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Living in Evermore City was definitely an experience so far, he hadn’t really known what exactly he expected but he had to admit, the changes had kinda hit him all at once, from missing his family to learning to adapt to the western way of life. Something that remained the same no matter where he went however was the sky. As he looked up at the sunset everything that was worrying or confusing him just seemed to fade away and all he saw was the colors. The sky was the same no matter where he went and that brought him a sense of peace he needed.
Jae found himself in the north east corner of Evermore city, a slip of paper held between his fingertips as he attempted to follow the directions he had been given to the dhampir dojo. Jaesung didn’t really know what was expected of him as a dhampir in the city, back home they didn’t really have communities, they kept what they were a secret, used it when they needed to and for the most part just continued on in their normal life.
Jae had done his reading on Evermore before selected to study here however, he knew quite how drastically different it was for the supernatural here. He had seen that from the moment he arrived, the supernatural population was still a minority in Evermore but nowhere near the low numbers in Seoul, it felt like every corner he turned he saw a new person with a small tell that tipped them off as being supernatural, it was fascinating to him but also another big change to add to the already overflowing list.
Jae felt a little lost but he hoped he could start to turn that around tonight. If he could even bring up the courage to go to the door that was. Forcing down his fears he rounded the last street before coming up on the dojo. The building was beautiful and the structure of it felt familiar, like something he was much more likely to see back home than he would in the middle of an American city. Just seeing it gave him the strength he needed to move forward and tap gently on the door.
After a minute or two he started to wonder if anyone was still here, it was after opening hours after all but just as he was about to turn away and come back another day he heard footsteps making their way towards him.
“There is, for sure, more to life than getting drunk every night.” Donovan gave a thought of his own younger years and how due to his sisters acting out Alcohol had never been the greatest for him. The older Dhampir just gave a knowing smile as he nodded. “Years it took me to produce the best hangover cure. Really I should sell it and make millions.” He chuckled as he shook his head. The laughter that escaped Don lips from how he explained his clumsy nature boomed through the dojo. “You know the world we live in, inanimate objects attacking you honestly doesn’t sound that far fetched.
“I would enjoy a poem just as well as a song.” Don said softly being able to see that the younger male would have to warm up to being comfortable around the older Dhampir. Donovan gave Jae shoulder a soft squeeze as he shared some of his culture with him. It was nice being in one place where other Dhampirs traveled to learn and share their culture. For so long that had been Don on the other side going around sharing his own culture. If it wasn’t clear to Jae at this point but his south african accent was heavy and while he spoke English he spoke many of the other languages from Africa itself. “Dongsaeng.” he repeated back before smirking. “Fitting.”
Donovan gave a nod and a comforting smile as he looked to the blades, “The beauty is you have all the time with them, names are not something you have to come up with on the spot.” That was the beauty of immortality and connection with their chosen weapons. Watching Jae shift in an uncomfortable manner when it came to why he needed his weapons was one he had seen many times. It was always the moment one may need them the most that they turn to what they may have abandoned. Revisiting options, beauty of life was growth. “Well that is good you don’t wish to rely on your luck to protect those you care about.” He looked up slightly in thought, “Luck can only get us so far, and others well not so far.” his mind wandered to his sister who in their youth just manage to use only her luck to keep herself safe, her luck seemed to have run out as of recent.
“The easiest way around the impractical part of that is only throw with your non-dominant hand, it may sound strange but if you keep the one dagger in your dominant hand, throwing the other you can cast a speed rune or any other run you wish to retrieve the dagger you have thrown. With your aim, and improvements with training you will be able to master throwing with your non-dominant and being able to right when the time calls for you to do so.” Donovan raised his brow as Jae as he spoke of comparing himself to his brother. “I know its hard, and easier said and done but comparing yourself to your brother is pointless. Like snowflakes no two people are alike, we learn at different rates, and different skills. No point in making yourself feel upset or angry because he is better at something. I promise you there is something you are better at than him and he feels the same way about you. Even if he doesn’t admit it.”
After his big dad speech he let out a breath “Well not that I have somehow manage to go dad mode on you.” he gave a chuckle and sighed “A justified reason is the best reason to fight but training to make sure you can fight and protect yourself and others is the ideal thing. Kinda a better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it kind of thing.” He hoped that made sense to the younger Dhampir. He mused over the question and then gave a shake of his head. “It has been a long time since I got into a fight. There was a time in my life I was not as calm as I am now.” he admitted, “In my youth, I used to think I needed to prove a point. Now I save my fighting for those who need protection.” The last time he had to fight that was a true life or death moment was the time he got kidnapped by a stranger and they head to escape.That was a story he wasn’t ready to talk about.
