"Hey," Cloud pants, breathless, the greeting a wind-blown tumble from his lips. He grasps the proferred extension of limb, wrapping fingers tight about Kujaku's forearm, hefts the other with a large step back; he has to lean away with the effort because of the height difference, but the pull is nothing to him as he eases the silvette to his feet. Water cascading in a rush, adding more sounds of colliding liquid to the backdrop of waterfall beyond.
"..You ok?" Cloud cants his head as he asks, lambent eyes genuine in concern. Barest hint of wear beneath the makou-infused blue.
Another step back, and Cloud looks over Kujaku with measured care, seeking any flaw from outward forces. Anything the healing process from Kujaku's Lifestream might have missed. Seems satisfied, and offers a faint smile -slight tug of one corner of his mouth raising in his paled face.
As the blonde pulled him into a standing position, the silver haired male vanquished both wings back inside of himself to ease the weight the other had to pull upon, knowing the workout both males had just been through. As easy as it was for Cloud to heft the silvette, the added weight of saturated wings wouldn't have helped any.
"Uhn... yeah." Kujaku murmured, checking himself over once after squeezing and letting go of the other male's hand. Clothing sopping wet and sticking to him like a second skin, long trailing hair the same, the silvette gave himself and the other a wry smile. "...the LifeStream healed my cuts and what not..."
A hand was raised to slip through platinum locks as the Siren's emerald orbs observed Cloud with concern in their glowing hues. "Are you... are you alright? If you need more healing or a place to rest..." The tall male's deep voice was soft and warm as he regarded the other, slim fingers itching to touch him but being withheld.
Cloud declines with a gentle shake of the head, luminous gaze averting to wander around the crystaline view, water encasing his legs, making his pants waver in some unseen current. The splashing beyond is soothing, and drowns out the storm of his own thoughts that are raging beneath, bottled up behind glass to be shattered later -when there is room and silence and the comfort of..
Shifting with a slosh of water, Cloud flinches, making an odd face, caught between lament and weariness. He blinks, reaching up to rub at the back of his head, and finally sweeps his gaze back to the silvette. Frowns, then glances to the mountain of green, solidified mass. Faint silouhette of what had been Wulfgar. Beneath the tangle and dull roar of his head, there is the slightest tug. Another furrow of his brow, and Cloud snatches his gaze away, forehead wrinkled in consternation. He needs some sleep.
"..I'm going to head back," Cloud finds himself saying, makou-tainted eyes focused off to the side. His fingers sinking into a pocket to run over smooth curve of hidden black. When he looks back to Kujaku, Cloud seems a little less lethargic, and shrugs. A reflexive gesture.
A soft nod and a shift of shoulders as the silvette turned his upper body more towards the massive pillar of solidified LifeStream that housed the entombed Wulfgar, silent now in eternal sleep and repose. "Home to the Lament, then.." Kujaku murmured softly, eyes still trained on the pillar, averted from the spiky haired youth so near him... yet so far away.
"Thank you... for being here..." The words were spoken with the voice of appreciation wreathed in sadness. "I am strong... but I couldn't have done it without you."
Still... even though his Home was secure... the Siren couldn't help but feel the icy claws of loss. As much as he had been an enemy.. Wulfgar Nemesis had been a friend. This the Siren could not deny. The loss also stemmed from the fact that Cloud would leave... and Kujaku had no idea when he'd see him again..
With that mixed all together with the stressful situations that had just taken place, things were strategically taking their toll on the silvette. His back was to Cloud, facing the waterfall lake, porcelain mask starting to crack and break despite his best efforts. To ask anything of the blonde was out of the question.
Cloud blows air through his lips, a low sound that decompresses his lungs, chest falling with the settle of wear over his bones, creeping into his muscles. He regards Kujaku for a moment,silence stretching, water gurgling with an almost nagging churn, incessant. Maybe...No.
With a shrug, Cloud turns away, wading back across the make-shift pond, towards the other side of the room that he'd entered in earlier, in what seems like a different dimension; the drastic change is like waking up from a nightmare.
As the blonde turned and left, the last amount of control the Siren may have had finally relinquished it's hold... and the mask shattered.
Quietly, with almost no sound at all save for the gentle lapping of liquid around him, Kujaku fell to his knees in the midst of the newly formed LifeStream pool, fed by the ceiling-high waterfall cascading down the pillar. A lower lip was bitten, nearly drawing blood from the soft fullness, emerald hues screwed shut as the silvette tried his level best to swallow the pain that stung and stuck the back of his throat like acid.
The welcoming of the Planet's Blood was comforting, like a lover's touch after a long, hard day... the only one the Siren could hope to feel in this life. Soft tears fell, 'plip plop' into the pool that was currently up to just below his broad shoulders, long silver tresses floating out and surrounding him in the light current. He had already decided......
