한설아..한설아..한설아.. (Hanseol-ah.. Hanseol-ah..Hanseol-ah..)

자니? 일어나세요. (Are you asleep? Wake up.)

And so he did. Fluttering his eyes open, the first thing he saw was his adoptive mother, towering above him with a contagious smile. She has always been so loving and nurturing, befitting her maternal instincts. He didn't say a word, and only smiled. He just wanted to look at her and think of every possible happy moments he's ever had with her. With who would only be his mother for less than a year due to his stubbornness. But the sight before him didn't last long. A few moments later, she was gone. The entire scene before had dissolved somewhere else. The recently bright haired Celestial wandered his eyes around wildly, trying his very best to pinpoint her location. But to no avail, he couldn't. Because there was nothing but a blank canvas.

He felt a slight tug from the back of his collar. Like someone was pulling him back. Despite standing his ground, he wasn't able to do anything. Because it was an invisible force. Not a form, nothing. Like a ragdoll, he was dragged away. Until he forced himself to wake up. 'This can't be real.' He told himself. There was no way that this could actually be happening right now. It just didn't make any sense. It was just a temporal nightmare. That's it. Wake up. Wake up. Wake up!

By the time he actually woke up, there was already sweat dribbling down from his forehead and sides. Shifting his position to sit instead of laying, he gripped on to the bed sheets, like he was nearly fearing for his life. It was just a bad dream. A nightmare. A mind game. He was supposed to have a good life with his family but he gambled them away because he took it for granted. And when he was trying to find his purpose in life, he was captured by the guards and locked in an island for the rest of his 84 years. Right, make it 85. He glanced at the calendar placed neatly on top of the mahogany table next to the vanity table. It was 3rd January 2019. A new year. New resolution, right? It occurred to him, he's never actually had a resolution before.

Sighing to himself, he got up and went to the bathroom, taking a short shower to freshen himself up as he stared at his reflection depicted in the mirror. His hair was no longer dark, instead it was a brighter color. Maybe, a bit more brighter than he had initially intended. Reddish locks replaced his sake brown ones. It's not that it wasn't a good look on him, but it still feels foreign to the star. After finishing his shower, he got dressed and wrapped his bomber jacket around him before making his way downstairs, and finally head to his clinic. Briefly glancing at the clock hung on the wall, it was still early in the morning, at about 4 am. He thought he should get the clinic going because he was supposed to open it at 8. As usual, him being that guy who doesn't use any medium of transportation, walked all the way to the city square, where his facility is located at.

Shortly before arriving, he had a small instinct telling him that something was off. He couldn't shrug it off. And so, Hanseol opted for the latter; which was to go through it like any other sane person would. As soon as he arrived in front of his clinic, he saw the locks that was supposed to be sealing the entire place was broken, in a forced manner. Someone must've broke in. But who in the world would break into a veterinary clinic slash pet shop? It doesn't actually make the best sense of anything but instead of further questioning the motives, he made his way inside carefully. There, broken pieces from the back windows were scattered aimlessly on the floor. The red haired star made his way to the door where he kept everything animal in their cages, and they looked fearful. As if they were clinging to their own lives, whilst the dogs kept barking. He calmed them down and sat on the chair, wondering what happened the night before.

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Jae had always been a strange mix of introvert and extrovert, around strangers he would often come off shy or unapproachable, lost in the clouds as his parents always liked to remind him, but around those he let in he was actually pretty loud and confident, he guessed he adapted to the world and people around him. The dhampir liked other people and liked being around them, it just had to be the right people. Unfortunately for him, his life was filled with more that fell in the not category, such as the two jerks he now lived with.

Something in him had just kinda latched onto the celestial since the moment they met, it reminded of him when he was younger and you’d show up to school and by the end of the day, you’d be playing with your classmates as though you were best friends. Perhaps that was strange considering he was an adult now. Jae pulled a face as he saw the way Hanseol kept turning everything back on himself, sad that he could find himself in such a situation and yet blame himself for what happened “It takes some some really backwards thinking for you to really believe that you being attacked is any part your fault” he ran his tongue over his bottom lip “Besides I’ve lived through far worse” he broke a gentle smile, by tomorrow his accelerated healing would have made short work of the cut, though it was a good reminder that he should keep better hold of his weapons.

He didn’t need to question Hanseol’s situation because he had a gut feeling that he was a good person, he’d gotten the same vibe from him when they had first met, sure he was snarky at times and caught the dhampir a little off guard but for the most part he seemed thoughtful and caring, especially when it came to animals. Jae found you could tell a lot about a person from the way they treated animals and the way animals acted around them. Listening to the celestial’s explanation of his life, Jae’s expression was thoughtful, wondering what he would do if he was in the same situation “You’re more patient than me, I think my anger would have gotten the best of me if I were you” patience wasn’t a bad thing though “Spending your life running can’t have been much better though” never being able to truly make a life for yourself, it would be enough to drive most insane.

Jae tilted his head to the side as the other male spoke about his memories “Oh come on, there must be something” he commented “One moment that sticks out as better than the others, one time where things didn’t feel so heavy, even for a few seconds” Jae pursed his lips, he had several of them, times he would think back to when life got hard. The dhampir couldn’t help but feel like he was missing a piece of the story, like he was looking at the bigger picture but the details were fuzzy. “Hey if you were human you’d be in a home already” he teased with a smirk though he went quiet at the mention of the immortality switch, of course every dhampir had one now, the comet leaving them that particular gift but Jae was still yet to flip it, perhaps it was fear or perhaps it was not seeing a reason to want to live forever.

