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Settling into a routine in Evermore City had been easier than Sunmin had expected it to be. Ever since he started working at the little cafe, things started to look up, he finally felt like he had some control of his life, even if it was by choosing to serve coffee to the Karens of the world. The money he earned he paid back to his brother, when he refused to take it the younger male would hide in places he would find it eventually, like in his pockets or down the side of the couch. He felt better knowing he wasn't simply surviving off the back of his brother's good graces and honestly the two of them had been growing to know one another better. Perhaps the little nudge he had been given in the right direction had helped.
It had been a long and difficult day at the cafe today though, not only were the customers being extra difficult today but they had a new manager in the store and she didn't seem to understand the first thing about managing. Sunmin thought he was bad with people but she brought it to a whole new level, constantly reprimanding people for the smallest of things and generally making the mood sour. Sunmin had been close to cussing her out a few times but in the end he had decided it wasn't worth it and avoided her by working in the back most of the day. Typically, what made the day a little better was Astraea, she was always this stupidly bright ball of energy that filled everyone with the spirit they needed to get through the day but he could tell even she was feeling the strain of today.
By the time the shift was drawing to a close, he honestly felt exhausted and he hadn't even been working the floor. It made him wonder who had put itching powder in that damn manager's pants because she clearly had them in a twist. She knew better than to challenge him though, by now everyone at the cafe had learned it was better not to be on their bad side and that he could come back with a clever statement before they even managed to full start a fight. Usually Sunmin would wait until the shift ended and then chat to Astraea for a little while before they headed out, turned out they both came from the same way so sometimes he would walk with her to the subway too. He had just finished clocking out when he heard more yelling coming from the front room which made him frown before taking a few steps towards the doorway
It wasn't exactly a secret that Astraea was the star waitress of the store and that the owners loved her so he wasn't all that surprised that the manager had singled her out. Jealous and threatened came to mind in the celestial's mind. Still, he could see that the telling off and nit picking comments had definitely taken the edge off the Aurazin's spirit. He cleared his throat, interrupting their conversation "We're going to miss our train if we don't get going" he spoke bluntly, staring down the head bitch with a look that said he wasn't going to take any of her bullshit. It had been a long day and everyone needed a break from this place before they all went insane.
Time really did pass by quickly, before long the Aurazin had already spent a few months here in the eternal city. It also meant it has been a little over a month since she met a particular Celestial that piqued her interest. First, she thought it was just pure coincidence that they met that night but soon enough when he came by her workplace as her new co-worker, it was almost impossible for her to ignore him. So she befriended him and despite his haughty self, Sunmin turned out to be a good company. She wasn't especially picky with her choice of company but she did tend to spend most of her free time during break with him. Sometimes it could be an empty conversation but he never blew her off. He actually stayed and listened, which made Astraea find him even more endearing. He taught her plenty of things with his knowledge and she did the same with hers.
Many thought they were a weird pair of friends, the complete opposites of each other but they worked. The Aurazin also managed to work at the tea shop she often ventured to, so the female was working two jobs at the given moment. It didn't hinder her from keeping that sweet smile and bubbly persona though. Admittedly, sometimes she felt burned out but one work was for her passion while the other was for her to continue surviving in the 21st century. The owners loved her but the same couldn't be said with a particular new person in the picture. Ever since they got the new manager, it has been hard to stay positive the entire time. Somehow, she would be targeted, even if she didn't do anything wrong. Like today, apparently she was being too friendly with the customers and was reprimanded for it. Honestly she couldn't find where her fault lies but she bit her lip and stayed silent. No point in arguing. It wasn't worth getting into an argument over.
Her shift had just ended a few minutes ago but the manager dragged her out of the worker lounge and in front of the store room nearby, chastising and scolding her for being too dense and not understanding the hint she had been dropping about her treatment toward the customers. With her head hung low, Astraea could only mumble an apology. Before she could say another word, someone cleared their throat and she lifted her head up to find the source, only to find Sunmin with his signature poker face that clearly screamed how he would not be taking anyone's shit. A small part of her let out a relieved sigh because she didn't know how to get out of this situation. "Right… our train" she nodded and cleared her throat awkwardly before backing away, "I'll see you tomorrow, Miss Rowsley." She was just about to make her leave but it wasn't until she heard a few words from the manager who clearly wasn't done with her, "Throw out the trash while you're at it." With the manager gone, Astraea only sighed to herself before taking off her apron. "How long have you been waiting?"
