Angel Hunt + Streifen: AU02 Pt01

Angel Hunt and Streifen in AU

(Alternate Universe 02)


C H A P T E R  O N E : P A R T 01

I had no idea when I began this appointment that it would involve even more stuffy functions than we had on Nova,” the tall blonde complains to the dark-haired man standing at his side. Ice swirls through the amber colored liquor in the glass he holds loosely in his fingers, the cubes softly clinking. Leaning against the rail of the second floor, the two Selestarri gaze down at the party in motion below, a pomp and circumstance they will soon have to join for the formal welcoming dinner. The fact that the school year began two months ago doesn’t seem to matter. Their fellow colleagues, wearing every possible variation of tweed in existence, move from one group to another, happily handing out greetings and introducing their spouses, while sipping their expensive drinks.

Innic grins at his best friend, reaching out to tug playfully at the other Dark’s silk tie. “But you fit in here so well, and your students adore you.” Zeph swats the shorter Selestarri’s hand away with a matching grin. “It also beats languishing in some cell while the combined Assembly wrings their hands and putters back and forth trying to decide what to do with you and Sashi.”

The blonde nods and pulls the glass to his lips, taking a sip of the abrasive liquor. “I know, I know.” They’ve had this conversation approximately ten thousand times since being dumped at this school last year under the cover of faculty members, and while he does find it much better than any of the other assignments or punishments that could have been handed out were the rest of his people not like doddering old men, it’s the meaningless functions like this that always bore the shit out of him. And if he’s bored, that means his brother is likely in a horrible mood.

With a sigh, midnight eyes scan the party below for signs of the older Dark, looking for the telltale sign of cigarette smoke. Sweeping over the bar, he moves on toward the rows of small tables before his gaze is drawn almost on its own accord to the far left of the room. White hair shining in the light from the chandeliers above, the pair of Angels stand out like beacons in a sea of gray and tweed. The taller of the two is speaking to the school’s headmistress and her husband, while the shorter Angel stands stiffly alongside, completely unengaged in the conversation with his gaze fixed on a nearby wall. Jung Su Kim, Asian languages teacher, doesn’t smile, doesn’t laugh, doesn’t react in any visible way to whatever is being said right beside him, and from Zeph’s experience with the man, it seems pretty much par for the course. In fact, once dinner begins he’ll be sharing a table with the Angel as the dinner calls for seating by department and since they’re the only two teachers in the Languages Department, he’s assuming the meal will be just as frigid as their departmental meetings…

The touch of fingers just beneath his jaw and the gentle tug of his head toward his best friend pulls midnight eyes upward to meet orange. “You okay?” Innic asks quietly, “I thought I lost you there for a minute.”

Zeph shakes his head. “No, I didn’t fall in.” He understands his best friend’s concern given the current state of his control over the memories rampaging through his head at any given moment. Sometimes he slips into one without being fully aware. “I just got caught up looking for Sashi,” his gaze sweeps the crowd below once again, “but I still don’t see him.”

“Over there, by the door,” Innic points in the direction of the entrance. “He’s smoking with Lan and a couple of those old guys from the math department.”

The taller Dark’s reply is interrupted by a small chiming sound, summoning the faculty and their guests to dinner…

Jun/Taz: at the tall Angel’s side, his handler prattles on, appearing to be deep in some superficial conversation with the Headmaster and his wife while all but him stand with drinks held in hand. Early dawn hued eyes remain fixed on a far off wall as if it were the most interesting thing in the room, his face the perfect mask of disinterest and calm that he’s only able to maintain because of the many years he’s had to hone the skill. He knows full well that Taz has even less interest in the niceties and small talk he’s engaged in than he does, and would no sooner summon his weapon and take every head in the room than share a drink with these humans, but unlike himself he’s better at playing the game than he’s ever been and to all who are around, he seems to be truly enjoying whatever it is they are currently talking about.

A means to an end, in that regard these people here are no different than he is in the Higher’s eyes and he knows it. What he’d love to do is be let out of the dinner and ceremonies so he can retreat back to his apartment for some peace… he’s got a curriculum to plan out and specific course lists to write and right now even that tedium is more appealing than what’s happening now, but he knows he’s not going to be allowed the time for as long as Taz is here anyway and so he’s going to have to find a way to make it through the hours to come.

