There's a Demon in my Basement!
Normally B would have just ignored the invitation. But Astaroth had been next to him while he received it and-... Actually, at this point, the first half of the sentence was enough explanation.
Anyways, that’s how he ended up in a mall, outside of a fitting room, while a certain demon tried on a zombie costume. Maybe B would question this more if it wouldn’t lead to the more obvious question of why he went along with it in the first place. He knew he wouldn’t like the answer so he refused to think about it.
"Tada!" With a swift motion, Astaroth pushed the curtains aside to present their new outfit. Torn and dirty-looking clothes paired certain changes in their appearance they had made. Their skin was now a light green, their hair more white than usual and their horns had some added bloodstains. Satisfied they grinned at him, seemingly waiting for some sort of approval.
The human just shrugged, not interested in the costume. "It's fine. I guess."
"Hm…" They raised their hand to their chin in a contemplating manner. "I'll get another one!" they decided.
B had to suppress the urge to groan. Why did they have so much fun with this? Why did they even bother with a costume, to begin with? They were a demon. Their default was practically a Halloween costume already!
He took a deep breath. Maybe Astaroth would like the next one.
Astaroth didn’t like the next one. Ten minutes later the Demonlord was ready to present their next outfit. Proudly, like a cat bringing their owner a dead bird, they pushed the curtains to the side, presenting themselves in the whole glory of the shop's lamps.
B stared at them. It was at this moment, he realized that up to now he hadn't had any idea about the true meaning of the word "speechless". No. Whatever he thought the word meant before - it didn't mean shit in comparison to what he was thinking about it now. And how could his reaction be anything else?
Astaroth, the Lord of Destruction, was wearing a full-body corn cub costume. They were basically just a walking vegetable now. And B could feel something inside him dying.
"What do you think?" they asked with their signature smile on their face.
"I think that this" He gestured at their costume. "is a disgrace."
"That is not a good thing."
The expression on Astaroth's face switched completely. "Oh…" Disappointed, they lowered their head. "I thought you'd like it."
Should B really give an answer to that? … No. But he did it anyway. "Ash. You are a walking plant."
"What's wrong with Dryads?"
"Okay first of all: Dryads don't look like that. Nowhere near." He would know. He got beaten up by a Dryad once but that was a story for another day. "Secondly, you look as if you just walked straight out of a commercial for canned corn."
That was a statement Astaroth pondered on for a moment. "But isn't an ad coming to life a very scary thing? Doesn't that fit Halloween?"
"It's too scary," B deadpanned.
Another ten minutes later, Astaroth was ready to present their next outfit. "What about this one?" They beamed at B.
Said human just rolled his eyes and crossed his arms in front of his chest. "What on earth makes you think that I'm not okay with a corn cub, but fine with a banana? You just changed the plant category!"
"No. Just no." B massaged his forehead. "How do you even manage to get the costumes in there without me seeing them?!" After all, they weren't exactly small and B hadn't moved from his spot since the first costume.
Astaroth pushed out their lower lip. "Trade secret!" And with that, they went back into the fitting room.
B just groaned in annoyance. Maybe the next costume would be better.
Against all expectations, the next costume was not better. In sheer disbelief, he stared at Astaroth presenting it. He didn't know what to say anymore. In terms of ridiculousness, this one took the cake.
B took a deep breath. Then another one. And another. "Look. Ash." He didn't know how to explain something so obvious. "Halloween is a wonderful holiday, giving everyone the opportunity to dress up as whoever they want to be and allowing them to explore themselves. You can be who- or whatever you want."
"Except for fruits and vegetables," the demon interrupted.
"Except for that." He adjusted his glasses. "So why. Why on earth would you dress up as a demon?!"
"Yeah, but I want to be me!" they said "I mean at least that's my second choice after corn and banana." Shrugging, they grinned.
B just groaned and held his head. "Great. That was a necessary character arc, I'm sure…" At least it was a decent costume. A black shirt and pants, combined with a red cape with spikes on the shoulders. That and some plastic horns they were wearing in addition to their actual ones. To complete the outfit they were holding a red trident.
Astaroth was about to go back into the fitting room before they stopped. "Wait." They looked directly at B. "Do you already have a costume?"
"I'll just go as myself," he answered in a dry manner.
"Are you sure about that?"
"What could be more creepy than me?" He was the man who was about to start the apocalypse. That was scary, he'd like to think. Even though nobody knew that yet.
Astaroth pondered on that question for a little while before giving their answer. "Spiders?"
"I'd like to think I'm more frightening than a mostly harmless species of animals," he replied.
"Mostly harmless?!" They almost dropped the trident. "... You should meet the spiders in the Underworld. They are not harmless." A shiver ran down their spine. "Got swallowed by one once. That was a disgusting Tuesday afternoon."
