Samael Lennox

"Everyone has a price... everyone."

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a character in “White Asphodel”, as played by Nemeseia










xxxxxxxxx◙◙◙◙* Male xxxxx◙◙◙◙*xxxxx◙◙◙◙* 6'1 xxxxx◙◙◙◙* 189 lbs. xxxxx◙◙◙◙* Fallen Archangel

AASTR x ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌ AAACON x ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌
AASPD x ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌ AAAPWR x ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌
AAINT x ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌ AAACNG x ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌
AAWPN x ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌ AAACHA x ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌

--Image- REAPER in exchange for a soul, can perform miracles—dependent
KINESIS various elemental manipulation—lightning
DIVINITY limited use of divine abilities—depleting
ENERGY METABOLIZATION sustained by energy [emotions]

Image I can see through my reflection
- - - - - - - what I've become and what I've been .


They say that love can be the most profound thing that changes a person—Samael would beg to differ. It wasn't love that caused him to change in such a deep, fundamental way. Betrayal had a strange way of doing that, and Samael wonders if it hasn't changed him the most. It has left him bitter, distrusting of people—demonic, angelic, or otherwise—and constantly on edge. Who can he trust besides himself? The last person he trusted, cast him from the Firmament, and ever since then, Samael has held a deep grudge.

Sure, he lives a lavish lifestyle, is constantly trying to fill an emptiness with sex and drugs, but he doesn't much care for any of it. Leraje often provides him with new ways to lose himself, but as with everything else, it's only temporary. There is no lasting effect, and Samael finds himself chasing after something that will last longer. In some ways, this makes him extremely dedicated to something, but only if it's for himself. If it can't do anything for him, he can't be bothered with it. It makes him a shitty worker, but as far as Samael is concerned, everyone could fuck off and mind their own business. He does what he has to, when he wants to.

It has left him with an inherently cynical view of the world. People do not have good intentions, their sincerity is false, and they can't be trusted. It might make him a bit of a hypocrite since he's the same way. He can't be trusted, either, since everything he does is for self-gain. There's nothing that can convince him, otherwise. He just doesn't believe it. He can fake all of those emotions just as easily, so why try to believe they are genuine?

If there is one thing he can be, it's overly confident. It can be overbearing most of the time, the way he carries himself with a sort of prideful arrogance. He is better than everyone around him, and he makes it known one way or another. Whether it's flaunting his lavish lifestyle or bragging about his bank account, it's made him a person of hated interest and envy. But that's what he wants. He wants people to envy and hate him—fear him even. Those are the only emotions he can truly rely on. It's pretty hard to fake hatred for most people, after all.

At the end of the day though—after everything has been said and done—Samael is a deeply troubled and despondent person. The events of his Fall has caused him to quash any remnants of the person he used to be, and he cannot find it in himself to be that person again. So he'll keep people at an arm's length, flaunt his power, and perhaps one day, he might feel something again.

He's not going to hold his breath, though.

Image You see / your Heaven doesn't want me
- - - - - - - I've fallen from grace / bloodied and bound.

Samael's history is a bit... complicated. Once an archangel of the Fifth Heavenly Realm, it is a position he no longer occupies. How he lost it, is something of a sore spot for him. He was cast from Heaven by the one he called brother, and doesn't like being reminded of it. It was a time when he felt weak, betrayed, and he's vowed to never be that way again. Originally, Samael had chosen to fall—to leave the Firmament behind and spend the rest of his life with the one he loved.

In the Firmament, it was considered a taboo for an angel to love another. Samael could not help the way he felt, though, and wanted the freedom to choose. Sariel was his life, and he thought she felt the same way. When he'd proposed the idea that they should leave the Firmament, join the human realm and leave Heaven behind, he'd been ecstatic that she'd agreed. They were going to make a life with each other, one that they could enjoy without fearing the consequences. It wasn't until he intervened that Samael's world fell upside down. Michael—one of the esteemed Seraphim and fellow archangel—had convinced Sariel that the Fall would not be worth it. He tried to convince Samael as well, but Samael would not be swayed. He was devastated when Sariel chose to stay in the Firmament with Micahel.

At first, Samael was convinced that Sariel never loved him, but loved Michael instead. In a fit of anger, he attacked Michael. It was a battle Sam had no chance of winning, and in his Fall, he tried bringing Michael with him. He failed—miserably so—and was stripped of most of his divinity. Sam doesn't remember much of what happened after that. He remembers the War that nearly decimated the earth, and that he became a Prince of Hell shortly before that. Everything else was a blur. For a being who had all of eternity, it was difficult for Sam to fill his time with productive soul-reaping. Mostly because it was boring.

Make a pact with a human; take their soul; rinse and repeat.

It was driving him insane.

He needed to do something else with his time, to find a different meaning. Nothing seemed to be working for him, and it never seemed enough. He could have his fill of just about anything, and still feel like he was missing something. He tried just about anything he could to make himself feel alive, but whether it was his Fall, the betrayal, or his many years as a Prince, it just wasn't enough. He needed something more—something that would make him feel like the Archangel he once was: powerful and respected. The life he has made for himself, now—though not what it should be—has been enough for him to continue his, albeit pathetic, existence. Considering that he spends most of his time hosting extravagant parties, keeping himself occupied as Leraje's guinea pig and filling the emptiness with sex and drugs, it's really not much of an existence at all.

But then again... Samael doesn't want to exist. Not in the metaphorical sense, anyway, but he would never tell anyone that. It also doesn't help that he's slowly losing his divinity. It's bringing him closer to becoming a full-fledged demon prince.

Image I'm breaking down the walls that cage me / but nothing ever falls in place
- - - - - - - waiting for the end to take me / and this darkness settles in .

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AARivalry xxx ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌
AAAttractionx ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌
AARespectxxxx ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌
This line is here to take space.
Well that was interesting...

It takes a lot of guts to play at a table with Crowley. Sam has a newfound respect for Soleil mostly because of her dauntless demeanor. It might just be a facade, but... well, Sam's never really had a friend before. Honestly he's not even sure if Soleil is his friend, but it feels like it. He likes her a great deal more than he should, but he doesn't really care. She's fun to talk to and... well, he'd be lying if he said he wasn't the slightest bit attracted to her.


AAFondnessxxx ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌
AARivalry xxx ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌
AAAttractionx ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌
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This line is here to take space.

There is too much history between these two—misunderstood history that has made Sam bitter towards Michael. They were always at ends with each other, but before Sam's Fall, they were brothers. He respected Michael. There was a time when he'd have laid his life on the line for Michael... but whatever camaraderie they had, is gone. Nothing remains.


AAFondnessxxx ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌
AARivalry xxx ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌
AAAttractionx ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌
AARespectxxxx ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌
This line is here to take space.
Such a weird kid.

Luna is a strange kid to Sam, but he doesn't mind, really. She and her sister are complete opposites, and yet there is something there that is similar. Maybe it's the way they talk, or the way they carry themselves? Sam doesn't know, but he wouldn't mind dolling her up again. In fact, he plans on going on a shopping spree for them. Still, he wouldn't mind if she came over with her sister more often. The more company the less lonely he feels.



Coding by Aethiya, inspired by maccotango's guide to the same.

So begins...

Samael Lennox's Story


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Soleil Nishant Character Portrait: Samael Lennox
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#, as written by Aethyia

26 Asmodeus
Lux District - Afternoon - Rain
Soleil Nishant

Soleil would be the first person to admit she'd had some pretty bad ideas in her life.

Fish from a grocery store dumpster? Bad idea.

Pummeling Tommy Marquette in elementary school because he'd made fun of her for not having parents? Bad idea.

Stealing Motor Pete's favorite wrench because he wasn't using it anyway? Bad idea.

Taking the subway most of the way across town to the Lux District because one of her clients had mentioned offhand that his boss had a very expensive car in need of repairs? Possibly the worst in a long history of very bad calls.

And yet here she was, hand shoved deep in her coat pocket, banged up black toolbox hanging from her other, her grip white-knuckled beneath her gloves. There was a chill in the air today, and even though the rain was mostly repelled by her coat, she could swear something was weighing down her shoulders anyway.

But that was just paranoia, right?

Not that paranoia was hard to understand. She was in Demon Central here. This part of the city was almost entirely populated by them, and Friday had sidewardly alluded to the fact that his boss was one. Soleil didn't know what it was about them, but demons made her skin crawl. She could just tell when someone was one, just by being near them. It was how she knew what most people only speculated: that Zinoviev was half of one himself.

Zinoviev. She was here because of that rat bastard. Maybe if she could fix some rich fucker's car and make it out with her life intact, she'd be able to pay the protection fees. One job, for another month of freedom. Hell, if she had the guts she might be able to get enough for next month out of the thing, too, depending on how complicated it was. She didn't overcharge—but honestly she never got to charge what her work was worth either. If she did, no one would come to an uncertified young woman mechanic out in the Pits. But since this was a house call... maybe.

The house itself was not helping her impression. It was a black mansion, of all things. It was large, two-story at least, and had a lot of large glass windows. On the left side of it, Soleil could see what looked to be a fish tank in the style of a pond, and a lot of koi fish swimming about. The black tile siding accented the white, marble floors that led to a set of metal doors with a large round knocker. There was, of course, a door bell, but it didn't seem functional. There was no light to it, and the owner probably didn't care to have it fixed.

The front lawn was meticulously kept, the lush green highlighting against the floors. Soleil had to take a stair case just to get up to the front door, and even that was black with silver railings. To the left, there was a large carport, probably which led to the garage where the cars were kept.

Taking a deep breath, Soleil squeezed the handle of her toolbox and stepped up to the front door. There was a knocker, but she thought those sounded annoying as hell, so she just knocked on the thing with her gloved knuckles instead. Friday said he'd told the guy she'd be by, which she honestly took to mean someone had informed his secretary or something. Yeah. She probably wouldn't have to actually deal with the demon, right? If he was big-shot enough to live in a place like this, there's no way he'd personally meet the one-time mechanic he was using because his regular was... she wasn't even sure. Busy? Recently fired?


Well whatever. She'd almost died in dumber ways before.

The door opened to reveal an impeccably dressed man, not much taller than Soleil. The black suit he wore looked even more expensive than the ones Alastor wore, and appeared almost flawless. There was no wrinkle, no out of place thread. It was smooth down to the silver cuff links at his wrist. His hair had a silver sheen to it, and turquoise eyes narrowed in her direction.

“You're late," he stated, a sort of gruffness to his voice. He opened the door a bit wider as if letting Soleil pass through.

"No I'm not," she replied automatically, brows knitting faintly. She was in fact fifteen minutes early, but her brain caught up to her mouth before she could say that, and she realized belatedly that she'd just backtalked a demon.

Or... no, he was definitely a demon, but something seemed off about it. She couldn't put her finger on it, though. Maybe if she'd been a little less sure she was about to be... whatever the unholy equivalent of smited was. Blighted?

Oh well. Might as well play it cool so she didn't go down a blubbering mess. She nodded politely, as if this was all business as usual, and stepped past him into his foyer, passing close enough to disturb that silver hair slightly with the wake of her movement—he wasn't exactly leaving a lot of room—but very pointedly not touching him.

"You want that doorbell fixed while I'm here? My main job is cars, but I'm good with pretty much anything in a house, too." She lifted her free hand from her pocket, using it to push down her hood. Her hair was in a single tail today, and spilled down her back free of the confinement.

Oddly, he looked a little on the surprised side, as if her first response had caught him off guard. A slow smirk formed on his face, though, when she mentioned the doorbell. “First, we'll see how you do with the cars," he responded, stepping in front of her as if he were leading her towards the garage.

“If you do well with that, I'll see about letting you fix that stupid fucking thing," he stated as he pushed open a pair of french doors. Even the floor inside the mansion was white marble, which reflected off of the greys of the interior. There were a couple of pieces of furniture, white in color, strewn to the side as if they had just been delivered, however; everything else was either in a shade of grey, or black.

“The car you'll be working on is this one," he stated once he stepped through another door, automatic this time, and gestured to a car on the right. The garage was full of them, each one seemingly from a different time, and there were a couple of bikes as well. The car he'd pointed to, however, seemed to be of a newer model. One that was likely released within the last few weeks. It was, not surprisingly, also black.

God, did all demons lean this hard into the stereotypical color scheme or was it just him? Frankly she was surprised there weren't a bunch of blood-red accents all over the place just to complete the look, but apparently this guy had never heard of color in his life.

His garage, though... damn. If she weren't still seventy percent sure she'd be mincemeat by the end of the day, she might have even gasped. They were gorgeous. Some of them were models she'd only seen on the extranet, things with brand names like Porsche and Maserati and old-earth things like that. Even the newer ones, though, the Yrdens and the Galattis and the Tsukishimas, were the top of the line stuff, with motors she knew would purr with even just a few simple tweaks.

Factory standard for any of them was good, but not as good as what she could do.

Soleil took a few steps towards the Yrden Phaser, the sleek black lines of the hovercar all but calling to her. She hadn't picked cars just because they were practical—she kind of loved the damn things. Still, she kept her customary reserve.

"That can't be more than a month old," she said, arching a speculative brow at its owner. "What's wrong with it that soon?"

“I don't fucking know," he replied, crossing his arms over his chest. “That's what I'm paying you to find out." He didn't sound especially upset or anything. It sounded more like he was talking casually, and he leaned on one of the poles, arching a brow in her direction.

"No shit," she replied, rolling her eyes. "But usually people say things like 'it's making a funny whining sound' or 'it won't start.' Just so I don't waste hours they're paying me for testing for that."

“You have your own toolkit, but if you need anything else," he stated, pushing himself away from the pole, and walking towards a large, metal box that was yellow in color. Perhaps the only color in the place. “This has just about every tool you'll need. Anything else can be found in the garage over there," he continued, pointing towards a large room-like area. He pulled something from his breast pocket, a card from the looks of it.

“You'll need this to get in and out of that room, and the conveyor belt and lift are over there if you need them," he continued, pointing in the direction of said items.

Conveyor belt? And a lift in his house? What kind of weird bourgeoisie bullshit had she suddenly found herself smack in the middle of? Soleil tried not to let any of her incredulity show on her face, reaching forward to accept the card instead. "Sure. You want like... an invoice sent to this address after I'm done or...?" Maybe he'd prefer to pay on the spot. She'd prefer that too, honestly, but for as much as she was hoping to be able to charge for this job, she'd deal with paperwork crap if she had to.

The demon scoffed, rolling his eyes as if he'd somehow found her statement beneath him. Instead, he pulled what looked to be a wallet from his pocket, and arched a brow at her. “I might not look it," he began, keeping his gaze with hers, “but I honor all previous and future contracts. The previous mechanic had a pay upfront policy, which I'm surprised you don't, but... since you haven't said that," he drawled, making it obvious that he was in no way in a hurry to find whatever it was he was looking for.

“I'll pay you two credits up front as a deposit, and you'll get the rest once your work is completed depending on what is actually wrong with it."

Credits were demon currency, which meant that it was worth more than the bills Soleil managed to scrape up with her business. One credit could roughly translate to a few hundred dollars. That he was giving her two meant that he was likely paying her anywhere from five hundred to a thousand dollars. He didn't seem at all concerned about it, though.

Soleil honored her contracts too, and for her part of what that meant was not overcharging. That said, if the guy was loaded—and he had to be, with a collection like this—she would charge exactly what her work was worth. Which she'd have to actually find the problem to know.

"All right," she said with a shrug. "I'll let you know what that comes out to when it's done. Is there anything else?" She was very successfully containing her excitement—even the down payment was enough to tell Zinoviev to go fuck himself, and then for another month on top of that.

Shit, they might even be able to buy some food from the grocery instead of scavenging it.

He glanced around, as if he were trying to see if there was anything else, but merely shook his head. “For now, you'll work on this. If the work is sufficient, maybe I'll have you look at another car or two. And also that fucking doorbell," he stated, turning around facing the door.

“I'll leave it to you. You've access to this part of the home and only this part. When you come to work on the car, you'll enter from the side door outside," he motioned towards a door down the path of the driveway, “I'm sure you saw it on your way up the stairs. It's the door to your left. That key I gave you will let you in from there, as well. If you need anything else, leave a note or something and someone will get it for you."

Okay, asshole. Wasn't like I was planning to snoop around in the rest of your tryhard gothic mansion anyway. She resisted the urge to roll her eyes, though. She'd already slipped a couple of times and used more snark than she'd meant to. He'd seemed to ignore it or find it amusing, maybe, but that was probably only the case until she managed to offend him. Better not.

So instead what she said was: "got it, thanks." He seemed to want to leave, and she sure as hell wasn't interested in keeping him around.

“From what Friday says, you're the best in your field. I'm looking forward to seeing your work. Don't disappoint me, Miss Nishant."

"I won't. I'd say your name all dramatic like too, but I don't know it." It was actually a little weird that he knew hers. Sure, Friday could have told him, but why would he have bothered to remember? She was a temp mechanic, best in her field or not.

“There are other ways to say my name, my dear, if you'd like, but I suppose you need to know it, first." He turned to glance over his shoulder with a strange smirk on his face.


"Sorry. I always sound like this," she said flatly. "No two ways about it, Samael." She wasn't sure why he'd given her what sounded like a first name, but it wasn't any skin off her teeth.

Setting her toolbox down, she flipped the latches open and cracked the lid, expecting that this was the part where he'd just leave. Assuming she hadn't mortally offended him or something.

He barked a short laugh, shaking his head faintly and disturbing the silver tail down his back. “Maybe I should just hire you on as a live-in mechanic. You have a personality I could get used to."

If pressed, Soleil wouldn't have been able to explain it, but it felt like there was the faintest twitch at the corner of her mouth. What a fucking weird day. What a fucking weird demon.

"Anyone ever told you you have bizarre taste?" She picked a few tools out of the box, then shed her outer coat, giving it a toss over the workbench and moving over to the vehicle itself. Her bootheels clicked over the pristine floor—this place was so opulent it was ridiculous. Popping the hood, she braced it open with the rod designed for the purpose and tilted her head at the engine.

“Anyone ever tell you, you have an amazing ass?" he retorted, snorting softly. “But yes, I've been told that my tastes are a bit, ah... acquired," he stated, having made his way back towards her, and leaning slightly in her peripheral vision. There was a light smirk on his face, almost as if he were almost egging her on, somehow.

She rolled her eyes then shot him a narrow look from their periphery. "You must be easily impressed; I haven't even bent over this thing yet." Soleil wasn't sure if people making passes was a thing she'd gotten used to, exactly, but she had her methods of dealing with it. Honestly as long as people didn't touch her she didn't really care what they said. A thick skin was pretty much a necessity in life, and frankly this was, while blunt as hell, not someone trying to get her to agree to work in a cathouse. She'd take it for the moment.

