Angel Hunt and Streifen Roleplay

+ Alternate Universe 01 +

C H A P T E R O N E : P A R T 08

Jun: he flusters the moment the blonde’s hand wraps around his wrist to pull him inside of the small sweets shoppe, unable to stop the bright red flush he can feel washing beneath the surface of his skin. He tries to hide it, too embarrassed and confused as to why he’d be flustered in the first place. He knows he probably reacted that way because he’s so used to the invisible barrier that seems to surround everyone he knows, himself included. Touching is such a personal thing and not something you just do. It’s the familiarity of it that keeps everyone but the very close away because no one but the very close have the right to act so casually. The only person beyond his parents that he’s ever had a complete lack of that personal bubble with has been Taz so he’s pretty sure that’s why he felt so strange when his classmate latched onto him like he just did.

Or at least he hopes that’s the reason, because if it isn’t, then there’s something seriously wrong with him for flushing like some stupid chick just from being touched …

Pulling his hand slowly back when the other teenager realizes what he’s done and lets him go, he shakes his head just a little when Zephyr asks about the petite four. “They don’t really have this stuff in school unless you ask for it specifically…” Jun says quietly, careful not to meet midnight blue eyes as he forces himself to drop his hands to his side. “And I haven’t so…” the white haired teen’s early dawn hued gaze slide up to meet the man’s expectant own and he shrugs. “Um… I guess just give me the same.”

The man nods and starts pulling duplicates of the various pastries out, Jun finding it in him to finally look at his classmate again while hoping that as he speaks again the color has actually drained from his cheeks. “So… um… do you eat a lot of this stuff back home?” he turns his attentions back towards the man behind the counter when the tray is set up on the glass display. “cause you said you had places like this there…”

Zephyr: The Dark reaches into the pocket of his pants to pull a slim wallet free and then slides a black plastic card across the glass countertop before midnight eyes find dawn-tinged pink once more. A smile moves easily over his lips before he even has time to register that it’s happening, and really, it’s just becoming a natural thing to do when he’s with Jun, kinda the same way that he keeps looking at him. He smiles at other people all the time, so maybe it’s not so strange and he’s just more aware of when he smiles at the other teenager? Weird, but whatever. He likes smiling at Jun, even if it seems to make his friend as uncomfortable sometimes as he looked just a second ago when he was holding onto his wrist. Doing that probably broke a thousand different rules of formality, but honestly he didn’t think on it and was just being himself, so maybe it won’t be that big a deal?

The credit card is passed back to Zeph over the counter and he thanks the man in French before picking up the tray with his pastries and the two coffees on it. The blonde nods toward a table in the corner and with Jun following, he moves across the small shop and takes a seat. The white-haired teen sits across and studies his plate of sweets while the Dark places the tray at the next table over and slides one of the steaming mugs of nearly black liquid over toward Jun. Stirring in just a splash of milk from the small bottle on their table, he glances up at his classmate. “Europe has tons of places like this, especially in France. There’s always coffee because I think it’s a national law, but the pastries usually differ according to where you are. They’re good if you’re in the mood for some sugary stuff, but it’s not like I ate at places like this every day.”

Long fingers scoop up a beignet topped with green frosting and the Selestarri happily takes a bite. He seriously hasn’t had these in so long, not since his last training in Europe, which was a couple of years ago. The filling is a tart apple and Zephyr can’t help but to smile as he finishes the small pastry in another few mouthfuls. Across the table, Jun looks less sure of the plate before him, but after a moment he picks up a lemon tart. “So you’ve never been to Europe at all?” Pink eyes lift to meet midnight for a moment before the other first year shakes his head. The Dark shrugs and reaches for his coffee. “I guess I just find it strange that a lot of kids at school haven’t really traveled, you know, given how much money is floating around.” The hot liquid is only slightly less bitter with the cream mixed in, but it’s just as good as the stuff he’d had in Paris. “Hey, if you want, then maybe on some holiday break we can go over there. I mean, I know we’re just kids or whatever, so your parents will need to give the okay,” he quickly continues when an unsure look crosses Jun’s face, “but there are lots of places that we can stay and we’d be completely safe. I could take you to a ton of awesome arcades, stores, and even some clubs that let people in no matter what their age is. The music is so damn cool and you just dance all night…well, if you like dancing, I guess…”

The stream of excited words drops off and Zeph sets the coffee mug down to reach for a perfectly shaped bonbon. Jun has moved onto a mini éclair and as he takes a bite a dollop of white cream plops onto the table beside his plate. Without much thought, the Dark swipes it up with his finger and licks it off, realizing only after they drop down to the table that dawn-tinted eyes had been watching his movements and now a fresh stain of crimson is darkening pale cheeks…

