Author Topic: The Gene Files  (Read 279 times)

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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Gene Files
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2019, 09:50:57 PM »
Samuel looked upwards when Remi touched his shoulder, his expression one of surprised enlightenment. He was certainly distracted from his feelings - of triumph, that he was finally getting somewhere - by that look in the angel's eyes. It struck him somewhere low and excitable, captivating him immediately. He nodded because Remi was making a point about the carnival but he wasn't really listening. He was too bewitched by those eyes, a response he hadn't felt in too long stirring inside him once again.

Then Remi plopped down on the chair (closer to him than to Dom... HA!) and the spell faded. Remi's words were encouraging, however. He was finally sounding willing to accept that they weren't lying to him outright. Sam's enthusiasm quickened and he turned to face Remi with a growing smile. He swiped a hand through his hair as Remi started asking pertinent questions, causing the brown strands to fluff and resettle as he scrambled to think of an answer. 'Because I like you' seemed like a lame duck paddling right about then.

Dominic had no such qualms about answering Remi's prompt, however, and he got in first.

"Mainly," he said as he swallowed the last nibble of his third watermelon slice, "I'm here because I need to keep you away from this asshole." He pointed his rind at Samuel, spared him a glare and then placed the rind back on the platter. He shrugged good-naturedly and grinned at Remi. "I want to reconnect with you, of course, and I hope we can be friends again but... big picture first. Stay away from Sam," he announced with an unequivocal nod. "He's bad news."

"Just what the hell is your problem?!" Samuel demanded, spinning and returning the glare he'd received.

"You know what you did!" Dom sneered.

"How would you know?" Sam challenged, feeling flighty and worried.

"Because I picked up the fucking pieces!" the mortal roared. A moment of stunned silence - in which Sam rocked lightly backwards in his chair, his eyes wide - ensued and Dominic took a steadying breath before he continued. "Every damn time.  You toyed with Gene's heart. I know because he told me everything. You went after him when he had a boyfriend, threw him away when you had one and then, when you were feeling fucking sad or completely hopeless about Vomas, you fucking used him! Took him into that feeding room, drank from him, got him all worked up and willing... and then left with your damn boyfriend anyway. How do you think that made him feel, huh?" Dominic demanded, his blue eyes bulging a challenge at Samuel to deny the events took place.

Sam did quite the opposite, narrowing his eyes at Dom. He looked him over, noting the spots of colour high on his cheeks, examining the impassioned timbre in his voice and of his words, connecting dots that had been drawn years ago and had just sat about, waiting their turn. "You had feelings for him," he accused.

Dom rolled his eyes. "Of course I do! We're friends!"

"No. There's more to it," Sam argued, still squinting and analysing Dominic's colour. He got redder when the accusation came, looking incredibly guilty. Sam gasped. "Did you sleep with him?"

Dominic clamped his mouth closed and glowered from Sam to Remi, appeal in his eyes. What could the angel do to help him, though? It wasn't like he'd remember something and be able to defend his honour. He sighed, his gaze sidling mutinously back to Sam's. "Once," he admitted through clenched teeth, a muscle working in his jaw.

"Oh, right," Samuel scoffed, "so your motivation here isn't exactly pristine, is it? You want him back!"

"As a friend!" Dom bristled, coming out of his guilty stupor to defend himself. He sat up straighter in his chair, leaning agitatedly towards Sam. "We work best as friends."

"Is that what Gene said to you? Right before he left town and decided to wipe his memory permanently?" Sam sneered waspishly.

Dominic's nostrils flared and his lips pressed together as the barb hit home. "You were the bigger reason behind it. And because his dad told him he deserved better."

"Yeah. I'm sure."

"Thanks for proving to Remi what a dickhead you really are."

"Yeah, because the guy that came here to protect Gene from me - but also slept with him and wants to get just that liiiittle bit closer to him again - has only altruistic intentions and a 'beautiful heart'," Sam mocked, giving finger quotes to his final two words.

