His return to Evermore came with more than just reconnecting to the few people he considered his family. It came with the return to his place in leadership, and returning to his club to see how it was thriving under the managers he had left in place. As he walked through the crowd that evening he felt the large grin on his face. It seemed like everyone was enjoying themselves which made him enjoy himself.

“Are you going to perform.” He heard from Alicia as he got closer to the bar. “Been a long time since you graced that stage.” She chuckled as she poured him a drink, placing it in front of him. 

“I was thinking about it. Been a long time since I warmed my pipes alone.” Donovan spoke honestly picking up the liquid courage and downing it in one shot. Before tossing a friendly smile to Alicia. “Here's to either remembering my talents or making a fool of myself.” With that he moved towards the stage picking up one of the guitars slinging it over his shoulder and moving to the Microphone. 

“Hello all Eternal Blue goers. How are you guys doing tonight.” Hearing the various cheers from the crowd made him chuckle as he took hold of the guitar neck and started to string out one of the many songs he wrote. Leaning into the microphone he began to sing his eyes scanning the crowd for a reaction when they landed on someone that seemed to glow brighter than the rest of the crowd. 

It caused him to fumble over his strings and words for a moment before correcting himself. Once he finished a few songs he finally made his way off the stage and back to the bar as his eyes scanned for the glowing.

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She laughed softly and raised her brows “I’m sure many would like to know” she confessed with a wry playful smile “But unfortunately my trust isn’t something I hand over with ease” she had simply been crossed far too many times to be able to just believe in others, especially when it came to the things that made her the most vulnerable. That didn’t mean however, that she was completely shut off to the idea of trust, she wanted to be able to believe in others, she always wanted that, even if it seemed futile at times “We’ve only met for this short time and you’re already thinking about the next?” she teased it playfully but the smile on her lips said she liked the idea of it.

“It makes sense logically…but in reality I’m sure I could never relate to such a deep connection” that was what it was like for different supernatural species nowadays, everything mattered differently to different people “Just like I find it hard to explain to others how my intuition simply cannot be ignored” she often didn’t have a choice but to follow it, it could be a tricky thing. “Around the world is a long way to go” she teased softly, she wasn’t sure she would ever get the chance to actually go but it was a nice thought, a pipe dream perhaps. “I’ve thought about it…but it’s easier said than done than find somewhere to learn…sailing on a lake doesn’t quite equate the same to the ocean” and Evermore was in the middle of a landlocked state.

“Still…everything seems so far away when you sail…only having to worry about the next destination on the adventure” sometimes she couldn’t help but miss the simplicity of a life like that, even if she had spent most of her time on the run. “That’s noble…you’re your own master in the end, you get to choose what people do and don’t see” but she was still a little awestruck by his talent, it wasn’t small. A soft blush appeared on her cheeks as she allowed him to pull in close, the sound of the soft, slow song echoing in the space around “Have you always been this smooth?” she questioned and grinned but managed to keep up well with him, slowly moving to the music, enjoying the peace of the moment. “I used to dance so much in the past…I wonder when I stopped” she didn’t remember a specific point.

✧ The brightest star ✧
Something Donovan could respect was the fact that Ophelia didn’t give her trust away easily. “That is an honorable thing, I myself maybe a little too trusting.” He admitted it was a character flaw of his. A life of forever on the move allowed him to trust others in the world to trek around it. “I will admit in my travels I had to rely on others who knew the areas and language while I learned about the world having a grand time in the process.” He hadn’t been hurt like Ophelia had, it's why he was so open to trusting others and opening his home, his club, and even dojo to them. “What can I say? I am a hopeful man?” He teased back in a playful tone taking in how bright her smile was. “I would be a stupid man to not attempt to see you again, there is something magical about you.” Was he trying to give her a big head? Maybe.

“Are you sure? I am sure there is something that would come to mind once you think about it that you are deeply connected too.” As she drew upon having to explain that it was hard to explain her intuition, “It's like a beacon that blinks over and over until you answer its call?” he tried his best to have an understanding and an easy smile touched his lips. “Well realistically, the world isn’t that far in the grand scheme of things, the wall feels so small compared to the galaxy around us.” He tried to state not understanding that not everyone had the freedom he had to discover himself. “So what I am hearing is you need to go to a coastal town for a week or two. I feel you have the kind of mind that once it knows how to do something it can do it over and over again to perfection.”

