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Bjorn Casey

Pieces of Home

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It was an odd request. On the other hand, it really wasn't, all the same. But, the Light had said Madagascar. You know, the island right under Maharaja. To say the least of it, Bjorn really wasn't terribly interested in going under Maharaja by himself. He wasn't as strong as he used to be; not as weak, as he'd been before he was the Daeva of Death, but he wasn't as strong, either. Obviously, that went to whoever it was the Light chose to replace him; he had no idea who that was, but it was probably for the best.

In the meantime, he had an island to go to, though he wasn't sure what he was looking for. She just said wander around, you'll find it. Thanks, that's very helpful. Not that he minded. This was normal, she gave vague, hand-wave answers, but he always did figure it out, eventually. He shook his head, more to himself, as he finally got home from work. He was uh, a bit late, just a bit, and he'd had to get a little creative. On the bright side, the sun was still low enough this early, if he scooted right, he could get home without running into the sunlight. It was almost seven in the morning, the sun had been up for about ten or fifteen minutes by now, and he skirted into the door just before the sun rose high enough to drown the front entryway in light. Thank goodness.

"... hey, Soren?" he called, pulling his work uniform off. "The Light wants me to go to Madagascar," he explained. Uh, now, she made it sound like, and he really didn't terribly want to, but she wouldn't send him that way, if it wasn't important on some level. It was irritating, a bit, but, he'd figure it out. This was why he had a twin! Okay, no, it wasn't really, but having Soren around, Bjorn couldn't imagine it any other way.

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Soren had been home for about an hour by now. He'd gotten lucky, and the morning manager hadn't been running late or anything of that nature, it meant he'd gotten home safely before sunlight became a problem. Bjorn, it seemed was running late. It wasn't surprising, exactly. Bjorn's being a paramedic was far more prone to delays and there wasn't really much for that.

That was Bjorn's voice. Good. "Hm?" Soren appeared only a moment after his name was called. ... Madagascar. Really. Really. Well if she was asking, it was probably important. That did not, however, make Soren any happier about the prospect, and his expression probably said as much. Soren released a slow breath and nodded. "Like, now?" He wasn't sure he liked the suddenness of that. But then again, if she was asking, time may well have been of the essence.

Sometimes Soren hated still having such an attachment to the light. But then in some ways, being a Daeva never really left him. Obviously he hadn't forgotten.

"I don't suppose she told you why?" That would generally be too easy, but it was worth asking. Soren would of course be going along. Bjorn going right under Maharaja alone sounded like disaster to him, yes it did. And no, he was not okay with that. Soren loved his brother way too much to take a risk like that when they didn't have to.

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Bjorn sighed, shrugging a bit, pulling his phone out of his pocket, and glancing at the lock screen. "Well, she made it sound like it should be now, but the problem with that is, it's like, 3pm or something in Madagascar. I burn in the sun. She'll have to wait at least two hours." By then, it should be about five, and the sun should be going down, if not already having set.

The Light rarely ever explained what she wanted anything for, but, Bjorn could see the curiosity. "Something about a box," he said. "I'm going to assume, probably a nightmare cage." Which just sounded like a load of fun, really. Not. Bjorn wasn't known for his sarcastic streak, mind, but he was feeling a bit sarcastic at the moment. Ah... he was pretty sure they'd found all the nightmare cages. Which, if there was one over there, that meant someone had to have cast a new one relatively recently.

Which meant, there was someone else up there that could cast the bitches. And that really didn't bode well for anyone. Not even just that they were casting them, but that they were fucking unhinged, or psychopathic, enough that they could.

"So, presumably, there's someone up there casting them again. Good thing to know, I guess. Should maybe tell Sati, if Kassander hasn't." Something like that.

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"...Er. Right." Well he supposed that did mean it would have to wait, whether the Light liked it or not. There was no point in the two of them going just to die. Waiting two or three hours would mean they could do whatever it was that she wanted more safely, and it was worth waiting that amount of time. Whatever it was could probably wait the few hours that would take at least.

Soren frowned. A box. "That does not sound pleasant." If he was right, and it was a nightmare cage then someone had done something very unsavory. And it meant someone was casting the damn things again, because they'd already gone on a war against them and located them and broke them down to free the trapped ones. And now the light wanted them to free whoever had been trapped most recently. "Well we've broken them before, at least." But who had cast this one, exactly?

That was going to bother Soren until they found out, yes it was. "Ah... yeah. He'd probably like to know that." If only because nightmare cages could be used against basically anyone and they could do some really serious damage in a surprisingly limited amount of time, depending on the person.

