Every time she closes her eyes to sleep, she would find herself staring at the clock that kept on ticking across the room. All because she couldn’t even get a shut-eye because every time she attempts to sleep, she would be reminded of how she fell while she was in the Void. Astraea could remember that day, she had just finished chasing yet another monster that dwelled within the dark place in search of a soul to devour. It felt like the ground itself cracked into two and she fell in between them, only to wake up on another ground that she found too familiar; she was laying on top of the grass and she could definitely taste the dirt. A few decades have gone by and she couldn’t even recall what Earth even looked like, they were in another century and everything has changed. Much like the others who were not Empaths and haven’t been on Earth for a while, she was confused by her surroundings.

No one knew why they were suddenly on Earth, but for the past few months they’ve been there, everyone was trying to adapt to the new changes. Herself included. Earth seemed so different from the last time she was an Empath. 80 years have passed and everything seemed a lot peaceful. Unlike the others, Astraea didn’t find any comfort being back on Earth, for reasons only she knew. But there was nothing she could do but find a way to live like a normal person. So she went around the eternal city seeking a freelance job or the likes. Fortunately, Astraea was able to land herself a part-time job as a waitress at one of the cafes located in the city center. It was getting really late, her eyes fell on the clock that was hung across the room, the arrow was ticking down to 11. 

The Aurazin was currently cleaning the last few tables when she peeked outside through the windows, it wasn’t too dark, there were lampposts at every block but she had to also remind herself that she was residing in a heavily populated supernatural community. And it didn’t help when she wasn’t even sure if she wouldn’t stumble across any shady human on her way back. Not everyone is necessarily nice and she understood that but perhaps, a part of her still believed everyone had that good in them. Clearly, she hasn’t been living as much. If the world is more peaceful now compared to the past, people should be the same, right? Wrong. But Astraea doesn’t know that. Tossing the rag into the compartment next to the counter after washing them, Astraea took off the apron tied around her waist and craned her neck, the exhaustion was slowly setting in, especially after working a two four-hour split shift for breakfast and dinner today.

 She double checked everything and switched off the lights before making her way out the back. It didn’t start going wrong until she turned around a block and could sense another’s presence trailing behind her, and it was not a good aura she’s usually surrounded with. It wasn’t hard to know if someone had malevolent intentions when you could straight off sense it off them. If you think positively, nothing will happen, she murmured to herself. Her eyes were busy trying to find another way but she didn’t know the city that well, so shortcuts were very off-putting. Her heart was threatening to jump out when she could hear the footsteps getting closer.

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Her question made him raise his brows and ponder it for a moment, it was a very vague question and honestly not a realistic situation for one to find themselves in because it was rare to have the opportunity to make someone happy without some sort of cost involved “I think everyone deep down wants to make the world a little better” he commented, the problem was that a lot of people had deluded ways on how they did that, often very self-centered to say the least “So sure, why wouldn’t I make someone happy?” he shrugged like it was no big deal because it wasn’t. Just because Sunmin didn’t trust others and had his doubts about people’s intentions doesn’t mean he would knowingly take something away from someone.

He glanced over at her when she commented on his youthful appearance “Looks can be deceiving in a city like this huh?” he had been raised by the streets so he was used to being surrounded by people who swore like sailors, it was normal to him but evidently not to her. He pursed his lips in thought at her questioning about how people would react to bad things happening around them “I guess that depends how resilient someone is, some people can adapt, others...break” he nodded a few times, it was hard to predict which way it would go too. She was right, everything depended on the individual involved and how they saw the world, it was the very reason the two of them were so different “Just remember not 10 years ago this city was a battleground for a war” he commented and shrugged, that said everything he needed to about promoting acceptance.

He shrugged slightly “It’s hard to get people to tell you the truth about the city unless you’re within the in-crowd” he commented and shrugged his shoulders, he didn’t care much for the secrecy, he’d been questioning what he was for most of his existence and it was beyond frustrating. He had to admit he wasn’t expecting her to comment on his eyes so he looked at her dumbfounded for a while as she analyzed him “Expressive” he repeated to himself, well that wasn’t a way he had ever been described before. He blinked a few times to shake himself out of his thoughts as she started talking about the supernatural sight “Really?” he pressed his lips together “I had no idea” he had been meaning to ask Han more about their kind but it never felt like the right time to sit down and talk if he was honest.

