Orpheus couldn’t say for sure that he knew exactly what L was referring to. He didn’t know enough of the details. Whoever L had called home – a lover? A sibling? A parent? They were gone. They had been gone a long time, as it had to be with the two of them. But whoever it was had died before L had decided to follow Orpheus. They were from the before. Orpheus blinked, surprised a little bit by the thought. It made sense to divide his life up into ‘before’ and ‘after,’ but he couldn’t help wondering if he was truly the same person now as he had been before. He knew he had changed, but would Hermes recognize him now? Would Eurydice? Pain glanced across his expression, but he did his best to push it away. “I know… I know what loss is like,” he managed after a long moment. L knew that. L knew his story, every inch of it. They had talked about it a great deal on their way up here. It was something Orpheus could tell without thinking much, and it meant that L didn’t have to come up with his own stories if they didn’t want to walk in silence. Orpheus hadn’t minded the silence, but they had spent forty years not talking. They had a lot of catching up to do… although L didn’t seem very much like he wanted to share enough to catch up. Orpheus wasn’t going to push him. They quite literally had all the time in the world. “They say time heals all wounds, but I think you and I are probably proof that it doesn’t. The ache never really goes away when you think of them, does it?” he asked, his voice small as he thought of his own pain. As he thought of Eurydice, the way she’d looked at him in that last moment… “I wonder if people know what they’re looking for any more than we do,” Orpheus murmured after a moment, latching onto a new conversation topic. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to talk about loss, it was just that… it never stopped hurting. Not completely.
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Jun 15, 2021 15:00:45 GMT -5
It really did feel like before and after. L knew it was probably more complicated than that, but that was how it felt...it wasn’t like either world could touch the other. They had changed in a very deep way. They weren’t the people they’d been once...they weren’t the same. L knew how Orpheus felt, better, probably, than anyone else could, but still...he wished sometimes that he had been allowed to live his life. He didn’t blame Orpheus at all. It wasn’t his fault, but still...he had lost something. They both had. L couldn’t help wondering if they’d really gained anything in return. He hadn’t shared his own story with Orpheus. Or anyone, actually. He had kept it close to his heart, unwilling to share it with anyone at all, because it had trusted one person in his life, and they were long dead now. He didn’t really want the silence anymore, truthfully, at least not all the time, but he knew he couldn’t just erase his silence. He didn’t trust Orpheus. It would take time. He didn’t know if it would ever happen, actually, but he wanted it to...he thought he did, anyway. Or maybe he was just too lonely to imagine never trusting another soul ever again. He had to be careful. He couldn’t let that stop him from being cautious, even if it was hard to keep a little distance. “No,” he murmured, looking away. “It doesn’t.” It was hard to think about it. He knew it had to be hard for Orpheus, too. He breathed out, letting himself feel the pain for a long moment before he let it go again, his eyes opening and focusing on Orpheus’ face. “I don’t think so. I never did, anyway,” he replied after a moment, letting it fade. He knew it wasn’t a bad thing to feel it, but he didn’t want to wallow either. “I’ve never really heard of anyone who knew what they were looking for. But I haven’t talked to many people, either...so you’d know better than I.”
Orpheus breathed out, letting himself stare up at the sky for another few seconds before his gaze drifted back down to L. He didn’t know what he wanted. He didn’t know how to know what he wanted. All he knew was that he and L were here, that the sky was just as alive as they had been, before. He didn’t know if they counted as alive, now. Their hearts still beat, then still needed to breathe, to eat, to drink, to sleep… they still woke up and experienced the world, touched it as living people did. Even L, who had existed for so long as a shadow. He had been part of the world, too, if only on the outskirts. Perhaps he wasn’t so much a shadow as he was… a predator, stalking its prey. Only he wasn’t a predator, and Orpheus wasn’t prey… it was complicated, but Orpheus wasn’t entirely certain they were on equal ground. He didn’t know nearly as much about L as L knew about him, but it was Orpheus’ fault that L was here in the first place… he just… he wanted things to be simple, as they had been, once. Before. Before Eurydice. Before the curse. Before four hundred years of wandering. Before the Northern Lights. There were still things that took his breath away, it seemed. He was still alive… or as alive as he could possibly be, given the circumstances. “There are plenty of people who think they know what they’re looking for,” Orpheus allowed, giving a small shrug. “People who work for years to get the job they want. And… I think some of them find what they want when they do that, but the vast majority of them… they stumble into it. People who are pursuing love only to find that what they wanted all along was just a place where they felt safe. People who were just trying to escape home, not knowing what, exactly, they wanted, who found it in the least likely of places. I think… I think we just have to keep looking.” Orpheus didn’t say it out loud, but he found he couldn’t help but hope that the thing he wanted was the same as the thing L wanted. He wanted to be able to find it with him. He wanted to share it… perhaps, what he wanted was not to be alone. Perhaps, he would get exactly what he wanted in helping L find what he was looking for. Perhaps. It was a poetic thought, more optimistic than he usually allowed himself, but… he found he couldn’t push this tiny hope away. It was just a spark. How was he to know it would one day light a wildfire?
