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Mon Coeur

The Manor

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a part of Mon Coeur, by pieluver.

None

pieluver holds sovereignty over The Manor, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

953 readers have been here.

Setting

Default Location for Mon Coeur
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The Manor

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Minimap

The Manor is a part of Mon Coeur.

10 Characters Here

Sabine Cayne [28] "I love you as my own heart."
Natalia Catherine Estbury [26] "My insecurities could eat me alive, if it weren't for the call of your voice."
Aedan Huntington [25] "If this is salvation, why was I the only one saved?"
Indigo Pelacour [23] "Ladies and gents, the show's just begun!"
Damien Moore [23] "Nothing I left behind was worth mourning"
Lonan Auraxtin [23] "I never wanted to be here, I was never supposed to be here, and yet, here I am."
Imogen Bennett [20] "Just stop."
Madison Harper [17] "Take your time, we have plenty of it."
Clover Wythe [0] "Ah, I've been plucked."

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sabine Cayne Character Portrait: Damien Moore Character Portrait: Indigo Pelacour Character Portrait: Madison Harper Character Portrait: Natalia Catherine Estbury Character Portrait: Aedan Huntington Character Portrait: Lonan Auraxtin Character Portrait: Nicholas Sartre
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【"Leave me alone!"】
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【Kitchen -> hallway】
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【#00688B】
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Aedan heard the door to the kitchen open and sighed. What now? Couldn't he just be left in peace to calm down? His hands tightened into fists and he kept his gaze down at the soapy water. The foot fall he heard however, didn't sound like Sabine's. It was much quieter, softer. Who had come into the kitchen then? He glanced back to see Madison and he gave a sigh, releasing the pent up breath he had been holding and let the rising tension go. He wasn't mad at her after all. He shook his head and straightened a little but kept his head down as he started to clean the dishes again. He and Madison never said overly much to each other but the company was pleasant and peaceful. Maybe with her there he'd calm. And even if he wanted to say something, he didn't trust himself right then not be cold towards her too and he did not want to break the thread of friendship that they had.




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【"AWW GEEZE, HERE'S A QUOTE"】
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【Kitchen】
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The deep shade of red that Madison's face adopted followed her into the kitchen. How could she have been so careless? She should have known it was something inappropriate, her child like mind had only just a brief moment too late made the connection. She scolded herself under her breath for being so careless, more or less for the fact that she was still overcome with such profound embarrassment, the other pets would likely never take her seriously, being seen as either an imitator or a dimwit.

Once she pushed past the door and crossed the threshold into the kitchen, she noticed Aedan busying himself with dishes and such. She took in a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves. Aedan shot a glance over his shoulder, acknowledging her presence with a brief, blank stare. They hadn't spoken much before, and when they did they kept it brief. Madison cleared her throat timidly, gesturing at the pile of dishes she held in her arms.
"Do..um...you mind if I help? Or would you rather I just set these to the side? I don't want to be in the way...I...I'm so, so sorry if my display in the dining room came off as...anything but appropriate. I...had no idea." It was obvious in the brief pauses of her words that she was struggling to fight down a lump in her throat and hold back tears. She shimmied toward the counter, gently placing the pile down on the counter, being sure not to get too close to Aedan.

Aedan looked back at her and hesitated. He didn't really want help. He'd come in here as an escape but it was obvious this was something she needed to.
"You can help," he answered her. He wasn't going to tell her no. At her comment, he faltered. Her display? He'd been so preoccupied with what Dami was doing, he hadn't looked at her. "I didn't notice what you were doing," he admitted. He was a little curious but he wasn't sure he wanted to know if she was worried about it being inappropriate. "I am sure the way Four and I left the table wasn't much better in the realm of what is appropriate table manner."

Maddie heaved a sigh of relief when Aedan insisted he hadn't seen anything, and it made her feel a bit less tense around him. She began to busy herself by drying the dishes as Aedan washed them, and before long they had put a sizable dent in the pile.

"I just...I was so worried something was going to go wrong, and I feel like my negative thoughts might have projected into the world. I wanted so badly for this to go well. It was my first meal with everyone, and now it's left a bad taste in their mouths, they are going to expect such idiocy of me in the future. I..." She trailed off, trying to hide the fact that tears started to trickle down her cheeks, fighting the urge to sniffle at the snot building up in her nose.

Aedan wasn't sure he was in the right state of mind to deal with this. He was crumbling at the seams himself. There was so much going on in his head. This breakfast had left a bad taste in all of their mouths. Except Dami anyway.

"Don't worry about it. I am sure everyone will forget whatever it is you did. Dami's actions will be what people remembered," he assured her. "Four left before me and then I left. I don't know what happened afterward but Nickolas won't be rude to you I don't think. Doesn't seem like the man to hold a slight against you. You needn't fret. The other two... Natalia might be the only one who'd hold it against you."

