Tristan watches the cluster of pink orbs ascend skyward, leaving him alone once more upon his perch. Once they could no longer be seen (and maybe even a few more moments after that) Tristan turns his gaze forward though what he is looking at and what his mind is seeing are two different things entirely. His eyes catch the bustling activity of the morning commute that crawls along the city's streets like ivy on a brownstone. The Pacific lays out to each side - one side vast and never-ending and the other wrapped into a bay that forms the peninsula. With Mount Tam behind him, he blocks all these visual sensors out and focuses on those with whom he shares an empathic link.
Immediately, a dozen invisible lines connecting him to various charges become apparent. They're forever present, but easily muted with practice - and Tristan has three decades of practice. He hones in on those within the city's limits first; Wyatt and the Harts. Nothing urgent there. Parker and Patience are together at P3 while PJ is at Constant Coffee. Probably working... The thought, though laced with a judgmental tone, comes with a knowing smile. He had heard of Prue's work ethic/obsession (mostly from the witch herself) and to see PJ fall into the same pattern, even while desperately trying to separate herself out from her namesake, is amusing to the angel. His thoughts briefly pass over Wyatt, but nothing seems amiss there as well. So he reaches out farther...
Ashley, his first and oldest charge, is quiet these days. Her life calm after leaving San Francisco. Then on to the rest of the Warren brood... Chris, Melinda, Tamora and Kat... all normal. How boring. Though, truth be told, Tristan enjoys the quieter life that has come recently. What did excitement ever get him? Enslavement and a very painful second death.
No, he would gladly leave the excitement to others and continue to tend his flock while stealing moments in between with Clarke. It was rather perfect in its relative simplicity. With no danger on the horizon, Tristan slips into an effortless cross-legged hover and begins his morning meditation unaware that danger had just struck relatively close to one of his charges...
As Tristan transitions into a more centered and calm state of mind, orbs begin to encircle him as he hovers in the air. His morning meditation is successful in helping him reach a transcendent sense of inner peace. A peace that becomes unexpectedly broken by the screeching call of one of his charges. Tristan's eyes snap open in an instant and his orbs dissipate into nothingness. Although, experience helps the whitelighter maintain his hover.
The name is said with heavy concern. The sense of panic he picks up from the oldest of the Hart sisters informs him that she is dealing with something troubling. Something abnormal from the consistent bout of normalcy that has become common to the Warren clan of witches.
The empathic connection helps Tristan pinpoint his charge's LOCATION and in mere seconds his body is deteriorating into a swirling mass of orbing lights. He teleports to PJ's whereabouts.
Prue drives across the bridge with a focused intent. Her thoughts continuously, almost obsessively, drift towards a solution to her problem. She's already ruled out talking to her sisters or Tristan. At least, not just yet. The witch is set on getting advice from a neutral party before sharing her game plan with anyone possessing an innate bias to the situation. The brief rolodex of magical contacts PJ trusts runs through her head, and it quickly becomes apparent who it is she can confide in.
"I hope she's not busy..."
Carefully, she glides her index finger towards the green telephone symbol on her steering wheel. Once the button is pressed the radio's music seamlessly dies down. Not too long after the top forty mix is replaced by an audible ping, which indicates the mobile technology is ready for a command. "Call Sophie." The words flow purposefully from her mouth. In the time it takes for the call to connect, Prue is merging into her right lane. She knows she needs to make the upcoming right turn to reach her destination.
The British lilt of Nigel responds to Prue's instruction. Then the sound of the phone's ring echoes throughout the car as Prue steers towards the Fremont District.
Dressed in a white button-down and loose-fitting trousers, Tristan hovers several feet above the metallic summit of the Golden Gate Bridge's north tower. His eyes are closed as he tries to focus inward, turning off the world around him. However a clear and centered mind proves to be elusive this morning. It's no easy feat. Not just because of the traffic and tourists below, but because the majority of his charges are in one form of emotional turmoil or another.
Tomorrow is the day that Wyatt Ascends and joins the other Powers That Be. They lose a brother and cousin, but Good gains an ally and voice of reason. Brenda Ascended to their ranks decades ago, but her temperament had been as fiery as her hair and she can be difficult to reason with even on the best of days - making it equally difficult for others to stand at her side. Conversely, Wyatt is level-headed and possesses a natural charisma that puts others at ease. He has a strong presence that can be comforting without being overpowering.
These drastic changes are never easy and can seem world-ending. Wyatt may as well be dying tomorrow as it amounts to much the same. Worse even. At least in death, there's the possibility of summoning his spirit. Once Ascended, none on this plane but a few select agents will have interactions with him.
