Angel Hunt and Streifen in Roleplay

+ Alternate Universe 02 +

The Faculty Years

C H A P T E R O N E : P A R T 09

Jun: It’s early in the morning when an unrelenting light pulls him to the surface in the most unforgiving of ways. Pink eyes crack open only to immediately slam shut, his ears suddenly ringing and the pain in his pretty much everything absolute. With a groan, the white haired man rolls to his side and with painfully slow movements he somehow manages to pull the covers up over his head, curling his lean frame into a ball before passing out once again.

Tapered fingers slide out to shut the stream of water off, and leaning forward, he sets his temple against the heated wet tile while letting out a slow and long sigh. Early dawn hued eyes remain closed as the water drips from his body in rivulets and the pressure of the shower wall against his head does little to ease the throbbing ache he feels all over that he’s pretty sure is pounding in tune to the beat of his heart in order to spite him. It was late afternoon before he managed to pull himself out of his bed and he’s spent the time since attempting with every painstakingly slow movement to undo the tornado he’d apparently brought back with him from those bars and the havoc it caused to his apartment.

Luckily he didn’t have to do much as it appears someone else already straightened after him, but what he did have to do was painful nonetheless. He deserves the hangover though because what he did was incredibly stupid. If it had been his handler who had returned and found him as drunk as he’d been instead of the blonde…

With another sigh given, Jun slowly opens his eyes before straightening about half-way, every movement nursed as he slides his fingers up and gingerly runs them through long hair to shake off the excess water. Stepping from the wide stall past the steam drenched glass doors, he moves into his room, reaching out as he passes to tug a plush towel from the rack before wrapping it around his trim waist. As he steps up to his wardrobe and pulls it open to reveal an array of uniformly hung clothing inside, his fingers move to his chest and absently he begins tracing the outlines of the script burned deep beneath his skin, his face set in pain tinged concentration.

His belts and collar were lined neatly on the sink counter, and his shirt was draped over the back of the footboard of his bed when he’d woken but for the life of him he can’t remember if he’d been the one to put them there or not. He remembers the boots which he’d found by the couch when he’d finally ventured out into the apartment, but the others…he keeps drawing a blank. Clenching his teeth in a way he immediately regrets, he slips his fingers from the imprinted seal over his heart and reaches into the wardrobe to pull a pair of pants and a simple oversized sweater free. He should be able to remember it but he can’t and all he can do is hope now that he was the one who took his shirt off and that he wasn’t aided by the blonde. No one except those who placed it and Taz has seen the seal and he wants to keep it that way. It’s a sore enough subject as is and he really doesn’t enjoy the idea of having given more of himself away to another than he already has.

Careful to close the wardrobe behind him, it takes a whole lot longer for Jun to dress than normal but once he does, he finishes by wrapping himself carefully in a heavy wool coat before winding a thick scarf around his neck. Stopping long enough to haphazardly push some clips into wet bangs in order to keep them from being entirely unruly as he heads to his door, he also slips a pair of dark tinted silver sunglasses over his slightly bloodshot eyes.

Even the dim light of the hallway feels as if it’s out to get him once he steps into the corridor and it only gets worse when the front door to the building is opened for him by the doorman and the bright afternoon sun bears completely down. He doesn’t answer when the man wishes him a good day, his pink gaze shifting instead behind the glasses to find his car still in its place across the street, complete with the front end perched sloppily up on the curb.

He needs coffee, black and thick and since he has practically nothing in his apartment beyond water and some juice –neither of which is going to help him, and as much as he’d have rather remained in bed to sleep the rest of the day away, going to the nearest bistro is about the only way he’s going to attain what he currently needs. But he decides immediately that he’d not going to be able to stand even the quiet hum of his car’s well tuned engine, so turning fluidly towards the main stretch of road, he makes the decision to walk there instead. His footfalls pause momentarily when he finds Zephyr on the empty sidewalk before him carrying a few filled bags in hand, resuming immediately as if he hadn’t halted in the first place and despite being given a cheery smile and a good afternoon, he quickly returns with a flat cold, obviously unhappy frown.