She did lean over the engine, then, not because she was trying to give him reason to look, but because she'd noticed something unusual in the fuel injection system and in fact needed a better angle. "I'm not sure I should be flattered, if someone with 'acquired' tastes is saying so."

“I'm taking that as an invitation, then, to look, since you haven't bent over this thing yet," he stated, a form of amusement in his voice. His arms crossed over his chest as he arched a brow, the smirk slowly moving into an amused smile. It was brief, though, before it returned to a smirk.

“You should be flattered all the same whether or not someone who has acquired tastes is saying so. It really is a nice ass. A shame, though, that it's mostly kind of hidden beneath those pants. You should wear ones that are a little more fitting," he stated in a nonchalant fashion.

"Weird," she said, already making a more detailed examination of the fuel injectors. "It's like I dressed to fix cars instead of be looked at. Life's full of strange circumstances." Years of talking to Luna while she worked had given her a pretty flawless ability to do both at the same time, though she did shoot him a somewhat curious glance over her shoulder. Yep, looking. Not the reason she'd glanced over, though.

"Not to tell you where to be, but doesn't a demon in his big fancy house have something better to do than hang around his temp?" It wasn't an accusatory question; surprisingly she detected a faint hint of curiosity in her own tone. But really, what was he still doing here?

There was a flicker of something across his face, as if he were being reminded of something unpleasant before it disappeared. “Nope," was his simple reply.

“Besides, I'm not a demon... yet," he stated it almost as if it were something sour in his mouth. “Don't lump me in with those fucking idiots," he stated, pushing himself away from the car.

“I see when I'm not wanted, though. When you're finished, you can leave. Like I said before, you've access to the garage so come by whenever you can if it's going to take you a couple of days."

Really? Nothing better? Soleil felt her brows knit, just a fraction, but it only got deeper at the way he said that last part. I see when I'm not wanted. It could have just been a joke—she'd have thought it was a joke, except...

But what did she care? It wasn't like it had anything to do with her. People as rich as this guy could pay for company, if they really wanted it, and it wasn't like his personality was so bad he shouldn't have people around anyway. She'd dealt with way worse.

Feeling strangely uncomfortable, she called after him. "Where did you get this thing, anyway? If I know that kind of stuff I should be able to figure the problem out easier."

“Where else?" he retorted, but he kept walking towards the door. “Ordered it on the extranet and had it delivered. The manual is somewhere in one of those files in that office if you need it," he stated, waving in a lackadaisical manner before he left. His posture had been somewhat slumped, though.

"Sure," she mumbled.

Well, that was weird. People were weird.

Cars were so much easier to figure out. Now, about these fuel injectors...


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Soleil Nishant Character Portrait: Samael Lennox
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#, as written by Aethyia

5 Be'elza
Samael's Manor - Afternoon - Overcast
Soleil Nishant

Soleil made her way to the side door without hesitation, using the keycard thing to admit herself. She knew how systems like that worked, obviously, she just didn't bother to pay much attention. Her mind was elsewhere, and even she could sort of forgive herself for it.

After his awkward exit last time, she hadn't seen Samael again. She'd stayed another couple hours to finish her assessment of the Phaser, and then gone home to do her research and begin building the first version of what she hoped would eventually be a brand new fuel injection system, complete with a custom sensor array. Of course... it remained to actually see how he felt about that, if he was even home. She didn't want to just install it without permission, so she was sort of half-expecting to just slip in and leave a note today, inefficient as that was.

She wasn't sure how she felt about the alternative, though. The guy was kind of...

Weird was correct, if not particularly precise. She wasn't as sure he'd kill her for looking at him wrong as she had been the first day, but beyond that she didn't know what to make of him.

Not your problem, Soleil. You're here to fix the car and maybe build something you can file with the patent office. Then you're done and as long as you're alive none of the rest will matter.

Set to rights by her own reminder, she stepped into the garage, setting down her collection of parts, toolbox, and a spiral bound notebook. She'd even brought the tablet with her today, though she was loath to take it out of the house. It would be expensive and difficult to replace if something happened to it.

She crossed to the car, popping the hood again and setting it in place before rolling back the sleeves of her black shirt. "All right, P. Time for a re-check, and then we're going to cut out the dumb shit and give you some better sensors, how's that sound?"

Was it eccentric to talk to cars? Sure, but it wasn't like Soleil got much company. Luna worked and volunteered a lot and other than her, Soleil had no one really worth mention in her life. Certainly no one to talk to. So if she talked to her projects sometimes, well... who was going to care?

“That would sound as if you plan on gutting my car and turning it into something of your own personal play thing," his voice sounded as if he were right near her ear, however; Samael was leaning against the door frame near the entrance to his manor. “Did you figure out what was wrong with it?" he asked, pushing himself from the frame and making his way towards her.

He wasn't in his suit this time, and was dressed in a white button up shirt and a pair of black slacks. They still looked rather expensive for how plain they looked. The shirt was rolled up to his sleeves, though. When he approached her, he was a few feet away, almost as if he didn't want to get too close to her, though it wasn't apparent why.

It didn't matter, in a way—the hair on the back of her neck had been standing on end since his voice reached her. It was only by dint of a lot of practice that she managed to maintain her stoic visage; it felt like the was a flush half-burning under her skin already. Of course he'd show up when she was being a huge idiot.

Soleil cleared her throat, assuming a businesslike tone. "I don't," she said, then elaborated. "Intend on gutting it, I mean. Most of the parts are pretty much what you'd expect of Yrden. Good quality stuff, for anything off a factory line. But the fuel injection system is fucked." There was a beat of silence, and then she registered her own language, her eyes rounding fractionally.

Fuck. Fuckfuckfuck. Why did I say that? God motherfucking dammit I'm such a fucking idiot!

His brow arched slightly, and there was the barest hint of amusement that flickered across his face before it disappeared. “How so?" he asked, tilting his head in an inquisitive manner.

“This model has just been released; how is the fuel injection system fucked if it's new?" he continued. If he'd been at all bothered by her language, he didn't show it. He didn't even seem to mind if the curious gaze he was giving her was anything to go by.

"Sensors," she said quickly, not inclined to question it. If he didn't get offended when she swore, she'd probably survive all this. Maybe. Why did it feel like something was crawling up her spine? Was this a demon thing? A not-quite-a-demon thing? She'd never been around anyone like that for very long so she had no idea what the Hell was wrong with her.

"That is, the sensors are inadequate. When that happens, the fuel is mixed in the wrong ratios, which wears on the engine and impedes the car's performance." She walked over to the car, pointing at the offending injectors. "These use an inferior-grade abyssium alloy, which doesn't help, but the sensor design is also bad. And because they refit basically everything for the Phaser's redesign this model year, you can't even just replace it with a better system from some other existing model. So you need a completely redesigned, ground-up system that will fit in that spot and work for that engine."

She straightened further, a little frisson of excitement and dread shooting over her skin. This was the tricky part, but it was also the awesome part. "I'm building one, actually. I'm out of materials, but if you can supply the rest, I can promise you this will be fixed on your Phaser before anyone else has even understood that its an issue for theirs."

He pushed a sigh from his nose, as if he'd already suspected that was the case, or perhaps because he'd found her explanation inadequate. It seemed to be the former when he replied, “Nikolai said something similar before he disappeared." That must have been his regular mechanic, though the way he said the name sounded a little dejected.

“I told you when you were hired that you have access to everything here, and that if you needed something, to leave a note. Someone would have retrieved them for you, or had them bought. What materials do you need?" he asked, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning on the car a bit. “I can have them here within the hour if you tell me exactly what you need." His eyes narrowed slightly in Soleil's direction in an amused fashion.

"Well, since you asked." Soleil didn't exactly smile. She almost never did, with her mouth. But she did with her eyes, even if most of the time she didn't realize she was. And she was now, though she hadn't the faintest clue, too occupied moving back to the bench and tearing a page neatly out of the spiral notebook. It was a list, in tiny, neat handwriting, of exactly what she was going to need, and how much of everything, down to the gram or centimeter, just in case she had to buy it herself and needed to scrape any change she could get from the purchases.

"This will do it." She stopped so as to preserve the distance he'd initially chosen, not wanting to invade his personal space, and extended her arm forwards into the gap between them.

There was a fraction of a smile on his face before he took the page and pulled out a tablet from the drawer in the large, yellow tool kit. He tapped on it and seemed to plug in the information she'd given him, before he placed the tablet down.

“Should be here in," he paused to glance at the watch on his wrist, “an hour or less." The subtle smirk reappeared on his face as he arched a brow in her direction.

“How long will it take you?"

She hoped there wasn't a wrong answer to this question. "Uh... hm. I've got part of the thing already made, and my designs are done, but there's still the rest of the build, installation and testing, so... maybe eighteen hours?" Belatedly, she added. "That... doesn't have to be consecutive. I can leave and come back during normal business hours. But I also can do it consecutively, if you prefer."

The truth was she'd be about equally happy either way. This project was easily the most interesting thing she had going on in her life right now, and she tended to like a good all-nighter. But that'd be weird, right? To be here in this guy's workshop overnight?

“Would you rather be paid by the hour, or by the quality of your work?" he asked, tilting his head at her. “If you choose hourly, you can stay as long as you want," he continued as if to explain. “I don't care either way," he added with a light shrug of his shoulders.

“Just don't over work yourself if it's too much. Last thing I need to do is explain why there's a dead human in the garage," he murmured the last part with a light scowl on his face, as if he'd had to do it before.

Soleil snorted. "You'd have to explain that to someone? I sorta figured you could just make a phone call and the problem would disappear, no questions asked."

“It's more of a hassle to do it that way," he shrugged. “Gotta make calls to so-and-so, arrange for a time and pick up, and then the proper disposal. It's a very complicated and delicate situation."

"Bet it leaves a mess on the floor, too," she said with a small nod. "And the smell. I'll make you a deal: you pay me whatever you think my work is worth at the end of all this, and I promise not to stink up the place."

“Stains are hard to get out, but the stench is easier to deal with," he wrinkled his nose in an exaggerated fashion. “You'll get paid whatever you think your work is worth. That's how it was done before, and that's how it'll continue to be done. Trust me," he stated, taking a step closer in Soleil's direction.

“You wouldn't be able to stink up the place at all," he smirked in her direction before leaning back. “I'm assuming that once you've built the part, that you'll want to test drive it to make sure it's running smoothly, yes?"

She might have asked him what the Hell he meant by that—she kind of expected someone demon-adjacent to complain about the faint metallic scent she carried around, actually. But that didn't matter half a second later, because he was asking her if she would want to test drive his fucking Yrden Phaser.

"Yes please," she said, surprised and a little awkward at her own obvious enthusiasm. It wasn't like her. Clearing her throat, she shuttered her expression and tried to act like she wasn't flipping a lid on the inside. "That is, uh. It would be prudent to make sure things are working so I don't leave you with another faulty part."

Test driving a Phaser, though. Wait until Luna heard about this.

The corner of his lip twitched faintly before he shook his head. “Hm, I get the feeling you don't get to do it often," he stated, walking to the office area of his garage. He entered it, rummaged for something, and came back out.

“Since it's going to be a while before the necessary materials will arrive, do you want to take last year's model for a test run? Nikolai said it was fine, but if what you're saying about this year's model is true, perhaps you'd like to take a second look at last years' model." He arched an amused brow in her direction as he held out what looked to be the key to the car he was talking about.

Motherfucker. What was she supposed to say to that? Soleil tried to contain herself, she really did, but she was staring a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity down the barrel here, and she wasn't stupid enough to suppose that it'd come around again if she refused. But...

But people didn't just do nice things for Soleil Nishant. Not without some kind of catch, and she was immediately suspicious, too, wary of the offer. These things were worth tens of thousands of credits, never mind regular people dollars. And he was just... going to let her drive it? For no reason? She didn't buy the thing about comparison for a moment, and didn't think he really thought that, since she'd just told him the engine was a complete redesign from the last one.

Her eyes moved from the key in his hand up to his eyes, and she tilted her head to the side, trying to wrangle her emotions under control. "You're really just going to let me drive your hovercar? No catch?" Her voice was flat again, betraying nothing of the heady cocktail of giddiness and wariness washing around in her head.

“The only catch is that I tag a long," he replied, still holding out the key in her direction. “If there's something wrong with it, I want you to tell me about it. That is the only catch. On whatever dignity I have left as a former archangel, that is it," he stated it as if he were making a promise, but there was a strange glint in his eyes. They seemed slightly hazed over.

“If your work with the current project is satisfactory, and if there happens to be a problem with the one you're about to test drive, I might consider hiring you to fix that problem as well."

Former archangel? She couldn't tell if he was joking or not, but she didn't think so. He seemed too serious for that. Honestly, though—somehow that made her more sure. It wasn't that he was a former archangel, presumably fallen now. She didn't know how to make heads or tales of that. It was the fact that he'd been so... frank? Was that the word? He'd just come right out and said something like that, as part of some kind of weird promise to her about his intentions here.

Soleil blinked slowly, then nodded and reached out to take the key in his hand. She was careful not to touch him, still wary and unsure exactly what he wanted out of all this. She didn't understand why, even if he'd gone some way to assuaging her about the fact that it wasn't some kind of trap. Why let her do this? Why come with?

"You're really weird," she said flatly, but it wasn't an insult. Just the only way she had of expressing her confusion at... pretty much everything about him. At her own reactions to him. He still had her on edge, in a way she didn't get.

But still... she was about to drive one of the best hovercars on the market. It was hard to care about her own hangups when that was in the picture. Already familiar with the garage, she hit the automatic opener, trying not to let her step get too springy on the way to the older Phaser, where she clicked the lock open with a musical trill of beeping sounds. The doors, both vertical, popped open like a pair of wings lifting, nothing more than a hydraulic whisper to give them away.

Oh this was so cool. The interior was all buttery white leather, though the outside was a gunmetal grey. She couldn't suppress the tiny twitch to her lips.

"You might want to strap in, Samael. I drive cars like they were built to be driven. Accurate testing, and all that."

And this one was just begging for speed.

“Don't worry your pretty little head about me, I'm built to be durable," he stated, already walking towards the other side of the car. “Accurate testing or not," he began, glancing over the car in her direction, “you won't be pulled over for how fast you're going. Feel free to let it fly." There was a faint flicker of amusement on his face before it disappeared, and he ducked inside.

He didn't even bother to buckle his seatbelt, and instead, leaned the seat back a bit so that he was all but laying down in his spot. “A promise is a promise, though. If something feels the slightest bit off, tell me about it. I don't need my eyes open for that," he stated, pulling on a pair of shades.

Was he seriously taking a nap right now? What a fucking weirdo.

With a small shake of her head, Soleil buckled herself in—unusually hardy for a human or not, she didn't want to risk damage from a sudden stop or something. She didn't want to risk damaging her employer, either, but that was his business, she supposed.

She started the engine, head cocked and eyes closed to get the best sense she could of the sound, and hummed. It was hard to tell if that was a little hitch in the turnover or she was just imagining things. Better to do the whole road test and see for sure.

Guiding the car out of the garage, she suppressed a grin. Driving hover was just an odd experience; she'd only done it a few times before, back when she'd used to work for Motor Pete. As in, did all his work for him and got paid a tenth if she was lucky. That'd been the only way to do it, though, as a teenager and before she had her own garage. That tenth of his business had put Luna through high school, and bought them most of the house.

Traffic was slow at this time of day, but she waited until they were out of Lux and onto the Outer Ring freeway regardless before she really let go, easing the Phaser to its top speed smoothly, careful to evaluate for any difficulty. It was a manual, and the gearshift seemed a little sticky, something she noted but didn't mind for now.

Glancing down once at Samael to confirm that he did indeed not seem to be paying attention, she let the slow smile spread across her face, biting her lip to suppress—she wasn't sure what. Giddy laughter, maybe. Soleil didn't do giddy, but then she took a turn at a hundred fifty in a hovercar on an empty freeway and reconsidered.

It was blowing past the parked police vehicle that did it. A soft ha escaped her, and she was half ready to be chased, but just like Samael had said, they didn't follow. "Not that they could catch us anyway," she murmured under her breath, still biting down on the smile.

There was a slight huffing sound coming from Samael. “They really couldn't even if they tried. It's one of the reasons why they won't chase us because the cruisers they use will only go so fast. A bit of a tip if you're ever on the run from them," he stated lightly, shifting in his spot with a large grin on his face for some reason.

“If you really want them to chase us, just to have that feeling, I can give them a call and see," he almost sounded serious. “But how is it driving so far?"

Soleil didn't quite jump, but it was a near thing. "I thought you were asleep," she said, the tone of it vaguely accusatory, though exactly what she was accusing him of even she didn't know. Still, it was embarrassing to be acting like an excitable child with someone else around.

The latter question was at least an opportunity to reorient herself, though some part of her wanted to ask about the earlier one. "Uh, yeah, actually. It's pretty minor, but your gearshift is sticky. I kind of want to check the gearbox. When I'm not shifting, it drives like a—uh. It drives really well." Thank fuck she had a good excuse to keep her eyes on the road, because otherwise she might have got herself even more tangled up.

He snorted softly and lifted the shades off of his face for a second. “You assumed I was asleep because I was relaxed?" he stated first, seemingly amused by it. “You've a lot to learn if you assume people are sleeping just because they put on glasses and lean their chairs back," he added, but he didn't seem to be chastising her or anything. He pursed his lips together, though, when she'd mentioned wanting to check the gearbox.

“We'll see about that after you finish the first project. If everything is good, I'll consider rehiring you in a few weeks," he stated, pulling the glasses back down on his face, though he was still grinning.

"I didn't mean right this second," she mumbled, feeling a little lurch of awkwardness. She hadn't meant to presume anything, just... well, she saw a problem with something mechanical and wanted to fix it.

She took the next turn a little sharper, shooting him a sidelong glance before flicking her eyes back to the road. He didn't have to be so smug about things, after all.

“Of course you didn't; we're in a car. You couldn't check the gearbox while we're moving," he replied in a facetious manner. The grin on his face had not disappeared, but it did smooth a little.

“I'll give you a credit to look at the fucking doorbell, though," he added, muttering something beneath his breath about someone mentioning it needed to be fixed.

She snorted. Was it weird to think a fallen/demon/whatever he was was mostly just a smarmy fucker? Still, it wasn't like she minded. Smarmy was a personality type she could deal with.

