Monday night, 11:00 PM. The moon sits high over the Asian city and a clear sky gives sight to a shimmering stars. Although nightfall, the balmy weather makes for a warm night. Temps: 17C/62F lows and 25C/77F highs.
skin credit goes to miss texas, custom structure scripts go to black, and the toggle cbox goes to subdevo. credit for mini profile goes to bee.
Faded text in hand, Wolfgang stood in the (auto)biography section of the used bookstore. He was slowly reading over the print that told the story of the first openly gay elected official in the state of California, over in the U.S. He'd just gotten to the part where the poor guy wound up dead. Murdered, to be exact. He had a knack for always picking up the ones that wound up murdered.
"What kind of name is Milk anyway?" he scoffs. But he can't put the book down yet, because it's part of his disguise. Right now, he's blending in, making himself appear as if he belongs. An infernal among men--and demons.
He'd been watching the brothers long enough to know that sometimes they came here. So here is where he'd wait, hoping to get a chance to get closer to that one brother that had the mark of Belial upon him. Famine had finally figured out the next step in his plot to assess whether this demon-turned-do-gooder had the stuff to don an Omega ring and help usher in the end of the world. Come on, he thought to himself, we've got an apacolypse to get to.
(Why’d they run off?) The young shaman stands sandwiched between the stacks. (If I sensed them, then they also sensed me. It’s just rude.) Zach contemplates his experience at the Monastery. He supposed that Monks are the solitary type, but it’s only polite to make yourself known to your kin. The Higher Powers didn’t bless them with the ability to sense one another for no reason.
Zach’s eyes bounce across an array of books with old and battered covers. Books which have clearly seen better days. The young man is pursuing titles relating to a particular interest of his – Legends and Folklore. Growing up, Zach feasted on Māori and Pākehā fables, and the sense of wonder and magic they invoked within him didn’t fade with age. Hopefully Singapore’s will be just as captivating.
(This one looks good.) The shaman’s eyes lock on a book far above his head. He jumps to his toes and tugs at the shelf with a childish impatience. “Ugh!” It’s out of reach. His fingers ebb at the edge, attempting to pull the book closer. It’s futile.
Without a second thought, Zach steps onto the lower shelf and pulls himself upwards. For the briefest of moments, the decision pays off. That is until the bookcase tips forward. (Fuck!)
Zach throws himself to the ground. Now free of his weight, the bookcase rocks backwards – and collides into the stack behind it. The autobiography section. And while Zach’s area is left unscathed, a pile of tomes facing Wolfgang shoot towards the Infernal Harbinger.
“Thank God.” Zach counts his blessings. He’s escaped scot free. Then he hears the *THUD* of books hitting the floor. (Shit!) He races around the corner to see the mess he’s created. Books surround the demon, although he’s unsure if any hit the man or not.
“Maaf!” The shaman apologises in Malay as he dashes towards Wolfgang. “My bad man.” Zach scrambles to pick up the books one by one. (I'm such a dick.) “I hope they didn’t hit you.”
It's creeping on eleven at night when the Weiss twins step up to the bookshop door. The owner of The Faded Page is an acquaintance of his, which allows him to place in special requests for tomes not in his collection and other accommodations not extended to the general public. Arie has come from closing down his own shop, and was insistent that Rylan make the time to further look into the spider demon they vanquish a couple of days prior. They needed to ensure that there are no other surprises lurking in the dark, set to spring on them at an unsuspecting moment.
At the very least it will give him some peace of mind.
Arie passes through the door first, giving it a hard push to allow Rylan entry behind him, but he makes it no further as he comes upon the chaotic scene. A stack is dipped sideways and books litter the ground. Once he spots Zach (because of course), Arie rushes over to assist. "What the hell happened?"
(So much for us being the only ones here tonight.)
Rylan gives an affected yawn as the two of them turn off of the street. It's late and he'd rather be in his cell at the monastery catching some Zs. After their vanquish of the spider demon, Rylan has been all about looking deeper into the mystery that is the creature... but not at almost midnight. Mostly he's been waiting on Arie. His twin does have a business to run, though, whereas the large amounts of free-time that Ry has on his hands stem from the fact that he's by and large unemployed. You'd think he'd use his time better.
Arie swings the door open wide, putting force behind it, and Rylan follows into the Faded Page behind his twin. ('Ah books... my fickle friends...') he thinks wryly. When people learn about him not having a high-school degree, they generally assume that he's averse to books. And while Adrian is definitely more bookish than Ry, he's not averse to them. He just has to take them in small doses.
When he first takes in the scene of the store, he stops, dumbfounded. He face is blank. Arie immediately spots one of his employees and rushes off to help. When Ry finally reacts, his face cracks into a grin. He finds the situation somewhat comical, even though it will undoubtedly make the search for research books all the more tedious. ('Yeah, I know... and look at this mess.')
