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[center The familiar swirl of herbal scents was actually rather comforting to Faustus. You know, for the first ten seconds before he was given the cold shoulder. Bastion, in the meantime, wasn’t shy about reaching out for a hug. He was the sort of guy that tended to be on great terms with everyone, it seemed.
Faustus lingered by the door for a moment, internally screaming. What was it now? What could he possibly have been salty about? Was this about him not calling?
Bastion immediately perked up once more, a smile spreading across his features. “Truth he told, this is Faust’s trip. I just like coming here.” He offered smoothly.
Faustus wanted to clobber him. He wouldn’t, but he wanted to. Clearing his throat, he nodded toward Silveus “This is Logan’s husband.” Widow, but still. “The one I mentioned to you, except in the flesh.”
“Yes, I can see that.” Rossa quipped, smiling kindly at Silveus once more. “Still doesn’t tell me much about what brings you to my shoppe?”
“Ah, right.” Rossa turned on his heel, waving the three of them along. “As always, only turning up when you need something from me, is it?” This remark was directed specifically at Faustus, and given the way his gaze shifted, it was obvious the man felt guilty.
“I did mean to call before I left... and when I returned.”
“I’m sure,” The pink-haired man drew out a skeleton key and let himself into a door at the far back of the shoppe, disappearing into complete darkness. There was silence, then a loud creak and faint glow before his reappearance, the door shut and locked tightly behind him.
In his arms was a long lacquered coffin box. “You’d think for as much effort as it takes to forge one of these, you would care for it better.” He shot Faustus an annoyed glance. Just because he acknowledged his wrong didn’t mean it stood in place of an apology. Sure, he loved the guy, but he was seriously shit about keeping in touch.
Bastion nudged Silveus and very quietly said “ex”. At least to clarify things a little. Long time friends but still exes. And on the outs a bit it seemed.
At least he was somewhat of a gentleman. Silveus acknowledged Faustus with a nod as he climbed into the seat. It was shiny, black, and all leather on the inside. Slightly uncomfortable with taking up too much space in such a fancy automobile, Silveus hunkered by the door and looked out the window.
The countryside rolled on by. He sighed and scratched his hair, adjusted it back into place. Why'd he been drawn into this, anyways? What had Faustus wanted with him? Or no, it was Bastion, wasn't it? They'd all blurred together into one man.
They pulled up to a set of quaint wooden-fronted shops. Flowers hung from the street lamps, sprung up from behind hedges. It felt like the kind of place that would have a tailor, an art store, an old-fashioned soda pop shop, maybe a few men in straw hats and stiff suits. He followed Bastion to the door and stepped inside.
The warm scent of herbs assaulted him, cinnamon and cloves and thyme and lavender and a dozen other things he couldn't put a name to. They filled barrels along the wall, hung in dried bunches from the ceiling, grew from pots by the window. A large cockatiel watched them from the back of the shop, perched atop an oak branch that had been mounted on the wall. It was dark, in a warm way that reminded him of his grandparents'house. The only light came from the front window and a single lamp on the desk in the back.
Bells clattered as the door shut. "Oh! Coming, coming," someone called from the back room. Unseen things thudded and fell, and then, heels clacking, the man hurried out. A feather-trimmed pink coat flapped around his shoulders, offsetting his tight leather pants and the pinstriped frilly apron he wore over the ensemble. "Hello hello, Rossa's Finest Herbs, how can I help you to..."
He trailed off at the sight of them. One eyebrow cocked. "Bastion, how good to see you," he greeted the first brother. He ran his pink hair back and smiled at Silveus. "And I haven't seen you before, have I?"
"No, um. Silveus," he stuttered, thrusting out his hand to shake. Rossa's hands were soft and cold. Sharp pink nails bit into his skin, barely not enough to draw blood.
Rossa turned to Faustus, then looked back at Bastion. "So what brings you here?" he asked, totally ignoring Faustus.
[center Because he wasn’t a total savage, Faustus opened the door for Silveus. He had a shiny black Vanquish. At least, for now. His usual baby was being worked on, but this one had done right by him in its stead.
Bastion rounded and hopped into the back, wrinkling his nose the moment he was settled. “Bro, when is the corvette coming back?”
