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 11

Lan: There’s an odd sense of camaraderie he feels being around the two brothers that he’s not sure he’s felt with any other in a very long time, not since in fact, he was very small. He’s still an outsider to the both of them and he knows it, a veritable stranger from the opposite faction and neither a friend or even barely an acquaintance. Yet one of them at least has accepted him and while the other remains guarded and hasn’t allowed him in, he’s felt more comfort in both their presences than he ever has when it’s come to any of his own kind.

It means a lot to him, to be given these moments, and they’re something he’ll treasure until the end of his days.

[Well…my skills for toasting may be a little amateur, but I will do my best…] he returns the blonde’s smile readily and lifting his filled glass upward, he waits a moment for Sashi to follow before he begins speaking again. [To those we’ve loved and those we’ve lost. To new friendships as well as old. May the bonds that are already in place strengthen with the years and may the new bonds we form become just as strong…] the lanky Bright’s summer yellow gaze slips away from midnight for just a moment, flashing the Warden a sideways glance and a smile that warms the blonde’s own immensely. [And finally, may our cigarette boxes never be empty, and the bottles of wine we gather become plentiful from here on out.]

Zephyr offers a ‘here here’ even though Sashi only nods and all three glasses are clinked right after before being half emptied and set back down. Without much else said, the Selestarri –both Dark and their Bright guest begin their waiting meal…

Sashi: A brisk autumn wind brushes through strands of black and white alike as the pair of Selestarri share the balcony, the crispness melted away by the soft bubble of heat emanating from the Bright. Smoke swirls from the end of lit cigarettes to commingle above their heads before thinning into nothing, and at each man’s side is a glass containing liquor from Zeph’s private stash, brought down from Nova for occasions such as this. The younger Dark had banished the two of them after they’d both attempted to help him clean the kitchen after dinner, and even now the faint noises of clinking dishes and running water slip through from the apartment behind. The only consolation they’d had was Zeph’s promise to join them afterwards for a cigarette and drink of his own.

The silence between himself and Lan has continued, not uncomfortably, as they stand in the exact places they’d occupied after the school meet and greet a few weeks ago. He was a little surprised when his brother told him the Bright would join them for dinner, not realizing that the blonde and Lan were social, but he didn’t have any reason to protest, so he didn’t. Their walk in the park had not perhaps ended in the best of ways when he’d snapped at the other man and the Bright stopped speaking altogether. Sashi’s well aware that he was being defensive over what had been said about him not recognizing that he’s not alone. It’s a reflex whenever anyone makes a comment, directly or not, about himself and Zeph after years spent defending their choice to be true brothers in a race that doesn’t generally recognize such bonds. He can’t help but be protective of it and that’s what had caused him to lash out. Lan doesn’t seem upset about it now and their dinner had been peaceful, so perhaps the white-haired Selestarri is fine.

But what the Warden has found the most interesting about the whole night is the easy back and forth chatting and smiling between his brother and Lan, the two of them acting as if they’ve been friends for years. Zephyr is very good at being sociable and charming when he needs to, Sashi has seen him get people to do things he’d never thought possible, but he’s also known the younger Dark long enough to tell when his brother is laying on the bullshit and when he’s being real. Tonight has been all real with no trace of an act, and that’s something the blonde saves only for the people he truly likes and cares about. The more the telepath thinks on the night, combined with what he knows about Zeph and how his brother interacts with people he likes, the more interesting it all becomes.

Taking a long drag of his cigarette, Sashi holds the smoke in deep before exhaling a thick cloud into the night sky. Turning his gaze toward Lan, warm summer yellow eyes meet cool gray, and he asks the question on his mind outright, with no sugarcoating. [Are you sleeping with my brother?]

