The unusually warm night air whispered softly through the gap left by a negligently closed glass door, sending the gauzy curtains fluttering in its wake. Wafting boldly into the hazily moonlit room, the tiny breeze circled the perimeter once, then twice, absently scattering the papers atop a steel table, to the wooden floor. Noting the absence of the establishment's owner, the tendril of wind dissipated into the prevailing stillness of the room.

He lay atop the roof of the building, hands folded behind his head, eyes closed. Even without opening them, he knew the night sky looked exactly as it did yesterday, which looked the same as the day before that.

Normally brilliant starlight quavered from behind an invisible film, while the opalescent moon shone dimly in the darkened, velvet sky.

And in the distance, city lights glowed majestically, a seemingly never-ending maze of pulsing color, sprawling into the blackness of night.

Yes, he knew exactly what the world looked like from up here. It looked as it always did, that cacophanous blend of light against the perpetual uniformity of dark. And yet... he still climbed up to the roof each and every night, and looked upon the battlefield before him, in hopes of... finding...

He opened his eyes and pushed himself up, reclining against his arms.

Where are you?

He wished he could dream again.

Before he fell asleep at night, his last glimpse during consciousness was the darkness of the room. And when he awoke, it was to the sunless dark of early morning. He dreamt of nothing.

At first, he thought it might be that he just didn't remember what he dreamt of. But as the days wore on, he found that it was not recollection at fault, but rather, that he slept without dreams.

How his father would laugh at him. Rian, you're too sentimental, he would say. Did say, in fact.

He sighed and pushed himself to his feet.

It was time to go home anyways.

He took the stairs back down and let himself into the apartment. Pocketing his wallet, he picked his keys off the low, metal table. He slid into his shoes, and took one last look at the bared walls around him: the sparsely furnished living space and the utter lack of color in such surroundings, despite the wall of glass that filtered both clouded moonlight and vibrant lights from the city beneath him.

He shut the door.

And made his way through the outdoor hallways and down the stairs to the car ports.

The familiar, black shape greeted him warmly, and he patted the hood affectionately. Let's go home, he whispered, as he slipped behind the steering wheel. The engine roared to life, agreeing wholeheartedly that no, this was not a very happy place to be in at all. Pulling into second gear, he wove down the hill to the main gates. No, he agreed, this is not a happy place... which is why we're leaving. No answer met his ears, but the consistent increase in speed was enough, and together, they sped down empty streets, highlighted by fluorescent orange lamps.

They flew down the unlit curving highway, hugging the banks with the practiced ease and polish of one who has done this so often, it no longer required thought, but rather, accomplished through memory and the reflexive feel of the road underneath tires.

Therefore, it wasn't long before the flash of red and white lights called them to a stop.

He endured the wait as the officer got off the bike, and then patiently waited as the blinding flashlight twirled before his eyes. So when asked if he knew how fast he was going, Rian gave a bored look and flicked his license at the waiting officer in response.

The officer blinked and opened his mouth to say more, but shut it quickly.

"May I have my license back now?"

"Of course, Mr. Eres," the officer replied, hastily handing back the card. "Is there anything I can do for you this evening?"

"Thank you, but no."

"Well, drive safely then, Sir."

"Of course."

He eased himself back onto the highway and caught up to speed in a matter of moments, moving closely into a steep bend then launching out into a clean straight-away.

The police officer did not appear again for the rest of the drive.

Which was just as well, because Rian had no intention of confronting the officer yet again, especially when his father would insist upon it.

The road seemed only to exist as far as the beam of his front lamps. Beyond that, infinite darkness. Like being swallowed by a great, black mouth, Rian thought wryly, as he smoothly maneuvered into the lane for the coming onramp.

Suddenly, his eyes alighted on a wide-eyed figure standing in the middle of the road.

That could be a problem, he murmured, shifting reflexively and turning the wheel with measured movements. They screamed past the stranger, who flinched as the deafening snarl of the car rushed past him, leaving him in the wake of torrential wind.

Rian let the car spin out and slide down the curve of the ramp, steadily moving the wheel into position. Two and a half rotations later, he shifted one final time and eased on the brake. One hundred to zero in 4.2 seconds, he thought idly. New record. Flipping his emergency lights on, he climbed out of the car and walked towards the form, unmoving and stock-still, in the middle of the highway.

Rian mistook him for a girl at first, with the long, sweeping chesnut hair falling to slight shoulders, and the wide, lavendar eyes, staring curiously at the other who'd almost run him over. But Terence -Terry- introduced himself right away in a voice so hushed that Rian strained in order to catch it.

When asked where he was headed, the light-haired youth only shrugged and answered thoughtfully that he didn't know just yet.

"I'm Rian-- Is there anyone I can take you to?"

Lavendar eyes clouded briefly as Terry turned away. "Not anymore."

Rian was never one to pry, and the other boy practically screamed 'pain' at the very mention of that 'anyone' Rian had referred to. "I can find a place for you to stay," Rian offered, "if you don't have anywhere else to go." Terry whirled. "It's late, and wandering the streets at this hour isn't the best." Rian walked back towards the car. It wasn't long before he heard light footsteps behind him.

