It had been a couple days since the incident at the grocery store and Waylon seemed to be in a much better mood. Eddie was spending more time with the demon, having him try different exercises to see how much growth he was displaying. If Eddie had to guess, Waylon was working through his adolescent phases very quickly. Of course he was still learning. Always still learning. But he was getting grips on many things and showing he was developing a moral compass which was precisely what Eddie had hoped for. Before he can even start Waylon on working through his powers and how to control them they needed a good strong foundation to keep him grounded. A moral compass helped with that and would dictate more of how his powers react and respond. Tying them to instinct more and if Waylon’s instincts are geared more towards protection, defense and compassion, he will think twice before using them and what he is using them for. But that was still a far way off.
For today, he had the demon playing with dexterity toys and small weights. Having him lift a series of different weights using his tail while his hands were busy playing with the set of dexterity balls. There were little bells inside them that ring and ting with the motion, the soft chime was soothing and built up a reward response for motion in Waylon’s mind. There was a result and Waylon desired to hear it more often. He was a little shaky in the start, having trouble using his hands and consciously controlling his tail at the same time. It took three hours of exercises before his hand eye coordination was developing and he was able to balance the balls in different hand positions while his tail lifted and curled the weights. His tail was capable of lifting a 5lb weight by the afternoon. They tried an 8 lb weight but it was shaky and the base of Waylon’s tail was showing signs of swelling from muscle exertion. That was Eddie’s cue to retire the exercise for the day.
Frank sent down lunch as specified by Eddie’s request. Today there was chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, a handful of grapes, some ritz crackers with peanut butter smeared across them, a large raw peeled carrot and a whole apple. There was grape juice on the side, trying to get Waylon into different tastes. The demon worked through his lunch while Eddie filled out some paperwork off to the side. He was just finishing up when a knock came on the lab door before they parted and a tall brunette male walked in. He was nowhere near as tall as Eddie but compared to average people, he was pretty tall. His emerald eyes glanced around the room as he shoved his hands into the pockets of his leather jacket. He gave the doctor a smirk as he greeted him. “You summoned?” His tone was smooth and casual much like the rest of his appearance. A pair of work boots and jeans accompanied his leather jacket with a white long sleeve underneath. The apparel looked too warm for the warmer spring weather they were blessed with. It was nearing summer and spring was steadily casting off it’s winter coat to dive into the endless sunshine months.
“You’re working the courtyard this afternoon, yes?” Eddie asked as he finished filling out the last few lines of his document. Giving it a quick sign off on the bottom before tucking it away into his open filing cabinet beside his desk.
The brunette nodded and gave a suspicious. “Yes.” His eyes watching the doctor as if expecting him to be scheming something strange.
“Can you take Waylon with you? Show him a bit about the plants. He needs sunlight and socializing and you’re good for both.” Eddie pointed behind him towards the bed.
The brunette looked confused until he gazed over and realized there was a demon sitting there. He recognized the tail almost immediately and gave Eddie a look like he had lost his mind. “Wait, you want me to take that thing with me, all alone in the courtyard?” He hissed at the doctor, lowering his voice as if allowing the demon to overhear would warrant an attack.
“Yes Miles. I want you to take Waylon -” He stressed the demon’s name, pointing out that he was not a thing or an it. He was a person who deserved to be treated equally. “-out with you to show him what it’s like to be normal. If today goes well, I’m approved to pair you two up for your afternoons in the courtyard. He needs a routine and something to stimulate his mind. Plus, he can’t be lounging around here all day. There’s only so much I can do between my own workload from Father Martin.”
Miles grumbled and sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose as he murmured. “I hope to god this doesn’t get me killed.” He scowled and turned to see the demon squeezing the little cardboard juice box to get the liquid out. Having chewed through the straw already and making it harder for fluid to move through it. “Hello.” Miles offered, keeping his distance as Waylon’s pale blue eyes perked up to see the male. He gave a sharp tooth smile of greeting as his tail flickered around absently.