Lan: the younger Selestarri blinks, stunned for a moment by the other man’s question and more than a little caught off guard. Of all the things that Sashi might say to him, this was something he never expected and for a few seconds, he has entirely no idea of how to respond to it. Despite his earlier upset over the possibility that he might have harmed the Warden unintentionally with his words, he took Zephyr’s encouragement to heart and simply allowed the night to be. And it had been going nicely as far as he was concerned -Sashi himself remained ever silent through most of it true, but he felt it was no different than it has been previously and shortly into the night the comfort that had lapsed during their walk had once again returned.

Or so he thought.

Apparently it wasn’t exactly what he’d assumed it to be because the Warden seems to have suspected something entirely different by his having been here, and that suspicion and what it represents quite honestly has left him feeling as if he’s been jabbed a bit in the heart…

[Am I… sleeping with your brother?] He repeats in a tone that’s both unintentionally incredulous and partially an amused laugh, but to his credit, the result of being blindsided is outwardly gone in a second and his smile slides flawlessly from slight shock to a familiar easy warmth. [I am not,] the taller man answers simply and slipping the cigarette resting in-between long fingers up to his lips, he takes a long drag in. [It isn’t in fact, a pastime that has ever crossed my mind…] Friendship yes, and it would seem as if the younger of the two brothers has granted it considering the common ground they apparently share, but beyond it his thoughts at least as far as Zephyr is concerned, have involved nothing more.

[I am curious…] Lan continues as he slides the smoldering stick back down, his summer yellow gaze still locked with cool gray and his head tilted back in the slightest as he blows the smoke out. [Have I somehow given you the impression that I am sharing his bed… or has he given one that he’s sharing mine?] The idea of it is so foreign and so completely left field to him that he honestly wishes to know how Sashi has gotten it into his head. He and Zephyr have spoken in earnest only on a few occasions previously, and each conversation they’ve had has been about the man that stands before him now. While it’s true that the repertoire between them has been easy and friendly, it goes no further than that and so he’s having a difficult time comprehending as to how the older Selestarri could have come to suspect something of the nature at all…

Sashi: Ash flicks out over the rail of the balcony and the Dark frowns. It had added up in his head after watching the pair of them that they might be sharing a bed, but with Lan’s denial and the question he poses, it would seem that he’s misread the situation. That’s not uncommon given that he always has difficulty understanding things when it comes to others unless he’s in their head. It’s just not a skill he’s ever acquired and he doubts he ever will. All that aside, he doesn’t really care one way or another whether Zeph and the Bright are sleeping together, he was just curious. For some reason, though, he feels a little relieved, although he has no idea why.

[Not directly, no,] Sashi finally replies, pulling smoke deep into his lungs and then releasing it into the night air. [All the laughing, the smiling, the joking, just how easy you two seem to be together, you coming to dinner tonight,] he shrugs, lifting one hand to push black bangs from his face, [it all indicates that the two of you are friends.] He knows he didn’t read that part incorrectly, he may be horrible when it comes to people, but he’s not that bad. [Zeph is really good with people. He’s outgoing and friendly and can talk with anyone like he’s known them forever. He’s talked his way into things and out of things with a skill that borders on magical. He knows what to say and how to say it in order to get people to do whatever he wants or needs at the time, and he can do it without any telepathic interference.] The blonde can be the complete opposite as well, when the charm doesn’t get him what he needs, and the menacing, cold iciness he can pull out rivals his own on any occasion.

Another drag of the cigarette pulls the smoke in deep and then out again, the gray swirls tugged quickly away by the wind. [My brother does it with everybody, but once you’ve known him long enough, you can tell when he means what he’s saying and when it’s just bullshit.] Sashi glances back into the apartment to catch sight of the blonde loading the dishwasher. [Tonight it’s been all real, which means Zeph considers you a friend.] It’s not anything he’s ever really given any thought to when it comes to the Bright faction, not that he cares how his brother chooses his friends. Of course all they’ve heard on Nova is how prissy and uptight the other half of their race is and how they’re all caught up in honor and ethics and all that shit. He hasn’t had much interaction with any of them before the watchers, and several of them have exemplified those qualities while others, like Lan, have been different. That’s probably how it works in reverse as well, as the white-haired Selestarri had explained at dinner how he’d taken this assignment in part to see if all the terrible things he’d heard about the Dark faction were true.

