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Title: Rings (Mythklok, Chapter 46)
Author: tikistitch
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Confessions and a battle
Warnings: Slash, AU, OCs, swearing. CHARACTER DEATH. Minor character, but it is not pretty.
Notes: Notes after the jump.



Mythklok is a Metalocalypse AU. If you're behind and for some strange reason wanna catch up, the best place is my fic journal, [personal profile] tikific, where you are welcome to come visit the bits I’ve written and maybe poke them with a pointed stick. I've also written a general introduction in case you wanna jump in the middle of things, or have forgotten all this stuff due to Real Life.

Last time, Lord Vishnu accepted a daytime Emmy, and Ganesh accepted Sariel's tie tack. Still not sure what's happening? Well, neither am I. Oh, and also, if you know what super sentai is, you will be amused (I hope) but if you don’t, you might end up even more confused than usual!




Mordhaus' vast underground network….

“So, this is the result of our work….”

“Well, you could say it’s the result of our play…”

“Yes it was very playful this week….”

“Not that we don’t work hard….”

“We work very hard indeed….”

“We work hard so you can play!”

“Oh yes we do.”

“Though we don’t technically play instruments.”

“Yes, we are rather referring to playing as….”

“WILL YE FUCKING SHUT YOUR TRAPS AND SHOW US?”

Wotan’s booming voice (not as thunderous as that of Nathan Explosion, but nevertheless quite impressive in its own right) echoed throughout the Mordhaus’s capacious dungeon laboratories, bouncing through caverns and reverberating on the bare stone walls.

And also nearly causing the babbling scientists to empty their bowels into their pristine white lab coats.

Charles inclined his head, and the greyer and less bald of the two scientists emerged from his stunned silence to pull back the curtain.

“Whoa!” said Charles, who was looking like he had just died and gone to Pie Heaven.

“That entire thing is a…” Ganesh began, readjusting the excitedly wriggling Elias on his hip.

“TASER!” Charles told him.

“Botage!” gabbled Elias.

“Yes, Boon!” Charles told the child, grabbing him up to get a closer look.

It looked somewhat like a zap gun from a low budget science fiction TV show of the last century, only blown up through some mad scientist’s embiggening machine. It had to have been the size of a Volkswagen bus, if such things still existed.

“What’s the range on this baby?” Charles asked. He was not referring to his own child, who he was holding up to achieve a better view of the marvelous MegaTaser.

“Oh, it’s very far,” said the fatter and balder scientist.

“Yes very far.”

“It’s got a great range.”

“And we’re not referring to musical range.”

“Oh, no, as we’ve already explained, we are not musicians.”

“Though we do, in a sense, play….”

“How. Far. Can. It. Shoot?” Wotan asked, trying only somewhat successfully to control his voice so as not to induce any more pants-shitting.

"One hundred meters," said a scientist.

"Yes, that sounds about right," agreed the other.

"Depending on the prevailing wind,"

"And atmospheric pressure."

"And the terrain!"

"And surf conditions."

"Will it be enough to get Set's kid?" Pickles asked. He had been hanging in the back, silent.

"This oughta do it!" Charles assured him.

"We have been preparing a combined attack, Pickles," Ganesh explained. "Sariel will use his cutting power to, er, temporarily disable the enemy...."

"Yer gonna cut da kid and zap her. Like Toki's feckin' video game."

"If it works, it works!" Wotan enthused. "And it's one damned entertaining game! Have you played?"



Mordhaus conference room....

"Guys, if we could...? Where is Pickles, anyway?" asked Charles, taking a seat at the head of the table.

"What's this?" Nathan asked.

"Nathan. May I please have my tie back? You are sort of choking...."

"What's this?" Nathan repeated, pointing to the small gold pin on the tie.

"Nathan! That is not your tie...." Charles warned, grasping at his own tie.

"That'sch a tie tack," Murderface supplied.

"Nathan..." Charles gargled.

Nathan had donned his reading glasses. "It's not the one you bought. That one had WINGS on it," he said suspiciously.

"Thisch one hasch an elephant on it," Murderface supplied. "Isch it perhaos from Ganesch?"

Charles choked as Nathan released the tie. "It's from Ganesh."

"The one YOU bought...?"

"I gave it to him."

"So....."

"So, uh, yeah."

Charles, who had barely recovered from the choking, now found himself off his feet in a bone-crushing embrace. "OH MY GOD SAN SERRIFFE!" Nathan thundered. He released Charles. "Sorry, sort of being a douche."

"It's OK. It's....". But Charles was interrupted again as Murderface now had him in a Murderhug, which quite resembles a headlock in many ways. In fact all ways.

"Schenschual masschages!" the bassist raved.

"OK," Charles breathed, upon being released. "OKI. Can we settle down?" But now Toki was looking at him expectantly. Charles sighed and held out an arm and let himself be subjected to a Norwegian glomping.

