"But that's just immoral!" Denying all professionalism, Garrick harshly snapped at the supreme god, Keiran, who calmly sat in his cozy, luxurious office seat, "I can't believe you want me to carry out a mission like that!"
With the mildest of expressions, Keiran merely blinked up at the enraged one and countered, unexpectedly cold, "Since when do morals matter here? At this place where we observe and judge humanity? We focus on facts, not feelings. You know that." He added, patronizing.
"Tch, I don't need you reminding me. And I know what I need to do, but there's no way I'm-" Garrick welcomed the coming verbal battle; his temper only rising further as his superior rose from his seat.
Keiran then approached him face-to-face, smirking all the while he spoke, "Look, I love the way you think…" A graceful hand took to Garrick's pounding neck, reached to his face, where it departed with a tender caress. "But talking back to your superior isn't a good idea when there are others present." He added in soft tones of warning.
Still frozen in his furious state, Garrick sharply turned his head to identify the intruder. It was Sylas, the Diviner of Karma.
In the noisy confusion of Keiran's office, Sylas wordlessly stepped in. He raised his eyes to behold an upset Garrick, and to such a god, a second thought was not needed as to why. The sharp-dressed man greeted Garrick's scowl with stern words, "It's already been decided. We've done our part, now it's your turn. Kill that boy."
The words of the other struck a manipulative chord in the man, and thus, Sylas was inadvertently dragged into the dispute. Garrick shouted in remorse, "But he hasn't done anything wrong! Sylas, you – of all people – should see that!"
"I know his karma is beyond normal mortal expectation, but it's his fate to die." Sylas, ever-cool, folded his arms comfortably. "There is nothing even you can do. And I'm sure you – of all people – know that life is hardly fair, Garrick."
"But the good humans are supposed to get happy lives! Isn't that the way your job goes? Why's this guy an exception?"
Before the fight proceeded further, Keiran raised his hand - a gesture to cease. His lungs first heaved an agitated sigh, as if preparing a speech before begging children.
Until both the boys ceased fire, he then determined, "Garrick, it's your job to foresee the mortal's fates and make sure they're carried out accordingly. Sylas, it is your job to judge them according to the lives they've led. And it's my job to make sure all of your work goes smoothly here in Runawynd. Let's get this done and out of the way, all right, gentlemen?"
"Sir." Sylas bowed his head with respect. Garrick bowed his head with obligation.
I hate him. That Keiran. Bitterly and carelessly, the Diviner of Fate began to conjure thoughts of malice. I hate how he treats me and patronizes me. I hate how he cares for no one but himself… That mortal boy is going to die at his hands when he doesn't even deserve it…
I refuse to kill him. I refuse to let him die because of Keiran's selfishness.
"Right. Well. Since your work is all done for the day, Sylas, would you be a dear and get my bath ready? It's about that time, you know. Oh, and dinner was fabulous; thanks again for the lovely meal."
After a second bow of acknowledgement, Sylas obediently and silently proceeded to take his leave. But when Garrick took to follow suit behind him, Keiran promptly called out, as though recalling a pressing matter, "Ah-ah, Garrick. Stay. We need to talk."
"Oh, yeah? What else do you want to talk about? I was on my way out to complete the mission." Though his body stood still on command, his desperate eyes still followed after Sylas, who shut the door behind him.
"Is that so? I thought that… well, you thought that…" A smile became a smirk. "Because of my selfishness, you refused to let that boy meet his end. Am I wrong?"
Curse him for reading minds. Curse myself for having my mind-reading barriers down. "That boy is innocent," Garrick stressed with great care. Instead of his direct approach, he decided to – this time – maintain pride and professionalism.
"Yes, yes, I know. I know… Sylas knows… you know." It seemed mere conversation failed to impress Keiran, beginning to prepare himself for his treasured bath time. Garrick watched his actions with little to no interest when the supreme god moved towards the window. "Now, before you leave, I'd like to ask a few questions."
