Polly and the Demon Pt. 4
For once, the disaster Polly finds herself in isn’t the fault of her friends in the Paranormal Research Club. Though, seeing as it was instead the fault of the demon she summoned because of said friends in said club, she thinks at least part of the blame can still be assigned to them.
Of course, the bulk of the finger-pointing goes to the demon. Alex, she’d told them to call her. Alex, Polly curses at the top of her lungs as she smashes her metal bat into the skull of a sneering imp.
“Yeah, babe?” the demon says from where she’s floating in the air besides Polly, inferno eyes glittering and incisors flashing.
“I am not your babe.” Polly homeruns a charging ghoul. “Why are you just flying there? This is your fault, you could at least help!”
“But you’re doing so well, honey.”
“I’m not your honey either! I—” Polly cuts off to rush a pack of wraiths, which she disperses with a blast of purple and black energy from her palm. “—am a student with homework due, and I only came out today because you said it would be quick!”
Alex makes a show of peering around them. “You’re almost done, aren’t you? That’s pretty quick I’d say.”
Polly swings her bat at her. She dodges, and the bat hits the golem creeping up behind her. “Quick means a brief chat on the activity of demonic creatures in the city. Quick does not mean a melee brawl against all demonic creatures in the city! And YET—” Energy blast at a gang of goblins. “—HERE I AM!”
She chases after the goblins, whack-a-moling them into the ash of non-Earthlings as they return to whatever pockets of the underworld they crawled out of. With the last one crumbling under her bat, the street finally falls quiet. She turns to Alex, the one remaining hellspawn, who is still grinning that stupid grin at her. It’s almost like she wants to be punched.
She stalks over and makes good on that impulse. Alex, slippery jerk, flaps her wings until she’s above her so her fist hits nothing. Alex swings upside down in midair, her smirk taunting Polly in reverse now. “Wasn’t that fun?”
“Fun,” she deadpans. “You know, I have a—”
“Yes, yes, you have a physics lab due tomorrow, and an in-class essay to prepare for in lit. But you need to destress sometimes! Wasn’t this relaxing?”
“Relaxing,” she repeats again. “Honestly, I don’t even know why I’m surprised.”
“C’mon,” Alex rights herself and lands in front of her. “I knew you could handle it. I wouldn’t have brought them if I didn’t think you could.”
Polly shakes her head. No matter how many times she tells her, or Mo and her friends, or her mother and grandmother and sister, she is not a witch. Sure, maybe she has enough spiritual energy to blast apart a few ghouls and turn a metal bat (which had been left by a young boy as he fled the street in terror along with everyone else when the creatures came) into a temporary magical item, but that doesn’t mean she’s a witch. She’s had no formal training. She’s actively resisted formal training all her life.
Her family call her their spiritual nuke. Visiting practitioners call her the second coming of Medea. Alex called her, once, ‘the most badass human she’s ever met.’ But none of that matters to her, because she’s not a witch, she doesn’t want to be a witch, she will never become a witch. She will graduate, go to Princeton, and cure cancer. She wants to kick tumor ass, not demon ass. And yet.
She looks at Alex, whose smirk has quirked into more of a smile, threatening—ugh—affection, and sighs. She walks to the sidewalk and sets the bat down where its owner may find it again. “So,” she says. “What was this, then? Some kind of gift?”
She says it as a joke, but Alex nods enthusiastically. “Yeah, exactly!”
Polly stares at her, long enough that the demon’s smile begins to falter. “You decided to gather up all the evil otherworldly beings in the city and—and sicc them on me. As a gift.”
“Because you thought it would earn my favor.”
Alex shrugs, leathery wings beating twice in rapid succession. “I thought you’d like it.”
Polly stares at her. She looks away, doing the flying-hellspawn equivalent of
fidgeting, looking almost normal in her suppressed nervousness. Polly recognizes herself softening, so she speaks the next thing with as much derision as possible. “Why?”
Alex shrugs again. Polly almost feels bad, which pisses her off. “You like fighting. And, like, doing good and stuff,” she replies. “Eliminating evil forces from home. Hell.”
Alex scuffs her toe against the concrete. When they’d first met over her sister’s prone body, Polly would’ve never imagined the smirking, drawling devil girl she’d accidentally summoned to be capable of looking embarrassed. But after being subject to her presence for two months, the sight isn’t so uncanny.
She sighs, shuts her eyes, and fights a brief internal struggle that she knows the outcome to already but battles out still based on principle. She opens her eyes and strips the hard edges from her tone. “Okay. That’s—maybe that’s true.” Alex brightens, the flames of her hair and eyes crackling. “But still, why? Why the gift at all?”
Alex tilts her head. “C’mon, I may be hellspawn, but even I know you’re supposed to get your girlfriend gifts.”
Polly blinks. “Girlfriend? You mean me? I’m not your girlfriend.”
What? Girlfriend? Alex’s smile drops, gaping, and Polly would feel bad but—girlfriend?
“Wait, was this a date?”
“But you kissed me!”
Polly flushes and turns away. She starts walking briskly down the street, trying to keep in front of Alex, who flaps after her, so she can’t see her cheeks. “That was, um.” She clears her throat, pace quickening. “That was… a moment of weakness. It certainly doesn’t mean that we’re dating.”
Three days ago, Polly had been walking home in the thick summer rain when Alex dropped in next to her. She’d just had to save her grandmother from a botched pentagram experiment that could’ve killed her and her umbrella had broken in the first five seconds of her walk home. Needless to say, she was having a bad day. She definitely didn’t have enough patience to deal with Alex’s BS.
But Alex didn’t say anything. The whole way home, she’d just walked silently next to her, one wing extended over Polly’s head to keep her dry. And when they got to her door, she’d smiled at her and stepped away, her onyx skin glowing from the porchlight, her golden lashes pressing her eyes into gentleness.
And so she’d kissed her. Sue her.
“Do you just kiss anyone you’re not dating then?” Alex asks.
Polly glares at her. “Maybe I do. Do you have a problem with that?”
“No, of course not. I mean, no, but…” She shrugs. That’s the third shrug this conversation. “I just thought that—or, I wanted it to be. Well.” She looks away, picking at her earlobe with a hand. “Lucifer, this is embarrassing.”
Polly looks at her, a high devil child of Satan himself, reduced to a flustered teenager. She drags her toes on the ground as she drifts along a street that’d been packed with goblins and ghouls just minutes before. A street she’d packed with goblins and ghouls so Polly could get out of the house where she’d been driving herself crazy over schoolwork.
Polly sighs. Closes her eyes. Fights that internal battle again.
She loses quicker this time. And, well, sue her.
She stops walking and grabs Alex’s arm, making her turn to her and finally meet her eyes. Polly assesses the state of her brain, finds it scrambled, so she just blurts out the first thing that comes to her tongue. “Ask me.”
“You just, you never asked me. To—you know. So,” she takes a deep breath. “Ask.”
Alex stares at her for one moment, frozen. Then she smiles.
“Hey, are you free on the 31st in two months?”
“… you mean Halloween?”
“So that’s what the humans call it! It’s been on the tip of my tongue for years.”
“Why are you asking if I’m free?”
“Oh, Dad’s having a dinner party and he said he wanted to meet you.”
(Polly chokes. The choking goes on until Alex starts panicking. She decides to learn first-aid for humans in the near future.)
“Dad as in… as in… S-S-”
“He knows about me?!”
“Of course? I talk about you all the time. Actually, he asks about you all the time. Says that when you die, he’ll steal you from Heaven before those pesky angels can get to you.”