Angel Hunt and Streifen in Modern Day
Zephyr: It takes a long moment for the touch at his shoulder to penetrate the deep fog that clouds the Dark’s mind. Midnight eyes lift to find their counterparts, soft and warm in the scarce light of the dim hall, the familiar gentleness something he needs so much right now. His whole world feels tilted on its side, old pain ripped fresh to expose wounds he thought long healed. Memories he doesn’t wish to relive are dragged to the surface as well, haunting his thoughts with that last night on the tower, the sharp accusations and words of betrayal hitting him over and over again. All these years that he’d wished to see Innic again, but he’d never thought it would hurt like this…
Long fingers push carefully at dampened strands of blonde, the Angel once again pulling Zeph out of himself. He needs the grounding force Jun provides so badly, the love they share with one another and have slowly built into a life the only solid thing he can feel at the moment. “Yeah… I should know better.” The agreement is barely audible, but as much as he wants to thank his boyfriend for coming home and for trying to help, this is all he can seem to manage. The shorter teen sighs quietly, concern and worry plain as he shifts his hand to trail over the Dark’s bruised cheek. Rising fluidly to his feet, he draws Zephyr up as well, announcing that a bath will do them both good and then leading the Selestarri toward their bedroom like a lost puppy. The blonde allows himself to be towed along in silence, head still muffled with a thick haze that’s slow to melt despite the warmth of the hand that holds his own.
He’s not sure how much time passes before the hot water sinks into battered skin and sore muscle, wrapping around him just as thoroughly as the arms that now hold him tight against the body of the person he loves. Stream wreaths the air above them, saturating the bathroom in a cloud that slicks every surface with a fine mist of moisture. Dropping his head against Jun’s chest, midnight eyes slip closed, and he clings to the other teen as gentle hands stroke through tangled hair and down his back in a slow, repeated pattern.
Innic… his best friend… There’s no way to properly explain how much he’d missed him. The Bright is the very first person he can remember, part of his earliest memories from when they were both so small they could barely walk. Innic was always at his side and, so familiar to one another that they’d almost become extensions of the same person. A single quirk of an eyebrow of hint of a frown had been enough to determine a mood and a simple exchange of glances would have them on the same page and completely in synch. Laughter, excitement, tears, pain—they’d been through it all as children and adolescents. When his feelings for the dark-haired Selestarri began to change it had been easy to give Innic his heart, as natural as breathing or walking or sleeping.
Water drips from the tap to splash into the tub, the only sound in the large bathroom. The soothing touch that his boyfriend lends works to ease the worst of the pain, each slow and careful movement adding a thin layer of bandage that slowly builds. “I don’t understand… why it has to be this way…” The whispered words are directed at himself more than Jun, so when all he receives in reply is a soft kiss to the crown of white-gold hair, Zeph continues to allow his thoughts to trickle out. “I loved him. I loved them all, but I thought…” He’d thought he’d never see them again, but looking at it now, he knows that was just something he told himself to heal the damage. Believing you’d never see the source of pain again, that you’d never have to deal up close and personal is one way to put the hellish misery of a broken heart aside, but it’s not a true solution, at least not for him. “I always knew I’d see them again because they promised me and we always keep our promises. We’re the blackbirds.” There had never been any doubt, but he’d thought there’d be more time and he’d be ready to face them. Drawing his sword against the people he once loved is no light thing and if today’s visit is any indication, he’s not prepared at all.
“I don’t know what to do,” he confesses to Jun. “My former best friend and the others that I loved… they’re coming to kill me…”
Jun: trailing fingers come to an abrupt halt when the other teenager whispers his final, distraught words against his chest. It’s as if the warmth of the water that they are submerged in is suddenly no longer capable of soothing chilled and bruised skin alike, as if it’s gone cold and for an instant, the very air takes on an iciness that makes it hard to suck in a decent breath.
