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Silk. Satin. Lace. Velvet. Nylon, cotton, polyester, netting. Stockings and gloves and garters, lacy and delicate and held up by flimsy, clinging belts. High heels, platforms, ties wrapping around leg, ribbons around limbs and hair and glittering clips; stiff, sheeny material in skirts, spread out over walls. More lace, in heavy petticoats and ballroom skirts and ridiculously long dresses. Gowns made of gauze and fluttery, offering peeks of things hidden underneath.

Skin.

Pale and creamy, long legs and slender fingers and willowy body, burgundy hair and blue-gray eyes and pink lips. Beautiful face adorned by make-up, lipstick and mascara and eyeshadow, liner and blush and unrecognizable yet still knowing, blue lighting and elaborate costumes and beautiful.

So beautiful.

So beautiful...

Fabrics. Clothing.

It turns you on. So much.

Just the sight of him, in stockings wrapping around those smooth legs, feet in high, high heels, white and silk painted with flowers and diamond-shaped cutouts, deep red dress barely brushing the tops of his thighs, advancing on you with a smirk, that confident, knowing, almost predatory smirk, the one that says, I know what you’re thinking. I know what this does to you. And it pleases me. So I’m going to tease you to within an inch of your life.

And you want it. Oh, you want it.

He leans over you, golden bangles around his wrists, a blazing ribbon tied tightly around his neck, hints of make-up on his face and still the smirk, fingers just barely brushing under your chin, giving you a tantalizing view down his chest through the collar of the dress.

A few teasing remarks, a wink and a single grip on your jaw and then he’s gone, dancing away in those heels like he was born for it; fabrics flutter and tail waves and you want.

When he dresses like that—lets you dress him like that—it’s irresistible. Oh, yes, you do it for the art—for the photographs, but it’s impossible. He’s too beautiful. How it’s possible for a person to be so singularly beautiful you don’t know. It’s not like it matters how. He just is.

Silk. Tight, tight silk. Shiny and smooth over his skin, expression of bliss on his face, bliss as you pin him to the wall and—

“Now Bel, show some restraint! I can see your dirty thoughts from a mile away~”

And he knows he likes it. You’re the one with the costume fetish but oh, he likes it. When you call him beautiful, tell him how gorgeous he looks, whisper in his ear how he’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen—he loves it.

And then you switch to murmuring how he entrances you, holds you spellbound, and badly you want him, want to ravish him; how much you love him, want to see him splayed out beneath you, breathing hard and flushed, moaning at your every touch and still clothed in beautiful fabrics like icing on the cake.

If he’s in a playful mood he’ll laugh; laugh and say it’ll be you beneath him, unable to resist for long enough. If he’s not, he’ll blush, sweetly and innocently and pretend your words don’t turn him on—but either way the result will be the same: the two of you together, you and him and together and hot, joined in a perfect union of sliding flesh and voice in exhales and soft cries, lips and mouths and teeth and tongue and burning like a fever and it’s all so perfect and beautiful—

...His tongue slides over your skin, hot and wet and gliding up your throat, his eyes watching you keenly as he kisses your neck, kisses it before biting, hard, just hard enough in that way that he knows, just hard enough not to draw blood and hard enough to make you moan, his tail flicking against you and hand sliding down over your hot, sweaty skin, down, downdowndown—

So. Beautiful.

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He carefully creeps out of bed and to the bathroom. He washes his face not in cold water, but warm, for once, trying to preserve that feeling from the dream. He looks up at the face looking back at him in the mirror and tilts his head; the face mimics and almost unconsciously he smiles. His reflection smiles back, and it’s a nice smile, he decides; a nice expression.

He goes back to washing his face.

Music singing in his soul...

~

When you wake some time later, no, a little while later, you’re alone in the bed and you blink in surprise. But then you look up and sit up you see the door open, the door behind the door, leading into a long corridor through which morning sunlight is beginning to stream and—

The sound makes you freeze and tilt your head, trying to catch it—the sound of music.

High and light and chords rippling gently through the air, quietly, so you can barely catch it; you slip out of bed and blink the sleep from your eyes and head closer for a better hear.

It’s music, alright. He’s playing music.

Almost feeling like you’re intruding on a dream, invading the perfect peace, the harmony of the moment, you slowly tiptoe down the soft carpet, the music getting gradually louder with every step. It’s not piano, not the odd plinking, ringing notes from before—it’s rising and falling, vibrating strings, causing waves of green and blue and soft, peachy orange to go through your mind, making you gasp. Sound has color? Or is it merely the emotions that you’re reading—emotions—color?

You shake your head, trying to clear the sudden confused muddle. It doesn’t matter right now.