"I could fucken deck you right now," Dominic growled through gritted teeth, his hands becoming fists on the arms of his chair.

Sam grinned widely - enough that his fangs showed beneath the edge of his smiling lips. "I'd love to see you try," he taunted menacingly, also shifting forward in his seat.

The snicker that followed was unattractive and would give Sam ever more to regret, later on.

Offline Ehcorn

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Re: The Gene Files
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2019, 12:27:05 PM »
Before coming to the city, Remi had flown near a mountain that spewed ash and ember — a polite thing volcanoes did before erupting. He’d been able to clear the area before the sky had been blanketed in fire, lava, and rocks that would’ve made his venture to the earthly plane a short one. Dom and Sam had given him no such warning. They’d exploded and he’d done his best to dodge all the debris while he tried to figure out a way to stop the flow of magma. Remi didn’t have much time to work with, though, before he sensed them squaring off to do violence to one another.

Jaw set in determination, he pushed his chair back and stood.

“That’s enough,” he snapped, voice a bullwhip crack in the air. He was relieved when both Dom and Sam stopped huffing and puffing at each other and instead looked at him. He exhaled noisily and shook his head. If this was how they’d behaved with Gene, was it any wonder the poor man had cut himself out of their lives? They were delusional, but not in the way he'd originally thought. Theirs was the attitude of knights preserving a damsel's dignity. They believed they alone had the power to keep him safe from those who might wish him harm.

It was time to set them straight.

“I don’t need either of you to defend or protect me. I’m more than capable of doing that myself,” Remi said, still standing. He’d found it was easier to pass around frowns and scoldings from that position. “If you keep fighting instead of answering my question, then I can fly right now.” He pointed at Dom. “You’d have to go too, though. I couldn’t leave you alone with him in good conscience. I’m sorry, but he could kill you.” Dom might've been more physically imposing than Sam, but vampires possessed an inherent, supernatural strength not unlike an angel's. If Sam meant to hurt Dom, he could manage it easily.

Remi tucked his hands into his pants pockets and looked between the two potential combatants. “So I ask again: What happens now?”

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Gene Files
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2019, 04:53:24 PM »
Samuel's shocked protest of, "I wouldn't kill him!" was mostly lost in amongst Remi's indignation. Offended that he would be assumed a murderer - rather than Remi understanding he'd been implying he'd drink from Dom and prove the mortal's absolute weakness to vampires by leaving him writhing - Sam withered in his seat, stupefied and strangely humiliated.

Dominic blinked at Remi's display of authority, a grin forming as he watched the vampire deflate and pout. Remi's final prompt had Dom beaming and bouncing to his feet, reaching into his back pocket to extract his wallet.

"You know what? You're absolutely right," he enthused, withdrawing a card from his open wallet then tucking it back into his pocket. He stepped closer to Remi and held the card out to him. "You are more than capable of looking after yourself. What happens from here is entirely up to you. Here's my number and address - I work out of my home, basically.  I'd love to get to know you better, hang out, but whatever you're comfortable with is fine by me. Call me," he shrugged, his dimples flashing.

Dom would listen to anything Remi had to say and, once he took the card, Dom would sidle past him with a wish for having a good evening, letting himself out of the suite without even acknowledging Sam as he left. Then Remi would be left with a vampire throwing him furtive looks and shifting uncomfortably on his seat.

"I wouldn't have hurt him," Sam would offer, proving that the greater part of his discomfort came from Remi's unintentional character assassination. "I would've drunk from him. He's a hopeless groupie. It... would've embarrassed him to be vulnerable to me." It was better than murder but the psychological ramifications of his intended actions would've been harsh.

Offline Ehcorn

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Re: The Gene Files
« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2019, 08:37:19 AM »
Remi cocked his head. “But… you just admitted you would’ve hurt him. The only difference I can see is that you wanted him to suffer.”

