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Ethan Alexander

"I am not overreacting."

0 · 656 views · located in Washington, D.C.

a character in “Don't Panic”, as played by Simple_Imperfections

Description

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"It's better not to think than to be left alone to my thoughts"



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|Name|
Ethan Clark Alexander

|Nickname(s)|
Clark || most people; accepted

|Age|
September 12th || Virgo
21 || Twenty-One

|Race|
Caucasian || 1/2 British & 1/2 Dutch

|Gender|
Cis Male

|Sexual Orientation|
Homosexual || family doesn't know



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|Appearance|
Ethan is very casual. He prefers to be comfortable above everything else. His outfit usually involves flannels, hoodies, t-shirts, and anything else he can just throw on. Ethan tries to avoid eyes on him, so he never dresses up if he can help it. However, when he is forced to attend gatherings for his parents, he cleans up nice. He has a signature black and white suit with a sleek tie and leather shoes. He prefers to never have to wear it and only reserves it for emergencies. Depending on the day, he may wear his contacts over his glasses. Underneath the baggy clothes is a tall, lean figure. He stands at about 5'11" and virtually is only skin, bone, and muscle. Under the beanie, is shaggy, brown hair that he can't seem to keep neat. He usually just covers it or lets it do whatever he wants. He has a smile to die for that makes his eyes chocolate brown eyes light up. Overall Ethan doesn't look like a complete mess, but he isn't really trying either.



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|Personality|
A lot of Ethan's personality is centered around the sheer fact that he was diagnosed with Panic Disorder. His overthinks and overanalyzes every situation. Despite how small and irrelevant the situation to everyone else, Ethan is intensely thinking about it. Unfortunately, those thoughts are never pleasant. They are generally negative and make it seem like the end of the world is near. Ethan has attempted positive thinking and although it works for a while, he usually ends back up in the negative. Unfortunately he cannot keep his negativity to himself and most people deem him pessimistic. Despite his condition, he is friendly. He tries to make friends and put his trust in people, despite how hard it is to do so. On top of all this, he attempts to please other people. He stresses over how people's emotions about him and the situation they may be in together. Ethan may not be happy in his own life, but he tries to make others better no matter what it takes. He has been in toxic friendships and relationships because of this flaw in his friendliness. Ethan is also non-confrontational. No matter how angry he gets, he refuses to fight with anyone. He doesn't raise his voice or even defend himself if he is being targeted. Clark prefers to runaway and just avoid the situation entirely. Although not the healthiest way to live, its all he knows. When he is on his medications, Ethan is more friendly and, more or less, optimistic. He can be more pleasant to be around. But there are some situations where meds aren't enough.



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|History|
Twenty-two years ago, Maria and Thomas Alexander were at a point in their lives where they were ready for children. After a year of trying, Maria finally got pregnant and nine months gave birth to a healthy baby boy. The couple decided they were satisfied with just one child and showered this child in love. As an only child, he was given attention, unconditional love, and anything he wanted. Everyone called him cute and just wanted to hold him and be around him. He was the pride and joy of Mr and Mrs Alexander. They brought him to every function and every event. All the co-workers were in love with him and showered him in gifts whenever he was around. But all of that stopped when he was thirteen.

When he was thirteen years old, the voice arrived. Not just any voice, it was his own voice. His own voice contradicting and questioning everything he did. It made the simplest decision seem as though there was no correct answer and either choice was a bad one. Ethan did not know where the voice and thoughts came from. He did not know how to get rid of them. He did not know how to bring it up to his parents. All he knew is that he couldn't function. His thoughts were running a hundred miles an hour and all of them stressing him out over small things. The thoughts were changing him. He was no longer the happy go lucky kid that The Alexanders would show up. He was scared and nervous about everything. His parents found out about his problem when he had a panic attack in the middle of an office party. Everyone was out to get him, hurt him, and he had to get away. After embarrassing himself and being taken to the ER, he was referred to a child psychologist. At thirteen, Clark figured out when Panic Disorder meant.

His high school years weren't a fun time. He was stressed about everything. Relationships, grades, friendships, sports, college applications, etc. He had a medication to help with his thoughts, but it didn't make them completely go away. It just made it easier to calm down. During this time, he also was forced to see a therapist due to the self-inflicted cuts that his parents noticed. He meets with her and talks about his day and ends up confessing something that Ethan did not mean to bring forward. It was how he found out he was homosexual. Ethan has only come out to the therapist. His parents are devoted Catholics and his thoughts made sure that he knew how awful of an idea it would be to tell his parents as did the new cuts on his arms.

Clark is twenty-one now. He has a better grip of his condition. He has a stronger medication and attends therapy twice a week. He graduated from college with a degree in education. Currently, he is a first-grade school teacher. It is a low-stress environment and doesn't trigger any problems. Ethan lives on his own, but his parents are still a big influence in his life. They still want him to attend events and parties as a special guest. His parents are respectable business owners and he would rather not ruin their reputation by not showing up. Ethan still hasn't told his parents that he is a homosexual and he doesn't plan on it any time soon. At the moment, he is fine with how things are going with his life. He does have the occasional breakdowns, but he deals with it better.




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|Face Claim|
Dylan O'Brien

|Dialogue Color Code|
#FFAC33

|Writer|
Simple_Imperfections

So begins...

Ethan Alexander's Story

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Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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{ethan 'clark' alexander}

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The thoughts were beginning to quiet down. Music from Pandora cycled through his head and he focused on the melody. He put emphasis on each word in the lyrics as they ran through his brain. The more he focused on the music, the more he calmed down. Clark was finding that he was easily relaxing around his therapist. He should afraid of this feeling. Of his environment Of this new situation. But instead he felt safe. It was the safest he had felt in a long while. The dark thoughts continued to be pushed away by the music that was playing. He was so in tune to the music that he hadn't even felt Kai sit next to him. "Are you...feeling any better?" The sudden question forced Clark out of his trance. "Hmm?" He looked over to the therapist, concern and guilt still written all over him. The question finally processed in his mind and he nodded in response. "Oh. Yes. I am, thank you." He attempted to give him a soft smile in order to reassure him that the answer was sincere. He reached for the bottle of water and took another sip of it. "Umm t-thank you for opening your home to me." This wasn't typical therapist behavior and it deserved a thank you. It deserved more than a thank you, but that was all he had at the moment. 'You are overstepping. Leave his house.' The thoughts were returning and his body tensed once more. 'He isn't your friend. This isn't kindness. He probably told Marissa about your freak out.' Without hesitation, Clark grabbed the remote and turned up the volume on the music.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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─────────────────────────────
Kairo Choi
─────────────────────────────

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─────────────────────────────
Location ✧ Kairo's is studio apartment
Outfit ✧ Here
Dialogue ✧ 400E15
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For a moment, Kairo almost wished he hadn't said anything. Ethan looked so peacefully entranced by the melody coming from the television that the therapist felt guilty for interrupting that. Still, he was thankful for the answer he received. He could tell it wasn't a lie. Ethan was noticeably less jumpy than he had been when they first arrived. It was a relief. Kairo knew well enough that bringing him here was going far beyond what a therapist was expected to do, but there was no part of him that would have been okay with leaving Ethan alone after what happened.

