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Angel Hunt and Streifen Roleplay
+ Alternate Universe 01 +
C H A P T E R O N E : P A R T 10
Still, he shouldn’t be here. Standing in the empty hallway, gray eyes stare at the varnished wooden panel. This door and everything on the other side will only lead to hurt and pain. Hasn’t he had enough of that already to last a lifetime? He can make the excuses—Lan is of a different faction, there’s been almost a comfortable feel to his presence, the Bright helped him when he was in trouble—but it won’t change anything in the end, right? He doesn’t have friends, he never has, so what’s the point of trying anymore when he knows exactly what will happen and exactly what path it will all follow? A quiet sigh slips free of the telepath and he pushes unruly strands of black from his line of sight. He can walk away right now and there won’t be any pain. It’s the smartest path, the one that he learned through hard childhood years, the one imprinted with blood and tears… So why does he toss all those lessons, all that hurt, aside when he feels the foreign magic surge hard? Why does he teleport beyond the door when the energy is hauled back with a desperation that he can so clearly sense? A desperation that clings on the thinnest thread…
Heat rolls over Sashi like a wave as soon as the void falls away, pressing down like a heavy weight that threatens to drag him to the floor. The air is thick and coats his lungs, like he’s breathing in lead and laced through it is the distinct smell of something burning. Thundercloud eyes survey the room quickly, but the main area is just as he saw it the other day, looking untouched with the exception of the slightly askew quilt on the bed. Following a line of darkened spots on the hardwood floor leads the limping Dark toward the bathroom and the object of his search. Fingertips trace over the handprint on the frame, the varnish bubbled and distorted before gray eyes pass beyond and into the bath. Crumpled on the floor amidst a scattering of multicolored pills, the lanky frame looks almost broken, eyes barely open and breath coming in shallow pants. For a moment everything seems to grind into slow motion as he stares down at someone he doesn’t know. The telepath blinks. Wait… that’s not exactly right… This person wears Lan’s face, but his hair is as white as the snow and his skin… to say that the pale skin is damaged is a vast understatement. Every inch that he can see from the doorway is marred, some marks fresh and bright red while others are faded, telling the story of a long struggle. The Bright has been hiding much more than his Selestarri heritage behind those illusion spells.
A thousand thoughts surge through the Dark’s head all at once, some accompanied by emotion that he doesn’t have time to name before movement from the other student quickly focuses his attention. Still standing in the doorway, storm-tinted eyes sweep down the scarred, slender frame, catching on the rapidly blackening tile beneath and finally moving forward enough to slowly kneel at Lan’s side. There’s no recognition in the milky white eyes that stare fixedly at nothing, not even when Sashi quietly calls the other Selestarri’s name. Tanned fingers hesitantly stretch out to touch at the Bright’s shoulder only to recoil at the heat that lashes out at already damaged hands. This isn’t like any fever he’s ever encountered, not with the foreign magic so strong and it takes only another slight tensing of the one before him to set well-ingrained medical combat skills into action. Pain flares as he pushes back onto his heels, the wound on his leg complaining as stitches drag at tender skin only to be compounded when the Dark wraps his hands beneath narrow shoulders, the blistering of his palms and the smell of burning flesh largely ignored as he pulls Lan across the bathroom floor.