It was strange how things has turned out, honestly Sunmin had expected to be out of Evermore and on his way by now and yet he was still here. And in a weird way he had become comfortable here too. It wasn’t something the young star had expected but he had also decided not to question it too much. He had a roof over his head and food on the table, company if and when he wanted it and a job which kept him busy. He’d even been able to save up and buy himself a tablet which he could use to practice his drawings and comics. Not that he ever showed anyone those but he enjoyed being able to just sit down and draw in the evening without having to go out to the library and risk people peeking over his shoulder.
And surprisingly, he got along well with Astraea. Sunmin wasn’t really the kind to seek other people’s company but she didn’t really give him much choice, she was always there, never pushy but always there. It wasn’t like he could always ignore her so he’d made the effort to ask her about more things she liked and things went on from there. Nowadays he actually looked forward to the time they took out of the day to talk a little. Though the hardass manager was making that more difficult than it should be lately. Of all the people to reprimand, it made no sense to him to target Astraea, everyone loved her, the customers doted on her, so did the owners and she even had her own regulars who literally came in just to see her.
It bothered him seeing her throw her weight around like that, especially when it came to someone like the Aurazin who he knew wouldn’t yell back or stand up for herself because she was too kind to do that. His glare spoke all that there was to say about his thoughts on the manager’s stance and she wasn’t stupid enough to challenge him. Despite being a generally difficult person to get along with, Sunmin was a hard worker who put in many hours and the owners the shop respected that. Because he was always the last to leave, they had entrusted him with the key to lock up after closing “Remember if we miss the last one we’ll have to get a cab across the city again” he spoke dryly, enforcing his point. He raised his brow to challenge the manager but she didn’t argue and before long dismissed herself and sauntered out of the shop.
He could see the way Astraea seemed to deflate the moment she was out of the line of fire “Long enough to know she’s being a bitch for no reason” he commented under his breath before heading into the front and locking the front door from behind, checking it twice and then setting the alarm before pointing towards the back room so they could get their stuff “She’s just jealous you know, she knows the owners love you” he commented under his breath before leading the way into the back room, it was summer so the sun hadn’t set yet but he could see it starting to scatter light across the sky telling him sundown wasn’t too far away “Are you okay?” he asked as he got his thing together.
She was still living with the other Aurazin, and honestly despite the distance she had to go through to go to work every day, she preferred living with her family; the only people she knew basically. It gives her comfort to know she would go downstairs one day and greet them over breakfast. Thankfully, the tea shop wasn't far from her workplace, so she could go back and forth every once in a while in said week to check on both. Astraea has been decorating the tea shop and the owner kept on complimenting her creativity even though it was the bare minimum. The Wanderlust cafe has also been receiving a tremendous amount of attention from the past two weeks. There were plenty of factors but she definitely noticed were due to a particular newcomer. Sunmin, yes. Sophie Rowsley, no. Though she also had a few of her own regulars who came to talk to her, it wasn't an understatement to say the inflation of female college and high school students alike venturing to the cafe to see a certain worker there.
She wasn't surprised, even if he wasn't sociable and generally kept to himself, he was an attractive guy. It surely caught the attention of many girls there. The cafe was almost always bustling with them stopping by. At first, it bothered the others because they only ordered a drink but after she suggested them to push a bit, they ended up ordering a few more to keep their spots. Astraea remained the chatty person she is and Sunmin was the person she often sought out after finishing their shifts, which was also coincidentally the same as one another. They would walk back home to the subway station together too. It was a good progress between them, she learned a few things about him and he did too. She found out he liked comics and graphic design seemed to be his passion after all. She even made the effort to watch said cartoons to understand the depth and there were also times when she would tell him what was true and what was not regarding the history. A comic and history buff, an interesting mix indeed.