"Well, two or three hours shouldn't make much of a difference in the cage." Either the damage had already been done or it hadn't. And honestly, most likely, it already had been.

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"Yeah," Bjorn answered, finally getting fully extricated from the EMT suit with the reflector strips on it. "Fortunately, we can break the thing. I just kind of got a bad feeling about it, that's all." There were a couple they knew that it could've been. If it wasn't one of theirs, the Light wouldn't have sent them. Upsetting whoever it was with strangers was really not a good idea. So, either it hadn't been there long at all, or it was one of theirs. He had a vague idea of who it might've been, and he didn't like any of the ideas his mind came up with.

"Probably, and, no, so, maybe should just go around 5:30 Madagascar time, should be about 9:30 here. In the meantime, I sleep," he decided, falling over onto the couch to take a two hour nap, apparently.

===

9:30 turned out to be about right. The sun was still somewhat up, but it was low enough, they weren't in danger of being fried. Bjorn meandered through the trees, paying close attention to everything. Maharaja really wasn't something he wanted to be under, um, ever, really, but definitely not right now. Still, it was a necessary thing. The Light was so lucky he liked her, being honest.

"Wait, I think I sense it," he said, catching the sensation of something between defeated acceptance and dim could've-been panic. Felt like daeva, actually. That was - well, that wasn't surprising, if he was being honest about it. Which way... he paused, for a moment, and then went an almost completely different direction, moving varying broadleaf plants out of his way - aha. Oh, boy. He could tell, looking at it, it was still active, small pulses of what looked like light sparks going over the slight blur that he knew was the cage's metaphysical shell. One couldn't really see a nightmare cage, nor what was in it; it was just blurry, and mundanes tended to miss it.

Okay. Ah. It wasn't a new cage, he could tell that. "I'm gonna break it, could you make sure I don't die?" Unfortunately, the uptick surge in aura down here might well cause the daevas up there to react.

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So, Bjorn had gotten his nap, and Soren had mostly avoided making enough noise to wake his brother up. He sort of had a bad feeling about this too though, if he was being totally honest. He hadn't voiced that, there was really no point given Bjorn already had. So they shared the feeling that this was probably not a good thing. Given the light was sending them to take care of it? Yeah.

Here they were, on Madagascar though. Soren's attention remained carefully focused on making sure that nothing caught them off guard. They were right below the floating continents, and there was a very high chance that they would be in major danger, if they were interrupted by someone here.

Soren followed as Bjorn finally began to pull in a different direction. And that, ladies and gentlemen was a still-live nightmare cage. He shivered just a hair as he watched the sparks dance across it's surface.

"Can do." Yes, Soren could manage that. Allowing Bjorn to concentrate on freeing the daeva caught inside, Soren concentrated on making sure that nothing was going to go wrong when they went home.

Within the nightmare cage Aquila sat on the ground with his knees pulled up against his chest. There'd been a time where he'd been fighting against the cage, struggling to free himself, but at the moment, he was eerily still.

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Hopefully, he could get this broken without causing too much more damage to the daeva still in it. At least they didn't seem frantic, but that was both good and not. Ah... no, he could tell who'd cast this one. Azrael, as it happened, and there was something important about Azrael, something he didn't quite remember, that he needed to... it was important... ugh, he'd figure it out later, for right now, he needed to get this broken. Unlike many daevas, Bjorn had access to Necromancy; that made breaking nightmare cages a bit easier.

A slight breath in, and the death energy flared up, smacking into the light sparks that flickered across the cage. He had to first make it stop, and then he could work on dismantling it. If he tried to break it before it'd deactivated, that was dangerous, because it could cause bits of it to linger, in the victim's mind. It took about a minute, or two, before the sparks finally stopped appearing, and the blur became less transparent, pillars of energy fading only just slightly into view. Now he could break it. With that, he pulled his arm back, swiping at the air, and a giant burst of death energy slammed into the cage bars in one corner. It flickered, became more solid. One more - there it went, the pillars shattering at once and releasing the daeva.

Bjorn backed up, a bit, tensing as if ready to strike, but it was actually in case the one in the cage lashed out at him. Some did. It wasn't their fault, but, he wasn't terribly interested in frying today. At least that'd gone off without too much of a hitch. With any luck, Azrael didn't notice that.

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So far, so good. They were still alone in this area of the island. His attention flicked to Bjorn and the cage occasionally, trying to keep an eye on things in case the one in the cage was the threat that ended up revealing itself. Really though the major threat wasn't likely to be until the cage was broken anyway, because that always rattled the caster, if they weren't already dead. Still, being caught off guard really sucked and they were way closer to Maharaja than he liked.