"Oh, no need to thank me." he smiled at the sound of Ethan's gratitude. A part of Kai's mind expected this to go south very quickly, but he was glad it didn't. At least not for the time being. "That's what friends are for, anyway." he made sure to add the last sentence in to assure Ethan that they weren't there as a therapist and his patient. They weren't at the studio, or anywhere that required him to be Ethan's therapist. They were at Kairo's special hideout. Right now, Ethan wasn't his patient. He was his friend, someone Kairo cared about more than what he'd be willing to admit.

The raising of the volume didn't go unnoticed, but Kairo didn't comment on it. Instead of bringing attention to what had brought them there, he focused on what they would do now. "Hey, have you ever played poker? I can teach you how while we wait for the food." If Kai was being honest, this too was outside his expertise. He had never grown so attached to a patient to the point where he wanted to forget the therapy sessions and just...be. No agenda, no ulterior motive, just the two of them...keeping one another company.

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Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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{ethan 'clark' alexander}

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"That's what friends are for, anyway." Friends? That word bounced around in Ethan’s head. He doesn’t remember the last time he has made a friend. His colleagues at work are relatively friendly and make conversation, but he would hardly call them friends. Clark also gets really nervous about talking to people and attempting to make new friends. His thoughts usually discourage him and then he just avoids people. There are always his parents, but spending time with them usually means they start digging into his life and he doesn’t like going there with his parents. They just start trying to fix things and it usually ends in a fight followed with a panic attack. But Kairo wanted to be his friend. Even after seeing him have a panic attack in the middle of the street. He couldn’t help the smile that formed on his face, but he didn’t address it in fear that Kai would take it back.

There must have been a mutual agreement about not discussing the obvious boundary they are crossing because his therapist didn’t mention anything else about it either. Instead, he brought up poker. Clark has never played, but he was willing to learn. He was really willing to do anything if it kept his thoughts away. ”I have never played, but um sure you can teach me.” He stated with a smile. ”Hopefully, I am not a terrible student?” He added in jokingly.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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─────────────────────────────
Kairo Choi
─────────────────────────────

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─────────────────────────────
Location ✧ Kairo's is studio apartment
Outfit ✧ Here
Dialogue ✧ 400E15
─────────────────────────────
Kairo was relieved that Ethan didn't feel uncomfortable by what he said. In fact, he seemed to wlecome it. There was a line being crossed, that much was clear to the both of them, but as far as Kai was concerned they weren't doing anything they shouldn't be. Just friends playing poker. Nothing more, nothing less. "It's easy! You'll get the hang of it quickly." he assured the young boy, heading over to one of the drawers underneath the television and pulling out a small deck of cards. Kairo had never been the biggest fan of card games himself, but if it meant keeping Ethan busy and his mind occupied then he'd do it.

He took a seat on the couch, turning his body to face Ethan as he let the cards slip out on the space left between them. "My dad was always obsessed with poker, so he taught me when i was really young." he confessed as his fingers shuffle through the cards. His eyes would every so often shift upwards to look at Ethan as he handed out each player's hand. If he was being honest, he wasn't so much focused on the game, but rather the way Ethan's eyes lit up each time he was going to be taught something new. It had been the same when Kairo first offered to teach him the guitar. "These are yours>" he stated, pointing to the small handful of cards in front of Ethan's leg. He picked up his own hand, giving Ethan time to look through his cards/ "I promise to go easy on you." he added with a playful smirk, hoping it would help in easing the boy's nerves.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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{ethan 'clark' alexander}

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Ethan watched Kai’s movements carefully. The therapist always seemed like he got a burst of energy when he wants to teach something. It was almost like saying β€˜yes’ was a jumpstart to Kai’s energy reserved. Ethan didn’t mind. He actually enjoyed learning new things. The more he learned, the more stuff he could think about that did not involve his anxiety. At the moment, learning poker with his new friend was much better than the alternative. "My dad was always obsessed with poker, so he taught me when i was really young. His father taught him poker. Introducing him to the world of gambling early. That thought made him laugh a bit. ”I wasn’t taught any card games. I was taught how to eat a 5 course meal, properly.” Down to which napkin was used in which way. His parents always attended a lot of important dinners and, before his mental illness became debilitating, he attended them all. He picked up the cars the Kairo said were his and he stared at them, placing them in order from smallest to the largest. He had no idea what he was doing. "I promise to go easy on you." The smirk on his face, made his heart soar and he tried to fight the redness that flooded to his face. ”Umm wh-what do I do?” He asked, glancing back and forth between his cards and his therapist.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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─────────────────────────────
Kairo Choi
─────────────────────────────

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─────────────────────────────
Location ✧ Kairo's is studio apartment
Outfit ✧ Here
Dialogue ✧ 400E15
─────────────────────────────
Kairo didn’t miss the slight blush on Ethan’s face but chose to not bring it up, for both their sake. Instead, he focused on teaching the boy the tips and tricks of a pro poker player. Not that he’d ever need something like this in real life, but learning how to play the game was complex enough to keep his mind occupied, yet simple enough for him to learn quickly. He leaned forward every now and then to look at Ethan’s cards during the teaching process. For moments at a time, their faces were merely inches apart and Kai would be lying if he said he didn’t feel anything. Things he wasn’t supposed to feel for someone that wasn’t his fiancΓ©. Things that, when it truly came down to it, he didn’t even feel towards Lucy. There was a sudden stab of guilt as he realized this, because despite all her tantrums, she truly did care for him. It didn’t last long, however, as it was quickly swallowed up by the excitement of watching Ethan slowly get a feel for the rules of the game. ”that’s it.” he said, a subtle excitement shining through his words. ”I knew you’d get the hang of it.” the soft smile lingered on his face for a moment as their eyes met, but before the feelings from earlier could resurface, Kairo leaned back against the couch’s armrest, creating a safe distance between them just as he had before. ”So? Do you think you’re ready to play?” He hoped the game would now keep both Ethan and himself focused on something other than the obvious line they had crossed from the moment Kairo decided to bring him here.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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Be Gentle With Me
{ethan 'clark' alexander}

