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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 09
But this hurt, this pain, it’s not possible. What the other man is showing him, what he’s feeling, it’s just… not possible.
“My name is Jun,” the Angel states quietly, “and what you just showed me…” keeping his dual toned gaze on the hands that grip his silken pants, his tone is steady and even despite his rapidly beating heart. “Listen…” lifting his pink tinged white eyes, he meets the other man’s colorless gaze with a frown. “I don’t know what you think you know about my people, but our names are as sacred as our purpose. We know them the very moment we open our eyes, they are there inside of us before we take our first breaths. They are ordained by Divine Right, given to us by the Maker himself. I’ve known my name since the very day I was brought into existence over six hundred years ago and there is not one other Angel that has or ever will share it. Our names are unique, mine is unique so if the one you lost had the same name as me then he couldn’t have been an Angel. It isn’t possible.” Yet even though he says it, what he saw in the taller man’s memories extends beyond anything he’s experienced for all these months. His dreams always end when he dies, the last thing he sees being the light surrounding the blonde before his world goes dark. But in the Seeker’s, he saw his weapon, the same he’s bonded to left by his body -limp and unresponsive while his wings, pure and white as the snow are splayed the moment he’s no longer able to bind them.
That was him, with his slightly different features and his pink hair and matching eyes… it’s been him from the start and it’s impossible. None of this is possible.
“I don’t know who Sayuri is,” Jun continues, his grip around soft fabric finally easing, “and I don’t know how you know his name, but the Haniel I know, the only Haniel I have ever known is very real. I’ve known him for most of my life. He was a Higher when I was still a Youth. He trained me, he’s the reason I have the position and rank that I do. He’s risked everything for me since the very first day we met. We have shared a life for four hundred years. I’ve been at his side for four hundred years, just as he’s been at mine.” Whoever the other man is talking about, the claim that Haniel doesn’t exist… it doesn’t make any more sense to him than anything else that’s happened since he stepped from the portal however many hours ago. “He’s as much an Angel as I am.”
Pulling his hands from his lap, the white haired Higher slips his fingers up to damp bangs and brushes them from his line of vision before sliding them around to once again cup the back of his head, his gaze shifting away from the Dark and settling on the slip of light streaming in from the cracked blinds as a small sigh slides from full lips. “None of this makes sense…” falling silent for a moment, Jun watches the rain without word. “I don’t know,” he starts again, this time to himself in a tone quiet and thoughtful. “Maybe when I failed to complete travel the first time, we intercepted one another somehow… you are telepathic so it might explain how I ended up here instead of Central.” Perhaps when he managed to partially phase into the realm the first time, he might have somehow picked up the blonde’s thoughts or memories and in return, he, his. It could explain why he’s dreamt of the death of the other man’s loved one, and why he would think his loved one had his name and his face. He’s never heard of such a thing, or that something like it is even possible, but considering everything else that’s happened, it doesn’t seem very farfetched. Though… while it might explain some of this, it doesn’t explain why he’s been experiencing it all from his own point of view, since as he was just shown –they, while being similar, are still a single event being seen from two very different sets of eyes.
Jun frowns, not wanting to admit to himself that even this reasoning feels rather weak, no matter how much he’d like it to explain the entire incident away. Sliding his hand away from his head and pulling his eyes from the window, he returns his attentions back to the other while flashing him a look of question. “Do your people have any recor-“ The Angel’s words come to an abrupt stop, his dual toned eyes caught by something draping the other man’s neck as if entranced.
Without lending any thought to his movements, Jun rises up to his feet, closing the distance between himself and Zephyr in only a few, short strides. With his eyes trained on the delicate necklace gleaming against the other man’s pitch colored clothing, he slides downward while reaching out. His long braid slips over his shoulder as his lean frame curls fluidly closer, the ends of snowy strands brushing against the taller man’s legs. “This…” Jun whispers as his fingertips graze the small silver key, that feeling of familiarity washing over him strong and overwhelming. “I’ve seen this before. I’m always wearing it, so are you… only…” Stopping the path of his fingers just before they would fully touch, his brows furrow even as his eyes lift to meet the blonde’s own. “This isn’t the one. The one we wear in my dreams is different.”
