Danny was looking up from his papers again.
“umm no screw the powers of the universe or whoever it is that made that place and the just kinda let people end up there. They suck. Ohh look an Immortal soul lets just kinda forget about it for a bit and then misplace it and after a while we can let a giant two headed dragonbeastthing eat it. Yah no thanks!”
Remi was getting rather heated about it. Danny could tell because a slight wind had began to pick up in a room with no open windows and no fans.
“it’s cool man. No Volnam microwave no dragonthing to eat you. But I do need to get to work on this. The car thing took up way more time than it should have and then making sure that Lily’s mind didn’t have a total melt down ate the rest of the day up I have secrets of the universe stuff to mess with and unfortunately that takes homework and study the likes of which would make an MIT student choke and I don't even have the brain going into all of this that those kids have.”
“OK yeah I guess. Well I'm going to go watch her sleep Ive got nothing better to do. If anything happens I will let you know.”
Remi began to drift across the room and then through the door. Then he began to drift backwards
Into the room.
“Hey umm you still listening?”
“Yeah why?” Danny put his notes back down with an annoyed sigh.
“Well cause someone else is too. On the other side of the door.”
Danny got up from his chair and got out his lighter.
“It’s Lily she is crouched on the other side of the door with her ear to the wall I think she was listening in.”
“Well with her ear to the door I don't think she was checking the paint, do you?” Danny was putting his lighter away and heading towards the door as he whispered.
This time he left through the floor, he didn't want to see his all-powerful brother get beat up by a girl. Danny crept up to the door and and pulled it open as fast as he could. the startled blond fell into the room with the door and let out a little screech as she did. Danny hopped back away from here as she fell into the room being sure to keep some distance just in case she decided that he still needed to be dead or something. Lily scrambled up onto her knees and then used the door handle to pull her up onto her feet. She was glaring at him but not screaming curses and trying to claw his eyes out which was good in Danny’s opinion.
“What were you doing out there?” he demanded
“Who were you talking to in here?” she demanded
They both made their demands at the same time and Danny decided that he had nothing loose by answering first especially since regardless of what she told him he already knew the answer to his question.
“I was talking to my brother.”
“what on the phone? I didn’t hear anyone else in here. No wait a minute don’t lie to me your brother is dead I remember when you had to take off for the funeral. I covered your shift.” she had her hands on her hips like she caught Danny in a lie and now he was gonna have to come clean.
“OK I'm tired of you not believing me, It’s not like I have done anything to give you a reason not to believe me.” While he was speaking to her he was also asking Remi to go stand or float or whatever it was that he did behind her.
“Well you did just tell me you were talking to your dead brother didn’t you?”
“You know what, fine I don't need to go into all these crazy explanations with you especially since you aren't ever going to just listen to me and take my word for it. Turn around ask him how I’m talking to him if he’s dead.”
This time he was the one standing with his hands on his hips and he was assuming the role of the I told you so parent as oppose to Lily’s I caught you red handed parent stance. She made a coughing sound that conveyed the fine I’ll play along look she gave him as she rolled her eyes and started to turn around. Then she yelped and took several steps back away from the door and into the room.
“Well?” Danny said with a massive grin on his face. He knew it was going to be hard to call liar on a dead brother when the spirit of the dead brother was standing there in front of her.
“Oh my, I Ohh. Is he.. does it... ... hurt?” her right hand was up over her mouth like she was trying to hold in any other gasp that might try and find its way out since her mouth was still wide open.
“hes dead. it doesn't hurt there isn’t supposed to be any more pain after you die. Pain is for the living.”
Danny walked up to stand beside her. More to show her he was safe than to offer any comforting. At this point he wasn’t looking to console and share the secrets of the universe with her he was looking to prove points and get back to his damn studies.
“This is my brother Remi. I’m going to resurrect him.” the way he stated it there was no question to it. He had no doubt in his mind he usually did at least a little bit but for some reason right there at that moment he had no doubts it was just something that was going to happen.
