Angel Hunt + Streifen: AU02 Pt03


Angel Hunt and Streifen in AU

(Alternate Universe 02)

(Part 01) (Part 02)


C H A P T E R   O N E : P A R T 03


Sashi: The conservatory located near the far end of the school in the science department is quiet during the lunchtime hour. Constructed for the biology, botany, soil science, and agricultural classes, the room is an enormous greenhouse made up of small, paned windows configured to open and close individually dependent on the specifics of the current experiments. The room is a sea of peaceful green, seeded here and there with patches of wild color from flowers and fruit trees alike. The air smells of a dozen different lilies, roses, and orchids mixed with lemon, orange, and plumb with an undertone of freshly turned soil. Although it’s a classroom in its own right, the conservatory is almost park-like and at the moment is wonderfully quiet.

Settled on an empty garden bench beside an opened window, feet propped on a crate full of empty clay pots, Sashi soaks in the warmth of the late autumn sunlight, head tilted back and storm shrouded eyes closed. A smoldering cigarette is held loosely between caramel-tinted fingers, the ash occasionally flicked out the window, and at his side sits a mostly-empty container of instant ramen noodles, a set of chopsticks poking out from the half-opened lid. After a morning of listening to himself give lectures on social institutions and the Weber perspective and the endless whining of his students in general, this is the time the Dark uses to recharge in order to make it through the second half of the day. Lunchtime often finds him here and he welcomes the precious moments of peace.

A wet nose nuzzles against the Warden’s tattooed hand and gray eyes crack open to find one of the conservatory’s resident cats, kept to deter the pest population by a means not involving poisons or other chemicals that may disrupt the experiments. He’s more of a dog person, truthfully, but these cats are gentle and sweet enough and they value a moment of quiet just as much as he does. Scooping the small calico with one hand, Sashi sets her lithe body on his lap, where she immediately curls up to soak in the sun as well. Thundercloud eyes close once again, pulling the cigarette to his lips to take a long drag and slowly let it out.

Focused solely on the warmth of the sun, the quiet purring of the cat on his lap, and the smell of plants and smoke mixed with instant ramen, the Dark doesn’t hear the soft sound of the conservatory door opening on the far end of the building or the approach of footsteps moving in his direction…

Lan: the conservatory door closes behind him without sound from well oiled hinges, his footfalls light and quiet as he steps onto the widest of the cobbled pathways constructed between rows and rows of greenery and flowers that stretch out in every direction. One masked hand slides once again into a pocket of his loosely fitted suit pants while the other remains wrapped around a neatly tied package, his dark tailored jacket a perfect match and left unbuttoned at his sides, and his crisp white shirt barely tucked into the thin leather belt that hangs low on his slender hips.

Summer yellow eyes easily find the greenhouse’s only other occupant as he moves nearer and he can’t help the smile that forms on his lips at the sight. He isn’t at all surprised to find Sashi here as it’s one of the few places usually left unoccupied during lunch hours due to the muggy temperatures kept to maintain the plants and specimens, and not usually an ideal dining room to those trying to eat due to the overwhelming botanic and rich soil smells that permeates the air. If there’s one thing he’s learned since he came is that the Dark is a preferred loner, and as such he tends to seek out the most secluded places whenever he can. So just as he’d thought, the other man sits near an open window, obviously relaxed and looking quite at home with his surrounding, with he notes as he draws ever closer, one of the resident cats curled in his lap as if they are the oldest of friends and a partially consumed meal right at his side.

So focused in on the warmth of the sun, Sashi fails to notice the Bright even as he eases his lanky frame down onto the bench on the side opposite, his gray gaze only opening when the calico in his lap suddenly perks up and steps down to greet a teacher she knows very well.