Maybe this would work out okay, after all.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Soleil Nishant Character Portrait: Lunaria Nishant Character Portrait: Samael Lennox
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26 Be'elza
The Pits - Mid Afternoon - Rain
Samael Lennox

The things that Samael did for talent were not many. He didn't chase after it; didn't horde it, either, but this. Coming to the Pits just to hire a mechanic? This was a whole new level of wanting something and coming to get it himself. And it wasn't necessarily something that he wanted. It was a person with considerable skill for all things mechanical; he would admit that much. That was only a small reason he wanted Soleil to be his mechanic, though. The other reason was those emotions. Specifically those happy ones. Even though she hadn't shown it on her face, she was definitely feeling it.

He wondered if she would feel those things so freely when he showed up at her doorstep to hire her? He certainly hoped so. He pat down his breast pocket to make sure he was still carrying the two cards he needed, and shifted the gear to park. It would be out of place, the Phaser, but it's not like he cared. It's not like it would be in his possession much longer, anyway. Not with what he had planned. He stepped out of it, not bothering to hit the lock button on it, and made his way towards the building that Soleil lived in.

It looked like a piece of shit, honestly.

Like someone had just smashed two shacks together and considered it livable. He supposed it was enough for Soleil to work out of, but he felt his brows furrow together and shook his head. He was almost afraid to knock on the door. It might fall off even if he was gentle with it. Still, he lifted his hand up and knocked as gently as he could on the door. He blinked mildly when the door opened, and it was not Soleil that he was looking at.

“Who the fuck are you?" he asked, tilting his head slightly at the woman. She had some facial features that resembled Soleil's, but other than that, her coloring was completely different. Where Soleil was dark-haired, fair and deep violet blue eyes, the woman before him seemed to have platinum blonde hair and glacier blue eyes.

“Uh, I should be asking you that," the woman replied, but he could sense that she was tense, and perhaps somewhat wary of him.

“I'm looking for Soleil Nishant. This was her given address," he simply replied. People didn't usually talk to him like that, and the first person who had was Soleil. Given the similarities, Samael could only surmise they were related somehow. Cousins? Sisters? He didn't fucking know. Didn't really care. She raised a brow at him, though.

“She's in the garage," she finally replied, opening the door wider to let him through, and pointed towards another. He stepped through, and made his way towards the other door, hearing the other woman muttering something like, “stupid demons." She wasn't entirely wrong; demons weren't exactly Samael's favorite, either. He had, maybe, two at most that he actually liked, and probably another one that he tolerated. Crowley, though... he was a different story altogether.

“Nishant," he called out as he stepped through the door, glancing over the shitshow of a garage. Maybe she'd move in to his place and be his live-in mechanic? It wouldn't hurt to ask, he supposed.

Shitshow though it was, it was at least neat. Everything had its place on a wall or shelf, and at the moment Soleil was perched on a stool, long black jacket thrown over the far side of the workbench and her sleeves rolled to her elbows. She was leaning over some makeshift apparatus apparently designed to magnify her view of what was underneath it; it had the distinct air of the homemade. She was, at the moment, radiating a sort of contentment as she worked on the small parts under her fingers. It wasn't the fierce sort of happiness from last time, being something much less visceral, but it was oddly powerful nevertheless.

At the sound of her surname, she blinked, though it seemed to take her a moment to register that she was being addressed. Only then did she lift her head, blinking a second time before her eyes rounded. "S-Samael? What are you doing in my garage?" Minus the slight stutter on his name, her voice sounded as collected as ever, but her emotions surged, a strange mix of them: confusion, mostly, some worry, and a distinct spike of... interest? Something between the happiness from last time and the content from just now, edged in a way it was hard to identify.

“Isn't it obvious?" he stated, arching a brow in her direction. He could hear a soft snort coming from behind him, and a quick glance over his shoulder confirmed that it was the woman from earlier, leaning on the door frame. She didn't say anything, though, and merely glanced at the two of them. “I'm here to see if a certain someone would like a more stable job," he stated, turning his attention back towards Soleil. Of course, there were other things he was going to offer her, however; she had to accept the damn thing, first.

Something told him that she wasn't going to turn him down, though. Strangely, he felt the corners of his lips turn up somewhat in a small smile. Her emotions were just so easy to read, and even if she was confused, he knew exactly what it was that she was feeling. She was happy to see him, although he wasn't going to question why. No one was ever that happy to see him; not even Leraje. Then again, he wasn't even sure if Leraje could feel happy about something.

It seemed to take her a moment to realize his meaning; her hands froze and she set down the parts she was working on. "Wait, but—I haven't even finished this yet. How could you possibly know you want to hire me full-time on just a—a prototype and some guesses about your other car?" That giddy happiness spiked, but she seemed almost to clamp down on it that time, a lurking suspicion mixing deep blue into the vivid red-violet of the other feeling.

Oddly enough it didn't even feel directed at him, exactly.

Even if it wasn't directed at him, he could understand the suspicion. Why would a Fallen come all the way out to the Pits to hire some mechanic? He shrugged his shoulders, though, as if he were simply making a decision on the whim. He wasn't.

“Because guesses or not," he began, taking a step in her direction, “prototype or not, you've identified a problem by simply looking at the car for less than an hour. The fact that you built a prototype by scratch isn't a feat most mechanics can do. You're talented, and it's quite obvious."

“Talent like yours shouldn't be wasted, and from what I can see," he paused to do a quickover of the place, “you are wasting away without a chance to actually shine. It would be a waste. There are a couple of things you will need to do if you accept the offer, though. They are nothing to worry about, though. Just signing some papers, and you'll be issued a few things as well."

Her brow knit just faintly; she turned around on the stool and hooked her toes over the bottom bar, regarding him thoughtfully. The confusion was back, though in a more general form now. Confusion about him, no doubt, not merely his presence here or the offer itself. But there was something else underneath it, something as yet so small and subtle she probably hadn't even noticed it herself. Curiosity, yes, but also a wanting of a strange kind. Exactly what kind of wanting it was, she made clear when she spoke next.

"I don't get you," she said bluntly. "You don't make any sense to me at all." She shook her head. "What's on the paperwork? I don't know if you deal in souls or not but mine isn't on the table." There was no accusation in her words, just a flat—though perhaps some would read it as defiant—statement of fact, underwritten by a firm resolution he could feel.

Samael scoffed slightly, rolling his eyes a bit and feigning a slightly hurt look. He could hear the other woman snort softly but he kept his attention on Soleil. “I don't want your soul; I want your skill. I'm not quite in the soul-dealing business. Nothing I could gain from it, really," he replied in a nonchalant fashion. Sure, he was supposed to gather souls for Bael, but if he took her soul, then he wouldn't have a talented mechanic. He needed his mechanic to make sure his cars were running as they should be.

“The only thing on the paper work of note is," he began, pulling out two cards. He'd had them made a couple of days ago with her name on it so she could use them. Of course, his signature was at the bottom so they wouldn't give her shit about it. And it would also let whoever she was buying from know that they were getting his money. People wanted that regardless of where it came from.

“You are to return these at the end of the contract whenever you decide to terminate. Think of it as a month-to-month contract. This first card," he pushed the red colored one towards her first, “is for materials only and for the cars. You can buy whatever you need to build or fix whatever is wrong with the cars that you'll be in charge of."

“The second one," he pushed the black one towards her, “is for personal use. Buy whatever the fuck you want with it, I don't care. Think of it as your payment, however; it's not your actual payment. You'll get paid a set credit amount each month, and thensome if something needs to be fixed."

“You're kidding, right?" the other woman stated, and there was a faint hint of incredulous disbelief emanating from her. “There has got to be a catch because shit like this doesn't just happen to us."

“I'm sorry, but who the fuck are you? Are you two related?" Sam asked, genuinely interested. She didn't look like Soleil's secretary, though she could have been for all he knew.

“I'm her little sister, Luna."

Ah, that made sense.

“Oh," he stated, shrugging his shoulders. “Well, Luna, no, there isn't a catch. I'm offering your sister a well-paid job, as... disbelieving as that may be."

"You're seriously just... trusting me not to clean out your bank account?" Soleil blinked at him dully, then exchanged a glance with her sister. "I mean I get that there's probably more in there than I could dream of spending or whatever, but still. For all you know I could just go on a huge bender and take all of my nonexistent friends."

There was a touch of embarrassment in the last part, but she didn't show it much, only offering a slight shrug. She seemed to readily believe him about the soul thing.

That actually pulled a light chuckle from him.

“Trust me... you wouldn't be able to spend it all in one go. Even if your nonexistent friends joined you on your bender. You can take your sister with you on your spending spree, but still... the two of you really couldn't clean out my account. You could try, but..." he trailed off with a light shrug of his shoulders. It was partially the reason he gave his mechanic a personal card. He had so much money it wasn't even funny. He was quite certain they wouldn't be able to spend it all in their lifetime. Maybe if they had at least eight or ten, but by then he'd just continue to accumulate more.

“Oh, and one more thing," he began, pulling the keys out to the Phaser out in the street, “that's yours for as long as you're employeed with me." He tossed the keys in Soleil's direction. “You're allowed to customize it to however you want. It'll only get tossed once you terminate your employement." He wouldn't have a use for it if she did decide to quit for some reason, and it wasn't like he didn't have a spare Phaser around. It was last years' model, after all.

"You—I—you absolute idiot." It would seem he'd finally put a crack in that stoic facade of hers. "I can't just take—that's—that car is worth like ten of my house." She gestures around her to the garage, which, tidiness and good upkeep aside is very clearly in The Pits. "Also twenty bucks says the first wise guy to see it breaks the window trying to steal it. He'll fail because the wiring in these is complicated as hell, but he'll still have busted the window."

And yet for all that, she clearly wasn't unhappy with the gesture.

Samael took a step back, clearly surprised. Even if she wasn't unhappy with the gesture, it kind of caught him off guard. Luna stifled a laugh, it seemed, as a hand was brought up to her hand to cover her mouth. Samael, however, blinked and tilted his head in confusion.

“Can't you just... keep it in here or something?" he stated, glancing around the garage. It looked big enough to at least house it.

“We only have enough room for one car, and it usually isn't something like that Phaser. Plus, Sol is right, that thing sticks out like a sore thumb in this kind of neighborhood. As... grateful as we are about the gesture, maybe you should just keep it at your place," it sounded like a suggestion all the same.

“Fine. I'll keep it at my place, and you can stop by whenever you want to use it or tinker with it or whatever it is you do," he replied, waving his hand in a nonchalant fashion. “You also still have that key card so you still have access to the house," he added. It would be nice if she would tell him when she was there. He enjoyed her company. Perhaps a little too much. He glanced in Luna's direction, arched a brow, and turned back towards Soleil.

“She can come too if she wants. I don't give a fuck."

Soleil looked back up at him, then, the corner of her lip ticked up just the tiniest bit. The flavor of the happiness was different this time. Rather than a giddy spike on the senses, hard and sharp, it was a warmer thing, almost... soft? It made her eyes look warmer, too, the violet more prominent than the blue.

"In that case... I accept."

That was new.

He felt the corners of his lips tilt upwards as well as he placed one arm behind his back, and the other across his chest with a closed fist. He bent forward in an old bow, almost reminicent to when butlers bowed in their greetings, even if he was no butler.

“Then Soleil Nishant, you are hereby under my employ. If anyone gives you shit, just say my name, show them one of those cards, and they'll back off," though he knew a certain someone wouldn't necessarily do it. He just hoped they didn't have to deal with that guy.

"Uh..." She cleared her throat, and he was hit rather suddenly by a wave of embarrassment, that same warm feeling, a touch of panic, and—there it was. A little subtle needle of attraction. There was even a tiny hint of color on her cheeks. "Sure. Whatever you say, Samael."

His grin widened.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Samael Lennox Character Portrait: The Nine Circles
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9 Abaddonus
Samael's Manor - Mid Morning - Chilly
Samael Lennox

Sam, you know I do. Why would you even ask a silly question like that?

He could almost feel the way her breath had ghosted over his ear, warm and soft like she had been. Reluctantly, Samael opened his eyes, removing his arm that he'd used as a barrier to cover them. Of all times to remember just the sound of her voice, why now? He'd done so well forgetting it, and even the way she had looked: sun-colored hair with eyes the color of chestnuts. There was a time when he'd thought nothing else looked more grand, more beautiful than the way her eyes lit up when she was happy about something.

It's not like that, Sam. I just didn't want anything to happen to you!

She'd tried defending it, of course, but had he listened? No, because he didn't want to. He'd seen all he needed to, heard all he needed to, and something uncomfortable clenched in his chest. Sighing heavily, he pulled himself up from his couch. It was likely morning, but he couldn't tell. All of the blinds had been closed, and he didn't want to let any of that light in. Maybe Leraje was in, though? He was a crafty demon, and often more times than Samael could count, had let himself into the manor without so much as being noticed. Samael supposed it was because Leraje didn't like to be noticed. Not that he blamed him, really. It was easier to move, to be forgotten.

At least Leraje wasn't Lilith. Samael couldn't understand how or why they were even paired to begin with. He was almost certain it wasn't by choice, but they at least seemed comfortable with each other. Releasing a heavy sigh, Samael rolled out his shoulders and ran a hand through his loose hair before tying it back with a band. He glanced at the table next to the couch he'd been on, and pursed his lips together, retrieving the glasses there and slipping them on. He'd lost a contact last night which meant that both of his eyes were now his naturally mismatched ones.

But you're the only one I know who has eyes like that, Sam. They're beautiful!

He wasn't so sure about that.

As he headed downstairs, a flicker of a presence made itself known on the periphery of his senses, like a tiny blip on a radar or the smallest noise in a quiet forest. The minuscule flare of aura was likely intentional—Leraje was making him aware of his presence now that he'd begun to move.

Following it brought him to the kitchen, where a young-looking man with square-framed glasses was making himself a bowl of sugary cereal, pouring in a generous amount of milk, most of which would end up down the sink when he was finished, and settling himself at the small kitchen table. Rather than a suit or anything, he wore a shirt with a tan sweater-vest and neat denims that sat close to his slender frame but not right against it. Thin, spidery fingers gripped the spoon; his hair was a slightly disheveled dark shag.

When he glanced up at Samael, though, his grey eyes were sharp enough to cut.

"Samael." Leraje's diction was precise, but he had a detached, disaffected tone, like he was perpetually bored.

“Leraje," Samael replied, mimicking Leraje's tone of voice. It wasn't too hard to do, but getting it just right wasn't worth the extra effort. “You know, you could just live in the basement if you wanted to, or the attic," he stated, making his way towards his fridge. Samael knew they didn't really need to eat quite in the same way as the humans did, but he supposed there was a sort of refinement to it. A taste that he enjoyed beyond understanding.

“It's not like I'd even notice you were there," but Samael knew that was a lie. He would notice if anyone was in his manor. It wasn't their aura, or the sounds they might make, but rather, his home had a lonely feeling to it. He was the only one who occupied it unless Soleil was over to work on the cars. He had missed her the first couple of times. Maybe he should get her a phone? He'd have thought she'd buy one with the card he'd given her, but she hadn't used it, yet.

“What's new in the market?" he decided to ask.

Leraje lifted a spoonful of cereal to his mouth and ate it, the soft crunching sound audible in the quiet of the kitchen. As far as demons went, he was not one of the most intimidating, with an unobtrusive presence and an even more unobtrusive appearance. He worked directly for Bael though, which said something about his competence. Bael tended to go through underlings quickly due to a foul temper, but as far as Samael could tell, Leraje had never been in danger of demotion or dismissal.

At the question, he pointed with his spoon towards a small paper bag on the counter next to him. "Depends," he said in the same tone, apparently having ignored Samael's attempt to mimic it. "Do you want anesthetic, euphoric, or hallucinogenic?"

Samael frowned slightly at the choices. He didn't need anything to numb any pain, and he certainly didn't want a hallucinogenic. He didn't want to take a chance at accidentally seeing her. It would have been better if he could just forget, have his memory wiped completely and have a new slate to work with. That, unfortunately, wasn't how things worked. He pushed a heavy sigh through his nose as he grabbed a few eggs from the drawer.

“Don't you have anything to make memories fuzzy?" he wasn't really in the mood for anything that would make him happy. He just wanted to forget, even if it was temporary.

"Ah, amnesic. I was lumping that with anesthetic, but if you want to get specific, yes." Leraje took another unhurried bite of cereal, setting the spoon down on the napkin lined up next to the bowl and then reaching for the paper bag. "Amnesic, dulling, hm." His eyes narrowed slightly as he peered into it, then quickly withdrew two blister packs of pills. One had several flat-ish, ovular blue ones, and the other had circular white.

"One of each. Should shut off memory function for a while, and the baseline mood is nothing too euphoric. Your senses will be dulled, but no hallucinations. I've calculated both effects to last a couple of hours and end at about the same time, but let me know if that needs adjusting, or if you experience any side effects." He gave the blister packs a deft toss; they landed closer to Samael with a soft rattle.

“Alright, then," Samael replied as he glanced at the packs. “Guess I'll try them after breakfast," he stated, grabbing the packs and shoving them in his pocket for now. He grabbed one of the pans, glanced at it, and then towards the stove. He didn't cook. Usually something was prepared for him ahead of time. What the Hell was he supposed to do with the pan and the eggs? He'd seen it be done before, watched as some of the chefs came and went, but he'd never actually cooked anything on his own.

He knew how to turn the stove on, at least, and so he set it to medium high and placed the pan on one of the burners. He placed the eggs on top, after that, and turned towards Leraje. “That's how they do it, right?" he asked, slightly confused. He wasn't sure it was, but maybe Leraje knew?

"No," Leraje said simply, turning his attention back to his cereal. "You got another human, right? Why not ask her?" His tone was utterly disinterested, still, and he returned his attention to his cereal.

“Because I didn't hire her to be my fucking chef," Samael replied, pursing his lips in Leraje's direction. “You could at least try and be a little helpful. Other than with these, at least," he added, patting the pocket with the packs in them.

“Fine, be unhelpful," he sighed, turning the stove off and grabbing the nearby tablet. He'd just order something from one of the nearby restaurants. He'd get it within a reasonable time, and then he could stop thinking of her. He furrowed his brows deeply. He almost wondered what life would have been like if she had gone with him. If she'd Fallen like she had said she would. Would life be this pathetic? Would they even still be alive?

Samael had fought in the War, of course, but he wondered which side he'd have been on. Would he still have been friends with... he halted his thoughts before they could go any further, deciding that it was best to just ignore the faint twinge in his chest. “Other than bringing these with you, anything else you brought along? News, maybe?" Samael asked, knowing full well that the only news he'd get is if Bael wanted to see him for some reason.

