Angel Hunt and Streifen in AU
C H A P T E R O N E : P A R T 05
Lan: Stepping into his darkened apartment, the tall Bright relocks the deadbolt before slipping long fingers out to retrace his warding spell. One rune after another is re-traced, the soft glowing lines winding around one another until the carefully laid barriers that surround the interior of his home are strengthened and renewed. The moment he finishes a sudden noise breaks the silence and somewhere behind him, the faintest notes of a woman’s laughter begins resonating all about. With only the slightest of gasps escaping full lips, Lan’s movements still and from his fingers his keys slip, tumbling down to crash onto the hardwood floor below.
Didn’t I tell you that you’re wasting your time?
A voice he mercifully hasn’t heard in a long while echoes from behind and dropping his head down a little, he whispers in return “You’re wrong…”
Am I Key?
Behind him the darkness is interrupted, and even though he’s careful to keep his eyes cast downward, a light begins to form.
Am I really…?
He doesn’t reply and behind him the light continues to glow brighter, the flickering slowly taking an all too familiar form.
Do you really think he’s going to understand you? That he’s capable? None of them are capable Key, I’ve told you that many times before. None of them will ever be capable, not even him. There is no one who will understand you like I do…
Suddenly a fiery hand reaches out and touches his shoulder, the cloth of his coat scorching black beneath its touch and the voice that resonates out from behind him shifting low and soothing –whispering in the sort of tone a lover would have for their intended.
Let me out Key, let me out so we can be together… the way it was meant to be, the way it should have been when you called me all those years ago…
“No…” Lan whispers in return and lifting his head, he turns around ever so slowly to find that before him, she stands once again. Flickering like a moth fluttering around a flame the image of someone he knows to be long dead shimmers, her semi solid flame tinted eyes flat despite the gentleness of her voice and the enticing smile painted on the outlines of her lips twisted with just the slightest hinting of a maliciousness he knows to be stirring deep inside of her core.
I’ve missed you Key, she tries again, stepping in closer and reaching out to place her hand on his cheek, the skin beneath her fingers smolders. He doesn’t flinch or make a sound despite the pain, his expression imitating his masking spell and remaining outwardly calm. Let me out and I’ll make sure you’re never lonely again… Please… Key… just let me out…
“No” he states flatly once more, “I’m sorry Hail, but my answer is still no…”
The fiery figure’s expression twists at his final words and ripping her hand suddenly away from his face, the ends of pure white locks and skin alike singe completely black. The flames that make up the entirety of her form flare uncontrollably bright and in one flash, the form explodes outward, the fire streaking to encircle his lanky frame. Yellow eyes mist to white in an instant as the heat surrounds him, his clothing alighting in its wake. All around where he stands the placed wards flicker to protect his surroundings from the encompassing flames and forced onto his knees, he doubles over, his arms thrown hard against the protected wooden tiles. Within seconds the intensity grows stronger and in a moment of desperation he holds a hand up against his attacker while he begins willing with every fiber of his being to contain the fire once again.
For the space of only a few heartbeats he battles internally to suppress it, the war costing him his masking spells as heavily scarred flesh is soon revealed. It’s only after nearly every particle of cloth covering him has been eaten by the inferno does he manage to lock it down again and nearly as soon as it started, the fire is put out abruptly, one spiraling progression ripping the streams back in. As the light dies, the air stills and all that’s left is the tall Bright panting, his clothing completely burned away and the ends of snowy white strands smoldered black. Exhausted and slightly spent, white eyes slowly open to stare downward and he remains in place until the yellow has completely returned, internally cursing himself without mercy for allowing even that much of it free. With careful movements that cause newly exposed nerves to scream, he pushes his lean frame upward and sitting back on his knees he allows his head to fall backward, staring up at the ceiling above.
You will let me out Key… her voice manages after a few long and silent moments, echoing hauntingly throughout his now still surroundings as thin streams of smoke continue to drift away from his lanky frame while the telltale smells of burnt flesh permeate the very air.
