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    1. #91
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      Lit ruby eyes looked down at her hazel grey gaze, but then he looked away “If it is not, then I won’t.

      He didn’t say he wouldn’t still hunt the person down, he said he wouldn’t bring him before her alive. Yet there was something more to her gaze, suspicion? He thought about his words, her background and guarded nature, the root made apparent. He’d better stamp that in the dirt now, her trust…meant something to him. “Your wariness over my methods has no place. I have only used my power with you three times, first to make you breathe, the second to clear the water and the third to dry us. Albeit not how I would go about it if I had intended to coerce you for my designs, but still the only time. I won’t violate your mind Liama, the only reason I compelled you as I had was because...I didn’t know what else to do. I reacted to your fear the only way I knew how to be rid of it.

      Her helplessness, her nails digging into his skin as if she was clinging to life by their tips, the pain when she had said his name. He sighed softly “I wasn’t going to bring it up because I didn’t want to seem like I was pressuring or hounding you, but… The easiest means to know when and if someone is using power at or near you, would be to learn how to sense the Force. As I said before, you don’t have to follow the Dark path, you could follow the Light, but either way your Senses would be woken. You still wouldn’t have the means to say, fight me off, but you would know.

      He would never have done as he had if the circumstances hadn’t been as they had been. Above all Serian had, since the start, been nothing but a gentleman. Even through the tedious hunt for a place to stay, even when he might disagree on something he had always been in control of himself and never showed more than light irritation. Said irritation however never directed at her, but whoever he was dealing with at the time, he let her have her way and followed along. Yet underneath that coolness, her pain had stirred a deep anger. He had the capacity for deep emotion, but given what she saw of his past, she might get an idea of why it was instinct on his part to hide everything.

      Even now, her wariness stirred something in him, which prompted his response to set her at ease. He cared how she felt, cared about what she did and didn’t want, even if he didn’t say that.
      Last edited by Nova; 01-13-2018 at 01:52 AM.

    2. #92
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      "You don't need the Force to manipulate people. You don't need the force to compel or coerce people. Just a little know-how," she replied in a way that spoke from experience. "It's the basic premise of social engineering." Idly she sniffed once, an unconscious thing as if her nose itched. On the heels of this she settled her weight back more onto her knees and legs, though her hands were still on the couch. It was almost a pose as she positioned herself somewhere between defensive and interested, but also a display to distract. "You seem so certain I have this ability," she stated. "If that's the case, why is it that I've gone through some of the worst stuff. Why couldn't I stop any of it?"

      Of course she wondered too why she was still alive after some of it. Things that should have killed her didn't. She always skirted by merely by the skin of her teeth. She was tough, resilient, and unbelievably lucky. But did luck really have anything to do with it for a Force Potential?

    3. #93
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      Serian opened his mouth to protest, but then closed it with a sigh. She had a good point. Worse, he couldn’t deny it or even say it wouldn’t happen because who knew? He wasn’t a seer to be able to see what is likely to happen. “I try not to manipulate others without need… Just as I try to be as honest as possible. I cannot say weather or not I would in the future. In your case, I believe you weren’t disappointed by the result?

      He was referring to the contract and everything else. There was a smirk to his lips, teasing her lightly as he had spoke. The subject of her potential however reminded him of her troubles. “There is no such thing as luck or coincidence when in regards to those with Force ability. This is an unavoidable fact.

      He thought of all his encounters, of all the things he had survived before coming to the Sith. “You brushed my mind with your own… Not only that, you tasted some of my past. If you knew how improbable and how...unsettling it was? You wouldn’t be filled with such skepticism.

      He still didn’t know how she had done it. He knew he had been relaxed, but not so much that his guard was lowered. So then, how? It shook him, no one had ever seen something so deeply personal. What did it mean that she could bypass all his barriers to see inside what he hid from others? He felt exposed, vulnerable and...afraid. His mind was the only place that no one had ever touched, the one place he could retreat when he had nothing else.

      She could be dangerous. He pushed the thought away, the hand resting on the arm of the couch clenching. No. The very thought filled him with anxiety. The only way she would be a threat was if he threatened her first, what reason would she have otherwise? Yet she could change, hadn’t he seen it before? What if the Darkness changed her? Was he doing the right thing? It wasn’t his choice to make. She stood a better chance of not changing with him teaching her than others, even if he risked being hurt.

