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    version 22: awakening

    COTY

    GHAUL -- Year 209

    QOTY

    "(souls are not meant to live more than once — death was not meant to be temporary, and she is so sure that every time her heart starts to beat again that irreversible damage is further inflicted)" -- Anonya, written by Colby


    held on tightly, anyone
    #11

    She likes it when he smiles.
    Because it looks like a secret. Something just between them. And she thinks maybe she should start smiling like a secret, too. Because she smiles loud, for everyone to see, and wouldn’t it be better if he felt like her smiles were just for him, too?

    She tries it, mirroring that shadow of a smile the best she can. Fails miserably at it, because it doesn’t fit her face the same way it fits his. Because she is not as quiet and, she suspects, not as kind. So the most she can hope for is that he might like that her happiness is loud, bigger than anything she can fit in her tiny body.

    Her eyes light up when he mentions his father. And she smiles real loud as they walk, nodding so enthusiastically that she almost knocks herself off-balance. “I got mine from my father, too,” she says, breathless with wonder. Because it feels like fate almost, feels like they were thrust together on purpose. The two of them there for the very first time, with their matching magic that they’d gotten from their fathers. She wonders, quite briefly, if their fathers are the same. But she is dark. Dark, dark. And he is so very light that it feels impossible.

    I look like my father,” she tells him, all too happy to say it, “my mom is black, too, but she doesn’t have any white. But she gave me magic, too. The kind of magic that makes my legs not hurt when we walk too far.” She is rambling, a horribly unattractive quality, but she is too young to know that yet.

    She grins, flush with heat, when he echoes her sentiment. And she turns her head to study him a long moment as they walk, grateful, before she finally fixes her focus to the landscape unfurling around them again. “Do you have any other magic?” 

    heaven's gate had such
    eloquent graffiti
    basilica
    Reply
    #12

    Aureus has never really considered himself magical. At least, not in the way that his fathers are—or in the way that his sister is. He glows, but that feels natural. Like the stars at night or the way that the sun looks when it’s coming across the horizon. It doesn’t feel supernatural to carry that light in his chest and to be surrounded by the milky glow, even if he thinks that she looks ethereal with the very same glow.

    He smiles as they walk along, listening to her explain her parents. “That’s so useful!” he enthuses, thinking about what it must be like to keep yourself from such aches and pains. That he has a sliver of that magic within him too, that he could shield himself, does not occur to him. He has had no reason to find it.

    “My dads both kind of look like me,” he thinks. “One of them is the whitest white you’ve ever seen. He’s the one who glows, and he has these really big antlers. My other dad is white too, but also blue, and kind of an almost-white color. He has wings.” His voice grows warm as he talks about his parents—thinking about how beautiful they are, how kind. He desperately hopes he becomes anything like them.

    At her question though, he comes back to himself.

    “I don’t think so,” his voice is almost apologetic before he remembers and brightens. “Well, I mean, I don’t, but I have a friend who I think is magical.” There’s something like a secret that pulls at the edge of his serious mouth and makes just an edge of mischievousness lighten his amethyst eyes.

    “You can’t meet her though—not yet at least. She only comes out at night.”

    AUREUS
    — we need the dark to know the light —
    Reply
    #13

    She decides she likes the way he talks when he talks about his parents.
    Like there’s too much air in his chest, like he’s real proud of them.
    And she knows exactly what that’s like, what it’s like to love your parents so much that it makes you dizzy. She’s grateful that she knows what it’s like and grateful that he does, too.

    The sun is hitching higher in the sky, edging up over the trees, hits her full tilt just as her expression dissolves around the soft edges of her delight again. “My dad has wings, too!

    She grins, all that loud, loud happiness, as she listens. Tilts her fine head as she slides her focus back to his face as something occurs to her. “You have two dads?” she asks without a trace of judgment. Too young to know how unusual it is, really. Knows nothing of the magic involved in his conception. Just knows that she only has one father, just knows that his parents are different from hers. “That’s really cool,” she adds, almost in haste, lest he think she finds it strange or wrong.

    There is precious little about him that would not pique her interest, this much is abundantly clear when she turns her head to look at him closer, her dark brow furrowed in concentration. But it doesn’t take much at all to make her smile with the way his own mouth quivers with mischief. Her gaze flits easy between the corner of his mouth and his eye as he speaks and she cannot help but grin, too.

    That’s okay,” she says, decisive, “maybe someday I’ll meet her. What’s her name?


    heaven's gate had such
    eloquent graffiti
    basilica
    Reply
    #14
    Aureus

    oh, these wings, they flicker and my feathers stir
    'til I'm an ancient soul in a cascade world

    For all of his shyness and the way that he pulls back from showing too much of himself, he has no such reserves when it comes to talking about his parents—his family. The only thing that he has is the burning coal of his love in his chest and the way that he knows they are the very center of him. They are the gravity of his life and so he has no embarrassment, no shame, with the way he glows with his love.

    “I wish I had wings,” he sighs, glancing up as they walk. There’s no such jealousy to stain his words. Nothing but an appreciation for Pteron’s ability. “It must be so freeing to just take to the skies.”

    His lips pull into a more genuine smile that he lets grow when his head is tilted back—something about not looking her directly in the eye making it easier for him to show his true emotion. It’s like a secret and it disappears when he brings his coltish head back down. “Yeah,” he never really thought that it was anything different to have two fathers. “I think it is,” he grins. “My sister and I are pretty lucky.”

    His attention goes back to the idea of Astrum and his chest aches the way that it always does during the day when she’s gone. It’s like a part of him is severed and he feels it like phantom pain.