Of course, Wyatt's pending Ascension is not the only thing that weighs heavily on the whitelighter's mind. There's also the matter of the witch that had been spirited away to Valhalla...
QUOTE (Flashback: Two days ago)
A portal of emerald green opens, clearly summoned by the raven-haired goddess, who has ignored Tristan's question. Lydia is dragged through it by an invisible force as Ende walks calmly behind her with Nicolas' spirit at her side.
The whitelighter springs into action just a moment after Ella. The pair charge forward to engage. He doesn't see what happens to the werewolf at his side, but finds himself pulled up into the air and unable to move. He watches as the trio disappear into the portal. Once through, the portal disappears from sight and Tristan is dropped to the ground.
Tristan's heartbeat increases with intensity at the memory. The few orbs that had begun to manifest and fall beneath him have vanished - a clear indication that his morning meditation is not going well. Still, he remains aloft and even more intent to refresh. Ironically, the more he struggles and attempts to force it, the less likely it is that anything remotely beneficial will come from the seemingly futile exercise.
A flurry of pink orbs twinkle into existence, high atop the brownish red tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. Clarke loved it up here. The view of the city looming in the distance. The sound of the ocean lapping the pillar of the bridge plunged deep into the water far below. The feeling of the powerful wind whipping through his dark black hair. And the familiar sight of his husband, the most handsomest, perfect, and perfectly aggravating man he had ever known: Tristan Merteuil.
Time seems to hang still for a moment, and whether its a trick of mind living the moment, or a manifestation of his Cupid ring's power, it doesn't matter. To Clarke, it's magic. There are moments in life that make it all worth it. And being alive in this second life, in this beautiful moment, is one of them.
"You know, the harder you try the less it works," Clarke says with a wry smile, "get one of those meditation apps that all the kids use these days." And by kids, the Cupid really means anyone under the age of 30. I guess that's what happens when you're 54, but permanently stuck looking like a 26 year old. It's kind of the absolute best actually. You get the right to be a curmudgeon, but still look youthful enough to be carded buying liquor.
He walks forward, dressed casually in a pair of Levi's blue jeans and a maroon button down shirt that clings just tightly enough to his torso, with the sleeves rolled up around his biceps. It's a bit cold for the weather this high up above the world. But Clarke doesn't mind it much. His heart pounds with the surge of excitement he still gets when he sees Tristan. The 6"3 angelic being walks forward to his husband. In his hand is a very small brown package, loosely tied together with dollar store rope string.
Clarke holds out the gift as he approaches Tristan, and indeed it is so poorly wrapped that the string falls away and blows away in wind, into the world below. The brown wrapping falls open to reveal a modest bracelet made of a black rope, but woven intricately around three small, oval-shaped gemstones that are a mix of light and dark green in zebra stripes.
"Amazonite," Clarke explains, taking Tristan's right hand and deftly tying the string around the wrist - so the three green stones sit securely against his skin. "it's meant to help in finding people. I found it in this exquisitely affordable market in India." Keeping his lovers hand closed within both of his own, Clarke lifts it up so the sunlight catches the stones. His own hand sports a bracelet that is a matching pair to the one now worn by Tristan. Along, of course, with the Cupid ring worn on his ring finger. "Now all we have to do is get a witch to spell these at some point..." The sunlight above reflects off the green of the bracelets. Clarke looks up and into Tristan's eyes. It was easy to loose track of each other when you and your husband can both orb anywhere in this world, the heavenly plane, the Astral plane, and the Otherworld. There isn't exactly mobility technology that can get reception in all these realms. He hoped these bracelets, once magicked, could help the pair keep track of each other a little bit better.
"Happy belated Valentine's day, hubby. I love you."
Do you know that feeling you get when someone is watching you? The small hairs on your body stand on end and an inexplicable sensation runs through you.
Tristan is aware of Clarke's arrival before ever opening his eyes. He was expecting him (almost an hour ago now) and assumed that, if it were not him, then he would be greeted by one of the Elders. He's glad it's the former circumstance.
"You know, the harder you try the less it works."
He snorts in response, but says nothing. He knows that it's true, but is too stubborn to relent. He cracks open an eye so that he can peek at his husband and takes note of the plain-wrapped gift. (What's this?)
