Red Dragon

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Holiday

It was with a heavy heart they all needed to disband that night. Good food, good drink, good company; Francis wondered if this was how people partied in olden times. Most of the people there were from that era, and, compared to parties he’s been at -even to private islets- there was a certain… brevity to it. Even if he did not mean to, Francis kept composure at those parties with his gangs. It was not wise to appear weak in front of the others. Ever… Here? He really let his hair down. He sang (even if he didn’t know half the songs that were sung… nor a tenth of the languages), he danced –mostly with Elena and the two cats. He heard of dance battles before, but Desmond took it to whole new extremes. Sadly, the cats excused themselves when several other wizards decided to join in the festivities. Including Minerva.

Oh, but he made it quite clear. He wasn’t dancing with any other wizards. Minerva wasn’t the one upset by this… At least, not the most upset. She tried to offer her hand again, but he knew better. Instead, he reached out, waited for her to meet him… then grabbed her arm and nudged her into the lake. It wasn’t without answer, though, as she grabbed his wing on the way down, yanking him down into the tepid drink.

The moon was long gone. The sun was soon to follow, but it was the time when neither shown in the heavens when they parted. It was for the best; the smell of turkey and other meats started to flow over the isle, laced into the very fog that poured in now that the fires were quenched. It seemed to drain them all, enervated to the point of simply collapsing there on the shore. Elena tempted Francis so, tugging on his arm, pulling him to the cool grass… and he accepted. He plopped right onto it and laid back, letting her cozy up on top –and the cats, snuggling by his ears. Desmond chewed on the left, growling softly, but gave up after a few nips, settling in like his sister. He didn’t know if it would be enough, but at least the pink eyes were gone, and so his eyes drifted shut, ending day three.

When he woke, Elena was gone and so were the two cats. The sun was high overhead, twinkling at him, warming his chilled bones. He groaned, hissed as the grass slurped-then-popped off his skin, and he watched as the dew went towards his fingertips, raining down between his legs as he sat up. He was still in his jeans, but they did not fare so well overnight. Rough-housing with Cain would do that. It was a good thing he left his muumuu back in the room, but… eh. Rugged and torn was always in style. Maybe they could get away with a bit more- They fell apart as he stood- and water dripped on his crotch at just the right moment. Why did that have to be his wake-up call? He was happy with the one from yesterday. He would love to be assaulted by pussy again.

But… food beckoned. What was once only a trace, a slight mist in the fog was an ocean now. He could smell the turkeys (yes, turkeys. Plural), the hams, the chickens and roast, as well as all the gravies, the rolls, and, of course, all the sweets. They were the lightest, but they didn’t need much for their presence to be known. All of them pulled at his nose, rose and pulled him up to that marble manse.

Where Lilith awaited… If anything were to sour his mood, that would be it. How did Johnny manage to wake up to THAT every morning? How would he manage it for the rest of his life? Francis would sooner put a gun to his head… and, if that failed, get cannonized into the fucking sun.

“How colorful,” Lilith said, and held out a fresh pair of pants for him, a pair of sweat pants. Purple sweat pants. There was, also, a black tank top, but he was still in awe at the purple pants… Lilith cleared her throat. “You will forgive me ‘overhearing’ your plight as soon as you woke, but Johnny chose these for you to wear.”

“These are his pants?” He said, still bewildered. Not complaining, just… bewildered… and comfortable. They were a gaudy shade of purple, almost periwinkle, but the way they held, where they bagged… divine. “Thanks… He’s not getting these back.”

“Oh, I know he’s not. Still can’t believe he had that shade… How did he hide those the entire time he started at Vereor Nox?”

“Oh? You’re not a fan of them… I’ll make sure they are returned, then. As comfy as they are, I wouldn’t want to put a strain on our relationship.”

“Either way, they would never be out of my life. You would have worn them out of spite and paraded before me at every chance.”

“Damn right- oh! Maybe I could ‘persuade’ Johnny to get a pair for me for Christmas. Would make it so much easier to shop for –then again, do succubi and incubi have trouble with buying gifts. Reading people’s minds tends to take that anxiety away.”

“Yes. It is quite helpful, but then a new trouble arises: How not to make it too obvious. In a way, it makes it even more stressful since you have to approach the topic and have them mention it. That way, it doesn’t feel like you took it from their head and it came from the heart.”

“At that point, does it really matter? They know you saw it-”

“But it’s the thought that matters.”

“… We’ve stumbled into a paradox. You know that, right?”

“It beats the constant badgering.”

“Eh. True enough. Tell you what: If you get me something that truly surprises me for Christmas, I might just lighten up.”