He could be wrong in that statement but he didn’t feel like he was too far off. “The real question, while you sail away towards adventures and away from problems, are you dressing as a pirate?” He gave a chuckle with a smile at the thought of her dressed as a pirate for a moment. It was how he would want to sail. Noble, in more than one way. He felt that heavy crown all of sudden, the one that didn’t exist but died with him most likely.

Pulling her into the dance may have been more for him than her. He felt as if they talked more he may actually tear up again. Singing turned that heaviness in his head and heart away, trailing around them he gave an easy chuckle coming to the end of the song he twirled her out and back in. “Am I smooth? I just figured it was the pretty face that kept everyone around.” He chuckled as he came to a slow stop holding her close still for a moment before giving her space. Not wanting to make her feel uncomfortable with the touch. “A dancer? Did you have a specific genre? Or were you more go with the flow dancer?” He wondered, as someone who enjoyed dancing himself he could be interested in a dance partner. “Life got in the way?” he suggested as an answer to the question she didn’t really ask him.

She was flattered she had to admit, albeit cautious was she had to be, given her history it would be impossible for her to entirely avoid being a little suspicious, even if at her core she was just a girl who longed for happiness. “Magical huh?” she laughed softly “If only that magic always worked in my favor, maybe life wouldn’t be so complicated” it definitely felt like more of a curse than a blessing to be a celestial most of the time.

She bit her lip softly “I had an amulet once, it was…something that felt like a part of me” she nodded her head slightly “But it’s since been lost, perhaps if I ever found it, that connection would make sense again” she didn’t hold out much hope though, she suspected the Ailwards had either locked it away or destroyed it. “Still, we are just tiny pieces to the massive puzzle around us, it’s a curious way to live don’t you think” at times she could make herself believe they were all so insignificant in the grand scheme of the world.

She laughed softly “I think we all crave that kind of get away sometimes” when things were too crazy you just wanted to run as far from it as possible, that was the nature of being “Pirates get to have all the fun” she teased softly, sailing wherever they wanted, living without rules, it sounded pretty thrilling. “It’s fun to dream” she commented and smiled “But right now I’m sure I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be” here in Evermore, taking care of all the stars who needed her, it was a purpose worth serving.

She giggled softly “You are certainly talented on your feet at least” she enjoyed just swaying, the gentle breeze from the night air was just the right temperature to feel comfortable. She pressed her lips together when he asked about the genre of dance “I never gave the specifics much thought, just picked up a few steps here and there from those I met over the years, getting lost in music was always a wonderful escape” she treasured many memories of late nights spent just whiling away “It always seems to” she agreed with his words and smiled somewhat sadly “Still…it’s never too late to pick things back up” she pressed her lips together “And where did you learn to dance so eloquently?” she was curious.

✧ The brightest star ✧
Donovan grew up in a rich environment, with his parents surrounding him and his siblings with the magic of the world, teaching them to be open to those around them no matter what. Knowing they were not the only species out there always sparked curiosity in him when encountering people on the street. He spent much of his youth chasing the magic of diviners and others. Something about them ignited his soul as a Dhampir. He knew that most people did not view the world in the same way he did. It was a culture shock for him to see different groups hating each other for various reasons. Despite his efforts to show that hate leads nowhere, he learned over the years that many people hold firmly to their beliefs.

As she spoke about the amulet, he already had swirling thoughts on how he could find it for her. However, he hesitated to inquire further about the amulet on their first meeting, fearing it might seem like prying into her future. "I hope it is reunited with you one day," he said, his eyes briefly lingering where he assumed the amulet would rest below the nape of her neck. He quickly pulled his gaze away, realizing how inappropriate it could appear to stare so close to her chest.

"I like that," he said softly with a slight smile. "Thinking of us all as puzzle pieces. One might feel insignificant considering there are many pieces that are chosen and placed. However, it could also mean that once we find the piece that fits with us, the world falls into place. You don't need the world to see you as important when you can be everything to someone who cares and nurtures you." The idea of being a puzzle piece and finding the perfect match brought a glimmer of hope to him.

With a light chuckle, he respected her belief that she was where she needed to be. "Well, perhaps another time I can convince you to go on a journey around the world. But for now, maybe an adventure in Evermore?" he suggested, wondering if she wanted to spend more time with him. Although he felt relieved by her rejection of leaving the city, as he was meant to be helping the Dhampir clan as their guide.

