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Anton Erland

I exist as I am, That is enough.

0 · 519 views · located in Le Havre, France

a character in “Dying Ashes”, as played by Retrovertigo

Description

|| Anton Erland ||






I cannot be awake for nothing looks to me as it did before, Or else I am awake for the first time, and all before has been a mean sleep.




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|| THE BAREBONES ||



|| Full Name ||
Anton Erland

|| Nickname ||
Ani

|| Age ||
25

|| Gender ||
Male

|| Role ||
The Protector

|| Face Claim ||
Haji - Blood+



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|| THE PORTRAIT ||



|| Hair Colour ||
Black

|| Eye Colour ||
Blue

|| Skin Tone ||
Fair

|| Height ||
6'3"

|| Weight ||
185lbs

|| Scars ||
Anton has deep scars on his wrists and ankles from fighting his restraints in the facility.

|| Tattoos/Piercings ||
None




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|| THE SMOKESCREEN ||



|| Positive ||
Responsible – Ani has always taken on the role as the protector, perhaps it was his status as the oldest, as the first that instilled in him the need to take responsibility for the few people he cares for. This is what makes it so terrible that he couldn’t protect them all.

Charming – Having spent so many years on his own, Anton has learned to be charming and affable. It's much easier to get people to help you if you were kind and appreciative after all you catch more flies with honey and Anton takes that to heart.

Intuitive - Anton has learned to trust his instincts out in the world. Be it from the people he and Czes have interacted with along the way to the different places they've had to stay in. There had been many a time when Ani had been confronted with a perfectly decent place to stay for the night but for one reason or another his gut told him to keep moving so that's what they did. The same went for people, if Ani gets a weird feeling or strange vibe from someone he isn't loathe to let it be known and will hastily extricate himself and Czes from sketchy company.


|| Negative ||
Closed Off – Ani tends to keep his emotions to himself, viewing them as unimportant in the long run. He hates to make anyone worry especially if it's about him. He would call himself stoic, others would call him emotionally stunted.

Temperamental - Occasionally even Anton can be moody, falling into a cycle of worry, complaint and annoyance. It's something he hates about himself which only further influences the cycle.

Pessimistic - Ani on his worst days can be a depressing person to be around. At his darkest he sees doom and disaster around every corner which makes him overprotective, especially when it comes it to Cseska. At times he's afraid that this part of him is suffocating the light and happiness of those around him.


|| Likes ||
The Cello–Wine-Fine Clothing–Reading–Long Conversations-Early Mornings-Late Nights-Sweets-Laughing

|| Dislikes ||
Confinement-Silence-Spicy Food-Worrying-Sleeping on the Ground-Obnoxiousness

|| Dreams ||
Anton’s dream is an impossibility but it doesn’t keep him from indulging himself. If only he could wake up tomorrow and just be a normal man, leading a normal life. If only that could have been their destiny, but he knows that the four of them whether they ever find each other again are destined for something greater.

|| Fears ||
Being Powerless – The thing that frightens Ani most is once again being weak and unable to defend himself or Czeska. He can’t bear the thought of failing yet again




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|| THE REALITY ||

|| Occupation ||
Busker/Cellist

|| Romantic Interest ||
Unknown

|| Theme Song ||
Radiohead - No Surprises

|| Biography ||
I don’t really remember when it started, it just always was or so it seemed. The lab was the only place I’d ever know, more specifically a small set of rooms that I was sometimes allowed access to. I remember being watched, poked and prodded and asked questions I had no answers for. I remember being alone.
I was a reasonable child I think. I usually did as I was told seeing no other real alternative and I much preferred to stay on the good side of the staff rather than be punished. So the day that I was given the i.v. drip seemed like any other, except that this time whatever was slowly and painfully making its way through my veins began to change me in ways that would shock and awe.

It was shortly after this that I met the only other survivors of this experiment.
We became like a family I suppose, although it’s not like I’m an expert on the subject. If anyone knew what we were going through it was each other. The enhanced healing and increased stamina was something we all shared but it seemed as though we were also gifted our own unique abilities. Which also meant we were gifted our own unique torture/research sessions set up to test and stress our mutations. Some of the worst memories I have of the facility are of watching Will, Czeska or The Captured be dragged away ostensibly under the pretenses of medical examinations for their well being.

They knew I didn’t believe them; I had my own “sessions” as well. I’d somehow manifested a command over sound waves, something that had been dragged out of me after repetitive enclosure in a sensory deprivation tank for days and then an immediate transfer to a small room which they blasted with every annoying sound ever made until I was so overwhelmed that I subconsciously manipulated the sound waves in the room to shatter the glass which separated me from the researchers. If I was going to suffer so were they.

So many years we spent as their guinea pigs, waiting until we could make our escape. The need for freedom gnawed at me more than any hunger pains I’d felt in my many days in the tank, I yearned for a new life for myself as well as for the others and when we saw our chance we grabbed at it with both hands. So…a few of those hands missed.

I knew I’d failed them, we were going to be captured and there was nothing I could do about it. The explosion had deafened me and even with my regeneration factor we didn’t have time, I was useless. In the end it was get out with Czeska and hope that the others would be able to follow or get captured right along with Will. I refused to let his sacrifice be for nothing.

Since then it’s been six years of wandering, keeping to the background and doing my best to keep us safe. If I let anything happen to Czeska then this will all have been for nothing.








Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.

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So begins...