Without meaning to, Jun shifts ever so slightly in his place -his momentary break in protocol while going completely un-noticed by everyone around them brings the taller man’s white gaze instantly back. Out of the corner of his eyes, he catches the very edges of the smirk that forms on the other Angel’s lips and internally he cringes in response, knowing and dreading the fact the smirk tells him he’ll be paying for his inability to stand perfectly still later. Cursing inwardly, he falls still again and as if it never happened, the other three continue prattling on at his side. He should know better by now than to do something so stupid. At home he’d have been torn apart by his superior for even the slightest movement made, and while he and Taz may not be any where near home at the moment, the Higher is still his superior and the rules he’s bound by still apply.

Careful to keep his eyes on the wall and despite the fact that the sound of the bell signals another set of long hours where he’ll be forced to stand at attention while the opening ceremonies take place, he’s still internally grateful when the chime resonates out to call the conversing faculty and their guests to dinner…

Zephyr: Reaching the bottom of the wide, curving stairway, the two Dark part ways, midnight eyes tracking his best friend as Innic steps in beside Sashi when the older Selestarri makes his way from the front entrance. The social sciences department is large enough to fill two tables, but Innic makes sure he’s seated beside the telepath and it makes the blonde happy to know that his brother is being looked out for, even if Sashi doesn’t realize it or care. He’s aware that his best friend doesn’t do it out of any special affection for the older man, but because Innic knows that Zeph loves Sashi and that makes the telepath worth the trouble.

It’s not really that Sashi needs any watching in the first place, not when he’ll likely ignore everyone at the table and meet any attempts at conversation with his usual cold, disinterested stare. His brother’s never been what anyone could define as a “people person,” and it’s only become worse since they fought the Seeker. He’s not sure if it’s because of the injuries Sashi sustained in the battle, which make hearing and seeing people more difficult, or if it’s just an escalation of the dislike the telepath has always carried for others. Either way he can’t blame him, the telepath’s life has never been easy.

Speaking of things that aren’t easy… Zeph threads through the tables toward the one designated for his own department–Foreign Languages–a table as big as those that surround it, but set for only two seatings. They are the smallest department in the school and while there’s been talk about hiring another professor to teach the classic languages like Latin and Greek, the department remains at two. As he approaches, the blonde can see that his colleague is already at the table, standing rigidly at his seat with his gaze fixed on something across the room.

“Jun,” he greets the Angel, sliding easily into his seat. Pink eyes lower to meet midnight for less than a heartbeat, but as the other man sinks rigidly into his own chair, the gaze is pulled away to stare at the elegant china place setting on the table before him. Zeph barely manages to mask a sigh. So… tonight be like all their departmental meetings, then. He shouldn’t be surprised.

The Angel only ever speaks to him when it’s absolutely necessary, and then each sentence is terse and to the point. He’s ridiculously over formal in spite of the Dark’s attempts to tell him it’s not necessary, he always stands as if there’s a steel rod embedded in his spine, and his office and classroom could pass the most stringent military inspection. He assumes that if he were to get a look at the inside of Jun’s apartment, it would be similar.

Honestly, he could probably make a very solid case that the other man is, in fact, a robot, if it weren’t for the cracks. That’s what he calls them anyway–the few very brief and rare moments he’s caught a glimpse of a crack in the stiff, formal appearance Jun displays. The first time had been not too long after he’d been assigned here, the late afternoon of what had been a rainy morning when the students were on spring break and most of the faculty had left for the day, he’d watched as the Angel stopped in the middle of the nearly dry sidewalk to gently pick up a struggling worm and move it into the grass. He’d been so surprised to see such compassion for something most people barely noticed at all, and so he continued to watch, looking for other hints of something behind the cold veneer. There had been a few more, always when Jun thought no one else was around, a couple of instances with students who needed extra encouragement with their studies. Just these moments when he can almost see something, but can’t quite put his finger on it.

The Selestarri is pulled from his thoughts as two servers appear at the table, one leaving a basket of fresh buttered rolls and the other placing a small bowl of crisp salad on the lacquered charger plates at both their settings. Easing the salad fork from the line up to the left of his plate, Zeph smiles at the Angel. “At least when they make us attend these things, the food is decent…”

Jun: the answer he gives the other man is short and rather curt, and almost immediately after he says it, his eyes move right back over to resume his earlier task of staring at the far off wall. He doesn’t bother to say anything further, nor does he so much as flinch when another sigh is given in response to his non-response, pretending as he usually does not to have noticed the reaction at all.

