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Lavi

D.Gray-man
The 49th Name
Posts
241
Location
Scholar's Coterie
Age
19 (+1)
Pronouns
He / Him
Species
Human
Height
6'1" / 185 cm
Occupation
Head Scholar
Alignment
Chaotic Good
Relationship Status
Jellybean
Profile
link
Organizer
link
Directory
link

12:02 PM / 03 . 24 . 109 / the gang's apartment

He'd gotten home thirty minutes ago. Going for a walk had seemed like a good idea, considering sleep had been a bust. Something to help him relax, something Lavi could do to back up his case to Lenalee and Allen that he was fine and getting better. A short walk had turned into going downtown to pick up food from this one restaurant that the others had mentioned wanting to try not too long ago, and then... then it turned into seeing Sinbad again for the first time in weeks. With a woman on each arm.

As soon as Lavi had set the food on the counter he sank to his knees, taking a deep breath as a weak attempt to stop the mask from cracking entirely. No one was home, they weren't due home until later that night, but he still had paperwork to finish. He still had work that couldn't wait, there wasn't any time for dramatics. There wasn't any time for his heart to get in the way of his duty. Right, old panda?

Bags of food was placed in the fridge once he'd pulled himself back up, sighing to himself as his hands shook. It was over and far past time to move on, that's all he could keep telling himself as he carefully stepped back into the living room. The space worked as a temporary office on the rare day where the redhead wanted to work from home. On the coffee table, he kept a small stack of paperwork that needed to be finished by tomorrow.

The archivist picked up a pen, wanting to at least get something done before a knock at the door drawing his attention. Taking another breath, Lavi gingerly set the pen back on the coffee table before going to answer the door. He didn't check the peep hole before opening the door, tugging it open and glancing out. It was the first time he'd forgotten to check and, with who he was now face to face with, it'd be the last time too. "Oh."

Quick as ever, there's merely a small flash of emotions across his face. Surprise, hurt. It's covered by something more professional in seconds, clearing his throat a bit. "Hey. Did something happen at the coterie?" Ignoring the fact that they'd just seen each other not too long ago was simpler. It was professional, as colleges, and it didn't make him feel like his heart was being flayed out in front of him.


@Sinbad
 
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Sinbad

Magi
Adventurer of the 7 Seas
Posts
195
Location
Cascade Bay
Alias
Sin
Age
20+1
Gender
Male
Pronouns
He/Him
Species
Human
Height
6'0/183 cm
Occupation
Merchant Coterie Head
Alignment
Chaotic Good
Relationship Status
Stupid Rabbit
Profile
link
Organizer
link



It had been harder to cut Lavi out than he once expected. He was never sure when the redhead had grown so close to him, and that was the most concerning part. Whenever his mind wasn't preoccupied with paperwork or contracts, it would wander back to that hurt expression that cracked through Lavi's masks. It was the most vulnerable he had ever seen him and played with the doubts that plagued his heart. Whenever he thought of the moment, his cheek would ache as if to remind him of both Lenalee's slap and her words.

Yet he buried his hesitation and his guilt and simply carried on. He has lost more in worse ways. It was for both of their goods, as he'd remind himself whenever he thought of Lavi. Fate was a finicky thing, its flow often unpredictable, but he had been so certain. His company was far from pleasant, his hands too stained for someone as kind-hearted as the scholar. Each reminder, however, was inevitably futile. His mind would still wander, and in the worst of times, it would remember the happier moments they spent together. It was short and brief, but wasn't that all that the heart needed sometimes?

In the past, distraction worked like a charm. Work, alcohol, women, all of it would drag his thoughts elsewhere. It was easier to drown himself in beer, to lose himself in mindless pleasure. Even the files that sat on his desk was more preferable. That had been his strategy when he visited Pandopolis. Their bars were fun in the past, the company agreeable. His charm worked like a magnetic to lure others over for a night of degenerate entertainment.