Zephyr: The tall Selestarri remains very still as he’s approached, the Angel’s feet silent against the floorboards. Pink flecked eyes stare hard at the silver necklace he wears, the tips of tapered fingers brushing the key that rests against his chest before they lift to meet his. He has no idea how the man knows this necklace to be a copy of the original, but if he has Jun’s memories, then perhaps he would be familiar enough to spot the slight differences. Another unexplainable thing on top of so many unexplainable things. “The original,” he replies quietly, “is buried with Jun’s ashes near my home. I couldn’t follow where he’d gone, but at least part of me would always remain with him.” He still clearly remembers the day his boyfriend had presented the twinned necklaces. They hadn’t been together long at all, and Jun had been so nervous, his skin blushing to a shade just short of crimson. The Angel had mumbled something about not having to keep it if he didn’t want to, but honestly he was just so thrilled that Jun had given him something so personal, that he had wanted to share something like this, that it had never crossed his mind to say no.
Pink and white eyes are staring at him intently and the Angel’s nearness comes suddenly and sharply into focus, bringing with it the creamy paleness of his skin, the fall of snowy hair that he knows will be feather soft if he lifts his hands to touch it, and his scent--god, but he’s missed Jun’s scent. His sense of smell wasn’t anything like his boyfriend’s had been, but he’d loved the way he’d smelled, especially after a shower or a workout. After so many years he’d become so used to it that when Jun died its absence had been one of the first things to hit him hard. The Angel would laugh at him , but for a long time after he’d slept with one of his t-shirts, clinging tightly to the fabric, finding what solace he could from the storm of nightmares and memories that haunted him once the sun went down. “I had this one made later,” he finishes after a moment has lapsed with nothing but silence between them.
The Angel blinks hard, his hand pulling away as if he’s just realized how close it was to fully touching him. His face looks conflicted and the lean frame straightens a heartbeat later. Zephyr follows suit, reaching out to close and latch the shutter. “It’s getting late,” he remarks, “we should eat.” Without waiting for a response, he steps past the other man, long legs carrying him into the kitchen. The food from the Lebanese restaurant appears on the black granite countertop of the island, six large containers packed full by Soha and Hassan earlier in the day.
The Dark gestures casually toward the meal, glancing toward the Angel still standing beside the chairs before turning toward the cabinets. “Saiyuri--Haniel, if you want to call her that--loves her games, but when she breaks her toys, she doesn’t care.” He’s well aware that the white-haired man doesn’t want to hear what he has to say, but Jun struggled hard to be rid of her and if she’s had a part in this clone and is warping him, then he feels like he has to at least say something. “You see her as Haniel because that’s what she wants you to see. She’s immensely powerful, and she can bend people, events, anything really, into the shapes that please her at the moment.” Opening the door, he pulls out a pair of plates and sets them on the counter before reaching for the drawer containing the silverware. The maintenance spells have stood the test of time, the dishes and flatware as fresh as if they’d been washed yesterday instead of nine years ago.
Motion tugs his gaze up to find the Angel slipping onto one of the bar stools opposite, his expression somewhat flat and obviously unconvinced. He seems about to protest when Zeph continues. “I don’t expect you to understand,” he says very softly. “I don’t expect you to believe me, but I owe it to my Jun to at least try to warn you.” It would dishonor the memory of the one he loves if he didn’t. “She’s lying to you, making you believe you’ve been around for six hundred years, but that’s not possible. You have the memory of my Jun’s death, a memory she wouldn’t even know about until he actually died, which means it can’t have been more than ten years.”
Sliding a plate across the gleaming counter, the Seeker switches to Angelic, his accent light despite the fact that he hasn’t spoken it since Jun died. “Before you try to remind me again, I know very well about the Angels and how they’re created. I know about your Maker and Central. I know about training and your Council and Enforcers and the trials as well. I know because I spent thirty-five years beside an Angel.” Light gray eyes lift to meet the other man’s gaze for just a moment before dropping back down to separate a stack of paper napkins. “You saw that last battle from his perspective and mine, you’ve felt what we felt, you know how much we loved each other. Unlike Saiyuri, I have no reason to lie to you.”