"All right, all right." He looked over to Skwisgaar, who hadn't budged from where he was sullenly practicing his guitar.

"Pffft," Skwisgaar sneered.

"Yes. Thank you for that, Skwisgaar." Still a bit shaky, Charles sat down in his chair at the head of the table. "And does anybody know where Pickles-"

"DOOD!" came the shriek. Pickles appeared to have dropped from the ceiling down on Charles, their combined weight toppling his chair right over backwards.

There was a moment of silence. Nathan stood up to look. "Whoa!" he said.

"Er, schould we leave the room?" Murderface ventured.

"Uhhhhhh...."

"No!" came the somewhat muffled response from down on the floor. "We are having," said Charles, who stood, aided by an arm from Nathan, "a fucking band meeting."

"Emphaschisch on the fucking part?" Murderface grinned.

Charles attempted to straighten his tie, which was somewhat hampered by the fact that more of less half his shirt buttons were undone.

Pickles popped up, grinning. "Sit!" ordered Charles. The drummer clambered cheerily into a chair.

"All right. Guys, this is really important today. This is the most important thing I've ever talked about with...."

"Are we scheduling our schenschual masschages for Schan Scheriffe now?" Murderface asked hopefully.

"Uh. Maybe later. They guys in the basement just showed us a new weapon....."

"Is it AWESOME? Can we have one?"

"It's really awesome, Nathan."

"Though it sounds kinda weird when you say awesome actually."

"Hims should probable say it ams really nifties," Toki giggled.

"Yoo could say it's hip, daddy-o!" Pickles supplied.

"Guys? Could we please go on? Now, you've been asking, and Wotan's friend Kitsune has been working on weapons for you. All of you! You guys have told me that you wanna fight, and you know there's something really awful happening in Australia." He stole a glance at Pickles, who seemed to have sobered up. "But, before I let you do this, I need an OK, I want every single one of you to tell me, yeah, I wanna do this. Because I'm not sending you in if there's gonna be any hesitation. Is that clear?"

"I'm doin' it!" Pickles declared.

"Well, that's really admirable Pickles. But, I DON'T want you guys to answer now, I want you to..."

"Yeah. I ams does it too. Why nots?" Toki declared.

"OK. Toki...."

"I'M FIGHTING TOO!" Nathan boomed.

"Point of clarificatschion?"

"Yes, William?"

"Will thisch battle be happening before or after Schan Scheriffe?"

"Before, William. We need to set aside all the personal stuff..."

"It ams romanticals!" Toki mused.

"Pffft. I suppose you ams be's happiglee evers afters," Skwisgaar pfffted.

"You ams should nots be Pffft-ings, Skwisgaar!" Toki scolded.

"I ams can Pfffft if I ams wants to Pffft. It ams Pffft-ables."

"Look, if Skwisgaar wants to disapprove, that's fine," Charles told him. "Let's move on...."

"Dey ams be in loves," Toki persisted.

"Ja, wit' da mutants winger kid," Skwisgaar muttered, babbling out one word that didn't sound like any human language.

"You probably shouldn't talk about the kid, dude, it's kind of douchey," Nathan warned.

Charles had gone very quiet. And the room seemed to darken. "What. Did you say?" he whispered.

Skwisgaar glared down at his guitar. "You gots a winger kids."

Raziel would probably be upset, as she'd had one of her favorite tailors construct Charles's jacket, which was now ripped to shreds, as he stood, wings fully out. Even as Sariel he remained a few inches shorter than Skwisgaar, so although he had pulled the guitarist physically up out of his chair by a handful of the taller man's collar, Skwisgaar was somewhere between sitting and standing, not to mention eye to eye with a rather enraged angel.

"Uh. Wings. Dude?" Skwisgaar pleaded.

"That word. My kid. Never." Sariel gripped his collar tigher.

Skwisgaar gulped. And then he nodded. "OK. Ja."

Sariel glared. And then released his grip, sending Skwisgaar sprawling back into the chair.

And then he strode out of the room without another word.

"What got into him?" Nathan asked.

"Dude," Murderface began. "That'sch angel talk. It'sch not a word that you schay. Even if you're being a dousche."

"It's their word for wings or something though isn't it?" Nathan asked. "I can't understand that fucked up language. They sound like a bunch of birds on steroids."

"Hims ams crazies," Skwisgaar grumbled.

"Skwisgaar, you should fucking apologize! You don't insult a kid, even if it's a weird creepy demon baby. It doesn't know it's a weird creepy baby yet!"

"Yer a paragon o' tolerance, Nat'an," PIckles sighed.

Skwisgaar stayed quiet, clinging to his Gibson. He had never wanted to Pffft quite so badly. But he figured he had quite gone over his quota for that day.



Ganesh's residence....

Ganesh stared at his cell phone. He had just put Elias down for a nap, and, like a good indulgent parent, had sent an image of this momentous event to Sariel. But for some reason, he hadn’t gotten a response regarding the relative adorableness of the image yet. He wandered out to his media room, lost in thought. He had the remote control in his hand before he realized he was not alone.