Anton Erland's Story

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Character Portrait: Czeska Hallstatt Character Portrait: Anton Erland Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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April 1st — Early Morning
Chateau de la pons




The small digital clock’s bright red numbers indicated to me that it was only five in the morning, and because it was still early in the spring, the sun had yet to peek its proud head with the luxurious golden corona over the watery horizon, which I could see from the window of the motel room I was sharing with Ani. Chateau de la pons got its name for a very obvious reason. The quaint little motel backed directly onto the English Channel, and all that could be seen for miles in the distance was ocean—dark grey, freezing cold, turbulent, and unforgiving Atlantic Ocean. For now, because despite heightened senses, I still couldn’t see a thing in total darkness, I wouldn’t be able to see the wind kicking up in an argument with the sea, tossing whitewashes of waves about as things got physical, huge storm clouds settling on the skyline as back up should the water get too frisky. It could only mean war, and I shuddered, feeling chilled to the bone even before the rain hit. Unfortunately, I knew there was a possibility that I wouldn’t see this morning’s sunrise, but I still sat patiently in a small wooden chair at a matching table, waiting.

I glanced over for a moment at the room we were staying in—bleak and drab, there was a perfectly good reason why we’d managed to rent it out for a song. The aged floral wallpaper was light grey and peeling in some places, and stains yellowed the ceiling as evidence that many people who’d laid in the two twin beds had been heavy smokers. There were small holes in the bedding, the mini fridge whirred loudly, the television buzzed with white and grey static for several minutes when it was turned on, the faucet in the bathroom dripped, there was calcium build-up in the toilet, and the shower head leaked so badly that it was easier to just squish myself under the stream gushing from the leak rather than fidget with the hose to try and get it to stop. That was all among other things, like on the first day we were subject to fruit flies around the garbage that hadn’t been changed and ants ran rampant the carpet—I wanted to leave, but we really didn’t have enough money saved for something a bit higher classed, and after five days (when we had finally gotten rid of the bugs, I mean) I was starting to settle in. This place wasn’t half bad, actually. Though the mattresses were a little stiff, there were no broken springs, and the blankets were warm. Anyway, why did I have the right to complain when the owners could have turned Ani and I away?

Halfway through the night, though, I’d become unsettled with rumbles of thunder echoing over the sky and had crawled into Ani’s bed with him. But somehow even though I didn’t sleep well, I still woke up early enough for the sunrise, as per usual, slipped out from between the covers, made sure that Ani was still tucked in nicely, and had sat down at the window, pulling the dusty dark rose-coloured curtains back just enough that I could see outside. Now was just a matter of staying quiet so that I didn’t wake Ani. He’d done do much for me the past six years, and now that we could finally relax a little bit, why didn’t he deserve at least this? He’d done so much for me, and when we were so many days Sirion free, and so close to reaching our goal—only an ocean away, really, and that didn’t seem that much—wasn’t this the perfect time to unwind a little bit? Even people like us had to replenish our stamina eventually.

Still, no matter how haggard we were run by Sirion, I always woke early enough to see the sunrise, assuming that, unlike that morning in April, the sun was actually visible. It was almost seven when I gave up hope and went to lay back in bed, listening to the rain beginning to patter away on the roof of the motel. My eyes, which had adjusted a fair bit by now, traced the ceiling as I crossed my arms under my head and I just wondered… what kind of day would this be? What kind of things would happen? Like every other morning, I mused over the possibility that Sirion could find us today, and both my adventure and my dreams would be brought to a grinding halt. The very real possibility left me feeling cold; I rolled onto my side, facing the place where I’d left Ani hours earlier and closed my eyes. There was still time… maybe I could get back to sleep.

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Character Portrait: Czeska Hallstatt Character Portrait: Anton Erland Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Ani
April 1st - Morning
Chateau de la pons


Ani gradually entered consciousness noting the absence of the warm body that’d joined him in the night as Czeska slipped from his bed. It wasn’t an uncommon occurrence for the younger boy to seek comfort from Anton; after all they were only two against the world. Who else was there, who else could even begin to understand what they’d been through and what still lay ahead? The truth of the matter, which Anton was quick to repeat, was that they could only trust each other. Everyone else was suspect. Even on the rare occasion when he allowed himself to brood and fall into despair there was always Czes to bring him out of it with a hug and a smile. The older boy wasn’t usually keen on affection but having spent the last six years travelling the world with a veritable cuddle bug had mollified him in that respect.

Sighing softly to himself, he ran a thin hand over his face and up through his dark hair before resting his forearm against his sleep swollen eyes. It wasn’t as if their rented room was any prize, he’d rather keep his eyes closed and imagine himself in the lap of luxury. Soft bed, pillows with no stains and an actual honest to god working shower with consistent hot water. Someday, it was always someday for them. They were so close to their goal, Ani could taste it. Every step that took them further away from Sirion and closer to Canada brought Anton a little more comfort and peace, but he never let his guard down. He had too much to lose; they both did he thought as he hovered in and out of sleep. Fantasies of freedom in a faraway land interlaced with all the ways that he could fail as he drifted back into slumber.

Anton jerked awake, a half remembered nightmare or possibly memory fading as the trembling boy sat up in bed, throwing the covers away from his overheated body. Scooting forward until his feet hit the floor, Ani rested his hands on his knees, long hair eclipsing his wan face. So many times terror had acted as an alarm clock for Anton that he truly felt as though he shouldn’t be so affected by it all. It was time to move on, and try to forget the hold that Sirion had on them. It was something he’d been striving for since their escape and he seemed no closer than before. Turning to look over at the other bed currently occupied by Csezka, Ani straightened and tried to flash a reassuring smile in case the other boy had decided to worry.