And then it was over. Soren looked up for a moment, reaching slightly with his senses. They only really had until the caster managed to pull themselves together. How long that would take was extremely variable because it centered around how strong they were in the first place, and how much attention they were paying.

For a moment, the newly freed Daeva was still, seemingly still lost in his own mind. Green eyes snapped open after a moment though, and while he looked at Bjorn it was hard to say if he really saw him or really processed who he was. He did bare his teeth and hiss, which just somehow wasn't as effective given he didn't have fangs and didn't move beyond that.

After a moment or two Aquila did try and push himself backwards a little, drawing further away from Bjorn and Soren. He didn't go far, and didn't seem willing or interested in attacking via magic.

"...He's... familiar." He was, Soren was sure. But placing him was proving to be impossible. The vampire shook his head slightly. "We... should probably go." Glancing up again. "He's not going to like it but I'm not sure how long we have before they react up there." He didn't know who cast it, but they tended to be not awesome people, go figure.

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... well, he was pretty sure, now, this one used to be a vampire. That was a vampire reaction. Interesting. Bjorn leaned over a bit, trying to get a better look at him. He really was familiar, but, for the moment, he couldn't quite place a name. It felt important, somehow. Hard to gauge how long he'd been in there, though, if he wasn't quite sure who he was. Not that it mattered right this second, there was time for it.

Blue eyes glanced up, toward Maharaja. It was eerily still up there, but Azrael had to have noticed. Did he really want to wait until he reacted, before leaving? This one wouldn't like it, no, but... Soren was probably right. Bjorn knew, anyway, they weren't really cut out for taking Azrael on. The guy had extremely strong light magic, and it felt like Kassander's, actually. Yeah, that was what it was, or it was related to it, but what was the rest of it... Bjorn frowned slightly.

Somewhere amid his pondering, something jumped off Maharaja. He wasn't sure if that was Azrael or not, but he wasn't standing around and finding out. "Shit," quickly, he went over to the daeva they'd just freed, brushing his fingers against him for just a second, and shadow-stepped back to he and Soren's apartment. As soon as they were solid again, he let go and backed away several steps. Ah... actually...

"... Alexios?" Hadn't he died like - well, there was his answer, for how long he'd been in there. Something on fifteen years, at the very least. Oooh, Sati was going to be so pissed... no, that was what they wanted. Shit, maybe he should tell Kassander, too, only Kass could stop Sati from doing something immeasurably stupid. If he did what he'd inevitably want, and attacked Maharaja, it'd pull the Storm away from the Academy. Just like they wanted. Even if only Sati went, it'd remove the immunity to certain kinds of attacks the Storm had when he was present. Ah, things had gotten complicated.

As much as he hated to admit it, though, he thought the Light was probably right, in waiting so long to free him. If it was earlier, if the loss was still strong, nobody would've been able to stop Sati from doing anything. "I should call Kassander, and Sati, I guess. Sati won't take this well, somebody capable of preventing him from doing something stupid ought to know." Funny, most would figure that'd be Surya, but, Surya would probably be pissed, too.

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Soren was still pondering while he kept looking up at the sky. Eventually something would come down but at first... at first things were very quiet. He still had no idea who they had just pulled out of a nightmare cage. At about the same time, Bjorn cussed though, Soren processed the figure leaping from above. Yes, okay now they were in danger. He shadow stepped at the same time Bjorn did, maybe a heartbeat after, just because he wanted to make sure they got out safely before he went.

As they became solid again the Daeva pulled away from Bjorn too, putting space between them before sort of sliding down the wall that he'd come into contact with first. He was panting a little and seemed, in some sense, too tired to do more than watch the pair with a mistrustful gaze. He did seem confused by his surroundings though. There was nothing familiar about them, so in the end that wasn't surprising. There was a little flicker of recognition at that name.

"... Yes, that's why he's familiar." Suddenly, slowly. Soren's tone was a little concerned. 15 years was a long, long time to be trapped in a nightmare cage. "Yeah that's... probably a good idea." Someone who could stop Sati from deciding invading Maharaja was a good idea was probably in the cards. Because well, being with Alexios may be enough to keep him steady briefly but eventually the anger was likely to be too much and he'd want to.

That was the last thing they needed right now though. Because right now, there was no Daeva of death, many didn't know that, but Soren did because he knew who the last one had been. "Hopefully Kass won't be necessary, but having him knowing about it would be good." Yeah.

For the moment though, he just watched the Daeva who seemed to have disappeared away into his own head. Well that wasn't...too shocking.