"Er. To what do I owe this ... unexpected pleasure?"

The Creator actually looked a bit guilty. "Well, it was time for Corazon de Azul...."

"Yes. I was just about to watch. Yolanda's fiery younger sister has gotten herself into another pickle!"

"Oh yes, hasn't she? And, I find my cable has gone out."

"Has it? Well, that's damned unlucky." Ganesh frowned. Should he be impolite to the man Sariel and Raziel routinely called "that evil sack of shit?"

Ganesh nodded towards the couch. "Would you like tea?"



Mordhaus, Charles' office....

He had Court Formed as soon as he had sufficiently collected himself. He thought this was best.

It was only a word, after all. And Skwisgaar was probably unaware of the full force of it.

And still he was seething.

His door opened. There was no knock.

It was Skwisgaar. Of course.

Nathan and Murderface shoved him into the office and slammed the door behind him.

Charles knew what he needed to do. He needed to find common ground. He needed to apologize for losing his cool. He needed to use this as a teaching moment.

Blah blah blahdy fucking blah.

“Dude, your eyes ams still silvers,” Skwisgaar said softly.

“I know.”

Skwisgaar took off his Gibson. He set it aside. And then he sat down. “I ams…. I ams talked to my dad. I shoulds… På svenska tak?”

“My Swedish bad is.”

“I want to say this right. I talked to my dad. I fucked up. I’m not good with words. In any fucking language. That’s why I play a fucking guitar.”

Sariel listened, still angry, but curious, despite himself. Skwisgaar didn’t normally refer to Wotan as Dad. He almost wondered if Nathan had phoned the god to intervene.

“I heard that word when I was, you know, with her. I knew it was insulting. I didn’t know it was that bad. Honestly.”

“At Parvati’s?” Sariel asked in English. Skwisgaar nodded. Strange on top of strange. But it explained why Ganesh had gone so elusive on the subject of his mother lately. He had been trying to stay out of Eastern Kingdom politics, but he wondered if a bit of head-bashing was in order. It wasn’t clear who in Parvati’s household had been talking like that, but he rather hoped to disinvite them from anywhere within the Western Hemisphere.

“All right,” Charles said at length.

“Charles. You know why I can’t have kids?”

“Uh. Can’t? I thought you just didn’t like the little bastards.”

“I don’t tell people. It was a long time ago. Just after I got my guitar? There was this old lady….”

“OK. Skwisgaar? If you’re gonna tell me it was an old gypsy lady….”

“No, ams swears! I think it was a goddess. You know, one of those who are old and young and all that shit?”

“Oh, the Norns? Yeah. They’re… They’re not good to piss off.”

“Yeah, well. She told me my fate. That I was gonna be the best. Until I have a son. And then he’ll be the best.”

Why am I thinking of Snow White, Charles thought. “That…. That doesn’t sound so bad, actually.”

“But then I won’t be able to play. Ever again.”

“Oh.” Charles found a lot of things were bubbling to the surface, the primary of which was, why the fuck is he telling me this now? He took a breath, and then said, “OK, Skwisgaar? I don’t know about this. But one thing I know. Prophecy is bullshit. I was supposed to kill the Creator. I was literally born to kill the Creator. And then I just fucking didn’t. You can spend your life sneaking around trying to avoid this. I can’t tell you what to do. But it seems to me sometimes you have to look at fate and say fuck you.” He shrugged. He was a bit annoyed with himself for not crushing Skwisgaar’s idiot skull. He wondered idly if after so many years of constant practice the Swede still actually required his brain in order to play.

Skwisgaar gave a muttered Tak and then, grabbing his Gibson, hastened out.

And then Pickles was sitting in the chair.

“Dood!”

“Pickles! Hey. I am sorry, we haven’t had time to talk.” Charles tried to reorient his brain from Norse goddess curses to Elder Gods in the Aussie outback. "What did you think about the weapon this morning?”

“Yeh. You obviously got a charge outta it.” Pickles groaned as Charles grinned. “Yeh. Bad feckin’ pun. Look, I jest got one question. So when are we movin’?”

“Like Wotan said, we’re talking to the Yokai…”

“I don’t wanna know about business meetin’s! Da Koori doods are in trouble!”

“Pickles, you’re starting to sound like Bast.”

“Mebbe dat’s good!”

“I wanna solve this once and for all. And I don’t want any of us to die!”

“Is dat it now?”

“Is what it? Wait, now you wanna die?"

Pickles glared. "Yoo gotta kid now."

"Yes. I would very much like to come back to him! I am becoming somewhat attached! And I would like you to come back too, or does that not mesh with you somehow being left out?" Charles knew he shouldn't say it, but couldn't seem to stop himself. "I can't stop your family being assholes. Like I can't fucking fix Skwisgaar. You guys expect too much of me sometimes."