Nothing will keep us from being together… we’re destined to once again become whole…
The white haired man is in the observatory alone, tending to his end of day tasks as he always does. His movements are careful and slightly guarded in order to ease an old sort of pain that has recently been renewed. Beneath his masking spells the areas of his skin that had been burned the night previous have already been treated, something he’s become almost a master of handling by himself over the years. Raw flesh has been painstakingly scrubbed free and more than a few special ointments he’s spent years perfecting has been applied to every inch. The ointments are handmade, special concoctions meant for his rare relapses that promote swifter healing and while the chemicals and herbs he’s combined have a numbing compound that would send any healthy human into a coma in seconds with just under an ounce applied, it barely takes the edge off his current pain. He’s also trimmed his hair, cutting every trace of the blackened edges from his head and while the cut is rather sloppy and uneven, it’s no different than normal beyond a slight shortness of length.
Aside from his subtle slowed movements that only the most skilled would be able to see as outside a norm for him and a shorter length to his shag, he’s continued with his business as if nothing has happened, though notably lacking the presence of a certain one. From the first hours of the morning where he was not joined as usual by the Warden for their daily silent smoke, he’s found that he’s been avoided at every turn. Sashi has made it a point to be where he’s not, and not to be where he is, and what to his slight dismay has become what he’s suspected as deliberate avoidances has afforded him no more coincidental happenings throughout the day.
It saddens him a little… or rather, it’s struck him deeper than he’d care to admit. Now not only has he been chastising himself for his slip at every moment, he’s begun wondering if perhaps he spoke too liberally to the Warden before it. It’s made him doubt himself in a way he hasn’t for a very long time and he can’t help wondering that by attempting to show the other man that he isn’t alone when it comes to certain things, he’s perhaps said too much. He thought that the telepath deserved honesty, or at least, as much honesty as he’s able to currently give, but if he’s learned one thing over the years it’s that too much honesty can backfire, and sadly, he’s beginning to suspect that in this case that truth is doubly so.
Wrapped up in his tasks and his thoughts, the tall Selestarri doesn’t appear to notice when the glass and metal framed door of the observatory slips open far behind him, nor does he show mention as quiet footfalls draw nearer to where he stands. It’s only when the blonde figure stops nearby does he finally acknowledge the other presence before lifting his summer tinged eyes up.
“I never did thank you…” Lan smiles when he finds a steady dark blue gaze leveled on him and straightening, he sets his shears down on the work table at his side before he starts wrapping them carefully. “For inviting me to your after party last week. It was appreciated and while I didn’t thank you, I’ve meant to this entire time…”
Zephyr: He watches the other man work for a moment, midnight eyes finding yellow and a smile shifting over pale features when Lan thanks him. Platinum blonde hair shifts as he nods, his stance easy and relaxed in the quiet sunshine of the conservatory. “Your presence was welcomed and enjoyed,” he reassures the Bright. “It may not have been so with some of the other watchers from your faction. Those a little more… conservative in their ideas and views.” By which he means the stick most Bright seem to keep perpetually up their asses when it comes to their honor and codes of ethics. He’d seen plenty of it in those who had arrived before Lan, and it had assured that distance would be maintained at all times until they returned to the Eyrie. The white-haired man before him is different, though, more relaxed and flexible, which is why he invited him that night and why he stands here now.
Completing his task and wiping his hands on a towel, the Bright turns, leaning casually against the workbench with an easy smile to match Zeph’s own. “You had dinner with my brother last night,” the Dark opens the real conversation with a statement and not a question, and after a moment Lan nods. “I saw him afterwards and he told me about your non-coincidental meetings, about your reasons for remaining here, and about your intentions with him. I’d say he was unsettled, but that would be an understatement.”
The Bright’s hands tighten just slightly where they wrap around the lip of the work table, as if he’s bracing himself for something, but Zeph ignores it and continues in the same conversational tone. “I checked into you through some very reliable sources because I needed to know if you were either an exceptionally skilled liar or if what you told my brother was actually the truth.” Rather, it had been Innic who’d done the checking, using his connections to keep the inquires quiet and neutralize any possibility of his own name or Sashi’s getting linked. If the Bright discovered they were looking into their watcher, they may yank Lan back to the Eyrie immediately. “I’m glad that my instincts were right, and you’re not an exceptionally skilled liar.”