His thoughts drifted back to his family, who were no longer with him but whose lessons were ingrained in him. "My mother raised us to have a variety of skills. She sent us to etiquette classes, where I discovered a love for dancing. I asked her to enroll me in different classes, and she happily supported my interests." His love for music and singing grew from there, and when he began traveling, he realized his lack of dancing skills and spent years learning various styles. He fondly remembered his mother as a classic mom who encouraged him to follow his dreams, always having warm cookies and a shoulder to cry on. Lost in the memory for a moment, he blinked and refocused on her. "I agree that music is a wonderful escape." He gave a sad smile. "What was your mother like?"

The brunette smiled just a little in response to her words “Who knows, maybe you’re the small piece of the puzzle that completes a picture in someone else’s mind” Insignificant in the grand scale could be everything to another’s eyes. She met his eyes for a moment, it seemed like despite not knowing one another well, they were on the same wavelength, which she honestly found quite rare in these times. She was an old soul, surrounded by many who were much more modern, more forward thinking than her. It wasn’t a bad thing by any means, but it did make her feel like a stranger in the world at times.

“Believe me, seeing the world is definitely something that appeals to me” mostly the freedom of it, given how much she had been locked into a certain path by her own fate, the idea of just heading out and going everywhere with no specific destination, that was surely exciting. “It seems a little lonely though…I think everyone secretly hopes there’s someone out there who would beg them to stay…” everyone wanted to matter in the eyes of others, didn’t they?

The idea of family was somewhat foreign to her given what she was, there was no nurturing of guidance in place the way that mortals on earth experienced, it honestly made her a little envious “Was dancing something you would have chosen for yourself initially?” it did have certain stereotypes after all, she had to wonder how he saw himself fitting into the world. She could tell his memories were wistful and full of joy from the hint of a smile on his lips as he reminisced his mother.

“Well…I’m sure I have a family somewhere in the sky but sadly…” she looked up for a moment and then back to him “I don’t remember anything of my family” the only family she had ever known was the stars she found here on earth “In a way I’ve been playing the role of a mother without ever experiencing what it’s like to have one…I can only hope I don’t disappointment” the star longed for that, family…such a foreign concept…but one she could dream of.

“You must have a good family…to be the man you are” she was sure of that much already.

✧ The brightest star ✧
"I think that is all we could hope for - to be the completing piece to someone else's puzzle, as well as having them fit into our own. Such a beautiful thought," Donovan mused, his gaze fixed on her face, illuminated by the starlight, giving her an almost ethereal glow. "It can be lonely, even surrounded by some of the most beautiful places in the world," he continued, a sad smile playing on his lips. "Yes, we all want someone to beg us to stay, to know that we mean something to someone." It was something he had always struggled with, the feeling of being truly valued and wanted. He wondered how many people had begged her to stay, not realizing their significance to her.

"Dancing? No, I was always more interested in making the music others were dancing to," Donovan admitted, reflecting on his past. "Yet it was a valuable skill to learn as well. Such beauty and strength in the art of it, though. How one can tell a story or convey emotions, and the joy on my mother's face was pure when we danced." He chuckled softly. "Though I'm sure some would say it was in my blood - music, dance, freedom. There's a freedom to it. That's probably why I stuck with both."

A frown creased his brow as he tried to imagine a life without his family, only to be reminded that the ache of their absence would persist indefinitely. "That breaks a part of my heart deeply," he confessed, his voice tinged with sorrow. "I... what could I even say?" His empathy for her situation was palpable. "I believe with every fiber of my being that you have not disappointed those who look to you for guidance. Yet I would understand that feeling. Being the Dhampir leader has caused me to worry about my actions and their effects on others." Panic surged within him. "Do they view me as a father?" The weight of responsibility pressed heavily on him as he grappled with the loss of his family.

"I did have a good family, and I will honor them with every action I take in this world," Donovan declared solemnly, a vow to his departed loved ones. "Anyone would be lucky to have you as family," he added, his tone gentle as they continued walking side by side. "I've been learning the value of found family, something I never gave much thought to before, but it makes sense. I understand that they look at you like a mother, but do you have anyone in your corner to support you in your tough times?"