Leraje shrugged, unbothered as always by any of Samael's moods or how he expressed them. He finished off his cereal and stood, dumping the remaining milk down the sink before putting both bowl and spoon into the dishwasher. "Nothing worth bothering about, no. I just came by to see if you'd test the product." It was hardly a question worth asking; Samael always did, and Leraje continued to develop newer and more exotic highs.

"If that one goes well I'll be combining the capsules. Lilith thinks I should call it 'Oblivion.' For the moment it's N-104 and A-12. You can tell me what suits."

Samael snorted softly. Lilith would call it that, however; he would admit that it was fitting. Shrugging his shoulders, he took a seat where Leraje had been and leaned into the chair. “It's fine for a name. She names everything and it still sells like those hot cakes they sell around the corner of Eternity Avenue," he never understood why they would name a street that. It was so... cliché. And honestly it was stupid.

Leraje wrinkled his nose faintly. "Save the judgement on that for after you've tried it. Speaking of..." He bypassed the paper bag and went to a leather messenger one instead, settled on a different, empty chair.

Withdrawing a small box of medical grade gloves, a capped needle, a syringe, and a collection tube, he rolled his sleeves up to his elbows and scrubbed down at the sink before snapping the gloves on. "Your arm, please. I'm collecting befores as well as afters for this one—I'm beginning to think you've tested enough of these that you're no longer a baseline for what other people can expect, even if your resistances should be weaker by default."

“Oh? I do love a good poking," he stated, rolling his eyes a bit. He obliged nonetheless, and rolled up his sleeves, flexing out his left arm a bit. Once he was finished flexing his arm, he moved it in Leraje's direction.

“Ready when you are," he stated, allowing a faint smirk to appear on his lips.

If Leraje caught onto the implication in the words, he gave absolutely no indication of it. He was actually somewhat similar to Soleil in the sense that he rarely allowed much of anything to ruffle his appearance. The difference was, he wasn't positively swimming with emotions under the façade. In fact, it arguably wasn't a façade at all. He just... didn't feel things strongly at all. Most demons didn't, unless it was anger or lust or amusement or something of a darker bent like that. Certainly they were not known for their pure, simple happiness or embarrassment. But Leraje didn't even seem to have those things—it was like he just never felt anything much. An emotional desert, as it were.

He tilted his head slightly at Samael's arm, then confidently slid the needle in, finding a vein without any trouble and drawing a small ampoule's worth of blood before removing the needle. The wound healed over immediately, rendering bandages or anything of the kind moot. Apparently even the needles had to be coated in a very mild dose of poison to blunt the healing factor enough to even take blood in the first place.

"Done," he said flatly, containing the needle in a plastic case and tossing it in Samael's disposal bin for specialized recycling. The ampoule went back into his bag. "You want anything else before I go?"

Samael bit down on his tongue from what he really wanted to say.

Stay a little longer.

“No, I'm good with what I have. I'll make sure to record any changes and let you know what the effects were, if any."

He would be out, hopefully, for a good few hours, maybe the whole day, if he was lucky. Anything to kill what he felt right now. Anything.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Soleil Nishant Character Portrait: Samael Lennox
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Samael's House - Evening - Overcast
Soleil Nishant


Soleil took a step back from the engine, feeling a sense of immediate satisfaction swell in her chest. Her fuel injection system was finally done, fitted, and the only thing left was the test drive. Dusting her hands off, she settled them on her hips, just where her vest landed, and expelled a breath. It was good work. She was confident in it, especially since she'd run a few preliminary tests already. All that remained was to make sure it drove like it was supposed to, and she'd lay good money down that it would.

In a way, she was laying good money down. She didn't know what Samael would do if her custom system didn't work, but she was willing to bet it would involve the removal of her from his payroll, not to mention that card she'd never used.

The thought of her employer brought a small frown to her face. She hadn't seen him since he hired her. It shouldn't be surprising, really. That associate of his had made amply clear that this was an employment contract, and not really the amiable kind even, but... then why had he gone to all the trouble of coming out to her house to hire her? He'd done that after letting her test drive a car that she now kind of almost owned, and yet he was never around. She'd stopped announcing herself on arrival after a while, feeling too pathetic calling out to an empty house, or one whose occupant didn't care to respond. She wasn't sure which.

It didn't matter, right?

Well anyway, she should at least leave him a note or something. She had the keys and ostensibly permission to test drive, but really he should be the one to do it. She didn't feel comfortable taking the car out without him knowing about it anyway. If he wrote back and told her to specifically, she would, but she wasn't going to take that kind of chance.

Suddenly feeling a lot less pleased at her accomplishment, she crossed to the tablet on the wall and started typing out the message.

I'm done with the install. Did some tests, everything looks good. I didn't want to test drive until you'd had the chance, but if you'd prefer I do, let me know. I'll be back tomorrow and check the messages first thing.


She sent it, then turned to start gathering her things to leave.

“Leaving so soon?" Samael called out, his voice laced with curiosity. “And here I thought you wanted to test drive it when you were finished," he continued, moving into Soleil's field of vision. He wasn't dressed as crisp as he usually was, just donning a white button up with sleeves rolled to his elbows. His grey pants were more in the style of jogging pants, and he was wearing sandals, of all things. His hair had been tied back, but he was wearing a pair of square-rimmed glasses.

“Is it completed, though?" he asked, arching a brow in her direction.

Soleil paused in the act of donning her coat, glad her back was to him so the surprise on her face would remain unseen. It was weird, how he could just sneak up on her like that. Sometimes he was a giant flare on her sense for the unusual, and sometimes she didn't notice him at all. She wasn't sure if her instincts were buggy or what, but it was really jarring when there was nothing and then suddenly he all but slapped her in the face with his presence.

"I just messaged you," she said flatly, resuming her movement and lifting her hair away from beneath her jacket so it would fall over the outside instead of being trapped between layers. She needed to cut it; it was far too long, even if the style she kept it in made it look shorter.

Ensuring her expression was normal, she slowly turned around to face him. It was a weird mix of relief at no longer showing him her back and... something else she couldn't identify. Some weird little feeling that had all kinds of odd edges. And at least one distinct jab of annoyance at herself. She shouldn't be thinking that he looked really good in glasses. She shouldn't be thinking about how he looked or acted at all. Lilith's warning echoed across her head. He didn't want to be friends. He didn't have any reason to want anything from her but her skills. And that was how it should be.

So all this extra stuff had to stop.

"I'm confident it'll work. Besides, shouldn't you test drive it? It'll be the first 2442 Phaser on the road that works like it's supposed to."

Samael huffed slightly and shook his head. “It's fine if I'm the passenger. It's easier to tell how smoothly it'll go if someone else is driving it," he stated, waving a hand in a nonchalant fashion in front of his face. “You're the one who fixed it, after all. If you test drive it first, then you'll be able to find out if there's something else wrong, or if it's driving how it's supposed to be. I don't typically drive it, anyway," he murmured softly, furrowing his brows slightly as he did.

“Plus," he stated as if he'd suddenly remembered something. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a phone, one of the newer models from the looks of it. “This will be yours if all goes well. That way if something happens or is needed, I can call you or message you. It appears you haven't bought a phone for yourself yet, and you're going to need one."

Her eyes flicked briefly down to the device, and then back up to him. "Why are you doing this?" she asked, bluntly but not harshly. "I get that you want people who have the skills working on your stuff. But you've seen my house. You know I'd have jumped at this job if you'd offered me half as much, or had some goon drive out there and do it for you." She tilted her head at him, scouring his face for any hint as to his thoughts.

"People aren't kind. Not to me. But you—" She cut herself off, shaking her head. Why was she asking him this, anyway? She shouldn't be looking a gift horse in a mouth. She should be grabbing as much as she could while it was on offer, and not for a moment trusting that it would be on offer tomorrow.

Soleil dropped her eyes away, the murmur that followed at once involuntary and something she needed to say. "You're weird." It was the only way she could put the point she really wanted to get at.

You're kind, and I don't understand why. It scares me because I want to believe in it.

“Weird?" Samael stated, arching a brow in her direction and folding his arms over his chest. “I've been called many, many things, weird among them," he continued, shrugging his shoulders before dropping his arms. “And you're right about one thing," he stated, shaking his head.

“To answer your question, though, think of it this way. I've seen your place, and I've seen the lifestyle you and your sister are living. As your employer, it is my responsiblity to keep you employed and alive. I've told you before, you're skilled, perhaps moreso than the common people who would have no qualms with taking what I would have offered to them. I intend to keep that skill for as long as possible. In order to do that, I need to be able to get ahold of you if something goes wrong, and I need you to come fix it."

“Correct me if I'm wrong, but I did not see a phone at your place, and it doesn't even look like you own a car. Well, you do now, but still, that's beside the point. If you don't want what I've given you, just say the word and we can come up with a different contract, but I mostly do these things because..." he paused, something locking in his jaw before he narrowed his eyes slightly.

“That's something you don't need to concern yourself with. Any other questions or comments?"

"Right," she said softly, unable to quite clamp down on a wave of... was that disappointment? What reason did she have to be disappointed? It was like that Lilith woman had said, after all. She was here to do a job, and honestly that didn't require her to understand his reasons or know anything about him at all. Maybe he had weirdly-kind tendencies in there somewhere, but aside from the occasional random expression of them, she shouldn't expect—

Well she shouldn't have expectations. He didn't want to be her fucking friend, and she needed to get a goddamn grip on herself before she did something stupid, like show her idiotic human emotions on her face. She needed to remember her place, or whatever those stupid billboards in the Pits reminded everyone to do.

"I guess not. You said you wanted to be a passenger for this?" She jerked her chin towards the car, trying to force her feelings down and out. Empty shell, Soleil. That was the way to handle things in the moment. Just. Stop. Feeling.

He regarded her with an even stare, as if he were trying to figure something out. “Yes," he replied simply, moving towards the other side of the Phaser. “You know the drill, they won't stop you if you push past the speed limit. Don't even know why they make those things," he muttered the last part almost to himself.

“Alright, Soleil, she's all yours," he stated, patting the hood of the car before getting in.

"Sure," she said, trying to summon up some of her former enthusiasm. It was still cool, getting to drive the thing, and with her own system fully installed, no less. If she worked at it, maybe she could just... think about that. It wasn't like any of the rest mattered anyway. This was a project she'd poured dozens of work hours into in total, a brand-new thing she could probably apply to patent. Maybe if she could corner that niche market, she could—

Shaking her head, Soleil slid into the driver's seat, closing the vertical door with a click. The car started smoothly, lifting into the air smooth and easy. The garage door opened to accommodate their exit, and she guided it back towards the Outer Ring.

"Have you..." she cut herself off, then shook her head. "Never mind."

“No, no, what were you going to ask? Have I what?" he asked, glancing in Soleil's direction.

Soleil pursed her lips. It could be useful information, but it was also kind of a window into something personal, and she wasn't sure she was comfortable with that. Still... she needed to do something, and getting what dirt she could get was the first step. It wasn't like she was swimming in potential sources of it, either.

"I was going to ask if you'd heard of a guy named Zinoviev. A cambion. It's not like I think you all know each other, but..." She shrugged. "He's a nuisance and I need intel if I'm ever going to do anything about him." Maybe she could just leave it at that. He had no reason to care about her life, after all, so why would he ask anything further?

“Zinoviev? Oh, you mean Crowley's boy," Samael replied, his brows furrowing slightly. He made a slightly disgruntled noise before shaking his head. “He's all bark and no bite, that one," he continued, sighing softly, “but he's working his father's business. Which means he's likely extorting people who don't have the money to pay his ridiculous fees. Even I know that isn't the best way to acquire souls."

“Wait, how do you know Alastor? You said he's a nuisance, is he in charge of your neighborhood?" he asked, almost as if he were slightly curious and... there was something else there in his tone of voice, but it was hard to know what it was, exactly.

"I wish he was after our souls," she muttered, picking up speed on the on-ramp. So far the engine was handling everything smooth as butter, purring softly and shifting as easily as she could ask for. It really was a top-of-the-line car. Flicking the indicator, she made a flowing lane-change in front of a wheeled vehicle and accelerated further. "He's a piece of shit and I have to figure out how to handle it, is all."

Samael's brows knit together, and he pursed his lips together. It almost looked like he was pouting, but perhaps that wasn't the case? Our? What is he after, exactly?" Samael asked, seemingly intrigued, now.

“And you're not wrong; he's a little fucker who wouldn't know two shits if they slapped him in the face," he added.

Soleil was quiet for a minute. She'd almost told him right there—because he was asking. She couldn't remember the last time anyone but Luna had asked her anything of importance about herself, or her life. But—

That's something you don't need to concern yourself with.

She shook her head instead. "It doesn't matter. You have enough sense of what he's like, anyway." With a shrug, she eased her foot down on the gas, kicking the engine well up past the speed limit and shifting lanes to weave between the other cars on the road. She left plenty of room, but there was no point testing this thing unless she really put it to work.

“Fine, be that way. Keep your secrets to yourself," he muttered before reclining his seat back. “In any case, you should stay clear of him. He's extremely pushy about things, as I'm sure you know. I told you before, if anyone gave you problems, you could tell them who you worked for. Alastor would get the hint if you told him I was your employer. Crowley might have a few words to say about that, and so might Alastor, but they can both fuck off."

"They might give you problems?" She honestly wasn't sure what to do with that, or any of this. She was not going to do anything that would inconvenience him, because she understood debt as well as anyone did, and even if he'd never collect, she was in his. The salary was one thing, but everything else was tipping the ledger much too far in his direction. She'd have to find ways of making up for it, not making it worse than it already was.

Soleil wasn't quite sure what to do with... any of this. Including his demeanor.

“Problems?" Samael replied and barked a short laugh. “They could try to give me problems. The most they could do is give me a headache. They're a nagging bunch if anything, but no, they couldn't give me problems even if they tried," he almost sounded confident. He rolled his eyes, though, and huffed another short laugh.

“Why, are you worried they'd give me problems? How sweet."

"Not the word I'd use," Soleil replied, shrugging a little sullenly. Must be nice, for people like that to be nothing more than minor annoyances. She stepped wrong or too soon, even the half-demon could ruin her entire life. Or end it, for that matter.

Lights flew by overhead as the car accelerated, well past the speed limit and up into triple digits; it was made to do it, though—the speedometer went all the way to a hundred and fifty, and the engine could push a little further still. Tilting them into a curve, she tipped her head and noted no irregularities in sound; at this speed the thing would have been starting to wheeze if the old system had been left in.

“Hm, concerned and worried are basically the same word, so I don't know what other word you'd use for it," he replied in a nonchalant fashion. “Still, if you are worried about Alastor, I've given you a way to deal with him. It's just up to you whether or not you want to," he shrugged his shoulders lightly.

“How's the car driving?" he asked, apparently changing the subject.

She shook her head faintly. "Well I'm going one thirty five and you can feel yourself—smoth as silk. This is pretty much what these cars were designed to do." She felt a flicker of satisfaction at that; it ran as it should, up to its specs and even a little better, and she'd made that happen. It was good—a thing she'd be able to always have under her belt as a mechanic, and a distinction from a lot of them, especially all the ones who weren't also engineers or builders.

“Feeling it and having someone who knows what to look for telling me that it's alright are two different things. I'm not the expert here; you are," he replied, smiling a little bit before shaking his head. “But if that's the case, then I suppose you've done your job. This is yours," he stated, pulling the phone from his pocket and putting it in one of the cup holders.

“For the next two weeks, I want you to drive this Phaser to make sure that it's still running smoothly as it's intended to. Doesn't have to be every day, you're free to drive it at your leisure, but I want you to text me or call me with the updates. The key will be where the other keys are. Deal?"

He really was a weirdo. Decelerating only slightly, Soleil took an interchange to get them turned around and headed back the right way. "I can do that," she said simply. It was understandable he'd want her to be totally sure the refit had gone how it was supposed to, and that he wouldn't really want to waste his own time going along for all of that. Obviously.

"Uh. Question, though. Can I write this up? I was thinking maybe I could do a paper about the defect and the solution for one of the trade journals, but they'd want a specific serial number for proof's sake, and that means someone could, in theory, look it up and realize the car I'm writing about is yours. I don't know if you care or not, but.. I figured I'd ask. I was thinking about patenting the system, too, if it works well."

Sam blinked and arched a brow at Soleil. “I don't see why not? I'm not the one who built the system, after all. If some idiot tries to take your credit, though," he narrowed his eyes slightly before shaking his head, “just make sure that it is my car that is referenced so that that won't happen. Otherwise I don't really give a shit what you do. If you need to write the paper, you can take the computer tablet in the garage with you to do it. It has most of the stuff stored on it, anyway, right?"

"It does, yeah." She wasn't entirely sure she wanted to bring it back to her place, though. For one, it was impossible to be sure that Zinoviev's goons wouldn't break it when she dropped the latest piece of news on them. She wasn't stupid enough to think there was going to be no retaliation for it.

Shifting her hands on the wheel so they were closer to the three and nine positions, she pursed her lips, darting an aside glance at him. "If you don't mind though... I might leave it and write the thing in the workshop? I wouldn't charge for the hours, obviously, just—" Soleil shrugged.

“Not at all," he responded, perhaps, a little too quickly. He furrowed his brows and glanced out the window for a moment before continuing, “you can write it in the work shop if you'd like. You have access to it. If..."

There was a slight pause, as if he didn't quite know what to say. “If you're in the workshop for a while, you can go into the house and the kitchen to make you something to eat or just... to get out of the garage for awhile. The garage is basically part of the home so you're free to wander if you want." He hadn't quite looked back in her direction, though.

He would... let her in his house? Soleil studied his profile for a moment longer than was wise before turning her attention back to the road. There was something warm in her chest, and at the same time it felt like a lump had formed in her throat. She didn't know where the feeling had come from, or have the first lick of a clue what it meant, but she cleared her throat past it, trying and not totally succeeding to suppress the little uptick at the side of her mouth.

"Okay," she said, trying not to sound happy about it. Why should she be? "It's a deal."

There was a small smile on his face that Soleil could easily see from his side profile. “Okay, then."


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Soleil Nishant Character Portrait: Samael Lennox Character Portrait: The Nine Circles
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Nishants' House - Afternoon - Light Snow
Soleil Nishant

Soleil hummed quietly to herself. There was something about snow that made the world seem quieter; she didn't really mind it, but she also just... well, she wasn't sure. She thought she might be in a good mood, but she wasn't exactly in-tune with her own emotions, and she knew this about herself. So she didn't spend too long trying to figure it all out or anything.

At the moment, she was actually working on a small speaker system she'd bought from the pawn shop. They was cheap because they weren't working right, but the quality of them wasn't bad. Normally, she'd never have bought something so extraneous, but she had a salary, now, and liked the idea of being able to pipe music into the workshop while she was working on something else. Soleil had never really been able to listen to much music, and consequently, she knew nothing about it.