[Anyway,] the Warden reaches for his glass, careful to shift his gaze enough to fully see it through the shadows of his left eye before making contact. Lifting it to his lips, he takes a sip of the light, fruit-laced liquor and turns his gaze to Lan. [I know that sometimes Zeph and his friends enjoy the physical part of their friendships, so I just assumed…] Sashi shrugs again. It’s common between friends in his race to fool around and sleep together without being in a romantic relationship, and although he’s never had a friend of his own, he understands that much. Hell, Zeph and Innic have been warming one another’s beds since their wings grew in. [It seems I was wrong, though, in my assumption, so I apologize…]

Lan: he smiles as the Warden explains his reasoning behind the question asked, in part because it seems to have been an innocent assumption the other man had concluded due to his brother’s track record when it comes to his friends apparently, and in part due to finding that he is at least to one of them, actually considered a friend.

Though hearing Sashi say it feels a little bittersweet, and while he is happy to know that Zephyr might consider him good enough to be a friend not to just one of them, but to both, the fact that the telepath has managed to notice a relationship between them yet has somehow failed again to see the one he’s attempted to build with him to begin with, stings just a little somewhere deep inside.

[Ah, I see…] the white haired Bright replies as he slides the last of his cigarette up to his mouth and inhaling for a final time, the filter turns to ash and is carried away by the wind even before he’s fully blown the smoke out. [No need to apologize… I suppose for our kind, it would be logical for friends to share one another’s bed and so an easy assumption to make…] Their people on a whole don’t view sex as most humans seem to and for the most part, approach it casually in a way many humans seem incapable of. For a lot of humans, intimate relationships involve deeper emotional attachments than are in place for the majority of the Selestarri, whether Bright or Dark and when one of them shares a bed with another, one is usually held in a higher regard than that of their other friends. For their people however, this is rarely true and while attachments obviously form on all levels -ranging from the most casual to the deepest of loves, they are not usually burdened regardless of the depth by the idea of exclusiveness in any form.

There are exceptions to the rule on both sides of course and every once in a while one will come along who views it closer to how the humans do, despite the stigma that view carries within their societies. Sashi wouldn’t know because he barely knows him personally, but he just happens to be of that kind...

[I feel the need to clarify, in some way at the very least…] Lan continues as he reaches out and wrapping tapered fingers around the stem of his glass, he pulls it to his lips and takes a small sip. [I’ve extended my hand to you both, and while I’m happy to hear your brother has accepted and I am considered a friend, I feel there is a line between friendships and sharing something more…] regardless of how most of their kind feels when it comes to casual intimacies, he has never been one to conform and his views about it will most likely never change. [I don’t take either side very lightly and I have not as of yet, overstepped the initial line.] He hasn’t because he can’t, considering what lies beneath the masks in which he hides. What he hides is not meant to be seen and so in turn, his isolation has always been and will probably always continue to be, sadly absolute.

Sashi: Pitch black hair shifts as he nods in acknowledgement to Lan’s statement, but no other response is forthcoming. The last of the cigarette is smoked and snuffed in an ashtray, storm-tinted eyes shifting out to stare at the city that unfolds beyond the balcony’s rail. He gets the gist of what the Bright is saying, even without laying the words out exactly. He’s met a few others of the same mindset, those who view relationships as the humans do, where friendship and sexual relationships do not overlap. Such relationships must be difficult for them, or at least he supposes, given that the majority of their kind have no such boundaries in place. Unless their partner has the same views, they would need to be flexible enough to understand that the one they’ve chosen may go out and find others on the side. He wonders how many of them are able to do that. Likely none of his faction, given their penchant for jealousy and possessiveness, and that’s under normal, multi-partner relationships.