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Jun 19, 2021 22:14:12 GMT -5
L wasn’t sure he had really been a part of the world at all for a long time, now. He wasn’t at all sure he had been a person, or anything that existed as a living, breathing member of society. Was he real? Was he a ghost, a phantom? He had to wonder. He just didn’t know, not for sure. Orpheus seemed to believe he was real, or he wouldn’t have been talking to him, but still… He knew they weren’t on equal ground. Far from it. L knew Orpheus’ story, and assuming he wasn’t lying, there wasn’t a lot more to know. Oh, there was his life before the events leading up to the curse, there was plenty to know there, but aside from the things that didn’t influence the curse, L thought he probably knew most of it. He didn’t think Orpheus was lying. Which was very different from being sure, but he generally liked to trust his instincts, when he could. The point was that Orpheus didn’t have nearly as much information as L did. L had shared...very little about his life. He hadn’t even said who Watari was, he’d barely admitted to having someone else in his life, before. Orpheus had no way of knowing who it might be. Would L’s secrecy drive Orpheus away? He listened without interrupting, his eyes on the sky, the lights over his head, coloring the air around him in blues and greens. He didn’t know as much about people as Orpheus seemed to. He didn’t know how they worked, or how they interacted with each other...he didn’t know much about them, he never had. Even when he’d been one of them, he hadn’t understood them. The thought surprised him. He pushed it away, not wanting to face his own assumption. Did he want to be human? He thought he probably did. “Well,” he murmured, finally looking at Orpheus once again, his dark eyes soft in the dim light. He was still keeping his mask up, but something about the sky seemed to bleed it out of him, just a little bit. “Well...if people don’t usually know what they’re looking for...perhaps that’s a good sign, for us. Perhaps we can find our own way...and find whatever it is we are looking for.” He didn’t know whether they would eventually discover that they needed to look separately, or whether they would find it together. He found he wanted to look together, for the moment, for whatever reason, for however long this lasted. He had no idea what the future would hold. He only knew he didn’t want to face it alone any longer. He looked up again. “Maybe...this is one of the things I was looking for.”
Orpheus didn’t really mind that he didn’t know as much about L. He wanted to, of course. He wanted to know the story of the man he was travelling with, but they had all the time in the world. If L ever felt comfortable sharing it, Orpheus would be there to hear it. Until then, they would walk together and Orpheus would make sporadic conversation, and L would talk when he wanted to. Orpheus already knew more about L than he had before… it was a start, even if it was a small one. Did immortality bring out the prominent qualities a person had displayed in their mortal life? Orpheus had yearned for company and companionship when he was growing up, even if he couldn’t stand it all of the time. He had wanted to connect with someone. That yearning had only grown stronger as he became one in a matched set, the only two people in the world who would ever share each other’s’ experiences. Had L always been this deeply suspicious? Orpheus found he thought the answer was both yes and no. Yes, because instead of giving Orpheus back the lyre as soon as they were cursed, he had decided to follow to make sure that Orpheus wasn’t going to hurt anyone else. No, because L’s first instinct upon seeing the lyre was to return it. A lyre, lying forgotten by the side of a road, and a boy who had left it there because he was more broken than he could ever express. It would have been very easy for L to just leave it there, but he had picked it up and tried to bring it back home. It was difficult to imagine the man in front of him now doing something like that. Four hundred years had changed them both. “Perhaps we will,” Orpheus murmured, giving a tiny nod as he met L’s eyes. “I… I find I hope we do.” Together. He couldn’t say that. They weren’t friends yet, they were just… temporary travelling companions. Orpheus wanted them to be friends, but he could be patient. No… he had to be patient. Orpheus let his gaze drift back up to the sky as he considered that. This wasn’t what Orpheus was looking for, but he knew he had been changed after having seen it. You couldn’t see where the sky met the Earth and leave the same person as you were before you had seen the way the lights danced down, a legion of stars paying courtship to the steadfast Earth. “If that’s the case,” he said after a moment, watching his breath puff out in the cold air, “Then I’m especially glad we came here. Finding one thing you were looking for means… well, I guess that you can start developing more things to go looking for.”
