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A follow-up from this post, about how those who MC befriended (and loved) in Devildom continue to show their love from afar upon their return to the human world. Knowingly, and unknowingly.
cw: death mentions & references to hanging in Diavolo's section. Technically coercion/manipulation (of the non-sexual variety) in Simeon's (removal of free-will).
Diavolo (The Prince of Hell - dominion over his plane and others)
To say you don’t have a ‘green thumb’ is a bit of an understatement. It’s somewhat of a talent of yours to manage to kill any plant beyond any reasonable chance for revival. You’ve killed succulents, and those thrive on neglect. At least this time the massacre left of your houseplants isn’t entirely your fault - you didn’t have much warning before being abducted to Devildom for a year, after all.
You keep meaning to chuck out the remains of your plants, but you can’t bring yourself to be that proactive that soon after your return- Not when sleep calls to you so sweetly, not when it’s easier to do nothing at all - and honestly the withered remains are a great reflection for your own emotional state.
Which is why you’re confused when one of the dead plants sprouts anew. You leave it alone, assuming that a weed has maybe taken root, brought in from outside somehow. And yet… the sprout continues to grow, and eventually blossom.
A bright, red rose with petals that lighten towards the edges, giving you the impression of fire burning from the centre. It’s familiar. And comforting. It also seems to repel insects, as you notice a number of dead flies around the pot, so you decide its usefulness is another point towards keeping it.
This is not the only miraculous bloom, either. From dead and empty pots begin sprouting all manner of flowers. Lavender (but not quite), lilies (glowing slightly), and gerberas (freezing to the touch). You receive a lot of compliments from your very few house guests, and you even bequeath a cutting of the almost-not-quite lavender to your elderly neighbor. The plants begin to overtake your apartment, and you find it eases some of the homesickness.
You think maybe your plant luck has come to an end when a possum manages to get into your apartment one evening, presumably through the window you leave open for your crow visitors. Its pupils are pinpricks, and it’s teeth are bared and dripping with black, viscous liquid. You notice between its sharp (blood covered?) claws are the remains of some of your gerberas. There are deep gouges and scratches all over its body. Though you notice some of the flowers are missing, more have sprouted elsewhere, spreading like vines throughout your apartment.
You call pest control to come and take care of it because there is no way you’re getting close to that thing. The workers who arrive compliment you on the flowers blooming throughout the apartment before ensnaring the possum in their net and leaving with it. You overhear them muttering about how they’ve never seen a possum go rabid quite like this.
One day, you come home to an ambulance out the front of your building. You watch as the paramedics wheel out a covered stretcher. Following them is the tearful granddaughter of your elderly neighbour. Old age eventually takes us all, you think, trying not to imagine your own shuffling off that mortal coil. You attend the memorial service held for the community, and soon learn it was not her age, but rather, severe sleep deprivation that caused your neighbour’s passing. At the wake, you hear your neighbor’s family discussing the supposedly sudden onset of insomnia, how she hadn’t slept a wink in weeks before her heart and mind both gave out.
You leave a fiery red rose at her grave.
There’s a news report you never see about an attack at a local animal pound, where two of the workers allegedly turned on each other and the company, attacking with their bare hands and their teeth. They had reportedly gone rabid themselves, though experts remark that they’d never seen cases like this before.
Another report, this time of a groundskeeper who hung himself in the cemetery. There are lots of ghost stories that spawn from this, try as the funeral director might to discourage such tales.
Barbatos (Servant of Hell, Master of Time)
You really enjoy making tea, now that you’re back home. Drinking it is great and all, but the act of making, of turning on the kettle, filling up the pot, preparing your mug - that’s something soothing in and of itself.
The thing is, sometimes you just… forget halfway through the process. You’ll boil the kettle, walk away to do something else in the two intervening minutes, and then half an hour later realize that oh yeah, I put the kettle on. Sometimes you’ll get right up to pouring the water in, and then the same thing happens - you walk away, get distracted, and come back to tea that is way too over-steeped.
