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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?
When he said she met the outfit criteria, Astraea instantly looked down to examine what she was wearing, it fitted well for the occasion which was something considering she rarely wore pants. "If I wore skirts you're going to lecture me and if I scraped myself, it's going to to show" she remembered the first time they impulsively decided to hike and she didn't want to go home to change into pants only to come back there. It resulted in the aurazin scraping her right knee and she had to go to work with a bandage to cover it up. "And you follow them?" It was common knowledge to know if you want to be included in anything, you have to pay to get it. Because of that, playlisting means very little to plenty of people. She didn't expect him to come to her with that answer but a part of her was also not surprised to hear it, "It's… I guess it is pretty scary. But gosh aren't you one hell of a drama queen" she teased and shook her head.
"Suggest me some movies… I've been meaning to watch a few over the weekend but I didn't get the chance to do that just yet" she had a pout reserved, Astraea didn't work on weekends, but she's been very busy with the whole tracking thing. It's taking the time out of her already tight schedule. "Yeah… your conscience will eat you up, and when you're immortal, it gets harder to just forget about it." She turned to face him with a smile, it wasn't forced but it wasn't as bright as usual either, there was a certain worried undertone to it. "Hey, can you do me a favor? If you come across shady people doing… bad things, I mean like things even shady people don't often do, don't step in… get help, or I don't know… call me?" It's a hard thing to request, because she wouldn't abandon them like that either but as far as they know, only they could take them down and she didn't want to think about what it could do to the people here.
Sunmin may not show it but she knows he wasn’t the type to just ignore the misfortune that occurs in front of him. She didn't understand what he meant by that honestly, "What is that supposed to mean? A thing for bad boys?" He had a point, at least she grew up, whereas he woke up in that body from day one. "Imagine being a day old but having the body of a teenager, must be quite the revelation. How did you even handle things?" She didn't want to tell him that she hoped he won't be alone even when she won't be there to accompany him because Sunmin being Sunmin would just look at her like she's crazy. Things like that made the aurazin think about their current living arrangements, would it be so bad if she doesn't leave at all? The wince and her high pitched tone gave it away that she was not really okay and was just holding up to it for the sake of doing it but as usual, he didn't push it any further, he respected her decision and that made her feel at ease.
"It's not like I went ahead just to go get myself hurt, Sunmin" she huffed and was about to say something but the leaves he pushed away earlier had slapped her in the face because she wasn't paying attention to her front, causing Astraea to whine silently as she pushed it away from her face. "Ow." Talk about being reckless. "The place better be worth it, star boy."
“I’d lecture you that you wouldn’t get scrapes in the first place if you didn’t wear a skirt actually” but a fair point was made, he remembered the first time they had gone hiking and she had managed to bash her knee against a rock and after that had been wearing a bandage on her knee at work “I swear you have so many battle scars from inanimate objects, did you declare a personal war on them?” he questioned with a shake of his head, maybe she needed to be wrapped in bubble wrap to stop her getting herself into trouble. “I browsed a few lists, I may be impressive but I’m not pulling movies out of thin air I’ve never heard of, impressive” he rolled his eyes a little and smirked.
“If being afraid of real-life makes me a drama queen then I’ll accept that title” he responded and chuckled shaking his head in amusement “Give me a while to think about it and I’ll text you a list of them” he promised when she asked him to recommend movies, after all he didn’t want to forget all the best ones while naming them on the spot. He nodded slightly when she admitted she felt a certain amount of pressure to help those who were in need because of what she was “Hey whatever happens it’s not on you okay, it wasn’t like you chose to lock yourself out” he could understand why she felt responsible but the truth was she wasn’t.
He arched a curious brow when she asked him to keep an eye out for shady people doing back things and asked him to call her “You’re going to have to be way more specific than shady people doing bad things because I can’t call you every time I see a drug dealer on the streets” he commented bluntly, pointing out to Astraea that she was being cryptic. He arched his brows and chuckled when she asked him what she meant “The good girls who always follow the rules end up liking the bad boys who go against all the rules she’s been upholding all her life” at least that was a common pattern he saw, rebellion against all the rules they were supposed to upkeep he supposed.
