A/N: I can't believe I wrote this. Ahaha... God, the title sucks. Before you read, I just want to let you know that there's going to be a lot of unexplained gaps in the story because it was only eight pages on my laptop and I didn't want to make it any longer than it had to be. The plot may be hard to follow, but please bear with me a little. I made up a bunch of stuff so this is totally, totally inaccurate and angsty and crap. I had to get this out of the way before I started anything else. Umm... yeah. Wow. I think that's it.

Update: rated T for language... mentions of unknown drugs. Some mature content.

OF COURSE it's yaoi, apparently that's the only freaking thing I can write anymore. :P

I don't own anything except my OCs, those of whom I love very dearly and will personally avenge (in an extremely slow, painful way) if anyone has the blatant indecency to steal them from me. Heh... I'm not kidding.

We-ell... read on. If you dare.


Prisoner

= = 08:15:22:01 = =

At first glance, you could tell right away that something was really, really wrong.

He was much too delicate, much too fragile to be in this type of harsh environment. His lithe, feminine body was barely concealed under the baggy jumpsuit. He ducked his chin, which Domovoi knew was a huge mistake. The action showed vulnerability, and weakness was something you couldn't afford to display, not here. Not now.

His lashes hid a set of quiet, oppressive eyes, as blue as blue could get. When he glanced up, they became wide, bracing, and startlingly incandescent against the remainder of his unblemished face. His hands were clasped loosely together, the metal cuffs dangling on his thin wrists. He looked malnourished, yet an unmistakable allure surrounded his small form like an aura. He gazed back down at his fingers, almost seeming to shrink in on himself at the stares encircling him from each cell.

Compared to the rough, jagged men who had been imprisoned for most of their lives, the new boy was a mere child; a single rose among a patch of thorns. He was unbearably innocent.

Domovoi saw him flinch slightly when the guard grasped his elbow. He was led down the hall somewhat gently, the taller man being all too aware of how the petite youth did not resist. He unlocked the door of the cell in front of Domovoi's, removed the handcuffs, and nodded encouragingly at the prisoner as he entered.

As soon as the guard left, the questions began.

"Hey, pretty boy, how'd you get in the slammer?"

"Look at him, he's barely a day over ten."

"He's just a baby. The hell did he do to get here?"

It had to be a mistake. People were sent to this jail for unmentionable crimes like assault, serious drug dealing, or homicide. Looking at him now, the youth was too helpless, too meek to perform any dangerous act. The boy shuffled to his bed and huddled into its corner, shutting out the gruff voices and gazing down at his knees. He was terribly timid. If he didn't toughen up, Domovoi thought grimly, he was going to have a rough time during his sentence.

Feeling Domovoi's stare on him, he slowly raised his head.

Their eyes met, locked, and Domovoi found his heart had trouble beating. In the darkness of the cell, the small youth's irises glowed brilliantly, rippling like the surface of the ocean and reflecting dull sparks of light. The rest of his face was garbed in shadow, his pale complexion bleached white against the backdrop of the wall. He was enchanting, the simple beauty of his lovelorn face almost inhuman.

Domovoi couldn't breathe. He was stunned. When he managed to retrieve his voice, he whispered,

"What's your name?"

The prisoners were getting rowdy; their inquiries clamored among the high ceiling and bounced back and forth from the cells. Domovoi's soft question went virtually unheard, but the boy understood, and mouthed a hesitant reply.

Michelangelo.

Domovoi nodded soberly, unable to speak. The youth carefully lowered his lashes, shading his sorrowful gaze, and leaned back against the wall, his hunched form impossibly apprehensive. Together they remained motionless, two statues amidst the hubbub of angry, earthly words.

Domovoi sat on the edge of his mattress and watched over the boy's dozing figure like a hawk, his instincts urging him to protect the defenseless child. His stance was relaxed, but poised, his rigid stare running effortlessly through the bars and looking straight at the graceful being whose presence he had been so richly blessed with. It was amazing; suddenly, Domovoi felt as though he could sprint into burning flames and come out unscathed.

Hours passed, and Domovoi could do nothing but count every rise and fall of Michelangelo's chest, mesmerized by the reoccurring flutter of his lashes and the glossy sheen to his raven hair. He couldn't understand how instantly enraptured he had become at a mere glance. It was ridiculous, and yet…

The raw need to be by him, to guard him from the world, was so intense it bordered bizarre. Domovoi mulled over his thoughts, frightened by this unexpected obstacle. He could come to no conclusion except that--and when he focused back upon Michelangelo's refined face, he marveled at how thoroughly it seemed to resonate purity--there was no cure.

