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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?
Immortality doesn't always mean a happy thing to everyone, Astraea didn't like the idea that she'd stay this way forever either, since it was just reminiscent of what happened in the past. And she was sure Sunmin didn't find the idea appealing too. "Hey, at least you know you'll remain looking this handsome" she teased, if she couldn't change it about herself then she should at least try to ease him slowly into this life, he clearly has a long way to go ahead of him. For someone so youthful, what he went through in life has given him some lasting advice in life. "Not knowing who you are, that's dangerous" she nodded in agreement, it's better to let them have control over their own choices in the future rather than to let them wander off in the dark.
"Well, nobody likes being vulnerable and at a disadvantage, right? You'd want to protect yourself either way. You'll find a way to do that, I'm sure of it, you have the means to do it now… you know who you are and what you are, that's the bare minimum but it's a start." She couldn't bring herself to sugar-coat things for him, especially when they're probably non-existent. "We'll find a way to reverse this… and you'll tell the person who did this that it's time you take care of yourself the way you have always done this entire time. You can't run away from it forever, can you? Even though I'm sure it's tempting…" She should know that, Astraea runs away from a lot of things because she was afraid of what she might have to face. The blush from earlier still remained, especially when he said he'd get them some for her to show it to him "I'm not all talk… I'd do it" she mumbled, maybe she wouldn't be as brave as she said she would but she wouldn't run away from it either.
Her eyes softened and she smiled at what he said "I know very well the feeling, I'm a sister too, you know. My age gap with my half sister was over 15 years old but I loved her more than life itself. I would've done anything for her." And she did. She gave her life for her safety. "You're an enigma, Sunmin Park. And I like that you are. You don't lie to my face… and you don't fake your emotions around me. And honestly? You're actually better than you think you are, I might be biased but that's what friends are for, right? Me being there even when everything falls apart, because real friends don't abandon you." As someone who has gone through plenty of that crisis, she might have been desperate to believe he's different. A friend who wouldn't use her.
The aurazin knows he doesn't compliment for no reason so those words meant a lot to her. "Oh we're stuck together for sure, I'm going to keep haunting you until you realize what a mistake it was to let someone like me inside your life" she jested. They moved past the sign board at the corner and soon stopped just in front of where she lived. "Maybe you should volunteer for night patrol, you're really good at this."
He chuckled softly and ran a hand through his hair when she pointed out that he would remain this handsome, he knew he was decently good looking but he wasn’t the type of person to flaunt his own self “True, I’ll always look in the mirror and see me” he commented in a soft voice, there was something comforting about that he supposed. “It was….frustrating to say the least” he commented when she said not knowing who he was dangerous.
“I protected myself, I’ve always looked out for myself, it’s been easier...not having anyone to tug my intentions in other directions” but things were different now, he had Han and whether it was intentional or not it wasn’t like he could abandon his brother now that he had found him, he cared about him now and he couldn’t turn that switch off. And if he was honest with himself, there was someone else here who he cared about too. “You’re right, I’m determined to be the person I was supposed to be, before all this happened” it was his identity, it was the same thing his brother was and it was what he had spent his entire life searching for.
He raised his brows when she said she’ll go through with it “I never said you wouldn’t” though he had to admit he would be curious to see it with his own eyes, what would be she even be like when she was high? He looked back at her and then nodded when she explained how she was a sister too and that she would have done anything for her sibling “It’s really unexplainable, how I can feel so attached to someone I feel like I barely know” it was honestly unsettling for the young celestial given everything. He offered a small smile when she explained the things she liked about him and announced how she planned to be there for him, regardless of everything “Thanks” he commented and nodded his head slightly “I’ll be there for you too, I’m going to put my time into...being a good friend to you” even if he barely knew what that meant yet.
He laughed as they came to a stop outside the place she lived and he peered over with curiosity, he’d yet to see her place for himself but he was sure he could imagine how homely she would have made the place even in the short time she had been in Evermore “Maybe not, it’s not everyone who’s crazy enough to walk everywhere in the middle of a city” he teased playfully and reached out to ruffle her hair softly “Sleep well Astra” he commented softly.
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