Jun: the moment midnight eyes catch his he pulls them away, the feeling of embarrassment over being caught in something he hadn’t even realized he was doing almost as extreme as the weirdness he felt watching the other teen lick his own fingers to begin with. What in the hell was that all about and why did he flush in the first place? It’s like his mind blanked for no reason whatsoever and he got caught up in watching the blonde’s tongue slide out and lick at those lo- okay, he frowns and blinks in a way that he hopes will clear his head. He’s got some serious issues or something today and he really needs to find a way to just make them, whatever they are, go away.

“Um…” he starts soon after, reaching over to pull the unclaimed coffee cup closer while he searches for the last things to be said that somehow got pushed out of his mind for whatever reason. “I’ve… never danced before.” He admits as he pulls the cup up and takes a sip, too caught up in his embarrassment from the first thing to be embarrassed about that. “Unless you count the game…” which he guesses is dancing in one form or another even if it’s not the same as going to a club or free styling like he’s seen a lot of the other kids do. “Cause… I’ve never gone to a club so… I guess sometime, maybe I could try.” Setting his cup back down, he finally manages to look back over to meet Zephyr’s deep blue gaze and he shrugs. “I don’t know about the holiday thing… because… it sounds like it might be fun, but I’d have to get permission and…” getting permission to travel is hard. Especially when it’s the school board, and not a parent he’d have to get that permission from. He’s their responsibility, and they take that a little seriously because if something happens to him, they lose out on his Trust. He can’t exactly tell the other teenager that though, because it would require him to go into a touchy, painful subject he’s only been able to talk about with one other so far since it happened. How can he say to Zeph that he doesn’t have any parents to ask permission from? That he lost them and has only the school for a home now? Not only is it still hard for him to talk about in general, it’s not exactly something he’d like to dip into right now when he’s determined not to ruin this new, odd sort of fun. People don’t look at you the same once you let them in on all the family secrets and he’s really not up for messing with a new friendship he’s starting to like very much.

“Did you do that a lot?” he starts again, reaching down for another pastry set on the tray before him and pulling it up to his lips a little absently as he continues. “Dance and go to clubs I mean… when you were at your old home. Cause…” he pauses to take a bite, making a face at it he doesn’t even realize he’s making from the sheer sweetness alone before he sets it back down, the slight dusting of powdered sugar left on his lips also unnoticed as he reaches for a napkin to wipe at his hands. “…everything here is eighteen and over so I guess… that’s why I’ve just never gone…” though he knows that some of his fellow students have no issues with sneaking in to one place or another when they make it into town. He personally hasn’t even thought on trying though because if he got caught and they kicked him out, he’d have no where at all to go… he’s never thought any of what they did to be worth losing his only home.

Zephyr: The light dusting of white powder on pink lips pulls the Selestarri’s attention for a long moment, his thoughts caught up in wondering what that layer of sweetness would taste like when combined with what he’s sure is velvety softness. More than likely it would be better than any of the pastries that sit on the plate in front of him; sugary warmth that he’s never tasted before, but is thinking that maybe he’d like to try just once… Okay, what is he thinking? Midnight eyes drop away to the cup of coffee that continues to steam and he busies himself for a second with wrapping long fingers around the warm china and taking a sip. He definitely knows better than to try to touch his classmate in any way to satisfy his curiosity because Jun will probably not be down with that in the slightest. Things here aren’t like they are at home and he needs to remember not to do the things that come so naturally. Besides, why is he so interested in the first place? It’s not like he hasn’t seen something like this before, but just like when he was staring when the other first year was changing his clothes, he finds that somehow he can’t help it. He really doesn’t get why, but he needs to get control over it before Jun notices because more than likely that will create a level of discomfort that won’t easily go away. He likes this new friendship and he likes hanging out with the white-haired teen, which means not fucking it up with stupid shit.

