He looks enough like Wyatt Halliwell. Not anything close to identical, but enough. Blonde, curly hair, white skin, and a lithe, masculine body on its way to hitting 6 foot. It goes a long way. Even without the sheer force of power that roils around them both, hurricanes contained by skin, it goes a long way. That’s what some demons will say, later, as to how the English boy got all the way to Lord Wyatt without being stopped, with no bloodshed in his wake at all (These are the demons Wyatt will vanquish with a frown and a bare flick of his fingers, because he doesn’t mind liars, but they have to be better than that).
But for now. For now, in a rusty cavern like a thousand others in the Underworld, two seventeen year old boys stand opposite each other and observe. There are demons that surround them both, but they’re quiet, quiet not because they want to be, but because the two boys have decided, quite independently of each other, that it would be best if they didn’t exist on the same plane for a moment. Or longer. For however long this takes.
“I reckon we should come to some agreement.” The English boy says to the American. He looks like the shorter of the two, but that’s only because slouching shaves a few inches off him. Both his hands are shoved into the pockets of his red hoodie, and his golden curls fall gracefully into his line of sight, but he seems entirely unconcerned at these two main ways of expressing a witch’s power being hampered.
And then there’s Halliwell. An ardent fan of A Song of Ice and Fire, he sits on an iron throne of his own making. Sits, but does not lounge, as many ruler has done before him, as he may in the future, should his own arrogance get to him. For now, every line of his body is coiled up to a hair-trigger reaction. Some might look at him and think he is ready to attack, but they would be wrong. He has lost almost everything, and he is ready to defend. But not against the other boy. Not yet.
Halliwell leans forward on his throne, all smooth planes and sharp angles, and carefully interlocks his own fingers (long, with nails bitten down to the quick) as a sign of good faith. He can easily cause destruction with a simple blink of his eyes, but his favoured conduits are his hands, and the English boy, whose name nobody on this side of the Atlantic knows, gives a half-nod in acknowledgement at the symbolic concession.
“Like a parley?” Halliwell says, a little curious in spite of himself.
A grin breaks over the other boy’s face. “Yeah. Like a parley. How pirates do it. Tried being a pirate once.” He continues on, a faint air of nostalgia wrapping around him. “Got boring after not too long. Most things do, if you do ‘em too hard for too long, far as I can see.”
There’s a pause, then. The kind of pause where one person is giving the other person the chance to contribute a bit to what was just said, and the other person is waiting for the other person to get the picture that that’s just not going to happen.
“Reckon you’re past that, though.” The English boy says, after he’s accepted the American boy isn’t going to say anything about being a pirate, as a pro or as a con. “Why I’m here, you see. Can’t have you coming around and buggering up how I do things. I’ve got it nice and good, how I like it, you see.”
“You’re Him, then.” Halliwell says, not like he needs the confirmation, but more like he feels like it has to be said, as part of this play both of them have found themselves in.
The other boy gives the barest incline of his head. “And you’re Him.”
Both boys lapse into silence. The kind of silence that knows better than to do anything but mind its own business.
The Twice Blessed (Wielder of Excalibur, heir to King Arthur, Prophecy Child, King of all Kings, scion to the Charmed Ones and now Lord of the Underworld) and the Antichrist (the Adversary, Destroyer of Kings, Angel of the Bottomless Pit, Great Beast that is called Dragon, Prince of This World, Father of Lies, Spawn of Satan and Lord of Darkness) both ruminate on how they got here.
“Reckon it was meant to be the other way around.” Says the Antichrist, who, if it’s all the same to everybody, would rather just be called Adam.
“Probably.” Wyatt—who is, in that brief flicker of time Wyatt, not Halliweell or Lord or anything—says quietly, and stands up.
Adam tilts his head. But Halliwell doesn’t do anything more than stand rather than sit, so he doesn’t move anymore, himself. “You’ll be staying away from England.” Halliwell’s eyes flick to his, light as ice, and Adam thinks a little more, and tags on, a conciliatory gesture, tit for tat. “And I’ll be staying away from America.”
“And the rest of the world?” Halliwell says coolly, and takes a single step down from the dais his throne rests; Adam scratches a finger to his own cheek, a movement that shouldn’t be in the least bit threatening, but nevertheless stills Halliwell from taking another step.