Wishing deeply for an escape from that moment, Garrick's eyes ventured out the window where he beheld a world that Keiran himself created. The sun had sunk but a mere fifteen minutes ago, yet the world still seemed drenched in a golden hue of dusk. Everything seemed still and beautiful. For that moment, Garrick decided against questioning the motives and decisions of his superior.
And so, by means to progress with the interrogation, Garrick consented with a nod, "Go ahead."
"Can you see how he'll die?"
"No, not at this point. I just see that he'll die."
Garrick's eyes moved from the window's curtains to the cabinet; before which, the taller man now stood. Meticulously, Keiran peeled out a bath robe that matched the crimson hues of those curtains. "In two days," He responded at last.
"So you have two days of foresight in advance with this person, but you still can't specify how he'll die?" Keiran clarified. With a sweet, aristocratic smile plastered to his manly features, he turned to face Garrick, walked nearer to him, and draped his red robe on the sofa beside the hesitant subordinate.
Garrick was unappreciative of the space deprived from him, but he did not let his mind wander over such a trivial aspect. "Th-this boy is different, I think. Somehow I feel that… I should protect him. I don't want him to die, Keiran."
Preparations complete, Keiran eased into the sofa, smoothly stretching out his limbs like a feline. He paused momentarily to collect his thoughts, then took a breath. From where he was standing, Garrick could see Keiran gently close his eyes, run his fingers through his red hair, and sigh once more.
"You've never met him before. You've never seen him before. You don't even know his name, where he's from, or anything else for that matter. You just know that he's a kind individual and undeserving of the fate brought before him." Keiran's eyelids flickered open, lightly smiling at the intense Garrick.
He continued, "So why would you do something like that for a stranger like that? Really, sweetest, you're so unpredictable." With one hand, he began unbuttoning his own shirt (most likely - Garrick assumed – to change into his bath robe). And with the other hand, he reached out to playfully fluff Garrick's hair, running his fingers through the light, blond locks. "I like that about you. Your thoughts, feelings, emotions… It makes you so human-like."
The agitated Garrick turned away in an abrupt fluster, his eyes again wishing for freedom and scanning the door. "If you're done here with your interrogation, will you allow me to leave?"
Keiran chuckled softly to himself; upsetting the other even further. "Fine, darling! I give in! I'll let you save him. On one condition, naturally. You can't get something for nothing, after all."
Taken aback, the Diviner of Fate whirled around to face the debatably honest man. However, a sudden sweep of disgust found his way to Garrick's stomach. Biting his lip, he watched Keiran's smirk widen to a grin while he mumbled, "Ah, choices, choices… What can you do for me, my dearest? What shall I do with you…?" To add effect, Keiran unbuttoned the last one of his shirt, slowly revealing a slender, yet muscular build.
That unceremonious gesture had just about crushed any sanity that remained intact for Garrick, who thoughtlessly complained, "Don't be a creep. Just pick the first thing that comes to – wait, no, please don't say-"
Keiran submitted to his new-found, eager listener, "Never ask for his name. If he tells you, our deal's off, okay?"
Confusion was then the reigning emotion of Garrick, who fairly argued, "But that won't be hard at all. Why the odd demand?"
"Because I have a feeling it won't matter in the near future."
I just don't understand why he's helping me, that Keiran. I mean, in the end he gave me a photo of the guy, gave me a map of where he might live, and helped arrange for my stay on earth. This situation is really kinda odd… but then again, maybe not. Or at least, not for him. Odd definitely takes on its own meaning with that guy. As he walked, Garrick thought. The man harbored a wandering mind, after all.
Before becoming acquainted with Keiran - and truly opening his mind to him and his philosophical ways - Garrick didn't understand the importance of thinking. Only work. But that was before. It was only after an encounter with his own fate that he determined, "I've got a head, so let's use it."
