- RYAN & DALLON -
"Do you miss her?"
"More and more everyday."
Dallon was sitting upright on the bed with Ryan's head in his lap, stroking his hair, comforting him.
It had been a couple weeks since the funeral, but the pain was still there, stinging at Ryan's heart every time he thought about it.
The day he received the call from his cousin had begun as a normal one: waking up next to Dallon, making breakfast together, spending the entire day talking and cuddling.
Since leaving the band, that's how most of Ryan's days had been going, full of love and light. Dallon told him countless stories of adventures he had collected over the years, ones of women catching their husbands cheating while he hid, or the things nuns called him when he was caught in children's closets at the orphanage.
Ryan could listen to Dallon speak for days, smooth voice describing the stories with such detail that Ryan felt he was there, sitting next to Dallon in the darkness. Whenever there was a lull in the stories, Dallon would sing to him, songs about love and mystery and even sometimes murder. The songs acted as stories too, painting pictures of beautifully somber tales, how even something as bright as love could have a dark side.
Whenever Ryan was with Dallon, he didn't know that dark side. He didn't know any darkness except for Dallon's tendrils, always intertwined with his hand, soft and silky and comforting.
Ryan had been sitting on his couch, scrolling through his news feed while Dallon read a book, legs tangled together. His phone buzzed and his cousin's caller I.D. flashed, a crackled distortion of her voice coming from the phone.
"Ryan? Your mom is in the hospital. She had a heart attack at Aunt Linda's last night and I'm only hearing about it now."
Ryan's body went cold at the words, jumping off the couch and packing a bag, ignoring Dallon's confused stare.
Dallon had been too immersed in his book to hear what the woman on the other end of the line said, but he didn't like the worried look on his love's face, Ryan already gnawing at his lip as he slipped on his boots.
"What's wrong?" Dallon asked, pushing his bookmark into the spine of the book and leaving it on the couch.
"My- my mom's in the hospital. I have to go and I don't know when I'll be back." Dallon hated how Ryan's voice cracked, worries flashing through his mind. Since officially living together, Dallon had successfully kept Ryan happy and content, and the sudden change in emotion was burning a hole in Dallon's heart.
He watched as Ryan slung his backpack over his shoulder and disappeared into the hallway, leaving the demon alone in the apartment.
While he wanted to go with Ryan to the hospital and keep him company, Dallon was glad he couldn't. He had hated hospitals since the beginning of time, places that reeked of sickness and death, a terrible type of energy coming out of them.
The thought of being strapped to a bed, needles poking into his skin, injecting him with chemicals? It was too much for Dallon, feeding into his fear of being captured and experimented on.
Ryan's hands were sweating on the steering wheel as he drove to the hospital, unable to shake the feeling that something horrible was going to happen. His mom was getting older, and he regretted not having visited her sooner, blaming himself for whatever had happened to her.
Thankfully the hospital parking lot was pretty empty, sun beginning to duck below the horizon as Ryan slammed his car door shut and briskly walked to the entrance.
His father had died when he was young, so Ryan didn't remember much of him. His mother was his lighthouse in the storm, raising him all by herself while working full time, signing him up for drumming lessons and taking young Ryan to concerts.
They had grown apart when Ryan first joined Ronnie, cutting off all contact with everyone who wasn't considered 'cool'. After his realization, Ryan had worked hard to make amends with everyone from his past life, and his mother was more than delighted to share her opinions on Ronnie.
"I'm here to visit Gayle Seaman?" Ryan asked the woman at the front desk, picking at his blisters until they were raw and open.
The woman clicked away at her keyboard before looking up to Ryan. "Room 206. Take the elevator to the second floor and she should be just down the hall."
Hospitals made Ryan nervous, a place where only bad news was shared, at least in his mind. The hospital had been where he dad died, where little Ryan shared his last moments with his father. High blood pressure ran in the family, and Ryan remembered his mom explaining to him what a stroke was, and how when people died they went to heaven and watched over them.
Ryan had always liked how she explained it.
His heart dropped when he walked into his mom's room, monitors beeping away, orange light casting shadows on every piece of medical equipment.
She looked so... frail. Little Ryan had always thought his mom was a superhero, working in a big fancy building for a rich company where she answered phones and always had chocolates on her desk. Every when Ryan had been an edgy mall rat, he knew that every night she would tiptoe into his room and pull the covers over his shoulders, smoothing out his hair.
There were cards from his other relatives stacked on the small table next to her, notes scribbled onto bright cardboard, one of his other cousin's paintings on the front of one. While everyone in the family had adored his mom, Ryan was the black sheep among them. He had a feeling they still saw him as that rebellious teenager who never showed up to reunions, the evidence being that none of them ever talked to him except his cousins. Ryan was surprised he hadn't gotten the call earlier, but it wasn't totally out of left field for them to withhold information from him.
"Mom..." Ryan walked over to her side and rested a hand on her arm, heart breaking at how small she looked.
At the sound of his voice, her eyes slowly opened, mouth turning into a fragile smile when she saw him. "Ryan... it's so good to see you."
"How are you feeling?"
"Like I just went to one of your concerts." She gave him a weak laugh, hand shaking as she gripped onto Ryan's.
It had been a running joke between them that his mom felt most alive when she attended concerts with him, but her voice was dripping with sarcasm, pricking at Ryan's heart.
"Are you going to be able to recover? How bad is it?" Ryan kneeled down next to the bed, holding his mom's trembling hand, brows furrowed it concern.
"It... it's not looking very good, Ryan."
It pained him to see his superhero mom so tiny, eyes glassy and tired, hand so thin he could feel the bones jutting out.
Ryan glanced up to the door to see a doctor standing there, a kind smile on her face. It wasn't the type of smile that comforted people though- it was a bad news smile, one Ryan had seen plenty of. His mother had given him the same smile when his dog died in 5th grade.
"Are you Ms. Seaman's son?" She asked, black hair tied back tightly into a bun, like a ballerina's.
"Y-Yes." Ryan stuttered, stomach beginning to ache at the doctor's look. Her mouth might be smiling, but her eyes held sadness and regret, something that terrified Ryan.
