The walk back to my house didn’t take too long. Rune awoke about halfway back. He didn’t make any more attempts to fight his father, but he did glower quite a bit in sullen silence. So that monstrosity of a man was Rune’s father? I still had a hard to believing it and I was looking right at it. Is that what Rune’s going to look like when he gets older.
“He takes after his mother a lot more than his father,” Abaddon whispered to me with a wink, as if he could read my mind.
I blushed as I realized I had been staring at Rune for the better part of the walk into the house. We entered the house and mom came out of the kitchen into the living room. She blinked a few times at the sight of the two men in front of her. Come on, mom, I just need you to suspend disbelief and act like a parent on a teen drama for just one evening.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, my name is Abaddon,” Abaddon bowed incredibly formally, taking my mom’s hand and kissing it.
A blush flared on my mom’s face, and I had to fight the urge to groan.
“And I’m Baal, I’m Rune’s dad.” Rune’s dad thumped his chest with a big vicious looking grin on his face.
My mom looked up at him, her eyes practically rolling up in their sockets at the sight. She took it surprisingly well and gave him a polite response. When she offered to shake his hand, he grabbed her and put her in massive bear hug the only stopped when Rune kicked him in the shin. My mom was a little more flustered after that.
After recovering, she looked at the group, “Jane, why don’t you set up the table. Regrettably, Ryan has left for the evening. He’s helped me with quite a few good dishes. Do you have his number by the way? He started cooking a dish I am not familiar with.”
I had called and beckoned him to get changed back into a boy, so that wasn’t unexpected.
“It smells delicious, perhaps I could help?” Abaddon offered.
“Oh, you know how to cook?”
“I’ve dabbled in the culinary arts from time to time. I think I might be able to figure out what the missing ingredients are.”
Mom thought about it for a second and then shook her head, “No, you’re a guest, I couldn’t intrude.”
“Nonsense,” Abaddon responded smoothly, “I insist.”
Abaddon’s eyes seem to have a penetrating intensity to them. My mom blushed even more before she gave a slight nod. He gave her smile, bowed, and then passed her into the kitchen. She gave me a look that said “Oh my god, he’s so dreamy.” I rapidly shook my head and gave her the sternest look I could. She laughed and winked at me before turning and joining him in the kitchen. This was already going badly; very badly.
I set up the table and Andrew helped. Meanwhile, Rune considered to glare at his dad in sullen silence.
Baal finally broke that silence, “Oh, will you stop acting like a big baby because daddy beat you. Why don’t you introduce me to your girl? You’ve yet to do so.”
Rune’s glower turned into a wince, and he nodded to me, his hands still crossed, “That’s Jane. She’s a friend. That’s all.”
“Is that so?” Baal turned his gaze to me, eying me up and down like I was a piece of meat, “Well, I can see why he likes you so much.”
“Why’s that?” I asked before I could help myself.
“You look a lot like his big sister.”
“Old man…” Rune growled.
“Why, he used to have such a crush on her.”
“Is that common? Little brothers getting crushes on their big sisters?” I asked; maybe I could get some advice on my Daltom problem.
“I wouldn’t know,” Baal shrugged, “However, when his sister got married he had such a fuss.”
“Me!” Rune snapped indignantly, “You tried to have the guy impaled on a spike!”
“Of course, I did!” Baal laughed, “That’s my little girl! However, Rune here pouted about it for like a month. It was quite pathetic.”
Rune ground his teeth, his fists clinched. It was clear that Baal was pissing him off. However, I heard something in Baal’s voice that put me at ease. It was a sense of fondness. I could tell that Baal really did love Rune, even when he was giving him a hard time.
“On that note,” Baal snapped his fingers, “Here I have old bath photos of him naked!”
Baal pulled one out and plopped it front of me. Rune went red, and I glanced down at the picture. Then, I went red to.
“Um… how old are these pictures? He looks like a teenager.”
“Hmmm… I’d say about a year.”
“What the hell is wrong with you old man!” Rune shouted, leaping across the table and snatching the picture out of my hands, tearing it into little pieces.
