|The Exorcist and the Demon
Author: DarkRhodion PM
She thought cross-dressing while doing exorcist jobs was a good idea until a demon followed her back home in the name of vengeance. All that happening while helping two girls fall in love? That wasn't in the job description. Femslash, yuri, F/FRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Chapters: 13 - Words: 146,371 - Reviews: 87 - Favs: 46 - Follows: 56 - Updated: 05-30-13 - Published: 05-24-12 - id: 3025333
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Blah, I need to update faster (also, I didn't really proof this because it's late and I wanted it out faster, so I'm really sorry about the possible errors). In this part, Isaka goes into rescue mode, our titular couple gets some fluffy time, and Tycara enters into the spotlight.
AND I got published for reals for once. Check out an online magazine called Crack the Spine. In Issue Fifty-three, my sapphic themed story, "Roommates" appears in it. Use the magic of your search engine to go find it because it's free!
When Erin woke up, her head was throbbing and she could hear a man's voice.
"-what your niece has been up to?" Ian asked over the phone. "I'm getting concerned for her now, but I need to know if this is something serious. I don't want to have to inform the PDF if I don't have to."
Erin sat up on the hotel bed, looking around. Ian was by a desk and he caught her eyes. "Keith," he said to the man on the other side of the phone. "She woke up, so I need to go. I'll let you know if Krystal comes by." He hung up.
"Where am I?" Erin asked, looking around. Suddenly, Posh-Posh jolted up from his resting place on the bed. She let out a shriek and scooted away.
"Calm down," Ian said, mistaking her cry as in response to him and not the snake. "Krystal asked me to take you somewhere safe."
"She... she did?" Erin could recall that Krystal was the exorcist girl she had met at Abby's lodge. Her memory had almost cleared up by now, but Erin couldn't tell how she knew Krystal was an exorcist. It was almost like another memory was bleeding into hers. "Where is she?"
"I sensed a dark presence and went to investigate, but I ran into Krystal on the way," Ian explained. "Krystal stayed to fight while I took you here."
"Did she stay to fight that guy?" Erin asked.
"I didn't see a man there," Ian said. "There was a woman."
"That must have been Faye... This guy showed up from nowhere saying he was a demon and he tried to kill us," Erin rambled. "Then I tried to escape, but he attacked me and I got knocked out-"
"What was his name again?"
"Eska Cromwell," Erin said. "Is he still running around?"
Ian paused. "I think so. If Krystal and I didn't see him, he must be somewhere else. Can you explain to me what exactly happened?"
Erin took a deep breath. "I... lost my memory and the woman who runs that flower shop, Faye, helped me out. She was going to bring me back to the Greenland Terrace Lodge when Eska showed up and attacked us."
"The same lodge with the second floor damage from the giant snake?" Ian asked.
Erin looked over at Posh-Posh. "Yeah, that one."
"Are you a demon?" he asked her.
"I'm not sure," Erin admitted. "I... I don't think so."
"You look like a natural demon, but your energy is much different. This is something I've never seen before," he said. He stood by the bed, thinking. After a while, he said, "I forgot to introduce myself. I'm Ian Wesley."
"Erin... I think my last name is Schlange, but I'm still having trouble remembering," she said. "And I'm really new to all this demon stuff."
"But you're not human," Ian said.
"I used to be," Erin said. "I used to not look like this."
Ian gave her a confused look. "That's rather strange."
"How do you know about demons?" Erin asked him.
"I work for the Paranormal Defense Force, which is a secret department of the government," Ian explained. "We keep everything in balance and make sure people are safe from demons that seek to do harm to society. I'm not actually an exorcist, so fighting is not something I do."
"Okay," Erin said. "...does this mean guys in black suits are going to come pick me up?"
Ian chuckled. "No. The PDF employs humans and demons. We also have connections with various demon groups. The goal is to live in harmony, not dissect or run strange experiments on people."
"...but what about Krystal?" Erin asked. "When did we get here?"
"Over an hour ago," Ian said. "I think she's in danger, so I'm actually going to call in backup. This will involve the government, so there's a chance you may get detained for a while."
Erin froze up. "Detained? But you said-"
"Just until they can help you figure out who you are," Ian said. "If a demon is trying to kill you and your friend, then it's dangerous for you to just walk out of here."
"But they'll help Krystal and Faye if they're in trouble?"
"Of course." Ian looked at his phone. "I'll make sure they treat you right. And I'll call up the owner of the lodge about you so we can figure this mess out."
Erin nodded, but watched as Ian stared at his phone. He blinked a few times before putting it in his pocket. He reached into his jacket and pulled out a handgun. Erin gripped the bedspread tightly and Posh-Posh slithered closer to her. "What are you doing?"
"There's a dark presence coming right at us." He readied his gun, pointing it at the door.
"Is it Eska?" Erin got off of the bed, scared. Did this mean he had hurt Faye?
Ian stood tense and after a minute of silence, there was a knock on the door. He swallowed and called out, "Who is it?"
"You have ten seconds to open this door," came a female voice from the other side.
"That... doesn't sound like Eska," Erin whispered to Ian.
"Who is it?" Ian repeated.
The only response he got was the hotel door getting kicked in. Before he could react, someone rushed forward, grabbed his face, and slammed him into the floor. Erin screamed before she realized that the person who attacked Ian was none other than Isaka.
"I don't have time for this," Isaka said to Ian, crouched over him, her hand still on his face. "Kindly give up Erin and we won't have a problem."
He laid his hands back in surrender and Isaka got off of him, kicking his gun to the other side of the room. "...Isaka...?" Erin asked. Posh-Posh instinctively jumped into Erin's hands out of fear and Erin tried to brush him off to no avail.
The demon stared at her. "Erin... Are you alright?" Isaka went over to her and grabbed her by the arms, inspecting every inch of her. "The goddess entered your body, didn't she? Are you... are still yourself?"
"The goddess? What are you talking about?" Erin looked down at Posh-Posh. "I... I feel fine. I don't really remember everything, but..."
"Goddess?" Ian asked as he stood up. "What are you-"
Isaka whirled around and took a few steps toward him before grabbing him by the throat. "Who are you and why do you have Erin?"
"Ian Wesley...The PDF," Ian managed to say. "Krystal asked me-"
Isaka slammed him against the wall. "Listen up. Krystal got kidnapped by some woman named Faye, so I need to exchange Erin for her. I plan on kicking Faye's ass, but I still need Erin to find her. And you, as a PDF agent, are not going to report any of this to your agency, understand?"
