Chapter 12:

Cold II

There's a Demon in my Basement!

The first snowflakes fell down from the sky. It was mid-November so it wasn't too much of a surprise. Still, Blake couldn't help himself and just groan when he saw it in the morning. This was terrible. Mainly because he knew a certain person who would lose their shit when they saw it.Bookmark here

"Blake, look!" Snow ran up to him, excitedly. "It is the white stuff in Winter!" She had brought a handful of snow with her to prove her point. Bookmark here

Blake just sighed. Maybe he knew two persons who would lose their shit. "It is. Also, it melts and gets things wet. So please don't bring it inside."Bookmark here

"Oh. Of course."Bookmark here

With a sigh, he looked at the door leading to the basement. There was no point in procrastination. Bookmark here

"Oh, if you want to localize Ash, they are already outside." Bookmark here

Of course they were. "Thanks for telling me…" Living with that demon sometimes felt like he was trying to babysit a bag filled with fleas: Impossible. Bookmark here

He walked away from Snow and up to the entrance door. After reaching his destination, he hesitated. Somehow he couldn't ignore the guilt eating away at his soul for keeping his meeting with Hades secret. Of course, he understood why he was supposed to do so, but still- if it was the other way round he would never forgive Astaroth.Bookmark here

For now, he couldn't tell them. Maybe after more time passed, maybe after they got used to their life upon Mortals, maybe-Bookmark here

...When did he go astray? Somehow he had just gone with the flow for the past month. But if he was honest, he was wasting time. He wanted to end the world. So why was he indulging in this nonsensical foolery? Wouldn't it be better if just concentrated on his goal? He should just kick out Snow and Drake and then... How would he keep on going? He didn't know. Telling Astaroth about Hades would only make the demon hate one specific human. Himself. And that wouldn't get him any closer, would it?Bookmark here

He sighed. He had to figure this out. But maybe not right now. Maybe not even today or tomorrow. Next week sounded great.Bookmark here

So he just pulled open the door to find Astaroth busy building something kind of resembling a snowman. It was less man and more snow. Basically, they had just piled up a lot of snow and put two sticks in it. Yet, it seemed like they weren't done. Bookmark here

The moment they saw him, their face lit up. "Blake, look! Soooo much snow!"Bookmark here

"Yeah, a lot came down tonight, didn't it?" He tilted his head when he noticed that they ran out without a jacket again. A deep sigh followed. "You will get sick again."Bookmark here

"Huh? Oh, no - it's fine, I adjusted my body to these temperatures!" They nodded proudly. Bookmark here

Astaroth truly was an idiot. "So... you're telling me, you could have also done that last time?" Bookmark here

That seemed to catch the demon off-guard whose pride got replaced by embarrassment. "Well, I- yes. Kind of. I didn't know back then, okay?!"Bookmark here

"Of course." Why did Blake still bother with reasonable explanations? It was a waste of time anyway. He had a dream to catch and right now he wasn't on his way to do so.Bookmark here

A cold shock to his face interrupted his thoughts. The immediate confusion was replaced by him realizing that the demon threw a snowball into his face. Bookmark here

"I saw that one TV! Let's have a fight!" Their face reminded Blake of a dog who was seeing its owner picking up its favourite toy.Bookmark here

"Don't say that after you've already attacked! Things like that should be communicated before you start!"Bookmark here

"Well, that's what you call 'surprise attack'!" The demon definitely took some pride in the fact that they got to lecture Blake for once.Bookmark here

The human rolled his eyes before grabbing a hand full of snow and formed it into a round shape. Without any further hesitation, he threw it at Astaroth who dodged as elegantly as a fish in the water. The human looked around - he needed cover. His eyes fell on Astaroth's snowpileman. That should be sufficient.Bookmark here

Leaving Astaroth a little bit confused at first he sprinted towards it and ducked behind the pile. Now, that would give him some time to create some more snowballs and-Bookmark here

"Hey, you can't hide behind Mr Snow! Poor guy is going to get hit!"Bookmark here

Blake stilled in his movements for a split second, trying to contemplate how they could name their abomination of a snowman like that when they had a person named Snow in the house next to them. The answer was easy - they probably didn't really think about that. "Well, casualties are the price of any war," he replied while creating another ball. The demon had probably used this time to make one as well, so he should be careful not to get hit, as soon as he left his cover and-Bookmark here

He turned around and looked over the pile. Now, he had always been aware of the fact that fighting a demon wasn't a good idea. Today, he understood why. Bookmark here

Astaroth had used the time. But they hadn't just created one or two balls. No. Behind them there were dozens of them floating, just waiting to launch at Blake. Bookmark here

He stared at the demon and the ammunition they prepared. "...Shit."Bookmark here

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Only an hour and a warm shower later Blake sat on his bed, a blanket around his shoulders with a cup of hot chocolate in his hands.Bookmark here

"I can't believe you went out without a jacket," Astaroth said while bringing him another blanket, "You know better."Bookmark here

Blake just groaned. How had he been supposed to know that Astaroth would launch an avalanche worth of snow at him? "It was... a moment kind of thing. I'll be fine."Bookmark here

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Blake was indeed not fine. The next morning he felt like a walking corpse. An all too familiar sensation. He didn't have any fever but leaving the bed also seemed like the most terrible of ideas. Normally, he would have just stayed in it. Normally, he would also be alone, though. No Drake turning into a literal cat and lying everywhere they shouldn't, no Snow who'd misunderstand things in the worst ways imaginable and most important of all: no Astaroth who kept him up all day with the energy of a rubber ball on speed. Yeah, that sounded indeed so much more relaxing.Bookmark here