Not that he’ll ever really need to worry about it. Friendships are closed to him, and that ban expands to include romantic relationships as well. Casual sex is easy and doesn’t require attachments, just fucking, bandaging up the damage, and then leaving. No messy feelings, no new inner scars to carry home, and no possessiveness. Anything more is not an option, even if he knew where to start or how to conduct such a relationship. First, someone would need to be willing to be with him in that capacity, and he’s well aware that that person doesn’t exist. Not within the Dark, certainly not within the Bright, and he would never allow it with any of the fragile humans. No one wants to say they love a monster, and he can’t really blame them. For him it will always be this loneliness and the quick fixes he uses to take the worst of the pain away for a while. If the magic he carries doesn’t do it first, he’s somewhat aware that the loneliness will eventually kill him, slowly digging further and further into his core until the hollow becomes so wide he simply falls in, always wanting that elusive thing he can’t have.

But there are some he can at least wish it for, those deserving of whatever kind of relationship they choose--Zeph and Innic, whether separate or together, and Lan as well. He’s spent enough time with the other man to see that his heart is good, and if he really has suffered from isolation as he’s stated, then maybe someday he’ll find someone to fill the emptiness inside.

Lifting his glass to his lips, Sashi brings his gaze back to the taller Selestarri at his side. [Do you plan to… overstep the line with my brother?] The remnants of the liquor wash the tobacco from his mouth, leaving instead the taste of fruit. Storm-shadowed eyes fall away to the street below. [For the sake of your heart I would caution against it.] He may be nothing more than Lan’s colleague, but he would rather not see the other man get hurt. [Zeph is kind and giving to those he cares about, but as I’ve stated and as you can likely tell without my interference, he doesn’t share your views…]

Lan: the tall Bright can’t help the quiet sigh that escapes his lips. While Sashi’s show of what can almost be described as concern for the well being of his heart is rather sweet, even he dare say, also a little heartwarming, they are almost as misguided as Zephyr’s earlier apologies on his brother’s behalf.

There is a saying the humans have, something along the lines of ‘there is none so blind as he who will not see’ and sadly, as far as the Warden is concerned, the truth of that statement is doubly so.

[Thank you…] Lan replies as he tips the last of the wine in his glass to his lips and downs it. [The precautionary is appreciated, but not necessary] Slipping the glass downward, he sets it on the ledge before leaning casually back against the balcony railing, his hands returning to the pockets of his loose pants as his elbows are set against the scrolled metal for support. Storm cloud colored eyes remain on the city line for a few moments longer before slowly pulling away and glancing sideways, he finds summer warmed yellow staring down along with the gentle smile that awaits him.

[I do not plan on overstepping that line with your brother, even if it were to be offered…] Unlike the rest of the Bright, the thought of being intimate with the opposite faction doesn’t bother him. He doesn’t care about the divides that are supposed to be in place to separate them and he holds none of the prejudices that his side is prone to when it comes to the Dark. But despite this being true, he still wouldn’t accept an invitation to the blonde’s bed if it to be given because his interests… they lay elsewhere.

[He isn’t exactly my type.] Lan’s smiles again, this time a little sadly as he knows full well that as it has been along with everything else he’s said and done, the true meaning of his words will go completely over the older man’s head. [So friends without benefits, as I think they say, is what we will continue to be…]

Sashi: There’s a tinting of sadness to the white-haired Selestarri’s words and his normally warm smile, a sadness he doesn’t understand. Lan said he wasn’t interested in Zeph, and it didn’t sound like his warning had been any great surprise to the Bright, so why is he upset? This is usually why he avoids situations like this, because he completely lacks the ability to read and understand other people. Despite being a part of this conversation for the last five minutes, he has exactly no idea what he’s said that’s affected Lan so much that his normal cheer and smile have faded.

