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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 14
He hates this. He hates feeling so powerless to do anything to alleviate the devastation the Seeker feels, he hates being unable to do anything more than drudge up unwanted feelings and memories, forcing things to the surface that the taller man has obviously kept bottled inside of him since the other Jun died with careless words he has no right to voice. Since the night prior when Zephyr had shared the depth of his feelings with him, he’s wanted more than anything to find a way to repair the damage, but how can he? How can he when nothing short of the other Jun’s resurrection -something he knows to be impossible if he truly is an Angel, would be able to glue back the pieces of his broken and shattered heart?
And if he could give his life so that other one could live again, in his heart, in this very moment, he knows that he would . He would run himself through with his own sword and give the blonde his life’s blood if it meant he could fix even a fraction of what that Jun’s death did. He would tear his heart from his chest without hesitation if it would bring the other Angel back. He would do anything, anything to give Zephyr back that life he’s glimpsed so often in his dreams and visions, even if it meant he couldn’t share in any of that happiness himself.
But he can’t. He can’t because he’s nothing in this. For all his years and all his power, his rank and standing within the great and noble Angelic society, he’s a nobody to the blonde who has done nothing, who is nothing beyond another similar face in a sea of many, a nobody who just happened to fall for him simply because of some memories that aren’t even his own.
Knowing this knocks the wind from his sails and suddenly he feels as tired and worn as he’s sure he’s begun to look. He’s barely slept or eaten in near two days now and his world has been turned upside down with no real hope showing on the horizon that it will ever be righted again. What can he do in the face of such despair and sorrow? What can he do but feel it and sympathize pathetically, keep it with him even when he walks away and hope that in the end it doesn’t end up breaking him too. Unfurling his fists with a sigh that betrays how hurt and dejected he feels, tapered fingers rise up to his head, his pure white locks staining in thin crimson streaks as he rakes his bangs back.
“Where does this leave me?” Jun asks quietly, speaking more to himself than to the Dark, and pulling his hand from his hair he’s caught by the indented marks his nails had made and he frowns, staring at his palms. “Ever since the dreams began, my world has been falling into shadow. I don’t remember the details of my life any more than I can remember you telling me your name. Yet these feelings are real and they hurt, and even if they mean nothing to you, they mean everything to me. You may not want to live without him, but how am I supposed to survive in a world without you?” Not expecting any real answer, the Angel falls silent and reaches inward, watching with blank eyes as the smallest amount of thought lent knits the shallow cuts on his hands closed. But as he stares at them, his pink flecked gaze begins to glass over and within the space of one heartbeat to the next the room he stands in, the man who stands in the wide doorway behind him, even the soft patter of the rain falling from outside fades, replaced by a memory, one he’s never experienced before.
-I cry out despite myself when steel tipped boots crack another rib, this one taking the breath from me and as I choke on the blood and bile that rises up, I turn my head, spitting the flow of crimson onto the stark white leather in retaliation, unable to help the small smile of satisfaction from forming on my red stained lips. These fuckers may take pride in being able to do what they do with clean hands, but I’m not going to allow them to walk away from me unscathed. If they are going to extract what they can from my body, they can damn well be sure they won’t get away without wearing it on them in some way.
I’m given no time to take what little glee I can from dirtying their cleanliness before a harsh grip tangles in my hair and rips my head back, the sneer painting the Enforcer’s features punctuated by nasty words spit out in Angelic to show his displeasure moments before I’m thrown like I’m made of paper, my body impacting against cold, unyielding marble before I crumple like a ragdoll onto the floor below.
How long we’ve been here, I can’t even remember anymore. They’ve been at this for hours, for days, hell, it may even be years now for all I know. One pain becomes another and every time I think I can’t bear it any longer, I’m forced to use what she taught me, to heal all this damage they’ve inflicted, to knit the skin and the bones back together before they start hurting me all over again.
I’ve always heard stories about them, these special elite of my kind, heard of others disappearing, or seen my peers or my Lessers taken without warning, given no public trials, no public shaming, just taken -sometimes kicking and screaming, never to be heard from again. I told myself what everyone else did I suppose, that they were weak, or that they must have done something to deserve their fate, or perhaps that they managed to find mercy from the High Council by repenting for whatever sin they’d committed to get them there in the first place, but in my heart I’ve always known this is where it had led them, just as I knew that what she was doing would eventually lead me here.