Walking a few steps to the right, Zeph sinks down onto a bench, long legs stretched out in front, and midnight eyes once again find their yellow counterparts. “I’ve read all the briefings on Sashi, both your faction’s and my own, so I’m well aware of what they say about him.” All the lies fabricated by both sides out of fear that name his brother as a cold, distant monster who can’t be trusted and is unstable. He’s read all the hateful words, all the malicious reports, and all the skewed and sometimes completely falsified “facts” collected from a number of Dark and the handful of Bright who had served as watchers before Lan. “What I’m interested in, however, is your opinion of him. You’ve had lunch, a dinner, coffee, drinks, and dozens of cigarettes at his side, so tell me, if you will, what you’ve observed about my brother…”
Lan: Well… he wasn’t exactly expecting to be asked what he’s been asked, especially not by the Warden’s own brother and for a moment he remains quiet as he weighs his possible answers out, the entirety of his weight supported by the bench behind him and his hands wrapped a little tighter around the ledge then they should be due to an underlying overall pain that currently wracks his lanky frame.
Is the younger man really interested in his honest opinion or is this a prelude to something more sinister? If he were to believe the reports and the propaganda, he’d have to believe the blonde is rash, short tempered and quick to anger, and that he’d find an excuse no matter what is said to fight him or ‘take him down.’ According to the Bright, the Dark are all this and more, they lack humanity, morals and have absolutely no sense whatsoever of any type of bond to another and can feel nothing beyond the need to please themselves.
In short, and according to his teachings, they have no soul.
But he knows this to be untrue, even before he took the assignment. He studied up on who he’d be playing a watcher to, read the reports where they basically painted both Sashi and his brother as these cold hearted monsters who were dangers not only to themselves but to all those around them, and with every new page read, his belief that it was little more than fear addled lies grew. From the first moments he stood in Sashi’s presence, he saw not an unfeeling, cold hearted monster, but someone who has been misunderstood much in the way he has, someone who has been isolated for perceived faults that as far as he’s concerned, were not his own. And here, standing before him is someone who obviously loves his brother in a way most of their kind isn’t capable of when it comes to familial ties. Someone who would probably do anything to protect him even if it meant laying down his own life…
It’s something he’s admired about the pair since day one. They may be Dark, but he’s seen more truth and honesty in their actions and interactions during his time as watcher than he’s ever seen in his lifetime when it comes to his own side. And while it may be possible he’s misjudged them, just as he’s begun doubting himself as far as Sashi is concerned, at the core he doesn’t truly think he has and it’s that reason and that one alone that he finally speaks, giving Zephyr the honest answer he’s asked for.
“My opinion of Sashi…” Lan begins quietly, “Or rather what I’ve observed… is that he is not at all what our reports have painted him to be.” His briefings were short and straightforward, rushed to a point because they seemed more concerned to be rid of him than to actually spend the time needed to have him fully informed of what he was getting into, but they were all the same. Abomination, monster, gross genetic mistake, should not be allowed to live, carelessness on the Dark’s part for allowing a prolonged life, the list went on and on. He had a suspicion that the reports were over exaggerated though, his faction is notorious for it and unlike the others who came before him who believe what they are told without thought or question, he was able to take it all with more than a couple grains of salt. “I see someone who’s had terrible injustices done to him and has suffered greatly for it. I see someone who has closed himself off because he has been made to believe he is alone… I see someone who thinks he is lost, but I believe not to be. I see someone who, despite the hatred directed at him by our people is surrounded by a few that truly love him dearly, even if he is unable to fully comprehend that they could and that they are there…” Lan smiles softly at the other Selestarri in a way that seems to warm the entire room, his voice pitching just a little low. “I could go on… if you’d like. These are after all, only a few things I’ve observed as your current watcher…”
Zephyr: With each word spoken by the Bright, something deep inside the blonde grows warmer and warmer. Finally, someone else who understands his brother, at least in the observations given so far. Someone who sees through the lies and bullshit put forth by his faction and the walls and cold indifference the telepath places around himself. Someone who, as confirmed by the reports on the background checks, is familiar with isolation, even if those ways were kinder than those Sashi has dealt with. Someone who wants to gift the Warden with friendship, and as far as he can determine, the offer is true, when all others had carried hidden intentions and ulterior motives.
Zeph’s smile matches the Bright’s in warmth and he rakes long fingers through his bangs to sweep them from midnight eyes before leaning back on the bench he sits on. “I think I’ve heard enough to confirm what I suspected,” midnight eyes meet summer yellow, “and I love when my instincts are right.”