      Why was he willing to risk it? Why did he dismiss the thought so easily? He forced himself to relax and breathe slowly, trying to keep from getting into a tangled mess over something that would resolve itself on it’s own. The thought still bred unrest, he wasn’t used to feeling this way at all.

    4. #94
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      She studied him for a moment, seeing, almost feeling an inner struggle going on within him. The tension in his neck, and shoulders. She heard the couch squeaking faintly in his grip, but he also seemed to be relaxing. He was at war with himself now.

      "You've never lied to me," she said quietly, then reached one hand up to run her teardrop shaped nails through her hair, letting dark silken strands spill down around her shoulders once more. "I'd appreciate it if that continued. I've had to deal with too many liars in my life. I'm a big girl, and I can handle the truth a lot easier than someone lying, even if it's to protect me. I can judge what I need protection from." She settled back on her knees then, her voice low, gentle, but there was a firmness to it. The change in position put her farther away but immediately she walked forward on her knees until she was right next to him, then settled down once more, hands resting on her bare and slightly muscular thighs. "I'm far from disappointed. Though I'm used to people's word and a handshake being good enough. And if not, a blaster in the back usually is enough to convince people to keep their word if they had any bright ideas. But you go a few klicks beyond that."

      "You're going out of your way to be more than fair to me, which is much more than I deserve. Even now I can see there's a struggle behind those red eyes of yours, and I don't like it. If... what I picked up from you is true, I'm sure there's a lot pf pain, and anger in there. If you didn't care, and if there wasn't something more though you wouldn't be at war. Obviously there's something going on in there." She gave him a small smile. "You strike me as quite alone, isolated, even if you don't always want to be."

      "I don't ... place my trust in people easily. I'm used to people stabbing me in the back all the time. But even with my misgivings, I've never felt that you were dishonest, or even duplicitous in your dealings. I already trust you more than most people. And maybe it's early to say but, I do think of you as a friend, and I can count those on one hand. ... Whatever it is that's going on, I want to help if I can. It's the least I can do for all you're doing for me."

      With that, she leaned forward to place a quick peck on the cheek before dropping one shoulder and laying back down, but landing on her back to look up at him. "Right now you're all I've got, you know," she added.

      There was a certain level of sincerity and vulnerability in all that she said, she meant every word and she believed what she told him. Coming from someone who believed in very little, it was high praise. It was tinged with something else, but it was ephemeral and elusive. Not deception, not even close, but compassion perhaps, empathy. She was concerned, she actually cared about what was going on and in some ways she ached for his struggle.

    5. #95
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      Friend. Not once, had anyone ever called him that. He’d been told he was ‘like a brother’ or ‘like a son’ though the ones who had uttered those words were gone now. It struck a chord deep inside and he found himself at a loss for words. He closed his eyes and swallowed, how was she able to see so much? He looked at her, his lit ruby gaze filled with emotion, but most of all she would see that there was fear and uncertainty. “Because of how deeply you can see, with how easily you can go where no other has? You could be a threat to me, you could be used against me, you could do...so much. I...am not used to feeling like this.

      He wouldn’t admit to being afraid, he couldn’t. She already knew more than enough to inflict harm, admitting it scared him? He, who had survived hell and rose within the Sith never once afraid or uneasy, afraid of what she could do. It also highlighted how, up till now, with how isolated he had been that a moment like that made him first consider her a potential problem. It also showed, with how he had relaxed and spoke, that he didn’t either believe it or want to act on that instinct. She was unharmed, he even opened up to tell her, but he was still so wary. He was already braced for pain.

      I...don’t have anyone else...either.” No allies, no one who could even be considered close. She was the first person he had spent any time with outside his servants, hell physically she was closer than anyone had been in years, female or otherwise. He couldn’t even remember the last time he had had even a physical relationship.

    6. #96
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      She tilted her head, looking up at him still, her face upside down relative to him. She puffed out her bottom lip for a moment, which would have looked pouty right side up, but instead it almost looked like a smile. But then she did smile. "So you feel vulnerable. Open to attack, and worse. But you're afraid to lose that connection," she said simply.