As he entered the room, Jae couldn’t help but keep a fighting stance, it was like a natural reaction for him, as he looked down at each of them, sprawled out on the floor, breathing shallowly, his dark hues move around to each, ensuring none of them were pretending. Hanseol snapped him out of his paranoia when he spoke and Jae laughed softly “Somehow I don’t think you’ll get many people drinking with that one” he winked, his roommates played that game almost constantly, loudly, at stupid hours. Whilst Han ran off to find some silver the dhampir knelt down, staring at the figure’s face for a moment, questioning what they could want so badly they were willing to kill for it. Jae wouldn’t even dream of hurting someone for his own gain, people like him perplexed the young half vampire.

The dhampir followed Hanseol’s lead, helping to move the figures into the next room and secure the position they were sat in before they turned their attention to their leader. He watched as the celestial tired the chains, ensuring to the best of his confidence that the male wouldn’t be able to move. Once he was satisfied that the therianthrope wasn’t going to be able to move anywhere he held up one of his daggers and began to etch a new rune into the metal, a lie detection rune, the blade illuminated with it’s usual blue light before it faded “You ask the questions, I’ll step in when he lies” he nodded softly and walked across the room, grabbing a vase from the counter which had some flowers in, with an apologetic look he took out the flowers setting them down on the table before he proceeded to throw the water contents over the therianthrope male which sped up his awakening.

Jae stepped backwards setting the now empty glass container down and folded his arms over his chest allowing Hanseol to take the lead on this particular investigation, it was his life they wanted after all. The male gave a growl of pain as he realized the silver chains which were taught against his skin, Jae tilted his head a little holding up his dagger as a warning that the two of them were in control now.

Surprisingly, family became quite the sensitive topic for the Celestial. He wondered if his adoptive parents lived longer or if he led a better life without being a Celestial, so he wouldn't be captured and locked against his will, would he have had a better chance at finding himself? Probably not. Hanseol thought he would've brought reproach towards his family instead. That's why it became a strange concept for him. Being a natural born introvert, he was surprised he even found a decent friend such as Jaesung. Meeting the dhampir at such a very weird timing, was possibly the best thing that's ever occurred to him in a while. Before this, he didn't have any sense of direction. As if improves gradually, his nomadic patterns also returned to assert itself in him. If it wasn't due to the younger dhampir, Hanseol knew he probably would not still stand here in the shop. Knowing Hanseol, fleeing and running seemed to be the best option at most times. 

It's mostly due to the fact that it has long integrated in his system to keep his self-perseverance under control. In order to get it under control, he needed to make sure every other viable options that might cost him his life, to disappear. So, he was immensely grateful that the latter came when he needed him the most. Not just on the defensive stances, but on his own patterns too. For someone who's known nothing but running his whole life, wanting to say is a foreign concept. A concept he was willing to try out though. Slightly chuckling at Jae, he shrugged. "I mean, I get that a lot. You see, that there whatever I did before earlier, was the first time ever for me to tap inside my energy and use it. I've never used them before. Not once." It makes sense to why Hanseol felt slightly taken aback. 

He'll need to keep studying about his abilities later on, maybe even one session with Ophelia, the wayfinder herself. He still has so many to study and hopefully, he'll be granted with enough time to work his way around it. "There wasn't anything I know other than to run, Jae. It's like in my blood to flee whenever I see anything that could be slightly detrimental to my state. Anything, really. It became something instinctive to run whenever I see trouble from miles away. I tend to live a low profiled life, keeping to myself most of the time and only get out every once in a while. That's why my nomadic patterns became a part of me." For the most part of his life, running wasn't something negative. It was just a survival instinct for him. But it would be a lie if the fallen star did not feel guilty leaving some people behind without any goodbyes. That's why attachments seemed impossible for the lad.

"Yeah, I find myself to be quite the age, but I wasn't aware I've been locked away for 85 years, Jae. It felt like forever, but I I simply didn't think it has been that long." His age when compared to the other Celestials, were nothing. He wasn't as old as most neither was he experienced in his ability at all. Throughout his life, he did not tap into his abilities or energy. The only reminder he had of himself was how he fell from the sky and crash landed in Busan, and how his glowing skin was apart of his species' distinctive features. It also didn't make it easier when everyone else could sense the faint glow underneath his skin. When he grew anxious and nervous, it tends to give a brighter glow. When Jae questioned if he has any good memories, the star tried his best to rake through his memory lane to see if there was anything that particularly stood out. Shortly after, he found it. Or at least, he thought it was it.

"The night I was finally adopted officially in my family. They were doctors. Husband and wife. Quite young, around their early 40s. The husband found me when I first fell, and nursed me back to health. That time, I didn't recall anything. Not a name, Nothing. So to see them taking care of me like how one would nurse a hurt puppy, it was endearing." At the sudden thought of the memory, he found himself curving a boyish grin. However, the memory slowly dissolved as soon as they entered the space outside. He eyed the daggers attentively as Jae carved a rune on it that was supposedly for sensing lie detection. Convenient. Hanseol did try to force himself from not laughing when he saw him use the vase to wake the male up. "You know, I actually thought you were going to hit him with that." The therianthrope woke up afterwards, as he hissed in pain when the silver touched his flesh. It was then, that the playful look on Hanseol dropped altogether as it was then replaced with a look of determination. 