"Well, it's kind of obvious... employee of the month here caused an avalanche... or maybe we missed another earthquake." He says, looking at Zach now. There's no malice behind his teasing words, but he can't help himself. The boy seems a little accident prone. After a moment he surveys the other man in the store. He might take Rylan's making light of his plight in the wrong way... "You hurt?"
The avalanche comes swiftly, much too quickly for Wolfgang to see it coming or react to what's about to happen. His lips part to swear as his eyes notice the sudden shadow moving overhead, but the first slipped book knocks against his head and silences him. So, really, the other books weren't necessary, but that didn't stop them from falling.
It wasn't until a dozen books had directly smashed into his body and forced him down to the ground that the man-made disaster finally came to an end. "That was pleasant," the Horseman says sarcastically to himself, taking a second to get his bearings from the crouched position he know sits in. When the young source of the calamity - a boy now on Wolfgang's shit list - rushes over to ask if any of the books had hit Wolfgang, he looks at him incredulously. "Nope," he retorts, "they all missed me somehow. Damnedest thing." He's obviously lying, but while it could be seen as making light of the situation he's really poking fun at what he believes to be Zach's stupidity.
A couple of new voices join the fray, and they sound strikingly similar to one another. Wolfie looks up to see his boy twin wonders, finally having made a trip to the bookstore. Maybe the books to the head were worth it. "Yeah, I'm fine. Thanks," he responds to Rylan, although he can't tell the twins apart yet so he doesn't know he's speaking to Belial's seed.
The harbinger puts his arm up into the air, expecting someone to help bring him up. There might be an extra player in the game now in the klutzy brown boy, but Wolfgang still thinks he can pull off his plan tonight.
"Nope, "they all missed me somehow. Damnedest thing."
Zach’s eyes narrow. He can sense the barbed undercurrent of Wolfgang’s tone. He doesn’t like it, although he’s not sure he can quite blame the man either. Chaos does seem to be on first name basis with the overzealous shaman. (It was an accident asshole.)
And then naturally, Rylan and Arie appear. Because of course, when you’re fucking up your boss is only around the corner. The Higher Powers really do have a sick sense of humour.
"What the hell happened?"
"Well, it's kind of obvious... employee of the month here caused an avalanche... or maybe we missed another earthquake."
The twins’ reactions are like day and night. And while Zach can struggle to tell the pair apart, Arie’s disciplinary exclamation immediately gives him away. Rylan’s jovial grin only confirms this.
“I err... tripped?” Zach flashes a boyish grin. It’s clear that the slender shaman must have done a whole lot more than just slip, but he doesn’t feel the need to slander himself any further. (It’s not like we can all just levitate to reach shit.)
Zach pushes a handful of books back into the empty shelf. “Yeah, sorry man.” A tinge of guilt creeps up on him. He nods towards Wolfgang. “You can whack me with a book so we’re even?”
Arie steps forward and grips Wolfgang's hand in his own, hefting the man to his feet. The demon has already responded to his brother's inquiry about his condition so there's no need for Arie to parrot Rylan.
“You can whack me with a book so we’re even?”
"Don't be ridiculous," he interjects. Not that he thinks the man will take Zach up on his offer, but does see it as needlessly inviting further trouble. "Let's just get this cleaned up."
He starts to gather books up into his arms. This is going to significantly cut into their research time tonight - which was already short. Luckily, it's primarily the biography section that was toppled meaning their search for study material will not be lengthened.
"Remind me to not let you work the back stock anymore," he chides playfully as he haphazardly loads some books onto the shelf.
Still grinning, Rylan rolls his eyes when Zach offers himself up to be whacked in the head as well. The world isn't that simple though. Zach is probably too young to know that. When you hurt someone, letting them hurt you back doesn't fix anything at all. Still, it was funny that he has offered.
Echoing across their Bond, Rylan can feel his brother's irritation that cleaning up will cut into their research time. If it was up to Rylan he'd leave the clean-up to the one at fault, and continue on with his own business. He supposes, though, it's just one of the many ways that as much as the twins are alike, that they're different.
('You want me to look while you help Zach out?') he transmits to his brother while Arie helps up Wolfgang. Rylan gets a good look at the man now that he's not confined to the ground. He looks to be around their age, but Ry can guess no more than that. Addressing the room at large, "So what's everyone doing here so late?" he asks, trying to diffuse some of the tension forming in the aftermath of the incident.
It's time to play the game. Wolfgang is helped up by one twin and, once he's finally back on his feet, reaches down to grab the Harvey Milk book he'd been holding before. "That's... not necessary," he responds to the offer to thwack Lyon with a book. "Let's just put it behind us and call it an honest mistake." Though it had smarted like shit, Wolfgang knew he wasn't going to get anywhere holding onto a petty grudge; there were bigger things at stake here than that, so he pushed forward.
Thanks to playing nice, he was already learning more about the situation at hand. These three worked together, or least one of the twins worked with the klutz. So if anything should happen to the shaman, the twins--or at least one of them--would likely get personally involved. A divide and conquer strategy might be favorable here.
"So what's everyone doing here so late?"