...it was time for a very long Sleep once more.
And who better to sleep next to then his old friend.. his old ally. His old adversary. His old enemy.
Slowly leaning forward, eyes drawing closed a final time, the Silver Siren slipped below the surface, wings sliding free from his body like an ethereal aura, until he was fully submerged and laying upon his side, arms wrapped about himself as his consciousness slipped..... and then fell completely under. The silvette gave himself over to the LifeStream, calm and composure replacing the look of misery on his pretty face
Surrounded by warmth... by the voices of soft souls and Life, Kujaku Silverdragon took his rest.
Darkness.... misguided shadow that was filtered throughout by a constant jade green glow...
..the quiet, echoing remarks of water dripping from high above within a massive cavern. A melancholy remnant of what once had been...
Voices.. soft voices and the occasional shift of color beneath quiet depths; a skittering of opalescent clarity in a glittering lake of LifeStream, massive pillar of dirty glass stretching from it's depths to the black ceiling above. A place that looked both man-made and natural all the same. The truth was that both were indeed true.
Below the surface of the underground lake, something stirred... a flicker of silver in a sea of green. The Siren had awoken..
...and with a monumental crash, the Lake boiled a bright white, pushing the form of Kujaku Silverdragon from his resting place and through the surface of the LifeStream itself. A deep breath was taken, the first breath in so many days of suspended animation and sleep as his head appeared in the first burst of diamond dust, followed by powerfully broad shoulders, chest and long midsection smooth and perfect... The Massive pair of silver-feathered wings opened to fluid, full span pushing the rest of the form they were attached to into cool space, scattering LifeStream over the roiling Lake's surface.
With several powerful wing strokes, the Silver Siren was finally standing upon the firm, cold ground of the blackened bank, letting the remainder of the liquid slip and slide from his body before returning to whence it came. Softly glowing emerald orbs looked about at the flickering lights cast from the Lake upon the ebony crystal walls, no glow coming from inside their dark exterior. The look upon the silvette's face was simply blank. No smile to accompany the pretty features muted in what seemed to be numbness. Perhaps more than the cold had caused such a thing...
With wet steps of bare feet upon chilled stone, the Siren carefully drew his wings into himself via magicks as he moved to leave the cavern, not even bothering to look back at the shroud that housed the Entity that had plagued him in one way or another for years prior. Only silence remained.
The quiet sound of damp bare feet was all that could be heard of the Siren's accent to the world above. The bowels of the Alcazar were dark and frigid, only by the light of his own glowing eyes could Kujaku pinpoint himself in the inky blackness.
After a time, the light from above finally started to shine through the otherwise dead crystal, casting a quiet green flow though the empty hall. A door was soon pushed evenly open and the Silver Siren once again stood in his home of vast emerald halls and canopied rooms.. And yet still no smile was found to light up his full lips. A somber essence remained quietly about him, his long flowing hair still damp and tarnished from the long sleep in the LifeStream. Before doing anything else, Kujaku made the conscious decision to head upstairs to his room and bathe.
Steam blustered out from the bathroom door left ajar and the sound of running water could be heard beyond. Inside the massive bath within the Siren's quarters, the shower head was on full blast with cascading founts of blissfully warm water to tumble down upon bare broad shoulders and back, Kujaku's head bowed beneath the torrent. Long silver locks soaked in a watery curtain of mercury and aluminum, water following the quickest way down through and to the drain in the floor beneath the tall man's feet. Both hands were braced on the tiled wall before him, emerald glowing orbs closed as the world around him was shut out by the constant flood of the nozzle over his head.
Where exactly was the Silver Siren's mind as he stood motionless.. The events that had taken place up to the moment he had let himself fall asleep in the LifeStream once more had come flooding back to him as soon as the shower had begun, and it was no easy task to guess at just how long Kujaku had been standing there, simply letting everything, water and all, wash over his solid form, running in cascades through his consciousness and down skin to disappear into that drawing black hole... His Memory... and the drain.
A slight motion occurred when Kujaku's head was finally raised, face held up to the spray as a final goodbye to what had been, and what would be. For what else was there anymore to believe in. To trust in. To need... To want.... To love.
Soaps and shampoos were used, the room soon scenting lightly of roses and peaches as suds joined the water to pepper the drain with white bubbles as well as clear liquid.
...Nothing but the walls in which he had created for himself to be a Home. Now a Prison. A Grave...
Their warmth was not felt, glowing green and thudding Heartbeat of Life.
Footfalls echoed throughout the empty corridors, the slight shift of clothing and long silver locks freshly dry and shining from the recently accommodating shower as the Siren lowered his presence in the Alcazar to the ground floor. A vision in simple black attire wreathed with platinum essence. Long hair well past his backside now, though still a good two feet from the floor, his six foot four inches in height making all the difference in the world. Twin massive silver feathered wings were still withdrawn, however.. as if the male couldn't possibly be burdened down even more with their immense size. There was enough weighing him down as it was...