“Whatever you saw me do last night…you didn’t” Jun states quietly as the other man draws close enough to hear him, only speaking vocally because there’s too much pain in his head for him to manage a telepathic send. “And whatever you heard me say, forget…” He knows exactly what he did and he knows exactly what he said, unfortunately, because he’s incapable of forgetting anything no matter how inebriated or altered he manages to get. He wishes he could because he’d certainly have done it this time but memory has been his issue from the start, so much so that his memories have stayed intact no matter how many times the entire High Council has attempted to wipe them from his mind. He remembers what he told the Selestarri about his like of humans and their scents, he remembers the dancing and he remembers the feelings he had during it all. He wishes he didn’t, honestly, but he does and all he can do now is hope that the other man will just agree to somehow forget it all like he’s planning on pretending he’s done himself…

Zephyr: With shopping bags in hand and slung over his shoulder, the Dark is returning from a grocery run at the store a few blocks away, another errand checked off his list. Despite his late night, he’s already been out for a morning run and cooked a large brunch for Innic before the other Dark returned to Nova to continue with their little research project. His plan for the rest of the day includes making dinner for his brother and checking in with his various networks and informants.

But first these groceries need to make it to his kitchen, so he moves quickly up the sidewalk, nodding to those he passes. As the apartment building comes into sight, he catches a flash of white up ahead and a smile shifts easily to his lips as he catches sight of Jun, eyes hidden behind reflective silver sunglasses and despite the other man’s effort to hide it, a slow walk that’s obviously impeded by what must be a killer headache. He greets the Angel as the distance between them narrows, and is unsurprised by the lack of reply. The commands he’s dictated when they draw close are also unsurprising, and given that he’s never been one to follow orders no matter who gives them, he decides to ignore the words for the time being. Instead he stops and turns toward the other man, flashing him a warm smile. “I’m guessing you’re going for coffee, right?” He’s certainly had enough hangovers to know what’s needed for relief. “Why don’t you let me make you a whole pot to take back to your apartment,” at the glare he can feel directed at him from behind reflective lenses, Zeph amends, “alone. It will save you the misery of walking four blocks there and back…”

Jun: the shorter man stands in place for a few moments without answering, contemplating despite himself on taking the Dark up on his offer. He knows what he should do, he should turn away from Zephyr without so much as another word given to him and continue the way he was going in the first place, suffer through the four blocks to the bistro, get his coffee and suffer through the four blocks it’ll take to come back.

But the thought of the actual journey is what’s killing him because he’s already having issues staying upright while the surrounding mid-afternoon noises resonate mercilessly through a head that’s currently pounding, and the light that seems determined to drill through his very skin despite his attempts to block it adequately. Then even if he does make it there, he’ll have to step into what will be a crowded shop full of people who won’t care to keep their voices down for him, actually find a way to speak loud enough to make his order all the while being bombarded by scents that even now threaten to cast him downward, sobbing into a tightly curled ball. And while he knows full well he’s deserving of it all, the thought of actually doing it is completely daunting and the offer to be saved from at least that much of the pain is quickly proving to be far too tempting for him to reject.

God, he’s going to regret this, he just knows it…

“This won’t change what I’ve said.” Jun finally answers flatly and turning away from the taller man, he begins moving again without waiting for the Selestarri to join him. “A pot of coffee and then we won’t be speaking again.”

Behind him and despite the Angel’s statement of finality, his coworker smiles and a second later, he resumes his steps as well, each figure moving in silence back towards the apartment building’s main door…

Zephyr: The ascent to the third floor is made in silence, the Angel taking the lead despite his slow, slightly unsteady steps. He passes the door to the blonde’s apartment, and it’s only when the Dark clears his throat that Jun stops and glances back over his shoulder. “I agreed to make you coffee, not be your butler.” He pitches his voice low, not only to keep neighborly ears from hearing, but to spare Jun’s head as well. “Nothing in my apartment bites, so you can wait until it’s ready.” That earns him a red hot glare clearly visible behind the silver sunglasses, but the other man grudgingly turns around.

Multiple layers of wards light up as Zeph touches the door, sliding his fingers across the rune to free the locking mechanism and is rewarded with a soft click. He can see Jun’s attention to the security wards, but only smiles and steps inside, gesturing for the Angel to follow. Placing the cloth shopping bags on the granite countertop, the Dark turns toward the sleek black coffee maker as Jun comes to a stop just beside the sofa and the door softly closes behind. “The wards on my apartment are set by Sashi, so they’re unbreakable. Fire, smoke, water, a few different security ones, and of course, soundproofing.” He flashes a grin over his shoulder as he sets the pot beneath the faucet and flicks the water on. “Nothing spoken in here goes beyond these walls.”