Baal burst into laughter again. I was stunned into silence. Baal was certainly an interesting kind of father. I got up to check on the food. The sooner we were done, the sooner Rune’s humiliation could be ended.
I glanced into the kitchen. Abaddon’s arms were wrapped around my mom’s back, the two of them laughing. What the heck was going on?
Mom turned to me, a look of happiness on her face I hadn’t seen in a very long time, “Oh honey, look, he’s showing me a new way to cut the vegetables. He really is skilled in the kitchen.”
“That’s not the only skill I have,” Abaddon winked.
“Oh stop you,” Mom giggled, tapping him on the nose.
I shivered at the sight. Hell… freaking… no.
“Abaddon, your brother’s being a little rambunctious.”
Abaddon sighed and nodded, “I’ll go back in there and see if I can reign him in. You, beautiful lady, keep up the good work.”
Mom blushed, “I will.”
Abaddon left the room and moved into the kitchen.
“Mom? What the heck? He’s my boyfr- my boy and friend’s uncle.”
“Oh, hush honey, we’re just enjoying ourselves. Although, I wonder if he’s single…”
“He has a lot of kids, mom.” I defended.
Mom shrugged, “Don’t worry about it dear.”
Well, I did worry about it. However, I really couldn’t come up with the words to tell my mom that he is Satan himself and yeah, you probably shouldn’t date him. I swallowed my words. I just had to grin and bear it. Tonight, Abaddon would return to hell and I wouldn’t have to deal with him.
I left the kitchen and moved back into the dining room. Abaddon and Baal seemed to be having a very animated conversation with Andrew. He was showing him the Gemini, and the men were looking at it appreciatively. Did they not realize my mom was just in the other room? These freaking boys were going to kill me.
“That is a nice sword. I also heard your father wields one.”
Andrew nodded excitedly, “Yes, the holy sword Excalibur. Although, he doesn’t bring it out very often.”
The smile on Andrew’s lips dropped, and for a second I felt for him. His father did care for him though, I just knew it. I had seen it in his eyes. Although that had been some fifty years ago. As Andrew had put it, his father had become a bit of a recluse, not really engaging with anyone unless he had to. It reminded me of the old man Michael and how he had lost touch with his son. Why did these boys have to make it so difficult? The one boy who had a supportive father in his life didn’t seem to appreciate it.
“What?” Rune asked, and I realized I had been glowering at him.
“Apologize, boy,” Baal stated.
“What? Apologize for what? I didn’t do anything.”
“Doesn’t matter. Take it as advice from one man to another. Always apologize.”
Rune glanced over at Abaddon who chuckled and shrugged, then back at me, “I’m… sorry?”
I wiped the angry look off my face. It wasn’t his fault.
“Its fine, you’re forgiven.”
Baal barked a laugh, slapping his thigh, “Very good! I’ll make a proper demon out of you one of these days. It’s times like these I wish I had a demon sword to pass down to you.”
Andrew looked at the two in confusion, “You guys don’t have magical weapons?”
Abaddon shook his head, “Demon weapons tend to be very dangerous. They thrive on carnage and require a strong hand to control them. My predecessor, Cain, had a powerful demon sword, but when ran away after I banished him I was never able to acquire it. Demon swords are usually passed on from father to son… unless they are defeated in combat. If a sword finds someone stronger, it will often go to them.”
Andrew gave me a mindful look. I had to agree with him. My sword was potentially dangerous? How had I gotten it? My parents certainly weren’t demons. As far as I knew, I had never defeated a demon in combat either. Why was I in possession of a sword?
“Holy swords are different,” Andrew spoke up, “They find a partner based on compatibility. When an angel dies, the sword disappears into void, only to return when it decides upon a master.”
Baal laughed, “That must make it awfully hard to keep track of holy swords.”
Andrew nodded in agreement, letting the sword flicker out of existence.
“So, you can’t even unsheathe the sword completely out of the void?” Abaddon asked.
