with a single smooth push, warmer than it should have been from the brief time it had spent in Marbas’ hand. Marbas squeezed the bulb just a little, letting a teasing little splash of liquid forth. ‘Tell me what you’re thinking of,’ he bade.

‘Nnnh, that accurséd witch, regretfully,’ Stolas was angry about it, too. ‘He sent me a taunt, and then stole my thrall from me, and—ahhh!’ he said, as Marbas pushed more inside him. ‘I hate—’ he never got to finish.

The first real press of the bulb wasn’t enough to make his belly swell on its own, but it was very definite, a gush much like those he’d managed to pull for a few brief, wonderful moments out of Blitzo. And it was followed by another, and another.

‘We’re back to the beginning,’ Marbas said, shaking his head. ‘That won’t do.’

Stolas was cooing softly beneath his words, a sure sign of his pleasure. ‘Ah-h, Doctor…’ he said, trembling in more than his thighs, now, his cock streaming steadily with his arousal, like liquid sunlight, glimmering….

‘Think of being full,’ said Marbas. ‘Remember that you deserve better than a foolish dead thing playing with powers he can’t understand. You are the keeper of knowledge. Anything you desire, you can find a way to have.’ Except for Spice Drop, he didn’t say, and squeezed the bulb again instead.

Stolas’ moans were less desperate now, and more humming, a deep trill in his chest vibrating Marbas’ bones more than being heard. ‘You are… so good to us… Doctor….’ he murmured, eyes closed, voice a hushed whisper.

It was so good. It was so good, it was better than he’d imagined….

Marbas’ voice was equally low. ‘Only as good as you deserve.’

He knew he shouldn’t count the victory until he was well away, with Stolas in blissful repose, but it was hard. Besides, if he didn’t let the thought occupy him, he might have to confront the fact that he genuinely liked the Librarian like this. Would Stolas have ever given himself over if Spice Drop hadn’t driven him to distraction? Something to thank the sinner for, perhaps.

The bulb was emptying, and Marbas traced a little circle over the outside. It immediately filled to capacity again.

He didn’t intend to stop until Stolas begged.

Stolas was only beginning; his moans, underscored with that courting trill, only got more decadent and luxurious the fuller he got, one hand fluttering to rest on his belly, feeling as it rounded, taut with its lade.

‘Doctor…’ he said it like a prayer. ‘It feels so good…’

‘I know,’ Marbas said, velvety as always. ‘And you’re being so good for me. I feel much better about your prospects, now.’

It did not escape him that, the more he outdid himself, the more likely Stolas was to demand a repeat performance. Well and so, Marbas dreaded boredom as much as any of his kind, and this was going so wonderfully. It just couldn’t be allowed to interfere with the Plan.

Once they actually agreed on one.

Stolas wept, overcome and shaking, as his first orgasm washed over him, taking him by surprise. He was so full, he was so full and Marbas was so good….

Feeling Stolas’ shudders through the toy, Marbas timed his own pulses with careful precision, until each time Stolas’ body arched, he was filled that much more. ‘Good prince,’ he purred, because he might as well overwhelm Stolas with everything.

By the time his belly was full, overfull, rounded enough to look gravid with eggs, Stolas feathers were streaked with tears, and his cock was aching to be touched, though he was too beyond words to ask.

Yet Marbas knew, because this was his domain, and he set aside his instruments. ‘Look at how much you were able to take. My patients are so resentful, on the whole, but you understand. You oblige me so wonderfully.’ He took Stolas’ cock in a gentle hand and began to stroke, his praise all the more heartfelt for how utterly helpless Stolas was. ‘Good boy.

Stolas gave a shuddering gasp, a broken little sob of a thing, and his cock twitched in Marbas’ hand, spilling silvery cream over the Doctor’s bronze fur.

Stolas was almost ashamed at how much he missed that smooth, feline voice calling him a good boy, a good prince (Marbas was older than him, old enough that Stolas remembered the Doctor from when he’d been a little eyas).

‘That’s better, now, isn’t it?’ Marbas kept going until Stolas had run dry, withdrawing just as that exquisite sensitivity was about to tip over into pain. Destroying the prince like this wouldn’t confine him to bed any longer than he’d normally stay there, libertine that he was. Marbas could in no way be accused of hampering progress.

Loki’s appearance had left some of the Goetics shaken, and others more determined than ever. Through no effort on his part, Marbas had been deemed to be in favour of taking action. He had concluded it was perfectly all right if everyone wanted to believe that.

‘Yes…’ Stolas said, sighing, turning an adoring gaze on Marbas. ‘Yes, Doctor, yes, thank you….’ And he meant it, with every fibre of his being. ‘I did… I did well?’ he asked, hopeful for more praise, desperate as any cockerel for approval.

‘You did magnificently,’ Marbas assured him. ‘But just to be certain you’ve recovered, I might need to make a return visit later on.’ Especially if they couldn’t recover Stolas’ imp, or if, on receipt, Stolas broke his toy beyond repair. The latter seemed more likely, to Marbas’ mind—the imp hadn’t seemed the type to be scrupulous about anything, up to and including his own safety. If he had, he wouldn’t have become Stolas’ in the first place.

‘Yes, Doctor,’ Stolas said happily, languid and drunk on pleasure—he couldn’t remember the last time he’d been so satisfied. When Marbas reached to stroke the tear-damp feathers of his cheek, Stolas nuzzled into the touch, eyes closing as he trilled again, a little sleepier. ‘You’re so good to us, Marbas….’

‘I am. Remember that, little prince.’ Whatever stance he took or seemed to take, there was conflict in the near future, and it was better to have Stolas’ rage aimed securely away from him.

And if he had that rage at his disposal, better yet.

Chapter Text

Stolas’ former imp was currently finding himself with an entirely new set of problems. He’d thought the constant weight of the chain around his neck was going to drag, or at least chafe, but instead it was oddly reassuring. He kept thinking about Spicy putting it there, the sure movements of his hands. The way he hadn’t chastised Blitzo, or even made fun of him. He kept thinking about Spicy, full stop.

He watched some more videos, but it didn’t really help. Of all the times to get kidnapped and stuffed full of eggs, seriously.

Blitzo’s phone pinged with a message, and it was Spicy, who sent him an attached file.

I need to work remotely, for a while; but Sir Pentious is really inspiring to talk to. Made some notes on how to talk to Hermes yourselves.

The notes detailed how to build an altar and included a few links to music and stories about Spicy’s gods. Spicy had already explained the best way to worship was through art.

Blitzo’s heart did a somersault when he saw the notification, which made the contents something of a letdown. He’d been hoping for, shit, something like, Sir Pentious brought out the egg extractor and I’ll be there in an hour, maybe.

inspiring isn’t what I’ve heard, he wrote back. In actuality, Sir Pentious was one of Blitzo’s favourites among the so-called underlords, because of how much he got mocked. Blitzo could empathise, assuming he’d ever admit to it. you sure it’s the right SP?

People keep asking me that. 😕 Spicy texted back. I realise he’s one of the older sinners, but does nobody appreciate a classic supervillain anymore? There was a pause. Anyway, how are you? You wanna chat?