“M’thinking you get Canada and Mexico, and I keep the rest of the UK and Ireland and the Isle of Mann and all them, since they’re neighbours and all.” In landmass alone, it’s a generous deal in Halliwell’s favour, but Adam’s never wanted for much. (Really, all of Britain should be glad they’re not having this conversation when he was 11, when he most probably would’ve wanted Lower Tadfield and hung the rest. Really-really with the fascination he had with America back then, he could’ve even been tempted to stand flush against Halliwell, not on a different side of the game. )
“Reckon that’s enough to be going on with for now, and we can table the rest of the countries for a coupla years, when we’ve got our footing.” In realisation and acknowledgement of all the talking he’s been doing, and in the interests of being polite, Adam tags on, “If it’s all the same to you, o’ course.”
“I want Avalon.” Halliwell says, with such carefulness that one might think that Avalon, almost more than even America, is what he really wants out of this.
Adam mulls on that for a moment. Avalon is right close near to what he’s establishing as his territory. But Halliwell is, all things being said and done, still King Arthur’s heir. “Alright.”
The set of Halliwell’s shoulders relax a fraction.
“Then I get the Underworld.”
Halliwell’s hands clench into fists, white-blue light crackles around him and Excalibur trembles in its stone. “You go too far.”
The Antichrist very nearly unslouches. He decides it’s not time for anything so serious, and just lets the black of his pupils swallow his eyes whole and the horror of Hell bleed into his voice. At his ankles, Dog appears and starts to snarl. “Avalon’s your birthright, and the Underworld’s mine. Fair’s fair, you can’t take unequal and not give back equal. Not with me.”
Though they’re not aware of it, every being of power alive or undead in the world right then—every witch, every demon and darklighter and Demon, every whitelighter and Elder and Angel, every part-God or almost God, every leprechaun and sprite and Warlock and Fairy—takes an extra breath at the exact same moment, and couldn’t say why.
“Alright.” There’s something in Halliwell’s voice that wasn’t there before. Something that could be plotting and could be raw surprise and could, nearly almost, be Wyatt Halliwell himself. There’s even more of that something in the next words that slip, unbidden, from his mouth. “We could share.”
The blue swims back into Adam’s eyes, Hell makes way for a perfectly ordinary English accent, and a dog sits down hard on its rump at his master’s feet. “Don’t know about sharing. Never really shared before.”
Halliwell takes another step of his dais, but there’s something a little casual about it, something a little too swaggering to be dangerous, and so Adam allows it. “You don’t want to try something new?” Even his voice goes a little more casual, like he’s not trying so hard to sound so precise and crisp and evil.
Adam can’t help it, he frowns. Dog makes to get up on all fours again, but Adam gives the barest twitch of his finger, and Dog settles back down. It’s not a bad frown, insomuch as it’s possible for any frown to not be inherently a little bad. “You tryin’ to play me?” He’s intrigued at the thought, at the idea that anyone—even someone who is a Him like he’s a Him—trying to get one over on him. Halliwell might be playing for Adam’s dad’s team now, but he’s still not Adam, the only person to be repeatedly expelled from the same high school and let back in, every time. Right now, he’s even Head Boy.
“You get what you want, I get what I want.” Halliwell says, and he’s moving steadily closer to Adam, who finds he doesn’t mind all that much. It’s a bit like wanting to go up and pat a lion out on Safari. Course, the time he did that most of the lions ran away, and it was only one brave lioness who rolled over so he could rub her belly. “I get North America, you can have Europe,” Halliwell tosses in the rest of that continent with no more thought than a minuscule pause, “Rest of the mortal world’s Switzerland. The Underworld and Avalon—we share those between us.”
It’s a curious thing to be suggested. It’s even curiouser that no one warned Adam this might be coming for him. Vaguely, he remembers Aziraphale saying something about perfect opposites and Crowley accidentally-on-purpose knocking books off shelves with increasing franticness until Aziraphale had just stopped talking.
Adam observes Halliwell again, from this new distance of two feet. Up this close, he thinks he can see something else in the Twice Blessed—he doesn’t know what it is, but he knows he thinks it’s a bit interesting. He wonders if maybe all it is is that Halliwell took his throne with blood and fire and tragedy, the corpses of his mum and cousins ample reason to keep the rest of them safe, whether they hate it or not. Whereas Adam… Adam just took his, casting aside Armageddon with plenty of the pomp and glory, but none of the blood, none of the tragedy or pain.
Adam wonders if maybe it’s just that he’s been much, much luckier than Halliwell, and Halliwell wants a bit of that luck to rub off on him. Adam reckons there’s no harm in that, being there for another Him, especially now the rest of the Them are a bit too busy with uni applications and gap years to be as concerned with the minding of the World, the Underworld, and Everything Else.
So Adam shrugs, and the weight on Wyatt’s shoulders lessens, if only a fraction.