Ian nodded and Isaka let go.
"I would love to bitch to you about how much I hate the PDF, but I have a deadline to catch," Isaka said and she went over to Erin, grabbed her by the wrist, taking her out of the hotel room.
"Don't worry! I know her," Erin called out to Ian as she left.
As soon as they were outside the hotel, Isaka turned to Erin. "I'm sorry that I can't really see if you're okay, but Krystal is in trouble. Faye kidnapped her-"
"Faye wouldn't do that!" Erin argued. "Faye was the one who found me and protected me from the demon!"
"What demon?" Isaka asked.
"There was a demon trying to kill us," Erin said. "I think Faye was fighting him and I tried to run before he knocked me out."
Isaka looked down at Erin's hands, where Posh-Posh hid from her. "...do you remember fighting Krystal and I in your shrine?"
Erin paused. "...kind of. But I don't understand why."
Isaka let out a sigh. "I guess that means you're okay. I was scared for you, Erin."
"Because I thought the goddess would take of your body and completely destroy you," Isaka said. "But right now, I need you to find out where Faye is."
"...at the flower shop...?" Erin suggested.
Just then, Posh-Posh jumped out of her hands. Erin clung to Isaka when she realized she'd been holding the snake for so long. Posh-Posh slithered away from them and toward the direction of the forest.
"Where is he going?" Isaka asked. "I recognize him as the giant snake that Krystal downsized, but..."
Erin closed her eyes. "The shrine... he's going to my temple. Faye must be there."
"Let's go," Isaka said, grabbing Erin by the wrist. "I'm going to kick that girl's ass."
"She's a good person," Erin protested. As soon as they were clear of the hotel and walking on the sidewalk, Erin felt a strange power come through her. She bent over, catching her breath.
"Want me to carry you?" Isaka asked. "The shrine is far and I need to get you back in time-"
All of a sudden, the asphalt near them began to warp and transform. Erin hid behind Isaka and the demon readied herself to fight. What formed in front of them was a snake golem, its large mouth wide open. It didn't move.
Erin peeked out from behind Isaka. "More snakes..."
"You would think that being the snake goddess would help you get over this," Isaka said. "Why did you summon it?"
"What are you talking about?" Erin asked.
"The golem! It's yours!" The demon stepped aside and shoved Erin in front of it. "It's here because you wanted it to be."
"I did?" Erin stood in front of it, intimidated.
"The spirit of the goddess used her golem to fight us and you used the golem to escape from the temple after you guys fused," Isaka explained.
"Escape from the temple... oh! Then we can use my golem to go straight to where Faye is," Erin said. She turned to the golem. "Can you take us there?"
It widened its mouth a bit more and Erin stared into its gravelly abyss. "Looks like it's ready to go," Isaka said, climbing into the mouth.
"It... it let me ride on top last time," Erin said, frightened.
"Erin, you're a nice girl, but I'm about ten minutes away from Krystal getting defiled by some other woman," Isaka said. "Get inside now."
"Faye's going to do what to Krystal?!" Erin exclaimed. "Faye wouldn't because she likes me and-"
Isaka reached forward and pulled Erin inside the snake's mouth with her. The golem burrowed back into the ground, taking them straight to the shrine.
"Well you're pretty strong for an exorcist that's only been training for a few years," Faye said.
"That's what everyone says, but when I get in situations like this," Krystal held up her still bound hands, "I start to think otherwise."
"Come on, it's hard to break my ribbons," Faye explained. "I'm a goddess from a different time period than you. You can't be that hard on yourself."
"I guess," Krystal sighed. The last two hours had been filled with Faye and her discussing various topics, but now... "I'm not sure if Isaka is going to make it."
Faye frowned. "I really thought she would get here in time. Too bad, I was going to let her rescue you so you guys could have a romantic moment."
Krystal shook her head. "Is that why you tied me up?!"
"Well, it's a great plan-"
"No, it's not!" Krystal shifted in Faye's lap. "Isaka tried to pull this kind of crap with Eveon and Mina, and then I got hired to exorcise her because of it. Do you really think Isaka will come down here and be happy that you kidnapped me?"
Faye ran her tongue over her teeth, thinking. "...it really is a bad plan, isn't it?"
"Isaka is far stronger than me," Krystal added. "If she gets down here and sees that-"
Before she could finish, a giant snake head emerged from the ceiling and its mouth opened. Isaka jumped down from it, holding Erin in her arms. When Faye saw the angry look in Isaka's eyes, she said, "You definitely have a good point there, Krystal."
Isaka set down Erin. "Let Krystal go, now." Her eyes narrowed when she noticed Krystal sitting in Faye's lap, her hands bound.
Erin looked heartbroken at the sight. "Faye... what are you doing? I thought..."
Faye's ribbons broke and she practically threw Krystal off of her. The blonde almost fell over, but she stood up, a little disoriented. Faye's charming effect hadn't worn off entirely either. When Krystal looked to Isaka, she grew red just thinking about the demon.
"It's a misunderstanding!" Faye said. "I didn't do anything with Krystal, so..."
Isaka launched herself at Faye, ablaze with dark energy. The goddess conjured up her ribbons and tied them around Isaka before sending her flying across the shrine. Isaka used her dark energy to shred the ribbons and regained her footing before charging at Faye again.
"Wait!" Krystal ran into Isaka's path and grabbed the demon, stopping her attack. "Isaka, she didn't do anything. She's not the enemy."
Isaka bristled, but she grabbed Krystal, examining her. "Did she do anything to her? Are you alright? Erin said there was a demon-"
"He wasn't there when I got there, so I mistook Faye as the one who attacked Erin," Krystal explained. "The reason she kidnapped me was because she wasn't sure if I was out to hurt Erin."
Isaka pulled Krystal close. "Why is your face so red?"
It went instantly redder. "No reason."
Isaka leaned down. "What did she do?"
Krystal bit her bottom lip. "...Nothing."
Isaka snapped her head to Faye, ready to shred the already injured goddess apart. Faye held up her hands. "I simply charmed her," Faye said. "I can charm people who aren't in love, so I simply made her more aware of her feelings-"
Isaka began to walk over to Faye, but Krystal pulled her back. When the demon turned to look at Krystal, the exorcist kissed her. It was just a quick peck on the lips, but Isaka was stunned. "That's why I'm blushing," Krystal whispered.
"So she... oh... wait..." Isaka took some time to think of it. She ran her hands up and down Krystal's arms. "So you're... really into me?"