Maddie tried to take solace in his reassurance, but she couldn't manage to quite stifle it completely. "If you'll excuse me.." She squeaked, cupping her hand over her mouth before she started to sob uncontrollably. She wheeled around to hurry out of the kitchen, and in her haste she was hardly paying attention, and nearly crashed right into Sabine as he entered the kitchen as well.



"God damn it!" he hissed to himself when he heard the door open to allow Sabine entry and Madison to flee. He'd made Madison cry. He had been trying to console her and he'd failed that terribly. He wasn't cut out for this. He raised a hand to rub his forehead. This time he was well aware that the footsteps behind him where Sabine's. The demon was going to get too close or do something to annoy him and having him close made him very aware of his thumbing heart beat, the need to drink. He didn't want to ask for blood. They all had to do it but he didn't want to look week or sound like he was begging. Sabine seeing that was all he could bear. God above he hated being so dependent on someone else for his life. He focused on breathing again as Sabine came to a stop.

At Sabine's question he shook his head.
"No I don't." Madison had helped a bit and the rest that was there were easily manageable. Besides, this was something he wanted to do alone to try and ease his thoughts. Thankfully the others were still eating and the plates were being used so he grabbed a towel to dry off the dishes and put them away. The others could deal with the other dishes as breakfast came to an end. He had done his part. He rolled down his sleeves and turned away from Sabine.

"If you'll excuse me." Aedan said, echoing Madison's early departure and left the kitchen then. Aedan didn't look at anyone still at the table as he passed through the dinning room and into the hallways. He rested his hand lazily on his sword and just... patrolled. It was a habit he picked up. He knew the house was safe but he still couldn't give up the old habit of patrolling the residence just in case something was amiss. And the wandering sometimes helped him calm himself down and think of other things. Other times it just helped the words come to his poetry.

"Locked in Oblivion to dance
upon his stage...
Agony in the ecstasy upon my tongue.
Light in dark - I burn.
Take solace in silence yet
chagrin the stillness."
he mused. He stopped in front of a window displaying the backyard and reached a hand out to lay it flat against the glass. "Lead us not into temptation, but what do we do when temptation's all that's left?"Aedan shook his head and sat down beside the glass and closed his eyes to try and enjoy the quiet. He was already feeling the anger bleed away with the filtered warmth from the window.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sabine Cayne Character Portrait: Damien Moore Character Portrait: Natalia Catherine Estbury Character Portrait: Nicholas Sartre
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#, as written by slcam
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【"And the fangs come out..."】
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【Spatting with Dami in the dining room】
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【#881309】
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Nattia watched Sabine closely as he rose, feeling the rising jealousy at the demon’s easy contact with Dami. As repulsive as the man’s actions had been, it never failed to annoy her how easily Dami got these bits of affection. By that time, it seemed that all but Nicholas had dispersed, including her beloved Sabine who disappeared into the kitchen. No longer needing to conceal her irritation, Natalia’s cool gaze turned to Dami as he started out his puerile excuse. It was all too naive coming from him. Soon, he switched topics to her, acting as though it would be some sort of boon to make sure she had a better view of such things. Her eyes narrowed at his comment at her age, the subtle tightening of her expression the only fleeting sign that he had raised her ire. Well, there was no one she needed to watch her behavior for now, so she could say whatever she wished. Maybe this would be fun.

“You must be blind or a beef-witted yokel to think none of these poor sods felt sick at that….” she started out, giving Nicholas a knowing look toward his new positioning close to the table. She wondered if she could drive either away. Or preferably, both.

“If I recall,” she said, the words falling from quirked lips, “each and every one of these men rejected you, have they not? Or do you think one like you could still win them with such atrocious displays? You sound like a besotted mooncalf, yet you wish to advise me? It’s perplexing, truly.”

She continued to look at Nicholas, trying to catch his eye. Her gaze eventually flicked to Dami, wondering just how well he would play along with that.





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【"This again? Natalia, by know you must know you can’t win."】
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【In the dining room spatting with Natalia】
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【#15155E】
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“That wasn’t sickness.” Dami said indulgently, leaning an elbow on the table and resting his head on his hand. “You’re so...innocent. It’s quite endearing.” he said, as if speaking to someone much younger, a child who thought they knew everything. His eyes flashed at the jab about rejection, but despite his own worries, he wasn’t about to let Natalia get the best of him.

He straightened languidly, looking at the redhead with curious eyes before shutting them halfway, leaning on his hands again.
“Well…” he began slowly. “I am working against a considerable handicap here. And yet, despite that, and in a household with four women, only I get them to stand at attention… what does that say about your, ah,” he paused, as if searching for the word, “‘feminine charm’ when it’s not really, well, working?” he smiled again, as lazy as his other movements. “Although I don’t think charm is really the correct word for what you exude...”