When she asked if being a daydreamer was a bad thing he shrugged “I guess it probably has it’s good and bad points” he commented and nodded his head slightly “The same as any personality trait I guess” he tended to shut people down before they could have a chance to get on his good side, arguably that was both good in that he prevented himself from getting stabbed in the back but bad because he might miss out on the few decent people there still were around. When she asked how much longer is further he chuckled “Can’t wait to get home?” he responded and looked up to see the subway light in the distance and pointed it out “Probably about 5 minutes” he commented.

He paused for a moment when she asked if she could ask a question, he was about to answer but she already followed up with it right away with her question which made him go silent for a moment, he felt pretty surprised by it all if he was honest “Sometimes” he decided on an honest answer, sometimes he felt like his lot was set and it wasn’t a good one, but sometimes, in rare times, he thought differently for a while.

It seems like he didn’t choose to view the world this way because he wanted to, or because he was forced to. It was simply the way of things, much like the cycle of life. Astraea had a feeling that he was able to see things from a certain point of view due to the experiences he’s gone through. It was clear that he’s seen plenty of things happening and that helped him shape his opinion. It reassured her in a way that he wasn’t completely shutting out the idea of wanting to be happy, but at the same time, it also worries her to know that there were others like him who have seen the bad parts of the world. “That’s a sad thing to think about, it feels like it’ll be tiring to always want to reach out for the good in everything when everyone and everything around you said it wasn’t possible because that’s the way things are” It discouraged a lot of them greatly and she wasn’t an Aurazin, Astraea wasn’t sure if she’ll have the same motivation to fuel this part of her. 

Most of the supernaturals were generally immortals, so of course looks could be more than deceiving in a city like this, which caused her to chuckle, “Very deceiving indeed. I think neither one of us is actually young to match the physical appearance, huh?” He seemed mature and particularly wise around a few parts of things, though she also got the youthful energy from him which may not place him that old in the scale, after all. She’s never been one to be surrounded with people who cursed like it was their life, so when she heard him do the bare minimum without a care in the world, it was enough to make her snicker. Was she really laughing at someone cursing? Maybe tonight finally hit itself against her head. “I think I’d be able to survive and adapt but then another part of me is so sure I’d break” Astraea is a sensitive soul, she takes everything into account; every word and every action. Though she doesn’t show it upfront what she feels altogether, she holds herself back plenty of times. 

“And how things have changed in the last 10 years. What changed? The people or the city itself?” No matter how she sees it, she hits a stump whenever she tries to look the other way for a better route, didn’t mean she’d give up willingly, of course. There’s still hope there. “Are you not part of your faction?” She was a bit confused when he said one wouldn’t know much about the supernatural status of the city if they weren’t mingling with the in-crowd, “Celestials stick together, right?” They travel in groups from what she heard, the colony in Evermore did, at least. When he gave her that dumbfounded expression after her passing compliment, Astraea grinned widely, “Mhmm, you know… from what I’ve heard about a Celestial, they’re pretty strong” Their light and glow alone could dispel people, and how they were good. “You don’t seem to know much about your own kind, can I ask why?” Was he a lone wolf?

 “The good thing about being a daydreamer, I don’t reject people outrightly, it’s basically open arms, maybe it makes me a bit naive and too kind for my own good, but everyone needs a little bit of that in their life. It won’t hurt hearing positive things all the time but knowing that it’s not completely hopeless may help.” When asked if she couldn’t wait to get home, the Aurazin shrugged and beamed excitedly, “I mean, I would like to get home as soon as possible because I have an early shift tomorrow so, there’s that” she exclaimed, but she didn’t necessarily want whatever conversation they were having to end this soon either. Upon hearing his response to her question, Astraea pressed her lips together again and replaced it with a soft smile afterwards, “Well, I’m not about to force my opinion on you because you seem to have gotten the gist that we are two very different people, but if I could tell you something just before we part ways, don’t give up. Giving up is for the losers” she mused coolly.

He shrugged his shoulders somewhat nonchalantly, maybe it was a sad thought but it was the reality that he knew and no matter how much he complained or wished for anything different, things tended to stay the same “I find spending more time living and less time mulling over the unfairness of the world helps” he commented with a thoughtful nod, that was why he just did things, normally without taking much time to think about the consequences or repercussions attached to them. People would call him reckless he was sure but that was just who he was and how he liked to be.

He chuckled under his breath “I’m probably way younger than you think I am” he responded and shrugged slightly “But then I was also never a child, never grew up and the likes” so he remembered every single moment of his existence and had spent it as an adult trying to figure out his life. So he had far more life experience when compared with any other 21-year-old. Her laughter in response to his cussing was unexpected but actually quite charming, she seemed like she was actually quite hard to make show offense, no doubt because she tried to see past the bad parts of people and search for the good. He’d met people who thought like her before, they seemed to have these endless pools of positivity which he had no idea where they came from.