"Could I please speak to you in the hall?"
He followed the doctor into the hall solemnly, giving his mom a little wave before she was out of sight.
"Is she going to be okay? What's going on?" Ryan said, wringing his hands, blisters dug so deep they were beginning to bleed.
"I'm so sorry to inform you Mr. Seaman, but your mother has suffered irreparable organ damage." The doctor said soberly, eyes apologetic behind her glasses. "If we take her off of support, she'll pass away within a matter of minutes."
Ryan froze up, unable to respond to something like that. His mom was going to die?
His gut writhed, insides hollowed by grief. Everything else the in world was lost to the blood rushing through his ears, the doctor's words echoing through his mind until it was all he could hear.
"-Mr. Seaman? Would you like to gather any other family before we take her off of support?"
Ryan could only shake his head, legs trembling beneath him as he went in to say goodbye to his mother.
His mother who had taken care of him his entire life.
His mother who loved him unconditionally, even when he was part of Ronnie's gang, even when he refused to eat dinner with her, even when he would lie about his whereabouts.
After her death, Ryan would be an orphan. A word had never been scarier than that one- a person without parents, and it wasn't like the rest of his family was going to keep in touch with him.
"M-Mom..." Speaking was next to impossible, thanks to the lump in his throat, tears burning at his eyes. "Mom, I love you so much... I-I don't want you to go..."
His mother gave him a weak smile, patting his shoulder. She must know what was going to happen. "It's okay Ryan... everyone dies eventually, and n-now is my time."
He hadn't noticed the doctor on the other side of the bed, working on the machines, taking the needles out of her arm.
Ryan knelt down next to the bed and grasped her brittle hand, everything blurred by the tears streaming down his face. "Th-Thank you for everything... I love you so- so much..."
He hiccuped as his mom's breaths grew slower and slower, staring at him with wet eyes. "Ryan... I'll always be watching over you from heaven... just remember to brush your teeth after a concert..."
Ryan gave her a tearful laugh, one that sounded more like a sob than anything, knees quivering beneath him. "Mom... mom, I love you..."
He sounded like the scared little kid he had been, crying for his mother when he scraped his leg trying to skateboard, or whenever he found a spider in his bedroom.
Rain started to fall from the dark clouds in his brain, crying freely as his mom closed her eyes, a doctor and a nurse standing idly around the room. "Mom... I-I'll be taken care of... Please, please."
Ryan didn't know what he was begging for. More time with his mother? For a chance to start over, to cherish every single moment he spent with her? For the angels to guide her to heaven?
He didn't know how long he stayed in that room, kneeling next to his deceased mother, body shaking as he cried and cried and cried until no tears were left. He couldn't feel the doctor's hand on his shoulder, couldn't hear the words spoken to him, couldn't feel anything but the bitter taste in his throat, the pained sobs that came from the depths of his chest.
It was dark outside as he drove home, numb to everything around him. His vision had tunneled, head so deep in a storm of thoughts, so unbelievably lonely.
Dallon had been waiting anxiously at home for Ryan, heart breaking when he saw his love stagger in through the door, eyes red and swollen.
"Baby, what happened?" He said, catching Ryan's limp body in his outstretched arms.
Ryan began to sob again, body shaking in Dallon's embrace, making the demon pull him even closer. "Dal- Dallon, she d-died-"
"Sweetheart, I'm so sorry," Dallon guided him over to the couch and rocked him, holding his head close to his chest.
They sat there until Ryan's cries turned into soft gasps for air, face buried in the safety of Dallon neck, a gaping hole in his heart.
She was gone.
The demon didn't know what it felt like to lose a parent, but he understood well enough that it meant a lot to Ryan.
His aunt was put in charge of the funeral, one of the worst days of Ryan's life.
The sky was overcast, threatening to rain, just like Ryan's mind. Ryan didn't think he'd be able to drive after, so he called an Uber, gripping tightly onto Dallon's arm the entire car ride there.
Dallon had been there for him the entire time. He was there at the funeral, wearing a thick pair of sunglasses, tendrils tucked into his skin underneath his suit.
He stood next to Ryan as they stared at the casket, a new wave of tears welling up in his dark eyes. Ryan only choked on a sob when Dallon squeezed his hand, ignoring the stone cold stares from the rest of his relatives.
Speeches about her were short, but powerful. Ryan had no idea how many lives she had touched, biting down on his lip to fight the whimper that bubbled up, holding his boyfriend's hand tightly.
Dallon held Ryan close as he wept on the way home, Uber driver giving the two of them confused stares when Dallon's sunglasses got knocked sideways.
And now, weeks later, they were laying on the bed together. Dallon kept leaning down to press kisses to Ryan's head, staring at each other with a dim type of love.
"She looks over you every day, mon chéri," Dallon cooed. "Heaven is a beautiful place, my love."
Ryan sighed, core burning as he sat up and kissed Dallon. "You're the only reason I'm here Dal... I don't know if I'd still be alive if you weren't here."
Those words made Dallon's heart crack, rubbing Ryan's back. "Oh baby, I love you so much."
"I love you." Ryan mumbled into Dallon's neck, saying the words with his entire soul.
There was no one else in his life except for Dallon. The demon was the only reason he still got up in the morning, just to see the sharp-toothed grin that spread on his face, to feel the love that Dallon gave him so much of everyday.
After the funeral Ryan had fallen into a grim space, refusing to get out of bed for the first couple days. Dallon brought him food and held him tightly, rocking them together when the dismal thoughts would overtake Ryan's mind, kissing his love until he couldn't tell the difference between Ryan's mouth and his own. And at night, when the room was dark to the human eye, Ryan's thoughts would catch up with him, making him cry all over again. Dallon would wake up to the soft sniffling sound of his love weeping into his pillow and pull him to his chest, letting Ryan cry into his neck.
"Let it out darling, I've got you." He'd whisper, tendrils wrapped around Ryan's body in comfort, keeping the two of them close and warm.
The little cries were the worst, the ones that Ryan was obviously trying to hide. They made his entire body shake, high pitched whines breaking Dallon's heart, clear tears dampening each other's skin.
