Episode Twenty-Five: Senator: Scene 20

Obviously, I knew who exactly was going to show up next.


“Have you been encouraging him?”

I paused, blushed, “Maybe a little.”

“He is not allowed to keep her.”

I laughed. “I’d rather he didn’t either. She’d be an embarrassing pet.”

“On the other hand, it might teach her a lesson to be on the receiving end,” Sigyn mused. “But still…”

“You knew what he was like when you married him.”

She laughed. “He tricked me. But I didn’t have to stay with him.”

“I’m glad you did, for obvious reasons.” I let out a breath. “He can handle her.”

“It’s not her he needs to handle.”

“Or he’ll be on the couch?” I quipped. Then I shook my head. “How many random half siblings do I even have?”

“Not that many, and most of them are half-mortals. Which means they end up brilliant, but not immortal.”

Brilliant at what? I thought perhaps at entertaining people. Or stealing things. Or…yeah. “I wonder…”

“None of them are alive right now.”

Right now implied…no, it implied she knew what he was up to. I shrugged a bit. “Ah well.”

“Or he’d probably have already introduced you.”

She had a point there. “How do you handle it?”

“Being married to a force of chaos? I handle it by being me.” She moved to sit on a bench. I joined her.

“I have something of you in me.”

“Definitely. It anchors your volatility. You got a lot of the fire giant in him.”

“I’m glad it does, for the sake of everyone around me.” A pause. “What do you think will happen, really?”

“Surtur will mess up somehow. He always does.”

“He’s already made me hate him, and is now backpedaling.”

“Of course. But I wonder.” She studied me for a moment. “Odin never tells anyone what he has in mind. Except occasionally Frigga, and occasionally Loki.”

“He should tell you something.”

“He told me he will not harm you. That’s enough for me.”

But there was a lot of space before you got to harm…

Episode Twenty-Five: Senator: Scene 19

I certainly didn’t want to start any wars. Thinking about it, I liked fighting, but I’d be just as happy if it was all friendly spars. Trusting Kara to talk to Kanesha about getting her a weapon – she was right, it wasn’t my place to dictate what kind of weapon – I headed off down the street.

Right into an argument between Angrboda and Loki.

I was sure they’d put themselves in my path for a reason. “I am not refereeing between you two.”

Loki grinned. “Oh, come on…”

“Nope. Not taking sides.” Even if Angrboda wasn’t my mother, I still wasn’t taking Loki’s side, which would make him smug, or hers, which would make him angry.

“Ask Sigyn what she thinks about him collecting demons.”

My lips twisted into a grin. “Blame the angel. He’s the one who gave him the name.” I idly wondered if angels ate popcorn, because Sarael could use a large bag right now.

Angrboda snorted. “Just send her back to Hell when you’re done with her. Or I’ll make absolutely sure Sigyn knows about it.”

His ex threatening to tell his current was so amusing I had to stifle a laugh. “Well, why don’t you go deal with her, then?”

“Oh, I plan on it.”

Angrboda said, in an aside, “He plans on seeing if he can get her in bed before using it.”

“That should be easy. Seducing a succubus?”

Loki grinned. “Ah, but she’s ready for me. She knows who I am. That’s going to make it much more challenging.”

“Who told her?”

Loki shrugged. “How would I know that? It got to her somehow.”

Meaning he’d made sure she knew so he’d have a fun challenge. “Oh well, if she’s playing games with you, maybe she’s leaving Sarlac alone.”

“Sarlac…there’s a guy with something in common with the angel.”

Immune to a succubus. I finally got the point somewhere in my head. “Oh. He doesn’t…”

Loki shrugged. “He doesn’t. Kind of a boring life, but what can I say? Some people are made that way.”

“Probably,” Angrboda quipped, “Because you’ve stolen a few thousand mortals’ sexual energy.”

I blushed a bit, but I wasn’t going to argue with them. Either of them. Whistling, Loki headed off in the direction of Red Flowers.

“He’s going to regret it.”

I shrugged. “Mom won’t hear from me.”

“Your mother’s used to it, but we don’t need him getting kidnapped again.”

“She’s not powerful enough for that and he has her name.”

“Unless she gets backup.”