A pair of green eyes appear from amidst the nearest bed of plants, the slender calico winding her way through the plants before slipping daintily over the ledge. She pauses to momentarily rub her cheek against Lan’s leg before making her way toward the Dark and leaping into his lap, settling in as if she belongs. A moment later the conservatory’s two other cats appear, a tiger and the shy, rarely seen tuxedo cat, both pausing to greet the Bright before moving on to the blonde and curling up on either side, nudging him for pats and filling the air with their happy purrs. At Lan’s questioning look, Zeph shrugs, “It’s always like this with me and cats, they have a thing for me.” He runs his fingers gently down the tiger cat’s back. “Sashi has the same way with dogs, just to warn you.”
Turning the conversation back to the reason he tracked Lan down in the first place, Zeph glances back up at the older Selestarri. “All that you’ve said about my brother is right. He’s been mistreated and abused by our faction since he was small and the damage he’s suffered from it is extensive. Except for me, he is alone and has always been alone…” and where one might think that what Sashi has endured at the hands of their people would leave him wanting nothing to do with them, in fact the opposite has occurred. His brother is extremely lonely, although the older Dark would never admit it. “I’ve tried so hard,” the blonde’s voice drops a bit, “but what he needs I can’t give to him.” The pain and shame of that failure runs deep, so deep that only Innic knows of it even if his best friend can’t quite understand. Sashi is his brother, he should be able to help him and protect him, especially given what their faction has done, but in this, no matter what he’s attempted in the past, he hasn’t been able to ease this type of hurt for the telepath.
“Sashi needs a friend,” he confides in the Bright, absently running his hand down the back of the tuxedo cat. “He’s never had one, not a true friend who likes and appreciates him for who he is. All of who he is.” One who understands that the Warden doesn’t like to talk all that much, who knows the best way to be there for him is to simply sit at his side, who isn’t intimidated by the strength of Sashi’s magic and telepathy, who can handle the walls, the cold indifference, and the shutdowns and yet understand that the person underneath it all is so sensitive and so hurting, but unable to properly show it. “He’ll tell you that he doesn’t have friends, that he doesn’t need them, that they’re attachments and he doesn’t need attachments, but those are all just defenses he uses because he’s been hurt so many times.” Whenever Zeph has pressed him, Sashi claims that he knows how friendships work after spending so much time with him and Innic all these years. That he can’t laugh and smile and joke like they do, that he can’t be open, and therefore he can’t be a friend. He’s tried to explain that it’s not how it has to be, that all friendships are different, but the telepath won’t believe it because it’s easier for him not to.
“He’ll tell you all those things,” Zeph’s smile turns sad when midnight eyes lift from the cat on his lap to the yellow counterparts of the man standing in front of him. “Sashi’s convinced himself that they’re true, but he’s desperately lonely, Lan, and that is what I can’t help him with.” He probably shouldn’t be telling the Bright these personal details, and the Warden would be furious if he ever found out, but Zephyr’s desperate himself, desperate to help the older Dark and he’ll risk anything, even Sashi’s anger, to ease even the smallest fraction of the pain that the telepath carries. Even if he has to cross the faction lines to do it. “Did you reach out to my brother because you carry the same type of loneliness?”
Lan: He’s suspected everything Zephyr has told him about the Dark already, long before Sashi began speaking back to him, but he appreciates the fact that the blonde finds him trustworthy enough with the information to say it to him. Trust between their factions isn’t commonplace, in fact he wouldn’t have been surprised if the younger Selestarri had never sought him out for this impromptu meeting considering what he’s been told of the watchers who came before him and how they’ve treated both brothers -Sashi himself especially. Why should either of them trust one another when the norm between the two factions has, and unfortunately probably always will be, that of mistrust? One cannot see what truly lies beneath a perceived surface when one’s eyes are willingly kept shut and when it comes to both the Bright and the Dark on a whole, this is a fact that will always be. Open minds are not an attribute the Selestarri can claim as their own and so the divides, he feels, will always remain as they are.
Except when it comes to a rare few…
Yet only moments prior to this talk, he’d been doubting his view on it. So much so that his doubts had manifested themselves in a way that had harmed him the night before, with consequences that have lingered well throughout the following day. He’s happy though to have those doubts dispelled even a little, and to know that his first instincts as far as Sashi has been concerned had been correct. It gives him hope again and it’s a hope he needs to continue on.