Pak looks to Rylan, who stands apart from the other three among the fallen volumes. Wolfie places the biography in his hand back onto the shelf in any ol' place. Sucks for whoever's got to reorganize them. "I'm new around here," a true statement, "and I was just checking out some local places around. Books aren't really my thing, though, and I'm starting to think I'm not really theirs either." With a newly free right hand, Famine extends it out to Rylan, his Omega ring prominent.
Zach catches the incredulous look in Arie’s eyes. Sometimes he can’t help but feel like he annoys the man. It seems like he’s always doing one thing or another that invokes the Weiss eye roll. Is the fact that Zach knows Arie’s witchy little secret the only thing that stops him being fired? The shaman certainly hopes not. He never means to cause trouble, it just seems to follow him around.
"Remind me to not let you work the back stock anymore."
The playful tones brings a smile to Zach’s face. Maybe he’s wrong? Arie might like him more than he lets on? Once again, the young man finds his gaze lingering on his boss’ athletic physique, chiselled jaw, soulful eyes… (No, no, no, no….) He drags his focus away. Zach has developed a small crush on both of the twins, which when he thinks about it is kinda wrong. But he supposes there’s no harm in looking - that is, unless he gets caught. He doesn’t want to make work awkward.
(Wolfgang. That’s a weird name) Zach muses as the Horseman speaks. He soaks in the man’s appearance but says nothing. The demon’s attentions seem to be focused on Rylan anyways.
“Err, think you could reach a book for me on the other side?” Zach whispers low to Arie as the pair return the last of the books onto the shelves. “I couldn’t reach.” He flashes the wiccan a cheeky grin, trying to downplay his omission of guilt.
And that is the extent Arie pays any mind to Wolfgang as Zach grabs his attention with a hushed whisper. He looks over with an inquisitive perch to his brows.
"I couldn't reach."
"You don't say," he says, suppressing a chuckle as he rolls his eyes. The mess they just picked up off the floor was a clear indication of Zach's failure to reach whatever it was he was after. "You know they have ladders right?"
He follows his young employee into the stacks a couple of rows down from Ground Zero. Standing there, he looks up and is perusing the titles of the Folklore and Legends section. (This may be useful to use as well...)
"Okay, which one?" He asks as he continues to scan titles for something that may relate to his and Rylan's search for answers.
Arie pairs off with Zach and they slip away. Rylan wonders exactly how much of his brother's time is spent tidying up after the little human wrecking ball. Zach is nice though, he's always been polite, and according to Arie, he's a genuine person and a hard worker for the most part. You don't run across that every day.
Left alone with Wolfgang, he offers the infernal a smile, though he's not sure what else to say. He takes Wolfgang's hand, his eyes drawn instinctively to the ring he wears. It's nice, and the Omega symbol is prominent... and it irritates him a little as well. There's something about it that sends him a discordant vibe. It's almost like part of him recognizes it.
He has to literally pull his eyes and his hand away. The smile on his face is still there as he introduces himself, "Well met, I'm Rylan." The youngest twin wants to preemptively stop the awkward silence that could be forming, his mind casts around for a subject, but just comes back to the ring. "Cool ring there, did you pledge a Fraternity or something?"
The threat of awkward silence doesn't faze Wolfgang. In fact, he wouldn't mind a bit of a break, a moment to think again on his plan. Such silence, it would appear, is not something the twin prefers, so begin the dance of small talk they do.
Famine is intrigued by how Rylan settles onto the Omega ring. Even after they've shaken hands, it remains the hot topic. Maybe it's because Rylan just knows good tastes when he sees it. Or maybe it's because something within a demonic soul resonates when it spies a symbol of longstanding, grandiose power. Perhaps Famine had just shaken the hand of his new brother? "Yeah, something like that," Wolfgang says coolly before slipping the hand into his pocket.
"I know your brother asked why everyone was here so late, but what about you two? Is it standard to hit up the shops at night? Because I could get used to things around here if that's the case." He makes idle chit chat partly because it's the thing to do in situations like this. Besides, he couldn't very well ask So are you the one who floats or the one who conjures fires? so long as that little sidekick was around.
The light chuckle brings a smile to Zach's lips. (He doesn't hate me.) Arie's aura seems much calmer now, and less irritable. The shaman nods. "Yeah, but where would be the fun in that?" (Note to self: look for ladders before climbing things.)
The young man winds around the stacks to claim his prize. "That one there." Zach points up to a book at the very top of the shelf. It's scarlet red, with gold text running down the spine. In all truth, the colour is what draws Zach's eye more than the title itself. It looks pretty, and he wants it. "The red one."
"So what are you guys here after?" The young man waits for Arie to reach for the tome. "Books on twins and codependency?" Zach winks playfully. (They spend so much time together. Don't know how they do it.)
Thoughts of his own sisters flow through Zach's mind. He loves them, but they have always needed their own space. They were never far away from an argument growing up. (Wonder if Erin is over not getting the Koru. Gramps gave it to me fair and square. It's tradition!)