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Temptation of a Different Kind

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His wife died on a Friday morning, with his best friend's cock in her mouth. It was right after Maundy Thursday. The Good Friday, they said the day was called. Well. Certainly not good enough for him. Not when he was jobless, penniless and straight out of prison.

He watched, expressionless, as Jesus greeted his followers on the small screen of his TV.

(Laura's. It was never his to begin with)

Everything was commercialised these days. Even the Gods.

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He buried her on a Monday, since Eagle Point churches weren't opened for unscheduled mass around the Holy Week. It was ironic, he thought, that no funeral mass can be held on the day that Jesus Christ himself was dead and resurrected.

Audrey made a fool of herself during the service. He tried to steer her out as best as he could, but to be honest he was tired. He hadn't had a good night sleep since they told him the news, and frankly, Audrey deserved to have this fit of anger. He probably would've done the same if he wasn't so done with everything.

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Two days later, an odd man arrived at his door. He was wearing a khaki trench coat, even if it was around 70 degrees outside. "Hello."  He waved, when Shadow greeted him by the door.

"Hi." he frowned. "Can I help you?"

The man smiled wide, too wide for Shadow's liking, and he had a split second of dammit not another crook, before that old guy let himself in as if it was his own house and said, "Shadow, I am your father."

He held his temper in check, because no matter how bad this guy was, he was still on parole. "Is this a joke?" He searched around, maybe there were TV crew hiding behind the bushes, holding Star Wars logo on it, or maybe this guy just insane, an escapee from the nearest mental hospital.

"No, no. Certainly not a joke." His eyes looked clear enough, in fact, one of them looked out of place, and Shadow held his hand back before it went for it. "Oh, you're a sharp one, aren't you?" He chuckled. "Trade my eyes for something even better in my youth. Ah, the good old days."

Shadow shook his head. "My father is dead. Has been since before I was born." The man let himself further in, carefully glancing around his—Laura's house. "Nice house."

"Thanks. Belongs to my dead wife."

"The one who died sucking another man's cock?"

He clenched his fist, giving his best unimpressed look. "If you have nothing better to say than an insult and claiming to be one half of my dead parents, can you please just kindly fuck off out of here?"

He tsked. "Language."

"I think I'm entitled to a bit of a swear words after what I've been through. "Shadow made a frustrated noise. "Besides, you can't be my dad. He's Jamaican. You're clearly Caucasian."

When he turned to face Shadow, he had a small smirk on his face. "Nice conclusion, son. That is, if I am just a mere mortal." He handed his card to Shadow, which he took suspiciously.  He hummed. "What day is it today?"

"Wednesday." He said, absentmindedly, turning the card on his hand. "What, you have somewhere to be?"

"No, but today is my day."

Asgard Corp : You Ask, We Delivers

Mr. Wednesday - Company Chairman

What kind of company did this man own? When he looked up to ask, however, the man was already gone.

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"You're one of them, aren't you?"

"Who?"

"The Gods."

Wednesday was sitting behind his mahogany desk, flipping over a document his (maybe) secretary bought. After pointing at something and whispering on her ear, he nodded, gesturing to her to leave them alone. "You sure?" She spoke in heavy Russian accent, giving him a stink eye beside her boss' chair. "I'm sure, Vechernyaya, honey. He is, after all, my son."

She snorted, uncaring that it was unseemly in front of a guest. "That is what I am worried about."

When she left, Shadow gave him a look. "Still on with this thing about me being your son?"

"Of course. The eye never lies." He tapped his left eye, the one he knew was weird before. It was a glass one, Shadow thought, the surface too shiny and hard to be a real eye. "But in any case. I won't make this into a family reunion if you don't want. Valkyrie knows how messy Æsir family reunion usually is."

"But I'm not your son. I don't have any power."

"Oh, son. You just don't know it yet."

He circled the desk, giving Shadow a thick envelope full of documents, money, and even credit card with his name on it. "What's this?"

"That is your contract and down payment. I want you to work for me."

Shadow thought it over. He didn't have anything. He was, quite literally, broke. He sighed. "I don't do anything illegal."

"That's fine. I just need you to be my bodyguard. And a delivery man on the side."

"What's the catch?"

"No catch." He paused. "Well, beside living in my house. Plenty of unused room in here, and I need you to be close by, in case I need something done quick."

"That's reasonable. Proximity is important as a bodyguard."

"So?"

"No delivering drugs? Illegal activity?"

"Definition of illegal may or may not always be what you thought it'll be, but no, nothing that'll get you back on prison. Promise. Just sign the contract and you're free to move in."

Shadow sighed again. "Alright."

He can already tell he would regret this in the future.

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Shadow did his round of the day, doing his job instead of taking the week off like Wednesday told him to. It was better than sitting around doing nothing in his dead wife's home anyway. He shipped all of her things to her relatives and be done with it. Be done with her. At least that was what he told himself.

Wednesday, or Wotan/Odin as his business associate known, lived around the complex of houses and offices called Yggdrasil. From that alone, he could already tell that his 'dad' was a nostalgic man. The news outlet already shared their fair share of news. Old Gods was still worshipped, but lost in popularity with the New Gods. Time kept turning, and whatever not following it will be left out. His boss already chucked his phone out of their car, twice, while he was driving him to his business meeting. He stopped taking his phone out around him after that.

He was still assessing the perimeter inside the gate of the house when something hit his leg. It was a gold coin. Ancient one, from the looks of it. How come someone just threw something precious like this around?

"Fuck, fuck, fuck! Where is it?"

A man in denim jacket was running around with his eyes locked on the ground. Both his jacket and jeans already stained on the elbows and knees. His face, desperate, was sweating bullets. Dark red beard and wild flaming hair shining wet from perspiration as he cursed and swung his fists, clearly pissed off.

"Looking for this?"

His head snapped up so hard that Shadow was worried it would snap his neck. He ran with an almost inhuman speed (probably was inhuman) and climbed the tall gate with ease like some sort of parkour master. He grabbed Shadow wrist with both of his hands, surprising him. He almost dropped the coin he held on his open palm.

"This is my coin." The man said, surprised. Then he gaped, angrily shouting and pointing at Shadow's face. "That's my fuckin’ coin, you thief!"

Shadow bristled. "I'm not a thief. " Not now, anyway. He paused, turning over the coin in his hand. "Sure this is yours? Found it on the ground after it hit my leg."

"Hit yer leg? There's no fuckin’ way it would—" Now he truly looked up at him, frowning as he realised where they stood. "That's Wednesday's house. We're in his front yard."

Shadow's mouth quirked up, amused. "Nice observational skill you have there." Wednesday didn't shy away from a show, and there was a big Odin's logo at front with a fancy writing of 'Wednesday' in gold font. No one ever missed it. Well, except this guy, apparently. "Truly, you have a dizzying intellect."

"Fuck. You." He walked away after snatching the coin, giving him the middle finger without even so much as a thank you.

"Hey, you're welcome!" Shadow shouted at the man's retreating back. "Asshole."