When asked if he was a rebel, Henri never said he wasn’t but did mention that he wasn’t doing it on purpose. The fact is, he was always told off by his father whenever he wanted to go out and play with his other friends, and would always be reprimanded by his mother whenever he sulked. There was no love there, such a thing never roamed the household. No matter how many times Judith would tell her son that it was tough love to ensure his upbringing, Heinrich did not believe a single word of it. His father, however, was the exact opposite of what she claimed him to be. Johann von Ausberg is a very strict man who is always perceived to be cold and straightforward with what he wants and would not shy away from any risks. In a way, he was seen to be quite admirable in little Heinrich's eyes.

 Even to the outside world, their family was pretty much avoided by others. Even the family friends were mindful of their own actions and words as to not offend any of them. Henri never knew why, not until he grew older. But compared to a few centuries ago, he is now more mature. He learned plenty of things during his service in the guard; meaningful things that he somehow had carried to the present. He was careful not to forget any of the roots, of course. The last thing the therian wanted to do was to upset himself because he was shedding his old past for new skin to finish his own convictions in the future. 

Despite having bad memories tainting his head whenever he wishes to go take a walk down his memory lane, there were still good ones. Memories of his wife and daughters, for instance. Memories that will never leave him and subsequently, made him feel guilty for their untimely deaths. Why? All because he couldn’t be bothered to shed his title. And for what? All to appease his selfish mother too. Nobody in their right mind would trade their beautiful spouse and children for a title. But he did, and he will forever regret that decision for the rest of his life, which he intends to be a very long… long time. Especially with his protectee, Venetus, going off the rails doing god knows what, for the last few weeks. 

The Venetus today differs from the Venetus he knew when he set foot on the Isle. But it was understandable why he would behave the way he behaves now, though that doesn’t warrant his mood swings. Henri usually doesn’t bode well with individuals who tends to lash out for no reason in particular, that person seemed to be Ven now. But for the sake of his own consciousness that never faded, he swore to protect the Aspect of Realms and he will do exactly that. His steps felt light against the carpeted floor as he maneuvered the entire manor in search for his Aspect, to which he, thankfully, found in the wine cellar. That wasn’t surprising at all. 

Leaning against the entrance with his arms crossed, he raised his eyebrows questioningly as if he was judging the Aspect’s entire existence, because in reality, he actually was. “You were supposed to be the easy Aspect to guard, you know. Your siblings run off a lot and gives their personal guard a run for their money but you never do that. Too responsible, you told me. So what are you doing down here, surrounding yourself with things you only go for occasionally, unless you’re in the mood to get buzzed. Spit it out, Ven. You know I can smell it off of you.” 

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The downside of being an immortal was the unlimited supply of melancholy in the mind when one had the need for it. It seemed as if the guilt he felt triggered a series of long-hidden, deeply buried memories to surface-scenes of despair, the mistakes of his past all came together to haunt him. A side of him was amused at how much he had started to appreciate the mortals and the freedom they gain with death and another part of him felt the hollow rage of how Vladimir now joined those ranks. 

Each time that name crossed his mind, the urge to smash and destroy things around him intensified. A sense of powerlessness that he had never felt before assailed him and there was nothing he could do except try and numb his sense if just for a little while. It was no secret that both the guards and aspects were devastated with the news, but while the others put their grief into planning vengeance and seeking answers, Ven found himself putting a distance from everyone else, erecting emotional walls, disregarding their concern and being an absolute selfish jerk.

And he couldn't muster himself to care.

His held the bottle of alcohol against his lips and took a long drag, emptying the contents in a single sip but before he could smash the glass against the wall, the familiar baritone of his guard resounded across the cellar. The aspect shut his eyes and swore silently. Henri was the last person he wanted to encounter and Vladimir's death was just a part of that reason. He wondered how long the guard would last if he simply ignored his existence.

Turning away from him, he shoved the empty bottle aside. His senses were sharp enough to not want to smash things in Henri's presence but for the rest of his behaviour, Ven couldn't really say much. Uncorking a fresh bottle, he put it against his lips and drank deeply, hardly caring about how his actions seemed to appear. He had learnt the hard away that attachment of any form caused nothing but disaster and Ven wanted to push them all away. His siblings, the other guards, Henri- everyone away from his life. The less he felt the better he would be able to function. 

"I thought I was clear in my instructions to be left the hell alone. Go away, Aleshire." How he managed to utter those words and retain his composure, Ven did not know but affecting an air of indifference, he walked further inside the cellar in search of something ten times stronger than the bottle he was currently holding. He had no reply to Henri's statement, neither did he have the energy for a sarcastic jab. He felt bone dead exhausted and yet the welcoming state of absolute numbness would not come. 

When he came looking for his troublesome Aspect that he was supposed to protect, he didn't expect to find him all buzzed up from alcohol and regrets. He didn't expect to find him wallowing in his sorrows in the manor's basement, where the wine cellar is located at. Henri definitely did not expect to find Venetus leaning against the racks and shelves with a bottle in hand but here he was, the therian leaning against the entrance door to the wine cellar and there the other male was, standing not far from where he stood. Even with the state he was in, even he had to admit that any other person would take a look at the Aspect of Realms and figured he was just bored so he decided to drink a few bottles.

 Nothing out of the ordinary. But that's just it, to him, it is out of the ordinary. Especially when Venetus Ailward does not simply drink without precautions and for fun. It's a rare occasion. Now, Erythreus? That, Henri can believe. He's known the male for almost five centuries, it was gonna take a lot more to push him away some adult. Every vents and quirks Ven had, Henri knew. They were pretty much inseparable back then. Now? God knows. "Your instructions were clear, yes. But not very specific either. You told everyone to leave you alone. You never said for how long so there you go, I gave you your portion of being left alone. For a month, actually." Of course,  he counted. Henri was anything if not concise.