Death was a terrible and permanent thing, but the nature of it meant that if Sam had killed Dom, he wouldn't have been able to hurt him anymore. Forcing the human into a situation where he would’ve lost control of himself was arguably a lesser evil, but it told Remi that the vampire was capable and willing to be cruel. Disappointing, really, though it didn’t deviate far from what his mentor had told him of the species. The fact that Sam was able to hold a conversation with an angel without trying to feed on them would’ve been a surprise to Vretil, though.

Smiling at the thought, Remi turned his attention to the card that Dom had handed him before he’d left with little ceremony. As promised, there was a name, a string of numbers, and beneath that, a combination of numbers and words he supposed was his address. The human had come out for misguided reasons — thinking that he needed to rescue someone that Sam’s records confirmed could’ve done with some saving — but Remi had seen his aura. His intentions had been pure. Yes, he'd call him; it might be nice to spend time with such an affable man.

There was only one problem.

Remi turned the card into his palm and looked at Sam, a frown marring his face.

“I don’t have a phone.”

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Gene Files
« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2019, 10:08:15 AM »
Remi's point was well made and only made Samuel feel even more abashed. The more he spoke, the more stark the differences between the angel and Gene became. Sam didn't particularly like them... but he admired them. As embarrassed as he was, he respected Remi for pointing out that his choices weren't gallant. There was also something alluring about his authoritarian attitude; he wasn't often called out on his bullshit.

"Would you like to buy one?" he asked quizzically, looking contritely up at the angel. Were they about to go shopping? It was a welcome distraction from discussing how he might've hurt Dom. "Do you even have any money?"

Offline Ehcorn

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Re: The Gene Files
« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2019, 01:06:25 PM »
"Well, I did." He dug one of his hands into the empty depths of his pocket to rub a bit of thin fabric between his thumb and forefinger. "My mentor gave me money the last I saw him, but after I bought food I didn’t need the rest."

He went on to tell Sam about the old, gray-haired man that he’d seen on his way back home after the carnival. He’d had a cardboard sign that said he was hungry and anything would help. "So I gave him what I had left," he finished, chuckling when he recalled how happy the guy had been after he’d confirmed for the nth time that Remi was sure about giving him his whole wallet.

"When Vretil comes back, I’m sure he’ll bring more," Remi said. "I could buy one then."

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Re: The Gene Files
« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2019, 02:32:36 PM »
Samuel blinked repeatedly at Remi, processing his story.

"But... don't you need to eat regularly? How do you pay when you need more food? And... don't you pay rent? Where was it you live again?" he asked, questions tumbling out of his mouth as they occurred to him.

He recalled something about a tall building or a garden but the details were eluding him in the face of such perplexing information; Remi had given away all his money?

Offline Ehcorn

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Re: The Gene Files
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2019, 04:54:16 PM »
No sooner than Remi opened his mouth to answer one question, Sam was on to the next. All he managed to do for a while was his best fish impression, and it rivaled the one he’d done earlier that night in the hotel’s foyer. The way Sam asked his questions made him feel like he’d done something wrong, just like the woman had when she’d suggested he slake his thirst at a nearby coffee stand instead of the water fountain.

Remi cleared his throat and slid the card Dom had given him into his pocket before he crossed his arms over his chest.

“I live at the top of the tallest building in the city, like I said.” He half-turned to nod towards the nearby Capital Building. “No one was taking care of the plants up there…” Remi trailed off and shrugged. “I don’t pay. Not exactly. I figured I’d help out and they wouldn’t mind if I stayed.” So far, no one had bothered him and the garden had turned into a paradise. Sam’s balcony was nice, but he could’ve used some more greenery. Not once had Remi been able to forget where he was like he could while he was in his rooftop garden.

“And yes, I need to eat,” he said, breathing a short laugh, "but I've never run out of food from one trip before Vretil comes back.” His face fell along with his shoulders and he looked askance at the table that hosted the food platter Sam had ordered for him. “Except this time,” he admitted slowly, looking back at Sam. “That was the first I've eaten since the carnival. So... thanks for that.”