Perhaps the saying rings true, "People change depending on who they meet." Perhaps you learn something new through each encounter, whether it's a small tidbit or a lifelong lesson. Because of personal experience (and therefore growth), Garrick felt that nuance stronger than ever.
He's such a powerful person… I don't know why he's so lenient with me. I mean, sure, I do my fair share up there. But I guess understanding his motives really doesn't matter. I mean, his business isn't mine. Well, I guess in this case, maybe it is. Whatever. I don't even know what I'm saying anymore.
Descending to earth exhilarated Garrick like nothing else did. Being among the people of earth – the humans, as well as their unique cultures – never ceased to fascinate him. Each person is so different, yet so alike. He thought in all his optimism.
Garrick glanced down at his map to find that his destination was but a few blocks away. Given the time of day, the town was adorned in a restful slumber. The shops, people, and lights of the town had diminished with the sunlight. For a moment, the Diviner of Fate wondered if it was wise to approach a human at such a late hour. Hah. Yeah, that could get awkward real fast.
In the near distance, he listened to the faint sounds of a sharp wind softly making its way through trees, causing him to shiver. The air down here is different from the air up there. It's colder here. Unbelievable how Keiran has the power to change seasons up there and down here, too. Up there, the flowers are blooming. Down here it's… autumn, I think. That's pretty incredible!
A sudden (if not random) gust of wind swept past the unexpecting Garrick, who swayed clumsily into a nearby tree trunk. In an odd moment, he felt a branch graze his arm affectionately…?
Is he… playing pranks on me?! Tch, messing with me through nature, that dirty - Goddamnit, I shoulda dressed warmer!
Stealthily navigating towards the house, Garrick at first wondered if knocking would be appropriate. After all, who would expect to hear a knock so late at night? And who would get up to answer it? Honestly, I must be joking-
Without even raising a fist to the door, it slowly creeped open. To Garrick's amazement, a young man (identical to the one in the photo he was holding) peeked out, gave Garrick one look, smiled, and proceeded to open the door.
"Come on in. It's getting colder outside, you know." His soft, calm voice matched that of his form. His pale skin emitted a radiance of innocence in the moonlight. His eyes were shimmering green, like that of a lush hillside. Among other things, Garrick noticed how the boy's body movements were equally as refined and subtle.
So this is the kind of person I wanted to save? The dazed Garrick thought in ironic wonder. Someone so… beautiful?
Before entering, the stranger politely halted the actions of the other. "Hold on a minute. You don't even know who I am. Why would you let me in your house like that?" Unintentionally, his voice grew humorous with disbelief.
After a confused look, the small gentleman then laughed, "I have a similar question to ask you later on tonight. Please come in! I've got tea ready – help yourself to some!"
And so Garrick entered, carefully sliding his shoes off, and following his host to a quaint dining area, where two seats were prepared and decorated. This time, he wondered if Sylas – karma - was playing with him. Or perhaps this was part of Keiran's plan…? I mean, why else would he have let me in so easily?
"Believe it or not, I actually had a dream that you would come." The younger male summed up cheerfully, filling up a cup of hot tea for his honored guest.
"A dream, huh?" Dream? I don't know anyone that can send dreams… That's weird. Unless Keiran can do it?
"Yup, that's right. A man with blond hair and blue eyes like the ocean will come to your doorway tonight. He will be your guardian angel… Or so I was told. So I stayed awake and waited for you." Such a sweet smile played along the sweet features of his face. "But that's… kind of crazy, don't you think?"
"You're not one to believe in 'fate' or anything like that, I'd take it?" Tactfully, Garrick questioned before taking a sip of the hot beverage.
The boy took a seat opposite of Garrick, watching him in amazement. "Well, I don't really know. I've had weird dreams like this before, but I still think this is pretty strange."
