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Life Burns

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Re: Life Burns

Post by Guest on Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:09 pm

Huh. You know, she had never done this with anyone before. Just stared out at the morning as it brightened from night to the early dawn. Aw man, she had never watched the sun rise with anyone!!! She couldn't help it, her eyes darted up to him as a smile steadily grew more and more across her lips. That single thought made her so very giddy. That was one of those things that you always heard about in stories, movies, or what have you. You watched the sun rise, or set, with the person you were closest to in your entire life. He was certainly that. There was no one else she'd rather be watching the morning light cast its beams over her city with.

"Yeah..." His voice sounded so soft on the cool air, like the singular drop that creates the ripples in a pool of water. The sound waves carried outward and outward until they dissipated into nothing, leaving them in the quiet of the morning once more. Her hand gave his a gentle squeeze at his answer, giggling softly as her head tilted ever so slightly to touch his shoulder. There had always been a serenity to Xing, but... maybe she had just never really noticed the full extent to which it filled her land, her people. Maybe she had just needed to know what she knew now in order to truly feel it. To achieve inner peace. Was this how monks found it? Though... they gave up the things of the world to find nirvana. At least that was as far as she had understood it. That hardly seemed like it could compare to this. Nothing could. She knew that already.

She had never been this.... serene didn't even cover it. So what was a good word? How could she sum up everything rolling through her right now? To say she was in heaven was so cliché! But.... Her green eyes met his gaze as he looked down to her, their feelings mutual and unspoken. There was no need for words. They both knew that this was the epitome of life. To have this connection with a person and know that they too, felt it. What was that line? "The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love, and be loved in return."* Yes! That was it! And it was so the truth! It was the pitter patter in your chest as you looked at each other like they were, the warmth you felt in your bones at their smile, the... EVERYTHING!

It was the tingling that she was feeling right now all over her body as he drew her close, as their lips met one more time.... Just again, and again, and again... Never let it stop. This was them leaving their imprint on the world, this time stream, this... hell, this DIMENSION! Jeu-Hee had to hope though, that this wasn't him about to leave again. She wasn't sure that she could handle it, and she knew that sounded super clingy and weak but... it was the truth. It was like she became adamantium, and porcelain around him. She was as strong as ever! But the prospect of being separated made her so weak. All he would have to do is poke her as she left and she would shatter right then and there. So as he pulled away, she did her best to not let any of her fears reach her eyes, pulling up that sweet smile that she too often hid behind. But for him? It was also a legitimate smile. And it only grew as she saw his smile grow into a full chuckle, a giggle of her own rolling out of her throat. God she was so giddy right now!!

"Come on. Get dressed and we can grab something to eat." Those words were enough to make her positively beam, instantly feeling her bubbly nature poppity pop pop up to the surface. He wasn't leaving yet! AND they were getting breakfast together! Ahhhhhh!!! "Ok!" Jumping up, she planted a light kiss on his lips and laughed brightly as she bolted back into her house and up the stairs to her room. Ahhhh!! Whatshouldshewear?!?!?! She ended up settling on a simple, but elegant dress of a deep blue with light sea green scroll work. The solid sections of fabric matched the embroidery, accenting her eyes rather nicely. Her hair got pulled back into a loose bun with delicate floral clips in her hair. Slipping on a pair of nice sandals, she popped back down the stairs with a purse in tow containing things she could need, locking the door behind her before standing next to him once more.

Slipping her arm so it locked with his, she giggled, her emerald eyes meeting his. "Let's go! Where should we go?"

Nature Boy by Eden Ahbez

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Re: Life Burns

Post by Guest on Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:23 pm

"Ok!" Ayden chuckled and arched his back as she turned and sped back into her house not moments after waking from a rather deep slumber. Most people were lethargic the instant they woke up; Jeu-Hee seemed to be comparable to a roadrunner. A smile flicked and brushed across his face and vanished in the same moment. He was still learning things about her, every day - she never failed to surprise him.

And as he realised that it was just as much of a bad thing as it was a good, his brow furrowed. Everyone had secrets. But if she knew he was an assassin, just what did she have in return that could justify staying with him? He knew about the fox form, and the horrors of the war, after all, but it still felt like there was... something else.

Sighing and releasing a momentary yawn, he chuckled as he heard her rifle through draw and cabinet alike in a crazed attempt to uncover some piece of fitting clothing. That wasn't ever something Ayden could understand. This nightly black garb that smelt of battle and death was a uniform to him; a jacket. He changed his vest, but, really, it was always just lined with a slick, thin film of sweat from whatever had happened the moment before. It was part of a collection of feelings and tiny, little unique details that made his occupation what it was; the bloodlust, the crazed hanging withdrawal moments before he sated it with the kill, the need, the want, the smirk...

The look in a man's eyes when he knew that the silver-haired, grinning and maniacal assassin's face would be the last he ever saw.

As she returned in pretty much the same manner as she'd disappeared, Ayden let another chuckle escape the threshold of his lips once more, shaking his head gently. It was good, to relax. To take inventory, keep a little time saved for the more leisurely of activities. Before her, his work had been business and pleasure, but... now... things were a little different. He had to indulge himself in softer vices every now and then - the calm before the storm, or, really, the other way round. He smiled, remarking mentally that he felt simultaneously like an elder brother and a lover, when placed next to the buzzing and thrumming little ball of hyperactivity that she was.

"Let's go! Where should we go?" Silence, again, as a wayward glance fell back upon an orange horizon, dimming in intensity with every waking blink and moment. It was a sight that defied all rules of time and space: no matter how much you concentrated, the sky wouldn't even budge until you flicked your perception away for but a moment. No matter what fast-forwarded stills of video could tell you, there were just some things that followed that age-old adage; 'a watched kettle never boils'. Perception, both the same and different from person to person. A quiet sigh escaped the assassin's lips as he drew his lover closer to him.

And, now, to contemplate. The same place as last time would be... too cliché, but he needed somewhere where the pair of them could savour the peace and quiet, take inventory... be as alone as they possibly could - whilst getting a little sustenance in their bellies. As much of a sociopath as he was, there was a verge beyond the regularly socially awkward which even Ayden didn't dare crossing into. The realm of the true idiots.

A smile flushed to his lips as he remembered the festivities of the last night they'd spent together - just the meal, and the sleep. Nothing else had happened. He... he didn't view her in that way. At least, not yet. She was too innocent. His stare fell from the horizon back down to Jeu-Hee, and he inhaled, speaking once, a quiet, powerful tone upon his voice. "You're the native, here," He chuckled again, slapping her gently on the shoulder before resting his hand on it, pulling her in and tilting his head sideways ever-so-slightly to meet hers. "You lead the way," Ayden beamed down at her, and, just sighed.

So... peaceful. He just wanted somewhere that could be just as quiet, where they could enjoy themselves in the moment of calm and solace they had, the little lags between each preset block as society and the bustle passed them by. He wanted to avoid the chaos, the crowds, the fumes stinging the air with their poisonous touch. He just wanted to be with her.

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Re: Life Burns

Post by Csilla Angelis on Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:56 am

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Re: Life Burns

Post by Guest on Tue Apr 10, 2012 7:53 pm

Aiya, should she have asked him if he wanted a shower or something? No... that would have probably taken them both forever given the length of their hair if nothing else. Though she did have to wonder, just how much longer had he been awake? Maybe he had pulled some weird voodoo to make his hair dry faster! Heehee, no, she was just being super silly at this point. The humidity of the house would have been different, and her parents probably would have noticed that for sure. Sometimes her dad could be a pretty light sleeper though that depended on the length of shift that he had at work the day before. Her mom did fine since she was a teacher though sometimes grading things took a while.

. . . Now that was odd. Up until now she hadn't really paid much attention to those small things that consisted of her families daily routine until now. Before she had left for that facility that would forever change the Han family's life, that was just status quo. It was boring, familiar, etc. Now? She realized just how much it meant to her to get to hear her mom talk to her about her students, how they were fairing in their classes, all of that stuff that she had been sporadically interested in much like any child of that age. She enjoyed her father explaining some form of complex things to her from his work, and the updates he had given her as if to prove that those men had indeed kept the word. They both still seemed so... sad. Was it because she was their little girl and she had grown up? Or was it because of the life she had lived up until now? Was it the fact their bright flower had become an experiment in order to better their living situation? The fact that she had been an assassin and an informant? Or had it been the war?

It was at that she shuddered a little, her gaze looking over his handsome features once again as they stood there arm in arm. As fast as that shudder had come it was gone. This wasn't the war anymore. They were far from it. Ayden was here. It was a beautiful sunrise in her city. And they were about to eat breakfast together for the first time ever. They hadn't done that before! He left before they could last time, despite awkward circumstances that were now just hilarious, and... and... yeah! Breakfast with her boyfriend! That was far more exciting than it seemed, than other couples may think it was. Her small body slid closer to his, blinking twice as she stared up at her lover patiently with that warm smile still upon her lips. She would wait as long as she would need to for his answer, time no longer held any meaning. Or work for that matter. Haha!