[Forgive my boldness] Lan flashes the telepath a cheery smile as he slides his fingers over to scratch at the small feline’s chin, unfazed by the reserved yet slightly annoyed look he’s given in response to his presence, [But I somehow made myself too much food today and I thought perhaps you might enjoy a break from your…] he glances down at the ramen noodle cup, [standard nutritional intake.] When the cat pushes her head into his hand for further petting, he complies while sliding the fabric wrapped package held in the other upwards before nodding towards it, offering the older man another warm smile. [If you haven’t had your fill already, that is…]

Sashi: His nap interrupted and his lap suddenly emptied, gray eyes crack open to regard the man sitting on the opposite end of the bench. A warm smile is leveled in his direction even as the Bright continues to pet the cat and make his offer of whatever he’s carrying in the package he sets on the bench in between them. He truly does not understand Lan at all. Whatever this game is that he’s playing, he has exactly no grasp on what the purpose behind it may be. What does he want from him? Why does he continuously attempt to engage him in conversation when he’s made it pretty clear that he’s not much for talking? Surely he’s read whatever brief was given to him at the start of this assignment, so Lan must know his reputation as the watchers before him did. So what is the point of all this?

But instead of asking any of those questions, Sashi simply pulls what’s left of his cigarette to his lips, pulling the smoke in deep and holding it for a long moment. The little cat continues to bask in the other Selestarri’s attention, shifting back and forth to maximize each stroke he offers to her sleek fur. She seems to know him well and even as the Warden watches, one of the other conservatory cats appears, a rangy green-eyed tiger stripe, stepping forward to butt his head against the Bright’s leg. Reaching forward to grind out the dwindling stick in one of the clay pots at his feet, the Dark summons a fresh pack of cigarettes, cracking the seal and slipping one free before offering the box to Lan. [A trade.] His words are quiet, a statement rather than a question. He won’t put himself in the position of accepting things from the taller man and therefore being in his debt, he learned how those types of arrangements work long ago and it’s not a position he enjoys. Whatever is in that fabric-wrapped package smells much better than his instant noodles, though, so he’ll offer an exchange.

The warm smile brightens as it’s turned from the cats and back to him, and Lan pulls a cigarette free and sets it to his lips, leaving it unlit as he begins to untie the knot of the fabric wrapping…

Lan: the two cats appear to be completely unaware that his attentions are now focused on unwrapping the package at his side, too busy purring loudly and bumping their heads against his arm and legs to actually care. The purrs turn into expectant meows once the cloth falls away to reveal a multi-tiered plain black lacquer box and he smiles a little wider as he scoops the top most compartment up and removes the lid.

Slipping his hand up to sweep the cigarette momentarily from his mouth, he leans over as the Dark looks on to set the box filled with neatly cut chunks of plain cooked chicken and fluffy mounds of long grain rice onto the stone pathway at his feet. “Of course I didn’t forget to bring two of my favorite friends a treat,” he chimes happily to the cats as the tabby hops down to join the tiger before both begin hungrily consuming the offered communal meal.

Returning the cigarette back to his lips to free his hand again, he then separates the two remaining compartments, one kept close to him while the other is set near the Dark’s side. Sitting back against the worn wooden slats, he shifts lightly upwards to pull his suit jacket out, reaching into the hidden breast pocket to slip two neatly wrapped bundles free while Sashi continues to look on. Setting his down on the bench before him, he unrolls the other bundle to reveal a set of shiny silverware and leaning forward again, he arranges the cutlery next to the other Selstarri’s box.

[I always pack extras] he explains when a dark eyebrow is quirked at him, and glancing up his smile warms a little in response. [One can never have too many place settings on their person at all times,] he chuckles as he sits back again, knowing and yet not caring that his explanation is completely transparent to the other man. [Anyway, so today’s menu…] Lan grins as he slides his hand up and once again, long fingers pluck the unlit stick from his lips before he slips it carefully into his front shirt pocket for later before he reaches forward to pull the lid from Sashi’s meal [is modest…] Before him a carefully laid course is revealed, one that could easily contend with the fanciest of human restaurants known in any land. A white mash is spooned over beautifully seared vegetables placed neatly in a row, topped by a prime cut of meat drizzled with a rich smelling sauce and topped with an array of crisped onions and greens. Setting the lid against the bench’s back, Lan removes his own and places it nicely adjacent before unrolling his silverware bundle as well. [But I do hope you’ll find it worth the price of a cigarette… at the very least,] he smiles.

