It had been a few months since that first night on the rooftop. What might have been a single occurrence had become something much more common after that and it wasn't limited to work time either. At some point along the way, Astraea had become someone that Sunmin could relate to. Someone he opened himself up to and began to understand on a personal level. She became his friend, someone he could talk to whenever worries were plaguing his mind. She had talked him into finally reaching out to his faction and despite his doubts, he did, and while he was right in that they couldn't help him to understand what happened to him, it did bring him a sense of community he'd never felt before. 

Being a friend and a brother was something new to Sunmin but he was trying his best to not be completely terrible at both, he helped Han out at home and kept a low profile so that he wouldn't regret his decision to let Sunmin stay with him. He and Astraea hung out a few times a week after work, sometimes at a cafe, one time they even made it to a bar before deciding to bail because it was terrible. Of course, their friendship had sparked some rumors in the workplace and it wasn't like he didn't notice when they were all whispering about him but honestly he didn't care, he had something good in his life and other people weren't going to destroy that. 

Right now though, all he could think about was the place he had found last night while wandering the hiking trails, he had ended up going off the path for a while until he came across a completely abandoned garden that overlooked the city. Despite the eerieness of how overgrown and derelict it had become, he saw something in the place and he couldn't let it slip his mind. He hadn't managed to get a good enough view to completely understand what he was looking at and so he had retreated for the night with the plan to return tomorrow morning. Remebering that Astraea said she wasn't working at the cafe today he pulled out his phone and opened up his chat with her, it was mostly full of memes and complaints about work. He'd gotten the phone a few months after starting at the cafe and it was honestly such a good way to while away time. 

"Wanna go on adventure?" he typed on the chat before hovering his finger over the send button. He wasn't sure if Astraea was the type to wanna go hiking up the mountains, he twiddled his thumbs before hitting the send button and waiting to see if she would respond. Worst comes to worst he could go alone right?

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“It’s easier said than done for sure… but I’m trying. I can’t let my personal feelings get in the way?” Somehow it sounded more of a question rather than a statement. “I would love to think they owe me something but the reality is that they don’t owe me anything at all. I accepted this the moment I decided I wanted to have a second chance at life, however that may be. It’s like me trying to debate over the job when I was the one who signed the contract itself after reading every single detail.” It’s unlike her to be complaining, honestly. But she would admit she had plenty of new perspectives ever since they fell here. “Desire is… dangerous. It ruins everything I thought I knew.” It ruins herAstraea chuckled when he said he couldn’t do it, “It takes heavy discipline for sure, I wanna say it gets easier as time goes by but it really doesn’t.” It’s why she’s curious to see the younger ones adapt to their current situation now that they have the access they normally wouldn’t have.

“Don’t get me wrong, you’re not easy to read at all. But you’re not… impossible. Just that I could only scrape what’s on the surface and how your emotions go, unlike others, I can’t seem to go further than that, are you psychic or something? Is there a secret you didn’t tell me?” she teased, a part of her actually likes this, it makes him mysterious and real. A person shouldn’t be able to read people so easily, even if they have the ability to do it. “Oh, so many… I’ve had the honor of meeting some really great people but also some really… horrible ones, both those who are not afraid of showing it or who are good at masking their intentions but that’s practically useless to me since I can see through them. Well, except you. I can’t lie to you no matter how hard I try and you… can probably lie to me and still keep those emotions in check.” If it wasn’t interesting, she would’ve found it to be annoying. The aurazin narrowed her eyes and scowled playfully when he teased her, poking into her for fun and one that she finds to be really comforting. It’s… nice.

“Hey, those lambs are cute. They were really fluffy and big… and heavy. What did you think my idea of rebellion would be? Sneak out when I shouldn’t and go to a festival when I shouldn’t?” Now that she thought about it, didn’t she often do that when she was still alive? “Actually, I did do that… a lot, when I was still alive anyhow. The square was always bustling with festivities. You’d love it, it’s not the noisy type. You just feel like you belong.” When asked if she had a favorite animal, she pondered momentarily and nodded, “It changes but the other day I was watching YouTube and got myself immersed in a compilation video of corgis… they’re so cute.” His remark did prompt a blush which made Astraea whine softly and nudged him as a gesture for him to stop teasing her, “He was really… good looking and nice. I’m easily smitten, I’ll tell you that. My former fiance was pretty nice…” It didn’t surprise her that she was supposed to live out her life the way it was predicted, though there were some she wanted to change, most were fine.