“Friday.” He answered casually, letting himself into the vehicle only after Silveus was safely shut in. Faustus was calm behind the wheel. Any emotions he had previously seemed to disappear.
The engine turned over and a moment later they were heading for town. Neither of them wore seatbelts, though. Not very wise of them, and a bad example to set, but immortals were not so concerned with mortality, after all.
The shop they were going to was owned by... an old friend, so to speak. As he took them to the centre of town, the architecture loomed, ancient and beautiful. The church, especially. Greatly detailed masonry, Tudor style housing, little shoppes here and there, and so much greenery. There were lanterns, ornate benches, squares for entertainment and parks. And tonnes of gardens.
Faustus took them through downtown and rolled up to their destination to whip smoothly into a spot out front. Bastion hopped out first and got the door for Silveus, his brother already having made his way to the door.
He drew open the door, waiting patiently at attention for his two stragglers.]
He shot Faustus a glare. Would it kill him to be a little nice? [i Probably.] He'd probably melt away, like the Wicked Witch of the West. A smirk spread over his lips at that. Had anyone seen Faustus around water, ever? It was still a distinct possibility.
"I'll, I'll take the front," he decided after a moment. He didn't want to be around Faustus, but he wanted to see where he was. See the sights, so to speak. He'd been cooped up in the house since he'd gotten here--partially of his own will--but still, it'd be good to see the town. See where the police were, too, if things got too crazy and he had to make a run for it.
He peered around for the car. Whatever car they were riding, it'd surely be super expensive, right? That was the way this family's tastes seemed to run so far. To be fair, they were rich as hell, but still. [i What is it, a Benz? Aston-Martin? Ferarri? Or maybe a stretch hummer?]
Faustus' car, too. It'd probably be big, dark and scary. Just like the man himself. [i Well, not the dark part.] Faustus was pretty fair. Like Logan had been. He'd burned so quickly in the sun. Like a delicate lily.
[i I should have protected him better.]
[center Tsh. Of course the cat got affection. Faustus supposed be was saving up all his good cheer for anybody who wasn’t him. Mighty impatient still, though. Bastion was pacing down below in the foyer, leather jacket catching the light as he moved to and fro. It was so early to be wearing leather, but whatever. It suited him.
“Yes, let’s. The meanie will drive.” He quipped, taking the stairs quickly. “I told you twice now, we need moonlight for the spell to work. Which means waiting for nightfall. Let’s just do this bit of research and then you’re free to mope all you like.”
After all, he did a fair share of that around him. At the very least, he wouldn’t be doing it in his presence.
Bastion waved Silveus along with a kind expression, punching Faustus in the arm as he passed with a sharp “Be nice! He’s hurt...”
Didn’t give him an excuse to be a pain in the ass. He understood pain. They all did in some way. He guessed he was just a little unused to dealing with someone who showed their feelings so openly. That and being the object of someone’s frustration. Too much excitement for him personally.
Faustus ventured out the door, then, jacket slung over one shoulder as he headed for his car.
“Wait, can we take-“
“No, I drive.”
“W-...okay? Silveus, would you prefer the front or the back?” Bastion called, turning to walk backwards so he could at least have a look at him.
He stared at the bubbling liquid. It had to boil? [i Why can't we just get this over with?]
Silveus followed Faustus out of the room. He felt the man's eyes on him until he left the room. [i I'm not going to run off. I'm not an idiot.]
Basil was waiting for him. He bent down and invited the cat over. The small creature jumped into his arms. Silveus kissed the top of his head and started to pet the cat. "Don't be mean," he told Faustus. Basil was just being a good boy. It wasn't the cat's fault he loved Silveus. It was definitely Faustus' fault he was mean to the cat, though.
"Shh, Faustus is just a meanie, you don't have to be angry," he told the cat, nuzzling it. Basil was so fluffy. When he grew up, he'd be a pretty longhair for sure.
He looked at Faustus. "What are you waiting for? Let's go." The sooner they left, the sooner they could be back and figure out what his ancestry was. It was all stupid. [i I just want to mourn in peace, alone and unbothered.] Was it too much to ask?
Basil squirmed. Silveus set him gently on the ground and watched him run off. That cat did whatever he wanted, didn't he? He snorted. Kind of like a certain Faustus, but not as mean. No, Basil was a sweet fluffball, even if he'd been stolen away by a jerk like Faustus.