Gently propping the Bright against one wall of the shower stall, he reaches up to switch on the knob, the cold water instantly streaming from the high shower head. Steam billows out as it interacts with the heat that emanates from the other Selestarri, slamming into Sashi like a solid wall and setting him back onto his heels. The slimmest thread holds Lan to a semblance of consciousness and even under the cold spray he continues to softly pant, the effort of holding on seeming to take almost everything out of him. The desperate battle to hold on, even when it feels like too much, like it will destroy everything you are, is something that the Dark can understand. Lan is battling the strength of the foreign magic, just as he’s done himself over the years more times than he can count…
Under the cascade of water white and black hair alike is plastered down and clothing is soaked through. [Hey,] Sashi whispers, half in an attempt to pull Lan out of his mostly unconscious state and half to fill up a quiet that’s beginning to concern him a bit. Scorched fingers quickly draw out runes and patterns on the water slicked tile, setting up barriers that will hopefully stop any further damage to the room. [You need to listen, okay? I know that I’m probably not the person you want here with you right now, but I’m all there is, so you’ve got to just… hang on. Whatever happened, whatever you’re fighting, just hang on…] Out of the corner of his eye, he catches sight of one of the scattered pills and reaches back to take it from the floor. Whatever these things are, it seems like Lan was trying to take them…
Lan: inside he’s burning. Every corner, every crack, every single pore is on fire. It’s raging beneath his skin and it takes every last bit of will he has to keep it contained. Every breath is energy he needs and for every second that ticks by, he’s growing weaker while it responds by pushing harder in retaliation. It’s practically screaming inside of his head, yelling to be let free so it can consume; hungry and greedy in its overwhelming commands. The last time it got out of control he was holed up in a lab, he was contained and the only thing it was able to hurt was himself. It wants compensation for that, he can feel it, it wants freedom to take what it’s continuously denied and he can’t let it because he’s not in a lab right now, he’s in the school and there are others, so many others that would be hurt or killed if he loses what little control that he’s managed to maintain.
Not only that, he swears there’s also someone near… he can smell them, barely through the thick fog of smoke clogging his senses but he can and he’s aware. At first he thinks it might be Halacie and he wants to cry out and tell her to run, to get away before she’s hurt but he can’t because he’s starting to slip under and nothing he tries to say will surface. But as the minutes continue, it’s a different scent that filters in and he’s coming to understand that there’s somebody else who isn’t her close by. He knows this scent… just like he knows the voice he can hear far off in the distance attached to it –the same voice trying to call his name. He tries to reply, tries to acknowledge the other’s presence but he can’t, can’t pull himself up from the heavy blanket of fire beginning to consume. Before he knows it though there’s an odd feeling of movement, as if the world has suddenly spun out of control for the space of a few moments before it rights itself again and then somewhere far away he swears he can hear the distant call of rain.
He tries to lift his head and it’s only then that he can feel the surrounding wet. He idly wonders how and when he’d gotten outside while it soaks him, and he’s thankful for it despite the fact that the water is doing nothing to quell his body or bring relief to the heat currently raging deep inside. Soon his head falls back, his burning skin grasped and neck cradled before an object is slipped into his mouth. Then there’s warmth, slick warmth that tastes sweet in a way he wishes he could prolong before liquid is sliding down his throat, the object swallowed along with it. For many tense moments he can only sit there panting heavily, fighting the inferno spiraling around at his core. And then, like the blossoming of a flower in the pit of his stomach, the coldness takes hold and it’s only then he realizes he must have somehow managed to take one of those pills after all.
He waits, hanging on by a thread as the fire fights it, kicking and screaming at being so close to getting what it wanted, screaming inside of his head and cursing him for what he’s obviously done. In one last desperate ditch to gain freedom it clamps down hard, clenching so tightly inside of him that he arches back and cries out for the pain that the internal battle causes. Then just like that, the fire is quelled and his body falls slack as the world finally begins to come back into view. The sounds of the running shower gain clarity, the heat of another still cradling him in arms he vaguely recognizes to sooth away the near loss of control.
It’s then that he recalls the scent and yellow eyes snap open, shifting to the side to find oddly concerned grey staring down. [I’m… I’m sorry…] he starts even as his summer colored gaze is starting to roll back while a long scarred arm is rising up and heavily marked fingers are attempting to touch at perfectly tanned skin [If I… hurt yo-] before he can complete the action, even before his last word can be said he loses the battle he’d been fighting and he slips completely under, his arm soon falling limp onto wet tile.
