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Angel Hunt and Streifen in Roleplay
+ Alternate Universe 04 +
C H A P T E R O N E : P A R T 08
The knife strikes him again, then again, then again, he’s caught before his fall but this time he’s only able to he stare up briefly before heavy lids begin to slip closed, the voice that had been so soft and distance before flaring suddenly to life, no longer pleading for him to remain but instead calling his name, demanding that he open his eyes with a force so powerful that the battlefield, the bodies, the blood –both theirs and his own click out of existence as if they’ve been taken from his world with a single flick of a switch.
Early dawn flecked white eyes snap open a second later, the palm of his hand pulling back from his face and the fingers clenched around the fabric of his shirt finally easing, the searing pain in his chest instantly gone. His dual toned gaze stares down at the hand that holds his for a moment before rising upward to find the other man standing near, his presence so warm and comforting, familiar in a way he’s only felt in his dreams. He wants to reach out the way he did the night prior with Haniel, to wrap his arms around the blonde’s neck and hold him so tightly he’ll never again let go. He wants to feel what he’s only felt in his dreams or visions. He wants to feel that body touching his, dive into his scent, feel his breath warm against his skin, and taste those lips he knows somewhere in his heart he’s tasted before.
But the sensation lasts only an instant before it’s taken from him and as if another switch has been flicked, he finds everything different again. He doesn’t know the person standing in front of him, he doesn’t feel the same as the one who’s been haunting his dreams. The blonde is different and the hand that holds his is different. The love that he always feels so strongly emanating from the other man, those overwhelming sensations of want and need both for himself and that he gives in return is not present . There was a warmth there but only for a second and the more they stare at one another, the colder he begins to feel and the more empty his heart becomes… This is the one from his dreams but he also isn’t. His hair isn’t the solid white blonde it always is, but gradated and mixed with black, he’s shorter too even if only by a little and his eyes, those eyes that always blaze gold, those eyes he knew in his heart despite never being able to properly see them…
“Your eyes are wrong.” Jun states, his words loosening the tall Dark’s hold over his hand, “They should be blue. They are supposed to be blue.” As Zephyr’s fingers slip from his own, a small frown begins to form on the Angel’s full lips. “Why aren’t your eyes blue?”
Zephyr: Stepping away from the shorter man, the world tilts dangerously for a moment before aligning properly. He needs to sit, to rest really, or he’s going to collapse. Long fingers wrap around the thick, dark fabric of the scarf still wrapped round his throat. “They were once,” he replies, his tone cold. “Now they’re not.” The color had been replaced when he killed Mercerdryn and assumed the title of Incendia Seeker, the blue eventually turning black as it was tainted by the magic of the Beyond. The manifestation is common in those who hold the title, impossible to touch magic that powerful and not come away marked. It affected his hair, too, darkening the white-gold to gray and black. The scarf pulled free, and the tall Selestarri folds it neatly before placing it on the back of the couch, keeping his gaze from the other man, finding it’s easier on his heart not to look at the copy who wears his boyfriend’s face.
The coat is next, pushing the buttons through the holes to slowly ease the garment around his lean frame. The Angels must have fucked up when they made this clone. First the unseen attack, now some mention of memories he shouldn’t have. He’s not familiar with cloning, and while he knew the genetics are all transferred to the clone, he didn’t think that applied to memories. Memories are unique to those who experience them first hand, they aren’t hard coded into one’s DNA, as he very well knows. He’s been responsible for his fair share of erasing and implanting false memories into others, and it makes him wonder if somehow the Angels have discovered a way to do something similar to his memory telepathy. However it’s happened, to hear this Angel talk as though he’s familiar firsthand, to have questions leveled at him that this man has no business asking, feels like an intrusion, and it frays at nerves already worn, sparking a flash of cold anger.
“I don’t know what game you’re playing, coming here like you’re him, like you have any right to his memories--to our memories,” he tells the shorter man, his coat joining the scarf before he turns away , “but you can fuck off.” This is not his Jun, he knows too well that that person, that Jun, took his last breath in his arms ten years ago. That Jun bled out in his hands even as he desperately tried to stem the flow. That Jun he buried in the mountains of Nova. That person is the one he loves, the one who will forever hold his heart, and this imposter, this copy with his wrong eyes and his wrong height, with his questions that he has no right to ask, is not Jun.