He watched passively as the chesnut head bent to tug on the seatbelt before he brought his car around in the opposite direction, heading up the onramp. Grumbling as it picked up speed, his ride complained about the obtuseness of some hitchhikers. A small smile played along the corners of Rian's mouth in response.

They drove in silence. From the corner of his eye, Rian watched as the other boy stared absently out the darkened window, body turned slightly aways and towards the door. He doubted anything could be seen through the glass, however, as light-colored eyes continued to stare, Rian shrugged mentally, dismissing it as a sign to be left quite well enough alone. It had probably been a difficult night, Rian thought, and the last thing he needed was a dozen questions.

Slight in form, evident in the gentle curve of the shoulder and the way the neck arched away from the rest of the body, Terry seemed the barest of threats. Rian, however, glanced upon this wearily. It was too late in the night to be engaging in self-defense. That and the day already left him exhausted. He needed rest. Rian gradually let his attention drift back to driving.

As soon as Terry sensed attention turned away from him, he leaned forward slightly, watching the driver from behind slitted eyes. Both hands appearing dangerously slack, one barely grazing the wheel, the other quite carelessly cradling the shift knob, Rian reclined comfortably into the seat, head of dark curls settled into the headrest. His brown eyes, however, belied his relaxed posture, as they scanned the road intently with the barest hint of movement. If he hadn't been observing as astutely, he would have mistaken Rian's eyes to be fixed on the lighted roadways in front of them. So much the better, Terry thought sourly, but no, he had to get into the car of someone that talked as little as he himself did. It would even have been better if Rian were chatty and had engaged him in conversation. But alas, fate was not on his side, as Rian, silent as stone and just as stoic, drove them to.. somewhere.

Rian felt his passenger fidget ever so slightly in the seat beside his. Flicking his right hand fractionally, he knocked them down to a lower speed as they approached the end of the highway, and onto normal, lit, streets. He waited for the other boy to speak.

Terry took a deep breath. "Where are we going?" he asked finally.

"My place."

The other boy appeared at a loss for words. Whether out of awkwardness or fear, Rian couldn't be sure, but feeling it would be unnecessary to explain himself, he chose silence instead.

Meanwhile, Terry's heart raced with anxiety. His place? Oh gods, this was not a good sign. But-- but, if, well, would it be too late now to bail? So far, the night had been awful. Many had mistaken his gender initially, and much to his horror as they'd believed him to be a--a prostitute. He could still imagine the clammy hand against his shoulder. Cringing involuntarily, Terry shrunk lower into the seat. Oh what had he gotten himself into this time? Fervently, he hoped that Rian was not what he'd feared to be.

He noted the tall, iron gates through which they passed, and shuddered. If he tried to make a run for it, he'd have these to deal with. Climbing out of the car, Terry followed his host through the labyrinth of stairs, elevators, and open hallways with dread. He'd forgotten what corner of the earth they were in just after the third set of stairs. As he was just about pass out from the strenous climb, Rian stopped. Terry ran into Rian's back. He flinched instinctively, but Rian only pulled out a key to unlock the door.

He trailed Rian into the hallway, and frowned. The spaciousness of the studio reflected a stylish simplicity, certainly, but this was a bit excessive. Terry was sure he could count all the pieces of furniture on one hand.

Rian turned, brown eyes gazing steadily into anxious lavender ones. "This place is mine. I won't be staying here tonight-- I'm going home."

Rian pressed a key into Terry's open palm, ignoring the other boy gaping at him. "Just leave the key on the table before you leave." He turned to leave.


Rian stopped, one hand on the door handle.


"Sure," Rian replied shortly without turning around. He closed the door softly behind him.

Terry stared as the door shut, and continued to stand there a good five minutes later. To tell the truth, he half-expected Rian to come tearing back in moments later, having changed his mind, and throwing him bodily off the side of the hallway rails. When he didn't, Terry breathed a sigh of relief and sank to the wooden floor. Thinking better of it, he lay down, throwing his arms out wide.

What an adventure, he thought, and what luck! He didn't have to sleep on the street, and he didn't have to worry about being mugged or-- or, sold. Shuddering, he tucked his knees to his chest. And well, he couldn't be robbed, because he didn't have anything worth robbing..

He sat up suddenly and surveyed the room. Too clean for the likes of him, he reflected. Wandering past the single coffee table, he peeked behind the screen to discover a bed, a nightstand, and a lamp. Yeah, four pieces of furniture, total. He turned on the lamp, and even then, he walked through the rest of the place with his hands thrust out in front of him, blindly, in search of a light switch. Well, at least he wouldn't have to worry about tripping over anything and falling to his doom.

A yawn nearly tore his jaw to pieces seconds later, so Terry ambled into the shower, then dragged himself out ten minutes later, long hair sopping wet and bundled into a towel piled atop his head. He considered borrowing clothes from Rian, but thought better of it, and instead opted for wearing his clothes turned inside out. Crawling between the covers, he fell asleep the instant his towel-draped head touched the pillow.