By the hands of the Gods, you have been plucked from your time and from your world, dropped into the box.
Only the box is a world of its own.
We are a mass crossover based on the concept of Pandora's Box. Characters from nearly any fandom can be played here. Because of the endless character possibilities, we are canon only here at Pandora. Take a peek at our rules and plot information before starting your new life in Pandora.
He could still feel it at his fingertips. The slick of blood, but more than that, the indentations in the steel of the blade. Snow Flick.
It was Zichen, and he thought he saw the man's face flash in his mind from the very last time they came face to face, the very last time that Xiao Xingchen had been able to see his face, his own eyes staring back at him. He remembered the hurt he had felt as he left the side of a man he had dedicated his life to in so many ways. So many years had passed and it was a face that he could never forget, but he had forsaken him. No. No, he had killed him, and anybody on the outside looking in would have seen it for exactly what it was. Xue Yang's treachery, his deceit, his cruelty, but Xingchen could only visualize his own blade piercing through one heart and then another and then a third, and it went on and on.
Xingchen's sword wasn't in his hand anymore. He didn't know what had happened in his grief and his misery as he sat there on his knees in the middle of the street. The light of the world around him had given way to a sunset looming overhead, but none of it mattered to Xiao Xingchen who had not seen the light of the world for years. The bandage that covered his eyes was stained now with blood, blood that seeped out from beneath as he sobbed tears he could not cry. It was only blood that fell, that smeared across his face, and Xingchen leaned forward, reaching blindly with a bloodied hand for his sword, feeling around him again and again as his shoulders shook and he let out quiet sobs. He knew what his intention was and he didn't know if it was thought or instinct at the knowledge of all that he had done, to innocents, to Zichen.
It wasn't thought at all, it was misery and hopelessness and tragedy sitting heavy on his shoulders as it threatened to crush him, and all he knew was that it could end with one easy motion. Only he couldn't find it. He couldn't find the white hilted sword that lay feet away, far now from his reach, and at that realization, his quiet sobs devolved into hysterics as his shaking hands clasped to either side of his head and leaned over himself, a broken creature wanting only to melt away into the ground.
Date: May 21st, Y109. OST: home again. Tag: Xiao Xingchen.
It was a quiet day, the finds of her most recent of journeys sinking gingerly in large vases in the back of the store. The only sound of music in her shop was that of a trimming shear's tempo, cutting imperfect angles into the stems of the dark, midnight-imbued petals of the Moon's Flower with steady snips and snaps. For all the gentle work that her hands did, it was at the speed of a machine-- perhaps even greater, that no machine would be able to match her.
Snip, snip, snip, and into the box.
Out of the vase, snip, snip, snip, and into the box.
It wasn't much, but she knew it was honest work. At the very least, it was more honest than what most people could say that they did for a career, after having met terrorists and mercenaries-- illicit scientists and test subjects, government assassins and even the lone vampire once in a while. Aerith couldn't complain much about them, but at the very least her industry gave her a W-2 tax form every year.
Humming to herself, her hands continued to work as she brought wicker baskets and boxes from the middle of the store all the way to the back where the shipping was handled. Of course, all Seven Stars flowers came with the guarantee that they'd arrive fresh-- but with such a large order of such rare items, cutting corners to get as close as possible was the only way, she'd decided. Crates stacked with neat bows of bungee cord wrapped around them, packed tightly enough for a trip to the catering company in the morn, her diligent and deft digits wrapping the baskets skillfully.
Yet, it wasn't the sound of packing tape and wrapping cord that broke the air of mystic, professional silence. The lashing of sharp slashes through the air, cracking like whips before disappearing once more-- a metallic clang like metal against asphalt, and muted sobs that were barely noticeable to a normal human's ear. It was cacophonous, in ways she didn't like, but even her self-regulating nature wasn't strong enough to fight her curious and inquisitive side.
Slowly opening the back door as quietly as she could with as few squeaks as she was sure the hinges could muster, the everyday staff that she carried slung over her shoulder, the young florist tip-toed out of the shipping yard with as much subterfuge as a woman dressed in bright pink could have managed.
It didn't take but a handful of steps to stumble into the sight-- a bloodied young figure, dressed garishly in stained white, patting around the concrete for what seemed to be a sword mere feet away. ...At least, that was what only seemed. It could have been that he was missing a watch, or a wallet. In fact, the guessing game of what might have really been going on there had her in a delay to assist. ...The cracking of whips from where he seemed to have been placed was a familiar enough sound, one that she couldn't place.
Could he have been a new arrival to the world? If so, then it sucked-- having arrived bloodied and injured. She could understand exactly how that was, since her last encounter with the Overcompensating SOLDIER and his ten-foot Fuck-You-Stick. But, not only were you bleeding so profusely, no fast food restaurant across the box would be inclined to serve you a welcome meal with as many stains as the two came in with.
