I need to work on something new to help with some writers block. So y'all get this side project. Some of you may recognize it. It's an edited version of a one-shot thing I posted a while ago. If you liked that one-shot then hopefully you'll like this since it will be an expanded version.
"I don't think he can stay." The voice rang out in the darkness of the room, lowered so as to not disturb anyone else in the building. A large, black, clawed hand was used to support the shadowy figure leaning on the table. Opposite the shade sat another, covered entirely in robes and wearing a heavy, grated mask. "And I'm not saying that because I don't like him-"
"Though you obviously don't." The other figure interrupted, though the shade chose to ignore the comment.
"I'm saying it because it is true. Asura... he's a liability. The boy can't even from a simple shield Eibon. I've been trying to teach him that one, easy thing for a month! And his abilities in hand to hand combat are atrocious! As soon as you act even remotely aggressive towards him, he runs and hides behind Vajra! It's ridiculous and embarrassing!" The shade exclaimed, throwing both hands up in a surrendering motion.
Eibon could only sigh. Shinigami was a temperamental person, only kind to those he liked, and he had very little patience. Though the fight against the witches didn't leave much room for patience, he supposed. Still, the god had an obvious point. His son was a liability. If they could get him to stop cowering in a corner when he was supposed to be training, he could become a great asset until his inevitable downward spiral to madness. "Perhaps that is because Vajra has never yelled at him or brushed him off in his free time."
"Don't you lecture me. I'm very busy trying to find the Witch's Realm you know!" The Reaper exclaimed with an aggravated tone as he pointed accusingly at his friend.
"Not so much that you have no time to spare at all." Eibon stated, quickly continuing before Shinigami tried to interrupt. "While I personally do not care what you do with him, I feel I should remind you how bad it could be to leave an untrained Death God where anyone could find him. Best case scenario, his powers get out of control and someone gets hurt. Worst case scenario, the witches find him and he's imprisoned and tortured for information he doesn't have or he goes mad."
"...I have thought of those possibilities. I just need to find a place that's isolated enough for neither of those possibilities to occur. Rest assured, I will think of something." Shinigami said, trying to sound reassuring as he brought the conversation to an end.
"Have you considered just killing him? It may sound harsh but it would spare him a lot of trouble in the future. And perhaps it would be more humane than leaving him alone to fend for himself, which would probably lead him to madness sooner." Eibon suggested. It was mostly made in curiosity, Shinigami was rarely faced with such a dilemma. He could kill his fragment, his son, and spare the boy the pain of war or madness or abandonment. He could abandon the terrified godling and leave him to the mercy of the elements or possibly his enemies. He could keep him and continue his training and involve Asura in their fight, most definitely traumatizing him and speeding up his downfall with the added stress.
Shinigami himself was well aware of the possible repercussions of his choices. He stood frozen at the new suggestion. Eibon was right. He could just kill Asura. But some part of him was repulsed at the idea. As of now, Asura was just an innocent young god. He had never harmed anyone, not counting some of his worst panic episodes and even then it was usually himself and not others. He didn't ask to be made the way he was. Though Shinigami disliked his fear very much, he couldn't blame his fragment for being so afraid.
There was also the possibility of the few humans with them reacting poorly. Vajra was especially fond of his son and, like most humans, had a very strong sense of what was right or wrong. There was most likely going to be a rift between him and his warlords if he did kill Asura. So no, he didn't think he could kill Asura, not without a good reason anyway. And he had already decided Asura was more of a liability than anything right now so he couldn't stay with them. "I think... I think it's better to find a safe place for him. I just need a bit of time.
The sorcerer sighed, obviously wanting to say more but knowing better than to test the Reaper's patience. Instead he simply said, "He is your fragment, so do as you see fit. Just be careful, there are many things that could go wrong."
It really was a disappointment to get rid of Asura, the boy could have been a powerful ally once he was properly trained. Until then however, he was going to be a liability. With the witches growing bolder and gaining new abilities, they might try to approach their base while Shinigami and his warriors were gone on a campaign. There was a large chance that they could find the young god, and that wasn't something he was willing to risk.
There were times when he was second guessing his plan though. Mostly when he would watch his fragment -saying fragment made the choice easier than calling him son- and the young weapon Vajra. He almost felt bad for the boys, when there were no missions Asura could always be found by the taller boy's side. But he had quickly convinced himself otherwise. Asura was bound to fall into Madness, so he would be saving Vajra the pain of having to watch his friend lose his sanity. He would put Asura somewhere that he could not hurt anyone.
It took some time, but he had finally found a place. Now all he had to do was get Asura out there. It was easier said than done for sure. He had made sure to send all of the humans away on missions first. They would certainly disapprove and Vajra may even try to follow them. He couldn't have that now. He'd told Asura that they were going out to train for a while. Asura had hesitantly nodded in understanding after being told that it might help him learn to use his powers faster if there was no one around that he could hurt.