The Angel seems unimpressed, his gaze shifting from the Scandinavian style couches, tables, and dining set to the rich, solid wood cabinets and granite countertops in the kitchen. He looks as though the effort to stand is becoming an issue, and Zeph gestures toward the bar stools lining the side of the counter facing the living area as he shuts off the faucet and pours the water into the back of the coffeemaker. “You can sit if you’d like, the coffee will take a few moments.” Pulling a container of expensive coffee from the pantry, he scoops out enough to make a strong pot and slips the filter into the machine before turning it on.

Jun still hasn’t moved toward the barstools, but the Dark lets him be and begins unpacking his groceries. “It seems you had an exciting night last night. Do you go out often?”

Jun: he doesn’t move once he steps into the other man’s apartment, too focused in on every red flag that’s currently going off in his aching head. He can only hope that nobody saw him follow Zephyr in here because if it spreads around the faculty that he’s being social in any way with anyone and Taz hears about out, beyond the repercussions he’s already suffering from his hangover, his life is guaranteed to get a hundred times harder than it already is. He’s also a little skeptical that the other man’s warding is as effective as he claims, the magic is foreign and encoded in an entirely different manner than Angelic wards so he’s unsure if he can actually trust it enough to speak without being heard.

It would be so much easier if he could stand telepathy right now in truth, but the thought of it alone causes him far too much pain and so he’s left with only two choices – be silent or trust the unknown Selestarri magic and talk out loud. Choosing the first, he simply stands in place a while longer, early dawn hued eyes behind dark reflective shades examining his coworker’s living space despite pretending he isn’t while each moment he has to remain upright growing harder by the second. It’s only when Zephyr speaks again does he finally admit an internal defeat and take a careful step forward, reaching out to tug the closest barstool away from the counter before sitting his lean frame down.

“Last night was a mistake…” the white haired Angel frowns as tapered fingers slip slowly up to pull the sunglasses from his face, setting them down on the counter. Without realizing he’s doing it, he draws his hand back up as his elbow comes in contact with the granite and he pushes his fingers against his aching eyes with a sigh, “I haven’t been out in a long time…” he almost whispers, “and I won’t be going out again.” It was a risky thing to do and the only reason he did it was because he’d been upset enough after what he found to be another wrong judgment when it came to the blonde to throw caution to the wind. He pushed his luck though by doing it and he’s not going to push it a second time, not at least until he’s given a different handler, one who won’t care enough to bother with his every action and then punish him for them in the way this one has done.

“Look…” Jun starts again as he slowly reopens his eyes, staring up at the other man through his fingers despite the fact that his back is turned while he continues to put his groceries away, his cold flat tone warming just a little. “I meant it when I told you to forget everything that happened last night… But thank you…for helping me out.” His quiet words still the blonde’s movements and he glances back though strands of black streaked white blonde to find that the shorter man’s expression has softened. “My behavior was unacceptable and I’m sorry for it…” the truth is he actually enjoyed it, even though he can’t admit it out loud. He liked dancing with the Dark and he liked being touched by him and despite being drunk off his ass, there was something about being held against the taller man that felt almost… right.

Which is entirely the problem right there. It shouldn’t have felt right and it doesn’t matter how much he liked it, it was as much of a mistake as getting drunk was in the first place. “What I did… isn’t something that will happen again…”

Zephyr: And there it is--exactly what he’d been seeing in between the cracks of Jun’s cold demeanor all these months. The frigidness, the distance, the arrogance, it was exactly the facade he’d thought it to be, and it’s all he can do to keep from breaking out into a smile. Managing to restrain himself given the very serious words the Angel is currently speaking, Zeph finishes with the last of his groceries and folds the cloth bags neatly before storing them in the pantry. Taking a small carton from the fridge, he sets it on the counter before turning to find a creamer with a snug lid and bringing it over as well.

“I think that would be a shame,” he says quietly, midnight eyes remaining fixed on the task of filling the small ceramic container. “You seemed to be enjoying yourself, which is something I’ve never seen before.” Closing the carton, he returns it to the fridge before turning to the pantry to locate the sugar and the small sugar bowl that matches the creamer. “I know I was enjoying myself as well.” Zeph purposely keeps his tone just on the edge between light and serious, trying hard to have an open conversation with Jun instead of sending the other man right back behind his cold front as he’d managed to do twice earlier in the week.