The somersault was followed up with a handstand. What was wrong with him? yes!!! I mean, I want to chat. I’m not yes.

😆 silly. i miss ur questions. u got any new ones?

Blitzo tried to remember the last time anyone had said they’d missed his anything, other than his absence. He asked the first thing that came into his head: how do cats make the noise?

Nobody’s quite sure. Theories suggest it might be vibrating their larynx, but basically it’s a mystery. We do know that big cats cannot purr, they roar instead; and little cats can purr, but they can’t roar. So the two noises are connected in some way. Purring isn’t always happiness, but it is a form of self-soothing, and might also mean “please stay here”.

Blitzo’s treacherous throat decided that now was a good time to demonstrate. At least this wasn’t a phone call. He decided to change the subject. Why was he thinking about cats anyway? is Loona going to have a lot of little snakey cousins?

No, they’re not fertile. I need a day or so to recover from the physical stress, and then he’s going to help me get them out. Apparently his scientist friend likes to eat them. 🍳

That, Blitzo reflected, was probably for the best, although a personal supply of venomous snakes would have made work more interesting (even if Millie would consider it cheating). He went for something a little more immediately relevant. are you going to still like regular sex?

ofc. honey, I have SO many kinks. There was a pause, and then a second message. honest question: do you actually like me? like… want to have sex with me and not just to pay me for something?

Only Blitzo’s juggling experience kept him from dropping his phone. of course!!!!!!! He hit send before he could add any more exclamation marks, then kept going. you’re incredible, I keep thinking about you. I just didn’t know how else to thank you. although you can probably be in the company raffle now if you want.

take thanking out of it. Take repayment out of it. If this was not a transaction, how would you feel?

A pause.

It’s important.

Blitzo hesitated over his reply. He knew the answer, but his talons didn’t want to press the right letters: I didn’t think you’d have sex with me if it wasn’t a transaction.

I feel that. came the reply, after much typing. I’m… confused, about you. I want to do… things I feel like are bad to want to do. 😕

‘He knows about Stolas—he’s fucking met Stolas—and he’s worried about…?’ Blitzo shook his head. Were all sinners this weird?

what kind of things?

A long pause, lots of typing, then.

Petplay

Blitzo was blithely unconcerned about society most of the time, but he wasn’t completely clueless. He knew why all that wait time had boiled down to just one word. Well, the fact that Spicy thought of it as a kink and not the default was promising, right? That made a difference? Still…

is that the only reason you like me?

He braced himself for the answer.

I care about u being well. I care about u being safe. Ur annoying but I also love teaching u things and pampering you and making u smile. I love that u love showtunes and I have a whole playlist already to show u and long lists of shows I wanna introduce u to. We have a lot in common and it’s weird bc I’ve never had a friend like u before so I don’t know how it works. But when I was holding u after u jumped it just felt so good and right and I wanted to do it more and I just… idk. maybe I’ve just never had a crush on someone that I wanted to dom before?

Blitzo read that over a few times. Aside from the part about the playlist, what really jumped out at him was the second to last sentence.

I felt safe when you were holding me, he sent back. Just don’t put me in a cage or call me Blitzy and we’re good.

More likely to call u babe, sweetie, honey, darling, etc.

can i call u boy tho? as in ‘good boy’?

I think I have to hear it before I can decide. Blitzo wondered if he should add a picture of the huge, goofy grin that had launched an all-out assault on his face.

His phone rang.

The screen said Spice Drop, but Blitzo still put one hand on the chain around his neck before he answered. ‘This is Blitzo!’

The voice that replied was husky and sounded well-fucked, but still, somehow, powerful.

‘Good boy, Blitzo.’

Blitzo just about came in his pants. ‘…I like it,’ he said, on his fourth try.

Spicy thrilled at the noises Blitzo made while trying to answer, and gave a low, velvety chuckle. ‘Mmm, good. I like it too.’ Inspired, he went on. ‘Are you alone, precious boy? Can you touch yourself for me?’

‘…I’m in my office,’ Blitzo managed at last. Precious packed even more of a whammy than good. He lowered one hand under his desk. ‘Uh, outside of my pants, or what?’ He’d played games like this before, and was hoping Spicy would actually tell him the rules before he broke them.

‘Mmm, that doesn’t answer my question, sweet boy. Are you alone?’ Spicy made his voice just a little more stern, hoping it was soft enough. The imps were skittish around him as a baseline, and he didn’t want to frighten Blitzo; but he did need a straight answer—something that was especially difficult to get from Blitzo.

Blitzo did startle a little, but calmed quickly, too invested in what would happen next. ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘I’m alone.’ He’d been walked in on often enough that no one would disturb him without knocking first, either. Blitzo maintained this wasn’t his fault; having a proper office and running his own business was just so exciting.

‘Good boy. Run your fingers over your cock without opening your pants. Slowly.’ Spicy fully intended to get Blitzo to make more noises, to beg.

Distantly, he was marvelling at how naturally he took to this—and how much he liked it.

Blitzo did so, trying and failing to stifle the resulting little whimpers. ‘I’m so hard already,’ he said, pleading. Spicy wanted to pamper him, and pampering meant letting him have what he wanted, right?

‘Are you, darling? Tell me how hard you are,’ came the purring reply, and Blitzo could hear the wicked smile. Spicy’s voice in videos never got this tone, or pitch….

It threw Blitzo entirely off guard, so that he could only reply honestly. ‘So hard that it aches, so hard that all I can think about is…’ He swallowed hard. ‘Burying myself in your cunt. Or, or a toy. Or anything.’

The hum this got back was low and cracked slightly in the middle. ‘I do miss your cock, precious,’ he murmured, recalling the sense-memory of it. It had been the perfect size, and quite warm and comfortable.

‘You can have it any time you want,’ Blitzo said, knowing he already sounded desperate. He was having a heaven of a time just keeping to those little strokes. It almost would have been easier to just stop touching himself entirely.

But Spicy hadn’t told him to stop.

‘Mm, are you still being a good boy and doing as I told you?’ Spicy asked, wanting to know; he’d gotten better at sensing lies, and anyway Blitzo was a bad liar.

‘I am!’ Blitzo was half indignant, but given the other half was so horny he could barely think, it wasn’t much of a protest. ‘I need more, though,’ he dared, biting back a groan of frustration. ‘Please?’

‘Please what, baby boy?’ The endearment dropped before Spicy could stop it, but he let it lie. He wanted to see what Blitzo would call him—Vox had done the same to him, and Spicy liked the control it gave back to the submissive, the way it let the sub signal what kind of dom they wanted.

‘Please let me at least get in my own pants…’ Blitzo trailed off, indecisive. “Master” rubbed him the wrong way, he’d fought too hard to get to a place where people were supposed to call him “sir”…

‘Daddy?’ he said tentatively, trying it out and seeing how it felt. ‘Please, Daddy?’

Spicy’s voice got warmer, as he unconsciously mimicked Vox just a little. ‘Aw, such a sweet boy, begging so nicely for Daddy,’ he cooed. ‘Slide under your waistband with one hand, then, and cup yourself. Be gentle, you’re my precious boy and you deserve it.’ \

Spicy knew from experience that imps did not get spoken to kindly enough. Now that he had permission, he planned on drowning Blitzo in praise and affection.