Reaching across to place a fork and napkin just before the Angel, Zeph gestures toward the food. “If you’ve never been to Earth before, you should at least try the food. It’s one of the few things the humans get right… ”
Jun: He listens to the Seeker in silence, listens without word to his adamancy that the Saiyuri he’s talking about is one and the same as the Haniel he knows and despite his own reservations about it, the certainty is there in the taller man’s tone and he’s growing sure that no matter what the actual truth of the matter may be, the blonde believes it to be fact. Setting it all aside for now however, and contrary to what he’s claimed, he’s wrong about a crucial detail. He hasn’t been experiencing something that has happened to someone else –this other Jun that he keeps claiming to be an Angel, he knows that much in his heart. What he goes through every night, what he sees, what he feels, they are his own experiences… his and his alone.
But the more he thinks about it, the more he starts to wonder. Are they truly his own feelings? How can they be when what he feels in those dreams is not what he’s feeling right now? The hurt, the pain, the need, the want, the love… love so deep that it devastates him when he wakes to find he’s lost it, love so thorough and encompassing that when he opens his eyes, he’s not able to find comfort in the one who has been with him for hundreds of years simply because he doesn’t compare to the depth felt for another.
That love, that limitless, unshakable love… he doesn’t feel it for the one standing across from him, the same person whose memory mirrored what he’s suffered through for months, nor does he feel it returned . So either his earlier conclusion being that the blonde from his dreams and the man sitting across from him now are not the same person is true, or he’s has to admit that somehow, what he’s being told holds merit.
Right now, he isn’t sure he wants to settle on either.
When the Seeker counters a rebuttal he’s almost about to give with lightly accented Angelic, Jun frowns, the proof supporting the other man’s words building with each new thing he says and causing the doubt he’s beginning to feel inside of him to blossom. Unwilling for now to allow himself to dwell on it too deeply however, he turns his attentions to the food being offered instead. The containers are set out between them and the moment the rich smells of the contents reach his nose, his stomach lurches hard. He realizes in that instant that he hasn’t eaten since the day prior and just how hungry he’s become. Too much had happened, from his mindless flight from his home, to the night spent awake and unresponsive, to his spur of the moment decision to go to Central and try for Earth again, then all of this… he hasn’t had a chance to think, let alone consume anything that could be considered a meal.
Pulling his eyes from the other man’s own as the plate and napkin is set before him, he reaches slowly out to flip the lid of the nearest to him, finding the container filled with a mixture that smells divine -small bits of some kind of meat spiced and seared to perfection mixed with bright green vegetables glazed in an oily sauce. He’s never seen this kind of food before, never smelled it before this moment and yet as he stares at it, that feeling of familiarity washes over him once more. With a small shake of his head to rid himself of the sensation that doesn’t go unnoticed, he thanks the blonde and reaches over to dish himself a few forkfuls before taking a pita from the container at his side.
“If this Saiyuri is what you say she is,” Jun starts, his quiet voice steady while his gaze remains trained downward on his food. Spearing a piece of meat with his fork, he pulls it to his lips, taking a moment to smell it before sliding it into his mouth. It’s nothing short of amazing and he can’t help but close early dawn tinged white eyes momentarily while he chews. He takes his time with it while reveling in the way it tastes, not fully aware that the other man is watching his every move. Reopening his eyes with a small satisfied sigh as he swallows, he dips his utensil back down to sift through the meat before spearing a vegetable next. “Then how do you know that she isn’t playing one of those games you mentioned with you?” The blonde keeps saying that it’s him who she’s toying with, that he’s not what he thinks he is and that she’s duped him into believing he’s someone he’s not , but it doesn’t seem he’s considered it may be exactly the opposite of what’s happening. Since the Seeker is the one that is familiar with that person and not himself, it makes more sense to him that it might be the more likely scenario of the two. “What reason would she have to do anything to me when I don’t even know who she is?” Dual colored eyes rise up just as he’s about to take another bite, his movements coming to slow a halt. Jun’s gaze locks with Zephyr’s and in that moment he realizes that despite the fact that he’s already finished half of what is on his plate, the blonde has barely touched anything on his own.