“Can he hear us?”
she had her hands at about waist level now she seemed to be relaxing a little bit. Danny could tell that all he had to do was say boo loud enough and it would probably kill her though. In reply to her question Remi shook his head yes.
“Yeah he can hear us but he can’t talk to us well not like we are talking anyways, He thinks thoughts and I can hear them if I am listening and then I can think back at him or just talk to him. That's what you were eavesdropping on, my half of the conversation.”
“So that cold feeling that I get or Algie gets when he is here that's when he is near us isn't he. Like the cold spots they talk about in those ghost hunter TV shows?”
Lily had a look on her face one that told Remi that she was putting things together in her mind and he didn’t want to be there when she put certain things together. he raised his hand and began to wave good bye as he floated down through the floor. About the time the top of his head had vanished into the carpet Lily did put two and two together and four equaled the random shivers she got in the shower was a pervert ghost watching her naked in said shower.
“That dead bastard has been spying on me in the shower!”
She jumped forward and stomped on the floor where he had slipped away.
“I think he knew you were going to come to that conclusion and that's why he got the hell out of here.”
“Your brother is a pervert!”
“Hey he’s dead but he’s still a guy.”
“Guys are perverts.” she grumbled.
“Hey now, I haven't done anything like that!”
“Sure, you haven’t had him give you any details?”
“I’m sure if I really wanted to I could watch things through his eyes. It’s funny you are more worked up over being peeked on but not at all bothered by the fact that it was a ghost that did the peeking and you seem completely over the fact that he is a ghost at all. Oh and you can apologize aahhny time now.”
Danny had his hands on his hips again.
“Apologize! He’s been spying on me in the shower!”
“Yeah so maybe he should apologize to you, But you’ve called me a liar a few times now and I haven't done anything but tell you the truth.”
She started like she was going to begin a rant or a tantrum but he was right once she thought about it for a second. It always sucked to have to apologize on demand though.
“It’s all just so much so fast. And you still owe me an apology for the restaurant since we are ALL about forgiveness all of a sudden.”
“I don’t need to apologize for making you see the truth when you were calling me a liar. I guess you could apologize for trying to kill me at the restaurant.”
“I did no-”
“Would you like me to show you?”
As he asked he was turning to face her fully and slowly reaching out to take her hand. She pulled away and took a few steps back.
“Never do that to me again!”
“Never? It’s too useful a way to get information across to someone. How about not without your permission?”
“Well I'm never giving it.”
She folded her arms in a gesture that made her look like a bossy ten year old. Danny just smiled at her which seemed to make her madder. Her cheeks reddened considerably.
“OK I’m over this. I have a lot that I need to work on still. Today was about getting a car which failed and about giving you the truth so that you at least know what you are dealing with around here I mostly got that covered but instead of it taking a few hours of my day it took all day and a lot of the night. He knows you know so if you decide to stay on around here don’t be surprised when you see Volnam at some point I don't care if you believe me about him or not I’ve shown you a ghost if you don't believe me on that then you might as well just go I'm not going to be called a liar every time I tell you something.”
As he was speaking he was herding her out the door. Once she was in the hallway he closed the door and went back to his notes. He didn’t wait for her to say anything he really was annoyed by this point and didn’t care what she decided to do. Sadly he thought to himself he knew she had nowhere else to go and nothing to do for work other than try and find another call center or some other form of entry level work, nothing she could afford to live on. In the end He decided that it was all up to her one way or the other and went back to his work. Lily stood in the hallway facing the door a long time after he had closed it in her face. She had so much on her plate so much to take in. One of the more confusing part was all the memories that she had that she knew were not hers. It was one thing for someone to tell you a story from their point of view and have you decide to believe it or not. It was something that she couldn't really even put into words to just live through it with them in the space of a few seconds. She could remember Larry on top of her beating on her but she wasn't her she was Danny she remembered thinking what he thought hearing that creepy little voice in her head. Then it dawned on her Danny didn’t have to show her Volnam he had already shown him to her she had felt his mind through Danny’s mind. The more she focused on those memories the more she realized that she knew about Danny and everything else he had told her. Even more frightening that all of that, she remembered the feeling of power he felt when he made Larry get off of him and she also knew how much power he had at that moment she understood what it was and what he knew at that point that he could do with it. The more she remembered it the more it felt like it was hers and she was somehow cut off from it. She felt naked stripped of something that she relied on something she needed and had worked hard to earn.
