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An Unholy Heart

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Eddie had been watching over the demon for two full days as of now. He had been watching him every minute but the most he does is sleep and stare around the room blankly while the good doctor works. Meal times were always interesting. So far he’s tried several different meals, each from the facility menu calendar. Just whatever Frank was throwing together for each day which was placed on the monthly calendar that went out to all of the facility inhabitants. He never strays from that calendar though Eddie never really cared much to know what was on it. Usually far too busy with work. He’d just raid the kitchen later on for whatever was left over or whatever was in the pantry. Something that would often get on Frank’s nerves but he’d never do anything more than gripe occasionally about it and make Eddie go with him on the next shopping excursion for the kitchen stock.

 

So far the demon, Waylon, liked bacon and sausage, not oatmeal or eggs. He liked cereal but only as long as it’s dry. Once it’s gotten a little soggy, he loses interest in it. He doesn’t like broccoli, celery or kernel corn. He likes carrots but only when raw and prefers chick legs over fish. Usually ending up with him chomping on the bones and scraping at them with his large incisors. At first Eddie thought it was to get at the marrow but once he broke the bone open, he lost interest in it. The demon also enjoyed apples very much, but not slices. He gets upset when they’re sliced or cut. It wasn’t until late the second night that Eddie was going over all of his notes over the demon’s diet so far, trying to figure out if it was a textural preference or if he had an odd dietary restriction but he was hitting a little bit of every food group. He even hit on grains but only because the bread was toasted with a little bit of peanut butter added for protein. He tapped his pen quietly against the notepad while the creature ate at a few carrots and a turkey leg when he heard the snap of the raw carrot and the scraping of incisors against the bones of the meat.

 

His blue eyes glanced up as they scanned over the tray placed in front of the demon. His wrists were no longer bound since he seemed content to stay in the bed as commanded. Eddie used food mostly as a reward system for good behavior. Some days it felt like bribing a toddler with candy to stay put. “Waylon?” He asked after a moment, taking note that almost all the food on the tray, aside from his bottle of chocolate milk, which was Frank’s idea, but each made some sort of sound when he ate them. Which resorted to a very noisy mealtime with the demon but most of it was snapping or scraping sounds.

 

At the sound of his name, the demon’s head perked up, eyes darting up to the doctor’s gaze curiously. He had a mouth full of carrot at the moment and just grunted in question. His tail curled closely around his waist for the moment. He seemed hesitant to let it flick around and move freely since Eddie stuck a needle in it last time. Once the doctor had the demon’s attention he continued on with his inquiry. “Why do you like those foods? Can you tell me?”

 

The demon thought about it for a minute, considering what the doctor was asking before he held up his carrot to the raven haired male, pausing before he took a big bite out of it making certain to cause a cracking sound with it. Then he grinned happily as he crunched away at it. “You like the sound it makes?” He asked and the demon nodded excitedly. Eddie hummed softly in thought before asking. “Do you like the way they taste?” Another excited nod. “Did you like the taste of the other foods that don’t make sounds?”

 

The demon paused, thinking this over before he nodded more slowly. Eddie felt a twinge in his mind of growing frustration. “Then if you like the taste, why don’t you eat them?” His response was another carrot snap. Eddie pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. “Alright. From now on you’re going to eat everything I put on the food tray. I don’t care if it doesn’t make a sound. You need to eat more diverse foods.” The demon scowled at the doctor and flicked his tail at him as if he just waved him off in annoyance.

 

Eddie stood up from his seat as he jotted down a few more notes on his clipboard before returning to his desk. Placing it on the work area and giving his computer a quick look, skimming through his emails until he heard the demon grow quiet, showing he was finished eating. He sent a quick message to Frank, giving him a designated tray layout to prepare in the morning for the demon’s breakfast. All things that don’t make sound when eaten aside from the apple. That was a required addition to each meal time. The first meal time that an apple didn’t appear on his tray, the demon looked heartbroken and refused to partake until he had his apple. Even pears didn’t suffice and that shared the same noisy crispness that the apple had so Eddie believed the demon genuinely adored the fruit.