Selecting another pastry from the plate, Zeph takes a bite before remembering that Jun had asked him a question. “Uh, yeah… we did go to the clubs a lot back home ‘cause the music and the dancing is always awesome and it was something fun to do. There’s this one I think you’d really like, with light-up floors and stuff that’s just like being inside that dancing game.” He remembers it clearly from his last immersion training, a club strictly for teenagers that was so cool and every night that they went it had been packed, the dance floor a sea of moving bodies pressed in so close that you couldn’t breathe without sharing the air with someone else. With the way that Jun moved while playing that game, all fluidity and grace, he’s got to be a natural dancer. It’s practically a crime not to get him on the dance floor. “We’ve definitely got to get you to a club, so I’ll find something cool here that’s close to the school, since like you said, the permission to travel thing could be hard.” The blonde takes another bite of flaky pastry, his voice turning just a little bitter despite the sweetness in his mouth. “The Elders always think that they know what’s best for us no matter what. They never even bother to fucking consider what we might want, even if we’re standing right there…” Seriously, he’s so over the Elders on Nova with all their rules and shit that he just doesn’t care anymore. Deep blue eyes lift to meet pink and he gives the other teen a small smile. “That’s one of the cool things about being here at school, right? We get a break from dealing with our… parents, day in and day out.” Even though it’s only been a few days, he’s beginning to see why Sashi likes this assignment so much.

A small laugh that Zeph can’t help slips from between full lips as Jun makes a face at the new pastry he’s selected and adds it to the reject pile. “Sorry, those are really sweet if you’re not used to them.” He points at the steaming mug. “The coffee mellows it out with the bitterness and they’re made to pair with one another.” Tapered fingers flip strands of white-gold from his eyes before the Dark takes the last small tart from his plate. “Next time we can have Korean bakery stuff and you can school me on them, okay?”

Jun: the white haired teenager nods slightly as he sets the last pastry he’s taken a bite of down. He doesn’t know why, but the fact that Zephyr said ‘next time’ is making him feel kind of… happy. There will be a next time, another day that they’ll hang out, a first time to go to a club like all the other normal teenagers in his school, a chance that during the holidays he might not have to spend it alone again, another day simply to be friends.

It’s such a little thing, normal for most in his school, hell for most of his other friends in general. Right? Taz does stuff like this all the time doesn’t he? Just hangs out, has fun and acts like himself. But the fact that Jun’s never felt comfortable doing the same thing with anyone else before is probably a large reason as to why the thought of it makes him happy. He feels almost comfortable around the blonde, in a way he’s only ever felt with Taz and so it’s nice to think that there will be another day, a next time that they’ll just do what they are now; hanging out and being friends.

He likes it, a lot more than he can bring himself to say…

“I think…” he says quietly as he pulls the napkin to his mouth to wipe at powder he doesn’t even realize is there. “I think that’d be…fun.”

Sashi: Thick strands of pitch-black hair screen gray eyes from the sun as he stares down at the newspaper open on the small café table he sits at. Like the other customers, mainly students from his school and the local city academies, there is a cup of coffee and a half eaten pastry on the worn wooden surface. Unlike the other patrons, the Selestarri’s attention is focused on the wide-flung net of his telepathy, listening carefully in as the other teenagers chatter excitedly to one another. This one wants a date with that boy, another is looking for a specific video game, still another wants a new skirt, many have thoughts only for hooking up, intent on taking these brief moments of freedom from the prying eyes of adults to do what they wish with whomever they wish. Perhaps in that way, the Dark muses, humans are not so different from Selestarri. In the end it always comes down to the carnal desires doesn’t it? The give and take, the sweat and pounding of heartbeats, the almost complete stillness within that’s achieved for one brief moment, that soaring weightlessness of absolute freedom…

Leaving the links in place but pulling back into himself, Sashi wraps slender, bandaged fingers around the coffee cup and pulls it to his lips. The bitter liquid is strong and unspoiled by either cream or sugar, which is just the way he likes it. Staring down at the Korean symbols on the newspaper without really seeing them, he shifts enough to temporarily ease the pain in his leg while trying to ignore the other wounds that are currently attempting to voice their complaints about being anywhere other than the softness of his bed back at the school. His classmates and teammates aren’t really helping him turn his attention in other directions either, instead plying him with question after question as to what had happened. A fall while hiking was his reply and he’s glad that his coat and other clothing cover the majority of the wounds and keep even more questions from being asked. As it was he’d only gained these few moments of peace by sending his soccer teammates off to find him a European newspaper, so now it’s just mainly the clusters of girls he needs to keep away. He’d figured that they’d all be curious, but for fuck’s sake, his patience is on serious trial. He doesn’t particularly like other people to begin with and his temper is fraying rather rapidly when mixed with the pain. Five minutes, he just needs five minutes alone…

A soft touch on his shoulder brings a hard-eyed gray glare whipping back with all intentions of telling whoever is behind him to get the fuck away. For a culture so obsessed with formality, one would think they could get a clue that he wants to be left by himself. “Look,” Sashi all but growls even as he turns, “I’ve already said it was just a hiking accide—“ The words die in his throat as storm-tinted pools meet the chocolate brown of a familiar Bright…