He was a goner.

But, as he traced the curve of the boy's cheek with his eyes, Domovoi discovered that he didn't really mind at all.

= = 08:04:38:19 = =

"Well? What's the matter, you too good to speak to me? Hey, I'm talking to you."

Michelangelo kept his expression still and his eyes downcast, refusing to meet Ender's glare. The young man scowled darkly, the fierce angles of his face lit with anger.

"Hey."

Several inmates milled about the two, looking with mild interest at Ender and then in disbelief at the newcomer. The gathering crowd had an affect on the boy; Michelangelo pressed himself up against the wire fence, staring fixedly at his shoes with his lips drawn tight.

"I said I'm talking to you--"

Ender grabbed a fistful of his hair and yanked his chin upwards.

The next thing he knew, Ender was pinned to the fence with a knee jabbing the base of his spine, a harsh hand on the back of his head.

"What the fuck?!" he grunted furiously, struggling to get loose.

"You touch him again and I beat the hell out of you, a'ight?" Domovoi growled, the warning and threat sounding dangerously calm in the roiling motion of his displeasure.

"Okay, okay, God--"

Ender shrugged him off, spat at his feet, and walked away. There was hostility in every movement of his agitated form, but Domovoi ignored him and stared down other inmates who dared linger next to the shaken boy. When they had finally left them alone after retreating under Domovoi's impressive build, Michelangelo gazed up at him--the difference in height was almost comical--with unreadable emotions. Domovoi returned the gaze steadily.

"Did he hurt you?" he asked.

Michelangelo shook his head but when he ran his hand through obsidian locks, Domovoi saw that his fingers were trembling. The atmosphere was uncomfortably mystifying, so it came as a bit of a shock when Michelangelo first reached up and touched Domovoi's cheek lightly, whispering a small,

"Thank you," before swiftly brushing past him.

Domovoi could feel the touch long after he had gone and wondered why the thrill it gave him was comparable to the rush of sky-diving. The same exhilaration was there, making his blood pump and his pulse sing. It was a while until he realized he was the only one left in the prison yard. He looked around at the empty area, dazed.

"You're welcome," he said aloud.

= = 05:11:42:00 = =

He didn't know why he wasn't ashamed. He should have felt disgusted with himself for thinking of another inmate in that way, but it was so natural that he was astonished at just how much he wanted--needed--to be with Michelangelo. It was enough that the boy hardly ever left his side anymore; Domovoi was satisfied with the knowledge that he was providing some protection for the tender youth. And yet, he often reflected on the situation as a whole and wished they had met under different circumstances.

Michelangelo came to rely on him more and more, building a stable bond of trust that they both gave each other. He closed his ears to the spiteful rumors flying from the cells and was blind to the dirty looks he received whenever he was Domovoi's shadow, concentrating instead on becoming totally invisible. He was barely noticed when he walked alongside the taller man, but by himself, he was an utterly obvious target. Domovoi had taken extreme measures not to let Michelangelo out of his sight, wary of everyone who tried talking to the boy.

His thanks had been the last time Domovoi heard him speak. Domovoi loathed to question the frail youth for fear of entering unwanted territory. Though he was curious, he was content with simply being within his immediate proximity. He had reached the highest level of a certain peace he never knew he had the ability to achieve, not even in meditation. It was invigorating, seeing Michelangelo's face glimmer with idyllic recognition when he glanced in his direction.

"You've got a phone call."

Domovoi looked up from his examination of a bruise Michelangelo had gotten on his arm. The purple discoloration stood out painfully on his white skin and it made Domovoi uneasy whenever he looked at it. It only empathized how breakable the boy was.

Domovoi stood and bent his head near to Michelangelo's ear. "I'll be right back," he promised before leaving with the guard.

As soon as he received the phone, he knew it meant trouble.

"Domovoi."

"Yes."

"You're running out of time."

"I know."

"I expected you back within the past week. This infiltration is risky enough as it is. What's taking you so long?"

Domovoi didn't answer for a moment.

"Domovoi? Is there a problem?" The voice on the other line was reserved, neutral, and otherwise unconcerned, but Domovoi chose his words with the utmost care.

"I have… other priorities to attend to at the moment."

"Other priorities? That's absurd. Your mission should be complete by now. There is nothing else you're supposed to do."

"I've encountered a setback."

"And what might that be?"