"You're the native, here." That was true she was. She giggled as he made contact with her shoulder, falling inward into him as if it were the most natural thing in the world. For her, it really was. They just worked so well together! Who knew this was even possible? A coincidental meeting at dinner, and that was that. Ah! But yes! Food! Uh, uh, uh... She totally did know places. "You lead the way." And then he smiled at her. One of his big ones too. Aw she never got tired of seeing that.... It made her feel all warm and caramelly inside. Or else it was like somebody turned up the rate of the bubble machine so she was just popping all over the place inside. She couldn't decide which it was at the moment.

Tilting her head upwards ever so slightly, her lips met his in a sun-laced kiss, warm and gentle. Mmmm, even more caramelly! Right, breakfast. Jeu-Hee pulled away with a content sort of giggle (yes, there are variations of giggles), her arm straightening slowly as her hand found his, moving steadily onward as a potentially perfect place came to mind. "Come on, the large gardens have a little cafe in them." She explained to him softly, taking off in the direction of the palace. It was true that it was in that direction, but it was still a decent direction from her work.

As the sun rose ever higher, more and more bodies began to appear on the ancient streets, tending to their different jobs. Some she knew by face and nodded to, ignoring the reservation in their eyes as they saw him. A silver-haired demon. Who cared about them though? It wasn't like they shot him dirty looks outright. They knew better than to do that in her presence! So they wandered through the just-waking streets until they crossed the pavement to grass that extended onward into one of the larger parks to exist in the capital city. The rolling hills were a mix of open fields, tall grass, and trees. A river rolled right on through it, a weeping willow tree usually none too far from its banks. There were paved roads that cut through it, though some were far more befitting and consisted of natural stones. Ponds lay scattered across its expanse, and her favorite flower ever was always present if only by the lily pads that floated so serenely on the surface.

It was now that her pace slowed, their trip mostly consisting of silence except for the occasional greeting. "I love coming here when I can. When I was young, my parents used to take me here on our rare trips to the capital." She spoke softly as her hand gave his a gentle squeeze, her emerald eyes glancing upwards before leading him onward along one of the natural stone paths. Their destination lay within a grove of willows accented with flowering trees, but that was at least another few minutes away from them.

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Re: Life Burns

Post by Guest on Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:41 pm

""I love coming here when I can. When I was young, my parents used to take me here on our rare trips to the capital." Day struck the pair strolling through the gardens all-too-soon. Ayden rose a hand to shield his eyes as a ray of sunlight pierced through the treeline, but all-too-quickly, the canopies condensed, and they were in a small copse, a humble café sitting as its centrepiece. Quaint; everyone recognised Jeu-Hee, but he noticed the strange looks he received.

It wasn't something unfamiliar. Ayden had experienced the receiving end of these looks many a time before; they were universal. Humanity as a whole seemed to have a sixth sense... a knack for sensing death. It hangs over a man, like possession, a deathly, sickly stench. Most can pick it out from miles away, sense a bad vibe, and try to get as far away as they could.

This was why Jeu-Hee perplexed him so. His cerulean eyes fell on her petite form once more, and a smile stretched across his face; she was by no stretch of the imagination stupid or dim-witted... so how couldn't she see that he had 'bad idea' stamped all over him in bloody, dripping red paint? She hated war, she hated violence, she hated just about everything he stood for... and yet, with her, they stood clutching each other in the eye of the storm. Chaos could whirl around them, but the pair of them were anchored to each other, immovable, no matter what.

Love transcended everything ill she saw in him... but Ayden still couldn't grasp it. He'd retracted somewhat; that icy sheen over his heart, her damnable happiness had partially melted through. And every second he spent with her was another second of humanity he regained. And as much as he told himself he shouldn't... he liked it. It made him vulnerable, it made him imperfect, it made him weak; but it made him human. And for all the times that he'd thought that he was something more, and that it was better to aspire to be metahuman... he... he enjoyed it. He savoured it. He loved her. There was nothing else to it.

The grove was closing up, now; the pair had walked in silence save for the ambience of birds' chatter and the willows gently swaying in the wind. He smiled, and shook her hand, clasped in his, back and forth, looking up to the horizon, just appreciating this silence. He always had something to say; whether it was prior to an execution or a snarky remark when it was least called for... and, now, he'd been stunned into silence. She'd changed him; that was it. It was an undeniable fact. And as much as he would falsely claim she'd changed him for the worse, jokingly state that she'd made him a worse combatant and assassin, he knew it was for the better, that every moment he did spend with her was one to be treasured, and not idly spend away.

So, in respect of that, he made no noise save for the crunching of twigs beneath his boots as the pair drew up to the café. He looked to her, and smiled once more; hopefully the silence and the look in those big azure eyes of his would simply be enough to convey the sheer emotion of this moment. His hand locked in hers, he tugged, and moved up to the café itself, switching to Xingese for sheer ease. "I... I like it," He said simply, the sentence laid with happiness and contentment, perfect in its simplicity.

They moved up onto the wooden front of the cafe, constructed using simple painted and varnished boards, with a small counter in front of a concealed kitchen. It was quaint, and fairly small; at a later hour, it could possibly seat up to around forty, maximum, but for now, Ayden and Jeu-Hee were really the only visible patrons aside from an old Cretan couple sitting out on one of the tables beneath a parasol.

Ayden had chosen a table swiftly, one beneath an awning; the Xingese sun would undoubtedly come out quickly, and even beneath tree cover, and even when they were beneath the solace of a parasol, he'd be burnt pink like a rare stake before he knew it. The pale complexion was all part of the traditional assassin look that he just couldn't sacrifice - not yet, at least. She hadn't pulled him over into the side of humanity just that far, yet.

That said, he sat by the railing, in the corner, having pulled a chair out for Jeu-Hee, and now sat, eyes affixed on the beautiful landscape in the distance. Now would be the time for conversation proper; a smirk drifted onto his face. As much as he was human, she was still a soldier, whether she'd abandoned that lifestyle or not; and if she could appeal to the humanity in him, he could definitely appeal to the warrior in her - the pair would have compromise on both sides if it killed him!

His stomach rumbled that deep, traditional rumble as he chuckled and turned back to her, idly scratching a pale cheek. "As it turns out, I'm perhaps a little hungrier than I'd initially thought..." He smiled that simple, gentle, small smile of his, and continued. "Decided on what you're having, yet?" The silver-haired assassin mused for a moment as he thought back to their first meeting, in the small bistro on the edge of Xi'an.

Ahh, the memories...

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Re: Life Burns

Post by Csilla Angelis on Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:32 am

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Re: Life Burns

Post by Guest on Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:28 pm

Was he going to like it? Or was it too removed? No, he had said somewhere quiet was what he wanted and this was it for sure! Awww she was so paranoid right now!!!! But it was silly to be. He would be happy in her presence, just like she was in his. No matter how bouncy-hyper her presence was. Her parents, had he met them, would probably have jokingly asked how he put up with it. You know, it was kinda funny. She really was rather childish usually, but he brought out some sort of balance between youth and maturity in her that no one else could. She either flipped between them sharply, or stayed one or the other. Only with Ayden did she manage any kind of flow.

AH! THAT WAS IT! He balanced out her yin and yang! That was it! She had discovered a secret! Heehee, just kidding. She didn't really care what the secrets to their chemistry were, she was just happy that it was there at all. If she had had any friends, they probably would have questioned her current relationship given the fact she hadn't ever dated anyone before. Hell, she had never kissed anyone till Ayden! They would look at her, and they would say things like, "How can you be so sure it's love huh?" She just knew. Did there have to be anymore than that? Actually... What WOULD her friends say? All.... 2 of them. Xiao and maybe Ace. Ayden's would be a little biased. Just a little. Teehee! Xiao.... would probably just tell her to follow what makes her happy. Ace sort of did the same thing earlier since he allowed her the day with her boyfriend. Kiiiiiiiheeheeheeeheheheheheheheheee!!!! The word still made her giggle so incessantly inside. Seriously. Super serious guys. YES SHE COULD FOCUS Nope. Not at all.

Some people walked by them and the woman literally startled at the sight of Ayden, the two of them staring wide eyed at them as they hurried past. What? What was so scary about him? Sure he was an assassin, but she had been one too. Sure, he could be intimidating, but that never came off to her. He was just an intelligent man whom had chosen a blood slicked path in life. Some people did that. Was that bad? Was it bad she was so calm about it? Oooo... She hadn't thought that much about what her parents would certainly say. But they accepted her! And she had done bad things for that facility! Nothing as bad as the war, but.. but the situations were different! Weren't they? Battle was not battle. It was not universal. There was outright fighting, and then there was striking from the shadows. She liked the latter of those. Especially because then she had a definitive reason to snuff out that life.