 

When he was done, he got back up and headed over to the demon’s bed to find the empty tray with nothing left but an apple core sitting on it. The empty container of milk sat beside it with a straw sticking out of it, a little chewed up on the tip from Waylon’s bad biting and chewing habit. He had chewed through a spork in the day previous and Eddie noted it as a nervous or anxious habit.

 

“Alright, now that that’s done. You need a bath. You have a human body which means human hygiene needs.” He pointed out. This wasn’t the first time they had made a trip to the bathing room in the adjacent corridor. It was near Eddie’s private living quarters though he didn’t really use them, spending all his time in the lab working. The demon had learned how to brush his teeth which resulted in a toothbrush with fang marks in the sides. Waylon had bitten it quite a few times before he learned the proper usage. Eddie had to show him the same way a parent shows their child. He let the demon mimic his actions, even though it was very awkward to do so. This same instance happened in using a bathroom but instead of Eddie showing him, he just showed him a children’s video called “Potty Time!” that teaches little kids how to use a bathroom properly.

 

The doctor was not in the mood to be present for that one and the demon seemed deeply confused as to why the beings in the video were so small and pudgy looking. A game of Monkey-See Monkey-Do in front of a urinal or toilet was not his idea of how to spend an afternoon. It took a day before the demon figured things out though he kept coming running out with the toilet paper roll and throwing the paper everywhere like some terrible tee-peeing attempt. Tossing it over Eddie who would be sitting at his desk. Getting a sharp scolding about being wasteful and being sent back to his bed for the time being. But today was teaching the demon the proper way to bathe. That Eddie could handle since it was simple, easy and it’s not like he hasn’t already seen every last inch of the demon’s form.

 

He led Waylon off to the bathing room and had him strip down every last inch of clothing, which wasn’t much since he spent most of his time in boxers and a t-shirt. The boxers were altered to have a hole in the back for his tail to come out comfortably. Eddie himself had altered it for him. He removed his lab coat and hung it up on the robe rack on the wall, rolling up his sleeves to his elbows and grabbing a couple towels to sit on the sink counter. The bathroom was pretty basic, with a large glass shower on one side and a freestanding tub. There was a drain in the tile floor encase of over flow and easier cleaning. He filled the tub with specially scented soaps and warm water, nothing too hot, testing it throughout the process of filling and taking a movable nozzle fixture and spraying with it to get the cold water out of the hose that might still be lying in it.

 

He patted the side of the tub and gestured for the demon’s attention as he drew a stool up to the edge. “Come on, get in.” He urged, watching as the blonde touched the hot water with his tail, swirling it around in thought before he climbed in slowly. Sitting down on the floor of the tub and giving a low pleasant growl as the water rose up to his chest. His body relaxed against the side of the tub with his back facing the doctor. Eddie started out with placing his palm on the demon’s forehead as he directed it to tilt back. “I’m going to wet your hair down so it can be washed. Hold still and close your eyes.” He directed, giving him a moment before he was sure Waylon had done as told before continuing to spray the water over his blonde locks. The demon jerked momentarily as if surprised by the gentle spray.

 

Eddie ran his fingers through his hair, messing up the longish locks until they were thoroughly wet before setting it aside. He took up a bottle of wash that was a combination of shampoo and conditioner, lathering it up in his palms a little before he weaved his strong fingers through the male’s hair. Gently massaging and rubbing it into his locks and scalp, being certain to get down to the roots. Waylon’s body went slack in the tub, his tail going limp, the spade hanging over the edge as his head tipped back. It took a minute or so before Eddie realized the demon was in a trance like state. A low steady rumble reverberated from within it’s chest that resembled a beastly purr. He paused in his motions, shifting on his stool to get a better look at Waylon’s closed eyes and the slow rise and fall of the male’s chest. He snapped his fingers in front of his face but Waylon didn’t even react. It was like he hit a nerve and the demon went completely boneless. The doctor was intrigued by this instance and stored it in the back of his mind to come back to and test later.

 

The rest of the bath time was otherwise uneventful. He scrubbed the demon’s body head to toe, rinsed all the soap out of his hair and massaged his tail where the piercing had been placed, ensuring it wasn't causing any unnecessary pain to him or swelling. Since he wasn’t the one who placed the bindings on the demon, he had to keep an eye on them to make sure they weren’t done incorrectly. When he finished, he drained the tub of the warm water and rinsed his body down to get the last of the suds off. He wrapped Waylon up in a large fluffy towel and pulled him out of the tub and carried him back to the lab, leaving his coat for the moment to get the demon situated.