She bit her lip and nodded, she had spent so much of her life searching for meaning so she could understand his sentiments completely, she had always had this streak of a hopeless romantic in her too, perhaps from all of the great love stories she had read in her years while trying to while away time. “Making music is not a talent everyone has…it really is…magnificient to observe someone in their element” she commented softly and nodded her head “How did you get started?” she was very curious when it came to other people’s passions, there was nothing more exciting than seeing someone light up about things they cared about, she could listen all say.

“It all goes hand in hand, I find there are people in life who get music and people in life who do not, an truth be told, I find myself drawn to the former kind” she smiled softly, she had a great love for arts, even if she wasn’t all that talented in any herself, the beauty of seeing someone create something that no one else could make the same way was beautiful to her. She offered a kind smile when he expressed his sadness for her situation “I suppose it’s hard for me to miss what I didn’t experience” she assured him and nodded her head slightly “My community has become my family in time” it took a while to pull them all together but here they were, stronger than ever.

“Being a leader is an impossible task, isn’t it?” you had to make decisions without knowing their outcome, hoping it would be for the better of those you were making choices on behalf of. She was wary with her decisions, always weighing each outcome in her mind before trying to come to a final option. She laughed softly “If it makes you feel old you could say an elder brother if it makes you feel better” she jested softly and smiled. She was old, she would admit that much, it didn’t bother her anymore.

She pressed her lips together and bowed her head slightly to express her condolences in response to his use of past tense “I’m sure that you make them proud every day” she commented in a soft voice, with a talent like his and such a charisma, she was certain of it already, she sensed he was good and her intuition was rarely wrong. She shook her head slightly “I’ve had my share of epic tales” she commented softly “But the one thing I’ve yet to find is the one who stayed” she had a soft, wistful expression, but behind it there was a certain level of sadness. “And yourself? Surely you must have plenty yourself?”

✧ The brightest star ✧
Donovan appreciated her curiosity and genuine interest, qualities he found rare and refreshing. As she bit her lip and nodded, he could see the depth of her understanding and the romanticism she carried within her. It resonated with him on a profound level. Her compliment about making music warmed his heart. "Thank you," he replied softly, his voice tinged with gratitude. "Music has always been a part of me. I started playing the piano when I was a child. My father was a pianist, and he taught me the basics. From there, it just... blossomed into something more."

He paused, recalling those early days filled with melodies and rhythms. "I used to watch him play, mesmerized by how his fingers danced across the keys. I guess you could say I fell in love with music because of him." A soft smile tugged at his lips as he reminisced. Donovan nodded in agreement as she spoke about being drawn to people who understood music. "There's a certain magic to it, isn't there? Those who get music seem to live on a different wavelength. It's almost like they see the world in colors and sounds that others can't perceive."

Her words about community and family struck a chord with him. "I understand that," he said gently. "Family isn't always about blood. It's about the connections we make and the people who stand by us through thick and thin." He admired her strength and the way she had built her own family through her community, it was something he was going to have to do now. The conversation shifted to leadership, and Donovan's expression grew thoughtful. "It truly is an impossible task. Making decisions for others, hoping you're doing what's best... it's a heavy burden to bear." He chuckled at her jest about feeling old. "An elder brother, huh? I would have to say you aged like fine wine. I need your skin care routine." he said with a playful grin.

When she bowed her head in response to his past tense mention of his parents, Donovan felt a pang of emotion. Her empathy was palpable, and he appreciated her kind words. "I hope so," he replied softly. "I try to live in a way that would make them proud." Her mention of epic tales piqued his interest. "Epic tales, you say? I'd love to hear some of them someday." He sensed the sadness behind her words and his heart went out to her. "I've had my share of adventures," he admitted, his gaze turning introspective. "But finding someone who stays... that's a different kind of journey, isn't it? One that I am told we never see coming."

He met her eyes, a shared understanding passing between them. "I've had people come and go, but I suppose I'm still searching for that one person who will stay, as well." There was a vulnerability in his voice, a rare glimpse into his guarded heart. "I'm grateful for moments like these, where we can share our stories and maybe, just maybe, find a bit of solace in each other's company." He smiled warmly at her, feeling a sense of connection that he hadn't experienced in a long time. “Can we get together sometime for some coffee? Or maybe even something different, like an art class?”

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