Has it always been this empty? That's the first thing Dae thought of when he passed the balcony, Yeon has never been one to decorate his place all that much, in fact the niveis thought him to be someone minimalistic with how simple yet classy the interior design of the penthouse was. It looked the same since they left it like that. It's been a while since Yeon departed to NYC to embark on another chapter in his journey, one that made Dae beyond proud. But he couldn't deny the loneliness he felt either, he didn't have his partner in crime physically by his side anymore and he couldn't even call him without having to issue an appointment beforehand. At least that's what the receptionist told him anyway and he decided that he shouldn't bother a busy man like that over a chat. He can just visit him next time when he wants to, right? 

Well that didn't happen. A month ago, he went to the company Yeon relocated to, but was met with heavy traffic. And by heavy traffic, he meant the amount of people who actually wanted to be granted an audience with Yeonseok Lee too. Supposedly, Dae would've gotten access either way because of who he is but he didn't want to burden the valkyr with his troubles so he steered clear. He kept himself busy with new clients, he improved his tracking too, at some point, Dae grew tired of this. Even bounty hunting feels meaningless now, there was no excitement to it, his adrenaline couldn't even begin to cover 10% of what he feels. He didn't want to take his time away but yesterday he realized he had to see him. Even from afar is fine. 

Instead of taking any transport, he decided to fly because that was the easiest for him, not to mention it gives him time to collect his thoughts while he's up in the air. Dae did make note to stop after flying a few hundred miles to recuperate. It took him some time but it was definitely faster than driving there too. That was how he found himself leaning against Yeon's balcony while it was raining heavily, the thunder was mocking him for sure, but Dae couldn't give it any mind to even care. He's so tired both mentally and physically. The niveis was soaked from head to toe, he actually looked like how his cat, Cleo, would be when she just got splashed by water. The hoodie covering his hair barely left anything untouched, the city was bustling with the density as usual, and Dae scrolled his contacts, typing a message to Yeon, "Are you busy?"

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Yeon thought for a moment in his head that there was no one quite like Dae, the niveis was such a unique character that he was sure he could travel the whole world and meet almost everyone and he still wouldn’t find someone who made him feel the way he did. “You aren’t easy to find” he responded truthfully. “I’ll bet you are” he teased with a smirk because he was sure the niveis was proud of the fact some of those firsts were things they couldn’t say in front of others. It occurred to him that more and more the niveis was able to steal his attention away, even when they weren’t together he was thinking about him, what he would be doing if he was here or what he would say in reaction to something.

He wondered for a moment when they had changed for him, at what point did Dae start sneaking into his consciousness whenever it got the chance and what did it mean? Perhaps he knew that but he knew for sure it wasn’t something he was able to admit to just yet. “I’m sure he can figure it out, he’s used to his new life by now” he had come around to it much better than Yeon had initially and it made him pretty proud to see him grow so much. He was definitely ready for his new life, even if it still made him worry knowing he would have to be around humans a lot. “Still...the temptation is definitely something, with any luck he can handle on the blood bag diet like me” he didn’t think Jihoon would handle the guilt that came with biting someone.

The valkyr grinned triumphantly when the niveis said he wouldn’t complain when he gave him food or clothes “Well maybe you’ll have to let me get you a bigger closet too” he teased slightly, otherwise he might run out of room for them. His gaze softened slightly when the niveis said he was staying for now “I think we both know there is no...for now about it” he corrected him as he offered a small smile, the niveis might act like he doesn’t need anyone but Yeon knew him well enough by now to know he cared more then he ever wanted to let on. “I can?” he questioned as he went quiet, staring back at the other male in surprise for a moment, he was about to say something but then the doorbell interrupted them and he was left in quiet surprise in the kitchen while Dae went to get the food.

