WARNING: Huh, never had to do this before, but... allusion of child abuse, substance abuse, strong language (pissed off Yuri), middle of the story snippet

GENRE: PG-13 to R


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Yuri gave the manacles around his wrists a hard pull. The chair rests the manacles were attached to gave a metallic groan and bent just a little, but they held. He could break it - if he had a couple of hours and did not mind losing a little bit of skin, and if the guards would leave him alone.

One damn if too many.


"I gotta tell you, buddy, your hospitality sucks. How long exactly are you planning to keep me here?"

The man who had named himself Joachim Tarrant looked on indulgently. He had not reacted visibly at Yuri's attempt although his guards and the scarred sorcerer Yuri had internally dubbed No-Nose had tensed.

"Oh, this room? Not very long, I hope. Once our assignment is complete, we can depart from this," a condescending wave of hand encompassing the entire barren stone tower, "miserable, drafty old castle and move to a much better accommodation."

"What assignment?" Yuri asked suspiciously.

Joachim Tarrant pulled a wooden set close and sat in front of him, somehow managing to lounge on the hard chair. The man reminded Yuri of a cat, though certainly nothing as harmless as a household pet. Presently he smiled, a lazy, half-challenging, half baiting smile.

"I am going to bring one of the Great Gods of ancient back to the land of the living."

Whoa. Déjà vu.

"You are out of your mind," Yuri stated flatly.

"Hmm. I wonder, did you say the same thing to Master Dehuai?"

"W... what?"

The man rubbed his chin with one white gloved hand, a small quirk lifting one corner of his lips. His grey eyes were coolly amused. "The Oriental Adept you faced last year. Or perhaps, to the one who called himself 'Albert Simon'?"

Yuri had a sinking feeling in his stomach. "How the hell... you know them?"

The man waved his hand negligently. "By reputation. But I do keep track of what is happening in the occult world, and I must say that the three of you have wrecked quite a havoc last year."

"Not like I have a choice," Yuri muttered.

"Oh, I agree. Powerful sorcerers they may be, but they are fools."

Yuri lifted once skeptical eyebrow. "Uh, really? Didn't think you'd see it my way. After all, I don't see any difference between you and them."

The man smiled indulgently. "Can't you? They would summon a god and let it wreak destruction on the world at will. What use is a tool that you have no control over? Only fools and madmen would do such a thing. I am neither."

"Yeah, well, whatever," Yuri grumbled. "You wanna summon a god, I think your brain's already screwed up. But what do I care. You try it your way, and we'll be there to kick your butt when you fail. You and your pet monster both."

That smile again, the one that said I-know-something-you-don't-ignorant- boy. The one that made him fantasize about how good it would feel to smash the heel of his boot right on that smile.

"Ah yes, your friends are welcomed to try. You, on the other hand, will be quite... indisposed."

"If you think that you can hold me for long, think again, old man," Yuri growled. "I'm not going to let you touch her. I'll find a way to kill you first."

To his dismay, the man did not seem at all impressed by the threat. If anything, his smile seemed to grow bigger. He took a step closer, would have been within Yuri's kicking distance if his legs were still free. Yuri was still considering whether spitting would have been too immature when the man bent closer and spoke softly.

"It would seem that there is a misunderstanding here, Mister Hyuga. I can see how you could have drawn the wrong conclusion. It is true that I am... intrigued... by the abilities of 'Demon Eyes', but contrary to your belief, I do not require it for my invocation." He inclined his head towards where No- Nose was watching them intently. "You see, I have more than enough powerful sorcerers and Sources to draw from, to execute the invocation without a Demon Eye. While it would be a pleasant bonus, it is not the essential element." He looked into Yuri's confused dark eyes, not more than a meter away now. "My essential element... is you, Yuri Hyuga."

The chair gave a soft moan as Yuri's muscles relaxed in astonishment. "What... me?! What are you talking about?"

The man was definitely smirking now, damn it! But his next words took away Yuri's growing anger like a blow to the stomach.