Mmm... She could smell the pastries.... What had she just been thinking about? Darkness of life? Right! But anyways, food! Food and tea were excellent right now! Hehehehe... it was reminding her of when they first met. Macabre conversations over deliciousness. Creepy? Not at all! "I... I like it," Oh goodie! She positively beamed as she stood beside him, her green eyes glittering as they met his gaze. Yes, yes she saw it all in those pretty depths that had drawn her in like a snake to its prey. But without the intimidating connotations. "I'm so glad!" A giggle spilled out of her as they strode up to the modest establishment with its seating both inside and outside. It almost looked too empty since so many of those tables were unoccupied, but they would help to fix that! Yes indeed-y!

She trailed after him with a light bounce in her step, humming in happiness within her throat as she nodded to the Cretan couple whom had looked up at their movement. At first they raised their eyebrows, but then they smiled relaxedly and nodded back to her. See? SEE? They got it! A blush blossomed across her cheeks as he pulled out her chair for her, sitting down with the proper movements of a lady which may or may not seem strange to him, her hands messing with her braid a bit out of her embarrassment. Eeeeeeeeeeeeee she loved her man so much! The spell he had inadvertently cast upon her was broken when she heard his stomach growl, giggling softly with her signature sweet smile upon her lips as she gazed upon him. "As it turns out, I'm perhaps a little hungrier than I'd initially thought...Decided on what you're having, yet?" Eep! Food! Right! Not just boyfriend. "Ehhhh... Sort of?" She began oh so strongly, blinking rapidly as she slid her napkin into her lap.

As if to emphasize her lack of organized thought, a waitress came up to them with a soft greeting and a smile, looking to them expectantly for their orders. "Peach tea please! And um.. um.. um.... 4 egg custards and steamed chasu-bao!" The words were both halting and rushed, but the woman got it down with an amused smirk, turning to Ayden now. Once the waitress got their orders and left, her gaze returned to him with a small chuckle, her hands falling still in her lap. "My mother would scold me if she found out I got four of those egg tarts. She'd tell me, 'You're going to get fat! You just sit at a desk all day!" She sat up straighter and placed a hand on her hip, wagging a finger at the air as she impersonated her mother. Her voice lowered in pitch a bit, gaining the rapid then extended timbre of her mother. Laughing to herself, she shook her head and sat back a bit more in her chair, her ears perking up at the sound of the wind through the trees.

"Anyways, do you think this peace will last? Like, that there won't be another fight for a while?" She wasn't really sure where the question had come from, but... well... She wanted it to last. Like getting to spend time with him. She just wanted it to keep going and going...

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Re: Life Burns

Post by Guest on Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:38 pm

"I'm so glad!" Ayden nodded slowly, smiling over to her as she pondered her choice of meal, still acclimatising and scanning the environment. Sure, he felt at ease with Jeu-Hee, but there were some things, assassin's reflexes, that he just couldn't help. That constant need to be alert and aware, as good as it did sound, could be... detrimental. "Ehhhh... Sort of?"

"Now that won't do," He smiled off at her, letting a quick, slow, dry chuckle escape. "I would've thought that as the Xingese ambassador you'd always be ready for a surprise meal, what with all those diplomatic lunches you must handle?" A sly wink, and he laughed once more, letting the chuckle level off into a sigh, looking up at the wooden canopy over his head and blinking. He was enjoying this; and as Ayden realised that, he let his brow furrow. Lethargy and laziness couldn't take him yet. Another realisation subsequently hit him, a domino-set line of them. The more he was with her, the less he wanted to return to his life. She was changing him, and though, as much as Ayden was sure it was for the better, he wasn't sure if the world would let him change.

So many contacts, so many jobs, so much... work. He was a soldier, a scientist, and an assassin; and now, a lover. Hell, he'd made the first three work in conjunction with ease... so, dammit, how long would it take for the fourth to acclimatise and pour into the mix? Another sigh, for a moment, and Ayden lowered his gaze, letting it fall upon Jeu-Hee and the waitress, the former of the two firmly locked in intense thought.

He caught sight of her, passively, and just her image managed to alleviate a majority of most of these problems, or, at least, their current importance. To hell with it all. What did it matter? Why did it matter? How could it, when things were so perfect here? They were in a bubble. Fuck the war, this was leisure and comfort epitomised. He'd spend what felt like eternity with her, isolated from that mess of political loyalties and murder - and when the time came for him to return back to it, he'd carve his way through his enemies, but this time, with reason. He'd carve a path through them, strewn with innards and flesh, just to see her again.

They certainly did have an unorthodox romance.

"Peach tea please! And um.. um.. um.... 4 egg custards and steamed chasu-bao!" Ayden let his hands fall to his side, and felt a burst of energy wash back over him, suddenly thrust back into the land of the living, taking a quick sweep from right to left, once more scanning the environment for hostility and falling back into ease. With an off-chuckle, he looked up at the waitress and sighed.

"Just a glass of water, for me, please," The waitress inclined her head quickly, and shuffled off to call the order in. Ayden tried to relax himself, tried to let his contracted, tightened, throbbing muscles find rest and peace, but they'd already had enough of it. He was getting withdrawal from activity; and it wasn't just his body hungering for action, either. His mind was flashing with images of blood, mess, bodies... and yet he retained his composure, that clear, adequate, pale façade all the while through. He didn't have the heart to tell her. He couldn't. Not shatter a moment like this. "My mother would scold me if she found out I got four of those egg tarts. She'd tell me, 'You're going to get fat! You just sit at a desk all day!"

He smiled and chuckled once more, thinking back to his mother. And his father - the biological one, at least. That... damn him. Damn him to hell. Damn them both and damn them all. In but a moment, the silver-haired assassin's hands balled into fists and his body trembled and quivered with anger for but a split-second, before Ayden finally took in the deepest breath of the year so far, and let the air hiss out through his open mouth at a subsonic level.

Calm hit him once more, like a wave, crashing through his body and seeping back into his veins, lowering his heart rate dramatically and instantaneously. How was he so volatile and so composed at the same time? It was a chemical mystery, even to him. Back and forth and back and forth and... dammit, the lapses were getting too close together. Insanity would take him if he stuck around for too much longer. He needed routine. He needed regularity. He needed to kill.

And then... she said it. "Anyways, do you think this peace will last? Like, that there won't be another fight for a while?"

Plunged into a world of philosophies, thoughts, feelings, wants, needs, hates, loves... for a moment, total and perfect equilibrium washed over Ayden in entirety. "Peace and war aren't binary values," He began, smiling uncannily towards her. "They fluctuate, like anything else with an ounce of complexity in this world. They're up, down, left, right; those who can track them are politicians and generals. It's the key to making decisions on those scale, interpreting the fluctuations of war and peace, of chaos and harmony; if you can't, you'll be annihilated in a moment's notice," Wasn't this just the most romantic of speeches.

"This peace will last for as long as every country is content enough with what they have," Ayden concluded, before murmuring an addendum. "But I don't think that'll be for too long..." Almost immediately afterwards, Ayden lapsed back into reality; colour flushed back into his irises, and he almost jumped as the world flickered back before him, his pale pallor flushing with colour. "I..." He rose a leather-clad hand to scratch the back of his neck. "...sorry. I forgot... it's just..." Ayden had words for every other moment, but screwing up like this made him speechless. Inhale. Exhale. "Sorry."

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Re: Life Burns

Post by Guest on Tue May 01, 2012 3:06 am

"Now that won't do," A giggle came over her even as she tried to pout at him (unsuccessfully), falling quiet as he continued, "I would've thought that as the Xingese ambassador you'd always be ready for a surprise meal, what with all those diplomatic lunches you must handle?" Sticking her tongue out at him, her hands went to her hips with another little giggle. "Those are different! I already know where I'm eating, whats on the menu, and they don't distract me with their handsomness!" Err.... Eep!!! Her face went bright red as her eyes immediately found the table top very interesting, soooo embarrassed that she had just said that. Aw man... THAT SLY WINK DIDN'T HELP EITHER! Nor did his laughter! It made her smile even as her blush grew worse somehow, brushing a few stray hairs away from her features.

Raising her eyes as her embarrassment started to break, she became acutely aware of how his brows were currently furrowed. Uh-oh, was it something she had done? Should she have not had said that? Her sweet smile stayed in place even as she felt worry prick her ever so slightly. Why was he wearing such an expression? Why was he sighing like that? Was he not.... No, that was silly of her! He had said he wanted to do this, that he liked the place she had chosen! He was chuckling! So he must at least be enjoying himself some, right? "Just a glass of water, for me, please," Jeu-Hee faked another pout at his simplistic order, but she didn't say a thing about it. After all, he should get what he wanted even if it was only a glass of water.