Without warning agony lances through his head, dark eyes slamming shut as one hand lifts to press against them when the pain brings a sharp rolling of his stomach. He can’t do this, he can’t deal with any of this right now. “Get out of my house.” That crack he’d felt deep within just a minute before is scraped and raw and is straining so badly at everything that holds him together that it leaves his voice unsteady, on the edge of ruin. “Get out. Whatever answers you’re looking for, they’re not here.” Dizziness hits Zephyr like a freight train and he staggers into the mantle, blindly catching himself and narrowly avoiding crashing to the ground. The impact of his weight against the ledge sends two of the framed pictures careening off, the glass shattering across the slate hearth…
Jun: the white haired man’s brows furrow when the Seeker turns away from him, the shadow over his pale features darkening with every word that’s said. The voice he hears is the same as the one from his dreams, the eyes that he knew to be different than the cold black leveled on him have been explained and yet, the more the blonde speaks, the more he’s becoming convinced that the one in his dreams and the one before him couldn’t possibly be the same.
When he’s told in no uncertain terms to leave, an accusation thrown at him as if he has simply waltzed into this place without reason to play some idiotic game with a stranger just for the hell of it, it seems to only cement those suspicions. His people may enjoy doing exactly what this stranger is accusing him of, but he has never taken pleasure in such stupidity and he never will. He has no idea how he even ended up in this house or what it was that drew him in to begin with. One moment he was outside in the rain, the next he was inside. He doesn’t even know how it happened, let alone why and to be accused of something so little, so petty and so far beneath him is not only insulting, it actually hurts. He isn’t even sure why it should bother him as much as it does, but for whatever reason to have it coming from the likeness of someone he’s spent months dreaming about, someone he didn’t even think was real, stings in a way he can’t even begin to explain. The other man might as well have struck him instead of simply tossing out some careless words.
Angry, Jun is about to do exactly what he’d been doing before he found the other man slumped against the wall, which is continue his steps and get out of the house. But then the blonde stumbles and even as his lithe frame is careening towards the mantle, his hand sliding out to stop his fall, the Angel is moving towards him without a thought even lent. Thin panes of glass shatter the instant the frames hit the stone hearth and a flash of color that’s become familiar draws his eyes downward only to find that he’s unable to keep his dual toned gaze on the pictures that now lie beneath the jagged shards. Quickly tearing his gaze away he slides it back over to settle on the other just instead, his steps coming to a stop just to his front.
Something is wrong with the blonde physically even though he can’t explain it; a sudden need to comfort pulls his arm out. There’s a flinch the instant tapered fingers touch at locks of white gold hair but if the Dark wants to pull away from him, it seems as if whatever injury he’s suffering from is making him unable. Closing his eyes, the Higher reaches out and the moment his mind touches the Seeker’s he’s overwhelmed again by the sense of familiarity, as if he’s been connected like this to the other man before.
Working to push the feeling away, he searches for the injury, finding a recent concussion and the aftermath of its effects before concentrating as he would if he were healing himself, the fingertips cradling bound strands of black dipped white blonde growing ever so slightly warm. There’s a surge of energy as he mends the damage done and a moment later the nausea, the dizziness and the pain Zephyr felt is completely gone . Lifting his head, black eyes open and shift to find his gaze, his hand still set against coal dipped gold. They remain as is for only a moment before the familiarity he feels is again taken from him and blinking, Jun pulls his hand back with a small jerking motion as if he just touched a hot surface and not the softness of the other man’s hair.
“Whatever you think you know about me, you don’t. There is no game.” He states quietly as he takes a step back, “I don’t know who ‘he’ is and I don’t know you. I don’t even know how I got here, but you’re right. The answers I was looking for are not here.” Turning away from Zephyr with intent to move towards the entrance once more, Jun manages only a single step before the same flash of color that had caught him prior pulls his attentions back.
Detouring with a fluid turn of his lithe body, he steps over to the shattered glass splayed around the fallen frames and staring down at them for a moment that seems to stretch on forever, he suddenly finds it difficult to breathe. The muted patter of rain falls into the background, the presence of the Seeker fades at his side, all of the noise and the silence alike replaced by the growing drum of his heart as it begins beating faster and faster beneath his chest. Squatting down, tapered fingers slide out to pull one of the frames from its place, only then realizing that his hands, his arms, and his entire body has begun shaking in a very visible way. But as it was when he first entered this place, he finds he can’t press forward, feeling as if instead of the air that’s around him; his hand has met with a ward or some invisible wall. The harder he tries to push past it, the more violent his body shakes until he finally concedes and pulls his arm back, rising up and then backing away. The more steps he takes from the fallen pictures, the slower his heartbeat becomes, the rush of blood in his ears gone despite his breath leaving him shallow and after a few moments, his surroundings finally return. Tearing his pink tinged white gaze from the hearth, he finds the other man staring at him with a look on his features that rips at something deep at his core. There’s almost an audible crack inside of his chest that pulls his hand up on instinct, his fingers once again grasping desperately at the fabric that covers his heart.