"You see... I don't need a catalyst. I need a container. I need a physical receptacle in the material world to bind and confine the Ancient Ones that I am about to summon. It may be a near impossibility to control a free summoning out of a containment circle, but a properly prepared human body is capable of acting as a substitute for the circle. It is much easier to control, and it can be easily moved to anywhere you want." He lifted his hand to caress Yuri's jaw. Yuri jerked back in reflex even as his mind reeled from the implications of the man's words. But fingers tightened and caught his chin, holding him like metal claws.

"A Harmonixer, a thing that possesses no barrier of its own against foreign souls, one that absorbs and turn those souls into part of itself. And a Fusionist capable of giving birth to a physical manifestation of those soul energies... You have no idea how long I have waited to obtain something like you, one who is perhaps the last of your kind." The man's grey eyes were gleaming with a fervor that was sickly familiar to Yuri. He had seen it in DeHuai's eyes, in Albert Simon's eyes.

"I will summon the Great One into this physical realm, and you, my young Harmonixer, will consume It into your soul. And we will be Master of the Greater Gods through you."

Yuri felt physically sick. This lunatic actually wanted him to... to fuse with this Greater God? Something that made the Lord of Outer Reach and the Seraphic Radiance looked like minor leagues in comparison? His mind skittered away from the remembrance of how it had felt, melding his mind and soul with the terrible, impossibly alien immensity of the Seraphic Radiance. It had shattered his sanity and nearly swallowed his soul. He had absolutely no doubt that this would have been worse, much worse.

"You know," he croaked, "you might as well kill me. Faster that way, and save you a whole lot of mumbo jumbo. I'm kinda flattered you think I can handle it, but... you're outta your fucking mind!!"

He was released with a small chuckle Tarrant moved away. The imprints of his fingers burned on Yuri's skin. "Oh, I have no doubt that you can't. Handle it, I mean. And even should you, by some far-fetched miracle, able to control the Great One, you would have been of no use to us. Again, a weapon that can think for itself is a flawed weapon."

"Then what the fuck do you want?" Yuri snarled, ignoring the small, gibbering voice at the back of his mind that sounded too suspiciously like a certain terrified nine-year-old.

Tarrant smiled indulgently. "Just... be, Yuri Hyuga. Be the receptacle of God, and let us handle the rest." He nodded towards No-Nose, who in turn popped open the medicine bag he carried and retrieved a prepared syringe. The two guards from the door dropped their impersonation of stone gargoyles and stepped in to held him down with rock-solid hands. They ignored his curses and increasingly desperate struggles, holding his left arm steady as No-Nose expertly massaged his vein and jabbed the syringe needle into his inner arm. The small sting was nothing compared to the panic growing in his mind. When it was done and the two gargoyles had released him, Yuri snapped out, "What the hell was that shit?" He had a very nasty suspicion that he knew what it was, and was rather proud that no tremors marred his voice.

"Just something to help you relax. Consider it a mercy gift, Yuri Hyuga. Soon, you will feel no fear nor anger. It is better for you this way."

"You can stuff your gift where the sun don't... shine. I don't need any gift... from..." His breath hitched. There was something... wrong... with his sight. Yuri blinked and tried to focus on the man in front of him, but his eyes refused to follow the order from his brain. And why were the Brits leaning at an angle? Or did they...?

"Fuck...," he whispered.

A burst of adrenaline kicked the fog out of his mind and he renewed his struggles against the manacles binding him. Panic lent him strength as he recognized the muzziness spreading across his brain, weighing and slowing down his thoughts like a condemned prisoner's iron ball chained to his ankles.

Once, when he was much younger and not quite as wise on the dangers of the streets, someone had lured him into a house richly lit with blood-red lanterns, with the promise of food and a warm place to sleep out of the snow. He had been given food and water as promised and he had eaten his fill for the first time in months. But the room had been filled with cloyingly sweet smoke and the food had sat leaden in his stomach. Despite that, he had felt curiously calm and... happy. Content in a way he had not felt since he had lost his mother the winter before.

