Pt. 1: Shivers
Summary: After being apart for six years, Anton Prosper and Steffan Kabala meet again
Disclaimer: Recognizable characters or places belong to Wendy Pini, lyrics belong to Dio
Fingers scratching blackboards make cowards of the brave
A natural reaction from the cradle to the grave
Rats and bats and spiders and little things that crawl
Never made me tremble, I'm not bothered, not at all
Then I saw you
Something new inside of me
But what's this shaking?
You made me shiver
That's one of the ways he'd heard himself being described, cold was another. And yes, maybe it was so, but it was by his choice.
He'd learnt early on that you'd get farther, be more likely to be successful in what you're doing, if you just stayed calm and controlled your emotions instead of acting on them and get upset and show just how desperate you are. He'd learnt that from his father, both the parent's words of advice and when he'd taken the son to attend meetings with him.
Whatever was thrown at him, Anton took it all with the same calm indifference, never once letting anybody or anything take him by surprise. Whatever may come, he was prepared for it.
And why wouldn't he be, the people around him never seemed to change, the days was looking all the same. It was a monotony he was more than comfortable with. The only thing that had changed was that his father was no longer around, he was alone with a herd of advisors who hadn't got the slightest clue about his plans for the future.
At a young age he'd taken up his father's business, having learnt about them during his father's lifetime – that's why he'd been conceived; to be an heir. His father had never married, so the conception hadn't been the traditional one but a woman had been picked for her good genes and been paid for her part in it. But she would have to pay a price too, she had to disappear never to have any contact with the son and that's why Anton had never known her.
He thought of it at times, but every time he pushed the thoughts away thinking that it was useless to dwell on as she probably didn't care about him anyway, just another woman in it for the money. If she'd really loved him, if she'd really wanted to see him, she wouldn't have cared about that she'd been told she couldn't see her son. She would have tried to find him.
He'd come to expect nothing from others, take distance from them, to think that they would only see you whenever there was something you could do for them.
He'd been prepared for anything. Just when he left the Townhouse that night he didn't know that it would come to change his life forever.
Stepping out of the car he approached the metal gates which, as sensors picked up his approach, opened before him. The gates closed behind him with a dull thud, and Anton stood for a second staring out over rows and rows of graves, of which one was the one he'd come to visit.
His mind was elsewhere but he didn't need to tell his feet where to go, after six years when he'd gone to the grave at that day – the anniversary of his father's death – he knew the way by heart.
Every time, every year, as he walked down the rows of stones he was torn. He wondered why he did go at all, he would end up in front of a silent grave with spiteful memories that he'd managed to keep of his mind. Till he stood staring at that stone with his father's name on.
And that's all it was, a stone. His father had been cremated and then put in a vault, like so many others, and then this stone had been set up to mark the ending of his existence.
He stopped and like the five previous times he'd come, he stood by the grave, hazel eyes staring expressionless at the green patch of grass in front of the stone.
"You come here every year, but you don't seem to care much."
Anton went rigid, his gaze suddenly intense, startled by the voice that had spoken up. He hadn't noticed that someone was there with him, having been dwelling deep in thoughts.
He turned to look over his shoulder and gasped at the sight that greeted him, for a moment unable to breathe.
Cemetery midnights, walking on the dead
Never seemed to matter, it's all inside your head
Names are only letters mentioned on a stone
And if you're going somewhere you're going in alone
Then I saw you
Something new inside of me
Felt this shaking
You gave me shivers
A couple of meters further down the row, in the direction from which he'd come stood a boy. He was short and slender, his face was golden and by far more beautiful than any Anton had ever seen before. From the crown of his head halfway down his slim torso flowed pale white hair, in great contrast with the surrounding darkness of the night. Green eyes fixed on Anton shone as with an inner light.
Anton stood staring at the other for a while, spellbound and trying to figure out why the boy, who looked to be about 15-16 years old, was familiar. But where would he have met him?
When he didn't answer the boy walked the last few meters up to him to stand before him, but instead of repeating the question or saying anything at all he turned to gaze upon the stone that had been raised to honor the memory of Anton Prosper the Third.
