This Broken Eternity
By: Paige K Duffy
Chapter: Earth's Angelic Merry-Go-Round
Trin, for once, was so caught off guard by the question that her first reaction was to let out small, nervous laugh. Isaac's eyes narrowed the slightest amount; there was no way he wouldn't catch on with an error that simple. His eyebrow raised the next second, and Trin was going to have to spill the beans, not that she had been planning on hiding it. But first:
"Don't call me 'Miss,'" she snapped, and Isaac's smug smile grew the slightest amount. Damn prick. It was hard enough to concentrate when he was right in front of her—why did he have to make it worse? "In any event, observing Earth is nothing out of the ordinary for Denizens. I didn't make much of a habit of it, but I would every now and then to stave off some boredom. And one day, I happen to look down on this human boy and his kid sister."
Isaac's smile immediately dropped. He and his sister got along sparingly, and only in the event of mutual interest or disgust. Trin let herself smirk a bit in response; next point, Trin.
"Anyway, they weren't doing anything impressive," she continued. "Not to the ordinary person, anyways. They were just a couple of siblings hanging out at the park. But the truth was they were talking about how to snitch wallets and purses." Trin sniggered a bit, and Isaac openly glared. Things just kept getting better. "Pretty mundane crimes in general, but they were just kids. It was pretty impressive when you realize they were just twelve and seven."
Isaac didn't meet Trin's gaze, but he wasn't going to make it obvious enough to actively look away. It seemed like his eyes were meeting hers head on, but with the slightest adjustment in focus. He was pretty good, but Trin couldn't let herself get giddy at that moment. Not when things were going to well.
Because if he's as good as I want him to be, I can push him to what would be most people's "limits," and he'll still come back at me swinging.
"And we proceeded to make 348 dollars and twelve cents that day," Isaac said, not quite sounding wistful. There was a slight tug on the corners of his lips—Trin could easily guess that the memory was an interesting one to him at least. Isaac's expression dropped to a frown right after, and it wasn't just a lame cover up. "I'm disappointed, though. To think that something as supernatural as a Denizen would be so fascinated by something like petty theft."
Trin's expression shot to a glare before she could stop herself. Dammit, he was almost too good. When had he learned how to push all her buttons anyway? "That's not it at all," she said, recovering her tone and expression in one fell swoop. "It was what you said after that was far more interesting."
"Humans are pretty simple creatures," Isaac said, and Trin picked up his words right next to him. If she threw him off, he didn't show it. "They're easy to take advantage of, and they don't even realize it. Something like theft becomes socially easy because of a belief in the greater good. At the same time, the belief in absolute evil of other humans make it difficult for them to trust others. In the end, they're full of contradictions—and that's how you exploit other people." Having finished, Isaac managed to glare again. Trin couldn't match his expression and properly concentrate, so she allowed herself a brief reprieve by standing up and stretching.
"I dunno," she said, not looking back to Isaac. "Something about that stuck to me. So I went ahead and kept an eye you, to see what would happen. If a kid was throwing around words like that, what kind of person would he become? How would he grow up?"
Would he make something out of that talent? Would he be interesting? Boring? Would he push past expectations or fall flat? What would happen, what would happen, what would happen—
At that point, Trin had needed to know. She couldn't manage without figuring it out. Everything else in Asylum was boring—had been boring for the past decade. She didn't want to think about it, so she had poured all her energy into observing the boy instead. Considering Trin's lifespan, it hadn't seemed like too long before the boy was in high school, then went spiraling closer to adulthood, where he surpassed higher education and built a business out of practically nothing.
Which had brought things cascading to this very moment, with Trin across the couch from him. It was completely different from watching through an Observation window, no matter how close Trin had gotten to it. Here, she could hear his voice with no filters, see him brighter than before, even though he normally hadn't stuck out. And most of all, he would be close enough to touch, and it would be completely easy.
"So then you're nothing but a voyeur," Isaac remarked. It was easier to reclaim her expression when he wasn't looking, and Trin didn't take the provocation to turn back. "So that's why you're on my doorstep? Because you wanted to visit me in real life instead of just being a pervert?"
"Wrong!" Trin sang, stretching her arms out. She walked towards the window, enjoying the softness of the carpet underneath her feet. "I was sent here because they kicked me out of Asylum. Though, I guess you're actually halfway right when it comes to it. I'm still here because of you after all."
There was the slightest of creaks as Isaac stood up from his couch, the leather slipping back into place. "Well, you've already told me I'm not meant to have a guardian of any sort," Isaac said, and Trin could hear his voice inching closer. Keeping up her relaxed posture, she continued to walk across the room, wanting to look at everything but not seeing anything at all.