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Jun 23, 2021 20:45:12 GMT -5
L was aware that he wasn’t being pressured into sharing. It should have put him at ease, set his fears to rest, and it helped, it was better than being pushed, but...his mind couldn’t help coming up with the worst theories. He couldn’t seem to stop imagining all the ways this could go wrong. He would be much safer alone...except...would he? He wouldn’t be able for watch Orpheus if he was alone. No, he didn’t think Orpheus needed watching. That wasn’t why. It was possible Orpheus’ theory had merit. The idea that the longer you were alive, the more pronounced your qualities became, was...interesting. Though it didn’t seem to have proof. Maybe it was just that their particular qualities were the sort that time, and the things they’d gone through, exaggerated. L, with his suspicion, which had only grown over time. Orpheus, with his need for companionship, which of course got stronger when you were as lonely and touch starved as they both were. It was true that he might not have tried to return the lyre now, though. No...he definitely wouldn’t have. Four hundred years had left his heart colder, harder, more resistant to harm. Things looked darker to him now. He was determined not to be hurt. He was determined not to fall into trust, in case he broke something when he hit the bottom. The years had changed Orpheus, too. He couldn’t say how...he couldn’t be sure what all had changed about someone he had never met before, but he knew they had, because there was no other option. It was change or die, and they were both here, breathing in the cold air and watching something magical together. He dipped his head, eyes lifting to the sky once again. He couldn’t quite seem to look away, like the colors tempted him, begged him to just look, watch them dance, don’t you wish you were brave enough to dance, too? He breathed out. It was cold, but he didn’t feel it. Everything was quiet. “I interrupted your music,” he realized quietly, not looking down. “I just realized. I was listening to it, but...it didn’t quite occur to me that you’d have to stop to talk. I’m sorry.” The apology was genuine. He wanted Orpheus to be able to play if he wanted to. It was only lights. He wondered if he’d ever convince his heart of that.
Orpheus had fallen silent, lost in thought as he stared up at the stars. The melody he had been playing was still looping its way around Orpheus’ head, embellishing itself and rewriting itself near constantly. A song was never perfect until well after it had been written down. In fact, there was little use writing a first draft down unless you wanted a tangible record of how much it changed before it was completed. Of course, the first draft wasn’t bad, per se, it just… wasn’t as good. It was a little bit rougher around the edges. More… real in a way, Orpheus thought, though that was a rather romantic way of looking at it. The point was that the song he had been playing was far from finished. It had scarcely been more than a chance to mess around with the lyre and take some inspiration from the lights that felt like they should have been impossible. Orpheus had seen a great number of impossible things in what was supposed to be his short, mortal life, but there were still some things he found difficult to believe. Things that, because times were changing, probably seemed perfectly mundane to plenty of people. Perhaps the lights were mundane to some of the locals. Orpheus found that hard to believe. He never stopped looking at the moon in wonder, why would the people here stop regarding the lights that way as well? “Oh,” Orpheus murmured, lurched from his thoughts by L’s voice. It was soft, gentle in a way that Orpheus wasn’t quite used to. He also found that he hadn’t really expected L to be the sort to apologize. It was far too easy to make character judgements, but L didn’t seem… well, he seemed like the kind of person who scarcely needed to apologize, if only because they were right most of the time. It was hard to tell with L. Sometimes it seemed like he was still more of a shadow than a person. “I can play literally any time,” he added after a moment, shifting so there was a little bit of room beside him if L wanted to shift. “I don’t… mean to be rude, but it’s not often you’re willing to talk. I would rather hold off on playing for a little bit and have a chance to… I don’t know, exactly. Converse? Share in discussion?”