As his husband approaches, Tristan lowers himself back down and stands upright. He wasn't getting anywhere with it anyway. He eyes the wayward string that spirals in the wind as it falls to the ocean below. "Littering isn't very angelic, love." He smiles at the gift nonetheless, watching wordlessly as it is secured to his wrist. It's difficult not to be swept up in Clarke's exuberance. Becoming a cupid only further highlighted his partner's romantic nature.
"Now all we have to do is get a witch to spell these at some point..."
"If only we knew one of those," Tristan teases, twisting his wrist so that his hands are clasped with Clarke's now. "Thank you." He leans forward in order to plant a kiss on his husband's lips then continues to rest their foreheads together as he speaks. "I assumed the Elders had summoned you. Glad I was wrong."
Clarke's eyes close as one pair of angelic lips meet the other. It's an automatic reaction that lasts only a half second, but is still triggered every time Tristan kisses him. "Me too," he answers Tristan, enjoying this moment with their foreheads pressed together, high above the world on top of the Golden Gate Bridge. "Some moments are better without Elders, anyway."
Almost if the higher beings had heard him, the sun breaks free from being a fluffy cloud and rays of light beam down on the pair of men. The warmth is delicious. Clarke smiles, keeping his forehead in place but opening his eyes to look at Tristan. It's a weird angle, being so close to another person's face. Yet, Tristan still look impossibly handsome. (It's hardly fair...) Clarke mentally muses, (I never stood a chance against that face.) His arms fall easily around Tristan's waist, resting clasped on his tail bone - just above the perfect globes of his bum. It's a familiar pose for the two.
"So tell me, what bothers our experienced Whitelighter so much that he can't do his morning meds?" Meds is short for meditation, FYI. It's an angel thing. Clarke asks the question, pulling his head back to look properly into Tristan's eyes. But even as he starts to search for the hint of an answer - he starts to feel a weird itch. He pulls back, lifting his left to scratch his right arm. But the Cupid realizes it's not really itching in any one spot. Instead, the itching seems to coming from underneath his own skin. A distant burn, not painful, but annoying enough to demand his attention. What is that feeling?It almost... Given that he's has been a Cupid all that long, and never having dealt with a charge feeling intense rage... Clarke doesn't realize that he is feeling the rising emotions of his charge Kohl over at the Tavern Ferit in faraway Istanbul.
"Trist...?" Clarke's face furrows into a frown. He sees the twin lines of his charges, both leading in the same south eastwards direction towards Istanbul. But one of them... it's almost a weird tugging sensation that makes his skin itch again. "I..." Clarke's voice is uncertain, as he tries to parse out this newer aspect of his angelic duties, "... something's about to go down." He looks up, blinking as he faces into the sunlight towards what must be Istanbul. His eyes are glazed over, as he tries to focus on the sensation. "I feel?", he turns his head quizzically towards Tristan, "... like one of my charges is just a little ticked off." (Either that, or he just popped way more Adderall than the doctor prescribed.)
"Some?" Tristan poses to his beau with a rhetoric tone. He may not be the rebellious hellion that he used to be, but he certainly doesn't want to interact with the Elders more than he has to. Especially under current circumstances.
"So tell me, what bothers our experienced Whitelighter so much that he can't do his morning meds?"
Tristan pulls back in unison with Clarke. They've barely crossed paths the past couple of days so he hasn't had much opportunity to catch the cupid up to speed on what happened at the beach. "Well, there's this..."
(Well so much for the sharing portion of this program.)
He freezes, mid-sentence, and watches as Clarke struggles to verbalize the internal struggle he's feeling from a charge. (Charge? I thought he wrapped up the last couple yesterday.) It would appear that Clarke was in part delayed by a summons to Xoroa, who oversees the heavenly blessers.
"People get angry, Clarke," Tristan says, trying to diffuse Clarke's emotional investment. The former gypsy is experienced enough not to allow the emotions to flow backwards, but he is still a man driven by emotion nonetheless. "What about the other half of the pair? Is it directed at them, do you think?"
"What about the other half of the pair? Is it directed at them, do you think?"
Heavens bless Tristan. The angel boy always knew what to say to bring sense to a situation. Usually applying his own common sense. Clarke cocks his head to the side in his signature way, using his angelic gifts to figure out what exactly he's feeling.
"There's something simmering with the other one too. But she seems to be thinking clearly. The other one, the boy, wow he's fired up." Clarke pauses, trying to remember the itching sensation. It hasn't happened again after the first couple of times, "I've felt a lot of emotions in my time. There's definitely something fucked up on going down in..." Clarke narrows his eyes staring off far away beyond the horizon of the sunlit bay.