The best part was that it sat in a dead zone where witch activity was concerned. There was nothing for miles, but that was just what he wanted. No one to hurt, and no reason for witches to come looking. There were the ruins of an old town, but it had been abandoned ages ago for whatever reason. Some of the buildings still managed to stay up, and one seemed good enough for Asura to stay in.
Soon enough Asura stood beside him, face uncovered for once while he shifted nervously. He had a couple of bags slung over his shoulders and layers of clothes that would be useful where they were going. Shinigami held Excalibur in one hand, and a single slash was all it took to open the portal there. The elder Reaper leapt through first, turning to beckon the boy towards him. The young god followed after a moment's hesitation.
The moment Asura's feet hit the snowy ground he slipped, toppling forward and landing face first in a snowdrift. Once he pushed himself up again he turned to look at his father with wide, terrified eyes. Honestly, Shinigami almost felt sorry for him but he wouldn't let that get in the way of his goal. He reached down, ignoring the shivering he felt as he grabbed the boy's arm and yanked him up.
Once he was steady, Asura asked in a quiet whisper, "W-why is...Why is the ground so c-c-cold...?" There was a pause when he looked around the area before adding, "Why is everything white?"
Shinigami had to bite back a particularly mean comment and remind himself that the fragment had never seen snow before. This was an entirely new experience for him and of course he would be afraid of something new. With a sigh he explained, "It's snow Asura. Frozen rain. There's also things like sleet and hail though. Those are like snow but bigger pieces. I'll tell you more about it later though. For now we should go find shelter, it looks like we might get hit with a blizzard soon." The shade tilted his head back to peer up at the sky, which was a dark gray. It was only Asura tugging on his cloak lightly that brought his attention back.
"Blizzard?" The boy asked, looking at the older god with a mix of fear and curiosity.
"Once we find shelter, I promise to explain." The man repeated himself, a slightly exasperated tone hidden in his words.
With that settled, he turned to where he knew the house was standing. Behind him was the obvious crunch of footsteps through the snow. At first Asura kept pace but he soon stated to slow, glancing around at the empty ruins around them. Shinigami heard something clatter to the ground, his only warning a shriek before Asura barreled into his back and wrapped his thin arms around the shade. "Relax Asura, it was probably just the wind blowing something over. Maybe a small animal."
"How do you know that!? What if it's a wolf?! Or a bear!" The young god exclaimed, though his voice was barely at the level most people would speak at. His golden eyes widened in terror as he added in a quiet whisper. "What if someone else is here?" His whole expression turned to one of sheer horror and he tried again to hide himself in his father's cloak, only to be pushed away.
It took everything the man had to not shove the boy to the ground. Asura's constant fear was already getting on his nerves. "No one is here Asura! Use your Soul Perception and you will be able to sense them if they are." He grabbed the boy's arm and pulled him along tired of waiting for him. Eventually he stopped in front of a small house. The door was slightly ajar, but he supposed the wind was to blame. Shinigami wasted no time in dragging his fragment into the buildingdespite Asura's weak protests about how unsafe it looked.
The floor was simple, inlaid stone with a pit in the center for a fire. The furniture was sprawled around like the owners left in a hurry. Shinigami set the bags he'd brought down and moved to the fire pit. They didn't really need a fire, but it would be more comfortable. He turned to beckon Asura over to teach him. But found the boy missing. He felt a bit of worry twist in his gut but brushed it off. Asura probably went to explore the rest of the house, so the man went to find him.
It didn't take long, he had wandered off into a smaller room just off the main room. It was a bedroom, small enough for a child, with a worn old bed in the corner and a small chest at the foot of it. Asura was sitting on the bed, a small wooden animal held in his hands and a cloth doll set next to him. It looked to Shinigami like he was inspecting them. "What did you find?" The man asked, flinching a bit when Asura jumped.
The boy looked down at the toys and then back at his father, looking confused. "I...I... don't know..." He admitted, holding them up and asking, "What are these?" The doll and the wooden animal, a horse he realized now that he could see it, looked pretty old. Shinigami was tempted to snap at his fragment for not knowing what they were, but then he remembered that he'd never given Asura toys, or anything really. He supposed it wasn't the boy's fault that he didn't know. How could he when he's never seen or heard of them before now.
"That is a doll. The other one there is a wooden horse." Shinigami stated flatly as he pointed to each one. He watched Asura's gaze shift from him to each toy then back to him again before adding, "They're toys, you're supposed to play with them."
Now focused solely on the toys he held, Asura spoke. "... play?" His voice was so quiet, the elder god assumed it was directed at himself. "How... how do I...?" The simple, unfinished question hit hard, a painfully tight knot forming in the man's chest.