[center So prickly, he was. Faustus straightened, casually, as though he'd taken no offense, and simply gathered what supplies he had acquired. There was a large cauldron that walked itself over a simple incantation circle and settled. Faustus produced the owl Krista had been kind enough to feed earlier in the morning, and laid out each item carefully.
There was little discussion at this point. He tossed in what items he had been able to acquire and wandered the reliquary to fetch what Silveus had been unable to. In careful measure, every ingredient went into the mix. None of it looked like it belonged together, but over time it would come together.
"We leave this to broil." He explained, summoning flame beneath their vessel.
"For now, we join Bastion in town. Your luggage should be in the wardrobe tucked away." He explained, striding for the doors. Patiently, he awaited Silveus before exiting. Not that he didn't trust him, but the last time he took his eye off him in here, it hadn't ended well. Better to be safe than sorry.
Basil lingered nearby, keeping watch over the corridor. For what reason, Faustus couldn't discern, but the moment he caught wind of where Silveus was, he padded to the doorway and mewled pitifully for his return. How dare he leave him for so long? He loved him?
Brows lowering, Faustus hushed him. "There's no need for crying."
Who did he think he was? He had every right to cry! He'd been left in the corridor not knowing what all had happened to his person. He unsuccessfully scowled at the unnecessarily tall warlock and mewled again, worried by the sorry look of Silveus. What had this jerk done to him? His tail bristled with suspicion.
Would he have to kill him?
Silveus glanced over at Faustus. He followed the man's gestures silently, dropping his shirt off his shoulders to reveal the stupid little wings. He crouched in the center and watched.
[i This] was magic. Faustus doubled, then tripled. Flames coiled. Mysterious words were said. Faustus held his hand out, and suddenly flames consumed his body.
Silveus jumped, startled. They crackled and bit, real, real, real. He batted at them. They wouldn't die. Wouldn't let go. He popped to his feet and smacked his body all over. [i Hot, hot, hot--] Silveus paused. It wasn't hot. It didn't hurt at all.
He peered over his shoulder. The wings were vanishing. The black marks grew smaller, eaten up by the flame until they were gone.
A finger appeared on his back. Silveus jumped again. He barely resisted a shiver. It'd been so long since anyone else had touched him, skin on skin. He felt oddly vulnerable, sensitive anywhere the fire had burned away.
"How will I know if I have any residual energy?" Silveus asked, annoyed. It wasn't like he could use any magic with whatever seal it was on him. Faustus should know better than to ask.
He pulled away from Faustus and pulled his shirt back up. "What next? Let's get it all over with. Let's summon my ancestors or whatever." He didn't make eye contact with Faustus. He felt weird. Everything about him felt weird. He didn't feel unattached like he had earlier, but now he felt... he didn't know. He didn't like it, though.
[center The mood certainly had darkened, hadn’t it? Faustus eyed Silveus discreetly, waving him over to a an open expanse of floor. He slid away a fur rug to make more room and began to work counter clockwise, drawing tunes within the body of a large reverses spiral. Then he closed it off at the tail.
Gently, he reached forward to expose the wings and stepped back out of range, resuming his place. Faustus summoned a small bowl and removed a pinch or two of black salt, holding it palm up. At first nothing happened, but then slowly, he shifted about the circle, leaving a doppelgänger behind at all three pints that he visited.
“West to East, South to North, four winds heed this call henceforth. Move and shift the sands of time, to revert and sever these present binds. By the power of three times three, as I will, so mote it be.” The black salt caught afire, a black flame growing until it practically consumed the whole of his forearm.
Faustus didn’t even so much as flinch as it jumped, leaping directly to Silveus. It swallowed him entirely, engulfing every inch of him, but it was not hot - or it wasn’t meant to be anyway. The sensation would’ve been similar to being surrounded by water. It licked away any wounds or small injuries that might’ve been and receded until it reached the wings, burning and bubbling away their form until smooth flesh remained.
Faustus leant forward to inspect, finger brushing gently over the area. Not a single thing. Good.
“How do you feel? It should have burned away any of that residual rubbish from that ghoul, but if you still feel lingering energy from it, a deeper cleanse may be necessary.”