Today, things were better. Ryan had gone for a run that morning, and now after a big lunch he was sprawling himself over Dallon, reminiscing about his late mother.
There hadn't been a shortage of thoughts about God's letter in Dallon's mind, constantly searching for the right moment to tell Ryan about the offer.
After all, an offer to rule hell together wasn't something that could be asked lightly.
Everyday Dallon would stare at Ryan for a few moments, heart melting at how lucky he was to date the love of his life. He couldn't help but love everything little thing about Ryan, from the way he scrunched his nose adorable when he slept, to the way he gasped every time Dallon would surprise him with a kiss or squeeze his ass.
Before his mother's death, Dallon spent most nights with his tongue in Ryan's mouth and his tendril in his ass, bodies plastered together. The demon hadn't worked up the courage to undress in front of Ryan, so he kept on his pants and unbuttoned his shirt, savoring the feeling of Ryan's cold hands on his chest. It bothered him day and night that he couldn't show all of himself to Ryan, but his self confidence only went so far.
All Dallon wanted to do was give Ryan a life of wealth and luxury, to spoil his baby rotten every single day for the rest of time. And God's offer could allow him to do that, if hell was really what he said it was.
Dallon had only heard hell mentioned a few times in heaven, mostly in bad mouth. Then there was all the times he'd heard about it on earth, mostly from humans who assumed he had crawled up from the underworld to torment them.
Now that Ryan was healing, Dallon couldn't think of a better time to tell him about the letter. Ryan was nuzzling his neck, placing little kisses to the demon's pale skin, arms wrapped around him.
Ryan was happy. This was the right time to tell him.
"Sweetheart," Dallon pressed a kiss to his neon hair, coiling a tendril around Ryan's open hand. "My love... I have something to tell you."
Ryan stopped kissing his neck, staring up at Dallon with his beautifully dark eyes. "What's wrong Dal?"
"Do you remember when you were sick?"
"Yeah... what about it?" Ryan cocked his head to the side, blue hair falling into his eyes. Dallon pushed it away out of habit, smiling softly.
"I know this may come as a lot, but I got a letter from the man upstairs-"
"Yes, God... he offered me and you a position as... uh... kings of hell," Dallon felt sheepish laying this all on a human, especially when Ryan's eyes widened in surprise.
"Wha... What does that mean?"
"Well my love, we would be royalty," Dallon explained. "We would have servants at our beck and call, and we could spend every single day with each other for the rest of eternity."
Ryan was thoughtful for a moment, gears and cogs turning in his brain, taking in Dallon's words. After learning that Dallon used to be an angel and hearing so many stories of his days in heaven, he had no doubt that hell existed, but did he really want to live there?
Even before his rebellious teenage phase Ryan hadn't been very religious, part of the reason his family didn't talk to him very much. Sure, he believed in God and heaven and angels, but he didn't go out of his way to go to church, and he definitely didn't adhere to the rules of the bible.
But Ryan wasn't someone who thrived off of other's misery. He took pride in his empathy, even if it was his undoing sometimes.
However, he trusted Dallon with his life at this point. Living with the demon had become oxygen for Ryan, something he needed to keep him going. The only person he was stuck on earth for was Dallon, and if it really was what Dallon said it was, Ryan was incredibly enticed with the idea of living forever with the demon.
"...Do you want to do it?" He finally said, stars twinkling in the dark sky of his eyes.
"Only if you do, mon petit ange," Dallon smiled that genuine smile of his, and Ryan knew that he wanted it. Wanted to spend every last day waking up next to him, to feel the warmth of his body every breathing second, to hold hands with him when the going got rough. He wanted to taste the sweetness on the demon's tongue, to hear his wonderfully bright chuckle, to feel the velvety tendril curled around his hand eternally.
"I want to. I want to live with you forever."
Dallon's heart stuttered at the certainty in Ryan's voice, overwhelmed with sudden emotion.
"Oh mon dieu, mon chéri, mon belle fleur," Dallon's french always jumped out when he was flustered, searching for the right words in English. Ever since reading that inscription on the music box, which now proudly sat in their bedroom windowsill, Dallon's french had been coming back to him, speaking more and more of it everyday.
"I want that too my love. I want us to be together in eternal happiness- I want to spoil you every single day with everything your beautiful heart desires." Dallon gushed, catching Ryan in a deep kiss, happiness making both of their bodies tremble.
Now all Dallon had to do was kill Ryan and carry him down to hell. He hoped it sounded a lot worse than it was actually going to be.
After some consultation with 'the man upstairs' as Dallon had referred to him as, the plan was set out in 3 easy steps.
1. Dallon would snap Ryan's neck, a quick and painless death that would guarantee an easy arrival to the afterlife.
2. Dallon would be granted the powers he had as an angel and carry Ryan down to hell.
3. Him and Ryan live happily ever after in the underworld.
They had gone over it so many times it was imprinted into both their brains, sharing an odd type of excitement. Ryan never thought he'd ever be anticipating death, but here they were, fantasizing about everything fantastic they could do once they were free from humanity.
Being a demon didn't allow Dallon to go in public very often, especially because of his social anxiety based on all the other times he had been in public. Those minutes and sometimes hours when Ryan would leave for groceries would be grueling, leaving Dallon to obsessively worry about his baby's health, if someone was being mean to him or hurting him.
He had been uncomfortable the entire funeral with his tendrils tucked away under his skin, but it was one of the rare occasions where Dallon needed to go with his love, social anxiety or not. That entire funeral he wanted to hiss at the family members who stared at him and his Ryan, sharing whispers that Dallon could only pick up a few bits of.
'Sugar daddy' and 'homosexual' and 'disgrace' were only a few of them, sharp words that Dallon was glad Ryan hadn't heard. It was already a difficult enough day for his love, one that begun with Dallon holding his hand and ended in the same way, tiny cries filling their room that morning and night alike.
Seeing his radiant flower so sad only made Dallon angrier at their remarks, trying his very hardest to keep his tendrils still in his back, bones and skin aching. He still hadn't let Ryan see him cry, hiding away that messy part of him so he could be strong and support Ryan.