“Really? You seriously want to hear the part where I embarrassed myself and didn’t even recognize my arranged fiance at a festival I wasn’t supposed to go to? You’ll hold it against me for the next century” she protested. “You’re not making it easier for me to trust you with a car” she exclaimed when he said celestials could die just the same. She recognized this tone, it’s the same one he would use when he was talking about something he finds to be particularly endearing; something he likes. “I think I already have the power I wanted if I was a superhero. I want to help people and being an aurazin enables me to do that. If I want super strength, I can just shift into one that has it. You? And I wonder what power don’t you want if you are one?” Her eyes softened upon hearing that, “Most heroes don’t feel like one” she added gently. “Are you that good with your hands? Damn, the way you put it, you could restore a broken house or build it from the ground” she jested.

Sunmin frowned a little when she said she wasn’t allowed to let her personal feelings get in the way “So basically they want you to be an emotionless husk...quite the existence” he grumbled slightly, he couldn’t imagine how hard that must be for her, especially because she was clearly someone who enjoyed being around others and fed off their energy. “Is it really a second chance at life if you’re barely living?” he questioned out of curiosity, he didn’t know how the gods handled people after they passed but this seemed like a cruel trap they had set up for lost souls to do their dirty work “Desire is the only point...if you have nothing you want...why even be here?” he questioned under his breath, it seemed natural to want things to him but he could understand why her self preservation told her not to want it.

He laughed softly when she asked him if he was psychic “It’s more that I just don’t invest too much when it comes to others...what’s the point in letting people have so much power over you?” he murmured it softly, he always saw how heartbroken people could get when others let them down or didn’t live up to their expectations and it honestly seemed like a miserable cycle to him. “So I guess my secret is not being...receptive to others” being alone as much as he was, he probably didn’t give off the same social cues others did too. He couldn’t help but chuckle when she said she couldn’t lie to him “Does my presence intimidate you or something?” he questioned and tilted his head, he had noticed that sometimes when he caught her in a lie she would stutter and stumble over her words.

It was pretty easy for him to joke around with her because she wasn’t easily offended and she could handle his joking “Do I want to know how you know they’re heavy?” he questioned in an exasperated tone because he was imagining her trying to lift some poor baby sheep.”I mean a festival is slightly more scandalous but...only if you’re smoking weed at one or something...otherwise it’s pretty standard human stuff” he gave her a quirk of his brow because he was teasing her for being so straight laced and challenging her to name anything she had done that wasn’t easily spun as well-behaved. He licked his lips and grinned when she said corgis were her current favorite “Why does that make so much sense” he commented and chuckled, she definitely had puppy-like energy to her so it fit her pretty well.

He was so amused by her whimsical nature and all the stories she had to tell, they were so different but that’s what made her so intriguing, it made him curious to know how her mind worked in different situations “Sounds like the bar wasn’t all that high if all you’re checking off is good-looking and nice” he shook his head slightly, she did seem like the type who could work with just about anyone though so it kinda made sense somehow. He shrugged “I mean I probably will but it’s not like there’s anyone for me to tell about it” he commented and grinned, this was him showing an interest in someone he now called a friend. One of his only friends, one that was honestly unexpected.

He nodded slightly when she said she already had the power she’d want as a superhero “So rainbow girl it is” he teased softly thinking what a comic version of her would look like if he was to sketch it, one of the prettier designs he would have done for sure. “I mean I feel like being able to shrink would be an interesting power until you realize you’re tiny, weak and people could step on you” he chuckled softly. “Well not to the point of bragging but all the work I’ve done in my life has pretty much been manual so…” he shrugged “I want to see this place looking beautiful” he expressed in a soft voice.