[I guess,] the Dark replies after a moment, [that it’s good your tastes lie elsewhere.] Why the other man isn’t interested in his brother he doesn’t quite understand. Despite the fact that they’re related, he thinks the younger Selestarri attractive, plus he’s outgoing and good to those he cares about, and from all accounts he’s heard, Zeph is great in bed. It really makes him kind of everybody’s type, except, apparently, Lan’s.

A soft frown slips over Sashi’s expression, and he reaches once again for the pack of cigarettes to pull a fresh stick free. He doesn’t even really know what his own type is. Not that he doesn’t have standards, because he certainly does, but honestly he’s never given it much thought because one night stands don’t require thought. He simply finds someone that’s interested and is willing to play rough and that’s about it. Hair color or eye color or whether they have a nice ass or whether they’re nice aren’t things that cross his mind when he’s looking to hook up. They’re not really important when the act lasts a relatively short amount of time and his only real goal is to take the edge off the loneliness for a while. It’s not as though he’ll ever have a relationship like most people, so what does it matter?

But for pretty much everyone else, he can see why it does and why they’d want specific criteria in someone they’ll be investing in not just physically, but emotionally as well. [I’ve never given much thought to types,] Sashi says softly, lighting the end of the cigarette with a quick rune. Reaching for the bottle of liquor, he pours them each a fresh glass and then sets it on the small patio table. Easing into one of the rockers just behind the balcony rail, storm-shrouded eyes meet summer yellow. If Zeph’s not Lan’s type, then he wonders what is, more from curiosity on a subject he’s never given much consideration than anything else, and the question is out before he can reel it in. [What is your type?]

Lan: the other man’s curiosity is a little heartwarming if he’s to be truthful, considering that it’s a subject he’s already claimed to think little about. It may be innocent curiosity and he understands it means absolutely nothing to the Warden beyond that, but the fact that he’s even curious enough about him to ask in the first place means, as far as he’s concerned, that they are beginning to move forward again in some way. Any steps they take forward in this friendship that Sashi claims not to exist are good steps in his eyes.

[Well,] Lan begins and reaching over, he wraps tapered fingers around the stem of his wine glass and slips it from the balcony ledge before leaning casually back against the railing once more. [I suppose my type is the dark and mysterious kind and while not necessarily a requirement, I’ve found myself gravitating to the older, more matured person as of late… those who are quiet, and perhaps even a little broody…] the Bright smiles, lifting his glass to his lips to take a new sip. He supposes he should say that in this case, his type is very quiet, extremely brooding, and has a serious case of cluelessness. [The surface aesthetic means little to me in truth, I am far more interested in what lies beneath and I tend to be drawn to those whom I feel comfortable around even when nothing is being said or done at all.] Lowering his glass back down, the younger Selestarri offers his older counterpart an amused yet knowing smile.

A very serious case.

[If you were to have a type, if you were to take a guess,] he begins again as he reaches over to set his wine flute back onto the ledge while his yellow eyes never once leave Sashi’s gray despite the cloud of smoke that’s rising up to momentarily separate them. [What do you think it would be?]

Sashi: The inquiry leaves him with nothing to say for a moment, because there has never before been a reason for him to ever think on what type of person he’d be attracted to. It doesn’t matter now and it will never matter in the future. He’s not meant for any kind of relationships and even if he was, he very much doubts he’d have actual choices on who would be willing to get seriously involved with a person written off by his faction as an unstable monster. Likely he’d have to settle on whoever would be willing to take him on in return. Reflecting on what kind of person would put himself in that position doesn’t leave him with a positive feeling.