“It is… one of the reasons, I suppose.” Lan smiles softly, finally giving his quiet reply, “If I’m to be perfectly honest, it’s one reason of many…” Zephyr has gifted him with knowledge that to any other Selestarri than he, might be a dangerous thing to hand over as far as the Warden is concerned, and because he’s done it, the white haired man gifts his own confession back. He is lonely, he’s been terribly lonely for a very long time. Since the incident, he’s been isolated and alone, treated as less than any other and kept from the rest. He’s always felt that he deserved it though, that he brought it all upon himself. What he did to earn it cost not only himself dearly, but an innocent whose only crime had been was to be his friend. He’s deserved the loneliness he’s felt and that which he’s been given, he’s deserved every agonizing, soul crushing moment that he’s had.
But Sashi… he knew from the moment he met him that the older man didn’t deserve the lot he’d been given and he’s felt a pull to him that he’s never fully been able to explain. After all this time, he found another who understood the loneliness he’s felt, that may in fact be almost a kindred spirit in an odd sort of way. Unlike himself, he feels Sashi doesn’t deserve the isolation he was forced into and it’s that belief that made him reach out to begin with. He wants to show the other man that he doesn’t have to remain alone, and that friendship is possible and that there is another out there who truly understands the damage and scars a deep isolation can cause.
“He may not be willing to accept me…and he may remain stubborn about it,” the tall Bright continues, his tone serious despite the easy smile that continues to paint his lips. “But I’m stubborn as well… in my own sort of way.”
Zephyr: The blonde grins at the older Selestarri, washed with a mix of happiness and relief. He’d been right about Lan, and if he’s understanding what the other man is saying, then he may have finally found someone who can relate to even the smallest fragment of Sashi’s pain. Even if it’s just that, just the loneliness that they can connect with, it’s still something, and that’s more than he’s been able to hope for in a very long time. He doesn’t really give a shit about the faction lines, and actually, it makes sense that a potential friend for his brother isn’t Dark. There’s too much bad history there, too much pain and blood for Sashi to let go if he’s going to let someone else in. The fact that Lan is not of their faction and is slightly removed from his own can only be points in the white-haired man’s favor.
“Good, because you’ll need to be,” Zeph cautions the Bright, one finger slipping beneath the tiger cat’s chin to scratch as yellow-green eyes slip closed. “Because Sashi will fight you the whole way.” He wishes his brother wouldn’t fight it, that he could just accept Lan straight out, but he knows the telepath much too well to expect anything of the sort. “It’s in his heart that he doesn’t deserve to have a friend, and you’ll have to find a way to change that.” Midnight eyes lift from the surrounding cats to meet Lan’s unnatural yellow, his tone turning serious. “He’s going to push you away. He’s going to walk out of conversations. He’s going to refuse to acknowledge your presence at times. He’s going to be difficult not because he wants to be, but because he thinks he’s keeping you both from being hurt.” When his brother is set against something, it takes time and patience to change his view. Getting through the walls and defenses, enduring the cold spells and shutdowns, it takes a special kind of stubborn. “You’re going to have to show him that it’s worth taking the chance of getting hurt to have a friend, and I’m not going to lie and tell you it’ll be easy.”
The blonde gives each cat a last pat on the head before gently moving the small calico from his lap to the bench and rising to his feet. “If he’s really giving you a hard time, come and see me.” Raking unruly bangs from his eyes once again, Zephyr turns toward the path leading out of the conservatory. “In the meantime, I sincerely wish you good luck, Lan, for my brother’s sake,” the younger Selestarri’s smile widens just a bit, “and I think, for your own as well…”
The very last bit of the sun is just sinking down behind the hills that surround the northern and western sides of the city, closing out the day in a spectacular array of gold, purple, and deep red. Sneakered feet move soundlessly through the grass of the park nearest the school’s campus, carefully changing course at times to step around the autumn-tinted leaves that have just begun to fall. The tall Selestarri has traded in his suit and tie for slim fitting pants, a tee, and a loose, wide-necked sweater. Long bangs are kept away from his face with a series of black bobbypins scattered haphazardly through strands of platinum blonde and black. In one hand he carries a set of nested lacquered boxes held with a strap and with each step toward a line of trees on the other side of the field, the smile on his face grows wider.