This time Blitzo moaned, loud and unabashed, even though that soft touch was so much less than what he was used to giving himself. The walls were thin, but Moxxie was playing his guitar and Loona probably had headphones in, and Millie never seemed to mind somehow. ‘What if I want to be rough?’ he couldn’t help but ask. Spicy’s choice of words had weirded him out. He wasn’t used to being told he deserved nice things.

‘Daddy said no, is what,’ came the gentle reply. ‘I can’t be there to pamper my darling, so you have to be good and help Daddy pamper you. Now, I want you to stroke, slow and soft.’

Spicy was adoring the rumbly moans and soft mewing. He hadn’t realised how amazing it would feel, being given permission to dom Blitzo.

Blitzo did, more little noises escaping him each time. ‘I want to fuck you, Daddy,’ he said, too far gone to care if he was whining. ‘I want to push up against all those eggs and make you even fuller.’ Was that a word? Blitzo hoped it was.

Spicy moaned softly, at that, letting Blitzo hear how much he was enjoying that thought. ‘Good boy…’ he said. ‘Stop stroking.’ He wanted to see what noise Blitzo would make—and what protest.

What he got was practically a yowl, which transitioned into a drawn-out, ‘Why? That’s not very pampering…’

A soft laugh. Spicy wished he could reach his cunt, but squirming on the very soft, very luxurious nest Sir Pentious had given him while pressing his thighs was almost good enough, deliciously frustrating. ‘The longer you stay on the edge, the bigger the orgasm will be. So be good and trust Daddy, hm?’

‘That sound is me sitting on my hands,’ Blitzo groused, wriggling in his seat. He liked that he was allowed to complain. ‘I’m not a tightrope walker, you know that, right?’

‘You’re doing so good, my sweet boy. I wish I could kiss that pretty mark on your forehead.’ Spicy believed in praising obedience. ‘I know it’s hard, you’re such a strong boy, Blitzo, I know you can do this for Daddy.’

A purr escaped Blitzo, at that, and he relaxed a little. ‘I can,’ he agreed, and the ache didn’t lessen, but it did become more interesting. ‘I bet I could stay like this until you get ba—oh fuck I didn’t mean that don’t listen to me.’

Spicy was laughing that wicked, soft laugh. ‘I won’t push you that hard unless you want it, my sugar.’

Which did make Blitzo contemplate whether he did want it….

‘Can I touch other parts of myself?’ Blitzo asked, trying to sound innocent. He knew Spicy had been fucking Moxxie, because Moxxie had gone around actually smiling and it was kind of unsettling, for all Blitzo’s past insistence on a happy work face. But how much had Spicy actually found out?

‘What parts do you want to touch, Blitzo?’ Spicy asked, low and soft. Blitzo heard the soft rustling of sheets.

‘My horns?’ Blitzo carefully didn’t specify which part. Most of the length was about as sensitive as fingernails, but the spot around the bases, fuck…

‘Mmm, and why your horns, sweetheart? Where? How?’ A soft laugh. ‘Be specific, precious, I want to imagine it exactly, and you have such big horns…’ Spicy hoped that was as much of a status thing as it usually was in horned animals….

Blitzo made a wordless noise of frustration. He should have known Spicy wouldn’t fall for that. For lack of any other options, he leaned into it. ‘I want to touch them because it feels so good, massage around them because you won’t let me touch my cock and they’re the next best thing I have.’ The adage about what big horns signified in imps was true for Blitzo, and he’d always been rather proud of that. ‘I want to touch them and imagine it’s your hands and I’m inside you.’

‘So do I, babydoll,’ came the reply, Spicy sounding like his composure was slipping a bit, his breaths short and heaving, the rustling making clear he was squirming around in the bed he was in. ‘Run your nails lightly around the base for me, there’s a good boy….’

Blitzo didn’t need to tell Spicy when he obeyed, because the noise he made was clear enough. ‘Y-you like that?’ he gasped out, only just beginning to put it together. ‘It turns you on when I do what you say… Daddy?’

‘Yes, my sugar,’ Spicy said, with a soft little moan, a smile in his voice. ‘Your moans, your little sounds, you being so eager to please me… mmm, I’m so wet, precious, I wish you were here, want you….

‘Hasn’t Sir Pentious come up with some kind of teleportation device by now? You should tell him to work on that.’ After all, Blitzo was used to the sensation. It was the first—and probably only—time he’d ever missed it. Before he could think about that too much, the sense-memory of Spicy’s arousal snuck up from the back of his mind, making him whimper. ‘What would you want me to do to you?’ he asked, knowing he was only tormenting himself worse, but wanting to turn the tables.

‘Lay back,’ Spicy said, seeing right through him, ‘and let Daddy tease you.’ There was a pause filled with soft gasps as Spicy tried to get control back, burning with arousal. ‘I want to taste your cock, and trace my tongue around the base of your pretty horns, and stroke your tail until you’re shaking….’ He knew the tails were sensitive, he’d seen how Moxxie reacted to Angel caressing his, during afterglow.

‘Nn-hnn,’ was the best Blitzo could do. He had forgotten all about touching his cock or his horns, reduced to a quivering mess barely contained in his chair. ‘Please,’ he said, the word only getting out because he was barely aware he was saying it, ‘pleasepleaseplease do all of that…’

It was so, so different to when Stolas did it. Stolas never said I want to. He said I’m going to, because wanting something left the possibility that it might not happen. And from Spicy, it almost sounded like he wanted to do those things because it made Blitzo feel good.

‘I promise, sweet boy,’ Spicy said immediately, ‘I want to make you moan, make you shake….’ He moaned, letting Blitzo hear just how much the thought undid him. ‘I can’t wait to get home, precious kitten, so I can touch you again.’

Spicy had a feeling that Stolas had not been the most considerate lover—in fact, he was quite sure of it. He aimed to compensate, to prove to Blitzo that wasn’t what it had to be, that Blitzo was worth more than being treated like a warm dildo.

Blitzo didn’t really know what to say about that. It was too new, too strange, and he was scared that if he embraced it too fully, it would break. ‘Can I come before you hang up?’ he asked instead, turning big hopeful eyes on the adjacent wall out of pure habit.

‘Oh sweetie, of course you can! I want to hear it. Go ahead and free your cock, pretty boy, go on….’

Spicy was surprised how much pleasure he was getting, elated in entirely new ways, actually savouring how sexually frustrated he was, because he was making someone else feel good. Was this how Daddy felt when he teased Spicy? Spicy wondered.

Vox didn’t say anything in words, but Spicy felt his amusement and pride. He liked that Spicy was exploring this side of himself more, going beyond that little taste he’d had when Vox first changed his head.

Blitzo’s cock deserved a sound effect for how quickly it sprang out, and he was so worked up that he nearly came as soon as he wrapped his hand around it. ‘There,’ he said, voice unsteady. ‘It’s out, it’s ready for you…’

‘Shhh, sweetness, don’t rush…’ Spicy said. ‘Be gentle, sweet boy, stroke slow and light, try to hold it off as long as you can; can you do that for Daddy?’ The power trip was so different from what Spicy assumed it would feel like. He felt even more submissive, in a way, being in control, being responsible

Is this how you feel? he asked Vox more directly, equal parts curious and awed.