Fuck...No. No, no, no, no, no. He was not getting attached to the boy now! Not when he was so close to finally being rid of the personification of his fear. Still, the lost look on Asura's face only made his chest hurt more. He didn't want to think about it anymore, knowing that it was his own fault the fragment didn't understand what he meant. Pushing the discomfort aside, he added, " Alright Asura, let's start a fire for now. It's only going to get colder when nighttime comes."
Hesitantly, Asura got up and followed him back out to the main room. He had a lot to show Asura before he could leave, but once he did he would be gone.
Three days later in the dead of night, Shinigami got up and left the house. Once outside he summoned his jets and prepared to take off. before he could, he heard a quiet voice, barely noticeable with the sound of the wind whistling through the town and rattling the houses' shutters. "...F-father?" It was Asura, he must have sensed him leaving and woken up. The older Reaper refused to admit that it was impressive.
When he got no response, Asura tried again. "... father...what... what are you doing? I-it's cold out here... You sh-shouldn't be outside right no-" Asura cut himself of then, finally noticing the jets. A heavy weight settled over the boy, the familiar feeling of panic swelling up and wrapping around his chest. His next words came out louder, voice cracking as he said, "Are you leaving?! Y-you can't! I-I-I can't fly! How...How will I follow you?!'
The older god sighed, turning around to face Asura. He set his hands on the boy's shoulders, waiting for Asura to look up at him before saying, "Listen to me, okay? I'm only going back to the manor to see if everything is okay. They might need me for something and I might need to go to a battle, but I will come back. I promise." He paused, staring into wide, teary golden eyes for a moment, then adding, "So...Take care of yourself until I come back. Okay?"
"But-" Asura began to speak in a much softer tone. Shinigami pretended not to hear him though, not wanting to wait for a response and possibly change his mind. He gave the younger god an awkward pat on his head before taking to the air as quickly as possible.
Asura shrieked, startled by the sudden movement. He called after him as he started running behind the man as best he could on the slippery ground. "Wait! Father wait! Please!" There was no response, only escalating the terror he felt at being left alone in this place. "Don't leave me! Father! Fath-AHHH!" He screamed as he stepped on an unseen patch of ice, crashing face first into the snow. Slowly he pushed himself up, wincing as he put weight on his hands.
One glance at them showed small scratches that would be healed soon enough. And now that he knew he was okay he looked up, trying to spot the dark form of his father ahead of him. There was nothing but the white of the snow and the looming shadows of the surrounding buildings. A familiar uneasiness settled over him and he slowly got to his feet, trudging back to the house he was supposed to be staying in. Once safely inside he barricaded the door to keep it from blowing open and sat by the fire, shivering as he tried to warm up.
He couldn't believe it. This wasn't really happening, right? His father didn't really just leave him all alone in some unknown place, right? This was just a bad dream. That was what he wanted to think, but it wasn't just a dream. He really was alone out here, where there were none of the comforts of home. The constant chatter was gone, replaced by silence. The warmth of the desert replaced by freezing cold. There were no warriors out here, no father. Vajra wasn't here either, he wouldn't be able to help when he got too scared. He couldn't run to Vajra's room when he couldn't sleep either. For the first time ever, he was truly alone. And it scared, no, terrified him to think that.
Every sound was amplified now. Each creak of the wooden building made him freeze, checking with soul perception to be sure no one had snuck in. The banging of the shutters in the wind would make him jump when they smacked too hard off the side of the house. Even with the fire, he noticed the cold seeping in through the walls. A nagging fear settled in his gut as he sat alone now. What if Shinigami had abandoned him? What if he truly hated him so much?
Asura wasn't stupid. He understood that Shinigami thought poorly of him, after all he was the fear Death hated so much he chose to throw it away. He was aware of Death's talk about his, supposedly inevitable, fall into Madness. Of how Death always seemed more irritable in his presence and was far more angry trying to train him in his Reaper magics. But Shinigami shouldn't hate him so much that he'd leave his own son alone in the middle of nowhere where he had no guarantee of Asura's safety.
It would have been very dangerous. He couldn't fight, if something happened he could be hurt or worse. His stomach twisted into knots at the thought of being found by one of his father's enemies. They would undoubtedly be merciless. The books he'd read were more than enough to fule his imagination on whatever gruesome tortures he would be put through if it was one of Shinigami's enemies. But Death must have considered that. He wouldn't leave his own child alone if he thought that there was any possibility of him being attacked or captured. He would never abandon him to an unknown fate, right?
No. Of course not! He knew his father would come back for him. Shinigami had to come back after all. He promised. In the mean time, maybe he could practice some of the Reaper magics shinigami tried to teach him. Surely he would be proud for once if Asura could manage to do what they came for.