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Gene Files
« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2019, 09:50:35 PM »
The more Remi explained, the more questions bloomed in Sam's head. He frowned as he thought through the answers, trying to skin them down to their bones in order to figure out which one was the juiciest. One of these had to be the lodestone upon which the other information relied; if he could figure that out, he might find the shortcut to understanding (sometime before midnight would be good).

Samuel followed Remi's look and spied the Capital. Ah yes, that was it. He had mentioned living in a garden on top of the Capital Building. Squatting was more like it, since Sam now knew he was paying no rent. Perhaps the penthouse wasn't occupied at the moment, so no-one had had cause to travel to its roof to realise there was an itinerant angel in residence? The thought brought the ghost of a smile to his lips.

"You know you're technically breaking the law by staying there, don't you? If you live somewhere without paying for it - especially when they don't know about it - that's called squatting or trespassing. When they find out you're there, you'll be in trouble," he warned in an offhanded manner.

This information wasn't what mattered most but Remi deserved to know where he stood. He used it as a segue to get him to what he'd deemed the pivotal information he did need. "Who's Vretil and how long will it be until he brings you more money? You should be eating more than once a day, surely."

Offline Ehcorn

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Re: The Gene Files
« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2019, 06:09:17 AM »
"He’s my mentor?" Remi replied, his expression taking a turn for the uncertain and mildly confused — all creased forehead and puckered lips. Hadn’t he said that already? Was Sam even listening to him? Before he could puff up any further, Remi remembered that things were different on their mutual planes. Perhaps they weren’t afforded the same guidance he had been, with a hand-picked instructor that had become his most trusted friend.

There had to be something that would help Sam understand his relationship with Vretil, though.

"He tutors me in—" Remi uncrossed his arms to tick off items on his fingers as he went, "—Enochain, Demoniac, though I still read it better than I can speak it, and a few human languages, too. Then there's species studies with an emphasis on human relations, horticulture, and…” What was it Vretil always said? Summarize. Condense, clarify, and present. "He’s ah… my guardian, too. He does everything my father can’t, like check in on me every—" Again, he paused, and again, his uncertainty made itself known on his face. Sam probably wanted numbers. Dates. Time frames. None of which Vretil had given him much instruction on.

"I don’t know for sure when he’ll be back.” He reached into his pocket to flick at the edge of the card he’d recently shoved in there while he racked his brain for any helpful clues he could give Sam. "But I know the leaves had just changed colors when I saw him last," he said, smiling as he recalled the brilliant displays of red, orange, and yellow. "It was beautiful."

Almost as soon as his smile had flickered to life, it faded. When the leaves changed, he'd also met the city’s guards for the first time.

"You said I'd be in trouble for living on the roof when ‘they’ found me. Who is ‘they’? The Ward?"

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Gene Files
« Reply #25 on: December 03, 2019, 06:21:20 PM »
Samuel's eyes lit up when Remi mentioned he was being tutored in Enochian, immediately sensing an opportunity to advance his library. That would mean more time spent with Remi, too. He wasn't sure that would be a good thing... until the angel smiled, of course. Thinking about the shifting face of Autumn caused his own face to reflect the beauty of it. Sam lifted his eyebrows, momentarily transfixed by Remi's expression until it melted into one of concern.

Blinking, he cleared his throat as he shifted on his seat, organising his wayward thoughts into an answer. "You should sit again, I reckon. Craning to look up at you is- " he trailed off with a laugh, rubbing his neck and grinning meaningfully at the angel. "By 'they' I mean the owners of the building or the penthouse but I guess they could get the Ward involved. It'd more likely go to Jake McCloud or his people to rule on, since it's happened in Central District. I guess they have to catch you, though," he shrugged, his gaze lowering to take in Remi's body thoughtfully.