      She lapsed into silence for a beat before continuing. "That's the nature of personal connection. Even if we were to go our separate ways today, I doubt I would easily forget you. All that you've done so far has had much meaning, and much significance. You've already altered the course of my life, and I know that's only goign to continue. But more than that, I see these things because your situation isn't unique, Serian." His name on her lips was soft, warm. He would have never heard her say anyone's name like that. She turned onto her side to face him better, craning her neck up to look at him. "And I see these things because, I do have some inkling of understanding. I might know everything, but I know what it feels like. That I do understand." As she spoke she took his close hand in both of hers, gripping palm to palm with one hand, the other pressed against the back of it for a moment. Her grip was cool, the skin soft and silky, and the tone of her touch was gentle,s oothing, comforting, or at least it was meant to be.

      "You've been alone in your dark tower for too long."

    7. #97
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      When did I become a damsel in distress and you the knight on a shiny white speeder bike?” He couldn’t help a laugh. He couldn’t help it, the idea was kind of funny, not that she couldn’t be ‘rescuing’ him, but more just the image in his head.

      He looked down at her and she would see a fragment of guilt, his worry that he might have done her harm by altering her life so. Yes, he had improved it, but what was she losing in the process? “I...don’t want to contemplate your absence or the possibility thereof. I have come to rely on you, come to need your presence. If you were gone? I would mourn you more than those who I had walked beside before. It is not everyday that I admire someone like I do you.

      She had become an important focal point in his life, a companion, a potential apprentice and...the first person to call him ‘friend’. He could recall only a couple people who he trusted, but he trusted her more than they. With her, the need to hold back, to give only so much, didn’t happen so strongly. If she left, he would probably never let anyone close to him ever again. He was so damn tired of losing people. This feeling of isolation, of emptiness, yawned like a ravenous maw and for the first time in a long long time, he wasn’t dangling above those fangs by a thread. She had done this.



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    8. #98
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      Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
      When did I become a damsel in distress and you the knight on a shiny white speeder bike?” He couldn’t help a laugh. He couldn’t help it, the idea was kind of funny, not that she couldn’t be ‘rescuing’ him, but more just the image in his head.
      She giggled at the idea as well, and shook her head, covering half her face with one hand.

      Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
      He looked down at her and she would see a fragment of guilt, his worry that he might have done her harm by altering her life so. Yes, he had improved it, but what was she losing in the process? “I...don’t want to contemplate your absence or the possibility thereof. I have come to rely on you, come to need your presence. If you were gone? I would mourn you more than those who I had walked beside before. It is not everyday that I admire someone like I do you.

      She had become an important focal point in his life, a companion, a potential apprentice and...the first person to call him ‘friend’. He could recall only a couple people who he trusted, but he trusted her more than they. With her, the need to hold back, to give only so much, didn’t happen so strongly. If she left, he would probably never let anyone close to him ever again. He was so damn tired of losing people. This feeling of isolation, of emptiness, yawned like a ravenous maw and for the first time in a long long time, he wasn’t dangling above those fangs by a thread. She had done this.
      "We all lose people on a long enough timeline," she murmured and squeezed his hand. "Whether it's just the tides of life and nature, or it's to death and destruction." Lia shrugged once and held onto his hand and forearm a bit more. "More than that you should never validate, or invalidate, your existence through the existence of someone else. Never 'need' someone. But live a life worth living, and one you want to share with someone else. Be the best you can be for you. And when you connect with someone be the person they never knew they could not live without." She looked up at him still, staying put for a few beats then smiled, one that was bright, that made her eyes almost glitter a sapphire blue, and he'd not quite seen before. she said nothing then, but simply stayed in place.

      "You're not going to lose me anytime soon anyway. I'm contractually obligated," she added with a snicker. It was a joke, a bit of a deflection, but was also the truth. Even without that obligation she was fairly certain she wouldn't be disappearing from his life... maybe ever. It was too soon to tell, but she knew the ripples of these days were already spreading. How far and wide remained to be foreseen.

    9. #99
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      Don’t mistake reliance for dependance.” Her perspective on things had been useful, but he didn’t depend on it. Well, he might depend on it some if he was in a circumstance where she had better understanding than he, but even then he would have his own thoughts or insights. Despite all the loss, he had kept living, kept trying, despite it. He didn’t know what else he could do.

