If the curse had destroyed them to grant them immortality… well, Orpheus hadn’t noticed. He’d already been a broken, shattered shell of a person when it had hit. He had done everything he could. He had brought back spring, he had made it to the Underworld… and still he’d failed. If he had to explain why he had failed… he didn’t think he could. It had been his own fault, no matter how much he wanted to blame Hades. All he had to do was not look back, but what had he done? The person who looked back didn’t exist anymore. Or… if he did, it wasn’t in the same way. Orpheus still loved Eurydice with every fiber of his being, even if he knew he couldn’t get her back. But the person he was now… he decided to nip that thought in the bud before he could dwell on it for too long. He didn’t know whether to be proud of the person he had become or afraid. It wasn’t what he had ever intended. “By nightfall we’ll probably be there,” he added, glancing ahead. He knew vaguely where they were going, but he didn’t have an exact destination in mind. It had been easier to let L start taking lead a bit more as they approached their destination. “We’ll actually be able to look at it, then.”
L knew very little about the curse they both carried. He knew they weren’t getting older, or, if they were, it was very slowly. He knew that if Hades was to be believed, they weren’t going to get older. They wouldn’t die, except by a wound grievous enough to do it. So far...so far, the evidence seemed to support that. The truth was, they were both different people than they had been. L had changed in more ways that he’d really admitted to himself, the person he’d been when he was cursed...he didn’t exist anymore. For better or for worse. He didn’t think either of them had ever really intended this to happen. He nodded, glancing at Orpheus as the other immortal spoke. “I believe so,” he agreed, resisting the urge to look up. Instead, he looked at Orpheus, his eyes searching. “I don’t know exactly where the best place to see them is,” he admitted. “Perhaps somewhere up high?” That seemed to make sense. He considered a moment longer, then nodded. “Yes, I think we should find somewhere up high.” He glanced around, looking for somewhere high. Not that he’d likely be able to see anything just yet, it was more an instinct than a conscious decision.
Orpheus nodded, looking around. That made sense to him – if you wanted to see the sky, you needed to get up high enough to see it. He looked around, eyes catching on a hill that was raised a little bit higher than the ground they were standing on. He gave a small smile, then lifted his hand to point it out to L. It was an option, at least, unless they found somewhere better to watch from. If there had been a town nearby… well, maybe it would have been easier to find the tallest building in town and stand on top of there, but... Orpheus had a feeling they were far from any civilization. And frankly, he didn’t want other people to ruin this for them. This was L’s moment, and by extension, Orpheus’. He wanted it to be perfect, especially because of how much time L had spent following Orpheus everywhere that he had wanted to go. Very few of Orpheus’ travels had been perfect, but if he could guarantee this one for L… he would do everything he could. “If we don’t find somewhere perfect tonight,” he murmured, noting the way the sun seemed to set far earlier than it ever had when they’d been further South, “We’ll just have to try again tomorrow, and pretend that that’s the first time we ever see them. It can’t be too difficult, creating a second first time.” Orpheus didn’t know L well enough to know for sure if he would go for that idea, but… he could hope. And it was really all he had to offer now that they were actually here.
L looked up as Orpheus pointed, his eyes catching on the hill. Yes...yes, that would work. It was high, but not so high that they couldn’t easily get up there. He didn’t mind not being near others. He didn’t think he really wanted anyone else around, not now...he didn’t want to think about whether they were dangerous, or calculate odds, or anything but experience this moment. He’d always wanted to come here, and now...now that he was, he couldn’t quite believe it. He couldn’t quite believe he was here with someone else. Or that he actually liked the other immortal, now that he knew him a little better. They weren’t going to part ways after this, he knew, and he was grateful for that. He didn’t want to be alone, even if he knew it was technically safer if he was. Maybe he was tired of living only to survive, maybe...maybe he was ready to take a risk, even if it was a small one, one not many would even consider a risk at all. Not that he was just going to trust him completely. He glanced at Orpheus as he walked, his eyebrows raising just a little. “A second first time…?” He mused, mulling it over a bit before he decided how he felt about that idea. “It wouldn’t be the first time, then. But a second time is as acceptable as the first one. It doesn’t need to pretend to be anything else. But, that being said, I think I understand your meaning, and, yes, a second try wouldn’t be difficult.”
