"My, my, my…I haven't seen such a kite in a long, long time…"
Cyrus's insides froze. He extended a flicker of power, confirming that no one else was around as well as the identity of the entity standing behind him. He inhaled deeply and called his kite back to him, standing up straighter as he felt the comforting weight of canvas and wood settle on his shoulder. He smoothed the leather strap with nervous fingers before turning around. "Hello Athanasius."
The reaper smiled, red eyes glinting as he stepped closer to Cyrus. "Well, well. If it isn't Sarkan's little protégé. Fancy meeting you here." Cyrus huffed quietly, stroking the leather strap of his kite again. "Laugh if you like boy but this time it appears you encroach on my territory." Athanasius spread his arms, indicting wide open area they stood in. There was only one difference between this land and the park Cyrus had been in when Sarkan had swept him away and into Kooza: The gravestones and plaques set into the ground.
Cyrus's gaze flickered to a particular gravestone.
Athanasius caught his glance and his smile grew wider and even more menacing. He prowled forward to peer at the inscription carved. "Ah…" he murmured. "A recent loss in the family then, little protégé?"
"Yes," Cyrus bit out, ignoring the vicious ache in his chest. Athanasius crouched down and grasped a handful of the soil, rubbing it between his fingers, humming to himself. Cyrus bristled for a moment before taking a deep breath. This was not Kooza. Athanasius was not a dancing skeleton with rubies for eyes. Sarkan was not here to protect him. "What do you want, reaper?" he asked warily.
"Hmm?" Athanasius stood, brushing his hands free of the grave soil. "Oh, many things," he chuckled, studying the dirt that had made its way underneath his nails. "But nothing that pertains to the current situation." He studied Cyrus, taking in the faded shirt and jeans and tired eyes. "In fact, it is I who should be asking you that." The death god slid closer to Cyrus, towering over the boy, tilting his head back with a gentle finger. "I really must ask Sarkan how he found such a gem," he mused.
Cyrus edged back, resisting the urge to shudder violently. "What do you mean?" he asked, aiming to distract Athanasius from coming any closer.
Athanasius gave him a flat look. "Think boy. Sarkan must've developed your brains while he had you. What am I?"
Several answers flashed through Cyrus's mind, none of them complimentary. Azar would have been proud. "A reaper," he replied, being deliberately obtuse.
Athanasius rolled his eyes and sighed. "Very good. Now, as you undoubtedly know from your experiences with Sarkan, I can be persuaded to make deals on occasion." He stood still and stared at Cyrus intently. "Now then," he purred, "are you sure there isn't anything I can do for you?" He cast a significant look at the headstone that bore Cyrus's grandfather's name.
Cyrus's eyes widened and he stopped breathing for a moment. "I-You…You could bring him back?" he whispered. Athanasius nodded, reveling in the mingled hope and anguish visible in Cyrus's expression. Cyrus whimpered softly, eyes darting back and forth between the headstone and Athanasius.
"You could have him back again. You could make sure that nothing ever happened to him again. You have the power…" Athanasius's voice was low and persuasive, though something dark and ugly flitted across his face as he thought of Cyrus's power. The boy was now staring fixedly at the headstone, chewing on his lower lip while his hands clutched at his kite's strap. "He would take care of you…" Athanasius continued, stalking closer to Cyrus. "It's just one little deal…"
"One deal," Cyrus mumbled to himself. "Grandfather…" He drifted forward, bending forward to brush the granite headstone. He had carved the name, date and inscription himself, using his powers. The script, like the rock and the man beneath it, was rough but steadfast.
Behind him Athanasius hovered, his expression one of an unholy glee. If he could manage to bind the whelp in the same manner as he had bound Sarkan…Oh, he shivered at the thought of Sarkan's face. To tarnish or harm the boy was to tarnish or harm the reclusive god, something Athanasius reveled in doing. Still, he had to close this deal.
"One deal little one," he whispered into Cyrus's ear, fingers sliding over grief rounded shoulders.
Cyrus's head twitched to one side and glazed eyes focused on Athanasius. "But you're a reaper, you want something. You always want something…"
Athanasius nodded. He had to be careful or risk the boy running. "Very true…What can you offer me in return for your grandfather's life?" He waited a beat before continuing. "Your kite? No…I don't care for mundane trifles, even if they are rife with power."
"Power?" Cyrus's eyes lost some of their daze, focusing. "I have power…Sarkan said so…" His eyes widened and he let out a horrified gasp as he attempted to whip around to face Athanasius. "You-Sarkan-Bindings, oh gods-" He caught a glimpse of murderous red eyes before the reaper slammed him bodily into his grandfather's headstone and pinned him there by the simple fact of outweighing him.
Cyrus let out another gasp, one of pain, as he felt the thin wood frame of his kite snap in several places as Athanasius leaned on him, one hand tangling in his hair to force his head down so that he was bent double over his grandfather's grave. The teen thrashed about, trying to escape. "Damn you're Sarkan's whelp, through and through!" Athanasius snarled. Then he leered down at Cyrus. "It appears you gained a spine over the years. How very interesting..." He briefly raised Cyrus's head only to slam it forward, slamming it against the unyielding stone not once but twice, teeth bared in a triumphant snarl as Cyrus cried out in pain. "And you don't live in a secluded pocket dimension." He leaned down and laughed, very softly in Cyrus's ear. "I will enjoy watching you, boy."
Cyrus gave a whimper of pain as Athanasius hauled him back upright and flipped him so that he was face to face with the Reaper. Crimson eyes glinted dark with a murderous joy. "I will find you, wherever you go, little protégé," he breathed, staring down at a pain-dazed Cyrus. Something primal and afraid flickered in brown eyes and Athanasius laughed again, sliding long fingers down the side of Cyrus's face, smearing a trail of blood from the gash on Cyrus's forehead. His hand, now blood stained, continued down, along Cyrus's chest and curling around Cyrus's hip, reveling in the teen's weak struggles to try and escape. "I will find you and you will come to know m-"
Athanasius collapsed heavily against the granite headstone as Cyrus abruptly vanished. He grunted before rolling to one side, gasping as he tried to regain his wind. He hissed in pain as he cracked his head on the same headstone mid-roll and sent out a furious wave of power. "Gods forsaken, son of a slithering incubus Trickster!" he roared as he traced the whelp's panicked trail through the various planes before it slipped into nothingness, wherever Sarkan had hidden away his little world.
Regaining his breath, Athanasius stood up and smoothed his hair back, grimacing as he felt the warm stickiness of blood along his right temple. He fixed his eyes on the gravestone at his feet. "I will remember your grandson, Yanus Traherne; you can rest assured of that fact." Gathering his own powers, the reaper left the graveyard to return to his own realm, to plan his next move.
AN: ...*cough* Backstory: Five years have passed since Kooza and Cyrus is now 16. Three months before this, Cyrus's grandfather died of a heart attack. Cyrus has been...coping. He's supporting himself with a job as a local package handler, working and studying himself into numbness. He doesn't have any friends, just acquaintances from school and work. His school's counselor would love to talk to him but Cyrus doesn't want to.
Switching topics, I actually didn't intend for the levels of Foe Yay to be quite so high in this oneshot o.0 But between one friend saying that "Reapers are creepy!", Athanasius's personality and another friend saying "Up the heavy implications of what Athanasius will do to Cyrus!" and you get a very abused, very traumatized Cyrus and high levels of Foe Yay.