"I didn't say that," Krystal said, embarrassed. "I just... Faye's charm stuff made me think about you a lot."
Isaka smiled. "Alright. I understand."
"Doesn't mean anything," Krystal said, playing with the front of Isaka's shirt. "So don't get ahead of yourself."
Faye grinned, pleased with herself. However, her vision of Isaka and Krystal was blocked when Erin stepped into view. The dark-haired girl was teary eyed and obviously upset. "Faye! What were you planning to do with Krystal?"
"I just... I just talked to her about some things and tried to help out her relationship with Isaka," Faye explained. "I didn't do anything-"
"You said you were going to ask me out on a date when I recovered my memory," Erin said. "But do you flirt with everyone?"
"No, I don't-"
"I really, really like you and to have you doing something like that... if you're not serious about me, then don't act like it!" Erin turned away from her, arms crossed. Posh-Posh, who had been resting on her shoulder, let his head droop as the tension rose.
"Erin... I like you too," Faye said. "This is a misunderstanding."
Erin turned back to her. "Well, I remember everything now, so I'm going to go back to Abby and just continue on with life!"
Faye grabbed her. "If you remember everything, then you'll know that I love you."
Erin froze and looked at where Faye was holding her wrist. She blushed. "But we hardly know each other."
Faye's grip loosened. "But you said you remembered everything."
"Yeah. I went to your shop to pick up the application," Erin said. "That's when we first met."
Faye looked crestfallen. "You don't remember your past life as a goddess?"
Erin tried to think hard, but it felt like everything else was cloudy. Even the other memory that bled into hers didn't hold the answer. "...no."
Faye sighed. "Erin... I'm the Goddess of Love. Don't you at least remember that?"
Erin glanced over her shoulder at Krystal and then back at Faye. "Just because you're the Goddess of Love doesn't mean you can be promiscuous."
"That's not..." Faye groaned. "You said something similar to me when we first started our relationship."
Erin took her wrist from Faye. "Well, I can totally understand why."
"But I love you more than anyone! I have been celibate this entire time," Faye explained. "I... can't be with anyone else but you."
Erin looked down at the ground. "I really don't remember any of this."
Faye stepped forward and placed her hands on Erin's shoulders. "I guess the ritual damaged your memory... I'm lucky that your spirit was still around to find your vessel."
"Can you teach me what I'm supposed to know?" Erin asked, looking up at her.
"Not exactly what I wanted to do on our first date, but it'll do," Faye joked.
Erin pulled away from her. "I don't have my goddess memory back, so you may be taking advantage of an amnesiac," she teased. "Also. If I catch you flirting, forget about our supposed relationship that I don't remember."
Faye flailed, concerned. "But I... I didn't do anything with her!"
Abby took a deep breath. "So Erin is God?" She turned to Adam. "You sure do worship a strange deity, Adam."
The pastor shook his head. "Abby... Christianity is separate from the Creator myth."
Faye and Erin sat together on the couch across from them, while Krystal and Isaka watched from where they were standing in the room. "It's not a myth," Faye argued. "Erin and I wouldn't exist otherwise."
"...maybe you do have a point," Adam said. Everyone in the room stared at him, surprised by his statement. "After all, not even God's miracle would make Erin willingly hold a snake."
Erin groaned. "Pastor Marshall... this isn't funny!"
"You're the Goddess of Serpents," Adam deadpanned. "And you rode in the mouth of a snake golem, apparently, so this is rather strange."
"Not the green hair or weird eyes?" Abby asked him. "Of all the things that make you believe part of their supernatural tale, it's the tiny snake?"
Adam shrugged. Erin and Krystal had just finished telling them about what had happened after Erin's disappearance. "Regardless, I'll be in the other room. I don't care what you all believe in, but it's not a topic I care for." With that, he left.
"He loves his scripture a lot," Abby explained. "Wouldn't be surprised if he slept with a Bible under his pillow."
"He's pretty nice," Faye said. "I've met some interesting zealots in my time."
"But now what?" Krystal asked. "Eska is still out there."
Faye spoke up. "I'll be more prepared. Erin's actually a better fighter than me, so I'll help her get back into shape. We aren't as strong as we used to be with the Creator around, but we can stave him off."
"If there's any trouble around here, Tycara should notice," Isaka added. "I don't want her to get involved, but if she notices, she'll let me know."
"And I can come down too," Krystal said. "He sounded strong."
"He was." Faye had already changed clothes and bandaged her injuries. "I'm not sure what he was after. It seemed like he happened upon us by chance."
"What about that government agency?" Abby asked. "The one that sounds like that file name...?"
"The PDF?" Krystal suggested.
"Yeah, them. Shouldn't you call them about it?" Abby asked. "I don't know much about what you non-humans do, but I had no issues getting construction done for the lodge."
Faye and Erin exchanged glances. "The PDF doesn't really know about us," Faye explained. "I doubt they'd let Erin and I wander around because we know about the Creator."
"...what would they do to you guys?" Abby asked.
"Detain them. Question them. Maybe run experiments," Isaka cut in. "Maybe offer them jobs, but really make them work for the government or they will be imprisoned indefinitely. It's gotten a lot better in the last 50 years, but that's what they wanted to do to Tycara."
"Are you serious? That's what my taxes do?" Abby asked, annoyed. "Why don't they let people be?"
"Unfortunately, the PDF prides security over anything else," Krystal said. "There's a reason my family and I don't work for them. We don't like how things are run."
"But I don't think that PDF agent will be reporting anything," Isaka said.
Krystal blinked. "That's right! Where is Ian?"
"Hopefully not still in the hotel room," Erin muttered, remembering how Isaka had roughly handled the man.
Isaka waved it off. "I'll worry about that later. The important thing is that he was scared enough not to do anything stupid."
"I can't believe I forgot about him..." Krystal murmured. She headed out of the living room to call the number on his card.
After she left, all attention centered on Isaka. "So," Abby started. "Krystal looked like she was clinging to you a bit closely. And maybe even suffering from tomato face syndrome, hmm?"
"Strike while the iron's hot!" Faye suggested.
"Wait a second," Erin said. "I think Krystal needs more time."
"As the Goddess of Love-"
Erin shoved Faye's face away. "Oh please, it has to be the Goddess of Seduction. I know when I get my memory back it's going to be some weird title like that."
"Maybe just go with the flow?" Abby said. "She's in your clutches, Isaka."
"I'm a couple hundred years old," Isaka scoffed. "I think I should know how to get a girl."