Being around the Selestarri tends to make him uncomfortable at times because it seems as if that no matter how distant, cold and almost rude he is in response, he still attempts to be social in some way. He would almost understand it if the other man kept his attempts at a level needed to uphold whatever cover he has, but it’s felt as if ever since the blonde came to the school he’s occasionally tried to go beyond it and despite putting stops to it at every turn, he continues to attempt it to this day.

He’ll admit there have been times when he’s almost broken his cover and replied on a less superficial level even if he hasn’t been able to explain the exact reason why. Maybe it’s because he hates that he has to uphold his act in the first place and would like from time to time, to be normal, or maybe it’s because he occasionally feels lonely and fancies the idea of forming a friendship -any kind of friendship with another, just so he wouldn’t feel as isolated as he actually is. But despite it all, he knows it to be folly and it’s easy to catch himself when the knowledge of the cost hovers above his head –it’s a price not worth paying as it’s far, far too high. He knows he’ll never be allowed the same casual relations as everyone else, his fate was sealed the moment Haniel got her claws on him all those years ago and it would take so little to ruin him now –just one slip, one break, or even the shortest, smallest bit of idle conversation to have his entire world come crashing down.

Pink eyes slip briefly away from the wall and over to find the Higher from across the room, the smile given to the faculty seated near so easy and so deceptive and one that causes a brief flicker of hatred to surge deeply at Jun’s core. He’s come to really hate that smile, and nothing, not even a reprise in social protocol is worth getting caught and having it turned on him, anymore than it’s worth running the risk of being sent back and enduring more torture and pain.

Beneath the table, his fists ball in his lap ever so slightly and slipping early dawn hued eyes away from Taz, he slides his gaze down to his plate. Offering nothing further to the table’s only other companion, not even a look, he reaches out to pluck his fork from the line before dipping it gracefully into the evenly cut greens at his front.

space03Lan: Despite the fact that he stands propped casually up against the frame of a wide open archway, it’s as if he and the other three men are in a bubble of immobile space deprived of any air circulation or breathable oxygen. Surrounded by smoke that seems to hover around them like a floating blanket, there’s an easy smile gracing his full lips, interrupted only when the shouldering stick held in-between long fingers is brought up to his mouth.

Two of his three companions are deep in an idle conversation they occasionally decide to include them in, the third outwardly as silent as he and somehow surrounded by an even denser layer of smoke than the four of them combined.

[They do enjoy talking don’t they?] He offers Sashi much in the way he has since they all began smoking, and exactly in the same way as before, he receives no answer beyond a slight shift of gray eyes in his direction. Inhaling deeply, the Bright slips the cigarette away from full lips and as he tilts his head back in the slightest to allow the smoke out, his smile only grows a little warmer.

Not receiving a reply from the Dark has been pretty typical in the months he’s been down on this assignment, but not one to be daunted, he continues to speak to him whenever their paths cross anyway. Speaking to Sashi in any form, he notes, has been much better than when he’s forced to speak to himself. [It makes me wonder how they’ll manage to quiet themselves down long enough to eat dinner once it begins…] grinning a little wider, Lan nods a heartfelt agreement when one of the other teachers breaks their conversation just long enough to ask him a question and before he can elaborate upon his answer, the chime sounds to call them all into the dining hall…

Sashi: He spares the Bright a glance when the telepathic words reach his mind and is given a warm smile despite his silence. Caramel tinted fingers bring the smoldering cigarette to his lips, pulling the warm smoke deep into his lungs. Sometimes he doesn’t understand the tall Selestarri appointed as their watcher from the opposite side of the faction. Actually, he never understands the man. Whenever they happen upon one another, Lan always goes out of the way to speak to him, regardless of the fact that he never responds in kind. In fact, the only time they’ve ever spoken is when he and Zeph have been forced to give input for the reports Lan and Innic have to periodically file with the Assembly.

Lan speaks, Sashi remains silent, and each time he’s given that same warm smile in return. Is it some kind of game? If so, he has no idea what the purpose of it might be. On Nova, such games were played in attempt to manipulate him or gain the use of his magic, and while he’s sure there are Bright at the Eyrie who would play similar games, from what he’s observed of Lan, he doesn’t seem to be the type. Of course understanding others is something he’s never been particularly good at, so maybe the white-haired man does have some angle he’s trying to work by constantly attempting to engage him in conversation. Fuck if he can figure it out, though, nor does he truly care.