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"One can hope he won't be necessary, but you know how Sati is," Bjorn grumbled. Sati was... Sati. Expecting him not to want to invade Maharaja, or something, was like expecting the wind to stop blowing, or the stars to stop shining. Maybe someday, but, not this day. He just shook his head, pulling his phone out, and called Kass. It was easier, in the long run, because, yeah, only Kassander had any control over Sati whatsoever. Sometimes Inetkaes did, but, only sometimes.

"... probably, but I got side-tracked, by the other Light, so there's a very confused Alexios in my apartment, I broke him out of a nightmare cage, and I figured you should know because... well, you probably know why. ... Nope, doing that now. Also hi, when was the last time you took a break, breaks are a good idea, gonna call Sati now. ... good! Okay, anyway, bye." Somewhere between hanging up and calling Sati, he glanced at Soren. "Kass said hi. Apparently he's about to go on vacation." That was... that was new. Typically, Kassander was very against that. He must be pretty worn down, to decide to do that.

Anyway. "On the bright side, I guess, I don't have to figure out how to fight through the dang thing and get him to come back. Actually, I'm not sure anyone could but Sati, anyway." There went the ringing. At the very least, Sati would have better luck at it than they would. Either him or... maybe Rakaia and Makoto. At least Makoto had some practice dealing with someone that had no idea what the hell was going on half the time. ... maybe that wasn't a bright side.

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"Sati can be... touchy." And when he found out who they'd found and where they'd found him, there was a very high chance of Sati being very angry. But now was a very bad time for Sati to risk himself on Maharaja. For a number of reasons, but the most important being the reason there were so many people clustered in Luxerion at the moment. Still, he could hope that Sati could be reasoned with about this. Because Alexios needed him not half destroyed far more than the Daevas needed to die.

While Bjorn was talking with Kassandros on the phone, Soren shuffled off to fill a cup with water and set that down next to Alexios - he didn't entirely expect the Daeva to drink it, but offering seemed like a reasonably good idea. He backed away rather quickly, as the green eyes locked on him for a moment.

"Wow really?" Soren sounded surprised. "I mean, good on him. He could use a break." No kidding. But it was strange to think that Kass was actually taking one. Maybe his husbands had talked him into it.

"That is a small bright side, yeah." No, it definitely was in this case. "Sati will likely have the most luck." Because Alexios was likely to be most trusting of him. Sati and Rakaia and Makoto, they were the best equipped to help Alex now. But there was a bright side involved in the fact that at least they knew what would have the best chance of helping him.

Alexios seemed to stare at the cup Soren had left for a moment before his gaze slid back out of focus. ... Yeah, he'd been afraid of that. Oh well.

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Touchy was a word. That wasn't really the one that Bjorn was thinking, but for right now, he'd just go with it. So, instead of answering, Bjorn just kind of grimaced, a bit. At least Kassander was decent at keeping him from doing stupid shit. For that matter, Rakaia and Makoto weren't too bad at it, either, usually. Usually. He was fairly sure they'd be in the same boat as Surya, and be pissed off, as well. ... at least Rakaia wasn't liable to slide into one of her 'deady-die, deady-die, they need to go deady-die' episodes again.

One, it was creepy, and two, she did tend to try murdering someone in those episodes.

"Well, he says he's on his way," Bjorn said, setting his phone down on the counter. "Ah, apparently he was still being a lazy." He was allowed. Bjorn arched an eyebrow at Alex, for a moment, and then kind of made a sympathetic expression. "Not quite here, huh." Being realistic, though, he was fairly sure the guy probably still thought the box was there. After that long in one of those, your mind just kind of detached from reality, basically more as a defence mechanism than anything. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't, but, either way, getting that part to sink in may be a bit tricky.

No one really knew him as well as Sati, though, so Bjorn was just going to leave that mess to the vampire lord.

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Soren nodded slightly. "That's good." And it was. It was good that Sati would be there soon, because perhaps the sooner they started the process of actually getting Alexios out of his head, the better off they'd all be, in some sense of the word. "Well, nothing wrong with having a lazy day here and there." Everyone needed them sometimes. Unfortunate to be interrupting his time, but on the other hand, he'd probably prefer it that way to not knowing.

"... Yeah... no. Not quite." Maybe soon, but he wasn't really grasping the thing. It wasn't strange really, the way he'd withdrawn into himself. The way he seemed willing - more likely unable - to grasp the fact that things had changed around him and that he was safer than he'd been in the last fifteen years.

"It went pretty smoothly though. So that's a bonus." Soren felt good saying that now that they were safely back in their apartment with the Daeva. It hadn't even gotten hairy when they had kind of scared the Daeva by teleporting off with him so that was a bonus. Not having fire randomly thrown at them, or worse, light magic, was generally a positive.