There, he chuckled and smiled again. He was definitely enjoying himself. There was absolutely no reason to worry about the current situation at all. They would have their breakfast, they would laugh and-- His body was tensing. He was trembling because of that tension. So much for losing that pinprick of worry. It had her extremely aware of his actions, his mannerisms, the sighs and facial expressions. And her own. Was... Was she being selfish and keeping him from his work? Was it something she had said? He had reacted like that after her comment about her mother so had she inadvertently triggered something? She managed to maintain her sweet smile even as she inwardly squirmed at how painfully aware she was of everything. It was as if she were on one of her old missions watching her target before she struck, of how strained her senses were for any signs of complications or threats. The hiss of his breath continued to ring in her ears even several minutes afterwards. Something was wrong, and she didn't know what. Her worries only made her even less prepared to handle his answer to her question.

"Peace and war aren't binary values," His gave her pause, and his smile.... it wasn't like normal. Seeing this caused her normally stable smile to falter and vanish altogether. "They fluctuate, like anything else with an ounce of complexity in this world. They're up, down, left, right; those who can track them are politicians and generals. It's the key to making decisions on those scale, interpreting the fluctuations of war and peace, of chaos and harmony; if you can't, you'll be annihilated in a moment's notice." Her hands tensed in her lap, her eyes no longer staring at him but at some far off spot just to the right of him. Her gaze was unfocused, body as still as stone, his next words not even registering in her mind, "This peace will last for as long as every country is content enough with what they have." The last thing he said echoed in her mind, her hands beginning to tremble as she became less and less aware of reality. "If you can't, you'll be annihilated in a moment's notice."

The cafe vanished with the Cretan couple, the counter with its smell of pastries and tea, the wind in the trees... It was replaced by that place of smoke, gunfire, and screams of the men. "Jeu...Hee..." "Times up, Saeji." "Help... stop... them... ple--" “Jeu-Hee, orders?!” "Commander..." "If you can't..." "Jeu...Hee..." "Attack them. Kill them." "...Annihalated...""DO NOT ENGAGE AMESTRIS." "If you can't, you'll be annihilated in a moment's notice." The fear had frozen her to the spot, thankfully preventing her body from trembling like her hands were in her lap, all those emotions returning like the bogeyman from nightmares. Fluctuations... between peace and war... She couldn't handle them at all. A cold grip began to creep up her ankles to her knees, from her knees up to her torso, chilling her to the bone in her apprehension and fear. It finally slid up around her shoulders to her ear, its tongue flicking out as it grinned wickedly at her, that bitter cold seeping into her body causing her to shudder.

Suddenly the battlefield had disintegrated into a single spotlight that shone down upon her in her chair, the rest engulfed in darkness. "Poor little fox, can't even deal with what you were created for." She was made for stealth, not open battle. "Killing is killing, fighting is fighting. You were still fighting a war. A war of shadows." You're wrong. What she did had a purpose, it- "You were made to fight. You were made to be a tool of war. And you can't even handle the thing that you were bred for. You know this is true." No! She had succeeded at all those missions, she was an ambassador, she-- "EXCUSES." She clamped her hands over her ears, curling up in her chair and willing for that voice to stop. "You couldn't even handle one little war. One little fight that was outside your comfort zone. WHAT WAS ALL THAT TRAINING FOR THEN HM?" Stop it. "You'll be annihilated." Shut up. "Deny it all you want, you've already got blood on your hands." Flashes of that battlefield flickered across her field of vision, showing her the men of her platoon that had died because of her inaction, her fear. She squeezed her eyes shut tightly, willing with every ounce of her being for it to go away.

"Sorry." .... huh?

And then she was back in the cafe, still staring in her terror just beyond Ayden, her hands clenched tightly in her lap to the point her knuckles were white. Gasping for air as if she had forgotten to breath, she blinked and looked down at her hands, forcing them to unclench. It was then that she became aware of the thin cuts her fingernails had made, staring as blood welled up in the now open cuts. Blood on her palms. Her body began to quiver at the sight, tearing her eyes away so that they rested upon her Ayden sitting across from her, hands gripping the napkin in her lap. Her features were pale, not realizing the color that had flushed his cheeks. "What for? I'm fine. You merely answered my question honestly is all." She forced a smile, but for once, you could tell it was fake. No... no she couldn't let him see her like this. She couldn't let him see her be so weak. She couldn't, she couldn't, she couldn't!

Her body mechanically stood up with jolting movements, not even realizing she still clutched the napkin in her hands as she spoke, "Excuse me, I'll be right back." She spoke softly, her footsteps consistent, rhythmic, and quiet as she hurried towards the bathroom. Once the door was closed behind her, she fumbled with the lock, shaking almost uncontrollably while the napkin fluttered to the ground stained with her blood. Finally it clicked to signal it was locked, unsteadily turning to the sink and mirror. What was wrong with her? She had overcome this, she had been fine. The nightmares had stopped. She shakily turned on the faucet, washing the blood from her hands. Tears began to pitter-patter onto her hands, the cold still clinging to her no matter how warm the water was as she tried to choke back the sobs. Yes... she had to wash it off. She had to... get..it...off.... "You are a failure. That was why you were excused from the facility." Shut up. "You let those men die." No. "You, sweet little fox, are a failure." "I AM NOT A FAILURE!" She screamed, clutching at her ears while her knees gave way, almost crashing into the porcelain on her way to the floor. She gave up trying to contain the sobs that spilled from her, pressing her hands to her ears even tighter as that cackling filled her head. 'I'm not a failure..." She whispered between sobs, repeating herself as if to confirm it to her and that accursed voice. Ancestors.... give her strength....

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Re: Life Burns

Post by Guest on Mon May 07, 2012 9:39 pm

"Those are different! I already know where I'm eating, whats on the menu, and they don't distract me with their handsomness!" Ayden smiled, throwing his hands up with an uncanny grin as she flushed bright red, releasing a low, quiet chuckle as his pallor stayed at its constant; pale white to contrast her deep olive complexion.

"Guilty as charged," The assassin commented, continuing to chuckle as Jeu-Hee pouted at his simple order. He grinned at her, waving it away, smiling again and looking off into the middle-distance as he spoke of war, peace, binary values... everything he'd been asked to. Normally, he wouldn't be like this; but she'd blown the top off of a can of worms with such a simple yet such a complex question: she had tempted fate, and dragged him into an argument where his point of view was almost absolute.

For an instant, she froze, Ayden's eyes locked carefully on her as those perfect emerald irises swirled with glazed chaos and pain. Something locked away within; a memory refracting off of her eyelids, maybe something of the war, that she'd mentioned yesterday... for a moment, he was quiet, simply observing. There were some things he wouldn't ask, or couldn't ask, unless he knew he needed to. Her steaming dishes arrived fairly quickly, set down firmly upon the table with his glass of water, which he gripped with a single, glove-clad hand, and took a short sip from, all the while observing her as a hawk. She was obviously off, transported somewhere else, into a land she didn't care for; an understatement, but still, she was trapped now in a memory. To pull her out wouldn't be fair, as gut-wrenching as it was for Ayden, watching his love sit through and relive whatever horrors he'd only heard tales of taking place at the Palace.

With his awkward apology, she seemingly snapped back into place, that bubbly essence of humanity, of identity, of Jeu-Hee, lighting up her face once more; she wasn't by any stretch of the imagination in a fit state, pale and almost nauseous-looking, but she was her, again, the woman he loved; no longer just an empty shell lost deep in thoughts and memories better not brushed over, better left to simply curl up and die in the deepest, dankest, most horrific sanctums of a person's mind. "What for? I'm fine. You merely answered my question honestly is all." Ayden nodded, ready to speak again, but almost immediately, she cut him off with a mechanical response and an uneasy smile. "Excuse me, I'll be right back."

She shot away like a bullet carving through the cafe, her shoes clapping thunderously against the simple wooden flooring, the elderly Cretan couple locking their gazes upon her, and then flicking them to him as she disappeared into the bathroom. Ayden took another sip of the water, and sighed, processing facts, and trying to analyse the best sort of response. Did he let her stew in her own sadness and recover independently? Or did he intervene, and try to comfort he-

"I AM NOT A FAILURE!" The shriek even pierced the veil of uncomfortable silence looming over the restaurant's exterior. Ayden's hand immediately went to Asmodeus, the left-most of the Children at his ankle, and he shot straight into gear. He didn't know what or who was threatening her in there, but holding the pistol and letting it swing at his side, moving in pendulum-like arcs.

He moved up to the door, pressing himself upon it and trying the handle to no avail; he knew she'd locked it. Why had he tried? Dammit. "Jeu-Hee!?" Ayden shouted frantically through the thin wood, but he didn't reckon she'd be able to hear him through it. 'I'm not a failure..." Ding, ding, ding.

Ayden rammed his shoulder first into the door a couple of times, unaware of what would lay on the other side of the door. A contact? Someone on a phone, berating her? Or just a sombre-faced, sobbing young girl, reliving a memory she'd hated triggered by the person she loved? Ayden cursed his stupidity over and over, before raising the pistol to the lock, and quickly firing off three shots, shattering it with ease using the hollow points, forcing the door to swing open in a matter of seconds.