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{dialogue : #FFAC33 | thoughts: grey }
Don't Break Me
Ethan focused immediately focused on the cards in his hand and at the lessons Kai was trying to give. It was easy to ignore his thoughts when Kairo was speaking to him. His words were smooth like velvet and always captured his attention. In fact the only hard part about this lesson was actually paying attention to it. At certain points, Clark was just letting Kai speak and point out different tricks. It was only when Kai would ask β€˜if he understood’ that he would realize that he had zoned out. Eventually, Ethan was finally getting a hang of the game. The cards and their placements began to make sense. He was actually pretty proud of himself for learning something so complicated in such little time. He was no master, but he was sure that he could at least win one round against Kai. ”I knew you’d get the hang of it.” Ethan smile and the two boys locked eyes on one another. He is so close to him. Ethan could feel his warmth and he wanted to reach out to hold onto it. His smile was so bright and his eyes so deep. He wanted to get lost into his music therapist and wrap himself in the safety that he gives off. This feeling was one that he has never felt and knew that he was never supposed too. ’Move away from him! He is married! How dare you think about him in this way?! If he finds out he will throw you out of his house and never want to see you again! It will be all your faul-’ ”So? Do you think you’re ready to play?” Ethan released the breath he did not notice he was holding when Kai put the safe distance between them. He nodded in response. ”Y-yeah. Just go e-easy on me.” He said, with a sheepish grin. He was for sure going to lose the first round.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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─────────────────────────────
Kairo Choi
─────────────────────────────

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─────────────────────────────
Location ✧ Kairo's studio apartment
Outfit ✧ Here
Dialogue ✧ 400E15
─────────────────────────────
Kairo took a mental note of Ethan's subtle body language. He appeared to be much calmer, and to a bypasser maybe he'd look completely relaxed. But it was the smallest details that led Kai to think Ethan was still a bit nervous around him. He realized his being close to him was maybe not the smartest move, so he kept reminding himself to keep a good distance. The last thing he wanted was to make Ethan uncomfortable when he was supposed to be making him feel better. "You have my word" he said with a soft chuckle as he took his cards into his hands.

If there were any advantages to being a therapist when out in the real world, it was how easy one could put on a poker face without breaking. Kairo's deep browns reached up to Ethan every few seconds to watch his movements. There was an instance when the therapist could clearly see every card Ethan was holding, however instead of letting it show, he kept his word and let Ethan get a few steps ahead of me. "Hmm, maybe I shouldn't have taught you. You're catching on a little too quickly." he teased, but still made sure to play well enough to not make it too obvious that rather than winning, he just wanted to see the boy smile.

After winning the first round, almost accidentally, Kairo took the cards to shuffle. His gaze met Ethan's for amoment, his thoughts lost in a trance of "what ifs". What if he wasn't engaged? What if Ethan wasn't his patient? What if...he unintentially was beginning to develop feelings for the boy that were much more than a casual friendship. He didn't let his thoughts dwell for too long, only long enough to know that he shouldn't be thinking them in the first place. "How bout it? One more?" he asked, right brow lifted in curiousity. It's true, poker had always been something he enjoyed playing. But more than the game, Kairo wanted to do everything he possibly could to keep Ethan here for just a little while longer.

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Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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Be Gentle With Me
{ethan 'clark' alexander}

Image
{dialogue : #FFAC33 | thoughts: grey }
Don't Break Me
Ethan’s focus was now devoted to playing this game. Now that he learned how to play, he wanted to be good at it. Especially if it is something that he is able to do with Kairo during their times together. He wasn’t very good at his poker face and he was truly hoping that this therapist did not notice. He tried his best to hide the cards, but at one point he fumbled them. And he spent way too much time trying to work out the possibilities in his head. When he thought he had a good hand it was all over his face. Ethan was so in his own head that he had completely forgotten to pay attention to Kai and attempt to call his bluff at certain points. "Hmm, maybe I shouldn't have taught you. You're catching on a little too quickly." That excited Ethan. He must have been winning at one point, but he couldn’t really tell. Ethan lost this first round, but he assumed that it was a close game.

He kept his eyes on Kairo as the cards were shuffled. He was wondering what he had done in a past life to end up in this situation. To end up needing therapy. To end up meeting Kario. To end up in his apartment which that Kai was not betrothed to him. Ethan wanted more than a friendship, but they weren’t even supposed to be as close as they were. "How bout it? One more?" ”Y-yes..” Anything to stay here just a little longer. It was the first time in a long time that his thoughts weren’t so loud. ”Don’t forget the food you were making?” He said, remembering that Kario was supposed to be making them both something to eat.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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─────────────────────────────
Kairo Choi
─────────────────────────────

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─────────────────────────────
Location ✧ Kairo's studio apartment
Outfit ✧ Here
Dialogue ✧ 400E15
─────────────────────────────
Kairo knew better than to prolong what he already shouldn’t have done. He knew better than to let himself get attached to Ethan. He knew better yet he continued to do it because something about the way Ethan stared at his cards in utter confusion was very endearing. Something about the way he stuttered just a little when he was nervous made Kairo smile in affection. Kia was supposed to be the therapist, but spending time with Ethan eased his mind, There was no part of him that wanted to keep the distance he knew should be kept.

”Should be ready in a few minutes.” he said in response to Ethan’s comment about the food. His hands took the deck of cards and began to shuffle, but his eyes were elsewhere. His gaze followed Ethan’s movements to ensure his comfort, at least that’s what the therapist continued to tell himself. Once the cards were handed out again, the game began. This time Kairo didn’t bother to pretend to lose. Firstly, because it would be too obvious and Ethan was smart enough to catch on. Secondly, because his mind was occupied with thoughts he shouldn’t have been thinking.