"In Asylum, there are certain people that are considered hazards," she said. "I'm not exactly sure how they're chosen. But those people are considered dangerous to interact with. How they may interfere with the state of the world is beyond question. They're unpredictable, and the Council doesn't like that." They didn't like anything they couldn't control. "So interacting with them for personal reasons is looked down on, and anything like falling in love is completely out of the question."
Isaac wasn't stupid. Trin knew that, so she just waited for him to put the pieces together. It was a bit agonizing to wait for it, and almost frustrating. She was practically handing it to him, and yet—
"You actually fell in love with a human?" he said, voice at a safe enough distance. He must have stopped walking closer, then. Trin wasn't sure if that was a relief or a burden. "How disappointing and mundane. I expected something a bit more interesting."
"Hey," Trin protested, "I'm not the one who made the rules, I just—"
Trin had been about to turn around, ready to berate him. He was several years away from ever being able to match her in experience. At the very least he should have some modicum of respect—
But his hand was on her skin, right at the point in her shoulder blades where her wings came to life. The tears in his shirt made it easier, and Trin almost fell over. The skin was generally sensitive all across the board, but the physical contact was a mental shock. She couldn't pull away, though, not because she couldn't, but because she found that she didn't really want to
-but wasn't it because of that disrespect that she partially fell for him in the first place?
"And because you watched me so much, you fell in love with me?" Isaac continued, and now his voice was close, far too close, but just right. "Falling in love from a distance is just an excuse for people who don't have the courage to go forward on those ideas, you know?"
"I'm here now," Trin said, and she hated the weakness in her voice. "Not that it was on purpose, but I'm here. Now, if you don't want me to mistake your actions for advances, I suggest you stop touching me there. I know boundaries aren't really your thing, but I've been known to be persistent when it comes to getting what I want."
Isaac's hand pulled back, and Trin almost sighed. It took an effort to not drop her shoulders at once, but she somehow made it. She turned around and locked onto eye contact—his eyes were grey, so grey, how were they even real—crossing her arms across her chest. She even let herself smirk a bit, just because there hadn't been an immediate response to her words. That counted as enough hesitation for her.
"Well then, you were sent to Earth because you broke the rules," Isaac said, carefully regarding the situation. "Putting aside the fact that you ended up with me, where does that leave you?"
"In a trial!" Trin declared. She couldn't stay down for long, not when this was something she had been wanting for a while. A chance to talk to Isaac was completely worth not being able to go home. Trin gestured to where her Holy Identifier had once been. "I have my Holy Identifier, which would be a halo to your eyes. If I rebuild it, I get to go home. If my wings turn back, I'm stuck and a Fallen, so that'd be the end of it!"
That was a concept Trin was completely okay with, but she wasn't about to go and throw the towel in on purpose. She would perform the Trial naturally, and if she went back to Asylum, that was fine, too. But if she failed, the Council would be the only ones throwing a fit about it, that was for sure. Besides, making her wings black on purpose only meant that someone would be sent to watch over her and make things more complicated, maybe even take her out of Isaac's vicinity.
And she definitely didn't want that.
"I see." Isaac mused for a moment and paced towards his desk. Trin watched him, almost caught up in noting how his feet made indents in his carpet before the weaves sprang back to their base shape. He sat down, bouncing once in his chair. "Well, I have no objections to having something so interesting around." Trin twitched at being referred to as a thing, but didn't have the chance to retort. "And I have spare rooms, though I don't have any beds for them. We can take care of that easily." He clicked on his computer, several screens flashing by that Trin couldn't decipher.
"You mean I can stay with you?!" she asked, trying not to shout. In excitement, feathers started to tickle inside her shoulders, but she held them back. Leaning over his desk was a different matter, though. Isaac nodded, not looking away from his computer. "Ah, this is the best! Man, I wish I was in Asylum. Betcha that Daniel's pissed right now. I hope I ruined his day. Ha!"
"While your enthusiasm certainly makes this easier, I would enjoy not losing my hearing so early in the workday," Isaac muttered, and Trin let her jaw close with a small click. "I have a meeting with Jeremiah this afternoon, but we should be able to pick you up some clothes before then. Though getting you home will be the hard part, especially if you're not used to trains…"
Trin couldn't stop the tension in her shoulders, and Isaac stopped mumbling to take notice. Jeremiah, huh? Well, if coincidence had anything to do with it, that didn't really matter much at this point. It would be best to take the stab in the dark and see if it landed on target.
"Well, if he belongs to the Daelman Family," Trin said, looking over Isaac's shoulder to see if she could make something useful out of the images on the screen, "then I think it would be in your best interest to let me meet him."
The look of utter confusion on Isaac's face was completely worth it.
This is one of the chapters where I wonder if you can see the Durarara! influence.
We're moving right along, so please look forward to next week!