After seeing his daughter and grandson in the tiny little cottage, Mattegoud balked and immediately transported the both of them to Greenspell Manor, where they would be safer. He knew Andrei would be coming after her and the child, and at least the manor had a few protection spells on it.
He also passed along the news that Tobias would be fine. This seemed to take a huge weight off of her shoulders, and she was finally able to sleep with the knowledge that her child and her brother – her family – was safe. She felt him disappear again, and knew it was for the best. A god had enemies, after all.. and the less time he spent in this realm, the better.
She knew which bed she was sleeping in, and it bothered her slightly. It was her parents' old room.. Mattegoud had the room fixed up and cleaned, but still.. It was difficult to look in the room where her parents and siblings were killed as well, although all traces of that night were gone.
Once she took care of Andrei, her family would be safe again.
The huge windows swung open, and in stepped two men with dark wings. They both stood there for a moment, watching her sleep.
"Almost like an angel."
"I still don't understand why I can't just kill her. It's because of her that Ana is dead."
Andrei winced. He wasn't one to cry, but if he would cry over anything, it would be that his dear sister was dead. Mattegoud had utterly destroyed her with pure magic, which angered the young demon to no end. He'd missed his chance.. So on to plan B. "Because we still need her, Nikolai."
The two of them walked to the cradle where the baby was still asleep. Andrei smiled fondly at the baby and picked it up.
"What are we going to do with the baby?"
"I'm going to raise it as my own."
Nikolai raised an eyebrow. "Wouldn't it be –my- son?"
"Technically. But since it was –my- sister that was killed, I deserve some compensation. I think young Mister Greenspell will do fine." Nikolai shrugged. He didn't really care, either way. Sometimes, Andrei's plans were too difficult for his own good.
"Her brother will be back soon, don't you think we should leave? He's better now, and between the two of them, they could kill both of us and not even blink an eye."
"Ah, you're not thinking right. Miss Greenspell could never kill you while there's still a chance of saving –him-. "
"Think again." Came a voice from behind them. Mina was out of bed, and held a sword towards them. "Put my son down. Or you both die."
Andrei smirked. "I knew it wouldn't be this easy. My darling Miss Greenspell, you certainly are full of surprises. Well, in exchange for my sister's death, I'm going to take your son. I won't kill him, mind you. Just.. raise him as my own son.."
She paled. "You wouldn't dare… " White magic glowed between her hands, but she was nervous with Andrei holding the baby. What if he used Matthew as a shield? "Please, just put him down.."
"Please? Odd words coming from a woman ready to kill us.." Nikolai commented.
"What if I offered you a trade?" Andrei asked cheerfully. "Your lover for your son?"
"My son." She didn't even hesitate. "Nikolas would understand."
"I'm sure he'd understand spending another century in the demon dimension because you didn't want to give up your brat." Nikolai snorted. He could see her heart break every time she looked at him, and he loved it. He decided to have fun with her now. He let his human side have control, just for a moment.
His eyes flashed blue and the huge black wings drooped. "M..Mina." He gasped, looking frantic. "Mina.." He hadn't been in control of his own body in so long, it was almost like he forgot what to do. "D..don't let him take our son.. Please.."
Mina felt fresh tears rolling down her cheeks, and she had to fight the urge to run to him. She knew it was a trick – either it was the demon having fun with her, or the moment she ran into his arms, he'd switch back to a demon and kill her. "I love you." She whispered, covering her mouth with her hand to muffle a sob.
"I love y—"
He was cut off by the demon taking over again. "Well, that's enough of that. Andrei?"
Andrei nodded and chuckled, mimicking Nikolas' speech. "Oh, Mina, d.. don't let him take our s.. son, p.. please.."
She was trembling in rage and grief, and was to the point of killing the demon. "Put my son down."
Nikolai yanked her into his arms, holding her tight. She struggled hard against him, kicking and screaming curses at them, and when she realized that Andrei was taking her baby and there was nothing she could do, she sobbed and begged.
"Please! Leave him and take me!"
"We'd have nothing for you down there, darling." Andrei smirked and shook his head, opening a portal. Nikolai threw her against the wall hard enough to knock her unconscious, and disappeared with the other demon.
When she woke up, it was already afternoon. "G..god, let it be a dream." She whispered. She stood up slowly and looked at the empty cradle, and fell to her knees, sobbing softly. She'd kill him. She would kill him..