He had two women, one on either arm, for that very purpose. Fleeting touches and hushed whispers to keep their attention on him. It was the sort of behavior Ja'far would chastise him for, but the kind that he so desperately needed at that moment. Anything to not think of a pained green eye and broken hearts. Then he saw a flash of red hair, that same damn expression that wouldn't stop replaying itself in the confines of his mind.

Without a second thought, Sinbad had excused himself from the promise of fun he had set up for himself. Pandopolis City. It was where Lavi lived, there was always the possibility he would see him there. His apartment. Even though he lost track of the scholar through the city's crowds, his feet easily led him to the apartment he had once been invited to.

It was a mere impulse, but that was all he was running on when he rapped his fist on the exorcist's front door. Every fiber of his being felt keyed up during that moment, nervous to see the result of yet another mistake. Sinbad wasn't sure what to expect when it opened, least of all the flood of emotions that breached his heart when he saw Lavi properly for the first time in weeks. In a mere second his throat felt dry and his tongue numb. It was the sort of confrontation he had never expected himself to be in.

In the past, he never cared for flings. During some part of his life, he stopped feeling bad for the way he toyed with people so long it served a justified cause. But this? It was different in a way that felt intimidating. It was rare he ever felt such things, though such seemed to be the case with Lavi.

"No, nothing has," Sinbad answered after clearing his throat. It was such a fake pretense, so easy to look through given the run-in from mere moments ago. "I'm here because I wanted to talk to you." It was easier to rip the bandage off rather than stall for time that would ultimately be pointless in this sort of confrontation.

 
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Lavi

D.Gray-man
The 49th Name
Posts
241
Location
Scholar's Coterie
Age
19 (+1)
Pronouns
He / Him
Species
Human
Height
6'1" / 185 cm
Occupation
Head Scholar
Alignment
Chaotic Good
Relationship Status
Jellybean
Profile
link
Organizer
link
Directory
link

He wanted to lie. More than anything, it was comfortable. Lying was what he was made to do, it was what he had always done. For as much confrontation as he'd seen, the redhead wanted nothing to do with his own. Lavi didn't want to have to think about this more than he had, they both played games and flowery words, but it seemed like the other man wasn't going to spare him with something so simple. He wished that he would.

Instead, the fake neutrality in his expression held. It wouldn't be impossible to hold, but he knew it wouldn't last long if this conversation was going to go where he thought it might. The exorcist held the door open, gesturing for Sinbad to step into the apartment. He regretted not falling asleep, or maybe he had over all the paperwork and this was some dream. It was hard to tell if it was a kind or cruel one, all things considered.

Once the door was closed behind him, he settled back down on the couch. A few papers were shuffled into piles before he gestured for Sin to sit in one of the other chairs. It was a bit messier than usual, but trying to cover it up would only make things worse. He sat up straighter, trying to keep any air of professionalism that he could. That was supposed to be easier. Breathing was supposed to be easier than this. "What did you want to talk to me about?"

The words were calm, but hollowed out. He kept emotion from his voice as easily as one would suture a wound. Painful, but necessary. The entire conversation queued up was bound to carry the same weight to it, but he was trying. He was a Bookman, after all. If his mentor had ever seen any of this, he knew just how poorly it'd go. How it always went.

He'd helped Lavi create the masks to begin with, he knew all the cracks and faults in every single one of them like the back of his hand. Better than even Lenalee, or... now Sinbad. If only he could see just how fractured they'd become.


 
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Sinbad

Magi
Adventurer of the 7 Seas
Posts
195
Location
Cascade Bay
Alias
Sin
Age
20+1
Gender
Male
Pronouns
He/Him
Species
Human
Height
6'0/183 cm
Occupation
Merchant Coterie Head
Alignment
Chaotic Good
Relationship Status
Stupid Rabbit
Profile
link
Organizer
link



There was a time where he had been an honest soul; cunning, but not quite so manipulative. But it was a possibility made a reality, a spiderling who merely matured into a fully-fledged arachnoid. Lies were as easy as silk to weave, spinning together a narrative to use against the people who fell for honeyed words and a pretty face. He has always been a story-teller, shaping the world around him with the power of his words.