"What da feck does Skwisgaar have to doo wit' dis? Gawd, if it's not feckin' Nat'an...."

"Yes, Nathan who I have up to my house to fuck his brains out on a regular basis. Oh, no, come to think of it, that's you. And.... Shit. Shit." Out of control, he thought. "Pickles. Please. Please. Can we talk about this later? This is not a good time."

"It's never a good time. Is it?"

And then he wasn't there anymore. Leaving Sariel alone and silvery-eyed.



Ganesh’s residence….

Ganesh had excused himself when he heard the fussing coming over the baby monitor. The Creator did not move as Ganesh returned with Elias cradled in his arms, but it was easy to see the eyes following him into the room. Ganesh frowned.

And then he set Elias on the Creator’s lap. The two beings regarded each other for a long moment, and then the Creator gently hugged the child to himself, and Elias dropped back to sleep with a rather surprisingly loud snore.

"I was surprised," Ganesh said quietly. "You must realize, he can bring out his arms..."

"When he's winged. Yes," said the Creator, with no little sense of pride. "Though, I only got him four arms."

"Well. It was quite the feat, nevertheless."

To be honest, although the situation was quite weird, Ganesh soon found himself once again caught up in Yolanda’s persistent tribulations. So he was a little startled when he heard the voice behind him softly but angrily demand, “What’s going on here?”

“Sariel?” Ganesh stood.

The angel was glaring full force at the Creator, clenching and unclenching his fists.

Ganesh quietly wrestled Sariel over to the next room. Every single muscle in the angel’s body was tensed.

“I don’t want him near my child,” Sariel hissed. His eyes had gone silver.

“Dear,” Ganesh began, putting a hand to Sariel’s cheek. Sariel jerked back as if from an electric shock. “He created that boy for us.”

“Not my child.”

“Sariel. I have been here the whole time. I would never let anything happen to him. Ever. You know that. Right?”

Sariel nodded. “You know. What was done to me.”

Something changed in the room. Something very subtle. “I could kill him,” Ganesh said, very, very softly. “I would kill him. If you wanted me to.”

Sariel blinked. It was still Ganesh there, but there was something very dark about him. Yes. He would kill him. Or at least try.

“Say the word,” Ganesh told him.

Sariel appeared to be far away. And then he was looking at Ganesh. He shook his head.

Ganesh tentatively touched a shoulder. Sariel did not pull away this time. “Then. Let it go. All right? For you. For Elias. Let it go.”

They walked back to the media room. Elias was blinking and extending his little arms, so Sariel grabbed him.

The Creator sat quietly on the couch. He stood. “I should go,” he said.

“Next time….” Sariel began. He breathed in and out. “Next time, fucking call first!”

The Creator nodded. And disappeared.

“Well. All things considered, that didn’t go so badly!” said Ganesh.

Sariel scowled.

“Yhwh!” burbled Elias.

Sariel collapsed on to the couch, Elias on top of him. "I didn't need this," he sighed.

"I am deeply sorry, dear," Ganesh told him. "If in future, you would like me to expel Your Father..."

"No, it's not that. At work. Skwisgaar called Boon a winger." He looked up.

Ganesh was standing, the darkness having returned in its full fury. And then the storm passed, and quite suddenly he was down on the couch as well.

"I.... I think I might know where he picked up.... That word," Ganesh said, hands in his hair.

"Ganesh. I need to know. Who at your mom's house would be saying it?"

"Yes. That would be my mother."

Sariel looked down. Elias was blinking up at him. He thought about what Phanuel had told him. He strained his memory to think of the Common phrase. "Love you, Boon," he said.

Elias goggled. He spread his arms, as if the concept were too big. "Lub!" he said.

Well, Sariel thought, at least one person in this household doesn't have intimacy issues. "Ganesh," he said.

"Yes, dear.

"I don't know if I can do it anymore."

"Do what exactly?"

"Manage my band."

Ganesh's face formed a peculiar expression. "With all due respect to my uncle, I do not believe I have ever witnessed a bigger load of nonsense coming from your lips. They are your boys."

"Skwisgaar is one of my boys! I nearly punched his head off!"

"But, you did not?"

"No. But next time..."

"You will do the same. You will muddle through."

"I don't understand. Why aren't you pissed off too?"

"I am angry as well. But I cannot see a separation, you and Dethklok. You would not survive it, I think. It will be as it always has, they will sass and provoke you like surly teenagers. You will endure."

"I'm used to them insulting me. Boon is something different, Ganesh. I don't know if I can adapt."

"Sariel. Have you never considered, for one moment, that they might adapt to you?"

Sariel laughed. "Actually, no. Absolutely not."

"Truly?"

"They are pretty fucking set in their ways."

"But you came to them, did you not, in the guise of a human businessman? You now walk the corridors in True Form, several nights a week.

"And Nathan gives me shit about my pajamas."

"But he has never given you shit about the wings."

