Michel, the Demon Lord of Hel, rescued Dreu from a dire fate, ensconcing his wayward, and only, offspring in the care of his trusted lieutenants. Which would be fine if Dreu didn’t test demon loyalty—and patience—at every opportunity, not that he does it deliberately, you understand.
But this is Dreu we’re talking about…
BTW: ARe/OmniLit is having a SALE, 50% off
Cool beans, cool deal. Dreu would approve.
If Jef was Michel du Velours’ right hand, Rafe was like some variation on internal affairs coupled with a medical mandate to rule on a capo’s fitness, playing Bones to Dad’s Skipper. Pops had legions of lackeys in various stages of feudal service and a surprisingly complex system of rules and regs to secure his rights and responsibilities.
What he hadn’t secured was right of succession … until me. Like I said, he’d gone topside to get satisfaction, steering clear of the dubious affections of the s/hemales. When Maman had popped me from the womb-of-shame, I suspected my father had gone all regal on her ass and threatened to whisk me off to the confines of his inter-dimensional hierarchy.
Ergo, that made me public enemy number one because of my euphemistic mixed heritage, a scandal that approached heresy for both sides of that genetic lottery. One other thing I’d long suspected was that my acceptance into orders was a peculiar validation for the clerics at Cîteaux Abbey, especially the Abbot who’d embraced punishment via fellatio with an under-aged half-demon, half-Vampyr boy as a suitable indulgence for his many sins.
If anyone ever cared to accuse me of having a flexible moral code, I could point with authority to a long history of indoctrination at the feet—or the cock—of clerics who had insinuated my every thought, desire or need with enough rationalizations to sink any soul into oblivion.
Of course, Michel’s threats had also stirred the motherhood genes in a woman who by blood was well-connected to say the least. With time on everyone’s side, and few precedents to suggest any other course of action, sequestering me was ingenious and prudent.
But prudence aside, the bottom line was that none of the hoity-toity wanted me, least of all Maman’s family, but what those aristocrats wanted even less was for my father to have me. So like a specimen in a jar, I got shuffled off to a life of asceticism, out of sight but not exactly out of mind.
After all, when you create a monster, it’s sometimes worthwhile waiting to see what transpired. During medieval times, children were assets so it got no one’s nose out of joint to exercise a little patience, because … well, hell, you just never knew.
Pre-Fane’s assassination, Rafe had been all yes, Sire, no, Sire, how can I be of service, Sire, borderline obsequious but not ringing false. A fine line, perhaps, but one that fit into my comfort zone.
This Rafe, however, looked down on me like I’d brought STDs into the wicked world of the ninth circle. I might be Daddy’s little boy but on the demon doc’s scale of worthies, I was now somewhere south of abomination and to the east of revulsion.
The one thing dearest Rafe wasn’t getting was that I could be dangerous, and not just to myself. As far as I knew, the rabble in Demon Central assumed I’d capped a few thou of minions accidentally: pushed a button, hit a switch … causing a temporary inconvenience with a techno-device in one of Pop’s labs. The old man and I had decided to keep the real reason to ourselves, a discussion we’d had on the fly, so to speak.
Or maybe I should say … on the flee, with me doing a jailbreak and Dad hot on my heels with full intent to take me to the woodshed for a millennium or two. Or he was going to have me clean up the mess on aisle five with a spoon. Neither option sat well so I bolted and hid in a cave on the Black Sea, re-enacting my porn and living large with the local virgins.
Since I’d stuttered through my mental history lesson and apparently bored my audience half to death, I decided I needed sustenance and a change of clothes.
Speaking softly just to see if Rafe had actually drifted off during my extended internal review, I stated, “I need clothes,” without a please or by-your-leave. When he opened his eyes, he had a glazed expression, so I repeated, “Clothes?”
“Uh, I’ll see what I can find.”
As he left, my buddy Jef sidled through, giving the doc as much room as possible. The demons did a nod of sorts but without making eye contact. Not exactly strangers in the night but a definite homage to potential bad blood between them.
Interesting. Was there trouble in paradise? What the heck was I missing?
Going from Daddy’s special boy to near pariah had me spooked on a level I had trouble putting my finger on.
Looking at Jefrumael decked out in eyebrow studs, hoop earrings and short, spikey gelled-to-stiff blond Goth locks had me from Oh fuck, yeah. Sauntering in, he salsa’d his way across the linoleum in black spray-painted tights and a nearly transparent muscle shirt clinging to his cut abs like saran wrap.
Mouthing, shut the door, I backed toward the bed and awaited his pleasure, my skin going into a five alarm sizzle as nerve endings imploded, pop pop pop fizz. This wasn’t the gorgeous young man who’d sucked Fane into denial, nor was he the compliant donor of blood and semen when I’d bestowed a mind-numbing blow job and secured his undying allegiance.
This creature was something else completely, not entirely demon, not entirely humanoid, but fully fashioned. A complete package: assassin, lover, tormentor. If he’d been sent to dispatch me to the light, I knew … knew … I’d die a happy man. He was a wet dream, an Adonis, the fulfillment of every fantasy I’d ever had, or ever would have.
He was temptation on a stick.