A hand was slipped carelessly down the large crystal bannister as he descended the main staircase, trailing smooth fingertips across the rough bark of one of the giant Cypress trees that made up the left pillar at the bottom of the stairs, its leafy bows shading the ground far below, and yet the ground itself was ever glowing green crystal. It left a halo of sorts to soak up light and dark in such a way that brought both polar opposites together in strange harmony.
The door to the bar was pushed lightly open after Kujaku made his way across the Main Hall, a cool draft of air feathering out the ends of his long hair, radiating the sheer emptiness of it all, causing the man to nearly stop in his tracks and turn right around. However, there was nothing for him behind as there was forward, so he moved into the empty bar and lit a few lanterns, even though the entire building was forever illuminated otherwise... but the soft golden glow of fire would warm far better that the other, especially at this moment in time.
A brief glance at the electric calendar on the wall behind him, one of those silver and black things that told time, date, humidity and various other stats, and Kujaku realized just how long he had been asleep for... it was already the Second of January... He had missed the dawning of a new year, not to mention the so called 'end of the world' which was supposed to happen on the Twenty First of December.. Something akin to a huff of exasperated air left the tall male's full lips as he shook his head slightly. Well it was certainly apparent that the world was still there... unless this was yet another bad dream.
Grabbing a glass from the rack above him and a bottle of Muscato, the Silver Siren seated himself at the bar and poured the sweet, fragrant wine into the crystal, raising it by the stem to the empty room in a toast with a soft nod and an empty light in his glowing emerald eyes.
He's not sure why he's here, as the wind bites at his face, whipping past him and blurring the world surrounding him into nothing more than a smear of colours. He's probably not even welcome. And Cloud grips at the handle bars of his motorcycle, knuckles white beneath black gloves. The thrum of the engine beneath him is a wordless comfort, lending encouragment, and so he continues on, his eyes squinting behind tinted lenses that keep the chill wind from cutting his eyes to shreds.
Soon, the great crystal expanse, so out of place amidst the darker hues of forest green -a plethora of emerald and bark -brown and dirt and rock -rises up, stark in the distance. It glints effortlessly in the pale light from the sky, the massive walls gilded, the steady pulse of lifestream emenating through the enitrety of it, beating like a heart within the walls.
Cloud can taste something like regret in the back of his mouth, his hands tightening further still, until they begin to ache. He peels off the main trail, kicking up dirt and gravel as he directs his vehicle to the side when he's within walking distance of the crystal abode. Catches a glint of the water, spread out like a massive portal, a smooth expanse of darkerness. Melted glass. The lake.
He parks beneath an old tree, thick trunk and extending branches that reach out, stretching arms that bare no weight but the thickness of leaves in the spring and summer. He slides off with ease, the hiss of the automatic kickstand, mechanics and steam, rising lazily through the air. It is still cool outside, but Cloud removes his gloves, shoving them into a back pocket of his jeans, and adjusts the length of his form-fitting, evergreen jacket.
It's the part of walking up that is the hardest -anticipation building in great swells that rise up and put pressure on his chest. Cloud wonders, as the distance shortens, and suddenly he's standing before the looming front doors, making him feel so insignifcantly small, if Kujaku is even here...In all the pristine of it, Cloud doesn't know if the Emerald Alcazar is capable of falling into neglect and decay.
His hand hesitates for just an instant, splayed against the door, before Cloud finally opens up with an exhalation of his breath, warm and seeping, spreading through the cool air that eagerly sucks the heat away.
He is greeted by an open expanse of empty silence, spare the creak of the massive door on hinges that haven't been touched in who knows how long. He looks at his shadow, stretching across the floor infront of him, darkening the pristine floor. He wonders at that, but then he turns, lambent makou-tainted eyes searching for movement in the dim expanse.
The word resounds through Cloud's head, and he tips it, making a face of discomfit, his brows knitting gently as he tries to remember why he came here in the first place.
A sip and then a long draught was taken from the wine glass, pale gold liquid drawn down a semi-parched throat with a sigh. Emerald gaze lowered to the bar-top before him. the Siren stared silently forward, the quiet and emptiness of the Alcazar echoing around the space... almost like the sound of a door opening far away...
...but it couldn't be. Who would possibly bother their way out so far in the middle of the night, not to mention the frigid temperatures outside at this time of year.. The Cloud Forest surrounding the Alcazar for miles upon miles was in the dead of winter, surely the snow would fall as soon as moisture came through the atmosphere... which wouldn't be long, no doubt.
A slim hand softly trailed fingertips now over the lip of the tall stemmed glass he was drinking from, the slight shimmer of the Muscato within resonating from the movement, ripples barely perceptible flickering across the surface. Even beauty still in his glimmering emeralds, cat slits of ebony in a sea of soft glow.