And maybe Bjorn would still get some sleep in here after Sati had taken Alexios into his care. Assuming there were no more interruptions from the Light.

Edited by Yume

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It took him a few minutes to calm down. Mostly, Sati was admittedly debating the pros and cons of invading Maharaja, and as much as he hated to admit it, Bjorn was right. While he might be able to do a decent amount of damage, before something finally knocked him out of the running, if that really was Alexios they'd found in a nightmare cage, he did need Sati here, more than Sati needed to go up there. Certainly, he'd never say it aloud, that Bjorn was right. It was frustrating that he was, but that was life, at the moment.

Some small part of him wondered if he could do this right now. Rakaia was better, now, and she and Maki were around, too, maybe he should -- no, because he didn't think they'd have quite the same effect. Their relationships with Rakaia and Makoto weren't the same as the one they had with each other, and that was just how things were. One love didn't override, or replace, another, and it was probably why Bjorn had called and told him, instead of one of them. Even so, the sting of losing Alexios had never entirely gone away, and he had no idea what he'd do, faced with him, particularly one that presumably couldn't tell reality from fantasy.

Rakaia was one thing; she was already like that, when he'd met her, and it became a part of her charm, in a way. Even with it mostly gone, now, his feelings for her didn't dim or change. Alexios was another. In ways Surya wasn't, Alex was kind of his grounding point, the little voice of reason that kept him from doing anything particularly stupid. Maybe that much wouldn't change, it'd just exist in a different way, but even that might upset him. Upset, in this situation, would serve him none.

Ah, he was Sati mother fuckin' Lucain, he could do it. He had to believe it, or he really would mess up, say the wrong thing.

Only a few short minutes after Bjorn hung up with him, Sati shadow-stepped from the Storm's dome, to he and Soren's apartment. He took a breath in, nodding to Bjorn and Soren, and then golden amber gaze found Alex. Daeva, he knew, almost immediately. He had actually died, then, that made him... feel a bit better, in some ways. The stupid feathered shiny fuckers hadn't managed to steal him right out from under Sati's nose. That would've really set him off. For a moment, he wasn't entirely sure what to do, and then, as gracefully as only he could, he steadily, slowly, made his way over there, crouching down eventually, and then sitting, not far, but not too close.

If Alexios didn't notice him on his own, then he'd try prodding, but it was better, in the long run, if Alex came to him, not the other way.

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Seeing Marcus again, fighting Marcus as he struggled to get back to Sati and then being put in a nightmare cage for a currently undetermined amount of time had the strange effect of bridging the gap of two thousand years of history, leaving him somewhat in limbo between lives he had led - between the ancient past and the jarringly modern reality of the apartment he was currently housed in. His green eyes were rather unfocused, and he stared mostly towards a blank wall.

Aquila shifted slightly against the wall, managing to pin his wing in an odd position - he didn't seem to notice at first, as something else had caught his attention. Sati, sitting not too far from him. Green eyes focused on him for a second and then slid past him, almost pointedly ignoring him for a moment, before returning to him. The figure was still there, of course. The Daeva knew he wasn't really there. He knew, rather distinctly that this conversation would end terribly - it always did - and yet he couldn't find it in him to actually ignore Sati. Sati was too important to Alexios for him to actually ignore him. It was just... hard. Hard because nothing ever went right and he couldn't make it up to him and he couldn't go back and fix it, either.

Finally he sighed quietly, pulling his legs in closer to his body as he watched the other for several moments, as if uncertain. Sati couldn't be in the box with him, which meant this was just a figment of his imagination anyway, so it almost didn't matter what he said - if anything. Still, it was strange, the box had changed so drastically that he no longer was certain he knew the rules of it. Before the rules had been simple, anything that happened was going to end in the worst possible way he could imagine. ... In the end, maybe those rules hadn't changed. Except it had been strangely quiet since he'd gotten into this new space. There was nothing familiar about it - shouldn't something made up by his own head be at least a little familiar?

"...Weren't you just here?" He finally asked into the silence - it didn't matter, not really. But, Alexios was almost certain he'd been talking to Sati before he'd been startled by the two that looked alike and then brought to this strange new place. Normally Sati didn't come back so fast. Unless... well. It was possible he'd lost more time than he thought, that happened sometimes. it was pretty much impossible to keep track of time here anyway.