She didn't look up at the footsteps behind her, but she silently hoped it was a demon, there to finish her off. Instead, she was pulled up and into a hug. "I'm so sorry, Mina.." Tobias murmured.
Mina turned her head to look at him, tears streaming down her face. "They took him.." She whispered. She looked utterly broken. "They took my baby… And I couldn't stop them.."
Tobias closed his eyes for a moment and kissed her forehead. "Shh. We'll get him back, Mina.. We'll get them both back.. You just rest.. I'm here now."
She leaned against him, sobbing quietly. She'd cried for her brother so many times.. now it was her son.. and always Nik. Tobias picked her up gently and carried her to bed, stroking her hair.
"Go to sleep, Mina. I'll keep watch over the house."
She didn't want to, but really, she was exhausted. She hadn't slept much in the last while, with doctors telling her that her twin only had a week to live. Finally, she closed her eyes and fell asleep again.
Months passed, with no sign of either demon, or Mina's child. She sank into a deep depression, and Tobias couldn't bring himself to leave her alone, even to visit his lover at the palace. It'd taken him a while to deal with the fact that it hadn't been Joshua, but a demon, and he'd forgiven Joshua completely. After all, how couldn't he?
He took up a bowl of soup to his sister, setting it on the bedside table. "Mina, you have to eat."
She turned her listless blue eyes to him and didn't say anything, nodding once and taking a spoonful of soup. Tobias sighed and went back downstairs. "Goddamn demons. Nothing better to do." He muttered to himself.
He stopped, seeing the front door open… He hadn't opened it yet today. Must've been the wind. Three figures walked in – two men and a young boy who looked about five years old.
"Hello, Uncle Tobias."
Tobias went very pale. ".. Matthew.." He'd never seen the child before, but he knew just by looking at him.. but.. this child seemed cold and .. Andrei-like.
"It's nice to finally meet you. I'd like to see my mother now."
"I can't let you do that. It would kill her."
Andrei smiled. "I know."
"I want to offer you a trade." Tobias said weakly. "Me for the boy." He was terrified of the child. Someone who had powers from both the God and Demon side? He must be damn powerful.
Andrei seemed to consider this. "I don't know."
"You can't kill Mina. That's why you're trying to take away what's close to her. You need her weak. What do you think taking me would do to her?" His heart was pounding. He knew she would get over losing him someday, but never get over the loss of her child.
Matthew crept upstairs, and peeked in the room. He didn't remember her at all.. but he'd spent a long time in the demon realm.. he'd aged much faster than she had. He tilted his head, watching her silently from the doorway. His father had always told him that she was not to be trusted – she needed to die.. but she just looked sad and weak. An easy kill.
Nikolai watched Tobias warily, wondering what was going through his head. "Andrei, you're not really considering this, are you?"
Andrei's eyes lit up. "The son of a god under my control…" He whispered. "You have a deal. The boy is hers." Tobias' body went limp, and he collapsed to the floor. "Good boy. Come here." Tobias stood up slowly, his eyes glazed over. He walked to Andrei, face emotionless.
The bedroom door creaked upstairs, and Mina looked up. A thousand emotions crossed her face as she saw her son. "Matthew?" She asked, looking at him, tears stinging at her eyes. The boy hesitated, and climbed up on the bed with her, well aware of the dagger in his belt.
She pulled him close and kissed him on the cheek, holding him tight. Crying, she whispered "I'm so sorry I didn't stop them from taking you.." She didn't even care that he looked older.. She knew that being in the demon realm would age him.
Matthew felt the warmth of her heart, and his hatred for her seemed to vanish with Andrei's control of him. He threw his arms around her and cried softly. "Mama.." He whimpered, clinging to her. "Mama… "
She heard footsteps on the stairs and looked up, and immediately, she knew what her twin had done. "T.. Tobi, no.."
"I think it's a fair trade. " Andrei smiled cheerfully.
Something out of the shadows grabbed Nikolai, causing Mina to hold tighter to her child. "One of your tricks?"
Andrei looked surprised as well. "I'd ask the same of you. "
"It's not a fair trade." The voice from the shadows said. "Taking someone's father away and making them kill? Or making someone your slave after they are willing to sacrifice themselves for a child? You're no brother of mine."
The two of them heard Nikolai cry out in pain. Mina was almost panicked. Her sword was on the other side of the room, and she was too weak to do any major spells.. And anything she sent at Andrei might be deflected towards Tobias..
"I only have one brother." Andrei shot back. "You fool."
