Bailey gritted his teeth. “Sill. Sill,” he whispered.
Sillmud stopped blabbering and made a little ”Oh!” They released their grip on him and moved so that she was facing him upside down, her wild purple-blue hair covering his notebook.
”You got it?” they asked. Bailey gave her a single nod, and she smiled wide. ”I still wanna watch! You humans do the weirdest things with this. Wouldn’t you rather the ‘x’ stay unknown instead?”
Bailey tried to listen, but he could feel the jock’s gaze on him, and it was frankly uncomfortable. It made it difficult to communicate with the demon or concentrate on his work.
Sillmud moved to watch from the side of his desk, at which point he heard the jock speak again. Why was he even still talking to him?
Lucas. Guess he could stop calling him “the jock” in his head now. “Nice to meet you too,” he murmured. Bailey didn’t look at him, keeping his eyes on the math. The other problems were fairly similar to the first one, so it didn’t take too much to get through. Bailey took a breath and gradually got faster at solving them.
Bailey gritted his teeth. “Sill. Sill,” he whispered.
Lucas bit his lip. Definitely not a talker.
With a soft sigh, he turned back to his own work, though he couldn't entirely focus on the work. What was it about Bailey that had Lucas so desperate to talk? Sure, he liked talking, to anyone he could find, but it was different with him. Maybe it was just because no one really knew him, or because he wanted to learn more about his mysterious classmate who seemed to quietly mutter to himself just because he was curious. Whatever it was, now that that curiosity had been ignited, Lucas didn't think it would go away any time soon.
The maths was easy, he had no problem with it and would do it for homework later considering there wasn't any way he was going to be able to focus anymore.
The aura Bailey gave off was unlike anyone else he'd talked to. Lucas couldn't quite pinpoint why that was, but it had him desperate to ask questions, to get him talking and trying to know him. Everyone always said he was weird and quiet and strange, and Lucas could definitely see why, but he knew from experience that that probably wasn't the case. He seemed nice, maybe very quiet, but nice.
Occasionally, when Bailey got stuck on something, Sillmud would reach out her hand again and tell him what to do. Funny how it was easier to listen to the demon than the teacher. Though, it was also involved less conflict and communication. Eventually, he finished the problems for the chapter and moved on.
Lucas had stopped talking to him, apparently, which Bailey didn’t mind. It was strange that he even talked to him in the first place, though. Usually, if someone had to sit beside him, they would just ignore him. Rarely did another kid make an effort to speak to him like this guy had. And, aside from the prolonged glances, it wasn’t too bad, if not extremely awkward. It was nice of him, how he had offered to help with the math problems.
His math work was blocked from view again, this time by a small, satyr-like creature wearing a cloak. His eyes were strange, even for being a goat’s. They danced and and shifted in their sockets like kaleidoscopes, and it made it difficult to look at him.
”Hi Cedrak!” Sillmud greeted.
Cedrak didn’t look at her. ”Greetings,” was all he bothered to say. Addressing Bailey, he said, ”Human child, would you care to explain your consorting with other human beings?”
Bailey blinked. My what? It was difficult to know how to answer with Lucas so close.
Lucas couldn't take the silence anymore, and his curiosity about the boy sitting next to him was too much that he couldn't just not talk to him.
"Hey uh, Bailey?" He glanced to the side, trying to offer toa small friendly smile to maybe help Bailey understand that he was genuinely trying to be nice, "I noticed you were in my English class, and I was wondering if you could help me with the comparative assignment we're doing later, like after school? I'm rubbish at this stuff. I can help with maths and science if you need any help with those subjects."
It was a long shot, Bailey had barely even glanced in his direction more than once for the majority of the lesson, and he hadn't spoken against since Lucas had spoken to him first. He knew that Bailey didn't hang out with anyone, and besides genuinely needing help with work, he wanted to unravel the mystery that was Bailey, and maybe get people to stop talking shit about him.
"Of course, there's no pressure if you're busy or anything, but I know you're good at that, you're smart, so I figured I'd ask."
Lucas chewed on his bottom lip as he waited for a reply, honestly not expecting him to speak and just leaving him sitting in awkward silence.
Oh, god, two people talking to him at once. Bailey left Cedrak unanswered and glanced at Lucas.
So he was in English class, too. Bailey was suddenly hit with memories of the teacher calling Lucas’s name for roll, getting no answer, then hearing some murmur about how he was late again before moving on to the next name. He considered his words. People have asked him for help with this kind of stuff before, though that was before the demons came along. Besides, he wasn’t really too busy after school. Also, Cedrak was acting like Lucas was some sort of drug dealer, and that made Bailey want to agree out of spite.