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Just here? Hmm. It had, of course, crossed Sati's mind, even before he'd rushed over here, that Alexios' concept of time was probably skewed. Furthermore, it was also relatively likely some of those things the nightmare cage had locked onto were, in one way or another, related to him. In some sense, he had to thank Rakaia, for being so messed up when he'd gotten to her originally, because now, he had the means to deal with a nightmare cage's after-effects. It certainly wasn't what he'd have hoped for, but all things had a good side and a bad; it just, sometimes, it took a while, to find the less terrible side of something.

He'd have to roll with it, somehow. "Was I?" he asked. "Pretty sure it's been a while. Maybe I forgot." Would that be good enough? Hmm. Just here... did he think he was still in the nightmare cage? Most likely. A glance around, and he smiled a bit. He supposed it still looked like a box, at least, enough for his mind to transpose the nightmare cage onto it. Maybe... if they went outside, Alexios would process he wasn't in the cage anymore, a bit sooner.

Of course, Sati was still angry. He would be, for a long time, maybe. Sati rarely ever lost anyone like that. Most would probably argue that it wasn't his fault; Alexios had died, and hadn't come back. It was probably the only way to get to someone he cared about, as much as he cared about Alexios, Rakaia, and Makoto. It was the only way to get around the gigantic obstacle that Sati Lucain was, and he knew it. The daevas couldn't take him head-on; no, never that. There weren't enough of them, and too many Desert Storm. And Sati himself, well, Azrael couldn't take him down. Neither could any of the other Daeva Warlords, not in a fair fight.

So they didn't fight fair.

He wasn't sure how long it'd take him, to forgive himself for being probably the only reason the daeva host were interested in Alexios at all. Logically, yes, he knew it, he couldn't protect everyone he loved, and that was why he taught them to protect themselves. It didn't mean he forgave himself the dishonor of still not being a god. "Alexios, do you want to go home? I can help you get there." They weren't in the Sahara anymore, anyway, and Sati wasn't really sure where he thought he was, exactly. "Kaia and Maki are here, too. Rakaia found a healer, and she can think, now. She remembers you." She remembered everyone, now, even herself.

She was still a psychopath when she was threatened or pissed off, though; well, that was part of her charm.

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Alexios frowned slightly at that, as if he wasn't sure how to respond. Then again, maybe it had been a while. Maybe he was lying. It didn't really matter, in the end. What mattered was that he was here now, and that Alexios didn't know what exactly was going to be triggered by this. Sati was usually upset with him, one way or another, for being weak enough to die. For leaving him. It was mostly silly, silly insecurities that Aquila had had forever basically, and the Cage was just pushing on them because it could.

The Daeva made a face and pulled his legs in tighter, seeming to be trying to draw away from Sati. Green eyes remained focused on him though as he considered what he'd said. It didn't make sense. He couldn't leave so why was it trying to get him to do so? What happened if he listened to this Sati, anyway? If he tried to leave?

"I can't leave, you know that." Calmly, finally. He couldn't, he couldn't get out of the box, there was no way out. It was all just an illusion anyway, so why would Sati want him to leave? but it was also strange because Sati had never said something like that before here. Before it'd usually ended around maybe he deserved to be here. This was confusing - what in the world was happening now?

Kaia and Maki were here? He looked around slightly - no, he didn't see them. It was just them, and the two that looked familiar and alike. Green eyes went back to Sati. Kaia didn't remember things, and even if she did now, he hadn't been around since things changed. She'd probably be upset with him now, for being gone for so long. "I'm glad." It was an easy enough thing to say. But that was... you know, in all, good news.

But what Alexios couldn't quite see was how it was going to be twisted into something bad.

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The good news was, Sati was very good at hiding it, when he was angry. He was good at shoving his emotions down, and dealing with them later. Being upset wouldn't help; he needed to be calm, for this, because he didn't quite know what was going through Alex's head, right now. If he reacted badly, then Alex could, too, and that could be very dangerous for them both. He shook his head, a bit, breathing steadily. Eventually, Alex would catch on. That was what he did, when he was containing his rage. But for now, this was going better than Sati had feared it might.

"Mm-mm," he answered. "I know how to get out. You can come. You just have to follow me, see? Like you did when we went over the Alps, and then to the Sahara. That was a long time ago, but it didn't turn out so bad, did it?" Sati wouldn't hurt him, would never do anything that might, and Alex knew that. He was just hoping that, if he prodded that part of him enough, the part that trusted him, enough, eventually his instincts would override his ingrained suspicion. He was quite sure Alex had it, by now; he remembered every year that Alex wasn't here, because quite honestly, every day of every year he was gone, it felt like a little more of him slipped away. He clung to Maki and Kaia, but, one didn't override or replace another. It wasn't the same, and it wouldn't be, and that was no one's fault, it just was.