Sashi: Storm gray eyes stare down at the meal so beautifully cooked and laid out before him, the presentation akin to what one would expect from the finest five star restaurant. After a moment, his gaze slides to the cats, happily eating away at the meal the Bright had so thoughtfully brought for them. The Warden’s stomach practically growls and after a moment he turns his eyes back to the other man. [You really cooked this?] His own culinary skills don’t extend beyond anything that doesn’t carry a warning label to remove the plastic wrap before heating, and they certainly don’t match up to anything on the scale of this meal. He can barely make a functional cup of tea, and Zeph has banned the entrance of any cooking device into his apartment except the microwave after he’d set the alarms off twice in the same night.

Lan nods, still focusing that warm smile right on him as Sashi takes the fork and dips it into the mashed potatoes, lifting the bite to his lips. It tastes of the perfect blend of herbs, garlic, and butter, and the whip itself is as smooth as silk. Pressing the edge of his fork against the filet, a chunk slides right off, attesting to the perfection of its preparation, and he’s pleased to see that the meat retains a stain of pink throughout the center, which is exactly how he prefers it to be cooked. Touching the bit lightly to the swirl of sauce on the plate, he takes a long time chewing, trying to thoroughly enjoy each layer of flavor from the meat and the combination of spices in the rich sauce. It truly is an amazing meal, outdistancing even Zeph, who more than knows his way around a kitchen. [Definitely worth the price of a cigarette,] Sashi agrees and the Bright’s smile widens.

They eat in silence, the cats on the floor at their feet and the sunlight streaming in through the greenhouse windows. Each bite is savored by the Dark and he eats slowly, enjoying each component both separately and as a complete dish. He still doesn’t understand what Lan’s aims are or why he continues to seek him out, even going so far today as to offer the excuse of having made too much food when he obviously had this planned. Why go through the trouble? He has nothing to offer the other man, unless Lan is looking to aid in the future assassination of a certain Dark Selestarri bitch, which is highly unlikely. So why has the taller man gone out of his way to come at him time and again? Is it a game? All the charming words, the disarming smiles, the casualness of his every movement, what is it all for? Does he want to go be able to return to the Eyrie and tell all his friends he chatted it up with the most scorned and hated Dark? Is it one of those strange honor and ethics things the Bright are so intent on, some kind of idea he can rehabilitate him or some shit?

Setting the fork gently on his empty plate, Sashi nods his thanks and leans back against the bench, reaching for the cigarette he’d pulled from the pack earlier and regarding the Bright across from him for a long moment. [What…] he finally says, sparking the tip of the slender stick with a touch of magic, [do you want from me, Lan?]

Lan: he finishes his own meal only a moment or two after the Dark has finished his, smiling in response to the nod and pleased it was enjoyed as he begins gathering both sets of silverware to pack them neatly back into the lacquer tiers once stacked. He’s about to fold the wrappings when Sashi’s question is asked and the bluntness of it causes him to pause in his task and slipping his fingers away from the cloth, he glances upwards, flashing the older man a look that he isn’t able to easily discern.

[Has there never been anyone around you who hasn’t wanted something from you in one form or another…?] He inquires almost thoughtfully as he reaches over to pull the cigarette from the breast pocket of his shirt. Sliding the unlit stick up to cup in between his lips, Lan takes no time to contemplate his actions as the tip flairs to life without a visible rune sketched or notable magic, too distracted by the meaning behind Sashi’s words to truly realize what he’s done. Inhaling the smoke deeply, he sits back against the bench, sliding one long leg up to cross over the other before he allows gray tendrils to spiral lazily out. [I hadn’t thought about it, if I’m to be truthful.] Having just finished her meal, the tabby leaves her companion to lick the dish clean before hopping up onto the bench, her purrs indicating that she has full expectations of being petted now that she’s fed.