But in hell, as royalty, two rulers of a sinful paradise? Ryan could be seen with Dallon wherever he pleased, a desire for both of them.
Finally, the day arrived, Ryan's last day on earth. He spent most of the day making sure his rent was paid for the next few months, writing an intricate suicide note and organizing his belongings.
Dallon had informed him of the rules of death, the biggest one being that humans were allowed to carry one item with them to the afterlife. Usually it was randomly selected after death, but Ryan was blessed with the rare opportunity to chose while still breathing earthly air, making a very easy decision.
The music box. The item that symbolized the love that they shared, greater than any force in the universe. Ryan could especially feel it in the quiet moments, like when he'd be laying on Dallon's chest, playing around with his fingers, admiring how slender and well kept they were.
Ryan would wrap his digits around Dallon's ring finger and imagine a wedding band, a matching one on his own. Ten minutes would pass before Ryan realized what he had been thinking, holding Dallon's hands close to his chest and letting the demon rub him in comfort.
He liked to think that accepting the offer was somewhat of a marriage, a commitment and bond for life. Everyday was filled with preparations, doing paperwork for taxes so his death wouldn't be a hassle for the rest of his family, or watering the last of his houseplants, wishing them good luck on their own.
But now, late at night, sky dark and overcast outside, it was time to do it.
"Dallon, I'm scared." Ryan whimpered, hugging the demon close, legs weak beneath him.
As much as he was excited for it, Ryan had been dreading the whole dying aspect of it, the mark of the end of his humanly life. Would it hurt? What if it went wrong and Ryan was just dead, no life after death?
Dallon did his best to reassure him, filling his mind with paintings of the two of them living like kings.
"You know I'd never let anything bad happen to you, mon ange. I wouldn't be doing this unless I felt one-hundred-percent sure, would I?"
Ryan shook his head, sitting down in his kitchen chair, stomach knotting itself into pretzels. He had begun to pick at his new blisters, etched onto his skin from practicing drums so much these past few days. Dallon assured him that there would be drumsets in hell, but Ryan wasn't going to take his chances.
"Are you sure you're ready, my love?" Dallon's voice was soft, entwining a tendril with Ryan's fingers, his other hand on the music box on his lap.
Ryan nodded, gripping tightly to Dallon's tendril, staring into the empty abyss of his eyes.
God, he loved those eyes so much, two perfect white pearls that shone in the moonlight.
He gave Dallon one last kiss before the demon put his hands on both sides of Ryan's head, making his entire body tense up.
This was it. Ryan took one last look at his apartment before squeezing Dallon's tendril, shutting his eyes tightly.
Dallon's hands moved quickly, a crack reverberating through his head, a quick flash of pain before nothing.
The demon had only been granted the power a couple hours ago, receiving a pamphlet on how to use it, practicing so many times in his head he could do it in his sleep.
Angels had the ability to bring humans between dimensions easily, but it wasn't something Dallon had ever done before, nervous for Ryan.
He had to do this correctly.
It hurt Dallon to see Ryan's limp body flopped over in the chair, tears stinging at his eyes at the sight of his love dead.
Get a grip. You need to do this.
Ryan didn't know how long it was until he gained a bit of consciousness, mind and body floating through a thick sludge of darkness, liquid filling his lungs.
"Dal- I can't breath, I can't breath!" He cried, unsure if Dallon could hear him. He didn't know if anyone could hear him, alone in a universe of inky blackness, choking and gasping for air.
"I'm right here sweetheart, I've got you safe. Don't worry about breathing, just let it take you." Dallon's voice sounded light years away, echoing through the emptiness of the void. "Can you feel me?"
Ryan strained to get in touch with his body, a faint warmth coming from his wrist, a familiar soft texture rubbing against his arm. "Y-Yeah, I think so."
It was so unbelievably cold, swimming through the arctic waters of nothingness, black spanning for as far as Ryan could see.
He had given up on trying to breathe and took Dallon's advice, letting the sludge fill his lungs, somehow leaving him still somewhat alive. It was almost comforting being full, the rest of his body hollowed out by embracing the nothingness, letting the waves of iciness wash over him.
"We're almost there sweetheart, you're doing so well." Dallon sounded a bit closer, his words relieving the otherwise deafening silence, a horrible pressure that only grew worse and worse with every passing second. "Can you still hear me baby?"
A sudden wave of tiredness overcame Ryan, body yearning to fall asleep and never have to wake up. "Mhmm... I'm sleepy Dal."
The darkness was so welcoming, holding out its arms, tempting him to give in and let it take him into slumber. It would be so easy to just close his eyes and let the void pull him away, drifting for an eternity, mind detached from his barely physical body.
"Nononono, don't go to sleep Ryan-" Dallon sounded panicked, making Ryan fight against the claws of the darkness, pushing away its open embrace. "Good boy, keep yourself awake. We're so close darling, you're doing amazing."
Ryan felt a smile tug at his almost numb mouth, interrupted by a sharp pain in his head, making him cry out. Dallon seemed to have cried out too, two short screams harmonizing into one melody of pain, ricocheting off the none-existent walls.
"Dal- it hurt-" Ryan felt like something was now attached to his skull, worsening the pressure in his brain, floating seemingly aimlessly through the pitch-black nighttime.
"I know sweet thing, I felt it too. You might want to close your eyes right now, okay?"
Ryan did as he was asked, squeezing his eyes shut, preparing for the worst.
All of a sudden he was pulled out of the sludge, coughing and gasping for air, mind and lungs cleared of their muddiness.
"Good job sweetheart, you were perfect." Dallon sounded like he was right there, before Ryan realized he was.
Dallon was here. He was safe.
It took his eyes a few moments to adjust, blinking and taking in his surroundings, pins and needles sweeping his body as all feeling returned.
Dallon was holding him bridal style in his arms, sitting in a field full of vivid flowers, a gigantic building half visible in the distance.
Ryan twisted around to look at Dallon, shocked by an addition to his appearance.
Two black horns spiked out of his head, curling towards the sky, shimmering with iridescence in the bright sunlight.