"You fly up there, I gather?" he enquired, lifting his eyes again until they met Remi's. His hand fell away from his neck to rest on the table by his laptop, realising he should be asking more about Vretil's visits, translating lessons and Remi's lack of understanding about time (and money) but feeling like it could wait.

Offline Ehcorn

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Re: The Gene Files
« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2019, 02:20:22 PM »
Remi, dragging his chair out a little farther and stepping around it with every intention of sitting down again to spare Sam's neck, froze when an unfamiliar name was spoken. “McCloud” seemed innocuous enough, but that was just a name, not a man. Until he met him, all he could hope was that he'd be easier to deal with than the organization that’d already written him off as a miscreant.

But like Sam pointed out, that was only if he got caught in the first place.

“Yes, I fly there.” Remi lined himself up with the well-lit Capital Building in the background and mimicked the steep incline of a takeoff with his flattened palm, then leveled out in an easy soar. “I stay above the clouds until I’m near the top, then,” he tilted the tips of his fingers down and at the last second, yanked them up again to imitate the maneuver he’d commit to before he touched his feet to the ground. “If I’m not careful, I’ll run over my plants or…” He held up his other hand to act as the ground and smashed into it. “Splat, I think, is the right word,” he said laughingly as he met and held Sam's gaze.

Like a magnet to metal, though, his eyes were pulled to the vampire's full lips and he wondered if they'd feel as cool as his fingers had. Would they steal the heat from him, too? A breathy, sheepish sounding laugh escaped him when he realized he was still standing above Sam, contemplating what it'd be like to kiss him.

“Sorry,” he mumbled, reaching blindly behind him for his chair. Once he got settled in it, he cleared his throat and continued speaking in an effort to keep his mind where it should be, "But uh... In general, I always try to avoid being seen. The last time I was caught flying, I got a fine." Remi pulled a face. "Whatever that is."

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Gene Files
« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2019, 05:50:38 PM »
Samuel silently admired Remi's demonstration of his flying patterns, equally as fascinated with the way his shirt pulled taut across his broad shoulders and around his biceps as with the manoeuvres his elegant hands were describing. He chuckled along with Remi at the notion of him crashing and met his gaze with open admiration.

Because he was looking straight at the angel, Sam noticed where his tawny eyes went and felt a reciprocal thrill shiver through him. He was looking at his mouth. The urge to lick or smile wider was strong but he fought it. A little curious look wasn't enough to act on but it was encouraging nevertheless; at least he'd drawn Remi's gaze. Once. Hyper-aware of the inspection, Sam waited until Remi looked away and was sitting before he licked his lips and ran a hand through his hair, shifting on his own seat in response.

The news that Remi had been caught flying in the city had Sam looking at him with wide eyes, clearly startled. "You were caught and fined? By the Ward?" he queried, receiving an unnecessary affirmative in answer. No wonder Remi had looked confused by the name McCloud but had asked specific questions about the Ward. He'd already run afoul of them. "A fine is something you need to pay as... as compensation? No," he frowned trying to find a word Remi would understand that would accurately describe the nature of a fine.

He ran his hand through his hair again and grabbed his chair by the seat between his legs to shift it - more in agitation than anything but it squared him towards Remi and got him a little closer anyway. His elbow was on the table by his computer now, his other hand moving away from the seat to rub along his denim-clad thigh as he thought about his answer.

"More like retribution. Because it's against the law for any supernatural to reveal the nature of their being to the general populace anywhere in this city so if you were caught flying, that's a big no-no. Anyone could've seen you - obviously they figured the risk was low, though, otherwise you wouldn't have just been given a fine, you'd have been punished more severely. You were lucky. Or smart," he chuckled, his eyes twinkling as he shook his head at Remi - ostensibly, the action was reproving but there was obvious indulgence and admiration in his gaze, too. For such a rigid authoritarian, the angel was delightfully rebellious, too. Sam liked that idea very much.