Smiling down at the animal, the tall Bright readily accommodates, scratching the feline beneath her chin when she curls herself into a perfectly balanced ball on his crossed over leg. [And now that I have, I can honestly say there isn’t anything I want from you Sashi.] His answer is equally as blunt, and pulling the smoldering stick away, he slides it over and taps the ash into a large clay pot near the bench’s side as his summer yellow gaze shifts sideways to meet eyes the color of a storm cloud filled sky. [I suppose you’re accustomed to having others fear you, but fear hasn’t been an emotion I’ve felt when I’m in your presence. I’ve only ever enjoyed your company, it’s that simple, I have from the start…] from the first day he met the telepath, he’s been drawn in for reasons he hasn’t been able to explain and the longer he’s around him, the stronger the emotion becomes.

[I also enjoy speaking to you, whether you choose to speak back or not. There’s a certain comfort to the silences between us that I’ve not experienced in a very long while.] He smiles as he slides the cigarette upwards to take another drag. At his feet, the tiger striped cat lifts his head from the container he’s just licked spotless and with one fluid jump, he hops up in order to join his companion. Bumping his head into fingers already occupied, he earns himself a sudden swat of the tabby’s paw instead and hissing lightly, he hops over and weaves his way towards Sashi to seek the attention the other cat has already attained. Lan can’t help but chuckle as he watches the older man slide tattooed fingers out to welcome the newcomer into his own sun drenched lap.

[Hmm… perhaps maybe I’ve lied then.] He says after a moment of contemplative silence once the tabby is fully settled, his words pausing the shorter Selestarri’s movements and bringing gray eyes right over. [I would like to have your friendship eventually if I’m to think on it.] He smiles a genuine smile. [Though I don’t expect it from you all things considering… I am a Bright after all and if we are to believe the propaganda, Bright and Dark simply don’t mix… doing so might cause the entire universe to suddenly explode.] Lan laughs softly to himself, finding the absurd truth of the statement more amusing than he probably should.

Sashi: Tattooed fingers slide over the sleek fur of the cat in his lap, the Dark listening to Lan’s explanation without any visible reaction, even to the little shot he takes at the foolishness of both their factions. None of the words the other man speaks are a lie, his telepathy easily confirming the truthfulness, and yet the telepath doesn’t understand how the Bright has arrived at his conclusion. He wants to be friends? Why? To what end? Even if he agrees to the fact that the silences between them are comfortable in a way that he generally doesn’t experience with others–and he does agree–that in itself doesn’t warrant a friendship. He knows how friendships work and what the purpose of them is after spending years around Zephyr and Innic, but he’s not like them, he’s not like anyone, and therefore none of the usual reasons apply.

He can’t fault Lan for not understanding that, however, but he can set a few things straight for the other Selestarri. Exhaling a stream of smoke, he leans forward slightly to flick the ash into the same clay pot the Bright had used a moment before, attempting not to jostle the cat in his lap. [For the record, I don’t give a shit what any of our people do or what they think or how terrible one faction thinks the other is. They can all go fuck themselves for all I care.] All the rules, all the old history, all the pissing contests interwoven through the history of their people means less than shit to him. Why should he care? Both the factions hate him equally, and when one would happily see him dead and the other would happily use his abilities for their own benefit, he feels he has the right to hate them in return. In that perspective, it’s difficult to take any of their rules or prejudices against one another seriously.

Giving the tiger cat one final rub across his sleek head, Sashi gently shifts the animal to the bench and grinds his cigarette out in the clay pot. [The food was wonderful, and I thank you for it.] The words are sincere, it was the best meal he’s eaten in a long time. Rising to his feet, long black hair shifts over the Warden’s shoulders as he turns toward the doors of the conservatory. [About your intentions…] he glances back at the lanky man still seated on the bench in the sunshine, the cigarette held between loose fingers. [I don’t have friends, Lan.] The Bright is better off finding another to be his friend and not bother wasting his time with someone who doesn’t form such relationships…

space03Zephyr: Standing at the bottom of the stairs leading to the entrance of their apartment building, the blonde and his best friend finish their stretching and prepare for an evening run. The air is just turning crisp, but the light is still good, and people of all ages pass them on the sidewalk heading toward nearby shops and restaurants.