Sariel opened his mouth, as if to say something.

"I think perhaps you do not give them enough credit. Nor, perhaps, yourself."



Mordhaus….

Pickles sensed the presence behind him. "Yeh," he said, not caring to look up from his water pipe.

Bast switched her tail.

"He wants t' wait," Pickles told her.

"So he can attend another vitally important dance party?" she hissed.

"Wotan is talkin' to some doods. An' they're makin' a weapon. Though I ain't sure how they're gonna use it."

"The time for talk is over. Can't you see that?"

"Dood. I ain't a soldier. Nawt like you."

"They approached you for help."

"Don't you t'ink I know dat? Don't you t'ink I wish I wuz magical, like da rest o' yoo doods? Den maybe I wouldn' get treated like a feckin' afterthought."

"Then come with me. Show them."

“Bast….” Pickles protested, glaring at his mouthpiece.

"Very well then. I see you obviously have more important matters on your mind." She turned to go.

"Bast," he said.

She turned.

"Wait."



Valhalla....

“You boys will need rings,” Wotan said. "So I am offering you my services."

“I don’t wish to seem ungrateful, Uncle. Raziel has communicated my feelings in that regard, hasn’t she?” Ganesh asked, looking searchingly at Raziel, who only smiled mysteriously. He glanced over to Sariel, who looked as if he was to be fed a particularly appealing pie.

“Magical ceremonies require rings, lad! Besides, you haven’t had a ring like one of mine.” Wotan finally came to a halt in the middle of a field.

Ganesh frowned and looked down at his son, who looked up, grinning, apparently unconcerned at this upcoming faux pas. “You too, huh?” he muttered.

“You first, Ganesh,” Wotan said.

“Damn!” said Sariel, who was nearly bouncing up and down on his toes. The Norse god reached out and plucked a ring from the air. He placed it in Ganesh’s hand. It was a delicate golden puzzle ring. Sariel was at his side, grabbing Elias. “Come on, see what it does!” he urged.

Ganesh frowned. He touched the ring with an index finger, and it fell apart into five separate rings. Then he flung the rings to the ground.

“Oh!” he said. He grabbed back Elias and strode over to one of the five pure white elephants that had grown from the five golden rings. They were magnificent, each with four golden tusks. He looked up in wonder, and reached out Elias’ hand to pet the trunk.

“Where’s mine?” Sariel demanded.

“Don’t be impatient!” Raziel laughed. Wotan winked at her, so she reached up and grabbed a silver ring from the air, which Sariel snatched away from her.

“Please let it be giant growling wolves!” he pleaded, crossing his fingers.

“It’s little fluttery bats," Raziel teased. "Little silver bats.”

He glared at her, and then fumbled getting the ring apart. He quickly flung the pieces around, keeping both his fingers crossed.

“SCORE!” he screamed, hugging an extremely surprised Raziel before he ran to greet his pack of five growling pure white bears.

“Say it with polar bears I guess,” Raziel said as Wotan draped an arm over her shoulders.

“Does anybody else wish a ride before I put these fellows away?” Ganesh called from atop an elephant. Elias was squealing and fluttering his wings.

“Sure! Wait, actually, let me go grab the kids!” Raziel called up.

“I’m gonna ride my bear!” Sariel called.

“Sariel, I don’t think….". Raziel cringed. "Oh, dear.” she laughed. She looked around to see her black-clad governess coming out pushing the babies along in a frilly little old fashioned baby carriage. “Hey, Nephthys, I was just gonna ask you about getting the twins!” She looked at Nephthys’ striken face. “Hey, sweetie. What’s up?”



Australia….

“We’re gonna die, right?” Pickles asked.

Bast scowled, but didn’t answer. They both cringed as the awesome giant robot that was stalking them landed a laser blast nearby, shattering part of the rock formation that was currently providing their cover. Pickles choked on the dust, and then they both grabbed a seemingly oblivious Toki and hauled him deeper into what used to be acres upon acres of twisted rock formations deep in the Australian outback.

“We’re all right,” Bast informed him.

“We’re gonna fuckin’ die,” Pickles grumbled.

“MOST EXCELLENT PICKLES!”

“Pickles the drummer!”

“Most excellent dude!”

“You have come to help your Koori brothers in their hour of need!”

“Oh, hey doods,” Pickles called, recoiling from another precision laser strike.

“And you have brought the most bodacious cat girl!”

“Lion girl,” Bast growled.

“And that other dude, who does something, we’re not sure what!”

“Eh,” muttered Toki.

“Honestly, I ain’t sure what….” Pickles looked up. “Hey, what’s dat?”

Suddenly, there were three figures posed dramatically up on the top of the rocks. They were dressed in very odd outfits: they appeared to be motorcyclists, dressed from head to toe in leathers, and with coordinated helmets. One was all in pink, one was black, and the last one was white.

Pickles quickly noticed the white one had a hole in the back of his jumpsuit, out of which poked a braided fox tail.

