[Start with part one?]
The first thing Jian noticed was that although his head hurt, it didn't hurt nearly as badly as memory said it should. Those memories were confused with waking bits of what had seemed like a nightmare, nightmares of the real
sort, not... what had actually happened. He opened his eyes, stared upwards at an unfamiliar, dark ceiling. This shit was real
, it hadn't gone away, unless he was rocking in a straitjacket somewhere in actual reality. No... he might not know where he was now or what the hell had been going on before this, but the sinking feeling in his stomach said that blaming recent events on crazy was the cheap way out.
It also didn't change how real this kept being. The pillows behind his head were soft, fabric under his fingers silky, air moving slowly in and out of his lungs cool, but not cold. He sighed and propped himself up on his elbows, looking around the large room wreathed in shadows. The bed below him was huge
and... probably that guy's
. Asura. The boy had apparently kicked off the finely-embroidered blanket lying next to him, and he was still dressed in his own clothes except for his feet being bare. His host had a sense of decency, assuming Asura was
the one responsible for the new surroundings. There was one way to figure that out for sure, light visible under a doorway to the left side of the room.
Sitting up properly was a better goal for the immediate moment, and there was only a slight sense of vertigo as the teenager dropped his feet over the edge of the bed and stayed seated there while his balance sorted itself out. There was a nightstand beside him, a small mirror framed upon it, and he could see bandages around his head now, clean save for a darker hint where he knew he'd been bleeding last night.
Careful inspection proved that the bandages didn't even need to be there anymore, an odd thought as they were pulled away and set aside. The wound felt like it should be a couple of weeks old, the concept of scars not an entirely new thing to him. It still felt tender; there weren't even stitches, though it was hard to tell in the dark if there had been any at some point. Had he been asleep for that long? No... unless that was just more of what wasn't making sense. Maybe he'd been healed by... magic, or something. After what had already happened, it wasn't a difficult leap for the imagination. Didn't make it any less surreal.
The furnishings of the room spread out along the edges were taking more shape now, style a mix of high-class modern and something that said expensive and maybe 1920's. Beyond a dark rug that surrounded the sleeping area lay what looked like marble tile. Jian carefully found his feet, slight dizziness passing after a steady breath and a few blinks. It felt like it was there more because his stomach was reminding him he hadn't eaten in a while, however long it was that he'd been asleep.
The floor did prove cold as stone, real
marble, and what had looked like several windows on the far wall now proved to be balcony doors. Curiosity drew the boy that way first, perhaps an easier answer as to his exact location lying in the view outside. Not so, for beyond a pale stone balcony with sturdy railing of the same material running off on either side of the building, whatever lay in darkness beyond was obscured by thick fog.
That just left the door. Jian took a deep breath and stepped towards it, fingers finding the ornate gem-cut handle that was probably real crystal at this rate, turning it with a soft click to reveal the hallway beyond. The light was coming from further to the right, but straight ahead was another door with a room of very obvious purpose. Handy for inconvenient human needs, whatever the heck Asura was. If this was Asura's place. It totally is. And I'm totally avoiding him right now
The teenager knew he'd have to overcome the shyness sooner than later, but he let the bedroom door close softly and slipped across to the other portal. He'd deal with whatever this all meant after
nature shut the hell up. He could see better in the bathroom mirror once the light was on, and was surprised to see that other than looking a bit sleep-bedraggled, his face showed no sign of bruising like he would have expected from meeting solid objects at high speeds.
Maybe he really had been here for a while. Had he lost some memories? Whatever was going on, he was sure of one thing at least... he wasn't freaking out about it. Maybe he could, well of course
he could, if he wanted to, but even faced with an unknown living space and uncertain results of what had happened before... he wasn't afraid. Things weren't currently trying to kill him. Everything was peaceful and calm and expensive looking. Freaking out just didn't seem appropriate.
Back out in the hall, there still weren't signs of life beyond his own presence. Soft rugs led feet towards the light, rounding a corner to the left and then opening into a large room. Jian paused, awkwardness right back in full swing again at having located his enigmatic host. There was the back of a couch that held something of Victorian stylings, Asura seated just beyond and to the right of it in a comfortable chair to match, facing towards hints of a coffee table and tea set. The glasses were back, and the high-collared shirt had more frill this time and the entire thing white as its owner's skin. A book held the strange one's attention, poised upon black-nailed fingers so that the eyes did not seem to register their guest's appearance.
The tattoo was easily visible from this angle as the teenager took a step closer. It vanished somewhere into that shirt, and then he realized that the sleeves were partly sheer, and some of the design could be seen snaking along the closest upper arm.
Then the book moved, dropping back slightly as red eyes turned to find green ones. The otherworldly one nodded with a touch of serene smile as a bookmark was placed and the tome closed. The tassled marker looked like it could have been one of the ones purchased at pretty much any major bookstore, as opposed to something more unique or non-modern. But the soft voice with its enchanting qualities was now interrupting any wandering teenage thoughts.
