- The Darkest Surrender
William didn’t bother to look. “Does it matter? Grab a trash bag and start chucking.” Why had the Fates summoned Kane? The second the question formed, William dismissed it. He didn’t really care. “We’ve got a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it.”
Recruiting the keeper of Disaster wouldn’t have been his first choice—they’d never really hung out. And besides, Kane attracted the kind of trouble he’d do best to avoid, for a while at least—but William wasn’t going to complain.
“Who are—were—these people?”
“Names are so last season, don’t you think? All you need to know is that they offended me.”
“Offended you,” Kane echoed, still unmoving.
Kane met his stare. “Their names wouldn’t happen to be Gilly’s Parents, would they? Because, the way I hear it, you were jonesing for a piece of them. Several pieces, it seems.” There was no condemnation in his tone, only acceptance.
The lack of condemnation didn’t matter. Never confirm nor deny something you’ve done, but always threaten those who question you. That had always been William’s motto. “You tell anyone about this and I’ll personally ensure your pancreas receives the same treatment.”
Kane didn’t piss his pants in fear. Just blinked over at him.
“Why were you with the Fates, anyway?” He still didn’t care, but he would have discussed something as boring as the weather if it meant changing the subject.
Kane shook his head, those brown, black and gold locks swaying against his cheeks. Without a word, he stomped off to the kitchen. He returned a short while later, two Hefty bags in hand. He gave one to William.
Quiet, they worked side by side for half an hour.
Kane ruined it with a sigh. “So you asked about the Fates.”
“I also asked why you came to see me in particular. I’ve already lost interest.”
“Well, find it again. You’ll want to hear this, since it will affect you and all.”
Smart move, offering a tidbit of information to entice him. William often used the same tactic. “Spill already.”
“They told me…they told me—” Kane released one end of his bag and scrubbed his weary face. “They told me I’d start the Apocalypse.”
A nasty little word, Apocalypse. William paused. “They what now?”
“You heard me.” His hand fell to the collar of his shirt and he jerked at the material. “I’m not gonna repeat myself.”
“You’re Disaster, so it makes sense, but there’s no way you could—” Every muscle in William’s body suddenly stiffened as a thought occurred to him. “Oh, hell, no. You will not sleep with her, do you hear me?”
Confusion furrowed Kane’s brow. “Sleep with who?”
He didn’t need this. “Why did you have the hags send you here, to me?” Each word was more clipped than the last.
“Because I hear you’re tight with Lucifer or something. That you created the Four Horsemen. And since those horsemen play a huge role in the end of the world, I just assumed—what? Why do you look like you’re about to vomit?”
This was bad. Bad, bad, bad. If the Fates had told Kane he’d start the Apocalypse, then he’d start the Apocalypse. But the fact that Kane had then thought to visit William…that meant the Apocalypse might start sooner than anyone realized. “I am not tight with Lucifer. Would a homie have torn my arm from its socket when I paid a visit to his little underground spa? Huh, huh? No!”
“No, but a brother might. Sibling rivalry, and all that.”
“He’s not my brother!” The lie slipped out easily, automatically, just as it had slipped out for most of his existence. But this was a Lord of the Underworld. Like he had room to judge. “Fine. He’s my brother.” And oh, did the admission grate. Sibling rivalry did not begin to explain the hatred between them. “What of it?”
Okay, wait a sec. He’d just realized something. The Harpies were descendants of Lucifer. Lucifer was his brother. Therefore William’s little crush on Kaia was—
Fucking gross! The words blasted through him, and he shuddered. Kaia was just going to have to live without the bliss of this touch.
Damn it! His brother ruined all his fun.
An overhead lightbulb shorted out, golden sparks spraying around Kane. He paid them no heed. “Nothing. I’m just curious. Are the horsemen good or bad? On our side or someone else’s?”
“Don’t know.” Except that he did.
“Fine. Let’s try this another way. You mentioned something about a woman…about me sleeping with her…”
No reaction. “So?”
“So who am I not supposed to sleep with, oh, Prince of Darkness?”
Yep. Sooner than anyone realized. “The only female horseman,” he grumbled, something constricting in his chest. “Or horsewoman. Whatever. They don’t really concern themselves with gender down there.”