Over to the reliquary. There was nothing for him to do but wait. He stood awkwardly by the door and twiddled his thumbs. The dark halls seemed to close in on him. He was all alone in the world. All alone in this giant house, no one to notice if he wandered away forever.
He was a second away from taking a step when Faustus appeared. Silveus glanced up at him and nodded. Faustus was less smiley now. It pleased him, somehow, in a perverse way. No one should be happy. He wasn't happy, so no one should be.
The reliquary's doors swung open once Faustus arrived, as if they knew. Silveus followed Faustus inside, demure and quiet. He'd learned his lesson. This time, he'd stick close behind Faustus and not wander off.
"What do I have to do?" he asked. That was easy. If someone would just tell him what to do, he wouldn't have to think. He could just be, for a little while. Forget about the world. Maybe he'd find a knife later on. If cleansing couldn't get rid of them, then he'd do it. What magic couldn't do, he could do if he put his mind to it.
[center Were Faustus in the mood to be difficult, he might've dismissed the younger man. Instead, he gestured vaguely. "I'll meet you in front of the reliquary. I'd like to at least ready for the day."
Bastion sighed, already finished with the muffin he had been consuming. "Let me know when the two of you are ready to head into town - I can drive."
"But of course." You could hear Faustus rolling his eyes, but his expression remained unchanged as he left the table to glide past Silveus and back from when he'd come.
Getting dressed was an easy task, and as soon as his teeth were brushed again and face washed, he dealt with his hair. T'wasn't long before he appeared near the sealed doors, somehow less expressive now that he'd eaten and his guard must have gone back up.
Silveus seemed to have returned to his sad, withdrawn state, and the man had to admit he preferred angry Silveus to the sad one. The sad one was a bit difficult to accept. How did you go about comforting someone when there was absolutely nothing to be done for that sort of suffering?
That besides, it wasn't like he was the cuddly type. That was more Angeleau's area of expertise. He likely would've done better in this circumstance.
Regardless, at the very least, he could do this much. Maybe once they got him feeling better about the wings being gone, he could convince him to have a wash and change into some fresh clothes.]
The siblings chattered. Silveus pushed eggs around his plate silently, already full. Once, he'd have been the one chattering with Logan. Hearing it now, it made him feel second-rate. A hollow replacement for this noisy family.
Everything had been a shitshow since Logan died. [i Wasn't it supposed to be forever?] And then it'd all gone to hell.
He glanced up when his name was called, a little lost. He hadn't been listening for the context. He nodded silently rather than risk a guess at what he might have missed.
Going to town. He'd barely been out since the death. Work and home, work and home. Sometimes he stopped to get groceries. Sometimes that was too much effort.
"Later," he agreed, a little too sharply. He didn't want to go out while he still had the wings. He didn't want to go out at all, really. [i If I could just go home and be alone...] But his home was gone. There was nothing left.
Just remembering that made him want to curl up and cry. Instead, he poked the eggs some more. [i It'll be good to get out. Buy some paints or something. A few canvases. New brushes.] And then what? He didn't have any inspiration. What was there to paint, when there was no light in his life?
He traced his finger down a knife. It glittered once as it tipped and caught the sun. Flickered back into place. He felt sideways to the world. An observer. A fake. He made the responses he was required to and retreated, glad no one was able to catch him out for the dead man he was. Life was a thing that happened to everything around him. He was a burned-out coal, discarded and empty without his love.
Abruptly, he stood. "Shall we go?" he asked. He wanted to get it all over with so he could be left alone once more.
[center It was interesting to watch - the progression of Silveus’ thoughts in micro expressions. He was really hung up about these wings, wasn’t he? Maybe just really hung up in general about everything. He could imagine losing someone you loved would make one anxious, but he had to wonder if he had secretly always been this way before? If so, Logan had never made mention.
“Relax,” Faustus encouraged, sipping gratefully at a cup of rose petal tea. “It will be taken care of.”
“Already causing him trouble?” Juno interjected, settling in. Odd for her to be so chipper in the morning. Probably got laid.
“Mind your business. There’s plenty for you to be using your mouth for on the table already.”
“I thought your shortcomings were always on the table?” She quipped innocently.