Her lip curled in pure disgust, looking as though he had asked why she didn’t sleep in the goat pen. “I have no such interest. Even a dolt like you should know that I would see all of you left on the streets where such refuse belongs.”

She gave a hard huff, her lips pursing for a moment. Soon, her expression softened. “A handicap, you say? I would say your main handicap is being… unwanted.”

At her last word, she turned to catch his gaze, watching keenly for any satisfying sign of an effect.




“Very charming.” Dami commented dryly. “Were you like that in the past too? A blessing in disguise, I suppose, no one probably cared much when you were taken away.” He typically wouldn’t go for something so blatant, but her last comment was a bit too far. Had it been anyone else, he would have had to give them reluctant commendations for their metaphorical aim.

Unwanted? That was true. He’d never been wanted until Sabine had come, and the demon was the only one who wanted him still. But the cloud over his face cleared as a thought came to him, and the slowly spreading smile was back as he looked up. From what he knew of it, Natalia and him were similar in that respect.


“Now, Natalia. It isn’t good to project your own shortcomings onto others.”




Now this, this right here was why spatting with Dami never went well. Perhaps they were too similar for their own good. She felt her jaw clench, a niggling tightness in her throat. She tried to push it down, to get herself to relax and regain control. They’d had this conversation too many times not to know how to prod just where it hurt. Even now, Nattia distantly knew she’d be in a foul mood the rest of the day.

Her eyes flicked toward the kitchen door. She wouldn’t want any interruptions to this little conversation, especially in the form of a blond-haired demon. She could not get too involved in this now, she wouldn’t want Sabine hearing her insults. She heaved a sigh giving him a thoughtful look. That truly was a rude remark, but not one she would ever admit was true. She had never admitted her insecurities to any in the household, not that it had kept Dami from hitting them in their many squabbles.

“Oh, you poor thing. It’s not projection if it’s true, now is it?” she said, her tone honeyed and her face an emphatic facsimile of pity.




Dami followed Nattia’s eyes, knowing she cared too much about her image to keep going in Sabine came back. How the demon didn’t know how waspish she could be was a mystery to him. The trouble was claiming it wasn’t true would be a blatant lie that Nattia would pick on mercilessly. He had only made that mistake once and...never again.

“We were actually quite rich when I was human.” he commented absently instead, checking his nails before looking back to her. “And they say projection is a sign of deeper rooted problems. Is everything alright?” he asked with false concern, his own voice reaching a higher pitched as he mimicked her delivery.




“It is not, actually, since I'm stuck talking to a tiresome lout who lacks even an ounce of dignity. Mocking me like some young brat still in the nursery. If you--”

She cut off abruptly as the door to the kitchen opened, and straightened. As she saw who it was, her expression brightened in an instant, and she moved to get up and go to him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sabine Cayne Character Portrait: Damien Moore Character Portrait: Madison Harper Character Portrait: Natalia Catherine Estbury Character Portrait: Aedan Huntington Character Portrait: Nicholas Sartre
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【"I suppose you can't ask for much when we have a family meal."】
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【Dining Room --> Vegetable Garden】
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【#2C5D3F】
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More than a bit distracted at the moment, Nicholas had only partially noticed Madison's unfortunate misunderstanding and subsequent embarrassment. He could easily guess what had happened though, as he'd seen her lick her fingers after Dami had. By the time she had fled, the First had become preoccupied with trying to remaining calm and finishing his meal. He took slow bites, allowing the repetitive action to help him clear his mind of the mix of memories, thoughts, and feelings swirling about.

Once he regained his composure, he became aware that Sabine had departed them as well and that someone had just run through the room and down the hall as he heard their rushed footsteps nearby. Nattia and Damien seemed to be having a discussion. Unsurprisingly, the two were going at each other with much disdain and sharpened quips. He'd only tuned back in as Nattia took a brief pause to check the kitchen door for the demon. He too glanced at the door, as if by doing so would cause Sabine to appear and hopefully shut her up. How she could go from being an absolute pain in the ass to a somewhat tolerable but pretentious lady at the flick of a switch was beyond him.

As Nicholas was not involved in the current conversation, did not want to be, and had returned to his usual state, he picked up his plate and excused himself from the table without a word. He paused towards the end of the table as Aedan went by before turning and going into he kitchen where he found Sabine. "Thank you for the family breakfast, Sabine," he told the demon as he moved to the sink to wash his plate. Though his friend had done nothing in terms of food prep, Nick still felt he should thank him for at least trying to hold a civilized family occasion. He also didn't want Sabine to feel bad about the meal abruptly ending, as it was by no means his fault. "It wasn't perfect but it was lovely to sit together for just a bit."