The Aurazin hoped today wouldn't be worse than yesterday but she was slowly getting distressed over all the negative energy filling the air. The others were also a target to the new manager, and they weren't amused either. Their negativity rubbed off her and Astraea was reminded once again why she didn't do well with crowds due to their mixed moods that kept affecting her. She was so grateful when Sunmin dragged her out of the situation but it was clear even to him that she hasn't been holding up to this treatment well. Normally she would frown at his use of words but honestly she couldn't be bothered today, the poor girl was exhausted and she needed to be somewhere positive to get rid of all the negative energy she received today. "Thanks for pulling me out… I think I would've broken down if she continued for another 5 minutes" it was no surprise that Astraea also shared some information regarding herself, including how she generally avoided crowds because of how she was affected.
It wasn't something she could help with, just like her sugar intake. At least she could avoid sugar, but how could she avoid people when she's working? "There's no reason to be jealous of me, like… I'm really trying to work like usual and it's bad enough others kept cussing about her, to be targeted directly is just… exhausting." She spared him a small smile when he asked if she was okay, though the smile and enthusiasm didn't quite reach her eyes as she took her things, "I still haven't cried from the overwhelming day so that means I'm getting better at holding up. Thanks for asking. It makes me envy you for being so… unbothered. She couldn't say anything to you… how do you do that?"
Sunmin found Astraea interesting, she was the kind of person who just seemed to stand out, even when she tried not to. Her smiles were infectious to the point where even he had found himself affected them and she had a sweet sense of humor which made her seem slightly goofy and silly. She was very different from him, especially with the way she saw the world but honestly, he didn’t see that as a bad thing, they brought different perspectives to every topic they came across, like music or where the best food in town was. His favorite part about her was that she listened and actually seemed to care. While most people would talk to you and then entirely forget everything you said, ever since Sunmin had told her about his like for anime and comics, she had made the effort to check out the ones he recommended and give her review on them.
Sunmin wasn’t the kind of person who boldly proclaimed he had friends but she had become the closest thing she had to one. Or at least, one who wasn’t obligated to keep him around because he was somehow related to him. But much like Astraea was unique in that she was a truly good and well-spirited person, there were plenty of people in the city who balanced out his expectations and Sophie Rowseley definitely fit that. The kind of person who was happy to step on others to get what she wanted and didn’t care how much they hurt those around them as long as they were chasing their own ends. She was the kind of person who matched Sunmin’s view of the world to a tee. Thankfully before long, she was stalking off “No problem, she deserved more than just a glare” he commented in a grumbling tone, she was ruining the atmosphere of the cafe.
“I know it’s easier said than done, but you shouldn’t let her get to you, it’s really not anything you’re doing, it’s just you being you” he assured and shrugged his shoulders, no one had an issue with how Astraea was with the customers before today, in fact, usually she was praised for being so approachable and getting the customers to spend more. He was sure she managed to work up quite the amount in tips too. “Some people think if they boss everyone around and make them feel down then it’ll make them look better but” he had worked in a few places under people like that and he had some experience with how it turned out “Most of the time karma comes around to bite them, she’ll get exposed for who she is before long” some people did get away with it though, in Vegas he met people who made their entire living on putting other people down.
He could tell she was really shaken just by seeing the smile she gave him, he knew a fake smile better than anything. His expression furrowed for a moment as he put his bag over his shoulder, he wasn’t lying when he said if they didn’t leave now they would miss the train but perhaps there was something more important to do right now. “I just don’t care what other people think of me” he responded “She can’t put me down if I care little for her opinion, so she gave up trying” he went for the route of malicious obedience where he would do exactly what was asked of him but no more. He pressed his lips together as they headed out the back door and he glanced over at the fire escape on the building “Do you have anywhere to be?” he asked in a hushed voice, if she wanted to go home he would rush with her to the station but they’d split a cab before, they could again.
She tried her best to stay positive the entire day, this happens every day and she didn't mind putting on a smile if others could follow suit. Sometimes, it made people follow, sometimes it made people frown over it. She didn't know why people could be irked by a simple showcase of happiness but she dared not question it out loud. Especially in front of her new manager who seemed hell bent on breaking everyones' spirits. The only person that wasn't affected was quite possibly Sunmin. Nothing seemed to penetrate him and apparently, even Sophie Rowseley stopped trying when she realized she couldn't pass through him. It made Astraea commend him, she wondered how strong that made him. To others, being nonchalant and unbothered might sound rude but it takes a certain amount of bravery to actually go through with it. The two of them mixed well, she couldn't recall any arguments or disagreements between the two of them despite having personalities that clearly colored them differently.