Now, however, was no time for such beautiful lies. Lavi was a man who deserved better than false poetics he performed for others. He had always deserved better than the pain he was given, and this was his last chance to rectify the mistakes that had led to this moment between them. To repent for the broken expression on Lavi's face when his heart was betrayed and the shield of a mask was ripped away.

There was an attempt at normalcy when he was invited into the apartment. It was the smaller details that betrayed Lavi; the simple mess that otherwise would never have existed if not for him. They knew each other for only a short period of time, but it was long enough for Sinbad to recognize the disturbance in the room around him. To see the expression Lavi wore for what it was: an attempt to protect himself.

Where there was once a cadent lilt to Lavi's voice was only an emptied tone. Even if it was all an orchestrated performance, there has always been a note of emotion to the redhead's words. A pulse that kept him alive despite the crushing weight of falsity that was the price of every mask. Now the emotion was void, and the heart was gone. They were... They once were too close for him to be fooled by the impartiality. The very act before him was proof enough of the torment he laid upon Lavi.

"I apologize if this is a bad time for you," a true sentiment that was not a mere echo of the polite mannerisms that were once beaten into him. It was obvious that this was far from an inopportune moment. It was an ugly confrontation that was encroaching the comfort of Lavi's home, the one other safety he had beyond the detachment a mask offered. Yet, there would never be a perfect moment to have this conversation. Their lives were not, nor ever would be, some fairy-tale story of romance. There would be no tear-filled reunions beneath a weeping sky, no music in the background as something broken and ugly was fixed into something beautiful.

Pain was the one constant of both of their lives. Without intending to, he had only contributed to Lavi's suffering, ripping open a wound in a place where none other were ever allowed. That was entirely upon himself, and he owed the person he once bared his heart an apology. There was no naive belief that this would repair the bond they had together, but perhaps he could right the wrongs he had slighted. "You have probably guessed it already, but I wanted to talk about what happened."

With practiced graced, he sunk onto a chair, hands folding over one another on his knee. The kept-together aura was merely another performance that hid the way his fingers dug into the fabric of his robe and the tension in his shoulders. A perfectly manicured appearance that threatened only to waver in the face of the one person he had allowed himself to grow close to ever since the burden of fate truly fell upon his shoulders.

However, there was no way to hide the way his breath shook as he inhaled, the furrow to his brows as he prepared to begin a conversation he never once had. "I'm sorry, Lavi. Hurting you had never been my intention." It was hard to let go of the control he held over himself, to let go of his carefully manicured expressions. But he owed it to the redhead to be genuine, to apologize for once again hurting something he cared for. "If I was to be honest," and what an incredibly torturous thing it was to be in such a moment, "I was running away from what we had together."

 
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Lavi

D.Gray-man
The 49th Name
Posts
241
Location
Scholar's Coterie
Age
19 (+1)
Pronouns
He / Him
Species
Human
Height
6'1" / 185 cm
Occupation
Head Scholar
Alignment
Chaotic Good
Relationship Status
Jellybean
Profile
link
Organizer
link
Directory
link

It was always going to be a bad time. With his schedule and the fact that this conversation was never going to be easy? There was no right time. This was his home, his workspace, his one place to be away from it all and usually left to his own devices. Lenalee had complaints, surely, but it was a space for both of them to take a step back. This wasn't a step back, this was about twenty steps forward. This was taking a dive off a bridge and into a foggy river.

And yet he still carefully watched Sin's movement, picking up on any details that he could. They knew each other far too well, understood their tells and those same cracks in any mask they chose to don for the evening. Which was dangerous, for both of them and in so many ways. It was terrifying, but that was all part of love, right? It was always going to be scary, it was always going to be difficult for two people who had only just recently discovered the meaning of the word. "It's fine, Sin."