In the end, Kairo won again though this time by pure coincidence. He certainly hadn’t been paying enough attention to the game that if Ethan had just a bit more experience under his belt he would have won. ”I’m sorry I guess practice does make perfect, though you had me worried for a second there.” Kairo chuckled softly as he collected the cards. There was a moment of silence between the two and the therapist swore he felt his heart skip a beat, but he quickly moved past it and got to his feet. ”Okay, food should be ready now. Let’s dig in!” He moved from the couch to the small kitchen, signaling for Ethan to follow, and hoped the food would take his mind off of things it wasn’t supposed to be on.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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Be Gentle With Me
{ethan 'clark' alexander}

Image
{dialogue : #FFAC33 | thoughts: grey }
Don't Break Me

Ethan’s eyes were locked on Kairo’s hands. The cards were collected for a second game and he tried to focus on the shuffling. He was forcing himself to think about the second game of poker and the strategy he was going to use to try and win, but he was failing. β€˜You want him. You can’t have him. He is only being nice. He doesn’t want you. Why are you still here?’ Ethan took the cards in his hand and looked at them, reorganizing them in his hand though he doesn’t know why he did it. Most people just organize their cards so he figured that would help. The game started and Ethan really did try his hardest to win. His poker face was better than the first time, but he was still giving away his hand in his facial expressions. The sheer confusion on his face was enough to know that he wasn’t even aware of what it was he was even looking at. Kai easily beat him and Ethan set his cards down, smiling a bit. ”I will practice more. Next time I will win.” β€˜Next time? There will not be a next time.’

Ethan needed a drink. Something strong to keep his thoughts from screaming at him as they are. He wanted his earbuds. He wanted to blast the music and scramble his brain. He would sleep if he thought sleeping would save him. For a moment, the two of them just sat there across from one another. It was the slowest few seconds of his life. His heart has never beat so fast in such little time. Kairo mentioned food being ready. Another thing to help keep his thoughts off his therapist. Ethan stood up off the couch and he couldn’t help himself from glancing at the front door. β€˜She is coming. She knows. She is coming and she knows. SHE IS COMING AND SHE KNOWS!’ Ethan tensed up again and he shuffled towards where Kairo gestured. ”Th-thank y-you..” He didn’t bother to try and make eye contact. He was just waiting to get his plate so he could eat the food.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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─────────────────────────────
Kairo Choi
─────────────────────────────

Image
─────────────────────────────
Location ✧ Kairo's studio apartment
Outfit ✧ Here
Dialogue ✧ 400E15
─────────────────────────────
Kairo had done everything he could possibly think of to make it up to Ethan. To make up for what his fiance had done. But it was obvious that despite his attempts at easing the situation, Ethan was still anxious. It was to be expected. Kairo silently cursed to himself for ever allowing Lucy to visit him whenever she wanted. She should have been stopped at the door just like everyone else that showed up without an appointment, but Kairo never imagined her capable of causing such a scene.

"It's alright" the therapist spoke with careful consideration of what he was going to say next. He hadn't missed the way Ethan continued to look at the door. "Nobody knows this studio exists." he assured him, mostly so he'd know there was no way Lucy would find them there. The only one that knew he was the owner of said studio was the landlord, Phil. A gentle old man who had never been a fan of Lucy in the first place. Phil and Kairo quickly developed a friendship, and the former agreed to keep the location of this apartment a secret from anyone that may know Kairo.

"My landlord is the best." Kai added as he pilled the noodles onto Ethan's plate. "I told him I need a place where I could just hide away from the world. A place where no one could bother me, so-" he made a quick gesturing signaling to the small apartment. "I was given this, and he promised not to tell anyone about it. Not even Lucy..." Maybe it made no sense to Ethan. Why would he fell the need to hide something like this from his own fiance? But Kairo had his strong reasons and after the earlier display, those reasons were only further validated. "Oh, that reminds me." after making sure Ethan's plate was equiped with all the freshly cooked food, Kai slid it over to him along with some silverware before pulling out his cell phone.

He quickly dialed the studio's number in hopes that someone would pick up. There were a few things that needed to be done before he could peacefully enjoy his dinner. Finally, after several rings, a voice was heard on the other end. "Hello, Emma? It's Kai. Is Lucy still at the studio?" he asked as he put the phone on speaker and proceeded to serve himself a plate. There was a subtle shuffling before the receptionist answered. "No sir, she said she was heading home." Relief washed over Kairo, glad that she had decided to drop the subject. At least for the time being. "Perfect. Cancel the rest of my appointments for the day. Oh, and from now on, if Lucy shows up without a warning or a clear from me, she's not allowed inside. Do you understand?" there was a short silence on the other end, Kairo could only imagine the look of confusion on Emma's face, but she eventually responded with a "Yes sir." before the call was ended.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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Be Gentle With Me
{ethan 'clark' alexander}

Image
{dialogue : #FFAC33 | thoughts: grey }
Don't Break Me

"Nobody knows this studio exists." Ethan must not have done a good job keeping his anxiety hidden. He didn’t think that the therapist would notice his muscles tensing up or that he was avoiding contact. He figured his behavior would be dismissed, but it wasn’t. Ethan should have known better than to think that Kairo was going to let him get away with being riddled with anxiety. His reassurance regarding the privacy of this studio let him know that. He is lying. This thought he ignored. Ethan wanted to believe that he was safe here with Kairo. If not here, then where? The studio was no longer a safe zone. Not with his particularly angry wife storming through as if the place belonged to her and just writing Ethan off as if he didn’t exist. It would be better if you didn’t... All the progress he made to make that dance studio a safe studio, ripped away within two minutes. Ethan didn’t want to go back. He couldn’t go back. His music therapist went on to explain that this place was hidden away from everyone. Including his fiance. But he was still tense. It didn’t make him feel better. It should have made him feel better. But it got him thinking. What was Kairo running away from? Why was he running? He seemed to have everything together. Ethan couldn’t bring himself to ask and just took hold of his plate.