He laughed softly when he spoke about his hangover cure and how he could probably make millions from it, the worst part is Jae could probably believe it if it worked because all he ever saw was people getting drunk every day as their only real form of entertainment at the university. He preferred to spend his evenings at the university or with the few friends he had, Hanseol and Daehyun mostly. “It sounds funny but I swear it’s so inconvenient, I once set myself on fire because there was a candle on the dinner table” he sighed a little dramatically but shrugged, on the bright side, at least his life never felt boring nor did he lack stories to tell about it all.
He scrunched up his nose a little shyly and laughed, he really liked Donovan he was confident and kind and seemed to be pretty patient with the younger dhampir who could probably be described as a little lost in his own life. He was trying to shape up the person he wanted to be away from his parents and his siblings. “Poems and songs are kinda the same thing right?” he shrugged, that’s what he thought anyway, one of them just required musical talent to put together in a way that sounded nice. Jae enjoyed sharing a little of the culture from home here and in turn he hoped to learn a little about Donovan’s, at least, he did have somewhat of an accent, though he wasn’t able to pin what it was.
He liked how laid back the other male seemed to be as that put him at ease, most people always talked about how little time there was and how you needed to rush towards the destination you wanted but Jae was more of a stop and think kind of person than a full speed ahead kind. At least he was until someone got in danger and then all rationality seemed to disappear from his mind. “My father, he always told me our kind were protectors but I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a strong desire to protect until I came here” maybe it was seeing a species who basically lived in constant fear and fleeing state. He nodded his head sharply “I want to learn to be a protector, I want to feel confident that I can face up to whatever happens” which he had no idea what threats might even be looming but right now he just needed to ease his mind a little and he was almost certain training was how to do that.
Donovan’s suggestions about his weapons had the younger male parting his lips in realization of the possibilities, he hadn’t even thought about keeping one and throwing the other, nor the fact that a speed rune would keep him better covered, he supposed this was why he needed training, his mind was on one track it needed to be broadened. “I never even thought of that” he murmured softly as he looked down at his weapon, throwing with his left hand though, that sounded hard “It will take a lot of practice to build the strength I’ll need” but his voice showed a determination to do so, he wanted to be stronger and Donovan had now given him a glimpse into how. He smiled a little when he said not to compare himself to his brother “It’s a little ingrained in my mind I guess, everyone in my life has always told me to be more like Sangeun” he grimaced a little “That’s why I wanted to leave, I wanted to find out who I am out of his shadow” he realized immediately how what he said could be taken and parted his lips “It’s not his fault, my brother is a great person who takes so much pressure so I can be freer” he nodded, he wanted to be clear that he really looked up to him, he wasn’t jealous of him.
He grinned when Donovan said he went dad mode “At least it’s the good kind of dad mode” he admitted and listened intently to what he said “So do you think you can help me learn?” that was what he really came here for, he could practice alone just fine but he wasn’t sure how much he was going to improve if there wasn’t someone to guide him an tell him when he was making mistakes or getting into bad habits. Jae wasn’t really the kind who liked to ask for help, especially from people he didn’t know very well but he had a good feeling about Donovan and he was going to go with it. “I don’t get in fights purposefully” he admitted with a laugh “But I guess not everyone likes people who make jokes in difficult situations” he had always been a class clown type, always trying to make people smile and laugh but you couldn’t make everyone like you, unfortunately. “Mostly I want to be someone people can rely on and feel confident in myself that I can handle it all” he nodded and got to his feet, he was ready to start learning.
Donovan laughed out a little to hard at the thought of Jae setting himself on fire because he had one too many to drink. “That is an image I can not process in my brain if I am being honest.” He calmed down his chuckles. Donovan himself gave a gentle nod “They both can fall in a song element. Things that make great songs can be that they were written in poem format.” He said as he rubbed his arm softly. “Some great lyric writers who write for famous artists are actually Poem writers.” He said as he thought about it for a moment. “My mother was a beautiful Poem write it was probably why I spend so many hours writing to impress her.” He said with a gentle smile at the memory running to his mom to read what he wrote.
Donovan could feel a fire there in the younger dhampir and how he spoke of wanting to be a protector and how that drive came from being here, he gave him a sleepy grin as he chuckled. “Feel like Evermore has that effect a hell of a lot more than any place I have ever been. Though that could because I created roots here and the last place I had roots was in South Africa with my family.” The male gave the younger one a wink. “You are going to become a great fighter and protect those around you for whatever life throws at you when I am done with you.” Donovan knew he had an air of cockyness but he also knew it was one that came from a confidence that soothed others learning from him.