There was a long pause before Vox replied, and Spicy had the dim sense of decades of memories rushing past, other partners, other power plays.

With you? Yes.

I love you so much, was the reply, heartfelt and aware of just how possible it was for the answer to have been ‘no’.

Blitzo was keening, unaware. ‘I can do that if I pretend you’re teasing me,’ he panted. ‘I mean, more than you already are.’ No one had ever touched his cock like that, least of all him. He’d always been urgent, needing the release, and then… had he unconsciously been mimicking how Stolas fucked him? He’d definitely thought about the Prince while getting off, only somewhat erotically; he’d mostly been worried Stolas would find out somehow.

‘Oh, please do—because I’m going to, precious one, I’m going to tease you for hours, I want to show you how good it is, when you wait for it… mmm, good boy, that’s it, moan for me while you tease your pretty cock….’ Spicy was—and Vox was aware of this from their long courtship—the queen of dirty sweet talk.

‘Hours?’ Blitzo echoed, with a kind of delighted horror, not quite believing—not that Spicy couldn’t do it, but that Blitzo could last that long without coming at least once. He said as much, or tried to, but it was very difficult when so much of his attention was devoted to only touching his cock so lightly, soft as the fabric noises he kept hearing from Spicy’s end of the phone. In the end, the most coherent thing he had was, as Spicy had pointed out, a moan.

‘Hours, my sugar, hours and hours,’ Spicy said, ‘You’re being so good for me, Blitzo, my Blitzo, my good boy, do you want to come for Daddy?’

Spicy was burning with his own desire, and had the vague thought of asking Sir Pentious if he had any vibrators, after this session with Blitzo; he knew Daddy still had a stranglehold on his orgasm, but he also needed to keep trying, driven by desperate arousal that had turned into something like an insistent itch that needed scratching….

‘Yes!’ It was practically a cry. ‘Yes, yes, yes…’

For this, said Vox, I could let you come.

‘Say my name when you come, sweetheart, can you do that for me?’ Spicy focussed entirely on Blitzo for the moment, mentally doing the equivalent of dog-earing Vox’s reply for later. To him, that was respectful of his submissive, rather than a snub to his own Master.

‘Yes,’ Blitzo said again, and even with those little teasing touches, he was about to take a flying leap off that edge. ‘Can I come now?’ He hoped Spicy understood, the words were so fast they were barely even comprehensible to him.

‘Yes, baby boy. Come for me.’

Blitzo threw his head back and wailed. ‘Spicyyyyyy!’ He held the note for as long as he had breath, his cum dissolving into wisps of shadow in the air, except where it landed on him, spattering his belly and his heaving chest, even his bared neck. ‘Spicy, Spicy, Daddy…’

Spicy listened, eyes closed to better focus, a smile spreading over his face.

One is not usually aware of the exact moment one falls in love with an acquaintance. If pressed, many who fall in love with their friends cannot pinpoint the moment when a friend becomes a lover; but, in that moment, Spicy had the rare experience of being aware of Eros’ bolt landing true.

‘Good boy, Blitzo, you’re so beautiful…’ he whispered.

‘You wanna picture?’ Blitzo asked dreamily, lost in afterglow. ‘See me all fucked out like you told me to…’

He liked good boy, he decided, dimly aware that there was something different in the way Spicy had said it that time. He liked good boy a lot.

‘Yes, baby, I’d love a picture,’ Spicy said, recognising that giving him proof was more something that would make Blitzo feel better. ‘How do you feel?’

Blitzo attempted to consider this, putting Spicy on speaker and raising his phone above his head to aim the camera down at himself. ‘ ‘s “wow” a feeling?’

‘Wow is definitely a feeling, I know it well,’ Spicy said, laughing. ‘I’m so glad I could make you feel wow,’ he added, touched, and holding back that he’d never been able to do that, to be that, with anyone, before.

Blitzo had never felt so utterly relaxed. He sprawled in his chair, feeling how dishevelled he was and loving it. It was a good thirty seconds before he remembered he had to actually send the picture for Spicy to see it.

‘You can still fuck Moxxie, too,’ he said. ‘I’m not gonna be jealous. Well. Maybe I’m jealous that you get to fuck Moxxie…’ Oops. That had been out loud. Apparently that orgasm had taken all of his inhibitions.

Spicy filed that away for later; but this session had already been much better than with Moxxie, who seemed gratingly nervy in comparison. Spicy was also not attracted to Millie, simply because he was, he was finding, not actually all that bisexual. Girls were pretty, but it wasn’t a sexual admiration, as he’d assumed it was.

‘Moxxie’s not my good boy,’ he decided to say, ‘you are.’

Blitzo purred very, very loudly.

Spicy practically nuzzled the phone—and then, to Blitzo’s shock, started crying a little, enough that Blitzo heard the voices of some of Sir Pentious’ henchlings, asking if Spicy was well.

‘No, no, I’m not hurt. It’s that I miss my boy,’ Spicy said to them, in a watery voice.

Nothing else could have penetrated Blitzo’s post-orgasmic daze quite like that. He sat straight up, tail whipping the air.

‘I… I’ll see you soon, Daddy,’ he said, unsure of each word even as he put it in front of the next. ‘And you can hold me and I’ll make The Noise and be your good boy.’ He understood petplay now. The game wasn’t that he was really an animal, it was that he was to be loved and cherished by someone who would take care of him. And in exchange, all he had to do was purr.

What else did cats do? He was going to have to do some research. His connection to the mortal internet was patchy at best, but Spicy had said the entire thing was full of cats. It couldn’t be too hard to find out.

Spicy smiled at that, and his voice was brittle but so full of affection he felt like his heart was going to burst. ‘You’re so sweet, Blitzo. I’ll call you tomorrow too, okay? And please have some water, maybe a snack. I need you to take care of yourself until I can come home and take care of you; can you do that for me, sweetheart?’

‘Sure,’ Blitzo said, before he could think better of it. He wasn’t actually sure why he needed refreshments, not when he hadn’t really done anything. Stolas had left him to wobble around in the kitchens a few times after their marathons, assuming all imps knew how to cook. Blitzo had certainly needed to get his energy back then, but a little jerk-off session, even one as intense as this had been, didn’t hold a candle to even the mildest session with Stolas. But Spicy had said so, and Blitzo wasn’t so overconfident that he thought he knew more about sex than his favourite porn star. Assuming the water cooler was actually in the mood to produce water (it mostly provided varying consistencies of sludge, and occasionally blood), he could honour that request.

‘Mm, good boy. I love you, kiss kiss.’ Spicy hung up before he could second-guess that sign off, and lay back on his bed, sighing.

Did you mean it, about the orgasm? Is that some kind of reward for domming someone? Spicy was truly curious, not really feeling one way or the other about it.

Smart as a whip, this one, Vox said fondly. Yes, I meant it, and yes, it is. I have to do something for a performance like that. You had him eating out of the palm of your hand. So what do you say, baby? You want to come your brains out too?