But she had a phone now, capable of reaching radio stations or streaming services, so... maybe she could learn a bit more. Most likely she'd forget it was on if she got really into something, but she didn't always do that.

Popping the rear panel off one of the speakers, she tilted her head down at the mess of wires inside. "All right, little guy, what's your malfunction?"

It wasn't long before the faint chime of the doorbell could be heard. It wasn't Luna; she was at one of the places she volunteered at, and wouldn't be home until later on in the evening. Whoever it was, didn't announce themselves until they'd entered the garage where Soleil was working. Alastor was dressed a little differently today. His suit was a dark red, dark enough that it could easily have been mistaken for black. His pants were the same color, however; the dress shoes he wore were white. His hair had been tied back into a low tail, but the tie around his neck was the same color as the suit.

“Ah, it seems my little moon is missing. Shame," he stated, his eyes wandering around the garage. “I would have liked for the both of you to be here," he added, smirking slightly when his eyes landed back on Soleil. “I suppose I can settle for the little sun, today. There is something that needs to be addressed since my little sun seems to have acquired a rather affluent benefactor."

Settle for, huh? Well, he wasn't wrong. She wasn't exactly her sister, and she never had been. It was obvious just looking at them—honestly Soleil thought that whatever they were named, the sun and moon thing was just... off. Not on Luna's end, but her own. She wasn't sunlike in any sense, even metaphorical, that she could name. She really didn't understand his compulsion to 'employ' her as well as Luna, but whatever. At least it kept them both in the same boat and didn't give her sister any ideas about sacrificing herself for Soleil's sake.

She blinked at him, putting on her best blank pokerface. "You know you're supposed to wait for someone to answer the door before letting yourself in, right?"

Luna's current absence meant she didn't feel quite as much need to be careful how she spoke, not that she was any good at that in the first place.

Alastor arched a brow in her direction. “Did you forget that I owned this neighborhood?" he retorted, his face smoothing out to something a little more flat than amused. “Technically I do not have to wait for someone to answer the door to a building that belongs to me." He waved a hand in a nonchalant fashion in front of himself, though, before pushing out a small sigh.

“Regardless of the fact, starting next month, your base fee is going up," he stated, perhaps to remind Soleil of the price increase next month. Fifty dollars would put their protection fees at three hundred per person, however; there was a subtle smirk on Alastor's face. “The new price will be five hundred per person. Every month after next will be an added one hundred dollars per person and will continue to increase."

She wanted to remind him that he did not in fact own her house; she'd purchased it from the city herself, and it was her name on the paperwork, regardless of how entitled he felt to it. But she had more pressing issues—namely, the fact that he was clearly extorting her.

"Did it occur to you that perhaps my 'affluent benefactor' might not much care for the fact that you seem to think you own me?" Her voice was still flat, as bored as ever, save the way her eyes narrowed. She didn't want to do this—didn't want to invoke Samael's name. It felt too much like leaning on him for protection, and Soleil Nishant had always, always protected herself. No one had wanted to do it before, even when she was just a child, and so she'd learned to do it herself, and for her sister, too.

But what other choice did she have? She had plenty of pride, maybe. But this situation was just... beyond her ability to handle. Zinoviev was backing her into a corner. And like any animal in the same situation, she was going to use whatever she had at her disposal to get out of it.

“Oh, but I do own you," he stated, a sly smirk appearing on his face. “The fact that you pay me protection fees is proof of that. I might not employ you, but I do own you. The things I could do with the both of you, though, regardless," he trailed off a bit to let the implication sink in.

Prove it, you sick son of a bitch. It wasn't a sense of self-preservation that stopped Soleil from actually speaking the words. She had little enough of that left, apparently. But despite the fact that everything he said disgusted her, she couldn't let her emotions control her reaction. She had to stay coolheaded and rational. So while her jaw tightened and one of her hands curled into a fist under the table, she used the other to remove the plastic card from her pocket.

A deft toss landed it on his side of the table, right side up. "I don't know him very well, but I suspect he'd disagree. Like I do."

His eyes followed the card as she tossed it at him, eyes narrowing slightly as he seemed to read the name on it. There was something momentarily unreadable on his face, something that looked like anger and confusion all in one go, however; he simply glanced back to her.

“And what do you think this is supposed to do?" he asked, picking up the card between his forefinger and thumb. “You think Samael can protect you, is that it?" he continued, the arch in his brow smoothing out.

“Or are you threatening me, Soleil Nishant?" he asked, tossing the card back in her direction. “If that's the case, need I remind you of who I am and what I am capable of? Samael might be protecting you, but that's as far as his protection goes. I know him well enough," he began, his lips pursing into a fine line. “Your sister is at that pathetic excuse of a shelter, is she not? I need only to make a phone call..." he trailed off, his eyes narrowing in Soleil's direction.

"You lay one finger on her and I'll rip off your dick and feed it to you."

Apparently, she had a limit to what she could tolerate. It occurred to Soleil that Luna was probably a moderating influence when she was present, but otherwise just the opposite. "I'm not afraid of you, Zinoviev. I put up with you for her sake. You hurt her even one tiny bit and I won't have a reason to. And I won't need Samael's help. That's a threat."

“Oh, she does have a weakness," Alastor stated, smirking somewhat. “And it also seems she has emotions. Albeit explosive ones, but they are there regardless." If he was at all fazed by her statement, he didn't show it. Instead, he clicked his tongue behind his teeth and shook his head.

“We'll see about that," he stated, narrowing his eyes at Soleil. “You should take my offer, Nishant. For now, enjoy your freedom because you won't have it for very long. Of that, you can be assured."

"And yet I still have it," she replied, still nearly toneless. "Kindly leave my house before I'm too much more tempted to retrieve my shotgun. I wouldn't trust much to my patience. As you can see, I'm a little emotional right now, and we humans are ever so inclined to poor judgement when we get like that."

Get out, get out, get out! She wanted him gone—now.

The smirk grew into a broad grin. “It's what makes humans so interesting," was the only reply he gave. “I will leave, but not because you are so adamant about it. I have things to discuss with a certain someone. In the mean time, do take care of yourself, Nishant. You and your sister are far from done dealing with me." With that, he made his way back towards the front of the building, the chime of the door signaling that he'd left.

As soon as the door closed behind him, Soleil slumped into the stool, picking up the card and staring sightlessly at the front of it. It had been the last resort she didn't even want to use, and it... it hadn't even done anything. She hadn't missed the look that crossed Zinoviev's face—he wasn't any more fond of Samael than Samael seemed to be of him. And yet...

What was she supposed to do now? They'd had time, before. Time to think of something and money to buy that time. But somehow, that fucker had gotten wind of her new job, and now she was back to square one, with no plan for dealing with him. How was she supposed to? She was one human, and even if he was a young, pretty terrible crime boss, he was still a crime boss, and had plenty of people protecting him. Not that she'd actually kill him—Soleil wasn't a good person, but she wasn't a murderer, either. The shotgun was loaded with rock salt, for fucksake.

Leaning down, she pressed her forehead to her workbench. The pressure on her nose helped her hold back the stinging sensation that threatened. She did not cry. Soleil hadn't cried since the day she woke up alone with her sister and no memory of the days before. She'd been nine, maybe ten. She wasn't going to spill her first tears in twenty years over Alastor fucking Zinoviev, even if he was a creep and an asshole. Even if everything in her life that even started to look like it might be going right crashed and burned.

Before she knew it, she'd reached for her phone, pulling up the only number registered in it.

Hey do you

What the hell was she doing? He didn't care about her problems, and she couldn't rely on him to solve them. She was his fucking mechanic, for God's sake.

Soleil went to delete the message, but, unfamiliar with the device's layout, accidentally hit 'send' instead. Shit. Hurriedly, she typed out another.

Never mind.

There was a ding from her phone, not more than a few seconds later, which was enough to alert her that she had a message. Do I what? it read.

It felt, suddenly, like her heart had jumped up into her throat. Dread? No, it didn't seem to be that, but she had no idea what it was instead. Only that it felt a little like the moment before she made a jump she wasn't sure she could clear, something she'd done a lot as a kid, making an escape over rooftops instead of on street level.

Sometimes, she'd almost thought she could fly.

It's nothing.

She paused a moment. He... deserved a better answer than that, right? It was almost a flat out lie, and she didn't lie to people. Just

Now what? She didn't want to complain or seem to be asking for his help. What was he supposed to do anyway? He was already too generous. But some part of her did want to tell him anyway. Maybe if she just... said that?

Don't interpret this as me asking for anything, okay?

She waited after that, hoping maybe for some kind of agreement before she had to figure out how to put it.

You could if you wanted the first message read. What is it that's bothering you? the second message read, coming through five seconds later.

She could if she wanted? The knot in her throat was suddenly hard to swallow past; she sniffed. Idiot. Whether the bigger one was him or her was up for debate.

I was having a good day, fixing this sound system she started, pausing to take a picture of the opened speaker with her phone in case he was interested. Once she'd sent it, she continued. And then Zinoviev showed up. He found out somehow. That I had a new job, that was paying me well. Now he's demanding a credit a month, increasing.

She hesitated. That really did sound like she was asking for something. Shaking her head, she continued. It's so stupid. Like what kind of petty asshole bothers two people in particular this much, you know? I tried what you suggested, but... it didn't change anything.

It was a couple of minutes before he actually responded back. She could see the little dialogue bubble appear, meaning he'd been typing for those couple of minutes, but the first message he sent her was short. He's a prick who doesn't know how to take no for an answer.

Don't pay his fees next month. I'm going to have a talk with Crowley and Alastor.

There was a third message a couple of seconds later.

Oh, and I'm not doing it because you're asking me. I'm doing it of my own volition.

Soleil pulled in a breath—sharp enough to be a gasp, she realized distantly. I don't Deciding that was the wrong way to start that sentence, she went to backspace, but accidentally hit enter again.

Ugh, stupid send button. Hoping that would explain it, she added quickly. I don't know a lot about this, but doesn't Crowley run the police? Please don't stick your neck out because of me.

She paused for a full thirty seconds before scraping together the courage to send the message she'd originally meant to.

I don't want you to get hurt.

Her breath hissed between her teeth as she forced it out. "God, I'm a fucking idiot."

He owns the police, yes. The first message read.

But the police don't answer to just him. I'm not going to get hurt because of some stupid little fucking half-demon and his dad who think they can just... the message seemed like it cut off before he'd finished, but the next message didn't suggest so.

It'll be fine. Don't worry your pretty little head about dear ol' Sam. There was a small image that looked like a smiley face that followed the message.

Absurdly, the weird yellow smiley caused the same expression on her own face; she huffed softly. I mean, I wasn't going to mention the old part, but since you said it, make sure not to pull a muscle or have a stroke or something, okay?

Just for you.

Thanks for thinking of me, Sam.

She figured that served just as well as a bit of banter as an expression of her true sentiments. The fact that it could be the first let her say it, but she found herself hoping he'd understand the real meaning of it, too.


That one managed to catch her a little off-guard, and she felt, of all things, heat rising to her cheeks. Always like... always thinking of her? No—no, that was stupid. Completely stupid and obviously not what he meant.

"Get a grip, Soleil," she said aloud.

Fine. This was fine. And it seemed like a perfectly good end to the conversation, even if it left her somehow wanting to say something more. Maybe enough to push that message up far enough that she wouldn't be able to read it and remember her embarrassing momentary misinterpretation and the massive ego necessary to have made it. Shit, she was Soleil Nishant. The only people who thought about her with any regularity were her sister and apparently Zinoviev, gross as that was.

Grimacing, she hit the button to darken her phone screen. Maybe she could salvage this speaker system and her day at the same time.


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Character Portrait: Samael Lennox Character Portrait: The Nine Circles
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1 Victorianus
Crowley's Office - Afternoon - Snow
Samael Lennox

Honestly, Sam didn't really want to be here. Even Crowley's office was as gaudy as Alastor was dressed. The cambion thought he dressed in a suave, attractive way, but Samael would beg to differ. He just looked desperate, and if anything it was just in poor taste. The cambion sat not too far from his father, dressed in what appeared to be a dark emerald suit that just clashed with Alastor's blond hair. Samael did not bother to hide the sneer he gave Alastor, before turning his attention towards Crowley.

“We need to have a talk," he began, eyeing Crowley, “about your boy who doesn't know how to leave people who work for me, alone." Normally, it wouldn't have bothered him, but she had reached out to him. Him. The first actual conversation he'd had that wasn't Leraje wanting updates, or Bael wanting blow up on him, or even Lilith. Soleil had texted him because Alastor was trying to extort her, and by an extension, him.

He wouldn't have cared, really. He didn't need his money, but the fact that Soleil had told Alastor that she worked for him, and Alastor blatantly ignored it wasn't something he could stand for.

“It's within my rights to do what I want in that neighborhood," Al began as Sam gave him a flat look.

“Hush child, the grownups are speaking." That and he didn't like the sound of Alastor's voice. It was annoying.

Crowley himself bore little physical resemblance to his son, save in the structure of their faces. He was one of those who refused to 'debase' himself with a more human form, and so from his ash-colored hair sprouted two thick, sharp black horns, crowning his head in the mocking parody of a halo. His eyes, luminous and red-gold, narrowed slightly, but he showed no other outward signs of displeasure, either with his son or with Samael. He sat behind a desk, fingers laced together in front of his mouth, and tilted his head in a pantomime of consideration, a lock of smooth hair falling forward over the deep navy of his impeccable suit.

“I'm not sure I see the issue, Samael," he said after a moment, tone dull and a touch chilly. “If anything the rule of temporal priority would seem to be on the boy's side. This payment arrangement of theirs was in effect prior to the creature's employ with you, was it not?"

Sam sighed heavily. Of course he would try and make it more in Alastor's favor. Sam wasn't sure what Crowley was thinking, having a child with a human. Not that Sam had anything against humans; they were far more interesting than any angel or demon he'd ever known, but Sam never pegged Crowley as the type to want to even have an offspring, let alone with a human. Still... that was beside the point.

“You know damn well that it's considered null and void if said creature is employed by myself or one of the other higher ups," he replied, speaking of the other remaining demons that weren't quite archdemon status, but still stronger than the more common demon. Crowley was somewhere in the middle. He could be an archdemon if he wanted to, but Sam supposed he had his reasons for not wanting to.

“Doesn't matter," Alastor retorted, a small smirk playing on his lips. “The younger one, if I remember correctly, is most definitely not in your employ. I can do what I like, even upping the fees if only for her sake," he continued, shrugging his shoulders slightly.


He forgot Soleil had a younger sister. He wasn't going to hire her because she wasn't his priority, however; it still meant that Alastor would continue to harrass Soleil.

“What do you want?" he turned his attention to Crowley.

“Want?" Crowley blinked, his features shifting to give him an aspect of mild surprise. Whether it was true or not was hard to say; his emotions were carefully guarded, even in the supernatural sense, unlike his son's. “I wasn't aware we were bargaining." His eyes slid sideways to his offspring, an assessing, measured look to them.

“Have you terms to assert?"

“Oh, he knows what I want," Alastor stated as he smirked in Sam's direction. Honestly, Sam wanted to wipe that stupid look off his face, but he really didn't want to have to deal with Crowley, either. “But I'll settle for one of them," he continued. Sam felt disgusted on Soleil's behalf, mostly because he knew what Alastor would do. He also knew that Soleil would likely leave his employ if something happened to her sister that he could have prevented.

“No. You don't get either of them," he stated as Alastor merely arched a brow at him.

“Is that right? Well if that's the case, then, I suppose I'll just keep harassing them," Alastor retorted as Sam narrowed his eyes at the boy.

“What do you want to keep your idiot offspring in line before he does something stupid?" it was why he was trying to make the offer to Crowley. He, at least, might be willing to put some sense into Alastor. The boy was an idiot, fawning over two particular humans and throwing a hissy fit because he couldn't get either one to submit to him.

Crowley's shoulders shifted in such a way that suggested a sigh, though if he actually did it, the sound was much too quiet to hear. He, at least, clearly recognized there was a problem here. “Alastor, your interest in these humans is becoming unseemly," he chided, still in the same tone of voice. “It is unwise to take disproportionate interest in individuals. While I understand that some of them are vastly more appealing to... look at than others, they are, in the end, all base creatures of the same ilk, and you would do well not to forget it."

Alastor gave his father a flat look, almost as if he were rolling his eyes without actually doing it. “You wouldn't be saying that if you saw them," he replied. “They're not just any humans. There's something about them, something that's... unexplainable. Surely you've noticed it too, Sam," he continued as he turned blue eyes on Sam.

“Can't say that I do," Sam replied with a light shrug of his shoulders, though he was lying through his teeth. He had written it off that maybe the two had demon heritage somewhere down the line that had been mostly washed out by human blood. It was faint, but Sam couldn't quite put his finger on what it was. It was almost familiar, in a way. Like something he'd known a long time ago, but had forgotten the word for it.

“Doesn't change the fact that there is something, and I'm not going to rest until I have them," Alastor replied, narrowing his eyes slightly in his father's direction as Sam dragged a hand down his face. The boy was persistent, Sam would give him that.

Crowley rolled his eyes, subtle enough that probably only Sam caught it. Probably, only he was intended to. “Regardless, it seems neither of you is immune to a rather greater degree of concern for the fate of these humans than is warranted." He narrowed his eyes at Samael. “That she appealed to you to assist her and you bothered to grant the request instead of cutting her loose for the impudence is just as concerning as my son's... proclivities. Perhaps you also enjoy the look of one human more than you should?" It was voiced as idle speculation, but the expression on the demon's face was quite pointed.

“Not so much the look as the skill," Sam replied, pinching the bridge of his nose and pushed a heavy sigh out. He knew Soleil had a particular look about her, something that was dark and attractive to be sure, but it wasn't the reason why he'd been bothered to assist her. He wanted to help her because she'd asked him to help, even if it wasn't directly.

Because she talked to him more than he could say for the others, and... well, he enjoyed it far too much, he supposed. “She's my mechanic, and she's damn good at what she does. I can't have her stressing out over stupid protection fees and I'm not going to let her go because it's an inconvenience. You would understand if you valued skill," which he was almost certain Crowley didn't value anything that wasn't his own life.

“Well then perhaps the thing to do is split the difference." Crowley waved a hand in a dismissive gesture. “Alastor, leave the one in question alone. Samael, you have no business interfering with the boy's designs on the one without a use to you, so don't. Will that do?" His tone suggested it had better. Crowley had a much longer fuse than the likes of Bael, one of the reasons the archdemon had put him in charge of the police, but he didn't have infinite patience, and it seemed he was not fond of his position as intermediary in this dispute.