“I think it might be time for breakfast and a walkabout.” He softly whispered, hesitant to break the stillness of the room. There was nothing more Anton hated than causing concern especially in regards to himself so hopefully he could just steamroll past the current fear and anxiety whirling inside him and face the day. For example wrangling that terrible shower and finding breakfast.

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Character Portrait: Czeska Hallstatt Character Portrait: Anton Erland Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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April 1st — Morning
Chateau de la pons




I wasn’t certain whether I actually had slept anymore or not—it felt like only an instant that my eyes had been shut to the dark grey of the morning, but in that instant, I felt much more refreshed than I had before. What had prompted my eyes to shoot open was the other bed shifting, the frame creaking under Ani’s weight as he sat up hurriedly; without saying much, I just watched him for any signs of distress before sitting up myself, drawing my legs underneath me. Just the same, the bed frame squealed in protest, which grated on my sensitive ears, causing me to cringe noticeably. So maybe we had been more than six months free of any attempts made by Sirion to capture us, but there were always things in the world that made me think about the warm bed and the comparably good quality food we were served in the lab. I didn’t miss the place—not by a long shot—but some of the comforts we’d had would have been a Godsend at any given time during our journey. Looking back six years, thinking about how far we had come, this motel was definitely an improvement though we’d done better before.

It was only temporary. I had to keep telling myself that. If I didn’t, the smell of mothballs that was strong from under the bed and the closet was going to drive me insane.

Quickly I wiped my eyes, glancing at the clock—was it really almost eight now? Maybe I’d slept longer than I’d thought, nestled into a dreamless black pit where I’d simply existed in hibernation until the sound of Anton rising from sleep had wakened me in turn. His voice was soft, made me feel happy to have made it this far; I nodded hurriedly in response to Ani with a bright grin, hoping that he would feel my enthusiasm and be reassured, relaxed, and comforted by it. “If you want to shower first, I don’t mind. I think I’m going to step outside while it’s still cool, anyway.”

With that, I rose to my feet, stretching my willowy body with my arms up in the air, as far as I could reach before continuing on to change into one of my very few other outfits which was stashed in a small backpack that I’d left on the table. Normally standing at a vertically challenged five feet and four inches, I still felt small next to Ani’s much taller physique; small, but secure. He had everything under control; I never had to worry that he was going to lead me astray and I trusted him immensely. He’d always been a steady figure exuding leadership to me; I could count on him for guidance and that had been so important these last six years when making decisions and keeping ourselves out of harm’s way.

Before leaving, I turned to beam at Ani one last time, bright-eyed. “Do you think after breakfast you could walk my route with me? I don’t want to get lost on the first day.” Truthfully, my heart pounded at the idea of tomorrow’s beginning to the under-the-table job as a paperboy; for the time we’d spent in Le Havre, I knew that area well enough, but my nerves were getting to me—I couldn’t do anything without Anton’s help. I needed him more than anything else in the world.

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Character Portrait: Czeska Hallstatt Character Portrait: Anton Erland Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Ani
April 1st - Morning
Chateau de la pons - Streets of Le Havre


Ani favored the other boy with an indulgent smile “Why’d you think I said walkabout?” He tossed over his bare shoulder as he slipped into the tiny bathroom. After a few moments of fighting the faulty shower he tolerated a rather lukewarm shower before giving up the hope for heat and instead focused on shaving. Serious blue eyes never wavering from the cracked mirror over the tiny sink. Wrapping a towel around his slim waist Anton emerged into their shared living space, tossing on his clothes without a hit of shame. Sirion had long ago driven that out of him to be sure; they’d been poked and prodded like cattle and in front of many, many different researchers.

Checking his pockets, the overly concerned young man took a final stock of their room before grabbing his cello case and heading out the door, motioning for Czeska to follow behind him. Clattering down the stairs, his long legs making quick work of the stairs Anton entered the lobby of the quaint hotel. The nearly always ravenous refugee remembered then why he’d pressured Czes into staying here. Beyond the fact that it was off the beaten path, extremely cheap and didn’t ask questions there was also the small matter of the croissants. Coming to a standstill he inhaled deeply the smell of the fresh baked bread, favoring the elderly innkeeper with a charming grin Anton snatched up two of the warm pastries before pushing his way out the front door and onto the street.

Holding out the croissants for Cseska, Anton rested his other hand upon the scarred and scuffed case, scanning the streets of Le Havre out of habit and necessity. The cello had been the only luxury he’d allowed himself and a bulky one at that, but for someone who’d been denied music, basic sound even it was an amazing thing. Ani had wept the first time he’d heard music, hiding his face in his hands until Czeska pried his them away, wiped his tears and hugged him tight. Now he created it, of course his unique ability only encouraged his talent and the ever creative boy took full advantage as a busker. It might not have seemed the most prudent course of action, drawing attention to himself as such. Yet Ani really took to the idea of hiding in plain view, act normally and the world would see them as normal and hopefully Sirion would just keep on passing them by.