Grudgingly, he will say that the Bright does make a decent smoking partner. When he’s not talking, the silence between them is almost comfortable, which is a rarity in the Warden’s life. People are always nervous around him, even when pretending to be smug or arrogant, he can still sense it in their thoughts, and it’s only gotten worse since their attempt on the Seeker. Lan is different, though, he’s relaxed and at ease, never a flicker of telepathic worry leaking out for Sashi to catch. It’s odd, but somehow okay and while he doubts he’ll ever seek out the other Selestarri’s company on purpose, these times they do spend near one another aren’t entirely unpleasant.

The summoning chime sends the two mathematics teachers tottering away toward their departmental table after snuffing out their cigarettes, promising to continue their conversation with Lan after the meal and welcoming ceremony. Reaching for the ashtray after one last drag of the dwindling stick, Sashi’s hand narrowly misses meeting Lan’s as the Bright is pulling away, causing the other Selestarri to take a quick step backward. His smile never falters and he gestures grandly toward the tables arrayed before them, waiting until the Dark has crushed his cigarette and moves away from the wall he’d been leaning against. The servers are already setting out bread and salads for the first course and as they reach the row that leads toward the social sciences table, the Warden can see Innic waiting patiently for him. Lan flashes him that same friendly smile before turning toward the section designated for his own department, and for the briefest of moments, Sashi almost responds to the Bright’s earlier words to say that those two math teachers will just continuing talking even as they eat, that nothing can stop the old windbags, but the moment passes just as quickly as it strikes him. What’s the point anyway? It’s not like it matters if he says anything or not. Nothing really matters…

Innic falls in beside him as Sashi reaches the tables, the two of them making their way toward their assigned table…

space01The grand hall is buzzing much as it had been in the entranceway before the opening ceremonies and dinner began, every stuffed suit now unbuttoned and most of the parents and staff that linger standing with glass, both filled and empty, held in hand.

As usual, Jun is almost alone in his sobriety, the only figure without either a wine glass or cigarette entwined in his fingers, and despite the fact that he’s currently surrounded by a few sets of the parents to his students, he’s also nearly alone in the silence he gives to their idle talk in return. There’s no smile on his lips and barely an expression gracing his handsome features beyond the disinterested, and the words he offers the others are few and far between –the tall Angel almost mechanical with his answers to their questions and meeting their excitement at their children being taught in his class with all the enthusiasm of a mud covered rock.

His coldness seems not to faze those around him however and the parents speak so happily that it’s as if they haven’t noticed his flatness at all. Still he’s careful to keep his responses short and his demeanor is broken only on the occasion when he can’t seem to stop himself from glancing up at the ornate gilded clock hanging high above the staircase wall. Just before he curtly dismisses the two sets of parents, one rather thin and tall wife of an overly fat father reaches out during laughter to a joke only they appear to find hilarious to brush the very tips of her well manicured nails along his crisp suit jacket covered chest. The flirtatious motion is lost to them all, including the very subject of her attentions and without so much as a pause to his actions, he takes his leave in order to find another spot in the hall less occupied than the one he’s currently in.

He makes it only a few paces however before he finds himself face to face with his handler, a smile -that dreaded smile plastered on the Higher’s lips and a glass held out in his only empty hand.

“Drink?” Taz offers and with only the slightest shaking of his head, he declines. “You don’t want to look any more out of place here than you already do, do you?”

“I don’t really-“ Jun tries again and instantly, white eyes flash, the taller man’s smile turning momentarily cold.

“You aren’t safe from disciplinary actions, Jun, not even here in this sea of filth.” Taz says coolly, “You know that as well as I… so take the glass, and please don’t make me ask you again because if I have to, I might not be very kind in my response.”

With barely a reaction outwardly given, Jun replies with a simple stiff nod and reaching out, he takes the glass from his handler’s hand. The moment it’s handed over, the smile returns to Taz’s lips and turning around he pulls his own cup up to his mouth, the large chunks of ice within clinking softly as he takes a long and satisfied sip.