“Is that a promise?”

“As long as we have a deal.”

“Then we do.”

He scoffed, but finally slipped on the black tank, entering into the splash zone. Also known as the banquet hall. It wasn’t only them in there, either. All the wizards and goblins were in there, too, which, given that there were meant to be five families of wizards, five bloodlines, it looked like there was only one. Genetic bottlenecking was a bitch and all, but aside the differences in tans, hair color, and how far the corruption took them, they all looked the same. The corruption, though… it did a number. The eyes and butt-wings were one thing, but seeing some of the “older” ones, and how far they descended into the demonic pact- if that was how Penny was going to look one day… He was considering taking his chance before she got Ugly.

The feast, though, went by in a swirl of mirth and cheer. He dined with his brothers, while the women stayed to themselves. And he called the meat right. There were thirty turkeys, each one as large as an eight-year old boy, strewn across the beginning of the long, oak table in the back. Nine of the birds were already picked clean, and Francis wasted no time in just taking an entire one for himself. He stacked a few Cornish hens on top of it, then pilled around slabs of ham, pressing it in with roast beef. He sat that at the table then returned for the rolls, as big as his fist and saturated in honey butter… as well as corn, green beans, and cranberries. He guessed- oh, but stuffing. Lots of stuffing, and not only in the birds. He piled a mountain of it on a plate, then doused it in the pepper gravy –as well as the plate of mashed potatoes, sitting at last.

Only to stand and get more in five minutes.

Cain joined in, matching his plates, and, though it was close, he won by five seconds, resting back in his chair. He smirked at Francis, coughing on the leg bone that got caught, but he had his revenge in round two. Johnny wanted to join in round three, but Lilith gave him an evil eye, forcing him to put the turkey down and to simply step away as the two continued their bout.

At the end, Francis was more than happy to go upstairs and pass out, ending day four. The fifth day was the day of rest. That much meat would even calm the most savage of beast, so Francis laid in bed all day. Not even Desmond could get him to move, no matter how hard the little fluffball tried. Destiny didn’t show her horrid face either, too lost in his meat coma to truly care about anything.

His sleep schedule was ruined at last on Friday, waking up in actual morning. It had been so long since he allowed the sun to grace him the entire day that it seemed as shocked. Thunder rumbled on the horizon. Dark clouds gathered on the precipice of the isle but never made their way on, allowing them to enjoy their time at the beach again. Elena tried her best to divert away from Cain and Johnny, but, no matter how hard she tried to be one of the guys, she could not body slam them (specifically him) into the water. Had to give her credit, though: Demonic strength was no joke. If he were a lesser man, her blows would have crippled if not killed. Instead, it only left him slightly bruised.

Francis said his farewell to her as the sun started to set. Though it was only a brief time, he was going to miss her. And her darling little cats. He was tempted to take the little girl with him, but, with how he lived, there was no way he could give her the life she wanted. She was better off staying here, with her brother and Elena. It was with a heavy heart he lifted her from his elbow, handing her back to her owner, and her tiny mewl, her beg otherwise made it crack.

“We’ll meet again,” he said, scruffing its neck. “Someday.”

“No. You won’t,” Elena stated, and her eyes flashed as a tear rolled down them. “The future is set… You’ll never step foot upon Safer Isle again.”

“What, are all wizards prophets or something? Even then, fuck the future. I decide my own life, AND, because you said I won’t, I’ll definitely be back! Hell, I’ll be back for Christmas. I swear.”

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep-”

“Well, there’s already a crack in your little future sight: I never break a promise. Not if I can help it.”

She sobbed, and flung herself at him. The cats mewled, pressed against him as she gave him a hug, crying against his chest-

“Don’t go through with it,” she blurted.

“Elena!” Minerva exclaimed, pulling her away. “You know the rules. You mustn’t interfere.”

“And why not?” Francis said, chortling. “It’s only me; not like I’m gonna blow up a city instead… Not intentionally, at least- not right now- we’ll be play it by ear.”

“That’s not the point. Events must go as they are. For our safety.”

“Ah. I see. Don’t want any of the blowback… So… was this explanation also foretold? Our little handshake at the dock? How about that time I dumped you in the lake- or right now!”

She squeaked as he flipped her into the water, making him laugh even harder. He wiped his hands, clapped them as he did, and sighed, resting them behind his head, staring at Elena again.

“Lame-ass psychic powers,” he said, and winked. “But yes. I will be back. Now.”

Elena’s eyes flashed, and she giggled, kissing his cheek.

“So you will… You don’t need to promise that, though.”

“Elena-” Minerva spluttered, but Francis waved her off.

