Hunter chased after Drake with his hands outstretched much like the old zombie movies crying, “I’ll suck your soul.” Drake giggled and dodged under the coffee table in a feat very few could do but for the three-year-old dragon, it was nothing. Hunter followed with ease. I was lying on the couch with my head in Alex’s lap while he tried to watch a TV show. He wasn’t all that interested, he was more interested in the bare skin that showed above my shorts where my t-shirt had ridden up. His fingers caressed the skin and would sometimes dip below my waistband but never more than below the first knuckle. The restraint was written all over his tense body.
Alex’s head followed the boys around the living room, “Remember when I sold my soul to a demon.”
I sat up and swiveled to look at him. The look on Alex’s face mirrored my own. He was as confused as I was. “What?”
Alex blinked several times looking inward. What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the inside of his head. It’s not as interesting as you’d think. He thought at me.
Faded images of Alex floating in the bleak emptiness that was Erebus drifted into my head. Orbs of multi colors floated around him as far as the eye could see. Ropes and vines, shadows and cables connected the orbs in a chaotic symphony of color. I was seeing Alex’s memory as if it were my own.
The light shimmered and there was a dark shadow coalescing in the aether around him. I felt the fear, the strangled cry for help escaped his throat. But none came. But instead of the demon I expected to see or even Garrett it was a different one. A face drawn tight in anguish, it reminded me of a painting I once saw by Modigliani. The distortions of memory? Or it could have been the demon’s face there was no telling.
“I can fix it for you.” It said.
“You can keep us safe?” The young Alex asked, his voice resonating in my soul. A voice that I had thought I’d imagined most of my life. It was real. Alex was real. The thoughts and memories of our shared past cascaded through my mind like this image unlocked all those hidden things I was struggling to find – to remember – to be what Alex had loved back them.
“I can make everyone forget.”
“Everyone? How?” The innocence. The fear was large in the room, I felt like I was suffocating even though there was nothing but open space around me.
A hand stroked the side of my face and I remembered it was just a dream, not my dream – Alex’s. There was nothing to fear in a dream. Nothing, I told myself.
“It’s easy. But you owe me something in return!” The demon’s smile grew wide and twisted with his face. It was eerie and creepier than I expected. In the real world, I could feel Alex holding me.
He asked, “You remember when Garrett caught me?”
I nodded and could only feel a little of the outside world as I was caught up in Alex’s memory. Somewhere in the middle of the dream Alex pulled me back into his lap. My body resting against his, and his arms wrapped around me protectively, but I didn’t remember moving. The thoughts and memories were so real. So hard to pull out of.
The mention of my former mentor’s name made Hunter and Drake both freeze in their chase around the room, I was only aware of the patterns around me as their heads slowly turned to look at us before they turned and ran down the hall towards their rooms. Garrett was a sore subject around here. The man who had tortured me and I had let live was never brought up in casual conversation.
“I promised you I’d fix it?” I nodded at the memory – my memory.
It was like any other dream – the darkness. The red glow from my demon’s eyes. The voices of my mother and everyone around me echoing the same things. Monster. Worthless. Die. You deserve this, echoed in my head as the first tentacle of air fell across my skin. I bit my bottom lip waiting for the next to fall as it always did but there was a howl, a scream and then a jolt of air as the darkness fell away to reveal Alex wrestling with Garrett.
But Garrett was winning, he held the struggling boy away from him with a simple outstretched arm. My mentor looked back at me and then grinned as the weave to form a whip appeared and in the next moment flung out across Alex’s back. My love howled in pain. And I pushed the memory away. I couldn’t watch it anymore, couldn’t see the next blow that fell. I couldn’t see the fire that came from my hands to burn Garrett in the dream. It had been just a dream.
And the next morning I hadn’t remembered. Alex made a deal with a demon. It all made more sense. I’d relived that moment several times in the recent past. Alex being hurt by Garrett was my worst nightmare. And we’d forgotten all about it until we didn’t anymore. And now it was haunting me again.