"Good morning." The book found its way to a side table hosting a cozy lamp. It was not a modern cover, whatever its contents.
Jian felt his cheeks get a bit warmer. Why am I blushing? ...Oh, who am I kidding
. "M-morning." He looked to the far side of the room where huge windows running floor to ceiling made up the entire wall. He'd sort of overlooked them for some reason, though they were impressive to note now; it was just as foggy as ink out there too. "If it umm, is
"Time is relative here, it is merely fitting to the circumstances." The calm one gestured easily towards the couch. "Have a seat, if you like. There is tea." As the boy moved a little hesitantly to sit on the far end of the furnishing before the waiting teacup, the older one spoke again. "How do you feel?"
"Umm, great, actually, I mean... relatively speaking." At least talking distracted from staring at the outfit that proved to continue just as white, and rather dated. Like, Victorian, no, earlier. The pants below gold-buckled belt were shorter than modern standards, smooth socks more than long enough to hide no doubt the same color skin below, and leather loafers to match. Stop. Fanboying
. "It still hurts a little but... I wouldn't have expected it to heal so fast at all." The tea was still steaming, as if whoever had poured it had known it would be in use shortly. He decided to pause the butchering of language with a careful sip.
"I'm glad to hear it," responded the one who did not seem shy about keeping his own eyes on the teenager. "Is the tea to your liking?"
Jian swallowed the perfect-temperature liquid, nodding, surprised that he actually liked it. He wasn't a big tea person, but this stuff had the potential to convert him. "It's really good... reminds me of the hot chocolate my grandma used to make... except this has more peppermint and less chocolate." It was a comfort, the memory of one of the few decent people in his past, and the familiar flavor so closely tied to her.
Asura smiled softly at the revelation. "A lucky guess. It pleases me to have pleased you." There was a hint of blush again on the listener's cheeks at the phrasing, but the speaker continued into less ambiguous territory. "You no doubt have many questions, but before they are asked, I would like to inspect your wound, to be sure of its healing."
The younger swallowed more tea nervously and nodded, the thought of Asura getting closer not really helping with the blush. At least the teenager didn't need to say anything, the other standing gracefully to step closer and sit beside him. Jian held still while he felt the long fingers brush gently through hair where the slight ache still lay, red eyes attentive to their task.
Asura frowned slightly. "Hmm. It has not healed completely... I can make it do so, but it may be a little uncomfortable to you." At an uncertain glance from the boy while young fingers gripped the teacup a little tighter, the pale one smiled reassuringly. "It will not hurt."
Jian wasn't sure what uncomfortable
was supposed to mean without pain, not counting having Asura, like, right there
- but then realized exactly what had been meant as the figure leaned closer and pressed lips softly to where the still-forming scar waited. He just kissed me
. If the teen had thought the blushing obnoxious before, it was completely out of hand now. But Asura was pulling away and returning to the other seat and there was a warm sensation where the kiss had been placed, a slight tingling. It didn't hurt, just as promised, and curiosity over what might be happening didn't quite win out over wanting to be sure he didn't screw up whatever the healing was doing.
There was something a little apologetic in the red eyes as the pale one settled comfortably back into the chair. The look cleared though with words drawn forth to progress beyond the elephant in the room. "Now for questions. You wish to know where you are, and why you are here, no doubt?"
"Yeah... that'd make a nice start." The boy decided to drown his blush in tea that his stomach said made a nice start too but hinted that a real
breakfast would be preferred.
Elbows on the chair arms, black-tipped fingers steepled and Asura's voice took on a less casual, if just as calm note. "You are in my home, in a place that is not quite your world, but very close to it. You have been chosen, Jian... and I have in turn chosen to protect you. The most ancient of prophesies had named you its heir, and your continued survival is of utmost importance."
Jian had almost choked on the word chosen
and decided to set the tea back down on the table before he spilled it. "You're kidding, right? I mean... I mean I know what happened last night... if it was last night..." He sighed, frustrated at the chaos in his head, then looked to the red eyes that waited patiently. "I'm nobody
. I barely passed high school. I've got a lot of flipping burgers to look forward to. I..." His own eyes drifted to stare through the table they weren't really seeing. Chosen? Are you fucking kidding me?
Asura's response was even and held not a hint of dishonesty, though it was debatable what the enigmatic one could mask. "Had the chosen one been the president of your country, his station would not have mattered. He simply would have been chosen... but he was not. You are the one, Jian. The sign has been given, and I learned of your identity at the same time as the enemy. We were lucky the nearest had no leader, or you would have been in far greater danger."
It wasn't too hard to muddle through the logic of that, but the rest of it held a lot more potential questions. Jian tried for the easiest one, fingers fiddling with one of the metal loops on his pants. "What... sign?"