Sashi: Gentle hands tuck the last blanket around the unconscious third year, careful not to disturb any of the injuries that mar the slender frame. With a quiet sigh, the Dark turns away from the bed and limps toward the brightly lit bathroom, stopping just before the threshold to stare down at the mess within. Puddles of water litter the tile along with towels and discarded clothing and on the edge of the sink a small box filled with gauze and cloth bandages rests precariously. Storm-tinted eyes fall to one of the multicolored pills still scattered over the floor. He has no idea what they are, but once he got one down the Bright’s throat, the foreign magic had died out in less than a minute. Heat blistered fingers touch absently at full lips as he steps into the small space and begins to sketch a long string of runes into the air.
He hadn’t really even thought when he’d seen Lan lying on the floor, just switched right into the medical training he’d learned on Nova. There was just action and reaction, doing what he could to help stop something he doesn’t really understand and then wondering if it would be enough. Before he’d completely realized what he was doing, the shower was on and the Bright was cradled in his arms, the heat tearing at his skin, but there wasn’t a thought spared for his own injuries. Even getting the pill swallowed was automatic, although the softness of the lips that touched his is something that he remembers very clearly... Probably too clearly.
Frowning at a rune drawn so poorly that it’s barely recognizable, Sashi quickly corrects it and then moves on to draw the next layer. This is the kind of distracted he’s been ever since Lan had talked to him during lunch last week. Thoughts are half acted upon, sentences half spoken, class work half completed… his thoughts seem to continuously circle back to the Bright and these ‘chance’ encounters they have no matter how hard he attempts to maintain focus. There’s no rationalization or justification that explains it, no excuses, and certainly no common sense because if he could find that, then he wouldn’t be standing where he is right now. Instead he’s making it all the more complicated, the kind of complication that will lead him to a hurt he knows all too well. There are reasons why he doesn’t have any real friends and he’d stopped trying a long time ago, so why now, standing in this damaged, waterlogged bathroom with pain lancing through his scorched hands and injured leg and every alarm going off in his head, does he know that there’s nowhere else he wants to be right now? Tying off the weave of patterns, the telepath sets it to drying out the floor and turns his attention to his injuries. The battered medical tin appears on the edge of the sink, the contents still wet from treating the Bright. Damaged fingers select a nearly empty container and pull the lid free before smearing the thick poultice on skin that’s raw and scorched. Well practiced skill has both hands bandaged in less than a few minutes and Sashi eases out of loose pants to get a look at his leg. The stitches have torn, which means they’ll need to be replaced if he’s ever going to get this thing healed without resorting to a return to Nova. Bloodstained wrappings disappear and he reaches again for the tin to find the jar containing the poultice he’d been using to help speed the healing, gritting his teeth while patting the thick concoction of herbs and ointments over the wound. Fuck… he might be past any chance of avoiding the floating island at this point…
Clean bandages stretch over toned muscle as the Dark secures the end of the wrap and steps back into his pants. The box on top of the sink returns to the cabinet beneath, but Sashi hesitates for a moment when his hand closes on the battered medical tin, fingers tracing around the edge. For reasons he still doesn’t understand, Lan had given this to him, a small action for the Bright, but it’s a level of kindness that the telepath has very rarely received… Shaking his head just slightly, he places it in on the shelf in the cabinet and switches off the lights. Pulling the door as closed as the heat-warped frame will allow, he leaves the spells he cast to clean up the water and the discarded towels and clothing. Once they finish the only thing remaining of the entire incident would be the pills and the blackened tiles, both of which would have to be enough because at the moment he’s not able to do much more. Friday night’s dumping of magic is still wiping him out and even this slight effort has made him extremely tired.