      His hand closed around hers and he looked down at their clasped hands, an odd feeling welling up. It wasn’t exactly happy nor sad, it was just a lump of something that just was. Her teasing brought a small smile to his face, he certainly hoped that more bound them than mere paper. Friendship was too new and unfamiliar a thing for him to be able to trust it. He wanted to believe it, but it could too easily be a lie, at least the contract was tangible.

      He didn’t like uncertainties, he didn’t like that the mere whisper of them could cause them to be snuffed out. Better to trust what was solid than something that proved to be too inconsistent. His hands weren’t too rough or too soft, he worked with his hands a lot and it showed, but if she ran her fingers over his skin and watched his hands, she would see the silvery hair-line scars that crisscrossed them and feel very faintly fine raised scars.



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      "Fair enough," she murmured, while studying him for a moment. Idly her fingers were tracing the lines of those scars, even though she was somewhat unaware of it. Only that she was following patterns of some sort. As she paid more attention though she studied his hands. hers were worn some from piloting and using blasters, but still soft as she did take care of them. However she began to notice the criss-cross of scars, silvery and paper-thin lines, some invisible until the light brought the contrast out. A few others she could feel were slightly raised. Still others the skin looked mostly the same but under her touch she could feel the collagen having made the skin a little harder and less elastic. These weren't scars from work.

      As she studied them she noted the placing and angles. They weren't self-inflicted either. Not all of them. They didn't look defensive but deliberate. Someone had done this to him. Part of his training? Part of that nasty childhood? An impulse came over her then, and she placed one, then another and another kiss over some of the scars, light little things, almost as if a mother or big sister might on a child's ouchies. There was nothing childish about the manner delivered though, nothing motherly, but instead born of a simple physical compassion without question. This done, she gave that hand a reassuring squeeze. Touch could convey so much, sometimes more than words, and for now she relied on touch, on contact. It was something she felt he needed, having been starved of it for so long. And that barrier had been broken, the touch barrier, so she'd do what she could while she could.

      After a couple of minutes, she looked up at him and tapped the back of his hand over the scars. "What are these about," she asked, her voice small, concerned, vulnerable. "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to, just... want to know, to understand."

    11. #101
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      Her hands were warm, soft, a light surprise given what little he knew of her daily life before she had met him. He watched her and saw her attention turn to his hands, he had to put considerable effort not to snatch them away. When her lips brushed along his skin, he was shocked, but a tingle slowly wound up his arms to spread through him. No one had ever done what she had. He couldn’t speak, frozen in place and held in place by her. Such tenderness, for something like that, for him? He didn’t understand, but he found enjoyment from it, and a hunger for more. Her question make him swallow, his hearts thudding painfully in his chest. He looked away and closed his eyes, his hands clenching hers as the pain rolled through him. “I got them when I was a child…

      He didn’t know how old he was, but he kept the memory locked away because he didn’t want to remember that clearly and potentially cause harm again. “I was learning to write and every time I didn’t write exactly the way the letters were shown, my hands got lashed. First it was the tops of my hands, then my palms. However, I was still punished anyways when my blood stained the paper so I couldn’t write at all on it. If my hands cramped, I got punished. Any excuse at all really… I killed him, eventually.

      He only killed him after the man had been on his knees broken. He earned his freedom, but still had nightmares. The man who had made his life hell had been erased, save for the memories that haunted him still. “Should give you enough of a picture to have an idea of why peering into my mind is a very bad idea. Considering other times, I got off easier than I did as I got older.

      Only because as he got harder he had to make sure that he didn’t rebel. Serian had often times wished he could have stayed a child because the punishments then had been less. He had never dreamed of freedom, most of his dreams had been of eating till he was full. Of being warm.

      The food arranged on the table smelled like nothing he had ever smelled before, Little plates of colors and shapes that made his mouth water. His maker stood beside the table eyeing him with contempt, a common enough expression "Sadly, something like you needs to be trained on how to eat and recognize proper cuisine. If I could do with just pictures, I would, but I needs must waste the money to educate you. I can't have you embarrassing me once you are trained for service."