The white haired man’s brows furrow in the slightest and as he continues to stare at the Seeker, he also realizes something else. ”You’ve… gotten too thin“ he suddenly blurts out in accented Selestarri, genuine concern swimming in his tone.
But as soon as the words leave him, Jun blinks in surprise, the fork dropping from his fingers an instant later and clattering on the plate below. Reaching out, his hands wrap around the ledge and he pushes himself away, stumbling in the slightest as he wrenches his lithe body from the barstool before staggering a few paces back. “What did I…?” he whispers as he slides his arm up, his shaking fingers touching at his lips. “What did I just say?” he’s heard himself speak this language before, only a few days prior and in the first vision he had when he was awake. Just like the last time, the words slipped out and just like last time, he spoke them as if he’s been fluent for years.
“I know who I am,” he states quietly as his hand pulls away from his mouth, yet in his eyes the doubt he’s beginning to feel is clear, “I know who I am and whatever this is… I’ve had enough.” Something is happening and the more time he spends in this house the less he understands overall. He wanted answers, but the more he speaks with the blonde, the more confusing everything is becoming and that confusion causes the feeling of panic to rise up again, overwhelming him once more. Ripping his gaze from the Dark’s, his eyes flick over to the sodden mass that is his overcoat and Jun is suddenly in motion, taking swift steps towards it with intent to swipe it from the countertop so he can finally leave…
Zephyr: The edge of worry he hears in the Angel’s voice as he speaks in Selestarri, so similar to his Jun, clutches at his chest with a vise-like grip. To hear that concern spoken with the same voice of the one he loves hurts more than he would have imagined. He knows very well that he’s not taking care of himself, that he’s causing more damage every day, but it’s just hard to care. Why bother when it doesn’t matter if he lives or not? Why put in the effort when doing so doesn’t ease the pain in his heart? Innic and Sashi are both worried and have expressed their unhappiness with his choices several times, but to hear it from one who is so much like his boyfriend is almost too much, tearing at something deep inside.
But before he can think too much on it, the other man is shoving himself back from the island, and this time he can see the shift in the Angel’s face, the onset of the same fear that sent him barreling toward the door not that long ago. Pink flecked eyes are washed with doubt and panic in contrast to the words that spill from his mouth, caught only in that instant before he’s making a beeline for the discarded coat.
Almost casually, the Dark reaches over and plucks the sodden garment from the counter, holding it out to the approaching Angel. “Go, if you want,” he tells Jun, his voice even and quiet, and almost drowned out by the rain that pounds at the house around them with renewed vigor. “Go back to the Heavens and ask your questions.” The white-haired man pulls up short at the unexpected action, his gaze trained on the wet coat. “But understand this about Saiyuri: she doesn’t give up her toys easily and for her it has always been about my Jun. I’m nothing to her. She’d cheerfully kill me with ease, and even though I’d fight, I’d still die.” They’d danced that dance once before and he’s not about to kid himself into thinking he’d had a chance against her. She could easily have taken both him and Jun out that day if she’d chosen to, and there wouldn’t have been much either of them could have done to stop her. “If she’s the one who’s given you my Jun’s memories, then she’s capable of allowing you to only see the ones she chooses.” He’s not too sure how that would work, and while his abilities with memories are extensive, he’s never tried to implant someone’s entire life into another’s mind. A memory or two, yes, but no more than that. It’s possible, he supposes, but cruel to the one on the receiving end to be given a life that doesn’t belong to them. Then again, he’s talking about Saiyuri, and she doesn’t seem to care much about cruelty.
The Angel’s gaze lifts to meet his, the edges tinged with panic, but the tall Selestarri simply holds it steadily. “Perhaps what she’s done to you is similar to the seal that was placed on my Jun after the trial. They’d let it go until he started remembering too much or doing things they didn’t approve of, and then it was time for the factory reset, like he was a cell phone in need of rebooting. He was constantly forgetting people he’d met and things he’d done.” His boyfriend had been so afraid of forgetting him during that time they’d been together before he’d shattered the seal. Whenever they’d meet up he could see the relief in his eyes when the recognition was instant. “It’s possible that you’ve found a way to see the things she wants you to forget, to crack a wall she’s put around you, and that’s why things keep spilling out that you don’t understand.” It would explain the dreams and memories, the ability to speak Selestarri, and the familiarity he’s had with the key necklace.
