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Angel Hunt and Streifen Roleplay
+ Alternate Universe 01 +
C H A P T E R T W O : P A R T 08
Zeph stops in the center of the room, midnight eyes sliding over the blackened handprint on the warped frame of the bathroom door before turning to face the Bright. “I promise that this isn’t going to become a habit, us talking in the morning, as fun as it is.” He takes a sip of the hot, bitter liquid before meeting Lan’s illusion-screened gaze. “The dossier you were given on Sashi—and lets not even pretend that we weren’t given files by our Assemblies on what to expect from one another, all right? I’m sure we both have better ways to spend our time.” Steam rises from the plastic lid of the cup before he takes another sip. “The dossier, what does it say?”
Lan: summer colored eyes stare at the light shining in from his room windows as the lanky teenager sits on his bed, his back propped against the thick, polished wooden headboard while his thoughts continue to drift far from where he is. He hasn’t slept much since the day before, the unexpected encounter with the raven haired Dark harder to walk away from than he would have believed to be possible. He’d wanted so badly to say something to the other teen, to turn and find a way to make it all right… even if it were just to apologize for everything the telepath had to be subjected to when he’d helped him that day. But… as Lan’s yellow gaze slips away from the light and shifts over to stare at the blackened handprint on a framed archway that leads to his bathroom, he knows that speaking to Sashi would have been unwanted and would have made the situation between them worse. It doesn’t stop him from wanting to make it all right, or stop him from wishing that he could somehow turn back the dials and warn the fourth year not to ever come into his room. It hurts him to know that he’d showed the Dark more of himself than he ever meant to, even more so to know that it’s because of that, that Sashi’s shying away.
He just thought… well, he doesn’t know what he’d thought in truth. Kindred spirit… a connection of sorts… it was all illusion on his behalf. What good would any type of contact do either of them anyway? Their people don’t get along for a reason and this entire incident should remind him as to the reasons why. He has no idea what compelled him to reach out after two years of silence and distance in the first place, any more than he understands why he continued to reach out for each small encounter they had afterwards. In the end… he’s Bright and Sashi’s Dark. Their lives are their own, their reasons for being… their own and he should have known better from the start.
With a sigh, the Bright’s gaze slides down to his hands –scarred fingers gnarled, nearing on misshapen now from the sheer amount of heavy burns that riddle his pale skin. He stares at them for a moment before turning his closed palm up and unfolding tapered fingers to reveal the small note he’d been left – the quickly scrolled ‘thank you’ written in Selestarri across its surface. His free hand travels up and over to touch the very tip of a fingernail to the scribbled black lettering, the third year tracing each symbol once. As he does this, the faintest of memories attempts to flash through his head -a brief fluttering dances there like moth wings, tickling somewhere in the back of his mind’s eye. Furrowing his brows, he pulls his hand away only to slide it up and touch at his lips for a reason he can’t comprehend. A memory…? Dream…? What is it that’s trying to ease itself into clarity…?
He spends a few minutes trying to remember something he’s not even sure is there to remember before a hard knocking at his door interrupts his thoughts. Slipping his fingertips away from his mouth, the tall third year pushes himself off and slides from his bed. Folding the note once and slipping it into the pocket of low riding pants, a quick sketching in mid air channels the magic needed to mask. The illusion spell enfolds him like a second skin, light eyes deepening to dark, snow colored locks turning ashen and marred skin suddenly flawless. The door is opened just enough for him to find himself staring into a midnight gaze he’s becoming rather accustomed to before he slides back just far enough to let the blonde in while the softest of sighs passes from between full lips. Both coffee and words are thrown into his grasp as the younger teen practically shoves his way in, the door closed and the Bright turned to face the other right after.
His illusioned gaze slides away from Zephyr and down to the paper cup in his hands before rising back up. It seems that no matter what he says to Sashi’s brother or no matter what reassurances he’s given that he’ll leave well enough alone, he’s still not going to be let out of whatever it is the first year seems determined to keep him in. Further reasons given, he guesses, as to why he shouldn’t have stepped forward that first day and breached a line that obviously didn’t want to be breached. He’s coming to a loss as to what to say that won’t bring the blonde to the place he currently stands time and time again.