The coffee is dripping steadily when he finishes spooning sugar into the bowl, and he takes the sugar back to the pantry only to return with a small basket with a handle. “There was nothing that happened last night that you need to apologize for as far as I’m concerned.” Setting a cloth napkin in the bottom of the basket, he gently places the creamer and sugar bowl inside as well. “Unfortunately your request that I forget will have to be denied due to impossibility.” A small frown creeps over the Angel’s mouth, but the Dark pretends not to notice as he shifts to the other side of the kitchen, opening a drawer to pull out another cloth napkin and unfolding it on the counter.

“I’m a memory telepath.” Selecting four of the biscuits he’d made for the morning’s breakfast from a covered bowl beside the stove, he sets them in the center of the napkin and gathers the cloth around, looping the corners into a loose knot. “Which means,” Zeph turns back to Jun and sets the wrapped biscuits beside the basket, “that I can’t forget anything, even if I wish.” It’s equal parts blessing and curse, as he’s come to discover. While he always retains the happy moments and the fine nuances around them, so too does he remember the horrible ones in vivid detail, his own memories and those he’s collected from others. Sometimes the memories come unbidden in nightmares to haunt his sleep with blood and sorrow, but after the assassination attempt they’ve come while he’s awake as well.

Turning away to pull a small jar of homemade jam from a cabinet, the blonde nestles it down into the basket beside the cream and sugar before placing the biscuits on top. “So I can promise you that we won’t speak of it again, but I can’t promise to forget any of it.” Easing the wicker container onto the raised countertop beside the Angel, Zeph leans against the lower cabinets on his side of the island as the coffee continues to drip behind him. “It was fun though, Jun, even if you think it was a mistake. If you like going out, why should you stop doing it?”

Jun: At first the other man’s refusal to forget the previous night’s exchanges pulls a hard frown to his lips and he’s a couple of seconds from pushing himself away from the counter and storming from the apartment, never to look back, as he knows he should. But it’s the explanation behind it that stops him, and dropping his early dawn hued gaze downward, instead of leaving, he spends a little while longer contemplating the meaning behind the blonde’s words.

In a way they are similar in that regard and he doesn’t exactly know what to make of it. He’s been so alone within his race when it’s come to how his mind has been wired, and it’s that difference that’s always singled him out. He’s often hated that he is the way that he is, hated the way he can’t help but think, hated they way he sees everyone around him, hated the compassion he feels for others he’s supposed to treat with disdain, and most of all he’s hated the memories he can’t let go of even when they’ve been ripped forcibly from his head. How many times has he longed to forget what he is, or wished he was like every other member of his race? How many times has he cursed his own existence, completely at a loss for how to become the cold unfeeling soldier he’s expected to be? If he could do that then there’d be nothing to set him apart from the others, if he was like them, maybe Haniel wouldn’t have chosen him in the first place and then he wouldn’t be in the mess he’s in now. He’s longed for it on more occasions than he can count, longed to be just like everyone else and not the cosmic joke his Maker saw fit to make him.

Yet here before him is someone who claims he also can’t forget, someone who knows on some level what it’s like and while Zephyr isn’t the same race as him and being a memory telepath is completely different from whatever it is he is, here before him is actually another who can understand him a little. So did he misjudge his original misjudgment of the taller man? At this point in time, he honestly can’t tell but it’s the small speck of common ground he and his coworker seem to share that allows him to relax just a little and again he finds himself taking a chance by answering back.

“I don’t go out, because I’m not allowed to…” Jun sighs softly, slipping his hand carefully away from his face and setting it down on the counter before lifting his pink gaze right back up. “As fun as it is, it’s not worth the repercussions that’ll happen if I get caught.” If he’s seen acting as much of a fool as he did last night, he’ll be found out in an instant and while Taz will only use it as another tool to control him, he won’t be so lucky if another of his kind happens to find him instead. He’s here for one purpose and one alone and so long as he continues to play his part in it, he’ll be allowed to remain on Earth with what few freedoms he’s been granted, but that could change in an instant if a report gets back to the council that his newest conditioning hasn’t remained intact and they’ll have no qualms whatsoever about dragging him back home for yet another game of ‘hack his mind apart’ again.