L didn’t know much about music, how it worked or how it was built. He didn’t know about first drafts, or when was a good time to write them down. Mostly, he knew how it sounded when Orpheus played it. He didn’t see how it could be any better than it was then. It sounded perfect to his ears, just the right mix of emotion and technique. Of course, he wasn’t much of a judge, but...he liked it. It evoked the sort of deep emotion he’d wondered if it was capable of, at times. Did Orpheus know what sort of effect it had? Did he realize how powerful his music seemed to be? L thought he probably had to. He had to know he was incredibly gifted. He had to know he was able to soften even L’s hardened heart. Or maybe he didn’t. It wasn’t as though L broadcasted it. He was still mostly in denial himself, sure he wasn’t touched at all, sure it didn’t matter. He was still mostly in awe of the world. It was an enormous place, much bigger than he’d thought when he was mortal. There were so many things...things he didn’t quite understand. He wanted to find everything thar could make his heart stop and remember it all. He wanted to see everything, and maybe...maybe he could. Maybe it was possible, now. He wasn’t at all convinced this was a gift, it had been a punishment, but maybe there was something good to be gotten out of it. Maybe...if there were more things like the lights...he didn’t know if it was a foolish hope of not. He just wanted it to be true. He watched Orpheus. He didn’t know what sort of person he was seen as...he didn’t know if Orpheus thought he was annoying, or interesting, or whatever else he might think. He’d never been good at figuring out his own reputation. Now was no different. He glanced away as the poet continued, looking down. “Yes,” he said quietly, considering that. “I...suppose so. Still, it was a good song. I’d hate to make you forget it.” Was that how it worked? He really didn’t know. Maybe Orpheus didn’t forget songs.
Orpheus knew his music had done amazing things. He knew that the flowers wouldn’t be blooming the way they did in the spring if it weren’t for the way he had weaved a story that was ingrained in the very fabric of the Earth. But that was a song that had already existed. That was a song Orpheus had remembered, more than written. He was fairly oblivious to the effect his own music could have. His own music wasn’t nearly as powerful. He was no god. He couldn’t make flowers bloom with his regular music – or, if he could, it was a skill he had only happened upon once. He had a feeling that he would have to remember more songs if he wanted to influence the world in that way. He wrote music because he liked it. Because he felt indescribable emotion when he looked at the world – at the people – around him, and the only way he could possibly express the magnitude of the feeling was through music. Because… he had a lot to say about the world, and just saying it wasn’t nearly enough. “I won’t forget it,” Orpheus replied quietly, giving a small shake of his head. “I mean… it won’t ever be played like I just played it, and I’m sure I won’t remember every single note, but that’s not because of you. That’s just because… well, I remember the feeling of pieces more than I remember every individual note. It’s only when I write things down that it starts to become something I can replicate every time. That wasn’t so much a song as it was… something alive, I suppose. Something growing and adapting like the lights do. I guess… I thought something that fluid would be fitting.” Orpheus stared at L for a long moment before he allowed his gaze to drift back towards the sky. He didn’t exactly know what to say. He was always better with words when there was music to go along with them, which seemed like something of an oxymoron. He spent his life making people feel things just through the power of his words, but he couldn’t command them to do what he wanted them to when he didn’t have the time to sit back and compose them into something lyrical.
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Jul 15, 2021 11:02:22 GMT -5
Even if it had already existed, did that make it easy to have brought it back? Whether Orpheus was the creator of the song or not, he had done something truly amazing, bringing back spring and balancing the world. Who was to say a song that came from his own heart couldn’t do the same? L didn’t believe it to be that impossible, or even unlikely. He thought Orpheus could probably do a lot more than he believed he could. The emotion Orpheus got from looking at the world…L shared it. He didn’t like to let it show, and he tried to suppress it, sometimes. It was even easy to lose it on accident, sometimes. But the music he heard…it helped bring it back. Or maybe that was just Orpheus himself. He listened quietly, taking the words in. That made sense, he supposed. Human memory was highly flawed. Orpheus couldn’t keep all the music in his head, so he kept the emotions and general tune instead, much like remembering only the meaning behind something and not the thing itself. Feelings were much easier to remember then other things, generally speaking. That was why a place you’d been could give you such strong emotions even if you couldn’t remember what happened there exactly. And, of course, strongly emotional situations tended to be remembered better on their own, too. “Change “ he mused, looking at the lyre. “I understand. We know better than most how things change. I suppose…for you…music is a bit like a language on its own. Your native one, perhaps.” He wasn’t sure that was the right leap, but it was how it seemed to him. Orpheus seemed to be most able to express himself through music. L…L thought that maybe his native language was silence.