“These humans are something else aren’t they?” The Higher begins again, speaking to the shorter man now as casually as he would if they were the best of friends. “They are all so blind and small… living their short, pathetic lives without any idea that every action they make can easily result in an abrupt and rather brutal death…” Smirking, he glances over to the other Angel and as usual, is met with a pink stoic stare. “If I ever see you allowing another one to put their hands on you again for any reason, I will see to it that you are the one who will take their fingers in punishment… inch by agonizing inch.” Early dawn hued eyes can’t help but slide over to meet cold white and he’s offered a rather sadistic smile in return. Slipping his glass upwards, Taz gives him a casual salute before simply turning away to move back and commingle with the crowd once more.

Buried beneath every layer, his blood runs slightly cold and Jun stands in place for only a moment longer before he turns away himself. With no less fluid ease and grace than normal, he begins moving towards the nearest exit, his glass set on a silver tray held out by a waiter as he passes and every step taken as he weaves through the crowd carefully chosen so that he can exit without touching a single one…

Zephyr: The blonde nods along as the parents standing before him continue to drone on, giving exactly less than one shit about what they’re saying. The event is finally dwindling down to a point where he can escape without getting called out for leaving too early. Honestly, he’s had about all of the humanity he can stand for one day. “Well,” he finally interjects when the stocky man pauses to draw a breath, “I can understand your daughter’s interest in the classical languages, but unfortunately we don’t currently have a classics instructor. My classes are all in modern European languages, tailored toward future careers in international business and law, which I’m sure you’re aware since your daughter takes French and German with me.” The mousy woman looks as though she wants to break in, but the Selestarri continues, so much more done with this conversation than these two humans can apparently comprehend. “I’m sure if you call the administrative services department, they can help you with finding a tutor so she can learn Greek and Latin in her spare time.” He flashes a smile he doesn’t at all mean, and takes a half step back. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have papers to grade and curriculum outlines to draft. Goodnight.”

Without waiting for a reaction, Zeph turns and heads toward the entrance, glancing only momentarily over his shoulder to see that the couple has moved on to one of the science teachers. Midnight eyes scan the loose groups of people still milling about, catching sight of the two tall, dark-haired men he’s looking for when there’s a momentary parting of the cloud of smoke wreathing their heads. Smiling at a couple of teachers from the literature department as he passes by, he manages to reach the corner near the entranceway without further delay.

Innic smiles as he steps in, and the blonde accepts the cigarette his best friend offers while reaching up to loosen his tie. Sashi stands across from him, leaning against the wall, gray eyes shooting him a look of absolute boredom. Well, he can’t say he disagrees with that. Zeph’s gaze shifts to the man standing just to his brother’s side, someone he didn’t quite expect to be rounding out this trio and yet he’s not really all that surprised. From beneath shaggy white hair, summer yellow eyes meet midnight and he’s given a warm smile to which he nods in return. Pulling the cigarette to his lips, he pulls the smoke in deep, letting it settle for a moment before exhaling. “I think we’ve done our duty above and beyond today,” he hands the smoldering stick back to Innic. “Drinks, my apartment? Let’s get the fuck out of here.”

Neither his best friend nor Sashi need further invitation, both dropping what’s left of their cigarettes in the ashtray and moving toward the door. Zeph turns to follow, taking a step before glancing back at Lan, the tall Bright still leaning casually against the wall. Without really thinking on it, he gestures toward the entrance. [You coming? I keep a very nice bar of select liquor from Nova. Beats anything these humans have served all night…]

Lan: The tall Bright contemplates the blonde’s invitation for a couple of seconds without reply. Not once since he began the assignment has any of them spoken to him beyond what was necessary during report meetings and the like, let alone invited him anywhere and so it takes him just slightly by surprise. At first he isn’t sure it’ll be wise to accept, all things considering. Aside from the mandated so-called strict distance he’s supposed to keep from the subjects of his watch, it’s a little unheard of for one from his faction to spend any social time with any from the other faction.

There are rules and those rules divide them, they always have as far as he knows and they probably always will.

But then he’s never cared for the social rules of one side versus another, has he? It’s how he ended up on this assignment to begin with. Ever since the accident, the divides between the Bright and the Dark have felt petty and small, and he learned from that early age that there are larger, more important things out there beyond the politics that govern their people or the self important nonsense that keeps one faction apart from the other. In fact he’s had a very hard time since then caring very much for the restrictions at all and he’s pretty sure that for that reason, and a multitude of others he was designated watcher to the two brothers in the first place. So however contradictory, it would be perfectly within the confines of his assignment to go along with them, would it not?