A scream erupted outside from one of the patrons or workers; Ayden didn't stop to see which. His brain was running on hyperdrive; his veins pumping battery acid, his lungs breathing energy-laced pure oxygen. He didn't give a shit about repercussions or responses. She was in there. She wasn't comfortable. He could get her out. Fuck the consequences.

He threw himself into the toilet, ready to unload a nine-millimetre death sentence onto anyone who was even remotely near to her, ready to cut down any one of a number of madmen who had possibly been pursuing her, even in the sliver of a chance that they WOULD go after an ambassador, a primary non-combatant. Ready to cut through thousands of morons, soldiers, typical bread-and-butter of any army, just to get to her and make sure she was safe. Ready to murder or save for her, ready to give a life and take a life. And, then, his eyes finally registered the scene before him.

Jeu-Hee, sobbing, collapsed, her knees having given way, a bowl of running water specked with droplets of blood. The flushing red in his face faded, and Ayden flicked on the safety of Asmodeus, carefully setting down the pistol on the counter and holding up his hands to show he meant no harm, advancing close towards her. "Jeu-Hee..." He had to be sure that she wasn't unstable. Not that he was afraid of her lashing out and hurting him, but lashing out and hurting herself. Gently, he knelt down beside her, and extended an perfectly still, perfectly inert arm, black-clad with barely an inch of pale wrist visible beneath the leather, hovering now half an inch above her shoulder. "I'm here... don't worry," He muttered quietly, under her breath, emotion lying under his tone as finally, he let his hand descend; contact. He clasped her shoulder through the fabric of her morning dress, and tried desperately to gently tug her back towards him, hoping she'd come, hoping she'd drag herself out of this stupid, horrific mess, hoping she'd finally wrest control of the memories and emerge victorious, so she could go back to living the way she deserved to.

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Re: Life Burns

Post by Guest on Tue May 08, 2012 8:27 pm

WHAM. Jeu-Hee startled once. WHAM! Stop it... Was that the door? Was it the creature? She couldn't tell over the laughing and her sobs. Just make it stop.. Please! So when the gunshots rang out and shattered the air, she let out a screech each time, hearing the thuds that followed in that memory, the men that had died at her inaction. "HOLD YOUR FIRE!" Her back began to ache as she remembered how she got thrown by that car explosion, how hot the flames had burned against her skin. How they seemed to turn her tears to steam in that frigidly cold place. She curled up tighter into her ball, fingers digging into her skull the laughing slowly pulling out of her head to be replaced only by the sounds of her tears and....

.... footsteps? "Jeu-Hee..." Voice. Voice that wasn't there. That shouldn't be there. No, why was he there?! Immediately she uncurled, her legs bending on the floor at an angle, her hands pressing into the wood. "Wasn't... No not there... So..." He hadn't been at that battle, he hadn't been there at all. He had been working. Absent. Not in that war, that fight. Not here when she wanted him to be, not there to hold. To touch. She began to crawl backwards, shaking her head at first a couple of times, and then more. "No... No don't- don't come in here... Don't look at me!" She screeched and spun away, almost smacking clear into the sink and toilet. Don't see her like this. Don't see her weakness. Don't look, don't touch, don't become- "Infected?" "SHUT UP!" Her hands clawed at her ear, at that voice. That god forsaken voice.

But Ayden wasn't retreating. He was there. He wasn't leaving now. Those gunshots.... Her eyes almost seemed wild as they looked from his slowly approaching hand, to the gun on the sink, then to the door, then back to his hand. Gun. Gunshots. Door, splintered. He...He shot through it. Lock in way. Love. Love. Calm.... No! He shouldn't see! "I'm here... don't worry," her eyes squinted shut as his hand gently touched her shoulder, warm, very warm. The bullets rang out around her, the fire breathed upon her back and yet.... a single touch. Like his hand had reached out of light and touched her, the rest of him following through that light as he drew closer and closer. What she didn't know was that it was her being drawn into him, not until her forehead touched his chest and her hands finally began to move away from her ears.

There was the sense of death, overwhelming, overshadowing him like black wings that enveloped his very soul. And yet... In her mind the battlefield still raged, but he was there, and he was holding her. Her arms slowly began to wrap around him as quiet, choked back sobs wracked her small form, giving up on him never seeing this from her. Never seeing how unprepared for a war-time battlefield she was. It was as if she had returned to reality, and she was very tired, very aware of the current mental state she was currently in. The sobs had stopped, but still the occasional tremor tore through her, the tears now silent as she clung to him so. "I was a creature made for war... and I can't even face it. I could kill before, I have done missions before, why was this different? There was a reason, there was justification, so why?" She whispered to no one, maybe it was to the air, maybe she was speaking to him. She didn't know. The only thing she knew was she was still broken, she hadn't healed. That visit with Xiao and his son had mended it, but she was still far from being perfectly ok. Maybe she would never be perfectly ok.

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Re: Life Burns

Post by Guest on Wed May 09, 2012 8:23 pm

"No... No don't- don't come in here... Don't look at me!" She writhed, tossed, turned, crawled, and threw herself around as the silver-haired assassin neared, features reddened with floods of tears descending from her ducts. Ayden sighed lightly, and shook his head, murmuring quietly to his love.

"Afraid I can't do that," She continued to thrash about and writhe as Ayden neared her, apprehensive, his gloved hands curled and waiting, ready for her response, ready to take her into his arms if she submitted, or restrain her if this fit didn't pass for a while longer.

His hand clamped onto her shoulder, and grasped her firmly, gripping deep into her muscle and flesh as he crouched. Ayden shuffled himself behind her, a squatting safety net, trying with all his might to just stay behind her as a silver-haired, cerulean-eyed pillar of support through all this chaos and stirring; eventually, it subsided, and she calmed, the screams and muffled shouts fading into nothing but a dull, continuous sob.

Ayden loosened his grip, his cautious, firm grasp fading back into a simple massage, as he sighed, letting Jeu-Hee's petite frame collapse into his comparatively massive, slender, pale arms. "I was a creature made for war... and I can't even face it. I could kill before, I have done missions before, why was this different? There was a reason, there was justification, so why?"

All that explosive tension, all that chaos, all that noise, had erupted into existence with such a minute trigger, and was gone as soon as it had arrived. The restaurant had lapsed into quiet, cautious, inquisitive silence, as Ayden heard waiters hinging in indistinct Xingese outside, arguing over who would see what had happened, who would step over the casings, past the splintered door, and into the bathroom, tap running, blood dribbling down into the basin, to see what had happened. "It's alright," He spoke clearly, sternly, and loudly. "No-one's hurt. My friend was just distressed, there's no need to worry," Ayden released a small sigh, adding another small part. "I'll pay for a new door, too,"

A wayward breeze slipped through the ajar window behind the pair, simply lying inert as the black-haired girl released a chant of muffled sobs, and pushed the splintered door as shut as it could go. Not wanting to let anything by to any eavesdroppers - as unlikely as it was they'd be listening in on someone who'd just carved his way through a wooden door with a high-caliber pistol - Ayden switched quickly to Amestrian. "Jeu-Hee," He began slowly.

"You should know this as well as I do," The assassin's grasp softened, and he sprawled out as best he could, to retain his comfort on the tiled, whetted, bathroom floor. His arms formed a guard, a protective fleshy belt around her midriff, knuckles interlocking as he sighed. "People aren't born as they're supposed to be - maybe you were made for something darker than moments like this, but it's the fact that you've changed that shows you have the potential for so much more." What... what was he saying?

"You were born a monster, perhaps, but what are you know? A diplomat. An ambassador. A polyglot." Ayden dipped his head forwards, and smiled, brushing pale lips against her tanned cheek. "A lover," He whispered, tightening that grasp around her, feeling her warm skin thrum even beneath her clothes. "So what if you weren't exactly born with the best of purposes in mind?" Ayden sighed. "I wasn't exactly an intentional child, but, well, I've managed to make my way in the world, and I've managed to find you," The assassin smiled, his face pure, glowing with happiness the likes of which it'd never seen before. A warmth thrummed and buzzed in his stomach, a warmth of completion, no matter what had brought the moment on. "And as for the war? Everyone has low points," Ayden sighed. "God knows I get some of mine daily," He was genuinely, completely, opening up. This was optimism, this was trying to inspire the woman he loved to feel better. This was something he'd never experienced before. A new feeling entirely. And one that warmed his very soul to the core, more than any flame or radiator could. "Just concentrate on the little things, alright?" He tugged gently at her stomach with his folded hands, smiling.

They were certainly an odd couple. For Ayden, the little things were music, fine wines, Renaissance literature, and mass murder; for Jeu-Hee, they were more than likely vastly different. It was odd; she'd come from a background of war and progressed into a job that stood for peace, whereas he'd come from, whilst not exactly the most stable home life, one that wasn't anything like hers... and he'd progressed to a life of heralding nothing but pain and death. It had left him empty, cold, bitter; and the assassin hadn't realised it until just now, until she chipped away at his frozen block of a heart with every moment, melting it with those sweltering rays of happiness and vigour that he just couldn't understand.