Orpheus shot L a smile, beginning to move towards the hill he had pointed out. If he were honest with himself… it was nice, not worrying about avoiding people or wondering what to say if people asked questions. He had to forge a new backstory for himself every time he visited somewhere new, had to make sure dates lined up in case people asked about them… he liked it best when people just figured he was a stranger who didn’t want to talk about his past. That was true enough. He had been terrible at lying, before he’d been cursed. He figured he would have died a long time ago now if he hadn’t learned to be quick on his feet with a story. The truth didn’t seem possible, at best. At worst, it could be a death sentence. That wasn’t how Orpheus had ever wanted to live his life, but he couldn’t undo that. Here, though, there was no need for an alibi. There was just hm and L and the sky. Orpheus wasn’t sure he wanted to ever leave, if that was what the world could be, if only for a while. “I suppose it wouldn’t. But I was always taught to believe that your first time doing or seeing something is the time you remember most. A second first could be a good way to trick the brain into remembering that as the first time, too. Or maybe it’s just that the first time doing or seeing something momentous feels special. Sacred, almost.” If Orpheus had any doubt that the gods still existed, his doubts were assuaged. He didn’t know which gods were here, but it didn’t feel very much like they were alone. It was comforting, in a way, to know that they still existed, even here. Even if they wouldn’t talk to him. “Are you ready?” he asked, stopping right at the base of the hill. When they crested the top… there would be lights.
Post by ®Hawkpath® on May 11, 2021 22:35:48 GMT -5
L had always been fairly good at lying, before. Ironically enough, he was probably a little bit rusty at it, having not practiced in over four hundred years. While Orpheus was forging stories and interacting with people, L had been hidden in the shadows so long he could barely remember what the sun felt like. Talking to people was foreign, though less so now that he’d been talking to Orpheus for a while. He was glad for the privacy even so. He didn’t want to share this with anyone else...Orpheus, he thought, had earned the right to be here. Orpheus had been with him for far longer than not, and Orpheus wasn’t even upset with him for shadowing him for so long. L listened, hesitating as he took that in. A second first was possible under that definition of first...he considered whether he agreed with that. It wasn’t actually the first time, in that case, was it? But maybe it was just as good. He could see the appeal of remembering the best time as the first one, if only to remember the moment in as much light as possible, though he preferred his memories to be more accurate than that. He wasn’t thinking of the gods. He rarely did anyway, but now they were as far from his thoughts as they could possibly get. This moment was his. This moment was Orpheus’. This was theirs, the end of their journey, at long last. He couldn’t quite believe they’d made it all the way there, but they had, and it was almost time to see what they’d come all this was way for, He breathed in, taking in the cold air and trying to wait a couple moments longer, Then he breathed out. “Yes. I think I am ready.” And he started up the hill, expression set and determined. He wasn’t going to let nerves stop him now, not when he was moments away from finally seeing what he’d come for.
Orpheus knew L easily could have asked him to follow along in the shadows. He knew he could have been asked to be Érebos, to stay hidden and let L travel the world for himself. It would have been fair for their positions to be reversed, but that wasn’t the call L had made. L had chosen to let them travel together, and though he didn’t know L perfectly yet (part of him doubted he ever would), he was grateful for the chance to get to know him at all. L was wonderful. He was interesting, and though conversation was difficult and awkward at times, Orpheus knew he wouldn’t exchange the trip for the world. Getting to know people was one thing when you knew you could only stick around for a year or two before you had to leave. Sometimes Orpheus wished he had been a little bit older when he got cursed so people wouldn’t notice as quickly that he didn’t age, but that was beside the point. Getting to know L was different than anything else, because L actually had a chance of understanding him, understanding the things he had been through, because… well, he had been there for them. And he probably shared a lot of the same fears and regrets. Standing at the base of this hill, following a few feet behind L… this was more than Orpheus had ever imagined, and he was more grateful than he could express to be allowed to share this moment with L. He did his best not to look before L did, keeping his eyes carefully trained on the other immortal’s back. He wanted to see his new friend’s (were they friends yet? Orpheus had always been too liberal with the term, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that even if they weren’t friends already, they were going to be) reaction to the lights. The one thing he had been waiting upwards of 400 years to see. It had to be worth it. Orpheus was going to make sure it was worth it.
Post by ®Hawkpath® on May 12, 2021 14:06:13 GMT -5
It wouldn’t have been fair, in L’s eyes, to ask Orpheus to become Érebos. Orpheus hadn’t asked for L to be Érebos. L had done that all on his own. If Orpheus wanted to become Érebos, if he wanted to be a shadow, he was welcome to, but somehow L didn’t think he did. He hadn’t tried to stay hidden for the four hundred years L had followed him, he’d lived more, done more, experienced more than L ever could have. He’d helped people in that time. He’d existed, while L had done his absolute best to disappear completely. To cease to exist at all. But here he was. He’d taken his first step forward, and it had brought him here. He had dared speak. And, somehow, he’d been heard. He climbed higher, bare feet soft against the ground, thin clothes barely enough against the wind. It didn’t matter much. Nothing could come close to the excitement running through his veins, the excitement he barely dared express with Orpheus so close to him. Almost there. Almost there. He broke into a run, forgetting the fact that he didn’t trust Orpheus, forgetting even that he could be seen by anyone who happened to walk by, and darted over the last few feet before - He stopped at the top of the hill, a little out of breath, and looked up. And then he forgot to breathe at all. It was everything. It was more. The lights glowed softly above his head, dancing and spinning across the sky in shades of blue and green he had never seen before. The night was lit up with them like the darkness itself was alive, like the shadows had air in their lungs and stars in their eyes and color at their fingertips. Like… Like a shadow could be a life. His mask faded, but he didn’t notice. His dark eyes reflected the light, his mouth was slightly open, and his features melted into a gentle look of pure awe as he stared, stared, stared.
