Devil Cares: Chapter Twenty-Six

July 14, 2008 at 5:00 pm (Devil Cares) ()

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It was exactly one week until Christmas, and everyone was miserable. The rain had only been an uncomfortable drizzle for the past few days, but when Wesson awoke after the night of tangling with the succubus he saw the howling wind had started back up. Outside, a storm was determinedly raging.
Rolling out of bed with a groan, Wes noticed disgustedly that it was only six thirty. He knew he couldn’t fall back asleep with the noise the storm was making, so he didn’t bother. Instead he stomped downstairs, determined to at least spend these ungodly morning hours eating something.
Kimber was already awake, pancakes and bacon sizzling on the stove. Wes wasn’t surprised at all to see his brother’s hair was still damp from a shower and he was already dressed.
“Hey, Wes.” The middle Mossberg was gently prodding the bacon with a spatula. “You ever get back to sleep?”
Yawning, Wes replied, “Yeah, but not for long enough. I couldn’t sleep with this wind.”
“I know.” Kimber shook his head. “It woke me up, too.”
Wes hadn’t noticed the tea kettle on one of the backburners, but Kimber poured him a cup of what turned out to be hot chocolate. Accepting it with a smile, Wes padded to the fridge to get the whip cream. Kimber shook his head as Wes filled up his chocolate with the stuff, but didn’t otherwise react.
There were a few seconds of silence as one brother sipped his chocolate and the other tended the stove.
“You think she’s really gone?” Wes asked after a beat.
Kimber knew exactly who he was talking about. “I think so. She shouldn’t bother us again.”
“Why was she able to bother us at all?”
Sighing, Kimber explained, “Our bargain specifically said that she was to spend the remainder of her immortal days elsewhere. Immortal days, Wes. I neglected to mention how she should spend her nights.”
Alarmed, Wes looked up from his chocolate. “But that means she could come poking around our dreams every night.”
“I suppose in theory, but we’ll take precautions.” Crossing the kitchen, Kimber brought down some plates. “Some topaz beneath your pillow and lavender burning by your bedside ought to do it. And if it becomes necessary we can take a purification bath every few days.”
Wes thought back to the basil and salt water mixture Kimber had whipped up for the brothers to bathe in.
“Well, at least my skin will be softer.” He ran a hand up and down his arm.
Kimber smiled. “Salt does exfoliate well.”
Carrying two plates of pancakes and bacon over to the table, Kimber set them down before turning to the fridge to pull out some syrup.
Wrinkling his nose, Wes asked, “Light syrup? What’s with you and all this light crap?”
“We take enough risks with our health as it is,” his brother said, “we shouldn’t make it worse if we can help it.”
Grumbling, Wes uncapped the lid and poured it on his pancakes anyway.
After a few bites he said, “Kim, I’ve been thinking about something?”
“Hmm?” He was pouring some hot chocolate for himself.
“When we were in the woods, how did you make the succubus leave?”
Clearing his throat, Kimber began, “Well, after she appeared to me I—”
Wes shook his head. “No, I mean why did it even appear to you in the first place? All me and Barrett got were those illusion girls.”
“Wes, for all I know the woman I talked to was an illusion,” Kimber said.
“Maybe,” his brother replied dubiously, “but mine and Barrett’s illusions didn’t talk to us.”
“The succubus did conjure up a sexual illusion, like she did to the two of you, but it didn’t work.” Kimber raised his cup of hot chocolate to his lips. “I was able to resist.”
“Why? Why you and not us?”
“Because I’m in love, Wes,” Kimber said softly. “She couldn’t tempt me with anything I wanted because I already have everything I want.”
“What about the dreams last night?” Wes countered.
After a beat, his brother replied, “Those dreams didn’t really tempt us, though, did they? Mine, at least, was more about how I could have done things differently.”
“Mine too, sort of. It was almost like she was giving us advice,” Wes mused.
“It’s hard to tell,” Kimber tiredly said. “There’s no use trying to pick apart her motivation; I’m sure it’s complicated on levels we couldn’t dream of.”
“The dreams were different than the illusion in other ways, too.”
“How so?”
“In my illusion, I couldn’t really push them off me. It was like I just wasn’t able to, I was overwhelmed with sensation.” Was paused for a bit to try and put what he was thinking into words. “The dream was just as intense, but I was able to fight through it. It was more like real life because I was able to fight past what I was feeling.”
“Yes,” Kimber all but whispered, “everything we did in the dreams we did because we wanted to. That just makes it worse.”
They ate in silence for awhile after that.
“You should probably go get dressed.” Kimber had glanced at the clock. “We’ll need to get you to school before too long.”
Wes snorted. “We’re gonna be gone before Barrett even gets up.”
“This surprises you?”
Laughing a little, Wes took his plate to the sink and then headed for the stairs. He paused, and turned back to his brother.
“Kimber, in my dream the girls told me that succu…bae weren’t always demons.” He watched his brother’s face for a reaction. “That they were healers or something once upon a time. Is that true?”
Kimber shrugged. “It could be, I don’t really know. I do know that many of the older magical creatures have changed or disappeared as people stopped believing in them. I don’t see why succubae should be any different.”
“Oh.” Wes churned that over in his brain.
“How much of what we do is our fault?” He asked quietly. “How many of the monsters we fight are only monsters because we made them that way?”
“We’ll never know, Wes,” Kimber said. “We’ll never know.”


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5 Comments

  1. Yahrlan said,

    Hehe tricksy succubuses. 😛 The whole dream sequence thing seemed like she was just offering advice…ish.

    DC Playlist

  2. Seth Gray said,

    Succubae. Oh, you might want to meander on over to the table of contents page and see what I’ve added to the character list.

  3. Zappaz said,

    Ooooh, philosophy on monsters. I like it.

    *meanders over to the table of contents*

  4. jekloneo said,

    Succubae… Hmm. They are tricky, aren’t they?
    I particularly liked this sentence: “How many of the monsters we fight are only monsters because we made them that way?” Nice one, Seth. 🙂
    I’m still wondering who Kimber’s in love with.

    Oh, and Wes’s just like me, only I get to wake up at an even more disgusting hour. Every single school day.

  5. Seth Gray said,

    Since Zap has also expressed interest in the subject, I’ll tell you it’s not anyone you’ve met already. So don’t feel left out. This volume is about the relationship the brothers have with each other, not other people. If Kimber was Wes’s age, then the identity of his honey would be significantly more important, but the middle Mossberg has already dealt with the things that the youngest will soon be tackling.

    Kimber is in a relationship, and from the little we’ve heard about it, it’s apparently stable and long-term. That’s really all you need to know for now.

    Oh, I’m not telling you stop wondering or commenting on wanting to know or anything like that. Just saying don’t let it get to you.

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