"Either way, that's something y'all are gonna have to pay for. With no money. When is Vretil due to visit you next? Because fines have a time limit and I'm beginning to think it would be a good idea for you and I to take a trip downstairs to the Ward Headquarters so I can pay this fine for you. I don't want you to get into more trouble just because you don't pay in time. We might as well go buy you a phone while we're at it. And some groceries. Can't have a fine figure like yours wasting away without nourishment," he teased, dropping Remi a wink as he laughed and pointedly raked his gaze down said fine figure.

Offline Ehcorn

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Re: The Gene Files
« Reply #28 on: December 05, 2019, 08:26:28 AM »
While Sam explained the purpose of the slip of paper he’d been handed by a scowling man in black, Remi sank deeper into his chair. With a sigh, he propped his elbow onto the armrest and leaned the side of his face into his fist.

It hadn’t been anyone’s fault but his own that he’d been flagged down and scolded by the Ward. His mentor had warned him over and over that if he flew, he needed to take steps to avoid being seen — using the clouds and magnifying his halo to hide himself — but he’d discovered how exhilarating it was to fly between all the skyscrapers in the city, darting past and weaving through them. Staying hidden had taken a backseat to his sheer enjoyment of the moment and he’d been made to pay a price.

Rightfully so.

His expression grew glum when he was reminded that he couldn’t exactly pay that price because of another choice he’d made. He had no money because he’d seen hunger in the homeless man’s eyes and misery in his aura. If he could go back in time, he’d give him his wallet again, but maybe… well, maybe he would’ve kept enough to pay his debt.

Vretil might've been able to help him, but he had no idea when he’d return. Remi sank deeper in the chair and shook his head, readying himself to share that information with Sam, but sat up and dropped his hand when the vampire suggested that he could handle the situation. All the weight lifted from his shoulders and he let loose a long sigh that was interrupted by a laugh at its tail.

"I bet I eat more than you’d think to keep up," he teased back, raising his eyebrow and nabbing an apple off the platter to take a big, crunchy bite from. Remi ate more than he thought he would, which was something of a problem when it came time for meal planning. He finished his first apple and had grabbed a second to work his way through as Sam gathered his things. And when Sam led the way back into his suite, Remi followed. To his surprise, he only felt a crawling sensation between his shoulders (a vast improvement over feeling like the entire place would collapse on his head), but that didn’t mean he wanted to linger any longer than he had to.

Thankfully, they were at the elevators in short order, but when they stepped on, Remi cringed.

The doors closed on them and Remi moved to the farthest corner of the box. There he remained, trapped, with his arms crossed over his chest and what remained of his apple forgotten in his hand. As they descended, he glanced around furtively, searching for every creak and groan that he heard, and tried his best to keep breathing steadily.

"I really don't like these," he said, in case the vampire wasn't aware.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Gene Files
« Reply #29 on: Today at 02:42:20 AM »
Samuel had expected Remi to balk or chastise him for the flirt. When he got a laugh and a cheeky look around an apple, he was quietly thrilled and a happy zing rippled through him. Mildly flustered by Remi's playfulness - but chuffed that he agreed to let Sam help him out with his fine - Sam grabbed his laptop and headed inside. He left it in the study nook instead of on the dining table and picked up his wallet and room key before he walked Remi out to the elevator.

Remi's demeanour completely changed once they were enclosed in the moving box and the giddy feelings Sam had been entertaining evaporated in the wake of his sudden concern for the caged angel. He stepped closer, hesitant about crowding but drawn to the tension in Remi's face. "What is it? Are your wings cramped?" he asked in concern, lifting both hands to grip Remi's folded forearm - firmly, so as to distract him from his discomfort. Sam's gaze drifted up over Remi's shoulders, inspecting absolutely nothing he could see but imagining how difficult it would be for wings as large as Remi's to fold into a restricted space like an elevator.

His gaze returned to Remi's eyes in short order, since looking at the blank walls did him no good.