“I can’t,” he whispers half to himself and half to the blonde with a small shake of his head, twisting his grip around his jacket even tighter. “I shouldn’t be here. I was never supposed to come back.” Pulling his fingers from his heart, snow white locks stream around him as he turns abruptly away. Again there’s something inside of him screaming at him to get out of the building and move as far away as he can and as it had been prior, his body simply moves on its own, the Angel fleeing without thought towards the front door.
Zephyr: Tapered fingers jerk from his hair, quiet words leveled at him before the Angel turns away, leaving the Dark with the first pain-free thoughts he’s had in the last few days. He watches as the other man crouches down beside the broken frames, and with the damage to his head healed, his senses stretch out automatically. The signature of one standing before him comes through clearly, and the familiarity of it stills his breath. It’s a signature he’d know anywhere, one he steeped himself in for thirty-five years, and one he’s ached for over the last ten. He and Jun had been so intertwined that he was always able to find him no matter how chaotic a battlefield, how crowded a club, or what kind of magic was in play to interfere. A person’s magical signature is so deeply them that when two people are closely familiar, just sensing it can be as intimate as telepathy.
There’s a part of him that rejoices at feeling Jun’s signature again, that wants nothing more than to immerse himself in it the way he had for all those years, but the other part, the cold and logical part is confused. A person’s signature is unique, and while there are some similarities between those of the same race, they’re like fingerprints - no two are identical. This signature he senses from the Angel before him isn’t just very close to Jun’s, it is Jun’s in every way, and that is something that should not at all be possible. Even twins don’t have the same magical signature.
Stunned by the identical signatures, the Dark stares at the Angel with disbelief even as the other man rises and backs away from him. Pink-flecked eyes lift to meet black for just a moment before a hand lifts to his chest to grasp the fabric of the white jacket in a replay of the scene from just a few minutes before. Whispered words spill out of the Angel, not entirely directed at him, and then the other man is spinning away. Long, almost frantic strides carry him to the front door, the latch released and the painted wood wrenched open to the heavy fall of rain outside within the space of two heartbeats.
But Zeph is equally fast, the teleport bringing him across the distance just as the Angel steps off the front stoop, one hand snapping out into the downpour to seize a slim wrist. Yanking hard, he jerks the white-haired man back inside the house, forcing him up against the wall between the door and a large window. “What I know is, he didn’t like to get up before the day was half over.” The Seeker’s voice is as cool as his dark eyes, but in both the underlying strain is clear. “He couldn’t hold his tequila. Everything else, but not that. He took the blame for things that weren’t his fault. He could be just as stubborn as me at times, which is no easy feat. He liked his coffee with cream and sugar.” The blonde releases his hold and steps back, his body blocking the door and the pouring rain just a few inches beyond the frame. The old pain is still so sharp, cutting into him over and over, but he continues because he owes it to the one he loves to get answers. “He was everything in my world, and when he died, the light went out of it.” He doesn’t talk about these things, these personal details about his life with Jun. They’re a reminder of what he’s lost, of how amazing his life was for thirty-five years, and how empty and hollow it is now.
The Angel is staring at him, pink and white eyes steadily holding his gaze through slightly damp snow-tinted bangs. He’d always been very possessive of Jun and his boyfriend had known and accepted it, even encouraging it at times , and death hasn’t changed that in the slightest. So if this copy knows anything about Jun, even if it’s just a defect in the cloning process, then he wants to know it. “I knew who he was and what he meant to me. What I don’t know is why your signature is the same as his or how you know about the color of my eyes or how you came to this house out of all the other places on Earth and why you said you shouldn’t have come back here?”
Jun: The tall Angel makes it just beyond the threshold before a strong grip around his wrist yanks him back inside, the movement combined the other man’s touch snapping him from his mindless need to flee. When his back hits the wall, he can do nothing but stare at the blonde as he speaks –every word said shadowing his expression a little more.