“Nah, this was coming from a mile away. If I don’t, well, I’ll be missing a part of me I and many others love so much. Lorena Bobbitt would be proud of the cut I’ll make.”

“Who?” Francine said, finally showing herself at last. She tromped down the hill in a bright pink frilly bikini, along with an inner tube.

“Really? You’ll live off of social media and don’t know who Lorena Bobbitt is? What’s with that get-up, by the way?”

“Well, I finally finished work so I was coming down to join you guys-”

“Great! You have fun with that. Most of us are going to bed. Long day on the road tomorrow.”

He biffed her head, yawning as he lumbered up the hill and into the manse. Once again he was too tired to care about the water beyond, collapsing face-first onto the pillow- but it wasn’t long before he was awoken and shepherded out the door. He piled into the back of the limo with the others, reeking of the lake and firepit, and passed out once more. He only stirred to say his goodbyes to Cain at the airport, then passed out again before he was awoken and he and Francine were thrown out the car.

The remainder rode off, while those two trudged upstairs to the apartment, so quiet, so… cold compared to the week before. As short as it was, Francis was going to miss it… but at least Christmas was right around the corner. The two gave each other a hearty fuck-off and separated at the living room. Francis opened his door, already undoing his pants-

And was met with a flurry of feathers.

“Darling!” Cassidy exclaimed, cheering as he exclaimed, knocking him flat on his back. She straddled his waist, looking down at him with heavy, endearing eyes, hidden behind even heavier lids as she kissed him. Again and again. Francis fought so many urges, the strongest being to fill her mouth with flame, but the other ideas were just as barbaric so they needed all girded. At last she broke for breath, panting as she played with his hair. “I missed you so much… Did you have a nice vacation?”

“I did. With family.” He said, and sat up. She didn’t let him stand, though, and, instead, wrapped her arms around his neck, still tugging, teasing at his hair. “How about you?”

“It was nice… Would have been nicer with you. Which it was nice of dad to let me know after we boarded the plane and were almost there that Eve refused his offer. If he told me before, I would have joined you, instead.”

Yeah… Kind of glad Mister Crane dropped the ball on that… Or maybe he knew. Francis sighed, and rubbed her back, still fighting not to simply shove his nails through and tear out her lungs.

“It wasn’t that great. Private island hidden in secret. Wizards that were once called witches as our gracious hosts. So much food that I was in a coma most of the day after; normal stuff. OH, but I did hang out with my brothers.”

She cocked her head. “Brothers?”

“Well, step-brother and brother-in-law, I suppose… Cain and Johnny.”

“Wait! Professor Brimst is your brother?”

“Kind of, sort of? He is married to Lilith-”

“Whom is also Eve’s sister… Wow… Well, between the two of you, your cuter. And hotter. And sexier-”

“And available, right? More available since Des sort of was murdered.”

That sobered her up. Her face paled; her nails clenched into his neck. Not good signs.

“I heard about that,” she said, her voice suddenly far off. Again, not a good sign. “Francis… you don’t think I did it, do you?”

“The evidence doesn’t look good. How your reacting doesn’t, either… I want you to look me in the eye right now- DON’T LOOK AWAY… Look me dead in the eye… L-look- okay… I want you to tell me, right now: Did you kill her?”

“F-Franci-”

“YES or NO. YES… or NO.”

“No.”

“No?”

“Yes.”

“So yes?”

“What? No!”

“So no.”

“No.”

“No? So yes.”

“Francis! Be serious.”

“All right all right… You said no, right?”

“I said no.”

He hummed, and stood, holding her rear.

“Well, I’ll believe you. For now.”

“For now? F-Francis-”

“Well, it could be forever, too. All depends on what surfaces. Big investigation going on right now, multiple sources. Not sure if any can be trusted, but… I’m putting my trust in you. I have no reason not to… right?”

“Of course not!”

“Good! Then let’s get to bed. Not to sleep; I slept all day. Pop a few videos on my phone, and simply… chill.”

“That sounds heavenly. As long as I am in your arms.”

“Would you be any place else?”

She tittered, and her face reddened. “Well…”

“Trust me. You don’t want to touch there yet. I need a shower, which I’ll do in the morning.”

“That’s fine… Sort of on my period… but, Francis… I love you.”

“I know you do.”

With that, he lurched into the bedroom, shimmying off his pants as he went along. He didn’t lob her into bed; instead, he sat on the side and sprawled out on it in one, smooth gesture, allowing her to rest upon him. She nuzzled his neck, rubbed his chest and hair, the two of them fading into the glow of his phone, watching stupid things into the dawn. How time flies with good company.

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