The fourth year slowly limps through the darkened bedroom to stand at the side of the bed. Thundercloud eyes are instantly drawn to the spill of white hair, the tangled, half-damp strands stark against the dark linens. There’s only one person in their entire race with hair this color and even then it’s not natural, but rather a result of a unique ability. Sashi doubts that Lan is connected in that way to the Sidereal Oracle because there’s no way in hell that the Bright would allow him out of their sight for a minute, let alone give him an assignment. So how did this happen… and is it connected to his eyes…? The defense mechanism of Lan’s faction, the temporary increase of magic to combat a greater power, causes a Bright’s eyes to glow with golden light, but his eyes were milky, almost filmed-over completely in white. Beneath the deep pools were yellow, another unnatural color for their race and another source of questions. But while all that is odd and unusual, the third year’s eyes and hair are minor when compared to the damage his body has suffered. The scars and burns are innumerable and stretch from Lan’s neck to his toes. Some are ragged and uneven, but others are precise and clean, like the work of a surgeon, long, straight incisions and circular puncture marks. Never has the Dark seen so many injuries, old and new, on someone still living and even when he was bandaging and dressing the fresh wounds and his mind was on auto, the sheer amount of hurt that would have to have been endured was numbing to think about. Was it all the work of the foreign magic? It’s obvious to Sashi now that the magic he’d sensed on and off during his brief encounters with Lan was not from an artifact as he’d originally thought, but from within the Bright’s body. How that’s even possible, he has no idea, but being so close while it was active had clearly pointed it out. The other teen’s faction won’t even allow blood magic, so it’s a pretty good bet that they aren’t messing around with something like that...
Short steps lead the telepath to the pair of armchairs beside the window and as he slowly settles into the nearest, he can’t help the odd feeling of juxtaposition. On Friday his position and Lan’s had been reversed in all ways and the irony isn’t lost on the Dark. That debt, even without a specifically named price, has been paid now… Gray eyes slip closed when his head sinks into the cushion behind it, the drain on his magic weighing him down like lead. He’s done everything that he can here and it’s time to go back to his own room. In the morning he’ll get Zeph to tell Halacie that her boyfriend needs her and that will be it… Right…? First he needs five minutes to rest his leg and scrape up the magic to teleport. Darkness is closing in fast and that lead covering the rest of his body has spread to his eyes, the lids impossible to lift. The pain in his legs and hands has been reduced to a subdued stinging and it’s good not to move them, good to keep still… Just five… minutes…
Lan: It’s terror that grips him, ripping him from the deep abyss he’d been floating in for however long he had. Yellow eyes snap open and he jolts up in his bed, clawing at the hands, the scalpels and the hurt he’d been at the mercy of just a moment before. His breathing is heavy and he practically has to grit his teeth to stifle the scream that had tried to travel with him into consciousness. Scarred fingers slide up into tangled strands of shaggy white hair and the Bright frowns, slumping forward while he waits for the dreams to fade away and his body to calm. It used to be like this every day in the beginning. The stifled cries of pain, the nightmares, the smells of bleach and chemicals that never quite wants to go away. And the fire… hungry, raging, and constantly threatening to consume him from the inside. For months they had him locked up behind magic barriers and sealed off rooms after it had started to happen -after the tests and whatever they’d done had twisted him inside, mutated his magic and changed him to what he is now. It took so long for him to get used to it and now, a nightmare is rare but when they do happen, each one seems stronger than the last.
With a sigh, he lowers his hand and reaches out to slip the blankets away from his body in order to twist himself off to the side. He’s thirsty and he needs water, the lingering dreams always seeming to leave him just a little too dry. The moment Lan’s feet hit the floor, his movements come to an abrupt halt when his warm summer gaze settles on the sleeping Dark at the other end of the room. He blinks in a brief moment of stunned silence, trying and failing to recall why the fourth year is in his room. He’d been brought back too early, dumped in his room like a ragdoll before he’d started to lose control… but what, when and how did Sashi end up here as well?
He glances down at his hands and frowns, and without even a thought lent to his actions he sketches the runes needed to mask in midair. A second later his paled marred skin is replaced with perfect lightly tanned flesh, his white shaggy hair deepening to black and yellow eyes darkened to brown. The tall Bright stands, wincing in the slightest for injuries he’d somehow obtained while moving forward, bare feet padding across cold wood until he’s stopped just to the sleeping Dark’s front. Leaning in, shaggy strands shift forward as tapered fingers touch softly at the ravel haired telepath’s shoulder and just as he contacts, gray eyes slide open and widen at how close their faces now are. A moment later he’s sitting abruptly up only to rip small sounds from them both when he practically knocks into the taller teen.