The pink one removed her motorcycle helmet and shook out her hair.

“Uh, Raziel, dood,” inquired Pickles, “Why are yoo wearin’ dat jumpsuit?”

“I’m not Raziel! I’m Bishonen Kagaku Ninjatai Desu Krokku Pinkku!”

“Uh. ‘Kay….” Said Pickles.

“And this is Desu Krokku Shiro, and Desu Krokku Gosu Rori!” she said, introducing Kitsune and Nephthys.

“Uh, hey. Kitsune. Nephthys.”

“Whoa!” said the Koori.

“These are pretty cool dudes!”

“Are these your friend dudes, Most Excellent Pickles the drummer?”

“Uh, yeh. Dese are Raz, an’ Nephthys, an’ Kitsune.”

Kitsune stepped forward dramatically. “You have been selected as the chosen fighters! I am here to bring you your Super Secret Desu Krokku Action Medallion.”

“Hey,” said Pickles, looking at the device. “Dat’s actually kinda cool.”

“Step forward and achieve your destiny … TOKI WARTOOTH.”

“Ja,” mumbled Toki, not looking up from his Gameboy.

“Wait! Dood! But, he’s nawt even payin’ attention!”

“Sorry, yours wasn’t ready yet,” Raziel explained.

Kitsune presented the medallion to Toki, who grunted noncommittally. It was pretty cool: it was gold, with what looked like an outline of bunny ears on it. Toki shook the medallion and then tried biting one end (presumably to see if it was chocolate). Kitsune mimed a hand gesture, and Toki repeated the sweeping motion.

Suddenly, Toki was clad in a blue motorcycle outfit, with a golden rabbit emblazoned on his chest.

“Whoa!”

“Dude!”

“Welcome, Desu Krokku Aoi Usagi!”

A muffled “Wowee!” came through the helmet.

“And here is your Usagi Hoppa!” Kitsune announced. Suddenly a blue mecha came hopping up through the desert.

“Aw, shit, he gets a feckin’ robot?” grumbled a now thoroughly disgusted Pickles.

The vehicle did look a bit like a rabbit. Or perhaps a wallaby. Whatever that was. It was propelled by two powerful back legs. The cockpit, which featured two very ear-like antennae, opened and Toki hopped in, making sure to pose dramatically.

"Bishonen Kagaku Ninjatai Desu Krokku go!" called Raziel, Nephthys and Kitsune, dramatically posing martial arts style.

"Come on, Pickles," Raziel urged. You need to pose so we can power up!"

"I can't power up! You didn' bring me a magical t'ting," he huffed

"Oh, don't pout. You'll get your Lovely Science Ninja Octo-pod in the next episode."

"Whoa, Octa-pod! Dat sounds cool!"

"Come on and pose, Desu Krokku Aka Tako!" Kitsune urged.

Pickles shrugged, and tried to think of a martial arts pose. It wasn’t particularly easy, as he didn’t really know any martial arts, so he decided to mimic the Hai Karate guy from the old aftershave ads. “Hey, that’s an awesome pose!” Raziel approved.

Toki’s cockpit closed, and he hopped off towards the attacking robot, which had, oddly enough, stopped its relentless attacks for all the preceding business. (It was obviously a genre-savvy model.) The robot tried firing at him, but he was too swift, and skillfully hopped out of the way of the laser blasts. In fact, the relentless and frenetic hopping seemed to confuse the robot, which sidestepped a bit too swiftly, and ended up toppling over on its robot ass.

“Now. Desu Krokku Aoi Usagi,” Kitsune called. “Launch Karottu missile!” Toki, who was, for once, actually listening, obligingly pushed the big red button in the middle of his dashboard. A large orange projectile fired from the Usagi Hoppa, and pierced through the chest of the giant robot, which howled dramatically, and collapsed in a thundering heap to the desert floor.

“Dat was actually pretty cool,” Pickles told Raziel, as Toki brought the Usagi Hoppa back to general cheering from the happy Koori. “Yoo sure I’m gonna get my Octa-pod soon, dood?”

“Kitsune’s team is working on it in their secret mountain laboratory!” Raziel assured him.

“Dood’s got a team?” Pickles asked.

“Oh, yeah, those guys always work in super teams!”

Then Raziel frowned.

Pickles heard it. There was a noise. So soft, but insistent. A squeaky wheel.

All turned to look.

Down near where the ruined robot lay, Seth was pushing a baby carriage.

"We're going, and we're going now," Raziel stated. “Kitsune-san!”

"Now is our chance!" Bast insisted, flashing her sword.

"Bast, I don't t'ink...." Pickles began.

“Stand down, Bast,” Raziel growled. The two women locked eyes for a moment.

And then, quick as a cat, Bast was off.

"Wait! Bast! NO!" Pickles screamed. He leapt after her, but was tackled by two Koori.