The food smelled delicious and for a moment it actually distracted him from his thoughts regarding this entire situation and his lack of a sanctuary. Just as he was about to compliment the chef, he was on the phone. Ethan didn’t want to eavesdrop, but the therapist was on speaker. Confusion was clear on the boy’s face. Wasn’t work supposed to be private? But Kai carried on with the conversation. Making a point to check to make sure Lucy was a) no where near the studio and b) not allowed back at the studio without permission. His own fiance was banned from the studio. Not even Ethan’s thoughts had a comment for what had just happened. But this didn’t make him feel better. It should have. Why wasn’t it? He is lying. Ethan couldn’t ignore the thought afterall. ”Y-you had other appointments?” He deliberately decided to ignore the part regarding his fiance. Just the thought of her was making his heart race in a terrible way. Suddenly, reality began settling in. Kairo is a music therapist. Not just for Ethan, but for other people. His panic attack forced the male to abandon his job. ”I-I’m so s-sorry, Kai. I shouldn’t have come here. You are supposed to be working. Other people need you and I just took you away. I am so selfish.” You are going to destroy his marriage. You are going to get him fired. Being you is ruining his life.” His hands were trembling and he set the plate down. ”I-I should go..I-I.. He could feel himself choking up. His heart was racing, muscles tense, and his mind was racing faster than his mouth could keep up with. He couldn’t have another panic attack. One was bad enough, but two? And in front of Kairo. It was too much, but he couldn’t stop it.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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─────────────────────────────
Kairo Choi
─────────────────────────────

Image
─────────────────────────────
Location ✧ Kairo's studio apartment
Outfit ✧ Here
Dialogue ✧ 400E15
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Kairo wasn't certain of what response he'd get from his sharing important matters with Eithan, such as work-related conversations. He wanted to show the boy there was nothing Kai would hide from him. He wanted to be as transparent as possible in hopes of getting Ethan to ease up, at least while it was just the two of them. But his plan backfired. Ethan instantly became worried about Kairo's canceled appointments. The words began to spew from his mouth at an alarming rate. Kairo could already tell his body was beginning to shake.

The scene looked all too familiar. The therapist quickly dropped his plate of food on the counter and rushed over to Ethan. His hands quickly cupped his face, just as he had done outside the dance studio, so that Ethan had no choice but to look at him and only him. "Hey, hey hey! Ethan, look at me-" he could feel the boy's body trembling underneath his touch but he didn't let go, instead, he opted to speak as coming and as soothing as he could. "Just breathe with me for a second, okay? Take a deep breath..." he instructed, not letting up until Ethan complied. He wasn't going to allow the boy to have two panic attacks in one day, not if he could help it. He continued to breathe along with Ethan, just breathe until his hands could feel the difference in tension.

"Listen to me. I brought you here, remember?" he spoke with carefully calculated words, not wanting to do or say anything that would make the situation worse. "You're here because I want you to be here." after a moment, Kai's hands slowly released Ethan's face, but he made sure to keep eye contact if only for a little longer. "I don't care about my other appointments right now, okay...I just care about you." the last words came out unexpectedly, but they weren't a lie. There was nothing that mattered more to Kairo in that moment than making Ethan feel...human again. Before the boy could respond, Kairo's arms slowly slid around him. He carefully tucked Ethan's head under his chin, rubbing calming circles on his back with his palm. "You're safe here...I promise you."

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Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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Be Gentle With Me
{ethan 'clark' alexander}

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{dialogue : #FFAC33 | thoughts: grey }
Don't Break Me
Ethan’s heart was pounding so loudly in his ears. He swore it was going to burst out of his chest and he was going to die in that instant. The air around him was suddenly thicker and he was working even harder to breathe. And it was hot. The clothes on his body was suffocating him and sticking to him. The walls were closing in and the lights were getting brighter. And he couldn’t escape anywhere. He was trembling, but he was frozen in place. He could no longer hear his thoughts as they were being blocked out by the rapid heartbeat. "Hey, hey hey! Ethan, look at me-" Kairo’s words cut through the fog and he was forced to look at him. It was all he could see. Clark was being told to breath, but forgot how. The music therapist started breathing in and out and Ethan couldn’t help but follow him.

In. He inhaled through his nose. Out. He exhaled through his mouth. He could breathe again. The air wasn’t as thick and harsh to his lungs. The feelings of the air filling his lungs was therapeutic in itself, but his heart was still pounding against his chest. He wanted to ask Kai if he could hear it. He wanted to ask to be taken to a hospital. He was going to die despite remembering how to breathe. But he couldn’t find words. They were lost in his mind somewhere and couldn’t find their way out of his mouth. "Listen to me. I brought you here, remember?" Does he remember? He remembers Lucy. He remembers not being able to think straight as he ran out of the room. And then he remembers remaining on the side of the building, accepting that he was going to die there. And he knows Kairo had come to get him, but he can’t remember the words. He just knows that being alone wasn’t an option.

"You're here because I want you to be here." Kairo wants Ethan here. He wanted him to come to his secluded studio with him. He wanted to be in his presence. His heart rate was slowing down and he was stuck on the man’s words. They were ringing through his head as he finally released his face. Ethan didn’t take his eyes off his for a second. He cares. Was all he could think about, not even realizing that he was being brought into a hug. The trembling had stopped and Ethan focused on the sound of Kairo’s heartbeat instead of his own. It was slow. Rhythmic. Soothing. He closed his eyes and muttered ”lub dub..lub dub...lub dub..” in sync with what he was hearing. His own heart beat finally slowed down to match the slower speed. Ethan could feel his muscles relaxing and he then wrapped his arms around Kairo, holding him tightly.

Never has a person made him feel so safe. Everything from his smile, calm words, and rhythmic heartbeat made Ethan not want to leave this studio. He wanted to remain in his paradise for just a little bit longer. Reality could wait a little longer. ”T-thank… you..” Those were the only words he could manage to say. And he meant them from the bottom of his heart.

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Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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Kairo Choi
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Location ✧ Kairo's studio apartment
Outfit ✧ Here
Dialogue ✧ 400E15
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Kairo was so afraid of Ethan having another panic attack. Two attacks within such a short time wasn't good for either of them. He threw everything he had into calming the boy down, but the hug was unscripted. Out of all the techniques, therapists were taught to calm their patients down, this was certainly not an approved one. Physical connections with the patients should always be kept to a minimum, according to the instructors. Not to even mention emotional connections, which Kairo was certain he'd also unintentionally developed. But maybe they were wrong. Maybe physical and emotional connections worked better for people like Ethan. Or maybe Kairo simply needed to find whatever excuse he could to justify what he was feeling.

There was a moment of mild regret as his arms were wrapped around Ethan when he worried whether he’d gone too far, but Ethan’s response told him otherwise. He felt the younger boy’s arms wrap around him, and instantly a weight was lifted from his shoulders. He smiled softly as he listened to Ethan’s rhythmic chanting in tune with his heartbeat. There was a couple of silent beats during which Kairo focused solely on holding him tightly as well as making sure his breathing had evened out. Eventually, he received a soft thank you. Kai knew this was possibly his cue to let go, but he didn’t want to. He rested his cheek against Ethan’s head, his dark eyes almost closing. ”You’re welcome…” Kairo’s voice was softer than ever, like silk to the touch. There was no part of him that wanted to let go of Ethan, but common sense said there were only so many lines he could cross before it had become too many. Reluctantly, he released the hug, though he kept his hands gently placed on Ethan’s cheeks.