“So basically I completely fucked it up.” Zeph finishes his explanation of the lunchtime conversation debacle he’d had with Jun earlier in the day. Wrapping his hand around his ankle, he pulls one long leg up behind him to stretch the muscle.

Innic nods in agreement. “Definitely seems that way.” Lifting one arm above his head, he grasps his elbow with his free hand and gently pulls to loosen up his shoulder. Orange eyes catch blue and he grins at the other Dark. “Somehow I doubt that will stop you, though, so what’s next?”

The taller Selestarri shrugs, about to reply just as he catches a glimpse of white as it sweeps down the stairs. Jun doesn’t give the slightest bit of recognition to either of them as he passes, taking his keys from the valet who hands them to him before slipping behind the wheel of a sleek silver sports car that waits at the curb. Less than a moment later the car pulls from the curb and disappears down the street.

“Well, that’s quite the fancy toy–” Innic turns to his best friend to find a smile on Zeph’s face, one that indicates the other man has hit on an idea…

space03The halls are still quiet early the next morning as the Dark sets the tall vase on the currently empty desk in his shared office. Beautiful peonies, fresh from a flower market half way around the world nestle in the clear glass holder, their freshness guaranteed to last long past the normal life span of cut flowers with a simple spell. His own desk holds a matching vase, more as an excuse than anything else. The flowers range in various shades of pink, from the palest eggshell to rich, lustrous hot pink, expertly organized in a way that prevents any one color from overpowering the other.

Pink. Zeph grins as he moves back to his own area and begins to organize paperwork for his first class. He never would have thought of it if he hadn’t seen Jun last night when he’d passed them on the street. The Angel had been wearing a very pale pink sweater under his white coat and when he’d stepped off the curb, the blonde had noticed that the details on his shoes were pink as well. For someone who so ritualistically wears the same shades of white and silver at almost all times with the exception of work-related suits, the pink stood out like a beacon. A favorite color, no doubt, and now that he knows, he plans to use the information to his advantage.

The arrival of his officemate is announced with the abrupt halt of quiet footsteps at the doorway, and Zeph looks up from his papers with a smile. “I thought our office could use a little nature.” Midnight eyes meet pink, and he adds, [I also wanted to apologize for yesterday. It wasn’t my intention to upset you…]

Jun: the white haired man’s footfalls come to an abrupt halt once he reaches the doorway, early dawn colored eyes shifting from the smile he’s greeted by to the white flowers on the empty desk even as he’s given an explanation for the new office décor. Pulling away from the peonies, his gaze is drawn to the arrangement on the Selestarri’s own desk, pulled to the beauty of the perfectly blended multi shades of pink as if magnetized. For a couple of seconds he finds himself so caught up in admiring the flowers that it takes him a moment longer than it should to collect himself and even a second longer after that to pull his gaze away.

Pink, of all the colors for Zephyr to choose, it had to be pink and while it isn’t unusual for him to find the office randomly decorated with one thing or another -ever since the blonde was hired he’s appeared to have little issue in treating the shared space as if it were his personal own, the fact that this newest addition is pink is what’s causing him a moment of pause and he can’t help but wonder for the space of a few heartbeats whether the other man has somehow found him out.

Yet, as pink eyes shift from the flowers and back up to find Zephyr’s midnight gaze still leveled on him while that seemingly innocent and friendly smile continues to grace his lips, he has to think better of it. He’s been careful, more than careful enough to keep this particular preference hidden and it’s not something even Taz has discovered about him despite the multitude of times his handler has been inside of his apartment so it’s doubtful that the Selestarri could have discovered it himself, especially randomly and out of the blue.

The fact that the flowers on his desk are pink has to be a coincidence, one timed oddly he’ll admit, but nothing more.