"Hah. That's an understatement." The two men exchanged idle chatter regarding the delicious tea, the house – in which he lived alone (Garrick was surprised to hear that the youthful-appearing boy was in his twenties) - and other formalities. However, the taller man was careful to leave out the one topic always brought up during introductions. His name.
I have no idea why, but… he's so easy to talk to. Like a brother, maybe? It feels like some long-awaited reunion… Such a feeling was new to Garrick, but he decided to refrain from dwelling on such a topic. "Anyway, I just wanted to ask if I could stay with you for a few days. Would that be all right?"
"Oh? As part of you becoming my guardian angel or something? Will you stay for long?"
"Two days." Childishly, Garrick began swirling the remnants of his loose-leaf tea around in his cup, and he watched them float around the bottom. "After then, well-"
Void of fear, the other calmly inquired, "Is something going to happen to me?"
He's quick to ask something like that. He's a smart kid. But what am I supposed to say to that?
"I just figured that… you know, since I need a guardian angel, something must be going on. Like I need the extra protection. I don't know why I would need it, though. It's not like anyone's coming after me, and this town is so peaceful, so I can't imagine..."
Keiran never told me not to tell him, so… "Yeah, you're in danger. Within two days, something is going to happen. I don't know what it'll be, but I wanted to stay here and protect you." After saying such an honest remark, Garrick cursed inwardly, Oh man, that sounded corn-sauce.
"Wait, so, you'd do this for a person you don't know? I know you're my guardian angel for a day or so, but even so, that's still a little crazy. In a world like this, such a thing is just, well-"
Crap, I think I said something wrong. He seems a little upset. "It's better not to question it. We're either with fate or against it, you know?"
Quietly, the green-eyed boy paused to sip his tea. He sighed a little, thinking deeply before speaking, "Don't you want to know who I am?"
"Nah, not really." I'm not used to being so unprofessional. I think.
"Not even my name?" His eyes seared straight into Garrick's.
…Mind reader. This kid a god or something? …Ha, or something. "No, I don't want to hear it. Just let me do what I have to do, okay?" So that was a white lie. Whatever; sometimes it gets me by.
A quick agreement was made between the two boys; Garrick would be allowed to share the young man's house, for the next two days. In Garrick's point-of-view, the closer they stayed together, the harder it would be for death to take him away.
Of course, Garrick was careful not to mention that the man could actually die. Although he had a suspicion that, perhaps, the he already knew. Or at least, had an idea. Perhaps the person would prove to be something more than what he seemed…?
The Diviner of Fate let him go about his daily duties; not once stepping on his toes. He did insist, however, that the boy remain home for the next few days. Because he knew the potential danger would arise on the second day, he felt there was no need to get in his way.
But at that point, Garrick already felt like a burden - especially after he was allowed to stay in his spare guest room. In addition, the gentleman had also cooked a fine breakfast, lunch, and dinner in his honor. I guess… in his eyes, I really am his guardian angel. And right now, that's good enough for me.
On the night of the first day, Garrick requested to set up a cot in the younger man's room; to keep safe. Without hesitation, the man immediately obliged. And although he offered to help Garrick set up his spot on the floor, Garrick refused, spouting that he had already done enough on his behalf.
The other male had fallen asleep first, leaving Garrick to watch him during his peaceful slumber. I still wonder what his name is, though. Keiran said it wasn't important, but…
Immediately, Garrick felt a familiar vibration in his pants pocket. His cellphone (given to him by Keiran for such a "dangerous mission") vibrated, leaving the bewildered man to first jump with surprise, then fumble around to find the right button to turn it on.
"Shh, whaddya want? You're gonna wake up the-"
'Don't talk, then.' Came a pompous voice, which seemingly came from receiver to the mind. Keiran's voice echoed strangely in his head. 'I can read minds, remember. And over the phone, too, yes, I can send my own thoughts.'
…You perverted scumbag.
'Yes, well. Keep your barriers up and you should be fine.'