Curiouser and curiouser, the florist tip-toed a little closer-- just out of reach. Quiet as she could have, her own staff reached out to bump the white handle of the sword a little bit closer, the sound of metal grinding against the asphalt as she did until it bumped his hand. She kept her mouth shut, noting the lack of particular sense in the figure.
...Surely, this would have at least gotten him to stop crying. At the very least, she did want to see what his reaction was to getting back whatever he was patting around for.
The thought that he may have been alone, even if only for a moment, did not seem to occur to him. Perhaps he was too lost in his own mind, in what could only be described as an emotional collapse, a betrayal of every belief and every moral that he had ever had. Were he listening to the silence beyond his own cries, then Xiao Xingchen would have realized how deafening it was and how unlike Xue Yang it was. He was a monster who relished in the very same cruelty and chaos that he created.
But then he heard it, the tell-tale scraping of steel against the ground as his sword was nudged closer to him. Thought, logic, none of those things were there at the forefront of his mind. All there was left was the knowledge of how little remained in this world for him. The hilt nudged against his hand, a shaking and bloodied hand, and Xiao Xingchen did not hesitate. He did not hesitate as he reached out, as he curled his fingers around it. He did not hesitate as despair took hold of him entirely. The only person left to fill the silence was the monster who had taken everything from him, the same monster who he could only assume had nudged his sword toward him.
With nothing left to live for, he grasped his sword and with a cry of anguish, he lifted the blade to his throat.
All seemed well, as the man ceased his groveling. It was, perhaps, all along what he was just searching for. As far as she knew, the sword might have just been a trinket of good fortune or a gift from an important person in his life-- she wasn't sure, and quite frankly the semantics of it, she didn't quite care either. All kinds of people wandered into Pandora one way or another, either clean-cut and ready to start whatever new life seemed to await them. ...Or those who showed up bloody and on the brink of... something, like him and her.
Her stance remained firm, however, as she watched him pick the blade up from the concrete with another short, sharp scrape across its porous surface. Her gentle hands held her staff taught, but with the position that brought to mind a housewife gently prodding a mouse from her kitchen rather than a person who just brought a gift to a bloodied stranger.
However, panic ripped through her body as soon as she saw the point of the steel turn upon himself. Raising her guard stick like a baseball bat out of sheer reflex, Aerith's hands swung downward to clash against the sword and knock it from its predetermined target. "No!" Her voice called out, as if scolding a puppy. "Bad stranger, not today, not in this house!"
She couldn't afford to have a strange man in all-white show up and immediately kill himself outside of her store! Kids stop in and shop from time to time! Besides, the funeral homes don't run hearses out on Thursdays. Not in this part of town, no sir.
What he longed desperately for in that moment, as though it might somehow reunite him with the person who mattered most to him in this life that no longer felt to him like one worth living, was robbed from him with the clash of something blunt nudging the blade away from his throat. One split second more, one centimeter more, and it would have been done. over. He would have seen black, he would have felt ... nothing. And as he listened to the sound of Shuanghua clattering to the ground somewhere nearby, as he let out a strangled cry, hunching over himself there on his knees, Xiao Xingchen wished for not more than to cease feeling anything.
Realistically, he should have known that something was different. He should have heard her voice, recognized that it was not anything like the voice of the Xue Yang, the voice of chaos and cruelty and treachery. He should have heard her voice and known that there had been a shift, or perhaps he should have known while he was feeling too numb to realize the world around him had changed at all, that tendrils had stolen him away. But all he could picture in the blackness behind the ghastly stained blindfold he wore was Xue Yang's smiling face staring down at him.
"Why won't you let me go?!" Xingchen suddenly screamed, his shaking his hands reaching out, grasping his temples. "What more do you want?!" He thought he could hear him. He thought he could hear his laughter. He thought he could feel the cold, dead eyes of Song Lan, of Zichen, of his Zichen, watching him still.
And yet hers were not cold or dead or cruel, had Xiao Xingchen only the ability to see.
The scream put her off, her expression twisting from concern into surprised horror-- no matter how much safety there was in the sound of metal clanging against stone once more. It was a mistake, now she'd seen, to even consider giving him the blade back. Clearly, he was out of his depth-- though quite honestly, when it came to helping people, so was she.
Her digits clutched the length of her staff tightly, out of simple parts of paralyzing confusion as to what was happening and concern that things might turn violent. Sure, she could heal whatever wounds either of them accumulated-- but if he started something, she was sure to finish it.
Her lips parted, unsure of what to say as she shrieked back at him. "Because I'm not calling an ambulance to my shop!?" Aerith's voice pitched up, awkward as she tried to find ways to make sense of the man who tried to stab himself outside of her garden. "Why are we yelling?!"