“Well I woke up in the hospital and they thought I’d been in a coma, it took me a while to realize that there was never a me before that moment” he commented thoughtfully, he just assumed he forgot growing up because of the coma “And then I realized I had no citizenship proof, no family and no money to pay off my medical bills” so that was a good start. “No the hurt just seems to gravitate to you like a moth to the flame, did you smash a mirror or something?” because she definitely seemed to have a run of bad luck going on to say the least. He chuckled when she heard the sound of the leaves hitting her in the face, glancing over his shoulder for a moment “Let me guess, the tree high fived your face?” he teased smugly.
They had however finally made it up the trail and it wasn’t much further to the place. He slowed down until he was behind her before edging closer “Do you trust me?” he asked as he brought his arms from behind to cover her eyes with his hands.
"Admittedly, my choice of wardrobe can be… questionable" she huffed, one would think someone like her who prefers comfort over s lot of things would end up wearing more pants but skirts or dresses were surprisingly comfortable for the aurazin. When he pointed out that she seemingly has declared a war against inanimate objects, Astraea narrowed her dark hues onto the celestial, "You mean the way you wage a war against human interaction or social networking? I'd hope not" she jabbed teasingly. "I'm just devastatingly reckless at times" before she could see the look he'd most likely give her after hearing that statement, Astraea quickly added, "Okay, most times." For someone young, he sure is smart and has a high level of self-preservation. Hearing words of encouragement from someone else outside of the aurazin faction really did wonders for her, it was nice to hear it.
"I know… but still, we're trying to find ways to get back there. It's like trying to open a jammed door that's locked from the other side… I'm this close to following one of the voidlings back but I have no idea if the door will shut behind me and I can't get back here." Sure, the aurazin can be quite the powerful beings but they were always training to take down the enemies from the other side, it wasn't easy. Going alone is a suicide mission. That's when she realized she had quite literally spilled about her recent discovery to the celestial and gasped, covering her mouth with one hand, "I probably shouldn't have said that…" When he told her she had to be more specific, Astraea sighed and bit her bottom lip nervously, "I mean like people… being knocking others out or standing over them like they're plotting what to do with your body… or people who stare at you like they're going to devour you whole, those kind." That's when her gaze turned serious.
"People who mean bad and not just… normal crime bad, I'm not talking about gangsters bullying people or thugs robbing people in daylight, Sunmin. I'm talking about people who look like they may kill someone or hurt others really badly." The whole part about good girls liking bad girls reminded her of something her father would often tell her. "Ah… I think there's a situation similar to that. My father used to scare off my suitors and he always told me to not fall for the guys who only seek halfway." She never understood his messages but then again, Astraea could be very oblivious back then too.
"But… I guess there's an appeal to breaking out of your chains once in a while… it must be tiring to always follow everything your entire life." She felt that too. "I heard celestials don't have any recollection of their previous lives so that's not surprising but I imagine it was very frustrating not knowing who you are until later." But he worked it through, like the survivor he is. He would've lasted in the long run, to be honest. "If I did, I must've smashed the mirror every 5 seconds to accumulate bad luck for at least the next century or so" she exclaimed bluntly, hanging out with the fallen star did raise her sarcasm levels at times. "But hey at least I didn't faint from it" she grumbled, until she recalled the last time she met with Carmela and actually fainted, "well… once."
The smack really echoed and Astraea even pushed the leaves in a frustrated manner, glaring at the celestial playfully when he picked on her. "Come here and feel how nature is trying to greet you, maybe they want to high five you too." Once they moved up to the trail, she noticed he slowed down until he was behind her and stopped on her tracks too, staring at him in confusion until he suddenly asked if she trusted him, "I probably shouldn't but… yeah." His hands were slightly coarse, probably from a lot of work, but it was really warm too. She brought both her hands up to cover his own instinctively, placing her tinier hands against his as she closed her eyes, "I really hope you're not leading me to the edge of a cliff just to push me off…"
He scoffed slightly when she sassed him back about his lack of social interaction “Touche, though I dare say that people can do a lot more damage than objects can” especially when they were the kinds that he tended to run into on the streets, thugs and gang leaders cared very little for consequences after all. He raised his brow when she talked about trying to get back to the void and attempting to follow ‘voidlings’ back there, he couldn’t help but laugh “Did you really just say voidlings?” he questioned because it honestly seemed like something she made up in her head rather than an official name.