Shooting the small demon a glance that was more of a glare, he said, “I’m not too busy. It’s no trouble.”
Cedrak looked offended. Sillmud, laughing nervously, tried to placate him. ”Cedrak, hey, it’s fine, it’s not like Bailey asked the other human first, right? He’s just doing him a little favor.”
The smaller demon just shook his head gravely. ”This fraternization can only end in disaster.”
Lucas beamed brightly at Bailey, honestly bright enough to rival the damn sun, "Really?! Thanks!"
He was honestly surprised that Bailey had agreed, considering he never talked to anyone or hung out with anyone. Considering they had also never talked before today, it was surprising that he had said yes at all, "We can head back to mine if you want, or yours if that's more comfortable with that, and I'm happy to drive you home if you need it."
The perfect chance to get to know the mysterious boy, and get his work done, too. He was a little curious as to why he'd glanced at nothing and practically glared at the air. Is he okay? Worry sparked inside him, but he didn't say anything or ask any questions about it. Maybe I'll ask later. Or after he'd got to know Bailey a bit better.
"Or we can always go somewhere else, you know? I'm not fussy, wherever you're most comfortable working I'm cool with."
Lucas smiled so brightly that Bailey nearly had to squint. He looked away. “Don’t mention it.”
Now that was weird. Was that even genuine? Was he actually happy that Bailey was helping him with school? That’s a first. He was immediately starting to regret saying yes.
He could see Cedrak shaking his head in disapproval. This made him not as regretful. The teacher must have heard them talking, because he heard a shushing noise from the front of the room. Somehow, Bailey’s voice got quieter than it already was.
“Yours is fine,” he murmured. He knew he absolutely did not want the popular kid over at his house. It would be so uncomfortable.
It was at this point that both of the demons began to inspect Lucas intently. ”There’s a lot of strength in those bulging tendons,” he heard Cedrak say. ”Ha! I’m still taller than this human,” Sillmud said, sticking out her purplish-pink tongue and flapping their wings.
Then suddenly, the other demons were there, as if they had been listening in on them from an invisible wall and only now had decided to join them. There were five in all. To Lucas, Bailey’s eyes would be flitting in all directions, bombarded by the invisible crowd that now surrounded them.
Marronae, the biggest and tallest at some seven feet, curling her cow’s tail and batting her thick eyelashes at the boy. She raised an eyebrow at Bailey. ”Really, darling? A poor choice on your part.”
Azrith was there, the tiniest, and the most hysterical about the development. They hovered around Lucas, their wings beating rapidly. ”Oh, this is rich! I bet I’ll get a nice meal out of this later.”
Then there was Dirgan, with his black skin that looked scaly in some places. His long lizard’s tail that swung behind him, and his completely white eyes squinted at Lucas, then at Bailey. He scoffed in disgust. “Wow kid, can’t believe you just decided to go hang out with some human. You should be focused more on feeding me, you know.”
Bailey just frowned a little, and returned to his work. Over time he’d gotten used to mostly ignoring all of them.
Lucas gave the teacher an apologetic glance to only receive an eye roll in return. He was lucky he was good at maths or honestly it would be detention for a week. Late and being a talker, he was just glad he was liked by majority of the other teachers, even if this one clearly conveyed he was a pain in their ass.
Glancing sideways at Bailey, he caught the eye moment and prevented himself from frowning before he spoke again, this time in a hushed whisper, "Alright, meet me by the front door after school, and thanks again for helping, you're a huge help."
Lucas got back to his work after that, headphones in and blocking out the rest of the classroom, surprisingly quiet considering how talkative he seemed to be. But he wasn't planning on becoming even more of a nuisance for the teacher. Detention wasn't a problem, except when it seemed to always be whenever he had football practise or genuinely had something to do and couldn't waste his time in there. Like this afternoon.
Sure, Bailey was quiet and maybe a little strange considering he kept glancing around as if there were things there that Lucas couldn't see, but overall, he didn't seem as weird as everyone made him out to be. He guessed that was only because they didn't know him, as it was with anyone who ended up in these situations. If there was one thing Lucas hated, it was bullies, and he wasn't going to let people just stop around on people because they don't like them or they're different. Whatever was going on in the background of Bailey's life, Lucas had no right to know about it, but Bailey didn't deserve the hate he got. Maybe this was a chance to change things around for him.
(Aaaa Luka’s so wholesome ;; do you want to skip to the end of the day?)