“A shame," Alastor stated but nodded his head. “I'd have liked the pair, but I suppose I'll settle with the little moon," he continued, a faint smirk appearing on his face. Sam wanted nothing more than to smack the little shit for it, but grit his teeth together and nodded.

“Fine. Leave Soleil alone, and we won't have a problem," Sam stated. He knew Soleil wasn't going to like this. In fact, he was certain of it, but it was the most he could do. For now. He'd have to find a way to get Alastor to back off on both of their accounts. He couldn't tell Soleil about this; not now, at least. Not until he could find a way to get Alastor off of their backs.

“One more thing," he could at least bargain this, “the other one's fees are paid by the one in question. Her fees are not to go up any more than they already have. You get enough out of the other poor bastards you extort. You don't need any more from them," he directed it towards Alastor who seemed to contemplate it.

“Fine, but I get to choose what the amount is," Al replied. Sam had to bite down on his tongue.

“Then it's settled."

For some reason, Sam felt his stomach drop. How was he supposed to tell Soleil that he'd only managed to protect her?

“Good," Crowley said with a short nod. “Then you can both get out of my office. I've wasted enough time on adolescent property disputes for one day."

Sam didn't hesitate, and left. He'll have to put off telling Soleil the news. How long could he do it for, though? A week, two?



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Character Portrait: Samael Lennox Character Portrait: The Nine Circles
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9 Victorianus
Bael's Office - Late Afternoon - Heavy Snow
Samael Lennox

It wasn't often that Bael summoned Sam.

It wasn't often that Sam had to see Bael.

Sam tried his best to avoid Bael as if he were the second plague, mostly because he really didn't feel like being yelled at for something. Because that's what Bael mostly did. He'd disapprove of something Sam did, yell at him, threaten him, and then Sam would go back home and pretend like nothing ever happened. He wasn't sure what he did, this time at least, to be summoned, but he supposed it might just be the montly visit. Or it would have been if they were in Sam's house and not Bael's office.

“Yes, your evilness?" he stated as he arched a brow in Bael's direction.

Bael, historically devoid of a sense of humor and no different now, scowled at him. “Don't be cute, Samael," he replied, running a tanned hand back through his medium-length white curls. Red eyes narrowed at the Fallen across from him. “What the Hell were you thinking, getting involved in Crowley's business? I have neither the time nor the patience to be hearing about petty disputes between my people."


So that's what this was about.

“For starters, it wasn't Crowley's business I was getting involved in," he started, giving Bael a flat look. “It was his idiot son, Alastor. I was simply trying to bargain with Crowley to see if he could see reason. Alastor isn't your people, but he is Crowley's," he expelled a harsh sigh. Why Crowley even bothered to tell Bael about that was beyond Sam.

“As for what I was thinking, I was thinking about my potential employee not being harassed and quiting on me. It's hard to find a decent mechanic, and this one in particular is damn good. Talent is very hard to come by, nowadays." He intentionally didn't give Bael any names. Sam didn't need the demon interogating her, or scaring her off.

“So it was over a human. Of all the idiocy..." Bael's hands formed into fists on the desktop, probably more to do with the fact that Samael was talking back to him than anything. “You couldn't have picked some human from the refuse piles of them not currently someone else's business?" He rolled his eyes. “You should know better than getting attached to any of the pathetic creatures anyway—they're as fickle as anything, and you of all people would know how it feels to be on the wrong end of a fickle woman, wouldn't you?"

Sam felt a little spike of anger in his chest, but he gave Bael a flat look, reaching up with his pinky to scratch the inside of his ear. Sam's history wasn't exactly a secret to Bael, nor anyone else, really. He'd been a fool in love with someone who'd damn near killed him. Both figuratively and literally.

“At least she wasn't human," Sam retorted. Fickle or not, woman or not, Sariel had been an angel. Soleil was just human. “And at least humans are more predictable," he continued, his eyes narrowing slightly in Bael's direction. “It's not like I knew she was Alastor's business," he really hated the way that was phrased, but it was likely the only way to get through to Bael.

“My previous mechanic disappeared; I needed a new one and someone recommended her. Now she's my business, and the little shit knows it," Sam felt his body tense.

It's fine, he only knows a gender, and not a name.

He hadn't meant to slip up like that.

Bael's eyes flashed, a faint brimstone scent flavoring the air. “That little shit is at least half a demon," he said sharply. “Do I need to remind you again where you stand in the hierarchy? Because you are not above him." His eyes narrowed to slits. “You live on my largesse, and you do so because you were, at one point, useful to me, something you have not been for a while. If you are going to be completely pointless, the least you could do is not cause me problems. If Crowley were any less even-keeled, this could have been a full-on legal battle about who has rights to your human. I do not have time for that right now."

Sam would admit that Bael's words did sting a little. “I suppose you've a point, however," Sam started, not bothering to hide the expression on his face. Because I still live on your largesse, any human in my employ is, technically, mine. If you've a problem with that, then I suggest you amend the clauses in which state that a human employed by a demon or other of a higher status is considered theirs until employment is revoked or other. Even if they are someone else's business. In this case, I am a higher status than Alastor. Maybe not Crowley," he didn't really care, “but that little shit is still beneath me."

“That makes her mine, and I can do whatever I see fit with that." In this case it meant keeping Alastor off of her ass, at least. Might not be the younger one, but... well, he was trying.

The twisted expression on Bael's face somehow conveyed triumph, of all things, a glint in his eye that said Sam had stepped into some kind of trap.

“You're putting up an awful lot of fight, for you," he observed, leaning back in his chair. The anger was still there, seething under the surface, but the surface itself was looking quite smug. “Don't tell me she actually means something to you."

Sam sighed in a dramatic manner. Really? That's what Bael got from all of that? That she means something to him?

“Do you just not hear anything that I say?" he asked, not bothering to dignify that question with an answer. Mostly because Sam was almost certain it was true. It'd been a long time since he could say that he found someone's company... enjoyable. She talked to him, and fixed his cars and sometimes explained the process to him. It was the company that meant something to him.

“I'm putting up an awful lot of fight because talent like hers is rare. She fixed a fucking 2442 Yrden with a part that she built from the ground up, and was able to identify the problem by simply taking a look at it. I value skill. Told the same fucking thing to Crowley." Demons valued nothing in a person other than their fighting skills and skills in general. It wasn't an apt thing to compare Soleil's skill to, but it was the only thing demons understood.

“Watch your tongue," Bael snarled, but it didn't quite crack the mood he was in, whatever weird thing it was. Instead he heaved a sigh and gestured at his office door. “Fine, whatever. But leave Crowley's spawn's business alone from now on. You obviously know where and who it is now, so I'd better not hear about any of this again. Get out."

Too fucking bad, because Sam was almost certain Bael would be hearing about it again. Sam smirked a little, though, and gave Bael a mock salute.

“Sure thing, your evilness," he replied as he left Bael's office. The demon hadn't responded to making an amendment about employment. Perhaps he could temporarily use that to his benefit? Something would be coming up this month; it was the last month of the year, after all. Didn't they have those charity things or some shit like that? The smirk on Sam's face widened slightly into a plotting smile.

“This is on you, Bael."


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Soleil Nishant Character Portrait: Lunaria Nishant Character Portrait: Samael Lennox
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18 Victorianus
Samael's Mannor - Mid Morning - Cold
Samael Lennox

Samael stared at the arrangement on the table. He didn't know what Soleil liked as far as her preferences for food went, and he'd hired a chef to make the best breakfast foods he could think of. There were blueberry pancakes, strawberry and cream cheese filled crêpes, cinnamon rolls, french toast with bananas and blueberries, milk toast, and something called a youtiao. He wasn't entirely sure if any of these options would be something that Soleil and her sister would like.

He'd invited the both of them to his manor today to discuss a sort of plan he had. He, of course, still hadn't told Soleil about what he'd had to do, but... well, he was hoping this plan would soften the blow a bit. He didn't know if she would be upset, or something of that sort. And he didn't want her to be upset with him. He'd tried his best, really. He tried to get Crowley to reel in his idiot son, but Alastor was persistent, and Crowley... well, Crowley was Crowley.

Sighing softly, he ran a hand through his hair before checking the time. They should be arriving in a few minutes. Was everything set up properly? Did everything look okay? Why the Hell was he so worried about it, either way? It shouldn't be his problem, but...

“Stop being so fussy, you idiot," he stated to himself as he made his way towards the door Soleil usually used. She'd be using that one today, hopefully. Otherwise he'd be standing at the wrong door like an idiot when she arrived.

As he drew closer, he caught a snatch of conversation. "—through here. I have a card key, hang on." She must have kept it in an easily-accessible pocket, because not a few seconds later, the electronic lock beeped to indicate someone had been admitted and the door swung open carefully, bringing him face to face with Soleil herself.

She drew up short, steps hitching to a stop, eyes a little wide. "Oh, uh... hey." she cleared her throat, stowing her key back in the pocket of her long black coat. "Didn't expect you to be right, uh, right here. Am I late or something?" She pushed a strand of black hair behind her, remembering to shift aside to let her sister step in as well.

Sam felt the corner of his lip twitch slightly, but he shook his head. “No, you're not late," he stated as he stepped to the side to give the both of them a little more room. “I figured it was your sister's first time here and..." he wasn't entirely sure what to say to that. Why was he just hanging out by the door?

“Oh, so you thought it was a good idea to meet us," Luna stated as she arched a brow in his direction.

“I suppose so, yes." Soleil could have easily directed her sister around the manor. She'd been there enough times to know it, Sam thought, but he wanted to be here to greet them personally. It wasn't often that he had people visit, but he didn't want to get ahead of himself. There were things that he still needed to discuss with them.

“Are either of you hungry? There's a breakfast table in the dining area that has a few dishes if you are," he stated as Luna glanced in Soleil's direction with an arched brow.

“I won't say no to free food," she replied.

"She won't," Soleil agreed flatly, but there was a hint of amusement in her expression, and he could feel it coming through in the less mundane way as well. The strength of her love for her sister, an omnipresent protectiveness at the moment ceded to the urge to gently mock. "I haven't eaten yet, so thanks." She nodded before heading towards the kitchen, though not before pausing long enough for him to get the idea that she was waiting for him to walk with them.

He followed perhaps a little too willingly, making sure that he wasn't too far ahead of them as he led them towards the dining area. Once they did, he grinned a little to himself as he gestured towards the table.

“I wasn't too sure what it was the both of you ate, so the chef prepped an assortment of shit," he stated, frowning slightly. What if they didn't like anything on the table? What was he going to do? He couldn't make anything unless he wanted to accidentally kill them. And that wasn't what he wanted to do.

“Oh.... Sol... Sol there's blueberry pancakes," Luna stated as her eyes widened a little. She made a beeline for them before pausing and glancing at Sam and Soleil.

“Help yourself," Samael replied, shrugging his shoulders lightly, feeling just a little bit proud that he got one right so far. Now, to gauge Soleil's reaction because he needed to pacify her, first.

Her face was almost no help. Fortunately for him, he seemed to be able to read her emotions even more easily then most people's. She was surprised, and woven into it was a distinct thread of appreciation, and a faint bit of guilt, too, for some reason.

It took her a while to decide, but eventually she approached the crepes, something about her motion suggesting she wasn't exactly familiar but wanted to try. After placing a couple of them on a plate she took a seat and returned her attention to him expectantly, though what exactly she was expecting wasn't clear.

He wasn't sure he knew how to say this in a delicate manner. Part of him wanted to just say what needed to be said, and maybe wait for it to settle in, however; part of him was also kind of regretting asking Soleil to bring her sister along. Mostly because he didn't know how she'd take the news, either. He wasn't familiar with the younger woman like he was with Soleil. Even though he'd said Soleil could bring her when she visited, this was Luna's first time at his residence. He wondered if it was by choice or if maybe Soleil didn't trust him enough yet.

He could understand that, he supposed. Trust wasn't easily given, and he speared a hand through his hair once more. There really was no easy way to say this, was there?

“I spoke with Crowley and Alastor," he began, picking up a plate of the french toast for himself. He wasn't hungry, though. Not with this guilt eating at him. “I've managed a deal with him but..." he trailed off, glancing up to meet Soleil's gaze.

The response he got was mostly muddled, some faint resentment and annoyance and even a vague hint of fear—not for herself, he sensed. But a needle of concern lanced through all the rest, and that was easiest to identify because it was aimed at him. "Are you all right?" Soleil asked. "If he demanded something unreasonable, you don't have to..." she trailed off, shaking her head faintly and tilting her head at him. "I'm getting ahead of myself. What happened, exactly?"

“It has nothing to do with me," he clarified. If she was concerned for him, as much as he appreciated it, he shouldn't be the one she was concerned about. “Alastor will no longer bother you," he put an emphasis on the word and kept his eye contact with Soleil, “but he is still entitled to her." He shifted his gaze towards Luna who was midway into taking a bite of her pancake when she frowned at him.

“Like Hell he is," she murmured before shoving the piece into her mouth.

“Unfortunately he is. He can still request fees to be paid for you, but he will no longer be increasing them every month. He has a set amount that I'm sure he told you about," he continued, turning back towards Soleil. Alastor had upped the fee to nearly four credits, but to Sam, that was more reasonable than letting it get to over ten.

“I'll be paying those for you, however; there might be a way to stall it, albeit temporarily."

Soleil, who still hadn't touched her crepes, studied him over her plate. She'd looked about to protest when he said he'd be paying the fees; she apparently decided to put a lid on it after he continued though, her eyes narrowing thoughtfully. "Motherfuckers," she muttered, sighing through her nose. "Okay... what's the plan then? We're pretty used to temporary fixes. Even just more time to figure out how we're going to handle this would help."

Her words betrayed of sense of resentment, anger, or upset with him, and neither did the rest. She was feeling plenty of anger, but it was firmly directed elsewhere, and left enough room for... gratitude. She was grateful to him.

Sam felt something in his chest. Pride? Happiness? No, it couldn't be either of those, but it didn't stop the small smile on his face that he hid behind his hand as he placed it on his chin in a thoughtful manner.

“There's a charity ball or something like that that is being held in about a week or so," he began, sighing softly. “Usually, we hire people to help attend those kinds of things. If she were in my employ, then Alastor wouldn't be able to lay claim on her as he has. She'd be in my employ which would temporarily extend what protection I can offer to her as well. Since it will only be for that one event, though, it'll only be for the rest of this month and the first week of next month."

“That means you won't have to pay fees for next month until I can figure something else out. Something more permanent." He did have something in mind, but he wasn't so sure how they would take it. This was much easier than the other option he had.

“What would I have to do at this event?" Luna asked a little suspiciously.

“Usually the people we hire are hired as hostesses. That means you'd be serving whichever demon or cambion who required your assistance."

Soleil furrowed her brows, then cleared her throat. "Uh... not to be the spanner in the works here but... we've met, right? I'm pretty sure I don't give off 'accommodating hostess' vibes."

He smiled a little ruefully at her statement. “You wouldn't have to do it," he began. “You're already in my employ which means you're already under my protection. Luna, however, would be the one who would have to do it if she wants to be in my employ," and his protection. Soleil was his mechanic; she didn't have to be hired for this event.

“He has a point, sis," Luna stated, sighing a bit heavily. “Like you said, you're not exactly an accommodating hostess, but I can do this. I work in a more people-oriented place, and we both know I can handle people a lot better than you can," Luna continued as she gave Soleil a sympathetic smile.

“They're not just people, though," Sam interjected. “These are demons, and in order to show that you are in fact in my employ, that means I have to invite Crowley and Alastor to show them. That means either one of them could buy your assistance and you would still have to deal with them for the rest of the night."

If Soleil wanted to go to keep an eye on her sister, though, Sam could invite her as his escort.

Soleil shook her head immediately. "I don't want to leave you on your own for something like this," she said to her sister, then amended. "It's not that I think you'd let anything happen, Sam, just—you'll probably have a million things to do at an event like that, right? Zinoviev's a sneaky bastard. I don't trust him as far as I could throw him."

She grimaced. "Actually I could probably throw him pretty far. Bad example."

Luna snorted into her drink before she set it down at the same time Sam snorted. A little grin appeared on his lips as he leaned over and placed his chin in his hand, resting his elbow on the table to support it.

“If you want to go and have a little more freedom than a hostess," he began, glancing in Soleil's direction, “you can accompany me as my date. That way if you really wanted to keep an eye on her, you could use that card I gave you and buy your sister for the night."

"Are you sure that's okay? Won't people flip their shit if you show up with a human as your—" Soleil's stream of words halted suddenly, eyes widening as it seemed to hit her exactly what he'd proposed. "D-uh." She flushed, her skin turning from porcelain-white to rose-pink and then red in real time. The color extended all the way down to the high collar of her shirt and presumably past, and there was no mistaking the cause, even without Samael's empathic abilities.

“So is that a yes or a no?" he asked, clearly amused and feeling slightly overwhelmed by her emotions. They hit him just a bit harder than that happiness had, and he found he enjoyed this as well. “As for people flipping their shit, who cares? They'll just be jealous once they see you and your sister dressed appropriately," he continued. He had plans for that, actually. He might not have been the best cook, but he knew how to put people together, especially beautiful people.

Her embarrassment was a strange thing, shot through with bits of irritation—probably at his amusement at her expense—and something else. A fluttery feeling that was akin to the glimmer of attraction he'd felt from her before, but not exactly the same. "Nobody likes a smug bastard, Sam," she grumbled, harrumphing and biting into one of the crepes at last. For a brief moment, her face shifted into pleased surprise, but it smoothed out again quickly, and she wiped a bit of cream away from the corner of her mouth with her thumb.

Clearing her throat, she glanced up towards him. "But uh—yeah. I'll go. I have to keep an eye on her somehow, so..." Her eyes dropped again.

He only grinned further. “Should I just take my breakfast into the other room?" Luna stated as she cleared her throat lightly. Samael chuckled lightly but waved a hand in front of his face in a nonchalant fashion.

“Alright, then we have a contract," Sam stated as he glanced in Luna's direction for a brief moment. She made a face but nodded her head. “You'll be going as my date, and Luna will be in my employ. I think this works out sufficiently until a more permanent solution can be found."

He knew Bael wasn't going to like the fact that he had a human as his date, and another human in his employ, but Bael was an asshole.

“The event will be on the twenty ninth of this month. It's best if the both of you stay the night on the twenty eighth so that we will have plenty of time the morning before to get the both of you ready," he stated as if it were the most natural thing in the world. It would be strange to have them at his home for a night, but... well, for some reason he wanted them to say yes. They didn't have to, of course, but...