They want me to cry out for her, to call her here so that she can save me from them like a knight in shining armor and they are willing to do this for as long as it takes to make it happen, even if it means decades. But I refuse to be their bait, I refuse to used any longer, by them, or by her, I simply refuse. Besides, what they don’t know is that it won’t happen even if I did do it, I learned in this that I mean as little to her as I do to them. I’m nothing more to her than a play thing, a game she created to pass the time and even though I loved her deeply and she meant everything to me, she’s incapable of returning my feelings because she doesn’t have and never has had a real heart beating in her chest.
And even if I told them this it wouldn’t matter, I’ve gotten the feeling that these assholes enjoy every second of what they do, and they don’t care whether I’m innocent or not, they are simply going to break me and make me feel every agonizing millisecond that they do…
As this newest memory continues to flow through his head, the smell of blood rises up in his nose and blinking, the white haired man lifts his fingers up to touch at a flow streaming down, sticky, thick and wet as it drips from his face onto the stark white fabric of his jacket, marring it in great spots of deep red. Turning around, Jun fights through his blurring vision to focus in on the blonde, knowing he’s there but unable to see him through the haze that’s taken hold. “What’s-“ he whispers, taking steps towards the doorway and where he knows Zephyr to be, his blood stained fingers shaking and held out as an offering to his front. “What’s ha-happening to m-?” A blow from the Enforcers right to his head sends him reeling, the invisible shock jolting his lithe frame as plainly as if he’s been struck for real, and with his dual colored eyes already rolling, his legs quickly buckle to send his body hurtling down to the hardwood floor below…
Zephyr: His feet are in motion even before the other man’s knees collapse, the short distance between them covered in two strides. There is no thought lent, the movement made purely on instinct, something deep within his very bones urging him to protect the Angel . Bracing against the impact, long arms wrap around Jun’s falling frame, locking tight, white hair reaching the floor, but nothing else. There’s no response from Jun, his frame limp and unresponsive with the exception of his eyes, which crack open only enough to confirm that they’re glazed and unseeing, focused on the memory that assaults from within. Pale features come to rest against the Dark’s neck as he pulls the Angel close, the collar of the black shirt slowly growing wet from the flow of blood that continues to stream from his nose. Freeing one arm, Zeph shifts it downward to scoop Jun up, carefully cradling him against his chest.
The teleport opens beneath the Seeker’s feet in the next heartbeat, darkness rising to swallow before it pulls them from the master to the downstairs guest room where the white-haired man spent the previous night. The bed has been neatly made, the borrowed sweater and pants folded precisely and left atop the vintage steamer trunk positioned against the footboard. As gently as if the Angel were made of the most fragile glass, the Selestarri sets him on the empty bed, easing carefully away once he’s settled. A short trip to the bathroom produces a thick towel, and with as much care as he can manage, Zephyr cleans the blood from strained features, the flow beginning to ebb in just slightest.
Even as he works, Jun begins to shake, his teeth clenching and tapered fingers clutching violently at the quilt. A frown shifts over the Dark’s lips as he watches, and straightening to his full height, he lays the stained towel aside and steps into the shorter man’s mind. The lines with their locked and plated memories appear instantly, stretching before him just as they had previously. A dull glow of red-orange snaps his attention immediately to the left, and even as he moves closer, the chains clatter to the floor, links eaten through with the same corrosion he’d glimpsed on some of the other memories. The plating is in no better condition, dissolving before his eyes to reveal the freely moving images below.
Two Angels stand before Jun, their pure white boots and clothing spotted with stark streaks of crimson. Dressed in little more than rags, his boyfriend is in rough shape, one side of his head marred by fresh blood and his face a mess of bruises. From the way he favors his right side, the Seeker would guess his ribs have been injured and that Jun is upright only through sheer force of will. He can’t help but wince as the nearest Angel slams his fist into that same damaged area, smirking as Jun doubles over. The pleasure on that man’s face, the delight as his boyfriend struggles, turns Zeph’s stomach. These are Enforcers, the Angelic society’s elite torturers, responsible for acquiring those selected by the Council and then breaking them over and over before trial begins.
