“This is not cruelty, Maefyl.” Lilith insisted as she reclaimed her place on Lucifer’s lap and sulked.
“May I suggest we handle more prudent matters?” Gabriel looked at the boy sadly. “I don’t mean to make light of your situation, young man. We are however having somewhat of a crisis that my old friends seem to have forgotten.”
“I’ll just stay out of the way then.” Bishop smiled and stepped back from the well dressed gentleman as his strange friend draped himself over his shoulders. “Someone just show me where ‘out of the way’ is.”
“We certainly attract the smart asses.” Sanguine laughed. “What’s your name shaggy?”
“Bishop.” He smirked at Maefyl. “Are you wearing make up?”
“Kid.” Donovan couldn’t help himself. He laughed when he saw Maefyl’s expression. Just the little hint of mischief hiding underneath the practiced smirk. “Just don’t. Trust me.”
“Why are you all here so early?” Lucifer lifted Lilith as he stood and headed for the doors to the Council hall. “If you insist on interrupting my precious family moments, at least be productive.”
“Family moments?” Maefyl chuckled. “And I wasn’t invited?”
“They are here because I called for them.” Eidolon sat his brides to their feet beside him as he retracted his wings. “At least some of them are. I was not expecting so many, I had hoped to only share this with those involved.”
“Share what?” Lucifer leaned against the door grinning. “Which of these early arrivals can I hold against you?”
“Nyaa!” Kaneko bounded across the room and embraced Kage and Neka. “Kaneko is allowed to be early.”
“Always.” Lilith agreed lovingly before she urged Eidolon on. “Please continue, Falcon.”
“It should wait.” Eidolon sighed. “It is a family matter.”
“The matters of Lucifer’s family have been quite entertaining thus far.” Vikarr cackled as he broke his silence. “By all means, give us an encore.”
“I think he might mean yours.” Eliza felt her ears getting hot as she looked up at Vikarr. She expected panic but he only winked and gave her his playful smile. “I did ask him if you had family.”
“I’m certain he intends to answer that for you, lovely.” Vikarr lifted her chin with his fingers and bent to kiss her nose before looking over her at Eidolon. “Don’t you, Falcon?”
“You had an impressive bloodline, Jester.” Eidolon nodded and Karla squeezed herself tightly against him. “Your child carried a wealth of you with her and passed it into a heritage that spanned centuries.”
“Natural mages….” Maefyl laughed as he took in the whole journey through Karla’s mind.. “You lecherous morons introduced magic into the human race yourselves. Hate them so damn much you have to fuck any unfortunate enough to wander alone?”
“Don’t speak that way in front of my child.” Kage hissed.
“Excuse the fuck out of me.” Maefyl glared at him. “ You’re the one that keeps dragging her along like she can’t breathe if she’s ten feet from you. Taking her to bed, too?”
“Not another word.” Gabriel whispered. He watched his tears hit the stone under his feet and endured the pain as Maefyl fell on his knees beside him in agony. He saw Lucifer’s sneakers inches from him and clenched his teeth when he saw Lucifer’s hand on Maefyl’s hair.
“That’s enough, Gabby.” Lucifer sighed and twisted his fingers in Maefyl’s hair as he crouched in front of him. “Ready to apologize?”
“Sorry, Neka.” Maefyl smiled as the pain Gabriel scolded him with faded. It had been for his own benefit. He was going too far. Gabriel reigning him in quickly prevented a far more vicious scolding from the friend and Father who looked at him now with a smile that burned as badly as the collar stung his veins. Maefyl grinned back at his Father and whispered. “Have a new favorite?”
“Never.” Lucifer winked and pulled Maefyl up by the shoulder of his shirt before he pushed him into Gabriel’s arms. “Despite your behavior, I love you.”
“Such a tender hand you take with your children.” Vikarr laughed.
“Would you have done any better?” Eidolon scolded him coldly. “The task I undertook for your bride is testament to your own skills as a father. You abandoned your own child.”
“I’m suddenly grateful we can’t have children.” Donovan muttered.
“It does seem troublesome.” Mala agreed quietly.
“This is all just fantastic.” Myrt interrupted loudly. “But if there is a point to me being here can someone get to it?”
“Silence angel.” Kage hissed. “Your tongue has no business wagging here.”
“Leave him alone, Kage.” Gabriel remained still with his arm wrapped around Maefyl in a voiceless apology. “We called them here.”
“I need no help from traitorous angels.” Kage held Neka to him as he glared daggers at Gabriel. “I trust them no more than this Farren your horsemen raised.”
“Excuse my impertinence, Lord Viper.” Vikarr stepped forward and in front of Eliza to protect her from any retort. “Mala has long served Nihil. He has my trust and I assume Lucifer’s. Don’t speak ill of him. Myrt I have only known briefly, but he came at my request and the Council’s call…”
“With another painted vampire at his neck.” Kage smirked. “Trying to impress the Lord of your race, are you?”
“Hey!” Maefyl laughed. “Don’t drag me back into this.”
“You find this amusing, Half-breed?” Kage sat Neka beside the throne and turned toward Maefyl as he clutched his blade and drew it from it’s sheath. “Perhaps I should take my role as step-father more seriously.”
“Let go, Gabriel.” Maefyl shrugged out of his embrace and tugged at the grip on his arm. Chaos flooded the floor at their feet and choked the air with its sickly sweet scent as Maefyl drew his swords. “This is long overdue.”
