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“A҉n͝d t͏h͜e̢y ͘say̢ ̴ya ͟c̷an̸'͠t ͘tra̸i̢n͞ cats.̕"̕

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The hot pads of Anti’s fingers trailed down his neck and he fought the urge to shiver. He wouldn’t give it a reaction.

“What̛ t'do.͡.͢. ͝wh̡a̧t ̸t'͘d͏o…" Anti mused aloud, tapping its claws against Marvin’s skin, and this time he couldn’t help but twitch at the sensation.

"͜I c̴o͠u͜ld…͢ ̶r͏ip͟ y͏er ̸pre̕tt͘y t̶hro̶a̷t o͟pen,"̶ it murmured, dragging its claws lightly across the magician’s jugular. Marvin squirmed uncomfortably, unable to shrink any further back to the pole, wrists straining against the handcuffs. (How convenient that Anti knew that magicians were utterly useless with their hands bound.)

The instant its claws dipped lower to tear open his skin, a pale layer of cyan magic appeared and blocked the blow. Anti withdrew its hand quickly and reeled back in shock, hissing as the smell of sizzling flesh hit Marvin’s nose. He couldn’t help but smirk at his victory, reveling in its bewildered expression. Thank the gods for the enchantments on his jewelry. 

The demon’s upper lip curled, snarling in displeasure. "W̧h͢a̢t t̷he͢ ̴fu̷c̷k͠ ͠w̷as th̢at!?” The magician didn’t answer, choosing to instead stare the demon dead in the eyes.

“Li͜st̷e̕n he̴r̕e, k͏i͜t̢t͘e͏n,̡" it growled, eyes narrowed as it caught a fistful of Marvin’s hair and yanked his head forward. "Y̴a͜ be̶tt̨er—" It stopped, eyes glued to the cyan gemstone necklace resting on the magician’s chest. Its eyes flitted from the necklace to the rings and back to Marvin’s necklace. He swallowed nervously.

"̸Oh?͟ Wh͏a̵t'̷s͏ ҉t͡hi̵ş?"̴ Anti swept his hair away from his nape and revealed the clasp of his necklace. Marvin tensed involuntarily, mentally cursing himself when it giggled in glee. "̵S͠o t͝h͘i҉s's̨ ̶wh͢a̷t’s ̸cau̧sin҉g ou͟r͏ lit̸tle͝ pr͞ơb̡l̴em͝. T͞h͢i͘s̵ c̵erta͘in͞ly ͞wo͟n҉'҉t͠ do̶.͘"̡

Once Marvin felt the glitch trying to remove his necklace is when he started thrashing again, attempting to turn away and prevent Anti from removing his jewelry. However a sharp yank and a firm hold on his hair kept his head locked in one place and drew a surprised scream from his throat. He could feel claws scratching at the back of his neck, struggling to catch on the clasp, his magic preventing any damage to his skin. With a sudden tear, the clasp popped loose and Anti had the necklace in its hand. A sudden swipe stole the rings off his fingers.

Marvin lost all sense of semblance and lunged forward, the chains binding him to the pole rattling. "Give them back! I swear by the gods once I get out of here I’ll fucking slaughter you! Give them back to me!”

Anti cackled, hopping back with the necklace held high above its head in one hand and his rings in a closed fist with the other. "͟Nah̵, ͜I ͝d̷on't͜ thi̢nk͞ ͢I ͟w͏i͏ll.̛ ͏Y̶a̛ ̕we҉r̢e͢n't͞ ̸b̢e̢i̧ng̸ ̕a̛ goo҉d k͜i҉t͟t̵y. B̢es̢i͜dȩs̛ t͢he͡y'͟re ̵awful͡ly̶ pre̸t̸ty. ̛Y̛a ̢t͞hi̴nk̴ I҉ ̴coul̶d pu҉ll̴ t͘he̷s͏e ̡of̶f͝?“

A noise not unlike a growl rumbled low in his throat, eyes slitted and alight with cyan magic. He could feel his magic scorching through his veins, rushing through his body and struggling to escape his fingertips. The chains dug into his shirt sleeves and bit into his skin, putting a halt to his efforts.

Anti only laughed harder at the reaction. "̶Not̕ so̕ ̡c͏ocky̸ ̛w͜i͞t̸hou̶t̨ yer̨ ̛triņk͡e͏ts͡, ̛are ̢ya?"̛ It held up the cyan necklace to the light, peering at it curiously. 

If looks could kill, Anti’d be dead with the smoldering glare Marvin was shooting its way. The normal pressure of the heavy necklace was absent and his fingers felt bare without the rings he wore. He could only imagine the pain he’d bring the disgusting parasite once he got out of this mess. Oh the possibilities…

Anti gave the fuming magician a wide, Cheshire grin and with a glitch ripping through its body, it was gone.

They were just pieces of jewelry. That’s what Marvin had been telling himself for however long he’d been left alone after Anti had stolen his necklace and rings. Yet he couldn’t stop himself from agonizing over their absence. He missed the weight and familiarity of them, wishing he had them on currently. Maybe he’d be able to relax then.