As he watched Jae brain processed the suggestions that Donovan had for him on how to keep one weapon on him and using the other. He enjoyed watching it click in his brain at the different possibilities. “That is why it is nice to come to the dojo. We are here to help you learn all that you want.” he smiled as he looked to the targets. “It will be hard, it's hard to break habits especially one when throwing with your non dominant hand.” He said as he picked up two of the practice daggers there. He tossed one up and down as he smiled back at him. “Sadly I know what it's like to always compare yourself to your siblings. It took me a long time to find myself if I am being honest with you. A lot of travel, a lot of just being on my own and accepting myself for who I was.” He looked to him. “But you will find yourself and I know you will be happy with who you find.” it was a bold statement but he truly believed that Jae would find his way through life.
Donovan pretended to think over what Jae said as if he was thinking about if he was going to train the younger dhampir. “Well I for one am always okay with jokes especially in difficult situations.” Donovan smiled as he ran his hand along the back of his neck. “I would be happy to take you under my wing Jae, I see a lot of potential in you, and I feel your heart is pure when it comes to wanting to learn to protect others.” He said and then throw the daggers landing them center in the target across the room before turning to him with a slightly more serious tone. “I will need you to trust my methods. Even if they seem weird. I promise you there is a method to my madness.” Donovan dark eyes rested heavy on him. “Do you think you can do that?”
He gave a shy smile when Donovan laughed at his story about fire “I wish I could get it out of my brain, singed hairs don’t smell great” he commented with a laugh and wrinkled his nose just from the memory alone, he’d been clumsy as long as he could really remember but he did his best not to let it stop him from doing what he wanted to. He watched Donovan as he spoke about poems and songs and how they were closely linked as well as his mother “I’ve always loved reading poems there’s something really beautiful about the way they describe things” he wrote his own of course but you always doubted your own work “Do you think I could hear some of yours sometime? Maybe it would give me ideas” he shrugged slightly.
Jae had always had a dhampir natural protector fire in him but he’d never really needed it before because he had his two elder brothers and sister around him constantly, they treated him like the baby of the family and he supposed in a way he was, coming to Evermore had meant leaving them behind in Korea and so now he needed to rely on himself and it was becoming evident to him how out of touch with his dhampir roots he now was “Maybe it’s the leaving family part that has the major effect” he suggested noting Donovan said he left his behind too. Donovan’s affirmation made him smile “Okay” he responded with a sharp nod “I’m going to work hard so that I can become that person” and if there was one definite trait about Jae, it was that he was determined when he set his mind to something.
“Honestly, I’d been a little scared to come” he admitted as he rolled his shoulders back a few times “I’m new to the city and new to living in a Western setting and I guess I wasn’t quite ready to add another new to the list” he added and laughed because it sounded kinda silly saying it out loud but he was trying to process the changes in his life one at a time so that they didn’t completely overwhelm him. He watched as Donovan threw one of the daggers and the way it perfectly landed on the target and his mouth when agape in surprise “Wow” he spoke softly and listened as the elder dhampir talked about siblings “Try having three older siblings who are a lawyer, vet and doctor respectively” he couldn’t pale more in comparison to them if he tried. “But I don’t want to hide in their shadow anymore, I want to figure out who I am, as me” he hoped that made sense.
He grinned a little, Jae was just the kind of person who constantly tried to brighten everyone’s days and he knew that could get annoying to some people but he was glad that Donovan seemed to be able to be patient with him. He gave a relieved smile when he agreed to train him, one that probably couldn’t be wiped off his face if he tried “I’m really glad you were here today” he admitted with a slight nod of his head, he didn’t want it to be anyone else he trained under, there was something about Donovan that really stood out to him. “Believe me I’m good at doing what I’m told, been doing that for most of my life” he joked and then nodded his head firmly “I can handle weird” he answered without question before heading over to the target to retrieve the daggers that were nestled in the target “So when do we start?” he asked brightly, keen to start learning.
Donovan was passionate about music and creative outlets, it was about the only thing that kept the Dhampir sane. He gave a gentle smile as he gave a soft nod towards the other male. “Yeah i have a few notebooks full of poems both mine and my mothers work. Maybe it could inspire you or something.” He mused over at the thought. You think a man who wrote songs and poems he would have a way with words when speaking about his own work. Sometimes he just preferred for his work to speak for itself. Though there was same anxiety having someone read through some of his angsty teen writings to his more deeper writings of more current years writing.