“Galik.” Raziel stepped away from his loves and was nearly crippled but their desperation. Their concern for him, their love, so intense it burned. “Look after the others”
“Yes, Lord Raziel.” Galik grabbed Brig by the back of his shirt when he moved to stop Raziel from protecting Maefyl. “Leave him alone.”
“This is bullshit.” Brig rushed forward letting his shirt tear and remain in Galik’s hand as he held Van and Shana. Brig reached Raziel as he spread threads of protection around them, but instead of clinging to Raziel and begging him to be reasonable he pulled his knives and took advantage of being inside of the barrier. He drove the daggers into Maefyl’s stomach and back as he screamed his discontent. “Stop putting him at risk, you son of a bitch!”
“Bad move, kid.” Maefyl grabbed Brig and shifted them away as Lucifer‘s blade cracked the floor where they had been standing.
“He meant to protect me.” Raziel followed as Lucifer slowly closed the gap between himself and Maefyl. “Lucifer, your husband provoked this.”
“I’ll tell you only once to back away, Raziel.” Lucifer heard another step follow him and spun to kick Raziel in the chest. He grinned as Raziel hit the wall and watched the panic in Vex’s deranged family as Galik helped his Master to his feet. “Who will pull their strings if I have to put an end to you?”
“I just wanted you to leave him out of it.” Brig saw Kage fall in step beside Lucifer and his fingers shook on Maefyl’s sleeve. Maefyl had him backed to the wall, but stood to defend him against Lucifer. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s not me you need to apologize to.” Maefyl pulled one of Brig’s knives from his gut and healed the wound. As he handed it over his shoulder he laughed. “Would you mind?”
“What?” Brig hadn’t realized in his panic that his right hand still held the knife in Maefyl’s back. He withdrew it and let it drop to the floor as Lucifer stopped in front of them. “I’m sorry. Maefyl, I don’t want him hurt.”
“Your heroics required insulting my bride and attacking my son?” Lucifer punched the wall beside them and watched the broken stone cut Brig’s face as it shattered. “I’m disappointed, Brig.”
“I didn’t…” Brig stared at his coming end burning in the eyes of the Dark Lord and realized it was his mouth that had caused the trouble and not the blood on his hands. “Mistress Lilith, forgive me. Shana, Raziel… I love you.”
Brig closed his eyes and waited, but it wasn’t his scream of pain that ended the silence. It was the quiet laughter of voices singing. As Brig opened his eyes he slid down the wall in relief as the attention he had attracted was now on Lucifer’s throne and the child that occupied it.
“…climbed up the water spout. Down came the rain and washed the spider out.” Bishop sat in front of the throne distracting a little girl from a room full of violence. Demon or not she was just a little girl.
“Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.” Neka sang along the words he had quickly taught her and tried to mimic the silly little gestures depicting the brave spiders efforts. She sat on the throne smiling as her finger spider climbed up her arm. “And the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again…”
A room filled with ancient creatures watched in amazement as Bishop smiled at her demands to sing it again. Each of them was touched by the scene for different reasons, they could see the happiness, feel it dancing in the air between them, but only Maefyl and Raziel could see the purity in it. The child like joy of making friends and the sweet sentiment behind Bishops motivation to protect a child.
“What is it you think you are doing?” Kage stepped beside the boy.
“Singing?” Bishop sighed. “It was getting a bit deep in here for a kid.”
“My daughter is well equipped to handle these situations.” Kage spoke softly as he praised the girl that still swung her feet carelessly to a song that had ended.
“Doesn’t mean she should have to.” Bishop muttered as he accepted defeat. He pushed himself to his feet and turned to give the girl’s father a polite bow. “I’ll get out of the way.”
“I doubt it.” Kage grabbed Bishop by his throat as he stood and left and endless ring of blackened chaos wrapped around the boys neck. As he let go he left a braided cord of black that ran through his fingers as he stepped toward Neka. When he kneeled in front of his daughter, Kage wrapped the cord gently around her wrist a few times and let her grab the end in her hand. “This will be your responsibility. I want nothing to do with it.”
“Thank you, Daddy!” Neka hugged him tightly and let him lift her into his arm. “Neka will take good care of him.”
“This is not a gift from me alone. Be sure to thank Lilith.” Kage looked down at the dumbfounded youth. “Tch, I should make it clear now that you are not to speak to me unless I say otherwise.”
“Guess the bad name was an omen.” Bishop grabbed his new leash and shook his head as he muttered to himself.
“At least he’s funny.” Maefyl laughed and pulled a relieved Brig off the floor. “You okay?”
“Sorry I stabbed you.” Brig grabbed his second knife and wiped it on his pants. “What exactly is funny about that situation?”
“His name is Rex.” Raziel shifted quickly to retrieve Brig and bring him back to Shana and the others. “I believe my Lord was making a jest about its commonality as a name for canine companions.”
“That’s worse than yours, Brig.” Van giggled as she wiped the last of her tears away.
“Laugh it up, cunt.” Brig held Shana close and let her cry against his shoulder as he returned Van’s jabs at his unfortunate naming.
“Quiet, puppets.” Raziel insisted and took Brig’s jaw in his fingers. “You will be punished.”
“I know.” Brig sighed. As long as they were all together. As long as Raziel was there to make the threat. It was worth it.