At least, that’s the way it happened before your trip to Devildom.
It honestly takes you a little while to notice something is different when you return. You enjoy your tea blends that you missed while in the other realm, and think that maybe that time away was exactly what you needed to get yourself in order when it comes to making tea - every cup has turned out perfectly.
There was one time when you went to make a cuppa before you left for an event in the evening, though once again you completely forgot about it while finishing up your makeup. By the time you return, in the early hours of the morning, you expect to have to deal with the black-as-ink, oversteeped tea you left on the bench. What you were not expecting, however, was the perfectly brewed hot tea waiting for you.
This trend continues. You go to make a cup of tea, sometimes as a way to procrastinate, and others just because you’re really craving it. Half the time you remember and actually finish making it. The other half… well. You always end up with a perfect cup regardless.
(When you return to Devildom, you thank Barbatos. He provides you with a little insight: “While the others may be more wanton in unwittingly throwing their power around, I do not have that luxury. Knowing I could still bring you comfort even indirectly was enough to stem some of my more… sinister impulses. My Lord Diavolo would be inconvenienced should I accidentally start a war with Heaven over a minor break in Time.”)
Simeon ("He hears your prayer")
You’ve learned a thing or two about confidence over your year away. It’s hard not to when you acquire several partners who are somewhat contractually obliged to bow to your whim. Even those you don’t have pacts with you found were very happy to accommodate you. It was a change in pace compared to your old life, the one before in which you struggled to be heard, often talked over and ignored.
Humans, you realize, are a lot easier to manage than demons, angels, and those in between. Say anything with enough confidence, be the first to make a decision, and you find that people quickly defer to you.
A group outing that culminates in umm’ing and ah’ing about where to eat? You bring up the local pizzeria, and everyone quickly agrees.Tension between two of your coworkers culminating in some mediation? ‘Talk it out and apologize’ you cut in, advice which is followed almost immediately.
You suggest a change in direction with your thesis, one that would undo the vast majority of work you had put in prior to your year away. Your supervisors are quick to agree without argument, which is odd, because your new topic would take it entirely out of their fields of expertise.
You moan and groan at your desk about needing caffeine just to be annoying, and not two minutes later one of your coworkers returns with a large quad-shot latte.
You ask your old friends to hang out, and they acquiesce, dropping all their previous plans. They assure you that they very much want to spend time with you but there’s a shard of ice in your heart that you know is doubt. What caused them to change their minds over the year away? You were never particularly close to begin with, and they didn’t seem too concerned by your spontaneous exchange trip.
It’s not until you get into a minor tiff with Solomon via text in which he opposes your opinion that the latest episode of Preternatural was good, actually, that you realize that literally everyone is agreeing with you.
That’s not a bad thing, though….right? Is it really so awful that everyone is agreeable? You’ve eliminated a lot of tension before it could even come to pass. Your confidence is through the roof knowing that no one can tell you no. You think, maybe, this is a good thing. You ignore the voice in the back of your head that reminds you that free will is not the choice to do something, but rather, the choice to not do it.
Solomon (The Old King - Wisdom granted by the divine)
You have two pieces of evidence in your life that remind you that your year away was more than just a wistful fever dream. The first is your DDD, its case bedazzled and a chocolate lizard charm hanging from the side. You occasionally receive all sorts of texts, and amusingly enough, Karasu’s spy add-on still seems to function.
The second piece of evidence that helps to ground you to reality is Solomon. Despite his immortality, he seems perfectly content to wander the mundane world. He told you once, during a quiet evening in Purgatory Hall, that he sees the protection of the human world as somewhat of a responsibility - especially against arcane and divine forces. You find yourself lucky enough to receive some of that responsibility personally.
He doesn’t stick to you like glue, though. You know he has thousands of years of history on this earth, and likely just as many acquaintances still alive or arcane phenomena to see.
