I'm just not feeling the inspiration to write this story anymore... So, until I start feeling the flow, the chapters are going to come very slowly. Even still, I hope whoever is reading this enjoys this chapter and the chapters that have yet to come.

Chapter 6

It came back slowly, his awareness. But as it did, it wasn't pleasant. His head throbbed, and it felt like the skin on his wrists had been torn off and the bone grated. And then there was the ache on his throat that didn't want to go away. Definitely not something you want to wake up to.

Wearily, Anton opened his eyes, noticing how bright the dimly lit room seemed and how it burned him when he tried to see. He blinked a few times, trying to force the whiteness from his vision so he could peer down at his hands. And he almost wished he didn't.

Thick rope was knotted tightly around each hand and bound together, his fingers looking slightly purple from lack of blood circulation. Its rough material was digging into his skin, sending a sharp pain to his brain. But just the sight made a sudden realization spring to his mind, and the previous events quickly dawned on him. It shattered his oblivion and brought along a shock that snapped him to his senses.

That man-!

His heart picking up speed, he jerked upward, but couldn't quite get himself to sit. After a few more tries, he gave up. His bound arms weren't going to allow him to get up by himself.

So he sat there, brown eyes wide with fear and understanding. He could see some of the furnitureless room, and his friend lying unconscious not too far away. A huge bruise covered the left side of her face, and several cuts were visible on her arms.

He blinked in surprise then looked down at himself. There wasn't a single cut on him, though a few parts of his ached, there was nothing that bad.

And then he noticed that he wasn't wearing the clothes he had come to the house in.

Why am I thinking about clothes?

He tried to think clearly, but for some reason his thoughts and motions were sluggish and weak. It was as if he were on some sort of pill – though he wasn't sure what kind, or if it had a purpose other than to make him ill-coordinated.

Anton groaned, not knowing what to do. He couldn't do anything other than wait, and he wasn't sure he wanted to wait. The man's words kept flooding back to him, and he couldn't push them out of his mind, no matter how hard he tried.

"The Phoenix is your worst nightmare. And do you know why? It's because your parents are part of the U.O. Or were, to be exact. Now, you are going to be this: an item used for ransom."

He shuddered and closed his eyes. All Anton could imagine was his parents coming and negotiating with the people, only to have themselves injured, just like the demon thief had been.

"We'll give you what you want as long as you let my dear go," his mother would say, only to have the man agree falsely and backstab her in the end.

He sucked in a breath and slowly opened his eyes to the brightly lit room, wishing he knew what to do in order to prevent something like that happening.

That was when a thick, leather bound book dropped in front of his head. It landed with a startling thud!, one that made him flinch. He looked up in utter confusion, only to meet the cold magenta colored eyes of the thief. Anton's school bag was in the man's hand, but soon ended up on the floor just beside the book.

Then the man kneeled down, his gaze flickering around the room for a short moment. "Do you want to ask me something?"

Anton tilted his head to the side, not quite understanding. It was a pathetic motion that only made his neck start hurting.

The thief sighed. "I was told that you could have one answer to one question before we go."

His eyes turned into moons as he stared at the thief. He could have one of his questions answered? Hope instantly started bubbling up inside him, and he almost blurted out all the questions in his head. But, he stopped himself and thought carefully.

Stupid things like, 'can you untie us?' would definitely have a simple, and one worded answer. And he already knew what it would be; it wasn't very hard to come up with. So, he decided to ask the hardest question to answer.

"Why?"

The thief snorted with amusement, "Why indeed?"

"Answer me," Anton said, his voice a bit stronger than he had intended. All he got in reply was a raised eyebrow.

Then the still-cloaked man shook his head, a dark laugh sounding from his throat. "Depends. Do you really want to know why?"

And the second the thief said that, Anton realized he wasn't sure if he did. He wasn't sure whether or not the answer to 'why' would be something he could deal with, or something that would make him curl up in a ball and cry – which is what he already wanted to do.

But, after a moment, he found himself nodding, hoping that he could trust the cloaked man that stood there.

"Adam! What are you doing?" A scolding voice suddenly boomed from behind Anton, and he probably would have jumped if he weren't bound in the wrists and lying on his side.

"About to answer the kid's question," the thief replied, his eyes closing, the ends of his lips twitching up in a small smirk. He seemed almost irritated that he was interrupted.

"I never gave you permission to."

He gave a huff. "Aquilla did, 'Ray." He stood up and moved out of Anton's sight, but his next words were faint muffles that made no sense.

"Uhg! Adam, will you stop messing around? There is no way he said that. Get out. Get out now! Leave me to do my job."

"You still never-"

"I don't care! You're gonna spoil everything!"

The thief made a gesture that annoyed the man even more. "I'm going to do what I was told to do. And that is to give the kid one answer to one of his questions. I don't care what our leader is planning-"

"Don't say it out loud! Uhg. You're such an idiot! The boy's listening, you know."

Another gesture that made the other person give a grunt of annoyance. "I don't care, and it doesn't seem like Aquilla does either."

