"Morning, kitten. Ready to face the day?"
Erestor rolled over with a groan, staring up at his houseguest. The incubus's wide eyes glowed gold in the early morning gloom.
"What time is it?" Erestor mumbled.
Glorfindel, the incubus in question, laughed. "It's six o'clock. You said you wanted to be up at the crack of dawn and look. It's dawn."
"It's just an expression," Erestor said but he looked. Sure enough, the sky was beginning to lighten. Not much, but enough that he could just make out the features of his room and Glorfindel sitting on the edge of the bed.
Glorfindel stroked a dark skinned hand through Erestor's hair. "You can't stay in bed all day, kitten. Come on, I made you breakfast."
Sure enough, the scent of perfectly cooked breakfast wafted from the kitchen. Erestor hauled himself out of bed and started looking for his clothes. He eventually found them on top of the closet behind his jewelry box.
"Would you please stop hiding my clothes?" he demanded, putting in his favorite blue feather earrings.
Glorfindel shrugged, somehow managing to make the gesture look heavy with enticing promise. Erestor rolled his eyes.
"At least put on some pants," he said, tossing his second favorite pair of sweatpants in Glorfindel's general direction.
Glorfindel slipped them on with only mild complaining, but left his chest bare, with the obvious exception of his nipple piercings. Erestor had long ago accepted the fact that Glorfindel could be convinced to wear a shirt or pants, but never both at the same time. Unfortunately, he had yet to find a dress that could hold all of Glorfindel's rippling abs and manly physique and he didn't have the money for a professional tailor.
By the time Erestor made it all the way out into the kitchen, Glorfindel had finished the coffee and a steaming mug laid on the table next to a plate of bacon and eggs. He hadn't turned on the lights.
"You know, elves need a little bit of light to see by," he pointed out, flipping the light switch. He regretted it almost instantly. Glorfindel's gold dreadlocks caught the light, sending it spiralling throughout the room brighter than Erestor would have dreamed possible only a few short months ago.
"So do we," Glorfindel said, sitting opposite him. "But I know my way around here. I would have thought you did too." Erestor couldn't help but be impressed by how Glorfindel managed to make sentences like that sound sexy.
He turned his attention to his breakfast. They sat in silence for a few minutes while Erestor ate.
"Are you planning on opening the shop today?" Glorfindel asked, absentmindedly twirling a fork in has hands.
Erestor shrugged. "It's a Saturday," he pointed out. "Anyone could waltz in here on a Saturday."
Glorfindel frowned. "You'd think that would be good for business," he mused.
"It is," Erestor said with a shudder.
There was a crash from the front of the shop. Erestor and Glorfindel shared a look.
Before Erestor had time to blink, Glorfindel was in the doorway, looking into the front room of the bookshop. "Thieves," he whispered, more a hiss than any real word.
Erestor sighed. He had been robbed a few times before, but luckily it was usually teenagers looking for a little fun and they didn't bother to take more than the little bit of cash he kept in the cash register. At this point, it was more of an irritation than anything else. He could see them look around, before they moved, probably thinking they were being quiet, towards the register.
"Just ignore them," he said. He would have liked to finish his breakfast, but luck was rarely on his side.
"And let them take what rightfully belongs to you?" Glorfindel snarled. He didn't move from the doorway, his eyes glinting as he tracked the thieves' moves.
"I keep an inventory for a reason," Erestor replied. "I can get the money back."
For a moment it seemed like Glorfindel would listen to him, but as soon as he left the doorway, light from the kitchen streamed into the shop. The thieves were in the kitchen barely a heartbeat later, four of them, all armed with handguns and wearing ski masks. Erestor's hands started shaking. He had always tried to avoid conflict.
"Put your hands up!" the one at the front yelled, voice shaking.
Erestor obeyed, glaring at Glorfindel until he did the same. "Look, we don't want any trouble, kid," Erestor said.
"Shut up!" the kid shouted. "Just shut up." His hands were shaking so hard he could barely hold the gun. Behind them, one of the thieves went tried the door to the back room.
"It's locked, man," he called. "What do we do?"
"Where's the key?" the first thief shouted. "Where is it?"
Erestor couldn't breath, let alone speak. Out of the corner of his eye, so saw Glorfindel watching the whole thing with an air of detached amusement.
"All the money's in the register," Erestor explained, keeping his voice by level by sheer of will. "The key to the register is in the front desk."
"I don't care about the money," the kid said. "Where's the key to the back room?"
"Why do you want to know?" Glorfindel asked. Every eye turned towards him.
"Shut your mouth," the kid ordered. "I'm the one with the gun."
"I noticed," Glorfindel purred idly with a gentle smile that set the thief's hands trembling even harder. "But I can't exactly answer questions with my mouth closed." He ended the sentence with a grin that promised any number of interesting things he could be doing with his mouth instead.
