Chapter 4:


There's a Demon in my Basement!

It was the next morning and they still refused to talk to him. Slowly B came to the realisation that he had to face reality: Astaroth was actually mad. And they wouldn't stop being mad on their own accord.

So B did what he had to do. After breakfast, he went down to the basement, where he knew Astaroth was lingering. Now, he wasn't good at talking. And even worse when it came to talking about feelings. Still, he decided that if he had to do it, he'd succeed. There was no way that he would let himself be stopped by something as mundane as that.

Astaroth was still reading in one of B's books about occultism and ignoring said human.

With a sigh he sat down next to the couch they were floating above. "Look. I… I am sorry." He bit his tongue so he wouldn't accidentally add anything else. There was a hunch inside of him that it wouldn't help his apology to be accompanied by a passive-aggressive "I guess".

Now, this seemed to grab Astaroth's attention. They put down the book and looked at him for a few seconds before B realized that they expected him to continue. Shit.

“It’s just… I thought this was the easiest way to deal with it. Something like this getting public would be… bad. For both of us.” He sighed. “...I haven’t really thought about the morality of it all. I won’t do it again.” Mainly because I can’t change her memories a second time.

Hesitating, the demon leaned a little bit forward. “...You mean it?”

“Sure.” He gave a small nod.

They sighed in relief. "Good." The way they suddenly were so much less tense spoke miles about how much this whole ordeal had bothered them.

Yet, for once, B couldn't help his curiosity. "Did you… never do something… like that? Or… worse things?" Somewhere the title Lord of Destruction had to come from though.

It seemed like B had landed a critical hit. "That's not it." Astaroth averted their gaze and started to fumble around with the hem of their shirt. "It's just…" They paused thinking about their next words carefully. "... That's something my uncle would do."

Surprised B raised one of his eyebrows. "Your uncle?" Demons had family structures? That was a new one to him.

Astaroth nodded. "Yes. He is…" They paused, with the expression someone had on their face while circling through a bunch of insults, in search for a more neutral term. "...difficult." The demon shook their head and looked back at B again. "What about you? Don't all humans have a family?"

There was a pleading look on their face to change the topic. B granted them that mercy. Not that the topic was more light-hearted now. However, telling this story might aid in his final goal to show Astaroth how terrible Mortals were. "They died a long time ago."

"Oh. I'm sorry. I…" They hesitated. "I didn't mean to pry open old wounds."

"It's alright. I'd have to tell you sooner or later anyway." He shrugged it off as it wasn't a big deal.

The demon was shifting a little bit in the air, seemingly contemplating how to go on from here. "...What happened?", they finally asked.

"They tried to summon you."

Surprised Astaroth backed off. "What? But no-one ever…"

"Tried, Astaroth. They tried. Templars stopped them before they could succeed." Something he had to puzzle together himself because nobody ever told him the truth. "I was six years old back then. They deemed me too young to be part of the incantation. So I was spared." He clenched his fists in a futile attempt to calm his rage and frustration. "Spared and raised by them. They really did try their best to drive the occultism out of me." He let go of the breath he hadn't realized he was holding. "Obviously, they didn't succeed. I left once I turned eighteen. Luckily I still had the inherited money from my parents so… Getting a small house wasn't an issue." Not that it would be enough to continue to support him for his entire life. Even though he never planned on having to rely on it in the first place. At this point, there shouldn’t even be a society to accept money.

Astaroth fell silent for a while. “I... I had no idea. I’m sorry.” They lowered their gaze, staring at the ground beneath them. “...I… must have been... quite the disappointment then.”

A very light chuckle was uttered by B. “...Let’s say, you weren’t quite what I expected.” Even though… That wasn’t Astaroth’s fault now, was it? As much as B was annoyed by this, Astaroth was just Astaroth.

They seemed to ponder on that statement for a while before they changed the topic. “...So, your foster parents aren’t nice people?”

B shrugged. “I mean, it’s not like they are-..." He paused. It wasn't as if he was searching for words. He knew what to say. Yet, he didn't like it. "...bad people per se." There. He said it. Out loud. "I’d just say, I’m not what most people would consider a good person. And that doesn't mix well."

"I see…" For a brief moment, Astaroth's expression took on something unsettling. A small, sad smile, while their eyes lost all light and went dim. However, it was gone so fast, one would assume it had just been their imagination. Quickly enough their usual, carefree smile was back. "But don't they miss you? You do have those phone-thingies for letters, don't you?"

B sighed. "Yes. I do get texted on a frequent basis." His face looked like that of a person who had just taken three hard exams after another. "I have no intention to answer more than once a week." Seriously, couldn't Astaroth just start the apocalypse? He'd take that over a phone call with his foster mother any time.

"But they do care about you," Astaroth noted.

"More like about whether or not I'd summon a demon."

"Oh." The demon lowered their head. "...I mean… they didn't do a good job at keeping you from doing it."

"I'm eighteen. They can't do shit." There was a certain feeling of power rushing through him while saying those words.

Astaroth smiled just like they always did. "...If you can live your life just like you want to, why don't you just do that? Why destroy the world?" The demon shrugged. "Can't you just… do something more productive?"

"No. I can't." B paused due to the realization that there wasn't anything holding him physically back from doing so. It was just a feeling nagging permanently on his insides. "I just-... I hate the idea that everyone gets to live just because my parents died. It-..." He halted once he realized how shaky his voice had become. Before continuing, he took a deep breath. "...It sucks. It just... sucks." Somehow he still had the urge to keep talking. "I understand what they wanted to do. And I understand why that's a terrible thing nobody else would want. But I am not-... I am not accepting this. My parents died, so everyone else could live and what do they do? Killing each other, destroying the planet and themselves. I hate each and every one of them."

Astaroth was silent, just watching the human venting out his frustrations, a neutral look plastered on their face.

"It's just- it's not fair. They are given everything and then they throw it away but letting some people take everything and even more. And then those rich people get praised for it. I can't believe anyone would want to protect this shitty society." With an irritated groan, he fell silent, for a few seconds. Then he stood up. "Anyway, we resolved that thing so I'll-" He stopped talking once he noticed something holding him back. Or rather someone. Confused, he looked down to see Astaroth's arms around his torso. They were hugging him from behind. A Demonlord was hugging him. "...What are you doing?" A silly question. Of course, he could see that. He was actually asking for a reason.

"Hugging you," Astaroth stated matter of factly, "You seemed to be needing it."

B's brain stopped working for a few seconds. Did he need it? Was Astaroth right? Yes. No.

However, B didn't resist for now. It felt nice. He didn't feel like bothering with getting out of the embrace.

It was the demon who broke the silence after a few seconds. "...Hey, B?"

Why did they have to do that? It was so relaxing and calm and he wanted to stay in this silence. "Yes?" he replied after a short while.

"Do hugs always make you feel this warm?"

They do. A stupid question. Really, how ridiculous - a Demonlord of all people asking such a thing. Still, a small smile made its way onto his face. B sighed. "The physical contact is leading to a lot of body heat getting exchanged so - yes. Of course, they do. Unless you go hug a ghost or robot or something. That'll be cold."

"I see." The embrace got a little bit tighter. "No hugging ghosts then got it."

Real Aire