 

The trance like state lasted for an entire hour before the demon’s purring faded and he slipped into a more normal state of sleep. Remaining as so until the next morning. Eddie stayed up the entire night working and keeping and eye on him to ensure there was no negative effects. He woke the demon when breakfast was prepared. Eddie had brought back a tray of food, a typical american breakfast sort of deal with waffles, a fried egg and a few pieces of bacon on the side. Another bottle of chocolate milk, courtesy of Frank and an apple. Eddie had also managed to sneak an entire box of saltine crackers from the pantry while Frank went looking for the milk in the cold storage.

 

He kept the crackers tucked away in his drawer at his desk and dropped the tray off to the demon’s bed, pulling up the bed tray that attaches to the sides for him to sit up and eat at. Waylon seemed mostly normal, just confused since he didn’t remember what happened during the bath or even how he got back into the bed.  His attention was redirected to the food and the day continued on as normal.

 

Eddie returned to his desk to pour over the last couple tests he had done and finally received the results for. One of which was a blood sample detailing the composition of his blood and comparing it to the sample from the day he came in to the sample taken the day prior. Within two days, there was an obvious spike in cell regeneration and white blood cell counts. His body appeared to be gearing up to attack an infection or heal a major injury though the demon showed no signs of illness or any sort of harm. He was perfectly healthy as far as human standards. Eddie added a few more notes to his report and jotted down an additional physical examination to his To-Do list.

 

By the time afternoon came around, Eddie was waiting for yet another test result to come back, this one being a few samples he did some special experimentation on, trying to find weaknesses in the demon’s DNA. He’s mixed silver flakes with his blood but the antibodies just absorb and consume the flakes. Breaking them down into waste material. A sliver of christened wood from a sanctified cross was put with it and it showed no obvious effects. Even being in the same room as the cross didn’t effect Waylon which normally a demon of his caliber should be able to sense it the moment it enters. He seemed unfazed or completely oblivious to its presence.

 

He’s murmured different scriptures to himself in his seat, eyes fixed on Waylon but that didn’t work, even when he was by the demon’s bedside. He’s put blessed salt on his food even and that did nothing but make him thirsty. Eddie was starting to lose patience and Father Martin was growing frustrated with the continuous reports on what doesn’t work.

 

Eddie sipped at his cup of tea, having forgotten about the time that had passed during work and scowled at the now cold drink in his equally as cold mug. He sighed and opened one of his drawers to retrieve the box of saltines he tucked away, popping open the package and placing one in his mouth. As he munched on it a bit, the sound reminded him of the demon still lying in bed. He glanced back to find him fiddling around with a spoon from his breakfast. It was clean, just part of the cluster package that had all the utensils and such with it. He wrapped his tail around it and was using his spade to make it bend and flattening it out in boredom.

 

He held up the sleeve of crackers and shook it, crinkling the noisy packaging to get his attention. When the pair of pale blue eyes darted up towards him, he spoke. “You want to try one?” Waylon nodded quickly, urging Eddie to walk over to him. “What do you say?”

 

“Please sir.” The demon asked in a small polite tone. His human speech was getting much smoother and he was learning quite a bit of manners since day one.

 

“Good boy. Here.” He sat about half of the sleeve of crackers on the clean table top for Waylon to try. “Only eat one at a time. Don’t want you choking, okay?” Waylon nodded quickly in understanding and put one in his mouth, gaining a delightful little crunch from the crisp cracker. He watched the demon for a moment more before he was drawn back to his desk at the sound of a video call coming it. The icon showed it was Frank from the kitchen. He clicked the green icon to accept the call and spied the scraggly looking cook standing in front of the webcam a little too close. His long beard was braided neatly to fit inside a special hairnet and his long hair was tied back just as neatly and tucked into a much larger hairnet. He had a worn out t-shirt with the local church’s insignia on the front and a stained old apron tied around the front. Despite his hobo-ish appearance, he was one hell of a good cook. Especially when it came to barbecue.