She couldn’t help but to chuckle when he said they expected her to be an emotionless husk, “I mean when you put it that way, it sounds horrible.” She didn’t remember it to be something that bad but it could be because Astraea left all desires when she decided to be an aurazin, well… almost. “Do I really have the right to be asking for more when they are the ones who even decided I was worth something to be given a second chance?” It could’ve been anyone, she was sure a lot of people died wrongly too but she didn’t see too many back in the Veil. Though she did take the voidlings coming to prey on them in the Void into account too. Not everyone makes it. “But if it’s between staying to wait for those things to feed off my souls and to become an aurazin, I would choose the latter any day. It’s scary… it’s the coldest place I’ve ever known and it’s not just the temperature.”

That’s a good question, why is she here? “I want to help people… I want to make the world a better place even if it’s only for a few people. I can’t change it, but if I can make someone’s day better then… why wouldn’t I want to do that?” She couldn’t be selfish and just think about what she wanted, to her fate already answered her when she died. It wasn’t as if she could change that. Sunmin seemed so unbothered by everything, it was almost fascinating because she wondered if that’s really what he felt or it’s just the self-preservation option of taking the kick. “Is it because you’re afraid?” To let someone in and care for them only to be disappointed? That always seemed to be the case. The aurazin blushed profusely when he asked if he intimidated her, she was quick to shake her head before ending up biting her lip, “I… that’s not it. I get flustered when I can't read you because I don’t know what to expect. You’re mysterious, and that’s an understatement. And you can catch me lying so easily so that’s frustrating when I can’t catch you.”

Astraea scowled playfully and nudged him, “I lifted them, of course. They’re baby sheep, very cute and very fluffy so that even when you fall because they’re heavy, you get greeted by cotton… you should try it sometimes, maybe it’ll lift up your mood.” Who wouldn’t like baby sheeps, right? It wasn’t the first time he has mentioned things like that, but today her curiosity peaked, “I thought cannabis isn’t good for you? It looked like regular herbs though…” Did she want to try? God knows, but he wasn’t doing a good job at not indulging her. “I’ve been told I resembled one” she grinned sheepishly. It shouldn’t be so sad but why did she feel a pang to her chest when he said that? No, she wasn’t offended, that wasn’t the feeling or else she would’ve recognized it. All she knew was that it made her sad.

Her smile fell and the aurazin pressed them into a thin line, “It’s not that I have low standards, just that I mostly don’t think I’m worth anything much? Does that make sense? I mean I met a good guy and he probably has a nice background too, but then there’s me, who admittedly had a pretty messy background. To start with, on paper I’m legitimate but in reality, everyone knows I’m my mother’s child; the baby that was born out of wedlock, over one night’s mistake. Not exactly a good courting material. The only reason why people even flocked by was because they want to be the husband to the eldest daughter of the megas domestikos’, nothing more.” To say that she wasn’t teased about that when she was younger would be false. “It means… Grand Domestic, my stepfather was the commander of the army back then. Who wouldn't want to be his son-in-law? And Agatha was barely 4 years old so...” That was why she could settle with less.

“I do like the idea of still being friends with you for another century though” she beamed, he was the first person she didn’t have to tamper with, and hoped she could get away with leaving his memories intact. “You’ve been calling me rainbow girl ever since we met, it may as well be my superhero codename.  Admittedly, calling you starboy is just… tacky. You’re most probably an anti-hero too.” When he said being able to shrink would be a useful one, she chuckled, “I think it’s better to shapeshift then, that way you won’t be able to just shrink, you know? I can be anyone and anything, that’s useful. But as powerful as that power could be, it sucks that my weakness is something you can find in every decent household, sugar.” She let out a resigned sigh because it was hard to avoid them and it didn’t help that she likes them. “Then we’ll make it so. This place… by the time we’re done with it, it’ll be very beautiful.”

Sunmin pressed his lips together and shrugged slightly “I don’t think the world is fair so why should the rest of us play along” he commented in a soft voice, if you left the ways of the world to unfold as they wanted then you almost always end up behind, sometimes you had to push to get the things you wanted and maybe that was selfish but he’d rather be selfish than sitting and wondering why he felt so empty. “It does sound...empty” he commented, the insight of what was waiting the other side didn’t seem all that bright, he’d hoped for something more...peaceful.

