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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 13
His breath momentarily stolen, pink flecked eyes snap open before the Angel’s head follows, the apology given when he reaches out to wipe away the line of crimson reminding him of what he’s not, and the refusal to meet his gaze driving that point further home. He allows the taller man to detangle himself from his lithe body only far enough to separate, but when strong hands slide to his waist with intent to help him up, he reaches down to wrap his fingers around slim wrists, stopping the movements with a firm, but gentle hold. “Don’t apologize to me,” Jun says quietly, “please… just don’t.” The connection he felt was everything to him even if only there for a moment and to have the Selestarri say he’s sorry for it, for reaching out to him so intimately, for giving him a glimpse of what he’s only felt in his dreams… it wounds him beyond measure.
When the Seeker’s rapidly darkening eyes continues a refusal to meet his, he releases his hold of slim wrists and slides his hands up, long fingers threading into sweat dampened strands of white gold to brush them carefully from Zephyr’s line of vision. But as he tends to the taller man, the Angel’s movements slow, his dual colored gaze sliding to watch his own hands as he’s suddenly struck by another feeling of familiarity that almost overwhelms. “I’m the one who’s sorry… everything you’ve suffered is my fault… I tried,” he whispers, “I tried to close it but my body wouldn-” his words come to a sudden halt when he realizes he’s saying them, his fingers curling away from the blonde’s hair and a small flick of his head snapping the familiarity away.
Early dawn flecked white slide over to find the Seeker’s gaze still downcast and he frowns before sliding his foot away from the barstool rung and down onto the floor, a single fluid swing of his other leg slipping him from Zephyr’s lap. “What you’ve felt… I’ve felt it as well.” He offers, “The pain, despair, loss… and love, I’ve felt it every second of every day for months now…” Straightening, Jun moves away to retrieve the borrowed oversized sweater left discarded on the countertop nearby. “I’ve loved someone since the dreams began…someone that I didn’t think existed.” With his back to the Dark, he slides the sweater over his head, rolling the fabric down over his body to cover the marks that mar his pale skin.
“Until recently, I’ve only felt it in full when I’m sleeping…” he continues as a hand slides back to tug damp locks from the fabric, letting them free to tumble down his back. “…and after finding myself here… after meeting you, I found myself wanting to feel it with my eyes open for once.” Pulling his hand to his front, his head sinks down just a little, the emotion tainting his softening tone clear, “but these feelings…” this ache in his heart, this pain so deep he feels as if his chest might split open, “like these memories, they aren-” he stops, unable to finish his sentence and as if he could protect himself against the hurt rising up to the surface, his fist balls against his chest to steel hard against an unseen wound.
“I’m not him,” He’s not the one the other man loves and he knew that from the start, but he still took full advantage of a desire not meant for him out of a selfish want of his own and it shames him to the core. “I’m sorry for it, but for a moment I knew what it was like to have what I feel for you returned so I couldn’t stop myself, and I’m sorry for that as well…”
Zephyr: Every word spoken drives a splinter of pain deep into the tall Selestarri, the emotion behind each syllable sharp as the finest blade. For months the Angel has been haunted by the specter of a life he never lived, steeped in emotion he doesn’t desire. He’s died Jun’s death a hundred times, every agonizing second of it, subjected to his loss and hurt. None of it had been asked for, yet he is still the one who ultimately pays the price. And now, regardless of the fact that the Dark had been told of the confusion and fears those memories had brought and had seen firsthand the locks and barriers laid in place and the pain they bring the other man, his telepathy has exposed Jun to things he should never have felt. Those are his scars to carry, his grief and his enduring love, and yet he’d callously dumped it on the Angel because he couldn’t keep his instincts in check.
So he does nothing as Jun speaks, silent as the other man refuses to grant him the blame he rightfully deserves. What can he say? That he knew he’s not his boyfriend, but he let their similarities blind him? That the sorrow lodged at his core drove him to seek out the comfort of familiar arms? That he is so broken inside and so desperate for the one he loves that he would treat this Jun so poorly? Despite the contrary words that come from the white-haired man’s mouth, Zephyr knows full well that he’s been careless with his feelings and used him unfairly. He had no right to do that, no right at all.