Pickles wasn't sure why, but he felt a sense of mounting panic rise. He needed to flee. But seemed rooted to the spot.

Bast was at the baby carriage, sword at the ready. Seth was suddenly nowhere in sight.

Tentacles, small ones, stretched out curiously, and were efficiently amputated in flashes of steel.

There was a rustling.

Pickles wanted to scream. But his throat closed.

It happened so swiftly. Bast was no longer on the ground, but on the beast itself, or whatever terrible part it allowed to break the surface of the earth. It may have been part of a head, but there were long, hideous protrusions, slinking like poison snakes. Writhing, it held her fast, entwined: arms, legs, waist, neck.

Then there was a snap, the way a curious child might pop the leg off a plastic doll.

Only it wasn’t a child. Nor a plastic doll.

Bast's horrible shriek pierced the still air.

"Nephthys!" Raziel ordered. The young goddess stared. "Nephthys, now," Raziel barked. "That's a fucking order."

Nephthys waved her hand.

Lady Bast's eyes appeared to roll back in her head. She ceased her futile struggle, and flopped, like a torn rag doll, in the writhing arms.

Pickles was in a different place. Two Koori still held him. He was so far away.

"We're withdrawing forces. NOW." It was Raziel's voice From somewhere. "Kitsune-San!" The fox spirit grabbed Toki while Raziel and Nephthys each took one of Pickles' arms.

And they Walked.

From atop a hill, a figure looked down at the retreating figures. He was dwarfed by the two True Formed Seraphim standing at his side. But he did not seem intimidated by the massive warrior angels.

“You can fucking run but you can’t fucking hide you fucking fucks,” he muttered. “I’ve got a fucking kid now, and I need to fucking provide.”

From slightly behind Seth’s back, one Seraph risked a glance at the other. His companion looked over, and gave a nervous-seeming flap of his massive wings.

“Don’t be doing that weird monster shit with your fucking wings you big fuck. Now take me over to get my fucking kid so we can get the fuck outta here before I get a fucking sunburn.”

The angels exchanged another worried glance. Then they did as they were told.



Valhalla….

"Why didn't she stand down?" Raziel fumed. She was stalking back and forth across the room, so angry she seemed to be making furious waves in the air.

"She had grown reckless. She nearly got this boy killed," Wotan said quietly.

There was a ripple, and Sariel and Ganesh were standing there, Ganesh toting an inquisitive looking Elias. Sariel looked at Raziel, who shook her head. He sat down on the couch next to Pickles, who seemed barely aware of what was going on. Sariel opened his mouth, as if to say something, but then was quiet. At last he looked up searchingly at Ganesh. Ganesh handed off Elias to Sariel and then broke out an extra set of arms. He sat down next to Pickles and quietly gathered him into both sets of arms. There was a gasp, and then the redhead was sobbing while Ganesh quietly shushed him.

Raziel inclined her head, and Sariel accompanied her and Wotan to the next room. She frowned at Elias, and then held out her arms. “I need a kid,” she said. She grabbed Elias, and continued to pace, toting him around.

“I should have-“ Sariel began.

“Whatever he’s doing, tell him to stop!” Raziel informed Wotan.

“Sariel. Lady Bast disobeyed a direct order from my girl,” Wotan informed him.

“Pickles should not have been there,” Sariel sighed. “My boys should not have been there.”

“Pickles and Toki performed honorably. I believe our plan will work,” said Wotan.

“They’re not soldiers,” Sariel said, a bit sadly. “Though, they’ve seen worse than most people. I… I have to admit, I didn’t expect Pickles to take it so hard.”

“That’s what they do, the Old Ones,” Wotan told him. “They terrify. They are terror. And humans – it just don’t fit inside a human mind. Not a sane one.”

“Speaking of which, how’s Toki?” Sariel asked.

“I don’t think he even looked up from the damned video game,” Raziel huffed. Elias was cheerily making little purple floating bubbles, and Raziel was puffing air on them. “Bast was right about one thing. This is a new threat.”

“How so, dear?” Wotan asked.

“It was playing with Bast like she was a toy. A doll. That thing is a child.”

“Meaning it’s gonna grow up?” Wotan asked.

“Not if I can help it,” Sariel grumbled.

“Then we’re agreed on that?” Raziel asked.

“Why wouldn’t…. Oh,” said Sariel. “He might have a different opinion after today.”

Raziel looked at Elias. "C'mon Boon. Let's go see Uncle Pickles.". And she strode off into the next room.

“Wotan, you know anything about the Norns?” Sariel asked.

“Not a helluva lot. I like to keep out of their way. You're not mixed up with them, I hope?"

"Uh, no. One of the band."

"I'm hoping I don't know who you're talking about."

"I can't betray a confidence. You know I'm their lawyer."

Wotan looked thoughtful. "Well, then. On a completely unrelated note, I got a call from your Nathan Explosion."

"I thought something like that had happened."

"I can't tell you how sorry I am."