Orpheus wasn’t sure he knew how to be a shadow. Then again, thinking of how L had done it for the past four hundred years… L hadn’t known how to be a shadow, either. He’d learned, over time. He’d learned how to be a shadow rather than a human being, and the thought that Orpheus had put him in that position… it hurt, even if L had told him that it wasn’t his fault for getting them both cursed. That nothing that had happened since was his fault. Orpheus knew that a lot of it was. If he had asked L where he wanted to go before now… would they have been here earlier? He pushed the thought away, keeping his eyes on L as they climbed up the hill. A small smile touched his lips as L broke into a run, but he didn’t follow. Let L have some time to enjoy it alone. Let him be the first to see it, because this was his trip. Orpheus was just there so that… well, why was he there? So L wouldn’t have to worry about him causing trouble? So that neither of them had to face eternity alone? Orpheus didn’t know the exact reason, but he figured it probably didn’t much matter. He was here. He was going to make the most of it. Orpheus finally caught up to L, eyes widening as they caught sight of the sky. It was alive, so alive, beautiful… the lights painting the sky like nothing Orpheus had ever seen before. The sky wasn’t what caught Orpheus’ attention most, though. His gaze caught on L. On the way he watched the sky, the vulnerable look plastered all across his features. Yes, Orpheus decided, that was more amazing than the lights dancing across the sky. L, unarmed, present in a way Orpheus doubted he had been in four hundred years. He had been alive, on the way up. But he hadn’t been alive. Orpheus had begun to see glimpses of the man behind the shadow, but this was something else entirely. This was the version of L who had been allowed, if just for a moment, to cast the shadow aside completely. And Orpheus couldn’t look away.
Post by ®Hawkpath® on May 17, 2021 19:26:53 GMT -5
It was hard, trying to be a person again. Trying to remember how to be a human being, how to not be a shadow. It was more natural, being invisible. It felt far more natural, not existing at all, not being someone to me spoken to or interacted with. He didn’t know how to be human anymore. He thought he might never know that again. Was he okay with that? Maybe...maybe he wasn’t okay with that. Maybe he wanted to learn how to exist again, in this world. Even if he didn’t have any idea what they might mean for him, anymore. It didn’t matter. He wasn’t thinking of that now, he was just thinking of the sky. The cold didn’t bother him, not anymore, not when he was focused on the lights high above him, soaring and dancing and painting a picture in the darkness. He’d never seen anything like them before, he’d never seen anything those exact colors, and he didn’t want to look away, He didn’t see Orpheus for a long moment, his attention was so completely fixed on the sky. He didn’t see the way he watched him, didn’t realize he was completely unarmed in front of someone who was...not a stranger, but not someone he knew well, either, not personally anyway. When he did finally remember he wasn’t alone, he tore his gaze away from the sky and managed to look at Orpheus instead, his expression still open and vulnerable for a long moment before he began to close it off again. It was a fairly quick process, one he’d clearly practiced for a long, long time, and within a minute he was back to his normal, hard to read self. “They’re more...than I expected them to be,” he murmured, hesitant. “I...didn’t think they’d be so bright.”
Orpheus couldn’t imagine what it was like to become human again after so long living separated from it all. He didn’t know how it felt, didn’t know how to begin to understand. But watching L here, seeing him step out into a different kind of light… Orpheus thought he could catch just the barest glimpse of it. L, becoming the person he had left behind after so long. L, existing in this moment for himself instead of to follow someone else. The important thing about shadows was that they were always cast by something. Érebos had been Orpheus’ shadow, whether Orpheus had meant to cast it or not. Which meant that L, even after stepping out of the light, was still hidden from the sun. This L… the L in front of him, staring up at the sky with a mixture of wonder and disbelief… this L hadn’t been hidden by Orpheus. This was L, not the shadow, and Orpheus found he wanted to bask in the light that L himself cast. And then when he looked at Orpheus… Orpheus watched as the person melted away, replaced just with the shadow. The shadow who was trying hard to be a person, but hadn’t managed it fully, not yet. Orpheus wanted to help him, wanted to be there for him until he saw that raw humanity again, but… it wasn’t his place. And if L ever showed him that again, it would be after he earned it, somehow. “I had no expectations at all,” Orpheus murmured, gaze tilting up to regard the lights for a little bit longer, “But this still managed to crush every single one of them. It’s… it’s beautiful. You picked the perfect first place. I’m glad to be here.” I’m glad you got to be here. I saw. I saw what it did to you… and you deserve more of that. That’s called life, L. All thoughts he wished he could say. All thoughts he had to keep locked up tight.