She seemed to catch herself and realize she wasn’t supposed to spill that bit of information “I feel like you say a lot of things you’re not supposed to say” he dismissed with a shrug as though it was no big deal, Astraea talked a lot and honestly sometimes it completely went over his head because she would be completely delving into some complex topic she had in her head and he would be nodding along even though he had no clue what she was so excited about. He arched a questioning brow when she elaborated that he should look out for people that looked like they wanted to kill or hurt others “Clearly you haven’t spent much time around gangs” he commented and chuckled “But I’ll be...careful?” he wasn’t sure he would call her because that seemed bizarre but it seemed like she was trying to warn him about something.
Sunmin chuckled when she said he father used to scare off the people who chased after her “So he knew the bad boys were going to be your weakness” he laughed under his breath “I guess I can relate though, constantly following the rules gets boring fast and rarely brings anything good” he nodded a few times, the best moments he could remember in his life were when he bent the rules a little and did the things that made him feel free. “It didn’t even occur to me that I was never going to age until a year later when I realized not a single thing about me had changed” and after several years of the same he had to admit to himself that he wasn’t ordinary. “Poor mirror” he commented smugly when she said she must have smashed it every 5 seconds.
He laughed when she said nature wanted to high five his face too “Too bad I reserve my high fives for special occasions” he commented with a chuckle under his breath. He continued moving before finally coming up being her just before the clearing. Normally he didn’t make a big deal about showing other people things but honestly he knew Astraea would absolutely love what he had found and the idea of her excitement was making him excited. “Good” he commented and grinned when he felt her hand against his as though that would somehow provide a double blindfold “I’d have to get a video camera if I was going to do that” he teased before pushing forward slightly to lead the way a few more steps ahead.
“You have to promise me something before I show you this place though, you have to keep it a secret” because he saw a lot of beauty in this place and while he didn’t mind sharing it with her, he didn’t want anyone else to come here and ruin it. He came to a stop just before the spot where you could see the garden and gazebo which were in slight disrepair, along with an iron bench which overlooked the cliff, providing one of the most stunning views of Evermore he had ever seen “All in?” he prompted her to promise.
She realized she couldn't say anything bad about it because in reality, people could really hurt you worse than inanimate objects, at least they leave one wound and never came back whereas humans… can be spiteful for the sake of it. When he suddenly laughed at her, she raised her eyebrows in confusion and stared at him in confusion, did she say something funny? It wasn't until he pointed out about the voidlings that made her frown and hit him playfully, "As funny as it may sound, it's an actual term we call them by" she grumbled defensively, "I don't know why we call them that… maybe because they're creatures of the Void? So… voidlings? Do you have a better name?" She didn't think they would stick around long enough to come up with a good name for the entities they were supposed to hunt. "Not that we would logically give them a good name… you don't give your prey something sweet to call it" which is ironically considering their positions. But it was a two-way cycle, they hunt poor souls and in return, they get hunted down by the protectors.
"A part of me feels a bit relieved that most of the stuff I say is directed to you and not anyone else… you practically know a lot of things already and you won't talk about it so I'm safe. Somewhat." She offered him a skeptical look as if to say you're not going to speak right? The aurazin was so close to being aggravated by his words but ended up pouting even more once he said he would be cautious, "Believe me… I'm warning you because I need to. Even if you could take care of yourself with ease" she murmured, hopefully nothing bad would befall him, of all people. Not that Astraea was being particularly picky with who became their victims but she would appreciate it even more if her head wouldn't be riddled by the thought of someone she cares about being in danger. It would be a heavy distraction. "They're not really my weakness though… considering you're the only one I'm actually paying my mind to" was she wrong though?
Sunmin was the only guy she ever entertained, sure she would give others a smile and a few small chats in between but they were nowhere close to half of what she shared with the celestial. She scoffed when he said following the rules rarely brings about anything good in the end, "You sure it's not because you like the idea of doing something particularly unorthodox? I swear you derive pleasure from it sometimes" she teased playfully, whereas her, the complete opposite of her friend, tries to follow the rules. At least 99.8% of the time, with the remaining 0.2% being her following him. "Most people would've cheered at the idea of being youthful forever but it can be frustrating" she nodded in understanding, especially if you're going to look like a teenager forever.