"It's not your fault."

"I'm not completely innocent here. How is young Ganesh taking this? Brahma managed a tricky business with the Trimurti, but he still might have a split in his house."

"I've been trying to stay out if it."

"Maybe this calls for stepping in."

"Wotan, I'm an angel."

"You're also father to their newest Lord of the Dance."

"It would be looked upon as meddling."

"There's a time and place for meddling. Take my Raziel for one."

“Raziel! Oh, there's someone I need to tell her! I completely forgot!"

Wotan nodded, and Sariel followed him out of the room. Raziel was just spreading a quilt over a softly snoring Pickles, Elias sprawled on his chest, also snoring, though rather louder.

"Angel baby tranquilizers," Raziel whispered. Ganesh had two sets of arms crossed, and was looking thoughtful.

They moved away from the napping duo.

"Raziel," Sariel said. "The Creator came by."

"What? Your place?"

"His cable went our just before Corazon de Azul," Ganesh explained.

"Oh, that sucks," Raziel said.

"Yes, it was a terrifically involving episode is week,” Ganesh agreed.

"How can you guys even watch that crap?" Sariel protested.

"So, are we gonna invite him?" Raziel asked.

"To what?" Sariel asked her.

"To your ceremony!"

Sariel and Ganesh looked at each other.

"Uh," said Sariel.

"If ye are worried about him misbehavin', I think the Trimurti'll keep him in line," Wotan advised.

"Wait, we have the entire Trimurti coming?" Sariel asked Ganesh.

"Of course!" Raziel told him. "Vishnu is working on a brand new routine!"

"There's going to be a performance?" Sariel asked.

"Why not?"

"Well, I thought....” Sariel began. “I thought this was gonna be a restrained kinda thing. A couple of us, maybe dinner...."

"You manage the biggest metal Band in history, your fiancé runs his own religion, and your son is a voodoo prince," Raziel ticked off.

"Low key is not a phrase one often finds associated with my family," Ganesh said apologetically. “More like, three ring circus?”

Sariel sighed. Well, he thought, maybe he'd get eaten by Seth's kid in Australia. There was always hope.

"Shall we get him back?" he asked, nodding towards Pickles. Ganesh nodded, and, handing the still lustily snoring Elias off to Sariel, gathered Pickles in his arms.

Sariel frowned. Had Pickles always looked that small?

As they Walked towards Mordhaus, he told Ganesh, "We can't do this."

"What, jaanu?"

"Ask 'em to fight with us. That was a bad decision."

"They are adults."

"It was a mistake. I think I'm getting desperate."

"Perhaps you should ask them about it?" Ganesh ventured.

"Oh boy.” They were waiting for him, the remaining four members of Dethklok, standing outside the front entrance. He looked at them, and then leaned over to Ganesh and whispered, "I am so gonna get fired."

Pickles was rousing and rubbing his eyes, so Ganesh carefully stood him up. Then he grabbed Elias, and Sariel and Pickles went over to confront the band. Sariel stood, under four glowers, and nodded.

"Toki told us what happened," Nathan said.

Sariel looked over at Toki in frank surprise. He would have liked to have heard that conversation.

"We've talked. And we've decided."

"Uh-huh." Sariel braced himself.

"We're fighting."

"Uh. What?"

"Scheemsch it wasch very clear," Murderface noted.

Sariel looked around. "You can't ams fucks wit' us," Skwisgaar told him.

"No. Because that's totally lame and not metal!" Nathan vowed.

"Den it's all of us."

Sariel looked over to study Pickles. "You realize what you're up against?"

“My feckin’ brudder,” Pickles sighed. “An’ his tentacle kid t’ing.”

“And an entire army of Seraphim,” Sariel reminded him.

“NOTHING IS DETHKLOK-PROOF!” Nathan vowed. “We’ll kick angel ass! Well, except for you. You’re OK. Oh, and your kid.”

“Ands Lady Raz,” Toki reminded him.

“Oh, yeah, we’ll kick angel ass, except for your ass, your kid’s ass, Lady Raz’s ass-“

“She probably wouln’t like dat anyway….”

“And her kidsch,” Murderface interjected.

“We’ll kick all the asses that need kicking!” Nathan concluded.

“Well, it’s good to have that settled,” Sariel noted.

“Yorrp!” babbled Elias, producing a lovely little shiny purple Facebones bubble.

“WHOA!” screamed Nathan, seizing the kid. “But, you’ve gotta do it in a better color! Purple isn’t very metal,” he explained to the baby.

“Purple isch fairly metal!” Murderface suggested diplomatically.

“NOOOO! He’s gotta do it BLACK ON BLACK!”

“He, er, might need some dinner,” Ganesh suggested.

“OK, we’ll feed the kid, and make METAL BUBBLES, and then we’ll talk about going to kill angels and shit.”

Sariel shrugged at Ganesh, and all made their way inside for dinner and brutal baby bubbles.
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