Especially… he notes, when yellow eyes shift subtly over to the eldest of the three, especially when it comes to a certain one.

With his mind made up and only a second longer of hesitation, Lan nods a reply before pushing his lanky frame away from the wall. Slipping the last remnants of his cigarette up to his lips he takes one final drag before snuffing it out, then stepping forward he moves to the exit along with the rest…

space03Zephyr: The blonde considers the game board set on the coffee table for a long moment, midnight eyes set in concentration, before he reaches out and moves his pieces in a very precise attack formation. Finished with his turn, he leans back into the softness of couch’s cushions and pulls a glass to his lips. The drink hits his tongue with the faint sweetness a fruit grown only on the floating islands and then kicks hard as it blazes a path down his throat. Definitely better than anything served out of that bar at the school function. This company is a hell of a lot better too–no wound up parents or stuffy colleagues to put on a show for and pretend he’s living the dream or some shit by teaching at this pretentious, overblown daycare for teenagers. His gaze flicks toward the Bright for a moment, Lan’s lanky frame settled on the couch beside Sashi with a glass cradled loosely in one hand. Inviting the other Selestarri had been a complete whim, but adding him to their group has been fine. He’s not overly talkative, although certainly not as quiet as the telepath, who in his usual fashion has said about ten words all night, but he does respond when asked a direct question and he’s apparently pretty easy going just to be sitting in the company of three Dark anyway, so perhaps his gut feeling about Lan was on point.

“Anyway, what were you saying about the dinner?” Zeph pulls his attention out of his own thoughts and directs the question at Innic as Sashi stares down at the board, trying to decide on his next move.

The dark-haired Selestarri laughs and shakes his head. “Your lovely brother here spent most of it fending off the advances of that philosophy teacher.” Innic takes a sip from his glass. “I have to commend her on her fortitude because a less dedicated woman would have literally withered under the stare he shot her through the whole meal. She’s persistent.”

Zeph grins, but his tone turns a little serious. “Does she need a more persuasive argument? I would be more than happy to have a talk with her.” He doesn’t tolerate anyone causing issues for his brother, even some infatuated human who has absolutely no idea what she’s doing, but apparently doesn’t understand Sashi’s unresponsiveness as a hint to back off.

“Oh, I told him I would help, tell her flat out that he’s not into girls, because being blunt is sometimes the only way these humans seem to get it, but he said no.” Innic pushes thick bangs back from his orange eyes and glances at Sashi. “You know it’s the only way she’s going to understand.”

A frown shadows the oldest Dark’s mouth. “You do that and it opens up a whole new line of shit for me to deal with. I’ll just continue ignoring her.” Pushing all his pieces into a pile, Sashi turns his lead piece on it’s side and secedes from the game. “Useless playing this game against two strategists,” he mutters, rising from his seat. Reaching for his glass, caramel-tinted fingers don’t get quite far enough around and he nearly knocks it over before managing to grab hold. The frown on the Warden’s face deepens and Zeph’s mouth mirrors it before glancing up quickly to watch Lan’s reaction. He knows Sashi doesn’t want anyone to know about his injuries, but the Bright doesn’t seem to take any special note and hopefully will chalk it up to the fact that the telepath has already had a few glasses of the strong liquor and not that he can barely see anything on his left side.

Slipping past the white-haired Bright, a box of cigarettes appears in Sashi’s hand as he heads for the balcony, the tall, double French doors clicking quietly closed behind him. The blonde catches summer tinted eyes as they watch his brother, but Lan turns back to the game board as Innic considers his options now that the telepath is out. Reaching for the bottle set on a side table, Zeph pours everyone a fresh drink and then leans back once again, unwinding the already loose tie from around his neck and dropping it to the floor.

“So I have to tell you, Lan, not that it really matters to us who the Eyrie sends down here, but we much prefer you over your predecessor, Kecelia.” Yellow eyes lift to meet blue and the Dark smiles before taking a sip of his drink.

Innic nods in agreement without looking up. “I still can’t believe Sashi didn’t kill her.”