He paused for a moment as he thought it over in his head, it was selfish of him to ask Dae to uproot his life and come here and yet it seemed like that was what the niveis wanted him to do. He reached into the liquor cabinet and took out an expensive whiskey, he figured they might need it if they were going to try and navigate the complicated situation they seemed to have found themselves in. When Dae came in he poured out two glasses of the whiskey before putting an ice cube in each “Something strong and expensive” he commented as he nudged it over towards him “Figured it might be...needed” he murmured before grabbing a chicken tender for himself to eat.

Hearing that from Yeon, of all people, almost gave Dae the reassurance he needed. Well, it might have, but whether it was strong enough to overpower the negativity and insecurity he’s been dealing with, he wasn’t sure. Perhaps it would’ve been easier to sort out his decisions when his state of mind isn’t frazzled or he wasn’t having a dilemma with his own identity. This confusion is slowly getting out of hand and he doesn’t like one bit of it. “And you aren’t either” he mumbled, hot people? Sure, classy and smart ones who know their worth? Plenty. But they didn’t have what Yeon did, and until today, Dae wasn’t sure if he could even describe it without stuttering or stumbling on his words. He misses Jihoon, the newborn had been somewhat like a pet initially, but then Dae grew to like his company and Cleo did too. “I mean he has to, right? There’s not exactly much of a choice, he needs to adapt if he wants to survive” and that’s what he told the valkyr, to never stop being cautious of his surroundings and be mindful of who he speaks with. Keeping a supernatural secret shouldn’t be so hard but for a human who had no knowledge of it before? It could be daunting.

The niveis knew Yeon is on a strict blood bag diet and he was hoping that Jihoon would be able to follow that route because no one knows if trouble will come knocking on their doorstep. “Speaking of which, have you told her about Jihoon? Cecilia, I mean. She’s your ambassador now, right?” Even if she wasn’t leading Yeon’s faction at the moment, he was sure this information needed to be relayed to her, since she monitors the activities inside and out of the faction. He didn’t want Yeon to get in trouble for this, even if said woman is his sister figure. Soft spots can’t overturn professionalism, at the end of the day. Yeon knows that too. “I don’t think we need to worry much about bloodlust when it comes to him too, I told you I let him go because I was sure he’s ready for it. He has a strong sense of control, sometimes it irks me. I’m sure it will help him fend off his… more primal urges.” He hopes it will. He spared the other male a look when he said he’d get him a bigger closet, “Do what you will, Yeon, at this point I know it’s hard to deny you” could he really deny the valkyr wholly? When the time comes, the niveis would fall victim to him. Again.

Maybe he’s right, maybe there is no for now in his dictionary, maybe he was just deluding himself into thinking that there is. Dae wants to stay but not at the expense of his own crazed mental state. What if he hurts someone? What if he hurts himself? Maybe the latter would be slightly better considering nobody else is at casualty radius. He took a glass and finished it in one take, slowly savoring the strong alcohol he was given, “Yeah… we definitely need one. Or ten, I don’t know. I feel like I’d need ten.” The heavy sigh that he let out was a clear statement of his situation right now. He took a seat and starts to unwrap his meal and took the spoon from the kitchen, “I know a depressing topic while eating is a no-no but I’m going to make an exception for today because I’m just really fucking confused.” Dae made that rule for them, no interruptions when eating because it’s a sacred time. “I don’t know what to do, Yeon. I’ve been forgetting things too so that doesn’t help with the whole I don’t know who the fuck I really am shit.” He wondered if that’s what Jihoon or Yeon felt, when they became valkyr, shedding their old human life.

Yeon couldn’t help the proud smile that came over his lips in response to that compliment the other male returned. Dae was a character the valkyr couldn’t quickly forget, he might not have been the first person that someone would pick out in a crowd but when you got to know him, there were layers to him, he was so loyal and determined, the kind of person who was unshakable when it came to standing for those they cared about. “He’s not just going to survive, he’s going to thrive, I see a big future for him, whatever he ends up choosing” he didn’t regret his decision because he had seen such a bright future in Jihoon, both before and after his death, he believed in him.