I shrugged. “Most I’ve seen her with is lesser demonlings and two war demons me and Kanesha took apart. I don’t think she has any.”

Angrboda shrugged. “It’s his funeral. I tried.” A pause. “Besides, she won’t kidnap him. She might just keep him for a while, though.”
Well…that suited me almost as well as sending her back to Hell. Almost.

Episode Twenty-Five: Senator: Scene 18

It probably was just that Loki could make anyone laugh. I was sure Sarael would be back to his serious, near-emotionless self next time I saw him.

Unless that was a mask he was expected to wear and we’d caught his guard down. Maybe it was all about maintaining an angel’s reputation.

Well, nobody expected me to be sexless, humorless and overall boring. People expected me to kill things. I didn’t mind that.

Maybe he didn’t find being that way boring. We still had a succubus to catch, though, and I feared she was now rather on her guard. I hoped she wasn’t, but I feared she was.

Also that she would attack again, and try to catch me – or worse, Kanesha – on my own this time. I wondered if there was any way I could give her an edge.

Actually, there was one obvious edge I was pretty sure I could get my hands on somehow. A decent weapon. I really wished Thruor was still around, or still around more. I’d talked to her a couple of times.

She was still too upset, perhaps. But as I thought about her, I felt a ping on my radar. Not Thruor.


I waved to the valkyrie and crossed the street. “How’s she holding up?”

“She’s holding up fine. She’ll be more present soon, she says. In the mean time, you called?”

“I’d like to get Kanesha some kind of decent weapon.”

Kara nodded. “I’ll talk to her.”

I had my sword with me and tapped the hilt. “Nothing special, just…something to give her a bit of an edge when I’m not with her.”

“Still having succubus problems.”

I nodded. “And Surtur problems. Although he had the cheek to try being nice to me.”

“He’s a fire giant. Their moods change with the wind.”

“What does that make me?”

She grinned. “A mutt.”

I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or hit her – but she was only being accurate. I was a mixed breed. “I’m not that volatile. And it’s one more reason not to marry him. I’d never keep up with the mood swings.”

“Or you’d be an anchor for him. But it’s your power he wants.”

“He wants to protect his people, or so he claims.”

Kara’s lips quirked. “That too. Maybe one day he’ll realize the best way to do that is to stop starting wars.”

“Isn’t that fire giant nature, too?” I was faintly amused that a valkyrie was talking about not starting wars.


Episode Twenty-Five: Senator: Scene 17

I folded my arms. “You even have sexless angels laughing at you now.”

Loki grinned. “Which shows it’s the right thing. If I can cheer them up, I can do anything.”
Sarael and Will both glared at him. Almost matching glares.

“Oh, come on, what is it you do between missions? Sing hymns all the time?”

“You,” Sarael said, “Are just saying that because you can’t sing.”

Both of Loki’s eyebrows shot upwards. “I can too.” He then launched into a rousing rendition of Daydream Believer, of all things.

Actually, he could sing, but only because his gift of the silver tongue made up for his somewhat iffy ability to hit notes.

I was laughing too. “Well. You know I can’t exactly stop you.”

He grinned.

“I can,” Will pointed out. “I can just not tell you her name.”

Sarael, still laughing…which was not an angel thing to do and really did say something about my dad…betrayed him utterly. “It’s Mys’kia.”

“Traitor,” Will accused.

Loki spun his finger and then snapped his fingers to vanish.

“Loki always gets what he wants, one way or another,” I pointed out. “And right now he wants a succubus as a toy.”

Kanesha was rolling her eyes. “Of course he does. Your mother will be thrilled.”

“My mother’s used to it.”

“Doesn’t mean she’s happy.” She grinned. “But…I wish I could be a fly on the wall.”

So did I, at least until the bedroom door closed. Not that I knew for sure Loki intended to turn the not-so-innocent succubus into a sex toy, but I wouldn’t put it past him.

Maybe I should talk to mom. Nah, she’d never been able to keep a leash on him before. What made now any different.

“Maybe something interesting will end up on YouTube.”

“As interesting as him and Coyote in a gay bar in Dupont Circle?” Kanesha pointed out.

“Coyote was kind of hot,” I noted. “How about we go somewhere like that?”

“Are you suggesting a date?”

“It would take my mind off of Loki and succubi.”