So once he’s decided that, he gives no answer to the explanation and doesn’t immediately acknowledge the apology, resuming his steps to continue into the office before he stops at his desk. Pulling his leather and rich wood chair out, he slides his lean frame fluidly down and without another glance given to the flowers or the blonde, he begins his daily routine of organizing his carefully laid papers for what will soon be the start of the school day. Though as he works with his dawn drenched gaze cast downward as usual -careful to keep his outward focus on his task at hand despite the fact that he can feel blue eyes on him, the apology that’s been offered soon hangs in the air just above his head.

He doesn’t understand why Zephyr’s bothered to say he was sorry, he thought he made it clear yesterday that it didn’t matter and it should have been done and over with that, yet instead he’s acting as if he has some remorse for words he seemingly didn’t realize would upset him and that in of itself makes no sense that he can currently make out. If the blonde is as good at the falsehoods as he’d determined him to be when they spoke yesterday, then he can’t truly be sorry, but if he is being as truthful about the apology as he sounds, then what he’d assumed might be wrong. Considering that he comes from a race that practically revels in playing mind games and has dealt with more than his share of it in his lifetime, he should be able to discern the truth from a lie, but with the blonde… with the blonde he can’t tell.

He really… just can’t tell.

[You didn’t…] Jun finally returns after a couple of minutes of silence has passed and as midnight eyes slide over, the Dark finds that once again, the other teacher is continuing on with his task as if he isn’t speaking to him at all. [Upset me, you didn’t.] Sliding back just enough to pull a drawer of his desk open, he leans over and reaches in to retrieve a few thick, leather bound textbooks that lie within, white strands tied up high on his head slipping over his suit covered shoulders.

He wasn’t as upset with what Dark had said about the humans as he was disappointed… disappointed that he’d judged wrongly and reached out, disappointed that he risked so much to speak to someone who in that moment, showed himself to be no different than every other of his very own kind. Yet now he’s not as sure as he was the day prior so he’s speaking back again and for what reason? Because of an arrangement of flowers and an apology, one where the colors were probably coincidentally chosen and the other he’s not even sure to be genuine in any way.

He must be going absolutely insane…

[Do you like it…?] The Angel inquires as he straightens, closing the drawer and setting the books on the desktop before he begins gathering his neatly stacked papers. When he doesn’t immediately receive an answer he finally slides his eyes upwards and finding a slight look of question swimming within midnight depths, he glances almost impulsively over to the empty doorway before he gives his reply. [The color of the flowers… do you like it?] The Selestarri brought in two arrangements and chose to put the pink ones on his own desk and despite himself, he can’t help but wonder if it is as he suspects –coincidental, or perhaps because there might be the smallest of possibilities that the other man could have something in common with him after all…

Zephyr: He watches the other man patently ignore him in silence, midnight eyes tracking as papers are arranged and books laid out as though he were nothing more than a piece of furniture and not another actual person who had started a conversation a few minutes prior. Patience, however, is something he learned a long time ago from a very stubborn sibling, and so he waits, saying nothing even when Jun tries to shrug off the apology for yesterday by claiming he wasn’t upset. The words aren’t quite the truth, the slight falsehood ticking the blonde’s telepathy and affirmed by his clear recollection of yesterday’s exchange. There was definitely something the Angel didn’t like in what was said, and while it may not have upset him, it was enough to cause an abrupt end to their short talk by his departure from their office. The Dark has some ideas on what it may have been, but Jun doesn’t elaborate, and besides, if he can manage not to alienate the other man completely, he’ll be able to see if he’s correct in due time.

The silence remains even after the Angel asks his first question, the ambiguity enough to keep him from replying before dawn-colored eyes finally lift to meet Zeph’s and Jun clarifies. [I like all colors,] his reply is warm and even, and his gaze holds the shorter man’s. [But I’m often drawn to things with a hint of pink.]