One Enforcer rolls his shoulders almost casually and the other cracks his knuckles, the sneer twisting their mouths completely identical, as is the unbridled glee that lights the depths of their eyes. The blonde has questioned his fair share of those who harbored information he needed and his hands are far from clean, but never has he enjoyed it the way these two Angels do. They’re in their element, at ease with the pain they inflict and the helplessness of their victim. Jun glares at his abusers silently from behind stained and matted bangs, his pain-tinged eyes untouched by any hint of pink. Scarlet stains his full lips and his breath comes in hard, labored pants. A grated cry slips free when a kick lashes out, catching him high in the chest and sending him to the ground, but he manages to scrape himself up, one hand pressed against his side. The second Angel is ready, the crack that slices through the air as he backhands Jun echoing through the room. Blood flies out in an arc to splatter the Enforcers and pristine marble alike, yet none seem to care in the slightest.
Hands are reaching for his boyfriend again and Zephyr snaps himself from Jun’s mind as if he’d been burned, unable to watch the systematic torture of the person he loves. Backlash surges hard, momentarily blinding him as it roars through his head, a punishment for not disengaging his telepathy with more care. A long moment stretches painfully on before the raging force dissipates, leaving a harsh ache in its aftermath. Blinking at the hazy spots clinging to his vision, the Dark returns his attention to the Angel, his fingers stretching out to begin unfastening the silver buttons on his ruined white jacket. The blood from his nose has slowed considerably, but it still trickles sluggishly, a physical manifestation of the assault currently playing out behind closed eyes.
He and Jun had spoken on and off about what he had endured once Saiyuri’s carelessness had gotten him hauled in by the Enforcers. The Angel had relayed the events without much detail, focused more on what had occurred just before he’d been arrested and then during the trial. His torture had been glossed over, and Zeph had never seen any of those memories as he had a few others. Now he can understand why, how Jun was sparing him from it, likely knowing it would be difficult for him to watch. He’d always known his boyfriend was strong, stronger than most to live through what he did, his core formed of pure, unbreakable steel. The glimpse of this most recently revealed memory only serves to confirm that knowledge.
The last of the buttons slips free and the Seeker carefully shifts Jun to tug the stained fabric from his slim frame, discarding it on the floor and reaching once again for the towel to wipe away the fresh blood beneath his nose. No sooner do his fingers touch the thick terrycloth than a hard shudder rips through the white-haired man, followed quickly by another and another as the seizure comes into full effect. The entire bed shakes with the force of it, rattling against the wall, the towel slipping from the mattress to puddle on the floorboards. Pink-flecked eyes open only to roll upward, and Zeph calls to him, hoping to somehow reach him, although it seems to do little good.
The seizure ends a handful of heartbeats later, and Zephyr exhales slowly, unaware that he’d been holding his breath throughout the duration. He’s seen this before at times with those he’d forced memories on, their bodies rebelling as if to stop it when their minds cannot. What the Angel sees now he can only imagine, but it must be significant enough for the somatic element to kick in with such violence.
Blood has begun to seep freely from Jun’s nose once again, and the blonde retrieves the towel, cleaning it away when a second seizure begins. This time he reacts immediately, carefully rolling the other man onto his side, watching intently as he continues to shake uncontrollably, and relief flooding through him when it ends shortly. As the final shudder ripples through his slim frame, Jun gasps, eyes opening wide to find Zeph only a few inches away, the depths filled with a pain that tears at the Selestarri’s heart. Fingers reach out blindly to find his, gripping tight, the pale skin slick with sweat. The Angel’s labored breathing fills the room, unabated even as glassy eyes close and he slips completely into the memory once again.
A heartbeat passes, then another, the Dark simply staring down before a decision is made. Long legs step up onto the bed, taking him across the shorter man and then down to settle at his side, their hands remaining locked the entire time. Sitting against the headboard, Zephyr pulls Jun into his arms, head cushioned on his chest. If this touch is what the Angel needs, if it somehow grounds him against these memories, then he will not withhold it.
