Natasha was inconsolable and Malak was said to be despondent. Tyrus made appearances at the respective funerals for Morgan and Raphael, as well as a benefit wake in their honor. Afterward, he was gone, disappearing into his life apart from the scene. A world of his lizards and spiders at a faraway house only a handful people knew the location to. Maya missed him, even if the last time she saw him he only civilly lifted his whiskey glass in her direction before melting away into the crowds.
As was the way with any death, it seemed everyone was tighter was for a short while after; promises of strengthening bonds and closer comrade. It was fleeting. Within a few weeks of accident, everyone had drifted away into familiar patterns, and those proclamations so boldly spoken might only resurface in a night of drinking when some unknown thing triggered a flood of memories.
Maya’s heart leap when, two months later, Malak and Natasha invited her out to dinner. Not so much because the prospect of eating with them, but because dinner was at Tyrus’s. She bought a bottle of the expensive whiskey he liked just for the occasion, partially hoping it would serve as a peace offering, but also to perhaps get him to open up.
Malak let them into the house with a spare key when they arrived, whereupon, they were promptly greeted by Cerebus and Tiamat. He reached into a bag he was carrying and threw some raw meat to the two monitors, both of whom scurried away with their treats like excited children with new toys from a favored relative. Classical music was playing at a loud, but comfortable, level throughout the house. The three of them found a tray of cheeses, an open bottle of wine, and three glasses waiting for them in the great room. Maya filled her glass, grabbed a tumbler from the liquor cabinet, and made for the kitchen with the whiskey bottle under her arm.
Tyrus was busy working on dinner, his dark hair tied back, but still cascading down his back like vines of shadow. If he noticed the intrusion into his kitchen he made no indication. Maya sat down the glass and filled it with whiskey before clearing her throat.
“A cook as well?” She started playfully. “You’re a very talented man, Tyrus. Is there anything you can’t do?”
“Yodel,” his voice was colder than the airless void between the stars.
“I…um…brought you whiskey,” Maya said, feeling her brave approach had been verbally disemboweled.
“I suppose I should thank you,” Tyrus said, his attention still focused on the meal he was making. “Which one of them decided to bring you along?”
“Malak invited me, and Natasha thought it would be nice too.”
“Malak?” Tyrus snorted. “I’m sure Erik was thrilled about that.”
“I wouldn’t know,” Maya said softly, her eyes shifting to the kitchen windows.
“Didn’t mention it to him?”
“I haven’t seen him since the night Morgan and Raphael died,” she replied.
Tryrus froze. He slowly turned toward Maya, his gaze seeming to flay her on the spot. Briefly, he looked back at the meal he was working on before stalking to the counter where the tumbler of whiskey was waiting for him. The sip he took drained half of the glass. He held it in his mouth for a moment, his normally stoic countenance replaced by a look of deep concentration.
“I see,” he said after swallowing and taking another small sip.
Maya felt herself going cold. The investigation had said some ugly things; the word sabotage being used. Supposedly, some people were questioned, and one of the owners of the venue spent a few nights in jail, but nothing else. It was as if the cause was buried with Morgan and Raphael.
“Tyrus…?” Maya’s voice felt as though it was coming across a great void.
“Go help Natasha set the table,” he said, swallowing his whiskey and finishing the rest in a single gulp. “And ask Malak to rustle up Cerebus and Tiamat. It would be bad form to have the children interrupting our dinner, which I’ll have out for us shortly.”
“Tyrus…what I said…what are you thinking?”
Slowly, in a frighteningly calculated fashion, he turned to look at her. For all his cold distance, there was a furnace-like heat to his gaze. He poured himself another tumbler of whiskey, and brought it to his lips. When he finally spoke, the words came out more as an order than a statement;
“Nothing of which to concern yourself with.”