”I promise nothing bad can happen to you here.” he repeated. He could only imagine the whirlwind of thoughts and emotions that ran through the young boy’s head, but Kairo was determined to quiet them all. Slowly, he let Ethan’s face go before nodding over to the food. ”Whataya say we finish dinner, then I’ll find you some comfortable clothes to change into.” he suggested, not entirely realizing he’d all but asked Ethan to spend the night. Rational Kairo chalked it up to him needing to make sure Ethan was okay before sending him home, but the irrational side of him called his lie. Rather than making sure the boy was okay, he’d much rather spend the rest of the night and even the following morning with Ethan than to go back to Lucy.

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Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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Be Gentle With Me
{ethan 'clark' alexander}

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{dialogue : #FFAC33 | thoughts: grey }
Don't Break Me

Warmth. The feeling of Kairo's arms around Ehtan. A stark contrast to cold he feels when he is alone or about to go into a panic. Something he hasn't felt since he was kid. Before the anxiety. Safe. The sound of Kairo's heart beat. The sound of the slow and steady breaths the music teacher makes as he held him. Something he doesn't feel anymore. Ethan was looking for these things. He wanted keep hold of them, but they were in the body of someone that didn't belong to him. Someone that he couldn't have. But he wasn't thinking about that. Not at the moment. At the moment, he wasn't thinking. His mind clear for the first time in a long time. The hug ended, the cold returned, and the thoughts flooded. You can't have him. He doesn't want you. It's his job to make you feel safe.

”I promise nothing bad can happen to you here.” Empty promises Clark just nodded with a soft smile to show Kai that he heard what said. Only for the day, would this bring him comfort. Ethan didn't know what he was going to do when he got back home. The comfort of safety would vanish. His sense of control only being found in a stiff drink and the occasional blade. His wrapped his arms around himself. ...then I’ll find you some comfortable clothes to change into.” He was pulled from his thoughts. Ethan raised an eyebrow. "N-no..You have already don't so much for me..." Clark grabbed his plate off the counter so that he could eat. "I don't want to take up more of your time..." Ethan couldn't even bring himself to ask for a ride home after dinner. He could just Uber, but he kept that to himself for now.

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Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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K A I R O ✧ C H O I
Location ✧ Kairo's studio apartment
Outfit ✧ Here
Dialogue ✧ 400E15
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A protest on Ethan's part was expected, after all, no professional therapist would ask their client to spend the night at their personal studio apartment. In hindsight, Kairo realized how unprofessional that sounded, and the last thing he wanted was to scare Ethan away after all the progress he had made. He carefully calculated his next words, so as to not make Ethan feel like he was being forced to do anything. However, he wanted the boy to feel welcomed. To feel like he could spend the night without any worries. He first decided to respond to Ethan's statement before bringing up the idea of spending the night again.

"It's not a problem at all, I promise." he began, taking his plate with him as he settled in one of the empty couches. He gave Ethan an encouraging smile before continuing. "I actually really enjoyed having company here." This wasn't a lie. Although Kairo originally bought this apartment with the idea of spending some alone time, away from everything and everyone, having Ethan here felt...comforting in a sense. He took a bite of his food as he thought about what to say next. "I'm usually here by myself." he admitted. "It's nice and all, but it can get lonely." With that, he took a sip of his drink as he glanced at Ethan.

"Anyways, you're not obligated to stay. I can drive you home whenever you're ready." he added, making sure Ethan knew he had the choice. No one was going to force him to do anything he wasn't comfortable with. "But...as a friend, I'm offering my place. It may not be the biggest, but you can at least spend some peaceful time away from everything for a while."

He sat his empty plate down and took one last sip of his drink before doing the same with it. "There's a small waterfall just down the road." he explains, thinking of the first time he had found it and decided that this would be his safe space. "It always helps me relax. I can show it to you if you'd like." he said, laying down his final offer. It was up to Ethan now to decide whether he wanted to take him up on it, or still have Kairo take him home. Whatever his choice, Kairo would respect it. He only hoped that his words had been comforting enough to make Ethan at ease if he did, in fact, want to stay.

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Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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Be Gentle With Me
{ethan 'clark' alexander}

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{dialogue : #FFAC33 | thoughts: grey }
Don't Break Me

Ethan was determined to put his foot down about this. He couldn’t stay here. Not with Kairo. He almost had two panic attacks in front of this man. He was intruding on the private part of his life. Kai had to cancel the appointments for the rest of the day and he banned his fiance from coming to the studio without permission. Ethan was the cause of that and quickly becoming a nuisance to someone that was supposed to be helping him. After this he was probably going to have to find a new therapist or just stick with the one he has now. Talk therapy wasn’t his favorite, but music therapy was proving to become complicated. On top of all that, everytime Kai smiled Ethan felt his heart jump and it needed to stop. Starting today.

”I actually enjoyed having company here.” All of Ethan’s racing thoughts about being a bother and needed to get away came to a halt. Kai liked having the company. He didn’t specifically say YOUR company Ethan ignored that thought. His company was apparently still company enough. After a few more moments of hesitating, Clark made his way back to the empty spot on the couch so that he could eat the dinner before it got cold. He settled easily, making sure there was a comfortable distance between the two of them prior to taking a bite of his food. Ethan had to fight back the moan that threatened to escape. The food was amazing. It has been a while since he has had a home cooked meal. A lot of his stuff is pre-made or frozen. This was heaven to him.

Ethan continued to eat, focusing on Kai’s words, still determined to go home after dinner. Even if he was good company, he couldn’t stay any longer. It was going to kill him. ...as a friend.. He basically tuned out after that. Kairo considered him to be a friend. The handsome music therapist considered him - a bundle of nerves and panic - a friend. Ethan just let that play around in his head for a moment. How was he supposed to reject Kai now? Going home almost seemed wrong especially after he shared this special place with him. Ethan had to spend the night. But this would be the only time. Kai even threw a cherry on top with an offer to take him to see the waterfall down the road.

For a moment, he let silence fall between them as he took more bites of food. You can’t stay. You have to stay. You can’t stay. You have to stay. You can’t stay. You have to stay. You can’t stay. You have to stay. You can't- ”O-okay, I will stay.” He assured Kairo. He pushed away any thoughts screaming at him that it was a terrible idea. ”B-but only because you made me dinner and I want to see the waterfall.” Ethan smiled a bit and finished up the food before him. ”Also, that was the best dinner I have had in awhile.”