He was sure, though, at least in some sense, that Alex felt the same. Sati hoped the pieces of Alex that had clung to him were still vibrant enough to override the chaos in his mind. To remind him that, whether Sati was a mirage or real, he did still trust him. "It's okay, Alex," he said, quiet, almost a whisper. "We're back together now, see? And like I said I would, a long time ago, if you can't stand anymore, I'll hold you up, remember? I got it from here. We don't have to go far. Just right outside, mm? The fresh air'll be good for you." So it probably would. Daevas didn't need anything special, but sunlight was good for most creatures.

Most.

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Knew how to get out, did he? "You make it sound so easy." His tone was mistrustful. But... on the one hand, Aquila was almost certain that one of these couldn't be broken from the inside. On the other hand... Alexios had seen Sati do plenty of things that one might say were impossible. And if anyone could manage what Sati was proposing, it would be the man himself. Suspicion warred with the ingrained trust in Sati he had, and he didn't shift any closer. He wanted to. He wanted to because his emotions would always betray him when it came to Sati, it was why the shades of him were such effective weapons because Sati's hatred was perhaps the one thing that Alexios could not face with his head held high and a glare in his eyes.

But Sati had never directly put him in danger, the real one hadn't. The real Sati had always done the best he could to protect them all, and that was why they followed him. Alex knew that. His heart warred with his head, and green eyes remained fixed on the other, his body not moving even as he listened.

Was it okay? Nothing had been okay for so long... how long had it been? How long had it been since he abandoned Sati against his own will? How long had he been gone? All Sati was asking for was a little trust. All Sati was asking for was him to go outside with the vampire. That was all Sati was asking. It wasn't that much to ask. It wasn't that much for Alex to give except it required trust and that was the one thing Alex had always struggled to give.

But this was Sati. Or it was a figment of his own imagination. Either way the trust was either in his own mind or in someone he had trusted for hundreds of years. But then, Alex knew from all this time that he couldn't trust his own mind. And yet... and yet. Would it hurt anything to give in to this? The worst that happened was it was another trick to more pain. In the end, it couldn't be more than he had already endured except freedom or death.

And at this point, wouldn't dying again just be a release? It wasn't as if Sati would lose anything, if he died here and this wasn't really Sati. It wasn't as if Aquila himself had anything left to lose.

Quietly he nodded. "Air would be nice." Softly, quietly sealing his fate. For better, or for worse. The Daeva shifted slightly, moving a little hesitantly towards Sati.

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There went the gears, turning in his head. Sati stayed still, where he was, and waited. If he had to prod some more, he would, but for now, he was thinking about it, and that boded well. If he gave him time, and space, eventually, Alexios usually did come to him, sooner or later. That was, after all, how he'd gotten the Greek to trust him in the first place, by coaxing him over instead of pushing himself into the other's space uninvited.

And here they were, two thousand some odd years later. Was that trust he'd spent so long forging still as strong? Gods above he hoped so, because if not, he had nothing else.

But no, there he went, moving closer. Sati smiled, a bit, one fang peeking out from under his lip as he did so. Gently, and slowly, so as not to startle him, Sati took one of his hands, then the other, set them together, and lightly kissed the knuckles. He wasn't entirely sure Alex could stand on his own, so, instead of trying to get him to, Sati just reached down and picked him up.

"Know where to find me if you need me, go to bed Bjorn," he said lowly, as he shuffled for the door.
"Yeah, going," Bjorn answered, and then shuffled to his room, because sleep really did sound like a great idea.
Fortunately, he could get the damned door open without touching it. It unlatched, as he got closer to it, and he shuffled out into the stairwell. The door closed on its own behind him, and he went down the stairs, only a few flights, and then stepped out into the sunlight, kind of slowly, because adjusting to the brightness was a thing.

As usually he did, he blinked rapidly, a few times, as the light reached high enough to make him blink. "Always so bright, even when it doesn't really hurt, huh. No more box." Yeah. No more box.

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Aquila made a very undignified squeaking sound before clinging to Sati as he was picked up. What? He hadn't been expecting it at all. Though logically it was for the best, since he probably couldn't stand at the moment. Wow he could actually feel Sati touching him. He was really there. The daeva couldn't ever feel the shadows of his mind, after all.

Bjorn. The name was familiar, then again so where the twins. That was probably why. Eventually, thanks to the name, identities rose up from the depths and he remembered. ... Well at least he hadn't hurt either one of them in any notable way. He was glad, because he actually liked Soren and Bjorn.

Hm. With his head here against Sati's shoulder, he could just faintly smell the unmistakable scent of Sati. It smelled like home, which in hindsight wasn't surprising, Aquila thought. And down the stairs they went, with his clinging finally loosening a little as he felt more comfortable being carried. This was Sati and he wasn't going to be dropped.