She was a good person, he knew that much through and through by now, it just made sense to her to day she would protect and help others but he didn’t think she realized how many other people would have chosen a more selfish option. “You’d be surprised how many people, don’t, want to do that” even if they acted like they were selfless, very few would actually commit themselves to that life. He blinked when she asked him if it was because he was afraid, he hadn’t really thought about it like that “Maybe” he answered and shrugged “It’s not like I haven’t given people the chance to not disappoint me in the past” and each of them had inevitably let him know in one way or another than he couldn’t rely on them. A small smile crossed his lips when she said that not being able to read her caught her off guard “Ah, so it’s you can’t cheat” he teased slightly.

He laughed because the image of her lifting a lamb was somehow funny to him because she was so small that even a baby sheep would probably look big in her arms “Can’t say I’ve ever had the compulsion to pick up a baby sheep” he teased and bit his lip slightly, maybe it would be pretty cute though. Sunmin scoffed when she said cannabis wasn’t good for you “Neither is alcohol but that doesn’t stop most of the population drinking it” he explained and shrugged “Cannabis has actually been linked to pain relief in many studies, though people can take it too far and make it dangerous if they don’t control their own environment” like people who decided to drive after drinking, for example.

Sunmin was quiet as he let her ramble about her past and how she was born out of wedlock and that she had been chased when she was younger “Well...I’m pretty sure your safe on the wedlock thing, no one cares much for legitimacy anymore...or whether you’re a virgin” he chuckled gently as he watched her with a curious expression “But you’re worth more than you think” he assured her with a more stern voice, he noticed that pattern with her a lot, she always doubted herself of downplayed her own worth in the eyes of others. “You’re probably the best friend I’ve ever had” he pointed out as though to exemplify his point “And I’m sure there are plenty of other people out there for you too” he disliked how offput she seemed by it all.

He chuckled slightly, sometimes it felt hard for him to imagine an entire century passing and him still being the same way he is now, he wondered if he would find some kind of happiness...would he find peace with his identity. 100 years was a long time after all. “Well if you can’t read me then almost certainly no one else can” he teased and grinned slightly. “True” he snickered, the nickname had just kinda stuck since day one and now it was never going to be shaken. “This place is going to be unrecognizable” he teased and nodded his head in agreement, before getting to his feet. “We should probably head back down, I’ll walk you home” he commented as he placed his hands into his pockets.

Aurazin are creatures of light, they are inherently good, much like the celestials. The guy in front of her is one too. "Because… we believe there is something bigger at play? Don't you believe in destiny, Sunmin?" Her tone was soft, almost as if she too, was trying to tell herself it's real. Was her faith crumbling? Perhaps. "I think everyone has their role… a purpose they have to fulfill. So the world can… go on." That's what she was taught. "It's a constant battle honestly, you're never really safe when you get there either… Remember when I told you about the voidlings? They're just waiting to prey on their next victim, who knows how long one can actually remain there without any shepherds to come…" It was why she took her duties seriously. "Sorry if you were hoping for something more peaceful… I totally just ruined the picture, right?" 

She pressed her lips into a thin line, Astraea understood what he went through, it's not easy to trust things will turn out well when people have given you nothing but doubts, continuously disappointing you with every chance they get. "I've never been able not to read someone, you know. I mean, even the nicest or the much worse ones, you'd at least be able to scrape off the surface but you, all I see is your color. I mean not that I'm complaining, it's a beautiful color, pleasant to look at." He had a point, everyone likes to indulge in their pleasure, alcohol is one of them. "Pain relief huh? I might have to study that one, I've always had a thing for herbs, so you… Cannabis or alcohol? Which guy are you?" When he told her that nobody cares about those things anymore, the aurazin found herself biting her lip, "They don't? People don't even care if you're a virgin? Then how would parents choose their children's bride? How would you choose yours?" 

Can people sleep around with no consequences now? She was genuinely curious, the last time she was on earth, people were still conservative, though not so much as it used to be in the past, which was ironic because mankind and civilization has come a long way ever since. You're worth more than you think, he said. "I am?" It doesn't take a lot to make Astraea Wu feel touched. "Oh you're the only friend I actually divulge my personal life to… the others before you in the early centuries don't count considering they don't last longer than a few moons- months… I mean months, since I'll end up wiping their memories. And I've never really… gone too personal with them." By too personal, she meant talking about what she was and the likes. With him? She didn't feel like there's a restriction at all. It was getting late, she had fun, even if it was just them scouring the abandoned place; one that would later be their own. 