Post by ®Hawkpath® on May 22, 2021 13:49:52 GMT -5
It was hard, harder than L had anticipated, coming back. Being a person again. It was harder than he’d thought it would be, being a person when he’d only been a shadow for four hundred years. He had to wonder whether it was possible anymore. Whether his soul, if he did have one, had simply changed irreparably to that of a shadow, not a human being. But for a moment, he didn’t worry about whether it was possible, whether he had pretended to be a shadow for so long, he had become one. For once, he didn’t consider how probable it was that this would end badly, and he’d end up back where he’d started, or worse. A shadow without something to cast it was nothing at all, and he would rather be a patch of darkness than be that. It was only a moment, and a moment wasn’t as much as it had been, once. The thing about living too long was that things bled together, creating new colors entirely. He didn’t see yesterday and last week and a hundred years ago, he merely saw today and what had come before it and, he supposed, what would come after it. “I did,” he confessed, looking away from his companion. He looked at the sky again, but not as a person, not quite. He looked like a starving man looked at bread, or a tired one at a sleeper. Was this envy? Did he want to own a star or become one? “I’m...glad you’re here, too,” he murmured finally, voice soft and quiet, as though he worried something would break if he spoke too loudly. “This seems like a moment meant to be shared. I don’t know why, but I’m glad.”
Orpheus didn’t want a shadow. He wanted a friend, though he didn’t know if he would find that in L. He wanted… not to be alone. If that meant he had an arch nemesis it wouldn’t be ideal, but it would be… it would be better than nothing. But maybe he’d prefer to have a shadow than an enemy. He didn’t know. All he knew was that L wasn’t a shadow anymore, and he wasn’t going to ever ask him to be again. He wanted L to be a human, because he had seen a glimpse of the man he used to be. Or, perhaps, the man he might be, if he stayed in the light for long enough. All he had to do was make sure he didn’t scare L back to the shadows. It was hard, terribly hard, to tear his gaze away from L. He wanted to watch him forever, wanted to see him looking at the sky, because if L was starving for humanity, for personhood, then Orpheus was starving for companionship. He was afraid to let himself have it, afraid to disrupt this, to hurt L somehow without meaning to. They had both been hurt enough by him, even if L somehow didn’t blame him for the curse. It had still happened because of him. It surprised Orpheus, a little bit, that L was pleased by his presence. Perhaps he still expected him to hate him. He didn’t know… he shrugged, glancing up at the sky finally, the colors reflected in his hazel eyes. “I’m… I’m honored to be sharing this moment with you,” Orpheus murmured after a long moment, something in his throat closing with the words. Sharing. That was something he hadn’t gotten a chance to do in a very, very long time. He had once dreamt of sharing his life with someone. That wasn’t possible anymore, but this… this came close.
Post by ®Hawkpath® on May 22, 2021 21:48:11 GMT -5
L didn’t know if they’d end up enemies. He didn’t know how likely that was, only that he didn’t want to. Orpheus...he was kind, and he was interesting, and he’d kept his word and come all this way with L, and maybe...maybe L was tired of being alone. too. Maybe he wasn’t as good at existing completely alone as he’d once thought he was...it was a terrible feeling, loneliness. He knew Orpheus was the reason he hadn’t lost his mind to it. Maybe he couldn’t quite crave companionship the way Orpheus could. Maybe he wasn’t quite human enough for that yet, maybe he needed to become a person first. He didn’t know how much Orpheus wanted this to be okay. He didn’t even know quite how much he wanted it to be okay, too...he just knew that he didn’t want Orpheus to go. He didn’t want to be alone, he didn’t even want to go back to being a shadow. He looked at the sky again. The colors were as bright as they’d been before...how long had they painted the sky? How long would they stay there? The gods themselves couldn’t wipe the sky clear of them, he thought...or maybe they could. He’d stopped looking from signs for the gods a while ago. He didn’t know whether they still existed, but he didn’t think they controlled much, if they did. Hades hadn’t even bothered to look around and check for people. His respect for them was a little lacking. He shook his head of thoughts of the gods. They didn’t matter. This moment did. “Share,” he murmured, the meaning of the word not lost on him. It was surprisingly comfortable, sharing something.
In Orpheus’ mind, the gods had done a great many wonderful things. They had created sights Orpheus would never be able to get out of his head, they had given him music, they had formed his entire childhood. They were responsible for mountains, and rivers… the wine-dark sea, the clouds and the way the flowers bloomed every spring year, after year, after year. If Orpheus had died as he was supposed to, his legacy would still live on in the form of flowers. He wondered distantly if he would live long enough to see the flowers stop again. He hoped not, but he had to admit it was a possibility. But it did mean that for the past four hundred years, Hades and Persephone had remained in love with each other. It warmed Orpheus’ heart, that he had succeeded in that, even if he had failed in everything else. That wasn’t the point. The point was that standing here, looking up at the sky, at the lights… Orpheus didn’t think his gods had anything to do with this. Maybe there were other gods that did. Maybe there were people here who would tell them their stories, who would explain which gods waved the colors across the sky like banners, like a parade that didn’t end. Victory. Peace. Orpheus had seen parades held to celebrate the end of a war, and in a way, this reminded him of that. More peaceful, though. He shook the thought away, giving a small smile as he glanced back at L. They had spent so long getting here, he didn’t want to make the moment go by too quickly. Quietly, Orpheus took a seat in the hard packed snow, bracing his hands against the ground as he stared up at the sky. “The world is so much bigger than I once thought it to be,” Orpheus whispered after a long moment, unable to keep the awe out of his words.