Lan: a smile forms on full lips as he pulls his hand away from Sashi’s shoulder and tucks it back into his pocket. “You don’t mind do you?” he asks quietly with a nod given towards the empty chair on the opposite side of the seated Dark and Sashi simply stares up at him for a few moments, seemingly caught off guard and unsure of what to do until he manages to catch himself. He blinks in an attempt to break their eye contact, a bit unsuccessful despite it before he just nods a slow okay. The tall Bright’s smile widens just a little as permission is given and he moves to seat himself down, sliding the coffee cup in his hand onto the table’s surface while the raven haired Selestarri begins fiddling absently with the papers at his front.

“It’s good I chanced on you again… since I wanted to see how you were doing.” Lan starts, sitting back a little in his chair as masked brown eyes lock with gray when they rise up to greet him. “A hiking accident hm?” amusement flashes through his features as he reaches forward without ever breaking visual contact to pull the cup he’d set down away from the table in order to take a sip of the heated liquid inside. “You have to be careful of nature, it can be harsh and unforgiving.” Pulling the cup away from his lips, the Bright slides it forward onto the table again and chocolate brown eyes find storm tinted grey once more. “Perhaps when you feel up to having a go at it again, you could bring another along with you… just so you’ll have someone to catch you next time, in case you happen to fall...”

Sashi: The newspaper seems stubbornly inclined to resist the efforts the telepath makes to straighten the pages while the Bright seats himself in the empty chair across the small table. On their own accord thundercloud eyes lift to lock with chocolate and a thread of annoyance slips through his mind at the realization that he has no control over where his own gaze strays when in the company of the other teenager. It’s not an issue he’s ever encountered before from this side of things and he’s not sure that he likes it. With humans he’s the one that holds and directs their attention and with other Selestarri… usually they won’t meet his eyes at all, so it’s never really been a problem. But with Lan, he doesn’t really get just what it is that pulls him in so deep every time they meet. The lanky teen isn’t the first Bright he’s met or even the first person to have some kind of artifact with foreign magic in it, so why is he drawn in each time? Why do these little ‘chance’ encounters that they keep having bother him as little as they do? Whatever the answers are he needs to find out before they both wind up getting hurt…

Giving up on the idea of folding the paper into any kind of neatness, Sashi slides it to one side before tanned fingers slip around the ceramic mug of coffee. Bandaged fingers protest at even this slight action, the damaged skin grating against soft fabric in a ripple of pain. The Dark pushes it into the back of his head and concentrates instead on the bitterness of the liquid and the heat it brings to his chilled body as the mug is set back onto the tabletop. Under the table a pack of cigarettes appears in his empty hand and he pulls one from the box before sliding it over toward Lan. “Are you offering to be that ‘catcher’?” The question is quiet, but laced with just a hint of the same amusement that had been layered through the Bright’s tone. He’s not sure what the end of this game they’ve been playing at over the last couple of days will be, or even if there’s really a game at all. Lan always seems to be half playful and half serious and those kinds of nuances and the meaning behind them are lost on the telepath. His experience with others has been stunted into use or be used, fight or get walked upon, and within the last few years, fuck or be fucked. This casualness, this almost… flirty banter whatever that they’re doing is very hard to follow, but showing weakness isn’t really an option. And besides, it’s not… horrible to talk with the third year. Confusing at times, but not unbearable.

“It can be a… dangerous job…” A flick of a lighter turns the end of the slender stick crimson and Sashi inhales deeply before tilting his head just slightly back to send a stream of smoke into the cool autumn air. “…and not something that should be taken on lightly.” Ash falls off of the end of the cigarette as the Dark taps it against the side of the shallow metal ashtray. “Nature can be unpredictable and unmerciful… for some more than others…” Those chocolate brown eyes find his once again and as is becoming the habit, Sashi can’t pull away. “So be careful before you volunteer for such a task…”

Lan: tapered fingers pull the offered cigarette box close enough to slip one free and he slides it up to his mouth, cupping it between full lips while one hand reaches within his wool coat pocket. Pulling a small lighter out and sliding it in close, it isn’t the lighter itself that causes the flicker of flame to light the tip, despite the outward appearance. The spark happens so fast that there’s no time to catch the difference for most and he quickly deposits the lighter back into its place before inhaling and pulling the cigarette free.