“I don’t accept your apology.” With the quiet words, the Seeker finally lifts his gaze, knowing that all the pain he’s been trying to hide is showing clearly in the coal-black pools. “You’ve done nothing except search for answers.” It’s not the Angel’s fault that the answers he requires cause the blonde hurt. He hasn’t come here to inflict intentional harm, he hasn’t come to dredge up the past, he came because someone has fucked with his mind, leaving him confused and overwhelmed and Zeph won’t allow him to take any of the blame.
Jun looks for a moment as though he’s going to protest, but the Dark cuts him off with the slight shake of his head. “You are not him,” he agrees, “and I am no longer the man you see in his memories.” He is a shattered remnant of that man, wounded past the point of saving. Innic and Sashi and Lan have been working together to patch the damage as best they can, prolonging the death throes that began ten years ago. But no matter their efforts, he will die from these wounds, he knows it in the depths of his soul.
“I know that you--that he,” Zeph amends, his voice falling to little more than a whisper, “I know he tried to close the wound, but it was just too much.” It had all happened so fast, and he’d felt the very faintest stirrings of Angelic magic when he’d begged Jun to heal himself, but his boyfriend was already slipping away. “It’s not his fault that he died. It’s mine.” Once started, the words begin to spill out in a flood, one hand lifting to press against the ache in his chest without him realizing. “I couldn’t leave well enough alone with that bitch. I couldn’t let go of what she did to me and Sashi. I plotted her overthrow and began the coup. I put the one I love in harm’s way on that battlefield, and in the end he was the one who paid for it.” He was selfish and it cost him everything. “And now I’ve been careless again, exposing you to what I carry inside…” Just as fast as they’d left him, the words trail off, dark eyes blinking slowly for a moment as he pulls his hand away and stares at the scar on his palm before dropping his arm. “Even if you don’t want me to say it, I am sorry.” All these years he’d sheltered Innic from seeing just how deep the damage inside had broken him, yet only hours into meeting the other man he’d let his guard down and forced all those unwanted feelings on him.
It makes him no better than Saiyuri or whoever had fucked with his mind in the first place. A sigh escapes full lips and the gaze that lifts to meet pink-flecked eyes is sad and worn. “In the morning, if you wish, I’ll answer whatever questions you still have, or I can try to reseal the memories so you no longer have to feel as though you love me when you don’t.” The look that crosses the Angel’s face is one of pure pain, as if something inside has crumpled at those words, and he almost reaches for the other man, aching to offer comfort in spite of the fact that he’s the cause of the hurt. “One way or the other, this can all be over for you...”
Jun: Every word the taller man says to him is a knife driven into his heart a little farther, twisting in to shred what’s left of the remains. Zephyr connected with him only a few minutes ago and while he felt everything that was shared, it seems as if it were one sided, and nothing of what he feels was shared in return . The taller man doesn’t know or he doesn’t want to know the full extent of his feelings… and why would he when in those pitch black eyes, he must seem to be a mere facsimile, a shadow of someone who’s been dead for ten years.
That knowledge is crippling, and inside he can feel himself crumbling, unable to stop the severity of it from showing in his dual colored eyes. For a moment it seems as if Zephyr will reach out to him in comfort, but it’s him who reaches out instead. Taking one step closer to the other man, the Higher swings his arms around his neck, pulling him into a tight embrace. His breath washes through long white gold strands as his face sinks down against the blonde’s neck, his grip tightening as the slightest of trembling overtakes his lithe frame. “Who said I don’t love you ?” he whispers against warm skin and damp strands alike, emotion tainting his every word.
It may have been the other Jun who died, but he carries the burden of it, just as he carries the burden of every moment the one he holds now has suffered since. Why… why didn’t he fight harder? Why didn’t that other Jun fight harder to stay alive? If he loved the Seeker as deeply as he knows he did, how could he allow himself to be killed? How could he abandon him like that? He had to have known what it would do him, how it would shatter him and leave him so broken. He knows he had to have known it, because he would have been the one shattered if it had been the blonde who died and not the other way around. He knows that because he feels it in the pit of his stomach, he feels it stamped on his very soul and it’s why he doesn’t understand how that Jun could do it, how he could leave the blonde, how he could possibly let himself die.
He starting to hate him for not fighting harder, he hates him for dying and leaving the Selestarri so alone.