With yet another soft sigh, Lan’s free hand travels up to rake through shaggy strands of black while the words he speaks are soft, even and low. “To tell you the truth…” he starts as he pulls his fingers away and slides them down to latch onto his pants pocket. “I’ve never cared for dossiers so I’ve never bothered to pay attention to them much. Not back when Sashi came to our school… and not now because it would have made no difference, even if I had. Your brother didn’t bother with us and we didn’t bother with him in return…” their paths had never crossed, they had no need and he’s spent the last so many years buried so far beneath the going ons that the gossip of fellow students or even that of his own people ended up meaning so little when compared to his now, larger scale.
“Your brother was… and is a stranger to me-“ something of which he’d wanted to change. The only problem was that Sashi didn’t want it changed in return. “So whatever you think I might know, I don’t. I also don’t really care to know unless he’s the one telling me.” A light smile forms on his lips. “Despite your assumptions, I’ve never cared for basing my opinions of others on what I’ve been told. I do that solely on what I’m shown…”
Zephyr: The Dark shrugs as Lan’s words trail off and he takes another blistering sip of coffee. “I don’t think it would matter if you’d read it or not, I was just curious to hear what our Assembly had manufactured and leaked to your side.” A grin spreads over full lips as long legs fold and the blonde seats himself on the edge of the neatly made bed. “Probably the same shit that your elders put in the dossiers we got for you and the other one.” He’d be interested in seeing them just for the pure entertainment factor. Most likely he and Sashi are described as well-adjusted, fairly-powered Selestarri with no outstanding personality flaws or distinguishable traits at all, just the run-of-the-mill teenaged Dark given this assignment because they could blend in, or some equally stupid reason. The files are always crap, everyone knows that, even those who enforce the facts over and over until they can be repeated flawlessly. Still, he’d have liked to see if the Bright had any random bits of information that wouldn’t have intentionally been leaked from Nova, especially concerning Sashi.
Midnight eyes lift to meet calm, illusion-screened chocolate, the lanky upperclassman continuing to hold the coffee that he still hasn’t touched. “That won’t work with Sashi,” Zeph says quietly, his voice soft and low, “the whole basing opinions on what you’re shown thing? My brother… doesn’t work like that…” A quiet sigh escapes the younger teenager and long fingers uncurl from the coffee cup to absently push at strands of white-gold. He’d debated all night whether to tell the Bright any of this, these are Sashi’s secrets and the telepath is very private. Revealing anything to Lan is a bit like handing over a diary on his brother’s life and giving him free access to read. Irregardless of what he’s does, he’ll catch absolute hell if Sashi does discover that he’d sought out the Bright, but… there had just been something about the way both older students were upset about all of this, something that had pushed at Zephyr not to let it slide. Even with what Sashi had told him last night while drunk, he still can’t put together all the pieces, but the picture is clear enough for the younger Selestarri to draw a few conclusions.
Bracing his forearms against his knees, Zeph leans forward, the mostly full coffee cup held by long fingers between his legs. His gaze scans the floorboards, noting almost automatically the small flaws in the wood where patches of black mar the otherwise smooth polish. Lingering on the marks, it takes another moment of gathering his thoughts together before the blonde begins to speak. “I don’t know how much you really talked to Sashi, or what he said to you at all, but my brother… he’s had… a really hard life. He’s never really been able to have the things that you and I take for granted, you know?” Another sip of coffee goes down, this one a little cooler. “Because of that, he has a tendency to wall himself away and shut people out in order to avoid some of the pain that he’s been given all his life.”