The door is open, the other side from which these beautiful sounds are coming; hesitantly you peer around it to see—

He’s standing there in a pillar of light, with this serene expression on his face—eyes closed, an oh-so-soft smile on his lips, his fingers moving so smoothly on the strings, pressing and releasing and he holds the bow (is that what it’s called? You’re not sure) so precisely, like it’s become second nature, like it’s supposed to be held... And one moment when his eyes flare open he looks exhilarated, enthralled, enraptured...

And still the beautiful music, high and light and singing and it’s not perfect, not exactly; he misses a note here and there and you can catch the minuscule shifting of his mood as he notices and corrects it, pausing and going back, over the little bits until they are perfect, and then back again to the start, with a tiny shuddering breath and half-opening his eyes, and the song’s beautiful, slow and careful and delicate, simple while still being pretty, and—

And then just like that it’s over, with one final low note rippling through the air and you slowly break out of your trance, from drinking in it all in. He stands there, still and holding the violin and his eyes are almost closed; but they’re unseeing, and you’re not sure what he’s thinking, now—all the gentle waves of emotion have gone flat, but slowly building up to something you can’t tell—

He swallows, and slowly puts the instrument down. And then he stands there, looking at it and steps back, and slowly sinks to his knees on the plush carpet, and carefully puts his hands in his lap. Excessively he blinks, rapidly and quickly and you hear him sniff, slightly; and even though he smiles a few tears tumble down his cheeks and splash onto his bare knees.

“...Cheshire?”

Your voice breaks the silence and he looks up, and he smiles, with eyes closed and widely, as though there isn’t salty water dripping off his chin. “Good morning, Bel. I’m alright, d-don’t worry about me—” He cuts himself off to gasp slightly and you don’t miss the stutter, just dash across the room to throw your arms around his neck; he hugs you back, at first slowly and then tighter, burying his face in your shoulder.

“I’m alright,” he gasps, nuzzling you. “Just... just a little overwhelmed...”

And the feeling’s not sad, from him, exactly, just... replaying, riding on those beautiful waves of music being made by his own fingers—

“I can play, Bel,” he whispers, “I can play.”

“I know,” you say, hugging him. “I heard.”

“I can still play...”

“You always could.”

He draws back and he smiles again, brushing away the wet from the corners of his eyes and his cheeks and you kiss him gently, a kiss that he returns before pulling away with another gasp to press another to your lips, and another, and then that fervent energy overtakes him and he stands, heads to the bookshelves and pulls out more thin, dusty volumes, adding them to the several already spread out on the table. He moves with quick, almost excited movements, and you watch, drinking in the sudden spikes in his emotional state.

“...Aren’t you going to eat breakfast?” you ask eventually, sitting there and watching him flip through pages and books and blow dust off of everything.

“Later,” he says, and there is definite excitement in his voice. “Breakfast can wait.”

You frown. “No, it can’t. You need to eat.”

He looks up from a page full of bars and notes and his face does something almost akin to a pout. It makes you giggle. “Be-el, ple-ease? Can’t I put it off for an hour or so?”

“It’ll turn into five hours. You need food and sugar.” Though you smile your voice is stern. “If you take twenty minutes to eat, then you can spend all of the time before lunch here doing what you want. Now come on. Food and sugar.”

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“Re~e~ach for the sta~rs,” he sings as his fingers dance over the ivory, “No matter how fa~ar~” tilting his head back as though he can see them. “Someday they’ll fa~ll, end withal…” An almost wistful smile on his face, a sparkling in his eyes as he hits the last reverberating note with his pinkie.

Then he takes his hands away from the piano, smiling towards your gentle clapping. “Odd song, isn’t it? A touch morbid~” The smile is beautiful, absolutely happy, eyes closed and tail tip waving gently…

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There is a wall in your room that is covered in photographs. Perfect, flawless photographs.

All photographs of him, of course.

(I never denied I was a stalker.)

Beautiful, amazing snapshots of moments in time, moments preserved forever—a coy smile, a playful wink, a lazy pose; a hand reaching out, an eye. A sultry gaze from behind burnished red strands, fingers on lips... elaborate outfits, blazing skies, silhouettes and shadows, unblemished skin and long white tail: throughout it all, him.

Your fingers brush over the smooth, glossy surface of the latest one, pinned up with the rest and with the date written in tiny letters on the back; he’s reaching up for the sun in this one, his slim fingers almost cupping the white-hot orb while rays of dazzling light shine between them, falling upon the small, contented smile on his face.

(Sun. He’s so warm... and I’m so dark.)