She grinned, hooked her arm into mine, and started to pretty much drag me off, leaving angel and priest watching us go.

Angels with a sense of humor wasn’t something I’d expected. Of course, I blamed Loki.

Episode Twenty-Five: Senator: Scene 16

And the succubus turned and fled. Through a portal that smelled of brimstone.

“You got it, didn’t you.” Not quite a question.

“She seemed to sense that.”

I shook my head. “Nah, me and Kanesha just took apart a pair of war demons she brought for backup. I think she just decided she didn’t want to take on any more people.”

I hoped that was the case.

“Unfortunately, we’ll have to corner her to use it.” Will frowned.

“As long as she doesn’t know…got anyone who could use it who could pose as a customer?”

Will blushed scarlet, no doubt remembering being kidnapped and tied up in a brothel.

“I don’t mean you!” I exclaimed.

Kanesha had her mouth covered, trying not to laugh at poor Will’s discomfort. I shot her a look – it really wasn’t that funny. Well, it was, but it was a poor kind of humor. It really wasn’t fair to laugh at him.

“I could probably find somebody who wouldn’t be thoroughly embarrassed. Or we could get her at a party.”

I considered that. “Too many people at parties who might get caught in the crossfire. Enough people have got hurt lately.”

Will sighed and nodded. “You’re right. I’ll see if I can find somebody.”

“I’d glamor up and try myself, but I think she can sense glamors, if not see through them.”

“Or you could just have me do it,” came a voice from nearby.

“Think she can’t sense yours?” I turned to glance at Loki. He was leaning against a wall.

“I’ve been doing this a lot longer than you have,” he pointed out. “And besides, she’d probably be flattered at a visit from me.”

I laughed. “But that means we have to give you her true name.”

He grinned sidelong. “Yes, it does, doesn’t it.”

I decided I didn’t want to know what he planned on doing with it. “You embarrass me.”

He grinned even more. “Isn’t that part of my job?”

I put my hands on my hips. “You’re the most embarrassing parent in the history of the world.”

“And also the best equipped to do this and you know it.”

I heard somebody laughing.

It was Sarael.

Episode Twenty-Five: Senator: Scene 15

I hoped I had instilled a bit of doubt. Maybe if I could wean a few of her human and mortal flowers away.

Of course, what I’d actually done was made her even angrier with me. Of course, she waited to attack until Kanesha was with me. I do mean attack. She’d managed to find a couple of war demons for support.

Two war demons weren’t going to last five minutes against us. “When,” I informed her as I tossed one into the wall so hard he cracked open and dissipated into smoke. “…are people going to stop underestimating me.”

“Fire goddess, war goddess,” she mused. “We should have been allies.”

“Blame Tyz’vel for making sure that will never happen.”

She flinched. “That rat bastard?”

Division in Hell. I almost liked her in a moment just for calling him that, but I knew better than to let myself do so. “Let me guess, he tried to get into your pants too?”

“He succeeded. I regretted it.”

Kanesha stepped behind me as I smiled a bit. “I hear he’s lousy.”

“Why are we enemies?”

“Because when demons are around, people get hurt.”

“And they don’t get hurt around you?”

I had the faint sense that Sarael was somewhere, well hidden, in the area. “The people who get hurt around me are the ones who choose to put themselves in danger.”

Mike, I mourned for a moment, but I couldn’t hesitate.

“Including your friend?”

“He was a cop. He knew the score. Do your girls?”

“They get beauty. They get money. They get to retire young and rich.” She smiled.

“And without their souls.”

“Oh, come on. You really think that I just let them burn? They have their uses. You aren’t innocent of collecting souls yourself.” Her gaze meaningfully fell on Kanesha.

“That’s different,” Kanesha said, still staying behind me just in case. I could take a blast of hellfire. She couldn’t. “I love her.”

“Some of my girls love me.”

I thought that might actually be true. Then I sensed another presence approaching.

Father Will.

Episode Twenty-Five: Senator: Scene 14

The only thing that succubus was going to be entertaining was the bathroom. Judging by the noises before I climbed back out of the window it did work. Oh, she could fix it, but I was quite proud of myself.

Felt sorry for the kid, though, with the frequency of her dad’s entertaining and being sent to her room all the time. No mother and her dad was a slut.