Domovoi considered briefly.

"Michelangelo," he said, and hung up.

= = 04:23:00:54 = =

Michelangelo Sketcher
-Gender: Male
-Age: 13
-Date of Birth: 4/16/79
-Blood Type: O
-Hair Color: Black
-Eye Color: Blue

Remy scanned through the information, frowning.

"Find anything?" Osiris asked, standing behind his chair to stare intently at the screen.

"This is the only Michelangelo the search engine is bringing up from the jail's criminal records," Remy explained, gesturing vaguely at the computer. Osiris squinted at the profile quick stats and at the picture that had been provided.

"Is that him?" he queried, aghast.

"Yeah." Remy shook his head. "I thought for sure there had to be a mistake, but…"

Osiris made a small sound in the back of his throat. "No kidding." He leaned over Remy's head and reached for the mouse to scroll further down. Bits and pieces of the boy's life flashed before his scrutiny, informal and disconnected. "Was this who Domovoi was talking about?"

"Seems like it."

Remy heard a sharp intake of breath from his companion and twisted his neck upwards quizzically.

"What's wrong?"

Osiris pointed to the screen. "Says here he was found guilty of first degree murder."

Remy stiffened, his hazel eyes flicking across the corresponding text. He passed by the graphic crime scene photos without much interest and read over the court case meticulously. Michelangelo had been sentenced to a lifetime in prison after refusing to speak throughout the testimonies and doing nothing to falsify the accusations made against him. The retribution was harsh--there was no chance he could have it lifted. All of his family was deceased, and even distant relatives could not be contacted. The situation was beyond frustrating. The boy appeared harmless, but solid evidence proved otherwise.

"Damn," muttered Remy. "What's Domovoi planning on doing?"

Osiris bit his lip absently, a lock of dark hair falling over one eye. "I don't think Michelangelo poses much of a threat. If anything, he's having trouble trying to survive. What was the judge thinking, sending him to a place like that?"

"Something doesn't match up," Remy agreed somberly. He furrowed his brow, drawing deep within his personal speculations.

Osiris had a sudden thought. "You don't think Domovoi might…"

They exchanged glances.

"Oh, I think he might."

Osiris sighed despairingly. "Well, this complicates things."

"God..." Remy ruffled his own flaxen hair into a tragic mess, glaring daggers at his computer. "Leave it to Domovoi to screw up a spying operation."

Osiris smiled halfheartedly at his moody friend. "You gotta admit, the man's got guts."

Remy snorted.

"No, he's just stupid."

= = 03:21:33:57 = =

Domovoi had already made up his mind.

And anyways, breaking out of jail really wasn't that hard when you had the keys.

"Michel," he whispered.

Michelangelo's eyes slid open soundlessly, as if he had been awake for a while. He watched Domovoi move freely outside the confining bars. He observed attentively, seemingly unsurprised. His face appeared oddly disquieted and sad.

For the second time in his life, Domovoi heard Michelangelo speak.

"Are you leaving?" he murmured.

But Domovoi realized that wasn't what the boy had wanted to ask. What he meant was…

Are you leaving me?

Domovoi eased open the lock on Michelangelo's cell door, seeing his beautiful eyes widen in silent astonishment. He stepped into the room and extended a strong hand, waiting patiently for a response.

Michelangelo stared, then gently placed his fingers in his.

Domovoi grasped it, feeling a lovely warmth envelope his chest at the inhibited touch. He nodded, determination flaring in his firm gaze.

Let's go.

The corridors were eerily deserted, littered with scattered snores instead of guards or inmates. Everything was dark and still. They treaded lightly, on feathery footsteps as Domovoi led the way out into the main hallway and away from the slumber of caged prisoners. He was somewhat dependant on the fact that the security cameras were not receiving live feed from his cell and Michelangelo's; the wire he had fed through to the signal almost wasn't capable of disrupting both tapes but he had managed.

The jail had been built impressively, but for one major flaw.

There were blind spots in the security system. People were so confident, so sure that the steel bars embedded in the walls would trap any human inside, they had become less chary, less vigilant. It seemed that the prisoners had also convinced themselves escape was impossible and the consequences weren't worth suffering if they were caught.

They were well on their way to the last corridor when suddenly, Michelangelo stopped.

Domovoi turned and the inquiry died on his lips.

Ender glowered at them from within his cage, a half-snarl lifting his cruel upper lip. His eyes laughed at them. His expression was fueled by self-righteous satisfaction at the secret he had stumbled upon. Michelangelo stared at him, transfixed with an overwhelming fear.