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Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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K A I R O ✧ C H O I
Location ✧ Kairo's studio apartment
Outfit ✧ Here
Dialogue ✧ 400E15
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Kairo remained quiet for a bit, wondering if perhaps he had talked too much. He had decided to honor whatever Ethan wanted to do but was pleasantly surprised when the younger boy said he would stay. He felt more relieved and happy than he cared to admit but he decided to ignore that for the time being. He gave Ethan a quick smile, chuckling a bit when the boy brought up the reason for his choice to stay. "Fair enough." he gets to his feet once he's made sure Ethan finished his food. The comment on said food surprised him a bit, mostly because within his family, Kairo had always been one of the worst at cooking. He wasn't bad at it by any means, but certainly nowhere near the level of culinary skills his sister and mother had.

"Really? That's the first time anyone has said that to me." he states, a bit of a playful tone in his voice. "I hope you're not just saying that to make me feel better." he adds, making sure to add a smile to let Ethan know he's only messing with him. There aren't many dishes, so he decides to give them a quick wash before giving Ethan the royal tour of the layout. Once the dishes are set to dry, Kairo washes his hands, making sure to give Ethan time to do the same.

"It's a bit of a long walk." Kairo says as a disclaimer, realizing he probably should have state4d that first. He just hoped that the scenery on the way there would make up for it. "Just let me know if you get tired." he adds as the two head out of the apartment.l Kairo makes sure to lock the door behind, taking his phone with him in order to keep an eye on the apartment. When he'd first bought it, a few cameras had been placed around the outside as well as at the door. It was clear that whoever owned it before him did not want to be found either. Kairo decided to keep the cameras and told the landlord to install them once again.

He could now use his phone for alerts should anyone try to visit. He slipped the device in his pocket and led Ethan around the building to a small dirt road that would ultimately lead them right to the waterfall. "I really like it here because it's so peaceful." he says, his voice lower than it had been in the apartment. It was a quiet afternoon, and he didn't want to ruin the serenity by speaking too loud. "Surrounded by nothing but nature."

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Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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Be Gentle With Me
{ethan 'clark' alexander}
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{dialogue : #FFAC33 | thoughts: grey }
Don't Break Me
Ethan could not imagine someone not telling Kairo how amazing his food is. He was so used to heating up dinners or picking up takeout. There were some days where he wouldn’t really eat at all. The last time he had a home cooked meal was several months ago when he spent the weekend with his parents for his mother’s birthday. It was his most consistent meal and best meal he had in a long time. He knew it would be selfish of himself to ask if Kairo could bring him a meal whenever they had their appointments. Ethan almost never ate before them, his nerves always kicked in. Although comfortable with his music therapist, it wasn’t easy talking about your day with a stranger. He was definity going to be more nervous now, considering that his last appointment led to a panic attack.

Dishes were washed and hands were clean. He was waiting for Kairo to take the lead for their journey. Ethan wasn’t exactly dressed for a long walk, but he was still willing to go. During stressful moments he liked being outside. He felt like he could breathe and that his thoughts weren’t as loud. However, he is usually alone when outside. He wasn’t sure what was going to happen walking around with just Kairo. ”I don’t mind the walk.” He finally said with a soft smile.

The two of them made their way out of the apartment and out onto the streets. His arms were wrapped around himself. His steps felt like they were loud against the dirt path as the two of them mostly walked in silence. Ethan allowed his eyes to wander around as the comforts of the city were completely replaced with unfamiliarity of nature. The air was fresher and easier to breathe in. It was a bit cooler, but it felt good in his lungs. As they continued down the dirt path, the sounds of the waterfall grew louder. Before he knew it, the waterfall was in clear view. Ethan was in awe. It was beautiful. The way it cascaded into the lake below was so calming. ”This is beautiful.” He stated, his eyes never leaving the waterfall. Finally he managed to turn and look at Kai. ”How did you find this place? How often do you come here?” He asked, fascinated that he even had the luxury of being so close to this place.

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Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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K A I R O ✧ C H O I
Location ✧ Kairo's studio apartment
Outfit ✧ Here
Dialogue ✧ 400E15
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The walk to the lake was rather quiet, not that Kairo particularly minded, he just hoped Ethan didn't feel uncomfortable with the silence. He did make small talk every now and then, pointing out some of his favorite things on the way. It was nothing but nature, a complete contrast to the bustling city both he and Ethan were accustomed to. It was nice. Always a welcomed change of pace for the music therapist. Soon enough, they reached the waterfall. Kairo was satisfied with Ethan's reaction. It was very similar to his own once he'd found it, though he'd been alone and had no choice but to express his excitement to the wind. Thankfully no one had been around, otherwise, they may have found him strange for talking to himself.

"How did I find it? Hmm..." Kairo had to pause for a second, his mind taking him back tot he first day he'd learned about the waterfall. "I think it was actually my landlord that told me about it." the young man noted, his eyes following the cascading lines of the clear water. "He said he didn't share it with most people because he knew they wouldn't appreciate or take care of it, but somehow he trusted me enough to." he added, a slight smile gracing his lips. "So because of that, usually it's only me here." He concluded, making sure to include that not to boast, but mostly to let Ethan know that no one would be coming to interrupt their tranquil time.

Kairo's gaze continued to follow the water as it blended into the river. The current looked calm, and from experience, Kairo knew it was deep enough to swim but shallow enough to be safe. He pondered his next sentence for a moment before looking over at Ethan, a playful smirk on his face. "Whataya say...? Fancy a swim?"

He hoped Ethan knew how to swim, and that his question wouldn't make him feel self-conscious. However, even if the boy knew nothing more than a weak doggy paddle, the waters were shallow enough for him to stand. deciding he wouldn't wait for an answer this time, but instead would take the lead, Kairo quickly stripped off his shirt and placed it on a rock nearby. A genuine smile of joy took over his features as he exchanged glances with Ethan one last time before jumping into the clear waters. His head peaked out after a couple of seconds, strands of dark brown falling over his eyes. "Come on in! It feels great!"

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Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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Be Gentle With Me
{ethan 'clark' alexander}
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{dialogue : #FFAC33 | thoughts: grey }
Don't Break Me
Ethan was still amazed by the beauty of the waterfall. Its serene appearance and soft sounds eased his nerves almost immediately. His body was almost fully relaxed from head to toe. He could probably sit and listen to the cascading waters of the waterfall for the rest of the night if Kai had let him. What made this place much better was that it was for the most part a secret. Its location and waters can’t be tainted with overpopulation. Even more so, it was like it belonged to Kai. Ethan was trying to tear himself away from the waterfall long enough to look at his music therapist to actually focus on what he was saying.