She might not understand what he was talking about when they talked about comics and anime, hell Astraea even thought anime was another term to describe one's persona but he corrected her soon enough. But it never hindered their progress. Their friendship grew day by day and she would proudly admit spending time with him and being able to chat with him without having him look at her with the look that would make you question your own existence was nice. It made her feel special even. Those times when he would say something negative because that's just how the world operates, Astraea would come back to say something positive to balance it out. It was an interesting partnership. The Aurazin agreed she deserved more than just a glare but couldn't find it in him to say it out loud or agree with him verbally, so she only hummed in response. "It is easier said than done" she nodded, "I feel… more, you know how that is for me. It's not easy for me to ignore how people feel about me. Maybe I need to go to a class for that" she murmured absentmindedly, "a class of ignorance."
She thought the manager would've been happy with her progress, she made sure Wanderlust was known as a friendly cafe and nobody had problems with her, save for a few Karens but they couldn't be filtered or stopped anyway. "I'll choose to believe in karma and stay strong." What else could she do? "I can't speak up to her… I actually do need this job" it wasn't surprising that the Aurazin wanted to stray far from being fired. It would be unfair but at the end of the day, the manager is a manager for a reason. A superior will remain a superior and she's just a worker bee. "At least you won't be bullied by her… that does make me feel relieved to know someone else won't get the same treatment I did, especially a friend." Astraea fixed the strap of her bag and shook her head when he asked if she had anywhere else to be, "Not really. The plan is the usual, go home. Why? Do you want to go somewhere?" Honestly, she wouldn't mind spending extra hours with Sunmin, god knows she could use some distraction today.
Most people were scared of Sunmin, even Han tried to tread carefully around him but in that regard, Astraea was really brave, she had never really held back herself when it came to him and he respected the kind of bravery in her which made her do that. Perhaps that was why he never really had any friends before. Of course, there were people he got along with but he never really made the effort to get to know them. Seemed pointless when he was planning on leaving again before long. The young male had spent his whole life keeping people at arm’s length and it ironically took this long for him to realize that he may have been missing something important. He glanced over to her with a knowing expression when she explained how she tended to feel things deeper than most, she had explained her empathic nature before when he asked about it “I know, but I guess I’m reminding you subtly that not everyone agrees with her” he nodded his head slightly “It starts with becoming really good at internalizing, I guess you could call it a high-level poker face” he chuckled, it was rare to get Sunmin to show emotion but she managed to drag it out of him.
He nodded when she said she was going to put her trust in karma “Good, she isn’t worth tears” he commented in a dismissive manner, he had no time for people like her, he didn’t care what crap she had been through in her life, it didn’t excuse her treating other people the way she did. He gave her a curious look when she said she needed this job as though she didn’t have other options out there “Firstly you do realize that any place would be dying to hire someone with your people skills and secondly, the owners practically worship your name, she wouldn’t get away with it” even if she tried to frame Astraea, she was such a good-natured person that it would be immediately suspicious “She’s only acting like this to scare you, she doesn’t have a foot to stand on, she knows that” but it was, unfortunately, easy to knock Astraea’s confidence in herself.
He glanced at her for a moment when she referred to him as a friend before shrugging it off, it felt strange to have someone call him that. Coming to Evermore had he many new situations he wasn’t ready for. He certainly hadn’t expected to meet someone who calls him a brother but making a friend also felt pretty significant because it meant someone actually liked being around him enough to stick around. A small smile crossed his lips for a small moment “Well...uh...it’s not anywhere too far” he commented as he pulled the door closed behind them before setting the alarm and locking it behind them, putting his keys into his pocket and biting his lip, she was always the type to never break the rules so he wasn’t sure if she would go for it but he jerked his chin towards the fire escape “There’s something you should see” he commented before pulling down the metal ladder and then climbing up it until he was on the first level, he looked down at her with a challenging look “C’mon Astraea, live a little” he raised his brows and waited.