Faye pushed Erin's hand away from her. "But it's killing you inside to have to take so much time, right? Not to mention that she reminds you of..."
Isaka gave her a death glare. "I know you can read lovers, but don't you dare bring any of my old ones up. I'm not in the mood."
Faye gave her a sad smile. "Didn't mean to pry at all. But don't let yourself get caught up in the past. Krystal is a wonderful girl."
Abby grew serious. "Faye... can you really read lovers?"
"Yeah. I know about your husband," Faye said. Erin pinched her. "Sorry for being so brazen."
"It's been a long time," Abby said. "Don't worry about it."
"Adam loves you." Faye got an elbow in the ribs from Erin. "What? It's obvious!"
"I know," Abby sighed. "I feel bad for him, but I just..."
"I can't really read future lovers, but I don't think that will be an issue for you," Faye said. "Such a beautiful woman like you-"
Erin shook her head. "Faye..."
"What? She is! Don't you agree?"
"I do, but I can tell when you're flirting and when you're complimenting," Erin said. "The parts of my memory of keeping you in check are now coming back."
Faye sat back in the couch. "It's like square one all over again. Guess I just have to earn your trust."
"So much lesbianism in here," Abby groaned. "I'm going to stop loving the men at this rate. Let me go find Adam."
Once Abby left, Krystal came back in the room. "Ian isn't picking up so I left him a message," she said. "I have to make sure he doesn't file a report, but if he does, then I at least know what's in it."
All eyes were on Krystal and she fidgeted. Isaka sighed, walking over to her. "Let's get these goddesses back to where they should be."
Krystal looked at her watch. It was already evening. "Right. So we're taking Faye back to her shop?"
"Me too," Erin said, a bit embarrassed. "I'm going to be staying with Faye from now on."
Faye got up from the couch and helped Erin up. "She's going to work part time at my shop and she didn't want to be a burden to Abby for so long..."
"And you quickly put the moves on your long lost girlfriend," Isaka said. "You can just say that you wanted your relationship to escalate immediately."
Krystal rolled her eyes as she headed out the front door, toward her car. "Like you're one to talk, Isaka."
The demon frowned, following Krystal. "What? What's that supposed to me?"
Erin sighed. "I guess it looks like we're moving quickly. But if we really did love each other for centuries, then wouldn't this be like a glacial pace?"
"I could be lying to you," Faye joked. "Taking advantage of your amnesia."
Erin grabbed Faye's hand. "I trust you." The two of them went out to Krystal's car, watching as the exorcist bickered lightly with the demon.
"You're still going to be my roommate?" Krystal sighed. "Aren't you bored yet?"
"I'm glad you're properly referring to me as your roommate," Isaka teased. "And no, I'm not bored. It's not a game to me."
"That doesn't mean I think you're my roommate," Krystal said. "And if there are strange things happening in Greenland Terrace, don't you think you should be at your manor?"
"Maybe you should be my roommate then."
"And stay in your used-to-be-fiend-lair? I'd rather not get darkness poisoning."
"There's no trace left of the fiend's energy. Besides, if you did get poisoned, I'd nurse you back to health."
Erin interrupted their exchange. "Are we ready to go?"
Krystal blushed. "Yeah. Back to the flower shop? Is it alright if I take a look around when we get there?"
"Of course," Faye said. "Actually, if you could put up some protection on the building, that'd be great. I guess I got too relaxed because I haven't been attacked like this in over a century."
As they got in the car, Erin said. "How long has it been since my last vessel was destroyed?"
Faye grimaced at the memory as she buckled her seatbelt. "A few thousand years, I think. It was a long time ago."
Erin squeezed Faye's hand. "I'm sorry you had to be alone for so long."
"You're here now and that's what matters," Faye said.
Krystal watched the two of them in the rearview mirror, smiling to herself. She noticed out of the corner of her eye that Isaka was looking at her. Krystal turned to her and the demon had a smirk. Krystal wanted to ask her what it was, but she had an idea of what Isaka was thinking. The ride to Faye's house remained uneventful, minus Isaka casting glances at Krystal while Erin and Faye talked quietly in the back.
When they entered the shop through its front entrance, Isaka surveyed the lack of damage. "Doesn't look like there was much of a fight here," she said, picking up some greeting cards that had fallen off one of the shelves on the left side of the shop. "There's barely a trace of the guy you talked about."
Faye sighed, looking down at her bandaged hand. "That's one good thing about it. He hardly left a mess, but he wrecked part of the living room and the fire escape."
Erin wringed her hands as she walked over to the checkout counter and looked at the door behind it that led to the back. "I'm sorry. It happened because of me, didn't it?"
Faye walked up behind her and wrapped an arm around her waist. "I'll teach you how to hide your power so it doesn't happen again."
Krystal, who had been waiting by the door, said, "There's a good chance that he'll come back. Don't you think you should move?"
Faye looked over at her. "I like it here and there's no way a demon is going to scare me off." She glanced at Isaka. "No offense."
"None taken. I'm not fond of other chaos demons making the rest of us look bad," Isaka admitted.
"Can I take a walk around?" Krystal asked. "I don't know much about protection and barriers, but I can put up some basic stuff that will alert you of any foreign presence on your property."
"Mind if I come?" Erin asked. "I... well..." She trailed off. "I feel like it's something I should know."
Faye smiled and motioned Erin over to Krystal. "That's a great idea! If Krystal shows you where she's setting the parameters for the barrier, you can have the snakes guard that area."
Erin visibly winced, even though Posh-Posh lazily dangled from her shoulders. "I... don't think I can do that."
"Talk to them?"
"Yeah. Among other things. You're like their mom."
"...I give birth to snakes?!"
At this point, Krystal began to drag Erin through the back door of the shop before she could get more frazzled. "That's not what she means," the exorcist started.
Isaka continued to help with the cleanup as Faye watched the door swing shut behind them. The love goddess looked at the mess on the checkup counter along with some of the dried blood on the floor. It had to be hers from when Eska caught her off guard.
"Did he say if he belonged to a group?" Isaka asked.
"He didn't say who he was working with," Faye said. "It's obvious, isn't it?"
Isaka turned away from the merchandise she had realigned on the shelves. "A chaos demon randomly attacking two non-humans in the middle of a town? He had to have some strong backing to make such a brazen move."
"And then he ran off, not wanting an exorcist to notice him," Faye continued. "I've lived most of my life trying to stay under the radar, but Erin's awakening didn't go unnoticed. Any idea who he could be?"