"Whataya say...? Fancy a swim?" That quickly grabbed his attention. They were allowed to swim in it? It looked as though it shouldn’t be touched. But Ethan was truly tempted. Though panic set in when Kai removed his shirt. Ethan blushed and looked down at his feet. He could not go in that water. Not with a very attractive and shirtless Kairo. He wasn’t supposed to find his therapist attractive in the first place. ”You will get caught out here.” Just because no one had been told about it doesn’t mean someone couldn’t walk by. What if it was someone that knew Kairo? ”They could tell his wife.” He could feel his heart racing a bit.

His thoughts were interrupted with the sounds of a large splash. Kairo was already in the water and looked genuinely happy to be there. Ethan desperately wanted to join him. ”Don’t get in the water. ”"Come on in! It feels great!" He was convinced. Ethan removed his shirt and placed it on the same rock that Kai used before jumping in. He sunk a bit to the bottom and allowed himself to truly be in the moment before coming up for air. Ethan pushed the hair out of his eyes and smiled brightly for the first time in a while. ”You were right. It does feel great.” ”This is a terrible idea.” Ethan ignored that thought.

He dipped back under the water and swam in circles around his music therapist for a bit, occasionally splashing him when he could. Ethan hasn’t been this relaxed in a long time. And he was going to milk every second of it while he could. ”This is the most fun I have had in a long time.” He managed to say in between his laughter. His words were unwavering and came out more confidently than they had when he was in the apartment.

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Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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K A I R O ✧ C H O I
Location ✧ Kairo's studio apartment
Dialogue ✧ #400E15
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A small part of Kairo had expected Ethan to reject his invitation to join him, and the young boy's features did appear to be preparing for that for a split second, however, without much hesitation, Ethan catapulted himself into the crystal waters. Kairo couldn't help but chuckle as he did so, deciding to completely toss aside their professional relationship and just enjoy this moment as friends. Truth be told, Kairo hadn't had a friend willing to do these kinds of things with him in a long time, and as he returned Ethan's scattered water attacks, he was reminded of how much he missed it. At Ethan's statement he paused, not because he was surprised, but because he realized that he could relate. He chuckled softly, splashing Ethan with a small amount of water before responding. "I told you." he spoke as he swam lazily around Ethan. "This waterfall is magical."

As far as he could recall, there wasn't a single heartache or worry that this place hadn't been ab;e to cure for Kairo. After a few more water attacks and shared laughs, Kairo brought himself to face Ethan, he opened his mouth to speak but a single raindrop landing on his nose brought his thoughts to a pause. The young therapist's gaze turned upwards, only now having realized the clouds that had quickly gathered. A couple more drops fell on his face, as well as Ethan's. Kairo's eyes widened slightly at the sound of faint rumbling. "Uh oh...we should probably start heading back." he suggested, though he wasn't too ecstatic about having to leave the falls, he also didn't want them getting caught in a thunderstorm.

The two swam to the edge as Ethan pulled himself up onto the dry ground. He let his body air cry before pulling his shirt back on and allowing Ethan enough time to do the same. Though they hadn't been able to stay for as long as he'd hoped, Kairo could see the significant difference in Ethan's features. He was much more relaxed, almost carefree, and Kai hoped to keep it that way. At least for the remainder of the night. The air on the way back felt a bit chilly due to being wet, however, Kairo was thankful the water hadn't caught up to them At least not until they were halfway there. However, when they were most confident they'd make it, the sky crackled and the drops began to fall in a fury.

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Character Portrait: Ethan Alexander Character Portrait: Kairo Choi
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Be Gentle With Me

{ethan clark alexander}
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{dialogue : #FFAC33 | thoughts: grey }
Don't Break Me
Ethan couldn’t hear his heartbeat in his ears. He couldn’t feel each muscle tensing up on their own accord. He could feel the butterflies fighting one another in his stomach. He couldn’t feel the blood rushing to his head. For the first time in a long time, Ethan was truly relaxed in the presence of another. Not just another. Kairo. His beautiful music therapist. They were swimming around beneath a waterfall enjoying the moment as the seconds passed. Ethan would have given anything and everything to be able to live like this for a long time. To capture this moment in time and be able to relive it for the rest of his days was an unrealistic dream. He can only hope that this moment will revisit him in his dreams and remind him that life isn’t so bad. Unfortunately, like most good things in his life, this moment has come to an end.

The first raindrop was easy to ignore, but the second and third were well placed on his cheeks. The ari changed and the clouds were slowly rolling in. A storm was coming and the two of them didn’t need to be caught in it while in the middle of the woods. Kairo didn’t even need to tell Ethan that it was time to head back. He would prefer to be out of the rain. They made it back to the edge and climbed out. He pulled his shirt back on, but it didn’t help warm him up. It was cooler and being wet was making him shiver. The two of them started making their way back to the condo. Raindrops continued to drop one by one on his exposed body parts, but it was hard to tell the difference between the rain and the remnants of the river. The blue sky quickly morphed into shades of gray as the clouds darkened and took over, but the condo was in sights. They were so close, but close wasn’t enough. The rain began to pour and thunder shook the ground.

By the time the two were able to reach the doors of the building, they were drenched from head to toe. Ethan wrapped his arms tightly around himself, attempting to hold onto the little heat he had left. He trailed behind Kai as he led him up to the door. Once they were inside, more panic set in. Ethan didn’t have a second pair of clothes nor a towel. Any hopes of being able to get back home tonight died off as lightning lit up the sky. He wouldn’t ask for a ride home in this kind of weather. For a moment he stood in silence, looking to Kai who was equally wet and cold. ”I-I..I hate to ask...but I need a towel…” You are using all of his resources. Overstaying your welcome of a married man. Ethan knew his anxious thoughts couldn’t stay away for long. ”And uh..clothes...please..” This whole day has taken Ethan further out of his comfort zone than he had ever wanted to go, but he had no choice. Standing in the middle of the living room, dripping water all over the place was worse.

Once he was able to get the clothes and towel, he quickly disappeared into the bathroom that he was directed too. Ethan locked the door behind him and took a moment to catch his breath. He took his time drying off and getting changed. Ethan wouldn’t mind hiding out in the bathroom for the rest of the evening, but he was sure Kairo would fetch him so he tried to take his time.