He flexed his fingers, half expecting for his rings to protest the movement and push into his palms. It felt weird not having any jewelry on him. He always wore a few pieces even at the house, only taking them off to sleep (sometimes not even then). And the fact that fucking Anti took them made him even more pissed than the time Chase had hid them all for April Fool’s or when Henrik had cleaned his room and he had to tear through every inch of the place to find them.

What was even worse was the fact that he was vulnerable without them. The enchantments he’d woven and implanted with his own magic were no longer protecting him—his face, neck, every single scar and every weak spot was exploited. He felt naked without the faint buzz of magic curled around him.

Was this what being completely at your enemy’s mercy was like?

He jerked awake, eyes snapping open at the sound of crackling static and gleeful giggles. It took his brain a moment to process what was happening but the sight of Anti crouched down in front of him made him reel back, accidentally cracking the back of his skull against the pole, pain exploding in his head.

"̕Yo̶u've͜ ҉b͢een ̡pr͝e̵t̨ty͝ q҉ui͞et ͢th̵e̵se͜ las̕t ͢past f̡e͠w ͞day͢s͟…̵” it noted curiously. 

Past few days? He’s been here for less time then he imagined…

Marvin shook his head briefly before setting his jaw and glowered at it, ignoring the pain pulsing in his head.

“Look ͏wh̶a͟t I ̷b̨r̸o͡u̵g̸ht'c͢ha,"̧ it sang, lifting a familiar necklace up in front of his face.

He leaned forward, wanting to take his necklace back before something stopped him. The gems weren’t cyan anymore. They were filled with shifting static. The disappointment lodged in his throat more prominently than the anger burning in his chest.

"You can keep it,” he muttered, leaning back against the pole.

“N̵on̶sense!” Anti chirped. "̡Y͢a͏ ͠want҉ed ͏it͞ ̷b͞a̕ck s̛o bad̛ly̡ ͠a҉n͟d͢ I ͠fix͜ęd͟ i̶t͢ u̸p ͏jus̛' f̴er͞ y̸o͟u!҉ ͢It’s ͡r̸u̸d͘e̡ ̸t̶a̴ r҉ef̶us̨e a̡ ̷gift.̸"

“It’s rude to steal.”

Anti scoffed. "̡Say͘s͢ ̸the̛ ̛t͜h͢ief.͞"̧  That… that hurt more than he cared to admit.

Anti shifted forward, holding the necklace in both hands.

“Hey! Piss off! I said I don’t want it! Stop! Listen to me, you stupid parasite!” Marvin yelled, attempting to twist and turn away, ducking his head and thrashing.

The moment the static filled jewelry touched his bare skin, all hell broke loose. His gemstone necklace—the one that was supposed to protect him from foreign magic—had been turned against him. The once glowing cyan stones had been filled with shifting static, the stones burning hot against his collar bone. His arms strained against the chains, trying to reach up and unclip the clasp to hurl the necklace as far away as possible. The sensation of static sinking into his skin like teeth, millions of pins and needles digging into every inch of where the necklace rested. It buzzed violently, scorching his skin.

“Stop—stop! Stop!” He screamed, bucking wildly against his restraints. The static paid him no mind, wriggling and writhing under his skin. It raced a burning trail through his veins, corrupting and polluting his magic. His ears rang, the static drowning everything else out. Something hot stung his throat as a mess of static, cyan magic, and blood rose up and gushed out of his mouth. His body was trying to expel the foreign magic but it was only doing more harm than good. Flashing screens of black and white and gray overtook his vision, tingling tracks of staticky tears tickling his cheeks. His panicked screams and yelling had died down to pathetic whimpers and sobs.

“̡O͏h ͡h̴u̴sh͞, ̶pet̵,͘"̢ Anti chided, watching the magician cry static tears remorselessly. "̕If̧ ͢ya͠’d ̴j͟us'͜ g̶i̡v̢e͘ ̸up̕ a̛nd̨ ̶su̕b͝m͝it ͏then i͏t͢ ͢w͢ould͠n' ̢hurt.͠”

The whimper that rose out of his pet’s throat when the demon ran his hand through his hair made his lips curl upwards. He watched with morbid fascination as the static continued to roll down his cheeks, splotchy red from exhaustion. He delicately traced over the scars lining his kitten’s face with a single claw, relishing when a low constant rumble was heard.

“What a̧n ơb͏e̶die͏ņt̸ ͟kit͞t̴y,̕"̨ he cooed, tugging sharply on his pet’s hair and grinning when he whined. "A҉n͝d t͏h͜e̢y ͘say̢ ̴ya ͟c̷an̸'͠t ͘tra̸i̢n͞ cats.̕"̕


Static filled eyes peered curiously at the stranger in front of it. Red. But a different kind than the one that came out of it. Brighter.

“Marvin, what’s wrong with you?”

It didn’t know what that word was. The one word the static rose over and filtered out. It heard its master’s voice echo in its thoughts until it was simply one word looping in its head.