Remi floated up behind the girl as she stood in the hallway staring at the closed door. She looked far away at least the look in her eyes said that her mind was far away. He waited a minute for her to notice him and then he got impatient. Lily was snapped out of her reverie with an intense blast of frigid air on the base of her neck it shot down through her toes and up to the top of her head. Like someone poured ice water on her she felt the cold before the wet but the wet never came. Startled she spun in place with a tight gasp of breath. She stood facing the ghost, as she was building up the nerve to try and chew him out he waved his hand at her, turned and headed down the hallway. She let her building anger drain away and decided to follow him. It has been such a strange day already she had thought to herself it would be best to just drop it. He can’t do it anymore because she could see him now. Her chosen reason was good she decided. Well her reason was good and it stopped her from having to worry about the poltergeist movies she had seen as a kid those would be a major reason to not go out and actively try and piss off a ghost especially if the ghost had crazy powers like its living brother. She followed the spook to the elevator and he pointed down and held up the three fingers and then he floated down through the floor.
“This is nuts.”
She mumbled as she pressed the call button for the elevator. She waited for it and began to feel better about everything. She hadn't been fired or killed or anything those were pluses. Her boss seemed like a powerful man in ways that she hadn’t considered before. Her job although it had just become a lot stranger was normally low stress. By the time she had gotten onto the elevator gone down to the third floor and gotten back off again she had decided that the situation wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been and she didn’t know where she would be if it wasn’t for Danny coming and getting her in the first place. Well she had a few guesses but she didn't want to think about them. He didn’t only come and get her. He stood up for her he had taken a beating for her why would he have done that? She thought to herself. Remi was in the hallway waiting for her patiently as she finished her current round of reflections.
Remi stayed in the hallway waiting he watched the elevator floor indicator light blink from first to second and on up to the fourth then back down to him. The door opened and Lily stepped off she seemed lost in thought she looked at him for a second but didn’t seem to register that he was there she had a strange mix of shame and fear in her eyes. He waited for her, he knew that she had seen and done a lot in the last twenty-four hours. When she looked at him and tried to smile he lead her off to the rec room. He was really excited he had someone other than Danny to try and interact with. He had seen a lot of movies on how ghosts talk to people and he hadn't really had a chance to see if any of them worked because Danny would just talk to him telepathically. He passed through the door into the room and waited for Lily to follow him in. As the door opened he moved over and stood next to the big windows that made up the corner of the room and beckoned her closer to him. She was cautious and he understood why. Once she was near the windows with him he backed away and gave her lots of her own space once he was a few paces away she visibly relaxed. He wasn’t sure how to get this next part across to her but he turned to face the window and began to breathe on it. He turned to look at her after a few seconds of pretending to breathe on the
Window and she was staring at him like he was a can short of a six pack. Great he thought she’s not as smart as I thought.
“I don’t get it? Is there something out there?”
She turned and looked out the window at the street then she began to look around the property inside the wall nothing seemed to be out of place. Lily turned and looked back at the ghost. He seemed to sigh at her and just stood there for a few seconds. Then he seemed to light up a little which is a strange thing to see a ghost who is mostly transparent do. He moved towards her and held his arm straight out palm facing her. To Lily this looked like every movie she had ever seen with a zombie stalking after someone. She didn't so much panic as she just began to walk backwards really fast. Remi immediately stopped and began to wave his hands back and forth for her to do the same. Lily stared at him for a few seconds she had stopped when he motioned for her to, but she didn’t move any closer to him either. He rolled his eyes in frustration and looked back at the window. He could always try this again when she was in the shower she took hot showers and the mirror would be fogged up. She wouldn't need to do anything but see if she could read anything he wrote. He turned back to her and held his hand out the same as he did before. He made sure not to move towards her after a second he dropped his hand and motioned for her to copy him.