Mmm, it would be nice to see how good it is with Sir Pentious… Spicy answered thoughtfully. I don’t want to come right now this second, but it would be nice to come at the end of egg-laying… I’d be so nice and worked up….

I’ll keep that in mind. So will Kaa Junior, if he knows what’s good for him.

Spicy’s nose wrinkled in an expression that was half a pout and half a laugh. Quit calling him that, he said, and then added, teasingly. You’re not feeling threatened by him, are you, Master? he batted his eyelashes coyly.

I’ll feel threatened by him when I get to Heaven, Vox said. I just like reminding you that you’re my babyslut.

I never forget, Daddy. Sir Pentious is a perfect gentleman, and that’s sort of the problem. He giggled. He’s someone I would love to have as a friend, and to help him with his eggs, but I could never love him the way I love you.

There was a long pause, and then Vox said, I know what you mean.

Chapter Text

The airship changed course, and the Egg Bois were in even more of a tizzy than usual. ‘They’re looking forward to having new friends,’ Sir Pentious said, when another one launched itself in a leap over Spicy and nearly cracked. ‘Their attrition rate is… better left unmentioned.’

‘Mmm,’ Spicy said. ‘Hush, boys,’ he said, pushing a little dominant velvet into his voice. To his great surprise, it worked. ‘Good boys,’ he purred.

Sir Pen looked faintly wounded, and his top hat glowered. ‘They don’t do that when I tell them.’

They landed outside an unremarkable industrial building on the city outskirts; its most distinguishing feature was a dock that turned out to exactly accommodate an airship with foldable spider legs. ‘Baxsster and I do a lot of work together,’ Sir Pen said, hissing a little with excitement. ‘I think he’ll be quite impresssed with you.’

‘I’m all anticipation to meet him, my dear Sir Pentious,’ Spicy said, falling easily back into the formal affection of Sir Pentious’ accustomed era. ‘Forgive me if I don’t get up.’

‘No need,’ said Sir Pen, and a complement of Egg Bois ran up with a much sturdier litter, which they’d apparently knocked together in the intervening time. ‘He won’t work outside of his lab, though, so we have to come to him.’ If Baxter left the lab at all, Sir Pen wasn’t aware of it; but then, they were both very busy. And given what tended to happen when Sir Pen went anywhere other than Lord Sinuous’ gardens, Baxter might have been onto something.

Spicy sighed, his expression one of barely-contained secrets, but said nothing, his hands only tracing the curve of his belly, still marvelling at how the skin was taut, but didn’t burn with being overstretched. It almost made him feel like a shapeshifter of sorts….

The lab smelled faintly of the sea, despite Hell having no bodies of water, and the scent was comforting to Spicy, relaxing. Sir Pentious hadn’t said anything about Baxter, other than he was a scientist of some sort, and Spicy hadn’t given it much thought…

And then he recognised a particular shade of blue light, and struggled to look toward it, a soft keening rising in his throat, thrumming his skull in a way he hadn’t felt in years—not since his voice had dropped the second time….

The light came closer, resolving itself into dots and elegant, flowing lines that framed the piscine face of a small, slight figure. ‘Hello, meal ticket. And hello—who are you?

Baxter had never seen anyone else with bioluminescence before. He wasn’t entirely sure how he felt about it, or how he felt about the fact that what his instincts wanted to do was look, and look, and keep looking. His lure bobbed gently as he came to a total stop, as though trying to remind him that he was supposed to be the mesmerising one.

Spicy was similarly transfixed, and smiling, his mouth and cunt glowing brightly, flashing in response. Baxter could feel the electrical charge along his sides. ‘Hello, little angler,’ Spicy said, in a low voice that was half aroused, and half the special strain of delight he reserved for the ocean and all His creatures.

There was a long enough silence that one of the Egg Bois asked, in a stage whisper, ‘Is he okay?’

Baxter opened and closed his mouth a few times, showing needle teeth. Then he said, abruptly, ‘Let’s get this batch out,’ before turning on his heel and stalking off into the gloomy depths of the lab, the Egg Bois running to keep up.

‘How odd,’ Sir Pen said, slithering after. ‘Maybe he’s just very hungry today.’

Spicy gave his rather musical chuckle. ‘You don’t know aaaanything about animals, do you, my dear?’ he murmured, half to himself, eyes still on the blue glow, which he could see even when Baxter was only the sound of footsteps ahead of them.

‘It’s never been relevant.’ Sir Pen sounded distinctly miffed. ‘Do you care to enlighten me?’

‘Bioluminescence is used undersea as a fascinator, a lure. It’s not just pretty lights. And,’ Spicy paused, never sure about dispensing facts about the nature of others. ‘Well, and the sea has a rather interesting approach to gender.’ He supposed that was a delicate phrasing, and encompassed his attraction as much as Baxter.

‘That sounds more like gossip,’ Sir Pen said. ‘But if it will explain why Baxter is suddenly so out of sorts…’

‘It’s not gossip what the fuck!’ Spicy was surprised by how angry this made him. ‘How fucking dare you, this is my field of expertise and you dismiss me?’ Arcs of electricity leapt between his arms and his sides, crackling and flashing in the low light of the laboratory (kept dark due to Baxter’s nature as a creature of the abyss). ‘I am not some hysterical woman for you to dismiss, sir!’ and for the first time, Spicy made it ring like an insult.

Sir Pen stopped dead, his hood flaring defensively. ‘I—’ he began, and then looked at a loss.

Baxter, meanwhile, had turned back around, having heard the commotion if not the exact words. ‘Do I need to separate you two?’ He both did and didn’t want to be alone with the egg carrier.

‘Zoology and ethology are science just as much as engineering and maths!’ Spicy snarled, furious. ‘I expected better of you,’ he said, and looked away, not wanting to discharge and be destructive to his host’s collection of no doubt expensive and delicate instruments. He thought of Blitzo, thought of this nice fish boy who was obviously trans, and tried to calm himself down.

‘Oh,’ Baxter said, relaxing. ‘If that’s the issue, then don’t bother. I’ve been trying for years.’ He gave Sir Pentious a long-suffering look. ‘I’m a bioengineer, so he listens to half of anything I say.’

Spicy heard a hiss rise in his throat. It was very anserine. ‘Do you know about deepsea fish?’ he asked Baxter, still having the urge to tell someone, and wondering, as one did with all new acquaintances, what era Baxter was from.

‘Uh, yes? I kind of am one. No idea what you are, though, it never pays to guess with chimeras.’

‘Being something doesn’t mean you know about it,’ Spicy said, ‘I had to teach most of my friends about themselves.

‘And I’m…’ he trailed off. ‘I’m not sure. I keep changing. I think I’m… a mix of a fish and a bird, at this point—but there’s so many different pieces. I wonder if its because I’m a shapeshifter, like, deep down in my soul.’ He said the last rather shyly, aware they were straying into the realm of magic, and highly aware that most people thought magic and science couldn’t co-exist. Except, well, magic could be proven, down here.