It was a whole different air. "Don't bother trying to force your way out of those chains. I made sure it was tight enough." At the sudden mention of that, his palm glowed slightly, indicating he used a small amount of celestial energy to make sure it stayed intact. "Let's start talking now, shall we. We both know what I want to know. You came here with 5 more humans, like a bunch of mercenaries paid on contract. I won't ask why, because it would've been useless because I know exactly why. What I want to know, is who sent you." The latter did not go anywhere near replying though. He only let out a chortle which irked the celestial as he subconsciously clenched his jaw. 

Jae found Hanseol’s story really unique and different, for the most part the dhampir had been raised human, he drew up alongside siblings, he had parents who expected things of him, he went to school and he dreamed just like any kid did. But Hanseol had never been a child, or at least he if he had then he wouldn’t remember it, how scary it must have been to just wake up one day with no idea of who and what you were and try and find some kind of purpose in that. Despite them having such different starts however, both of them had their similarities, people trying to find their place in the world, understand who they really were.

That was only further confirmed when the celestial mentioned how he hadn’t even used his own abilities before, that made the dhampir a little sad to hear, but he could understand the fear of being who you were “You know ever since I was young I avoided my training” he paused for a second “I guess I was afraid to accept it because it meant…” he paused not sure how to word it “it meant that I was half vampire and that to be strong I would need blood” he’d always struggled with that part, with the idea of having to take something from someone else if he wanted to be as strong as other dhampirs “So I guess what I’m trying to say is I understand not wanting to embrace what you are” he hadn’t really told anyone that before, he realized as he closed his mouth.

But eventually he had come to accept that to make it in the supernatural world you had to accept that you were, it was small steps for him, after becoming a master at hiding what he was it felt strange to be in a city where people displayed it so openly, he still hadn’t returned to drinking blood though, still afraid of the addictive tendencies that came from it. Hearing Hanseol’s account of how he lived his life Jae wondered if anyone could ever be truly happy while they were constantly on the move, how could he have friends or people to care for if he was always moving? Was he content with being alone? “Well I suppose it meant you got to see a lot of places” he commented optimistically, Jae intended to travel one day, see all of the different cultures and places.

The dhampir fell silent as he heard Hanseol talk about being locked up, he opened up his mouth to speak a couple of times but he didn’t really know how to phrase what his mind was thinking. Locked up for 85 years? What could he have done to deserve such a fate as that “Locked away?” he questioned, his tone and face visibly showing the concern and horror he felt at that topic, his brain wasn’t making much sense of the situation “Why would anyone?” was the best he could get out, it wasn’t like him to get so choked over words but his mind found it hard to a fathom the idea of being locked away for 85 years, more than an entire human life.

Still somehow the celestial seemed to have some level of positivity to him, now that he was really looking, Jae noticed the way that the glow to the male’s skin would shine just a little brighter when he was deep in thought or showing some emotion. As he talked about his adopted family a sad smile appeared on Jae’s lips, he didn’t need to ask him what had happened there, joining the dots of the things he had been told so far he assumed Hanseol had left them behind. The smile that graced the celestial’s lips however spoke a lot more, taking over his entire demeanor and making him look young and vulnerable. Different from the usual brave face he seemed to put on. The dhampir bit gently on his tongue, enjoying seeing the other male happy for a few brief seconds.

And then the moment faded away and it was back to those same walls. Jae’s attention moved to the therianthrope, eyes focused as he threw the water over him. Hanseol’s comment caught him off guard though, a chuckle escaping his lips in response as he looked down at the glass vase “Not sure if I should be offended that you assume I’m a vandal” he set it down neatly “It was tempting though” he admitted as he heard the therianthrope begin to stir.

The dhampir kept back from the therianthrope, his eyes drifting from the disgruntled male to the celestial whom he could already see a faint glow from. His expression remained cold and unimpressed as he tried to gauge this particular encounter. Much as he expected, the male didn’t seem to want to talk, letting out a mocking laughter that made the dhampir’s blood boil. Angrily Jae stepped into view as he watched the therianthrope eye him. The male took a look at the bandage on Jae’s arm and then broke into a smirk “Looks like you need to get to a hospital there mate” the Australian accent was thick and full of a smugness that Jae naturally wanted to rise to.

Jae blew out a breath doing his best not to let his temper get the better of him “My friend asked you a question” he spoke dryly, though his grip tightened around the dagger in his hand, twitching a little to keep himself distracted.

Hanseol wondered how the dhampir he befriended led his life. For most part, he seemed very human. If that was supposed to bring a new meaning, at least. He knew dhampirs aren't supposed to look that much different from human, since they too were half human and their vampiric abilities were pretty much shrouded by one layer that most couldn't see through. All that reading finally proved itself to be useful, after all. But to him, Jae really would pass off as human, as endearing as it would be, his qualities however screamed out dhampir and he was captivated by the pure thought that he was willing to put his life in danger so to save anyone who's not up to the par to fight against their opponents. It was a fresh whiff of air he was glad he was able to witness, considering he did not venture out so easily without any proper reason.