Before Garrick had an opportune moment to ready his brain for conversation, Keiran's voice came in loud-and-clear. 'So how's the baby?'
Uh, so far, so good. …Hey, why am I holding the phone, if you can read my-
'You ramble a lot when you think, you know that, darling? Clear your mind a little. This is an art that can be mastered. Anyway, I'm glad to hear it. And I came to call and say you let your guard down.'
'I can see that you care for the boy. Like a brother, was it?' Garrick could sense the humor, sarcasm, and drama all leaking out his superior's echoing voice. 'Ack, I'm GREEN with envy!'
Readying himself on the "off" button, the Diviner of Fate gave his listener one last chance, Why did you call me? Seriously?
'How long are you planning on staying there?'
One more day. Tomorrow… I guess we'll see what happens tomorrow. But after that, he should be fine, right?
'You mean, you can't see it from there? His future?'
No, I can't. Especially here on earth. Hey, I have one more question for you, too, actually.
'Fire away, sweets.' From the other end of the phone, Garrick could hear a teapot begin to whistle in the background. Perhaps Keiran was in the mood for a midnight teatime…?
This guy said he had a dream. I was in it. I mean, that's why he let me in his house; because I was his guardian angel. You have any idea what that's all about?
'Hm…' Keiran added with suggestion, 'I might've had something to do with it, but I think it's something more about him, rather than about me.'
'I mean that the boy – as you've hopefully figured out – is more than he seems. Have you ever heard that people change depending on who they meet? Well, I think this is a perfect opportunity for you, my dear Garrick.'
Slightly irked that Keiran had changed the subject, Garrick went along anyway and whispered, Whatever. Oh, and one last thing, Keiran.
'Again, fire away, my dearest.'
Don't ever use random object to touch me. That tree hugging thing was a little weird. And random. And completely uncalled for.
'Ha ha. I'm glad you've enjoyed it.' Keiran chuckled loudly on the phone and began pouring the boiling water into (what Garrick could only imagine to be) one of his finest teacups. 'I just thought, Oh, I get the feeling he's starting to respect me! Talking about how amazing the differences our two worlds have! I was just touched – simply tickled! And I couldn't help but want to-'
There was a limit to how much a man could take, and with a strong and shaking thumb, Garrick's cellphone turned off. Before joining his partner in a well-deserved slumber, he would remember to keep his mind-reading barriers up.
"And then the kid's judgment day arrived. You know; day two. He stayed home, I kept a close eye on him, he made me breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and nothing more happened." Garrick summarized to Keiran, expressing with slight dissatisfaction with the previous mission. "It felt weird to think that that was all I had to do; keep him home. But we avoided it - whatever it was."
"Well, I'm glad to hear everything worked out in the end, darling." The pleased superior rose from his luxurious sofa to collect a new bath robe – it was about that time, after all. "It's really the smallest things that have the biggest impression, you know. I think… if you would've saved him from some horrible fate – like by slaying a dragon or something – he wouldn't have been any more impressed with you."
Before the hesitant other had an opportune moment to protest, Keiran spoke once more; ever-quick with the tongue, "Do you want to know how he would've died?"
"Nah, not really. It doesn't really matter now." Was Garrick's quick response.
"Do you… want to know my exact words to him? You know, after day two, when you brought him here to me?" While Keiran spoke, his actions displayed distraction, as he reached into his wardrobe and drew out his choice of bathrobe. "You did as you were told. I'm glad. Me and Sylas did our best with judging him."
To that, Garrick remained silent. Of course I want to know. For some reason, his thoughts went whirring, but his mouth dared not speak. Perhaps he was afraid. Afraid of what he may hear, afraid he might speak over something important…
"'You can go back to earth in the form of dreams.' That's what I told him." Content with his bathrobe decision, Keiran turned to behold his subordinate – as he often did. "There, now you're aware. He'll be working with us, as a messenger. He'll help us to give the humans certain signs. He had a kind of knack for it."
