Simplistic words uttered in hopes of pleasing each other.
A smile shining that’s not fooling anyone this go around.
Tears dripping that fall heavier than any other weight.
“I’ll see you later!”
Darkness curled forward and yanked his companion’s lifeless body from his grasp. In the end he had let her go knowing that he could do nothing to save her now, just as he could do nothing to save his own friend from the inevitable death. All he could do was turn to the one person he had left only to see the shadow tendrils yanking him off the side of the airship and into the void. The chaos grabbed at him before he could do anything and left him with the sight of the other man’s fearful countenance.
The teen sits on the edge of his bed in the quiet darkness. He’s neither sure whether he’s ready to go to bed or simply to stay up. All he knows is that he’s alone; a busy father and deceased mother. Depression seems to swarm the boy’s body as he flops down onto his back at the mere thought of the woman that had never left his side for his whole life so far. His short silver hair sprawls out against the sheets as he closes off his blue-green eyes from the room. Just as he does something cold touches his hands. He sits up and glances next to him to see a short sword resting on the edge of the bed. Silence permeates the air until finally... it shatters – giving him no time to think about the odd appearance of the object.
A swirling sound is accompanied by a gasp and the sounds of someone pumping into various objects – followed shortly by the sound of breaking glass.
The young boy is on his feet in moments. After everything that’s happened he’s learned that even though he’s afraid, he can’t just hide and let it go away, he has to confront the things that appear in front of him. His bare feet pad softly against the rug covering his bedroom floor before they meet the chill tiled of the hallway. A shiver crawls up and down his spine instantly. Having to walk down the hall to get to the living room, from where the sounds originated, he almost wants to turn right around and go back to his room. But he continues forward until he’s at the end of the hallway where darkness meets the faint light of a single lamp. Swallowing hard, he turns that corner and switches the lights on.
The curling of crimson and gold catch his eyes as the portal of sorts vanishes into thin air, leaving behind a single man. Compared to the teen dressed in deep green cargo pants and a detailed green neckerchief over a black shirt, this man is at the peak of strange. The young man stands from his kneel and gives a wary smile to the other before rubbing at the back of his head. The only part of him that appears normal to the boy is his shoulder-length brown hair and bright blue eyes. Everything else is foreign; the black v-neck shirt with tribal patterns, the pendant around his neck, metal bracer on his left arm, the ring on his right hand that has a cord extending from it to wrap up his arm. His blue pants are rather large and baggy with decorated hems and his feet are clad in low cut, leather shoes that resemble sandals.
He takes a confident step forward towards the intruder, eyes narrowing. “Who are you and why are you here?!”
The brunet’s hands come up in front of him defensively. “Relax, I won’t hurt anyone. I’m just...” he looks around the surroundings of the TV, couch, and table, “...lost.”
“How did you get in here?” the boy asks, not quite convinced just yet.
The young man shifts his weight to his other foot, an obvious nervous habit. “Hehe, well I just kinda of got dropped off.” Confusion sweeps over the boy’s features and the brunet is forced to think up something else to say. “Noel Kreiss...” and he extends his hand out toward the teen.
Stepping closer to this ‘Noel’, more or less to get to the phone on the table next to him, he immediately regrets doing so. His right foot steps into the scattered glass from a broken picture frame. The boy goes to fall to his knees to get weight off his foot, anything to stop that sharp pain, but Noel catches him. From the position, he looks up at the brunet in shock. Surely an intruder wouldn’t dare try to help him. From his small stature of five foot he realizes that the man holding onto him has to be at least a foot taller, if not more.
“P...Put me down!”
“Hey now, just calm down.”
The glass crunches beneath Noel’s shoes as he slips one arm under the boy’s legs, picking him up completely and carrying him to the peach colored couch. Setting the pale haired boy down he resumes to kneeling on the floor and picks the other’s foot up to see medium shards impaling the soft skin with blood beginning to bead up as well.
“S- Stop! I don’t need your help!”
“Shush.” The boy can only watch, stunned, as the brunet skillfully pulls the glass from his foot before reaching into his pouch and retrieving a small roll of bandages. In seconds he’s done and lets the teen’s foot fall from his hands. “It’s my fault you got hurt.”
He redirects his gaze to the picture that had been broken only to see that it’s of his mother. “Ah!” Pushing himself up he hurries over to the fallen photo, making sure not to step on anymore glass, and picks it up. Tears bead at the corners of his eyes immediately at the sight of the two of them smiling together as if nothing bad could ever happen and force them apart. A sob catches in his throat and vulnerability shatters the control over his own emotions. He clutches the flimsy photograph to his chest as he doubles over, crying silently as the back of his throat chokes up – no words or sounds emitting, only heavy breaths.