“Go,” he repeats, “have her reset you if that’s what you want. You’ll forget everything I’ve told you, you’ll forget this house, you’ll probably forget me .” Zeph can’t help the tint of sadness that creeps into his voice, although he’s not quite sure of the cause. His Jun had died years ago and this Jun isn’t the same, that much is clear . Maybe it’s because he looks so similar and smells so similar, and he’s still so heartsick from Jun’s death that these familiar things are comforting. This Jun remembers what they shared, he’s seen the love they had, and that feels good in a way he hasn’t felt in a very long time. Maybe he just wants someone other than himself to truly understand how deep and strong their love was and to know why his life is worth so very little without it.
“Come back if she doesn’t give you the answers you’re seeking. The wards will let me know if you return to this house.” The words seem to surprise the Angel and they’re honestly a bit of a surprise to him as well. Perhaps he’s just lonely or so desperate for the one he loves that he’ll accept anything that can bring him comfort. Perhaps it’s as he said earlier, that he owes it to his Jun to try to help, especially if Saiyuri is involved. Rapidly darkening eyes find their counterparts again, and his hand continues to offer the coat. “Or stay and for tonight at least I’ll try to answer your questions...”
Jun: his dual toned gaze remains locked with eyes that are darkening with every passing second, the Angel silent and immobile despite the feeling that still urges him to flee. When the Dark makes not one, but two different offers it surprises him, causing his gaze to drop down and settle on the coat held out to his front. There’s a softening in the taller man’s mannerisms that shakes him, a sort of sadness to his tone that strikes at something deep inside and from the space of one heartbeat to another, that overwhelming feeling of panic that had gripped him slips completely away.
Able to think clearly again, Jun remains still for a moment longer as he contemplates his choices before he finally reaches out to wrap tapered fingers around the sodden garment, tugging it from the Selestarri’s hand. Without word, the Higher turns away from the blonde and resumes his earlier path, long near silent strides carrying his lithe frame towards the front door. But his footfalls slow before coming to a halt when he reaches it, and instead of leaving as he meant to he spends a few moments simply staring at the red painted wood while listening to the heavy pounding of the rain as it beats against every surface from the other side.
A moment ago a feeling of panic had overtaken him and as it had been the night prior, every thought was wiped from his head and all that was left was an uncontrollable urge to get as far away from this place as he could. He’s never felt like this before… so unsure of himself, so weak, so helpless and it seems that instead of setting everything right by coming here as he’d hoped, the doubt and confusion has spread deeper inside. He’s known who he is for all of his six hundred years, never doubted a single thing about himself or his purpose or his place. He’s never run from anything, never wanted to, and not once even thought to try.
But it all changed the moment he started having those dreams and now for the first time, he finds himself unsure about everything… about who he is, about what he is, about it all. When he thinks about it, he knows that the details of his life have been blurring for months now, that it started before he ever stepped foot on Earth or in this house. He knows that every time he’s tried to recall something for months now, it’s become less and less clear. Now this is just another thing added to a list that’s been growing, and he knows that even if he were to run from it, return to the Heavens as the other man has suggested and attempt to continue on as if none of this has happened, he won’t be able to live with it for long. He may not believe for a second that Haniel, his Haniel would do or is what the Seeker is claiming, but he also doesn’t think the other Higher can give him the answers that he’s starting to need.
It seems that at this moment there’s only one person who might be able to provide them, and that person is the one who stands behind him now.
“Considering I don’t know where I am,” Jun finally breaks his silence, his gaze still trained on the doorway at his front. “I’m not sure I could find my way back here if I left, so I guess it won’t hurt to stay a little longer…” Turning fluidly around, the tall Angel moves back towards the kitchen, stopping when he reaches the other man. Sliding his wet garment out, he sets it down onto the countertop at his side. “Not to mention the cold…” he can’t help the small snort that escapes him as he pulls his arm back, “I should at least let my coat dry out before I attempt to go back into that miserable weather again, otherwise I don’t think I’ll make it very far . ” He had shut down before when he was out there the first time, and despite all that’s happened, he really isn’t in much of a hurry to live through that experience again.