He could be very intimidating, she would never deny that outrightly and while she would never say it out loud to him, she was sure even he knew the kind of effect he leaves on people. He was not rude, honestly she didn't find him disrespectful the way others would often tell her about. If there was a word she would use to describe the Celestial, it would be cool. It was no surprise that Astraea was still studying about living on earth and she might not have the best judgment, but she knows what she sees. And she knows a good person when she sees one, as naive as she may be, it would be almost impossible to lie to her so it shields her a bit. He allowed her in, albeit a small crack at the door, but still it was a start. She had to start small somehow right? Like now, he won't show it, much less admit it but he was trying to console her, doesn't that mean a lot already? "It's reassuring to know others don't feel the same way as her…" it definitely helps to know that you're not dislikable.
"A high-level poker face, really? You know the other coworkers said you have this thing called… resting bitch face? I have no idea what that's supposed to mean but it's probably similar? Isn't a bitch a female dog though?" Oh yes. Very naive. "Oh believe me… I think I've gone through that phase where I know who is worth my tears and not" she chuckled, she distinctly recalled how she refused to even shed tears at the end of her life line no matter how upset she was. Did she really need this job? That's what she tells herself. The Aurazin thought it was the only place that would accept her working especially with her lack of worldly qualifications. "I don’t know… I guess I asked myself if people skills are really that big of an effect? What if it's not enough?" The owners do like her, she knew that, sometimes she would go out her way and bake some brownies and send it over to their place, she even placed a whole plate at the worker lounge. "And they don't worship me" she scoffed and shook her head, that wasn't possible, right?
"Well… it's not scaring me per se but it is putting me down a lot. I just hate negativity in general so there's also that." It was going to take a lot more to break her down, she might be overwhelmed because of the side effects of what she is but mentally, she knew she went through worse things than this. Sunmin doesn't smile always, but when he does, it was a pretty sight to look at, she could only wonder that's what his fanclub would swoon over. Though she was also careful not to point out how good he looks smiling, knowing the Celestial would only replace it with a scowl or frown again. Her gaze followed his actions and watched as he closed the door and locked everything, wondering what he was planning. "Something I should see?" Noe he's got her interest piqued.
When he suddenly pulled the metal ladder down and started climbing up to what seemed to be the rooftop, the look on her face shifted slightly as realization washes over her. But before she could even say another word, he was already peering down at her with a challenging look, telling her to live a little which caused the dark-haired female to pout. "Logically speaking, I'm already dead so… that term is really going nowhere but… I can live a little, excuse you" she scowled playfully and grabbed a hold of the ladder, biting her lip apprehensively as she stared back at him. It took her a while but eventually Astraea climbed up and once she reached above, she was cautiously eyeing their surroundings, "Are you sure it's fine to do this? Isn't it against the rules to trespass?"
He lifted his gaze and tilted his head wondering if she was being serious when she spoke about her relief for knowing that others don’t feel the same as their manager “You mean most people are more understanding than the dragon lady?” he questioned, putting his hand over his mouth as though to express his sarcastic shock and then shook his head slightly. He did have to chuckle when she commented about how he had a resting bitch face, only to express how she didn’t even know what that was supposed to mean “It’s supposed to be an insult, for someone, usually a woman, who seems mean or angry” he commented and shrugged “But one of my favorite bands has a song called ‘You call me a bitch like it’s a bad thing’” he shrugged in an amused manner, he had been called much worse that was for sure.
“I’m sure you have” he commented in a knowing voice, after all, he knew now how long she had been around and that means she must have been through so much, in that sense he was she it had made her tougher than she looked. “I bet you still cry at those sad puppy commercials though” he commented giving her a questioning look, she seemed like the kind of person who would let those get the best of her. “Considering the number of people who don’t have them” he commented and shrugged slightly, he was included in that, he was absolutely useless when it came to interacting with others, mostly because he couldn’t be bothered to take the time to understand them and got frustrated too easily. “So what? You’re not gonna try because it might not be enough?” that didn’t sound like the determined girl he had been getting to know, that’s for sure.