"Out!"

"Orders say that I am to stay here."

"Rugh!"

"Rug?"

A huff, and then stomps sounded in the other direction. Once they faded into the distance, the thief nearly dropped to the ground laughing.

"I love that guy!"

Anton sighed. They were terrible bad guys. Not that he would be any better. He'd probably break down and say sorry to every person he spoke to.

I thought you guys were supposed to be my worst nightmare…

"So, kid." The thief reappeared into his sight, his red eyes still bright with amusement. "You want to know why, right?"

He nodded, wincing as he accidentally hit his head on the wooden floors. The man sat down in front of him, his hand reaching inside his cloak to grab something. It was a small slip of paper.

"I assume you want to know why we're doing this to you, and now your friend?" When Anton nodded once again, the thief put the paper into his school bag. "Well, that's something that'll help you answer that question of yours. Aquilla wrote it for you, so you should be honored that you get something in his own handwriting. And now, I shall take my leave. Good luck getting out of those ropes." He lifted a hand, pulled down his hood, and disappeared.

XXX

Ada had heard the whole exchange, but she would be confused by it all if she had understood it. Her head was making everything seem muffled.

Wasn't Anton going to be used for ransom? What happened to that? It seems like the people just forgot about it, or they just didn't want to bring it up for some odd reason. Those would be her thoughts, if she could think properly.

All she wondered was, Voices? What are they saying?

She shook her head and pushed herself up into a sitting position, flicking her hair in front of her bruised face. Then she looked down at her wrists. They were tied like Anton's, but rather loosely. If she wanted to, she could pull them off with her teeth and be free. But even if she could, her head was spinning too much to tell what was up and what was down. For all she knew, she would be tightening it.

She grunted then turned to look at her friend. His swirling form was – seemingly – standing sideways with his eyes staring intently at his bag which had appeared dancing next to his head. Not an easy place to reach with his hands bound together and held at his stomach by another rope. Especially when it was moving like that.

She shook her head. There was no possible way for the bag to be jumping around him, it didn't make any sense so she assumed it was just that she was dizzy. She did, after all, feel like she was going to fall back over.

Somehow knowing that standing up and walking over to him wouldn't be the best thing, Ada managed to crawl over to his side, the ground bounding up to meet her a few times before she reached her destination.

His head turned slightly, his shoulders tensing up. Then he relaxed, releasing a breath of relief. But just after, he shook his head and peered at her again, confusion playing on his face.

"How are you… moving?" He asked, his voice quiet and layered with confusion and wonder. Though it didn't seem like that was what was on his mind. His gaze seemed distant.

She shrugged, nearly falling over with the motion. "I dunno," she slurred, sitting back down. "I'm really dizzy."

Unlike her, it seemed like he had a clear mind and was able to think better. She didn't even remember her reason for crawling over to him.

His eyes flickered down to her wrists for a short second, noticing that they were loose before looking back up. "We need to get out of here," he murmured suddenly, his head turning to look at his bag and the leather bound book. "Before they come back."

After a few seconds, she recognized what he was saying and nodded an agreement.

"Can you use your hands?" Anton asked, struggling to roll over onto his back. He succeeded and got a better look at her, his eyes trailing curiously over the healing cuts across her arms and the bruise on her face. When he saw her nod slowly, he gestured toward his bag with his head. "Grab my bag and open it."

She did as told after a short moment, fumbling with the flap that covered the entrance. If her mind had been working right, she would have been confused at his motions.

"Grab out that folded paper. The thief gave it to me. I want to know what it says before we do anything to escape."

Ada looked around the inside of the main pouch, her fuzzy vision not helping her with her job. But a couple heartbeats later she saw a small, folded piece of what she assumed to be paper. Plucking it out from the bottom of the half-empty bag, she tried handing it to him.

Anton shook his head and paused. Then something popped into his head. "Can you untie me?" He asked, his voice all but a whisper.

A little doubtful, she nodded. Then she took her own tied hands and tugged at what she thought was the knot on Anton's ropes. It was hard and wouldn't budge when she tried. But she had no way of telling if she was just pulling the wrong side.

Just a short bit later, she gave up, sending her friend an apologetic shrug.

The boy sighed, giving his wrists a flat stare. "Why can't life be simple like it had been for the past 15 years…?" He grumbled, trying to move his blue fingers. They twitched, but wouldn't do anything beyond that. "Ada, let's forget about the paper for now. We need to get out of here. Soon. I don't know how long they're going to be gone."

She gave a mumble that was supposed to be a 'yes', and she was grateful when her friend understood what she was trying to say. He gave her a small smile and tried to sit up. Though, like before, he couldn't get very far. He ended up lying back down with a groan, sending a pleading glance to Ada.

But by then, her vision was fading in and out. And after a few heart beats, blackness invaded her sight and something hard hit her shoulder. Then a numbness seared through her body and put her to sleep.

*...XXX...*

When the thief left, the boy had been in a confused and pitiful position. But, when he came back with yet another mission given to him, he noticed that Anton seemed to be calm and collected.