Post by ®Hawkpath® on May 22, 2021 23:20:26 GMT -5
L hadn’t been completely separate from the idea of the gods, but he hadn’t grown up surrounded by them the same way. Orpheus...he’d been around them for much of his childhood. L had merely known about them in theory, and Watari had never spoken much about them. It was possible he been an isolated child, growing up the way he had. It was also possible this had suited him. He didn’t know. He’d only had one childhood, after all. He’d noticed when the flowers stopped blooming. Of course he had...it had been impossible not to know something was wrong. But he knew the full story now, more than he’d had any knowledge of before, and he had to admit...even if Orpheus had failed in many ways, he’d also accomplished a great deal. He watched the sky. Thinking about before the curse was a bit like remembering an old dream you’ve been over too many times. You were never going to forget it, but you had to wonder how accurate the details really were, anymore. It didn’t remind him of a parade, though he had seen one of those before. It remindsd him...he didn’t know what it reminded him of. He couldn’t think of anything that even came close, though...he suspected things would remind him of them, now. You didn’t compare yourself to your reflection in the water, after all, you compared the reflection to yourself, He hesitated, then sat down, too, ignoring the cold. It didn’t matter to him, how icy it was, how frigid the snow felt. Nothing could ruin this for L, nothing. “I know,” he replied quietly, glancing at Orpheus as he spoke. “I never thought...I never expected to see much of anything. And here we are.” He was trying not to ramble, as he tended to do. He didn’t know how much Orpheus cared for his thoughts, yet, even if he’d seemed open to them on the way there.
It was colder than Orpheus had anticipated, though he had a feeling he would have made much more of a fuss about it if he had still been mortal. As it was, he knew he wasn’t likely to die from hypothermia, even if frostbite was an option. He had learned more about human health in the past four hundred years than he had ever expected to know. He didn’t know much about sickness (he hadn’t gotten so much as a cold since he had been cursed), but he had spent a great deal of time trying to learn how to deal with basic injuries in case he got hurt, at some point. The likelihood of that happening were greater now than they had been before, if only because he had several more lifetimes in which to get hurt. He figured it was probably best to be prepared beforehand, just in case. That, and he knew that if anything happened to L (assuming he found out in time), he wanted to be able to help. He wasn’t sure if the other immortal would accept his help, but he had always figured he’d cross that bridge when he got to it. He didn’t mind the cold, though. He knew it wouldn’t kill him, and it was worth it to be able to see the sky like this. To see L seeing the sky like this. A parade was one analogy, but his mind kept supplying more and more and more, thousands of ways he could work these lights into his songs, ways to weave them through the music as seamlessly as they wove their way through the sky. If this hadn’t been L’s moment, L’s trip… he would have taken out the lyre and started to play, letting the feeling of the lights run through him and into the music. He would likely do that when they left… he tried to trap the feelings racing through his chest into a jar. He could open it later, use it to make music later. “Here we are,” Orpheus echoed, voice low and soft. He wouldn’t have minded listening to L ramble, but he didn’t yet know him well enough to tell that he might want to. Instead, he let the silence envelope them both.
Experience had taught more than L had ever expected it to. He’d learned what they could stand, what they weren’t supposed to be able to stand, and could anyway. He hadn’t exactly been in that many dangerous situations, naturally, but he did know that things didn’t affect him the way they should. The cold, the wind, the rain...he felt it, but he didn’t feel it enough or make him want to leave. He wanted to sit there and stare up and maybe never leave again, even if he doubted somehow that Orpheus would be willing to stay there that long. Then again, maybe L wasn’t willing, either. Boredom was like that. If he’d been injured...would he have accepted help? It depended on the injury. Bad enough, and...perhaps. He watched the sky, trying to think of things that it reminded him of and considering Orpheus for a long moment. He didn’t know Orpheus was thinking about music, he didn’t know he was considering making it, or he might have told him to go ahead...he was content in the silence too, though. Content in the way that meant you could break or or not and be happy with either conclusion. He wasn’t sure whether he felt like talking or not. He couldn’t quite tell. He gazed upwards, considering the sky for several more long seconds as he tried to figure it out. “Here we are,” he finally said back, letting out a tiny breath. Maybe he didn’t want to ramble just now, after all.