"Eska Cromwell... no, it doesn't ring a bell," Isaka said. "The only group I've ever had to deal with was Trismegistus, but they're no longer around."
"You know Trismegistus?" Faye asked.
"I thought you might know that," Isaka said. "You know about Cassandra, don't you?"
"I can tell that she was one of your previous loves," Faye said. "And her soul no longer exists because it was consumed."
Isaka paused, her face solemn. "Trismegistus tried to capture Cassandra to use her as a sacrifice. In the end, they got what they wanted, but Cassandra's compassion ruined any plan they had."
"I'm sure it didn't help that they lost that war they started up," Faye noted. "Then you've been around... almost 500 years?"
"Yeah. So I don't know much about what you've experienced as a goddess, but I do know that Trismegistus was the last large organization that would pull something like this. I've dealt with petty demons and humans, but nothing to cause alarm." Isaka let out a long sigh. "I figured you would have a better clue as to what was going on."
"I wish I did," Faye said, leaning against the counter. "I've seen a lot more mayhem than you, but the fall of Trismegistus and other groups like it in the 1600s set the stage for the harmony we can have today. I may be a goddess, but I'm not even as strong as you are."
Isaka chuckled. "Really? Even as someone from before humans existed?"
A moment of silence fell over them. "You're far stronger than you let show, aren't you?" Faye asked.
Her question hung in the air and Isaka crossed her arms. "I guess."
"I heard that it was a chaos demon that defeated the abomination created by the Trismegistus alchemist," Faye said. "It reached me all the way in England. I had heard of the fighting in Central Asia, but before I could consider getting involved, it was over."
"A lot of chaos demons fought in the war," Isaka said.
"And a lot of them are this humble?"
"I lost someone very important that day. That's not being humble."
Just then, the door behind the counter opened. Faye straightened up and Isaka tried to relax. The tense atmosphere drifted away as Krystal and Erin entered the room.
"It's really about covering the perimeter," Krystal told Erin. "That's really it."
"It didn't look easy," Erin said. "But I guess I don't have holy power so that's why..."
"Speaking of which, want me to restore Posh-Posh?" Krystal asked, pointing to the snake.
"To his regular size?" Erin looked horrified.
Faye laughed and went over to Krystal, looping her arm around the blonde's shoulders. "I think poor Erin wouldn't be able to take that. Besides, Posh-Posh is more manageable this way!"
Posh-Posh nodded eagerly and Erin shuddered at his movements. Krystal looked over her shoulder at Isaka and noticed that the demon was glaring at the back of Faye's head. Krystal didn't know how the love goddess could take that intense of a look and not be alarmed. That's when she realized Faye's arm was still around her shoulder. Krystal blushed and shrugged Faye off before taking a step back.
"I think we should get going." Krystal looked over at Isaka and the demon walked up next to her.
"That sounds like a plan." Isaka still gave Faye an intense look, but the redhead was unfazed.
"You guys don't want to stay for dinner?" Faye offered.
"No." Isaka crossed her arms again.
Erin gave Faye a questioning look, but said nothing.
"...so I guess this is goodbye," Krystal said. "I left my card with you Erin, so if anything happens, please let me know. Also, don't be afraid to tell Abby or Adam. They said they would help the best they can. I wrote Tycara's number on the back of my card."
Faye ran a hand through her short hair. "Thank you, Krystal. And you too, Isaka."
The demon softened. "Of course. I know what it's like to be hunted."
"Hopefully if I do call, it's only to catch up," Erin said.
They all exchanged formal goodbyes and as Krystal and Isaka left, Erin turned to Faye. "What happened?"
"Isaka is an interesting one," Faye said, heading toward the door behind the counter. Erin followed right behind her. "She's hiding quite a few little secrets."
"Really? Is it anything bad?" Erin asked as they headed up to Faye's apartment.
When they got there, Faye sighed at the damage in the living room. It was just some cosmetic things with one of the living room window frames that Eska had nicked with his daggers, but she still didn't like to think about having to fix it. "Nothing bad. It means we have a strong ally on our side."
"Welcome back!" Tycara said, a wide smile on her face. She stood in the living room area, dressed casually in sweatpants and a t-shirt, her earlier cute outfit gone. She went up to Isaka and gave her a hug. Krystal stood next to the demon, smiling at the display of affection.
The two of them had returned to Isaka's mansion only to find Tycara waiting for them. After Tycara pulled away from Isaka, she also gave Krystal a brief hug, startling the exorcist. When she pulled away from Krystal, Tycara said, "Seth went back home already after making sure I got here okay."
Krystal looked at her watch. "I should probably get going."
Before Isaka could even protest, Tycara quickly intervened. "But I already made dinner for the three of us! There's no point in having leftovers because Isaka ruins everything she tries to reheat."
Krystal giggled. "I can imagine that, but I really don't think I can-"
Tycara grabbed Krystal by the wrist and pulled her toward a hallway on right side of the room. Isaka followed, a grateful smile on her face. Krystal let herself be led to the small dining room that gave way to an open kitchen, a salad and sliced bread already prepped on the counter. Krystal could tell that something delicious was cooking in the oven.
"Isaka tells me that you do all the cooking," Krystal said.
"She's such a mess in the kitchen," Tycara teased, winking at her older sister. "I used to be too, so I'm surprised we didn't starve when she started taking care of me."
Isaka scoffed at that, but said nothing. She stayed where she was, leaning against a wall.
"Who taught you to cook?" Krystal asked as Tycara went around the kitchen counter to the oven. The timer was about ready to go off.
"My uncle did," Tycara said. "And so did my other sister."
"You have more family?" Krystal asked, watching Tycara pull out a hot pan out of the oven... with her bare hands. "Don't you need gloves?!"
Tycara set it on top of the stove. "No. Don't you use magic to offset the heat?"
"No, of course not," Krystal said.
Tycara shrugged. "Well, my last boyfriend was a fire demon and so is my uncle..."
Krystal could almost feel the disapproval at the mention of "boyfriend" oozing off of Isaka. She looked over her shoulder to see that the demon was brooding. When Isaka noticed her, she lightened up and gave Krystal a smile. Krystal returned the gesture.
Isaka said, "I'm going to be in the study. Come get me when dinner is done."
"Alrighty," Tycara said. "But Krystal and I might eat everything first..."
Isaka pouted, but left to the go to the room where she and Krystal originally fought.
"So, what's your uncle like?" Krystal asked.