Yeon shifted on the spot when Dae mentioned Ce “She knows about it...it’s not like I can lie to her, I’m good but she’s...lethal when she wants to be” he murmured softly “But she wasn’t exactly happy about it given our whole rogue situation lately, it doesn’t exactly set the precedence she wants” he pressed his lips together “I can’t bring myself to regret saving someone’s life though...and Jihoon he..he seems really glad to be alive” it was a tough experience for the younger male, but it couldn’t have been worse than the sad alternative, right? “He’s a smart kid, the kind of person our people should be proud to welcome” Yeon sighed under his breath, this gift was certainly complicated.

He grinned slightly when the other male said it was hard to deny him “Can you really complain, you love it when I pick outfits out for you anyway” he grinned slightly, Dae always got extra attention when he was wearing outfits Yeon picked out for him, his sense of style was pretty stellar after all “Do you still have the Ray-Bans?” he questioned playfully, he had picked out the perfect ones for Dae. After Yeon fixed both of their drinks he curled his hand around one of the glasses and watched the other male with a concerned expression, he could see a lot of pain there and it instinctively made him want to comfort him “Have as many as you need” he murmured softly as his expression held his. He didn’t even want to eat his food because he was so focused on the icy male. He bit his lip before reaching for his hand “You don’t have to have the answer to that right now” he soothed him.

“Confusion...it’s natural when you’ve been through so much...experienced so much” his gaze softened slightly. “Tell me what I can do to help” he cared, he cared for him deeply and he couldn’t stand to see him struggling.

Honestly, he was proud that Yeon chose to save someone he thought had the potential to live a longer life, even one that is not as a human. It took him a great deal of courage to turn him. This is why he wanted to know if Yeon already relayed this matter to Cecilia. “She’ll come around it sooner than later, she trusts you, does she not? You won’t just do anything reckless without thinking of the consequences...” He’s heard about her a few times, and it didn’t take him long to procure information on the ambassador and let’s just say she had a long track record and could be seen as notorious to a lot of bad people. Cecilia Laterza takes care of her faction, whether by weeding out unnecessary company or protecting them. That matter regarding turning Jihoon sounds more complicated than it sounded but Dae couldn’t bring himself to drag it out either.

The niveis scoffed and shook his head “I mean it wouldn’t exactly be a nice picture if I was going to be ungrateful about the gifts you kept giving me” Dae is frugal when it comes to his life, Yeon knows that. He’s never had to worry about money because his job always gave him an advantage when it comes to living a comfortable life, but that’s only convenient when people seek him out after his impressive track record. If he wasn’t good at what he does, they’d request someone else. But he couldn’t rely on those only so he started to focus on his savings a few months ago, though he wasn’t sure how worthwhile it is, considering he doesn’t think he’ll need to pay attention to it. Maybe not to him, maybe it’ll be given to Mirae. “I still have them, I don’t use them always, but they’re kept nicely, don’t worry” whatever Yeon gave him, he cherishes.

Dae didn’t want to look vulnerable in front of Yeon, but he couldn’t help it, his mind is filled with a lot of that and there’s a reason why he impulsively flew here in search of the valkyr. He needed comfort, something only Yeon ever seemed to be able to give. “If I don’t settle this now… then I don’t know when else I’ll come around this topic again.” It has to be solved soon or else it’s going to eat him up. “I’ve been thinking about this for a while but lately it just comes back to me” he poured himself another glass and finished it in one shot “The other day when I was doing my job, I was chasing down a phoenix… I knew him, he was part of my tribe, my original one before I fled with my sister. But then he said a few things that I couldn’t quite forget. He talked about my identity… what I am, what am I, Yeon? He said I’ve been changing identities to the point where I don’t even know who I really am.”