--- It had been a few days, and though Orpheus knew they were probably going to leave soon, he found he wasn’t sure he wanted to. L had been quiet, and while Orpheus didn’t hold it against him, it also meant he felt a little bit awkward telling the other immortal that he wouldn’t mind if they just stayed here for a while. How long was a while? For them, it was hard to tell. It could be a few days, but it could also be years. Orpheus didn’t want to leave until they were both absolutely ready to. He had walked a few paces away from L, leaving him to watch as the lights lit up the sky once the sun dipped down low enough not to ruin the view. He hadn’t yet had the chance to play, but he thought he might as well tonight. He didn’t need the feeling he had persevered in its tiny glass jar locked in his heart. He would save that for later, for an emergency when things weren’t going well. The feelings hadn’t left him. In fact… they seemed to come back stronger every time he saw the lights. He didn’t have to think in order to play. Lyre in hand, the music flowed out of him as though he were a well and it was a stream of water someone had drawn. The music was inexhaustible, though it was only pulled up to the surface in small streams. His eyes were wide, staring up at the sky as music filled the air, proud and mournful and hopeful and peaceful all at the same time.
Post by ®Hawkpath® on May 23, 2021 13:43:07 GMT -5
L wasn’t sure when they planned to leave, and he didn’t intend to ask. He was still used to Orpheus making those sorts of decisions while he followed whatever the other immortal decided...he wasn’t used to the idea of having a say in it. Maybe he didn’t really know how to make decisions, anymore. He was looking at the sky, content to watch it for hours or days at a time. He hadn’t said much at all lately...it had been easier to fall silent, easier to try to exist without adding communication to the mix. Still...he didn’t want Orpheus to feel unwanted, here. He guessed he’d have to figure out how to start acting like a person enough that his companion didn’t get tired of his silence and leave. And then...he heard the music. He turned, tearing his eyes away from the sky enough to see the other immortal. He didn’t need to look to know who was playing, but it was reassuring to see him anyway, lyre in hand like he’d never left it behind at all. He watched for a very long few moments before he made his decision and moved, approaching quietly. He hadn’t realized it before, he hadn’t heard the music and seen the lights at the same time...it was the same feeling, wasn’t it? The same peace that came from the lights, came from the music as well. “I haven’t heard that song before,” he managed softly, watching Orpheus the way he usually did. He was watching for danger and watching to see his expression at the same time.
Orpheus thought he understood why L was so quiet. This was everything he had wanted to see, everything Orpheus hadn’t even thought of doing for hundreds of years. When had L started wanting to see the Northern Lights? Had he given up on the idea at any point? Did he hope against hope that Orpheus would decide on a whim to go there, even after hundreds of years had passed? Orpheus didn’t think that L had been as much of a shadow as he seemed to be. He clearly had thoughts and desires, needs that probably hadn’t been met… a man who lived underground wasn’t a rock, so one who lived in the shadows wasn’t necessarily a shadow himself. Orpheus could feel L approaching. A holdover, it seemed, from getting used to knowing where he was likely to be at any given moment. Érebos. Shadows didn’t have names. In giving L a name, even if it wasn’t his actual one, had he somehow managed to bring him a little further into the light? Orpheus allowed that thought to fall away, instead letting his attention focus back on the music. The soft words he was singing died down as he heard L speak. That was unexpected, but not unwelcome. He gave a soft smile, letting the music decrescendo as he turned his head just enough to see L. “It’s never been played before,” he responded softly. “It’s… less a composition as it is… I don’t know,” he admitted, giving a small shrug. “A moment in time, perhaps. A portrait, not of a person, but of a moment. A feeling.”
Post by ®Hawkpath® on May 27, 2021 23:17:39 GMT -5
L remembered when he’d wanted to see the Northern Lights. He remembered the day, the hour, what he had been doing and feeling at the time. It was the first time he’d ever heard of them at all. He’d been shadowing Orpheus, of course. There had been a traveler, talking to someone else. L hadn’t gotten too close, but he’d been able to hear that they were saying. “The lights,” they’d told their companion in the same voice you use to tell a secret. “They danced. More colors than you can imagine. It looked impossible.” The conversation, brief thought it was, had never left L’s mind. It hadn’t been a desire at first. Memory. Interest. Desire. Longing. He looked at Orpheus again, his attention shifting to the present, to the fact that he was really standing underneath the lights. They did indeed dance. He almost regretted speaking. He should have just listened...the music was enough. More than enough. Still, Orpheus didn’t seem upset. “A thought?” He suggested softly, head tilted very slightly. “There...isn’t a perfect word for it, I suppose.” He glanced up at the sky again. “It’s not home, is it?”