It wasn't, really. Not entirely, but the lie was easier. It kept weight from his shoulders. It felt more natural in one of the most unnatural situations he'd ever found himself in. Someone apologizing for hurting him when they genuinely had, despite his best attempts to ignore the twinge of his heart. "You don't--" The redhead took a small breath, trying not to shake. "You don't have to apologize to me for anything. You did what you needed to do."


 
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Sinbad

Magi
Adventurer of the 7 Seas
Posts
195
Location
Cascade Bay
Alias
Sin
Age
20+1
Gender
Male
Pronouns
He/Him
Species
Human
Height
6'0/183 cm
Occupation
Merchant Coterie Head
Alignment
Chaotic Good
Relationship Status
Stupid Rabbit
Profile
link
Organizer
link



"You don't need to lie." It was a blatant, perhaps even harsh, call-out but Sinbad could recognize when Lavi was lying. Sinbad could only imagine that years had played into forming Lavi's talent for deception, which was a fact they both mirrored. It helped in picking apart his deceits, but blatantly at the end of the day, they simply knew each other too well. It was alone with each other that they could relax their layers of veils that protected them from the realities of the world around them. It was in those mere glimpses that they've learned of their hearts, learned of feelings neither thought imaginable.

So he knew that Lavi was lying that it was fine because Sinbad was well aware that it wasn't. What he had done was an act of cowardice in order to protect his own heart from the terrifying unknown. In the process, he hadn't thought of what he did to the other... No, he didn't care at the time. He fooled even himself with soft-spoken lies that it was "for the best". It was for the best, I'm simply a man made for work. Except that at the moment he allowed himself to grow close, they had worked. Earnestly, honestly worked until he had smashed it into small, fine pieces.

"I do have to apologize, Lavi. It would have been one thing if I had done it properly for honest reasons," it was near impossible to steel his voice in a way that wouldn't betray him; at times, he felt like it was failing him. He doubted that he could fix his wrongs, but it didn't change the fact that even if this last time, Lavi deserved to see how he felt. "I did what I did because I was running away, not because of a lack of heart."

 
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Lavi

D.Gray-man
The 49th Name
Posts
241
Location
Scholar's Coterie
Age
19 (+1)
Pronouns
He / Him
Species
Human
Height
6'1" / 185 cm
Occupation
Head Scholar
Alignment
Chaotic Good
Relationship Status
Jellybean
Profile
link
Organizer
link
Directory
link

You don't need to lie. The words almost made him flinch, but it wasn't quite truthful either. He did need to lie, needed one last layer of comfort in a situation sorely lacking it. It was one last bastion against the terrifying truth they both had to face. The truth that they both had let play in the background for so long now had finally been dragged to the foreground. Front and centre.

Hearing the struggle in Sinbad's voice, the slight waver as he spoke. They were doing the same thing: attempting to keep an emotional conversation closer to emotionless in tone. The words were enough, the dips in their masks serving as proof. He took a shaky breath, a hand moving to adjust the bandana currently holding back a mess of locks. "Where is this coming from?"

Knowing both of them, this wasn't a conclusion easily reached. It was one that took recognizing genuine emotion, the very ones he had run from and the ones Lavi was desperately working to hide and ignore. As he had been for weeks now.


 
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Sinbad

Magi
Adventurer of the 7 Seas
Posts
195
Location
Cascade Bay
Alias
Sin
Age
20+1
Gender
Male
Pronouns
He/Him
Species
Human
Height
6'0/183 cm
Occupation
Merchant Coterie Head
Alignment
Chaotic Good
Relationship Status
Stupid Rabbit
Profile
link
Organizer
link



They were both men who relied on the comforts of their performances, acts that never betrayed their true being. These lies were what kept them breathing, yet he had to let go of his own if he had any hopes of righting a wrong. It was hard to build upon a foundation of falsities, especially in the sort of relationship they once fostered between each other. Trying to do so had led only to his own stumble, to the predicament he now uncomfortably found himself in.