What Zeph has just confessed to him is… shit, it’s no wonder that other Selestarri’s message sent the one he loves off the way it did. The sting of betrayal is something he personally knows all too well. More so the sting of betrayal at the hands of ones once loved is something he knows even better. It a pain that never really goes away, one that hurts you deep and leaves scars that forever refuse to heal and while he knew Zephyr had a falling out with them, he never gave him full details, never suspected it could be something like this. This is more than a simple falling out, more than a simple betrayal. It’s full on bat shit insane in a way he thought only his own people were capable of.
“There’s no way…” Jun begins quietly, the movement of his hands resuming their earlier stroking course. “That I’ll let that happen.” He may be out of practice with his weapon -if Haniel handing his ass to him that night he left the mansion was any sort of proof, but he’ll still stand with sword drawn between Zeph and a thousand of his kind before he’d allow any one of them to take the person he loves from his hands. “They’ll have to go through me first,” he smiles, trailing fingers away from water slickened skin to wrap his hands around the tall Selestarri’s shoulders, pushing him slightly back. “And you know how awesome I am with my sword,” his smile deepens when blue eyes slide up to meet his. “Now that I remember who and what I really am.”
Despite his attempt to make light of his own shortcomings he’s met with only despair and it drains what resolve he had completely from his face. His smile is replaced with a concerned seriousness, one that shows plainly in both pale features and early dawn hued eyes locked with dark, distraught blue, “What I mean is… okay, what I don’t get is…” he continues as his hands move away from toned shoulders and slide further up to thread in wet strands of white gold hair, carefully combing the other teen’s locks back “If they are planning on coming back to off you, why would that guy… -your ex best friend, I mean” he corrects himself, “why would he give me that message to pass on to you? What’s up with that? Why bother warning you?”
Zephyr: Every little touch from his boyfriend, every soft movement and stroke of wet hair is as much an attempt to comfort as it is a declaration of love. He can’t begin to put into words what it means for Jun to go through the efforts or how much it shows the depth of the bond they’ve been slowly building from the very first day they met. It’s strange how starkly in comparison it sits against the bond he’d shared with Aly, Mijah, and Innic. Perhaps it’s just time and the violent shattering of their relationship that mutes the glow, but he still can’t help but notice the difference. The Dark slips his hands through the water to rest on their familiar place at Jun’s hips. It may be that he’s older now and has more life experience behind him that provides a better understanding of love. It may be the passage of time dimming the past. It may be this person who shares the tub and is trying so desperately to help with something he doesn’t fully understand. It may be that Jun is simply the most amazing person he knows and for reasons—like now—he still can’t quite figure out, the Angel loves him.
“Innic and I were best friends.” Just talking about the Bright tightens the weight settled on his heart and it’s reflected in his tone. There are some old ties that can never be truly broken, it seems, and this is one of them. No matter how much pain or sadness or time, that tie may be frayed, but it still exists. “He had always been with me, even in my oldest memories. We learned about the world together and that kind of shared past is special.” It made him closer to the dark-haired Selestarri than he’s ever been to anyone except Jun. Even when Aly and Mijah entered their relationship and the four of them became more than friends, it was always he and Innic who remained the closest.
“When everything started to fall apart—after Sevyrikk kidnapped me and I found out about Sashi and I and started to question who I was and the Bright faction in general—I told Innic everything. I had always told him everything, it’s just how it was, but I didn’t realize that he couldn’t handle this and when I said I was leaving, I broke something in him.” He’d been so wrapped up in the chaos in his head from the things his father had revealed about the Empyrean Prophecy and his relationship to Sashi that he didn’t realize what he was doing to his best friend. Zeph sighs. “I hurt him in a way that only I could.” He’d shattered Innic’s heart by leaving and he doubts that any amount of time will be enough for the Bright to ever forgive him. “Despite what I did back then, he said he came back now to warn me that Aly and Mijah are coming to honor old promises.”
