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sterling. he/him
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#1

S T E R L I N G
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The commotion dwindled. The healers were left to tend to the oozing, mangled mess of an eye. The grey prince had laid down his cards of feigned diplomacy, but his mind seethed behind that curtain of stoicism. She did this. How would he prove it? When the victim was blind? Through scent? They all smelled of Gemini. Her voice? Perhaps, but he'd need to find her first.

Smoke out the rat. He smiled. He's done it before with ants, but using water. Flood them out.

He follows the winding river through the purple trees until they faded in the distance, and what he believes is the fading remnants of Shuck's scent. He sees the mountains, high and tall like Gemini's and shrouded with the same ancient mystery. He notices the velocity of the water begin to shift to a much faster, dangerous current. He wondered how long it would take for the surging water to fill Shuck's little airways before she'd explode from too much water. He smiles again. FLOOD HER OUT.

The trail led him to something... else. His aggravation is obvious through the constant ticking of his eye and neck, but he persists. It wasn't Shuck's scent he had, instead a different outsider who was adopted by Gemini. He always thought his mother's kingdom was too trusting.

" Orphans weren't invited to this party. What're you doing here. "
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Jones him/his
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#2


Inaria was beautiful -- it reminded him of home.

He wasn't supposed to go, he'd actually been directed to stay by the head shepherd, but she was not his mother and he wanted to get out of there. Gemini reminded him of the loss of his mothers, the imprisonment he dealt with by the slavers, and the trauma that he endured after the fact. Gemini, as much as they vowed to be a haven, was just a stinging reminder of all of the bad that happened to him.

So when the opportunity arose to slip in with the rest of the traveling band, he accompanied them. No one even questioned it! Heck, no one even noticed. That was the funny thing about being an orphan, he'd learned, there was nobody left to worry about you when your parents were gone.

Rolling hills of lavender and an assortment of other wildflowers wafted a comforting smell wherever the orphan-pup ventured. The smell of lavender dissipated as he grew closer to the sound of rolling waters. The smell of fresh waters and mossy foliage was overpowering the flowery essence. When he crept closer towards the edge of the waterfall he peeked over the edge, absolutely awestruck at what was below. "COOOOOL! A freakin WATERF-"

The sudden voice of a stranger startled him, causing him to edge further away from the waterfall, spinning to meet Sterling's stare. "Orphans weren't invited to this party. What're you doing here." The word orphan stung like a wasp, causing a slight jerk in his lip, looking to the older boy with a glare. "I don't need an invitathin, nobody careth where I am!" His lisp more prominent when he was angry. "Bethideth, I'm not in anyone'th way... Just... looking at thith cool waterfall." He turned away from Sterling, a pathetic pout on his expression.

LEAVE ME ALONE. He wanted to shout, but he was convinced that if he just ignored Sterling... he'd eventually go away.






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#3

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Sterling stared down the little boy as he spoke, noting his glaring lisp. How quaint! He moves closer to him, closer to the jutting edge that showed them the world above the treetops. His eyes softened and he craned his neck to level with Jones. 

“It’s okay. Your secret’s safe with me. I won’t tell anyone.” The roaring of the water caused his ears to flick constantly, but he tried to drone it out. It was peaceful, in a way. A pleasant distraction other than Maeva. 

“I thought you were someone else, that’s all.”

He smiles softly, but there’s a crack in his facade. A twitch of annoyance in his blackened eye, his frustration was building.

“It is cool, isn’t it? I bet if we were any higher we could see Gemini from here.”  He glances up, to see if there's a higher perch in the rocks above. Too difficult to climb, especially with a clumsy little boy tagging along. He moves his gaze back to the boy, lashes fanning out across his face. "What's your name, by the way?"
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#4
(This post was last modified: January 04, 2019, 10:21:55 AM by Jones.)


Jones was instantaneously intrigued by Sterling's sudden change of tone towards him, finding comfort in the fact that the... odd-looking guy was nice afterall. The lack of attention he'd received since the rescue gave him a hunger for any sort of pleasant advances from others. Even the creepy dude.

It was a simple mistake, Jones repeated consciously, convincing himself it was true, he thought I was... someone else... Another orphan that he knew. It's fine. Alright, he was sold.

Perking up, ears forward and grin spreading sloppily across his face, he followed Sterling's steps closer to the edge of the waterfall. As high above as they were, Jones thought that he may get a better view if he stood on the tips of his toes, stretching as far as he could to confirm or deny whether Gemini could be seen from where they were.

"I dunno... It'th awfully far, ithn't it? We walked a long wayth, anyway." He knew nothing about distance and wasn't going to embarrass himself trying. "But -- oh!! I think I thee it. Ith that Gemini?" He pointed excitedly to a tall, distant mountain that was shielded by grey clouds.

"What's your name, by the way?"

Jones looked back to his lanky friend, grinning again. If they exchanged names this new friendship would be on another level. He really only knew Angel, who opted to stay back in Gemini. He thought this guy would like Angel, too. "Joneth," He started, and because he was enlightened to make a new acquaintance and QUICKLY! he retorted immediately, "What'th yourth?"




