An Afternoon in the Life of Evil
Disclaimer: I still own neither Buffy nor Reaper.
Spoilers through 'Chosen', Reaper through at least half of season 2.
The Devil was quite pleased with himself, and had his usual smug grin on his face as he sauntered down the hall towards his office.
He had just enough time to freshen up and change into his afternoon suit before he had to head back to Earth for his 2:00 PM at the orphanage. He found his job was so much easier if he just gave souls the right nudge early on. Heck, he was pretty sure one of those little munchkins was going to be a serial killer when he grew up. It was nice to see a boy after his own heart. But the Devil's high spirits were not because of his destination, fun as that would be. No, he had just come from one of his favorite meetings of the week. Sure, he spent his days corrupting untold numbers of souls and torturing all those evil (or gullible) enough to end up in his domain. And that scream of agony as you broke someone's vertebrae just
right was a great pick-me-up when your last acquisition decided to go with a boring "stoic" instead of "hysterical, blubbering mess" when they realized their fate. But there was just something about visiting just that one, little, extra injustice upon the life of Sam Oliver that really put him in a good mood.
He had just cornered Sam into spying on that annoying little group of do-gooder disgraces of demons, including that friend of his, Tony. Ah, Tony. Such potential for ruthlessness, but it seemed losing Steve had mellowed him out, not sent him into a bloody rampage. Shame, that. But now, he had Sam to keep an eye on those troublemakers. True, he could have just ordered the kid to do it, but then he'd be able to get all righteously indignant over how it "wasn't his fault. The Devil made him do it." Pansy.
Now, though, he was forced to be a spy purely as a result of his own dealmaking. He had no one to blame but himself. Watching self-loathing was far more entertaining than watching self-pity, that's for sure. And the best part was, all poor little Sammy got in exchange was permission to bring his lady friend into a world of hellspawn and myriad other horrors that would certainly tear the two apart quite amusingly even without some timely Satanic intervention.
"I've gotta say, I'm pretty disappointed. That was some bush-league stuff right there."
The slightest hitch in the Devil's step was the only sign that he had noticed his new walking companion, though eons of practice meant that the smile never slipped off his face. "Give me a little credit. I just made that kid walk into a room of demons and wet his pants trying to lie to their faces, all for the right, no, privilege
to doom his relationship with his gal. You can't tell me that's not a work of art."
The pint-sized blonde at his side, shook her head at him. "I'll give you credit, the setup wasn't bad," she said with a pitying smile, "but you still can't quite manage the follow-through."
The Devil shot an annoyed glare her way. "Hey, did you see that job the other day with those cute twins who each wanted the other's boyfriend? I turned that petty squabble into a bloodbath with one little photograph. I'm quite capable of following through, believe me."
The blonde scoffed dismissively. "Don't start posturing with me. We both know you went easy on that kid. One favor for the Devil, no questions asked? And you don't make him ritually disembowel those annoying friends of his, Spock and Bengay or whatever, in front of his girl, before forcing him to set fire to that store of theirs, with all the customers and employees still inside? Come on, you could have utterly destroyed the kid's mind, and when he eventually killed himself he would have completed the first ritual towards releasing an Old One back onto Earth. And all you make him do is go all James Bondey on a demon he's only known for a couple months? Pfft, barely a 2 on the evil mastermind scale."
It took all of the Devil's not inconsiderate willpower to keep himself from casting the... thing... next to him out of his realm. Sure, she'd be back and even more annoying, but at least he'd get a few moments' peace. He did, however, vow yet again to keep an eye out for any way to get a hold of the soul of one Buffy Anne Summers. Oh, the torments he would visit upon her for inspiring the latest preferred form of his walking companion.
And more importantly, for sealing it out of the Earthly realm for a few centuries or millennia. It still had the occasional informant or minion, but it couldn't take any direct action itself. And without living souls to torment, it had taken to reliving its boredom in the assorted dimensions of his domain, increasing the attrition rate to insanity among his workforce by a factor of four in just the past couple months alone. But professional discourtesy aside, that perky cheerleader attitude coming from a being so utterly incapable of feeling anything but an all-encompassing hatred for life was just... off-putting.
Calming himself with thoughts of an eternity of death by staking for Miss Summers, the Devil grinned again towards his guest as they arrived at his office. "You know, sometimes, I feel bad for you. You just can't see the big picture. Sure, I would have gotten a few extra souls in the short-term, but you've got to play the long game. Each person that died and went to Heaven would be out of my reach, permanently. With every second they stay on Earth, they get one more shot to give into temptation."