So when Jae admitted to being what he was, how afraid he was on his identity and on what he was too, much like the Celestial, Hanseol felt it struck a cord in him as his doe eyes became the literal version of bunny. How he must've struggled especially after being born in a family that was comprised of dhampirs themselves. It must've been very frustrating and stressing. "That's just depressing, Jae. To balance yourself on such diet you don't want to. Just because you are what you are. I guess the both of us could relate on that matter, with a few differences that eventually makes up everything to be at par. Like, you were born and nurtured by a family as you grow up. I was born like this, without a name or identity, something not even my adoptive parents could give, which was lucky for me to even receive them. You spend your days wondering what your future will hold and I do too, well you tend to have time to think about yourself when you have nothing to do while being locked up." He ended his sentence with a slight jest, bringing about the humor the air was slowly diminishing every second. 

"But I think we could both help each other with what we are. We don't have to succumb to its every trait and nature, but we also couldn't run away from it, no? Why not make the best use of it? You help me with becoming a Celestial, and I help you become more Dhampir-ish, if that makes sense." It was clear to both that they weren't exactly the most experienced at grasping their identities. But good news was that they were able to learn how to. Nodding in response to his remark, he did agree that he went to a lot of different places, considering he only stayed at one place no more than a month. "Yeah, I like to go spend my time in Europe. I prefer cold climate places like Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and Iceland. It's refreshing. But being alone was never one thing I had no problem with. It gets tedious that way. Maybe one day, I'll bring you with me." His dark mocha hues twinkled in delight as he spoke of it. Friends did not come off easy to him because of what he was, he always found it hard to maintain such relationships without placing them in definite danger or trouble.

Holding both his hands up in defense, he told Jae that he didn't do anything wrong to deserve such sentence. But he thought his penance was already paid during the time, for whatever it was. "I wasn't exactly locked up in a prison, like literal prison. By the police authorities, no. Well, it's kind of that way when you see it? I mean, the people who locked people like me are the authorities in the supernatural world. So I guess they're kind of it. Like how your ambassadors are polices and judges? They're like that, only on a much larger scale, so much they could warrant out a massive group of capturing us. Whatever it was that we did, I'd say it had something to do with being Celestials. I'm still trying to find out why they did what they did, but the good thing that came out of it was that we no longer had to run?" His tone had indicated even he himself, wasn't sure. But he was persistent enough to find out. 

Hanseol lets out a laugh that sounded melodic enough, when the male dhampir feigned hurt. "You don't have to be vandal to do it. I admit I would willingly opt for that." It was a slight contrast to his usual demeanor that he exuded around Jae, but it wasn't a new fresh air either. It's always been there, as you tend to grow bitter when you go through a few landscapes of life. However, when the therianthrope still did not speak of anything that was bringing any answer to his previous question, who had instead opted to play snark, Hanseol found himself clicking his tongue in annoyance as he paced a few times, trying his best to curb the anger. He was temperamental, he knew that. But he also had enough sense to withstand it for a while. Not for long, of course. Training his eyes on the dhampir who seemed as agitated as he was, especially when the man instigated more anger in him by pushing Jae off the ledge. 

And so, the Celestial crossed his arms and pulled the chains slightly to get it more tighten, as to cause friction as the searing pain was inflicted when the chains dug itself against his flesh, successfully resulting a wince of pain to come out. "Looks like you need to get to the hospital, mate." He quipped, mimicking the Australian accent he had. "I would not antagonize my friend further. You wouldn't want to let a dhampir inflict any injury on you. Especially when you're not in the position to fight nor defend yourself. So I'll ask one more time because I'm generous like that. Who- you know what, this is not working. I'll change it a little bit. Why did you target me?" When he didn't receive anymore response, he huffed slightly before pressing his shoes against the chains around the leg section that slowly hurt the male who eventually yelled out the answer he wanted to hear. "You were a Celestial." Shaking his head, he tsked at the male, telling him that wasn't good enough. "You were the easier target. Everyone knows why everyone wanted a Celestial." While that answer was viable, Hanseol threatened to do the same again because he could be lying for all he knew. "I thought you are the kind one!" He exclaimed. So they did know about their faction, and him being one of the more soft ones. 

"Yeah well, I was kind enough when I told you guys to go and leave me alone, right? That card is only optional to be used only once a day for jerks like you." Of course that managed to get another answer out. "They wanted to harvest the energy! That's all I know. We're on contract, and we got a job. Bring a Celestial. That's all. There was no specific order to who to get. We opted for you because you were the easiest target." He admitted. At least now he knew they were never going to kill him. Which holds another question at mind to why someone would want their energy so bad. "Thank you for your time. Jae, would you be so kindly?" He asked the dhampir to knock the male out, knowing it would be a pleasure for him considering what happened earlier. 

It was strange, neither of them could probably imagine what the other’s life so far had been like and yet they both seemed to have a silent understanding of one another, their similarities shining through, Jae felt like he could relate to Hanseol, from the way both of them seemed a little lost in the world, trying to find the person they were supposed to be. The dhampir gave a sad smile as Hanseol spoke his opinion on Jae’s upbringing and the way he related that back to himself, he was thoughtful and things he said resonated with the younger male “I was raised in a family where there was a lot of pressure to do everything right, I feel like I was constantly trying to live to my parent’s standards” which meant he did a lot of things he might not have chosen for himself in the name of living up to their hopes. “Coming here to America was probably the first time I have done something they didn’t want” and even then they had been pretty controlling on the whole thing.