Later, much later, he knew that he should have gotten out when he could still think. But that night, the caution he had learnt surviving on the streets had seemed so distant, his mind rejecting the harsh bitterness of reality and embraced the numbing, comforting warmth enfolding him. He had snuggled down into the pillow given to him and fallen asleep. Confusion and pain had greeted him when he awoke, pain and another dose of his own brand of madness, the second release of his personal demon from hell and awakening once again to find himself the sole survivor in an abattoir. He had fled then, terrified literally out of his mind. His memories were still hazy on what had happened, a few pieces missing from the bits and pieces of jigsaw puzzle in his mind, but he remembered what had caused him to fall asleep, to lose control. And fifteen years after the fact, never once had he drank enough to lose himself, or indulged of the drugs offered him on the streets by furtive vendors. The cost for a dose of forgetfulness was too high.

Until a power-hungry, lunatic aristocrat with delusion of world domination had fed him enough high-grade opiate to send him sailing as high as a kite.

"You're making... a big... mistake...," he panted out, feeling his sight graying around the edges. He stopped his struggle for a while to draw breath, but that turned out to be a mistake. Instantly, the mind-numbing fog reversed like a wave and rolled over him, pulling him under. A small prick of pain from his palms gave him a short respite, dragging him gasping to the surface. His vision cleared a bit to show him his fingers digging into his palms, a hint of red seeping out.

He heard Tarrant's voice, still so calm and cultured, oh-so-slightly amused. "Do relax, Mister Hyuga. You are fighting the inevitable. The drug will spare you all the unpleasant details that will follow. It will also stop you from making any foolish attempts to escape and spare us all the aggravation of subduing you. Enjoy it while you can, a lot of people is willing to pay good money for the experience."

He wanted to continue fighting, he really did. But it was getting so hard, so heavy. And really, was it such a big deal? Being angry, being afraid, constantly fighting... he could just rest for a while, couldn't he? It was getting so nice and warm now, and the constant pain he had been enduring was going away, it had stopped hurting now, even where they had shot him in the chest. That was good, right? Not hurting? He realized he had been watching his fingers for some time, relaxed from the tight fists they had made, and even that small pain had disappeared. In fact, he could not quite feel those fingers now. He tried waggling them just to see if he could, and watched, fascinated, as his index and middle fingers wiggled jerkily. The middle finger was pointed almost straight out at the Master of the Initiates. He thought it made a perfectly good obscene gesture and sniggered at that.

"Rolf?" He heard the Tarrant's voice, then his face was lifted up and tilted this way and that, and a bright pinpoint of light shone painfully into his left eyes. He cursed, or thought he did although he could not have said what it was he had cursed them with, and struggled away from the light. Bony fingers caught him again deftly, pushing his jaw up and forcing his head back, the light hurting his right eye this time.

"Fuck off...," he mumbled, or thought he did, then snickered at the thought. Tried but couldn't quite figure out why that was funny, and gave up the effort.

"I believe he's hearing angels sing now," a dry voice commented near him. He thought of telling the voice to shut up, but it seemed to be too much effort. Besides, it wasn't really that loud.

"Good," a more distant voice said. "Give him another dose every four hours from now on. This will go much faster without him fighting us every step of the way."

"What about his fusions, Sir?"

Fusions? What... oh, fusions. He flexed his mind, stretching for a distant black hole in his mind, a move as instinctive as a walking...

"Damn it...! Sir, watch out...!"

...heat around his body, rattling of chains, sharp pain suddenly blooming in his chest where they had marked him...

...and fell short of his goal. The blackness winked at him, out of reach. He panted at the pain and the effort, thought distantly that he should feel more upset, but it was too hard an effort so he just let it go. The sharp pain in his chest dissipated as quickly as it had come and he hummed softly, content to just drift.

"There is no need to worry, Rolf. As you can see, the bindings work just as well now as it had been before. Better. He no longer has the mind to fight against it."

Warm skin against his cheek, stroking gently like a father's hand. (Or a pet's owner... and where had that come from...?)

"We will take good care of you, Yuri Hyuga. You will live for much longer, and in greater comfort than you would have on your own. True, I cannot promise that you will be sane enough to appreciate them, but sanity for a Harmonixer is, after all, a wasted quality. And it is a small thing to pay for the price of godhood."



1. Joachim Tarrant: Description to be given later, but think of think of Stuart Townsend as Dorian Gray in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, ten years older. Charismatic, a bit oily, annoyingly superior attitude.

2. Red lanterns signifies a brothel house in China.

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