The response seems to still the Angel for a moment, and it’s the Selestarri’s turn to drop his eyes and gather his paperwork and books for the first few classes of the day. [Do you approve of the new decor?] He scoops up a box of German flashcards and a French coursebook before glancing back at the other teacher. It was a small gamble to bring in the flowers, but his guess about Jun’s favorite color seems to be correct, and has broken the ice between them once again. [If so, I’ll ensure that we always have a bit of color to enjoy…]

Jun: the white haired man is held up for a split second over the Dark’s comment about being drawn to hints of pink and deep inside, he flusters in a way that nearly causes him to break his demeanor and pull his eyes away. But instead, he forces the moment of breathlessness down and shoves it beneath his carefully laid layers and when the blonde asks for his opinion on the décor and offers to bring more, he doesn’t reply, simply pushing himself back in his chair and rising to lean over and gather his neatly stacked things.

Why Zephyr suddenly appears to care whether or not he approves of his newest decorations confuses him as much as he himself is beginning to and he’s not sure he likes being confused in this way. They’ve maintained a strict line between them since the other man had been hired and while he’ll admit that he has attempted quite a few times to engage him in conversation, he’s still managed to keep the line between them in place.

That all changed when during a moment of impulse, he finally replied to the blonde’s words and now it seems only to have encouraged him to pursue the matter further. The focused attention is dangerous and if he isn’t careful about it, what’s probably nothing more than common casual practice for the Selestarri could tear down a cover he’s fought desperately for years to maintain.

If that cover is destroyed, he’ll be destroyed along with it in ways he’s not sure he’ll be able to recover from this time.

[I told you yesterday that what I want doesn’t matter. That’s no less true today than it was when I said it so it’s of little consequence whether I approve of it or not…] Jun finally replies as he steps around his desk and moves towards the open doorway of their shared office, his books and papers in hand. [But…] he adds almost despite himself as he steps past the threshold just as the first signs of life begin to echo from the classrooms and halls far beyond. [If you do want to add more ‘splashes of color’ in the future… I won’t protest it.]

space02Lan: Leaning casually against his usual designated wall with a partially spent cigarette resting in-between two fingers, the tall Bright stands no differently than he has every other day –smoking well before his classes are scheduled to begin and a cup of coffee in his hand. This day however, another filled and capped cup rests on the windowsill unclaimed, the piping hot liquid visible despite the surrounding haze by the small stream of white steam that rises continuously through the top venting hole. Precisely on schedule, Sashi soon joins him, just finishing off one cigarette as he takes his place nearby with barely a look given to his smiling white haired companion before he’s pulling a fresh stick free of a near empty box and lighting it the instant the filter reaches his mouth.

Sliding his own nearly spent cigarette up, he cups it in-between his lips before reaching over and sliding the unclaimed cup closer to the Dark, offering the older man his usual warm smile. [There’s a new girl at the bistro,] Lan explains when gray eyes shift down to the cup, [and if I’m to be momentarily conceited, I think she may like me.] Pulling away he leans back, sliding the smoldering stick free before tilting his head backwards to blow the smoke he’d inhaled out. [She insisted on giving me an extra and I didn’t want to be unkind so I accepted, but…] lifting the coffee cup in his own hand upward, he smiles [I can really only drink one, so instead of wasting it, I thought perhaps you might like to have it. For the price of a cigarette, if you want to exchange…]

Sashi: Exhaling smoke into the crisp morning air, the Dark regards the other Selestarri for a long moment. He thought he’d been clear yesterday in the conservatory. Sharing a space while smoking is fine, but there’s nothing beyond it. He learned when he was very young that what’s so normal for many isn’t the same for him, and that there are some things he won’t ever experience. Friendship is only a weapon to be used against him, and he’d reconciled himself with it long ago. The kind of camaraderie he sees between Zeph and Innic isn’t something he can have and so he walled away the need for it, pushing it back further and further until there is always a space between himself and others. He has no intention on opening that divide again and allowing himself to be hurt. The only one he can rely on to protect him is himself…

And it’s also the only way he can protect others in kind. People got hurt when he was younger, even some that didn’t deserve it, and he won’t allow it to happen again. Friendships are attachments and attachments have only ever caused him pain. Zephyr is the one exception because they’re brothers, but no one else is permitted that kind of free pass.