“You keep saying ‘he’. I don’t know a ‘him,’” Jun returns when the questions have been asked, his low tone pitched just high enough to be heard over the sound of the rain drumming against the surfaces just outside. “And I think the injury I just healed is confusing you. My signature is my own.” Despite how similar his people look on a whole, he is unique, just as they all are and the other man suggesting that he has the same magical marker that the person he keeps referring to is as impossible as everything else that’s happened since he stepped from the portal only hours ago. “I never said anything about not coming back to this place either. I told you already, I’ve never been in this house before today, I’ve never even been to Earth so why would I say anything about not returning to it when this is the first time I’ve stepped foot in either?” The chill from the opened doorway at the taller man’s back begins to seep in and he pulls arm up to wrap his fingers around the other in a futile attempt to stave off the cold. “As for how I ended up here… I can’t tell you.” He was supposed to exit from Central, but instead when he came out of the portal, he found himself in an abandoned building. It had a faint old Angelic signature, but it was abandoned just the same.
“I was granted passage once, months ago.” He can’t even remember why it was that after nearly six hundred years he decided he wanted to come to Earth, but out of the blue the need had settled in and he couldn’t shake it. It started out as little more than a passing thought in his head, but over time it began to grow and even though something always seemed to prevent him from taking the necessary steps for application –whether it be his duties, or a talk he’d have with Haniel, the idea never quite left his head. One day when the desire rose to the surface and Haniel wasn’t there to talk him from it as he had been in the past, that’s when he finally made it into Central. That’s when he made his first attempt.
“But I failed.” Jun admits quietly, pulling his dual tinged eyes from the taller man’s own. He doesn’t understand why he’s even saying any of this to the Seeker. The blonde is a stranger in every sense, he doesn’t know anything about him or his race, he doesn’t even know his name and yet he’s talking to him anyway, speaking as if they’ve known each other for years instead of mere minutes . “The dreams began then. Every night for months I’ve watched myself die in the arms of someone who looks similar to you, someone who has your voice. Every night I’ve looked up at a face I haven’t been able to see clearly. Every night I’ve spoken a name I can never remember when I wake and every night I see his eyes blazing like gold as he stares down at me while I bleed to death in his arms.” He doesn’t just see it all, he feels it. Every night he’s felt the pain of being stabbed through the heart, he’s felt himself bleed out over and over, felt the despair both in himself and the blonde and every night he’s helpless to do anything to stop it. “I’ve known the entire time that his eyes were blue. I’ve known from the very moment the dreams started.” How he’s known, he still can’t explain, but he’s known it just the same. “A few days ago, I began having different dreams.” Dreams where he doesn’t simply die. Dreams where he’s happy and the blonde is just as happy. Dreams where they are dancing, or playing some form of game, or just standing somewhere near to one another reveling in the company only they can provide.
“He’s always there. His face is never in focus but in his eyes, I see myself as well. Only I see myself differently and I what I feel when I look at him… what I feel - “ Jun’s words pause when emotion cracks his tone and he has to resist the urge to press his hand against his heart where the ache has again resurfaced. What he feels always hurts him, what he loses always hurts and even now, just speaking about it to another hurts him. He’s never told Haniel in depth about it because there’s always something inside holding him back. Something that keeps him from disclosing the full extent of what he experiences to the other Higher… yet here he is, speaking of it to the blonde for a reason he can’t explain and it’s just another confusing thing in a growing list that he doesn’t understand.
“I thought coming to Earth would fix it. I thought that if…” the Angel’s words slow, his hand sliding upwards before his fingers trail across snow white locks, cupping the back of his head without realizing he’s even doing it. “Haniel must have told me… “ Jun whispers to himself, no longer addressing the Dark as a sudden look of revelation forms on his face. “…a report, or something, he must have. That explains this. When it all went wrong, I must have put you in there somehow. It would explain your presence in my dreams. Only…” Only it doesn’t explain one thing, one very important thing and shifting his attentions back to the Seeker, the shorter man’s brows furrow as his hand slips away from his head. “I don’t know your name but you knew mine… How? How did you know my name?”