“You’ve had me at a disadvantage for a while though.” He continues as he leans against the ledge and folds toned arms beneath his chest, the ends of his long braid looking like spilled cream against the dark marbled countertop as it pools at his back. “You know all about my race, my customs, my way of life… you even know my name but I know nothing of you in return beyond that memory.” Pink flecked white eyes slide back up and he once again meets pitch black, the smallest traces of a smile tugging at the corners of full lips. “Before anything else happens or is said, I want to know your name.”
Zephyr: That smile, small and faint, cracks deep inside, threatening to rip him open at the core with such force that it’s only through sheer will that he’s able to keep his hand from pressing against the ache in his chest. God, this Angel looks so much like his Jun, and how many times in the last ten years has he longed to see his boyfriend smile at him? Too many to count, and to keep himself from dwelling on it, the blonde reaches toward the nearest container of food, pulling it over and closing it up before moving to the next. “My people are the Selestarri,” he begins, very purposefully keeping his gaze on his hands. “We’re split into two factions, the Dark and the Bright. I’m the Incendia Seeker, the leader of the Dark.” Stacking the second container on top of the first, he takes the next in line. “My Jun died while we were fighting to displace the previous Seeker.” Died on a battlefield he never would have set foot on had it not been for him. It wasn’t his boyfriend’s fight, not even his people, but Jun had insisted, saying he wouldn’t sit around while Zeph put himself in danger. Following that last rage and it’s near disastrous aftermath, he should have ensured that they never fought together again, but he’d loved their synchronicity, loved how easy it was for them to move as if they were one, and he’d loved knowing that the one who owned his heart was right there experiencing the rush that only a battlefield can bring. He was selfish and careless, and Jun paid for it with his life…
The slightest shift in the Angel’s casual stance brings the Seeker’s attention away from the food container at his front, the top long since closed. Pushing it aside, the Dark reaches for the next one, unsure how much time had passed since he’d last spoken. “My name,” he continues after another heartbeat has passed and he’s managed to push down some of the raw hurt attempting to creep up from deep within, “is Zeph--”
The second syllable of his name never leaves his lips, interrupted by a sharp gasp from the man just to his side. Jun doubles over, hand clenched at his heart in a gesture that’s becoming almost alarmingly familiar. Pink flecked eyes are wide open and staring and pain crumples his delicate features. The panic that radiates from the Angel is almost tangible, and muttering something about getting out, he bolts just as he did in the living room. Long braid streaming behind, he streaks toward the door as if the house were suddenly on fire.
Spell runes are drawn with the barest movement of fingers, the tall Dark disappearing from the kitchen to reappear a few feet from the closed and latched door. Braced against the impact, Zephyr takes the full force as the slender frame slams into him less than a heartbeat later, the other man’s body carrying him straight back to collide with the painted wood. The air knocked from his lungs, he manages to hold on tight when Jun begins to struggle, pulling almost frantically against the arms wrapped around his chest. Fear is plain in his pink and white eyes, and whatever has happened, it’s the same as he’s seen twice today, fine one moment and then hell bent on leaving the house the next.
Locking down on the Angel’s slim body, the Selestarri refuses to budge, waiting patiently as the fighting gradually weakens. With his face pressed against soft strands of pure white and their frames so close, he can feel the shorter man’s heart race, and although it pains him to admit, there is something so familiar in standing like this, something he’s been missing for a very long time. They just seem right together, pieces of a puzzle made to fit, but it feels like a betrayal to even think it. This is not his Jun, not the person he gave his heart to and shared his life with for so long. The cold, hardened parts of him know that what he’s feeling is likely just residual memory brought on by this house and the physical similarities between the two Angels. But that understanding doesn’t stop him from lingering for a long moment and taking what seems like his first real breath in ten years.
Eventually the breakneck pace of Jun’s heart slows, and Zeph pulls back just enough to meet calmer eyes with his own dark pools. “What happened?” He asks, and when the Angel doesn’t seem to understand what he’s saying, he clarifies. “What happened when I told you my name?”