Midnight eyes pick out a hint of white amidst the scarlet and gold crested branches of one tree, and taking care to remain downwind, Zeph manages to draw close enough to see Jun’s slender frame braced high off the ground. The Angel is focused on the sunset, and the Dark takes advantage of the moment to study him as he comes to a silent stop and leans against the tree’s thick trunk. [It’s beautiful, isn’t it?] He finally says, making sure his gaze has shifted from the one above and out toward the skies…
Jun: perched high up on the branches of one of the park’s tallest trees, the Angel sits alone, his early dawn hued gaze watching the sun as it begins setting across the horizon while the gentle evening wind blows loose pure white hair softly around his frame. Stark against the surrounding autumn greenery, he’s dressed as usual in various shades of white, form fitting white leather pants wrapping toned legs, a long off-white heavy wool trench buttoned up to his neck and a thickly knitted white patterned scarf is wound tightly around his neck. Beneath the jacket however a light pink loose sweater is hidden with a sleeveless high necked darker pink tank that matches the subtly shown hints of color woven throughout calf length white leather boots.
He’s spent nearly every evening since his handler’s latest visit in this exact spot, finding a peaceful calm in the beauty and a much needed Zen in the solitude that he won’t be able to enjoy once the Higher returns again. It’s risky for him because even the simple act of enjoying a sunset could easily give him away to those who could be watching, but he hasn’t been able to help it for some reason and despite knowing better, he’s been pushing his luck with it by returning day after day… after day.
For hours Jun remains where he is, still and statuesque with the only movement being his clothing and hair as they are tugged here and there by the gentle wind. So wrapped up in the sunset and with his scent carried downwind and away from his keen nose, he fails to notice the blonde even when he stops at the base of the tree far below. When casual words reach him, internally he starts and for a single second, he’s so surprised by the other man’s presence that he feels as if his heart is about to jump right into his throat. With an internal curse issued for being caught so very off guard, he says nothing at first as he works to gather himself just a little and many long moments pass before he finally takes his eyes off the sunset and slips his gaze downward, only to find that the Selestarri isn’t looking at him at all.
[What… do you want?] Jun replies in a rather curt, albeit quiet tone and slowly, midnight eyes pull from the scenery, sliding up to meet his and with a confident smile, the Dark lifts the stacked boxes in his hands up before commenting about the possibility of a shared meal.
For a moment Jun doesn’t know what to make of the offer or the other man, finding himself wondering if he’s somehow encouraged the Selestarri’s renewed attempts at being social by making the mistake of speaking to him that day the week before. But even if he had, he notes, he needs to put a stop to it now because while this is all probably nothing more than some casual curiosity for the blonde could end up costing him dearly if he doesn’t…
[I told you already that I don’t have the luxury of company… I was stating a simple fact and it’s not going to change,] Jun says flatly, pulling his eyes away from Zephyr and sliding them back to the sunset that stretches out before him [Share your meal with one of your own kind, I can find my own food, thanks.]
Zephyr: A smile lights the tall Selestarri’s face in spite of the flat words tossed down from the branches. He hadn’t really expected Jun to accept his offer and he’s fairly content just to stand here in the Angel’s presence for a while longer. It’s a tactic he’s borrowed a bit from Lan and the quiet patience he uses with Sashi. It softened the barriers between them enough that the older Dark has actually exchanged words with the Bright that weren’t required for a report, and that kind of accomplishment warrants notice. Of course Jun has already talked to him, not really in any kind of full conversation whatsoever, but it’s more than the turned back and cold stare he’s been getting since his arrival. Small steps.
Setting the stacked lacquered boxes on the grass at his feet, Zeph sinks down beside them and carefully pulls the strap free. Settling back on his heels, small white runes appear in the air as he quickly sketches, forming into a flat disk of swirling air. Removing the top two boxes, he checks to ensure that a set of utensils and a folded cloth napkin are securely tucked within before setting them on the weave of runes, the magic keeping them afloat. Sketching one more symbol, the containers slowly lift, quickly disappearing into the branches to hover at Jun’s side. The Angel may claim not to “have the luxury of company,” whatever that means, but this is a public park and if two people just happen to enjoy a meal at the same time in the same area, then that shouldn’t be an issue, right? Midnight eyes raise to meet cold pink and he flashes a smile at the other man. [It doesn’t have to be eaten together, if that’s what you want.]