Orpheus glanced over at L, trying to read him. It seemed he was still unsuccessful. L’s mask had only dropped for a brief second as he looked at the lights, and once it had come back down, it was back to being impenetrable. Orpheus couldn’t help but wonder if he’d ever be able to see past it, or if L would ever willingly let it up around him again. This time, he supposed, hadn’t been willing. It had just been the shock of seeing something that still took your breath away after all this time… Orpheus doubted there was much that could still do that for them. Although, sometimes, just looking up at the sky was enough to make Orpheus gasp. It was enough to remind him why he felt lucky to be alive. Here they were, standing somewhere amazing, filled by things they could never understand no matter how long they spent on Earth. Just because things didn’t change as much as Orpheus had expected didn’t mean that he wasn’t amazed by the things that stayed the same. The flowers died year after year, but they came back every time. Persephone kept them blooming. The stars rose and sank every night, the sun continued to arc its path across the sky, and the mountains stood firm and tall. The Earth itself, it seemed, was immutable. How long would it take before they didn’t even recognize the ground they walked on? “Perhaps,” Orpheus agreed, giving L another searching glance. He would say that was accurate. It was the tongue he spoke most fluently, the only ability he had to get across everything he felt on the inside. He spoke dozens of languages and dialects now, but none of them were enough to get across the fire in his soul. Only music could do that, and it could do that without the lyrics being understandable at all. It was the passion behind the lyrics. It was the chords and the vitality in the song. “I suppose it would be easier for me if everyone spoke it,” he managed lightly, placing his hands delicately in his pockets.
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Jul 21, 2021 17:58:21 GMT -5
L didn’t know his mask had left, for a moment. He didn’t realize that for a moment, just a moment, he’d been like anyone else, a boy caught off guard looking at something beyond words. He didn’t think he would ever let it up. He didn’t expect to ever trust Orpheus with the real him, he didn’t think he would ever really know him well enough for that. He was still a little breathless, no matter how many times he looked. He couldn’t pretend he didn’t care. He had wanted to come here, and it had been better than he’d ever expected it to be, He needed to remember what it was like to feel alive. He needed to remember how to feel. He didn’t want to be dead, even internally. He didn’t want to lose the spark of life whatever it was that had made him see the sky and want to touch it, look at the colors and never let them go. Nothing changed, and at the same time, everything changed. Nothing ever went away, and still L wondered what he would be forced to miss one day. Being immortal…it left him wondering what would leave before he’d even gotten to see it. The world was vast, and he didn’t know where to go, or what he should be looking for. He was lost, it seemed. Especially now…he didn’t have someone to follow anymore. All he had was a future, stretching out indefinitely ahead of him, and nothing at all was set in stone. He looked at Orpheus. What was he thinking? What was he going to do now? L wished he knew how to read him better than he did. Maybe…if nothing pulled them away from each other, if the world allowed it, maybe one day, he would know the answer to that question. “Yes…I suppose so,” he agreed lightly, looking down. Looking at the sky was beginning to hurt his neck, just a little. “Then again, perhaps they do. Music is well known, and it’s made the humans cry for as long as I’ve been alive, so potentially…humans understand it innately, but have to learn how to speak it.”
Orpheus didn’t know what the future was going to hold. He didn’t know if they had already missed out on things that would have taken their breath away that had gone away long before they had been aware of it. The world was vast and wide, and they had only seen a small part of it in spite of how long they had been alive. Orpheus had done a lot of traveling, but he knew that no amount of travelling was ever going to permit them to see everything. He wanted to, though. He wanted to see everything the world had to offer and taste humanity as much as humanly possible. He knew… he knew it was more complicated than that. He knew life would never allow that, and he knew that if he and L didn’t get along as well as he’d hoped, he would be alone again. Orpheus couldn’t remember the last time he had been truly alone. For as long as he could remember, he had been surrounded by people. For as long as he had been immortal, there had been L, always a few steps behind him. Orpheus had only ever experienced being truly alone for a few seconds, and it was a feeling he would never forget. It was a feeling he never wanted to have again. Eurydice, falling. Eurydice, being pulled back. Orpheus, alone. Orpheus, left with the knowledge that he had been her death, that she was going to suffer and that he might never see her again. It was the loneliness that had made him abandon the lyre. With nobody to listen to the music, what point was there in playing? “Perhaps,” Orpheus agreed breathlessly, leveling his gaze at L. “Perhaps it’s something that can touch everyone’s soul, even if not everyone knows how to speak it. I don’t know. It’s… not as precise or clear as regular language, though. I find… words fail me, often. When they’re not part of a song.”
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