“These memories may not be my own, but I know what I feel… “ Jun continues, his hold tightening just a little more. “It’s as real as the heart that beats beneath my chest…” Zephyr was right, he isn’t the Jun in his dreams, nor is he the blonde he’s seen through that Jun’s eyes, but he still loves the other man, he loves him desperately and no matter what he learns to the contrary, or how much mounting evidence shows him that everything he thinks he knows and feels belongs to another, he refuses to accept that this ache inside of him, this want and need is anyone’s but his own.
“I came to this realm hoping to make everything that was happening to me stop, but now that I’m here…” Now that he’s here, he doesn’t want it to be over; he doesn’t want it to stop, even if it means walking away without finding out why this has been done to him in the first place or harboring this pain he’s taken from it for the rest of his days. “In the morning, this will be over,” with or without answers, he will leave and return home because he can’t stay here any longer, he can’t continue causing this person all this hurt simply because he exists. He won’t become a constant reminder of everything that he’s not. He’s done enough damage already , and he isn’t sure he will be able to live with himself if he does any more.
“I know it’s not rightfully mine…” finally releasing his hold, the white haired Angel slowly pulls back, his pink flecked gaze cast on the blonde’s chest “…but I won’t allow you to take what I feel for you from me. If you even try, I will never forgive you for it…” without looking up, Jun lets go of Zephyr completely and turns away, his silent steps carrying him out of the darkened kitchen and into the hallway, towards the guest bedroom that lies beyond.
Zephyr: Stunned, the Dark stands in the kitchen for several long minutes after he hears the door of the guest room close, his mind reeling and his heart beating heavily in his chest. How can Jun say that he loves him when they’ve never met outside of the memories that had imposed themselves on the Angel’s mind? How can he be so sure of that love, so sure that he would promise never to forgive even the attempt to seal it away?
Maybe he shouldn’t be so surprised. This Angel is somehow derived from his Jun , and he can hear those exact same words spoken with the exact same cadence and the exact same conviction coming straight from the lips of the one he loves. Jun had never shied away from speaking of such things, even when they were younger and new to their relationship. He sometimes trailed off or took a long time to get the words out, but he would always find a way to say them no matter how difficult the situation may be. As they’d grown within their relationship, Jun had become even more forthright about communicating how he felt, often laying things out in ways that even he couldn’t manage, especially after a rage. His boyfriend had always been the one to remind him how deep their love was and how it hadn’t changed even in the slightest in spite of the violence. Even when his body was broken, his faith in their love had been resolute, never wavering in the slightest, and he wouldn’t allow Zeph’s to waver during those times either. When Jun felt something, he felt it deeply and intensely, and if this Jun says that those feelings are his own and not just a lingering effect of the memories, then he has no doubt that they are.
His body still imprinted with the memory of Angel’s embrace, Zephyr turns and walks from the kitchen, his bare feet silent on the floorboards and his path mirroring the one the white-haired man had followed a short time before. His steps come to a stop before the first of the guest rooms, one hand raised to knock before he even realizes. For a moment he wants to reassure Jun that he won’t try to seal the memories, that they’ll figure out something else. He wants to tell him that he understands that what the Angel feels is real and not just something residual from his Jun. In the morning, this will be over. The shorter man’s promise of the end echoes in the Dark’s mind. Zeph had originally offered to finish things tomorrow to protect Jun and stop the memories that had disrupted his life and caused him harm. He’d assumed, incorrectly, that Jun didn’t want the feelings that had come with the plaguing dreams and visions, not after hearing about his life in the Heavens and the one he shares it with. His offer had reflected those assumptions, and while he was wrong about the Angel’s feelings, it would seem that in spite of it all, he still wishes to be done with this and return to his life.
Before his hand can connect with the lacquered wood, Zephyr curls it back, turning on his heels and passing through the last bit of hallway to the second bedroom. Closing the door, he allows his feet to carry him directly to the bathroom, the light switching on as he steps over the threshold. The ache in his chest, momentarily held at bay by his surprise at Jun’s promise of love, comes crashing back full force, old wounds scraped raw anew. This day in this house with all these memories and ghosts has left him strained and heartsick, and so desperately missing the life he lived here and the one he shared it with. Those holes within him, the ones caused by Jun’s death that had filled with icy cold, feel somehow wider than ever and deep enough to swallow his heart completely.