"He's great. If it weren't for him, Isaka would have had a hard time taking care of me," Tycara sighed, waiting for seared chicken breasts in the pan to cool. "Like I said, he's a fire demon. He's gay too!"
"Lots of demon are gay it seems," Krystal sighed.
Tycara turned to Krystal. "Demons don't have the same societal pressures, so a lot of them tend to love whoever they love. I know humans have a lot of issues with it."
"And your other sister?" Krystal asked, moving the conversation away from that subject.
Tycara twirled a piece of hair between her fingers. "I don't get to see her all that often because she travels a lot, but she's helped me so much. She's done a lot for Isaka, too."
"Sounds like a bunch of people Seth has to watch out for," Krystal joked.
Tycara laughed. "Not really. Isaka is the one that gets so worried."
"You have a great support system," Krystal said. "I'm guessing it's hard to have to hide from a lot of people."
Tycara nodded. "Being a hybrid does make things difficult. But I know I have family... even if they aren't related to me, I know they'll protect me and I'll protect them."
Krystal rested her elbows on the counter. "Tycara... can I ask about your biological parents?"
Tycara paused. "It's not really something I like to talk about."
"Sorry," Krystal said. "That was kind of-"
"I told Seth about it," Tycara said, smiling at her. "And you're his best friend. Not to mention I will be seeing you a lot more often, so it's okay."
"What do you mean by that?" Krystal started blushing again.
Tycara ignored her question and went back to the topic at hand. "I was born before the angelic decree, so that's why I'm the only one of my kind around."
"The angelic decree?"
"...you really don't know anything about demonology, do you?" Tycara giggled.
"So everyone tells me," Krystal sighed.
"The angelic decree cursed all angels," Tycara said. "It's a powerful, terrible magic. Any angel female carrying a half-breed shall die during childbirth, along with the baby."
"Why would they do that?" Krystal asked, appalled.
"So no hybrids would be born again," Tycara explained. "To create a pure race... I... I guess I'm the reason why the decree exists. Angel-demon hybrids are powerful, but unstable. People were scared and they had good reason to be."
"I'm sorry, Tycara."
"These things happen," Tycara said. "I'm lucky that I'm alive right now. So lucky. If it wasn't for Cassandra, I'd be dead."
"She sounds like a great person," Krystal said.
"She was. She is." Tycara's smile never faded. "As long as we all remember her, she's going to exist for us. But you asked about my parents, right?"
"My mother was an angel and my father was a demon," Tycara explained. "My memories are hazy from when I was young, but I sort of remember my mother still. She said my father left before I was born, but that I got his rambunctious energy."
"...Tycara, when was the angelic decree made?" Krystal asked, trying to match the numbers in her head.
"Thousands of years ago," Tycara admitted. "Before angels isolated themselves from society."
"And you were born before then?"
"So you're that old?"
Tycara shrugged. "I guess you can say that."
Krystal stared at the beautiful, youthful young girl in front of her. "Yet Isaka is your older sister?"
"And people wonder why I don't study demonology..."
"Can you go get Isaka?" Tycara asked. "I'm going to get our plates ready."
"Sure." Krystal went back down the hallway to the living room at the front of the house before going through the double doors into Isaka's study. She closed the doors behind her, watching Isaka. The demon was sitting on her desk, looking at a journal in her hands.
Krystal hadn't seen the study since the first time she fought Isaka, but it was tidy, with all the books rearranged and in their correct positions. She stayed by the doors, noticing how intent Isaka was looking at the journal. Isaka flipped a page. She had a calm gaze, yet there was something intense behind her eyes. It was when Isaka seemed beside herself that Krystal wondered about how little she knew about the demon.
After a while, Isaka's eyes left the page to look at Krystal. Her look immediately softened and Krystal blushed, feeling all the weird emotion that Faye had sparked in her earlier. "Aren't you going to say anything?" Isaka asked, a smile coming to her face.
"Tycara finished dinner," Krystal said, walking over to the desk.
Isaka placed a bookmark in the journal before setting it down. Krystal looked at the title, but realized it was only a set of dates. "She's really a wonderful cook," Isaka said, pushing off the desk and landing on her feet.
"What were you looking at?" Krystal asked.
"Just something I wrote a long time ago," Isaka said, putting a hand on the journal. "A few years after becoming a demon, I met Cassandra. She was being targeted by a group of alchemists, Trismegistus."
"Then they were the ones that created the monster?" Krystal asked, straightening up.
"Yeah. They intended to sacrifice Cassandra to the abomination they created," Isaka said. "But during and after their fall, I wrote about it so I could always have the information if I needed it."
"...are they back?" Krystal moved closer so that she was standing next to Isaka. "Is everything okay?"
Isaka shook her head. "I don't think Eska was a part of Trismegistus, but I wanted to double check. That group collapsed after the death of their top officers, but Eska doesn't act in the same manner as them."
"You've been through a lot." Krystal let the statement hang in the air.
Isaka shifted her weight, just enough so her shoulder touched Krystal's. "I've been around a long time."
Krystal turned to her and grabbed both her hands. "Isaka. I know we just met, but if you ever want to talk about anything..." She trailed off as she looked at their hands. She could feel Isaka's power pulse gently with hers, yet that deep, dark abyss was still inside of the demon. Krystal could feel it.
"I'm alright," Isaka said.
"You're so powerful," Krystal whispered. "You're hiding it, I can tell."
"I'm quite a normal demon," Isaka said, intertwining her fingers with Krystal's. The presence of that impossible darkness made itself even more known to Krystal.
Krystal looked into Isaka's eyes. Eyes that were so soft when looking at her, but still inhuman. "If you say so."
Isaka leaned in so their foreheads touched. "Actually, you're the powerful one. So much raw potential."
Krystal grew shy and pulled away from Isaka. "Dinner might get cold."
Isaka looked over Krystal and at the double doors. "It's not like Tycara would interrupt."
Krystal pulled her hands back. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Well, Tycara is not the kind of girl to barge in on wonderful conversations," Isaka said. "What did you think I meant?"
Krystal blushed. "Let's go eat."
When the two of them went back to the kitchen and dining room, Tycara was patiently sitting there, a nonjudgmental smile on her face. Krystal didn't know if she should be bothered that Tycara expected them to take their time. Dinner went by smoothly, with Tycara and Krystal talking while Isaka watched them. It surprised Krystal to see how much of a quiet older sister Isaka could be, but considering Tycara's exuberant, childlike personality, maybe it wasn't so strange.