“Waylon, this is Miles. You will be spending the afternoon helping him in the garden.” Eddie explained, getting up from his seat and walking over to the demon. He took the box and opened the top of it, removing the chewed up straw to place on the now empty tray. He handed it back to Waylon for him to just drink out of it like normal.
Miles made a funny face at the doting doctor as he watched Eddie pat the blonde on the head in silent praise as if it were something he does all the time. Miles took a few hesitant steps forward, eying the harmless appearance of the demon’s current state. He had heard all the stories from the Holy Soldiers and even several of the men who were badly injured in the battle. He couldn’t imagine this to be the same demon responsible for such a large massacre. He was like a child. As he neared, he watched Eddie set the tray aside, so Waylon could get up without knocking stuff over. “Don’t forget to put your shoes on.” Eddie told the demon as the blonde bounced off the bed and headed over to Eddie’s desk where a pair of flip flops were waiting for him. The demon was in dark olive green cargo shorts today and had a black t-shirt on over his lithe frame. His tail was sticking out through the little altered hole in the back, flicking around excitedly with the piercing shining at the base of the spade.
While Waylon slipped on his shoes, still unable to tie laces just yet, but they were going to work on that later; Eddie was fixing up the bed, fluffing up the pillow and straightening out the blankets to make it look neat and tidy. When the demon was ready, he went to stand beside Miles to show he was done. But before either could speak, Eddie’s stern parental tone broke the brief silence. “Miles keep an eye on him. Don’t let him wander off okay?” Miles nodded as Eddie’s attention turned to Waylon. “Waylon, stay by Miles side. Do whatever he says and listen to him. Am I understood?”
“Yes sir.” Waylon piped up. His tail wiggling around energetically at his back and slightly bumping against Miles’ arm in the process.
The brunette gave the demon a long sideways glance before averting his gaze, beginning to turn away and waving for Waylon to follow. “Come on then. I’ve got a lot of work to do before dinner time.” Miles led the demon out of the lab and into the long corridor, taking a right turn like before but instead of stopping at the elevator, they headed straight for the doors at the end of the hallway where all the bright light and sunshine was pouring through the windows. It was a little harsh for Waylon’s eyes after the artificial lighting in Eddie’s lab. Miles swiped a key card from his pocket and the doors clicked open, permitting the brunette and the demon out into the courtyard.
It was a large courtyard lined on all four sides by brick walls and glass viewing windows. The above floors could peer right down into it from the hallways and office rooms. There was one large fountain in the center with water lilies floating in it and a handful of koi swimming around. Vines rising up around it, trapping the intricate white marble work in ivy. The garden was broken up into sections, the outer rim was a continuous flow of flower beds. Each with beautiful exotic flowers, most all of them having a use against demons or other darkside creatures. There were two wooden benches built by Miles himself for sitting in and viewing the fountain from two different sides. The sunlight streamed down into the opening and there were community birdhouses fixed along the sides of the buildings and even a few bat boxes. This was to help with any insect problems that might plague the plant life. Occasionally there would be frogs that would find there way in and snakes with them. Miles didn’t mind it so much and found peace while working the flower beds or hanging up suet cakes for their little bird friends.
He often came out here in the mornings while the sun was still low, leaving it nice and cool and a pale light would spread across the fountain giving it a fascinating glow while he worked on his more formal desk work using his tablet. “Alright, first things first.” Miles said stopping for a moment, he turned to look at the demon only to find him staring around in awe.
His pale blue eyes were flitting from one corner of the garden to the next, admiring every flower and detail. Seeing the fountain, he was immediately drawn to it, leaning over the edge as he watched the fish with fascination. “What are those called?” He turned his head to look at Miles with the same expression an excited Great Dane might give their owner over a new toy. The tail didn’t help that image any better as it flicked and swayed with the demon’s delight. He seemed so energetic, it was hard for Miles not to feel a bit of awe at the sight.