“You want me to hold my hand out?”
She asked him. To which she got an enthusiastic nod of the head. She held her hand out the same way he kept doing and as she did he motioned for her to stay that way. He kept his eyes locked on hers and slowly leaned in towards her outstretched hand he kept his hands at his sides and when he was close enough he exhaled at her palm. The instant shiver that ran up her arm was proof to him that she had felt it. Then he pointed at her and then pointed at the window.
“Blow on the window? What for?” She had asked, her reply was his two hands clasped before his mouth in a begging fashion. Lily just shrugged and turned and blew on the window, at first nothing happened but Remi motioned for her to get closer to the glass and do it. Well if Danny was just going to have his ghost brother throw her through a window he probably wouldn’t have gone through all the trouble of saving her. She leaned in close to the window and then exhaled a little the cold glass began to fog up and then she realized that this is what he was going for, he wanted he to fog the glass up. She glanced to her side and saw him giving her two thumbs up. Well I’ve never gotten two thumbs up before she thought to herself. He moved towards her and brushed her shoulder with his, she jumped back with a start. She was just reminded of how cold he was to the touch. Remi reached up with his pinkie finger and tried to write something on the fogged up portion of the glass. As he did the condensation on the glass began to create tiny ice crystals where his finger touched it. When he moved back there was a small circle about four inches in diameter. When Lily looked a little closer she saw that it had two small dots for eyes and a thin line to complete the smiley face. For having just drawn a smiley face on a window the ghost looked way too proud of himself.
Remi could see the puzzled look on her face, man she was slow he thought. She must not understand that this means that he was a way other than playing charades to talk to her, which was good because apparently she would suck at a game of charades. Instead of try anymore with her tonight he decided that he would try and time things out better with her bathroom mirror when she took her next shower. He tried to lip the words thank you to her a few times when she finally asked if he was trying to thank her he shook his head yes and floated up through the ceiling and back to the fourth floor.
“Smiley face huh?” she stood there and watched the small frost crystals melt away and thought about what a strange thing her first ghost was. Once any trace of the small face was gone from the glass she decided that she was just going to go try and get a little sleep if she could.
A week passed and things went back to the way that they had been before all of Danny’s sharing of secrets and aside from messages left on her mirror after showers sometimes it was like nothing had changed for Lily, she would go pickup meals when she was asked and take care of any other running around she was asked too. Once or twice she was asked to go to Algie’s office and pick something up that Danny needed to sign and then take it back again. On those occasions Algie would ask how Mr. LeNoir’s work was coming along and if there was anything he could do to help. She would explain that she wasn't let in on his work very often and that she would let Danny know that if there was anything he needed that Algie was more than willing to assist him in anyway. It was half way into the second week of her enlightenment that things got a little exciting again. She had just come in from picking up lunch for Danny he had been feeling burger king a lot lately which was good she liked the French fries there. She was just about to make the last turn on the first floor that would place her on the hallway to the elevator door when she tripped over something and almost dropped everything. “What the hell is on the floor!” she muttered as she got her footing back and turned around to check for what had gotten under foot.
“Not Hell servant thing.”
The voice was nasal and raspy and it made her jump because it wasn’t on the floor where she had tripped it was just behind her. The hallway itself was already working on her, she was unnerved and slightly nauseous. The way the voice spit out the words servant thing made her feel like less than dirt it triggered something in her it was as if she had always known that she was less than dirt and would only ever be good enough to be a servant if that.
“Yesss you understand the way of things don’t you? You had forgotten for a little while but you remember now don’t you?”
The speaker was so close now that she could feel it’s too hot breath on the side of her neck now. She knew he was right her whole life had already been proof she was only fit to serve and be beaten when she did not serve well enough. The truth of it began to bring tears to her eyes. She leaned against the wall and slowly slid down it under the weight of her own self-pity the self-loathing. How could it all have turned out so badly for her what did she do that had set her on a path to be this useless. Her silent ears had at some point broken out into full chest wracking sobs when she felt a stab of cold spear down her spine it was a bathtub of freezing water being poured onto her in the middle of a nightmare that had her feeling completely powerless. The result was an instantly clear focus of things the cold even managed to dampen the feelings of the hallway.