Soleil nodded a little, her embarrassment fading as she reasserted control over her own emotions. It was in a much more typical, pragmatic tone of voice that she answered. "All right; we can make sure our schedules are clear." She paused, then with a sideward glance at her sister, pursed her lips.

When she turned back to him, though, she was almost smiling, and the gratitude was back. "Thanks. For going so far to help us out. I'll figure out some way to make it up to you someday, I swear."

Samael smiled, the first one that felt genuine in years.

“Of course. I'll look forward to it," he replied.

“Ugh, seriously guys, get a room."


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Soleil Nishant Character Portrait: Lunaria Nishant Character Portrait: Samael Lennox
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29 Victorianus
Samael's Manor - Early Evening - Overcast
Lunaria Nishant

Luna stared at herself in the mirror. There was apparently a uniform that the hostesses had to wear, however; the one in question had been altered slightly. Luna wasn't entirely sure why, but it was too late to back out of the contract. The dress itself was black and very pretty, she had to admit. It fell in layers around her legs, filtering out slightly in the back with what looked to be synthetic crow feathers. The dress itself was sleeveless, but the jacket that accompanied it was high collared and looked like it was attached to the dress itself.

That wasn't the strange part, really. What was really strange was that Samael, of all people, was currently running a brush through her hair, combing out the tangles that would have been there, otherwise.

“You have a lot of tangles. Don't you work as a secretary? You should take better care of your hair," he murmured as he continued running the brush through the strands. Luna resisted the urge to roll her eyes.

“What's it to you? It's not your hair," she retorted, causing Samael to snort softly.

“You and your sister both have beautiful hair. It should be showcased more often," was his reply as he began braiding part of her hair. Before she knew it, he had her hair mostly up with a braid on the side of her head connecting to the loose bun. “Close your eyes, now. Your makeup needs to be done," he stated as Luna rolled her eyes this time. She didn't immediately comply, though, and glanced around the room.

“Where's Sol?" she decided to ask. They had stayed the night at Samael's, which was just strange to begin with.

“She's getting dressed in the next room over. She'll be over once she's done so I can do the same thing," he replied.

It wasn't much longer before Soleil in fact shuffled in, looking distinctly uncomfortable and batting at some of the sheer material that comprised her gown.

The thing itself was a work of art, in a way, a gradual fade of colors in varying shades of purple and blue, but it only took one glance to know that it suited her sister exceptionally well, Sol's tall, slender frame carrying it well. It had one shoulder, almost no back and a long slit up the leg, but the fabric was floaty and gauzy enough that the exposed skin was nothing more than a tease, really. Tasteful, was the word for that kind of thing.

Sol, however, just looked uncomfortable. She was carrying the shoes that went with it in one hand—tall heels that were as barely-there as the thinnest parts of the gown. "This is too weird," she grumbled. "I'm going to stick out like a badly-driven nail."

Samael looked pleased, if anything, and Luna just snorted at Sol. “Is it because you're human, or because you look like you'd basically shame all the demonesses there?" Luna retorted as Samael snorted softly.

“It's not weird," he stated, moving Luna's head a bit so that she was staring forward. “It looks great on you, and if anything, you'll blend right in once I'm done with you," he continued as he placed his forefinger and index finger on Luna's eyelids, forcing them closed. “This one needs her makeup done, first."

“Fine, fine," Luna stated as she could feel him starting to apply eyeshadow, maybe. It took him almost half an hour to finish, and Luna wasn't entirely sure why it had taken that long to begin with. He turned her so that she was facing the mirror and Luna almost blinked in surprise. Is that what she looked like if she actually applied makeup? Her eyes were painted a light pink fading into a darker red. The eyeliner was done in a soft smoke kind of way, almost as if to give her the smokey eye set-up.

Her lips were a glossy pinkish red, and had just enough blush on her cheeks so as to not look so pale.

“I look like a fucking doll," was the only thing she could say.

“Well... yes, that's the point. Anyway, Sol, your turn." Samael pat the chair Luna was currently in, causing her to roll her eyes. She stood, nonetheless, so that Sol could take the chair. She was interested to see what Sam was going to do.

Soleil grimaced. "Not a lot, please," she said, yanking the ties out of her hair with little ceremony. It was even longer than Luna's when let down, hitting the small of her back. "I really don't like makeup in the first place."

She sat on the chair anyway, though, making sure the skirt of her dress didn't fall apart at the slit and expose her leg.

Sam sighed almost dramatically, and Luna had to admit that he complimented Sol very well. It wasn't even that their coloration was the complete opposite; she was Sol's complete opposite too, but it was moreso that they just seemed comfortable with each other. In a way that Luna's not entirely sure she'd ever seen Sol that comfortable. A demon, fallen, whatever the hell he was, was combing Sol's hair, and she was letting him.

Once he was done with her hair, he'd mostly left it loose, however; it wasn't obvious at first that it was actually braided. He'd put a few ornaments in the braids, ones that looked more like flower buds. He turned Sol's chair around, though, and did the same thing he'd done to Luna: closed her eyes with his fingers before applying Sol's makeup. He was being extremely meticulous, and Luna was almost in awe at how skilled he was with this. If someone had told her that someone like him was a makeup artist... she might have believed it, actually, with the way he dressed and carried himself.

“You sure that's my sister under all that?" Luna stated, causing Sam to give her a flat look as he turned Sol's chair back towards the mirror so she could see what he'd done.

Her eyeshadow was an electric blue color that turned a bit darker towards Sol's temples. There was some white in there near her tearducts, but the eyeliner was winged. It really made the violet of Sol's eyes pop, and it looked really beautiful in Luna's opinion.

Sol, for her part, blinked several times, scrunching her brows and then relaxing them before she turned her eyes up towards Samael. "Wizard," she accused. "You did something to my actual face. Moved the bones around or something." She sounded a very Sol-like mixture of grumpy and vaguely surprised with the results. But, also in a very Sol-like fashion, she didn't like to make a fuss, or have one made about her, so it was only a beat later that she went about the business of slipping on her shoes and standing.

In the heels, she was actually just about the same height as Samael, maybe just a touch taller, though the difference was impossible to tell for sure. Slight, either way. "At least Zinoviev won't recognize us. Should make our lives easier." She shook out the fabric of her skirt so it lay properly. "What am I supposed to do for this, anyway? I get that Luna's waitressing or whatever, but am I just supposed to follow you around?" She tilted her head at Sam.

“He won't recognize you at first," Sam stated in a matter-of-fact tone, giving Sol a flat look. He smirked, though, and shook his head. “No, not if you don't want to," he replied to her question. “You'll be accompanying me as my date, but you're free to roam around if you want. I figured it was something you'd like to do to keep an eye on the little one," he stated, pointing in Luna's direction.

“I'm not little," Luna retorted, furrowing her brows as Sam gave her a flat look.

“You're the youngest and shortest one, here. That makes you little," he deadpanned. Luna just rolled her eyes. “Anyway, as I was saying," he began, huffing lightly, “you can follow that one around and even buy her time if you want to keep things cordial. That's entirely up to you. If you want, I can also follow you around; it doesn't matter either way, but if I do, you'll likely be in the company of more people than you'd like to be."

"Popular, huh?" Sol lifted an eyebrow at Samael—it almost looked like she was teasing him, except Sol didn't really do that. Not with anyone but Luna, anyway. After giving it a moment of serious consideration, she pursed her lips. "I guess I'll buy her time, since that's probably the only way to stop Zinoviev from doing it. What kinds of stuff is going to be at this venue? If I have the chance, I'm going to make him regret his bullshit, but I need to know what I'm working with."

Sam snorted softly and rolled his eyes a bit. “Yeah, well the thing about buying time is that you'll need to make sure you request it for the entire event. Otherwise Zinoviev can still swoop in and say he'd like to claim an hour or so. It's a... tricky business, I suppose," he shrugged his shoulders as Luna furrowed her brows. She really didn't want that to happen. Any time spent in Zinoviev's company for longer than a minute was likely to get her or Sol in trouble. Well... likely her since she'd be the one stuck with him.

“As for what kinds of stuff are at this venue, hm," he frowned as he seemed to contemplate her statement. “Well, the charity event is just a front. Most of the demons will be doing other shit, mostly moving territory around, negotiating souls, and things like that. As for what's actually going to be at the charity, well..." he trailed off, causing Luna to furrow her brows.

“Well what?" she asked, watching as he slumped his shoulders a bit.

“At the end of the night they auction people off, mostly people who still have their souls and whathaveyou. There's a chance they might try to do that to you," he explained as he turned towards Luna.

“Don't you think you should have mentioned that before I agreed to this shit?" Luna stated. She really didn't want to be treated as a piece of property for people to buy. It was disgusting, and even if Sam had the money to buy her, or whatever it was, it still felt gross. She could feel her skin crawling.

“Don't worry about it, too much. I've arranged it so that you won't be on the list, given your inexperience. No offense, but demons want those with souls to have some kind of experience and, well... you don't peg me as the type of person who does." Well now Luna felt a little offended.

“You don't know. Maybe I do," she retorted, causing Sam to snort.

“Sure, whatever you say."

"You're sure she's not going to be on the list?" Sol said, clearly not willing to let it go at a 'most likely' kind of thing.

Luna could understand, honestly. She didn't like the look on Sam's face, though, as he furrowed his brows. “Honestly, even my word doesn't have much sway when it comes to things like this. I've done what I can to keep her name off the list, but there's no telling whether or not they will put it on, anyway."

Well, that wasn't exactly promising. Luna resisted the urge to run a hand through her hair, not wanting to mess up Sam's work, however; she really wanted to do something.

“It's fine, she can just bid for me, right?" she asked Sam as he nodded his head.

“Even so, depending on who's bidding at the time, even she might get outbid. They'll keep going just to make it entertaining, but it's up to the auctioneer to decide, ultimately, whose bid wins."


"That makes the second part of this even more important," Soleil said, voice firm and expression hard. "Do they gamble at these events? Poker maybe? If I can win enough, it won't matter, and I can borrow against the card to get myself a spot at the table."

It was something she'd done once or twice on a much smaller scale, Luna knew. Staked a check for a job on a poker game with some idiot who thought they could beat a big-eyed little girl at a game of bluffing and calculation. But still... those weren't exactly upper-class demons.

“Of course they do," Sam replied almost immediately. “The only thing, it's not just money they gamble with. They gamble with souls, too, depending on who is actually playing. You don't get many humans here, but those that can afford it, and still have their souls, do show up from time to time." He furrowed his brows at that as he glanced at Sol, and Luna could have sworn she'd seen something flash in his eyes.

“Don't. Don't gamble your soul no matter what, alright?" he seemed almost concerned, but Luna thought it might just be a farce. Why would he be concerned about Sol? Why was he so concerned about them in general? It made no sense, but...

“You shouldn't underestimate my sister, Samael," Luna stated as she glanced back at Sol. “But he's also right. I don't care what ends up happening; it's just for a night and I don't want you risking your soul for me. No. Matter. What." Luna was adamant about that. She didn't want Sol to risk her soul just for her sake. If on the off chance Luna's name was on the list, she could handle a night, but a soul wasn't so easy to get back. She believed in her sister's abilities, but at the same time, she couldn't help but feel a little doubtful.

Soleil frowned at the both of them. "Do I look like an idiot to you?" she asked, a little irritation sharpening her otherwise flat tone. "Besides, I'm not going to need to." She sniffed. "Bastards aren't going to know what hit them."

“You look like a beautiful idiot," Luna drawled, earning a soft snort from Sam.

“We should get going," he stated, moving so that he was standing a couple of feet away from Sol. “She needs to get prepped for her job, and we need to make an entrance," he stated, holding out both of his elbows in their direction.

“You look like a chicken doing that, Sam," but Luna took his right arm, anyway.

"Don't steal this one," Sol said wryly, taking his left a little hesitantly. "He's much more useful in his coop."

“Wouldn't dream of it. He's your chicken, after all," Luna retorted. Sam just looked vaguely confused.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Soleil Nishant Character Portrait: Samael Lennox
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#, as written by Aethyia

29 Victorianus
Lux Hotel and Casino - Night - Overcast
Soleil Nishant

This place had so many lights she felt like it was going to burn her eyes out.

Soleil had decided she hated it as soon as they were inside. The lights, the eyes. All these demons had probably sussed out that she was a human immediately, and they must be offended, because it felt like they were all glaring at her. She was doing her best to act like she didn't notice it, but even she had her limits, and she'd never liked crowds to begin with.

Still... so far, the plan was working. She'd bought her sister's "time" for the night, which basically just meant Luna was free to wait on tables and try to earn some tips without anyone trying to demand more than that. Well they might anyway, but they at least had to pretend to be reasonably classy about it, and they had to let her go when she informed them she was already under contract for the whole time.

The amount she'd had to pay was ridiculous, but she was about to make it look like peanuts.

Approaching the counter, she nodded to the woman behind it, another dressed in the staff uniform, then handed her the sleek black card in her hand. "I'd like a thousand credits in chips, please." Her tongue nearly tripped over the number—that was literally a million dollars. If she lost it, she didn't have a hope in the world of repaying Samael. She was staking a lot on her brain and her poker face here, but it was like she'd told Luna a while ago. If they didn't start playing offense, they were just going to get crushed in the long game.

She tried not to think about the consequences if her very literal high-stakes gamble didn't pay off.

The woman gave her half a skeptical look before she spotted the name on the bottom of the card and her eyes went a fraction wider.

“You know Mr. Lennox?" she asked, her tone... was that hopefulness?

Sol blinked. "Uh... kind of. He's my employer."

The woman sighed and smiled, almost as if she'd—Soleil had read about this in books. Did this lady have a thing for Sam?

Handing over a velvet satchel with the chips, she also handed back the card. “They might be literal demons, but some of them are really nice to look at, right?"


“I'm just saying. Girl'd sell her soul for a night with that one."

Soleil assumed that must be a joke, because she could not imagine selling her soul, much less one night of anything. She stowed the card and wrapped the bag's drawstrings around her wrist.

"If you say so," she said flatly, then turned to take her leave before she could be subject to anything like a request for more information.

She did need to find him, though—she suspected he was the only one that would be able to help her get into a high-stakes game. There were people playing on the floor, of course, but the kind of thing she needed was more likely to happen in the back rooms.

She found him in a small circle of demons, mostly women and two men. He seemed to be talking with them, but the expression on his face was easy to read as boredom. He was bored talking to them for some reason, however; it might have been a trick of the eyes, but his own eyes lit up when he spotted her. Excusing himself from the group, which was basically just walking away mid conversation, he made his way towards her.

“There you are, I thought you got whisked away," he stated, clearly amused by something.

Soleil snorted, fighting down a smile. "By whom?" she asked dryly. "If anyone here tried to whisk me anywhere, there'd be a fight about it." She wasn't delusional enough to count herself the winner of any such fight, but she'd give them Hell anyway, as the saying went.

Holding up the velvet bag, she shrugged. "I went to borrow more money than my life's worth so I could play with the high rollers. Any idea where that's happening?"

“Ah, so you want Crowley's table," he replied as he glanced over Soleil's shoulder. He sighed a little softly, though, before turning his attention back towards Soleil. “It's a demon-only table, but I might be able to squeeze you in. Depends on how cranky Crowley's feeling today, and from the looks of it," he paused to glance over her shoulder again, presumably at the person in question, “he looks to be in a good mood. About as good as it can be, anyway."

“Are you sure you want to go to that table, though? We can start you somewhere else if you want," he stated, pursing his lips together.

She shook her head. "I actually have a backup plan if it's no humans allowed. Sort of. It'd require your cooperation, though." She tilted her head to the side. She sort of figured he wouldn't mind, and that by itself was weird—it was very akin to trusting him, and she wasn't sure how to feel about that. It wasn't like she trusted people normally. But, well, he had helped her this far.

"But I need to turn this into enough to pay you back, plus enough to guarantee I can out-bid everyone else for Luna if it comes to that. That means big money tables from the get-go." She paused, putting two things together. "Besides, if Crowley's Zinoviev's dad, I'm gonna make him sorry he has him for a kid."

Samael barked a short laugh, earning a few eyes on him before he shook his head. “It's not like he had any other kids to choose from. Alastor is an anomaly, really," he stated as he held out his hand towards her. “And even if it is all demons, I can still get you a seat at the table. There are some things that demons can't refuse, and a good challenge is one of them. Crowley might make an exception if we word this right," he continued, rolling his eyes a little.

“You don't have to pay me back," he stated suddenly, a hint of seriousness in his tone. “You know that, right?"

Soleil had been reaching for his hand, more on an instinct she didn't understand than any conscious decision on her part. It was strange, how relative things could be. Before when she'd felt his... well, his otherness, the way he wasn't human, it had made her uncomfortable. But here, surrounded on all sides by demons, there was something almost reassuring about it. About the way he wasn't quite that either.

The words, though, halted her, and the stayed like that, suspended in mid-motion, as her brows furrowed and she frowned. "Sam, it's... it's a million dollars." She couldn't imagine it being nothing, even to him, and to her it was... well it was hardly the kind of thing she could even conceptualize properly. It might as well have been infinite, for as far as it was from anything she'd ever thought to be in her ballpark. "I can't just..."

His generosity, he'd demonstrated so many times by this point that she didn't bother to ask herself if he had some ulterior motive anymore. He was just like this. Whether she could accept a gift of this magnitude, however, was a different matter. Because she was a certain way too.

He just shrugged his shoulders, though, reaching the rest of the way to take her hand. “So?" he began, arching a brow at her. “If I wanted you to pay me back for this, I would have said so in our contract," he continued, shaking his head lightly. “Look, if you really want to pay me back, just... I don't know. Beat Crowley at poker."

“I'll consider all debts paid if you do that. If you lose... well, you can figure out a different way to pay me back if that's what you really want."

She couldn't help the uncomfortable tingling at the back of her neck when he took her hand; it was distracting enough that she almost missed what he said. Forcing herself to focus, Soleil sighed quietly through her nose. "Well... beating him's the plan anyway, so I guess we'll see what happens." She wasn't about to let it go at just that, but now was hardly the time to be hashing out the disagreement.

She wasn't sure how a table full of very rich demons was going to react to this plan, but she knew she needed to wear her game face. So Soleil straightened her back, rolling her shoulders and tilting her chin so she looked confident, even if she didn't feel it, especially not in this dress.

"Let's do it, then," she said firmly.

He only smiled and nodded his head, leading her towards the table where the demons seemed to be finishing up their game. Sam rolled his eyes, but cleared his throat. One of the demons sitting at the table glanced up, her two-toned eyes, one hazel the other a dark green, meeting Samael's before glancing in Soleil's direction.