Zephyr: With every word spoken by the Angel, his understanding of the last few hours slides further and further into confusion. He’d left his meeting with Rallibrid feeling like shit, but determined to take care of a few errands before returning to Nova. He retrieved a set of reports from the drop point at the Lebanese restaurant, still feeling like shit. Then an alarm ward he set nine years ago was activated and he’d been forced to visit a home he had no interest in ever visiting again because the memories are too painful. Inside he met a clone of the person he loves, who died in his arms on a battlefield ten years before. The copy shuts down, is attacked by an unseen assailant, and then heals his concussion before attempting to flee. Now he’s being told by the clone that not only does he have dreams of Jun’s death, but somehow, for the love of all that’s unholy, Saiyuri might be involved.
The humans make their horrible television shows from shit exactly like this.
What’s worse, perhaps, is that the more he talks to this Angel, the more he sees the similarities the man shares with Jun. Their height and faces may not be quite the same, but his signature, his voice, even down to his mannerisms, like touching the back of his head with his hand, are all exactly like his boyfriend. It’s unnerving to consider, but if he closed his eyes, he would have a very difficult time telling the two of them apart.
Yet even if he did close his eyes and tried to pretend the last ten years hadn’t happened, he was there when Jun died. He pulled the broken blade out of his chest himself. He held him while he took his last breath, felt the last beat of his heart, the last pump of blood. There is no amount of pretending or the sudden appearance of a clone that will alter that reality. It hurts him to the core that he’s gone, and the loss will continue to hurt him for the rest of his days, and to believe, even for a second, that it will ever be anything different is foolish.
But in his boyfriend’s memory, he can try to help this Angel by setting a few things right. Reaching behind, the Selestarri grasps the handle of the door and pulls it closed, cutting off the draft of cool air and muting the unceasing drumming of the rain. “Let’s sit,” he gestures toward a pair of plush chairs flanked by the large, arched windows. For a moment the Angel looks as though he may protest, but then he complies, crossing the hardwood floor to sit gracefully. Zephyr follows, reaching up to unlatch the shutters and opening them enough to glimpse the gray sky outside the rain-streaked glass.
Folding his tall frame into the seat, he sinks against the upholstered back, quiet for a long minute. He’s not even sure where to begin. How does he explain thirty-five years of love and happiness? How does he even start to describe something so profound that it changed everything in his life? How does he apply words to the one who broke his stride through life, who caught his attention when no one else could, who healed his heart in so many ways? “I don’t know what they did when they made you, how you wound up with his memories along with the physical elements or why you think they’re dreams,” Zeph’s voice is slightly detached, but soft, barely audible over the sound of the rain against the house, “but I might be able to clear a few things up.” Dark eyes lift to meet their pink and white counterparts. “May I show you?”
A long moment of hesitation spreads between them and then the Angel finally nods. A resigned sigh slips from the Seeker and he reaches out telepathically, effortlessly sliding the memory into the other man’s mind . This memory is his own, and therefore he can’t step back, forced to watch as Jun’s death plays out from his vantage point, every emotion surging through him only slightly muted from what he felt that day. No matter how many years pass, the pain of these images never dulls, the loss he feels as Jun dies in his arms never feels any less fresh. How could it when his entire life was tied up in the pink and white haired Angel? In spite of the hurt and the misery that the death of the one he loves has brought, there’s not a second of the thirty-five years they’d shared that he’d trade to alleviate it even in the slightest. They are all simply too precious.
When the memory runs its course, Zephyr releases his telepathy and returns his gaze to the stranger, the usual black color drained from his eyes to suffuse the skin beneath. The Angel looks rattled, his tapered fingers gripping tight to white silken pants. “Do you understand?” he asks gently, doing his best to ignore the aching of his heart and the thickness in his throat. “That’s my memory of the day he died.” The event from his point of view, right down to the shattering of his heart and the despair that followed. “I loved him for thirty-five years. I still love him today.”
When there’s no immediate reply from the white-haired man, he continues his explanation. “His name was Jun. You said I called your name earlier, but I didn’t, I called his.” In that moment he’d simply reacted to how hard it has always been to see Jun in pain and how similar the two of them look. “I don’t have any idea what your name is, but you mentioned Haniel, and I do know about her.” Old hatred, strong and thick, rises up beside the pain in his chest, and his tone turns flat. He will never forgive that bitch for what she did to Jun, how her games lead to his trial and sealing and all that his boyfriend suffered for years afterward. It’s true that they would never have met had none of that gone down the way it did, but what she did is still unforgivable. “Haniel the Angel doesn’t exist. Saiyuri exists, and I don’t exactly know what she is, but she’s not an Angel...”