Yeon rested a hand against his cheek and propped it against the side as he watched Dae “I’m sure she will and she does...I think she just has reservations, she’s seen a lot of people turn others and regret their own decisions” but Jihoon had turned out better than he could have hoped and he was proud of the choice he had made. “If it was reckless then I’ll be reckless again because...I can’t have the ability to save someone and just...ignore that” it wasn’t part of who he was, Yeon was a caring person who tried to forward his good fortune to others “But she’s right when she says I have to be careful about who I trust” he had seen people misuse his good faith in the past.

Yeon nodded and smiled but looked down for a moment and then back up to Dae “You can tell me if it gets too much...I get a little carried away when it comes to people I care about” he confessed as he twiddled his thumbs in his lap and nodded “I have a lot...sometimes I just want others to share in that” but he knew that could be seen as obnoxious by others if they didn’t want it. Dae he felt this compulsion to give things to even more than the others, it was hard to resist sometimes because he would see something and his mind would start on the track of thinking how much the niveis would like it. Yeon smiled softly when Dae said he still had the shades he’d gotten him “You looked so sexy in them” he commented under his breath.

Yeon knew they walked this line that determined how far they should get on the personal side with one another but honestly he was tired of the tiptoeing, knowing he would end up placing a foot on the wrong sided when he stumbled “Okay...then let’s...figure it out” he commented in a soft voice as he brought his second hand to cup over the top of Dae’s in a comforting manner. The valkyr sat quietly and listened as Dae talked about the struggles he’d had with his own identity through the years. He bit his lip and nodded slightly in understanding, he could respect that it must have been hard for him to figure out his path.

He paused as he thought about it for a moment “You’re Daehyun, that’s the name your mother chose to give you when you were born, it means honorable.” he pursed his lips slightly “You’re the protective brother of Mirae, who would do anything, no matter the costs, even if it meant she would hate you for it” he nodded “You’re Jaesung’s best friend, the one he turns to for just about anything, the one he shares all his troubles and his fears to because he knows you’ll always listen” the way Jae and Dae had clicked was honestly so indescribable to him. “You’re Hanseol’s frenemy, the one he enjoys teasing because he knows exactly how to push your buttons and Jihoon's elder brother figure who found a way to get him through the hardest thing he's ever been through” he pressed his lips together.

“You’ve been so many things in your life...and I’m sure that you feel like you lack...purpose...just floating in the wind” at least that was what he had observed “But anything that’s lost...I promise you it can be found” his gaze softened slightly, he hoped that was meaningful somehow.

Yeon knows her better than him, that’s already a given, especially when Dae knows nothing much about the lady that’s considered to be the valkyr’s sister figure. Hell, the blond even knows Jihoon better and Dae’s been that guy’s roommate for over a year and a half already. “You’re a good man, Yeon” in all his years, Yeon is definitely one of the best people he has met and he’s met plenty. Maybe Dae was being biased but there’s no fault in that either, clearly, the niveis harbored strong feelings towards the other male. Sometimes, he didn’t even bother hiding them. “You’re smart, you’ll know who to trust and who not to.” He’s confident that Yeon would be able to navigate easily.

The valkyr is generous, and though Dae wouldn’t admit it out loud, he has grown to love the attention he received from him, whether it came in the form of gifts or just these conversations they keep having, he loves it all. “Don’t worry, you’ll know if it gets too much.” Not that Dae was sure he could ever say no to this guy, maybe he’s weaker than he thought. The niveis grinned coyly and nudged the blond when he mentioned he looked sexy in the shades he gave “I look sexy always, Yeon” there are many words to describe Daehyun Stormwind, but he’s not shy, he’s far from it. But he doesn’t go to the point where he would openly compliment himself, so for him to do this in front of Yeon, meant he was fully comfortable with him. The amount of people he could really do that with is small, they could almost be counted with one or two hands.