With automatic movements, the Selestarri pulls a thick towel from the open shelving beneath the sink, leaving it on a hook beside the glass enclosed shower. A twist of the gleaming knobs sends water coursing from the wide showerhead, the spray warming as he steps beneath. Black tipped white-gold hair plasters immediately to his thin frame, dark eyes staring blankly at the water swirling over the floor and into the drain. Everything inside the Seeker is bleeding and torn, hemorrhaging pain in waves that should he sink under, he may not ever rise. Shaking, he stretches one arm out to brace against the nearest wall, supporting his weight for the briefest of moments before he crumples, back sliding down the cool tile as he drops. Long legs bend at the knees, face pressed against them while his arms lift to cover his head, his body folding down around the agony deep within ...
Rain falls in a light drizzle the next morning, washing the city streets in muted, dreary color. Water patters on the only dry section of the front stoop as the tall Selestarri shakes out his umbrella and steps in through the front entrance. Leaving it beneath the narrow ledge to dry, he closes the door and turns into the dimly lit house. A bag loaded with croissants, hardboiled eggs, and English sausage from a shop down the street drapes over one arm and he carries a cardboard container with two tall cups of steaming coffee in his hand.
The house is silent, but his senses catch the Angel’s magical signature upstairs. Leaving the food on the kitchen island and his wool coat spread over one of the living room chairs, Zephyr climbs the stairs to the second floor. He has not slept, remaining in the shower until the hot water had run out and then making his way to the bed to stare at the ceiling for the rest of the night. Not long after dawn he’d slipped quietly out into the city, needing a break from the house and the memories that continued to cause him pain, slowly drinking his first cup of coffee at a small cafe nearby before purchasing breakfast and returning.
He’d thought quite a lot about all that Jun had said in the kitchen, but he hadn’t come to any startling realizations about anything and had only further increased the uneasy sadness within. This morning he misses his boyfriend more than ever, and he knows it will only increase when he parts ways with this Jun later today. Despite how confusing and painful their time together has been, there has been a sense of comfort as well, one he hasn’t felt in a very long time.
The wide doors into the master bedroom are still open, and just has he had yesterday, he finds Jun standing within, dressed once again in his monochromatic clothing. Pink flecked eyes don’t acknowledge his arrival, trained instead a rather large stain on the floorboards near the foot of the bed. The look on the Angel’s face is confused, as if he’s found something out of place that he doesn’t understand.
Zephyr stops just outside the wide doorway, a shadow amidst the shadows with exception of the blonde pieces of his hair. “That’s my blood,” he says quietly, “from the first time I tried to take my own life…”
Jun: he’d spent the remainder of the night awake and alone, curled up against the headboard of that small bed in that small room, with his knees pulled to his chest as the hole inside of him grew wider and wider, until he felt as if he might shatter beneath the weight of the pain the entire day had brought on. He’d already fallen asleep once in this place and after everything that happened between himself and the Seeker upon his waking, he didn’t feel as if he could stand to follow it up by suffering through the dreams of the other Jun’s death again and so he’d fought to remain conscious despite the exhaustion that wanted to overtake him because his heart, his soul… they just couldn’t take another blow.
But lying awake had been no better. He felt as if he’s been within these walls for an eternity instead of only a single day and he found himself wishing more than once during the night, that he had never stepped foot within them in the first place. Better that he had never given in to his need to find his answers, better that he had never learned the truth behind his dreams and visions, better that he had not found the blonde to be real. He’s hurt himself in all of this and he will walk away from this experience with lasting scars he’s not sure will ever heal. But his pain, his scars, they don’t matter in the end, what matters is what he’s done to the Seeker, the damage he’s inflicted upon him and it’s not something he’ll ever be able to forgive himself for. He regrets coming here and what he’s done since his arrival; he regrets it with every ounce of his soul.
When he felt the other man slip away just before dawn, taking his scent and his presence with him, it was then that he detangled himself from the bed with one intention, and one alone. He cleaned himself, washing away all evidence of their time together as fast as he could. When he redressed, he found himself unable to heal the marks that still mar him, a part of himself he couldn’t silence wishing to keep the reminder with him just a little longer. So he covered them with cloth instead and despite the cold and the endless sound of rain beating against the house from the outside, he’d meant to take the opportunity to leave. He’s never run from anything in his life, to do so would go against everything that he’s been created to be, everything that he is at his core, but nothing about his time on this planet has gone the way he thought it would and he reasoned that due to the special circumstances involved, and that in doing what is in the best interests of another for once, he might be forgiven for the weakness he planned to show. It seemed an easy thing to do in his head– slip out and walk away to spare the Dark, and himself, the burden of an in person parting, but he only made it as far as the door before something inside of him froze his limbs, refusing to obey his commands to step over the threshold and leave as he should have done from the start.