Andrew blushed, “No. My uncle had known a Gemini wielder before me. It was always the same. Just using it takes a great deal of energy. Why, is there anything you know about them?”
Abaddon thought about it a moment, then shook his head, “The Gemini are a pair, although no one knows where the second sword is.”
I shifted uncomfortably; I supposed neither Andrew nor Rune told them about my sword.
“But…” Abaddon continued, “The Gemini were known as brothers. The sword was said to be about unity. It was about bringing people together. I’ve been told that the Gemini only show up when there is a schism.”
“A schism?” Andrew asked.
“Well, for example, say a family was torn apart and descended into civil war. According to legend, the swords would appear and be awarded to each of the families heads.”
I frowned at that. It seemed to me like swords were made for fighting. Giving each of the leaders of a conflict a powerful weapon would lead to even greater war. Gemini sounded like it would break people up, not keep people together. I said as much, and Abaddon gave a shrug.
“I don’t know. Not really. The unity swords and their history are long lost. Ever since Lucifer caused the break between heaven and hell, a lot of what we once knew is no more.”
We sat in silence for bit, contemplating Abaddon’s words. For a moment, even Rune seemed very interested in the conversation. His typical frown had dissipated as he scratched his messy, red hair. Then the door burst open and my mom came in with a plate of stuff.
“Honey, mind helping me.”
I nodded and got up, grabbing a plate and serving it on the table. We set out the rest of the food. It was quite the feast, which mom gave credit to Ryan for. She was a little disappointed that he didn’t get to enjoy any of the food. Of course, he never ate any for the food. I wondered how he became such a good cook if he didn’t have taste buds.
We began to eat, and talk quietly. The prejudice that Andrew had been holding seemed to have been washed away. Rune and Andrew exchanged a few veiled insults at each other, but they said it with smiles on their faces. The two older men seemed to approve of this. Baal had even made a comment about how glad he was to see his son making friends with people outside of his people.
This lead to mom starting to ask questions about who these two men were. I began to panic until I realized they had already established a decent backstory. They were Canadian brothers who worked together in the family business in furs. Abaddon handled the business side of things while Baal went on site to manage directly. I didn’t know fur trading was still a thing, but the two men enthusiastically insisted it was.
It did seem to explain everything, and mom was quickly satiated by it. I breathed a silent sigh of relief, finally hopeful that we could get through this day without any more incident. Abaddon and my mother continued to flirt to my disgust. I shot Rune a few dirty looks, but he seemed amused by it more than anything.
At one point, Baal stated that he liked hot and spicy food, pulling up a bottle from his pocket and poring it over his steak. This led to Rune demanding that he have some too. He poured on a little more hot sauce that his father. Baal added some more, and then it became a contest as the two began to pour gobs and gobs of it all over their meal. Mom watched them with an amused smile on her face as they took slow meticulous bites of their food, tears streaming down their cheeks.
“Are you boys always so competitive,” mom asked.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Rune sniffled, his nose started to run.
Abaddon laughed sweet and melodiously, “They are two of a pair, aren’t they?”
The two laughed and after a moment I chuckled as well. Andrew didn’t seem to know what to make of the two. He had such an icy relationship with his own father, I imagined that this kind of thing seemed completely foreign to him.
My humor died as I heard a wolf howl in the night outside. That was the signal that someone was coming and it was dangerous. The blood drained from my face. We were almost through dinner, things couldn’t go south now. Andrew and Rune glanced around concernedly as well. The two older men didn’t know about the signal, but they could pick up the shift in mood.
“Well, a guess there is a wolf nearby. Let me go lock the doors, just in case,” Mom said, oblivious to the looks.
She stood up, and walked over to the front door to turn the deadbolt. I saw a shadow under the lip of the door.
“No wait, mom!”
It was too late. The door burst open and several darkly cloaked forms burst in, brandishing was looked like steel weapons. My mom shrieked as one of the men grabbed her and tossed her to the side. Her head slammed into the wall and crumpled into a heap. I screamed out, trying to run to her.