Astraea huffed to herself and crossed her arms when he pointed out about the mirror. "And pray tell, what are those…" she moved another branch away from her face as she trekked further, "special occasions? So I can be there to take a picture of your special high fives." If she was being truthful, she was a bit apprehensive to know she allowed someone to cover her eyes and they were up the mountains which meant she could trip and lose her footing and fall at any given moment. But it was Sunmin and she trusts him. "I can't believe you'll get a video camera just to film yourself pushing me off a cliff…" she muttered under her breath and tightened her hold against his hands that were covering her face firmly. "Who would I even tell, star boy? You're my only friend, remember?" She had plenty of acquaintances but none were as close to her the way she is with him. When he whispered that, she chewed her bottom lip and sighed softly, "All in."
He was still chuckling as she defended the name they used for the void dwellers, shaking his head in amusement because it definitely sounded like it was made up by a rainbow dweller like Astraea “A wraith?” he responded and shrugged his shoulders, it was the same sort of premise right but the name seemed much scarier, which matched the threat that Astraea seemed to be implying they were. “I mean if you’re going to spend half your life planning how to get rid of them you can’t exactly be calling them ‘the things’ the whole time” he pointed out and shrugged his shoulders, made logical sense to him to give them some kind of name.
He arched a curious brow when she explained how she liked being able to say things to him because he wouldn’t go around telling anyone else so she could speak freely “See, there’s not all bad omens when it comes to my lack of social skills” he chuckled because she had literally only called him out for it earlier. Despite her vagueness, the pout on her lips told him that she was really serious about him being careful and while he wasn’t really sure what exactly she was trying to warn him against “Noted” he responded to her words and nodded, it was clear she was worried about him and he would respect that. He grinned slightly when she argued she couldn’t be weak to them if he was the only one she talked to “You just wait, someone’s gonna come strolling in wearing leather and riding a motorcycle and you’re gonna end up drooling” he teased nudging her shoulder.
“Of course I derive pleasure from doing something that isn’t allowed, it makes it all the more fun” he chuckled slightly, he had never really been a big fan of rules, it wasn’t like he was ever out of maliciously attack people or hut them but he saw a lot of unfairness in the world that was protected by those ‘rules’ and honestly it made him sad. “Most people who imagine a life like that don’t play out the practicality of actually living said life, I haven’t even gotten to the part where I let myself get attached to someone who doesn’t stay forever like I do” but he definitely feared the idea of it because he knew he would feel helpless as he watched them move forward with their life while he always stayed the same.
He laughed when he asked what special occasion would have to occur for him to give out a special high five “It would have to be one of the top 10 moments of my life” he decided that would be enough to warrant such behavior. “Knocking one off the list would be enough to award it” he chuckled under his breath. “Well you’d probably scream your lungs out before you finally hit the water I’m sure” he chuckled under his breath “Have you ever been cliff diving? It’s actually pretty thrilling” he’d done it a few times when the weather was less cold and the water wouldn’t cause him to freeze before he could swim to shore. He smiled when she repeated the same words after him and slowly pulled his hands away from her face, dropping them to his sides and watching as she took in the surroundings, he was sure someone like Astraea would be able to see the beauty behind the disrepair the place was currently in but it was the view of the city that really stole the show, especially in the evening as the city started to come alive, though they had a few hours yet until that.
When he suggested a name for the voidlings, she couldn't help but admit it was actually a good name, a better one if they were going to refer to those creatures lurking around as something instead of just voidlings. "Okay you're making a good point there, if we're going to embark on a horror movie journey, you obviously wouldn't find the name voidlings as scary as wraiths, right? I'll give you full credits when it's approved" she teased, only to replace it with a resigned sigh, "Too bad we can't seem to find a way to actually get rid of them for good. Either they keep multiplying or they just regenerate back from where they came from to wreak havoc again, ugh" it could be quite stressful. "Fine… maybe your lack of social skills can prove to be beneficial sometimes but I'm still holding onto the idea of you making at least one other friend. One day, Sunmin. One day, you're gonna get another and I'm gonna be there to tell you it wasn't all bad."