She got up from her seat and brushed herself, "Walk me home? Look at you, being all gentlemanly" she teased and beckoned for him to lead the way, "after you, sir." Being immortal meant she didn't need to worry about time but they're not expendable and Sunmin… isn't he a Celestial? "You won't leave Evermore, right?" He didn't have to worry about being hunted here, no? She sounded hopeful that he wouldn't up and leave this place.

He shrugged slightly when she asked him if he believed in destiny “Isn’t that essentially resigning yourself to the fact you can’t control your own life?” he raised his brows as though to question her on whether she saw it differently but he preferred to believe there was autonomy to his own life and it was under his own thumb. He pressed his lips together as he listened to her talking about the void and how people could get attacked if they were stuck there for too long “But that’s not the..default right?” she mentioned before that the void was for people who couldn’t realize they were dead, which meant there must be some other place to go otherwise.

“Never?” he questioned with surprise, well that made him wonder why he was the one she couldn’t read, he never saw himself as especially different from others, but he was distant from other people and rarely went out of his way to be around people “Doesn’t my...color tell you something?” he questioned, he wasn’t really sure how it all worked for her but she talked about colors almost like they were personality traits. He chuckled and shrugged when she asked him whether he preferred cannabis or alcohol “Cannabis, more of the good feeling and less of the puking your guts up” he commented and grinned slightly.

Sunmin had to hold himself back from chuckling at her surprise about how things had changed in modern times, he pressed his lips together and shook his head slightly when she asked how he would choose his bride “Well I can’t say I’m that interested in marriage, seems like a piece of paper and little else to me but…” he shrugged “Someone I could feel comfortable with and make me laugh would be a good start” he murmured softly, whether someone was a virgin or not didn’t matter to him at all “No one keeps themselves until marriage anymore” he assured her and grinned slightly.

She seemed so surprised when he assured her of her worth which made him bite his lip a little sadly “You seem like the type of person who would….struggle without anyone to talk to” he pointed out, noting that she shared a lot and was generally expressive, though he supposed she could talk with other aurazin more freely than she could someone like him. He rolled his eyes playfully when she called him sir and a gentleman “Alright princess, I’m not some tea sipping duke” he commented and shook his head slightly as he fell into step beside her as they walked back down the way they came until they were out in the flats that surrounded the mountains once more. Her words seemed to come out of nowhere but he could already tell she was holding a lot to them, he glanced at her over his shoulder.

He paused for a moment as he thought about it before shrugging “Can’t say I’m in a rush to leave the first place that’s ever felt like home to me” he commented thoughtfully as they continued walking “Maybe a trip to the Bahamas once I make my millions though” he teased playfully.

He did have a point, as usual. "See… that would mean something even more if I knew I even had control of my life in the first place" she chuckled bitterly, perhaps once upon a time ago, she could've taken the chance to do something better for herself instead of keeping herself back, but now? She didn't really have a choice. "I like helping people but that doesn't mean at one point, I can say I'm tired and out… like when you regularly quit a job. There's no pension for this… service. I hang my cloak and I go out of the door, and never come back." That's the reality of it. She's on borrowed time. She shook her head and winced when he asked if the Void was the only alternative, "No, no of course not. It's just a place where you automatically go when you're a lost soul, when you don't accept your death or when you don't even realize you're dead, something like that. Most of the cases I've encountered are people who didn't accept their deaths, can't really blame them either… they died in an unjustified way." 

At first, she was enthralled by the prospect of not being able to read someone because that's not something you see happening everyday and at some point, Astraea was a bit irked by it but after befriending him, she understood that it was better this way. "That's the thing, your color is calming to me, almost inviting, but that's all I can see of it. There's like a whole shield in front of you, like someone cloaked you from any intervention. I can sense your mood turning sour because it's a real-time update, but that's about it. Humans are multifaceted but you're a curious case, in a good way." She didn't want to make him seem like a weird case, she knows how indifferent he is with that. "Maybe you should show me how different it is some other time" she teased, if anyone else were to hear her right now, they would probably freak out but if there was one thing the aurazin has learned about the celestial, it's that she can trust herself around him. 