“Those are called fish. koi fish to be specific. They’re normally very small when you first get one. They can be bought just about anywhere these days.” He explained, watching the demon lean over the side, his eyes lighting up as his tail flicked over to the edge, lying on the side of the fountain. The sun was glinting off the piercing on the spade and drew one of the curious koi to the side, leaping up to take a bite.
Waylon shrieked as his tail was tugged on and jolted away from the fountain, his body going stiff as his tail pulled clear out of the koi’s mouth and left it in the fountain. The demon had tumbled back on his rear and tucked his tail up close to his waist and pressed the spade tip to his chest protectively. His excitement quelled by a wide eyed terror. “It tried to eat me!” He cried out, no longer finding the koi to be very interesting now. Miles just laughed at the whole scenario and just how preposterous it was. Had anyone else told him this would happen, he would have called them insane but here he was, watching a demon become suddenly terrified of a harmless goldfish because it liked his tail a little too much. It was like some really bad joke.
“Don’t worry. They’re just a little hungry. He wasn’t going to eat it. Just playing with it.” He hummed, feeling a little better about the demon’s presence now. He waved the demon over to a side door covered in ivy and hidden against the wall. He used a normal key to open this lock and disappeared inside. Coming back out a little later with a wheelbarrow full of tools and a box of pellet food that would supply the koi with their basic nutritional needs. There was a filtration system built into the fountain to keep the water clean and from becoming skunky. The plants helped it as well. He pushed it back over to the fountain and carried the box with him, waving Waylon over to follow him to the ledge. “Alright, give me your hand.” He directed. Waylon obeyed, holding out his hand to the brunette. Miles dumped a handful of pellets into the demon’s palm and then spoke. “Now, I want you to shake your hand slowly, side to side like this.” He held some pellets in his own palm and directed Waylon’s to be over the fountain. The demon’s tail was curled around his waist the moment the fish all gathered by the ledge to be fed. They gently shook their hands side to side to disperse the pellets into a wide area and watched the fish all blub at the surface, inhaling the little food balls. “Good job.” He praised, patting Waylon on the head, a little hesitant but he was sure if Eddie could do it, then it was safe for him as well.
Waylon’s tail unfurled and swished around at the praise as he smiled with a childish glee. Miles dusted his hands off and stripped off his jacket to roll his sleeves up to his elbows, resting the jacket on the wheelbarrow while he pushed it towards a recently cleared plot of overturned soil. The wheelbarrow had a cluster package of purple pansies with a matrixing of white at their center spreading out to the deep violet outer coloring. “Alright Way, this is when things get a little dirty and quite a bit more fun.” He looked over at the demon and motioned for him to kneel down on the ground with him, siddling up so they were both resting on the edge of the soil. Waylon kicked his flip flops off, finding they were uncomfortable in this position with his feet bent awkwardly. Feeling the cool damp grass and soil against his toes. It was refreshing after the cold bland colorless lab.
Miles showed Waylon how to dig a hole the appropriate size in the earth and held the flower inside it. He let Waylon pack the soil back around the flower’s root base and gently patted it. He did this two more times, showing Waylon the correct length between the flowers and their places before giving the demon a flat of pansies and letting him do one half of the cleared section. Waylon chose using his hands over the small gardening shovel Miles was using. He would glance up occasionally to watch the demon’s intent pale blue eyes fixed on his task. His hands were always very gentle in handling the flowers and when he couldn’t get it to slide out of the plastic flat container, he would use the spade of his tail to loosen around the sides, slipping the malleable edge in flat and scooping gently so as not to damage the roots.
Miles was able to sneak a few photos of Waylon working using his phone and got up to fill his watering can as the demon finished up. By time he got back, Waylon had done the last flower, counting it out to over three dozen planted. He motioned for the demon to stand up and held out the watering can, letting Waylon take it in his hold and gently tipping it so it would give a light rainfall like pour onto each delicate little flower. “They need water to grow. All the plants in the garden need water to grow nice and big. Along with good soil to keep them healthy and sunlight to warm them.” He explained. The demon’s eyes darted up to Miles as his tail curled and swayed to show his relaxed and happy demeanor. Miles was finding it harder and harder to believe those terrible stories about the ferocious demon that had murder in its eyes and rampaged about, slaughtering men left and right without a care. That wasn’t who this little demon was. Miles refused to believe that. He had thought Frank was mad when he spoke about how they took the demon shopping the days prior but now seeing Waylon so caring and curious and gentle, he found he owed Frank an apology the next time he sees the old cook.