Glancing up, he finds Lan standing quietly, unmoving as chocolate brown eyes continue to stare down at the first year. They’ve only met a couple of times, but Zeph can see the patience and gentleness that’s part of the Bright’s very being. It’s in his stance, his words, his demeanor, and… it’s not really a bad thing, he’s thinking. “Sashi got drunk last night, which is pretty rare for him to do outside of a holiday, and I was able to use that to pry a few things from him. The important one being that you offered him friendship.” The Dark catches the very slightest tensing of the older Selestarri’s body before he falls into that same relaxed, nonchalant stance. “I didn’t understand that when we talked yesterday, and I’m pretty sure that neither of you gets it either. So unless those dossiers have some kind of amazing info on him, I doubt that you would know the reason for his being so upset at something we do everyday.”
The coffee surges in a hot wave down the Dark’s throat, the bitterness uncut by sugar or cream and kicking like a damn mule the whole way down. Sliding back so that his weight is supported by one arm stretched out behind, Zeph seeks out Lan’s gaze once again. “Friendship seems small and insignificant to you and me, right? We do things like that twenty times a day. But Sashi…” A sudden dull stab of guilty pain lances through the blonde’s chest and without thinking, he lifts one hand to press against it. It’s a reminder of how he’s failed his older sibling in so many ways, how he’s been unable to lessen any of the hurt that he knows is carried deep inside. He’s tried hard, really hard, but there’s only ever been failure when it comes to helping a person he cares so much for. It’s shameful, and the pain he feels for it is well deserved. The blonde teen’s voice drops even lower. “He’s never had a friend. Not a real one, I mean. Some of the other Dark tried to say they were his friends in order to use him for one reason or another, but that was all they cared about. It’s driven him far inside, so far that I’m getting more and more afraid that he’ll be barricaded away completely…”
Frowning, he pushes at errant strands of hair before reaching down to set the paper cup on the hardwood floor beside the bed. “I’m guessing that he just sort of… freaked, when you asked him. He claims that being his friend will stain you and hurt you, which is all that he’s ever heard while growing up. Escaping to Nova was mainly a trip for reinforcement, a punishment of some kind to remind himself why he’s alone.” Zeph shrugs again, the sadness reflected in midnight depths quite clear. “Up there he has me and no one else. The others despise him and make their hatred known loudly. So while I’d never say this on a normal occasion, maybe it wouldn’t be the most terrible idea in the world for a Bright and a Dark to be friends…”
Bright, summer colored eyes stare up at the mid morning sky from his shaded place perched up high on the branch of one of the trees that frame the outskirts of his small hidden grove. Resting in between marked fingers is a half burnt cigarette, his arm slung casually over an up turned knee while another set of fingers lie tangled within shaggy strands of white colored hair.
He’d spent a good portion of the morning after Zephyr had left his room, going over what had been said to him time and time again. It was… a surprising conversation in truth, especially considering his previous encounters with the younger Dark. He’d never have believed the words ‘Bright, Dark and friends” could have been said all in the same sentence when coming from the other teen and it took him a while to straighten that part out in his head.
He’s grateful for what the blonde had decided to tell him, grateful to have a better understanding of Sashi and what has driven some of the raven haired telepath’s actions towards him. But… while he now understands it all better, Zephyr doesn’t understand in return that his offer of friendship wasn’t the reason Sashi ran from him in the way that he did. He couldn’t tell the first year that he was the real cause, not as he assumes, because he’d held his hand out for the telepath to take. Sashi isn’t spooked over a trivial matter, he’s spooked because he’d seen far more about himself than he apparently liked or could handle. So for as much as he would like to re-extend his hand or go back to that brief time where they’d had those fun little chance encounters, he can’t take back what the Dark saw and so he’ll most likely never be able to make it right between them again.
Shaking his head with a sigh, the tall Bright slides his arm away from his knee to bring the softly burning stick up to his lips. Slipping his other hand away from his hair as he’s taking a long drag, quick patterns are sketched before him and by the time he’s pulled the cigarette back to exhale the smoke, his masking spell is once again in place. Flicking the nearly spent stick away, he pushes his lean frame off the branch and allows himself to fall, the cigarette combusting and long gone before his feet have actually touched the ground below. It takes a few seconds for the familiar scent to even register as he’s straightening himself out, the Bright having been too distracted by his thoughts to notice a presence he now knows to be standing almost directly behind where he is. He stills momentarily to collect himself before he trails his hands up and into his pockets, finding that increasingly familiar neutrality he’s worn far too much as of late as he finally makes a slow, casual turn around.