He found himself shaking in the same way he has whenever he’s tried to look at those pictures on the mantle, and while inside a voice was screaming at him to get out, to rip the bandaid from the wound and finally end it, his body refused to go along. It was then that he’d been drawn upstairs, and since he was unable to do one thing, he chose the other. Shedding himself of his coat once more and leaving it where it had been when he emerged from the room in the first place, he allowed himself to be pulled where he felt he needed to be.
But once he stepped into the room, he couldn’t figure out what it was that had drawn him in to begin with, gone the instant he found himself caught by something that didn’t belong, something that shouldn’t be in the room at all. He isn’t even sure how he knows it, but when his pink flecked white eyes were pulled downward to the deep, brown discolored spill on the floorboards at the foot of the bed, he knew that it was wrong, that it was completely out of place, even if he doesn’t understand why. How long he’s spent staring at it in confusion, he isn’t even sure, but when the Dark speaks to him and pulls him from his trance, it takes the Angel a moment to even process that he’s there behind him, and then a moment longer for the explanation to sink in.
The scars on the other man’s arms, those three intermixed scars that span from his wrists to near his elbows… They too were an addition he’d never seen in his dreams or the visions, and now that he knows the reason for them, the bitterness he’s begun to harbor for that other Jun only grows deeper, and the anger he felt the night before rises up to the surface again. “The first time…” Jun repeats quietly, his eyes still trained on the stained hardwood to his front. The first time means there was a second time, and then a third judging by the count and it hurts him so deeply to know it that he doesn’t even know where to begin.
“Would he have wanted it?” the white haired man’s tone is rather flat, each near whispered word gritted through his teeth. “Your Jun, do you think that he would have wanted you to do it? To wallow in despair and sadness until there was barely the shadow of the man he loved left? To disgrace every single thing he lived for with the neglect and abuse you’ve forced on your own body, to taint the very memory of him with your inability to do the one thing he would have wanted you to do?!” His words are cruel and he knows it, but he’s growing so angry and he can’t stop them from spilling out. He’s angry at the other Jun for dying, he’s angry at the Selestarri for allowing that death to hollow him out, for allowing himself to become empty and as lifeless as the one who shares his name and most of all he’s angry at himself for the weakness that brought him here in the first place and for causing the other man so much pain.
“You loved him, you still love him, and yet you’ve refused the only thing he would have asked of you… you refuse to live.” He knows it because he feels it, he carries everything with him from what memories that have surfaced, all the hate and self loathing for dying, all the despair for giving in. He would have done anything to stay alive and yet he couldn’t because he wasn’t strong enough, but he would never have asked the other man to follow him, he would have wanted him to pick up the pieces in any way he could, he would have wanted the Dark to live. “…what do you think it would do to him if you died as well?” he whispers, and while he wants more than anything to pull his hand to his chest and press his fingers against a wound he knows doesn’t truly exist and a pain that’s crippling, he fights it by keeping his arms at his sides, his fists balling so tight that his fingernails pierce the skin of his palms while his vision wavers from the tears that have risen up from within. He had told the blonde the truth of his feelings last night and he knows in the end it means nothing to him, that coming from him they are as empty and hollow as the torn remnants of his soul , but has he even thought on it, has he even considered what it would do to him now that he knows he exists- “-or does that not matter to you at all?”
Zephyr: The tall Selestarri stands in silence as Jun rails against him. Every loaded question, every biting accusation slices deep alongside the other wounds that mark every inch within. These new cuts sting more sharply than the others, perhaps because they come from the pain of someone else, someone who is very similar to the person he loves.