With that being said he turned to wash his plate. Once he had dried it, he placed it back with the others before exiting into the hallway which adjoined the kitchen and led to the vegetable garden. Here, he found Aggy laying on the floor. "Let's get some fresh air, shall we?" Nicholas opened the door leading out to the garden, allowing the large black dog to go first. Once outside he took a seat on the stone bench against the kitchen's exterior wall and took out a cigarette. He placed it in his mouth before lighting it, setting the discarded match on the bench next to him as Aggy laid down at his feet. The day was off to a more dramatic start than usual and he could use a little alone time.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aedan Huntington Character Portrait: Lonan Auraxtin
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#, as written by Skwidge
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【”Existence is pain and nothing mo- ?"】
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【Under the Sun --> Aedan’s Hallway】
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Desperate to put as much distance between himself and Dami- well all the pets truly, just him in particular- Lonan’s footfalls were heavy and uncharacteristically loud as he fled, heart pounding unnaturally in his chest. The little bird bumped into a few tight corners in his scramble to get to the freedom of unshielded skies, but his only goal was to escape, so the means to achieve it needn’t any particulars. It didn’t matter, then, that he was being loud, or that he might be a little clumsy. Especially since everyone was still in the dining room.

He wasn’t used to his body acting like this out of the privacy of solitude, and the fact that it had gone so easily noticed, that Four had made it so easily noticed by his actions at the table, made it as though he had been dumped in the middle of an endless sea with no means of reaching any shore. Completely out of his element, he was understandably in a bit of a fluster. He wouldn’t be like this though if not for the fault of being gone for so long while Sabine slumbered. These actions were not unusual for Damien, hardly so, and Four was quite used to being at the butt end of them whenever caught in the crosshairs of the lusty tyrant, but Lonan had been absent in the forests for days, pleasantly lost to his own mind… had he truly forgotten about Six’s nonsense?

…Nay. It was a culmination of so many different things; like it always was. Unique cycles of events combining into these end results. Lonan couldn’t possibly prepare for them, no matter how hard he tried. No dawn mirrored another, and no dusk ended similarly to the one prior. This was why he kept his distance. He should’ve just run as soon as he saw that toast trickery. Nothing good comes from not-toast. The boy’s gaze glanced downward for a moment. Nothing good. It was in that moment that he was immeasurably grateful for his baggy sleeping choices, lest he be even more uncomfortable right now.

Two or three sparrows sang cheerfully from the bows of a nearby tree until they were abruptly cut off as Lonan burst forth from one of the manor doors. The door itself creaked in protest as it was flung against its hinges towards the wall, missing by mere centimeters slamming against the bricks, for the offender’s fingers curled against the side of the barrier, halting it in its tracks before pressing the tips of his digits opposite its momentum, resulting in it swinging back and clicking into closed place. Four continued this smooth, purposeful motion by proceeding straight down the single stone step and into the still-dewy grass of morning. The moisture sank into his socks- a wardrobe choice he was not grateful for- and it contrasted cold against the warm rays of light soaking into his form. Damp splotches against his soles soundly ignored, the Blackbird marched a few more steps forward before coming to a frustrated, angered halt. His lips twisted into a frown and his eyes scrunched closed, hands suddenly curling into fists and fingernails digging angry red crescents into his palms. He just- he couldn’t take it anymore. With no remorse, as he was plenty far from all of the other pets, he let out a yell (who was this person?) and dropped his head toward the ground. It seemed to help. Or at least for a small moment before his mind started replaying what had happened at the breakfast table.

He had calmed down after his little episode, but at the thought of Damien and that damned breakfast, his cheeks were flushing once more, unbidden despite his behest. His heartbeat spiked again. He didn’t want any of how his body was behaving right now. Fortunately though, he was only lost to the teetering, unwelcome dizziness of reviewing that lustful scene for nigh but a fraction of a moment, almost more-so not even dwelling on that aspect of the event before suddenly festering at the glaring fact that the truth was, the molestation of that piece of bread had been so openly and uncaringly meant as a display for everyone at the table. There was nothing special about it. Obviously nothing special about him. Clearly. That was what agonized and angered Lonan the most. These sorts of moments only dredged up further the reasons why Four was here, how he wasn’t particularly wanted. Why he was essentially nothing more than another piece of dusty furniture in this God-forsaken household.

His frustration was building again now; why did Six have to do these things? Did he not know how much agony and discomfort he caused? Did he just not care? Did he delight in this pain, hunger for it? It clearly must be so, for Lonan could not fathom a single contrary reason. Just to see how many people he could get under his thumb, surely. Realization hit then. That, once again, Lonan had been reduced to nothing more than someone else’s toy- used only when fancy struck, abused wholly by inconsiderate, heinous hands, and then abandoned all over again when he inevitably became broken or would no longer play in return. It stung all over again. His deepest insecurity… his most hated attribute- something that had been given to him by Sabine. This sudden onslaught of acute sorrow, this feeling of absolute helplessness, wracked his entire body until the corners of his eyes almost dripped. But before they could truly take root in his mind, these feelings were immediately ushered away in an instantaneous maneuver of defense. This hurt was replaced with a burning rage that scoured every inch of his being, singeing away all of that self-pity and renewing instead a sense of seething hatred and fiery anger. Why him?! Why always him? It built up in his throat, pooling higher, higher. Something in desperate need of being purged from his system. A consuming acid he could no longer contain. A freeing utterance that should take flight and then be lost to the wind. His jaw shifted, lips parted, mouth opened.