‘Well, this is the place for it,’ Baxter said. ‘Soul’s all you’ve got left.’ He seemed to be warming up to Spicy a little, or at least acting less skittish. ‘That’s about as philosophical as I ever get, for the record.’ The shadows cast over his face changed as his lure bobbed and swung, his eyes glinting. ‘So, are you ready for… the Extractor?

Spicy shivered, with a noise. ‘Mmm, my cunt badly hopes that’s going to feel as sexual as it sounds,’ he teased, unable to help the moan underneath his words, or the way his cunt and mouth sparkled brighter in response. New, however, was the low, emu-like trill vibrating his chest—and everyone else’s.

Baxter blinked. ‘Wh—no, I was trying to scare you. It was a joke. You, though. When you—wow.’ He swallowed hard. ‘I could. I could work on a bigger one?’

It’s just the eggs, he told himself desperately, without the eggs he wouldn’t be much bigger than you. Wider, maybe, but not taller. The eggs will be out and this will blow over.

Spicy’s grin got brighter. ‘I could put you in touch with Vox,’ he purred, tempting, crest raising—not in a blush, this time, but with the desire to seduce.

‘Okay, now you scared me.’ Baxter put up his hands, taking a step back. ‘So you’re actually part bird, part fish, and part high-end personal computer. That’s great. I’d like to just stay me. I don’t fuck with overlords, and I definitely don’t fuck overlords. I’ve got too much science to do.’

Spicy lowered his crest. ‘Daddy invents machines,’ he said, trying not to sound defensive. ‘I wasn’t saying sign a contract, I was just saying… if you need materials….’ Too late, he realised not everyone would make the connection that Vox was about technology generally, not simply media. But mining was part of his operation, and all metals came from him and oh my god I’m dating a parallel of Hades.

Baxter shrugged, turning to continue walking. ‘All my materials probably come from him anyway. If I started asking for extras, he’d want something in return. Like, say, swapping out some of my organs. Which I can do very well on my own, thanks.’

Spicy was derailed by fascination. ‘Can you? Like an igori, ohmigosh! That’s so cool!’ He actually wiggled in delight. ‘Also hot,’ he added, thoughtfully.

‘Can’t be cool and hot at the same time,’ Baxter said, but this time he looked almost bashful. ‘Now come on, I need to get to work. Besides,’ he muttered, ‘you seem like you think everything is hot.’

‘I am very kinky, and about half those kinks are pretty science-centred, I freely admit this,’ Spicy said cheerfully.

‘He’s a porn star,’ said #23, sotto voce.

Spicy fluffed up in a blush, this time; being called that would always feel weird, like he had no right to call himself that.

‘I… I think you’re hot,’ Spicy went on, aware he was babbling.

More dots of light appeared on Baxter’s cheeks, and his lure glowed brighter. ‘I bet you say that to all the mad scientists.’

‘Doesn’t mean it’s not true,’ Spicy pressed. ‘How does the extractor work?’ He made his voice husky. ‘Tell me all about it, handsome. Talk nerdy to me.’

Baxter looked like he was in danger of spontaneously combusting. ‘It’s just a suction device,’ he said. ‘It… it sucks.’ He immediately put a hand to his forehead, squeezing his eyes shut. ‘Oh, Satan. Please tell me somewhere in the other half of those kinks is something where you put me out of my misery. I don’t. I don’t usually talk to…’

Spicy chuckled, not unkindly. ‘It’s okay, flirting is a skill. Takes practise.’ He thought for a bit, trying not to worry much about injuries that might result from suction to his delicate inner parts. ‘Is it usually painful?’ he asked, ‘I mean, you’ve done it on lots of people before, right? So you’d know?’

Baxter cracked an eye open. ‘Flirting? We’re flirting? Oh. Right. Pain. Depends on what your threshold is like, I guess. Can we go back to the part where you claim we’re flirting?’

‘I have a high threshold as long as I know it’s not harming me,’ Spicy said, truthfully. ‘I don’t enjoy pain, though.’ He frowned. ‘More’s the pity, it’d be useful if I did….’

He let the flirtation lie for the moment, not wanting to push Baxter too hard by complimenting him too much; but he was cute, and Spicy wanted him.

When Spicy was settled on the cradle, and Baxter finally had to get between his thighs, he found that his subject had a very bright, very mesmerising lightshow…

On his cunt.

All hope was lost from that point, and he forgot the eggs, forgot his hunger, his impatience to get this over with so he could get back to his real work. Forgot everything. There was only that rippling play of light and dark, drawing the eye, teasing at patterns. The ruffled shape even looked a bit like a cuttlefish’s mantle, if Baxter had been capable of making that connection.

All he could do was lean closer, and stare.

When the silence went on too long, Spicy blinked and said, softly, ‘Baxter?’ What was happening? Why had Baxter gone so still? Was… oh, the light. Spicy pursed his lips; he couldn’t make it go away, the light was there because he was aroused! Oh no. What to do?

The watching Egg Bois whispered to each other. A couple of them ran off, back the way they’d come, and returned shepherding Sir Pentious, who did not look pleased with the situation.

‘The boss can ruin anything,’ #23 said proudly.

‘Move Baxter so he can’t see my cunt, please,’ Spicy ordered, having gotten a little more chilly toward Sir Pentious, since what had mentally referred to as The Incident.

He should have said something, warned Baxter—but he hadn’t thought his cunt would actually hypnotise or… or whatever was going on.

Sighing, Sir Pen reached down and flipped a lever on Baxter’s chair, which elevated itself by several inches. Baxter could still reach down to Spicy’s cunt, but he wasn’t facing it directly anymore.

Baxter shook his head, blinking rapidly. ‘What just…’

‘You’re safe,’ Spicy said. ‘Nothing happened. You got a little distracted and zoned out for about fifteen seconds.’ Spicy knew how scary it was to lose time, and wanted to lead with reassuring information. Still, there was a real possibility that Baxter would react… badly—such as blaming Spicy, or becoming suspicious. Vox was known for his ability to make people lose time, after all—

It was the first time Spicy ran headlong into the realisation that people were genuinely frightened of his lover.

‘Thanks for counting,’ Baxter said, apparently sincere. ‘That better not have been intentional, or we’re done here.’

Was that really the problem, though? Or was the problem that he couldn’t resist it, not even for an instant?

Or was it that he didn’t want to?

‘It absolutely wasn’t, look at the facts. You’re a deepfish, I have bioluminescence, which is used by all kinds of deepsea critters for its ability to distract and transfix. Your little angler-light is supposed to do that, even,’ he said, talking perhaps at a bit of a nervous bluster. ‘I can’t turn it off, anymore than I can stop producing precome.’

Looking away, Baxter licked his lips with a narrow, pointed tongue. ‘You belong to Vox,’ he said. ‘For all I know, you can.’

Spicy felt his eyes burn. ‘I can’t, I swear I can’t,’ he said, pleading. ‘It’s just an arousal response, I don’t—I don’t like controlling people, I like being controlled. You’re an anglerfish, you’re a boy anglerfish…’ He bit his lip, hard, knowing that if he went on, he’d mangle what he meant into something he didn’t.

‘Biology only dictates so much,’ Baxter said coolly.