B just sighed and shook his head. "Get out of that costume so we can go and pay."
Normally going from A to B was nothing special. Nothing interesting would happen, therefore you'd forget about it a few minutes after. Of course, B wasn't so lucky. All it took for Astaroth to get distracted again was seeing someone carrying the same corn cub costume from earlier through the store. Instantly they beamed at the girl. B wanted to stop them but they were faster.
"That costume is so cool!" they started immediately once they had reached the stranger.
The girl blinked confused before she looked at them. "Yes, it is quite the sight, is it not?" She smiled, yet her posture was feeling stiff - like a doll that had just been brought to life. (Something some Magicians like to do, even though it was highly scowled upon. So it wasn't impossible. Just highly unlikely.) Even though she didn't look quite human. While her body and stature looked normal, her hair was as white as snow. And while that was something one could explain away with hair dye, her deep blue eyes had an unnatural glow to them. He couldn't quite describe it, but it was somewhat unsettling. At least to him. Astaroth seemed to perceive her in a completely different light. (And why shouldn't they? After all, they were a Demonlord so there was no reason to fear anyone.)
"I thought about getting that one too but instead I grabbed this one." Proudly they presented their costume.
B groaned loudly before he could keep himself from doing so. Why on earth did they have to pack bond with anything? … Even though Astaroth might have been wiser in regards to what she was.
"It is very elegant." She nodded in agreement to her statement.
Astaroth also nodded a few times, seemingly more than happy they finally found someone who shared their weird taste.
B just groaned a second time. They should just leave. He could make up an excuse on the spot, he was sure about that. Yet, the stranger tickled his curiosity. He knew she wasn't human, it just bothered him, that he didn't know what she was instead. And so he swallowed down his distaste for social interaction and decided to allow this one for now.
"We're going to a 'party' tomorrow." The way they emphasized the word showed very clearly that they had no idea what a party was.
That didn't stop the girl from gasping, though. "Is that so? I also received an invitation to a party." She seemed just as excited about that as Astaroth.
"Woah, that's so cool!"
Watching the two hyping each other up with very very mundane statements was almost like watching two aliens who just tried out a bunch of common earth things. Alternatively, adults over forty trying to connect with teenagers. It was this thought that brought B to a horrible realization. Astaroth had just found their counterpart in a lot of regards.
Astaroth finally stopped telling her about their 'epic plans' for Halloween'. "Oh, what's your name?"
"Snow", she introduced herself with a smile.
"Like the white stuff in winter?"
"Yes." She gave a small smile. "Although I hope, I will be more resistant to the summer than snow is."
"Or corn," B commented in a dry manner.
Astaroth didn't seem to be faced by this. In fact, they decided to ignore it. "I'm As-... Ash." They grabbed B and pulled him close. "And this here is B."
"Like the animal?" Curiously Snow tilted her head and looked at him.
B sighed deeply and removed Astaroth’s arm from his shoulder. "Like the letter." It was weird how this dialogue had happened twice now.
"Oh. I see." She smiled, however, it wasn't quite the same way Astaroth did it. Somehow she seemed to be calmer, less jumpy than the demon. Even though they shared the same enthusiasm for simple things. On the other hand - nobody was as jumpy as Astaroth. Not even their new best friend.
"Are you two local inhabitants?"
"I am, Ash is new in town," B answered shortly before Astaroth could talk lengthy about the basement again.
The demon nodded eagerly. "Yes. I have only spent a few weeks here."
"Oh, that is quite the coincidence! My sojourn here has also just started a week ago." The girl smiled in excitement. "I was hoping to make some friends."
Astaroth beamed immediately. "Me too, me too!"
"Oh. Just wonderful." B rolled his eyes and crossed his arms in front of his chest. "Why don't you go and be friends together?" It was a snarky comment that had left his mouth before he realized that the two of them would take that literally.
And so they did.
"Great idea!" Astaroth exclaimed while Snow nodded eagerly.
B groaned in annoyance at his own stupidity. Of course, the demon would take it literally.
The next twenty minutes B had to spend watching two idiots hyping each other up about very very casual things. Apparently, socks were the thing that got those two going. Up to the point where B had to actually buy the demon a pair with cat’s paws printed on. Now the demon owned a demon costume and a pair of socks. That was every piece of clothing they owned. He had no idea why it bothered him so much, but it did.
Just as much as Astaroth spotting the ice cream parlour near the clothing store they had been in. Why exactly did he let them leave the house again? That wasn't the only question circling inside his head while watching the two blathering away over some ice cream. It was truly amazing how much time you could spend while talking about the TV-Programm. He severely regretted the moment he let the demon explore Reality TV. One would think that would kill any sympathy you could have for Mortals but no - it seemed Astaroth’s love for this world was just as immortal as the demon themself.
And now there is a second one.