She dropped the bags on the floor and shot up onto her feet. As she was climbing up onto her feet she heard a hiss and saw the speaker scamper down the hallway. It was so tiny as it moved away she could make out tiny ridges rising up off of the things back and she saw a tail whipping back and forth as it rounded one of the corners and headed off down one of the other hallways back away from the elevator. Shaken completely she reached down to grab the bags she had dropped. She looked around to make sure that the thing was not immediately around her and saw Remi standing behind her arms crossed over his chest with a look of triumph on his transparent face. He did look less than he normally did Danny had explained to her that the first two floors made things hard on ghosts as well, Remi was putting himself in some very real discomfort to be here with her.
“Thank you.” She told him as she began to move towards the elevator. He nodded to her and moved to float next to her.
“So that was Volnam was it?”
The ghost nodded yes with a slight grin as she pressed the button to call up the elevator.
“Well isn’t he a little prick?” Again the ghost nodded yes this time with no grin. He didn’t seem to like the Imp at all.
“You should not be here you are too much of a distraction you should leave.” The angry little Imp was standing at the edge of the hallway that they had just come from. His hands were on his bony little hips. His thin lips were pulled up over a mouth full of what looked like hundreds of yellowed little needle pointed teeth. Yellow eyes ablaze with god only knew what foul emotion. The ridges that she had seen on his back as he moved away from them before she could see now were tightly tucked in wings. She was mad now before he got the drop on her with the depression but Danny had warned her against these kinds of games with the Imp and she knew that if she got an emotion going strongly enough it could cancel out anything that Volnam might try to sneak in on her. The game for him was to make her think the emotion he was sending to her was something she was genuinely feeling on her own. Danny also explained that Anger was the easiest emotion for most humans to call up the fastest which made since to her because she was having no problem being pissed off at him now.
“Look at you down there you little rat! I don’t work for you hell I technically don't even work for Danny! Go ta hell before I step on you!”
She was getting more worked up staring at him, he just stood there and glared at her. She finally put her stuff down and took off her shoes to throw them at him. The first shoe was sent flying and the little Imp ducked under it and began to laugh at her the second shoe was wider and he only turned a shoulder to get out of the way but before he could start mocking again the soda came and he couldn't move fast enough to get clear of the spraying liquid. As he was being doused the elevator door opened Lily grabbed the bags, back stepped and mashed the close door button. The door closed and she heard what reminded her of a child throwing a temper tantrum in the hallway against the door. The elevator went up to the fourth floor and she booked it to the workshop that Danny had been using the most often. She knocked as she was opening the door and coming in.
Danny turned when Lily came flying into the room. She was out of breath and her face was flush.
“Are you OK?”
“Volnam came at me in the hallway downstairs.”
She leaned against the door for a second to catch her breath then came over to the workbench and sat down what was left of lunch.
“Came at you?” Danny looked puzzled.
“He attacked my mind. He told me I needed to leave because I was a distraction, He... he...”
Lily paused for a second and Danny could almost watch a dark cloud settle over her. She seemed to shrink down on herself. She began to look around like she was somewhere she shouldn’t be.
“He’s right look at me; I’m being a distraction right now. I could have left the food by the door and gone on with my day but I had to come in here and make a big deal out of everything.”
She felt horrible then she felt worse knowing that something as wretched as a demon was right about her. She looked at Danny who seemed to be grinning at her.
“What is it?”
She asked as a hundred things began to flow through her mind all of them bad, all of them were things that she could have done coming in that she didn’t mean to but probably did anyways.
“Lily listen to me. He has you right now. Right now he is in your head planting these things.”
As he spoke he reached forward and poked her between the eyes with his index finger.
“You need to force him out. It’s really the only trick that a human can learn without massive amounts of practice and training with someone who already knows how.”
