There's a Demon in my Basement!
In the end, Astaroth did manage to talk him into a costume. However, the pirate costume wasn't too far from his normal clothes. The black coat had stayed and the hat had been replaced by a tricorne with a white skull drawn on the front. The most annoying thing was the eyepatch he wore under his glasses. His eyesight was bad enough already and now he had to block off one eye completely. Of course, he could have simply - not put it on. But that was deeply against his core principles: If he did something, he did it. No going into something halfheartedly. That wasn't his style.
The door to Ciana's house was already opened. That wasn't too surprising, given the fact that some partygoers were already gathered in her garden rather than the house itself. It seemed like she had invited about half of the school. Once again, he had the sneaking suspicion that she knew everyone. At least as far as B was concerned.
"Ash," he called the demon back to his side who was currently busy admiring one of the pumpkin lanterns on the grass.
"Coming!" They immediately jumped back into a standing position and ran over to him.
As soon as they were next to him he headed inside. "Let's find Ciana for now." At least that was his plan. Until he saw the back of a way too familiar corn-cub. Why? How could someone actually wear this?
Before B could stop it, Astaroth had already noticed her. "Snow!" Like a dog greeting a visitor, they ran up to the girl who was currently at the buffet.
"Oh. Hello, Ash. It is a pleasure to see you." She smiled at B who just caught up to the demon. "And you too, B."
"Yeah, great to see you," he said, even though his voice and face would beg to differ.
"Woah, the food looks amazing!" In awe, Astaroth stared at the cupcakes whose toppings had been formed to be little pumpkins.
"Yes. It is also very delicious." Snow nodded while taking a bite from a cookie that was shaped like a ghost.
B sighed. "Don't eat too much sugar," he reminded the demon.
"Whad?" They turned around, mouth already full with cookies.
"Forget it." This would be a long night. "I'll go and see if I can find Ciana," he informed the both of them before turning to Astaroth. "And you- stay here. If I have to look for you, I will kick you out of my house."
That earned him a pout. "But..."
"No. I'll be gone for five minutes." And he had taken Astaroth into public spaces often enough now. They should be able to behave in a normal manner for that short period of time. And with that, he left them alone. Hopefully, neither of them would do anything too conspicuous. On the other hand, they were at a party with mostly high schoolers. There wasn't anything you could do to stand out between a bunch of teenagers. At least not on the crazy side.
However, finding the host did take longer than B anticipated. He did ask a few guests for her, but nobody could give him a definitive answer. It was frustrating. How could one manage to hide this well inside their own house?
In the end, he found her in the backyard. He almost overlooked her due to her costume. Usually, the icy blue hair was a dead giveaway in regards to spotting her, however, for Halloween, she had dyed her hair a brownish red and painted her face with clown make-up. A colourful outfit completed the costume.
She was currently sitting on a sunbed with another girl, B didn't know. And he also didn't care. "B!" Happily she got up and hugged him.
He wasn't amused. Had she been outside for long? She felt kind of cold.
She separated from him after a few seconds. "You brought your demon along?"
"Yes." He nodded. "They're inside."
"Great, I'll get to them right away." Before she did so, she turned around and looked at the girl on the sunbed. "Okay, you keep my spo-" Some guy had already taken her spot. "Oh, really?" She groaned in annoyance. "We will talk about this later, Steve." And with that, she grabbed B's arm and dragged him with her.
He just waited patiently, until she realized that she didn't know where they were. "The buffet," he said when she stopped walking and turned around with a questioning look on her face.
"Ah, of course." Yeah. It seemed like the place Astaroth was most likely to be found, didn't it?
However, Ciana's demeanour changed the moment Astaroth and Snow were in eyeshot. "Hey, B." She grabbed his arm and kept him from walking any further.
Now, since she was the host, he didn't resist. For now. "What is it?"
She let go of him for now and put her hands behind her back while she nervously switched between putting her body weight on her toes and her heels. "We've… known each other for quite some time now, haven't we?"
"That is correct." He didn't like where this was going.
She nodded, probably to boost her confidence. "So… I was wondering if you… well, you see, I-"
B couldn't watch this trainwreck any longer. "I'm not interested in dating you." This way it wouldn't hurt more than necessary for her. Just like pulling off a bandaid. The faster you did it, the less pain would be inflicted.
Ciana was speechless for a few seconds and just blinked. Then her facial expression changed to irritation. "Dude. I didn't want to ask you for that."
"Oh." That was a misjudgement on his part. "... Then what do you want?"
She sighed before turning around and looking in Astaroth's direction, who was still talking with Snow. "I was wondering if you could be my wingman."
"A wingman. You know, someone who helps someone else out with-"
"I know what that is. But why me? And for whom?" Please don't say Ash, please don't say Ash, please don't-
"You see Ash over there?"
"The girl they're talking to is cute."
B sighed in relief. Then he furrowed his eyebrows. "You're seriously going to flirt with a girl in a corn cub costume? Really?" There was something else bothering him, but for now, that was the important part.
She shrugged. "Look. She won't wear that every day now, will she? Just put in a good word for me, will you?"
"Didn't you invite her here? Why do you need me for that?" It wasn't important (at least to him) but that detail was almost as nagging as the ridiculous costume.
She tilted her head in confusion. "I- what? Didn't you two bring her with you?"
"No." B shook his head.
"Well, then let's get over to them and find out." She smiled.
He just rolled his eyes. “Just a reminder, I didn’t agree to help you.” Still, he followed her.
Snow seemed to be relieved B had returned. As for the reason, he had no clue. However, was there a single aspect about the girl that wasn't suspicious?
"Welcome back!" Astaroth greeted them, waving their hand.
"Yes, it is very convenient that you have returned. Since I have to leave now. I did not want to leave Ash alone." She nodded, before looking at Ciana. "Good evening."
"You wanna go already?" The clown crossed her hands behind her back. "The party basically just started."
"I would love to extend my stay here, but unfortunately I can not do that." She nodded in Astaroth's direction. "I am positive we will meet each other again in a timely manner." She made a few steps in the direction of the exit, before turning around once again. "Goodbye." And with that she took her leave.
"You still want me to be your wingman?" B asked after Snow was gone.
Ciana grinned. "Even more than before."
"Wingman?" Astaroth questioned, "Like an angel or like a vampire?"
The Occultist put a hand on his forehead and took a deep breath. However, he couldn't bring himself to answer the question.
"It's nothing, Ash," Ciana reassured, "Come on, you two should talk to a few more people. It's a party, you know?"
"Oh, right!" Obviously, Astaroth had been too distracted by the food (they didn't even need to survive in the first place).
The girl nodded. "I'll introduce you to a few people."
Those introductions turned into Astaroth giving out a lot of hugs and B standing next to them, saying as little as possible. Most partygoers didn't seem to mind, though. They probably liked hearing themselves talk anyways.
However, it came to an end due to an unexpected event. It was Astaroth who initiated it.
Lightly they tugged on his coat. "B…" They looked at him, the expression on their face being something he hadn't seen before. The demon seemed to be… worried. "We should… go home."
All of the sudden, the whole situation felt surreal to him. This was hardly the Astaroth he had gotten to know. So he didn't hesitate to agree. "Sure. … But… Why? What happened?"
They looked around quickly before they leaned forward to whisper into his ear. "Someone near us just summoned a demon."