... They were outside. And that was actual sunlight. Aquila blinked several times as reality sort of sank in.

How... how had Sati gotten him out of the box? There hadn't been a fight at all. Well, it actually made sense if he thought about it from the angle that the twins had maybe gotten him out of the box, and then brought Sati in to deal with him because he was not sure who they were. If he was going to recognize anyone it would be his husband though, right? Obviously, since that had worked.

"No more box." Aquila repeated, softly, his tone indicating an agreement with Sati. "S'this mean I get to come home?" Home sounded nice, actually.

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There we go, realisation finally had dawned. Good, Sati had no more ideas up his sleeve, if this didn't work. But it had, so he didn't need to go scrambling for something else to try. At the question, Sati kind of snorted, very softly.

"Yes, you do," he answered. "Well, home's in a bit of a different place, now, but I recreated the dome as well as I could. The people are all there, even if the buildings are arranged a bit different, or the temperature's not exactly the same. The Ten no Ikari are here, too, for now." Sati, of course, had asked for them a while ago, when the Storm had come to Nebraska to deal with the Black Cross. As the Storm didn't leave, after that, the Ikari didn't, either, but that was just as well. He couldn't say if that was just because the Storm didn't leave, or because Makoto and Rakaia had decided he was mopey. That was a mystery for the ages.

It was just as well. The Storm, and the Drago, could use their help, anyway.

"Ah, the Drago are also here," he mentioned. "Mostly they keep to themselves, but you'll probably see a few here and there, eventually." Of course, Alexios would know, that many covens together just didn't happen, unless there was a very much something big happening. Well, if he asked questions, Sati would tell him what he knew. Kassander hadn't actually explained very much, but, Kassander often didn't.

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"S'fine." Home was where Sati (and Maki and Kaia) were. It would just take getting used to, if that happened to be a different place now. As long as Sati was there, Alexios thought he could probably manage it. Sati had built the dome the first time, after all, and so even if it was just a replica certainly it wouldn't be that different from the home he was used to. And, even if it was, and it was a lot to learn suddenly, at least he'd be with Sati and the Storm.

Wait. The Storm, the Ten no Ikari and the Drago were here? Three covens together that couldn't possibly be good. It wasn't that they didn't get along it was just.... that was a lot of vampires in very close proximity. And that wasn't something that usually happened. It generally meant there was something really huge going on but Alexios had no idea what that might be. .... He could ask, probably he would if he remembered. But for the moment, he leaned his head against Sati's shoulder, a bit, and frowned.

"I'll keep that in mind." Quietly. "I'll be nice to see everyone." Eventually, at least. He had friends, of course, and most of them had thought he was dead - he... was dead, technically. Anyway.

"S'quite the party here though..." Apparently we were going to go ahead and ask that. .... Sort of, at least.

Edited by Yume

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Yeah, he expected that question sooner or later. Not that it was a question, exactly, more of an observation, and Sati could probably side-step it altogether, if he tried. The Storm, in general, didn't tend to question him too hard, if he started speaking circles around them, because it meant he either had no idea, or no reason to tell them just yet. But, he didn't tend to keep too many secrets from Alex, Maki, and Kaia. Most would probably question whether it was intelligent to tell a daeva what was going on, but, most didn't know Alex like Sati did.

There was a reason he'd ended up in a box, you know.

"Yeah, sure is," he answered. "Kassander didn't really explain everything, but, when does he ever. The Storm were here first, to deal with an errant coven that went to trying to overtake a school for the ley line it's on. After that was dealt with, we were going to go back to Libya, but Kassander asked us to stay and continue guarding the school. I'm not sure who or why, but the Daeva Host are after someone in the International Academy, and they're being somewhat aggressive about it. Somehow, though, I feel like they're not being aggressive enough." Sati Lucain was quite the name, enough of a name that the Daeva Host should be quite thoroughly aware of who, exactly, they were dealing with.

They weren't trying hard enough to break him, or the Storm. Which suggested the actual target was not him. He was an inconvenience, and nothing more. This did beg the question of, if they weren't after him, what were they after? Their end-game made no sense. Unfortunately, he didn't understand how the Daevas operated well enough to even be able to guess what they were actually doing, so he'd just hope the Drago di Napoli had a better idea than he did.

Sati was very good at playing games he didn't know the rules to, and at least looking like he did, but there was a lot more involved and at stake in this than just him, and the Drago needed to get on their shit-kickers and kick some shit, preferably before this entire thing exploded in their faces.

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