Dropping his gaze, the Dark shifts so that his back rests against the trunk, long legs stretching out in front and he slides the nearest of the remaining boxes into his lap. The meal before him is the same as the one hovering above, a mix of small portions of various human food including dumplings, rice, vegetables, fish, and beef. He’d also included a couple of Selestarri desserts made with delicate fruit that only grows on the floating islands. Innic makes a weekly trip to Nova and brings it back along with several other items not found on Earth for Zeph to cook with, and for his trouble, the blonde makes sure his best friend always has fresh meals whenever he wants them.
Unsure of what Jun likes to eat, he’d made a little of everything and then laid it out in the bento style, nestling similar flavors together and separating the small desserts with a pink divider. Without lifting his eyes to see whether or not Jun has accepted his offer, Zephyr starts in on his own meal, looking out at the sunset once again. [You said that you eat out all the time because you don’t cook, so I thought you might enjoy something homemade for once…]
Jun: pulling early dawn hued eyes away from the one seated far below, the white haired man slides his gaze to the stacked set of lacquered boxes and without making any movement towards them, he stares at the covered compartments without movement for a very long time.
The food inside of the boxes smell… amazing and he’s quickly reminded by it that he’s actually very hungry and would like very much to eat. He’d skipped lunch again while helping his problem student and he was so wrapped up in the sunset that it was going to be late before he managed to get some food so he’s finding the idea of the meal offered to him a little more tempting than it should be. After all, he’s up in the tree alone and the blonde is below him, they aren’t eating together and to anyone who’d happen by, their general proximity could easily be considered an innocent coincidence. What would be the harm in accepting something that’s been offered, especially when that something has been made by hand, something homemade… in part, for him?
But… but there’s plenty of harm in accepting it and he knows it. His own people and their all encompassing eyes aside, accepting this would only encourage the blonde more wouldn’t it? He’s already said too much to him over the last week, talked to him too many times and even though their conversations have in part been secret –protected by an ability so few of his kind possess, they are still dangerous and continue to grow more dangerous with every new thing said. Taking this meal is a risk and it’s that risk that keeps his hands from reaching out like he wants to, it’s that risk that forces pink eyes away.
[Why are you doing this?] Jun asks softly, his gaze settling on the deep purple and orange hues of the sun as it continues to wane on the horizon and his hands clenching onto the fabric of his coat so that he’ll keep them in place. [Why do you keep coming at me when I’ve made my position pretty clear? What do you think you’re going to get out of…] pulling his eyes briefly away from the scenery, he glances over at the unopened set of boxes and narrowing his gaze at them, his tone drops just a little. [doing all this…]
Zephyr: [What am I going to get?] He’s a little surprised by the phrasing of the question. Honestly he wasn’t trying to “get” anything other than answers to his curiosities about the glimpses he sees behind the Angel’s cold facade. It’s not like he wants to hurt him or use him in some way as the question seems to imply. If he wanted something like that, he would have made it very clear from the very beginning. Plus he’s got plenty of that shit happening outside this campus, so he doesn’t need to bring it in here, too.
[Do I have to “get” something from you?] He hasn’t extensively studied Angelic society, so he has little idea of how it works other than they seem somewhat similar to the Bright, just meaner and probably crueler. Since he likes Jun, Zeph will keep out of his head, but maybe the next time he sees an Angel, he’ll take a little stroll to gain some insight. Not that the idea of socializing with someone as a means to get something from that person is foreign to him, not by a longshot, being a native of Nova, but he’s not sure if it’s the same as it is for the Angels.
Zephyr takes a bit of cooked beef and scoops it onto his chopsticks with some rice, enjoying the tastes of the rich meat against the seasoned grains before continuing. [I’ve heard what you said about your issues with company, and while I don’t completely understand, I do have a brother who doesn’t care for company either.] Still sitting with his back against the tree and watching the dregs of the sunset, the Dark grins. [It took a lot of time, but he’s realized I’m not going away. After all, we share the same stubborn nature.]
Switching courses, he dips the utensils into a salad of radishes and cucumbers dressed in a light sauce, the vegetables crunching as he chews. [So no, Jun, I’m not looking for something from you.] He knows his reassurances probably don’t mean much to the Angel, but he’s trying anyway. [Tonight I simply wanted to bring you a little homemade food since you said you eat out so often. I believe that homemade food is good for us because it’s made with care.] The blonde laughs quietly. [That sounds horribly cheesy, but it’s true. Sometimes we all need to be cared for just a little, right?]