Morgan was expecting a female body. Something voluptuous and over-ripe, like rotten fruit, spilling out of a barely-there gown. Instead he got a man, broad-shouldered and just a little gaudy. A man who made no pretensions to respectability. Suitable enough for the devil, in his mind, though he knew that wasn't the devil's intention.
"I sent those girls to you for a reason, you know," the devil said, the gold chain of his pocket watch glinting in the firelight with each word. His shirt and waistcoat were stretched tight by his generous girth. Morgan wondered idly why he hadn't just arranged for his clothing to fit. Presumably there was a reason. The Devil always had a reason for the things he did; it was the only thing Morgan was completely sure of. It made him wonder about the reason behind his own existence.
"Those girls were barely more than children," he said, letting disgust colour his tone.
"Old enough," the devil said with a lecherous grin. The figure shifted, reshaping itself in the exact form of one of the girls Morgan had sent away an hour earlier, with a few shillings and a warning to take care how they spent it and not to return.
"I'm not interested," Morgan said sharply.
"Why? Planning on taking orders again?" the devil inquired, voice light and mocking, with the same guttural accent the original girl had used "You didn't manage to keep your oaths the first time; what makes you think you can do it now? It's not faithfulness to Katrina. You proved that with Constance."
Morgan gave the devil a level look and held his tongue. Near seven centuries had taught him not to rise to the devil's bait. At least not that particular flavour of bait. Mentions of Katrina had been the devil's favourite form of torment, those first few centuries.
"Fine," the devil sighed at last. "I'll stop trying to choose for you. But you know you're free to pick on your own. I won't interfere. Not if that's all you're using them for. Unlike god, I don't demand chasteness from my servant."
"All the more reason for me to embrace it," Morgan said grimly. He wasn't sure he meant it. Wasn't sure he could really hold to it, through all the sleepless centuries that still faced him. But he knew enough to know that every weakness, every crack, would be seized upon by the devil. Better to give as little as he could.
He also knew that his struggles amused the devil. It was that, perhaps more than anything else, that kept him on earth and out of hell. The longer he could delay that final journey, the better. Even if this was the cost.
"Don't wait too long," the devil said. He'd shifted again, this time to the shape of a desirable, full-grown woman in the fashion of the day. "You might forget how to talk to a woman."
He was gone before Morgan could reply. Morgan stared at the door for a moment, thinking of the girls he'd sent away, and then turned to his books. It was going to be a long night.
This entry was originally posted at http://skieswideopen.dreamwidth.org/164