But it also sounded so much more lonely.Bookmark here

With a groan, he pushed away the last thought and just closed his eyes. There was nothing he enjoyed about his current situation. Nothing at all. Bookmark here

Astaroth entered the room. "Hey, are you still aslee-'' They stopped talking once Blake turned to look in their direction. "...Are you okay? You're even paler than usual."Bookmark here

"I'm fine... I'll just... stay in bed for today. Alone. It's a normal human thing. We do that from time to time, you know." The idea of telling them that they got sick was another form of horror Blake didn't need in his life.Bookmark here

"Oh. I see." Astaroth pondered on this for a few seconds. "But don't you need to eat?"Bookmark here

A groan was the first answer the demon got. "Just... Just order something or whatever." He didn't have the nerves to think about this any further. While he couldn't deny the fact that he should eat at some point during the day, the thought about actually doing so was filling him with nausea. Bookmark here

"Oh. Okay! We will figure it out!" And then the demon left.Bookmark here

Blake stared at the door for a few more seconds. This was probably going to end in a complete disaster. He should stop it. Bookmark here

...Bookmark here

Even with his greatest efforts, he couldn't bring himself to care enough. So he decided that for today - just for today, he would leave his roommates alone. They could handle that for a day, couldn't they?Bookmark here

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"Blake wants to stay in bed today," Astaroth informed the other duo, once they joined them in the kitchen. Bookmark here

Snow tilted her head. "Is he not feeling well?"Bookmark here

"He said it's a normal human-thing. I don't understand it, though…"Bookmark here

There was a certain glint in Drake's eyes. "So, he won't cook today?"Bookmark here

"I guess?" Astaroth shrugged. "He said we should order something to eat…"Bookmark here

"Nope." The other demon jumped onto a chair, one foot resting on the seatback. "The kitchen shall be my empire today!" Bookmark here

Snow applauded. "That is good because I do not know how 'ordering food' works." Bookmark here

"Hm…" Lost in thought Astaroth raised a hand up to their chin. "I mean, we could look it up on the internet.”Bookmark here

Snow nodded. “Ah, yes. It is quite useful. It also told me how to summon a demon.”Bookmark here

“You really find that on there?” It was Drake who raised his eyebrow in doubt. “You can not be serious.”Bookmark here

“Yes, yes!” She turned to Astaroth. “Are you in possession of Blake’s phone?”Bookmark here

“Of course!” They reached for the said object which came over flying to them with a light gust. “Here.”Bookmark here

Snow took it from them and put it on the table in front of her. “Okay, you see. You just type in ‘how to summon a demon’ and then…” The girl did as she said (even though she typed only with her index fingers) and pulled up a website called mikiHow. Bookmark here

Both demons looked at the screen, each taking place on one side of Snow. The excitement was written all over Astaroth’s face, while Drake was more of a sceptic.Bookmark here

“And that… worked. You summoned me like that?” With each sentence they read, the disbelieve on their face became bigger and bigger. “Garlic? Seriously?”Bookmark here

“I used the second set of instructions…”Bookmark here

“You’re saying that as if that one wasn’t asking you to use tuna!”Bookmark here

Astaroth tilted their head. “But… you like tuna.”Bookmark here

“That is not the point and you know it!”Bookmark here

“Well…” Snow interrupted them. “That is not relevant for now. Let us research on how to ‘order food’.” Again she typed the necessary words with two fingers.Bookmark here

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Blake woke up in the early afternoon. At least he assumed that based on the sun shining directly through his window. Yet, the sunlight hadn’t been the reason he woke. It was the smell of food that interrupted his sleep. Confused, he blinked the sleep away before sitting up. As weird as the food part was - it was hard to care about. He felt as if some monster had just swallowed him whole and puked him out again. Right. A cold. Did he have a fever? He should probably check on that. Bookmark here

He was already about to swing his legs off the bed as he remembered why that wasn’t the best idea. Demons. And Snow. He wasn't alone.Bookmark here

With a groan, he fell back into the pillow. This was just wonderful. Blindly he fumbled for his glasses on the nightstand. After not finding it for a few seconds he just gave up and let his arm hang out of the bed. Was it really that important to see clearly? Probably not. Going with a blurry image of his surroundings would be fine, he told himself. Maybe it was even better that way.Bookmark here

His throat was almost unbearable dry. Water. That was the next course of action. Slow and carefully he stood up on wobbly legs. He just had to get to the kitchen. It wasn't far. It was just... He stumbled a few steps forward, almost falling, but managing to catch himself on the wall. Bookmark here

He grabbed the doorknob and managed to open the door that had the nasty habit of getting stuck. For a moment he considered telling his roommates of his sickness but - no. It wasn't bad enough for that. He didn't get sick because of his little stunt the other day. That was ridiculous.Bookmark here

Slowly, but somewhat steady he left his bedroom and went to the kitchen. That was also where the smell came from.Bookmark here

Astaroth beamed upon seeing him. "Oh, you're awake!"Bookmark here

Blake stared blankly at the scene in front of him. It wasn't Astaroth, nor Drake, nor Snow who caught his attention. It was the copious amount of food stacked on the table. Some of it was even on the kitchen counter. At least he assumed it was food. He wasn't completely sure due to his glasses missing.Bookmark here

He felt his knees getting even weaker. They gave out and this time he felt the impact on the ground. Bookmark here

Real Aire
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