"Let me take care of the dishes," Tycara said as she rose from her seat.
"That's supposed to be my job," Isaka said, getting up and gathering the plates.
"Can I help?" Krystal got up, but Isaka had already taken the dishes away.
"I can't cook, remember?" Isaka laughed. "It's the least I can do."
"And you're our guest," Tycara said, grabbing Krystal's hand. "Which reminds me that there are things I want to show you!"
Before Krystal could protest, Tycara dragged her off. Isaka gave Krystal a shrug as she was dragged off by the eager hybrid. With a sigh, Isaka turned on the sink faucet and began to wash the dishes.
Tycara took Krystal up the stairs, to the last bedroom in the manor. "Isn't this Isaka's room?" Krystal asked when they stepped inside.
"Yep," Tycara said as she shut the door behind them. She walked to the closet and began to rummage through it. "I don't like to watch movies by myself, so I leave my computer and DVDs here."
"We're going to watch something?"
Tycara set her laptop down on the bedspread before going back to the closet. When she returned with a DVD boxset, Krystal paled. "Of course! This is no supplement for real demonology training, but this is a set of documentaries often shown by the PDF and demon advocacy groups."
Krystal sat back on the bed as Tycara started up her laptop and popped in the first DVD about the history of the races. "You know I'm never getting home at this rate, right?"
"You can sleep over," Tycara said, starting the DVD and sitting close to Krystal. She looped her arm through Krystal's, firmly cementing in the exorcist's mind that she wouldn't be leaving anytime soon.
After finishing the first documentary about the races and hearing little remarks from Tycara about how it applied to the non-humans Krystal knew, Isaka slipped into the room. Krystal hardly noticed her presence until Isaka sat down on the bed right next to her, looking at the laptop screen. "Going through the 'Demonology Uncovered' again?" Isaka asked.
"Krystal hardly knows anything about demons," Tycara sighed, putting in a DVD about dark chaos demons. "It's pretty sad."
"It's not my fault that my uncle and cousin went over all of it quickly," Krystal mumbled.
Isaka laughed, her breath tickling Krystal's ear. "Tycara loves this kind of stuff. Always doing research and curious about everything. She worries the hell out of me."
Tycara stuck her tongue out at Isaka. "You're such a shut in that I wouldn't learn a thing if I didn't go exploring!"
"You have that in common with Seth, then," Krystal said to Tycara.
The hybrid blushed. "It's nice to meet someone who loves research as much as I do."
"Though I don't see why you have to have research dates at his place," Isaka grumbled.
"Your no-boys-allowed barrier may have something to do with that," Krystal said.
"Next DVD is starting," Tycara said as the title card for the documentary showed up.
As the documentary went through a history of dark chaos demons, Krystal was aware of how close Isaka was to her. Their bodies just touching. The laptop screen showed a dramatic reenactment of the Demon Lord facing off against spritualists in pre-colonial America and Tycara yawned.
"I think I'm going to go to bed," Tycara said, untangling herself from Krystal scooting off the bed. "Good night!"
Before Krystal could say anything, Tycara disappeared out of the room. Krystal had to repress a sigh about how obvious of a move that had been. Isaka just smiled at her and Krystal turned back to the computer.
"This is a fascinating documentary," Krystal said.
"It is." Isaka was looking at her.
"Then why aren't you watching it?" Krystal asked, turning to Isaka.
"Because I've seen it almost a hundred times now," Isaka said. "I wish I was joking."
"Tycara must really enjoy it," Krystal said.
Isaka sighed. "She's really young at heart. Like a child."
"Kind of like you," Krystal teased. "I can see where she gets it from."
"That's not true!" Isaka leaned closer to Krystal. "I can be quite mature."
"Only when you're next to Tycara," Krystal said, giggling.
Isaka paused before giving up on the argument. It seemed like the demon was grasping for words to say, but then she stared into Krystal's eyes. After an eternity, Isaka leaned in to kiss her and Krystal met her halfway. As Isaka's hands ran up Krystal's arms, the blonde could hear the documentary droning on in the background. After a while, Krystal heard a snap as Isaka shut the laptop and then the only sounds were them kissing and the sheets rustling.
When Isaka pulled away, she hovered over Krystal. The exorcist reached up and cupped the demon's cheek. Isaka leaned into the touch. "Go out on a date with me," Isaka said.
Krystal remained quiet. She let her fingers dance on Isaka's lips. A date with a girl, a demon, someone she had already been kissing. What would that mean? Could she really go out with someone not human, let alone another girl? It felt like something was gripping her heart and it made her anxious. The thought of having to actually address her sexuality was frightening. Sure, her cousin Josh was gay and her friend Haruko was even dating a demon, but...
Isaka gave her small smile, but her eyes were distant. She pulled away, but Krystal caught her by the shoulders. "Can I think about it?" Krystal asked.
Isaka nodded, looking nervous and fidgety on the bed. "I just... don't want to keep messing around."
Krystal pulled Isaka down to her and the demon rested her head on Krystal's chest. "I'm sorry," Krystal whispered. "I don't know what to do."
The blonde listened to Isaka's quiet breathing and couldn't get her mind to focus. She shut her eyes and thought. Thought about herself, thought about Isaka. Thought about how it must be to have affection for someone and not know if it was returned. How it must be to feel suspended in a limbo between friendship and intimacy. To be unsure if a person you wanted to dedicate yourself to even gave a damn about your feelings.
Krystal drifted off to sleep, Isaka cradled in her arms.
"And?" Tycara asked, apron on and spatula in hand.
"She needs to think about it," Isaka said, her elbow on the kitchen counter, her chin resting in her hand.
Tycara rolled her eyes before going back to the pancakes. "But she likes you."
Isaka shook her head. "You and I both know that relationships are more than just liking each other."
"Seth and I are working out alright," Tycara said. "So you shouldn't lose hope."
"But you're a straight couple," Isaka said. "Krystal has to come to terms with being with another girl and a demon."
Tycara let out annoyed sound. "You're practically dating already."
"I wouldn't call exorcist missions 'dates'," Isaka muttered.
"Did you tell her that going out on a date with you isn't like marrying you?" Tycara asked, flipping the pancakes on the stovetop griddle pan.
"No, but I figured that's obvious. We hardly know each other."
"You haven't liked a girl this much in a long time," Tycara said.
Isaka straightened up. "...yeah. I don't know why I'm attracted to her so much."
"Well, you haven't dated in almost 20 years," Tycara scoffed.