Tattooed fingers wrap around the paperboard cup with its protective sleeve, lifting it to his lips for a taste of the strong liquid. It’s black, just as he prefers, and even though it’s his third cup of the morning, the caffeine is still just as welcome. Setting it back on the ledge, the Warden places the remainder of the box of cigarettes next to it. He takes a long drag of his cigarette, the taste of the tobacco mixing with the taste of the coffee, and he lets the smoke out slowly. Midnight eyes shift to find summer yellow and the smile that seems permanently turned in his direction, and Sashi shakes his head as ash is flicked to the pavement at their feet. [I told you already that I don’t have friends. That hasn’t changed.] His tone is soft, but distant, another round of smoke taken in and released into the morning air.

After a moment the Dark takes his coffee and steps away from the building, leaving the partially empty box of cigarettes, one last glance spared at the lanky, taller man. [Thank you for the exchange.] Trailing smoke, he moves in the direction of the building where his first class is held, tossing back one last bit of advice. [You’ll have better luck with the bistro girl…]

Lan: the lanky Bright simply watches as the other man walks away in silence, taking his leisurely time as he usually does to finish the last remains of the slowly dwindling stick held in his hand. He can’t help but chuckle to himself, a little more amused by Sashi’s ‘advice’ than he probably should be. For months now he’s spoken to the Dark and gotten little to nothing in return… barely a look in his direction, or acknowledgement of his presence even during report meetings that require the older man to speak to him, yet within the last couple of days, they’ve had not one, but perhaps two and a half nearly full conversations and despite the resistance, he’ll happily consider it some form of progress between them at the very least.

Reaching the end of the cigarette, the white haired man turns and snuffs the butt out in the small stoneware ashtray at his side before reaching over to scoop up the traded half empty box that had been left for him, and sliding it into his pockets along with his hands, he heads towards the building where his classroom is held –no more haste to his steps than normal while a quietly whistled cheery tune soon resonates about in his wake…

space03Jun: Tapered fingers return the textbooks in his hands to his desk drawer before sliding it shut, long snowy strands pushed absently back over his shoulders as he straightens to arrange an entirely new set of papers and only seconds taken to ensure than not one edge is out of place in the stack before he moves onto his other supplies, each pen and every item set exactly parallel to the next. The Angel stands alone in the empty shared space, the lights off and the room steadily darkening as the sun that shines in from outside through the spanning windows continues to wane in the overhead sky. While his crisp white shirt remains buttoned to the last high on his neck and his dark silk tie is still knotted neatly, his fitted suit jacket has been left open to reveal with every shift and fluid movement he makes, the slightest hinting of the trim frame that lies beneath.

Timed perfectly as always to exit before the Dark has returned himself, his end of day tasks are finished within moments and stepping away from his desk, he moves towards the partially closed door. The day has been long and as tedious as usual, and in helping one particular student he has who is behind her classmates in terms of work, he’s once again skipped his meal for the lunch time hour. He’s starved and he needs to get something to eat otherwise his stomach might actually protest its emptiness in loud and inopportune ways.

But once he passes the European languages desk, his footfalls come to a halt and with a quick glance given to the doorway and the slightest sniffs of the air taken to ensure there is no one anywhere near, he turns and slips his fingers out to touch lightly at the velvet soft petals of the arrangement that sits there. Early dawn hued eyes follow his own movements as he takes as much time as he dares to trace the outlines of the flowers, his expression softening while he admires them for the second time in the day as he moves from one shade of pink to the next. With only a second of thought lent to the action as he traces over a small delicate bud, he reaches in and removes it, careful not to disturb the rest as he pulls the dark pink flower free. Sliding it quickly up, he slips into it into his front inside breast pocket –careful not to crush it before buttoning his jacket fully up. Turning away and resuming his earlier steps to exit the office, he’s completely unaware that just outside of the room’s windows, standing still and silent as a statue and hidden by some of the high foliage with his scent blocked by the walls between them, a pair of deep blue eyes flecked with the thinnest strips of black had been looking in …


…to continue.



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