Sir Pen had been twisting his hands the entire time, eyes darting about anxiously. ‘He asked me to hypnotise him,’ he burst out. ‘He asked me to call him sweet filthy things, he asked for my eggsss. He’s telling the truth.’

Spicy focussed on trying not to all-out cry in front of them—somehow, it felt worse than if he were crying in front of Angel or Vox. He looked up and blinked at the ceiling, trying to breathe without hitching.

His cunt didn’t care about any of this. Something—some scent, some pheremone?—was telling his cunt there was boy and that they wanted the boy, and by gods, they were going to attract the boy.

Baxter thought about this, still not looking at Spicy. If Pent was willing to back him up on this… ‘All right,’ he said eventually. ‘I’ll believe you. But I’m starting to think I should go add another filter.’ He tapped the earpiece of his safety glasses. From beside the chair, he picked up a large cylindrical device that looked like an extremely avant-garde vacuum. ‘This is it,’ he said. ‘Ready?’

Spicy took a last deep breath, relieved to be believed. Not being believed was a personal nightmare and a very real trigger for a full-blown anxiety attack.

‘No,’ he said, honestly, feeling guilty but pushing on. ‘Thank you for listening to me.’ He was not going to disclose why that meant a lot, because it didn’t matter why. ‘I just… I’m anxious now, and need a minute.’

The problem was that he wasn’t actually sure how to calm himself down. Nobody had ever taught him how. They’d just told him things like walk away and breathe and nothing about what to do with his thoughts or anything.

Setting the device aside, Baxter leaned forward a little, hands on his knees. ‘Hey,’ he said, voice still tentative, but more gentle than Spicy had yet heard it. ‘You want to tell me more things about anglerfish while I stare intently at the ceiling?’

Spicy gave a shaky smile. ‘Sir Pentious, thanks for helping. You can um, you can wait outside again.’ He wanted privacy, didn’t want to out Baxter; but badly wanted to let him know that Spicy was a brother.

‘Of coursssse,’ Sir Pen said, inclining his head stiffly. A few of the more devoted Egg Bois followed him, but the others remained, gathered around curiously.

‘All of you,’ Spicy said to them, firmly. ‘Go on, boys.’

Once again, they obeyed instantly, trailing after their master, leaving Baxter and Spicy alone.

‘I’m transgender,’ Spicy said, once the door had closed. ‘I… cisgender boy anglers don’t have an esca,’ he finished, quietly, tense but determined. I’m not speaking a hostile who is clocking you, I’m recognising a fellow trans person.

Baxter’s smile was crooked and barely there. ‘Yeah, but without it, no one would know I was an anglerfish, and apparently that’s really important. I guess if I got to have my ideal body, I’d be Upstairs.’

There was a beat, which Spicy’s heart loudly counted out, and then he said, ‘It’s nice to meet you, um… I never actually got your name.’

‘Spice Drop,’ Spicy said. ‘Everyone calls me Spicy. I meant it, when I said you were attractive,’ he said. ‘I’m…’ he thought on how to phrase it. ‘I’m more homosexual than bisexual, but finding other transboys is really difficult, because… well, you know. Crypsis.’

‘Well, Spicy, it’s nice of you to say, but I don’t really date, even when there’s not a chance I might be mindwiped, and you’d have to blindfold me anyway.’ Baxter blushed again. Propositioning aside, he’d never, ever had someone come up to him and say, Hey, you’re just like me.

‘I don’t date either,’ Spicy said, smiling. ‘And… I know you might not believe me, but I don’t mindwipe people. And… And Vox doesn’t get jealous, that’s not what he’s like. You wouldn’t be in any danger, in that regard.’

He bit his lip, knowing that was all he could do. ‘I… the extraction counts as a sexual interaction, even if you don’t see it that way. It… I need you to understand that, for me, it’s sex. I can’t help that.’ And he didn’t want to.

‘I appreciate the heads-up before you start wiggling around and moaning,’ Baxter said, failing to be completely deadpan. ‘Who knows, it might be a nice change.’

In truth, he’d studiously avoided ever looking at it in that light. He wasn’t here for sex, he was here to perfect the Egg Boi process and have lunch with the failures. It didn’t matter where the eggs were coming out of, or how they’d got in there. They weren’t important until they were out and ready to work with.

He’d never had someone excited by the actual process.

‘I won’t wiggle unless you tell me I’m allowed, Doctor,’ Spicy said, flirtatiously raising his crest again without thinking. The title was half a guess and half… well, kink. Baxter talking to him had worked better than anything to calm him down, and he was relieved to find himself flirty again. That was his favoured baseline….

Due to a combination of unfortunate factors, Baxter had died before he was able to get his doctorate. With the way Spicy had said it, though, he found he didn’t want to make the correction. It was, after all, what he deserved.

‘I’ll hold you to that,’ he said. ‘Shall we begin?’

‘Yes,’ Spicy said, after a moment’s thought. ‘Yes, I’m good, now. Thanks for asking.’ When he saw the needle, Spicy got wetter. It was a delicate needle, and, thankfully, one of the things he’d left behind in the world of the living was the vasovagal response that prevented him from being able to look at needles.

‘Oooh, Doctor Baxter,’ he said, ‘where does that go?’ Probably not his cock, more was the pity.

Baxter found himself grinning as he checked for air bubbles. ‘Wherever you want.’

Maybe he could do this. If it meant Spicy would keep calling him Doctor Baxter, he’d try his hand at anything.

It was risky.

Then again, Spicy had nanites.

‘My cock,’ Spicy said, breaths heaving and shallow, stifling little moans. The fear just made the arousal better, really.

‘Somehow I figured you’d say that,’ Baxter said, keeping his eyes on the curve of Spicy’s belly as he used two fingers to hold Spicy’s labia apart, swabbing with an alcohol wipe—being in Hell was no reason to be stupid, in Baxter’s opinion. With a deftness that spoke of long practice, he slid the needle in exactly where it needed to be on the first try, even while barely looking. ‘Just a little something to move things along. The less force the machine has to exert, the better. And I’m not just saying that because it makes godawful noises.’

Spicy’s gasp was small and he went so still he barely dared exhale, the needle was sharp enough that the pain was mostly the strange sting of the alcohol and the invasion of something hard and unforgiving into soft flesh—not pain, so much as alien. For the first time, Spicy could savour it.

Next, Baxter slowly eased the drug in, and Spicy made a tiny mew at the sting, which quickly turned into a flushed and arousal-swollen warmth, and the needle was carefully eased out, deft fingers pressing gently on his cock, waiting. With the needle out, Spicy finally breathed again.

And then he felt the strange, familiar-yet-not feeling of his uterine muscles contracting—they weren’t cramps, they were flexing. He cried out anyway, knowing the muscles used to moan and scream complimented the ones on his pelvic floor.

Baxter was powering up the extractor, and the tubing at the front started to move like a living thing, questing this way and that. ‘It’s homing in on your body heat,’ Baxter said absently, fiddling with various settings on the side of the machine. ‘Saves time.’