“So, where to first?” Ani asked, amusement lacing his words, another quick smile sliding across his face as he allowed the other boy to take the lead for once. Although that didn’t mean Anton let his guard down, he kept one eye on Czes and the other on everyone else. Never taking anything for granted or at face value, they’d run too long and too far now to fuck it up. For him to fuck it up as it were, he thought with a grimace. The older boy couldn’t help but feel more than responsible for Czeska, it was up to Ani to make sure that Czes remained free for far too many reasons that he didn’t care to examine for any real length time.

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Character Portrait: Czeska Hallstatt Character Portrait: Anton Erland Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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April 1st — Morning
Chateau de la pons | Streets of Le Havre




Ani was always reliable. That’s what I was thinking as he disappeared into the bathroom to leave me alone with myself in the bedroom area. It was the simple things that he did and said like this that made my heart pound in my chest and I sighed, heaving out a breath that felt like lead. What about him wasn’t desirable, I wondered absently, watching the bathroom door as I dropped into one of the chairs by the window, deciding to wait for him instead of heading down before him. I peeked out the window, noticing that the waves had gone from a stormy blue-grey to a menacing black, crashing over each other with the fury of the wind as it picked up, bringing the thick cumulonimbus closer to the shoreline. It wasn’t a good sign, but the rain was still only light. I could probably get away with a sweater though there was no way I was going to leave without my umbrella, just in case.

The sound of the bathroom door swinging open had me look up, meeting Ani’s long legs as he stepped out with nothing but a towel on and drifting up across his chest to ghost over his clean-shaven face. Without really thinking, I brought my hand up to trace my own jaw, and quickly made myself look away from him, noting my inability to grow body hair. I wasn’t complaining… I just had to marvel at the thought that two people’s bodies could be so similar, yet so different, to keep me from staring. Eventually I had to shake myself out of my mind, and jumped up to throw on a hooded sweater and a pair of worn out Converse, following closely behind Ani with my backpack hanging off of one shoulder. Housing my sketchbook, my umbrella, my wallet, and the last of my clean clothes, it was difficult for me to leave it behind anywhere anymore—once a few years back, we’d gone for breakfast and returned to find that most of our things were gone and we were starting from the bottom again. Since then, I’d never gone anywhere without my pack, almost paranoid about losing everything again.

I kept one eye on Ani as I walked, filtering through the things in my backpack at the same time, looking for the slip of paper I’d been given with the house numbers and a map for my paper route, and by the time I found it, I looked up triumphantly to see a croissant directly in front of me, held out in Ani’s long fingers. I stared for a moment, needing to collect my mind as it scattered in every direction, in attempt to figure out what had just happened. Blinking owlishly, I took the pastry, swinging my backpack back around behind me and the paper into my pocket so I could tear a small mouthful off of the croissant and set the warm, flaky delicacy on my tongue. To my surprise, it practically melted. “Wow, this is great. Thanks you!” I knew I didn’t have to give Ani my gratitude, but for some reason it just felt like thanks was in order. He did so much for me… maybe thanks wasn’t enough anymore, though I was certain he would argue it.

I made up my mind in that instant. As soon as I made some money on my paper route, I was going to buy him a present. I hoped that doing so would make him feel the same thing I felt, that pressure on my chest that I couldn’t quite put words to… the one that made my mouth tingle when I cuddled into his chest at night, wrapped in his arms with his face so close…. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about kissing him before. But I also felt a heavy sense of guilt. Would I still feel this way if I hadn’t abandoned Charlie inside the lab six years ago? Or would I still feel this way toward Charlie, this pure bliss that left me in a state of pure elation? Furthermore… were these questions meaningless, or was this really something I could brood over? As far as I was concerned, Sirion was the one who killed Charlie, even though I should have done more to save him. I could brood if I could convince myself that it was all their fault.

As this ran through my head, I absently nibbled at my croissant, narrowing my eyes just a bit at the sidewalk we’d stepped onto. If it hadn’t been for Ani’s voice, I probably would have stayed lost in thought like that, as I usually did when Sirion was on my mind. “Hmm?” I looked up now, to meet his eyes, felt my face heat with something that was partially embarrassment and partially… something else. “Oh, uhm… hang on.” I finished off the last of my breakfast, pulling the page out of my pocket and studied the map, finding the Chateau after a few quick seconds. “This way, I think,” I concluded, pointing to our left and starting off with renewed vigour. I had to leave all those feelings behind now—I couldn’t let Ani see me upset because I didn’t want him to worry about me.

Less than ten minutes of walking had passed and I’d already checked off a quarter of my route, feeling more and more confident about this whole thing as we went along. If it had been a nicer day with people out and about and street vendors with their businesses in full swing, I would have been running back and forth from Ani to all the cool things I found, marvelling at everything as we went by; we’d had an experience similar to that in an Indian market where they were selling everything from rugs to fine silks to children’s toys to instruments. It was relatively early on, so everything was mysterious and new, and I was so excited. Of course, I also panicked, nearly losing Ani in the crowd, and that was the end of that, but it had been so much fun while it lasted. Everything else… it had been a beautiful, amazing experience to see how big the world really was, hear all the different languages, see all the different cultures… but after India I remember being run ragged most of the time, tired and sore. It only got worse as we made it to Western Europe with Sirion hot on our heels.