In a way he was glad to hear that Hanseol had adoptive parents, at least someone had been there for him in the beginning and he hadn’t been completely alone, though from the way he spoke of them, Jae had to assume they weren’t immortals and therefore would have passed by now. It must have been hard for him, leaving them behind and then never getting to say goodbye “Sounds like we’re both a little lost” he commented thoughtfully, being lost wasn’t exactly a bad thing, after all there was still time for them both to find themselves right? Jae had to wonder what kind of person he would be in a years time, or in 5 years. The celestial’s suggestion caused the dhampir to break a smile, well neither of them had any idea what they were doing, what was the harm of struggling together right “I’m not sure I’m an expert on a species I only found out really existed today but…” he chuckled “What harm can it do right?” they already seemed to bring out confidence in one another, spurring one another on.

Jae’s expression was full of interest as he heard the other male speak of his travels and the places he had been able to visit “I always wanted to travel” he admitted nodded his head slightly, his family hadn’t really been the kind that vacationed and so America was the first new country he had visited, learning English had given him the freedom to make the move but he certainly intended on seeing more when he could eventually afford to “When I was young I always loved learning about the ancient Egyptians and so my dream was to see a pyramid one day” he chuckled, scratching at the base of his neck in a little embarrassment of saying that out loud.

When Hanseol threw his hands up Jae tilted his head to the side curiously before the other male started his explanation of what had happened, the dhampir’s expression remained mostly clueless throughout the whole thing, trying to piece together the reasons and motives to locking celestials up. He frowned a little from the confusion, imprisonment of a whole species seemed pretty extreme didn’t it? And who even had the resources to do such a thing. The dhampir ran his tongue along his bottom lip as he went to speak “So they locked up all of you?” he asked with an empathetic gaze towards the celestial “Were you together or alone?” Jae would have gone insane if he was forced to be in one place for decades, especially if there wasn’t even anyone to talk to, he wasn’t even sure how Hanseol had managed to make it through without completely breaking himself in two.

Jae chuckled as he looked down at the carved glass vase “I don’t know, this is a pretty beautiful vase” he teased with a chuckle, truthfully these low lives weren’t worth breaking anything over, even if his temper was pushing him to do it anyway. The thought of broken glass reminded him that the shop had been completely trashed though which once again made him angry, thinking about how these people had been so damaging not only to him but also to Hanseol and a place he thought he was safe in. There wasn’t time to get too lost in the thought however, as the therianthrope they had captured was waking up.

Jae watched Hanseol as he approached the male, his whole aura changing from the naive and seemingly sweet person he had just seen to someone with a lot more anger, a darker version of him. From the way he spoke and the way he acted, Jae could tell that being targeted had shook him more than he was letting on and the dhampir couldn’t blame him for that. What kind of life was it to always be waiting for the next person to come along and try to hurt you? He couldn’t say he felt much sympathy as he watched the therianthrope writhe against the silver chains which he could see were burning his skin. The dhampir remained silent, holding his dagger out to verify the words spoken.

He grumbled angrily when the male spoke about how it was because Hanseol was an easy target, it made him furious when people picked only the fights they knew they could win, preying on people who were weaker or less in number than them. His hands trembled a little in anger but he simply curled them tightened them around the handle of his dagger instead of giving him the raise he wanted. Much to his dismay, what the therianthrope spoke was the truth, so they wanted a celestial for their energy and they didn’t care who it was. Jae’s eyes moved over to Hanseol with concern, if he was a failed target then someone else was inevitably in danger next right?

He gritted his teeth, clenching his jaw a few times to keep himself focused, Jae had always had a temper that tended to get the best of him, it made him reckless and loud, especially when it came to the protection of others but he knew Hanseol could handle this. Though he didn’t hesitate for a moment when the celestial finished his interview, walking up to the male and leaning down, looking him right in the eyes for a few seconds. He saw a lifelessness that he pitied, someone who had no instincts but greed and self preservation “I hope you get what you deserve” he spoke calmly before finally letting out the anger he had been holding back in one sharp and powerful blow to the male’s head which knocked him out cold.

Jae was breathing heavily as he moved back from the male, keeping his hands locked together so that he wasn’t tempted to do anything more. He turned back towards the celestial, holding his gaze for a few seconds “This is going to take a hell of a lot of explaining” he stated with a concerned look. The dhampir pulled his phone from his pocket, surprised that the screen wasn’t smashed from the amount of times he had crashed into something during the fight debating if there was someone worth calling.

Hanseol might not know much regarding expectations placed by other people specifically, but he knew how it felt not being able to live up to such expectations in overall manner. He had often placed some sort of a bar above him that restricted his movements and thoughts just as well, sometimes. And that was before actually understanding what he was. What a Celestial was. But unlike Jae, Hanseol did find it in himself to feel grateful during all those decades being held captive. It gave him exactly what he needed. Time. For a Celestial who actually had an ability and hold over the element of time, most of them were terrible at it. They were the ones out of time, ironically. It was because they were often chased and hunted by irresponsible people who wanted to extort them for what they were, which was one of the reasons why he resented his identity in the first place. Because it forced him to run away and led a very closed off life. A life he never wanted.

Finding himself smiling upon the dhampir, he was glad he came to America. Otherwise, the Celestial probably would not have stumbled across his kind soul and befriended him. And the dhampir wouldn't be here today to save him and gave him a reason and motivation he needed to drive the need to protect as well as finally fighting back, for once in his 89 years of life. He was the ball of light he probably didn't deserve. A part of him didn't want to burden the other male because it was evident to Hanseol, that wherever he goes, trouble tends to follow and loom over. But he didn't want to run this time. He actually wanted to stay, more than anything. "I read a lot, so I found out a few about dhampirs. Yeah, Celestials aren't exactly a public knowledge for supernatural community, Jae. Up until about 2 years ago, well 3 now, people didn't even know we existed. I think it has something to do with memory removal spell or something along the lines of it. What I know is that the people who captured us, they made sure no one remembered our existence. It was completely erased. Though I think that's for the best. Even in our deaths, the affect it would place on the world would be devastating." 