But he had put Lan to the question and the Bright had gamely answered, so he supposes he should at least try, despite having no idea where to begin. It’s difficult to think about the characteristics he may like in another when he dislikes people in general. It doesn’t leave a lot to work with. Lifting the cigarette to his lips, Sashi pulls the smoke in deep and shifts his gaze away from the summer yellow across the balcony. [Male...] he begins somewhat slowly, [because I generally don’t care all that much for women.] They don’t interest him physically at all, and he can’t handle the intense, often insane emotion that goes along with them. There have been females allied in their efforts to overthrow the Seeker that he respects, but that’s about the only capacity in which he wants to deal with them. [Honest…] because he’s had enough lying and manipulation to last a thousand lifetimes. The smoke is released to cloud the air, drifting momentarily between the two Selestarri before the wind thins the white haze out completely. The rocking chair creaks softly as the Warden leans back, his thoughts working quickly to construct the type of person he would wish to spend time with. [Loyal, not in the physical sense, because I don’t care who they sleep with on the side, but loyal in the ways that really matter, so I know they’ll stand with me no matter what.] He’s only ever met one person who understands and holds loyalty in high regard in the way that he does, and that’s Zeph. Maybe it’s their shared genetics, but the younger Dark understands the true meaning of the word and the promises and expectations that come with it. Within his faction, loyalty is all but unheard of, and from what he’s seen of the Bright, who preach the term as part of their ethics, their sense of loyalty comes with conditional terms.

Pulling his gaze back to the tall Bright, he finds Lan watching him with calm summer eyes, intently listening to each word he says, and so he continues. [He would have to be good enough in bed to keep up with me, as I’ve heard I’m a lot to handle.] It’s something he’s been told several times, given his rough preferences and the presence his magic carries, and it’s almost a sure thing that at least half the people who agree to sleep with him are curious if the rumors are true. [He would have to be accepting… because of who I am…] Sashi’s voice drops a little on the last part, knowing full well that while this would be a very important quality in a person he would be with, he would never find someone willing to overlook the stigma he carries.

[It doesn’t matter, though, what I like,] the older Selestarri concludes, flicking ash to the paver stones on the floor of the balcony, [because I’ll never have that kind of relationship. No attachments…] Wind-tossed raven-dark hair shifts over his shoulders as Sashi shakes his head, a frown shadowing his face. [All I’m meant for are one night stands, and who cares what those people are like?]

Lan: the irony of this conversation isn’t at all escaping him and he finds that he has to amend his earlier conclusions of the other man’s cluelessness because he’s pretty sure now that Sashi might be almost, if not completely blind.

It doesn’t surprise him that the older Selestarri cannot see what stands before him however, just as it won’t surprise him if he’s incapable of seeing it even in the future. He’s beginning to accept the possibility of it in the same way he’s accepted the Dark for who he is, even if the finality of it does sadden him in every possible way.

[Well…] the Bright begins, his summer yellow gaze still locked with thunder cloud colored gray, [Personally I believe that even if you think yourself only meant for that kind of relationship, who you choose for those brief rendezvous should matter to you on some level. Simply because you choose not to know your bed partners for longer than a night, makes you no less worthy on a whole of finding happiness in the encounters beyond the physical than those who choose to know theirs for longer…] It’s clear that the telepath dismisses his own feelings to an extent, even when it comes to who he beds. He knows that Sashi has a low opinion of himself in many ways and most likely might feel as if he’s unworthy of choosing one closest to his actual ‘type’ when it comes down to it, associating somehow that preferences to a happiness he apparently feels he doesn’t deserve. He understands the reasons behind it, considering what he knows of his upbringing and the general disdain in which their entire race has always treated him with, but he hopes to eventually show Sashi that what he’s always been told about himself and what he personally sees him to be are two very different things.

[I suppose though,] Lan sighs while flashing the Warden a gentle smile. Pushing himself away from the railing, he reaches over to slip his near empty glass from the ledge before straightening once again, [That my opinion of this matters little when it comes down to it. I am after all only your Bright watcher and my feelings on the subject hold no more weight here than they do at home.] Chuckling mostly at himself, the taller man lifts his glass in a lighthearted salute before sliding it to his lips to take a long sip.