Erestor resisted the urge to roll his eyes again. "Glorfindel, that's enough," he said, regretting it almost instantly now that the attention was back on him.
"Where's the key to the back room?" the kid asked, a hint of desperation in his tone. His eyes kept flicking back to Glorfindel.
Erestor hesitated. He kept all his rare and valuable manuscripts back there. Lindir often joked that Erestor would die before he let anyone into his back room. It hadn't been funny then and it definitely wasn't funny now.
"The key's in my room," he said, turning to go get it. That proved to be a mistake.
A gunshot rang out. Erestor flinched and fell to the floor, expecting a jolt of agony, but nothing came. Slowly, he turned around.
Glorfindel stood between him and the thieves, massive red and gold wings sprouting from his bare back and filling the room. "I was willing to let this go without violence," he whispered and the sounds reverberated throughout the entire room, echoing in Erestor's bones. "But I see no reason not to match violence with equal violence." The lights flickered and flared but Glorfindel glowed bright enough to fill the darkness.
To his credit, the lead thief still had the presence of mind to try talking. "You know what they say, man," he offered weakly, the gun slipping from his fingers. "An eye for an eye and all that."
"They do say that, yes," Glorfindel agreed and suddenly he had to bend over nearly double to look the kid in the face. "But I don't need eyes to see." His left hand was curled in a loose fist, but he held the kid's chin delicately between his long talons.
Some stern, sensible part of Erestor's brain fought it's way up through his sheer terror. "Enough," he snapped. "That's enough."
Glorfindel opened his hand and a red hot bullet clattered to the floor. "Go," he said, stepping away from the kid. "Do not let me catch you here again."
The thieves ran for it.
Glorfindel took a deep breath and the wings vanished, the lights came back on, and everything seemed like it was back to normal. It was a few more moments until Erestor trusted himself to try to speak.
Glorfindel turned to look at him. After a moment, he knelt down at Erestor's side.
"I'm sorry, kitten," he whispered. "I didn't mean to frighten you."
Now that the danger was over, Erestor curled himself into a little ball on the floor, waiting for the shaking to subside. He wasn't sure if he was more scared of the thieves or of Glorfindel. Actually, no. He knew exactly which one he was more afraid of.
"Leave me alone," he ordered.
He could feel Glorfindel's breath on his neck as the incubus leaned closer for a second, but a moment later, Glorfindel was gone.
Erestor counted to sixty before he stood. The kitchen was empty except for the bullet cooling on the floor and his plate of eggs. By now, the sun had risen enough that he could see into the main bookshop.
A window had been broken, but there was no glass on the floor or the sidewalk.
"He can clean up the glass, but he can't put it back together," Erestor muttered to himself.
After making sure nothing had been stolen, Erestor grabbed his keys and his favorite coat. "I'm going out," he called. "I have to buy a new window. Watch the store while I'm away. Don't let anyone take anything."
"What if they pay for it?" Glorfindel asked from somewhere in the depths of the store.
"Don't care," Erestor said. "Don't let anyone take anything. And no murder."
He pretended not to hear Glorfindel's groan of disappointment.
"This war has gone on long enough. The last thing we need is something else to fight over."
The demon looked over his coffee at the other patron of the cafe. "And yet, while they exist, someone will try to fight over them. We have to get there first."
The other being drew himself up in indignation. "Who said anything about we, scum? I am grateful that you told me of their existence, but I have no further use for you."
The demon raised an eyebrow, not that it could be seen under his mask. "What makes you think you're the one in control here?" He draw a small object out of jacket pocket and laid it on the table.
"What's this?" the other being asked, reluctant to touch it.
"It's just a recorder," the demon said. "You really haven't been down here in a while, have you?"
"It's quendi technology?" the other being asked.
"Technically no," the demon corrected. "But it's based on the same concept. I've gotten into the habit of putting these on the little guys. You know, petty thieves and such. Keep tabs on what's going on."
The other being's hand drifted towards the sword at his hip. "You've been spying on us," he accused.
The demon laughed. "Calm down. I haven't been spying on y'all, I've just been spying in general."
The other being didn't seem to think that was a convincing argument. Before he could draw his sword, the demon continued.
"I picked up some interesting stuff. Listen to this."
He waved a hand over the device. Both of them listened in silence. The other being's face grew increasingly shocked, while the demon's grew increasingly smug. It was times like this, he thought, that he regretted wearing a mask.
The recording ended. The demon put it back in his jacket. "That's not the best part," he said.
The other being looked much more interested now. "What is the best part?" he asked.
"Look at the coordinates," the demon prompted.
"That's where-" the other being started.
"Yeah," the demon said. "He's been there the whole time."
The other being stared at the table in astonishment. "We found him," he whispered. "We found him."