46 - Baby Bargaining
The witch stared at the demon in her living room. “I don’t recall summoning you.”
“ʏᴏᴜ ᴅɪᴅɴ'ᴛ,” said the demon.
“Thought not.” The witch started filling the kettle. “If you’re staying you can change into something easier to look at; all that pulsating’s giving me a headache.”
The demon shifted into a humanoid figure, though it kept the horns. Tradition is hard to break.
The witch settled into her armchair several minutes later, hands curled round a mug of tea. “Well, out with it,” she said. “I know you sort don’t do social visits.”
“ɪ'ᴍ ʜᴇʀᴇ ꜰᴏʀ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄʜɪʟᴅ.”
“I’ve seen about fifty children today. You’ll have to be more specific.”
“ʏᴏᴜ ᴋɴᴏᴡ ᴡʜɪᴄʜ ᴄʜɪʟᴅ ɪ sᴘᴇᴀᴋ ᴏꜰ,” said the demon. “ᴛʜᴇ ᴏɴᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴡᴀs ᴅᴇʟɪᴠᴇʀᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ʏᴏᴜ ᴛʜɪs ᴍᴏʀɴɪɴɢ.”
“Oh. That child.” The witch had known something like this would happen. She had seen right away the child wasn’t entirely human. “That baby is mine. I made a deal with her mother.”
“ᴀs ᴅɪᴅ ɪ. ɪᴛ ɪs ᴍɪɴᴇ ʙʏ ʀɪɢʜᴛs.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t know about that,” said the witch with a smile. “You know as well as I that all contracts are binding, and by the sounds of it we both of claim to the little one.”
The demon shifted angrily, its shape flickering faster than the human eye could keep up with. The witch simply stared it down until it finally returned to its human-ish form.
“ɪ ᴡɪʟʟ ɴᴏᴛ ᴄᴏᴏᴘᴇʀᴀᴛᴇ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴛʜᴇ ʟɪᴋᴇs ᴏꜰ ʏᴏᴜ,” it said in a growl.
“You’re going to have to,” said the witch. “The woman promised the child to both of us. No amount of huffing and puffing is going to change that.” She drank her tea. “So I suggest we make a timetable of appropriate visiting hours.”
The demon spent several moments glowering at her, before finally saying, “ᴡʜᴇʀᴇ sʜᴀʟʟ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄʜɪʟᴅ ʟɪᴠᴇ?”
“Here, for now, but he can visit your domain on weekends. And when he’s older we can arrange something else if needed.”