For a creature of light, the Celestial still found it hard to correlate how their deaths could even cause so much of a small singularity that could give the world another imbalance. He wondered why they were created to be in such a way, perhaps he'll never know. The curiosity in the doe eyed star was evolving and increasing every second as he contemplates his life. "Being lost is okay. When you have someone with you." The grin that accompanied his words made it clear that he was glad he had Jae as a friend to help him through as they both correlate together to find out what's the best way to get by. Upon hearing the dhampir's enthusiasm on Egypt, he couldn't recall if he's ever been there, possibly no, considering the only place the Celestials been near to it was Dubai in the UAE, the closest he's ever been anywhere near Egypt. But he has heard of Cairo. "I haven't been there, but there you go, it gives me all the more reasons to actually bring a friend there." He exclaimed, the happiness filling his excitement upon finding out he finally didn't have to travel alone like he used to, anymore. Who knew all he ever needed was a friend?

Then came in the contrast to the happiness he radiated earlier. The talk about his imprisonment. "I'm lucky I wasn't alone. The cells were individual, facing each other in one big room. We were all grouped there. But I wasn't close to much, for that reason I have no idea why. I guess I only wanted to forget about ever having hope of getting out after a while, because forming attachments will only give me hope because I wanted hope for them too." The red haired fallen star smiled sadly at the memory of them conversing to one another, with the exclusion of him not speaking. "It still surprised me to see how all of us stayed sane after those years. I think it's because we had faith in our wayfinder to come finding us. Whilst all hope was lost for me, I still wanted to meet her." And they did. The wayfinder did come saving them. Tilting his head slightly to the side, he trained his mocha hues on the beautifully carved vase. "Oh ya, this one is from France. I remember I saw this sitting idly by with all the dust when I came back to the apartment lot I was in before I was shortly captured. So give or take, it's almost as old as me. Antiquity." He shrugged and chuckled softly.

After he left Jae to deal with the therianthrope as he sees fit, he began to cross his arms and wondered if there was anyone he should call. Since it was regarding highly about his species, his kind, he opted to call Ophelia; their wayfinder. He took out his phone from his pocket too before dialing the number and waited until the other line connects. For the next couple of minutes, Hanseol was explaining to her about what happened earlier and the first thing the wayfinder asked was if he was fine. Truly, he admired her because of that. Always finding the time to check up on her people. It was concluded that he would come over to the manor to talk to her further about the Celestial problem. The star kept his phone tucked away in his pockets afterwards, shortly after ending the call. "Well my ambassador said I should stop by the manor to speak more of it in detail soon. But first, what to do with this place." He mumbled and sighed heavily as he stared at the mess they've made.

"I'd sue them if I could, though I doubt that'll do any difference, would it? Guess it's back to spring cleaning again, only this time it's winter cleaning?" He chortled at his own joke as he grabbed a broom. Until his eyes fell on the unconscious therianthrope. "Yeah we probably should lock that guy with the rest of his friends, until we could call the police on them the next morning." Pursing his lips lightly, he gave a smile towards the dhampir. "Thank you for helping me earlier, Jae."

Jae had grown up alongside two elder brothers and a sister, being the youngest child of his parents had been both a blessing and a curse, on one side, his elder brothers always seemed to take most of the expectations off of his shoulders, they shielded him from the pressure. On the other, Jae always seemed to compare his own success to theirs, wanting to show his parents he could amount to the same standards they set which often left him disheartened. Hell Hanseol had just told him that he was locked up for most of his life and somehow he still managed to study and become a veterinarian. Jae often compared himself to others and wondered what they thought of him, whether he was a disappointment for now finding his calling faster or for choosing a profession that didn’t have certainty like a doctor or lawyer did.  

Still, now here in America, things felt like they were starting to fall into place for him, he enjoyed his studies so far, found them challenging and exciting, he liked the culture here, even if it was very different from what he was used to, he liked being able to speak English with native speakers and felt proud of himself for being able to hold in depth conversations. He was glad to have met Hanseol, someone that challenged him to be better and braver. Jae didn’t even know he had it in him to throw himself into a battle like that until he found himself in the middle of it for the celestial. The more that Hanseol spoke about what had happened to the celestials the more angry about it that the dhampir felt, Jae had always held pretty high moral grounds, even when they weren’t the societal norm and hearing about these people who had essentially tried to erase an entire species from the world annoyed him “Because the best way to deal with a problem is to pretend it doesn’t exist right?” he muttered with a shake of his head, what a backwards way to think, blaming the victim of the situation rather than tackling the problem head on.

Jae went quiet when Hanseol spoke his words about being lost, caught off guard by the soft smile that graced the celestial’s lips as he said those words. Jae reached up a hand to run through his hair a little flustered, he wondered how he could say things like that so easily. A smile broke on his own lips in response doing his best to shake off the surprised expression he was sure was there “Maybe you’re right” he answered before glancing away, clearing his throat as he did so. The conversation moved to Egypt and the dhampir’s mind was filled with those childish thoughts he’d always had, about taking pictures in front of the pyramids and seeing real hieroglyphics for himself. It was strange, how easy it was to imagine the two of them there, probably caught up in little details they saw and complaining about the heat “One day” he mused softly, one day he would make it and it wouldn’t be so bad to have company too.