When the minutes wear on without another seizure, quick runes are sketched to open the set of shutters on the other side of the room, gray light spilling in through the rain-streaked glass. Ignoring the lingering ache in his head from the backlash, thoughts shift back to their earlier conversation upstairs, when Jun had asked how he would live in a world without the blonde. He’s not sure how to answer that question. The hurt and defeat it had been spoken with was obvious, and he has no reason to doubt that they were any less real than the confession of love had been. But Jun has a life in the Heavens , he has someone… well, he has Saiyuri. A frown shifts immediately to Zeph’s lips. He doesn’t like the idea of the Angel going back to her and having his mind messed with over and over. How long before she gets bored or careless? Then what will happen to the other man? But... he has no say in this Jun’s life, no stake beyond the fact that this man shares his Jun’s memories. Yet when he could have easily walked away, closed the door and left him to work through the cycle of memories alone, he’s instead here, wrapped around the Angel, protecting him and physically present in a way he hasn’t been with anyone since his Jun died.
A short series of spasms rock the slender body, but they taper off quickly, hard pants continuing to block out the sound of the rain. Fingers gently smooth strands of white from the Angel’s sweat-streaked face, taking his time to trace lightly over delicate features, and without realizing it, he begins to rock him consolingly. “You’re not alone,” the soft words are whispered in Jun’s ear. “You’re safe …”
Jun: The bones in his arm shatter, crushed beneath the fingers that break them and he can’t contain the scream ripped from his throat then or the tears that flow from his eyes, mingling with the blood and bruises that mar features almost unrecognizable in ice cold gazes as white and soulless as the crimson streaked marble he’s laying upon.
Shaking in his defiance, Jun chokes out a few choice words barely audible through the blood streaming from his mouth only to have his broken arm twisted upwards, the bones grinding mercilessly together and ripping another strangled cry from him before the sheer pain of it begins to blacken his vision, the mercy of nothingness rising up to swallow him in an instant. But words tear into him before he can escape, those words he’s come to loathe with every fiber of his battered body and like having hands grasp him roughly, they dig into his mind and force him to the surface before he’s able to slip away, the acuteness of the renewal of pain as sharp and as unyielding as a knife to the gut. He cries out in anguish as the smell of his own blood and sweat and the sickening scent of the other two slams back into his senses, making him nearly retch in response.
He’s ordered to heal himself and he refuses despite his longing for even a measure of relief from the agony he feels because he won’t give into them no matter what they ask of him, he refuses to give them the satisfaction of his obedience. Denying them again with a shake of his head that sends the room around him spinning when a second order is issued, he begins crawling from them, his useless arm dragging through mud made of razors while the broken ribs he’s suffered dig deeper into a lung punctured, making his flight as pathetic as his refusal to do their will.
But just as another blow knocks him backwards, soft words –comforting and warm like the arm wrapping him elsewhere and the gentle rocking accompanied by the soft stroking of his features and hair serve as a shield against the full brunt of the brutality he receives. Even as his head cracks against the unforgiving stone, there’s a warmth accompanying the pain that he’s never felt before, and he realizes in that moment that he won’t die from this because he didn’t before and it wipes away the fear with one easy stroke. He’s survived this once already, and he knows he’ll survive it now…
As Jun suffers through the rest of the memory, the full impact of it begins to settle into the back of his head and slowly his breathing returns to normal, labored panting shifting to strained soft breaths. Remaining still as his surroundings creep back into focus and with his dual colored eyes closed against the new pain that has rooted itself deep inside, he’s left trembling and confused once it’s over but he takes what comfort he can from the one holding him once he realizes he’s there, the feel of the careful touch of fingers stroking his sweat damped features, the solidity of a familiar body beneath him and a comforting scent he knows very well buffering against the worst of the residual pain.
“You shouldn’t have seen that…” Jun whispers when he can find his voice again, the tears rising up and spilling from closed eyes to stain his pale skin and the dark fabric beneath him alike. Turning his face downward, his voice is muffled by the other man’s shirt and his fingers grip tighter to the hand he still holds, grateful for the comfort the blonde has chosen to give, “I never wanted you to see what they did to me.”