Faustus suddenly grinned, laughter rumbling up from somewhere deep down. Probably a well he didn’t often tap into. “You’re always so difficult.”
“I love you, too.”
Faustus hummed in agreement, offering Silveus some juice. “Or would you prefer tea?”
They would fix his problem, but for right now, he needed to relax. It was just breakfast. They weren’t taking on some grand evil over eggs and toast. Besides, it wouldn’t be as hard as he might’ve been thinking it was.
“You know,” Bastion chimed in, head tilting. “I think we should take you out later, Silveus. Nothing ridiculous. Just to show you the town, you know? Lots of pretty architecture. I’m sure Faustus has a few things he needs there?”
Yeah, he got it. The subtle-not-so-subtle ogling definitely made it clear Faustus was to play along with his little plan. Whatever it was. “Well, let him think about it. Besides, we have things to do here before you whisk him off into town for fates knows what...”
“Just a little tour.”
The blond scoffed, chewing a sliver of plantain. “It wouldn’t be a bad idea, though. I would like to look into one of the archives there. Perhaps our friend in town knows a bit more about the research I’m currently doing.”
Silveus cut Fausus a nasty look. It was a natural human reaction. He'd been lonely since Logan's death. What was he supposed to do? It wasn't like [i he'd] wanted to pitch a tent. It'd just... happened. Like he was some freaking teenager. "Thanks," he muttered, and took the sausage anyways. It was embarrassing, and he hated that anyone knew, but he wasn't going to let Faustus shame him. The man would never let it go if he did.
"They never go away?" Silveus balked. His face went pale. Tiny, stupid-looking mini-wings for the rest of his life? He'd rather chop them off and make them into fried chicken wings than live with the humiliation. "There has to be something..." A sharp enough knife. Fire. Something.
The cat came back. Silveus shot him a look, too. [i Traitor.] Couldn't be trusted, that one. His love for clawing laps left much to be desired.
"He's... been doing his best," Silveus said. When it came to convincing him that they were all terrible, Faustus couldn't do much better. He was starting to wonder who'd had the genius idea to send Faustus to pick him up. Literally anyone else would have been better. Sucking the fun out of everything? He nodded. "I see you know him well."
Silveus started to eat. It was delicious, but he couldn't bring himself to eat much. The stupid little wings made him too self-conscious. [i Someone might notice at any moment.] And then they'd ask where he'd gotten them, and he'd have to admit that he'd been stupid enough to fall for that damn apparition, and then they'd all make fun of him like Faustus did. He felt his skin heat up just thinking about it. They had to get him cleansed, as soon as possible.
[center Oh, so he was awake after all. And in the clothes from the night before. “Morning.” Lowering himself into a seat, he scooped eggs, sweet plantains, cocoa bread, and spinach onto his plate. The last item he grabbed was meat, already betraying his preferences. “Sausage?” It was veggie based, an alternative to the meat option near the centre of the table. Not to mention, he couldn’t help but tease him.
“We’ll take care of those. Just know they’ll never actually go away.” They didn’t ever, actually. It just depended upon whether you were keen on showing them off or not. “Truthfully, if it wasn’t so convenient around mortals or for sitting in chairs, it wouldn’t be so uncommon to see them.” Explained Faustus quietly.
“That aside, we still have that other order of business to attend to once you’ve been cleansed.” He added, uncrossing his legs. It was funny, in a way. Silk robe, one leg bared through the split, chest casually exposed to display part of the artwork that graced his flesh. Well, they were functional. They had a purpose. Still beautiful, though.
“We also need to fully discuss what you saw yesterday, I think.” Basil has reappeared, slinking about Silveus’ ankles. He brushed up against him affectionately, hopping up onto his legs to raise himself paws first up onto the edge of the tableau.
Angeleau set down a bowl nearby, crystal of course. “That’s for you.” All family members were clearly welcome at the table.
“Has my brother convinced you of how horrid we all are yet?” Asked Bastion suddenly. “Any horror stories we should hear about?”
“Hush,” Faustus sighed. “If anything, you look like a saint compared to me. Despite your real world reputation.”
Bastion smiled wryly. “I see he’s probably sucking the fun out of absolutelt everything for you.”
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