His eyes fell to the hand clasping his comfortingly, it felt warm, as opposed to his cold self. “I don’t know how to figure it out…” he mumbled inaudibly, god knows what goes on in his head right now. The reason he flew here, the reason why he sought him out even though he knows Yeon is busy with his hectic schedule. He needed to see him. When Yeon started to talk, he couldn’t keep his eyes off him, almost as if he was entranced by the male sitting next to him, the one who was actively trying to comfort him even though he probably didn’t deserve it. He swore he started to choke up when his name was called, what his name meant, the name his mother gave him… the mother he had to abandon on a mission to save his sister instead. “I could’ve saved her… I could’ve brought her with me… instead of leaving her behind when I know, it’s a death sentence. I left her to die” he sobbed, it’s been a while since the niveis known tears.

He didn’t like to cry, for plenty of reasons, one being his tears are toxic and the other being that it makes him weak. “How can I find them when I don’t even know what’s lost? Is it really lost if I don’t have them in the first place? My identity is there, the way you said it is… but there’s someone else, someone else that’s not me but also me. How do I begin to detach myself from that reality?”

He sucked in a soft breath when Dae said he was a good man and looked down for a moment, he wondered if the niveis knew how much it meant to hear something like that from him, it wasn’t just another passing comment when it was Dae, the Valkyr cared very much what he thought. “It’s still a risk, some people are good at playing the part when they need to” he murmured softly, sometimes it was hard to figure out who was being genuine and who wasn’t which is why Yeon had always been quite cautious with who he considered a friend. It was harder to know if you could trust someone in the short space of time you needed to make a decision to bring them back. He’d known Jihoon personally, which is why he could make the choice he did.

There was something about caring for someone that made you want to spoil them, he couldn’t help himself even though he knew Dae wasn’t the type to want to be “Good” he murmured softly, because he didn’t know how to stop himself otherwise, it was a struggle for him to process everything he was feeling. He knew it went deeper than either of them were willing to say out loud but the valkyr didn’t even know where to start with crossing that line. “Well true, but those shades definitely do something extra to me” he teased and raised his brows as he watched the niveis, couldn’t complain about a little additional sex appeal right? “Much like you’re a fan of my tight pants” he teased.

Yeon felt his heart clench a little in his chest as he realized how vulnerable Dae was willing to be with him right now, it was the most open with his emotions that the valkyr had seen him. “I don’t think there’s a simple answer to that” he murmured softly, people’s sense of identity could be strong or it could be very weak, some people searched for years for where they belonged in the world. There was no right way to see yourself. Yeon stumbled over his words just a little when he saw the way Dae teared up, his gaze held his though, with a reassuring expression that said he would never judge him. He squeezed his hand tighter when he spoke “You can’t know that...it could have been very different...you could have all died” he’d heard the stories about how dangerous it was for phoenixes.

His hand came to rest against the icy male’s back where he rubbed gently circles against it “You don’t have to detach yourself...you are who you are Dae, yes there are all those good parts but there are bad parts too, just because I show the best I have to the world, it doesn’t mean I’m not...broken on the inside” he commented softly “I can’t begin to understand what you’ve been through...but I do know torturing yourself and trying to split your own identity because you’re ashamed of your flaws...that won’t end up doing you well” Yeon moved his food onto the table in front of him before tugging him closer, pulling the niveis against his shoulder and wrapping an arm around his shoulder.

“What if I told you there was someone who loves you, in spite of those flaws?” he spoke softly as he soothingly rubbed his shoulder.

Perhaps for him to judge who's good and who's not would be a bit far-fetched, considering his own notorious reputation that's been set for the past few years now. But he really did mean it when he said Yeon is a good person, he has seen so many rotten ones, even as good looking as they could be. "People's faces don't always reflect their heart, but yours do." Some people may put on a facade and act in front of him, they could deceive him and he might not even realize it but he was confident Yeon is not one of those. He chuckled lightly when he pointed out the shades he wore which had also been a gift from the valkyr, made him feel things "Well I sure hope it did, I didn't wear it for no reason, you know" in other words, the niveis did wear it thinking he'd impress the blond. 