By the end of the day, Bailey was exhausted, though this was nothing new. It was rather worse today because his agreement with Lucas had given the demons a lot more to feed on, at least for the ones who found the goings on of his brain to be particularly delicious.
He was now outside, walking towards the bicycle rack to get his bicycle. A breeze temporarily pushed the hair away from his face, and he inhaled softly. He wasn’t sure what method of transportation Lucas used to get home, but at the very least he didn’t want to just leave his bicycle where someone could steal it. When he found it, he pulled it out of the rack and guided it around the school towards the front doors, still on foot.
As he walked he felt a strange shiver. ”Baaaillleeyyyy,” a voice sang. ”You know this isn’t a good idea, right?”
His grip tightened on the bike’s handles. When he looked, he was met with a towering figure looking down at him. Her cow’s tail reached out and brushed against his cheek. The demon chuckled slowly, batting her long, thick eyelashes.
“Marronae,” he said, mouth pulled into a thin line. “You’re not hungry, are you? I’m sure you’ve had enough.”
”Oh, no, of course not, my dear. Why would you ever say such a thing?” Marronae bent down so she was eye-level with him. Her opalescent eyes were almost hypnotizing, and her lips were pulled into a wide, unnatural smile full of large, sharp teeth. Anticipating what she was about to do, Bailey quickly looked away and kept walking.
”Baaaaiiiillleeeyyy,” the demon called after him. ”Do you think he really cares about school? He’s probably planning to make you his little punching bag right outside those front doors.”
“Shut up!” But the fear was already inside of him. His body shook. When he looked again, Marronae was there, her expression dreamy looking now. She was feeding.
Bailey tried to fight it, tried to keep walking, but no sooner had he looked back in front of him than he realized he couldn’t go any farther. Dirgan was there, blocking his way. The demon’s lips were pulled into a smug smirk, and Bailey caught sight of his forked tongue wetting them.
”Where do you think you’re going, kid?” he asked.
“You’ve had plenty,” Bailey said, trying to keep himself from crying. “You’ll have some later.”
Dirgan raised a brow. ”I don’t think so, kid. You know what they say. A demon’s hunger is never satisfied.”
Bailey gritted his teeth and pushed past him, hopping on the bike. He heard Dirgan’s chuckle as he rode off.
Not long after, he arrived at the front doors. He got off of his bike and looked around for Lucas, half hoping that he wouldn’t be there.
(Sorry it’s long)
The end of the day couldn't have come faster for Lucas. He was surprisingly excited to hang out with Bailey, but he did his best to keep his cool as he headed to the front gate. Even though he really needed the help with the assignment, he was more looking forward to getting to know Bailey, and maybe even trying to become friends with him. He wouldn't deny he was cute, he'd thought that for a whole considering that he'd noticed him around the school for some time. But until today he'd never attempted to talk, maybe because of the people he was friends with or because he didn't want to cross a boundary but either way, Lucas was disappointed in himself he hadn't spoken earlier.
When he got there Bailey was already there with his bike. Hopefully I can fit it in my car. However when he got there he could sense the other guy was in a bit of distress and he frowned, "Hey, Bailey? You all good?" There was genuine worry on his face and it was obvious, as well as his sympathetic tone, too, "We don't have to study tonight if you don't feel up to it, really."
He'd rather Bailey feel comfortable around him than anything, that was Lucas' main priority, rather than some dumb assignment he'd probably fail anyway even with the help.
For just a moment, Bailey thought he wouldn’t show up. His gaze drifted as his mind seemed to blur, trying to process what had happened earlier. He started breathing again.
Then Lucas’s voice cut through his nonexistent thoughts. His head snapped in his direction, unsure if he should be relieved or disappointed.
Now that they were standing next to each other, the other boy’s height was especially pronounced. Every time he tried to look at him in the face his brain would replace him with Marronae instead, and he would have to look away.
Lucas sounded really concerned. Was it real? Was he really that obvious? He tried to answer, but felt Dirgan’s dark presence hovering over his shoulder. ”You know kid, he doesn’t really care. But you’re stupid enough to believe it anyway, right? It doesn’t really matter, anyway.”
Bailey took a shaky breath, putting a hand to his temple. “I’m… I’m fine. Don’t worry about it.”
He heard Dirgan chuckle again as he let his hand drop to his side.
Lucas let out a soft chuckle, "Unfortunately worrying is one of the things I'm especially good at." He nodded over to the student car park, "My car is just over there, I should be able to fit your bike in the boot." He tried his best to seem less intimidating to Bailey, in his mind he wasn't, but he knew his height and resting face gave him the look of someone ready to yell and to compensate, he kept an easy smile on his face to match the softness of his tone.