“What have you brought here, Sam? A bargaining chip?" she asked, arching a brow back in Samael's direction. She didn't seem entirely pleased that Soleil was there, but she didn't seem to be immediately put off by it. Another demon merely scoffed at the woman's statement.

“Sam hasn't played a game of poker since you wiped the floor with him almost a millennia ago, Caim," he stated. The woman, Caim, merely rolled her eyes.

“Yeah, well things change," Samael retorted with a light shrug of his shoulders. “Besides, there are more interesting things happening nowadays then playing a game of poker with old shits like yourselves," he added. Caim just gave Samael a flat look.

“And yet you still disrespect your elders. Aren't you so thoughtful," she drawled before turning her attention back towards Soleil. “What of you, girl? Are you here to play a game?" she asked.

"If there's an open spot, yes," Soleil's voice was flat as she could make it, with no discernible emotion, and her face matched it.

Something, whether what she'd said or how she said it, finally drew the attention of the third person at the table. It was hard to tell at first, what with the fall of snowy hair and the jet-black horns jutting up from his head, but his facial features bore a strong enough resemblance to Zinoviev's that she knew who he had to be.

“There are any number of tables at which you might attempt such a thing," he said, just as toneless as Soleil himself. His eyes locked on hers, the kind of burning gold that was actually slightly luminous. Apparently Crowley didn't play at humanity like a lot of these others did. The aura rolling off him was a lot stronger than either of the other two were giving her, but Soleil locked her knees and refused to back down from it.

"None with the stakes I want," she replied, giving the bag of chips a little toss so it landed in front of the empty seat directly across from Crowley. "I'm not here to play for peanuts."

His eyes narrowed; she knew she was walking a fine line between boldness and disrespect, and she watched him try to decide which it was, heart in her throat.

After a moment, though, he nodded the faintest bit, which she interpreted as her cue to sit down.

Samael merely stood behind the chair Soleil was sitting at, however; Caim seemed rather pleased with the outcome. “I like her already," she stated as she glanced towards Crowley and then back towards the other demon at the table. “It's your turn, Malphas, pass the cards out," she stated, causing the man to furrow his brows.

“Shut your face, Caim. I know how this shit works," he replied as he reached for the deck of cards, however; Samael took them, instead.

“Since I'm not playing, I'll be the dealer," he simply stated, glancing in Crowley's direction as if looking for permission. He didn't wait, though, and took a seat on the other side of Crowley, shuffling the cards with ease and began passing them around the table.

Crowley didn't seem to care. At least knowing no one was stacking the deck would be helpful—one less thing she had to watch for. The cards were dealt, and Soleil took a brief look at her cards before laying her hand over them. It was a decent hand to start, nothing spectacular, and when the three were laid out for everyone, she felt about the same. Still, she needed to make this a statement. Win or lose, she had to be interesting enough that the demons would let her stick around.

Fortunately, she was the first to go. Once her chips were neatly stacked in front of her—the pile only about half the size of the next smallest one and maybe a quarter the size of Crowley's, she pushed a small tower of them forward.

Caim and Malphas simply matched it, though they remained quiet for the most part. No one seemed too eager to speak at the table. Samael merely sighed, but pulled three cards from the deck. One was a nine of diamonds, a three of spades, and a Jack of hearts. Both Caim and Malphas seemed to study the cards drawn before glancing at their own hands.

“Raise," Malphas stated as he pushed two gold colored chips to the center. Caim rolled her eyes, but pushed two of the same colored ones forward.

Crowley simply folded, seemingly more interested in watching what Soleil would do than in playing the round himself. Even that was a useful bit of information—he knew when to fold. Soleil wordlessly matched the upped ante, and the bidding went around again.

Samael flipped over another card, this one a two of clubs. “Raise," Malphas stated, pushing a black chip forward this time.

“Call," Caim stated, narrowing her eyes slightly at Malphas.

Soleil called as well, though she was beginning to suspect both demons were fairly confident in their chances.

Samael flipped over the last card: an ace of spades. Malphas didn't bother to hide the grin on his face at that. Caim, however, subtly arched a brow, glancing at the cards in her hand momentarily before glancing at the five cards on the table. She blinked slowly before she glanced in Malphas' direction. Her eyes narrowed again.

“Player's last bet," Samael stated, glancing towards Soleil, first.

Soleil didn't let her face waver even the tiniest bit. Malphas had to have something really good—if she was going to win this round, she had to convince him it wasn't as good as what she had. Caim's eyes suggested she was double-checking suits, which most likely meant she was looking for something matchy rather than sequential—a flush rather than a straight. Not a royal one, with what was on the table, but still better than Soleil's pairs.

Well, it was bold or nothing. Taking a tall stack of golden chips from her pile, Soleil pushed them all forward without the faintest bit of hesitation.

Caim didn't seem to want to take a chance, placing her cards face down and folding. Malphas, however, narrowed his eyes at Soleil, almost as if he were trying to read her. Samael arched his brow in Soleil's direction as well, seemingly curious as to what she was doing.

“Ah, whatever. I ain't ever lost to a stinking human before, ain't gonna start now," he stated, reaching for a stack of gold chips as well.

“I don't know, Mal. This one has a look in her eye. You sure you want to risk it?" Caim stated, smirking slightly in Malphas' direction. He openly glared at Caim before turning it on Soleil.

“Fuck it," he stated, throwing his cards on the table. Samael snorted softly and shook his head.

“First round goes to the winner," he stated, smirking in Soleil's direction and pushing the chips towards her.

She nodded, scooping them all towards herself and rearranging them in stacks. She had a sense, now, that it might be possible to play those two off each other—no doubt that was at least part of the reason Crowley currently commanded such a lead. But he had the information advantage over her now, too, having folded from the start and not had to acquaint her with his style yet.

Still, the faint smile he was wearing suggested that he was, at the very least entertained by her, so that was probably enough to keep her at the table if she could handle it.

The next several rounds passed quickly; the demons played fast, and didn't hesitate to speed up once it became clear she could keep pace. Everyone won sometimes, but Soleil made sure to play boldly enough that she won big when she did, and folded early when she needed to. Crowley was far and away the hardest to read, Malphas being the easiest, but she thought they were having trouble getting a fix on her, too, which was what she'd counted on.

An hour in, Malphas was out, and Sol's pile was triple its original size, while Caim's dwindled. The female demon had already folded, though, and it was just her and Crowley facing off across the table.

“I believe I understand, now," the demon remarked offhandedly, pushing forward several more chips.

The comment seemed almost to be directed more at Samael than herself, though she couldn't shake the sense that it was about her, somehow.

Samael smirked, seemingly pleased with this. “Good. You understand why, now, I was so adamant about keeping Zinoviev away," he replied, confirming that it was, indeed, linked to Soleil. Samael placed another card down, this one another ace. There were two of them on the table, one the hearts suit, and the other was spades. The other two cards were a queen of hearts, and a king of hearts.

“Player's last bet," he stated, glancing back in Soleil's direction and arching a brow.

She didn't need to glance down at her cards to confirm, and suppressed the sliver of excitement that threatened to appear on her face. Now her goal was to bet high enough that Crowley would match, and not so high he'd catch wind of the fact that she had an unbeatable hand.

Tilting her head at the table, she mentally calculated the amount of chips he had compared to hers, and then divided her pile exactly in half, nudging one forward. It was literally a million and a half dollars.

Crowley considered it for a moment, then matched.

They both threw down their cards, and Soleil scooped the entire pile towards herself.

“Well, well," the demon murmured. “I do believe you are the best poker player at this table, Miss Nishant." He inclined his head in something almost respectful, then collected the rest of his chips. “As such, I believe I shall curb my losses here, before I end up as my associate." He arched an eyebrow at Malphas.

Malphas merely glared at Crowley before crossing his arms over his chest, almost like a child would if they were mad they couldn't play with their toys any longer. Caim chuckled softly, however; Samael was laughing a bit loudly. It was enough to draw a few pairs of eyes in their direction, but it subsided a moment longer.

“A royal flush of hearts, how funny," he stated, glancing in Crowley's direction.

“Yeah, well it won't be so funny when I rip yours out," Malphas murmured softly, glancing in Samael's direction who merely rolled his eyes.

“Come now, Mal, accept the fact that you lost to Lady Nishant. She's not so bad," Caim stated, leaning forward and catching her chin in her palm. “Perhaps she'd even be willing to come back for another few rounds, or perhaps for something a little more. I've never had human before," she continued, almost as if she were flirting with Soleil.

“And you won't be having human, especially this one," Samael replied, narrowing his eyes slightly in Caim's direction as she just chuckled.

At one point, Soleil would have been ticked off by the suggestion, but at this juncture, she suspected it was more something Caim was doing as a... well, not a joke, exactly. But it was also different from the purely objectifying thing Zinviev did when he made similar implications, so she let it slide with a little shrug. "The way you say that makes me unsure if you mean for sex or for food," she said bluntly, but the slight quirk to her brow gave it away for at least mostly a joke.

Crowley snorted softly.

“That would depend entirely on you, my dear. Either way works for me, though I do have to say, you'd enjoy the former a lot more than the latter," she replied, causing Samael's frown to deepen. It almost looked as if he were pouting.

Soleil huffed. "Yes well... low bar, I think. Being eaten isn't on my bucket list, shocking as you may find it." She wasn't sure what Sam's deal was; maybe there was history here she didn't know?

“Hm, indeed, although there are various ways to be eaten. Just name the time and place if you ever change your mind," Caim replied as she winked at Soleil. Samael's brows just furrowed deeper before he sighed in a dramatic way.

“You're an ass, Caim. I hope you know that," he simply stated.

“Why thank you, Sam. I know I have an ass."

“Not what I said."

“Ugh, shut the Hell up, you two," Malphas looked vaguely sick at the banter.

Soleil suppressed a flare of embarrassment at the demon's rather blunt suggestion, clearing her throat. "I'll... keep that in mind?" It came out sort of like a question, because she wasn't entirely sure how to deal with that, but in the end she just offered a shrug, stashing her chips back in the bag. "I should go; thanks for the game."

She made eye contact with Samael and tilted her head. With any luck, she should have plenty of money to protect Luna tonight, and if she managed to keep any of her winnings, well... it was a lot of money, even after she paid the original sum back. With interest, because that was the kind of person she was.


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1 Satanus
Manor - Afternoon - Snow
Samael Lennox

Sometimes Sam wondered if he was finally going crazy.

His home felt strangely empty, which was strange in itself because it was always empty. The only people who visited were Lilith, Leraje, and Soleil when she was working on one of the cars. Today was not one of those days, but he thought that it might have to do with the fact that Soleil and her sister had stayed the night a few days ago.

Even though it was for the purpose of getting them ready for the event, they had stayed.

The night.

At his house.

Now that the event was over, Sam found himself wondering if maybe he should just ask if they wanted to live with him. It would make them both his wards, in a way, and it would mean that they were no longer in Alastor's territory. Which meant that he wouldn't be able to extort them or try and make them sell their souls to him. Or worse, make them his toys. Sam visibly shuddered at the thought before shaking his head.

Even if he did ask, he almost knew Soleil's answer. After all, why should she trust him to not try anything? He wouldn't, of course, unless she wanted him to, but he wasn't that kind of person. He'd just... well, he was beginning to think that he'd made a genuine friend.

“Sam! We're home!" a familiar voice called out, causing Samael to frown slightly.

“No need to yell, Lily," he replied, glancing in the direction of Lilith and Leraje, the former smiling broadly.

Leraje, on the other hand, wore the same emotionless expression he always did, even as he politely removed his coat and shoes in the entryway. There was a small paper bag tucked under one arm, which was probably the obvious, but he'd get to it when he got to it. Pretty much nothing ever bothered that guy, and it meant nothing could make him rush.

"Samael," he greeted mildly, at a much more indoors-appropriate volume than his companion.

It was one of the few things that Sam respected about Leraje, actually. Even if the guy moved at his own pace, did things on his own accord, he was still mindful of where he was. Lilith, on the other hand, walked across the floor, shoes still on and coat still clinging to her. She didn't seem to care much about dragging the snow that was already melting, across the floor.

“To what do I owe the honors of this visit? It's not my monthly's, yet, is it?" Sam asked, clearly joking, however; Lilith rolled her eyes.

“Why can't we just visit? Are you hiding someone in your closet?" Lilith asked, arching a brow at Sam.

“I'm not twelve, Lil."

“Sometimes I wonder about that."

Leraje looked once between them, then pushed his glasses up his nose. "Can we continue this in the kitchen? I'm hungry."

Without waiting for an answer, he headed that way, setting the bag down on the island and making himself a bowl of yogurt and granola. "You have a different brand this time," he noted, reading the ingredients list on the back of Soleil's bag of granola. She'd brought her own at first, insistent that the kind he had bought 'tasted like cardboard.'

"It's better, but cheaper. Unexpected for you." With this observation made, he shook some out into his bowl, stirring it around in the vanilla yogurt and taking a seat at the island.

Sam felt rather pleased with that for some reason. He wasn't entirely sure why, but he nodded anyway. Lilith made a bowl of cereal for herself, though, and took a seat on the opposite side of Leraje. If he hadn't known any better, he'd have thought those two made a strange pair. He'd seen stranger demons coupled together, but... well, these two were just strange in a way he couldn't describe.

“Thought I would try something new," he finally replied as he made his way towards the only open spot near the island. He wasn't hungry like the two of them were, and crossed his arms over his chest.

“So... besides the obvious, why are you here?" he decided to ask again. It wasn't that he wanted them to leave. Quite the opposite, but they did come a little unannounced. Not that they ever announced themselves to begin with when they visited him.

Leraje shrugged. "The bag has a new formula in it. No name yet. Careful with it—it's got a pretty sharp kick. Take too much and even you'll overdose." He lifted his shoulders. "I'm working on developing a waking dream that the dreamer has some control over. Like a version of virtual reality, but infinitely variable based on individual desires. This is the first step in that process."

“I'm not going to start sleep walking, am I?" Sam replied as he arched a brow.

“Oh, you should probably call it something like that. Sleepwalker or maybe dreamcatcher," Lilith interjected before taking a bite from her bowl of cereal.

“You're usually a little more creative in your names."

“Hm, yes, well I've been busy with lock boxes and other things."

"And collecting seedy tabloid publications, today," Leraje remarked, crunching through another bite of granola with utter nonchalance. "She has something to ask you about that. Not sure why she's beating around the bush."

She pointed to her bowl of cereal as if it were answer enough. Samael rolled his eyes, but was confused about the seedy tabloid publications that Leraje was refering to. “Who is she?" Lilith asked, taking another bite of her cereal before reaching into her coat pocket. She produced a photo, tossing it on the table as she took another bite. Sam glanced at it and nearly snorted.

It was obviously Soleil in that picture, but it looked like Lilith didn't recognize her. “She was my date for the event. Why, Lil, jealous that I didn't ask you to be my date?" he stated as she gave him a flat look.

“In your dreams. You're not my type," she replied easily enough.

“Hm, yes, you like the quiet loner types," Sam drawled before rolling his eyes again.

“Who is she, though? I've never seen her before, and I've been just about every where." She seemed a little adamant, now, about knowing who it was.

“I told you, she was my hired date for the night. Lost the contact information, though, so I can't give it to you. Would if I had it."

"Apparently she cleaned out Crowley, Caim, and Malphus at Gehennan hold 'em," Leraje said, tilting his head down at the photo. "You have good taste at least." It was unclear whether this statement followed on the previous one or was made simply because of Soleil's appearance, but to Samael's knowledge, Leraje had never really been swayed by anyone's looks.

"Bael was very displeased, but Crowley seemed rather more circumspect about the matter. According to him, your date didn't quite seem as human as she appeared."

“Wouldn't know anything about that," Sam replied honestly. As far as he knew, Soleil was human. She didn't seem like a demon to him, and he didn't exactly get cambion vibes from her, either. Granted, there was something about the Nishant sisters that he couldn't put his finger on, but it wasn't like it bothered him. If they weren't human, then they weren't human.

But what were they, if not human? Bael, however, could kiss his ass. The demon deserved that display of disrespect, as he would no doubt call it. If he hadn't been such an ass about the whole thing, he might have kept it to a minimum.

“Crowley is more reasonable than Bael to begin with. If he thinks she wasn't quite human, that's on him. Don't really care either way," he added with a light shrug of his shoulders.

“You shouldn't be like that, Sam. Bael's only trying to look out for you, you know," Lilith replied before finishing off the rest of her cereal.

“Like Hell he is," Sam muttered beneath his breath. Bael was likely to have Sam's head on a silver platter, first, rather than look out for him.

Leraje's only response to any of that was a slight upwards quirk of his brow. "Whatever you say." It was sort of ambiguous which one of them he was speaking to, and he didn't clarify. He scooped a bit of yogurt from the bottom of the bowl. "How were the last doses of A—" he darted a brief look at Lilith and sighed quietly. "Oblivion?"

Lilith smiled brightly at the name as Sam rolled his eyes.

“Didn't you receive my update?" he asked, quirking a brow at him. It was obvious enough that he hadn't, and Sam sighed softly. “It's not strong enough," he simply stated. “Still had a bit of memory, and the baseline mood was completely off. I went from really erratic to almost... what did the humans call it, zombie? Brainless, essentially, but not completely. It did, however, convince me I was a fly for a moment. Tried hanging on the side of the wall."

Lilith snorted. “Maybe you just had too many different types of drugs in your system."

"I meant the doses I sent after the last update," Leraje replied mildly. "Did you not get around to trying them yet? That's unusual." He didn't seem to care, as such, but knowing him he was inferring plenty from the fact that Samael's drug habits had changed even a little. He could be wickedly sharp when he wanted to, Leraje. Fortunately, his lack of concern prevented him from doing much with his observations, on the off-chance he even bothered to share them.

“Ah, those," Sam stated as he glanced back towards Leraje. “Haven't had the time to do those, yet," he continued, shrugging his shoulders lightly. Lilith raised an inquisitive brow in his direction.

“Since when has Sam ever not had the time to do drugs?" she asked, causing Samael to frown slightly.

“Since Sam's been too busy," he retorted, aware that he was referring to himself in third person. She huffed slightly, and Sam knew she didn't buy it for a second, however; it wasn't her concern. She wasn't his mother; he didn't have to tell her shit if he didn't want to.

“Well, make sure you take them, eventually. The data on those will help with the pricing and also whether or not they're worth putting on the market."

“Why do you care?" Sam shot back, raising a curious brow. She blinked at him, glanced at Leraje, and shrugged her shoulders.

“I don't. It just makes things easier."

“Whatever you say, Lil."