Perplexed, Noel slowly rises to lean down behind the boy, the only place glass isn’t. He had been able to see the picture when it had fallen thanks to the glow of the portal, but he hadn’t thought much of it till now. The pain of losing someone close makes his own chest ache for the young boy consumed by that loss. Noel hesitates as he reaches out towards his back, almost afraid that if he touches him that he’ll shatter just as easily as the glass in the picture frame. In the end his heart wins over his mind and he does the one thing he wished someone had done for him when everything was lost in his time – Noel embraces the younger boy, whispering into his ear only a single word, “Sorry.”
Minutes – eons in their minds – seem to pass slowly until finally the boy gained control once more. Instead of shoving the brunet away, he remains comfortable in the hold, not wanting to leave the security that he’s been given so suddenly. Alas, Noel pulls away and stands up, extending his hand to the boy. “Are you okay now?”
Turning around, the teen sees the larger tan hand offered to him and something in his chest flutters. Something about that hand reaching for him sends his heart into his throat. For a second he can believe he’s known this man all his life before the illusion shatters and they’re strangers once more. He takes the man’s hand and meekly rises to his feet, letting the photo hang loosely in his other hand. “Hope... Hope Estheim.”
A grin flashes back at him. “That’s a good name for you.” Dark pink stains his cheeks and he looks down to avoid Noel’s gaze, suddenly very shy and unconfident. In that instant loneliness creeps back up his spine. “Hey have you seen anything around here that doesn’t belong?”
Hope turns his gaze back up at him, heading tilting ever so slightly to the side. “Why?”
“Well... you see... I’m a time traveler!”
Blinking several times, Hope retracts his hand. “A what?”
“Hehe, a time traveler – if I can’t find that something that doesn’t belong I can’t move to the next place.”
Hope immediately thinks back to the small sword lying on the edge of his bed. His lips part to tell Noel about it when he closes his mouth – realizing that if he does that then Noel will leave. “I...”
Noel seems to notice the hesitation right off the bat as he places his hands on the shorter boy’s shoulders. “Listen Hope; just like that something, I don’t belong here either. If I don’t move on soon there’s no telling what could happen. You know, ripples to the future and all.” The boy keeps his lips sealed and Noel can only sigh. Embracing the boy once more he keeps his hold firm. Something in him doesn’t want to leave, but for some odd reason he knows this won’t be the last time he meets this person – this person that needs so much from him. “I’ll see you again.”
Wide eyes lock onto Noel’s strong countenance. “How...?”
“Call it hunter’s intuition.”
“So will you tell me where it is?”
Hope turns his gaze away; almost ashamed of how he’s behaving, how childish he’s being. “I’ll be right back.” He mutters before roughly pushing away from Noel and hurrying back to his room. Even in the darkness he’s able to remember where the sword had been and grabs it up without faltering. He quickly returns to the waiting brunet and holds out his hands, presenting the sword to him with all its shining glory.
The second Noel touches the sword it vanishes, leaving a small crystal of transparent emerald in its place. Taking it into his own hands he turns away from Hope, using it to open the portal once more. As he does the gem seems to break apart into nothing but particles that can’t be seen. For a moment Noel wavers in his actions; conflicted with what to do next. This is why when he turns back toward Hope his movements are messy as he grabs for the shorter boy and in that split second he presses his lips forcefully against pale pink ones.
At first Hope raises his hands to push the older man away, but as he does he finds that he just can’t. The love that falls into him from the kiss paralyzes him completely as more tears well up in his already reddened eyes. Breathless, they part and as Noel takes that step backward into the rift his fingers caress the side of Hope’s face. “Don’t worry okay? Everything will be okay, trust me.” A sorrowful smile decorates the traveler’s lips a second later. “I’ll see you later!”
The hopeful words do nothing to quirk the younger boy’s lips. His mouth remains twisted into a frown with eyes glazed with hot tears. They slide down his pale face without warning and catch the other man off guard. Yet he doesn’t stop walking as he backs up into the gate of swirling gold and crimson for he knows if he stops now he’ll never be able to leave this boy. Nonetheless he continues disappearing into thin air with a short wave of his hand. All that remains of their interaction are Hope’s thoughts.
I’ll catch up to him... one day I’ll see him again – I’ll make sure of it, no matter where he goes.