She couldn't exactly tell him that the reason why she got hurt and have been missing days of work were due to the voidlings, and that they seemingly have been more active preying on the residents of Evermore, could she? It'll only incite panic and curiosity, knowing him. So when he said he understood her intentions, she couldn't help but let out a relieved sigh. Thank god. "They do sound hot though, leather… motorcycle? No? Just me?" True to his words, she could see herself fawning over someone who turns up like that. "Leather is like the one thing that can't go wrong in terms of fashion. You'd know that too" she stared at him with a knowing look that says she won at it because he does, indeed, wear them a lot, it's his signature look. "It is fun… or could be fun, not that I would know a lot about it, until it comes back biting you in the ass. But I guess you like living that way, it makes things more interesting, I imagine… your life wouldn't be so dull and boring." In a way, she wanted that too.
Her past life used to be so straight laced up to a point where she even rebelled against her parents because it was too suffocating. Astraea spared him a sad smile when he said that, "Attachments are a killer… believe me, you would love it but when it doesn't last, it'd kill you." And of course, she would know that better than most. It's the entire reason why she stopped coming to earth, after all. "You know… I never had a chance to even fall in love. I swear I craved and yearned for it so badly during my teen years and yet it was nowhere near what I seek to accomplish when I did grow older. Sometimes it made me wonder if my goals simply changed but no, it's still there." She still wished for it. The only difference is that now she knows it wouldn't be as possible as it could've been. "There's a lot of immortals out there, who knows? One day you'll meet someone who won't age and leave you." He wasn't far off the track, she would scream her lungs out when she was off the ground so when he asked if she has ever done cliff diving, the aurazin shook her head.
"I've sat by cliffs but never stupid enough to jump off it. Besides… I hate getting wet, or at least my fox hated it. As for my time as an aurazin, I barely had any time for myself so… no." It does sound fun though, as scary as it could be. When he pulled his hands away and revealed to her the picture before her, Astraea found herself gaping in awe, the view of the city was really beautiful, unlike any other views she has ever seen over the eternal city ever since she arrived. "How come nobody found this place… it's like the perfect place to stare into the city… you have quite an eye, star boy" she teased and saw a somewhat broken down swings nearby too. "This is either the most dangerous or the most thrilling activity you would do…" in this case, she would also try it once it was repaired. "How did you find this place?"
He smirked a little proudly when she agreed that the name he came up for these shadowy beings was an improvement on the one she was using “Seems like something must be out of balance for them to keep coming back, they probably sense it…” he imagined beings like that didn’t have many thoughts to process but they would be able to sense that something was wrong and they had a duty to fulfil, one they would keep chasing endlessly. He raised his brow in response to her determination to ensure he made another friend one day, she seemed more hung up on the idea of his social life than she did her own which was actually pretty entertaining to him “We’ll see” he chided in response.
He laughed at the way she caved to the idea of someone wearing leather and riding a motorcycle being hot “God you’re so predictable” he teased, though not in every way, sometimes Astraea did exactly what he expected her to do but then others she did surprise him in ways he didn’t expect, like becoming his friend, he never saw that coming honestly. Naturally, he tugged against the jacket around his shoulders when she pointed out that it was a good staple in fashion “Well it’s more for the warmth and the fact that it lasts a long time in my case” he commented and bit his lip, he’d had this jacket for as long as he could remember. “When you have very little, you learn to appreciate the small things because they’re all you really have” he agreed, nodding his head slightly.
He nodded, they could agree there, being attached to people felt dangerous to him because he knew how easy it would be for someone to disappoint him too, Sunmin was the kind of person who expected the worst from people and often times he was right. “Never?” he questioned when she said she never fell in love, well he would admit she looked pretty young, though he’d never quite found it in him to ask the exact age she died “You strike me as the kind of person who loves love” he noted, he wasn’t really sure what it was about her that gave that impression but he could definitely picture her falling head over heels for some guy and always wanting to bring him lunches and ask him about his day. “Maybe” he agreed when she said maybe he would meet someone who was immortal and wouldn’t leave him “At least my brother isn’t going anywhere” that definitely filled him with a sense of relief at least.