As Hanseol talked about his experiences, Jae was doing his best to picture them in his mind, to truly understand what the other male had been through. It was hard to imagine, having never been incarcerated himself but he assumed it would be lonely and scary, wondering if you were ever going to be free again. Part of him wanted to reach out towards the celestial as he saw the sad smile cross his lips as he told the story but he stayed his hand, shaking off the thought with a twitch of his fingers “She must be some leader if people would wait that long for her and still believe” he commented, he couldn’t expect people to have hope after decades had passed. The time must have felt so long for them all. He couldn’t blame Hanseol for saying he lost hope, Jae certainly would have after that amount of time with no change.

Their encounter with the therianthrope, while unpleasant, seemed to provide more answers than he had been expecting to get, though he felt a sense of relief come over him once the male was silenced once again. As Jae turned back he noticed that Hanseol was already making a call, most likely to the aforementioned leader he had talked about. Jae however opted to send a text to Donovan, the dhampir who had become somewhat of a mentor to Jae, asking for advice on how he should handle this particular situation before he tucked it away into his pocket once more. By now Hanseol was finished with his own call “Sounds like they’re worried” he commented with a tilt of his head, he supposed they should be, considering that this person was hired muscle and there would be plenty more people that could follow in his footsteps. That simple thought had his blood boiling, naturally wanting the celestial to be able to live his life in peace.

“Probably not, no doubts their assets aren’t touchable by the authorities” he admitted with a shrug, these underground criminals knew how to get off easy and they were hardly gonna part with the entire reason they did the things they do. Without a word Jae followed Hanseol grabbing another broom from the same closet that the celestial got his. Sure he could have left then if he wanted to, but part of him just wanted to check up on the other male and make sure he was going to be okay. His thanks however caused the dhampir’s lips to part for a second before he smiled, meeting Hanseol’s gaze with his own as spoke modestly “Anyone would have” that was probably not true but he hoped there were some good people in the world that would stand up for what they believed in.

He moved into action, helping to relocate the male into the room with the others  and locking the door behind them. He cleaned off his daggers in the sink before returning them to the hidden sheath on his belt and ran a hand slowly over his bandaged arm, the pain was minimal now but still a reminder of what happened. “How much work do you think it’ll take to repair?” he asked as he followed the celestial through to the front of the clinic where glass laid shattered all over the floor. Silently he got to work on sweeping it into a pile “I can handle this if you wanna check up on the animals” he offered, knowing that he would be a better comfort to them than Jae would in that moment.

All his life, Hanseol never had any resolutions to accompany his year as he wandered around the world out and about, making his mark known and adding more to his knowledge in a short span of time. 3 years would not seem like much, but the hundreds of days that the Celestial spent, was like a dime in a dozen. He cherished every single memory he’s made ever since, but of course it wasn’t going to be filled with only delight. He still had nightmares plaguing his sleep, ones that held much significance over his life like a leash. The days where he was forced to run every time someone finds him, noted that his skin would emit a glow that every supernatural persona would be able to see from a mile away.

That is why he was eternally grateful to have met someone like Jae along the way. He was someone he was sure, he needed. Both of them were still young, well he too, is considered young in a way. They both had eyes out for the world, and wished to live in a much better one. The fact that they also struggled with their species identity that was continuously putting a ledge over them, was a bonus pointer. Hanseol was more than enthusiastic to share Jae what he knew about the different places in the world, and hoped that one day, they would be able to venture them on their own, while providing one another company. Whenever he looked over to the dhampir, all he could see was hope. He had potential, that much even the fallen star could see just from glancing over briefly. Jae was a bright person, who had good moral values adorning his persona, making him to be much more likable than he originally already is.

Hanseol found himself smiling widely when Jae remarked on Ophelia’s credibility. If he could, the Celestial would rave all about his wayfinder, despite not knowing much about her. He was one of those who preferred silence to ensue over him like a shroud and kept himself by the sidelines. He doubted he’s even had a literal legit conversation with the wayfinder. Well, he was about to, very soon. “She is. I didn’t know her personally like some did. But the way they talked about her during our years of captivity, made it sound like she’s the light of hope to every single one who attempts to think there might be a way out. After meeting her, I can understand why they hold her so high up the pedestal.” It was clear that the fallen star too, like many others, admired her traits that made up the respectable Celestial that leads them.

“I guess justice doesn’t always prevail, at least not with this kind of justice system we got going around. But if it’s done in Evermore, I doubt they could do much to it. We’re run by an organization that basically knows about us supernaturals. But yeah, I don’t see how we’re going to get to it so easily. Especially when Celestials haven’t signed the peace treaty yet. Ophelia’s pretty adamant against signing it so early, and I’m sure she has her reasons. But things aren’t looking good. Someone is looking to catch a Celestial, that’s nothing new. But what’s new is that they’re willing a send a small team to get us. In a city filled with protection everywhere. They are either daring or stupid. Pretty sure it’s not the latter, unfortunately.” He sighed heavily and placed a hand on his hip as he halted on his sweeping momentarily.