Slipping his arms around Jun’s narrow waist, the Dark slowly sinks forward until his head rests on one narrow shoulder. “He came to you because he doesn’t want to see me.” Innic needed to honor his old oaths and he understands that, but not even wanting to see him after all these years hurts much more than Zeph had ever expected. The Bright still hates him so much that standing in the same space is unacceptable, and… maybe he should. Certainly Innic has the right to refuse something that would wake the old pain. So maybe he should feel like shit. After all, he wounded the person he cared about the most back then in a horrible way and now he has to face the consequences of his decisions.
Pain-shrouded blue eyes stare down at his boyfriend’s flawless pale skin as Jun begins to rub his back once more. “Thank you for this,” he whispers, squeezing gently, “and thank you for offering to draw your sword for me.” He knows that Jun still hasn’t completely come to grips with being an Angel and that blade is a very painful reminder of the trials and torture he endured in Heaven. His boyfriend’s love is strong enough even to dig into that old pain, and Zeph holds onto that freely offered love just as tightly as he holds onto the Angel’s slender frame. “I know you’d protect me.”
“But, honestly,” the blonde continues after a moment, “they really aren’t very much of a threat and I could kill all three of them without much effort.” That sounds cold, but he’s not being cocky. Even if he were an average Dark he would be equal to two of them in terms of power, and he’s well above the average member of his faction. Logistically, fighting him would be suicide even with Innic’s tactical brilliance. Unfortunately, what the Bright faction lacks in raw power, they make up for with stubbornness and deep seated pride. Zeph lifts his head just enough for his gaze to catch Jun’s deep pink. “I just… don’t know how to hurt people that I once gave my heart to. It’s been a long time and there’s a lot of old pain between all of us, but… how can I kill them, even if they want to kill me?”
Jun: As it is with his personal on hand knowledge of betrayal, he too understands the dilemma his boyfriend is now faced with. No matter how badly they hurt you, no matter how painful it is to see what was once love turn to a cold distance or hate, the eyes of those who turn on you, their faces, their voices, they are the exact same as they were when you loved them and they loved you.
When he found out that Taz knew what had been happening to him; not only knew but had a hand in keeping him in his altered state, his entire world turned completely upside down. He didn’t think he’d be able to recover. He didn’t think he’d be able to forgive. But Taz wasn’t looking to kill him and his betrayal was mandated and set in place by their superiors in a way he knows full well couldn’t be refused. It was easier to forgive his best friend for what he did and while it’s still difficult for him even now when they speak, he’s been able to move forward and forgive.
How do you forgive this though? How do you face people who still wear the faces that you once loved? How do you do it when they aren’t willing to forgive in return? How do you look people in the eyes and see the love you felt twisted into such hatred that they are willing to kill you for it, to draw weapons and take your very life?
“Don’t…” the pink and white haired Angel answers both Zephyr and himself simply, offering his boyfriend a wry little smile. “Don’t stoop to their level. Don’t do to them what they want to do to you. You said yourself that you’re stronger than all three of them put together so instead of facing them, just… don’t.” he knows the answer to the problem isn’t this simple, in fact, he knows his suggestion is so retarded that it’s easily something he’d have said if he were the oblivious human he so recently believed himself to be instead of a member of a race that does nothing but kill as a rule, but… for whatever reason it comes out of his mouth regardless. Breaking his seal and getting slammed mercilessly by the memories of his previous life hasn’t magically made the core of his very being poof instantly away and so he finds that for as stupid as he knows it to sound, he can’t help saying it anyway.
“We can move away… like out of country or something.” He continues, the words sort of tumbling out. “I mean, I know your brother is here and my sis-” Jun stops himself and frowns, Not sister. She isn’t his sister and he needs to get that part into his head. “-Megumi is here, but they both sort of have their own things going on don’t they? It’s not like they need us around, so why don’t we just take off for a while until this whole thing blows over? It might be good for you and me both.”