“Okay, I’m confused.”
William stalked to the one clean recliner in the room and plopped down. How much of a pussy would he be if he put his head between his legs? Then again, he’d be an even bigger pussy if he hyperventilated. “Here it is, flat out. Lucifer and I have different mothers, but we share the same father. Hades.”
“Wait. I thought Hades and Lucifer were brothers.”
“So do a lot of people, because the pair of them are so fond of spreading the rumor. But here’s another big surprise—they’re both liars. Anyway, you want to hear the rest or should I let you finish telling me everything you don’t know?”
Kane’s eyes narrowed to slits but he waved a hand through the air.
“I didn’t like living down there.” Understatement. It had been hell. Ha. William had just made a funny. “I found a way to purge some of the darkness from inside me, and thus the Four Horsemen were created.”
“How do I not know this? My demon lived down there, too.”
“Hello, Disaster existed on Lucifer’s side. We had a little trouble sharing and had to divide the space into different realms. Luci took the fire and the demons, blah, blah, blah and I took purgatory and the souls. Although, his minions would sneak in and steal from me, but I’ve forgiven him for that.” Forgiveness in the form of a curse, he thought with a grin. One Luci would never be able to break.
“What does this have to do with me?” Kane asked.
“I’m getting to that.” What to tell, what to tell. Hades had chosen to shack up on Lucifer’s side. Apparently he viewed William as an embarrassment who lacked a truly “evil” soul.
First, rubbish. No one was more evil than William. Look at what he’d done to these humans. And he wasn’t sorry! Second, there was nothing wrong with wanting to break from family tradition and be your own person.
You’re digressing. When the Greeks had taken over the heavens, they’d imprisoned the Titans, and Hades, who had helped Zeus claim the throne, was deemed uncontrollable and imprisoned, too. William had used the heavenly distraction to his advantage and finally made his escape.
Not wanting to war for the underworld throne, wanting it all for himself, Lucifer had helped him.
William had spent many glorious centuries after that screwing anything that moved. Even Hera, Zeus’s beloved queen. Of course, Zeus ultimately caught him with his pants down, and before he could jump out a heavenly window, William had found himself cursed and locked in yet another prison.
Now he was free, and he could flash to and from different locations once again. Life was sweet!
He blinked. “What?”
“You were about to tell me how this has anything to do with me.”
“No, I wasn’t.”
“Damn it, tell me why you think I’m going to sleep with one of your freaking offspring,” Kane demanded with a shudder. “’Cause that’s just gross. I’m already vomiting in my mouth.”
He rested his elbows on his knees and glared. Deep breath in. “For you to start the Apocalypse, you’d have to help free a horseman. And the only reason I can think of for you to help set one of those bastards free is because you’d fallen in love. You’re not into men, so that leaves my girl. And the only reason you’d fall in love with her was because you’d slept with her.” Deep breath out.
Kane snorted. “What, her girl parts are laced with crack?”
“Basically, yes,” he said, deadpan.
At last Kane lost his air of disbelief. “Forewarned is forearmed. I won’t visit hell. So, problem solved.”
“I like where your head’s at, even if it’s in Stupid World.”
“Listen. The Fates are not kind. They didn’t drop you here out of the goodness of their hearts. They don’t have hearts. They saw you begin the Apocalypse, and so they started arranging the dominos in a line. You will now face temptation on every corner and somehow, someway, they will get you into hell.”
Before Kane could form a reply, something busted through the window, shattering the glass, rolling between them. They looked at it, then at each other. A grenade.
“Oh, shit,” William said, jumping to his feet.
“Fire in the hole,” Kane shouted, reaching for him.
They were too late. Boom!
Fire licked over him—and about a thousand shards of wood and rock—as intense air pressure sent him flying. Up, up he flew. Down, down he fell. When he landed, he landed on his head, cracking his skull. Kane smashed on top of him, crushing him. The warrior didn’t get back up.
Damned Disaster. William knew exactly where to lay the blame for this.
“You…okay…man?” He managed to work the question out of his raw throat.
Something hard slammed into his temple, and darkness swallowed him in one tasty bite. He knew nothing more.