He smiles at the Dark’s words as gray smoke billows out before him to flitter on the light wind, crossing a long leg over the other while leaning forward again to pull his cup in close. “I never take nature lightly.” The Bright says knowingly as he leans back against his chair with cup in hand, masked brown eyes rising to meet the storm colored gaze before him. “Especially since I understand how much of a force it can be to reckon with...” He smiles a little wider before taking a sip of the contained liquid and a moment later his cigarette is pulled to his lips so that he can take a drag as he’s leaning far enough forward to slide the container back onto the table. He has to say that he’s rather enjoying the light hearted flirtatious hints in the other teenager’s tone… it’s a playfulness that he didn’t think Sashi capable of considering what he’s been shown thus far and he likes it a lot. “I’m well aware of the …risks, involved, and am prepared for whatever they may bring.” Flicking his ash off to the side, his freed hand rises up to push at shaggy black locks that have been blown in his face as his chocolate gaze once again locks with the telepath’s grey. “Otherwise I’d never have put myself up for the task to begin with.”

Sashi: Tanned fingers bring the cigarette to full lips as the Dark deliberately stalls his response, partly due to that flash of foreign magic he just felt and partly so that he can absorb what has just been said. What’s the point of flashing that fire energy here? Is he trying to show off? Does the Bright want to be sure that it catches his attention? If so, then he’s been successful. To what end, though and why so casually? If the third year is trying to use it as a threat, why not just come out and say it? If he’s trying to protect Halacie and himself from their faction now that Zeph has arrived, why be subtle? Thundercloud eyes narrow in the slightest as smoke slips into the air and is carried away on the breeze. These questions only lead him in circles within his own thoughts and to ask them would be the shortest course of action. Something keeps the words from his lips, however, something inside that does not want to upset this delicately balanced and fragile game…

“Are you a risk-taker, Lan?” The words slide out with little effort, surprising the telepath since they have little to do with the realm his thoughts had slipped into. “Do you often leap with both feet before knowing just what a commitment may entail?” Sashi leans back a little further in his chair and wraps one long arm around his waist for warmth, his gray gaze finding brown once again. “You say that you’re prepared for whatever may come, but is there not a danger there in the possibility of being caught off guard? What then? Would you fulfill your promise to catch once you truly saw what those duties may ask from you?” The Dark’s voice drops a little, the playfulness leaving it for a second and his eyes dropping to the table between them. “The hikes I take and the… nature, I’m involved with can be difficult for others to handle…”

Ash is flicked into the metal tray with a gesture so ingrained that it’s second nature, the embers at the end of the slender stick flaring red and orange as he takes another drag. Regardless of this little ‘hike’ they’re bantering back and forth about, the Dark is well aware that it will never happen. When he’s so close like that with the magic, it’s always best to be alone since he finds no pleasure in hurting people unnecessarily. Plus, if Lan were to be injured or killed, the shitstorm that would come from the Eyrie would bring the Dark Assembly down as well and that’s a bunch of shit he’d rather not see himself dragged into.

Chocolate brown eyes catch storm-tinted gray and hold tight, pulling the telepath in deep before he can even think to find some kind of anchor. “I’ll keep your offer in mind,” the flirtatiousness creeps back into the fourth year’s tone. “Even if you do decide that the risks are too great to bother with and that taking a hike for the sole purpose of catching someone is just not worth it…”

Lan: he pulls the smoldering stick resting in-between long fingers up to his lips to inhale the smoke deep into his lungs, sliding an arm back and propping it over the back of the chair before he tilts his head up to blow the smoke out into the chilly autumn air. Without taking his arm away from the chair’s back, tapered fingers slip into shaggy locks and he pushes at the messy strands when the wind tussles them around his face again. “You know… It kind of sounds like you are used to being the only person who gets forced onto those rocky roads, Sashi.” Sliding the cigarette back up to his mouth as he pulls his hand free of brown locks, he allows his arm to sink back into its previous casual position while taking another quick drag. “And that you are also used to being the only one dealing with… nature, in all its dangerous risks.” Turning his head, he blows the smoke out while flicking the very end of the ash out into the light wind, the softest of smiles forming as brown eyes meet storm colored grey. “I find that… interesting.” And a little cute if truth must be told… innuendoes aside, he knows that Sashi’s referring to the risk of his own magic since it seems that the cause of those injuries had all been self induced. To get the kind of damage he currently has, the Bright also knows that the loss of control he’d told his brother about that morning in his own room would mean he’s a lot stronger than he’s ever let on and this word play they are both currently having a fun go at is just a sort of warning for it all. But he finds himself wondering how the Dark would react if he ever learned that the risks he speaks of go far beyond what he knows and that Sashi is probably in greater danger of being hurt by his own current state than he’d ever be by his…