The rain kept me mostly sober, anyway, and for the most part I stuck at Ani’s side, gripping his free hand with mine, hood up and a frown on my face. The rain was fluctuating between a light drizzle and a straight-on downpour, leaving me soaked and eventually I was sick of it. “Let’s wait in there until the rain stops,” I suggested, pointing to the closest building—what looked like a gym from where I stood—before reaching up to wipe the water out of my face. My sketchbook was probably ruined, and it would be some kind of miracle if it wasn’t. “Then maybe we should just go back. I’m soaked.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Czeska Hallstatt Character Portrait: Anton Erland Character Portrait: Charlie Smith Character Portrait: William Peters Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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William
April 1st-Morning
Le Havre, France, A local Gym





Silence. That's all it was for a good few minutes after Charlie nodded, and then said Will's own first name. What could he say? This was one of his only true friends in the world....one he thought dead, right in front of him! He ignored his question as to how long he'd been in France, a tear falling from his eye as he suddenly rushed forward, bear-hugging Charlie tightly.

"It's....so good to see you again...." He whispered calmly, his voice shaky as his strong arms held the smaller male tightly in his embrace. He held him there, almost afraid to let him go it seemed. After a few more minutes of silence, Will finally released Charlie, straightening out his clothes calmly, and with a goofy smile.

"S-sorry 'bout that.....couldn't help myself." He said softly. Boy how Will had grown in the last 6 years; 6'3, almost 200 pounds of muscle, he was built like a tank. Currently his muscles were failing to hide under his white tank-top, which was tight and form-fitting.

He then cleared his throat and went on to answer Charlie's question. "I've been here a little over half a year...been fighting to make money....training the rest of the time....laying low, know what I'm saying?" He said calmly, gesturing for the smaller male to follow him to his hammock, where a mini-fridge was stocked with water and soda and the occasional frozen cookie or two.

"How long you been here? And how the fuck did you survive these last six years?" he then asked, gesturing for Charlie to sit in a chair across from his hammock. The Husky had calmed down by now, and was laying quietly at Will's feet as the storm started to pick up a little more outside.

Greg, meanwhile heard the storm and looked out the window; seeing a couple of figures. "Aw, shit..." He exited his office and opened the door to the gym, shouting over to the two young men across the street. "Hey! Come on in here! Storm's gonna get worse and we can't have anyone gettin' sick in this town!" He gestured for them to come over and enter, his hand gripping the door tightly so it didn't slip from his hand.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Czeska Hallstatt Character Portrait: Anton Erland Character Portrait: Charlie Smith Character Portrait: William Peters Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Ani
April 1st - Morning
Streets of Le Havre


[left]As soon as Anton finished the last crumb oh his croissant he found his free hand firmly entrenched within Czeska’s, a tender grin creeping across his face before he could help himself. He might not have been the most demonstrative person, but he couldn’t deny that he felt something…intangible when so near to Czes. Yet he truly thought if he acted on anything it would be seen as taking advantage. Of course there wasn’t anyone to say such a thing, but the thought ran through his head nonetheless. Besides, Anton remarked to himself with a sidelong glance at the boy still holding his hand, Czeska had loved Charlie…still loved Charlie. With that thought his usual staid expression of stoicism returned. The taller boy was usually quite hard to read and he preferred it that way, it made him unpredictable and it kept people from hassling them. It also kept him from being vulnerable, something he did his best to refrain from. There was only one person who could get to the heart of Anton and that was Czeska, in reality he was all Anton had to keep him sane and to keep him going.

For once Ani let himself get lost in his own head as he was tugged along in Czeska’s wake, barely taking note as the rain fell harder, plastering long dark tendrils of hair to the chilled skin of his face. If he’d been paying attention he would probably have suggested they waited until the weather cleared some, but the combination of his nightmare and the recent turmoil that’d been swirling about his head had Anton a bit off his game. He knew Czes hated this sort of weather and here they were traipsing about it in it, and no doubt they’d both be sick by the end of the day.

With a concerned smile, Anton slipped his hand from Czeska’s and reached out to tenderly wipe away the water droplets that were accumulating on Czes’s cheek. “Sorry, Czes. Let’s get you warm.” He replied, sparing a look at the gymnasium. Sizing it up quickly, he made a snap judgement when the apparent owner stepped outside and called them over. Snagging Czeska’s hand once more, careful to avoid the newly shamed shambling drunk Anton jogged the short distance to their safe haven from the storm.

“Thanks for letting us in, Coming down a bit harder than we’d anticipated.” Anton offered the kindly stranger a polite smile stretching across his face, a he pushed wet strands of hair from his before eyes. Pausing for a moment, Ani carefully inspected their surroundings. He must have really been off his game to just come running when someone offered, yet when Ani thought about it in retrospect it had probably been fate that had brought them to that street corner that fortuitous day.

Taking note of the other pair in the humble gymnasium Anton couldn’t help but notice the flicker of recognition that came over him. The way the two men stood, their body language….but there was no way it was possible. Not unless this were some sort of trap.

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April 1st — Morning
Chateau de la pons | Streets of Le Havre




My heart probably would have been fluttering uncontrollably when Ani wiped the rain from my cheek in such a careful way that reaffirmed all the things I already knew that he hid inside; Ani was good at hiding things, but six years of being exclusively attached to him gave me more time to get to know him, figure him out in all the right ways. I was so very tempted to forget the rain, pull him down by the shirt…. Oh, no… I probably would have to ask first before doing something like that…. It wasn’t the same as casual kisses on the cheek. If it were Ani’s first kiss, I wouldn’t want to just take it without permission. There was always the chance that he wouldn’t mind, but I couldn’t just take that chance on a whim because I had an idea that he may not react negatively… because… what if he did react negatively, and then I’d be so embarrassed and…. And all this thinking left my face a bright crimson that burned across my cheeks and the bridge of my nose all the way up to the tips of my ears. How could I even think something like that, anyway? Sure there weren’t many people around—the odd vehicle passed us; other than that, we were mostly alone—but we were still outside. This just seemed like something best saved for private, even if the chance just seemed to perfect.