Alex went on like we hadn’t just relived the dreams. I focused on his voice, “I went into Erebus, scared, afraid of losing you. I was crying when this whisp of smoke appeared before me. He said, ‘I can help you forget this.’ I didn’t hesitate when he said the price was my soul. I was eight, what did I know. And we forgot.” He wasn’t doing the storytelling for me. The power of our Alpha was near even in the fear-filled haze of my own memories I knew Rider was there. It wasn’t that Alex couldn’t hold my sanity to me, he could and he did but the idea of giving that power up for my Alpha was strong and I left Rider’s magic wash over me.
It was powerful. Alex relaxed too, I felt it in his fingers as he comforted me. I relaxed, he relaxed, and it was an unending cycle between us, and Rider insured we would both be safe. Even though we had nothing to fear.
My mind at ease and I was able to focus, think straight again. “So you don’t have your soul?” I asked Alex.
He smirked at me, “Obviously not, you have it, Pretty Boy. It was more like he’d take my soul when I died, but I get to keep my soul now, or you do,” Alex blew a short laugh through his mouth, “He came back to me after Poet contacted me and we made another deal. He’d release the debt on my soul if I just went to New York again.”
“You promised your soul to a demon?” I said in abject disbelief.
“I was eight.” Alex countered quickly like it was the answer to everything.
“A demon?” And then another thought occurred to me, “Why did he want you to come to New York? I mean I’m grateful that is why you came back, but did you ask why?”
Alex shook his head, “I didn’t ask.”
“What was his name?”
“Didn’t ask.” Alex frowned, “I didn’t think to. Names have power I know.”
I chuckled, Alex had been reading my mind – literally and knew what I was about to say before I actually said it.
Alex chuckled, “Sometimes I forget you haven’t actually said something. Most people don’t say exactly what they think.”
I grinned, “I’m not most people.”
Rider sat down in the recliner next to us. “Aren’t demon’s chaos oriented?”
“Typically.” I said.
“Maybe it was just wanted Alex here to cause more Chaos. He obviously did that.” He smirked at us.
“Given what we know of the events that have happened you really think a demon centered on Chaos really wants me and Alex to get together?”
Rider grinned, “It’s caused all sorts of chaos.”
Alex shook his head, “Nox is order’s champion.”
“Not all demon’s are chaotic.” I reiterated.
“The biggest difference between an angel and a demon is the nature in which they take possession of a human body. Angel’s must have permission to possess a body. A demon does not. They are both entities from the same plane, typically Angels are order aligned, but not always, there have been cases dating back before written word of Angels reigning hell on earth. Most legends say they were demons, but they weren’t. Some theorist says that the likes of Hitler and Mousellini were hosts to angels bent on taking over the world.”
Rider shook his head, “I’ll never get over the fact that Angels aren’t the creation of God and they are not good by nature.”
“Most humans can’t. They were taught one thing and that’s what they believe. Good and Evil aren’t the defining sides. Everyone has good and evil within. It’s how you choose to use those traits that matter most. But Order and Chaos are different. We all possess both, which is the same, but order and chaos can scientifically be measured. Energy is neither good or bad, but it can be orderly or chaotic.”
Alex put his hand in the middle of my chest and I looked down at his fingers pressing into my t-shirt, “Let’s stop with the scientific theory before you even get started. I get lost in your head enough as it is but as soon as you start lecturing on chaos theory and whatever else the fuck those things are in your head I drown.”
I looked up at Alex with a smile of my own. “Sorry.”
He shook his head, “It’s okay. So this demon you think wanted order to win?”
I shrugged my shoulders, “Looking back, if you hadn’t come to New York what would have changed?”
Alex frowned, “Do we have to?”
Rider laughed, “Afraid Nox is going to think better of his choices?”
Alex’s frown deepened but he said nothing and Rider frowned. “He’s tied to you fifty ways from Sunday he’s not going anywhere.” My brother glanced at me and smiled, “Besides he’d be a fucking mess if you weren’t here. If you hadn’t come to New York, Nox would likely be a crying mess because he just moved into a brand new house, with all these people trying to talk him into seeing things their way, and no amount of midnight runs and beatings in the ring are going to bring him the calm a simple look from you does.”
“I’m not that important.”
“We will have to agree to disagree,” I smiled up at Alex. “My life, my love, my light.”
Alex leaned down and kissed me. “So sappy.”
“But you love me anyway.” I grinned up at him.