But he couldn't let bring himself entirely to let go, to allow an ounce of the emotions that afflicted him to seep into his voice. It was weakness in a singularity who bore none, even if the man behind that facade suffered from guilt and regrets all the same. "A sincere conversation helped me open my eyes," he admitted truthfully, watching the way Lavi fidgeted with his headband. Likewise, he twisted Zepar's ring around his finger, the symbol of another sacrifice that he had made in his hastiness. Another regret.

It had taken Lenalee's stern words and even sterner hand to drag him from the brink of secrecy's solace. He had been withdrawn there as well, let go of something that could have once happy. His thumb brushed across the red face of the gemstone before allowing himself the inch to sigh. "It's because I do not want another regret, Lavi." It's difficult to be so forthputting, not when the very action felt like he was clawing away at his own heart. But it was similarly painful witnessing Lavi's now distant expressions when there had once been smiles, joy. "I realize that this won't repair what has been done, nor is this any sort of ploy to force you to forgive what has been done."

 
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Lavi

D.Gray-man
The 49th Name
Posts
241
Location
Scholar's Coterie
Age
19 (+1)
Pronouns
He / Him
Species
Human
Height
6'1" / 185 cm
Occupation
Head Scholar
Alignment
Chaotic Good
Relationship Status
Jellybean
Profile
link
Organizer
link
Directory
link

He didn't want another regret. Despite the emotions clamping themselves around his throat, Lavi remained perfectly still. There was no shake to his hands, no more fidgeting. Nothing. The mask held tight, perfectly camouflaging the way that his mind scrambled over such a simple set of words. It wasn't a ploy, but then what was it supposed to be? What angle was there to be had in ripping open the wound further? Humanity tore itself apart, tore each other apart with matters of the heart.

Glancing away for a moment, his emerald eye remained empty. You don't need to lie. "You were afraid, right? Because I was terrified. That entire time, you'd touch my cheek and I could feel myself slip. I've never done that in my life." An unbiased recording of history required that, someone incapable of messing up.

"I told you I was a Bookman. I wasn't supposed to consider myself one of you as I recorded history." Human goes unsaid, the word catching in his throat. The redhead was quick to clear it, gaze falling to the coffee table's surface and staying there.

Sinbad reminded him what being human felt like when he'd barely bothered to remember it in the first place. The memories had to be rebuilt, Lenalee being the first stepping stone in that. "We act, Sin. We play pretend and hope the reality of it all goes away. So I'll only ask once that you don't treat me like a broken toy. You don't have to dance around it all, not with me."


 
Last edited:

Sinbad

Magi
Adventurer of the 7 Seas
Posts
195
Location
Cascade Bay
Alias
Sin
Age
20+1
Gender
Male
Pronouns
He/Him
Species
Human
Height
6'0/183 cm
Occupation
Merchant Coterie Head
Alignment
Chaotic Good
Relationship Status
Stupid Rabbit
Profile
link
Organizer
link



A deathly stillness blossomed between them, his statement hanging overhead like thunderclouds. Those turbulent words were everything Sinbad strove to never be around others: human. It was remorseful, sentimental, greedy. A crack in the mask of perfection he wore like a second skin, burying his fallen heart beneath lies. Humanity was selfish and destructive, and he was human in only that sense. He was human in his selfish desire to steal back what he had thrown away, even if it meant tearing Lavi's heart apart again.

Rather than that empty gaze, his heart hungered to one again experience his affection-filled glances. To hear his name spill from Lavi's lips in fondness and need, to feel the warmth his smile instilled. In those moments, Sinbad felt more than the weight of his guilt and his fate; in those moments, he felt alive. And he was such a fool to shun it, to think only of ash and blood at the apex of happiness.

"I know how terrifying it can be," he admitted quietly, his eyes falling back from Lavi to the gemstone. Become my husband. Years later, the words still haunted his mind, echoed like a curse that he'd never be free of. I can give you what you wish for. There were nights that he couldn't help but wonder if her voice would live forever in his memories, promising what could never be. I can give you everything you want.

He had slipped, once. He felt his heart when she smiled, once. He felt his soul move by the power of her words, once. All that had come from that small err was the weight of her death in his arms and the curse of a new promise. Never again. He wasn't made for such things; this was never meant to be such a thing.