Donovan remembered the first time he left himself, how much it affected him and how scared and alone he felt. “I know what it's like to leave your family behind and how it can shape you into a different person then you thought you would be. A lot of the time it's for the better.” He spoke from his own experience. “For me it made me a stronger fighter, and person. I went through some really low moments and some really high moments literally and figuratively.” He gave a slgiht chuckle and smiled at the determined man in front of him. “Find good friends, a good place to be alone and find inner peace and the dojo. You will become the Jaesung you are meant to be.”
Donovan gave a soft nod when he admitted he was scared to come to the dojo because it would be another first for him. He understood being scared of it but he just smiled softly to Jae. “You know one day you are going to look back and be like. I want more first like that. After all you got to meet me.” He laughed as he looked to where the dagger landed himself and smiled with a shrug. “Dagger throwing got me lots of free drinks through the years.” He chuckled and then made a slight yikes face “Damn your family is full of over achievers then? I guess I had it easy my sister ran away hooked on drugs and blood, and then my brother left the dhampir life.” He thought about his brother for a moment. “Still you shouldn’t compare yourself, if I had then who knows where I would be.” He gave his shoulder a soft squeeze. “You are made the way you are meant to be for a reason, even if you don’t know what it is yet.”
Donovan enjoyed seeing Jae smile it was better than the somber look he held when he first came in. “I’m glad I was here also.” Donovan didn’t take on many one on one training but he could feel something from Jae that need to be nurtured. Donovan gave a slight chuckle and nodded “We shall see if you can handle weird.” He looked to his watch. “Well I guess we need to work around your classes and I tend to be here early due to the club being pen at night.” He said as he crossed his arms. “When are your classes and we will pick a few days to start with, don’t want to burn you out on workouts and studying.” He said trying to keep in mind he was a student. “As long as we have set days I can work around anything, but friday and saturday nights I tend to play those nights.”
Jae shrugged and gave a sheepish smile towards the elder dhampir “You nervous about showing other people your work too?” he knew that look too well because Jae had always been a little nervous to share his writing in case people didn’t like or made fun of it which wasn’t helped by the fact that English wasn’t his first language. “It took me a long time for me to even show my brother my poems and he’s the person I’m closest with” he admitted and nodded his head a little, everyone had a bit of that, he found, the want for someone to like something and feeling scared to show it in case they didn’t.
“It’s been different than I thought it would be” he related back to what the other male was saying with a slight nod of his head “I know I always wanted to get out and do my own thing, make my own decisions you know?” back home it had been whatever the family expected of him or wanted from him which was simple in the way he didn’t need to make complex decisions but difficult in the way he never felt like he owned his own life. He laughed when Donovan said his highs were literal at times “That’s the plan” he spoke with a bashful smile “And maybe a hobby or something, I get bored sometimes in the evenings at the dorm room” cause he wasn’t really interested in going out to party with the other students, so he was home alone a lot.
He chuckled softly as he glanced over to Donovan “I’m sure I probably will….I have a good feeling about Evermore, about who I could be here” he nodded a little, it was going to be scary at first but if he could find ways to branch out and new people to care about he was sure he could build a life he loved here. He was surprised but also impressed by Donovan’s ability with the daggers considering it wasn’t his affinity weapon but it definitely made the younger male want to know more “Yeah so imagine me telling them I wanted to be a writer” he hid his face in his hands just from the memory “they let me come out here to study English but I think they believe it’s a phase I’ll come running back from” which was why he was all the more determined to make something of his time here. To build his own life so he didn’t have to go running back.
But this was the first time he felt like he might have a future here that he could actually reach out and grasp and he definitely had Donovan to thank for that “Thanks for not making me feel like an outsider, I think I just really needed to feel normal” he beamed softly at the other male and then he considered when he was best free to do training “Well I have afternoon classes on Mondays and Wednesdays and then Morning Classes on Thursdays and I work on the weekends so” he popped his lips “I guess either Tuesdays or mornings would work” he nodded slightly “And then we can take weeks off if anything gets too crazy” he smiled softly and slowly got to his feet and took out his phone to offer the contacts app to him.
Donovan gave a soft chuckle in return to the younger Dhampir question “I do get nervous showing my work to others, especially when it's about that person.” he mused in his mind over a few of the works he had written about a certain red haired woman in his life. He smiled gently as he nodded, “I feel like it is always nerve racking especially since we are our own harshest critics. Then if the ones we trust showing to don’t like it, sometimes it can feel worse if a stranger says they don’t like your work. I get it.” He gave a slow nod thinking about the first time he showed his mother and how she reacted. “My own mother took a red pen and graded the first one I showed her.” He chuckled at the memory.