He chuckled “Stupid seems a little harsh don’t you think” he teased and raised his brows, he had done it and was still here on the other side of it after all “You should try it sometime, I swear there’s no feeling quite like leaping through the air knowing the water will catch you down below” he didn’t know that foxes weren’t a fan of the water but he supposed it made sense. Sunmin wasn’t exactly the kind of person who would purposely get himself wet but he didn’t mind swimming either. When he lowered his hands he stepped to the side so he could gauge her reaction and man was it a good one, a small smile crept up on his lips as he saw the wonder overtake her “Well it’s pretty far off the trail as you saw...plus city dwellers don’t really think to come walk up in the mountains” it was pretty far out of the way.
When she noticed the swings he grinned playfully “It’s sturdier than it looks, here” he led the way over to it and sat himself down on one of the seats, rocking back and forth on his heels “I wouldn’t recommend going too high though” he teased as he leaned against the chain “I like exploring sometimes, other than work I don’t really have a lot to do so...I find places” it wasn’t the only one he found but it was definitely the most promising “Too bad it’s so run down though, I’m sure it was a well-kept garden at one point” he nodded slightly.
She saw the proud smirk etched on his lips when she pointed out the logic in his explanation, which made her chuckle silently to herself. "I think that's an understatement" she scoffed dryly and stretched out her limbs absentmindedly as she fixed her gaze forward, "What isn't out of balance these days…" but considering how the voidlings went out and decided to play while they were still here walking around aimlessly not knowing what they had in mind, something was brewing. Perhaps even before. When he said she was predictable, Aatraea pouted and had her arms crossed over her chest, huffing at the male, "Sometimes that's not a bad thing." She did wonder if she was really that much of an open book or if Sunmin was generally perceptive.
"Leather don't wear out easily so you did a good job picking that one out" she murmured, she remembered how hard it was to obtain it as years passed by but now it was out there laying around for fashion. She had a small smile as if she was trying to reassure him she feels the same way, "When you have so little, everything feels big and no risk is suddenly not worth it. You have very little to lose too." She never thought about it in another way until recently. Once upon a time ago, she had everything to lose but now? Not so much. And every day she spends here, curating a better living experience with a growing friendship with the fallen star, she finds herself reveling in what could have been hers. Attachments became a double edged sword for her. The aurazin shook her head when he said that, "Nope, never. I wasn't that young when I died but I was only 19, I barely lived at all either" one time she was too childish and other times she'd be too mature.
"I do love love" she grinned in affirmation, "because why not? I have a lot of love I could spare… it's lonely to keep it to yourself, you know. I just… want someone by my side, someone I can smile with, at some point I decided I would accept whatever kind of love there is. Familial… platonic, just one person is enough." She just didn't want to be alone anymore. Perhaps romance wasn't for her, after all. "I envy you for having a sibling who won't leave you" she gushed softly, from what she has heard, Sunmin really respected his brother and while he won't show it, it's clear he loves him. "I'd say I couldn't swim but that'd be a lie" she teased and bit her bottom lip instinctively, what an experience that would be indeed, "I'll try it one day. With you, because just because I could swim doesn't mean the waves wouldn't suddenly overwhelm me, I do not want to be known as someone who drowned… that's like one of the worst deaths ever."
Astraea felt honored that he would share such a beautiful place with her, going as far as to even surprise her with it, it made her cherish their friendship even more than she already has. She would admit a part of her was a bit worried when he suddenly took a seat on one of the swing seats and pushed himself forward slightly, which caused her to take the seat next to it and pushed herself a bit. "My first experience with a swing was that I pushed myself so high I fell and scraped my knee, my mother grounded me for an entire week" she chuckled at the memory, it was still fresh in her mind even though it had been so long ago. "Your hobbies are so interesting… people watching, which I also picked up by the way, it's really beneficial to pick up skills that way once you memorise it." And Astraea had a very good memory. "And then scavenging places… are you an adventurer in your past life or something? You have a knack for it. Shying away from civilization too" she teased. Her eyes glazed over their surroundings and dried ground, carefully inspecting the problem, "We can rebuild it. Build our own… safe place? I mean a place we can go to hangout without worrying others will intervene. The rooftop is no longer an option after we got caught… our own latibule...."