"And where do you think you're going?" Ender hissed.

"Ender," Domovoi began warily, "you don't want to do this--"

"Try me." He smirked.

Domovoi gripped Michelangelo tighter. "Michel. Run."

"JAILBREAK!" Ender roared. "Two inmates on the loose! Jailbreak! JAILBREAK!"

An alarm went off and quarrelling shouts raided the halls while a man and a boy ran for their lives.

= = 02:10:45:26 = =

"Domovoi!"

Domovoi snapped his head up and a huge relief made him sink to his knees, a surge of warm bliss invading his body and effectively soothing his adrenaline rush.

Osiris reached out to take Michelangelo from his arms and the man released him unwillingly, catching his breath and cracking a wry grin at his incredulous comrade.

"I didn't think you'd make it," Osiris confessed. "But we kept watch just in case. Jeezus, Domovoi, never scare me like that again…" He glanced down at the frightened boy to make sure he wasn't looking and mouthed, You bastard.

It was all Domovoi could do to not laugh, an abrupt straining in his muscles leaving him weak and lightheaded. "Just get us home, Osi."

"You got it."

Michelangelo fell asleep in Osiris's loose embrace on the way back from the hideout and when they finally reached headquarters, Domovoi gently eased the fragile youth into the security of his arms and carried the trusting child to his own room, where he carefully readied him for bed. The past night seemed like a hurried blur he only vaguely remembered and now that there was no risk or impending danger, he was immensely liberated.

Osiris came in a few minutes later to find Domovoi sitting in a chair next to Michelangelo's fatigued form, regarding the boy with fond, troubled eyes.

Osiris recognized the immediate affection hidden in his cohort's stern visage and an indecipherable emotion slipped over his theoretical features. He had always been an insightful person, and he knew infatuation when he saw it. He patted Domovoi's hunched shoulder.

"I hope you know what you're doing," he said reasonably, and left.

Domovoi contemplated for a long while but came to no conclusion. The only thing he could be sure of was that he had loved Michelangelo the instant he had seen him. And that was all that mattered.

= = 00:18:39:06 = =

"You've been his friend for years. He has a right to know," Osiris had said firmly. "Don't leave him in the dark. Heaven knows he's not that bright to begin with…"

Domovoi found Remy loitering in the hallway, considering the flyers on the bulletin board. He approached him cautiously and they remained motionless for a while, simply musing over speculations.

"The guys are talking about you and Michelangelo," Remy told him offhandedly. "I can't blame them, though. You guys are inseparable. May as well have been born as Siamese twins." He grinned. "Wouldn't that be something?"

"…Yeah."

A thick silence settled over the hall.

"Man, I don't know how you're so good with kids," Remy went on companionably, undeterred. "I know I'd be running through walls trying to get him to say something. He does talk, doesn't he?" At Domovoi's confirming nod, he sighed pleasantly. "You're a lot more patient these days, you know. Especially around Michelangelo. More tolerant. Lenient. Something like that."

Domovoi took a calming breath. "I guess… it's because… I love him."

"So does everyone else here," chuckled Remy, smiling teasingly.

"Not like that," Domovoi murmured empathetically. "I… really love him. I love him like you'd love a woman. Like someone you know you couldn't live without."

Remy stared at him, aghast, taken completely by surprise. He was still for a moment. "You can't be serious…"

But when he met Domovoi's eyes, he knew he was mistaken. A look of disgust crossed his handsome face and the revulsion in his gaze belied a dull, gaping disappointment that hurt Domovoi more than anything else.

"He's just a kid, Domovoi. A little kid." Remy backed away from him, shaking his head, confusion entering a new role on his stricken expression. "How could you…"

"I didn't," Domovoi tried to explain, deeply aggrieved. "I don't. It's wrong, I know, but… I just--"

"That's sick," Remy whispered hollowly. "You're sick."

It was like stepping off a cliff. The world dropped from beneath his feet, leaving him falling into empty space. "No, Remy, listen to me--"

Remy fled.

Domovoi watched his friend's disappearing form and his heart lurched. Slowly, he turned and walked to his own room, shutting the door behind him and locking it with a deft twist. His defeated eyes were downcast; he didn't notice there was another presence in the dorm until he glanced up to see Michelangelo sitting on the corner of his mattress, skinny knees tucked to his doll body under a sweatshirt that was too big for him. He gazed at him silently, knowing, his pale, haunting face filled with worldly aches and experiences.