    “Her name is Astrum,” he grins. “You’ll meet her.” There’s no question in his voice or room for potential disagreement. There was no way that she wouldn’t meet Astrum. Whether Astrum would like her is an entirely different story he knew, but she was going to have to get used to the idea of sharing soon enough.

    and I'm quick with the bullet when it comes undone
    I got a head like a turret with a mouth for a gun

    Reply
    #15

    The only time she had ever wished for wings were those days when her mother had walked her clear across the earth and the knees and hips and shoulders had ached so fiercely that it had made her cry. Big, ugly tears. Tears that had made her mean. But she looks up at the sky now, too, really studies it like she’s looking at it through his eyes instead of her own. And she feels a distant pang in her chest when she thinks that maybe she’d like to know that kind of freedom, too.

    She drops her head before he does and capitalizes on the opportunity to study his upturned face. And finds herself grateful to have found a friend, to have found him in particular. Because their magic is the same and there is no room in her chest for anything but relief when she looks at him.

    Yeah,” she agrees, her own smile mirroring his as he finally drops his head, “you could go wherever you wanted.” It sounds lame, even to her, and heat pools in her cheeks as she reorients her focus with the earth unfurling before them.

    What’s your sister like?” she asks, head tilted as she studies the rocks underfoot. She doesn’t have siblings herself. None that she knows of anyway. She’s wondered, more than once, what it would be like to have someone with whom to share secrets.

    She perks up at the mention of his friend, Astrum, and her grin deepens when he insists that she’ll get to meet her. “Is she nice like you?

    heaven's gate had such
    eloquent graffiti
    basilica
    Reply
    #16
    Aureus

    oh, these wings, they flicker and my feathers stir
    'til I'm an ancient soul in a cascade world

    “You could,” he agrees, although the getting somewhere doesn’t matter as much to him as the idea of just going. The feeling of wind beneath your limbs. Of the skies lifting you aloft and keeping you there. He doesn’t know if there is anywhere in particular that he would want to go except the skies themselves.

    Still, he keeps such childish notions to himself, tucking them away where they cannot embarrass him.

    Bringing his gaze back to her, he thinks about his sister and that genuine smile creeps back onto his face. It warms his features in a way that he cannot completely obscure with the gravity of his seriousness. The longer that he is with her, the more it eats away at him until he feels more and more vulnerable.

    “She is everything that I am not,” he says, in a way that makes it clear that is a good thing. “She is fun and loud and adventurous.” Even this, though, is not stained with jealous—in much the same way that he had not been jealous talking about his father. He loved them so much, the idea of jealousy is foreign.

    “You would like her, I think.”

    Everyone does, he knows.

    When his thoughts return to Astrum, he feels a pang in his chest. “I don’t know,” he answers, honestly. She is kind to him, he thinks, although the word is not quite right. She is a piece of him. A part of his soul severed and hung from the night sky. Could your own blood be kind to you? Could it be nice?

    “She doesn't always like strangers,” this much is true, at least. He knows how she often grows irritated when he ruins their time together at night with the presence of someone else. How possessive she can be.

    He thinks to maybe soften it. To tell her that she will be different, but he is not so sure.

    So he grows quiet and solemn instead.

    and I'm quick with the bullet when it comes undone
    I got a head like a turret with a mouth for a gun

    Reply
    #17
    She doesn’t know where they’re headed, but she likes the way the earth rolls away from them. Expanding as they travel. And she tries to imagine what it would be like if they were flying, how the landscape might look from above. It gives her a little thrill just to think it and she smiles a secret little thing, grateful for the earth and his company and the way the heart beats just a little more earnest.

    But she can’t stay lost in her thoughts too long, not with the way he’s smiling. She wonders what it’s like to have a sibling, someone whose parts perfectly complemented hers. Someone tough and smart. Someone who would have no choice but to be her friend.

    That must be so nice,” she says and grins. “Your family sounds wonderful.” She says it earnest, bright-eyed, no trace of bitterness in her tone. Even though her own father had looked at her, called her beautiful, and then told her mother that they shouldn’t have come. She thinks of him often, wonders about him, convinced that he must be more than the raw, bleeding wound.

    She does not dwell on him long now. She can’t lest it get her insides all blue again. She doesn’t recognize sadness, doesn’t know how to call it what it is.

    That’s okay,” she murmurs, watching the circle of trees fall away, oblivious to the fairies that watch them disappear across the edge. “Strangers can be scary sometimes, so I don’t blame her.

    heaven's gate had such
    eloquent graffiti
    basilica
    Reply
    #18
    Aureus

    oh, these wings, they flicker and my feathers stir
    'til I'm an ancient soul in a cascade world

    He wonders at what lives beneath the surface of her. Does she have the same insecurities that he does? Does she wake in the middle of the night and find that the edges of her heart are too close? Does she find herself alone in the middle of conversation? Does she watch others and try to study them—try to figure out what makes them so at ease in situations? Or is she like his sister, so joyful on the surface, so sure.

    He has no real way of knowing, but it makes him better to think of her as the same.

    So he does.

    He forms the thought and swallows it down deep into his belly.

    “They are pretty great,” he affirms as they continue to walk. He feels a low flush of heat across his cheeks as he realizes that he has made her walk to explore and then offered nothing exciting for her to find. It has just been walking, and he wishes desperately for something exciting to happen to make it worthwhile.

    He is distracted for a second as he watches the same trees that she does. “Uh, yeah,” he says, before he shakes his head and brings his attention back to her. “I mean, I don’t think she’s scared of strangers.” He is, he knows, but that’s not what makes Astrum quite so intolerant of those she doesn’t know.

    But how does he explain the possessiveness of a star to her?

    “Are you afraid of strangers?”

    His eyes are a little wide, framed by pale lashes, when they meet hers.

    Is she the same as him inside?

    He has to know.

    and I'm quick with the bullet when it comes undone
    I got a head like a turret with a mouth for a gun

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