He laughed when she got defensive over being easy to read “At least it means people never have to question where they stand with you” she was a friendly person and got along with most people, she always lit up whenever other people were around so it was evident to him that she loved people. He nodded slightly “When you don’t have a lot...you learn the worth of finding things that last” he would rather save for longer and get something that could last him several years than constantly be needing to replace things. He nodded, she seemed to understand what he meant, when you had little, the little things matter because they were all you had, sometimes it worried him that the more he gained, the more he had to lose in the end. “So young” he spoke softly when she said that she died at 19 “Didn’t you feel like the world...robbed you?” he questioned with a curious voice.
He couldn’t help but grin and shake his head when she immediately confirmed that she did indeed love, love. It wasn’t hard to tell what mattered to her because she was the type of person to reach out for the things she wanted “You’re not greedy” he commented thoughtfully, she wanted it so badly and yet she was willing to take whatever scraps the world had to offer her “Don’t you ever feel like the world owes you more than just...a little?” perhaps one person was enough for her and he could respect that but there had to be a part of her that wanted it all right? “I mean what’s the dream? If there were no limitations then what would you choose?” he honestly wasn’t sure what his ideal situation would be. He bit his lip in response to her comment about Han “I couldn’t shake him even if I tried” and he had, plenty of times. “You will huh?” he grinned slightly as though he was challenging her “I wonder whether you’d be quite so bold when it actually comes to jumping” of course he’d be there too to look out for her, but it was quite daunting.
This place, he had a good feeling about it. He didn’t know how to explain it but he felt like they were meant to find it...he felt a sense of serenity here he didn’t in other places. He was glad she seemed to like it as much as he did but then he already knew she would, she loved the quiet, even as someone who lit up around people he noticed that whenever her emotions got the better of her, it was the quiet she sought out, just like him. He chuckled at her dubious expression as she sat down on the swing beside him, he laughed when she explained her previous incident with a swing “The key thing is that you didn’t let that stop you from swinging high again” couldn’t be afraid of falling forever right? He chuckled, rocking back and forth on his heels for a while “See I told you it was fun, did you find anything memorable?” Sunmin liked to make up stupid stories in his head about the person’s life as they walked on by, simply from what he observed.
He shrugged slightly when she asked him if he was an adventurer “Just someone who had a lot of spare time on his hands” he responded and shrugged his shoulders slightly. Her next words made him chuckle because it seemed completely in character for her, he leaned against the metal chain on the swing as he looked over at her “It’ll take a lot of work to rebuild this place into anything...presentable” he challenged seeing if she was really determined to fix it. “Especially that” he pointed out the shelter which looked worn down, with broken glass and a crumbling structure. He did like the sound of it though “A sanctuary” he spoke softly.
Perhaps it makes her predictable but there were times when she could be unpredictable too, which plays well into her hand since everyone thought she'd do this way the entire time without paying mind if she was smarter than that in the end. "I imagine you found a few that lasted with you" she pointed to his jacket for instance, noting that it would be one of those. "I hoped that I could be someone lasting too…" don't get wrong, it wasn't as if Astraea felt like she was constricted and forced to abide by this or that because she's an aurazin. It was because she never had anyone to even remember her aside from her fellow aurazin, who she didn't even mingle with that much except Arcadia. When he asked if she felt like the world had robbed her, Astraea smiled softly, talking about her death has always been a hard thing to do because it opens up the old wounds but perhaps she could learn to accept it if she talks about it. No point in letting it fester.