He was aware that he wasn’t being particularly sensual, but given that he didn’t know how to be, it seemed better just to get on with things. Spicy clearly didn’t need his help to get aroused. He had a lovely cock, though, and if he liked getting injections in it, he might be tolerant of any little slip-ups re: Baxter’s teeth…

Spicy hummed at the thought. ‘Ooohyay, tentacles…’ He giggled, and it was layered with a courting trill that Baxter could again feel thrumming his bones. ‘What a wicked flirt you are, Doctor Baxt—ah-h…’ He was interrupted as it dove inside him, eagerly, hungrily….

Well, that was that temptation taken care of for the meantime. Mouths didn’t belong anywhere in a five-foot radius of the extractor, never mind that it didn’t yet deserve a capital E.

‘Too much suction would damage the eggs beyond use,’ he explained, adding, ‘and also you. So it’s more than just a machine.’ He watched furtively over his shoulder as the tubing pushed deeper, undulating as it molded itself to Spicy’s inner contours. He didn’t want to get caught by the lights again, but he had to admit, now that sex was on the table, it was pretty hot.

Spicy moaned and cried with abandon.

‘Oh—Doctor—hnnnnsogoodyes—’

—except Spicy’s moans were never just noise.

Okay, it was extremely hot. Baxter’s lure became brighter and brighter, because it wasn’t enough to have the damn thing in his peripheral vision all the time, it had to telegraph his moods, too.

‘…So,’ he said, ‘Vox doesn’t get jealous, huh?’

‘Nope,’ Spicy said, breathless, heart soaring with the implication in that tone….

The extractor beeped, signalling that it was properly oriented and ready to begin. It started to hum, the sound almost insectile, and the tubing rippled as the first egg was drawn out from Spicy’s packed womb. The pull was strong, but not to the point of pain—at least, not yet.

‘Let’s see how you feel afterwards,’ Baxter said. ‘That’s a lot of eggs.’

Spicy felt it, and his breathing quickly got ragged. ‘Can… can you please—ah-hn!—touch my cock? Please!’ He was going to come, very definitely going to come, from this… how could anyone not?

I know at least one reason, baby. Vox sounded distinctly smug. I seem to recall you wanted to come at the end of this, not the beginning.

Giving the machine a last wary check, Baxter came over, reaching out to rub delicate, uncertain circles, as though Spicy himself were some fragile mechanism he wasn’t sure how to use. ‘Like that?’

Oh, and who’s this?

Baxter might have been an anglerfish, but he had never sounded nearly as predatory as Vox did just then.

Doctor Baxter. Madsci. He’s soooo cute. was as far as Spicy’s articulate thoughts got, Baxter’s fingers instinctively skilled, as one was when one encountered a kit one had owned all one’s life. Spicy shivered, mewling, the sharp pleasure from Baxter’s fingers, and the low, pulsing, merciless pleasure from the machine pulling egg after egg back through his cunt…. ‘Yes, yes, fffffuck. Yes. Ah-h sir….’ His thighs were shaking.

‘“Doctor” will do fine,’ Baxter said, biting his lip.

It was a real shame Sir Pentious had decided to go and be his usual self, because that meant all of the effusive voicemails about the perfect subject were never going to come true, not beyond this one time. The snake barely understood the concept of mistakes, even when pieces of his latest invention were raining down on him. Baxter certainly doubted he knew how to apologise.

He’d just have to make the most of Spicy being here now.

It wasn’t long before Spicy was nearly empty, and drenching Baxter’s gloved hand in sparkling arousal, and begging.

‘Please, please, please, please, oh gods, oh gods, please let me come…’ It was so much, it was too much, he was starting to cry….

Daddy Daddy Daddy please….

You’ve been so good for me, Vox said. He was personally amazed he’d managed to hold out this long. You can come now.

The scream was one you didn’t hear except deep in jungle and ocean, long and high and crystalline, and Spicy came hard, the last pulse coinciding with the last egg, leaving him panting, giving little sobbing cries with every breath, shaking, tears staining his cheeks.

‘Never made anyone do that before,’ Baxter murmured, finding himself reluctant to withdraw, even though he needed to turn the machine off. The chime that meant it couldn’t find any more eggs had sounded, and the “at capacity” light was flashing. That was new, too. The survivors of the next batch would go into some pretty high numbers. Next year they’d probably break #1000. And then Sir Pentious would really break #1000, and #1001, and on and on, because he went through henchlings like a natural disaster, and came back to Baxter every year like clockwork.

Baxter kept wondering if he should tell his creations to unionise.

Spicy didn’t sit up, still trembling and trying to catch his breath. ‘Water please,’ he said finally, in a scratchy voice. He hadn’t expected aftercare, but it was still ever so slightly upsetting, to not get a little more touching, at least a ‘good job, sweetie’. But, well, madsci were not known for being emotionally intelligent, and Daddy was giving him praise….

The glass Baxter handed him was actually a beaker, but the water was as cool as his little specimen fridge could manage (tepid drinks were another one of Hell’s personal touches, unless you were lucky enough to drink with a Fallen). He hovered, dogged by the suspicion he should do something other than immediately get to work, but not knowing what it was.

(He’d had sex, when he’d been alive, at least. It had just been stress relief after—and once during—studying his ass off, and everyone had zipped up and gone on their harried way. He wasn’t used to… this.)

Spicy propped up on one forearm, sipping the water, looking up at Baxter and seeing the hesitance there, the way he lingered near Spicy’s side. ‘Would you… like to kiss me, Doctor Baxter?’ he asked, softly. There was no flirtation, this wasn’t the time for it.

‘I’d like to do a lot more than that,’ Baxter said, figuring he might as well be honest. ‘But you need to rest. Besides, I’ve never kissed anyone with this mouth.’ And he still didn’t understand what Spice Drop saw in him, even with what he now knew they had in common.

‘I need affection, not rest,’ Spicy insisted gently, setting the beaker of water aside.

Baxter shook his head, unable to help a smile. ‘Do you want it on or off the operating table?’

‘Not sure my legs work yet,’ Spicy said, with a slightly mischievous smile, and pushed himself up to sit. He was only a little taller than Baxter in stocking feet, so the height difference wasn’t much—odd, for Spicy, who realised Baxter was the only partner he’d had that was his same height, instead of much smaller or taller.

From the look on his face, Baxter was having similar thoughts. Stripping off his gloves, he reached out and cupped Spicy’s cheek in his hand, standing there for a moment and just looking at him. ‘I like you, bionic fishbird,’ he said quietly. ‘Even though I promised myself I’d never like anyone in Hell.’

‘Should we not rebel against misery by clinging to happiness even so?’ Spicy asked, and kissed him, slow and soft but leading, careful of Baxter’s gills as he put a hand softly on Baxter’s neck.

Baxter leaned into his touch, leaned into him, eyes closing. His lips were thin and cool, and despite his stated inexperience they met Spicy’s eagerly, shaping, exploring. ‘Poetic,’ he murmured against Spicy’s mouth, when there was a pause. He felt a little dizzy, a little starved for air; that kiss was almost enough to make him forget Vox was watching.

‘You’ll find it’s a fault of mine,’ Spicy said against his mouth, leaving kisses on the corner of his lips, nuzzling him, soft feathers making it a sensory treat.

Baxter grinned. ‘I can deal with that.’