When he began experiencing this newest memory, he’d reached for the Selestarri several times during the throws, trying blindly to counter what was happening by focusing in on him even though he was unable to fully see him through the haze. At some point he felt the blonde step inside of his head and if he could have cried out and forced him from his mind to prevent him from seeing what was happening, he would have done it then. He knew in that instant that he’d spent every moment with the Seeker prior trying to protect him from the memory that was upon him -that one horrific memory in a line of many he knows he carries somewhere inside of him, of how badly they’d hurt him after he’d been arrested, a single memory amongst many that he never, ever wanted Zephyr to see. He never wanted the Dark to see for himself how they’d broken him over and over, often times pushing him to the brink of death only to rip him back and force him to use an under developed skill far above his rank level, mend the shattered bones and broken skin just so they could do it all over again. He never let him see the violations he suffered when he refused, the magic they used to force him – magic he didn’t even know his people were capable of until it tore into his head and made him do what he wouldn’t against his will.
He suffered, and he suffered… god how he suffered, for what felt like an eternity and then more. It drove him more than once to the point of madness and more than once they nearly succeeded in breaking him and he’s carried the shame of that weakness with him for hundreds, if not thousands of years, suffering more when he couldn’t escape it during nights where the memories would plague him, and then hours upon days when he wasn’t able to shake what had been done. He’s never shown just how badly it affected him and he never planned to, he’s kept it hidden even after waking practically screaming, done everything to shield the person he loves from it by brushing it off or glossing it over because he never wanted him to see just how close he came to shattering, fearing that in knowing what they did to him would hurt Zephyr as much, if not more than it had ever hurt him.
But a second after this knowledge hits him, those feelings are gone and the reason he’d kept this memory away from once midnight eyes slips from him as water would slip through his spread fingers, leaving only the confusion of the conflicting timelines in his aching head. The logical side of his brain reminds him that he’s never done anything, at least not openly, that would have put him in that room with those Enforcers, he’s never gone through the torture he just felt, he’s never loved a “her”… There’s never been a reason for him to shield the Seeker, because no matter how thoroughly he feels the reality of it now, this memory doesn’t belong to him. Yet despite knowing this it’s still here in his head, hurting him as if it just happened a moment ago… the pain of it, the hopelessness he felt, his refusal to fully give in to their will, it’s all here inside of him and it denies the logic that tries to reason it away as just another thing not his own, just as it had denied him last night when he’d begged the blonde to fuck him the way he has in the past and it leaves him aching and shamed for revealing something he’s purposefully kept from the one holding him for all of their thirty five years –thirty five years that he tries to remind himself are not his to begin with.
“That was his memory…” Jun tries to convince himself out loud as he opens his eyes, and slowly pulling his face from Zephyr’s chest he untangles his fingers from their hold, lifting his lithe frame up. “It’s his and not mine. Thank you… for what you’ve done, but I need to leave… before anything else happens.” before he says or does something else he isn’t able to control and hurts the taller man more than he has. He’s grateful for the comfort he’s been given, and he’d like more than anything to remain where he is, to remain held by the only person he knows in his heart could possibly help him through this latest assault, but he can’t, he has no right nor has he had it from the start.
The Higher is just about to pull away when fingers catch his tear streaked cheek, tilting his face back and into the dull gray light spilling in from the opened shutters. His eyes remain cast down however, the shame he feels for what’s happened still evident and it’s only when Zephyr issues a quiet command that he finds himself unable to disobey does he slide his dual toned gaze up, the look painting the blonde’s features once their eyes meet one he isn’t able to decipher in the least…
Zephyr: The blonde ignores the wet tears that have joined the blood on the dark fabric of his shirt, remaining still as Jun releases his fingers and begins to pull away. The loss of the other man’s body pressed against his own is felt immediately, the slim frame so familiar and so natural feeling in his arms. He’d cradled the Angel to offer comfort, a physical anchor as the agonizing memory played out, but strangely he’d felt comforted as well. It didn’t end the hurt he feels inside, the deep wounds that have cracked him at the core and lacerated his heart, nor did it banish any of Jun’s pain and the confusion and fear that went with it, but somehow just holding him had eased it in the slightest. Yet as the white-haired man hands out disconnected words and begins to excuse himself, it seems as though he’s the only one who feels that way , and even if he were to bring it up, to ask Jun if he felt the same, how could he begin to explain what he doesn’t completely understand?