“Well…” Lan starts again while making another futile and absent attempt at pushing messy locks from his masked gaze. “I already know some of the risks don’t I? It isn’t as if I’m walking onto the trail blind…” he trails and the slightest of frowns forms on his mouth, one that he quickly covers by pulling the cigarette to his lips once again. No… he wouldn’t be walking onto the trail blindfolded and unaware, but in reverse the fourth year would be since he has no knowledge of what he’s become. Though considering that with the night before aside, their chance encounters have thus far been rather casual so he supposes he hopes it will never be anything the other teenager needs to find.

Slipping the smoldering stick held by long fingers away, the playful smile instantly reforms on the Bright’s mouth as their gazes meet once again. “But even if I were… unaware, if there’s one thing you should know about me Sashi… it’s that I never do anything on frivolous whims…”

Sashi: The casual way that the Bright sits, one arm slung over the back of the chair as though they’ve known one another for years and not mere days, is slightly odd to the telepath. Usually those around him are tensed, ready for a fight or nervous, and when there is casualness it’s always forced or just a mask for something else. The humans tend to be overly formal, even those on his soccer team or in his classes, which is something he’s come to understand since his assignment to this school. So this nonchalant, almost… disarming... way that the third year regards him throws the Dark off a little. Not that any of their conversations have made sense to him at all, not the ease with which they seemed to happen or the way he feels closer to comfortable than he’s felt in years, so maybe he should expect things like this when it comes to Lan.

Ash drops down into a neat little pile on the bottom of the ashtray and Sashi leaves the smoldering stick in one of the indented niches in order to reach for his coffee cup. “So I should understand then that you’re not the impulsive type?” He asks quietly, gray eyes still matched with brown over the rim of the mug as he takes a sip of the strong liquid. Lan is still giving him that same soft yet playful smile that the Dark is beginning to become very familiar with, the one that he doesn’t necessarily know how to interpret. “I’ve heard that about where you’re from, so I guess it’s nice to know that your actions have intentions.” Whatever those might be. This is the fourth time that they’ve had one of these ‘chance’ encounters and he still has no idea why the Bright continues to seek him out. More than likely it’s not for the conversation, as entertaining as all this double meaning may be.

The cigarette is rapidly dwindling and the telepath lifts it to his mouth for a final drag, thundercloud eyes shifting to watch as the smoke filters into the air in a steady stream on the exhale. He’s taken up this habit a few years ago because he liked to watch that exact moment where the smoke dissolved into nothingness, blending into the sky as though it never existed at all. It’s a phenomenon that he’ll never experience, not within his faction and certainly not from the Bright faction should they ever discovered just how much magic he’s capable of channeling. There are days he thinks about it, though, days when the manipulative plots of the Seeker and the Assembly can be almost forgotten and the roles of prophecy and forced destiny in his life can almost be pushed aside as though they don’t matter in the slightest. Days where it seems like he truly could disappear and live a life that he wants, free of those things that have made every day so difficult. They’re the dreams of a child and he knows it, knows the cold, hard reality in which he lives and the hold it has over all that he does… Sashi’s gaze slips back to chocolate brown and he’s struck with an urge to tell it all to the third year despite how silly it would seem to randomly begin going on about something so stupid. He doubts that the other teen would take him seriously, so there’s no point in bothering with it. But the urge to share still shifts deep within and he’s never felt it before, not even with Zeph. Why now and why the Bright, though? What is it about him that makes things feel almost… comfortable?

Blinking hard, Sashi pushes the thoughts aside and focuses his attention on grinding out the end of the cigarette while trying to backtrack on the remnants of their conversation. “Your offer is kinder than I deserve, but these… hikes, can be dangerous, blindfolded or not.” The Dark’s eyes fall to the last twisting curl of smoke and his voice loses some of the playful edge. “The chance for injury isn’t limited solely to me and unlike other hikers you may know, I don’t enjoy unnecessarily hurting others, especially when I fully understand how rough the trail can be for those caught unaware. That’s why I usually choose to take those walks alone…”