      Avonus could hardly believe his ears, all this food, was for him? He betrayed nothing of what was inside, his belly twisting around his spine at the thought. He had been getting more than the usual amount of scraps and even had more than one meal. Was it for this? He knew that eating too much too fast made you sick, he learned that the hard way once. Maybe his maker was told this and so he was given extras. Regardless of the reasons, what he saw before him was a dream come true. How many nights did he curl up in the corner of his cage dreaming of eating his fill? Now he got it, he knew he would be punished for this. Maybe for eating all the food, for the waste in resources on his worthless hide, this was so common a thing he barely cared.

      He was determined, regardless of how much pain, that he would keep all of this in his belly. His maker delighted in getting him to make a mess, just so he could blame him for it and hurt him more. Making him clean it up and punishing him before, during and after on top of it all. Today was a good day, he would enjoy this, no matter what. Today he would be full to bursting and nothing that was done to him would spoil this. He knew he wasn't likely to ever be full again, he wanted to be able to curl up inside and replay the tastes over and over again.
      He pushed the memory down, what came after had been truly the worst, but he also remembered his pride in keeping it down. That huge meal had been a small point of good for a long time. He wasn't a trained dog anymore, he had far far more things that were 'good' now, but the memory served as a reminder.

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      As his grip tightened on her hand, she gripped back, both to protect the structures there, and as a matter of reassurance, an anchor. She had him, even though talking about that was hard, and probably painful. Part of her fears had been confirmed, but as to the why, that made her eyes sting a little. "I'm sorry that happened to you," she murmured, "But I'm tougher than I look."

      As the memory came to mind she felt something then. A connection of sorts, being in two places at once. In the vast silence out there, there was sound contact, a presence. Masculine, so close she could touch. Hot and cold, a swirl of emotion and pain, but at the same time it was almsot like a scent she knew. And at the same time she knew it was him. Serian. Before the realization could fully register, her mind bridged across time and space, two places at once, then one.

      And she was in the memory. Watching from within his eyes, his body. Feeling his aches and pains. His worries, fears, hopes. All hers. But so too she stood outside, an observer. A ghostly third party, seeing him in that seat, the look on his face, so much younger but haunted. And even though she saw nothing with her physical eyes, as the memory played out she wept, not loudly, but simple hot tears, angry that he'd ever had to experience something like that. Before she was even aware what she was doing, before the vision had fully cleared she'd latched on to him tight and had both arms wrapped around him and just held on. Coming more to her senses she took a deep breath. "I'm sorry," she managed to whisper, pouring out as much compassion as she had to give in that moment, as though she could make up for the hurt, the fear, the pain, teh damages. It was the only thing she could think of to try to make it even the tiniest fraction better. It wasn't pity, or sympathy, but having lived through her own hell, but she'd had some help, and she'd weathered it. But ... the more she learned about him the more she realized he'd never had anyone. That he was still even alive was a testament to his will. Part of her wondered if he believed anything she said or did, but immediately she knew that doubt was unfounded. He'd see through that kind of bologna before it even happened. How she knew that, she wasn't entirely certain other than survivors instincts. And of course she had her own experience to draw on. And more.

      As her conscious mind worked ot catch up, she shook a little bit. It was a memory, his memory. That she knew. But that was something that only powerful telepaths, people on glitterstim spice, or reputedly Force Users could really experience. There were minor exceptions. A few races could bond that way but as far as she could tell, he wasn't one, and she certainly was just a human, and from the Outer Rim at best. Neither of them were glit-biters. "I saw," she managed to get out. "I saw... with the food and.. And..." She was crying again, but for him rather than because of him. It was silly, he iddn't need that. It did him no good, especially these days. It just was the crappy way things had been for him. It didn't change how she felt about it one bit. The raw and pure cruelty and injustice of it, and to someone she cared about burned like fire.

    13. #103
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      Her embrace was unexpected, if it hadn't been for the fact he didn't sense any ill intent he might have reacted badly. Instead he froze, going utterly still, he didn't understand why she was apologizing. Her tears made no sense at all, he would understand if he had felt fear instead he felt an outpouring of emotion directed at him. Her tears, were for him and he just didn’t understand why. He opened his mouth to say something, but closed it again putting his arms around her instead. He knew she had seen, again, something that leaped up out of the box he put it in, but he wasn’t at all prepared for this.