Once they finished up with that, Miles moved on to another area where he showed Waylon how to weed the beds. There wasn't too much trouble with it, just a few here and there that sneak in. As they were working, Waylon made a soft startled sound, drawing Miles to look over and see the demon had captured a little mouse. It had been hoarding bird seeds under a bit of foliage. The male wasn't really sure how to deal with this situation but he decided to watch the demon and see how things play out. Rather Waylon would be the ruthless demon that would live up to his current reputation or show something more compassionate.
The demon was fascinated by the little creature and held it very gently between his palms, cradling it carefully. The little mouse didn't seem to be at all afraid of the demon as Waylon stroked his thumb across it's soft grey fur. Small little squeaks greeted him in response as those pale blue orbs focused on the little creature for a moment more before he put it back down by it's food cache. “What are you?” Waylon asked the little being and smiled as it nibbled on the seeds it was collecting.
“That's what we call a mouse. They're everywhere but very hard to spot.” Miles explained to the demon. He continued with his work but let Waylon play with the little creature in the meantime, making certain he wasn't going to hurt it in the process. He even caught a few more snapshots on his phone to send to Eddie later. Adding to a soft of catalog for the doctor.
They worked for a few more hours, the mouse had left some time before that and Waylon resumed helping with the work. Ending out the day with dragging the hose around to water each of the flower beds until the ground and everything else around it had a sufficient dampness to it. There were still several hours of sunlight left to help it dry up but dinner time was nearing and Frank was a stickler for punctuality with meals. Miles’ been late enough times already. “I think that's enough for today, don't you think Waylon?” Miles asked, dusting his hands off as he glanced at the demon, spying all the filth that had accumulated on the innocent male. He had mud caked onto his knees, hands, feet and around the spade of his tail. He had dirt smudges on his face and up his arms. A few on his neck and dirt on his clothes. The demon was covered and Miles was already anticipating the reaming Eddie was going to give him for it. But the brunette couldn't ignore the smile that was plastered to the demon’s face afterwards. Waylon’s pale hues met the emerald eyed male with a grin and a nod, his tail swaying from side to side.
“Let’s head back inside then. You need a bath.” Miles chuckled, giving Waylon a gentle pat on the shoulder to urge him into the building ahead of him. He didn’t have to worry about swiping the key card to let them in as the doors clicked open. Miles paused to locked the doors back up with his code and turned in time to see the filthy demon walking down the white previously spotless hallway, trailing dirty prints along the way. He could hardly contain the smirk on his lips as he followed along, keeping his distance due to the doctor’s neat freak obsession. As the lab doors slid open, Waylon padded inside without a care, leaving Miles to follow up behind him and lingering in the doorway as he dropped the demon’s flip flops just inside the entrance and cleared his throat. “He’s back and in one piece.” Miles announced. His emerald eyes darting over to see Waylon hop up to sit on the edge of the bed, his tail flicking mud back and forth.
When his gaze turned back, he spotted Eddie’s dark blue orbs glowering at Miles from his seated position at his desk, his hand frozen amidst filling out paperwork. Those navy eyes averted long enough to track the dirt trail towards the muddy creature then turned back to Miles. Before the doctor could say a word, the brunette disappeared on the other side of the door with a curt wave of parting. The sound of boots sprinting down the hall towards the elevator. Eddie tsked in frustration and turned his attention towards Waylon as he stood up from his seat. “Come on. Let’s get you washed up before dinner.” He pinched the bridge of his nose and waved the demon towards the doors of the lab to head for the bathing room.