Dual sets of hands are moving to bumped foreheads, both Selestarri reeling from the impact as one crouches over in the armchair while the other is straightening just above. It hits Lan then just how comical it all seems and soon soft laughter is spilling out as the fire, the reasons for Sashi’s presence and the fact that he hadn’t been masked melt away with the amusement, soft words spoken immediately after into the quiet room. “Not… exactly the wakeup I had been meaning…” The lanky Bright chuckles until he notices that the hand set against the Dark’s forehead is wrapped in light gauze. The laughter dies immediately, his smile replaced by a frown and he leans in again to take the other teenager by surprise as he carefully slips the hand into his own. “Did I do this?” he asks in a whisper, kneeling down soon after before turning tanned fingers up to peel back some gauze in order to inspect singed skin. “I’m sorry…” he says quietly while Sashi seems able to do little more than look on and a moment later his movements stop, Lan glancing up through thick strands of disheveled illusionary black hair. “I’m… not sure exactly how much you saw… but I’m sorry.” He smiles the smallest of apologetic smiles. “That you had to see any of it at all.”
Sashi: The pain that lingers from the bump of their foreheads slips away when the Bright drops to his knees. The third year takes his hand so quickly that he barely has time to flinch at the touch, his body tightening automatically at the close contact. There’s a very long moment that the telepath is frozen, unable to do anything but watch and listen as the burns are studied and apologies issued. Why is Lan apologizing? It’s not like the other Selestarri made him come in here and help—that’s a choice he’s all too aware of having made for himself. Honestly he shouldn’t even be in here right now because he was supposed to go back to his own room and leave the rest of this clean-up to Halacie. Instead it’s five minutes in an armchair and suddenly he’s waking up to apologies and awkwardness. Good fucking job, there.
Slowly Sashi pulls his hand away from the Bright’s, the bandages sliding from view beneath the long sleeve of his sweater. “It’s not your fault,” he says quietly. “I knew what would happen when I touched you.” There had been so much heat streaming off the other teen, but he hadn’t really thought twice about getting close, just more of that same auto-pilot he’d gone into. “My magic is still drained from the other night, so I had to pull you into the shower…you were burning up and… I didn’t know what else to do…” The explanation sounds so pathetic, even to his own ears and even though it’s the truth. It’s not like the shower worked at all until he’d gotten that pill down the Bright’s throat… A soft frown slips across the Dark’s mouth and he manages to catch his hand before it can move to his lips and touch at that lingering feeling that has suddenly crept up, that softness that keeps coming back.
Gray eyes shift back to the chocolate brown that he now knows masks yellow beneath. The illusion spell that’s not just to hide Lan’s Selestarri heritage at the school, but to hide all the time. He knows what it is to hide, to keep parts of yourself so secret that some days you’re almost able to convince yourself as well. Sashi can understand what that feels like and both how much it can hurt to keep those masks in place and how much it can hurt to try and live without them. Both options lead to the misery that cuts so deep within and never seems to dull. Both options make life hell and at least in his case, have lead to a loneliness that hurts just as much. Lan seems to have stepped away from that, though, with his girlfriend and the kids he’s always hanging around with. For reasons he can’t even begin to name or explain, the Dark is happy that the other student has escaped it and can maybe be kind of normal. Not everyone should have to know what true loneliness feels like and everything he’s learned about the tall Selestarri since their first conversation last week has lead him to think that Lan would be undeserving of such a harsh lesson.