“Oh, did you hear about the feedback Astraea received today? Oh darling Astraea brought in cakes again today” he shot her a look as though to make his point that the owners practically doted over her and shook his head in amusement, of course she didn’t see it, she was Astraea. It didn’t take them long to be out of the building and onto the back alley behind the store, he knew there weren’t any cameras here because this wasn’t the first time he had been up on the roof. It was in a quiet area and as long as he wasn’t damaging anything no one would notice. “I mean it’s not anything you haven’t seen before, but you won’t have seen it like this” he explained pressing his lips together for a moment.
It wasn’t exactly a secret that she was a follow the rules and do as she was told kind of girl which is why he was so curious to see how she would react “Don’t kill my spirit, we both know you have life in you” he jested, giving her a look as though to say he wasn’t buying her distractions and she needed to either rise to the challenge or refuse. A smug looked crossed his lips when she started climbing the ladder, so there was a bit of rebellion in her after all, he was proud. “No one is going to notice, this part of the city is dead this time of night, besides, no one is going to care about two kids watching the sunset” he chuckled before climbing up the next set of ladders until they reached the spot next to the roof and he put out his hands in an interlocked position so she could step on it to get a boost up to the roof.
The look he gave her made her clear her throat awkwardly and look down because well, that was expected but it was still surprising. "Hey… dragons aren't like her" she murmured softly, of course she knows they're real. When they came here, the first people they sought out were the Ailwards, who were a bunch of dragons. "Dragons are actually… nice." That was one way to phrase it. Astraea couldn't refrain herself from laughing when he covered his mouth like that, "You're quite comical, you know." He was very expressive, despite having a good poker face, a single emotion from the Celestial was clear to the Aurazin. Hearing him explain to her the meaning or where the phrase came from made her gape in awe, well modern days are definitely something. Even their insults. "Well… you're not… mean" Admittedly, she sounded reluctant to say it because Sunmin acted differently towards the others, the treatment she received was entirely different. Even though she wanted to point it out, she wouldn't hide the fact that she did enjoy feeling significant or special. Even if it was this small.
"You do curse a lot" she shook her head, a smile playing on her lips. "But I don't think others realize how confused and clueless I actually am whenever they come to complain. I can't do anything about it but cheer them up" that was part of the job description, something she actually enjoys doing. She sent him an offended look when he talked about her crying at sad puppy commercials, "Excuse you those sad puppy commercials are actually sad… have you seen the look on their poor faces whenever their owners left them? Like who does that? How could you be so cruel and leave them? Or when they are caught by the local authority and sent to the animal pound…" her tone rose up slightly, indicating her upsetness. Well he wasn't wrong, she gets upset at those. "Wait don't people cry at those commercials?" She didn't know what people skills stretch out to, all she knows is she could talk to people easily because she knows exactly the best strategy and remedy to make them feel good about themselves, it comes naturally to her since that's what she's been doing for a long time.
"It's not that… I just… I really want to work full time at the tea shop but you know that's a place I feel at peace, I genuinely want to take care of the place. But I'm still a stranger, to the old lady I'm this sweet girl who came by to help her daily because of the same interest. Is that enough to push for employment?" When he mocked the owners' tone talking about her, Astraea blinked a few times and slapped his shoulder, "At least they like the cakes." Of course that's what she got from all of that. She has never been to any rooftops, she often saw the sunset from behind the blinds but it pales to the real thing. So when he said it would be something she wouldn't want to miss out on, Astraea had to go and check. She was curious. "If I was trying to kill your spirit, you'd know" she retorted sassily and climbed, she was hesitant initially but what could go wrong right? If he said it's fine, then she should trust him a bit.
"So we're really going to watch the sunset?" Her eyes lit up almost instantly at the sudden mention of that, the Aurazin likes a lot of things and watching the sunset is one of them. She stared at him when he put his hands in an interlocked position, it was clear it was to boost her up which was considerate of him since she couldn't climb as well with a skirt. Astraea carefully positioned herself to step on his hands, so she wouldn't put too much of her weight on him as she pushed herself up with his help. She then peered down to see how he was doing, "We probably shouldn't be here but… for what is worth, if we get in trouble, you dragged me into this, right? I'm... innocent."