He leaned back in his chair again.
“I don’t know how, I cant.” she pleaded with him.
“Yes you can anyone that knows that its being done to them can and Volnam is a prick, he does this crap to me while I am studying to keep me on my toes. If you want me to kick him out of your head for you, you might want to think about moving on because I can’t always do it in the future.”
Lily almost immediately asked him to do it for her. To kick the little demon out of her head and send her packing. Something in the far back of her mind that she could just barley acknowledge was there was screaming at her not to. Once she noticed it and began to listen for it, it grew louder. It was screaming at her to kick his ass. She knew she couldn't he was hundreds of years old he knew how all of this worked she knew nothing, She was weaker than him in every way. It was hopeless. Danny watched Lily’s face while she stood there, her eyebrow was knit to gather as she seemed to be working out a really hard math problem in her head. He was tempted to check in on her thoughts to see what she was working out but he didn’t want to have anymore going on in there than there already was. Then after a minute she just started to laugh, it was a strange laugh something that Danny recognized but he wasn’t sure where from. She kept laughing it was like she had just remembered an old joke and it only got funnier the more she thought about it. It was a full belly laugh after a few more seconds and she was pitching forward with it. Finally Volnam dropped his cloak just inside the door spat off a string of curses in a mix of Abyssal and English and slammed the door shut behind him on his way out. Lily finally calmed down a short while later after she had taken a seat in one of the other stools at the workbench. Danny had already started eating deciding that the missing drink must have been his. Once she turned and started to eat he finally asked her what it was that was so funny and why Volnam was so mad when he left. The warlock in training knew that it had to have to do with her winning and kicking him out but he wanted to know what method she had decided to use it obviously wasn't a wall of rage that she built up to fend him off. She giggled to herself again for a second.
“I didn’t know what to do. I couldn't think of anything. I really was about to ask you to end it, but then I heard myself telling me to kick his ass. But then I pictured his bony little ass and realized that if you ignore the demon about him, he looked like a naked old man. It was too funny to ignore I couldn't help myself.”
Danny knew why that laugh was so familiar to him now. All men every single one of them have an ancient unbannishable primal fear of being laughed at naked by the opposite sex. It doesn’t matter if they even know about this secret fear because they have never had it come to light have never had it happen it was still there in the back of the mind somewhere. Most women don't even know that they have that power. Volnam probably didn’t have it. His frustration came from the fact that the laughing pushed him out and wouldn’t let him back in.
“So you beat my Demonic Tutor with the Old naked man ass defense?”
Danny started laughing as he said it out loud.
“I’d watch it around him for a while he is as nasty as anyone I’ve ever met when he Loses at something. Especially to an inferior mortal like one of us. I will tell him that he has to leave you alone now though. He will want something from me for it that's how these things work. I need to get back to work though, I’m very close to having to do something very dangerous and I need to know everything about everything to feel like I'm ready to do it.”
Danny had already turned back to his notes before he finished talking. Lily got up and began to head back towards the door.
“Lily?” He called over his shoulder.
“This may sound out of place but no matter what never make an open ended deal with Volnam. Never let him do anything for you with any sort of a comment like you can pay me back later attached to it. Any exchange has to be open and closed in advance no matter how small OK?”
He had turned back towards her and she had stopped halfway across the workshop and was staring at him.
“OooK, I guess.” She was clearly puzzled.
“It can’t be, I guess. That’s how demons work. They make deals and then they make a game of taking you for everything thing they can. If you think your trading your soul to Volnam for a doughnut because you’re really hungry, you are joking but Volnam is getting your soul for a doughnut and then if you want it back you have to come up with something better to trade for it and it isn't going to happen cause those things are worth more than all the gold on earth to one of them. I know this sounds nuts but I can’t get it into words how important this is.”
“OK, I get it. No deals with Demons ever for any reason.”
“Yes that's the safest way to go about it.” Danny looked relieved to hear her say it and began to turn back to his bench.
“Does that mean that you deal with them without making deals with them?”
She asked after a second.
“I am the only one who is expected to deal with them.”