The lights didn’t mean as much to Orpheus as they did to L, but they meant a lot. It was like nothing he had ever seen. He wondered distantly if he would ever stop being surprised by what the world had to offer. If he would live long enough that eventually there would be nothing left to take his breath away. Being here… well, it had proven that if that did happen, it wouldn’t happen anytime soon. There was so much of the world they hadn’t seen. So much that they had wandered past on the way here that Orpheus had never even considered. He could see why L had wanted to come. He didn’t know why L had tolerated following him for so long when there were places like this he could have been visiting. “A thought,” Orpheus echoed, glancing down from the lights and back up at L. “That’s a good word for it,” he considered, though it wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t sure there was a perfect word for it, at least not in Greek. Maybe he would find the perfect word as time went on. Home. The thought made Orpheus sad for some reason. Home seemed… well, further away than he would have liked it to be. “No, it’s not,” he agreed with a shake of his head. “But… the feeling is the closest I’ve gotten to home in a very long time.”
L had wondered the same thing, in the past. He wondered whether things would stop surprising him, eventually. If this took his breath away and made him feel real, then what would happen to him when he ran out of wonders? What would happen when he knew everything there was to know? Would that ever happen? If it did...if it did, would he truly fade to nothing, then? What made someone human? What would make someone stop being human? Was he human now? He didn’t know, not for sure. He didn’t know much of anything, which stung after living as long as he had. It felt like he should have found some answers by now, but he felt like the longer he lived, the less he was sure of. He looked at the lights again, breathing out gently. He kept expecting them to stop being as wonderful and impossible, but every time he looked, it felt like the first time all over again. He hadn’t lost his mask again, though...he hadn’t really realized he’d lost it before, but his subconscious was hard at work, keeping him safe. “Yes. I would agree with that.” He answered softly, still looking at the sky. “It would be easier if…” He trailed off and shook his head a little. He was getting comfortable with Orpheus, which meant his verbal filter was fading a little, which meant he needed to be more careful than ever. It wasn’t like he had any secrets, really. Unless he counted himself as a secret, which...in a way, was accurate.
Orpheus glanced over at L, unaware of what his companion was thinking. Unaware that he was afraid of dropping the mask, of being someone that Orpheus was able to see as a person instead of just a shadow. Orpheus didn’t know L. He supposed L didn’t quite know him, either, but Orpheus had been more open on their walk than L had been, and L had been following Orpheus for four hundred years. Surely there were things he had picked up in that time that Orpheus wasn’t even aware of. If Orpheus wanted to know L, he had a lot of catching up to do. Fortunately for both of them, the one thing Orpheus had learned from being immortal was that patience paid off. “It would be easier if what?” Orpheus asked distractedly, turning his gaze towards the sky again. He would stay here forever, if he could. He knew it was physically possible, but he also knew there was a lot to explore when they left. There were civilizations that were changing, things that were happening that neither of them were aware of. Time was passing, though it never felt like it did anymore. If they stayed here, how long would it take for them to stop being human? How long would they have before they could no longer remember what it was like to fear death? Of course, death could take them here, too, but it was much less likely where there were no other people, no risk of weapons being pointed their direction… “Thank you for choosing somewhere peaceful,” Orpheus managed in a tiny voice, unable to express the magnitude of the emotion inside of him now that he had stopped playing. Feelings like that couldn’t be spoken, at least not in Orpheus’ experience. They had to be woven.
Truthfully, L preferred to know more about his company than his company knew about him. It had been that way even before he’d been cursed, and it had only gotten stronger with time. He was fine with being unknown, or so he told himself...why should he want to risk being known? Being open? It was safer this way. Safer, and easier, much easier. And yet...he still agreed to travel with this person, this person who seemed to know him, just a tiny bit. He didn’t reply right away. Orpheus was watching the sky, so L looked up, too. This...could it be home, if he let it? Could he stay here indefinitely? What if he didn’t leave with Orpheus, what if he haunted the painted sky, like the ghost he was? Would he finally find peace, if he waited long enough? He thought about it. But he never really considered it. His mind, it seemed, was utterly made up on the matter. He was Orpheus’s shadow, and he didn’t seem able to shake that part of us identity. Not yet, anyway. “It would be easier if I knew,” he managed, “why we can’t go home. Home is gone. The world has changed. I only wish I knew whether I’ve - we’ve - changed as well.” He shrugged like it didn’t matter. It did. He looked at Orpheus again, expression watchful and serious, but genuine. “I didn’t know for sure it would be peaceful,” he replied honestly. “I only hoped it would be worth it.”