Lan: The breeze in the air is crisp as it sweeps across them both and he can’t help catching the shiver it causes in the other teen when he sets his cigarette down into the tray and reaches for the coffee cup sitting just before him. Masked brown eyes fall to the small bit of exposed tanned skin peeking out from under his clothing, caught for moment just watching as the surface rises with that trace shudder that accompanies a chill even as he’s pulling the last of his own cigarette to his mouth to inhale the final bit of the heat and smoke it provides. Sliding his eyes away and allowing them to drift out into the town before them, the tall Bright smiles just a little as he’s flicking the remnants down to the pavement beneath his feet. “Even if you are used to hiking on those the paths alone…” he starts as long fingers slide up to his hair to rake shaggy strands back while the grey smoke curls up into the air. “…there’s times where I’m sure it gets lonely. I know from experience that stepping out into nature alone can be taxing and you’ll find yourself wishing you’d invited another to come along just once. Someone who will understand how dangerous it is, someone who will be there to catch you should you fall…”

Lan’s chocolate gaze glances sideways to meet storm colored grey, all movement that the Dark had even begun to make completely stilled as he meets the taller teen’s eyes. “Doesn’t it?” his smile grows just a little warmer. “Get lonely I mean…” Sashi seems unable to either answer or move, held up in the Bright’s magically masked gaze for a few moments longer until laughter from somewhere behind him pulls the third year’s attentions away. He uncrosses his legs suddenly and reaches forward to wrap tapered fingers around his coffee cup before sliding himself back in order to stand. The raven haired telepath blinks and looks up, met by another smile as the tall teen is stuffing his free hand into his pocket while moving around the small table he’d been seated at. “Don’t let them talk you into moving around too much…” he says quietly as he slides his cup up to take a final sip “even if you do plan on making it over to the festival later, I’m still going to hold you to your promise.”

And with that he turns away to move out towards the small line of shops, his cup discarded in a slotted trash can as he passes without notice given just as Sashi’s teammates are turning a corner with several papers in hand…

Sashi: Surprise catches the telepath when Lan asks him about being lonely, every thought in his head frozen into stillness just as storm cloud eyes are frozen by chocolate brown. Questions make a halfhearted attempt to form, wanting to know what was meant and how the Bright was able to know about something he keeps locked down so tight…? But nothing comes from his mouth and the fourth year remains held by the taller teenager until well after quiet words are spoken and the third year is moving away through the coffee shop’s patio and down the street in the direction of the festival.

Watching the lanky form quickly grow distant, bitter anger courses hard and sudden through the Dark and it takes a lot to keep himself seated and not to teleport after Lan. What the hell would he know about being lonely? The younger Selestarri has his girlfriend and the crowds of friends that always surround him at school and most likely that’s how it is for him at the Eyrie, too. A day has probably never gone by for the Bright where he’s not had someone to talk to, to sit beside, to share things with. Like he has a fucking clue the way loneliness can cut inside, deeper and deeper until everything you are is just shreds held together by misery. There’s no fucking way that Lan could understand how that feels, not with the way he acts at school. Forcing the kind of friendliness and warmth that he’s observed in the other teen would be too difficult when inside is slowly withering; the raven-haired telepath knows that all too well. There’s only so much that a mask can hide before it cracks, after all. Fuck the Bright for asking him about it, and fuck him for insinuating that he knows even one minute of what it feels like.

It takes a long moment for Sashi to settle himself, slowly unclenching the hands that had gripped tight enough to bruise. Blood sluggishly mars the bandages of his left hand, the scraps and cuts reopened and he slips the edge of his sleeve down to cover it as he works to calm enough to meet the eyes of his teammates when they crowd around with the papers he’d asked for. He nods and assures them that what they’ve brought is fine and that yes, he’ll attend the festival a couple of streets over near one of the shrines. Originally he wasn’t going to bother since the pain his body is constantly notifying him of does not need any further excuse, but after the little reminder that Lan had seen fit to toss in his direction he’ll go just to prove that when he promises something, he means it.

The other soccer players stay close to the fourth year when he rises from the chair, whisking away the coffee mug and plate before the Dark even remembers that they’re on the table and carrying along all the newspapers as they match their steps to his slow, limping ones. The teenagers chatter excitedly on the way along the sidewalk and Sashi nods and gives neutral replies when directly asked a question. The pain is bad, lancing through his body like razor sharp blades and tingeing his vision with black, hazy spots, but he keeps walking, gray eyes trained on the trees for any sign of the garlands and lanterns that will mark the beginning of the festival. When he finally sees them, the relief slides audibly through full lips as a sigh…

Lan: the early evening had set in hours ago, the deep shades of indigo in the distance completely lost to the lights of the city and the glowing orbs strung throughout the large festival clearing and the booths lined around its edges. Laughter fills the surrounding areas, mingling with the overwhelming murmur of words spoken from a wide variety of lips, the loud drums of music -both traditional and modern, booming throughout the bustling air. During this time, the shaggy haired teenager has managed to catch glimpses of the raven haired Dark, allowing himself to linger long enough until the crowd swallows them both up again or he’s assured Sashi is remaining relatively stationary and not being forced to shuffle around along with his own set of friends.