That was why he couldn't stand to see her upset. That was why he couldn't let her be upset, and that was why he changed everything he could, cycled through every possible retort he could, just to see if any one of them, any wild selection, would help stop those tears.

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Re: Life Burns

Post by Guest on Wed May 23, 2012 9:20 pm

Body. Warmth. Security. Danger. Blood. No, no too much. Shouldn't let him see... shouldn't.... Shouldn't let the smile drop. Her sweet smile, the very thing that had defined her along with her bubbly nature to everyone that new her, was gone. She could not fake it anymore. And she hated herself for it. She always hid everything behind her smile and cheerfulness so she could deal with it alone later. Everyone else already had enough issues, she saw that clear enough with her duties as ambassador within the palace walls or out on her travels. Who was she to burden them with her troubles? Yet her she was, clinging to the man she loved who oozed a sense of death as if he were the only thing tying her to this world anymore. She couldn't remain the bright girl that he met in that restaurant, couldn't retain that youthful demeanor. She... she had to grow up. She had to remain her mature side now, she couldn't afford to switch back and forth when she couldn't even be absolutely positive the revert would be perfect.

So she rested against him like a limp doll, her eyes distant and unfocused as his hands massaged her small frame. She didn't hear the people gathering outside the bathroom to stare at their ambassador who was so weak at this point in time. Would the whispers spread? Would she receive looks at the palace? It was hardly a secret the stress she had felt after the first war with RIOTE in Drachma. She had taken a week off of work for Ancestors sake! No one had said it, but she knew they were considering telling her to seek a counselor. To get professional help for what must be PTSD, for the guilt that still ate away at her for her blunder in that snowy land. It made her shudder and bury her face into the black cloth, her small arms wrapping around Ayden and shivering. She felt even smaller than usual against him, as if she were just a small fox snuggling close to its mother for some kind of warmth or comfort. Those cold tendrils may have slipped away for the moment, but their chill still remained in her chest, the poison still whispering in her mind no matter how she tried to fight it back.

"Jeu-Hee," Words. Not Xingese. Amestrian. Ayden. The young ambassador sat up a bit and shifted so she just sat there before him, staring up backwards at her love with bleary eyes and red cheeks sore from all the tears. "You should know this as well as I do," What? What did she know? Tell her, tell her what she was, what she should do, how she should combat this darkness that ate away with such glee at her. His arms slid around her middle, offering a sort of calming cradle for her as she wiped away the tears with the back of her hand, the ducts dry for the moment. "People aren't born as they're supposed to be - maybe you were made for something darker than moments like this, but it's the fact that you've changed that shows you have the potential for so much more." She certainly hadn't been born a chimerae, not at all. An ironic chuckle escaped her as she leaned more against him, taking a deep calming breath as his voice washed over her. She had made the change for her family, for her father. And she had never regretted it. Her positive nature had surprised even the scientists, and they had always made it clear why she was performing the duties that she did. Was that what had been different? The blurry lines of war? Who was friend, and who was foe? Were the reasons she was told correct? Were they lies? Her head tilted back down to an even level, staring at the wall distantly as she pondered all these possibilities.

"You were born a monster, perhaps, but what are you know? A diplomat. An ambassador. A polyglot." He was moving behind her, his head drawing closer to her. Lips brushed her cheek... "A lover," She felt the clench in her throat, the urge for more tears to fall rising except that there were no more tears that would come. So she closed her eyes tight, her hands finding his about her waist and held on tight to him. "So what if you weren't exactly born with the best of purposes in mind? I wasn't exactly an intentional child, but, well, I've managed to make my way in the world, and I've managed to find you." He was right. He was absolutely right so open your eyes. Look at him. Open. Your. Eyes. She told herself firmly as her head tilted back once more so her emerald gaze could stare at this man that she loved so much. His smile caused one of her own to slowly, slowly crack the mask of pain and sadness that she wore, allowing the light within her to shine through. The warmth that his smile and eyes shone poured into her, flowing over all the rivets, the weakened pillars of her soul and knowledge of self.

She was reborn in that smile.

"And as for the war? Everyone has low points. God knows I get some of mine daily." Had he blundered like she had? "Really?" Her voice cracked, having to clear her throat in the hopes of adding strength to that little mousey whisper. Though they had retreated, they had still won the day in a sense. They had overcome the split personality of her beloved emperor Saeji, and any crisis with Amestris had been avoided. Their ties to the powerhouse still remained strong. A terrible thought struck her for but a moment, but it did chill her so thoroughly. What would happen to her and Ayden should such a thing happen again? If Xing and Amestris were to be enemies? No. "Just concentrate on the little things, alright?" Deep breath.... exhale. The air came out smooth and quiet, her smile growing as she nodded once, giggling at the tug to her stomach. Amestris and Xing would never go to war, and if they did? She had no doubts that they would find a way.

Pushing herself up a bit, she kissed his cheek softly as she snuggled more into his body (as if she could), all of the knots now come loose and the cold gone. She was Jeu-Hee Han, Foreign Ambassador of Xing. And she was not a mistake, nor a failure. "Thank you Ayden." She whispered, her arms hugging his that wrapped around her and kept her close, closing her eyes to further savor this moment of complete and utter serenity. "Is it... is it alright if we just stay here for a moment? I... I just need... this." She asked him in a voice that was barely audible, opening her eyes for just a moment to look up at him. What would she have done without him? She.... was truly blessed.

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Re: Life Burns

Post by Guest on Sat May 26, 2012 4:23 pm

Water dripped from the tip of the faucet in a slow, steady trickle, intermixing with the minuscule puddle of blood that Ayden's love had left lying at the bottom of it in her distress. Her voice split and cracked as the tears rolled further down, and she squirmed, looking up to him. "Really?" Offering her the warmest smile he could, Ayden dipped his head and pressed his lips against her cheek, whispering a response into her ear.

"Of course," The part of him that had previously been in distress, the raging inferno that seemingly had no end or limit, the part that had warned him, burning within ever stronger with every step he took towards her... it had been quenched, soothed, doused, by a hosepipe grasped by a young, trembling Xingese ambassador; Jeu-Hee. It was a paradox, an impossibility, something that shouldn't have been able to happen. Jeu-Hee had cured Ayden's own insecurities about herself. Within the mindlessly complex labyrinth of the silver-haired assassin's heart, she'd simply carved through the walls, as elegantly and gracefully as possible, dancing and bouncing all the way.

Azure eyes twinkled in the pale light of the Xingese morning, yellowing now that sunrise had been and gone. It was almost 10AM... Ayden's neck twisted ever-so-gently, Jeu-Hee still in his grasp as he looked out onto the horizon. It was... it was oddly stunning, serenading... beautiful. She'd grown accustomed to it; Ayden concluded with a look, she'd taken it for granted. Jeu-Hee had never thought 'what if the sun doesn't rise tomorrow?' because she'd never had to.


For Ayden, every contingency had to be considered. Such was the nature of his career; an occupational hazard. A flock of squealing yak-dragons could have descended from a void opened in the purpling skies, and Ayden would have to be ready for it, no matter what. Obviously, the yak-dragons hadn't yet attacked, and Ayden's sanity was retained yet - supposedly - and the inevitable yak-heralded end of the world was hopefully nowhere near... but she... she was so blissfully unaware of the gruesome contingencies he'd had to devise. Yet... Ayden knew, that even if he told her, blurted it out from absolutely nowhere... no matter how confused she'd honestly be, that the spark, the gem at the core, the love, oh how he hated the term yet adored it so... it would... everything would... still be there, at the middle of it all, intact.

"Is it... is it alright if we just stay here for a moment? I... I just need... this." She'd spoken the very words on his mind. The light shifted, and rays of yellow luminescence danced across a single, bent copper cartridge casing. Things had returned to usual outside, regardless of the gun-toting lunatic and his girlfriend in the bathroom, and the trickling bloody sink, of course. Ayden nodded against her warmth, before his eyes fell upon the cartridge casing once more.

A devious plan hit his mind like a hammer to the base of the cranium, and suddenly, the overlord of all grins stretched across his face. From beneath Jeu-Hee, he squirmed, stretched, contorted, and struggled, to extend a single arm out just far enough to rake in a mound of grit, within which the single bent casing sat. The light shifted once more, and twinkled across the engraved serial number on the perfectly-flat back - save for the indent which had shown the cartridge had been fired, and the primer expended - revealing it in its entirety. 141595.

From there, he set her down gently, and made a gesture for her to stay, just for a moment. His face was locked in a look of sheer determination as the azure-eyed assassin retrieved a single throwing knife from his bandolier of engraved blades. The circle along the edged crackled and sparked with blue discharge, but the alchemy hadn't been activated. "Just a moment..." Ayden muttered, diving upon his target with the knife in one hand - the sink.