He's not the nicest person but he's the most genuine one she's ever met. The revelation that nobody saves themselves for their future spouses shocked her for a bit but it didn't surprise her entirely because of the advancements. Astraea nudged him playfully and whispered, "For you to find someone like that, you'll need to let them in first." Normally, when people point out her insecurity, she would feel sad but for the first time in a while, she felt like she didn't have anything to fear. "It's not easy being alone in the world. I have my fellow aurazin, of course. I talk to them but aside from my sister figure, Arcadia, most of them are pretty much like my classmates or neighbors. You barely scrape off the surface with them because you're afraid and I can be a coward. Everyone I befriended, they'll forget about me and like most living beings, after they reach their maximum lifespan, they die." 

So she was happy she could speak freely around him, even though there's a high chance like everyone else, one day she'll need to wipe his memories. "You don't have to be a tea sipping duke to be called a sir, gosh." The question could be a sore topic but she wanted to know, "Send me a postcard when you do" she grinned. 

He gave her an empathetic look and pursed his lips “Perhaps there are parts of your life you can’t control, but there are small things you can seize back from it...there’s some power in that right?” much like how she went to those little events, that was her using her time to do something she choice, seizing back a little time for herself. “There can be satisfaction in the little things in life, for a long time they were all I had” he murmured it softly and shrugged slightly, he still managed to lead a good life regardless of it being difficult. “There has to be some middle ground her…” he commented thoughtfully, she shouldn’t have to die to just have a little freedom, the smallest rope. “That sounds… be dead but unable to accept the reality” it must have been because of tragic circumstances.

He tilted his head in thought as he considered how a color could be seen as calming but he supposed to her it was somewhat like staring at a lava lamp and being fascinated by all the movement and patterns “Maybe it has something to do with the block that stops me from glowing, whoever it was, maybe they protected me from different kinds of magic too” it was possible right? He wasn’t an expert on magic but he did know that was the reason he didn’t shine, so who knows what else it could do. He smirked slightly when she said he should show her how different it was “If I wasn’t mistaken, I think you just asked me to help you smoke” he teased playfully “Where is the good girl I used to know?” he jested playfully.

He gave her a pointed look when she said he needed to let someone in “I know, that’s the harder part for me” he responded and shrugged his shoulders slightly as though to say he couldn’t change how he was “Trust isn’t easy for me, you know that by now” he’d shared some of his past, not all of it, but enough for her to understand people had screwed him over a lot. She was a really soft person, every sentiment she had came out of her care for others and yet she seemed to harbor these fears because people might not reciprocate that “Being alone in the world…” he could relate considering he had spent the first part of his life “I guess it doesn’t bother me so much anymore” though she had kinda showed up in his life and decided she was sticking around “I won’t forget you” he commented softly, his voice sounded steadfast.

He chuckled slightly “I don’t think I’m the kind of person that warrants such a formal title” it felt stuffy and weird to him anyway, he didn’t think he’d called someone else sir in his entire life and certainly didn’t expect people to do the same towards him. “I’ll send you a tap dancing telegram if that ever happens” he teased playfully, stuffing his hands as they came to the streets and started walking towards her neighborhood “We met around here…” he commented thoughtfully.

She nodded and grinned sheepishly, “That sounds about right.” Maybe he’s right, she could at least have some control over what she does, even the littlest things. She hoped there was some middle ground for this too, it’s not supposed to be just black and white like that, right? Choose this or the alternative, which the alternative is not much of a choice. She didn’t want to die. Astraea was already traumatized enough from the mere thought of it, she’ll stay an aurazin if need be if it meant she’ll stay alive. Somewhat. “It’s confusing when you are dead but you just couldn’t grasp the reality of it, so it becomes… a limbo for you, trapped in the dark because you’re not willing to go anywhere you’re supposed to. In the modern day, they call it shock? I don’t know, psychologically shocked that your brain doesn’t follow what you’re supposed to do.” In a weird way, she’d think it was applied the same there.