“I know I’ve changed,” Orpheus whispered after a long moment, not bringing his gaze down from the sky. “I don’t know if I could tell you exactly how, but I know I have. I know… if you were to bring me back and put me in the life I used to live, I don’t think I would know how to navigate it anymore. The world was so much smaller back then, and I never once thought of it as stifling. But maybe it was. Maybe… maybe I tried so hard to fix the world because I wasn’t sure of my place in it, because I wanted to make a difference beyond what I could in my tiny little town… I don’t know. I think I would still do a lot of what I chose to do all those years ago, but I wouldn’t be the same person. I would do the same things, but for very different reasons.” He let his voice trail off at the end as he took his gaze off the sky and cast it on L. “I don’t know if that’s a reason that home isn’t… home anymore. Maybe… home was a person for me. It always was. It was… it was Mister Hermes, at first, and then when I met Eurydice… she was home. And when she died… when she… left… there was nowhere for me to go home to. And it’s only gotten worse since then.” Would anyone ever be home again? There was only one option, and he was standing a few feet away. Orpheus didn’t dare let his thoughts slide further than that. Orpheus didn’t know if L had ever had a home. He had to imagine that he had… he must have come from somewhere, even if Orpheus didn’t know all the details. “I think it was,” he said instead, looking at the reflection of the lights on the snow. The snow was dancing, too, though not as nimbly. “Worth it, I mean.”
Orpheus was so open. So genuine. It made L very happy and very sad at the same time, and he didn’t know why. Possibly he was aware that he’d never be that open. Or maybe it was just that he was unbearably lonely and his heart ached for more. He listened quietly, not daring to look at Orpheus in case it would make him break off. He wanted to know, he wanted to understand, he wanted to hear something that made his heart stop and his mind leap because it rang so utterly true. But Orpheus wasn’t him, and his reasons for the things he thought and did were very different. It was possible that L was the only one who could answer his own questions. He gazed at the sky. It seemed like he could do anything, here. Say anything. It was a dangerous freedom. He wasn’t sure he was ready for it. He breathed the cold air quietly. It felt deeply wrong to reply to something so real with anything that wasn’t equally real. “If home is a person, then you really shouldn’t feel bad at all,” he murmured finally, his voice cautious. “Because I had already lost it anyway.” Dangerous freedom. He didn’t look at Orpheus. He wasn’t sure he could. The sky was much easier to watch. It didn’t care one way or the other. “I have to wonder whether this is the most impressive thing we’ll ever see, and whether we should have saved it.”
Orpheus felt a bit of a disconnect between himself and L. They were tied together by the curse Orpheus had gotten placed on both of them, but they were very different people, ultimately. Orpheus wanted to keep traveling with L, but there was so much he didn’t know about him… so much he was going to have to figure out if he wanted this to work. He didn’t know how hard he was allowed to press about L’s past, so he didn’t press at all. He didn’t know for how long L was going to worry about things being poisoned. He didn’t know what might make L laugh, and he didn’t know what scared him. All he knew was that the feeling of not being alone outweighed every bit of confusion and uncertainty he felt around L. He could only hope that the other immortal felt the same. “Oh,” Orpheus murmured, eyes widened as L shared something that sounded deeply, deeply personal. “I’m… I’m sorry to hear that,” he murmured, though he knew the words couldn’t come even close to fixing the gaping hole that was left when someone exited your life. He didn’t know who it was for L, and he didn’t know if he could make it better at all. “I can’t… make pain like that feel better. But… when I first heard of the lights, someone said that the people who live here think of the lights as the spirits of their ancestors. Maybe… maybe home is closer here than either of us think.” He let his eyes close, trying to feel the presence of his gods here. Nothing. He let his eyes close, trying to breathe in and out as calmly as he could. “There’s no point in saving the good things,” Orpheus replied softly, brow arching as he dropped his thoughts and turned to glance at L. “Because then you start saving it and saving it and nothing ever feels good enough to use it for. Besides… we don’t know how long these are going to be here. It would be a shame to have missed them if they go away, eventually. Or if it gets crowded, here. People are on the move.”
It wasn’t fair, the disconnect. It wasn’t fair that L knew more about Orpheus than Orpheus did about L, and really, who else did he have to blame for that? No one. He was entirely at fault for the things he’d done, and the things he’d failed to do. He wished trust was easier. But it wasn’t. Here he was, over four hundred years later, and he hadn’t come any closer to trusting Orpheus because he’d been afraid to even talk to him. Why was this such a slow process? He wished he could just know for sure that Orpheus could be trusted and move on with it. But, of course, he didn’t know that at all. Not for sure. “It was a long time ago,” L replied unnecessarily, his shoulders moving in an unconvincing shrug. It still hurt. He had stopped expecting it to stop hurting. But it wasn’t the same sort of pain it had been before. It was the sort of thing that he could have and still be theoretically happy. His lack of happiness was related, but not caused by it. He had to face the fact that he didn’t know if immortality and happiness could coexist. He’d already noticed that Orpheus frequently spoke of the past, instead of the present or the future, a phenomenon commonly found among the sad. But he was forced to notice that he often thought of the past, too. It was hard not to when you had as many memories as they did. He noticed Orpheus’ eyes close. More openness, more trust. L could barely bring himself to sleep. “I suppose,” he mused, looking up again. “Yes...I’d be very sad to have missed them.” He hesitated. “They do seem inclined to travel,” he added. “People, I mean. Almost like they’re looking for something, too.”
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