 He didn't like feeling out of bounds with his Aspect, seeing as they've always been glued to the hip for long. Sure, the therian goes on missions more times than counted because he likes doing so, especially if it meant investigating the mysterious causes of supernatural deaths and injuries. But when he's not, you'll be able to find Henri keeping an eye out for the Aspect. "How long are you going to be like this, Ven. It's been months. Hell, we've been in Evermore for a while now. 3 years. Three, Ven. I know it's hard since the fall of the Isle but you can't be like this... " he sighed and made his way to him, taking a seat just across him with his hands clasped, "Talk to me, dude. I'm here. You always talk to me."

When the others had first broached the topic of him having a guard, Ven had plain laughed out loud. It seemed like a prank then, a preposterous idea. Being drunk in his own worth and power, the aspect had been guilty of at times not seeing the bigger picture and analysing all the risks involved. He had considered himself invincible then, even immortal but now...it seemed like a blank void of naive stupidity. 

Venetus still remembered his first meeting with Henri, joking with the others of having a really good-looking guard, but as time progressed, he began appreciating all the new facets of personality that was revealed to him. They joked around, traded barbs, had even fought at times- a far cry from the initial civil relationship they had maintained- but in all the years, Venetus had never pushed him away or shut him out completely.

Until now.

A flicker of a smile crossed his lips at Henri's response. While Cora would have spit fire, the therian dealt with wit and sarcasm, a combination that would have made the aspect laugh any other day. But since Vladimir's death, no day had been any other day.

"I thought you'd have welcomed the vacation." Ven retorted in a bland tone opening a new bottle "Gone out. Snagged a date or two. Were you not the one always telling me what a slave driver I was?" He had been too- confident in his abilities and decisions, often thinking things wouldn't go wrong...and yet here they were.

Henri's words softened a part of him that he didn't recognise needed to hear them, but hours upon hours of anger and guilt and despondency made him cast those reassurances aside. He stood up agitated and began to pace-

"If I can't be like this, then tell me! Tell me how am I supposed to be? Vladimir's death was the worst blow we have suffered and I don't know..I just don't know how to deal with this anymore." He turned towards the Therian, his eyes hard with torment "You aren't the one that can't face Theodore. You don't have to deal with Octavia's grief and confusion. You aren't on the receiving end of Gabriel's anger and hate. So don't ask me to talk. I can't talk! I messed up big time- and I bloody hell still can't understand how this mess happened in the first place."

Those words increased in tone till the point that Ven was hoarsely yelling them before pulling back and smashing the almost empty bottle of alcohol against the wall. His shoulders bunched up in defeat and he stood there still and shaking and unable to meet Henri's gaze anymore "It was all my fault. And now we are all paying the price" 

Henri remembered when he first met the Aspect of Realms, neither of them was delighted to hear the idea of being close to one another. Don’t get him wrong, when Henri first joined the Guard, he kept to himself and only responded when he was needed. He did his job and stayed behind the curtains, and he’s always been good at that. Sometimes, people didn’t even realize he was even in the room. Aside from working in the laboratory as part of the forensics, he was also a good tracker, like any other therians would be. With their enhanced senses and connection to nature, it wasn’t surprising to see him prancing around and tracking the people they were told to track with ease. He was only nearing his 50s when he was promoted to be Venetus’ personal guard. At first, he didn’t mind it despite being a bit nervous since a personal guard is quite possibly the highest honor for all of them in the Guard.

 There were only 7 selected people to take up such a duty. To always know where your Aspect would be, to protect them with the best of your ability, to make sure nothing happens to them, yes, even when they’re drunk off their ass, you still need to be sure they’re still fine. That’s what he was doing right now, looking after his Aspect. He respected Ven’s wishes, he gave him space and time away when he requested for him to do so and now after thinking enough was enough, he was back, leaning against the entrance of the wine cellar with his arm crossed while staring at the other male who was still very much off his rack for suffering from the hangover. “I didn’t spend almost five centuries being your confidant for nothing, Ven. It’s easier to get rid of a tiger instead of me, at this point. You know that, so why do you even attempt to try?” That’s also another thing for them, to be close to their Aspect, making sure they’re their most trusted confidant aside from their own siblings.

 Henri stayed as his personal guard for almost 500 years which was something, he was glad that he still managed to stay alive amidst every mission given. “Oh the vacation was good, but it doesn’t mean anything” he rolled his eyes at the elder male, “You know very well that I don’t nearly have the time to snag a date. Don’t rub it in, old man” He grimaced internally at the sudden outburst from the Aspect but didn’t show it in front of him. Vladimir’s death affected all of them, mostly the Aspects. “Yeah well, while you’ve been sitting here getting drunk high off your horse every single day, others were in confusion and chaos not knowing what needs to be done. Missions weren’t even given interval anymore, everywhere had a case here and there. We don’t have the numbers we used to have, we’re short-handed. And seeing our Aspects going crazy isn’t exactly giving others the motivation they need. We’ll leave you to do whatever you want behind the curtains, but don’t show your despair too much it makes others feel worthless” he hissed, oh he was pissed too.

 He cared deeply for Ven but the Aspect wouldn’t allow him near and he’s tired of always having to reach out. When the bottle was smashed, the therian rushed to the other male’s aid instinctively, fearing he may have cut himself. “Stop! You could’ve hurt yourself, let me see” he grumbled and demanded to see his hand, “Let me see” he reiterated sternly this time.

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