Nothing I could personally do about it, though. Other than wait outside until, not long after, the succubus stumbled out of the house and, almost without making sure anyone saw her (other than me), vanished in fire and smoke.

Teleported or maybe she’d gone back to Hell as the quickest way to get the laxative out of her system. I didn’t really care. I’d ruined her evening and if I could be an annoying distraction, I would.

For right now, though, even I needed some sleep, and I made my way back to the apartment. Technically, Kanesha was supposed to live in a group home, but she could officially move in soon. And nobody really cared that we were living together.

The foster care people thought we were just roommates. Or they let themselves think that so nothing would be officially assumed.

I slipped into bed next to her and slept. The next day, of course, trouble showed up.

Marya. Waiting for me outside school. “My boss says you need to leave her girls alone.”

I smiled. “I didn’t do anything. She’s just assuming based off my reputation.”

“As a practical joker?” There was actually a bit of human interest and humor in her eyes.

“Yup.” And as worse things, but I didn’t need to scare somebody away who could still be salvaged. “At least I’m not stealing people’s souls.”

“You can’t really do that.”

Maybe that cynicism would protect her, but no. The demoness had her claws in her soul alright. “You keep believing that. It won’t save you.”

“I like my job.”

“Then do it somewhere else. Trust me.”

“You’re a practical joker.”

I grinned. “Yes, and also somebody who cares entirely too much about other people. Even those that don’t want me to.”

She seemed to consider that. “I don’t believe in souls.”

“Start.” No way to protect her. No way to save her. But I had to try, even if all I succeeded in doing was making her hate me.

Which she was supposed to do anyway. She turned away. “I’m not supposed to engage in a long conversation with you. Just warn you that…that she said she’d make sure you left her girls alone.”

A threat, but a vague one. Probably because she didn’t want Marya delivering something which might make her doubt further. “Think about how she might do that,” was all I said before brushing past her as I left.

It was all I could do and all I could really say. For now.

Episode Twenty-Five: Senator: Scene 13


She opened her mouth to scream.

“Don’t scream. I’m not here to hurt you.”

“You’re a bad person or you wouldn’t be here,” she said, logically.

“No. Miss Eleanor’s a bad person. Where’s your mommy?”
“Don’t have one any more,” she said mulishly.

Dead or left him, then. More likely dead. Or in prison. Or in an insane asylum. All of those were part of the feel I was getting from the situation.

Maybe in an insane asylum after committing a crime. Either way, I wasn’t going to be setting mommy on Miss Eleanor. “Well, Miss Eleanor’s here to hurt your dad. Do you want to help me get rid of her?”

Her eyes lit up. “There’s always a miss Eleanor. There’s lots of miss Eleanors. I hate all of them.”

Oh dear. Maybe his soul was already compromised. “Well, this is a really nasty Miss Eleanor and we’re going to play a trick on her to make her go away.”

I couldn’t do what I’d planned, which was to send the demonling back to Hell the hard way, but I could certainly play a trick on her.

After all, I was Loki’s daughter.

Her eyes lit up further. “What kind of trick?”

“Well, does your dad notice anything else when he’s entertaining?”

She shook her head. “No. They’ll shut the door and…”

I didn’t ask further. Apparently the soundproofing in the house wasn’t all it could have been. In fact, I could dimly hear their voices, and then a cork popping. “Ooh. Is there medicine in the bathroom?”

She nodded. Very, very quietly, I opened the door of her bedroom, hoping she’d have the sense to stay put. Very, very quietly I sneaked into the bathroom. Now the trick would be to get what I needed only into “Eleanor’s” glass. Demons weren’t alive, but when they were doing stuff like this they had to fake it very well.

Yes. What I needed was in the medicine cabinet. I sneaked back into the bedroom. “Make some noise for me.”

The girl, grinning, obliged by accidentally knocking some books off the shelf. Under the clutter, I put my wards all the way up and ran downstairs.

I really hoped I’d get the right glass. Daddy was stalking upstairs to ask the girl to be more careful.

I saw Eleanor with her hand curled around her wine glass, then she set it down, carefully far from the other, and moved to peer upstairs.

The perfect opportunity. Dumb demon.