I’d taken too long over-thinking the whole scenario, and before I knew it Ani had withdrawn his hand, scooping mine back up and pulled me along into the gym across the street where a scraggly-looking man had just left; I eyed him wearily, more because I was somewhat dazed, still wondering what would have happened if I’d just done it instead of thinking, than because I needed to do something if he attacked—though he looked defeated now, it didn’t mean that he could be unpredictable.

Finally we were into the warmth and dryness of the gym and I let go of Ani’s hand to drop my bag on the rug at the front doors, prompting pulling off my sweater and trying again to wipe away the water that was dripping into my eyes from my thoroughly drenched hair, which looked more like a mop than anything else now. “You shouldn’t apologize, Ani. It isn’t your fault. I saw it this morning while I was waiting for the sun to come up; I should have told you that it looked like it was going to storm. I’m just happy that you’ve done so much for me, coming out even though it was like this.” I smiled up at him, trying to lift his spirits; even if I could get a flicker of a smile, I would be satisfied.

I noticed where Ani’s attention was directed and glanced that way as well, doing an immediate double-take as my heart froze in place painfully. The men talking in the corner, couldn’t possibly…. All at once I felt cold seep in from my extremities until my core was thoroughly iced and I could barely breathe let alone think. It had been six years, but that definitely looked like a thicker and taller version of Will, and I would know Charlie’s voice anywhere, even if it had deepened with age. For a second, I forgot that Anton was at my side while the world spun and the only part of me that felt any heat was my face as the tears began to stream over my cheeks. I had to force myself to move, to wipe my eyes before Anton noticed. There was no way it was even possible—Charlie was dead and Will had been taken. The chances of this happening were slim to none; it had to be a sick joke.

A fresh batch of tears welled up wondering who would do something like this and then immediately blaming Sirion; they must have done this to get to us somehow, and I was far too stressed out and tired from endless pursuit to even do anything besides hold my head, let my ability take over and make myself as part of the gym itself—this happened sometimes, like a defence mechanism. My abilities would dominate, hide me by simply making it look as if I weren’t even there. It didn’t disguise the sniffling, the sound of clothing rustling, the puddle of rainwater that was forming at my feet, or my voice as it broke into the quiet atmosphere. “I hate Sirion, Ani. Why are they doing this to us?”

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Charlie
April 1st-Morning
Le Havre,France-A local gym



Charlie smiled when he heard William chuckle. He took the bottle of water from the drinks he was offered. Next he placed his umbrella at his feet. Once he opened the water bottle he took a few gulps. After he closed the bottle and put it next to the fridge. Charlie licked a few drops of water that lingered on his bottom lip. Though, he got very quiet when Will continued to speak. He forced himself to keep a blank expression. His eyes wandered down to just stare at the husky. He continued to listen to William speak even though what he said bothered him. It took him a few minutes to even realize William had stopped speaking. Charlie just thought about what he said. A few minutes later he was able to stop his thoughts. He looked up back at William. He looked almost defeated so Charlie walked up to him. Next he squatted down to face level and smiled at him.

"Don't look so down, if we made it then they should have had a good chance of making it too, especially if they escaped together...I'm sorry to hear you were captured, but at least you are here now. We found each other so that is a good sign I would say..." he stopped talking when he saw two people walk in. He recognized Czes immediately because of his scar. Also, he remembered his face, as it was the last one he saw before he thought he was going to die. He would recognize it no matter what, even if age changed it. Charlie assumed the person next to him was Ani. Who else could it be? Also, memories of them began to fill his head. Charlie slowly stood up as he took in a very slow breath. He pushed the memories away.

"W-William, it'-s C-zz-zes and A-ani," he stuttered. He couldn't believe this. It seemed too good to be true. Charlie just stared at the two of them. His eyes widened when he saw streams of tears run down Czes's face. He had to ignore his thoughts, as he would freak out if he let himself think. Though, Charlie gasped when Czes used his powers. Immediately he ran to and stood near Czes to block Greg's view of him. He knew if Greg saw what was going on with Csez that all hell would probably break loose with a million questions. Charlie glanced at Anton panicked, but had to quickly look away and just look in William’s direction. His mind couldn't handle all of his friends at once. Charlie's mind had literally just wrapped around the idea of seeing William again.

“Will...we need a bathroom for Czes, like now,” he said before he look where Czes would be if he wasn’t using his powers. “Czes, you need to stop using your powers now because I doubt Greg knows about William's powers. It’ll be bad if you get exposed, everyone will probably hear about what happened here if Greg is a blabbermouth,” he whispered, trying to keep panic from affecting his voice. Though, Charlie knew he had to leave soon, get away from Czes until he calmed himself down. The memory of the explosion wanted to escape, but he just concentrated on Czes crying. Charlie knew Czes was causing the memory to attempt to resurface.

The last thing Charlie wanted was to cause an explosion by mistake. When he had been in the jungle he would freak out really badly when he thought Sirion was right on his tail. What would end up happening was he’d end up making a ball of light and it’d quickly release all on it's own. The light would burn everything it touched and even cause fires.