If they move, maybe Zephyr’s exes would get the hint and leave him alone. Then on the flip side, it’d be safer for the both of them since they’d be getting away from the city that’s proving to be a constant threat of exposure for him to his own people and he could stop worrying that at some point the cover Taz and Megumi has maintained for him since his official eighteenth wouldn’t be blown and he could relax a little about how much danger he’s continuously exposing the person he loves to simply by sharing his space…
His smile fades at the thought, knowing even without the look he’s being given that in the end, running away probably isn’t the best idea after all. Shaking his head just slightly, he leans forward and sets his forehead on the taller teen’s shoulder, long arms slipping away from white gold strands and slowly around to encircle his neck as the grip around his waist tightens a little more. “Yeah, I know…” he sighs, his quiet words muffled and every syllable spoken brushing full lips against water slickened skin. “It was a stupid idea.” His own shit aside, he knows the blonde isn’t one to just back down, even when faced with something like this. He’ll most likely stand with weapon drawn no matter how difficult it will be and face the people he once loved head on.
“Look, I know I’m useless right now…” he continues, tightening his grip and spreading long fingers to grasp at wet skin, “But this is probably the first time since I’ve broken my seal that I’m actually happy I’m not human…” Despite the fact that he hates what he is and has refused to summon his sword since that night with Haniel due to what it represents, he’s still stronger and more able to stand by Zephyr’s side, which is all he’s ever wanted to do since their relationship first began. “Because… because if you have to do this, if you do have to see them again and you find a way to do what you have to do… I want to be there next to you, I want to be by your side. I want to help.” He sighs again, smiling weakly against the tall blonde’s neck. “Even if me helping is just dragging you out of this bathtub and into a club to get wasted and dance the rest of the night away…”
Zephyr: “You could never be useless to me.” Jun means more to him than he can put into words, more than he can even really make total sense of. The connection he feels with the Angel is beyond anything he’s ever felt with anyone else. Before he’d met Jun he was only playing at relationships, jumping around from bed to bed and barely bothering to learn a person’s name let alone anything about them before he was moving on. His chance meeting with the other teen that night at the mansion completely broke his stride. All of his attention was immediately centered on the Angel in a way he’d never experienced. Other people simply melted into the background, not one of them flaring bright enough to tear his attention away. The longer they’re together the more he’s begun to realize it never will, that he is and always will be ensnared by the pink and white haired teenager. His past may be those he loved on the Eyrie, but his present and his future belong completely to the Angel.
Easing back just enough for his eyes to meet Jun’s, Zeph manages the shadow of a smile. “As much as I love dancing with you and as good as it sounds right now to get completely shitfaced, I kinda just want to sit with you in front of the fireplace for a while.” Lifting a dripping hand from beneath the surface of the water, he carefully tucks locks of pink behind an ear. “I know it’s not as fun, but can we order in and watch a movie?” With a small nod, the Angel gives his assent by slowly closing the narrow space between them with a soft kiss…
The elevator chimes as it reaches the top floor of the building, doors sliding open to release the Dark from its small confines. Carrying the two bags of take-out they’d ordered from the only place in the city that doesn’t have delivery, he makes his way down the tiled floors that lead to the loft. Jun had stayed home to start the fire and find them something to drink from their quickly-expanding pantry bar. At least the rain has stopped. Now he just wants to spend the rest of the night cuddled up with the one he loves. Tomorrow he can decide what to do with Innic’s warning and how to deal with people he’d thought left in the past.
Shifting the bags to one hand, the lock slides open and the door swings inward, opening the way for a choking cloud of smoke to roll out. Coughing and waving to try to clear it, Zeph steps over the threshold closing the door behind him before the alarms in the hall go off. He’d warded the loft against such sensitive alarms after the last time Jun had tried to cook something for him, and it seems like the Angel had the idea to give it another go tonight.