"I remember that day," the boy said, his voice a soft murmur that Anton found quite attractive, reading the date of death of the stone. "It was the day when mother took me with her to the meeting at Trankule Corp. The day we met."
Anton stared at him, now suddenly remembering the ten year old boy he'd by chance run into.
"You weren't close?" the boy, Steffan he remembered his name to be, asked glancing at him inquiring. When Anton gave him a blank-faced look in returned, Steffan added: "Is that why you seem to force yourself to go here?"
Anton held the other's stare for a little longer before he turned to give the tomb stone a thin lipped smile.
"It doesn't matter if I come here or not, even if his remains would be resting here he wouldn't know that I'd come. It's all in your head, a delusion made up in your mind."
"So why did you come?" Steffan wondered confused.
It was just for show, that was what Anton told himself, he'd got over his father's death long ago. He didn't think that his plans for the future – a future with no end - had anything to do with the scene that had taken place right before his eyes six year earlier.
"Inspiration," came the reply, which got the beautiful youth even more confused.
Anton's smile got wider. He would succeed in a way that his father wouldn't even had come close to think about, that anybody would ever think about, and he would outlive them all. A low laughter that had his companion a bit frightened escaped his lips.
"Why are you here?" Anton asked while observing the beautiful face he didn't seem to be able to take his eyes off.
"I followed you."
Anton's eyebrows rose and he was speechless for a moment, and then:
"You followed me?"
"I wanted to see you again," Steffan said. "It's been so long."
What's the catch, Anton asked himself, why do you want to see me?
Magic charms and voodoo and all those other spells
Never made impressions and I never slept so well
If I had a nightmare, I'm sure that I would know
I really don't remember, but I'm sure it isn't so
Then I saw you
Something new inside of me
What's this shaking?
Later, when he'd spent what he thought was appropriate amount of time on the cemetery, he left heading back for the car. He didn't get into it though, but turned to look back at the boy, Steffan, who was standing a short distance away looking at him silently.
"How do you get home?" Anton inquired.
"I walk I guess," he said softly.
This late? Anton frowned, when he'd met Steffan's mother she hadn't come off as the warmest of persons but would she really have her young, strikingly beautiful, son walking home all alone at this late hour?
"You can go with me," Anton said.
But instead of being relieved by the offer Steffan seemed reluctant, as if he didn't at all cherish the thought of going home.
"I can't come home yet," Steffan replied. "Mother doesn't expect me till the day after tomorrow."
"I see," Anton said slowly, not at all understanding. He turned back to the car when he felt small drops falling on him. It had started to rain. He looked over his shoulder toward Steffan, the rain, the drops growing larger and more consistent, was in fast pace soaking his thin shirt and trousers. "If you can't go home, then at least come with me. You can't spend the night outdoors in this weather, you'll get sick."
Steffan made a show of hesitation but then he climbed in through the open door and settled down to watch Anton sit down as well.
Anton abruptly turned his head when he felt something pressing against him, to find that Steffan had moved to sit next to him, trembling from the cold. A bit hesitant, Anton moved to put an arm around slender shoulders, feeling the youth lean into the embrace.
Shaking his head, ridding himself of the trance he seemed be under, Anton looked away from the face, which with its closed eyes and the serene expression was even more beautiful.
Anton leant back in the seat closing his eyes, sighing a little, thinking that it was another year passed.
Turn out the light it won't matter
A bucket of blood, I'm still fine
A black cat's only a color
But you can do it every time
Arriving at the Townhouse, Anton turned to his companion, but Steffan was sleeping soundly. Gathering the slender frame in his arms Anton picked him up and, declining the Chief Attendant's offer of assistance, carried him up the steps and in through the door.
Inside, Anton brought him to one of the guestrooms where he put him down on the bed. He sat on the bed next to the sleeping one, for a while just watching, reluctantly amazed by the stunning being lying there. He noticed that Steffan was shivering and so he removed the still damp clothes and placed him beneath the quilt. Steffan stirred a little mumbling incoherent and then came still.
Anton rose from the bed and headed for the door, where he came to halt, to look back at the still form. He couldn't remember ever having met anyone who had caught his attention as efficiently as Steffan had, and it got him a bit on edge.