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William
April 1st-Morning
Le Havre, France, A local Gym





William turned as the two walked in, and his eyes again went wide, standing from his hammock he blinked as Czes disappeared. "B-bathroom? I-in the back corner...." He muttered calmly, pointing with his thumb and then turning to lead them towards it. Shock....yea, shock was a good word for what he was feeling at the moment.

All three of his closest friends had just come back within minutes of each other....what else was he supposed to feel? Aside from an overwhelming happiness? Not much else was the answer. He opened the door and waited for the three of them to enter before closing the door behind them.

"Czes?" He called out, "Ani? That really you?" he asked, looking around the bathroom. "C-Czes....you can stop hiding yourself now, buddy....come on..." His deep, soothing voice filled the small bathroom, echoing a little bit, and making it even more soothing.

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Ani
April 1st - Morning
Local Gym


Anton’s mouth went dry and his hands grew clammy at the prospect of Sirion using the people he and Czeska were closest to fool them, to recapture them. Immediately Anton took up a defensive position and used his own ability in an attempt to sort out exactly who they were and what was going on. With his extremely sensitive hearing Anton picked up no radio chatter, no transmissions about Sirion or themselves. No agents hovering behind a door ready to pounce. It didn’t seem possible, yet his heart swelled at the thought of actually finding the other half of his “family”.

Taking a step back in a state of confusion, Anton once again used hi control over sound waves to muffle the foursome’s conversation, pale blue eyes flitting from Greg, to Czeska and back again. He wanted to reach out for Czeska and draw him near, for as much as Czes drew strength from Anton the reverse was also true. It had been years since Ani had felt so blindsided, shocked into inaction as it were. So when Charlie and Will attempted to soothe the now invisible Czeska and lead him away to the bathroom, Anton followed dumbly able to keep track of Czes through his soft sniffles and hiccups.

Once safely entombed within the four walls of the bathroom, Ani allowed himself to really take a look at Charlie and Will. It was astonishing, they’d all had six years of growing up and hardship but he felt as if he’d recognize them anywhere. Nodding slowly, he dragged a limp hand across his face still damp from the rain and reach out his other to support Czes. Super hearing most definitely came in handy, especially when someone you were close to could make themselves invisible at the drop of a hat.

“Yes, it’s me.” Anton offered, his voice holding a strange sort of breathless quality. “Czeska, I think we’re fine. It’s Will…It’s Charlie. Somehow, I don’t know how but you can stop okay?” He finished, attempting to give Czes’ shoulder a reassuring squeeze. “How did this happen? Have you two been here the whole time?” The oldest boy asked, narrowed eyes darting from Will to Charlie in quick succession.

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April 1st - Noon
Local Gym




It felt like I wasn't even in control of my own body. I was ushered along into the bathroom, painfully numb and still in shock for several long minutes as I tried to breathe and regain myself. This had to be some kind of trick, some illusion, and I found myself not wanting to believe Anton though I knew he could never lie to me—not about something like this, anyway. This was too big, affected us both too much, and I could feel somewhere inside, the familiarity of the only real family I'd ever known. I had to force myself to breathe deeply now so I could stop the tears at least, and still under protective cover I let myself examine them both.

They'd gotten taller, just as Ani and I had; both Will and Charlie had matured, looked older, though it was clear that the six years apart had treated us all very differently. They had obviously both done well, even better than Ani and I had, from what I could tell; but Will had grown thick with hardened muscle while Charlie retained his nearly waif-like state from before. We had all changed somewhat. Ani, for instance was so much taller than me now that I had to practically climb on him to wrap my arms around his neck for a proper hug, though the six years hadn't done much for his personality. If anything it had made him more grumpy and protective than when we were locked up in the lab. And me? Besides getting a bit taller, how had I changed? I still hid behind Ani and my abilities, I still couldn't do anything for myself, and I was still the shortest of the family. Why did I feel so insecure? Of course they were happy to be reunited with Ani and I, and they weren't with Sirion so I had nothing to be afraid of.

I had to convince myself out of those feelings. The best way to do it was just to get it over with, and so I let my guard down, so they could see the puffy red cheeks, wet with tears that I tried my best to wipe away with my sleeves that were soaked from the rain. Instead I put on the biggest smile I could muster, pulling both of them in for a group hug, unsure of who I should pull in first; taking them both just seemed like the best alternative. I nuzzled each of them, squeezing as hard as my little arms could when wrapped around two people. "I don't care how this is possible; I'm just happy that you're both here."

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Charlie
April 1st-Morning
Local Gym




Charlie went in the direction of the bathroom with Czes and Ani following. Once in the bathroom he had to stop himself from looking around. He watched William as he spoke to Czes and Ani. The bathroom was small so Charlie had to remind himself he was not trapped or confided. He could just open the door and run home, but of course he wouldn’t do that. Charlie had just found the only people he cared about. His eyes wandered over to Ani when he spoke. Charlie licked his now dry lips slowly and took a deep breath. Ani looking at him with narrow eyes didn’t make him feel so great either.

Though, he couldn’t even answer the questions. Czes had distracted him. He blushed as he was pulled into a group hug. He had listened to Czes speak, but he looked at Ani again. He pretty much stared as all of this shocked his system. He gave a quick squeeze before he had to let go and take a step back from the hug. When Czes stopped speaking he took a deep breath. He knew he should answer Ani’s questions.