“Hey,” he calls his boyfriend, coughing lightly and squinting through the haze. “We should probably open the terrace door or something…” The blonde’s words trail off as he catches sight of the remnants of what looks like a spell scroll, blackened and charred on the floor just a few feet in front of where he stands, the magic spent. Zeph takes a step forward, a cold feeling beginning to take root deep inside, overshadowing the hurt he’d been feeling all night. Where is Jun? Who—The thought doesn’t complete as a second spell goes off, searing his eyes with brilliant light to instantly blind before the latent charge unleashes a hellish round of psychic energy. The backlash propels the Dark backward, dropping the bags of take-out before he crashes hard into the wall. Pain roars through his head, short circuiting all thought as it violently scours everything in its path. Blood streaming from his nose, the tall Selestarri slowly crumples to the floor, aware as unconsciousness closes in that the apartment is empty and Jun is gone…
“You two are more foolish than I thought,” Innic announces, strolling through the doorway that connects the large storeroom with the rest of the warehouse. Nestled amongst shipping crates, he’s met with two sets of eyes, one already sparking with anger and the other much cooler. Peeling leather gloves from his hands, the tall dark-haired Selestarri comes to a stop several feet from the pair, his gaze flicking over the room’s other occupant, gagged and bound to a chair. Jun lifts his head when he recognizes Innic’s voice, but otherwise makes no movement.
“You look like hell.” Aly comments, her slender frame wreathed in smoke from the cigarette burning between long fingers. She seems almost bored by this whole thing, but he knows her too well to be thrown off by her disinterested veneer. She got hurt just as badly as he and Mijah did all those years ago, and her interest in revenge burns bright.
A frown etches over Innic’s bruised lips. “What do you care?”
Mijah interrupts, rising from the crate he’d been sitting on and moving to stand between Innic and Jun. He flips ash-colored hair from pale green eyes, his stance clearly indicating that he’s ready for a physical attack. As if he’d waste the energy. “We thought you weren’t coming. What happened to all those big words about the meaninglessness of honoring old promises?” The taller Bright smiles coldly. “Change of heart?”
“Don’t get excited,” he assures his former lovers. “I came to see for myself if you two were really stupid enough to go after Zeph’s boyfriend. You know how protective he can be.” He’d sensed the flash bombs go off, recognized a design of his own making, and it hadn’t taken long to put two and two together. They obviously don’t have an understanding of how dangerous a Dark’s rage can be . When paired with Zephyr’s rabid sense of loyalty to those he loves, this whole place will go down in a shitstorm of fire. He may not particularly like these two, but that doesn’t mean he wants to see them killed. Besides, he warned Zeph, so it only seems fair to warn them as well.
“No, we don’t know.” Aly interrupts, flicking ash to the floor. “The only thing we know about him is his lack of honor. We gave our word and we keep our promises, even to a traitor like Zephyr.”
For a moment he almost goes through the trouble of correcting her, of pointing out that they had been the ones who overreacted when Zeph had announced he was leaving the Eyrie. They were the ones who turned their backs, who severed the relationship. All those years of being drilled on the evil of the Dark faction had sunk in deep when they were young and thinking of the blonde as one of them had been too much. But he’d said it all before, argued his points to them both separately and together, and it hadn’t made any difference. Aly and Mijah are set on upholding a promise they’d made to someone who had broken their hearts. They don’t see how foolish it is and how the probability of dying in the attempt is enormous. He’s a Bright, too, and he believes in honoring his oaths, but he’s not suicidal. “Whatever.” Innic turns toward the door. He’d made promises, too, but none of them had ever involved killing the person who used to be his best friend. “You might want to check those ropes, though.” He gestures dismissively at Jun before the shadows of the hall over take him. “He’s about two seconds from getting free…”
Jun: Blackness encompasses almost every sense and it’s only the distant sounds of muffled voices that begins to call him back. He furrows his brows ever so slightly, finding that along with the blackness that envelopes him there’s a fog, a fuzzy sheen that seems to have a firm hold on his brain in a way that’s nearly impossible to shake.