Sashi/Zephyr: The quiet laughter of the Bright and the backhanded manner of his words doesn’t reach the older Selestarri at all. Inside is a hollow sadness that digs at his chest and a sudden sense of profound unfairness that he hasn’t felt in a long time. He didn’t ask to be the person he is. He didn’t ask to be part of a prophecy or to carry all this magic or to be the toy to a woman hellbent on making her insane desires a reality. He didn’t ask to be hated, to be ridiculed and scorned, to be told over and over that he’s a monster. He didn’t ask for the blood, the violence, or the repeatedly broken bones. He didn’t ask for all the lies, the attempts at manipulation, the games, or the empty promises. He didn’t ask for the pain, or the hurt, or the wounds that lace his heart with their razor sharp edges. He didn’t ask to get locked out of the things that others do with ease like friendships and relationships and love. It’s not fair, not at all, and there’s no way out. His whole life will be bitterness and loneliness and separation...

The hopelessness of it all expands the hollowness sharply, and storm-tinted eyes close against it for a brief moment. When they reopen it’s to concerned summer yellow and Sashi lightly shakes his head. [It’s not your opinion that doesn’t matter, Lan,] he says quietly, unable to keep the shading of sadness from the words. [It’s…] The Warden sighs and pulls his gaze away. [It’s that when it comes to me nothing that normal people have is possible, and that’s what makes it not matter what my type is or who I bed or how I feel about any of it…] The last of the cigarette combusts with a small fire rune and the Dark rises from the rocking chair just as Zephyr slides into the seat next to him and sets a fresh bottle of liquor on the small table.

“Everything was great, Zeph,” tattooed fingers ruffle strands of white-gold in an old familiar gesture of affection as Sashi makes his way towards the doors. “Thank you.” Before either of the two remaining men on the balcony can say anything, the older Dark disappears.

Midnight eyes shift toward Lan, finding for the first time, a lack of the habitual smile on the Bright’s face. That’s not very encouraging when he was hoping that banishing the two older men out here would give them a chance to relax after a filling meal. The blonde Selestarri sighs and pours himself a glass of liquor before leaning back in the rocker. “He’s not upset,” Zeph responds to the unasked question. “That look in his eyes, that was sadness.” He takes a long drink from the glass, tasting the fruit-laced alcohol, but not really enjoying it. “Was it another difficult conversation?”

Lan: Warm summer tinged eyes remain locked on the patio doors for long after Sashi’s left, the unsettled feeling he’s been left with pooling uncomfortably somewhere in his heart. It’s only after the blonde has seated himself and inquired of their conversation does Lan pull himself away from his thoughts, his gaze slipping from the empty doorway and over to meet the younger Dark’s own.

“Difficult… isn’t exactly how I would classify it…” He answers softly, a gentle smile returning to his lips. Casual is in fact, is what he could almost call it, even if the entire conversation had been filled with one irony after another on a whole. He hadn’t expected Sashi to ask him the things that he did, nor did he expect the other man to care enough for his emotional well being to hand out a little, well intentioned advice and he definitely didn’t expect him to take anything he said on the matter to heart enough to have it upset him.

With a sigh, illusion screened fingers slip up into strands of shaggy hair and as he pushes his lean frame from the scrollwork railing, he rakes long bangs away from his eyes. With glass in hand, the tall Bright joins Zephyr on the chair opposite of the small table and leaning forward, his elbows coming to rest casually on his knees.

“He asked… if you and I were sleeping together.” Lan smiles. “Curiosity I suppose,” he shrugs lightly, “but I assured him we are not.” Summer yellow eyes slip away from the younger man’s blue and shift out beyond the railing to settle on the city lights that are sprinkled across the distant horizon, while absently he begins gently swirling what’s left of the wine in his glass. “Your brother’s view of himself… is very distorted.” Sashi appears to have developed the distortion due to a lifetime of abuse and neglect… and now he sees himself to be the monster the others have claimed him to be. The words and name calling that both factions have dealt him has obviously taken hold of his heart and warped a reflection that is anything but. It pains him that it’s happened to one he feels to be so undeserving, and he is ashamed at this moment to be a member of the faction that’s contributed to an injustice that has caused so much damage to someone who unlike himself, deserved a decent chance at a normal life. It shames him to know that Sashi’s been robbed of it and that he might never allow himself to experience it now even if it were offered to him at this very moment.