Truthfully, the blonde can’t believe it, either. Her actions and general demeanor practically screamed for a long, painful death, and she’s lucky that Sashi isn’t one to take violent action as a response to bullying. She’s equally lucky that the Warden forbid him from taking any action on his behalf and that her tenure here only lasted a few months. At Lan’s questioning look, Zeph glances at the closed balcony door. “Not that she was courteous to any of us, but she would only refer to Sashi as ‘filth’ or ‘monster,’ even when he was standing in front of her.” It had to hit home with the telepath, who had heard the same thing from the people of their own faction all his life. Sashi never shows it on the outside, but behind the walls he keeps and the cold distance he places before himself at all times, Zephyr is well aware of how sensitive his brother is, and how much those things hurt him. His gaze slips back to Lan and a hard edge rounds out each word. “If I ever see that bitch again, I will kill her…”

Lan: He watches as Sashi misses his mark when reaching for his cup, and offers no reaction to either it or the frown that graces his lips afterwards, nor does he give one to the similar frown that forms on his brother’s mouth right after. He’s noticed in the Warden here and there these tiny shortcomings during his time on this assignment, seen the small subtle movements that come a second slower than the others, or how he falls short in much the same way that he fell short this time around when reaching for one object or another. He’s never said anything about it, has never written anything about it in his reports and he never plans to, and while he’s had the odd urge here and there to help the Dark when it’s happened, he assumes Sashi wants no pity for it since he himself has made no mention, and so he’s offered him none.

Pulling summer yellow eyes from the telepath as he exits, he turns his attentions back to the two younger Dark and the game currently at hand. Smiling softly at the edged words Zephyr gives him, he leans forward and after only a moment of contemplation, he slides his game piece into a position that will guarantee his purposeful defeat. “I wouldn’t blame you, in all honesty.” He smiles cheerily as Innic in turn moves his own playing pieces to overtake his before offering a salute of his glass as they are pulled from the board. “Unfortunately, most from my faction tend to be a little… misguided in their views, especially when it comes to those from your faction.” Misguided is an understatement. He’s come to expect that type of behavior over the years in all honesty, and while it’s disturbing to hear that Sashi was so mistreated by a previous watcher, it doesn’t surprise him much either. All of the Bright save a select few seems to fear the two brothers, especially after what was attempted against their Seeker, and unfortunately when it comes to small minds, fear tends to show itself in unpleasant and often nasty and belittling ways.

It’s something he can say that he’s experienced first hand himself.

“Lucky that I chose the assignment then, yes?” Lan continues as he moves another piece, putting it strategically in the same doomed place as he’d put the others. “I can promise that you won’t hear anything of the nature coming from my mouth anytime soon.” Orange and midnight eyes alike exchange a glance and he simply smiles a little wider before reaching over to topple his last playing piece once taken, conceding complete and total defeat. “In all seriousness, I know it doesn’t help much now but you do have my apologies for her behavior.” He continues as he pulls the piece from the game board, and then sets it carefully next to Sashi’s discarded own. “There isn’t much I can say to make up for it I know, but I can assure you that there are some of us at least who aren’t lacking the most basic social decencies many of the others seem to be devoid of.” Offering the two remaining Dark a genuine and rather apologetic smile, he rises fluidly up to his feet and a moment later he politely excuses himself from the remaining game.

The French patio doors swing gently shut behind the tall Bright as he steps up to Sashi’s side and setting his drink down on the scrolled railing, summer yellow eyes glance over. [May I?] he asks with only a slight nod given to the open pack of cigarettes, keeping his standard respectful distance away from the older man. There’s a couple moments of silence that pass before Sashi gives him the slightest of nods in acknowledgement, and with a simple cheery nod in return, he reaches forward to pull a single long stick from the box. Sliding it up to his lips, his fingers come close to the edge and after just a split second of thought, he stops his movements abruptly before sliding his hand away and down to pat absently at his suit pockets instead. Finding no lighter, he’s about to pull the cigarette away from his mouth when a swift rune is sketched at his side and he can’t help smiling as the tip of the cigarette flares to life. Thanking the Warden, he inhales the smoke deeply before settling back against the rail once more, and exhaling, he blows the cloud upwards while neither Bright nor Dark seem aware of the two sets of gazes that have turned on them from within the apartment.

[It’s peaceful down here at times don’t you think…?] Lan begins much in his usual one sided way as his yellow gaze slides from Sashi and up to settle on the star speckled night time sky above [well… peaceful I suppose when we aren’t surrounded by old tottering men who like to gossip about everything and nothing, and those… what do they call them… oh yes, human cougars who can’t seem to understand a ‘no’ when it’s clearly given.] he chuckles as he takes another slow drag.


…to continue.


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