But no sound came.

No. That one yell was all that he would allow himself. He had been loud enough for one eternity. “Augh,” he breathed instead, defeated. Nothing would change. It didn’t matter. None of it bloody mattered. His index, middle, and thumb fingers curled into the soft maroon cuffs of the sleeves that so carefully hid his arms. Never mind any of that. He slid that same cloth back against his elbows, allowing the sun to hit the lightly tanned flesh that was always, always hidden from sight. The warm, bright rays revealed and illuminated twenty-something odd, whitened scars adorning each forearm, a motley of carvings thrown haphazardly across his skin. They were still in the process of healing away thanks to Sabine’s blood, but at an especially slower rate than they usually would now that it had been such a long time since Four had last fed. Arms now wondrously exposed to the open and cool air, he lifted those same limbs to run both hands over his shut eyes and then into his hair, fingers tangling lightly into the brown locks atop his head. With his back to the house, head tilted up to the clear sky, and eyes closed against the warm caress of the sun, Lonan took a deep breath, hands lingering comfortably right where they were. It may have been difficult to see the scars on his arms from their position at his sides before, but they were now on clear display out of the shadow of the sun’s position and at either side of his head. The frustration seemed to ebb from his form, and he just existed there for a few blissful seconds.

It was then that Lonan thought he heard a sound, and he dropped his hands, taking an instinctive step backwards as he shrunk into himself again, sleeves falling back into place at his wrists. He was suddenly alert, eyes peering around like a hawk’s, face utterly blank other than the natural harshness of his golden orbs. It was quite the contrast to how he had been just a few moments prior. All of his defenses were back up. Four would never allow anyone to see him as he just was- over his dead body. Now, if only he could die. No one seemed to be around though as far as he could tell. If anything, another pet was somewhere far off out of sight. He needn’t worry about that much. If they were out of sight, then he was out of mind. Safe. But Lonan had been outside for far too long now, he had taken enough leniencies, and now a pang of true hunger made his fingers twitch. It was time to return to Sabine.

Turning his back now to the sun, Four walked towards the shadows of the house, its darkness eagerly ushering him back inside its jaws. He closed the door on the fresh air and the warmth and the freedom, and the sparrows resumed their song as though nothing had even happened, as though the Blackbird had never even been there in the first place.

Upon reentry and a few steps later, Four could not help but come to a momentary stop. Irritation ran gently beneath his fingertips as he lay one hand on the wall and leaned over to use the other to pry his damp socks from his feet. They had been sticking to the wooden floors just maddeningly enough to make him notice and do something about it. He stuffed both of them carelessly into one pocket and continued on his way down the halls to the kitchen. He did not get very far though.



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【"Four… what darkness shrouds thee and make mine heart quicken?"】
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【Hallway】
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【#00688B】
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And to be true, there weren’t any pets outside, but there was one who had seen the pretty Blackbird in all of its glory in the sunlight. Aedan was still resting at the window after all. He hadn’t noticed Lonan at first on the other side, distracted by his own thoughts as he wove stanzas of poetry against the cooling, calming glass. But then Four was moving outside, raising his hands, and the motion quickly caught the newest pet’s eyes. Aedan straightened a bit, caught off guard, though what hadn’t caught him off guard all morning?

Aedan just watched him a moment. With the sun kissing his skin, it looked like a halo around him. It shone off his hair and his skin in a tantalizing way. Aedan may not want to face the fact that he was gay and push away all thoughts of desire, which was why he bristled at Damien’s constant displays, but he couldn’t help but appreciate Four’s good looks. Feeling a bit odd watching him, Aedan began to turn away but then something caught his eyes and his gaze fell on the scars at the other’s wrists. His heart tugged at the sight of them; one still healing. Four was cutting at his wrists? Was he trying to kill himself or was there something more behind that gesture? The sight made him ache. How much was he suffering? What did he hide beyond that golden gaze? Aedan wanted to ask, wanted to help but it wasn’t his place. If he asked, then Four might ask about him and he wasn’t sure he was ready to talk about it.

Then Four was coming back into the house and Aedan didn’t have the time to get up from his perch. As soon as Lonan came into the hall, the two caught each other’s gaze and Aedan hesitated. He knew Four would vanish in just moments, a bird in midflight. “...Are you alright?” he asked generally. He wanted to mention the wrists but perhaps it really wasn’t the time.