Domovoi leaned back heavily against the door and watched painfully as the keen youth padded to him on bare feet. The boy blinked up at the broken man and then rested his head on his broad chest, listening. Always listening.

"What are you doing here?" Domovoi asked at last, his voice barely audible. "…Michel?"

He lifted his head and Domovoi felt the slant of his jaw pressing readily below his ribs. The reply concealed in the child's serious persona was enough.

"No. This isn't right, I can't do this to you. I can't…"

Michelangelo crept closer, unresisting, his eyes sad. The elfin fingers touching his face felt like ice against bare skin and Domovoi could do nothing but accept the sweet, gentle mouth that was offered to him.

His kiss was heartrending, and Domovoi found he tasted like bitter apples, like long winters, like frozen tears. He detected another flavor beneath his soft lips but only realized it was blood until after Michelangelo moved away. The boy was trembling, flushed, holding onto Domovoi tightly.

"Are you alright?" Domovoi whispered with a quiet urgency, stroking his hair. "We can stop."

"No," Michelangelo breathed. He raised himself up to meet firm lips. "No."

= = 00:02:59:47 = =

Osiris had felt uneasy with the boy as soon as he had seen him. Something wasn't quite real, and he was intent on finding out what it was. He went searching through all the files stored in his computer for background information not provided in the jail records. He finally discovered a Julius Sketcher from the search engine and continued scouring the net, pulling up public proceedings and former acquaintances before finding an old warrant that had been canceled recently, due to an exclusive death.

Osiris grew more and more anxious as he delved deeper into the mystery, spending hours at his monitor without pausing to dwell on events he knew could not be changed. Names and faces whizzed before his mind, reduced to statistics and logical numbers in the wake of mass homicides and sadistic killings taken place in the same week of Michelangelo's incident. They were connected somehow, all linked to one thing that had managed to be their downfall, like the toppling of dominoes in a long line of misery.

Osiris's hands shook with the coming of some premonition. His eyes became devastatingly tragic when he finally clicked the last section of the cynical puzzle into place.

A chill went through his spine.

Oh, no.

= = 00:00:12:09 = =

"Michelangelo is the only survivor of the Sketcher generation. The rest of his family have been eliminated." Osiris looked grim. "His father was apparently part of an underground crime organization dealing with the illegal purchase and marketing of lethal substances. When a bargain with another top dealer failed to go through, he made the mistake of running away, and it was decided that he was too much of a threat to the association to let go unscathed. His entire family was murdered… except for Michelangelo. It's highly likely that he had the privilege of watching his loved ones die."

Domovoi clenched his jaw, his stance tensing with quiet anger.

Osiris averted his gaze. "The hired killer that was sent to perform the manslaughter seemed to have doubts concerning Michelangelo. He didn't want to stain his hands by spilling innocent blood from that of a mere child. But his job was too important to deny, and so…" Here his voice faltered; fell to a hushed murmur.

"He injected Michelangelo with a slow poison. A toxin that takes days to spread throughout the body and is virtually impossible to detect. If Michel was ever to tell anyone of what he had endured, he would still die, thereby erasing the last traces of his father's blood from existence. The trauma he had gone through rendered him mute for the trial and an insider purposely placed him in the care of an incompetent judge. He was sentenced to life in prison for a crime he could never have committed."

Domovoi was rigid. Shocked.

"If Michelangelo had been introduced to the poison at the exact time his family was murdered, it will have reached his heart by today." Osiris gazed at him, his eyes brimming with pain. "At the very least, he has a quarter of an hour left to live."

= = 00:00:01:44 = =

Where was he? Domovoi had looked everywhere, tearing through the corridors to check all the rooms in the building. A suffocating sense of panic made him frantic, despairing, wild. Time was running out. Where? Where could he be?

He ran into Remy while turning a sharp corner and when he saw his stormy reflection in his friend's hazel eyes, he knew he had been forgiven. Remy's mouth was drawn tight, his worried gaze filled with total, utter compassion that consumed his gaunt face. A slight shake of his head and Domovoi was off again, sprinting through the hall.

"Michel!" he cried desperately. "Michel, where are you!" His breath came in ragged gasps, his lungs burning unfavorably. He ran, and kept on running.

= = 00:00:00:26 = =

There! He was there, slumped in the barren hallway, scarcely breathing, his feeble head drooped, tears of agony traveling callously down his exhausted face. Shadows cloaked his withering figure. He was drained of emotion, drained of everything, his pulse faint, shallow, losing the will to fight. Domovoi dropped to his knees beside him and a ghost of a smile twitched the edges of the dying boy's bloody lips as he gazed straight through him.