So Zephyr offers no resistance and no reply, silent as the Angel thanks him in a shaky voice. He doesn’t want to let him leave, but he also has no claim, even if he does carry his boyfriend’s memories. Their lives are not tied, not like they were with his Jun, and it’s best if he remembers that-- A flash of pink yanks the Dark from his thoughts, the color seeming out of place amongst the monochromatic clothing both he and the other man wear, but it’s more than familiar, that particular hue one he’s seen in one place alone.
Reaching out, his hand slides against a tear-stained cheek and he tugs Jun’s face upward until the washed out light from outside illuminates it in full. The Angel will not look at him, gaze set on the rumpled bedding beneath. Zeph waits a heartbeat, then another before commanding the shorter man to look at him, using a quieter version of the same battlefield authority that had proven so effective yesterday. Slowly Jun complies, his gaze lifting to meet the Seeker’s, and coal-dark eyes can only stare, completely unsure what to make of what he sees.
Where white pools had been only flecked with bits of contrasting color, they are now fully a quarter dawn-bright pink. How can that be possible? The Selestarri, and he especially, are no strangers to changes in the color of one’s eyes. When his magic is in use or his emotions ramp up, they change to gold. As a DreamWalker, they are lavender when he’s in the Dreamscape. When he assumed the title of Incendia Seeker they permanently shifted from midnight to black, and now that his memory telepathy has mixed with the magic of the Beyond, his eyes lose their color completely when he uses that magic. But that is not how things work for Angels. There is some color shifting on the silver and white spectrums as they age, but that is it. Jun’s eyes were a complete fluke brought on by the taint of the seal they’d placed over his heart after the trial. So this Jun, who has said he wasn’t sealed, and has indicated that the flecks were merely the result of some failed travel through the portal to Earth, should not be gaining more pink. Even if the color had nothing to do with travel, it would be possible that the pink was just some aberration in the white, something leftover from the encoding of the cloning process, but again, that shouldn’t cause the color to increase. It’s almost as though the white is just a mask, not the true color, and the pink is bleeding through.
“Your eyes,” Zephyr answers when asked what’s wrong, his fingers slipping away from the Angel’s face. Summoning a small silver mirror, he holds it out for the white-haired man to take. A sharp intake of air follows as Jun stares at his reflection, shock and disbelief clearly written over delicate features. It twists something deep inside the Dark to see the pain that follows, pain as razor-edged and fresh as if he’d been stabbed. He has no doubt that the other man is made of the same solid, stubborn as steel core as his boyfriend had been, but these last few days have been a lot to take in all at once. A ragged breath spills out from between full lips and then another, tears beginning to glimmer in those changed pools before spilling down pale cheeks. The mirror falls to the mattress as the slender frame begins to curl, drawing inward as if it simply cannot withstand this newest assault. These last few days it’s been Jun’s mind that’s been under attack from the memories, but now it must seem as though his body will betray him as well, and the tall Selestarri cannot begin to imagine how difficult that must be.
It just about breaks his heart to see the Angel cry, to know that inside the other man must be so confused and overwhelmed. He wants to fold Jun in against him again, to comfort and console in any way that he can, to shelter him just as he would shelter his Jun, even if he has no right. Instincts honed by thirty-five years at his boyfriend’s side kick hard, and Zephyr lifts his hands to gently comb into long strands of snow. “I don’t know what’s happening to you or why,” he states quietly, allowing his fingers to trail downward through slightly tangled hair before lifting them back to the crown to repeat the process once more. “I don’t know why these memories have started to break free of the barriers that someone placed on them or why it’s getting worse and worse or why your eyes have now changed color.” If he had those answers he’d give them just as freely as he’d given each one yesterday. “But together we’ll figure out what to do about it so that you can go back to your life.”
Slipping his fingers beneath Jun’s chin, he draws his head up and carefully wipes the tears away with the pads of his thumbs. “Right now, though, if this memory is too much, if it’s too painful to endure, then I can erase it .” His boyfriend had protected him from knowing too much about what had happened at the hands of the Enforcers, but if taking the memory will protect this Jun in some way, if it can ease the pain that’s etched into every inch of the Angel’s body in even in the slightest, then he won’t hesitate. “It will fade into a haziness that seems like nothing more than a half-remembered dream...”