The teen's eyes were half closed, his face relaxed, and he didn't even jump at the thief's sudden entrance into the house. His hands were still bound together, and his friend was passed out not to far away. The paper Adam had placed into his bag was gripped loosely in her hands, still folded.

He smirked, padding over to stand directly beside the boy's head.

"Kid. Wakey wakey. You're going to be presented to your parents in three hours' time," he stated, keeping his voice quiet and cold. Trying to make sure that none of his emotions made it into his words.

Anton tilted his head to glimpse the thief, eyes straying to the thief's magenta ones. A flicker of fear passed through, but the boy pushed it down and stared down at his hands. A feeling of regret and anger must have been bubbling up inside the teen, but the thief ignored it and kneeled down.

"I'm going to untie you and clean out the cuts on your wrist," he said carefully, gripping Anton's arm tightly. "'Ray will be waiting just outside the door, if you try and run. He's no weak man. He can bring you to your knees in seconds."

A small noise came from the teen's mouth, one that sounded almost like defeat. No doubt he was planning to escape, somehow.

Adam hid a smile, his thoughts wandering to places he'd rather not have them be at. And yet, he couldn't keep them focusing on his one task at hand.

Aquilla, you sure have an eye for the ones good for bait.

He shook his head, wondering when it would be time to tell the boy everything. But, even he knew it wouldn't be too long before that happened. All he had to do was wait for his leader's words.

"Are you the good guy, or the bad guy?" Anton interrupted Adam's thoughts, his brown eyes watching the thief as he undid a thick knot.

The question surprised him for a second, and instead of answering honestly, he gave his usual not-too-helpful response. "Don't know."

"Do you ever answer my questions?"

"I don't know. Do I?"

"That's not helping…" The teen grumbled with a drawn out sigh.

"I'm aware," he replied, his words monotone. The knots finally were undone, leaving the black haired boy to sit up and rub his scratched wrists.

After giving his hands a long stare, Anton looked over to the thief. "What's your real name? Or would you rather keep the title 'demon of death'?"

Adam gave a snicker, shocked that the boy had actually stated his mind. It seemed like he could do something more than curl up and cry. "I kinda like it. Just keep calling me that."

An annoyed huff. "Please?"

"I told you. I'll only answer one question of yours," Adam said, rolling his eyes like a child.

"Fine then, demon of death. When do I get to meet your Master?"

Master? Adam raised an eyebrow. "Okay now. Tell me, where did you get the word master out of all this?"

"Well, Death must be your master, since you're his demon. Or is that not right?"

The thief sighed. When did the kid become a jerk? "I have no master. Nobody controls my soul. Not Aquilla, not anybody."

"So you don't like your title? Then how about you tell me your name?"

"And you haven't heard it used yet? I swear 'Ray shouted it out for the world to hear a few times." When silence greeted his reply, he finally gave in and told the teen. Well, partly. "My name's Jason," Adam lied, feeling like the made-up name suited him enough. All Jason's in fiction books were either thieves or rocking people. Just like him.

Anton narrowed his eyes, not seeming to believe Adam's answer for a short moment. "Alright, Jason. Are you my friend or enemy? I can't seem to tell."

"Uh-uh. No more answers."

Adam stood up, dragging the boy to his feet and ushering him into the bathroom. It – just like the other rooms – didn't have a single scrap of furniture in it. No toothbrush, soap, anything. But, it did have running water, and that was all the thief needed.

He yanked the teen's arm, and shoved his wrists under the faucet with one hand. Then, with the other, he turned the water on. The liquid spewed out, making the boy's wrists burn as it seeped into the cuts.

Anton yelped, trying to pull his hands away. But he was kept in place as Adam tightened his grip, receiving another soft cry of pain in return.

"Stop struggling," the thief hissed, tugging on the arm till Anton was half-draped over the sink. "If you stay still, everything will move faster and it will help me get you out-" He stopped his words, clamping his mouth shut and giving himself a mental slap. Don't shout it out for the kid to here! He scolded himself, glancing in the teen's direction. The boy gave him a confused look, but didn't question it, knowing that Adam wouldn't give him a straightforward answer.

He sighed and turned the water off, watching as Anton rubbed his wrist and stared at the puffy cuts that covered his skin.

Aquilla gave him strict orders not to tell Moray what was going on, nor the kid, and he was going to follow them. He had to keep his mission to himself, and not let it spill out for every ear to hear.

Man, he hated acting like the bad guy.

"Come on," he said, gripping the collar of the boy's shirt and ushering him out of the small room. Ada was still lying on the wooden floor, but she was starting to stir once more. The drugs 'Ray had given her must be wearing off.

Which meant that Adam only had a short time to fulfill his orders.

Letting out another breath, he leaned down and grabbed the back of the girl's shirt, hauling her up and dragging her along with him. Fingers relaxing on Anton's collar, he allowed the kid to pull his own weight. He wasn't Moray – he couldn't carry the weight of two people on his back.