He led them over to the car which was probably far too nice for the school they attended and unlocked it with the little switch on his keychain. The sleek, clean blackness of the paint showed it had been washed recently, not a single scratch or dent in the paintwork, "Feel free to get in, I can sort your bike out. I promise not to dent it." Lucas hadn't ridden a bike in forever, at least not since he taught his younger brother. He guessed having a car made it easier to get around than having to bike everywhere but, it was definitely similar than the manual he had to drive.
He popped open the trunk of the boot, leaning into it to push down the back seats to make more room. By that point there was plenty of space to store Bailey's bike no problems, making it easy for him to lift it up and gently lay it down over the back.
Bailey had the sudden urge to burn something. It was the only thing that made him feel calm sometimes, and even calmed down the demons too. Of course, it wasn’t a great idea to burn something right now, so he was glad he didn’t have his lighter with him. Hopefully, he could do it later.
Lucas’s car was indeed too nice and expensive looking for him. Bailey could easily imagine Lucas and the other friends in his group in this car, going to some party. At first, even though he had the other boy’s permission, he was nervous to get in. Beside him, he could feel Marronae tapping her foot, as if she was impatient.
”Just get in, Bailey.” He could practically hear the smile in her voice. ”What’s wrong? Just get in.”
He turned to her and frowned, lowering his voice and saying, “I told you to shut up.”
Marronae giggled. ”That was very ill-mannered of you, dear. It’s important to mind your manners.”
“And you’re minding your manners right now?” Bailey said through his teeth. He looked and saw that Lucas was already handling his bike, so he let out a sigh and got in the car.
Lucas made sure the bike was secure before he shut the boot, heading round to his side of the car and getting in, being quick to start the engine and drive out of the car park, "Thank you, for helping me Bailey, I really appreciate it." He hoped he wasn't coming off as overeager, but Lucas could probably tell he was. Then again, he wanted Bailey to know that he genuinely appreciated the help. He could have simply left. Agreed to help and then headed home and left Lucas there, or even not agree at all, but Lucas was glad he had even just said yes.
The drive to Lucas' place didn't take long, located in the upper part of town filled with houses that had grass too green and were far too clean from the outside. 'No personality,' he always said, but there wasn't anything he could do about it.
They pulled into his driveway, the only car there now. Lucas knew they'd be the only ones there for a few hours before his younger brother came home, but that shouldn't matter too much, "I'll leave your bike in the car so it's there for when I drop you home later."
For a moment, Bailey thought Lucas was going to ask why he also didn’t have a car, but he didn’t. “Really, it’s no trouble,” he said, even as he could hear Marronae and Dirgan laughing.
He was silent the rest of the way, mostly because the two demons were being really distracting, either because they were fighting each other over who would feed first, or over Bailey’s attention. He tried to ignore them, but it was always difficult to ignore Dirgan and Marronae in particular. They fed on his self-hatred and insecurities/fears respectively, so it it was difficult to protect himself anytime they were hungry, which was most of the time.
Their voices faded away when they reached Lucas’s neighborhood, though. Bailey had never been in a place like this before. It was almost like those neighborhoods he sometimes saw in his mother’s magazines, so picture perfect that it could have been recreated in some studio.
When they approached the other boy’s house, he nodded. “Alright, that’s fine.”
A little too quickly, he got out of the car, shrugging his backpack on his shoulder. Looking around, he murmured, “Um, your house is nice.”
Marronae laughed. ”That sounded so stilted,” she said. ”Honestly darling, can you sound any more awkward?”
Bailey’s face flushed, but he tried not to let the demon’s words get to him.
Lucas was quick to get out the car not long after Bailey, shutting and locking the door when they were both out. He smiled at Bailey when he heard what he’d said about his house, “Thanks. It’s a bit too clean for my liking but I can’t control that.”
He shrugged, leading them towards the front door with his keys in his hand. Lucas had always felt that he didn’t deserve the niceties he had, maybe it was because he felt he hadn’t earned them, but either way, it always felt too much for him. His older brother had never been the same, and maybe it was because Lucas’ older brother was a dick just like their father, but Lucas tried his hardest to not be the same as them. To be nice and kind and not judge or take his privilege for granted.
Lucas held the door open for Bailey, shutting it gentle behind him once he was inside, “My room is upstairs and first door on the left, bathroom is opposite that. Uh- kitchen it just past the stairs if you’re hungry. Are you hungry? I am, what do you wanna eat?” Once again he gave Bailey a soft, reassuring smile, leaving his shoes by the front door and heading to the kitchen, dropping his bag by the stairs to take up later.
