The more he looked at him the easier it was to see the difference between his Stephanos and this Stephen. The lesser man was curled in upon himself, shoulders hunched and eyes downcast. The light in the catacomb niche they had converted into a makeshift cell wasn't good enough to make anything out, but Yonatan could smell salt water and hear the occasional sniff. Stephen was very still. Yonatan wasn't sure he'd moved at all after they removed Jon's body.
Stephanos could never look so defeated. He could never be so defeated either, naturally. He'd been worried about the power found on this world, but with his alternate dead and Stephanos' alternate so clearly weak, now he felt more foolish than anything else. As usual, Stephanos had been right. Everything was under control.
Speaking of which...
Stephanos strode into the room, the angry welt from where the Tesla bat had nearly taken off his head stark upon his face. Yonatan wanted go over to him and soothe it away- it has to hurt, even if his Stephanos would never show it- but one look at his face told Yonatan to hold himself in check. He could look after Stephanos when he'd calmed down a bit.
Yonatan nodded at him respectfully. Stephanos ignored him, focusing on his alternate.
"The Dark One has ordered me to bring you to him for processing," Stephanos told him bluntly.
"Again?" Stephen asked. He stood up a bit straighter, taking off his glasses and scrubbing his face. "Wouldn't that be reprocessing, then?"
"Semantics," Stephanos said, holding out his hand. It took Yonatan a moment and a raised eyebrow for him to realize that he wanted the keys. "Right now I've got more important things to worry about."
"Of course," Stephen replied sarcastically as Stephanos opened the door, a little bit of defiance leaking back into his posture. "Doing whatever it is Cheney tells you must be so challenging."
The door swung open. "Get out," Stephanos ordered, tone as cold as ice.
"Make me," snarled Stephen.
Stephanos shifted into the cell and directly behind his alternate, who seemed to have seen that move coming. There was a flash of red fire as Stephen attacked, and Yonatan charged into the cell. He had Stephen disarmed inside of a minute, his staff clattering to the floor just out of reach.
"I had it," Stephanos growled, advancing on him, "Under control, Yonatan."
"Yes sir," Yonatan answered, but it's not enough. Nothing seemed to be enough for him these days.
"Keep a hold of the staff," Stephanos ordered, not even looking at him. "The Dark One will be displeased if the crystal is damaged."
"Yes, s-" But Stephanos had already focus himself on Stephen, pulling him off the floor and slamming him into the wall. Light from the doorway, such as it was, shinned into Stephen's face, making him squint.
"You really are handsome," Stephanos noted.
"You're as vain as the guy I play on TV," Stephen replied.
Stephanos slashed his claw down his alternate's cheek, the same way his own had been marred by the Tesla bat. Yonatan could smell the iron in his blood. It almost covered up the smells coming from Stephanos as he licked it off his finger.
Stephen whimpered, and the staff in Yonatan's hands vibrated menacingly. "Stephanos," he said quietly.
"Do you think you have something to contribute, Yoni?" Stephanos snapped, sparing him a glance over his shoulder.
"...no," Yonatan replied, clutching the staff more tightly.
This is the punishment he was promised earlier, he realized. And it was about the argument they'd had in the park.
"You're worse than the guy I play on TV," Stephen snapped.
"Was there ever any doubt?" Stephanos asked mockingly. "If I recall correctly, your character is a fool who spent his time playing not the fool?"
Stephen twisted beneath Stephanos, trying to get free. His Stephanos pinned him down with ease. "When was the last time you looked in the mirror?" the alternate panted.
Stephanos licked his face. The alternate cringed.
"Who needs a mirror when I've got you?" he murmured.
The staff grew warm in his hands, but Yonatan held on. It flared up hot as Stephanos twisted his double face-first into the wall, burned when the alternate's pants and underwear were bunched around his ankles, scorched when the alternate screamed, seared when Stephanos moaned the way he did when he was close to coming, but Yonatan held on.
Stephanos hadn't let him see him like this- vulnerable, ecstatic, and caught up in, if not emotions, then endorphins at least- in ages. That hurt more.
The alternate gave one final scream, before Stephanos knocked his head against the wall. The staff made a small pfft before disappearing.
"Pick him up," Stephanos ordered, stepping back outside. "Let's not keep the Dark One waiting..."
Yonatan looked down at his blistered palms, and entertained the brief fantasy of snapping Stephen's neck. Then he shook it off, and carried the unconscious man out. Given what was about to happen to him, death would probably be a mercy, anyway.