"A star. It burned brightly above your planet, and through what means I have to divine the one it signaled, I located you."
"Heh, yeah right, I've heard this one. That happened like two thousand years ago, or so the religious freaks claim." Jian shifted uncomfortably, uncertain of whether or not he was in the presence of an actual religious icon. It didn't change that this story seemed awfully familiar. "Besides, stars are like, billions of miles away. Something goes off that close to the planet, NASA would freak the fuck out."
Asura chuckled softly, fingers folding together. "It was not a star your kind can see. As to that particular legend, it was in truth based off a prophesy far older than the religion that stole it. That it has only finally come to pass is irrelevant. You are here, and you have been chosen."
Well, it made sense, when the guy put it like that... and he was probably the one to know, considering frying shit with lightning, turning the damn ground invisible, and flying off into the moonlight were the first real
signs of anything paranormal the boy had ever seen. That left one question, whatever else could be believed. "For what, exactly?" He smirked and added, "I'm supposed to save the world or something?"
Blue lips smiled softly at the humor, then the sheer-clad shoulders shrugged. "I do not know." With the fairly expected look of disbelief and confusion brought forth now upon the teenager's face, the pale one answered the unspoken words. "The prophesy is not specific, and it seems it was never intended to be. I know that you will do something great, but I do not know what
that will be. Part of this journey will be to discover the destiny you have been given."
Green eyes stared at knees hidden behind goth accouterments. What the hell was he supposed to do with that?
...Total lack of information aside, if the oldest prophesy of whatever grander thing was going on in the universe was about him
... yeah, it wouldn't be something like winning American Idol. This was deep shit, and he didn't even know what the shit was. He took a deep breath and tried to clear his thoughts out, knowing that even if his host lacked the meaning behind the prophesy, the guy surely knew a whole lot of other useful stuff. "Okay. I mean, I guess I don't really have a choice, but umm... what now?"
Asura stood. "Breakfast." He moved towards the windows as further words found the air. "First, however, you may wish to see where you are. I will show you, if you like." He turned slightly to gesture to the windows that still only showed darkness with the faintest trails of mist swirling slowly.
This guy could be so direct, it was actually relatively refreshing. Jian's stomach agreed heartily with the food idea, but the current invitation was already waiting. As he stood, he realized the dizziness had vanished completely and the ache in his head had become so slight that it had escaped his notice. When he reached the window, the pale hand to his right was held out for his own, its owners voice adding a few words of explanation.
"This may startle at first. Know only that you are safe, there is nothing to fear."
Jian took the hand while mentally telling himself to shut up about how he really didn't need to be convinced to do so, and then looked out into the black stuff that obscured from all direction. Were they really high up, or something? It was impossible to see if there were floors below this one, from the window's vantage point, but the ground was not visible so there must be at least be a lower floor. Plus, there had been a balcony in the bedroom.
Asura's grip was firm but not unkind, and as the other hand waved once in an arc before the glass, Jian suddenly found his own grip growing into something more of a cling. The only words that managed to make it out were a stunned and whispered, "Holy shit
The taller one chuckled softly and gave the boy's hand a comforting squeeze. Before the windows now was the mind-numbing and vertigo-enducing curve of the Earth's surface as viewed from high orbit. Millions of stars twinkled in the inky black of space as cloud-swirled seas and continents below filled half the room's view. It was unreal, and yet so real, just like the movie Jian had seen at an IMAX once, except that had been filmed by astronauts and... and...
The soft voice was speaking now, comfort in the tones. "Where we are is very close to the place your world resides, but removed enough that we observe but are not seen. Were there someone from your world nearby, they would pass right through if they came too close, and never notice. We are here, and we aren't. It was from here that I saw the star, and you would see it now too, but it has passed."
Jian was still trying to wrap his head around the view, nevermind the explanation. One of the more immediate and human responses managed to find the English language, however. "S-so, if something happened to the windows, we wouldn't like... die?" That business of we are here, but aren't
hopefully meant that... not that Asura seemed worried about anything at all, standing there all serene-like.
The red head shook in answer. "No, we are safe here. For now." An addition to the concept of safety that hadn't been tacked on before, and the listener didn't miss it. But the speaker had further to say now as pale hand was still clung to a little much. "The view will not be going anywhere. You may wish to eat sooner than later, yes?"
Jian blushed at the bit of smile directed his way and the fact that yes, he still had a death grip on Asura's hand. "Sh-sure..." The boy didn't really want to let go, though he probably should, but it seemed his wish was answered by the other pulling him along past the windows and to a door that led out of the room and away from the spectacular but dizzy height that was and wasn't still technically there even if he couldn't see it. Fuck, this is confusing
. If he'd gotten that right, though, he was sort of getting the hang of this. Sure, there were tons of questions left and probably more he didn't even know about still left hanging, but whatever.