"I've had a few flings-"
"It's because you coop yourself up whenever we move somewhere," Tycara said, turning around and pointing her spatula at Isaka. "You never go out there! I know you want to protect me, but I'm grown up and this world is so much different than it used to be."
Isaka backed away from the aggressive utensil. "But you always come first-"
"I know you promised Cassandra that you would take care of me," Tycara said, looking away. "But she wouldn't want you to be chained to me. Krystal is a really great girl. Don't be afraid to pursue her."
"I'm not trying to replace Cassandra with her," Isaka said. "If that's what you're thinking."
"They're similar," Tycara admitted. "But I know you better than that. She's a bit like Tsuru, too, I think."
Isaka blushed at the mention of her former lover. "What... what makes you say that?"
"Exorcist girls with swords?" Tycara teased. "You've got a thing for them! That and natural demon girls with horns."
Isaka began to get flustered, but before she could respond, there were soft footsteps in the kitchen. Both Isaka and Tycara turned to see that it was Krystal, looking a little groggy. Tycara quickly went back to the pancakes to ensure that they didn't burn.
Isaka cleared her throat to regain her composure. "Good morning."
"I can't believe I fell asleep," Krystal sighed.
"Breakfast is done," Tycara announced, holding a plate stacked high with pancakes in one hand and maple syrup in the other.
"...you're going to make me fat," Krystal yawned. She walked over to Isaka and leaned on the demon. Isaka wrapped an arm around Krystal's waist. Tycara winked at her older sister.
"You can go back to sleep," Isaka said.
"No, the pancakes smell great," Krystal murmured.
The three of them ate breakfast quickly before Krystal went to get her bag. As she went upstairs, Tycara zeroed in on Isaka. "You're going home with her, right?"
"Of course." Isaka paused as she went over to the hallway, Tycara following behind her. "Are you okay with that?"
Tycara hugged her sister from behind. "Don't worry about me! I have Seth and Abby to spend time with while you're gone. I'm going to lay low in Greenland Terrace in case Erin and Faye get attacked again."
Isaka turned around and hugged Tycara back. "Promise me that you'll be careful. I don't know who Eska Cromwell is, but I'm worried."
"He's not a part of Trismegistus, right? Besides, Tsuru took care of the last of them ages ago," Tycara said.
Before they could continue the conversation, Krystal came downstairs, ready to go back to her car. Isaka smiled at her, "Ready to go, roommate?"
Krystal only let out a small sigh and did little to conceal the smile on her face. "I guess so."
Tycara giggled and followed them out of the manor. "Let me walk you partway," Tycara said.
"Where are you going?" Isaka asked, her arm already around Krystal's shoulders. The two of them really did look like a couple.
"Just to visit Abby. She's cleaning up part of the lodge today and I offered to help her out," Tycara said.
"For more cookies?" Krystal teased.
"Yep! They're wonderful," Tycara sighed. "I'm not much of a baker myself..."
After sometime of walking and teasing banter, Tycara said goodbye to them as they got to Krystal's car in the parking lot of the Greenland Terrace lodge. Krystal hugged Tycara and said, "I'll visit again sometime."
"Hopefully we can go on a double date," Tycara suggested. Krystal went bright red. The hybrid giggled and then hugged Isaka.
"Have fun with Abby," Isaka said. "We'll be back soon."
With that, they left in Krystal's car. Tycara watched it go down the road before she walked over to the front door of the Greenland Terrace Lodge. There was a "closed" sign on the front door, but Abby's car was in the parking lot. Tycara rang the doorbell and after a few second, she heard footsteps.
"Hey," Abby said, opening the door. She was dressed in a button up shirt, her sleeves rolled up to her elbows, and some worn jeans. "Thanks for coming by. It's nice to have a non-lesbian in the lodge for once."
Tycara went inside, ignoring the joke. "No problem. It really sucks that the lodge is down from the repairs."
"They did a good job and finished fast," Abby said, shutting the door behind Tycara. "I only need to sweep and change some sheets."
"Can I help?" Tycara asked, eager.
Abby laughed and patted her on the head. "If you're that excited."
Tycara beamed up at her.
Abby paused. "Tycara, why are you so excited about chores?"
"Isaka and I don't get a chance to do them together," Tycara explained. "It's more fun when you can do them with someone else."
"Eveon certainly doesn't get this way when we have to do laundry," Abby joked.
"I would do everything with my mother," Tycara said. "So there's a lot of great memories there."
"Do you still see your mom?" Abby asked as they went up the stairs.
When they reached the top, Tycara said, "She actually passed away a long time ago."
Abby grimaced. "I'm sorry, I didn't-"
"From old age," Tycara said, smiling. "I was born a long time ago."
"It's no fun losing a loved one," Abby said, before heading over to Erin's room to clean up some of the damage.
"It really isn't," Tycara whispered.
"When Terry passed away, I didn't know what to do with myself," Abby said. "But I had Eveon and she is more than enough for me to keep going."
"That's how I feel about Isaka," Tycara said. "And my other family. They're not related by blood, but they mean so much to me."
"I guess life isn't any easier if you have magical powers," Abby said as she looked at wrecked room. While the repair crew had quickly fixed the wall and window that had been destroyed by the giant snake, the furniture still needed to be rearranged and cleaned.
"It's harder, I think." Tycara began to help pushing furniture back to where it should be as Abby swept the floor. "I'm kind of jealous of Eveon."
"In what way? Eveon seems to think all this magic stuff is cool," Abby scoffed.
"I wish I could... live with my mom again," Tycara admitted. "I really miss her."
Abby sighed before letting her broom lean against the wall. Tycara was by the dresser, making sure it was in the right place. Abby went up behind Tycara and hugged her. "I know she would be happy that her daughter has so many great friends. If anything were to happen to me, I would want Eveon to have the same kind of support."
Tycara placed her hands on Abby's arms and leaned back. "Thank you." She turned around and hugged Abby back. "You make me feel safe, Abby."
"As long as you don't say I remind you-"
"You remind me of my mother."
"Jesus, Tycara." Abby glared down at her. "I'm only 35."
Tycara looked up at her. "I'm technically thousands of years old, so-"
Tycara just hugged her tighter. "It's a compliment! My mother was a beautiful, kind angel. The best person in the world!"
"Then I think you're doing her a disservice by comparing her to me," Abby muttered. But she could feel her shirt grow wet as Tycara cried quietly. Abby ran her hand up and down Tycara's back, trying to imagine what kind of childhood Tycara had experienced and what kind of childhood she had missed out on.