“No amount of fun is worth getting caught and what happened last night was a serious lapse in my judgment that won’t happen again… a fluke, like my damn eyes…” not entirely realizing he’s made the last statement, Jun falls silent, his half lidded pain tinged gaze remaining on the blonde’s features for a few moments longer as the coffee maker continues to drip behind him until something he said prompts him to speak once again. “So, that’s your idea of having fun then?” he half wonders, half smirks -immediately regretting it as a throbbing ache spikes hard in response. Pulling his hand away from the counter, he slides his fingers up to his temples once more before letting out another quiet sigh. “What was it that did it for you, my clumsy awkward dancing or my inability to manage this regions’ common speech?”

Zephyr: An easy grin spreads across the Dark’s lips at Jun’s question. “Oh it was definitely your clumsy, awkward dancing,” he teases lightly. Which hadn’t really been all that clumsy or awkward at all despite how drunk the Angel was at the time. Jun was still surprisingly graceful, and the fluidity in which he’d matched his movements so perfectly with his own was impressive. It’s kindled a desire to dance with him again without the interference of chemicals in order to see what the white-haired man can really do on a dancefloor. “Although your speech imperfections were amusing as well.”

Jun sighs again, the heels of both hands pressing against his forehead in an effort to quell what must be a raging headache, and Zeph can’t help but to feel for him. It’s always a good time until the hangover strikes and then the regret comes surging in. Turning away from the Angel, he opens one of the lower cabinet drawers to pull out a black and silver thermal carafe, carefully unscrewing the top before setting it beside the rapidly filling coffee pot. “Truthfully though, my idea of having fun is dancing.” With flying no longer an option, it’s one of the few things he still has when he needs to relax. “I like the clubs with their thumping sound systems and flashing lights. I like the floors so packed that you can’t move without brushing up against someone else. I like the heat and the sweat, the pounding rhythm that overtakes you and unlocks the barriers we normally set on ourselves.” He flashes Jun a smile. “The dancefloor is freeing, you know? A place to forget for a while.”

Pulling the full pot of dark, steaming liquid free of the coffeemaker, he pours it into the carafe, filling it to the brim before replacing the pot and screwing the lid on tight. He wants to ask Jun about the repercussions he’d mentioned, and why he’s not permitted to go out. Is he really that afraid of being caught? By whom? The only other Angel he’s seen around frequently enough to recognize is that Taz guy, but he seems to disappear from campus for long stretches of time and when he is here, it’s never longer than a week. How would they even know if Jun went out? Unfortunately he doesn’t understand enough about Angelic society to answer any of those questions, so instead he carries the full carafe to the opposite side of the kitchen and slides it next to the basket beside Jun.

“A life without fun, even if it leads to getting caught, is a little meaningless, isn’t it?” Leaning his tall frame against the counter, the smile he gives to the Angel is warm and gentle. “So perhaps you should permit yourself a lapse in judgment from time to time, even if it is a fluke.” And if those pink eyes that slide up to meet midnight are a fluke, too, then they’re a very beautiful one…

Jun: Early dawn tinted eyes slide up to meet midnight and for a long moment he says nothing, the two simply staring at one another as the other man’s words resonate throughout his aching head.

“A life without fun, even if it leads to getting caught, is a little meaningless, isn’t it?”

He wishes he could see it this way, he really does. But having been given the choice of it in the past, he found in a moment of desperation that it’s better to have some life than not to have one at all. While that choice has afforded him a life that isn’t ideal and he’s spent more time since pretending to be something he’s expected to be instead of living as what he really is, at least he’s still here; which is more than he can say for any other of his kind who has broken a law in some way.

And he is alive. He is in fact one of the only of his society who has gone through a trial and been allowed to see another day and no matter how difficult things become, he fully intends to keep it that way.

“It isn’t likely.” Jun replies and pulling his hands from his forehead, he reaches forward to wrap his fingers around the granite counter in order to steady himself enough to rise up. “There isn’t a single ward that I know of that can hide my presence or block my scent well enough to ensure I’d be safe through any more ‘flukes.’” Reaching gingerly forward once straightened, he gathers the basket the Selestarri has prepared for him closer before reaching for the carafe as well. “So it’s easier for me just to not have them, trust me.” Sighing again, the white haired Angel turns away and strides towards the door. With basket and coffee balanced perfectly in one arm, he reaches for the knob but instead of turning it and exiting, he remains still.

“Thank you…” Jun says quietly to the one behind him, his pain tinged gaze remaining focused in at his front. “For all this… and for agreeing not to speak of last night again. I know everything I’ve done recently has been a little contradictory, but as it is with everything else, I don’t really have much of a choice... Like I said earlier, I am sorry for it, and I can promise that I won’t let it happen again.” And with that statement, he twists the knob and steps into the hall, his movements guarded and careful even as the door clicks shut behind him before he begins making his slow way down the hall.