"I'm sorry," he whispered brokenly.

Too late, Domovoi thought terribly. He was too late. He gathered him into his arms, his eyes stinging, his throat raw with words that remained unsaid. This couldn't be happening.

= = 00:00:00:08 = =

He was so, so cold; why was he so cold? Domovoi tried speaking but he was cut off by a soft kiss that splintered his heart, ripping it to pieces, shredding every last bit and leaving a lingering aftertaste that perplexed him--what was it? What?

= = 00:00:00:03 = =

Death--that's what it was, it was the end of all things, the end of life and existence itself--

= = 00:00:00:02 = =

His eyes were closing, no, no, God, why? Make it stop, make it last forever, please, don't do this to me, don't do this to him when he has so much to live for, so much--

= = 00:00:00:01 = =

--no, please, no--

= = 00:00:00:00 = =

"MICHEL!!"


Years passed. How many, Domovoi was never aware of. They left him feeling older, worn, tired. It was like there was no significance to his life anymore. Meaningless. Everything was meaningless.

…And then came Artemis.

When Domovoi first held the newborn in his arms he felt a warmth blossom in his stomach, a natural affection that came from caring for a life so insubstantial and frail. He thought, maybe he'd be able to protect this child, this boy, and become a solution, not a question. An essential elucidation to a cause greater than he.

But his eyes.

Oh God, Artemis's eyes, they were just like his eyes, his gaze the same startling shade of blue…

He watched his charge grow, guarded him, and became the only other confidant the boy allowed himself to fully rely on. At certain times, Domovoi would often see the spitting image of him beside Artemis, a troubled, distant aspect to their refined features. He had to restrain himself from reaching out to touch the ghostly reflection.

Sometimes he found his fingers moving involuntarily towards Artemis when his young master was immersed in work, the intellectual gleam in the teen's eyes so unlike his personality, and yet strikingly alluring because their faces were one and the same. Domovoi knew his responsibilities were far more imperative than his personal feelings and he did his best to shove away all unwanted thoughts, all immoral visions that flashed terribly through his mind when Artemis spoke to him with cool, brief lips or glanced his way with excruciating orbs. He regretted the luck that had brought him a dual blessing and curse.

Artemis. He was like a reincarnation of Domovoi's reoccurring nightmare, where the man held a small, familiar, bloodied body in his arms with no clue as to how it got there, but upon staring down into a pair of beautiful eyes he'd realize with horror that they were blind, blind, blind…

Artemis. He was like a dream, an infinite dream that ended too soon, where his mouth was an eternal smile meant solely for Domovoi and the shallow dip of his voluptuous collarbone really was as vulnerable as it looked. Instead of philosophical words and clever remarks, his lips would spawn fleeting, luxurious breaths and "Domovoi" would be one of two names he cried out, the other being "God".

"Good morning, old friend."

Shame. Relentless shame. Domovoi was exactly that--a friend, a companion, a servant, nothing more. There could never be anything more. But then why did he feel this way?

"Good morning, Artemis."

Domovoi gazed at the youth and wondered when he had stopped comparing him to Michelangelo.

Michelangelo.

The name sounded so foreign to him now, wrought with painful, sensitive, useless memories. Domovoi watched his master conscientiously, looking on as unsmiling lips flirted with the prospect of sipping tea. One slender index finger tapped a rhythmic staccato beat on the varnished tabletop, vibrant eyes scanning the newspaper with a sliver of boredom and amusement.

Artemis.

"Artemis," Domovoi said, without realizing it.

The youth glanced at him, a casual lifting of his lashes that left Domovoi smitten all over again.

"Yes, Butler?"

He was arrogant. He was shrewd. He was nothing like Michelangelo, yet he was exactly like him, and the belief that the cyclic return of one's soul could be reborn to inhabit another body and live once more seemed not as far-fetched as it had a long time ago.

Artemis tilted his head patiently, a rare, quizzical visage blanketing his composed features. "What is it?" he asked effortlessly.

Domovoi shook his head. "Nothing. Never mind."

Artemis returned to the quiet enjoyment of breakfast without pressing the subject any further, conscious of his manservant's discomfort but willing to overlook it until the time was right.

Domovoi tenderly watched the beautiful youth, feeling whole.

Someday.

Fin


A/N: Thanks for reading. Don't hurt me. O.o