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#5

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He smiles as the little boy writhes up like a mouse to see the distant clouds and mountains and forests. A mere gust of wind, even a whisper, could knock this poor little orphan off his feet and tumbling into the rocky outcrops below. It wouldn't be the water that had pooled into gentle safety, no, no it would be the hard unforgiving surface of rock. There'd be a crack. Or would it be a snap? Would his spine buckle from the fall before his head? An interesting hypothesis. 

As he speaks, Sterling follows his words into the direction of the far mountains. Home. So far, yet still in eyesight. But no one would witness the deeds he could do here. " That looks like it, doesn't it? I've never seen it from so far away." He smiles softly, thinking of Mother.

He doesn't think too much, though, as the boys continues to speak with that distracting and annoying lisp. Was it Jones? Or was is Joneth? Had to be Jones. Did Sterling honestly care?

" Sterling. " His pupils narrow to slits and he slips a show of black teeth.

" Do you like it, Jones? In Gemini? Or do you like it better here? "

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#6


Sterling questioned him about which place he favored most: Inaria or Gemini.

It was an easy question to answer, both sucked. Gemini was a constant reminder of what he'd lost and Inaria was full of strangers, though it was pretty. Maybe even prettier than Gemini. But, nothing could compare to home. Home was in the arms of his mothers, who he never even got to say goodbye to. He realized, then, that he could barely recall what they looked like. What they sound like. Or even smelled like. Memories of them seemed to be fading, the idea of losing them in his thoughts made him step back from the ledge quickly, pebbles falling from the ledge as he swept inches away from where he'd formerly perched.

The young orphan swallowed hard, uncomfortable with feeling so much remorse in the presence of Sterling, a stranger. He missed Angel, his one true friend. Jones wished he'd stayed back with her in Gemini -- or at the very least, he wished she would have traveled with him to Inaria. She insisted against it. Jones noted to make her regret it later.

"I, um, I dunno..." He shrugged, looking up at Sterling. Would he be in trouble if he admitted he'd rather be in Inaria? "Both are okay, right? What do you like better?" Jones would have to get to know this guy if they were going to become friends.



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#7

S T E R L I N G
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As the orphan moved from the ledge, so too did Sterling. He turned away from the mountains jutting upwards into the heavens, home, and shifted a mechanical gaze to the boy. His voice was tinged with a certain melancholy, perhaps longing? The silver prince couldn't discern between the two, and cared little. Was the little orphan sad? Poor, sweet little baby. Were you torn from your mother? Did you see them ripped apart by that little blue coyote? The one with the accent somehow even less tolerable than little Joneths' lisp? 

" Yeah. Both are good. Inaria is pretty. Gemini is pretty. " He pauses, crooked gaze turning to the mountains once again. 

Something bit at his conscience, but it was brief and brushed aside. He blinks slowly, gaze fluttering to the ground as wild lashes brushed against a pristine white cheek. 

" I... Gemini isn't home. " 

A confession to a boy he barely knew, one he'd take to a shallow grave. " I don't belong there. " Another stinging realization, I don't want to hurt my family. But he would if he stayed, and he feared he'd enjoy it. 

" Do you miss your parents, Jones? " He wondered briefly if the orphan had met the silver prince's own parents. That gentle voice, always laced with a certain sadness, the queen and her husband would understand. He hoped, for Sterling's own sake, that his mindful mother hadn't met this unfortunate little boy.

 That way, his absence would go unnoticed. 

" What would you say to them, if you had the chance again? " 

---

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#8


Jones listened desperately as Sterling seemed to be willing to share with Jones, willing to sit and talk with him. Even inquiring about his family, which seemed to be such a taboo topic for everyone else in Gemini. Even his fellow orphans ignored the topic of their lost family like a plague. But he wanted to talk about his mothers, he wanted to talk about them to keep them alive. He didn't want to forget them; talking and remembering them seemed to make him feel so much closer to them. Jones wanted to be their little boy again hopelessly.

"Gemini ithn't my home, either." Guilt wrenched him in the gut, feeling like he owed Gemini more than this resentful feeling he was heavy with. Everyone in Gemini made it difficult for him to feel any other way -- the way they treated him like a forever fragile, broken boy. He wasn't broken, he was fucking strong! And brave! To have been able to get through what he got through, to survive what he did! It made him angry. "Yeah.. Yeah me, neither. I'm not going back there, no way." Well, maybe just to get Angel.

"Do you miss your parents, Jones? What would you say to them, if you had the chance again?"

Of course he did, he nodded as he looked off in the opposite direction of Sterling. He didn't want the older boy to see him shuffling away his tears. Of course he missed  them. His sweet mother, his protective ma. "I would... Thay thorry." The slavers bombarding their sacred sanctuary wasn't his fault, but he always felt that there was more that he could have done to prevent their painful demise. "I would apologithe forever for not doing more to help them. For being a cowardly little boy, for not fighting back. I should have fought back, but I wath tho thcared. I'd thay thorry for that." The small boy sniffed, trying to gather himself together before continuing. "Then I would tell them that I love them," A toothy, sorrow smile returned. His love for them and the love they returned was enough to warm the boy again.  "... and that I promise to always be brave from now on." Jones owed them that much.





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