Lan: the bright sun shines down on his lanky frame, deceiving about its warmth as it highlights white shaggy hair in a way that’s almost as blinding as the overhead light. The Bright is dressed in a light loose shirt and pair of loose pants resting low on his hips despite the surrounding cold, a simple thin black leather belt holding the baggy garment in place and his hands latched casually in his pockets. Stepping from the main path, he makes his way to a specific apartment and glancing upwards to the enclosed patio, yellow eyes settle on what can be seen of a dark, well wrapped figure as he tends to the small garden he knows to be there.

Sashi’s movements stop after a moment and storm cloud colored eyes shift downward, the younger Selestarri offering up a warm and inviting smile. [I just happened to be passing by,] Lan begins, [and I thought perhaps you might like to join me for a stroll… as coworkers of course. I find long strolls to be rather calming and I thought that you might as well.] He grins then adds, [I promise I’ll keep you warm in exchange for the company…]

Sashi: Bundled in a woolen coat with a deep hood and a scarf wrapped around his neck, the Warden snaps the pruners in one gloved hand closed before pulling away the unneeded sprig of plant and stopping to consider his next cut. He’d been out here in the cold for the last hour, working to tidy his small garden before transferring the more delicate annuals inside and winterizing the rest of the space. While he’d rather be inside in front of the fireplace with a cup of hot tea, he’d been putting this chore off for the last three weekends and he’s running out of time as the days grow shorter and colder. If he waits too long and there’s an early frost the more fragile plants won’t survive the transfer inside, and he’ll lose them completely.

Snipping another bit from the small flowering bush and tossing the clipped bit into the growing pile at his feet, Sashi shifts to the next plant, carefully considering which parts need pruning when a familiar magical signature crosses his senses. Being sensitive to magic involves being able to screen it out and ignore it the majority of the time, which is the Dark’s common practice when it comes to the building’s other non-human residents. So it’s only when Lan’s signature stops in place and lingers does he begin to pay attention. The Bright is below him, on the street level, waiting, he would guess, for acknowledgment. With a sigh, the telepath shifts to look over the balcony rail and is met immediately by a warm smile and a cheerful invitation.

Once again, Lan is offering up an activity that sounds suspiciously like something friends do with one another, despite his disclaimer about taking the walk strictly as coworkers. It seems like no matter what he says or does, the Bright is intent on seeking him out. He’s given explanations, walked out of conversations, and at times been rude, and yet the white-haired man continues to appear with one excuse or another, and he just doesn’t know what to make of it. Only his brother has ever been this exhausting in his stubbornness.

Friends don’t exist in his world, they can’t in part because of who he is and in part because he simply doesn’t have what it takes to be a friend to anyone. He’s known this for a long time, and after his adolescence he’d stopped even trying. It’s not like the other Dark wanted to truly be his friend anyway, and when they approached him it was easy enough to sort through their lies once he learned what to look for. As much as he’d hardened himself against it all, those attempts still hurt and their scars still cause him pain, especially when paired with the loneliness that has plagued him all these years. It’s so foolish to dislike people as much as he does and yet feel the need to be around them so strongly that at times it physically hurts. This separation from Nova has made it worse, jagged edges that tear at him constantly and he knows the incoming winter will only sharpen the need.

Storm-tinted eyes stare down at the lanky figure below, the refusal he’s about to give momentarily stilled. If they were strictly colleagues, as has been suggested, if friendship wasn’t a part of it at all… could he do it? There would be no need for any connections, no expectation of the things he can’t give, no real attachment at all. If he’s not attached, then the risk and possibility of pain are minimal, and maybe just the presence of the Bright will be enough to take the edge off the loneliness, even if only a little.

[As colleagues only,] he says quietly before stepping away from the rail. Storing the pruners in the tool bench beside the French doors, Sashi steps inside, shedding the woolen coat and scarf and swapping them out for a coat without a hood. Winding the scarf once again around his neck, he exits his apartment and moves down the hall to the stairwell, teleporting from the third to the first floor and stepping into the lobby where the doorman greets him a fraction of a second before summer yellow eyes and a warm smile meet thundercloud gray from the sidewalk…

Lan: moving down the steps, it takes little time for the older man to join him and without even a thought lent to it, the surrounding cold is immediately shut out the instant he draws near, gray eyes shifting briefly upward to meet his yellow as he’s enveloped in what can only be described as a bubble of soothing warmth. Without a word spoken to one another, the two Selestarri step out onto the main sidewalk, the Bright soon leading his companion back the way he’d originally come. The cold wind blows all around the two, rustling trees and shaking mixed colored leaves free while tugging at errant strands of white and black hair but as it washes over the pair it’s warm and comfortable, lacking the actual bite that should be there.