"What are you staring at?" Dallon gave him a goofy grin, eyes trailing up Ryan to gawk at his hair, making Ryan's hand shoot to his head.
He had them too. They felt like bone under his touch, smooth, his head moving with them as he yanked at the two spikes.
They were attached to him- part of him.
"W-What are these?" Ryan stuttered, feeling Dallon's too, his soft brown tuffs of hair getting caught between his fingers.
"I suspected this would happen. They're horns, a symbol of royalty instead of a crown." Dallon was looking at him with that adoring smile and every worry Ryan had melted away.
He made it. He was in hell, from the looks of it, laying in the lap of his boyfriend.
"We did it." Ryan said softly, a wide smile on his face. "We made it."
"Yes we did, my sweet little king." Dallon caught Ryan in a chaste kiss, peppering him with little butterfly kisses, making Ryan giggle. "And look, we're matching now."
It made Ryan beam like an idiot, grabbing the music box from where it had landed next to them, undamaged. He wrapped his arms around Dallon's neck as the demon stood up, holding Ryan firmly in his arms, eyes on the building in the distance.
Taking Ryan between dimensions had been a real piece of work, but Dallon still had the energy in him to carry his love, unable to keep his eyes off the glimmering horns that cut through the blue sea of Ryan's hair.
They were beautiful, just like the rest of his love. Dallon was overjoyed he hadn't lost Ryan to the jaws of death, something the pamphlet warned him of, coming in the form of an overwhelming urge to sleep.
Dallon would never have to worry about losing Ryan again.
The two of them trod through the thick grass, Ryan asking questions and Dallon answering.
"What's gonna happen when we get there?" Ryan said, holding onto Dallon's thin arm as he carried him, climbing through every type of flower imaginable.
Ryan didn't think that hell would be this beautiful, light clouds blanketing the bright blue sky, a blazing sun washing away all his coldness. A warm breeze made the flowers sway in the wind as he watched them with fascination, little bees hopping from petal to petal, a rainbow of plants spread for miles and miles.
"I'm not sure, my love. God said that before he froze everything here he told them that time would start again once a new leader was found."
Ryan nodded, laying limp in Dallon's arms. He didn't think he would be able to walk properly right now- dying had taken away all his energy, and his muscles felt weak in this new air, limbs not responding to his brain.
When the building came into better view, Ryan was surprised by what he was looking at.
It was made of crumbling red brick, a blocky attempt at a palace, dead vines crawling up the side. It was a contrast to the liveliness of the field they landed in, everything faded and boring. The windows were dark and stained with the remnants of acidic rain, bugs and spiders scurrying up the cracked walls.
"Ugh, we're gonna have to do some remodeling," Dallon said, unimpressed by the unkemptness of the manor.
Ryan laughed at his tone, stomach fluttering with butterflies of nervousness, buzzing in a weird type of excitement.
Dallon's dress shoes quietly slapped against the stone path that had emerged from the grass, approaching two dark oak doors with a heavy knocker on them.
Ryan held his breath in anticipation, holding onto Dallon's shirt tightly as the demon grabbed the golden knob and knocked. He had no idea what was coming, something unusual for Ryan. In life, he had always knew what was going to come next.
The door swung open with a loud creak to reveal a women in her mid 30s, blond hair frizzy and unkempt like she hadn't brushed it in days. She yawned and covered her mouth with her sleeve, rubbing her eyes before they widened in shock at the sight of Ryan and Dallon.
"Your majesties!" She fell to her knees, pink pajama pants folding under her legs. "P-Please forgive my untidiness."
Ryan was just as surprised at her reaction as she was at them, staring down at the yellow-haired woman who was cowering under Dallon's strong gaze.
"What's your name?" Dallon said firmly.
"Melanie Fletcher, number 006831, position as a housemaid, s-sirs." She added the last word quickly, avoiding Dallon's eye contact. Ryan only clutched the music box to his chest and watched as she pulled her straw hair back into a ponytail, tying it up.
"Stand up Melanie," Dallon demanded, voice sending shivers down Ryan's spine. "Please go inform whoever is the head of our arrival."
Melanie nodded and scurried away, giving Ryan time to bask in the hollowness of the room.
They had entered a gigantic indoor courtyard, deserted of all life, benches and tables covered in a thick layer of dust.
Thin floor to ceiling windows allowed beams of sunlight to stream through, painting little patches of light on the dusty furniture, highlighting every single dust particle that had settled on them.
The higher Ryan looked, the more dizzy he got, blank ceiling barely visible because of how far away it was. He couldn't count how many floors lined the walls, watching Melanie run down the long interior balconies, hand skimming the wiry railings.
"What was that about?" Ryan mumbled, head tilting back as Melanie disappeared into a room on what had to be the 11th floor, the slam of the door echoing through the hollow room.
"We're going to have to introduce ourselves eventually, mon chéri." Dallon planted a kiss to his forehead, making Ryan blush furiously.
"I know, but what was that number thing? And how did she know we were the new kings? And what's gonna happen after this?" Ryan was spewing the questions as they popped up in his mind.
Dallon walked over to one of the untouched couches and sat Ryan on his lap, cradling his back with a tendril.
"I'd imagine that the number was some sort of identification system, she saw our horns and recognized the symbol, and we'll probably have a look around and make some changes. Does that answer your questions, sweetheart?"
Ryan nodded, happy at the way Dallon said their horns. They matched now. They were theirs.
Dallon couldn't resist kissing his love again, enchanted by how gorgeous he looked in the slates of sunlight.
He still couldn't believe it. They were in hell, together. Dallon would have never guessed in a million years that this was how his life would turn out.
Ryan ran his hands through Dallon's thick hair as they kissed, regaining some feeling in his arms and legs, lazily swiping his tongue at Dallon's mouth.
They were too mesmerized by each other to notice Melanie return with another maid, donning the same loose apparel as she was. "Excuse us?"
At the sound of her voice Ryan spun around, face burning red. He would let Dallon do the talking for now.