A look of inhumanly cold fury came over the blonde's face, as she sneered, "You dare to lecture me on making long-term plans? Play with your souls while you can, for when I am strong enough your precious humans will be in short supply."
'Ah,' the Devil grinned inwardly. 'Someone's still bitter over losing the chance to start the apocalypse.' Oddly, the utterly inhuman contempt in its voice reminded him of an old friend. He made a note to look up Illyria one of these days...
The girl seemed to realize that he had scored a point, and he watched her force herself to move on. For a being as old as time, she certainly still had a lot to learn about anger management. He would have almost felt bad for her, if her failed gambit hadn't cost him any chance to win back the rights to Anyanka and William the Bloody, both as souls to play with and expert torturers to employ. Well, that, and if he was actually capable of doing anything but laugh at the misfortune of others.
Before she could take charge of the conversation again, the Devil decided to cut in. Walking over to his closet and pulling out his next suit, he said, "So, something must be on your mind for you to visit me in person. I know you didn't just come here to talk shop."
At this, his companion's anger drained away, and was replaced by a knowing, slightly maniacal grin. He wondered idly if that smile was the reason so many people seemed to dislike talking to him.
"Oh, I just thought I'd pass along a little information, for the sake of goodwill." Unlikely. "A couple old... acquaintances of mine have decided to spend some time in Seattle, and I know your latest project
," she infused the word with not a little disdain, "is somewhere around there. You might have heard of them," she finished, clearly savoring the moment. "The Key and the One who Sees."
The loud clatter of the clothes hanger hitting the floor echoed through the silent office, as the Devil barely managed to avoid allowing the bespoke suit in his hands to follow it down. He made a point of staying far away from the champions of the so-called Powers That Be. Those useless "higher powers" tended to play chess against themselves, moving champions around the board like pawns to maintain their precious "balance". Sure, the do-gooders would mess with a plan or two of his from time to time, but they were usually so busy keeping other humans alive and sinning that he was happy to write off the occasional foiled scheme as the cost of doing business and move on. But to have those two humans in Seattle could prove to be a disaster.
The Devil was carefully grooming his son, Sam, to be his new right-hand man, and it was a long process of chipping away at his already-lacking self-esteem and subtle corruptions when the boy least expected it. Allowing him to run into two of those damnable Scoobies, especially these
two, was unacceptable. A girl who carried the potential to seal some of his gateways from Hell to Earth, and a young man with an uncanny knack for seeing through to the truth of a matter, could with a few careless words of encouragement ruin decades of planning with regards to Sam Oliver.
By the ruthless smirk he saw on her face, his guest had noticed his agitation. He had no doubt that she had played some role in leading the Powers to send this duo onto his turf, but he schooled his expression and stepped behind a privacy screen to change his clothes. After all, while technically older than he, the smug blonde on the other side of the room barely looked twenty, and he did not need rumors starting that he was some sort of pervert. He had a hard enough time as it was buying souls off of wholesome young mothers as it was.
"Well," the girl tossed over the screen, "I should get going. Got a few favors to call in if I want to give the slayers and their friends a properly apocalyptic welcome to rainy Seattle. How do you feel about, ooh, an army of winged demons? I just hope your son doesn't misunderstand the situation and try to get involved himself."
The Devil did not even bother replying, as he knew she was gone. A group of slayers in town, too, and a petty, vengeful spirit of evil trying to simultaneously kill the heroes and ruin his plans for Sam. As if his life wasn't busy enough.
He may have gotten off to a slightly later start with regards to death and destruction, but it didn't mean he was any less good at it. That creature might have written the book on evil, but he was a fast study. The day would come when he would put that incorporeal nuisance in its place. The Devil was not a patient man as a rule, but for this, he would wait eons if he had to.
Those mortal brats had rallied behind a former cheerleader and managed to successfully hit an omniscient being of pure evil where it hurts, while he himself had never managed to land a significant blow. And if there was one thing the Devil could not abide, it was being shown up by a bunch of humans.
Oh, the day would come. And the First was never going to know what hit it.
But that was all in good time. First things first. He had orphans to psychologically abuse, and maybe he'd swing by later and watch Sammy nearly get himself killed by another escaped soul. And
he had to plot the distraction or destruction of a few champions. Ooh, maybe he could tempt one of those young slayers into a deal. Wouldn't that be the feather in his cap.
The Devil adjusted his tie, smirked at himself in the mirror, and strode out of his office and onto a busy downtown sidewalk, surrounded by all manner of sinful humans.
Life was good.