She pursed her lips slightly and stared at him with a soft look when he said she wasn't greedy. "I would be lying if I said I didn't wish the world would give me more… or if it didn't rob me… because I do want everything. At one point, I wanted everything and the only reason I gave up wanting it was because I was forced to. I told you once before, the person I was before I became an aurazin was… much different than this girl you're talking to. Not that big like there's a whole gap in between but I was more ambitious and rebellious. I didn't know what limits were" she was persistent. "I died in a very unjustified way, I didn't get to say my goodbyes either. I didn't want to die, so when I woke up in the void, I was really angry at the world, because I didn't deserve what happened to me. I had so much left to accomplish…"
Perhaps that's why she is still secretly hopeful. "Do you know why I am not greedy now? It's because I can't dream of much since that would be setting myself up for disappointment and heartbreak and I may not look like it but I've been through hell and back with those" she could never get used to it. "If I could have more, I wanted someone I could come back to, someone who would embrace me just because it’s natural to do that. I want to have friends I can trust and laugh with… I want to fall in love, who doesn't? These may seem trivial and normal but that's exactly what I want, a sense of normalcy." Sunmin clearly cares for his brother, only an idiot won't see that. "I'm glad he didn't. I think he saw in you what I saw." Her lips were upturned into a pout when he poked at her asking if she would be fine when it comes to actually jumping, "We'll see, star boy" she huffed. She had a good feeling about this place, like it was going to last. "Oh you can break every bone in my body and I'd still find a way to get back up. Besides a few scratches are barely anything."
She stopped her swinging and hummed gently, thinking about what she got from people-watching, "I have a very good memory when it comes to recalling and storing information so when I look at a mechanic fixing a car from the workshop down the block, I would pick up their skills by recounting it. I also tend to memorize their key behavior and then predict what they're going to do next. Most of the time, it taps out. It's… fun." He is right, this place is a total rundown, but that's what makes it more interesting and memorable. "Is that a challenge?" She jested teasingly, "because I can bet we would be able to make it work. Nothing is impossible when you put your mind to it, right? Make this place another token of everlasting. The question is, are you up for it? Do you think it'll be too hard for you?" Aatraea was purposely teasing him because god knows they wouldn't be able to turn down a challenge.
He chuckled and nodded slightly when Astraea pointed out that he had a few things that lasted “You’d be impressed and perhaps grossed out by how long I managed to make a pair of boots last” he joked shaking his head in amusement. Despite the fact he was no longer living on the streets and had a paycheck which could afford him new things, he was still very frugal with his money. His expression softened a little when she said she hoped she could be something lasting too “If you’re worried I was going to toss you aside, don’t you think I would have done that already by now?” he arched his brow in a curious manner. He was lightening the mood more than anything because of course he knew she meant that she had to erase people’s memories of her.
He wasn’t sure if she was going to answer his question, he knew he asked something heavy and that she might not want to talk about it or think about it but Sunmin felt like they had reached the point in their friendship where maybe they were allowed to ask a few invasive questions here and there. He was respectfully quiet as he let her speak her mind, explaining how she wanted everything at one point in her life but that ambition had been quelled by the experiences she went through “No...you didn’t deserve anything that happened” she didn’t tell him specifically how she died but Sunmin could take a good guess given that she always without fail wore some sort of covering on her neck. “You must have felt so betrayed” he commented in a soft voice, he couldn’t even fathom how she processed that.
He could understand why she was more reserved with her dreams now, why hope for things knowing you would only be disappointed and perhaps left with nothing in the end “Perhaps you could be a little more greedy though” he commented softly “I don’t mean anything crazy but...would it really hurt to get to experience a few things you never got the chance to” Sunmin could imagine what her hopes and dreams might have been, Astraea struck him as the great romance type so he could imagine she wanted to get married and perhaps have a family, happy things like those. But he was sure there were smaller goals she could seize now. “Take it from someone who has been searching for normal all his life, I get it” he nodded slightly, she wanted companionship and to feel close with people because that was the thing that had been taken from her.
He chuckled “Just remember you didn’t want me to push you, when you’re begging me to help you find the courage” he grinned to himself. She was definitely tougher than she looked though, he had learned that about her quickly “Resilient huh?” he glanced over at her and grinned “It seems we have something in common after all” he teased because they were always pointing out how different they were from one another.
He grinned imagining what it must have looked like for her to be staring at someone closely enough to learn from them “So basically you learn from watching other people do things...impressive” he wondered how practical the skills she had learned with that method were. The idea of fixing this place up was unexpected but honestly could imagine what it might look like if they spent some time working on it “Hey, you don’t get to call me out, I’m the one who found this place” he commented giving her a slight glare but then sighed slightly, she seemed so motivated by it all that it wasn’t like he could tell her no “I hope you realize that it’s going to be a lot of hard work” he warned her but the way he said it implied he was committing to it.