…Dreams? For a moment, Garrick pondered the oncoming information. He smiled in conclusion, "How fitting."
"Yes, well, I thought so, too." Keiran set his bathrobe aside, and would wait until Sylas returned. Instead, he decided to indulge in a small, candied sweet set up on his desk, which – Garrick figured – was also probably laid out by Sylas. "Guess what his new name is? Torrin. Cute, isn't it? I picked it out myself."
A new name; thus a new life here. I guess his old name doesn't matter now. "But that still seems kinda selfish, you know? He had to…" The blond man paused, upon feeling words about to flow from the heart. Briefly, he questioned to himself if such a thing would be wise…? Regardless, he continued to the faithful listener, "He had to deny all worldly things to join me. Is it really worth it? Or am I just selfish?"
Keiran inhaled dramatically, then added in a seemingly rhetorical fashion, "Who can say? It's not like I can answer that sort of question for you, my dear. But apparently, he had no problems with the change. He wasn't very attached to earth, anyway. Luckily for us."
A calm silence ascended on the two men. All oncoming words that Garrick prepared had left him, and all Keiran's actions to prepare himself for bathtime ceased. For a moment, they just stopped and mentally took in the lifetime change that time had presented them with.
A new member up here… That dreams guy. Torrin. Garrick felt that by thinking of the new name, he would quicker adjust to it. Despite his doubts, he was very content with the newfound situation.
Before he allowed Keiran turn his attention elsewhere, Garrick vocalized, "One last question… Did you know this would happen? Did you orchestrate this whole thing in advance? So that him and I would meet, and he'd be saved, and everything?"
"Humans are the same, but different." Keiran's smooth voice made its way across the room, "I like watching them, because most of them are just so fascinating. No, I had no idea this would happen. But yes, I chose to help you both, because I'm a nice guy."
Sensing a familiar, awkward pattern, Garrick felt the other quickly approaching. He didn't know whether to run or to stay put, but he had little time to think, regardless, before the man was upon him. Those all-too-familiar fingers ran through his hair, caressing at his face, and running down his back.
Refusing to let his subordinate go, the superior whispered softly to his prey, and adding with a short laugh, "And nice guys like to receive compensation, you know, dearest…" Garrick then felt a tug on his shirt, and realized that already two buttons had been undone.
In a flustered shuffle, the mortified Garrick struggled to release the unnecessary grasp of the other, breaking free, but foolishly allowing himself to fall into the lavish couch beneath him.
Like moth to flame, Keiran set off to join him.
There was a curt knock at the door, and without permission, a young man bearing a youthful appearance appeared in the doorway. Torrin stood for a moment, took one look at the now frozen men, and smiled to himself.
Completely unaffected by the sudden appearance, Keiran buttoned up Garrick's shirt back up for him. "Ah, Torrin, darling! How are you feeling?" Keiran made no effort to heed Garrick's sharp, stinging remarks, as he readied himself in front of Torrin.
"Yes, I'm fine. I just wanted… to say thank you. Ah, to both of you, that is." The nonchalant Torrin kept his hand on the doorknob, and left with a mysteriously joyful phrase, "Well, that's all, so I'll let you get back to work."
The door eased shut.
For the second time that day, that cordial silence befell the two men. Still in a huffy, Garrick thought about the just recent scenario. His ocean blue eyes dodgingly followed after Keiran, who stood quietly by his favored window spot of the room - merely gazing outward.
"I wonder if he's really going to be happy here…" Garrick thought aloud, almost wishing for Keiran's ever-honest reply.
"I gave you options, and you made a choice to save him. I gave him options, and he chose to stay. It's all about choices. Let that be a lesson to you, my dearest."
You know, I can't tell if he's a moron or a genius. That Keiran guy.
Well, whatever. Time goes by. That's all it's really meant to do, anyway. And we move on, because – essentially – that's all we're meant to do.