Masked chocolate eyes meet gray and a repeat of that chance encounter they’d had in the hall begins to play out between them with this new one they now currently share. But this time when the spell is broken and he finds the raven haired fourth year practically spinning on his heels to get away, everything Sashi’s brother had told him flashes through his mind and pushes him to reach out before he’s even realized he’s done it. With only one step given, tapered fingers wrap around a tanned wrist to stop the other teen instantly in his tracks. It takes a moment for Lan’s gaze to pull away from a short curtain of coal and move down to settle on his own hand before he slowly unwraps his fingers, easing them right back into his pockets in a rather deceptively easy way.
“Forgive me.” His quiet apology is meant more for the touch he’d just given, understanding that despite his masking spell, the full extent of his body’s damage had been felt with the contact. “I know… you don’t want to speak with me anymore, and I do understand why but I’ve wanted to say that from the start.” Deep brown eyes slide back up to once again settle on the back of the fourth year’s head and he offers him a sad sort of smile despite the fact that the other teenager isn’t turned to see it. “You never should have seen what you did that night in my room and for that I’m sorry… if I could change it for you, Sashi… I would.”
Sashi: Each step that he takes through the trees is wrong. He shouldn’t be doing this, not now and probably not ever. What good will come from seeing him again? Last time, in the stairway, it had only caused him hurt, so why would this be any different? Just as before it had been random chance that he’d sensed the third year while out on a walk and it’s not like he can pretend that he doesn’t know that Lan is nearby because he knows exactly where he is, just as he knows where anyone who possesses magic at this school is at any given time. His feet know damn well where they’re taking him, but he can’t seem to make them stop. It must be the hangover; it’s making him lose his fucking mind.
It takes far too little time to arrive at the small grove of trees he’d been introduced to just over a week before and he can smell the cigarette smoke on the air just as strongly as the magical signature of the one sitting in the branches high above. A few minutes pass while Sashi simply stands beneath the tall trees, unable to do anything but stay still and wait. This is stupid, so stupid… If Lan had wanted to speak with him, he would have done it while they stood in the stairwell, but the Bright had made it clear that he wasn’t interested, that he would prefer to pretend that they’d never spoken at all. So what is he expecting here, really? Another chance to get hurt, apparently, which in the end is all that he supposes he deserves.
The canopy rustles above, a few leaves falling to the ground just before the tall teenager drops into view in a near-silent move. This is not a chance encounter. He knew exactly where he was going and he knew that Lan was here long before setting foot in the grove. In those few heartbeats that pass between the time the Bright’s feet hit the ground and the time he turns around, Sashi finds he cannot move. Those illusion-masked eyes fall on him and it’s as though he’s frozen, his feet, his throat, his thoughts, locked down with something akin to panic. He needs to say something because that’s what he’s here to do, right? To apologize and explain his actions last week, even if the third year doesn’t want to hear it and even if that explanation will drive him away for good. Lan deserves that much for his kindness, doesn’t he? But even knowing that won’t force the words through and that sudden urge to get out, to get away, sweeps over the telepath like a tidal wave, just as it had in the white-haired teen’s room last Monday. Driven by the need, he spins on his heels, intent on sliding back into the trees as quickly as he possibly can when a vise-like grip latches onto his wrist and stops him flat.