"Please introduce yourself." Dallon said, entwining a tendril between Ryan's fingers and letting him rest his head on his chest. He wasn't going to be ashamed of kissing his love- it was something he planned to do everyday for the rest of time.
"Aliyah Singh, number 001149, position as a head maid. I'd assume you two are the new... kings?" She crooked an eyebrow at Ryan who only turned redder, sitting up straight and composing himself.
"Correct. Would you mind showing us around and explaining how things work?" Dallon said.
"Of course, your majesty. After that I will notify everyone and we can start on any changes you want. Please, follow me." Aliyah said crisply, turning around to walk towards the staircase Ryan hadn't noticed off to the side. Melanie seemed to have disappeared, light hair nowhere to be seen.
Being called 'your majesty' was going to take Ryan some getting used to, but Dallon already loved it, loved the power he held. It made his insides quiver at how Aliyah hadn't given his eyes or tendrils a second glance, unlike how humans on earth did.
The demon placed Ryan on the ground and held his arm out for Ryan to hold onto, legs wobbling beneath him. It was like learning how to walk again for the first time, taking small steps before he eased into a pattern.
Aliyah lead them up the spiraling stairs, stopping at every floor to explain the system.
"So, there's a hierarchy in hell. The worst people are at the very bottom of the world, confined in solidarity forever. These are the sinners who cannot redeem themselves for their actions on earth." Aliyah stopped in the middle of the hall to nod to a butler, who only stared at Ryan and Dallon in awe.
"Then there's the general population. They live in compact villages all around the world, working off their sins by doing community work. Once they've worked off every sin, they're reborn into the world. Think of it as a filtration system, so that as the world progresses, people become better."
They were walking on a deep red carpet, passing by closed doors with different numbers and words on them.
'Floor 4 common room' and 'Floor 4 dining quarters' and 'Floor 4 laundry room' was written in thin gold letters, floor numbers matching every floor they reached.
"And finally, the servants. Those with the purest souls that still hold weight are selected to be maids and butlers to your highnesses. Five years after working off their sins they can either continue working under you or be reborn." Aliyah's long black hair trailed behind her as they climbed yet another flight of stairs, making Ryan's legs ache.
Dallon had an arm wrapped around Ryan's shoulder, guiding him up the stairs as he saw his love's legs start to tremble.
The demon's mind was already flourishing with ideas of renovations he would do, turning the empty mansion into a Victorian palace, something gothic and elegant. And his Ryan would fit right in with his new horns and beautiful smile.
It would be their paradise.
"This entire floor is yours," Aliyah huffed as she climbed the last step, holding her hands out as to say 'here you are'.
Ryan leaned over the railing to look down at the courtyard floor, so far down from them, making his stomach twist. Dallon stood next to him, pressing a kiss to his cheek.
"How are you feeling baby?" Dallon whispered, staring at his love with fuzzy adoration.
"Mm... I'm excited..." Ryan whispered back, blushing when Dallon ran his knuckle over his cheek, fingers cold against Ryan's warm skin.
Aliyah showed them the empty bedroom, the empty dining room and the many empty rooms that lined the hall.
And on an outstretched part of the indoor balcony was a throne, stripped of everything, overlooking the courtyard.
Ryan had been disappointed in how abandoned the building had been, like it hadn't been touched in years. But then Ryan remembered it probably hadn't been touched in years, missing it's ruler.
"-and you have a personal tailor, a personal chef and a personal- oh, please excuse me one minute." Something beeped on Aliyah's wrist as she stepped away from them, tapping at what looked like a smart watch.
"What do you think sweetheart? Do you like it?" Dallon pulled Ryan close to him and pressed their foreheads together, staring into Ryan's dark eyes. Violent rain had begun to slap against the windows, a tranquil sound that Dallon and Ryan loved alike.
"Of course Dal, it's ours." Ryan couldn't help but smile, staring up at his boyfriend who loomed over him, a matching grin on Dallon's face. God, he loved Dallon so much.
It was their paradise.
- BRENDON -
The cop was coming.
Brendon knew that one was chasing him, feet slapping against the sidewalk as he ran as fast as he could.
His arms were full of whatever food he grabbed before he escaped the store, alarms going off behind him. But he couldn't look back. Every time he looked back he was caught.
Sarah was at their cramped apartment, waiting for him to bring home dinner. Brendon didn't know how she managed to make a meal out of the stuff he stole in a hurry, whether it be a bundle of bananas and soda, or pancake mix and chicken breast. It reminded Brendon of the cooking shows he used to watch at his Aunt's house, when the ingredients were surprises and always random.
He turned a corner, feet starting to ache in his shoes, healed blisters starting to open again. There were only a few more blocks before he would be home- he needed to lose the police officer.
Brendon thought of his wife and children, waiting at home patiently even though they were starving. It motivated him to run faster, sprinting down the street, dodging people and trees alike.
He stared to stumble over his own feet, panting as he nearly tripped over a crack in the sidewalk, tears blurring his vision. The cop had started to gain on him, the sound of the his voice getting closer and closer, store alarms blaring in Brendon's mind. It was so hard to run, to breathe, to keep going, but he couldn't get caught.
If he got arrested, his family would starve. Sarah and his two angels would die, and Brendon could never forgive himself.
He had been stealing food for years, ever since Tyler was born. You'd think that by now he'd be good enough to get out unseen, but a cop had been nearby when the alarms went off, which was just his luck on an already terrible day.
That morning he woke up to his daughter Abby coughing into his face, which never meant anything good. Even if Abby only had a small cold, it could be deathly in their one room apartment, living on a pullout couch.
Abby was only two and a cold could end her life. Her nose was pink, her cheeks were rosy and her round blue eyes were tired, all the worst symptoms.
Sarah had held her close all morning, trying to warm her up in the cold November air that seeped in through the holes in the windowsills. Brendon's heart melted when Tyler made their bed without being asked, watching his sister with concern.
It went without saying- Brendon loved his family to death and wished that he could give them something better.
The cop was so close he could nearly feel his hot breath on the back of his neck, his grunts in his ear, the way he rasped out yells.
"Stop you punk- drop the food!" He shouted, voice gruff and hoarse.