"As of now, that statement is correct." The voice said. "Now let the other boy go."
The demon, if possible, looked a little frightened. Had someone killed Nikolai so easily? "I shall not. It was a trade, and I kept my end of the bargain. She has her child back." He stepped behind Tobias, shaking. Before he could open a portal, however, a being appeared behind him, holding a knife to his throat.
Mina gasped softly. This being wasn't a demon.. not a pure one.. She shielded her son's eyes away from this, although being in the demon realm, she was sure he'd seen worse.
The blade sizzled as it came in contact with Andrei's skin. "Blessed with holy magic." The being whispered into Andrei's ear. "Now, will you let the boy go?"
"Who are you?!" Andrei demanded.
"Your half-brother. Let him go, or you'll die."
Andrei growled, and seemed to be mulling it over. Finally, making a frustrated noise, he waved his hand in Tobias' direction, and the knight collapsed like a puppet whose strings had been cut. "Bastard."
The other creature let him go, and sighed softly, sheathing his blade. "My deepest apologies for disturbing you, Miss Greenspell." He fluttered his soft grey wings and smiled at Mina and Matthew.
"Who are you?" She asked. "And.. what happened to Nikolas?"
"The demon is dead." He said, smiling still. "And I am the half brother of them. I came to meet my brother, only to find that a demon had taken over him.. And I have no interest in dealing with demons… even though I myself am half. And I believe the same is true for you, Miss Greenspell." He bowed. "My name is Eikre.. it's a pleasure to meet you. And you, young one. If I may intrude further.. is it possible that I could rest here?"
"… as long as you want.." She murmured. Eikre smiled brightly and nodded.
"Thank you again, Miss Greenspell. " He left the bedroom and went searching for a proper room to sleep in, finally choosing the one across the hall. That way, if anything happened, he could hear it.
Mina stroked her child's hair, still trembling. A soft groan from the other side made her gasp and cling Matthew closer to her. Nikolas stood up, looking wobbly. ".. Mina?" He asked weakly, leaning against the wall. His legs were so weak, he could barely walk.
She trembled. Hadn't Eikre said the demon was dead now? "Nicky?" She whispered.
".. is this our baby?" Nikolas sat on the bed. Mina nodded tearily. Nik smiled weakly and stroked Matthew's cheek. "..Hey.."
"H.. hi, daddy.." Matthew said nervously. It didn't take long for him to have them both in his arms, and he was crying quietly. He'd fought so long to get control, and he wasn't sure how he got it, but he didn't care.
They were a family now.
Tobias groaned from the floor. "What the hell.." He muttered, sitting up. He looked exhausted. "Where's the dumbass with the stupid hair?"
"He left.. there's a new player in all of this.. He's across the hallway.. Tobi… you can go back to Joshua now.. We're going to be fine."
"I'm gonna sleep." He mumbled, nodding to Nik and Matthew and wandering across the hallway into his old room, not seeing the body already in the bed. He flopped down with a groan.
"Well, hello!" Eikre said cheerfully. Tobias yelped and fell off of the bed. "..I'm sorry. I didn't mean to startle you. You're more than welcome to share the bed with me. I'm Eikre.. You must be Miss Greenspell's brother. You're very pretty."
Tobias' eye twitched. He wasn't pretty. ".. Yes, I'm Tobias.. I'll just take the floor. Hand me a pillow." A pillow landed on Tobias' chest. ".. Thanks." It didn't take him long to fall asleep, although Eikre went outside to sit on the roof for a while, making sure Andrei wasn't coming back for a while.
He had his own reasons for hating the demons. The reason he came about was that his mother, an angel, was on Earth during the great Holy War between Heaven and the Demon Realm centuries ago.. She was one of the fighters. The Demon King Khail had raped her and left her on the ground, bloodied and broken.
She'd lost her wings for it – angels don't give birth – and once Eikre was born, she'd killed herself. He was taken in by a young woman that he found out later was an angel sent to tell him the truth. And why he wouldn't be allowed in Heaven.
He'd screamed then, swore and cried. He'd taken a knife and savagely cut off his own grey wings, but they'd grown back. So finally, he'd learned to hide his wings and spent the next two centuries posing as a traveling minstrel and living with the humans. He did love them.. he just wanted to go home.
And now, he was living in a house full of half-breeds waiting for the new King of the Demon Realm to come and attack them.
Still. Closest thing to home he'd had in his life.