Another drink was taken before the glass was 'tinked' upon the bar and the same pale hand reached beneath it, coming back with a semi-squashed pack of cigarettes... and it was only a moment before a pure black f** ringed with a slim band of silver at the top of the filter was lifted to Kujaku's full lips and lit with a small Fire spell conjured from the palm of his opposite appendage.
A deep inhale of breath with lips pursed.. and the cherry flared brightly in the semi-gloom, casting an orange gleam before it was released, as was the grey smoke exhaled from full lungs to cloud the area just above the silvette's head. Ah... warmth was indeed possible. That was good..
Cloud stands in the stillness for a whole five minutes before he finally moves; he isn't sure what to do, and so merely stares at the expansive entrance room, his makou-tainted eyes lambent in the growing dimmness. The large windows, like tall, looming portals, spill pale light across the pristine floor, where the jaded green thrums beneath his boots, pulsing away and making his chest tight.
He doesn't know why he's bothering, and his head aches with apprehension. This is trespassing, this is invading a place that could be sacred, that's not his own. I don't belong here, he thinks, and a frowns seams across the pale flesh of his face, smooth skin wrinkling -his eyebrows furrow above the luminous array of his eyes, and Cloud pauses, coming to a stop as he looks at the floor, seeing a faint silouhette of himself reflected back at him. The door to the bar is just...right there...and maybe he could steel a can of beer or something to make the silence less deafening.
Within a moment, Cloud finds himself in the bar room, blaming reflex, blaming thoughtless nonsense of wanting and loneliness that he bites back with gritted teeth, angry at his own weaknesses. This is stupid... He glares at the floor, jaw clenching, once more faltering in his wandering. He should leave, he should turn away and crawl back to the saftey and comfort of wind biting at his face and the thrum of the engine purring beneath him. Zack would laugh, Zack would talk to him even though the wind would carry the words away, his tone like notes, drifting, and Cloud would smile and laugh and hold on tight to comfort and skin and what could only be-
Cloud stops his thoughts with a stutter of heart and hitched breath. He can smell smoke, tainted, laced poison that winds sinuously through the air. Cloud blinks, looking up, catching sight of silver tresses like falling rays, making his head hurt with the reminder of sinister green eyes that are twisted beyond recognition. Get out of my head. He hisses, shifting uncomfortably, suddenly at a loss for thought.
Cloud isn't sure if he says the man's name aloud; if his voice is just in his head or somewhere beyond his lips and the motion of mouth and tongue. He is nervous now, mind jump starting with a spark of intention that he bites his lip at, his thoughts racing.
Thoughts as soft as silk whispered about the inner depths of the Siren's mind, the haze left over by the filtering cigarette smoke causing an almost ethereal and euphoric setting to the voices in his head. A flick of grey ash into the adjacent clear crystal tray almost made a sound, the far away noise of footsteps getting closer and closer still... as if in a dream.
Kujaku blinked softly as a shift of air from the bar door opening brought him out of his state with a sudden quickness.
A shake of head, soft and alluring... silver tresses reflecting the ghostly candle and lamp light surrounding. Emerald gaze empty and quiet was turned towards the front of the room, feeling as if the golden spikes and lambent blue eyes moving towards him were just another part in his sad, mental dream.... but...
The voice saying his name couldn't possibly be.
It sent a ripple up his spine.. the first real feeling the Silver Siren had felt since his awakening. The breath almost caught on his lips.. and perhaps gave just a little more hesitation to his mouth than he would have liked...
Cloud stands, frozen still, makou tainted eyes riveted upon Kujaku's form. And then the man with silver hair, cascading down, lips moving, says Cloud's name, and the hollow of Cloud's head fills with a flurry of thoughts, dust that sticks to the back of his eyes and makes it hard to see.
Cloud squints at Kujaku, all pretense of calm lost beneath the tension in Cloud's body, in the way his shoulders are hiked up, taught, the muscles twisted into knots, and the bulge of muscle in his jaw, clenching, unable to relinquish the strain. He isn't sure what to do now, beyond the simple gesture of geniality of asking 'how are you' or 'been a long time'; but the words don't come to his mouth, they break apart in his head, crumbling like his confidence as he stands lamely in the doorway, his lambent eyes unable to pull away from the view.
I want...a cigarette... Cloud thinks, and the thought comes with such a sudden randomness that he nearly blinks at himself in surprise. Instead, he tries to focus on breathing, looking normal and not like a jumbled mess of nerve and thought that is doing nothing to convey how he feels. The mess in his head makes it hard to concentrate, but finally Cloud manages to nod in acknowledgement to his name being called, as if hailed, the sound of Kujaku's voice making his chest ache.