Yet it did. And now he wanted more.

"But you are human." Despite the emptiness of his eyes, Lavi was just as human he was. He saw it in the time they spent with one another, slipping together. "And I hadn't intended to treat you as anything other, much less a broken toy." There was no denying the act he performed for the world, hiding the ugly man he had grown into. He was the type of man he would have hated, the same sort he feared Lavi would hate if he peered further beneath the mask. Yet he still couldn't bring himself to entirely abandon the happiness he so selfishly desired for now.

 
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Lavi

D.Gray-man
The 49th Name
Posts
241
Location
Scholar's Coterie
Age
19 (+1)
Pronouns
He / Him
Species
Human
Height
6'1" / 185 cm
Occupation
Head Scholar
Alignment
Chaotic Good
Relationship Status
Jellybean
Profile
link
Organizer
link
Directory
link

Sin's words stung. He instantly thought to argue, to tell him that he could never count as something so destructive and stuck in it's ways. That was the bitter part of himself, something the redhead could never truly shake after witnessing as many wars as he had. As much suffering as the world held forward for him to see laid bare on each and every city that they visited. He'd only seen the better sides of it within the Order, but never in the actual people in charge. No, it had always been something only those on the front lines understood.

Every time he accidentally spoke of one of you and not one of us, it was the same punch as it always had been. They wanted to reassure him, soothe whatever glimpse of a wound they may have seen. It never helped, not then and certainly not now.

His tongue stilled, not saying a word as an eye merely closed. "Then don't sugarcoat it, just tell me what you want. You apologized, I'll accept that but if you're here because you want me back..." Lavi took another breath, voice devoid of anything as he opened his eye. "For that, give me time."


 
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Sinbad

Magi
Adventurer of the 7 Seas
Posts
195
Location
Cascade Bay
Alias
Sin
Age
20+1
Gender
Male
Pronouns
He/Him
Species
Human
Height
6'0/183 cm
Occupation
Merchant Coterie Head
Alignment
Chaotic Good
Relationship Status
Stupid Rabbit
Profile
link
Organizer
link



Humanity could be an ugly thing. There were the wars that ravaged their world, Parthevia engulfed in the flames of conflict due to mortal greed. Humans were quick to fall rank in the name of patriotism and attacking whoever seemingly existed beyond the hivemind. Blood spilled over petty things such as fame and riches, and the naive were quick to throw their lives away because of their elders' delusions. Poverty raced through the streets like an illness, the misfortunate crushed beneath the heel of those born with golden spoons. Men bound men in chains, lashing whips due to misplaced ego. He has seen it all, the faint scars that littered his body a constant reminder of the sins that preyed on human hearts. The first time he had ever seen his name written had been on the curled parchment of his draft notice, the cursive ink drawing his eyes despite the disgust he felt at its mere existence.

But their breed was not a doomed one. Just as there was a capacity for human cruelty, humans were capable of immense kindness. Rurumu was a mere stranger when they met, but he soon experienced the warmth of a mother again when she swept him beneath her wide wings. She painstakingly taught him the intricacies of his language, her hand clasped on his shoulder. Mystras' knightly heart spurred him forwards, his life a shining thing until it was snuffed. The brave citizens of Sindria who risked limb and life in order to bring a dream of peace to fruition. Despite all he's witnessed, he could never bring himself forth to truly despite humanity lest he spat in their memories.

When Sinbad approached Lavi, it had been with the intention of apologizing. He doubted that the other could forgive him of his coldness and open his arms once more. There was more to him than the charming, cheesy merchant that he revealed. "It's more than I expect," Sinbad admitted, crossing his arms as if the position would help protect him from their conversation. "I would understand if what's happened cannot be undone." Remembering the way his expression crumbled, Sinbad couldn't blame him. That said, he's always been a bold man making outrageous statements. "It's as you say: I want to fix what I've done and to come back to you."

 
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