But those voices keep growing louder and for a moment he has the urge to turn over, slide a heavy arm out and swat at his boyfriend for having the damn television on so loud that it’s interrupted his sleep. He’s been hung over before, he’s been all out of sorts after a night out but he’s pretty sure he’s never felt the way he currently feels. He feels like he hit a brick wall. With his face. And he left his face on that wall.
What in the hell…
With the voices in the room growing ever more intrusive, he realizes that despite his efforts, sleep is also slipping away so after a small, futile internal argument, he gives in and rises fully to the surface, finding a way to crack early dawn hued eyes open in order to find the one he loves. The moment he does so, he realizes something is wrong and that it’s not his boyfriend, or the television he’s been hearing, but something – and someone else entirely. Head swimming, he stares down at his lap and it slowly dawns on him that he’s sitting upright on an unforgiving surface and his body, arms and hands are painfully bound with some kind of rope. A blurry aura taints everything around him and as he works to blink it away, he also realizes that he’s been gagged.
Foreign smells hit him in that instant, strong and unforgiving in every way. The dank mustiness of the warehouse he’s in is near insufferable, the scents of the two… wait, no three Bright bring a frown to his bound features and the cigarette smoke that wafts about quite literally is about to push him over the edge. Yet even with his senses off kilter, it’s the familiarity of the third voice that draws his gaze further upwards and the face he finds causes him to bite down a little hard on the gag that’s in his mouth.
He remembers it now. There was a knock at the door that he thought was Zephyr returning home with their food. He assumed his hands were too filled to open it himself and that right there should have been an immediate red flag. The fact that the other teenager usually teleports in and out never even occurred to him because he’d been too caught up with the fact that he hadn’t set the loft ablaze when he managed to start a successful fire in the fireplace. He’d only started to open the door and had only a moment to register that the smells on the other side were foreign before a blinding flash and a sharp ripple of pain became the last things he felt or saw…
So these three are the ones… pink eyes shift groggily away from Innic to the others, before sliding back again. These are the ones his boyfriend once loved, the ones who claimed to love him in return before deciding to do all … all of this. These scents match the scents he only had a moment to catch before waking to find himself like this. These are the faces of those Zeph said he didn’t want to kill but seem bent on killing him regardless.
He did not survive a trial, torture and an ass kicking by Haniel just to be taken out by Zeph’s exes now. He has no idea what they think they are going to accomplish by taking him but there is no way he’s going to let himself be used as some kind of twisted bait. He’s done this shit before and he’s not playing it out again. The Council used him as bait already. He lost his place, his life, his memories, everything just so they could take down someone that he used to love. There’s no way in Heaven or Hell he’ll let himself be used again, especially not like this, and especially not to hurt the one person he literally can’t imagine living his life without. He may not have his shit together when it comes to his abilities, but he won’t just sit here like some helpless human, waiting for these guys to do whatever it is they think they are going to do.
Not again, not ever again.
Carefully, and ever so slowly while the three Selestarri continue conversing, their attention too taken with one another to notice his movements, he begins twisting his wrists against his restraints. With eyes locked on the figures at his front, he pushes at the bindings, grimacing in the slightest when the ropes respond by digging in deep. Not to be derailed by the pain, the Angel continues his subtle squirming until they are loose enough for him to slip his hands out.
He’s only a few seconds away from partial freedom when Innic clues the other two in. Just as the Bright steps out of the room and into the shadows, pink eyes widen and realizing he has no time left, he simply rips his hands back. A muffled cry resonates out and he has just enough time to shake the ropes from his arms, rip the gag away from his mouth before the remaining Selestarri are on him again. Despite the length of rope that secures his midsection to the chair, Jun jerks his entire body out even as hands wrap around burned wrists -attempting to secure his arms down again. But his struggling lithe frame and long kicking legs sends both him and the two Bright crashing down towards the floor …