If ͘aņyon̸e ̸oth̨e̛r ͞th͏a̕n me͟ sees ҉you̶, ͝a̡t͝tac̛k̨ th͝em̷. ̵R͟ip th̶em͝ ͢t̢o ͠p̵ie̢c͘es̢ a̶n̵d ̕I͏'͜l̨l̶ r͏ewa̸r͝d ̷you͜.͝ ̴A̴t̨ţac͝k ̧th͟e͟m͏.̶ A̵tt͜a̸ck.͟ Attack attack attack attack attack attack attack attack attack attack attack attack̜ ̗̾attac̮̄k ̓ͅa͚͒t̫͐tac͊͟k͕̋ attack̎͜ ̧̉a̺͗t̩̓ta̞͌c̲̍k͙̓ ̚͟at̤̽t͈͑a̡͑c̠̃k ̬̄a̍͟t͉̐ta̼͌cǩ̝ aṫ̡ta̭͆c͕̽k ̯̈͒͢at͎͞ẗ̯́á͖̬̋c͎͔̈́͞k͎͌̿͟ á̧t̢͊t͕͂ȁ̫͚͒c̙̅k̿ͅ ͜͝ă͍t̙̔t̫̰̐̈a̢̤̅̒c͑͆͜͟k͎͒ a̧̲̐͒t̞́t̺͆a̟̽c̙̓k͘͜ ̘̇a͓̐ţ̥̽̀t̯͛͞ͅa͉̒c͇̀k ̹̉a̢̠͡͞t͙̆t̻͑a̱c̠̕ḱ̩͙̚ ̺̄̋ͅã̧͉̆t̯̿t̀͜a̧͑c͖̫͉͐̄͡k͉̎ a̻͠tt͔̭̠̓̚a̜̣̒̚c̥̟̅̽k͓̩̄̃ ̣̿a̻t̠̹̓͞ţ̥̙̎͂̚a̺͙͆̚c͇̪̾̓k̜̕ ̦̐a͔̽ț̿t͎͘ā̞ck̹̬̃̔ ̳͘at͖̦̎̒t̺̙̝̿̀̃a̘͎͔̔̉͝ck̜ ̗̺͌͞ạ̦̏̌̕ͅt̡͕͇͊͐̈́t͕̤̎͠a̫̼̙̋́͆ck̤͓̍̿ ͕̈́at̘̆ta͎ĉ̟̳̋͗ͅḵ̨͋͞ a̳͋ţ̱͠͝tā̺̙̩̔̂c͔͇̉k ̼at̪͡t̳̝̄̾ac͇̒k̤͉͆̒ ȧ̧̡̿̂͢ẗ̡͓̞̓͡tą̹͗́č̤̼͘k̼̗̻̃̀̂ ̗̖̝̝̒̎͘͘a͔̺͆͗t͕̱̔̋t͎͐a̰̫͠͝c͇̗̳̝̃̅̚k͚̗̐̓ ͍̅ą̢̣͌̀͌ṫ͍̾ͅt̘̘̠̿̎́a̪̐c̣͚͖̏̌͊k̝̠̭̉̎̇ ̡̲̘̌̿͛a͇̒ť̙̻͈͗͑ẗ͔aĉ̝̖͂k̡͈̳̑̎̅̊͟ a̡͉͂̆t̡̙̾̚t͙͚̳̀̾̾ä̳́c͓̀k̟̒ ̰͍͙̎̓͆a̹̟̣͔̍̍̍̕tẗ̗̳͎͎̓̈́͠a͔̎ç̖̞̒̋̉k͕͍̲̲̺͒̎͗̾̚ ̧̮͖̗̦̿͛̒͞a̰͉͒͒̉͊͟͟͟͝ţ̠̞͔͉͐́͑́t̹͕̩̻͂̒̎̎̅͜ḁ̢̛̙̞̹̑̈́̿̏c͇̣̞̯̓̑͂̽ͅk̢̳̩̭̬̀̓̓̔͞ ̪̹̼̀̓̿̓̎͢͜ą͉͚͇̄̍̃̾͜t͖̠͈̤̥̿͑̋̍͘t̨̝̗͕͙͑̑̈͛̐a͍̼̦̎̿̌̆̾͜͟c̡͎̖̥͍͌̎́̔͡k̢̯͍͎͈͗̀́̉̚ ̢̻͉͍̼̐̔̓͆a͔̯̮̠͒̏̏̆͞ͅt͚̰͕̰̺̽̑͗͠͝t̢̤͙̹͗̒͐̾͋͢ã̢̝̬̤̟̽͋͗̚c͔̺̟̜͋͑͂͌͆ͅk̮̗͇̘̮̉̈̉ ̛̹̩̘͓̯̈̏͐̈a̢̞̻̯͕͒̓̎̽̚ṯ̛̦̲̞̔̿̏͋ͅţ̯̗̟̯̌͊̕͠a̟̥̝̜͚̋̒͑͝c̜̬̠̬̭̄̾̅̽͝k̼̻̥̳̘͒̅͐͂̅—̻̥̬̪̈̀̓͐̚͜

He lunged, claws outstretched and teeth bared.