Eyes nonchalantly gazing about as he went, Lonan strode confidently through the doorway to the next hallway. However, he made it only about a step and a half before those same eyes noticed something that wasn’t supposed to be there. Lonan came to an abrupt halt, his golds going wide with surprise as he automatically froze in place. He was met with a form clad in dark pants and contrastingly white shirt, angel blonde hair and eyes the color of the sky on a cloudless day in a baby hue, and a boyish face with as much surprise as his own. Lonan swallowed.

Aedan.

What was he doing there? Sitting at the window… Four’s orbs flickered over to the glass panes to see what Eight could have been looking at, only to find that the view was dangerously close to where he had been outside. Fortunately, he analyzed in a second, the window was safely too far to the right- if looking at the house- from where he had been standing under the sky. The angles were wrong. Too bad Lonan didn’t realize that from where Aedan had been sitting prior, leaned against the crook of the window, the older pet had been in view of the younger if he looked the right way. Which, unbeknownst to Four, he had.

Nevertheless, the close call still had him uneasy, and it caused Lonan to straighten his form and tighten his muscles in a defensive manner. He was getting ready to bolt before Aedan could comment, to resume his stride past him as though nothing had happened, but then Aedan was speaking, and it caused hesitation in the brown-haired hunter. In that hesitation, Four was captured.

The... sincerity in his voice.... Lonan was completely caught off guard. When was the last- no, when had anyone ever talked to him in this manner? Defensiveness forgotten in his surprise, Lonan found himself rooted to the spot and responding before he even realized what was happening. It had been such a simple, innocent question, but one that Lonan had never been asked before. Not in a long, long time. Before Sabine long. Perhaps that was why he was answering.

”Nothing I haven't dealt with a thousand times before.” He spoke in stark contrast to what Aedan would be used to, which was his spiteful, agitated voice- the one he used with Nattia and Sabine, which consequently was the only time he ever did speak, unless it were to yell at Damien. Instead, his voice was quiet, far gentler, but still carrying well and with no qualms about it. This particular sentence was still a little bit short in tone, almost tired, but that which left little in terms of being able to respond. That is, until Lonan paused, suddenly feeling the very unnatural need to be polite, to express some form of gratitude for being asked it in the first place. That... was how conversations were supposed to go, right? He cleared his throat softly, “And… you? Are you doing,” he coughed awkwardly to clear his throat once more, “A-alright?” He stood a little stiffly, but not for lack of trying to appear like a normal human being. One who could actually have a conversation. A normal, definitely-not-broken person. It… probably wasn’t going very well. At least he was trying. Maybe he could pull it off.



Aedan was honestly surprised that Four had responded. He half expected the other pet to give a nod or some short quirk of the body before running off. They didn’t really interact after all. He’d only ever seen the anger in his motions when dealing with Nattie and Dami and Sabine. This tone of voice was so much softer, an interesting lilt to his words. He was so tense though. Aedan could easily see the man was uncomfortable in the way he had set himself. The body always gave you away. At least it did when one was trained to notice the subtleties of movements.

Even more surprising than the answer was the question Four asked. His eyes widened and he looked up into the other’s face. Not only had the fleeting dark cloud answered him, but he was now asking about his welfare. Again, Aedan had assumed he’d hurry away, not idle and continue conversation. “I…suppose I’m alright,” he answered, a flicker of a smile touching the corners of his lips before it was gone again. Aedan knew the answer was true but also a lie. There was so much more beneath physical well-being he couldn’t bring up. He wondered what it was Four was hiding, locked away behind those smoldering golden hues. Aedan felt trapped. He wanted to grasp at the fleeting conversation but it was coming to an end. He knew he wouldn’t be able to keep him longer and he didn’t know what to say. “Thank you. For asking.”



Lonan was taken aback once again when Aedan's head suddenly tilted up at his question, the boy looking straight at him with surprise so palpable that it made Lonan worry he had done something wrong. But then the boy answered, and, had that been a smile? Was that really because of him? Was it truly genuine? Four couldn’t tell; it was already gone. Still, his heart seemed to tighten in his chest, though outwardly the Blackbird simply shifted a bit, attributing this strange development instead to the fact that it was the first conversation he’d had in a while. Not because it had been the first smile given to him in eons. A smile without strings attached, without malice behind it, and without pity dripping from its fake luster. Still, this smile would not be returned- not only because Lonan was becoming more and more unsure if he had even seen it in the first place, but more-so because Four just did not smile. Ever. He didn’t have a reason to. In fact, the thought did not even cross his mind.

There was gratitude now from the soldier at ease before him. Aedan had thanked him for asking. He had been thanked for talking? Another surprise, and one he did not know how to respond to. All these...- Aedan was the complete opposite of everything that Lonan was used to and familiar with. It made him feel strange and keenly uncertain as well as unmistakably uncomfortable. This was all new territory, or rather exceptionally old territory that he could not remember, and Lonan could actually feel himself being pressed further and further out of his comfort zone by some invisible, moving barrier. But suddenly something stirred, something deep and familiar, something that made him regain control over himself and this situation. It made him chew on his lower lip, but this too helped.