Episode Twenty-Five: Senator: Scene 12

Unfortunately for me, she seemed to have settled in with him for the evening. I decamped to a table nearby and ordered a burger and fries.
A very good and very expensive burger and fries. Well, it was Georgetown, and I was definitely out of place here. I increased the amount of effort I was putting into simply not being noticed by anyone, the succubus included.

She was, I suspected, a pretty minor demonling. Probably she didn’t even want anything from the businessman other than keeping her hand in.

Finally, they got up and left. I paid for my meal and quietly followed, only to see them disappear into a cab. Joy.

I really needed a bike. And I still hoped that Thea could arrange the loan of a valkyrie’s steed.

You will never be my sister.

But I still could use the transport. I flagged down a cab myself, but I couldn’t exactly say “follow that cab” like they did in the movies. Instead, I got talking, and then said I was concerned about my friend. “The woman he’s with looked like a real vamp.”

“I’m sure he can look after himself.”

“Yeah, but his wife might look after him if we don’t distract him.”

The cabbie laughed. “Rescue mission, eh? I’ll see if I can find out where my coworker took them.”

Which he did. A townhouse a few blocks away. Hopefully I wasn’t too late.

Hopefully she was only going to sleep with him, not take his soul. The cab that dropped me off cleared out.

And I knew she knew I was following her. She peeked out of the curtains of the living room, then closed them.

I could kick in the door and go charging in. Instead, I circled around to duck into the alleyway behind. I could identify the house easily enough, and I hopped up onto the wall between their yard and the next. It was wide enough to balance on, if you had a good sense of balance. And it put me right below a window. It wasn’t open, but I managed to jimmy it and hop into…

…a child’s bedroom. It wasn’t her place they’d gone home to, it was his. The child was not in the bedroom. Based off of the decor, I was guessing a girl.


This was not going well. The kid couldn’t get caught in the crossfire. The door opened and I ducked behind the bed, flattening myself on the floor.

“I don’t want to stay in my room, dad.”

A small girl’s voice. Eight or nine years old, I’d guess.

And I was in her room with her. She’d probably scream when she saw me.

“I need to entertain Miss Eleanor without you in the way. Play your playstation or something.”

The kid grumbled as the door closed.

Maybe I could convince her not to scream.

Episode Twenty-Five: Senator: Scene 11

Slow her down. Distract her. Sarael was helping Will. I still wasn’t always comfortable about working with our rivals, but we had some things in common.

Like valuing people’s freedom and ability to make choices.

Like not liking demons. Maybe if it hadn’t been for Tyz’vel I’d have had fewer problems with them, but he’d convinced me the entire breed were, if not as inherently evil as the lore said…

No, they had chosen to be evil, and how much of it was because they weren’t allowed to be good? I didn’t know, and I thought of fire giants.

Who were not evil. That much I was willing to give them. Not evil, at least not in the true sense of the word. They were opposed to the Aesir, but they didn’t always do bad things.

Odin often did. It was so much more complex than merely good versus evil, us versus them.

Maybe I could convince Surtur not to attack.

Maybe pigs would fly. Distracting the succubus was easier to think about, much less trouble than fire giant politics. I contemplated sneaking into the Red Flowers building and pulling the fire alarm, but that would also annoy a bunch of innocent people. It’s not like they owned it, after all.

What would be equally petty and only affect them? An anonymous tip to the vice squad? No, they left operations like that alone. Officially they didn’t sell sex. Officially they paid taxes.

And there was no sign any of the women were under age, more was the pity. Or there for any reason other than to make good money. If it hadn’t been run by a succubus, I’d have said it was a decent operation.

One thing I could do, though, was track down her demonic minions. One of whom I was now tailing through Georgetown. She hadn’t done anything yet, but she undoubtedly would when given a chance. She ducked into a bar and I followed, hoping the crowd would conceal me, and with the strongest wards against detection I could produce.

Of course, I was focusing on that not looking obviously under-21 and the barkeep scowled at me.

“Coke,” I said, firmly, as I leaned on the bar.


“I promise not to try and get alcohol.”

He seemed to accept that and I glanced around the room. She’d found her prey – a businessman alone in a booth, looking like he was from somewhere else.

I couldn’t do anything about it in here, but when she tried to get him alone? Then I could move.