He wasn’t there immediately upon your return either, taking a few weeks to himself to settle some loose ends. He sees you in the worst of your tired, sorrowful state, in those first few months. (You later learn it was his aid, his strength that helped you get out of bed. He reached out to Lucifer, to let him know of your clinging to the Seventh). After that, though he left for long periods each time, he never really left you alone.
The first was his contact info in your (ordinary, mundane, technological) phone. He starts sending you messages and memes before he even leaves your apartment. This becomes a constant, and there’s a large part of you that is very amused by the idea of Solomon, with all of his wisdom and age and experience, being obsessed with the benefits of marine biology.
When he returns the next time and sees the flowers growing throughout your apartment, his eyes widen. He asks permission to steal a few petals, and you grant it unconditionally. He excuses himself to go to the bathroom, but ten minutes later you stumble across him completing some kind of ritual at your threshold. To make sure your ever-growing, ever-willful garden doesn’t escape the boundaries of your home, he tells you. When he leaves again, he gives you a crown woven from those same flowers. It never wilts, and you wear it on the days you feel most alone.
He sends you souvenirs from his travels. Sometimes books, sometimes baubles, always cursed. There’s something deep, primal in you that knows each of these objects are bad news. That they have connections to the darkest magics, the worst impulses of men. The curses do not do anything to you, as you’re more deeply tied to their sources than a curse could ever hope to replicate. They remind you of home.
When you ask where he disappears to, he tells you that he’s preparing. “There is a time in which one day you will be dust, and humans, angels, and demons will all have to deal with the fallout.” He hints at minor breaks in reality created by the children of the divine. When he talks about your inevitable end, he takes the same tone. You don’t want to think about what that means. He offers you a drink out of a flask that tastes like life itself, and you kindly pretend you don’t hear his arcane muttering as you swallow.
Luke (The Little Light)
The crows were one thing. The rabid possum is another. Somehow though you don’t think either of those are connected instances. Not like this.
There’s a dog park entrance at around the halfway point in your normal running route. Before your return, you’d occasionally get one or two of the more excitable and friendly dogs run up to greet you, to follow you on your run on their own side of the fence. Now, like you’ve thrown a ball for all of them to return, the entire park follows you on your run, their tails wagging, much to the confusion of their owners. They bark excitedly, and you feel like you almost understand them as they beckon you to come and play. You find it hard to ignore, the sound cutting in through and over the music in your headphones.
It’s like you have catnip in your pockets wherever you go. Strays constantly approach you, their meows growing ever louder and always pleading.
Soon, it’s more than cats and dogs and birds chirping, and the squeaking of mice and possums. There’s noise, wherever you go. The tree branches arc towards you, their old groaning you feel deep in your being. The grass crunches beneath your feet, and yet you still hear the scuttling, the quick back and forth, the high pitched singing rhythmic orders of the insects that inhabit it. The waves lap at the shore, and the water hitting the sand is simply an ostinato to the much louder, much larger singing howling screeching -
There’s so much noise, it’s so overwhelming, there’s no quiet the world is living and breathing and screaming and-
You take a deep breath. Focus.
You find things to distract you from that ever present sound. The Merchant of Venice is playing at your local theatre, and though by far not your favorite of Shakespeare’s plays, you remember liking the company that performs it. You regret it a little, as some of the themes make you uncomfortable, but in the final act, Lorenzo says: Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold: There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st But in his motion like an angel sings, Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins; Such harmony is in immortal souls; But whilst this muddy vesture of decay Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.
The thing is, you can hear it - the Music of the Spheres, that is. That noise, that constant hum that is maybe singing, maybe screaming, you realize it now to be that resonance between souls, worlds, celestial bodies. You don’t know how though. You’ve never heard it before. You're not even sure it's something to be heard, and yet... The world seems to favour you, like it wants to show you all the bright, amazing, wonderful things. It sings for you, and you think it sounds fond.
Finally got to episode 11 of Demon Slayer, and WOW, yeah, now I see why I was seeing people saying they hated Zenitsu... O#O