Using it as a lever, the thin, flat blade - with an edge not a molecule dulled - slipped easily into the side of one of the actual taps, and carved through to one of the points where a simple, thin chromed tumbler had been jammed on. From his seat, he'd seen maybe an iota of space where he could fit some form of lever - and the tip of the knife would do. A few shoves, and it pierced the hole before spinning it sideways with bare hands, sheathing the knife once more, and using both to tug the tumbler off with a grunt.

Unfortunately, the entire upper tap mechanism came with it, not as Ayden had planned, spattering him straight in the face with an arc of water that had sprung forth from the cavity that the assassin had opened. He spluttered beneath the liquid as it doused him entirely and completely, flooding his jacket and soaking his hair, much to the General's chagrin. The stars on his lapel, however, meant nothing today; as he spat a mouthful of probably grimy, hard water onto the floor and dodged the cascading liquid pump once more, he swept past Jeu-Hee and stood opposite her in the doorway, the light illuminating him like a dripping wet silver-haired, azure-eyed statuette.

His heart was pounding like a drum. In combat, it was still. In escape, it was still. Hell, even under duress and torture, it hadn't escalated beyond a few beats over Ayden's resting rate - exercise and physical activity were the only ways to truly solicit a heart beat raise from the man. "Just a few moments more..." He muttered again, holding his hand up to Jeu-Hee, hoping she'd just stop and stay still. But, now, no matter how fearless he'd claimed he was, in the face of something like this, his heart pounded in his mouth, Ayden's ears heating up as he felt the blood valves tighten and contract to shoot more of his red life-essence around his veins and arteries. It was... horrid, really. An uncontrollable reflex when the man had considered himself the perfect living weapon.

Grasping the cartridge case and brandishing the knife once more, Ayden carved through the main body of the casing with ease, dropping the hollow, empty to the cylinder to the floor, and holding only the imprinted, indented cap, complete with serial number and all. He took the tumbler once more, and squinted back down at his love's trembling, petite fingers, before pinching it in the most opportune of places - it was a touch too big, anyway. Jamming the compacted, raised spot into the cap of the cartridge casing, and the small feed left at the end, was the finishing touch - and after that, the cap wouldn't budge - and nor would the tumbler.

Twirling the blade about his finger for final effect, Ayden slipped it back into the bandolier, and unleashed what he would later come to recognise as the longest sigh of his life. "It's not the most impressive," He muttered, chuckling as he blew another few globules of water from his face, and brushed stray locks of clumped, drenched hair away. "And it was done on very short notice," He continued again. "And if you want me to, I'll spend every penny I have on buying you another one - a real one - once we get back into Xi'an proper..."

Ayden moved down, and pushed himself onto one knee, his black fatigues dipping into the water as his trembling hands clutched the makeshift, quirky, destruction-wrought piece of thrift-shop-quality jewellery between his hands. He looked from Jeu-Hee to the construct in his fingers, and back to Jeu-Hee again. He twirled it around a bit, and then looked back down to it just for good measure, and back up to her, azure locking with eyes of the purest emerald. God, she was beautiful. She was distressed, pained, traumatised, and wrecked with so many issues at the current moment... but she was beautiful. As beautiful as she'd ever been, to Ayden. It was all in the moment.

He loved her. He wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. He bit his tongue as the thoughts cycled through his brain, the bitterness collecting in his mouth. So much of him had never thought he'd succumb to such a petty mortal condition as love... but here he was, caught in the snare of Xing's foreign ambassador. And caught he was, well, good, and proper. So one final gaze, as he stilled his hands, and aligned himself perfectly, holding the ring in one as he reached out to grasp her pale fingers with another, pulling them close, tugging them as far as he could with all his might, but his arms were spaghetti, his muscles raw steaks, and his fingers useless sausages. He was frail at the moment when he needed not to be the most. God certainly had a cruel way of repaying him... but... finally, he tugged her hand close, and cycled the ring once more, before hovering it at the tip of her fourth finger, on her left hand, barely a millimetre from where her nail began.

"I love you. And I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to reject the world and its petty politics, damn the consequences, and spend millennia in your grasp. And by God, do I want you to love me too... so there's only really one question left to ask..." He looked up to her, and willed for her to slip her finger through the hoop, through that ancient tumbler, and hold it up to the light and just laugh. He wanted to hear that laugh. He so very desperately wanted to hear it... and he wanted to hold her.

"Jeu-Hee Han... will you marry me?"

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Re: Life Burns

Post by Guest on Sat May 26, 2012 6:43 pm

If you need to loop, DO IT

Heat against her wet and sore cheek, the brush of his lips against her red flesh and yet as soon as he gave her that small kiss, the pain was gone. "Of course." Her eyes closed against that answer, those two simple words that were all that needed to be said. She didn't need an explanation of the exact circumstances, no details, none of it. She was not alone in her mistakes. Their flaws were their own and it did not matter to either of them. Her sins were so little at this point for all she felt was heaven's grace upon the two of them in that broken bathroom with its leaking water and fresh blood stains (thanks to her). She always prayed to the Ancestors for she did believe in their good graces, but she never took to any other religions no matter how many countries she spoke with. Now... Now she could see the nirvana and bliss that each offered to their respective people as she stared up into those azure eyes, following his gaze out to the mornings light.

It twinkled and refracted between the glass of the window to the pair sitting there on the floor, her head resting against his chest as they stared at that light. Ba-bump. Ba-bump. Constant. Her eyes closed as she listened to his heart beating within his chest, one of her hands sliding away from his waist to touch one to her own chest to feel the rate at which her heart was beating. Ba-bump. Ba-bump. Steady. They were aligned, synchronized. In her mind it was as if they were transported to a vast lake amidst misty forested mountains with water lilies all about them. They were crouched upon a great lily pad, the lotus blossoms blooming all about them in varying sizes and colors. There was the gentle plip of water from the sink that plipped into that lake, sending out the faintest of ripples. This.... was a place of utter serenity. Of peace. A soft sigh escaped her as any remaining bits of tension released, calm filling her entire being along with one other very important thing. Love.

But there was movement. The scene vanished from her mind and she was back in the bathroom with him in the little cafe that she loved so much. Who knows if they'd ever let her back now.... But that was besides the point, he was moving. Her arms hold on him immediately lessened and she sat up a little, green eyes blinking in confusion at the sudden movement. Twisting her head to the side, she could see he was reaching for something, the surface of it reflecting the metal blindingly into her eyes. Eep! Her eyes squinted shut immediately, slowly opening as she could feel the light had moved from it as was Ayden, he must have succeeded in grasping his prize. She didn't speak to ask him what he was doing, only slowly opening one eye (had to be sure it was safe) to look at what exactly he was examining. Both eyes shot open and blinked once as they stared at the single casing, craning her neck so she could see what he saw. 141595. The serial number. He was consumed by thought as he sat there staring at it, Jeu-Hee now turning her focus up to her love, trying to puzzle out what it was that he was seeing.

She wasn't allowed to look for long as he was moving again, moving away from her as he stood up. "Ayden-" She fell quiet as he held up a hand for her to stay, so stay she did, her confusion knowing no bounds. Her knees were bent before her as her bum met the cold and slightly wet ground, feet extending on either side of her. Her hands rested in her lap as she sat there with her braid in front of one shoulder, forcing her fingers to remain still and NOT play with her hair. The most she did was part her bangs, fascinated by how focused he had now become. "Just a moment..." She nodded once, not even batting an eye at the sight of him drawing one of his blades. She did startle a little as he pounced upon the sink, her eyes growing wide as her bewilderment only grew. What.... was he doing? But still she did not ask, adjusting how she was sitting so she could back up just a liiiittle bit.

Sure enough, just as he succeeded in getting what he wanted, water sprouted forth and doused him with its wetness. She couldn't help it, she giggled a little at the sight. He looked so determined and yet frustrated at the slight mishap! Oh but his lovely hair was now clinging to him so, maybe if she just-- Oh. Nevermind. He now stood in the doorway at his full height, holding onto his two prizes. The cartridge, and something from the sink. It must have been important otherwise water wouldn't have sprouted forth so. "Just a few moments more..." He held up his hand again, and she only nodded once more. "Take your time." She spoke quietly, now both legs bent on the same side of her body as she remained sitting there, only a few droplets landing upon her here and there. Guess it was a good thing she had moved hm? Now wait a moment, why was he growing so red? He was beginning to show quite the furious blush as his hands worked with the things within them, his knife coming down on the two things of metal.

Oh! It was a tumbler! He had cut... a tumbler... away.... She felt herself freeze up as she stared transfixed at what he was doing with that casing and ring of metal that was a tumbler. When he looked to her fingers, so did she, finding that they were trembling ever so slightly. What was he doing. Her green eyes now held the same amount of focus that his did upon his work, except her expression was one that was rather hard to read. There was a soft screech as the cartridge was fitted into the tumbler, forming-- Oh my god. He... That... That couldn't be what she.... "It's not the most impressive," a rock was beginning to grow in her throat again as her own heart began to beat faster and faster. "And it was done on very short notice," her hands were definitely trembling now as one touched her collar bone as if to keep her heart within her breast, the other coming up to cover her mouth as she found fresh tears rolling down her cheeks. It couldn't be.... "And if you want me to, I'll spend every penny I have on buying you another one - a real one - once we get back into Xi'an proper..."