Hunger.

Four was no longer hesitant. Aedan may have thrown him for a bit of an unintentional loop there, but this unnatural need to feed seemed to put him right back on track, right back into the darkness. The hunter straightened, giving a nod to Aedan, indicating that he had both heard and understood him, but also in doing so inevitably signifying that this conversation was over. Though… there was the slightest bit of hesitation to his first step, almost like he did not want to go, but it was gone in the next instance as he executed that step and walked past Aedan.

Four was starving, and he did not want his bloodlust to emerge. Violent and savage, unmerciful and ugly. He was looking forward to Sabine bleeding though, even if the demon didn’t really feel much pain. Lonan shoved his hands abruptly into his pockets, fingers harshly jabbing through the fabric and pushing past whatever was in them. He pressed his socks further into his left pocket, but with his right, the sudden, sharp motion caused something to roll up the back of his hand and hop out. He was only a few feet from Aedan when this occurred, but the boy seemed to have no intention of stopping even as the small object plinked against the wooden floor. Lonan had neither heard it nor noticed that it had left his pocket.



Aedan however noticed said object. He heard its little ‘tap’ as it hit the floor and rolled a little towards him. He hesitated just a moment, assuming the other would have noticed the drop and reach for it quicker than Aedan would have been able to retrieve it, but Four kept moving away. Aedan got up from his seat then and moved forward to pick up the forgotten item, a graphite pencil. It looked worn. Most likely Four used it often. It probably meant far more than that, just like Aedan’s own fountain pens he asked Sabine for.

“Four!” he called. “Wait!” he hurried forward to catch up with him. “You dropped your pencil,” he explained and offered it up to the other male.



As he heard his name called by Aedan’s voice, Four’s whole body froze in place. He did not even need to hear the other beckon his hold, for his name alone, from lips he had never heard it uttered from before, did it for him. As he turned to look at Eight’s hurried form, eyebrow raised in curiosity, the other male suddenly held out his hand. Four’s golden gaze fell to the other’s palm, only to find one of his closely guarded graphite sketching tools. He had dropped it? Lonan didn’t even remember having it in his pocket in the first place. It must have been left there weeks ago and he hadn’t even noticed.

The thing was indeed precious to him. They were difficult to come across, and Lonan absolutely despised asking Sabine for more, which made them even rarer. A sudden sense of relief washed over him at the fact that Aedan had retrieved it for him before it had been crushed underfoot or lost under some bit of furniture for the next several centuries.

The subtlest look of gratitude broke through his stoic façade, and Lonan took a step into Aedan’s form, hand moving through the air atop the other’s to take the small object. Lonan’s fingers brushed gently against Aedan’s palm, like the gentle flutter of a butterfly’s wings, careful and soft and timid despite the callouses adorning their tips. His hand was quick to retreat though, clasping the pencil tightly. Four glanced downward while he reached into his pocket, depositing said item. Upon release, Lonan was looking back up at the blonde, opening his mouth to express his gratitude, but seemed to get distracted once he found his warm golds suddenly meeting Aedan’s cool blues. With a rapid double blink, Lonan quickly looked elsewhere, feeling his cheeks warming for some strange reason. “Thank you.” He quickly spoke, hoping to distract both he and Aedan from this whole unusual situation. How awkward… He thought embarrassedly to himself.

Certainly these unfamiliar feelings were from being so hungry. He was becoming lightheaded because of it. Being lightheaded made a person do strange things and feel weird. Surely that was it. Lonan turned on his heel, giving a slight nod in departure as he quickly made his way away from Aedan. He was uncomfortable with this situation now again, and he could feel his heart thumping oddly in his chest.

It was actually thrilling, feeling so many different emotions that he hadn’t felt in so long- gratitude, honesty, sincerity, concern, awkwardness, a few others he couldn’t quite name at that exact moment, as well as having a real conversation. It was borderline terrifying. He wanted to get away from it and collect his thoughts.

But first, Sabine.

Four hurriedly made his way back to the kitchen.



Aedan watched as Four reached out for the pen. When Four finally touched him, it was feather light, barely there and yet it sent electricity through his nerves. He found himself watching the hand as it drew away. There was an elegance to the motion that was hypnotizing. When the soldier looked up into the golden hues, he felt himself drawn into the mysterious depths. He almost moved forward to follow the man when he pulled away. “You’re welcome…” Aedan called after Four’s retreating form. He was so skittish. Aedan found himself wanting to know Four but if he tried to pry, wouldn’t Four retreat more? He didn’t want to press him. And if he did pester him, no doubt Four would expect Aedan to reveal his past too. It was a natural give and take. Why was he feeling this way? He had no place for this. He couldn’t even entertain it. He sighed inwardly and shook his head to clear the dangerous feelings and creeping thoughts. He was back to being the hollowed soldier. At least until the pang of hunger came again. He gripped his stomach as a wave of nausea hit him through the pain.

