"So, who is he?"
Cole knew this day would come. He was just hoping he could have had his parents living in ignorance for a little while longer. But, when your parents are a combination of 3 demons, the entire Fae population, and a single disgruntled witch, you didn't have the luxury of privacy.
"Oh, and before you ask," One of the demons chimed in. "We can smell it on you."
Cole didn't know whether to be surprised, disgusted, embarrassed or amused. In the end, he opted for a cocktail of the 4, and quietly placed his head in his hands.
Once a month. Once a month, at the end of the month, they got together for what his parents fondly referred to as a 'family reunion', but what Cole liked to call a 'Tribunal from Hell'. It seemed their topic of discussion this time around was Cole's new fling.
"I mean," The Fae sitting across from the table began. "It should be rather delightful that our darling son has picked a man to bask in the pleasure of flesh with, and not a frightful mortal girl who pops out babies by the dozen, is it not? Don't you agree, Yvonne?"
The witch merely grunted. Like Cole, she didn't particularly enjoy these 'get-togethers', but she was secretly just as possessive and just as lacking in the definition of 'personal space' as the rest of them.
"Mom, please..." The 18 year old groaned, knowing that the Fae poking at her 'simple mortal food', as she liked to call it, was probably going to feign ignorance on the subject. In the 18 years that he'd known her, she'd always been like that. Olivia had reprised the role of ambassador for the Fae, when it came to raising Cole, and she had always had a fondness for it that was only measured by the happy twinkle in her eyes.
"Now, now, Cole," One of the three Demons began. "That's no way to talk to you mother."
His jab elicited a giggle from his brothers, and Cole groaned again. It came as no surprise to him, after 18 years, that his 'dads' were still as childish as ever. When he was younger, he liked to refer to them as Snap, Crackle and Pop, but their names were actually Zorrin, Orrin, and Rin. It was very peculiar.
"So come on!" Zorrin insisted. "Tell us about him."
The table fell silent as the demonic trio, Olivia, and even Yvonne sat forwards a little bit, intent to know. Cole knew that there was no way around this one and he sighed, placing his fork down on the table and briefly rubbing his hands over his pronounced, canine features.
"His name's...Soren. He takes the same course as me as university." Cole let slip the key details and Olivia quietly hummed, apparently rather smitten with the idea of her son having his first real relationship. She was oblivious to the idea that she, along with his other parents, were the primary cause of his lack of love life so far.
"And? How hung is he?" Orrin asked, and that elicited a slap on the head from one his brothers, who had the tact to not ask that question. Cole quietly groaned and immediately began to regret his decision.
"Can you not lust after your son's boyfriend?" Zorrin demanded, and his brother grumbled in response.
"When's he coming over for dinner? Next month?" Rin leant forwards excitedly and another hushed, eerie silence fell over the table. No-one knew what to say for several minutes.
"Don't be stupid, demon," Olivia waved her hand dismissively. "He's a mortal. Not many of them would be fond of the idea of...our kind. Or yours, for that matter."
The reality of the situation eventually dawned on the faces of his dads, and they hung their heads, casting their eyes down to their food. Despite how gruelling the conversation was, Cole couldn't help but feel a stab of guilt shoot through his gut. They were demons, sure, but they were still his dads. Like Olivia, and even Yvonne, they had raised him from a child.
"...Maybe you should take him to see Henrietta." Olivia suggested, just before taking a mouthful of her food, chewing thoughtfully as she adjusted herself in the delightfully sparkling dress, idly reaching up to affirm the length of her gloves that reached past her elbows.
At the mention of Henrietta, Cole's expression darkened.
His immediate dismissal brought another hushed silence over the table as Olivia looked at over the rim of her spectacle glasses, her mesmerising glitter-filled eyes swirling with anxiety and curiosity at his words. She placed her fork down, propping her chin up on the back of her linked hands.
"Did something happen, Cole?"
The canine sighed and rubbed the back of his head. This was a difficult conversation.
"I met with...Henrietta a couple of weeks ago for coffee," He began. "I thought it was nice, you know? She called me and asked to meet up, I thought..."
He trailed off for a moment, before he continued, clenching his hand into a fist.
"Started off fine, but then she started asking me about things. Where I was going in life and what kind of savings I had. Before I knew it, she was slapping me with that whole pyramid scheme nonsense...telling me this and that, about how I could secure my future."
"Surely a little pyramid scheme wouldn't bother you," Olivia remarked quietly. "You're too smart to fall for such simple tricks."
"Yeah, well," Cole continued with a scoff. "It was what she said after that got me angry. She suggested we meet up with a 'friend' of hers...a woman called Loricca."
At the mention of the name, a tension fell across the table. Olivia's jaw set.
"She said I should meet her and try to make a deal," He continued. "Offer up something in exchange for something really cool. She started giving me a list of ideas...my degree, my knowledge...even my f--"
"Stop," Olivia insisted, breathing hard through her nose and cutting him off. "I...I can't hear anymore."
The silence fell once more and Cole leant forwards, rubbing his face again. He'd suddenly lost his appetite.
"I'm obviously not talking to her. I figured that she thought I wouldn't know who the Seelie Queen is," Cole grunted. "It's...fucked up."
"I'm sorry." Zorrin muttered his condolences, but an apology wouldn't help much. Cole cleared his throat and straightened up.
"Yeah, well...I wouldn't want Soren to meet her anyway. Wouldn't want her trying to scam him or anything." Cole remarked bitterly and Olivia sighed, sensing the resentment in his tone. She was quite angry too, but she wasn't allowed contact with Cole's biological mother. None of them were.
Cole bowed his head and looked down at his food, wondering what to say next, when he felt the warmth of arms wrapping around his shoulder. He turned his head to see Rin's grimacing face and felt the near-scalding heat of his demonic arms against his clothes. Were Cole any younger, he would have cursed or shied away, but...in truth, he was thankful for the hug. Rin was always the one to do it.
"We're always here for you, Cole," Yvonne suddenly spoke up. "Especially when she isn't."
Cole smiled awkwardly again and lowered his gaze, mouthing a simple thanks. He could feel his eyes stinging with tears and he quickly brushed them away as he felt Rin's arms squeeze around him tighter.
He might have had a peculiar upbringing, but that didn't mean he wasn't loved.