The tall Bright’s smile is warm, his own laughter carrying on the winds as various members from his class stand around him and socialize until that feeling of being watched pricks at the back of his neck and he has just enough time to turn his chocolate colored gaze towards the source before a vehicle pulls up along the outer edges of the street to catch his attention and pull it away. He stiffens only slightly as he watches the driver get out and hold the door open for a person he’s come to dread, the white hair and equally matched eyes of the tall figure something he knows only he or his kind will be able to see. From across the busy festival the two stare at one another, something un-noticed by all, the slight smile on the Angel’s mouth matched by the Bright’s light frown. Suddenly one of his friends breaks the spell and he blinks, pulling his masked gaze away from white and turning the attention down to the classmates that surround him. The smile he’d lost returns long enough for him to make a few quick excuses and a minute later her slides easily away from the crowd in order to go where he knows he’s expected to go. Each step he takes closer towards the car is slowed purposefully; as if pacing himself might actually stop the inevitable. It doesn’t though and sooner than he’d like he’s standing in front of the car and the expectant Angel, the conversation between himself and the Higher very brief and a few quick words said before the white haired figure steps to the side to allow him into the town car. Lan doesn’t move immediately, simply staring at the door and doing what he can to delay having to get inside because the dread that’d begun to fill him is growing so rapidly that it’s taking a lot for him not to simply turn around and bolt. From somewhere behind him that feeling of being watched prickles at the back of his neck and even though he’d like to allow himself a single glance back towards the source -just one final look at what he’s sure will be a newly familiar face so he has something to carry him through what he’s about to be subjected to, with his current company, he doesn’t dare. So instead the tall Bright’s chocolate colored eyes rise to meet expectant white and he clenches his teeth just a little before stepping forward to slide himself into the waiting car.

With graceful ease, he slips his lithe frame to the very far end of the opposite window as the Higher follows him behind, no further words shared between them as the car’s driver shuts the door in order to take his own place behind the wheel. It’s not long after that the sleek black vehicle is restarted and Lan keeps his illusioned gaze out towards the passing lights of the festival while they flicker in tinted windows as he’s driven slowly away.

Sashi: In the soft glow of the lanterns overhead and the bustle of people around him, he’s still aware of the chocolate brown eyes that turn in his direction every so often. He’s not sure whether to be angry at the attention that wasn’t asked for or to find it nice that the Bright seems to care for whatever reason. It isn’t like he sought out this concern that’s being given or did anything to warrant it and it leaves him thrown off a bit and unsure how to respond. Other Selestarri have never been kind to him unless they’ve wanted something and even though Lan claims to want nothing in return for the care given last night, the Dark is still cautious. In his experience, people only do things when they’re going to get something in return. So if the things that Lan has said are true, and honestly he finds that impossible, then he doesn’t know what to do…

The telepath’s thoughts are interrupted by the offer of a hot drink that one of his fellow soccer players holds out. Long fingers wrap around the cup, the heat seeping immediately into his palm even as a shiver shakes through his body. The cold season is coming and he’s not looking forward to it at all. A frown shifts over his mouth and Sashi pulls the lit cigarette in his other hand up to his lips to pull the smoke deep into his lungs. Without much thought storm-tinted eyes scan the crowd, spotting the tall third year easily and then following as Lan makes his way through the people lining the street. Foreign magic flares hard, almost pushing Sashi back a step with the strength of it. What the fuck? He’s sensed the same type of magic in that second year, Taz or whomever, but this is much stronger.

The Bright stops beside a sleek town car and the raven-haired fourth year watches as the other teenager speaks with a white-haired man. Even from the distance where the Dark stands he can sense that this is the person who’s the source of the magic and it makes him both uneasy and curious. He fits the description of the Angels that they’ve been given in the briefings, but why is Lan speaking with him? And now why is he getting into the car? Questions string one after another through his head, but all remain unanswered as the vehicle pulls away from the curb …

[B A C K] + [M A I N] + [N E X T]

The Angel Hunt story has been written by Nezumi LacSeul and is (C) 2004 - Present. All Streifen characters belong to Evphaedrielle. Please don't use, steal or borrow any part of it or take in whole.