When he said the reason why it’s hard for her to gauge him properly the way she could others could be due to the block placed on him, the aurazin tilted her head slightly to the head and pursed her lips, “Could be… because others I see them just fine, even psychopaths.” Well that definitely sounded wrong. “Don’t you want to find out who placed this block on you?” If she was him, she would want to find who it was and get it back. She imagined suppressing a celestial’s glow must be hard for him. “A celestial’s purpose is not just to glow, you know… your glow is powerful, an energy that’s untapped and obviously comes from just you.” No wonder people are hunting them down like crazy, aside from their death, harvesting their energy could mean an unlimited source.

Astraea blushed and covered her cheeks with both hands for a moment before narrowing her dark hues onto the male, “The good girl is still here” she murmured, “I just wanted to try out… something new, that’s all.” Though the idea of her, of all people, smoking weed, does sound absurd. “The question is, will you?” Trust didn’t come easy to Sunmin, she knew that, he had told her countless times how it was for him, and she couldn’t even say he was exaggerating either because from what she has heard, he’s been hurt enough. “In time… you’ll feel like you have no idea what your purpose is in the world, even I, who knows what my purpose is being an aurazin, could feel empty after centuries.” It didn’t mean she wanted to quit and stop doing all the good deeds she has done, she just didn’t want to be alone anymore. Like others, she envied those who had partners and siblings, friends, and overall, just people who didn’t have to forget them.

It did make her heart flutter when he said he wouldn’t forget her, but she kept it to herself instead of telling him he would have no choice in that matter. Let’s not dampen the mood now, she thought. “Because it makes you feel stuffy?” she teased, alright, no formal titles for him then. The streets were lit up brighter than the first time they met, that’s good, because the alleys here were pretty dark back then. “You met a girl lighting up like a rainbow stick and came to her rescue” she chuckled, it felt like yesterday even though that was months ago. “Who knew that she’d be your friend, huh? I know I’m gonna keep sticking by you for more days to come, so you’ll have a hard time getting rid of me.”

He watched her with a curious expression as she talked about the experience of going through death but being stuck in a certain level of denial that meant you couldn’t move on “You still had so much life to live” he spoke softly as he watched her, she looked so young, she hadn’t gotten to do anything she wanted to do, it had been taken from her in such a cruel way, he couldn’t blame her for not wanting to accept it. “That’s….a pretty extreme level of shock to experience” he murmured softly. He couldn’t even imagine what it was actually like to go through that.

He grimaced a little when she said she was able to read psychopaths “I’m not sure if that would be...better or worse...knowing that a psychopath is in the same place as me” perhaps in some ways ignorance was bliss because knowing the truth could make you paranoid, afraid to live your life, it could be a curse as much as it was a blessing. “Of course I want to find them...I have so many questions...frustrations to vent” he nodded slightly, they had changed his whole life and he wasn’t sure if it was for better or for worse. “That’s what they say though isn’t it, stars are meant to shine” he commented in a gruff voice, he couldn’t even do that.

He quirked his brow playfully at her when she said the good girl was still there “Are you sure about that, she must be hiding away for a moment” he teased playfully but nodded when she said she wanted to try it “Well in that least you want to do it with someone who can look out for you” he commented and nodded, in case things got difficult it was best she was with him. “I don’t know” he responded honestly when she asked him if he could find it in himself to start to trust, he had to admit he wasn’t confident that he would be able to, it was asking a lot of him given his past experiences. “I don’t want to feel empty” he commented softly, he often pushed himself to reach for any glimmer of purpose, he had felt so lost for so long.

“A little” he responded, even though she was teasing him she wasn’t wrong, he hated being treated too formally “I’ve never been much for formalities, it annoys me when others insist on me having to follow those...customs” he’d much rather just treat people with respect and expect respect in return, equally. He chuckled because she wasn’t wrong, she did stand out because of her rainbow glow “I’m not certain you needed my rescue” he pointed out, he knew her better now and while she was kind and thoughtful, he also got the feeling she was stronger than anyone gave her credit for. “Who knew indeed” he commented as he glanced over at her “We’re such an unlikely pairing” he commented thoughtfully. The bright and kind girl with the cold and distant guy. Sounded like a TV show.

"Did you make any other friends in the city?" he questioned curiously. 