With each word leveled, the Angel seems to grow more and more distressed, his slim body practically shaking, his hands clenched into fists, and a glimmer of tears building in pink-flecked eyes. His Jun would have reacted in exactly the same way if given such news, stricken and devastated, anger flaring up suddenly when his emotions became involved. It was only because his boyfriend had loved him that the anger would bring on such a visceral reaction, the two tethered together in a cause and effect pattern that the Angel was powerless to stop. There’s hurt laced throughout every syllable as well, pouring out in a way that leaves no room to doubt that what the other man had said about loving him was true. He can see it so clearly, strong and blazing hot, even if at the moment it’s reeling in shock. Just as it had been last night, the Dark finds he wants to comfort him, to ease the hurt, but he’d learned very quickly with his Jun that trying to do anything of the sort when he was angry and emotions were running high would end up with him getting punched, and it seems unlikely to be different now.
So Zephyr remains still and silent, taking the newest injuries without protest because he owes it to the shorter man to hear him out, and he says nothing until the final question is fired. “Do I think he would have wanted this for me?” His voice is calm and so quiet that the rain on the roof directly above nearly washes out just how worn it sounds. “No. I think he would probably be just as upset as you are.” Maybe even more so, although the tirade he’s just received is every bit as fierce as any of Jun’s had been. They had never really discussed death very much other than to make light threats to one another before going into battle. There had been seriousness behind those threats and each of them would promise the other that they’d be careful, that they didn’t intend to die. Given the shortness of Selestarri lifespans in comparison to Angelic ones, Zeph had always assumed that he’d die first. Even if he lived to be the oldest of his race to ever exist, he would never come close to matching up to Jun, and perhaps it was that acceptance that never drove him to bring such things up with his boyfriend. It had always seemed so far off, a distant thing to be dealt with at a much later time.
“But he knew me,” the blonde continues, “he knew that he was my everything, and he knew I had no wish to live without him.” That had become crystal clear right in the room in which they’re currently standing. Broken by what he’d done to Jun during a particularly vicious rage, he’d walked away from everything. The Angel had promised him that he would heal, that nothing had changed between them, and that their love was just as secure as it had ever been, but he hadn’t been able to hear a word of it. He was so afraid he’d do it all again, that he couldn’t be trusted, and knowing that he’d been the one to harm the one he loved was devastating. To protect Jun he had left him, and it nearly killed them both. He’d gone to a shithole in Hong Kong with every intention of dying there, and Jun had nearly succumbed to fever and infection. The experience had clearly demonstrated to them both how much they needed one another, and how little their lives were worth apart.
“The day we met was the first day of my life.” He had been hopping from bed to bed, never getting tied down, never getting too attached. Most the time learning names was too much, and it was just easier to assign one to his bed partners based on some physical trait or where they’d met or something random from wherever they’d slept together. Those times were nothing special, nothing meaningful, and therefore unworthy of any more of his attention. He was sleepwalking without knowing it when the Angel had appeared from nowhere and broke his stride, capturing his attention from that very second he laid eyes on him. “Jun was everything to me. He knew how to make me smile, how to make me laugh, and how to turn me on. He kept me sane. He was my support system when things were difficult. He shared my bed, he shared my home, and he shared my life. He was the keeper of my heart...”
Zeph’s chest has begun to ache violently, crushed beneath the words that he’s never really spoken to anyone, but he fights it down, wanting to say them now, owing it to the Angel standing before him. “Without him I have nothing. I am nothing.” If he’d ever doubted it, then these last ten years had been the harshest sort of lesson. “When he died, the light went out of my world, and it’s my choice not to live in that world. It’s my choice to exit it as I wish.”
The pain that wells inside, that endless sorrow, is displayed on the surface of coal-black eyes, but he keeps them steady on their pink and white counterparts. It’s instinctual for him to shelter the other man from it, but there’s no need, not when doing so would hurt him even worse than he already has, and he’s not willing to do such a thing. “I always knew I would not survive his death, that the wounds I suffered the day he died would eventually kill me as well.” That kind of catastrophic damage and that kind of loss were fatal, and there had never been a chance that he would heal in spite of the best efforts of his partner and his brother. “Ten years is a very long time to live when your heart dies a little more each day.” It’s miserable and lonely, every day feeling longer than the last, and the cracks within growing ever deeper and colder. He has nothing to live for, so why can’t he simply end it all and go to Eviternity all the sooner?
“I do know what it would do to him if he knew I’d tried to kill myself.” Zeph finally comes back to Jun’s last question, his voice barely above a whisper. “It hurts me to think about that, about how it would break his heart…” Just as it seems to be breaking this Jun’s heart as well. “But I don’t want to feel this way anymore. I don’t want to live in the darkness without any light …”