The quiet words spoken by the Bright blur together slightly beneath the cold numbness that’s slipping over him like a piece of well-worn clothing, that same coldness that he’d gone to Nova to reinforce. There’s something in there about not wanting to speak anymore and Sashi doesn’t completely understand what that means, but the confusion fades into the background as Lan’s apology unfolds and the sadness that’s so clear in the third year’s voice somehow grows even deeper. He’s not quite sure what the other teenager is talking about, but he knows that ultimately that hurt he hears is his responsibility. The pain that they’re both feeling is his doing, another mark on the long list of his faults and failures. Clearing the air a little is the very least he can do, even if it won’t mend the damaged he’s caused. Thundercloud-tinted gaze locked on the grass beneath his feet, it takes a moment to get his throat working enough to squeeze the words out, his voice very low. “I don’t understand… what you mean…”
Slightly shaking hands slide deep to the pockets of the sweatshirt he wears, as if they can somehow anchor him to this spot long enough to say what needs to be said. “I didn’t see anything that upset me. You needed help and I gave it, the same as you did for me… So there’s no need to apologize.” Somehow Sashi gets his feet to move enough to turn and face the other Selestarri, although his eyes remain pinned to the ground. “I’m the one who’s sorry…” he whispers. “You asked me to be your friend… but I can’t. People get hurt when they’re near me… I ruin them… and I don’t want you to get hurt…” Lan deserves better than that for the kindness that he’d freely given, a kindness that has been so very rare in the telepath’s life and that means more than he’s truly willing to admit. “I wanted to say that yesterday, but…” he knew that the words would push the Bright away for good and in the end he’d been too weak to actually do it. “I just thought you should know… why I walked away from your room…”
Lan: the apology, the explanation given as to why the Dark actually shied away, the tone of each word spoken are all said in a way that the tall Bright can’t help but find himself admittedly, just a little relieved over. Sashi has just said that he didn’t recoil because of what he found… he’s claimed that he wasn’t upset by Lan’s appearance or the state he’d seen him in. All the other nonsense aside, that part right there makes him happy to an extent that even he hasn’t had time to comprehend as of yet.
But the rest of it… Isn’t this exactly what Zephyr had told him earlier in the morning? That the telepath had been fed that nonsense all throughout his childhood and so in turn has come to believe that every bit of it is true? He understands that he and the other teenager really don’t know much of one another yet –that both their pasts and presents haven’t been shared very deeply or that who they are at the core is still virtually an unknown to each other, but still… while he knows that the only true thing they have between them at the moment are the brief encounters they’d managed over the last few weeks after two years of mutual silence and a couple of times where there’s been injury and help, it’s been long enough for him to come to the conclusion that there really couldn’t be any possible way that the stupidity the Dark seems to believe is true.
Especially considering all he’s seen since he’s come to this school.
He’s seen so much worse in the relatively short time he’s been a resident on these grounds, far worse creatures doing terrible things; all of which he himself has been subjected to at the very command of his own people, and while he can tell the other teenager none of it right now, explain nothing to him in ways that would get him to understand where he’s coming from on that front, he’s hoping that he might someday be able to find a way. Sashi, no matter what he is to his own side of their factions, seems to be just as alone as he is down at his core. It’s something they appear to share, a similarity between them that’s both sad as well as potentially serving even if the fourth year doesn’t realize it and there’s nothing that will convince Lan otherwise right now.
“You claim…” the Bright starts quietly, his own words spoken soft against the mid morning near silence that surrounds where they currently stand. “…that you will ruin me, simply by becoming my friend…?” it’s a statement he almost wants to laugh at considering how he’s been changed over the last so many years, one he wonders if the Dark has truly sat back and thought about at all since he’d seen what he is beneath this magical second skin he’s constantly obligated to wear. “How could you ruin someone who’s already been ruined?” Grey eyes slowly shift back to meet his calm, steady gaze, each teen holding the other even as he continues to talk. “Hurt me? How? You’ve seen me…” his voice falls a little at his own words and for a moment, masked brown eyes shift away. “beneath this façade, you’ve seen what I am and I can guarantee you Sashi, that there’s nothing you could possibly do that would hurt or damage me deeper than what’s already been done by far too many others…” Including his own Assembly, the Council and the Oracle herself. He sighs, tapered fingers slipping up to push at shaggy strands of deep black hair. “So… my offer still stands…” he glances back up. “And it will continue to stand for as long as it’s needed.” his hand slides away from his hair and back down towards his pockets, a soft smile reforming on his lips that he can’t really help. “…Sometimes, even those who think they are tainted for whatever reason need someone there to catch them when they fall…I’ve caught you once, what harm will be done in letting me do it again …?”