She could only smile sadly at that, because she wanted to agree but if she did, then she would be making herself look like a pitiful case, which is far from what she wanted. That's not the impression she wants to leave on Sunmin. "I'd argue you look just as you as I am" she exclaimed playfully, obviously she was trying to divert the sadness away, this wasn't the mood she wanted and honestly, for Astraea, to be around sad people, especially the likes of the celestial, is just plain depressing. "I think they weren't kidding when they said shock can really change a person." Maybe that's why science today says a lot about it. Spiritually and scientifically, she was sure it was just as right. "Ignorance is a bliss… not exactly the phrase that could be applied to people like us. I wish I could experience what that feels like sometime later" she chuckled, it felt like it's almost impossible when she could sense it off them immediately. 

Maybe she could try to ignore it but after centuries of doing this job, she was already one with it. "But it's a good alarm too honestly, that way I know who potentially wants to harm me and who doesn't." It can be helpful when you know how to utilise it. "To me, you shine, and if it makes you feel any better, it's not completely erased, but I think yours is just really dim. Maybe once we find who did this to you then it can be reversed." In some cases, it was probably better for him to stay this way because there is obviously no shortage of hunters. Even in Evermore. "Good girls can have fun too" she scoffed defensively, he had a point, who would even think of smoking weed, her especially? But Astraea has always been a curious lady. 

"If you have people in your life that look out for you, or really just anyone to anchor yourself to in the real world, you'll be fine. So long as they still have you in their memories… they won't forget you, and you won't really be alone. You'll be loved and cared for… and let's put it this way, I'll remember you for sure" she didn't think he was someone that would be forgotten, he was far too special for that. She nudged him playfully and teased "Sometimes it makes me wonder if you'll be able to survive in the earlier centuries if you don't like formality and customs. You're the type to keep slouching." The aurazin wasn't weak, she can be strategic and tactical when she wants to be. 

"Most people mistake my kindness to be naivety that they can take advantage of, a gullible girl who knows nothing. Well, that may be true, but I'm far from being a damsel in distress." She knows how to take care of herself. When he agreed that they were an unlikely pairing, Astraea grinned and pointed to both of them as they walked closer to her destination "You know how those pairings always end up. They get closer and become inseparable, the question is, are you ready for that?"

He offered a small smile when she said he looked as young as she was “I’ve always been this young, I always will be this young” it was an odd thing for the young star to accept, he would always look the way he did, be the same height he was, he didn’t have a choice about it. “I think anything you go through can change you, even if it seems small and insignificant at the time” something someone did could change how you saw them for example, even if it was one small comment you would always remember it. “ only beneficial when you are entirely clueless as to what it relates to, as soon as you get the smallest inkling, it changes” for example not knowing about the supernatural might be best for a human but if that person was supernatural themselves, it was dangerous for them to not know what they were.

“I think I’d rather know...knowing means I can do everything within my power to protect myself” he nodded slightly, he hated to be at a disadvantage and he hated secrets, he preferred to be open with things than to have to hide them away. He looked back at her with a somewhat surprised expression when she said that to him he did shine and he nodded slightly “I know it seems...almost spiteful to want this reversed when it protected me for so long” he murmured softly and nodded “But I’ve been searching for my identity for so long...and this feels like how I finally claim it” especially knowing he had a brother now too.

He chuckled and scrunched his nose slightly “You can show me some time then, I’ll get us some” he teased and raised his rows playfully wondering if she would still be so confident when faced with actually trying it. “I never had that before” he commented when she pointed out it was important to have people to look out for you “I guess you could say that’s where a lot of my coldness came from” he nodded a few times “But then I met Han...he’s never given up on me, even when I told him to” he nodded and looked down for a moment “And you’ve kept me around, even when I’m difficult” he honestly wasn’t sure he was worth the trouble, but his expression showed he was graceful as he looked back at her.

His gaze softened and he nodded slightly when she said she was often seen as gullible and naive and therefore people tried to take advantage “It’s their mistake if they misjudge you” he commented and shrugged slightly “I think you’re stronger than most people see” she seemed small and she was kind which made people think she would be a pushover. He arched a brow when she mentioned how their friendship might turn out “Well I’ve already tried to get rid of you before but you keep coming back” he commented in a teasing tone and nudged her slightly “So i guess you’re stuck with me now”.

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