Sometimes he won't admit it but god knows how much he loves it when Yeon's attention is on him. He could feel his throat getting dry when he mentioned the tight pants though, yeah he could totally remember the times he'd drool over the valkyr when he was donning them. "I mean can you really blame me? Anyone would, with an ass like that, you're bound to show it off to the world" he teased. They always tease around and there were times when Dae would be more open around Yeon, showing him a sensitive side, but being vulnerable is never an easy job to do, for the niveis, it meant baring his back to the individual. Still, he was probably the only one he wanted to show this side to. If he's crying, then… if it's him, maybe it's fine. 

"I could've died, yeah… but she was my mother, Yeon… I'm the big brother, the eldest in the family… the firstborn, I was supposed to protect my family and what did I do? I ran like a coward" he balled up his fist and clenched his jaw, even the mere memory of that made him feel like the most worthless son ever. "I should've taken her with me… if I could take Mirae, I could've taken my mother with me. I was more… than capable." Unlike his father, his mother was stubborn but she has a heart of gold who's fiercely protective over her family. But at the end of the day, she stood no chance against the others once outnumbered. Somehow the small gesture from Yeon rubbing circles against his back soothed him, it was something his mother used to do when he was cleaning up his injuries from training. 

It was so close to his wings yet he allowed the valkyr to do that. "If I'm not ashamed of what I've done, then wouldn't that make me just as bad as the people I fought against? The very ones I opposed? I'm supposed to be different from them… yet it doesn't feel that way." He wants to say he didn't regret the things he did but honestly, a small part of him beats himself over it everyday. His ears perked up instantly upon hearing those sacred words, lifting his gaze up to meet the male in front of him "Why would they want to risk a lifetime of trouble loving someone like that?" Of course Dae wanted to be loved too, but he didn't think he deserved it.

The blond paused for a moment to smile when Dae said his face reflected his heart “That means a lot coming from you” he murmured softly, it mattered to him how Dae saw him and knowing he didn’t see him as obnoxious or bad-natured definitely felt soothing to him “I know I’m not always the easiest person to be around...but I do try my best to be kind….” to do good with the second chance he had been granted. He grinned wryly when Dae said he didn’t wear the shades he got him for no reason “Well I’d hope it was because I got it for you” he commented rather bluntly and raised his brows as though to question if Dae would deny it. He chuckled under his breath in response to his words “No one would blame you, everyone takes the time to stare, though not many are privileged enough to get to touch later in the night too” he teased playfully, with Dae he allowed it time and time again, dare he say he even craved the other male’s attention and touch.

Yeon had seen many sides of Dae, he was far more sensitive than most probably realized but his walls raised so high that others rarely got to see that part of him. But the valkyr had never seen him cry, never seen him in this much pain. It made his heart feel tight in his chest as he listened, just giving the niveis time to say everything he needed to. “From someone who...watched the aftermath, there is nothing more painful for a parent than losing their child, she did what any would do and put her own first...she made sure you and Mirae lived” and it was tragic and heartbreaking how things turned out, but she had saved Dae and he was here now because she did “You can’t keep blaming yourself forever Dae, people make their own choices...sometimes they’re wrong, sometimes they’re right” but dwelling on them would only hurt you inside.

He wished he had the words that could make things better for him “Then be different” he murmured softly “Decide who you want to be and hold on to that with everything you have, build yourself in the image of what you want...the person your mother wanted you to be” it was never too late to start over, even if it felt like it was. When Dae lifted his gaze, Yeon sucked in a deep breath, that had been an impulsive thing to say and while it was by no means a lie, it felt selfish to say it. He lifted his hands, reaching to cup the other male’s chin as he swept the strands of his hair from his face with his thumbs “Because you make them feel alive” he murmured softly.

His gaze was full of emotion as he stared back at him, he felt nervous in his chest “Seeing you hurting like this...all I want to do is take every little bit of your pain and destroy it” he commented in a frustrated tone, he felt so conflicted by everything. “But I know that’s not something I can do” but he could make sure that Dae wasn’t alone, he could do that much.

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