Unlatching his fingers, Lan reaches into the pocket of his baggy pants and pulls a small box free, and without so much as a pause to his casual steps he flips it open, twisting his lanky frame slightly sideways to offer Sashi his pick of the cigarettes that lay within. [The leaves from the trees in the park are in a state of color change that I thought you might enjoy…] he smiles as tattooed fingers slide over after a moment and slip a single stick free, [I find the science of it fascinating and every once in a while it’s nice to view, even when one has to brave the weather in order to see it,] pulling out one for himself, he slides the stick up to his lips as he closes the box and slips it back into his pocket. Sashi is about to sketch the rune needed to light his cigarette when the tip flares bright, and offering a small nod of acknowledgment, his own is quick to follow.

[It looks as if it’ll be a cold winter…] the Bright continues as he inhales deeply and holding the smoke deep in his lungs for a few moments, he slowly blows it out as he flashes another cheery grin to the one at his side. [Not that I’d actually know what that feels like…] he sighs softly as his summer yellow eyes return to his front and despite his casual tone, his smile dims just a little. [One drawback to the fire is that it doesn’t allow me to feel anything but its warmth and because of it, I haven’t felt what it is to be cold in a very… very long time.] He hasn’t felt the cold since the accident in fact, in any shape or form, in any way. Sometimes he misses it because its touch made him feel a normality he no longer feels, but mostly he can no longer remember it and that fact saddens him more than he’d care to admit on any given day…

Sashi: He remains quiet as they walk, surprised by the layers of warmth that Lan seems able to keep around them at all times. Perhaps that’s why the Bright is dressed for far warmer weather than that of late autumn. They pass several people on the sidewalk on the way to the park, and the Warden ignores any of the strange looks they get as a matter of course. When one has been on the receiving end of such things their entire lives, tuning them out becomes reflexive. Many of those they pass nod to Lan, and somehow he’s not surprised that the other Selestarri is well known in the area. Like Zeph, the white-haired Bright seems to have that kind of personality that instantly makes others like and remember them. Somehow in their family genetics, Sashi received absolutely none of those abilities when it comes to dealing with others.

The cigarette is gladly taken when offered, the smoke pulled deep inside and held for a long moment before he exhales. He’s quietly pleased to go and see the seasonal color changes in the trees as it’s one of the few things about this time of year that he enjoys. The science part of it that Lan confesses to find so interesting is something he could care less about, but the view of the reds, golds, and oranges are beautiful enough to merit the walk even if they don’t hold the same reasons for wishing to view the trees.

[I don’t enjoy the cold,] Sashi says quietly when Lan trails off, ash flicking from the end of his cigarette as they pass beneath a canopy of colored branches that arc high off the sidewalk. [It never seems to leave me, despite my efforts, so you aren’t missing much.] Lately he’s become convinced that something deep inside at his core is frozen solid, a hollow cold that no spell or layers of clothing or heating devices can ease.

From the buildings to their left a large dog suddenly appears, a woman chasing uselessly after it as it barrels straight toward the pair of Selestarri. Sashi stops in his tracks, gray eyes on the incoming animal, waiting for it to draw close before he holds out one hand, palm outward and gives a clear, commanding “sit.” The dog halts immediately and obeys the command, wiggling with clear impatience until the telepath closes the distance between them and runs his free hand along the thick fur of the dog’s shoulder. It leans in closer, tail wagging all over the place as the woman finally catches up and apologizes. The Dark shakes his head as he continues to pet the large animal. “It happens more often than you think. Dogs have always liked me.” Dogs, wolves, the hounds on Nova, all of them had always seemed drawn to him for reasons he can’t explain, but has cherished. Hated by his faction, they are the only creatures who don’t see him as a monster, and instead have gifted him with the displays of affection they show to any of their pack. With them he is always accepted, and so he’s happy to return their affection whenever he’s able.

Slipping his gaze back to Lan, he finds the Bright standing just behind with a wide smile on his face. [What?]

[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.