He raised his brows when she mentioned that dragons aren’t like her “Clearly you haven’t met the dragon I did” he commented with a grumbling tone, he remembered meeting Malva, she was much like him in that she was very cold on the outside, though she had revealed some things to him about what he was so he supposed it wasn’t all bad. He simply scoffed when she commented about his comedic timing, he made jokes sometimes, though they could fall flat with the wrong person because he basically lived on sarcasm and satire and not everyone understood he was joking. “I am pretty mean when I want to be” he commented with a low chuckle, he would own that, he could be cold and judgemental when it came to people he didn’t like “People usually deserve it though” he nodded, people are mean, he’s mean back.
He gave an amused chuckle when she commented on how much he cursed and he shrugged “When you’re raised by the streets you pick up the language around you” he commented nonchalantly, swearing wasn’t a big deal unless you made it out to be. It was just words at the end of the day. “You really would make everyone’s life better if you could huh?” when he first met her he had wondered if it was just a persona she kept on but the more he got to know her the more it was affirmed that she really did just care about everyone around her that much. He made a playful smile when she immediately got defensive about the commercials which only confirmed he was right with that statement “I mean I’m sure people do, playing right into the big corporation hands just like they want you to” he chuckled in amusement.
He tilted his head curiously when she explained what it was that bothered her about her work “Well you can’t just sit around and wait forever, I don’t need to tell you that anything could happen” he pointed out and shrugged, if she didn’t want to do anything that was up to her but it was clear she had a dream and she just needed to take the path to it “The worst she could say is no, you know” he commented wondering what was holding her back, he knew the cafe wasn’t her dream, she was good at her job, everyone knew that but no one dreamed of being a waitress forever. “Everyone likes the cakes” he commented rubbing his shoulder where she slapped him “Shame you can’t have them yourself” he jested. Her little threat made him chuckle “I’m sure I would” he got the feeling if you were dumb enough to make Astraea mad, it could be a really big mistake.
She suddenly seemed to change her tune when he revealed what her was planning to show her, he got the feeling she was the type to enjoy the view much like he did. “See, nothing nefarious” he teased as he boosted her up onto the roof, it was a flat roof which meant it would be okay for them to stay up there without falling. “Stand back” he instructed her before waiting for her to take a few steps back before he grabbed hold of the ledge and swung himself with his arms to get a foothold on the roof and push himself up, pretty smoothly because Sunmin was used to scaling buildings by now and did a little parkour here and there “For sure princess, blame it all on me” he winked before wandering to the middle of the roof and then shrugging off his bag to take out a blanket he brought, he laid it down on the ground before sitting down on it and then patting the spot next to him “Best spot in the house, but you should hurry” he teased as he looked out at the sky.
When he said that, Astraea raised her eyebrows in surprise, he sounded like he really met one which made her wonder if he had an encounter with one of the Ailwards. It seemed unlikely considering he's a Celestial and last time she checked, they didn't bode well with the Ailwards due to their past history. But there's also the part where he doesn't show any direct traits of being a Celestial which gives him the autonomy to shield his identity. "Wait, did you really meet a dragon? Like a real one? Which Ailward did you come across?" This was news, an interesting one. He was heavy on sarcasm and snark, it didn't seem like everyone was on board with the same type of humor with him from what she has seen. But she likes to think that everyone has their own humor, and his couldn't be dismissed. Besides, she actually likes his humor. "I'm sure you can be" she nodded in agreement, oh there was no doubt that he could be pretty mean. But with her? So far so good. He hasn't been outrightly mean towards her which says something, right?
"Pick up the language around you?" she mumbled to herself in awe, that sounds plausible. "So people around you curse a lot? Which part of town did you grow up, I mean… live at?" Sometimes she forgot that he didn't exactly grow up. When he fell, he was already a teen like the person she is seeing now. She had a soft smile tugging on her lips as she beamed brightly, "If I could make them feel better… just a tad bit better then that's more than enough for me. I know this is a second chance but I basically exist to help people. Literally." She was sure her existence would quickly go to poof if she didn't fulfill her duties. "Well, whatever they did, they did it right because those commercials were a tear jerker." She hoped it wouldn't be displayed again whenever she watches the TV honestly, she would rather skip it than endure a few minutes of tearing up over the poor creatures. He wasn't wrong when he said the worst she could say is no. Astraea hasn't even asked her about the possibility of future employment when she helped her out.