“Umm,” he paused to swallow, “I don’t know how this happened. Also, I haven’t been here the whole time. I’ve been here in France longer than Will, but I just ran in here by chance and that is how I just found William…you guys coming in here is a very weird coincidence. All of us finally getting back together in just one day seems too good to be true,” he said. After speaking Charlie took a deep breath. He slowly headed inched towards the door. He needed some fresh air, even if it was raining.

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William
April 1st-Morning
Le Havre, France, A local Gym





William merely smiled as Czes revealed himself, chuckling softly. Before he could place his hand on Czes's shoulder, however, he was already being pulled into a group hug, which he leaned down for because of his height; he was as tall as Ani; tying the two for the tallest of the family. He chuckled softly into Czes's ear, his deep voice taking on a playful, soothing texture as he spoke.

"You've gotten stronger, little one~" He said, hugging the smaller male back gently. He was aware of his strength, and he knew he could hurt people. Of course, he meant this previous statement in both ways; physically, and power-wise. Last he remembered, Czes had difficulty cloaking himself so easily without any visible struggle.

With a small grunt he tightened his grip around the two younger males' bodies, and lifted them up, taking playful, jovial control of the group hug for a few seconds before setting them down.

"I'm glad you're all safe....." He said, releasing Czes and giving Ani a good hug as well. "You've gotten bigger, Ani.....almost as big as me." he said. Of course he didn't mean height; they were equal, but he meant in broadness and weight. He remembered everyone to be either skinnier, or in Charlie's case, as skinny as they were last he saw them.

He now only hoped that they all had time, right now, to get reacquainted with one-another.

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Ani
April 1st - Afternoon
Local Gym Bathroom


Ani found himself wrapped up in Will’s hug, he should’ve known that one would be coming his way, but the shock of it all had left the normally reserved boy nearly mute. What was the likelihood that they would stumble upon each other here in Le Havre? The odds were astronomical that he and Czes would run into Will here at this gym, but add in the fact that Charlie had randomly made his way here too…it seems too much to believe. After everything that Sirion had put them through, the botched escape, traveling in fear, hungry, dirty and cold. How was it possible that they would be so lucky as to find each other once again, was it fate or was something else at play here? Something just beyond his view, but Anton couldn’t get his mind to focus on the potential dangers presenting themselves. He could only focus on the fact that they were here, they were alive and they were free.

Finally Anton’s wan face broke into an unguarded smile, one that actually reached his eyes and served to soften his usually stoic demeanor as he stepped back from Will, squeezing the other man’s shoulder amiably. “I’d be just as big as you but Czeska likes seconds at dinner, I never stand a chance.” Ani replied, arching an eyebrow as he attempted to bring a bit of levity to the situation. Turning a kind eyes in Charlie’s direction he noticed the younger man’s attention on the door, Ani recognized the look in his eyes well. The need for escape. Of course they were four grown men locked in a small bathroom so he could understand this. They couldn’t stay in here all afternoon; they needed to talk, to sort things out.

“Perhaps we should take this reunion somewhere less bathroom and more celebratory. Which would be anywhere other than a bathroom. What do you think Czeska? Back to the hotel, or is there somewhere else? Somewhere safe?” Anton spoke up, biting his lip in uncertainty as he looked at each of the others in turn, finally allowing himself to believe that this was really happening and it was time to prepare.

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April 1st | Afternoon
A Local Gym | Streets of Le Havre




It was entirely impossible to grasp the gravity of this situation, enough that I knew I would still be in awe of the situation for days after this. Being lifted up in Will's strong arms, seeing him pull Ani close for a moment, seeing Ani brighten up considerably for the first time in a long time, hearing Charlie's voice as he spoke of the past six years.... It left my stomach contorting in a way that was both painful and pleasant all at once. These men had been the childhood friends who had made it simple to endure the agony of the tests performed by Sirion; they'd been endless support, even when they hadn't been beside me because I'd always thought of them and had them in my heart. Even if it sounds cheesy, that's the truth of it. I never stopped those six years, thinking of Will's sacrifice and Charlie's supposed death, and with Ani holding my hand....

I watched him smile now in awe, looked each of them over and felt the telltale prickling up along the sides of my nose; in response I felt the tears welling up and had to wipe my eyes quickly, imitating Ani's smile as best I could, taking his hand as I was so used to after these past six years. “We should go out for milkshakes,” I offered, squeezing Ani's hand tightly as I pulled the bathroom door open. “We still have a little left, and I'm going to start work soon, so I think we can afford a treat just this one time, right? It's a special occasion, so we should do something fun!” I ploughed on, dragging Ani behind me as I so often did in times of great excitement. This would definitely count as a time when I was allowed to be upbeat and bubbly, letting my guard down because I knew I had Will, Charlie, and Ani to protect me, just like they had in the past.

“What do you guys think? It's the first time we're actually getting to do something together that isn't in the Common area. We should make a whole list of things to do once we get to Canada! Oh! That's right!” I promptly let go of Ani to link arms with my long lost friends. “Will, Charlie, you're going to come to Canada with Ani and I, right? We heard that it was really easy to get citizenship, and it's possible that when they hear our story they'll even protect us.” There was a likelihood that it was a trap, but it was the last idea either of us had. We couldn't say from experience that it was a good place where as long as we behaved nothing bad would happen, but we couldn't give up just yet, and I wanted Charlie and Will to come with us into freedom, where we could lead normal lives together.