Donovan focused on Jae as he spoke about how things had been different then he had expected. “I can imagine it's not like you expected. I was the same way when I left home to travel the world. I remember how weird it was the first time it was just me and I could just do what I wanted. Walk around naked? Yes I could do that. Eat whatever I want? Yup did that. Invite over a large group of people and party? Yeah did that too.” he chuckled at his youthful thought process in the past. “A hobby is always a good thing, you should go to one of those ahh.” the words escaped him from a moment. “New comer thingy they hold where a group of people test out new things together. It's not a singles night thing but damn I can’t think of the name for the life of me.” he pinched the bridge of his nose. “They host them out of the dojo it's on the board downstairs. Could help with the boredom, besides training.”
Donovan gave him big grin as he said he had a good feeling about Evermore. “Feel like this town has that effect on people.” He let out a soft breath. “I always said I would never settle down and yet I am making a home here.” He mused over the statement for a moment. “I do hope you find a home here also, something you are looking for.” He meant that he saw a lot of good in Jae more than he saw in others he had met, the boy kind of reminded him of himself in a strange way. Donovan chuckled softly and shook his head, “Most parents think many things are a phase.” He twirled around one of the practice daggers. “Yet, here you are proving every day, it's not a phase and following your passion. Hell I’m proud of you.”
Donovan felt his heart melt at Jae words and he reached out placing his hand on his shoulder offering a gentle squeeze to it. “You don’t have to thank me, you really have come along and brighten my day also.” he beamed back to him as he nodded softly as he spoke of his classes. “Alright sounds good to start on Tuesday and a couple mornings from there until we have a solid time frame.” he chuckled softly as he felt his own head calculating. “Sounds like a solid plan to me.” Donovan took hold of his phone and typed in his number and name saving it. Reaching for his own phone offering it to him, to do the same. “It really was a pleasure meeting you today Jaesung.”
Jae nodded slightly, he was glad he wasn’t the only one who felt really apprehensive when it came to sharing things from his passions. Writing was the one thing that had always made sense to him but he was also a perfectionist when it came to what he wrote, he would often throw a lot of his half-written drafts into the trash because he didn’t feel like they were good enough “I’m definitely on the sidelines jeering at my work a lot” he admitted with a slightly sheepish grin “But that’s not always a bad thing because it pushed me to try harder and do better until I actually like some of the work I do” he grimaced when Donovan said his mother quite literally graded his work though “Ouch, that sounds like something my father would do” harsh and unhelpful in his opinion.
The other male made him laugh as he talked about the freedom he gained after living alone for a while, there was definitely some perks to coming to the city and being able to choose his own life but then there were times where he missed the times when he didn’t have to do everything for himself too “Well some of those I couldn’t get away with because of my roommates” he laughed softly, namely walking around naked, that would be a really bad idea but he definitely understood the sentiment “I definitely eat what I want now, within budget restrictions” but Jae didn’t spend all his money going out partying in bars so he’d managed to put some money aside “I actually want to save up to get a motorcycle” he admitted with a shy look because that was probably unexpected for someone like him. “Newcomer thingys, I shall look those up” he laughed softly because he had no idea what they were called either but he did understand what Donovan meant.
He definitely agreed with the other male, there was something about this city that felt different, but maybe that was simply because it was the first place he had decided to go for his own choice rather than someone else picking it out for him. He chose Evermore University because it had an excellent writing program and offered him a partial scholarship but he had fallen in love with the city at the same time. He wasn’t regretting his decision yet so that was a good sign. “I’m trying not to get myself too attached in case it really is three years and over but it’s hard not to get sucked in” he’d already made friends here and he hoped to make more too, all factors making him want to stay. He grinned when Donovan said he was proud of him “Thanks” he spoke softly “I think I needed to hear that” he admitted and nodded a few times.
He looked up at the dark-eyed male and smiled as he felt him squeeze against his shoulder “I know I don’t have to, but I want to, I don’t meet many people who are as open-minded as you” or maybe that was the difference between the two cultures he had lived in, he supposed he would find that out with time. After Donovan entered his number in his phone the younger Dhampir smiled taking it back before taking the phone he offered and entering his name and number in return. He was feeling more confident about his training now and actually being able to make some progress with it, he wanted to learn to be a protector and he felt like Donovan would be able to help with that “You too, I’m looking forward to our first session” and really nervous about it but he didn’t need to say that. He waved to the elder male and tucked his phone into his pocket as he headed towards the exit of the dojo and out onto the streets of Evermore.