“Damn it…” he growled. Sabine was still in the kitchen, wasn’t he? But there were other pets there. Even though he was starving, the idea of others watching made him sick with shame. When would Sabine be alone again? He groaned and made his way back to the little cushioned settee he’d been sitting in before Four came in and plopped down on it and pressed his face against the glass, the coolness of it calming him. He opened his eyes again and watched the hallway, watching for Sabine.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sabine Cayne Character Portrait: Madison Harper Character Portrait: Natalia Catherine Estbury Character Portrait: Aedan Huntington
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【"My sweet wolves eye me hungrily."】
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【Kitchen --> WC】
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Upon entering the kitchen, Sabine was met with a teary-eyed little figure about to run right into him. He shifted the dishes into one hand, reaching out to catch Maddie with the other."
Hello, little mouse," he said, setting the plates down on the counter. "Do you need any help?" he asked Aedan over her head, but was met with a terse declination. So he turned his attention back to Maddie, brushing the tears from her eyes. "What's the matter, darling?" he asked, concerned. She did not answer, just turned her face away, shining droplets still welling from under her lashes. She pulled away from him with a faint explanation that she was fine, she just needed to be by herself for a moment.

As Maddie fled, Sabine stood for a moment, his hands still out a little, as if he'd momentarily forgotten what he was doing. But then he turned his attention back to Adrian, but the other was already rolling down his sleeves and excusing himself. And then he was gone as well. Sabine stood still for a few more long moments, as if he'd shorted out, and then turned around, tracing the much used path out of the kitchen. When he pushed through into the dining room again, he was greeted almost immediately by Nattia. As she came closer, he lifted her up around the waist so he could kiss her forehead. "
Hello, there, Starfire, " he said, suddenly animated again. "Thank you for coming down for breakfast," he murmured, his voice soft and low in her ear as he continued to hold her by the waist.

After a beat and another kiss on the forehead, though, he set her down on her feet, bending instead to retain the soft voice. "
If you're hungry, my dear, wait for me in the morning room, I'll be there soon," He whispered in an almost conspiratorial tone. He had made her come down even though she didn't want to, after all. He should pay her back for that. But first, the nausea was rising already, his stomach pressing mercilessly against his ribs. Time to purge what didn't belong in his system.

He left the dining room hastily, expression very focused. He had been terribly careful about guarding this secret. He didn't want any of the pets to think him ungrateful. Or inhuman. He'd made this mistake himself, and it was his weight to bear. He liked them making food and sharing it with him. He didn't want that to end, no matter how unpleasant it ultimately made him feel.

Very firmly he closed the door to the bath behind him, locking it, and then closed the door to the WC as well. Then he leaned against the door for a moment, groaning softly, a hand gripping his abdomen, where his insides were starting to squirm, trying to get the foreign material out, heaving upwards. His stomach was where he had later learned humans had one of their lungs. (They had two, who knew.) That didn't stop the myriad of unconnected guts in his abdomen from getting in his digestive business as his stomach sat heavily on what was below. His heart squeezed as his chest tried to rearrange itself, avoiding his too-full stomach, and he let out a little gasp. Oh, that smarted.

He always dressed so nice for family meals, always forgot that this would come after, and his trembling fingers would hasten to pull off his jacket, his tie, his collar, dropping them on the stone floor as his knees met the ground in the most instinctively human act he routinely performed. Sabine vomited. Several times, in fact. There was no stomach acid to ease his quiet purge. Just the kind of pain only his own body could inflict on itself--the twisting of his gut, the burning of his eyes, the pang of his heart and throat and lungs. At length he rose, trembling still, and let out a deep breath. He pulled the chain on the cistern, washing breakfast away, and leaned on the sink with pale palms, steadying himself. When he looked at his face in the mirror, nothing seemed out of place, aside from the disarray of his hair and the paleness of his face. He touched the now crusted flecks of blood he'd missed from Lonan's kick. He'd need to feed him too, at some point. No reason to hunt him down, though, he'd show up in his own sweet time. Everyone would.

Sabine washed the twice-tasted sweetness of honey and powdered sugar out of his mouth--no sourness, thanks to his lack of bile--and then washed his face. Combed his fingers through his hair. Re-ordered his outfit, straightened his clothes, pressed his fingers against his cheeks to bring the blood back to the surface, blinked several times, wiping the dewdrop tears that had sprung up out of his eyelashes. Sighed. All better now.

He exited the pair of rooms and strolled down the hall towards the place he'd promised to meet Nattia. The day had only just begun, after all. It was time to live again.