 

“Hey there Eddie!” He piped up with a large smile that would unsettle most but Eddie was used to it by now.

 

“Frank, how are things? Is something wrong?” Normally Frank doesn’t call Eddie unless he needs a favor or wants to scold him for a recently missing piece of inventory. Usually Eddie is the one that calls him but most often than not, he just shoots him an email instead.

 

Frank grunted at the question, giving Eddie a suspicious glance, knowing well the good doctor enjoys swiping snacks from the pantry when no one is looking. “There seems to be an entire box of saltines missing from the inventory. You wouldn’t happen to know where they went, would you?”

 

Eddie gave a curt laugh and shrugged, leaning back in his seat as he spoke casually. “I am using them for an experiment.” Speaking of, the audible crunching had ceased from behind him in the room and he knew there were far too many crackers for Waylon to get through them all already. He gave a glance over his shoulder and noticed something strange. Waylon’s face seemed off.

 

“Eddie! I need them for my soup tonight!” Frank blurted.

 

Eddie gave the camera a quick look. “Make stew instead and use bread then. It’s practically the same thing.”

 

“No it’s not-” Frank was cut off by Eddie waving a quick hand across the lens to get his attention as he spoke quickly.

 

“Frank, I gotta go. We can talk about this tonight.” With that, he ended the call with a click and got up from his seat, his eyes fixed on Waylon. “What are you doing?” He asked, stepping closer and realizing the anomaly was due to the fact the demon had stuffed all the crackers into his mouth at once until his cheeks were inflated and filled up like a chipmunk. When Eddie started walking his direction, he began to chew them faster as if to hide the evidence. Hunkering down like he could hide those puffy cheeks.

 

“Hey, no! Spit it out!” Eddie grabbed the trash can by his testing station and closed the distance just as Waylon’s eyes widened and he swallowed down the whole stash in one giant gulp. Panic crossed his features when he started to choke and cough, swallowing again to force it the rest of the way down his throat. Eddie could see it moving down and knew it had to be painful. “No! Bad Waylon!” He blurted, tossing the can aside so it would skid across the floor. The demon had successfully swallowed it but was left with a cough and a sore throat. Eddie gave him a sharp cuff to the back of the head as he chastised the demon. It may sound cruel or mean, but the doctor was genuinely concerned with the demon choking while under his care. He didn’t want him to die from asphyxiation. Though, that would be sort of ironic given his task. He didn’t really want to see the demon dead. He only wished to know what weakened it so should those bindings fail someday, they would be prepared to protect and defend. Death was always a last resort in his book.

 

Waylon whimpered at the sharp tone and covered his head with a wince. His tail shot out and curled around Eddie’s wrist, holding it tightly in place, not to harm but to prevent it from moving and swatting him again. Eddie’s anger and fear was subsided by this immediate response. Instead of lashing out to inflict harm, the demon became defensive in a non-violent or threatening way. He took a deep breath and calmed himself down as he spoke in a much softer tone. The silky rolling of the words lingered throughout. “Don’t do that again. You could have gotten hurt, do you understand? Waylon?”

 

The demon’s pale blue eyes looked up at the doctor, slow and hesitant before he met Eddie’ deep blue orbs. The concern was present in those swirling pools. It made the demon relax and slowly nod in understanding. Murmuring a soft. “Yes sir.” His fingers curled into the blanket nervously. His messy blonde locks hanging in his face and concealing the saddened expression on his features.

 

Eddie sighed as he reached down to the tail with his free hand and stroked along the spade with his thumb pad. Rolling it down across the serpent appendage and watching it relax before it finally released it’s hold, returning to it’s curled position around Waylon’s waist. Eddie rubbed the back of his neck and slowly shook his head, dismissing the last shreds of his previous anger as a large hand plopped down atop Waylon’s head and ruffled up his messy locks. Giving him a small bit of praise. “Good boy. No more crackers for a little while though.” Waylon tilted his head up to nudge the hand and turned his eyes to stare up at the doctor with question. “Frank will have lunch ready soon. Don’t want you filling up on snack foods.” The demon nodded his understanding and Eddie gave him a final pat before returning to his desk.