“I must admit,” the white haired man continues and pulling yellow eyes from the scenery, he shifts them sideways to find black flecked midnight through errant strands of snow. “I find myself a little baffled as to how someone who had the foresight to offer the kindness of advice in matters of the heart can be so purposefully blind when it comes to his own...” Sashi is far beyond the throws of a simple blindness, he has tipped himself head first into a vortex of cluelessness that he isn’t sure of how to encroach…

Zephyr: The blonde takes a sip of his drink before reaching for the opened pack of cigarettes on the table. This conversation Sashi and Lan had sounds as if it went beyond mere pleasantries, which is good if his brother felt comfortable enough to hand out advice as the Bright has said. On the other hand, he now knows why the Warden looked sad and why he left so quickly. Talking of such things is hard for the other Dark and reminds him of his status among their people and of how much he’s been forcibly separated.

Slipping the unlit cigarette to his mouth, Zeph leans back, the rocker creaking as he shifts his weight to push it gently back and forth. A fire rune sparks the tip of the slender stick and he pulls in the smoke and the taste with ease before letting it free. “I think,” the younger Selestarri begins quietly, “my brother has had to become blind to his own heart because of the pain he’s suffered. The wounds there are deep, and there’s only so much that someone as sensitive as Sashi can endure, you know?” Ash flicks to the ground and he takes another drag. “By ignoring it and setting up walls and barricades, he’s protecting himself from further hurt. It’s a defense mechanism, just like any of the others.”

Lan nods in agreement, taking another sip of his own drink, summer tinted eyes meeting midnight over the rim of the glass when the Dark slides his gaze sideways. “You’re right that Sashi’s view of himself is distorted, and that’s because my people have forced it on him. They’ve ingrained within him, physically, mentally, emotionally, that he is not normal and therefore he’s not capable and not permitted things that normal people have, including any kind of relationship, friends or otherwise.” He’s tried to convince the telepath otherwise, told him again and again that they’re all wrong, but none of his words ever seemed to stick. That’s his own personal shame and guilt to carry, his own failure in spite of all efforts made. “That’s all Sashi’s heard for sixty-four years, marked on him with words and blood and pain.” A sigh slips from between full lips and Zeph rakes long fingers through strands of white-gold. “The only relationship they couldn't destroy for him was the one between us, our relationship as brothers. They tried, but we were always stronger.” He also suspects that the Seeker gave up on the idea since she needed them as brothers to fulfill her twisted prophecy. Sometimes he wonders if she regrets that decision, especially after the attempt to kill her.

“Sashi locks away his own heart and its desires and places himself outside the idea of friendships and relationships, but he can still see the hearts of others. I don’t think he always understands what he sees, given his lack of experience, but if he gave you some kind of advice concerning it, then I think that’s a good sign.” Zeph smiles at the other man before pulling the cigarette to his lips once again, smoke streaming out as he releases it into the night air. “If Sashi didn’t give a shit about you, then he wouldn’t have said anything. So, a small step, maybe?”

Lan: “It is just that,” the tall Bright agrees and pushing himself upward, he sits back in his chair. Sliding his wine glass down to rest on the small table, he reaches over and takes a cigarette from the open box as well, the tip lighting the instant the filter is cupped in his mouth. Inhaling deeply, Lan holds the smoke inside for a few silent moments before blowing it slowly out. “Though however small it may be,” he continues as his summer yellow gaze again locks with Zephyr’s, the spiraling stream of gray carried away from his lips by the lazy evening wind. “I’m happy for it just the same …”

[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.