At first, it was purely out of her sincerity. But she would love to work there and stop being exhausted because she worked two jobs. She wasn't a superwoman, she still gets tired easily. Especially when she works around people. "I'll ask her next time" she murmured, it was almost inaudible but it was clear enough for him to catch her words. "They do?" Her eyes lit up at the sudden mention of people liking her cakes. She has been diligently studying about baking a few of those savory desserts. Unfortunately, she couldn't have some for herself but she made their day so that's a point. "Shame indeed. I could try to have one bite back home but… I don't think it's wise for me to do that on a working day. Maybe next time." Hey she is the baker, of course she wanted to see if what she baked was good or not. The Aurazin was sure most people around her would have no idea how she would be like when pissed off, hell even she wasn't sure how that would turn out to be.
It wasn't an exaggeration when Astraea says she has never been angry like that when she stepped into her second life. She strayed away from the risks and possibilities. "Of course… leave it up to you to not plan something nefarious" she rolled her eyes and scowled playfully, she couldn't believe she was actually doing this but a part of her was urging her to go ahead and give it a try. So that is exactly what she's doing. When he asked her to stand back, Astraea complied and watched as he pulled himself up, "Show off" she jested and shook her head before following his silhouette. She had to admit, when he brought out the blanket from his bag, she was taken aback. "Of all the things I thought you would bring, a blanket is the last thing in my mind." She eventually scooted over and took a seat on the spot next to him while staring out in the open sky, "Do you do this often?"
He frowned when she asked him which dragon he met and then questioned him further on their identity, did everyone know everything about the supernatural community except him? He supposed that wasn’t actually all that surprising, it was like some secret club he wasn’t welcome to be a member of “She said her name was Malva, not Ailward” he commented tilted his head, that sounded like a stupid name anyway. When she agreed that he could be mean he chuckled under his breath “Most people aren’t wasting my time on” he commented in a grumble as though he felt the need to explain himself. He paused for a moment when she asked how he grew up before she corrected herself “Most of the time on a park bench or abandoned buildings I knew the police wouldn’t check” he answered bluntly, he had lived most of his life without a home “I may have liked but home...not a word I know” he commented matter of factly.
She seemed so full of hope that it was hard not to be a little inspired by her. Didn’t mean he was going to go out of his way to help others that didn’t deserve it but it did seem like she thought most people could be redeemed, she even took a shine to someone like him, who honestly, didn’t seem like the kind of company she would keep. “Doesn’t it get tiring? Always focusing on everyone else around you and not yourself?” he questioned with a raised brow, did she ever make decisions influenced by her own wants and whims or was that off-limits because of what she was. The way she talked about the work at the tea shop was so different to how she talked about being here. She never said anything outrightly negative about the cafe and she wouldn’t because she was Astraea, but there was this spark he could hear in her voice which was absent when she was talking about Wanderlust. “You better” he commented, giving her a raise of his brows as though it was a threat.
“Even I liked them” he commented with a chuckle, much like his brother, Sunmin had a bit of a sweet tooth and so he had definitely tried some when they were out on the counter “Only one bite?” he commented in a sad tone, he could tell it was hard for her to like sweets but not be able to have it because she risked her own state of mind every time “If it’s like getting drunk then...surely it would be safe to have some in the evening” he commented in a thoughtful voice, not sure why he was trying to solve her problems honestly but here he was. He laughed when she commented about how he wasn’t exactly the kind of person who followed the rules “I live life without the stupid rules society paints for us” he commented matter of factly “I’m free” while others were not. He didn’t do anything to hurt others purposely, he wasn’t that kind of person, but he didn’t need laws to tell him what was and wasn’t right to do.
He shrugged when she called him a show off “Practice” he responded before making his way across the roof to find the right spot for watching, he was halfway through smoothing out the blanket when she commented how that wasn’t what she was expecting him to have “Habit” he commented with a wry smile “When you don’t know where your next bed will be, it always pays to have something warm” he commented, leaning back so his palms were propping him up behind him “Quite a lot..I like just...watching” he explained as he crossed one leg over the other “Though I don’t usually bring a…” he glanced over at her for a moment and wondered what exactly he wasd supposed to call her. A friend? “Person” he commented shortly.