As Bailey stepped inside, he murmured his thanks to Lucas for holding the door. A weird feeling went through him, and he looked up to find all five demons standing or floating around him. It was as if they were all guarding him from something, like something would come out and attack them. Bailey sighed softly. If only he could talk to them all, alone. They seemed to be more abuzz with whole deal, and he had to make sure that they wouldn’t be a distraction.
Of course, he was nervous. He hadn’t liked the idea of the popular kid at his house, but now it was him in the popular kid’s house. Bailey felt more than just unfamiliar with the place, he felt like he wasn’t supposed to be there. I’m probably just going to be a nuisance.
He caught Dirgan smirking, feeding off of that thought. Bailey raised a hand to his temple, still feeling the urge to engage in his pyromaniac tendencies.
At the same time, he tried to keep all that info in his brain and remember it. “Um…” he stuttered, “I- I guess I'm a little hungry,” he said. “What do you have?”
"Loads! We've got lots of snacks or I can order something in if you're not feeling up for snacking while we study." Lucas hummed gently, making his way into the too-white, polished kitchen. The afternoon sun streamed through the windows making the place seem a lot lighter and brighter than it normally would have been, "Do you have any allergies? Or are you vegetarian or anything?" He was trying his hardest to be accommodating. Lucas could sense the nervous energy Bailey was giving off and wanted to make him at least somewhat comfortable in his home, even if it was offering something to eat and making sure his food requirements were met.
It was always strange going to someone's place for the first time, especially a place this nice, even Lucas felt odd going to some of his friend's places that were far nicer than his. Too many breakable things and he was clumsy enough to break things that shouldn't have been touched in the first place, "There's also cold water in the fridge or soft drink if that's more your style."
(There are two types of ppl with anxiety)
Bailey shook his head. No allergies, and not vegetarian. “Maybe just cold water and some cheese,” he said. Cheese was neither too filling nor something with no substance, so he always found it to be a good snack to hold him over until a meal.
He caught Cedrak staring at him intently. Bailey stared back. They would all have to address this soon. He could say he needed to go to the restroom. But not now.
His eyes squinted in the light, but he cautiously made his way over to the kitchen. The demons followed him, though Sillmud seemed to be the only one who was invested in what was going on. The others looked bored or tense.
"Wow, this human's den is so much different than yours!" Sillmud said, looking around with her wild hair whipping about them. Bailey resisted the urge to say, "Yes, I know."
Meanwhile, Azrith drifted over, sat on his shoulder, and started feeding. Bailey quickly swiped his hand over his shoulder to push them off. "Hey!" Bailey glared at them, crossing his arms over his chest. They always did this at the most inconvenient of times.
"Cold water and cheese coming right up!" Lucas headed to the fridge and pulled out the bottle of water and the block of cheese, placing them on the kitchen island before starting on cutting up the cheese for Bailey into actual edible pieces. He was efficient when it came to getting the food ready, quickly placing them on a plate and sliding it over to Bailey with a smile before grabbing a couple of glasses to fill with water. Once that was done, he grabbed a bag of crisps for himself, "Alright, we can study in my room." Lucas said, motioning for the smaller guy to follow.
At least his room was clean for once. Lucas presumed Bailey wouldn't care but he wanted to make a good impression. It had been a long while since Lucas genuinely wanted someone to like him. Usually, he didn't care, it's not liked it mattered in the long run, but for once he wanted Bailey to like him, to think he was nice and not some dickhead like most of his mates were.
He watched Lucas prepare the cheese, frowning a little and feeling like he should help. The other boy shouldn’t have to do all of this for him. Why was he doing all of this himself, for Bailey? He couldn’t understand.
Nevertheless, he took the plate and cup, then nodded. “Thank you,” he said sincerely. Bailey made to follow Lucas, but Cedrak caught his eye again.
”Child, this isn’t good. He’s being nice, he’s being friendly. You understand what that means, yes?”
Bailey scowled, shook his head, then followed the other boy up the stairs. Marronae started to hum, expressing her doubt. ”Are we really sure he’s doing this just out of friendliness?”
Dirgan’s forked tongue wetted his lips. ”At this point, he just wants that good grade.”
”So what if he’s being friendly? Doesn’t seem like anything will come of it,” Sillmud said almost defensively, the crystals in her skin flashing.
“Guys…” Bailey muttered. Azrith sat on his shoulder and started feeding again.