Brendon spotted an alleyway ahead, just across the street, a shortcut to his apartment building. He could throw the food over the fence and climb it easily, something he'd done a million times.
He was waiting for an opening in the traffic, cars and buses whooshing by, blowing his hair into his face. Food was slipping out of his hands but Brendon couldn't stop to bend down and pick it up, legs dead underneath him.
-Now. Brendon didn't bother to look both ways, turning sharply into the street, eyes on the alleyway. Adrenaline was coursing through his veins, feet throbbing in his shoes that were two sizes too small, rocks tumbling beneath him. He was almost there, almost there, almost there-
And then something collided with him, a terrible pain searing through his entire body.
Darkness. God, it was freezing. Brendon clawed at the blackness around him, twisting around to see where he was. Everything was so obscure and numb- did he trip and stumble into a pond?
He was falling. Brendon's stomach dropped, air flying through his fingers, shirt billowing around him. What the hell was going on?
A loud thud made Brendon close his eyes, sudden hard ground underneath him, head pillowed by what felt like grass. Huh, that was weird. There hadn't been any grass on the street he was on.
The cop. He needed to get the food home to Sarah, to check on Abby and Tyler, to see if any of the places he applied to work at had called him back.
But... the tall buildings that made up his home city were nowhere to be seen. Neither was the police officer, a relief to Brendon.
He hadn't always been poor enough to steal food. Growing up, Brendon had been told his parents were rich people who pampered him everyday. When Brendon got older, he discovered his aunt only told him that to make him think his dead parents were good people.
To be honest, Brendon didn't remember his parents. He had lived with his aunt all his life until she died, leaving him with the little money she had and the apartment where his family now lived.
Even while they were poor, Brendon felt blessed to wake up next to Sarah and their children everyday. She was the light of his life, someone who inspired him to do better. Brendon would do anything for his family, which included stealing food and clothes.
Right now, the only thoughts going through Brendon's mind were about getting home and getting his family dinner. But when he finally sat up and looked around, home wasn't anywhere in sight.
Brendon had woken up in a deserted field, nothing in sight for miles except a small, grey brick building, lights glowing inside. Around his wrist was a bracelet Abby had made him out of rocks and buttons, held together by string and glue. It was the only thing that comforted his panicked mind.
The sky looked just like the sky above him in Chicago: overcast, stuffy clouds blocking the sun. Some darker ones were crossing the white expanse of the sky, veiling the brightness, little droplets of rain beginning to fall around Brendon.
His best bet was to enter the building and have someone tell him what was going on. Brendon's mind was racing with worries, glancing over his shoulder every couple seconds expecting the cop to be chasing him.
With unsteady legs, he trudged through the grass towards the building, pushing open the door with a weak arm.
The room reminded him of the DMV, a few people queued in lines to speak to a worker, all sitting behind glass at their desks. Every single person in that room wore an expression exactly like Brendon's:
Frightened and confused.
He got in a line, flickering fluorescent lights giving his already sore head a migraine, tapping his feet impatiently.
He had to get home to Sarah and his kids.
A dying plant sat in the corner of the square building, leaves drooping and brown, a small spider crawling up the side.
Ugh, Brendon hated spiders. He needed to figure out what was going on and get out of here as fast as he could.
He listened closely, trying to pick up snippets of other's conversations with the workers, but it was futile. The dull roar in his head made focusing impossible, only growing with every passing second he had to wait in line, maintaining eye contact with the still spider.
Even though he couldn't see them, Brendon knew that it's eight eyes were mocking him, watching him with arrogance. Whenever a spider made it's way into the apartment, Brendon made Sarah or Tyler kill it, too squeamish to go close to it.
Brendon hated the spider, hated this cramped room full of bewildered people, hated being so far from his family for so long.
Finally, he could figure out where he was and how to get home.
"Hi, um, where am I?" Brendon asked the elderly woman behind the counter, intimidated by her strict look.
She sighed and adjusted her glasses, the silver chain attached to them clinking. "You died. You are in hell for your sins, and if you could give me your name, we could figure out where you're headed."
Her voice was monotone, like she had done this a million times, unimpressed by the panic that crossed Brendon's face.
What? Hell? This had to be a joke- how could he have died and gone to hell?
Back it up. How could he be dead? How did he die? Who would take care of Sarah and the kids?
"-sir, there are other people who need to be served. What's your name?" She looked at him with disdain from behind her thick glasses, wispy grey hair hanging around her head like the storm clouds outside.
"Uh- uh..." Brendon forgot his own name for a second. "B-Brendon Boyd Urie."
She clacked away at the ancient keyboard before looking up at him like a disappointed grandmother would. "33 years old?"
Brendon nodded, still stunned into silence at her words. This was hell?
"You were hit by a bus and died instantly on impact. Your sins include theft, resisting arrest, identity fraud and premarital sex, among many other smaller ones. You soul weights just enough to qualify you for a servant position instead of heaven." She murmured, ignoring how Brendon got progressively more distressed with every word.
"Wait- what does that mean, 'servant position instead of heaven?'" He asked, tapping his foot nervously, feet cramped inside his sweaty shoes. Brendon couldn't stop thinking about Sarah waiting for him to come home, how her crystal blue eyes would fill with tears when she'd realize he's dead, how she'd break the news to their children.
It made his stomach lurch, world spinning around him as he tried to calm his breaths, to focus on the words the old woman was speaking.
"It's a system where your soul is weighted by your sins and good actions. Your's weighs on just the cusp of becoming a servant for our new kings, rather than going to heaven." Her dull voice was muffled by the glass separating them, words only disorienting Brendon further. "Hold your arm out."
Brendon did as he was told, sliding his arm through a circular hole in the glass, breath stuck in his throat as the woman wrapped a device around his wrist, locking it tight to his skin. "This is your identification and detention device. It has your identification number and position, along with a built in counter for every good deed you do and every rule you disobey. And don't try to take it off- it's sealed to your skin and tamper proof. Get on the next shuttle designated for servants. Next."
She gestured for Brendon to move to the side, already talking to the next lost person. He took a seat at one of the benches stuck around the room and stared at the glowing screen, brows furrowed as even more confusion settled into his mind.
