for the winter
Adrian looked up in the dark. Why hadn't he said anything. Why he hadn't he said anything? Why hadn't he stopped her?
He sighed. What should he do?
His head pulsed. "I think..." he whispered aloud, "I think I'm angry."
He got up, following after her. Why hadn't he told her not to leave?
She was half way down the street. "Hey! Little songbird?" He called after her.
She paused. "You should've stayed asleep."
He sighed. "I was never asleep. Where are you going?"
He smiled. "Why?"
"To keep you safe."
"Hey, can I be honest, little songbird?" He asked, walking toward her.
"I think I'm angry at you. For trying to leave me in my sleep. I think I'm upset at you, for that."
"Is that so?"
He nodded. "Why would you do that? You're always honest with me right? Why wouldn't you just say it. Like you always do?"
"Because I didn't want to see that expression." she said softly.
He grabbed her, turning her around. "Look at anyway. You chased me down. You made me fall in love with you. Why would you leave now?"
"I don't like it," he spat. "I don't like your explanation."
She sighed. "Hades—"
"Where would you go anyway? I am your home."
"Somewhere," she looked away.
He frowned. "Somewhere like where? Back to your parents? To your poet?"
"Adrian let go. We both know, logically this is for the best."
"I didn't ask if it was logical. You and I...we belong together now. I will protect you. So come home—"
"We don't have one anymore, remember? Because the people who want me dead burned it down! How can you protect me, Adrian?"
"We will get on that plane, we will go to Sicily, and we will be safe and happy," he insisted. "You leaving in this manner is very inappropriate and I will not stand for it. Now let's go."
He stalked away, dragging her behind him.
"You can't leave. Who will cut my hair? Who will sing to me? Who will eat unhealthy things in the house, and walk around in all my shirts, and make me smile? Who's going to fill the photo album I filled of you, and how's going to make me try new things?"
"Who's going to make my heart beat faster? Who's going to make me relax, and listen to music, and drive faster than speed limit?"
She sighed. "Oh, Hades."
"No one! No one can do any of those things! Only you can. So we're going back home, and we're vacationing in Sicily, while our home gets rebuilt and goddamnit! Even if I have to kill them myself, and and I will live together, and be happy!" He insisted.
She stopped resisting, instead tugging him back. He paused.
She jumped in his arms, and he caught her, kissing her head.
"Don't leave me because you're scared of what will happen to me, Ophelia. Only leave me, if you no longer love me, alright?"
She nodded. "I'm tired."
He chuckled. "Of course you are. You walked a mile from the hotel. You should've taken the car."
She hid her face in his chest, inhaling his scent.
"I love you so much, Hades."
He smiled. Of course he was concerned. He was a lot of things, but he wasn't a killer...anymore. Still, he had served in the war, and he did know how to hold a gun.
Maybe that's what he needed to do.
He just...never liked it. Not serving in the military. Not hurting others. He only went into the military to escape his father.
He didn't ever imagine he'd actually kill another human. He never wanted to hold a gun again. Just the smell of steel sometimes gave him flashbacks.
But for his family...
"I love you too, Ophelia. You'll see everything will be fine," he whispered. Even if I have to make it fine.
• • •
Ophelia slept peacefully.
Adrian left the room, dialing the number. Another deal with the devil? It was better than trying to hunt them himself.
"If it isn't Adrian Hades," Giuseppe grinned. "Calling for another deal?"
Adrian sighed, regretting it already. "Can you—"
"Yes." Giuseppe answered.
Adrian sighed again. "Can I finish?"
"No need. You want to eliminate the remaining members of the Nabis that raise a threat to you and your family, and you would like me to do it for you, isn't that right?"
Adrian swallowed. "Yes."
Giuseppe grinned. "You know, my wife, she's wonderful. She could take the last hundred out in...what? A week? Tops."
"And the payment?" Adrian asked.
"Ah...we'll you already owe me one. But I'll let you off, if you answer a question, Adrian Hades of the Special Forces."
He swallowed roughly. "What is it?"
"With your training, why not do it yourself!"
"I don't have an interest in hurting others."
"That's not true. You're calling me to have a hundred people executed. Or did you not think death hurt? I assure you, the way my wife does it, it does."
"I have no interest in hurting others by my own hands. But if need be, I can make exceptions. This is one."
"I see. You know, my wife is pregnant." Giuseppe stayed.
Adrian frowned. "So she can't complete the mission?"
"Oh no, she's fine. She was killing people while she was giving birth. I told you that, because it involves payment."
Adrian frowned deeper. "Payment? What does your child have to do with payment?"
"Your wife's baby will be about a few months older than mine."
Adrian swallowed roughly not liking where this was going. "And?"
"I propose as payment, a marriage contract between the two. My child and yours."
"What? No. I can't agree to that. Ophelia would be furious—"
"Does she have to know? Either way, those are my terms. Your child will marry mine when they come or age. In exchange I will exterminate the threat to your family. And we all live happily, ever after..." Giuseppe grinned.
"What do you get out this?" Adrian asked.
"I just foresee...this contract going well, let's say that. Besides, your company is getting larger. It'll prove helpful to my son."
"How do you know you'll have a son?" Adrian asked.
Giuseppe sighed. "I have a special daughter in law, with...mysterious powers. Do we have a deal...Hades?"
Adrian frowned. "Is there nothing else I can give you? Money? Stocks? My child's future isn't mine to sell. Ask me for something I own."
"Your child won't have a future, if she's killed in her mother's belly."
"You promised Ophelia you wouldn't ask for our child."
"That was our previous deal. This, is a new deal. Of course you can just take your flight Sicily. But I offered you safe passage, not necessarily a safe stay. Who knows what may happen?"
Adrian clenched his teeth.
"You could also use your specialized training to kill them yourself. Maybe you could rope Grim into doing it for you, or hire someone from the dark net."
All valid options. But not quick enough. Not sure enough. They burned down his house in a matter of hours.
They needed to be gone.
"Yes?" Giuseppe drawled with a grin.
"I agree," Adrian closed his eyes. "On the condition that if either child decide when they come of age that they refuse, the contract is broken."
Giuseppe smiles. "I can get behind that. I'll send the paperwork over."
Adrian sighed. He had to keep this from Ophelia. She'd be furious with him.
"Alright. A week? Right?"
"Yes. And I'll still get you over to Sicily safely, no charge."
Adrian frowned. "Alright."
"Hades?" Ophelia calles tiredly.
He ended the call turning to her. "Little songbird,"
"Who was that?" She asked.
He smiled. "Giuseppe. I renegotiated. We'll go to Sicily. And while we're there...he'll get rid of the Nabis."
She frowned. "What did he want?"
He turned around, swallow. "Huh?"
"In return? What did he want in return?" She asked again.
He squeezed his eyes shut, before turning around with a smile. "A few million dollars and some shares in the company."
"He said...he didn't money. Are you sure—"
"Yep!" He smiled, hugging her tightly against his chest. "Yep. You know how it is. Everyone wants more money."
"If you say so. Adrian."
"Lets go back to sleep, Ophelia." He whispered.
She followed him back to bed.