"Now where are they?" Clarke is notoriously bad at directions. One would have thought that being able to sense his charges would make it simple to find them. But it's like having a little red dot on an app, without the lines of the map around it. Clarke can sense the general direction and area, but he has little idea where it is. "Whitelighter, I don't know how you make this look so easy." He looks plaintively at his angelic husband. And also realizes that he totally interrupted Tristan with his charges' emotional state.
"I'm sorry babe... you were about to tell me something." (Something that's bothering you enough to mess with your meditation, so it's going to be something important.) Clarke forces himself to disassociate his charges charged up emotions. Focusing instead on his husband. He's been through enough to know that sometimes pausing and focusing on the what's in front of you is better than rushing off to the next thing that calls. Moments like this on the bridge are precious.
Clarke reaches out his hand to take Tristan's. He looks down at it, then his green eyes float up to meet his companion's baby blues, "tell me, what's going on?"
Though there's nothing to see on the horizon, Tristan follows Clarke's gaze instinctively as though he might be able to point and say 'there they are!' Their charges are spread across the globe - and beyond - so all it really tells him is that they are closer to one side than the other.
Clarke's apology draws him back in. Unlike his other (better) half, Tristan doesn't look away as their hand become entwined. Though he's endearing to a fault, Clarke is the biggest space case that Tristan has ever encountered. A cupid with a severe case of ADHD.
"Yeah, I was," he says, nodding with a smile. "You're so dopey."
Tristan relays the events of the other night. He tells Clarke about Lydia's return to San Francisco, the emotional meddling that ensued, his meeting with the Elders (though he made a much more respectful entrance in this version), and his confrontation with Ende.
"So now a witch's life is forfeit as the price for seeing Ende and Theone from our world." Tristan is simmering beneath the surface at this point. He hides it well enough, but his tone is sharp with judgement. "I think their wrong - in every way - but I've been shut down whenever I question them about it."
"I may have a solution for Nicolas, but I need to be sure it's the right move before I make it."
Clarke listens intently to the happenings of the past day. Being a cupid, he feels a certain affinity towards Lydia and even understands her need to spread love. To Clarke - love is the strongest, purest form of magic. His hand clenches tighter around Tristan's, as Ende enters the story. The way she snuffs out Nicolas sparks a familiar resentment within him. The Cupid didn't care for how easily some higher powered beings ended mortal lives. As if they were playthings.
"So now a witch's life is forfeit as the price for seeing Ende and Theone from our world."
He can hear the simmering rage in his husband's voice. It's contained far better than a much younger Tristan would have been able to, but it's still there. And far from trying to cool him down, Clarke agrees with the utter wrongfulness of this situation. While he has a great deal of respect, and even love, for the Elders and other higher beings - the Cupid sees the roles of angels like himself and Tristan to be the liaison between the Higher beings and the Earthly ones. Sometimes even tethering the Higher beings to their humanity.
"I may have a solution for Nicolas, but I need to be sure it's the right move before I make it."
"It's hard to know when something is the right move." Clarke answers slowly, thinking out loud. "Usually, you can't really tell until much, much later." His voice gets stronger, more certain, "But you know - in here," Clarke takes his free hand and places it on Tristan's chest right over his heart, "- what your best move is. So go make it."
He pauses, smiles up at his brave Whitelighter, who as far as Clarke is concerned is every bit as important to fate of this world as the destined Charmed Ones, past and present - and assorted offspring. "Do what you need to in order to save an innocent's life. That's why they made us after all..."
His husband is encouraging without pushing Tristan in any particular direction to hard. Years as an empath has made Clarke great at giving advice - without actually giving any advice at all. Still, it's enough to further cement Tristan's plans.
At the time of his death, Tristan was an investigative journalist with a relentless drive to expose hidden truths. He was so dogged that he earned the very applicable moniker of 'bulldog.' So, as far as he's concerned, the Elders knew what they were getting with him, and they chose him anyways.
(Can't pull it off alone though.) As a whitelighter, his gifts are expansive in some ways, but they do not overlap with those capable of working the Craft. He will have to enlist help from his charges. Though Ashley is powerful in her own right, only Wyatt or the Charmed Ones will possess the power necessary for his next gamble. There's far too much of a time crunch with the former, while he must convince three very willful women in the other scenario.
(Or maybe just one...) His gaze drifts, unconsciously, in the direction of the infamous Halliwell manor just as Prue leaves for work.
"What about you?" Tristan asks, turning his attention back to Clarke. He cocks his head to the side. "You're going to follow up on whatever is going down with your charges, aren't you?"