      He made her look at him when she spoke of seeing and just wiped the tears off her face with his hand. “I know. You can’t deny it now I think… The longer you stay around me, the more this will happen, unless you seek training or…

      He let the unvoiced ‘you leave’ be implied more than anything, he didn’t want her to leave. She knew that. “Would...you like to see what I see when I close my eyes? How you’d perceive what is around you differs from person to person, but… You’d get to experience things the way I do. There is no danger either, not of your potential awakening or...pain. Seeking one’s power is a solo task.

      He wanted to show her something good, something to chase the tears away. He wanted to see her expression as she saw through his eyes. Despite the fact he followed the Dark path, there was still great beauty and it wasn’t always filled with pain, just sometimes. This connection between them was something he would have to poke at later. Something he would have to examine and isolate to gain better understanding of. Seeing the limits and if there was a way to give them both a measure of control of what does and doesn’t filter through.

      He was sure the Archives had something on this phenomenon which meant that soon he would have to access the console and pull up what was available in the database. He just was going to wait till Liama was asleep.



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    14. #104
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      She just held on for a time, relaxing a little when she felt the embrace returned. She eased up slowly. Of course, he didn't understand. Not really. That in some ways made it worse, but also made it better perhaps. At the same time, with what he'd been though, she knew she probably should get as far as she could off of Bastion as fast as she could. It was the safest bet. It was a surprise that he wasn't completely psychotic. But no, he seemed tempered, controlled. Of course, that could only be a fa sod, and he could have been a ticking time bomb.

      It would have been the smart thing to do.

      But it wasn't the bravest of things, and in this case, she owed him. And there was a connection that went beyond anything she'd ever felt. It resonated in a way she couldn't describe. And with the flashes of experience and memory, and now thins she knew at least part of it was due to the Force. There was no other ready explanation. If what he said about coincidence was true, she was supposed to be there anyway. There was a purpose in her presence, and more than that, she felt she could do some good in the sense of helping him as much as he was helping her... as much as she might learn. If what the said was true.

      "I don't plan on going anywhere," she reiterated as she drew back and wiped at her face some. "Sorry. I just... "She trailed off, fanning at herself while she took a few deep breaths to get a handle on the Topsy-turvy rollercoaster. To her credit, it came fairly quickly. For having not trained in the Jedi or Sith arts, she had a decent handle on refocusing herself. "Weirdest day I've had so far, even including the day we met," she explained, and put one hand against her chest over her heart for a second then took one more deep breath.

      "If you want to show me or whatever I'll give it a whirl... but what's it like," she inquired.

    15. #105
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      Serian shook his head “Trust me, I fully understand. This...thing has taken me by surprise too. So no need to apologize.

      Her question about what it was like was a hard one "It...defies words. It is also very...humbling. Close your eyes..."

      How was one able to describe such immensity? He lifted his hands to touch her face, specifically her temples. The moment there was contact she would get a sense of sitting in the dark. A vast open space was around her, a sensation of the skin, a space without borders. Vast. One by one small points of light appeared, hazy shapes of furniture, walls, things, appeared. As she perceived things, the lights kept blinking into existence in this hazy, sort of transparent world. In a pot with a potted tree, she would see so many very very tiny dots. Outside, billions more of these tiny dots. More dots kept appearing, some zipping by quickly over head. Some low to the ground. These dots ranged in size from pinhead, to 'person' shaped.

      More details filled in, insects, animals and people. Life. Even plants had a hazy glow to them, anything that lived did, inert things were hazy and transparent. Lifeless. Something attacked a smaller something, a light winked out. All around her she could see lights appearing, disappearing, an endless ebb and flow. She was part of a vast tide of stars that came and went. Yet the sense of isolation, of disconnection lurked. A need, a want, to reach out to that life, that warmth and be part of that vibrancy moved in. Yet from her chest, she would see a thread. Hair thin, that as her eyes moved, she would be met with something like a sun, right in her arms.

      She would see herself glowing, light suffusing her skin, the thread connecting her to Serian. A fragile gossamer thing that upon touching with his hands, made his hearts skip a beat. A feeling of emotions, sensations, licked from that thread. Feeling her, feeling himself, the thread a mixture of both. Slowly it all faded from sight and she would see just what was 'normal' again. Her own eyes staring at him.

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