He was a servant? What did that even mean? Who was he serving? Why was he even here?
Words and numbers started to fade onto the screen, the square monitor attaching itself to his pale skin, making him yelp out. It strangely burned before the sensation cooled, leaving an odd tingling feeling in his entire body.
'Brendon Urie. Number 009863. Position as valet butler. Click for more details.'
Brendon tapped on the screen, more words flickering before his eyes.
'Valet butler: you are tasked with seeing to every personal need of the masters such as any personal requests, facilitating any demands and seeing to the overall happiness of the masters.'
This was all so much to take in at once; he was dead, in hell, and was going to become someone's personal servant?
It felt like only minutes ago he was running from the cop, his family's wellbeing the only thing on his mind.
A P.A. system crackled overhead, another monotone voice announcing the arrival of the shuttle he was supposed to get on. Reluctantly, Brendon got up and left the cramped building to get on a bus, eyes glued to the screen on his wrist the entire time.
It seemed he was the only person on the bus, letting it jostle him around, too occupied with wrapping his head around the whole situation to care.
Brendon kept expecting for someone to pop out from behind one of the plastic covered seats and tell him it was all a prank and he was on some random game show. At least, that's what Brendon was hoping.
All he wanted to do was to say one last goodbye to his family, to tell Sarah and his kids how much he loved them and how he'd always be watching over them. Except that would be a lie- Brendon barely knew where he was, let alone how to contact them.
He finally looked up when the bus's break squeaked to a stop, rain pattering against the windows, leaving white stains in their paths.
Ordinary rain shouldn't do that.
The sound of rainboots screeching against the metal floor of the bus made Brendon look up, greeting with a very smiley woman.
"Hey you! Are you new? Great, welcome to the worst years of the rest of your life! Let's hope you can escape someday!" Her voice was all too cheery for the words she was saying, brown braids falling over the bright yellow slicker she was wearing, a thick umbrella trailing behind her.
"W-What do you mean?" Brendon shifted uncomfortably in his seat, skin crawling with gloom and puzzlement.
"You're a servant here, silly! My name's Agnes, I'll show you around. Make sure you stay under my umbrella, we don't want another person burned by acid rain!" She grabbed his hand, heavy gloves rubbing against his bare fingers.
'Wait, acid rain? Isn't that stuff not dangerous?" Brendon said, stumbling over his own feet as she guided him off the bus, avoiding muddy puddles of water as Agnes dragged him towards the worn red building.
"Maybe on Earth, but the stuff here'll get you real bad. What position did you get?" She grabbed at his wrist once they were finally inside, standing in the middle of a dark hallway. The only light in the room was the screens on both their arms.
"Aw man, valet butler? That's the worst position." She clicked her tongue, still gripping tightly to Brendon's wrist. "Means you gotta cater to whatever asshole is up there. Anyways, let me give you a tour and show you your room."
Agnes showed a confused Brendon to the ninth floor, walking through the dining quarters, the common room, the laundry room, and finally his room.
Brendon was still having trouble understanding where he was, let alone gripping the idea that he would be living here for who knows how long. Agnes's words haunted him- he didn't want to serve an asshole.
He didn't want anything but to get back to his family.
The bed was neatly made, a black comforter folded at the end, two pillows laying against the wall it was pushed against. An oak dresser was on the opposite wall, drawers empty as Agnes pulled them open one by one, shoving them back into place.
Her looks were so deceptive- her mouth was smiling widely, but all of her movements held anger, roughly closing doors behind her the entire tour. It scared Brendon a bit, flinching away from her at every chance he got.
"So the new king hasn't assigned uniforms yet- huh. Well, get used to the clothes you're wearing before we have to wear something uncomfortable." Agnes's braids seemed to have a mind of their own, swinging around with every step she took as she strode towards his bed and took a seat.
"W-What am I supposed to do for the king?" Brendon stammered, foot drumming against the hardwood floor.
"Okay, so, he's gonna have, like, a bell or something like that. Every time you hear that bell you gotta drop whatever you're doing and run to see what he wants- and honestly, it can be whatever. Food, drink, clothes, whatever their greedy hearts desire." Agnes said flatly, words sharp as daggers.
Dread fell over Brendon, picking at his cuticles. He only now noticed that his grandfather's wedding ring had disappeared off his fingers, misery making it's home in his chest.
That was his wedding ring with Sarah, the one his Aunt had left for him before she died. It was all he had left, and now, nothing except for the bracelet Abby had made him.
"-Speak of the devil, pun intended, Aliyah says you should meet them now. C'mon, I'll lead you there. You're gonna get more used to this place the longer you're here." Agnes sprung off the bed and marched out of the barren room, Brendon trailing silently behind. He didn't really want to meet the people, especially if they were just as evil as Agnes made them out to be.
By the time the reached the top floor, Brendon could either barely feel his legs, or feel them too much, joints aching with pain. Agnes slowed down when more people came into sight, letting Brendon catch up to her and stare.
Off to the side was a woman with floor length black hair and caramel skin, cat eyes lighting up at the sight of them.
But what really got Brendon's attention was the two men near the railing, holding each other close, exchanging words Brendon couldn't hear. He had never seen anything like them in the world- they both had pointed horns that glistened in the faint light of outside, something fitting for the rulers of hell.
One of them had teal dyed hair, shorter than the other, who was something else all together. Weird snakes seemed to emerge from the taller one's back, one curled around the shorter one's wrist. And neither of them had screens glued to their wrists.
They were sharing a look, something Brendon had seen a thousand time's on his own wife's face: love.
They were in love- Brendon couldn't help envy how lucky they were to have each other, even while they looked like monsters out of a children's book.
It made his blood boil with anger and jealousy. Why did they get to be together while Sarah sat alone at home with their children, wondering how she'd get dinner that night?
It wasn't fair- it wasn't fair at all. Brendon deserved to have Sarah back; what did they do to deserve such a high position?
Brendon didn't want to serve anyone except his family.
But did he really have a choice at this point?
- END OF ACT 1 -