This wasn't a dream, this was really happening. He was kneeling down in front of her with that ring between his fingers and those words had just left his lips. She started to stand-- No, no she wasn't. Her legs wouldn't move as she sat there, her face feeling hot as she met his gaze whenever he looked to her, holding it that last time even through the tears that spilled from her. This man who reeked of death and blood that she had first wondered was plotting to kill her when they first met... This man whom had taken her over completely, who was undoubtedly her second half... He was kneeling with a ring before her, and his hand was reaching for her own for the exact reason that her heart was exploding with the knowledge of. The hand at her chest reached forward to answer his call, the other still clutched at her mouth as if it would help quiet the excitement that was boiling within her now. Her legs found that they could move now, gliding her forward to help close the gap and raise her up so she too, was kneeling before him. Her right hand loosened its hold and hung there, her smile still completely obvious between her fingers.

They were suspended there in that moment, and nothing, literally nothing else mattered. Not the spraying of water, not the blood, nothing. Then he began to speak. "I love you," Gelemortian. "And I want to spend the rest of my life with you." Amestrian. "I want to reject the world and its petty politics, damn the consequences, and spend millennia in your grasp. Cerisian. And by God, do I want you to love me too... so there's only really one question left to ask..." Cretan. A choked back laugh escaped her, quick and punctuating as it was mixed with a sob of utter and complete joy. This was real. Her heart could not beat any faster as their gaze held, those next fatal words shattering the last fragments of the world as it was and bringing her into a new one.

"Jeu-Hee Han... will you marry me?"

Her arm moved that last little bit and slipped her finger through that ring he had just made, giggles flowing from her in uneven bursts as her hand trembled and lowered from her mouth. And then she lunged forwards, throwing her arms about his neck as her lips met his in the softest passionate kiss ever, holding it for a moment before she pulled back and stared at him with the tears still sparkling in her eyes. If her smile could be any bigger, it probably would have gone right off of her features, emerald orbs staring up into those azure ones. "A thousand times yes!" She cried as her small frame embraced him in all his wetness from the sink, not giving a care to the world about getting soaked along with him. No more sobs choked back her laughter now as it rang clear and true. This was undoubtedly the best day of her life.

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Re: Life Burns

Post by Guest on Sun May 27, 2012 4:19 pm

An eternity of suspense in that single moment hung uneasily in the air. Energy thrummed around him, Ayden's fingertips tingling as she sat there and watched. It was the longest split-second of his life, synapses firing faster than a 7.62mm M60 machine gun, electrochemical impulses launching through his brain ten times speedier than any bullet could ever travel. What if she said no? What if things weren't perfect for them? What if she didn't think he was being serious? WHAT IF SHE SAID NO?

That slender, quivering finger slipped into the ring. Ayden thought it was half by accident, but then she began to giggle... and sob... was she... what was-

She pounced on him, and they sunk into the longest, deepest kiss he'd ever thrown himself into. It was acceptance enough, and Ayden was ninety-nine percent satisfied, his arms connecting and fingers interlinking behind her back as other patrons of the café neared anxiously, having noticed the small Xingese girl's squealing. Jeu-Hee pulled back; a difference, for once, as he was usually the one to break a kiss, but, finally, she spoke, ramming it home, pushing across the finishing line, and tying them together in all-but-official matrimony, making the love and bond official. The last hurdle before Ayden's working mind collapsed into rest, his body still trembling and his heart still beating in overdrive. "A thousand times yes!"

She leapt back into the kiss, and he too obliged. Tilting his head from left to right, he brought his hands back up to the back of her head, pulling her further up to his height, as if he were hungry for every last ounce of love she could give him. As if he were ravenous. Another desire had just been satisfied, one more hole, one more crevice in his empty husk of a life that she'd filled up. He broke and restarted the kiss over so many times, before finally stopping, panting quietly, just to look at her - his face stretched not into a grin, but into a smile. The purest, and most honest smile he'd ever felt brace his pallor, curving up his face, and cutting it in two as his eyes twinkled, the water still pouring out and soaking her dress and his coat. "I love you," He continued, stupefied and unable to force anything out but his haphazard blurting.

After that, the smile continued, until, finally, his mouth opened in chattering, sudden laughter. Not laughter of mad glee, or insane bloodthirstiness, but simply of triumph. Of success. Laughter of love, the finest medicine in all the world. Ayden flung his head back and roared in laughter to the sky, pulling her tighter and pressing Jeu-Hee's head against his chest. Now, in this moment, nothing else mattered: she had said yes.

The laughter finally faded, and four Xingese workers had poked their head into the bathroom from either side. Ayden couldn't yet see them, releasing Jeu-Hee back into her usual stance and just repeating those words. "I love you," Once more... and then an addendum, the truest words anyone had spoken. "And no matter how much I have to try, no matter how many I have to kill, I promise you, no-one will ever take that away from me, and I'll always be here at the end of the day," One final kiss, just to truly ram the sentiment home. He was mad, undeniably insane... but he loved her, and in this moment, as they were frozen and stuck, hanging in time's limbo as the grateful personifcation had allowed them, truly, nothing else mattered.

He switched to Xingese. "I'll pull some time from work after I finish up this last stint up there to spend a couple of weeks more with you soon, and after that, I should be able to make it down at least a few days a week," He explained. "It's not enough, and, I'm sorry, but it'll have to make do, just for now," He couldn't believe it. Ayden made the repetition, brilliance shimmering in his widened eyes at he stared at her, face marred with running, trailing tears and sore red marks. "I... we're getting married," He announced once more, just to the two of them.

Applause exploded out from behind them as the Xingese café workers looked to each other incredulously, Ayden flinging his head round in surprise, before the look crafted into a grin. Marriage. They were... celebrating it. Applauding his courage, and her integrity, and... and their love. The Cretan couple from outside hobbled up underneath the awning, and made their way through, beaming at the pair of them as they clapped, as well, the two sides parting to allow them safe passage back into the restaurant. God, he was a misfit, and she was... she was so beautiful. He wasn't even sure this was happening, but if it was, looking upwards, eyes piercing the ceiling, the roof, even the sky itself, and conveying the emotion in those azure orbs to the heavens themselves... if it was, by God, it was a miracle.

She was still trembling and quivering. He stood up first, her hand clutched and locked in his with the laughable excuse for a contorted ring slipped roughly onto her finger - well, his assumptions had been right. It had fit, at least. Ayden tugged at his love's hand first, gesturing for her to pull her own weight up, but she'd just been broken the biggest news, arguably, of her life - and she'd accepted. He looked down at her with beckoning eyes, smiling that pure smile once more, and put every ounce of strength he could back into his arms as he hoisted her upwards onto her feet, and whirled around to catch her lower back if she fell. "Ah, to hell with it," He muttered to himself, still grinning like an idiot. To hell with dignity. He was in love.

The hand at her lower back quickly roped around to her front, clutching her opposite side, as the one at her arm snaked underneath her torso, and grasped her beneath her underarm. She was light, almost featherweight, so there wasn't much force he had to put in, shockingly; lifting her up was a menial matter, and once she was sat in the fireman's lift, probably fairly surprised, Ayden grinned down at her, locking azure with perfect emerald once more as his grip tightened to become firm, ensuring he didn't drop the bride-to-be. It sounded so odd, cycling through his mind, but... well... it would be an oddity. This time last year, Ayden would've never seen himself getting... getting married. It wasn't just hard to say - it was hard to think.

Stepping through into the fray was a matter of simplicity as they were applauded from either side from the six people Ayden never thought he'd see celebrating his engagement. Four Xingese café workers, and a Cretan OAP duo. Each of them was smiling brilliantly, cheering and clapping until their hands were red raw; but nowhere near as brilliantly as the assassin, as he lumbered through clutching his love, staring intently into those deep, emerald pits, those vibrant rings that surrounded her glimmering pupils. She was just... an impossibility. An incredible, beautiful impossibility. He wasn't even sure how she could love him for what he was, for the monster he'd become; but she did. And this wasn't a falsity in any manner. This was genuine. His love for her, his burning, fiery passion was getting more intense with every microsecond; and he hoped to whatever god was out there that hers was, to.

Standing out in a small pocket of sun, barely inches away from the awning, he shot a look back towards her unfinished meal, those egg-tarts, and the chasu-bao, and his glass of water, only half-drunk... smiling to himself, he looked down at her, locking eyes for the millionth time now as the applause faded, and the workers and the Cretans simply stared out towards them with smiles illuminating their faces... "Well," He said. "D'you want to finish breakfast?"

[END THREAD]

((VI READ YOUR PM BOX))

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Re: Life Burns

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