He raised his brow at her question, he didn’t have the answer to that because he had only been in Evermore for a short time, it wasn’t a place he considered to his home, nor was he especially attached to it. He did know his way around it pretty well right now, came with the street dweller title he supposed. Though he wasn’t anymore, mostly because of Hanseol’s insistence that he stay with him and off the streets, he often wondered what it was the other male saw in him because he definitely didn’t deserve the kindness he had shown him. She seemed pretty shocked by the fact he was completely detached from his faction and frankly, he didn’t see that changing any time soon “I wouldn’t know” he responded with a nonchalantly shrugged “Never had the welcome to the club letter” they never knew he existed, probably linked to the fact he didn’t glow.

She asked a lot of questions and unfortunately he didn’t have most of the answers for them, nor were they topics he really wanted to talk about “Because I’m the broken one I guess” without his light he couldn’t use his energy, he was about as useful to the faction as a random human off of the streets. He preferred to stay alone rather than feel like the odd one out in the one place he was supposed to fit in. She seemed pretty confident in the person she was and he could respect that, they might see things differently but he would always be respectful of someone’s opinions “There’s a certain charm to your positivity” he noted with a slight nod of his head. No doubt she was tired after working for so long and then having to walk this far so he was sure she was looking forward to getting him “Sounds like you work too hard” he commented bluntly as they came to the entrance to the subway station. Her words about not giving up make him chuckle softly as he waved her off towards the station door “Stay safe Astraea” he spoke softly and before long he turned away and headed off into the night.

"That's a smart move" she mumbled, as harsh as it may sound, in a way, he chose the best way to live his life and she couldn't even say it's wrong because it wasn't. Everyone had their own way of living and so did he, but as far as she's concerned, he knows what was best for him. The confidence is there and it is still deep-rooted in him. It was interesting. She has never met someone quick like him and the fact that she was able to hear a new perspective from someone who seemed like he's seen what needed to be seen, it was almost refreshing. She won't say it out loud but this was also her way to learn more about the world they were in, since they were going to be staying for a while, she could take this opportunity to learn what she didn't. When he said he was likely to be younger than she thought, Astraea raised her eyebrow and tilted her head slightly, "Oh you'll be surprised to hear just how old I think you are." It was basically a small notion that she was saying he's old. "But then again, I can't judge either." It will make her a hypocrite considering she was half a millennium old. 

She wasn't easily offended so every attempt was thwarted, however, the Aurazin was deeply surprised by the changes she's seen. This is so cool, she thought. Indeed, she still had a lot to learn. There was one big pool of happiness she stored inside her and she wasn't stingy when it comes to sharing. Even though she could see the stark contrast between them, it didn't stop her from engaging in a conversation with him. You can't keep yourself grounded in one circle only, after all. Besides, she had everything she needed to know that he's a good person. Enough to see that he didn't mean anything bad. He may not show it, but she had a feeling that he secretly wished things could get better. Understandably so. Or maybe she was wrong, but she wouldn't stop at it. The information that came with knowing he wasn't especially attached to his faction surprised her, momentarily. "Oh" was all she managed to say, she didn't expect that. Could it be because he doesn't glow? Surely, a faction wouldn't oust someone just because they weren't the same as the others.

 If it was back in her pack, they would've seen him as someone unique, who could probably do more than what people originally thought he would be able to. There were two sides of the coin there, good because he wouldn't feel as pressured to produce a glow that comes with the energy. Bad because you don't fare well without a faction with you, it doesn't feel the same. What if something happened? But in his case, he could probably avoid the hunters. "Not every broken thing needs to be fixed. Sometimes you leave it and it'll flourish." It reminds her much like flowers. She could definitely see what she meant when she said his comments were genuine, especially when they were skirting around the compliment area. Her legs were threatening to give out, honestly. She remembered she used to maintain her levels, but ever since she became an Aurazin, the need to exercise never came back. Maybe it's time to resume that chapter. "We have to make our due" she shrugged absentmindedly, she needed to work to generate some sort of income. It wasn't as if she could depend on anyone. 

When they finally arrived at the entrance of the subway station, she waved her goodbye, "You too, Sunmin" Soon, she could see his silhouette disappearing into the night, leaving Astraea to smile to herself, clearly surprised by the turn of events before making her way inside. After tonight, she was definitely going to try and invest on a pepper spray. Whatever he meant by it. 

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