“That’s too near.” He grumbled and leaned against the counter, staring at the glasses scattered on the floor. “I thought we’d be safe here. Safer..maybe. But not safe.” Hanseol was slightly disappointed that they might have to go through the periods of running or fleeing again if this is the case. He didn’t want to. He’s tired of running. However, his train of thoughts was interrupted when Jae asked how much work would have to go into the repairs, which made the Celestial ponder. “I have no clear estimation. But it’s gonna have to go through a few renovations here and there. I’ll have to close the place for a while.” Then, he would have to relocate the animals someplace else, where others could do their business with him. His current place was quite spacious in its own right, but it’s near the Celestial manor in the west side of the city, which is quite a distance from the city square.

“They’re lucky I love this place.” He grumbled and shook his head. “You know you don’t have to stay and help, right? I’m fine doing it on my own.” He was highly appreciating the effort Jae was emitting as he went to sweep the floors. The dhampir never ceased to amaze him with his set of morals. He decided to take up Jae’s advice on making sure the animals are not traumatized, to which he was sure they weren’t since there were no gunshots and the scene was covered from outside, where he placed a coloured layer around the windows. “I’ll be right back.” he quipped and went to the room, as he checked every single fluff ball to see if any of them suffered any shock. Thankfully, none did. He saw the bunny he saved, the one the dhampir told him to rename Hanseol Jr, due to his resemblance to a bunny. He grabbed the bunny swiftly before carrying it outside to show the male dhampir.

“Hanseol Jr, meet Jaesung. Jae, meet Hanseol Jr.”

Jae imagined that Hanseol had a very different perspective on time to him, after wasting away so many years locked away he must have a real appreciation for the time he now had ahead of him. It made the dhampir appreciate the life he’d had til now a little bit more, he’d gotten a pretty normal childhood, he’d had friends and great moments that were etched into his mind, he’d had a full 21 years of living his life, which was more than the celestial had. It really opened his eyes to how lucky he’d been so far and honestly made his problems seem so insignificant in comparison.

Jae still had no idea where his life was going to lead him, his siblings had been so sure what they wanted to be and as soon as they finished school they moved straight into studying for it, he however had no idea where his writing was going to take him. But coming to America felt right to him, he liked it here, he liked the person he was becoming here, someone who he recognized outside of the shadows his parents and siblings cast. Here he could be whoever he wanted to be and that was exciting for him. It also helped that the first real friend he’d made here was someone like Hanseol, someone who came across a little rough around the edges but Jae saw a certain vulnerability behind it that he recognized in himself, Hanseol already made him question and challenge himself in a way he couldn’t even define and the two had only known one another a short time.

Jae watched as the celestial talked about his leader, the way his boyish smile appeared on his lips, curving his whole face, making his eyes brighter, it was clear that he really admired her, looked up to her even. Jae couldn’t say he’d had such a connection to a leader figure, back home there weren’t really groups of dhampirs, just him and his family but neither of his parents were dhampirs themselves “I’m glad she was able to live up to your expectations” and that she managed to save him from the captivity he was in, otherwise the two of them would have never met. He had to admit he kinda wanted to see this woman for himself from the way Hanseol described her.

The mention of a justice system caused his smile to fade however, Jae had seen the inside of the justice system while he was in Korea and if it was anything like that here, then he wasn’t holding his breath for any real repercussions “The scary thought is that they work for someone and that someone is the real person to be afraid of” he blew out a long breath, if Hanseol was their first target then who would be their next? Would they try to attack him again. The natural warrior in him felt a little helpless knowing he couldn’t always be around to protect people when such a thing happened “Do you think Ophelia will know what to do to stop it?” he asked curiously. How powerful was the leader of the celestials? Especially if she didn’t have the city treaty on her side.

Jae counted himself lucky that for the most part he’d never really feared for his own life, there had been times when he was in the military where the thought had briefly crossed his mind but there wasn’t time to ponder your own safety most of the time, especially after he had been promoted and had a team to lead “It’s sounding more and more like safe isn’t a word that can be used to describe a celestial” he gave a half smile, though it was sad, he wished there was something he could to do change that but who was he to stand against the whole world? It kinda worried him that one day he might wake up and his new friend could be gone. The dhampir reached to run his hand through his hair, blowing out a frustrated breath “It wasn’t enough to wanna harm you, they had to completely trash the place too” he grumbled angrily as he continued sweeping, gathering the glass and throwing it into the trash can.

Jae got to work on clearing the floor and then started to tackle the window itself, breaking loose the sharp shards of class and tossing them into the garbage. He didn’t even bat an eyelid when Hanseol insisted he didn’t need to help, just smiled softly to himself and kept working “Cleaning always helps to clear my mind when I’m annoyed” he explained it away, he knew that Hanseol wanted to go and check on the animals. In the time the other male had checked on each of the animals, Jae had moved around the whole room, picking up most of the stray glass, though it still needed a vacuum running over it to be sure. He had just set down the broom to rest against the wall when he heard the other’s footsteps.

When he turned to face the celestial, his breath hitched for just a moment as he looked between the male and the little bunny, his expression broke into a wide and goofy smile that he couldn’t hold back, thinking how cute the two of them looked together. Jae had to physically shake himself to snap out of it before he crossed the room, bending his knees a little to look down at the fluff animal “Ahhh so cute” he spoke, unable to contain his reaction as he reached down to pet it. Jae laughed, scrunching up his face a little before he looked up at the celestial “A very good namesake indeed” he affirmed, his eyes meeting the doe like optics of Hanseol’s and holding them for a few moments before he glanced away and stepped back.

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