“I'll make another for you.” Ada pushed her chair back and stood. Just for a moment she looked every day of the sixty-odd years she projected,, as if there wasn't an ounce of fae blood left in her. Jasfoup glanced at Harold, but he hadn't even looked up, let alone noticed how old and tired his mother appeared. It was as if she was being eaten away inside.
He frowned. She couldn't be possessed, could she? “Ada? Could you just wipe Lucy's face, please? She looks like a big ball of sticky chocolate.”
“”Of course.” Ada smiled down at her granddaughter. “Here, Lucy, let me clean you up a bit.” She fished a tissue out of her apron pocket and spat on it, wiping away the chocolate around the child's mouth despite Lucy trying to push her hand away. “There! I knew there was a beautiful girl under there somewhere.”
Jasfoup nodded with relief. He'd seen skin touch skin and if they were right, that would have pulled any demon out of Ada. Not possessed then.
Harold stood as well. “I'm just off to the little boy's room.”
“Right you are, love. Don't forget to flush.” Ada switched the kettle on and emptied the teapot into the sink.
“I never do!”
Ada looked back at Jasfoup when Harold had left. “How did Julie get burned in the first place?”
“I wasn't there, but I gather she, Harold and Gillian went looking for Manoach to get the demons back for Legion. They were attached in the process of tturning over Manoach's van and Harold tried throwing an incendiary spell that went wrong, engulfing the caravan in flame while Julie was still inside it.”
“Outdoors stuff?” Ada filled the pot and returned to the table, pouring the tea as if it was alcohol at a teetotaller’s annual jamboree. “He was never good at the outdoors. I tried to encourage him to play in the garden but the only times he went out was when he was hunting for things for his collection. I even tried to get his to press wild flowers or collect bird’s eggs – it wasn’t illegal in those days – but he was always more interested in things he could profit from.”
She sniffed dismissively and picked up her neglected coffee. “He’s always been the same. I sent him on an outward bound course when he was eleven and he spent the whole week camped at the top of a mountain with a little stove and a knapsack full of books. I swear he’d have been there still if he hadn’t run out of sausages.”
Jasfoup placed a hand on her arm. “Whether or not that's still true, consider the alternative. If Harold had been the outdoorsy kind he'd never have come into the chain of events that led him from the solitary, introspective, sad little man full of neuroses that he was when I first met him to the solitary, introspective happy little sack of neuroses he is today.”
Ada snorted. “That's supposed to make me happy, is it? He might at least have had a normal life the other way.”
“Normal until he got slaughtered by an angel with a penchant for killing nephilim.”