The slight shifting of the other teenager’s lanky frame snaps Sashi’s attention back, thundercloud eyes finding their counterparts almost involuntarily. “If… you’re concerned about what I saw, it wasn’t much, just the heat and the tiles in the bathroom… mostly…” A slim pack of cigarettes appears in the Dark’s hand and he pulls one free before holding the box out to Lan. “I just happened to be nearby when you… got back, and so I tried to help.” The thin stick is slid up to full lips when the offering is accepted. “Look,” the telepath says softly as flame sparks the tip and a moment later a hastily and almost absently scrawled pattern pushes one of the nearby windows open. “You said the other day that we all have secrets, so I’m not going to insist on knowing yours…”
Lan: the tall Bright sits back onto the hardwood floor with the offered cigarette in hand, long legs crossing at his front and tapered fingers slipping up to push illusioned strands of shaggy black hair away. He smiles only slightly when Sashi’s words end just as the magic he’s scrolled has slid the closest window open and grey smoke is being carried towards it. That the other teenager isn’t going to push him for answers to events he’s learning he saw much of is both appreciated and admirable. There’s only so much he’ll be able to say and even though it’s not a proper explanation, he’s hoping that for now it will be enough. He’s also finding that he hopes at some point, he’ll be able to entrust the other teen with more…
The slender slick it slid up to his lips, a small spark of fire lighting it soon after and he takes a moment to inhale deeply before pulling it away, deep brown eyes falling to his hand as it’s lowered towards his knee. “I used to look like this…” he starts quietly, the softest of bitter smirks forming as grey tendrils are streaming away from full lips “Before I came here, this-“ he motions to himself briefly as his gaze rises up to meet gray. “Was me.” Taking another drag, he lowers his hand and a moment later he’s leaning casually forward to drape long arms across his legs. “I suppose beyond the obvious reasons of fitting in here, I still cover because I haven’t really gotten used to the difference…” there are other reasons as well. The extent of the damage showing on his body in one thing, not many people –himself included at times, can handle seeing what now shows. The color of his hair is another… back home it isn’t natural and within their society, only one other has it. He’s not in any way shape or form connected to the Oracle, and the Assembly made it pretty clear he wasn’t allowed to show any indication that he could be, even indirectly. He was told he had to continue on in this assignment years ago, do what was needed to get the information they are seeking in any way that was necessary yet any time that he goes back home, he’s also been told he has to keep himself completely hidden. It was something, just like the assignment itself, he’s never been given a choice in. So he does. He wears a constant mask, one he rarely allows himself to pull away and very few others see him in any other way…
Flicking the cigarette, the ash that falls from the end disappears before it ever touches the floor and he sighs, turning his eyes towards the open window as a distant sort of look forms within. “I’ve been this way for two years now and I still haven’t gotten very used to it…” the lanky teen’s voice drops a little. “I’m not sure if I ever will truthfully… so it’s easier just to keep it hidden, that way even I don’t have to see…” He trails momentarily before shaking his head and turning his attentions back to the telepath before him. Pulling his arms away from his legs, he straightens while reaching up to push shaggy strands from his line of vision in order to take another drag of the smoldering stick in his hand.
“Things… happened and it messed with my magic a little.” Little being an understatement, the tests and experiments those Angels do on him changed his physiology completely. He’s not even sure the fire inside of him is magic anymore because it acts more like a sentient being completely separate from himself at times. The magic he uses is a part of him, something he draws on and comes from inside. The fire is more like an element that he pulls from not only his core, but from the very Earth itself. “I used to lose control a lot, but I learned to master it a bit. Sometimes… it still slips away from me and when it does, I have to take special medication…” Come to think of it, he doesn’t remember taking the medication this time when he was losing control. He remembers trying to take it but he almost passed out before he could and then suddenly, the world had started to burn… he must have though, because when the fire starts to slip away from him like that, he either takes those pills or everything around him goes up in flames.
The tall Bright’s masked eyes follow Sashi’s movements as he’s bringing his own cigarette to his lips and while he does so, a distant sort of memory tries to creep back in. Something seems… almost familiar, like a dream he’s had with the other teenager that he can’t quite remember. “But.” He continues, shaking his head a little to clear his thoughts before allowing his gaze to rise back up and meet storm cloud colored grey that seem just as riveted to him as he was in return moments ago. “It doesn’t happen that much anymore. You just… caught me at a bad time and I’m sorry for that. Though, I’m very thankful for the help, regardless. I never would have come back in that condition if I could have helped it and without you; things could have been a whole lot worse …”