He doesn’t really see that side of you, not exactly; you don’t see that side of you, most of the time. Most of the time, when you’re doing something together—he’s smiling, that amused smile you love so much, and you’re smiling back, like you always are, just a little, soft smile because he’s happy and being with him makes you happy too and somehow you just have to stop what you’re doing (already forgotten it) and just hug him, bury your face in his neck even as he says your name in that faintly musical voice and then raise your head to kiss him—it’s not like that. It’s only... only at times like this, when you’re alone with these massive feelings, at a loss with them, that you wonder how dark you truly are.

(Am I doing something bad? Thinking about him so much, wanting to know so much, feeling like this—or am I just in love?)

It’s not that you’re overly pushy, it’s not that you’re overly demanding, no, never that—beneath it all he’s so quiet, so fragile, so easily broken despite all his strength—and that thought makes your heart clench in your chest, because he doesn’t realize he needs protecting too—and so you’re gentle with him, always; you don’t know how effective you are but you’re always there to support him, there by his side and gentle, accepting, loyal...

And yet...

Your gaze drifts down to another photo, one taken in near-darkness, his pale skin almost glowing as shadows play about him and he looks over his shoulder with wide, staring eyes, some not-quite-startled emotion there—he doesn’t know a lot about me... but... he loves me, so does it even matter...?

He’s said it more than once—all the time, almost (even though you confessed first)—and you don’t doubt that he does, having read it in his mood, his emotions that you pick up on; there’s no doubt in your mind how much he cares and how much it matters to him that you’re there; does that make it alright, then? You’re quite sure he doesn’t care—it doesn’t change anything—to him, that you’re—

Demon, inhuman, black and monstrous and sadistic and stalker and possessive and hurtful—except you don’t even know if you’re those things, you try not to be, but...

(Stalker? When—don’t leave me please don’t leave me I just love you—no wait, that’s not right, the evidence is contradictory? But I did, I stalked—hurt—her—someone before... but I don’t want to do that to you, but—)

You sigh, sit on the stool you were standing on and look at another photo, one of a lantern, hanging from his hand and the smile seeming just a touch sinister in the greenish light, tattered strips of red fabric in the background behind him like streaks of blood. ...He’s beautiful. You’ve always thought so from the moment you first saw him. Amazingly beautiful, inside and out. Always so strong, and selfless to a fault, caring, loving—do I even deserve all that...?

But he loves me... and I love him... Does that make it alright? I can’t tell, with these feelings... this is the first time I’ve felt this way, even though I’ve been with people before...

You’re young, for a demon, and there’s so much you don’t know; that worries you sometimes, like now—what if I’m doing something wrong? What if I’m doing something bad? I don’t want to hurt him...

You curl up, folding your arms over your knees and your eyes rove across the wall, searching for something lighter, something to distract you—your gaze stops on the one of broken glass in his hands, taken under the rain, and you remember the enigmatic remark he made, with that odd, distant look on his face after the shoot was over: “Like a heart, almost...” And now of course you know what he meant, now, and the images flash through your mind, images and emotions:

Snap and lash out and a golden bracelet falls soundlessly to the floor—and then enormous overwhelming hurt and tears, raw sobbing, and then crack and horrifying, sickening numb(ing) waves of empty pain and then slow recovery—

You bite your lip and close your eyes against the sudden stinging. He’s broken. He’s so, so broken and yet not and not anymore and—

You snap your eyes open and look for anything to change train of thought from, anything—that picture. The one—the one... where he’s sitting with his knees up and arms across them and this sunny, closed-eye smile and tastefully nude—and that brings with it another memory, one of—he kisses you with his tongue in your mouth and your wet body is plastered to his and you moan as—

Hastily you shake your head to clear the memory, face feeling rather hot. No. That’s a pleasant memory to be sure, but not what you were looking for. Nuh-uh.

This time a different picture leaps out at you, one of a mirror and a heavily made-up face and feathers and more costumes and a strange stare. Like a mask, acting as someone else—he’s always so natural, always in-tune with what you want him to do when it comes to this, being your model of sorts; always perfect harmony, even without words, without needing to say anything, just being natural around each other and communicating with mere looks... you’re still not quite sure how it works (something to do with your empathetic abilities and his odd sixth sense) but you’re not about to question it.

Is that how much we love each other? Or is it just something else... it was like that from the start, before we... we...

A small smile curves your lips. That was nice. The fluffy, fluttery, nervous feelings that he somehow still manages to evoke in you; get your heart pounding and your cheeks warm and make you shy... you love that about him. All of it. The gentle teasing and the flirting, the surprise kisses and how much he trusts you, that you can do that for him too, give those feelings back and make him happy in return.

Is that what love is? ‘m not sure...

The door swings open and he pokes his head in. “Bel~?” There’s a playful smile on his face and you can just see his tail waving. Without even thinking, without even consciously registering it at first there’s already a responding smile on your face.

“Mm?”

“Let’s go somewhere today? You and me?” He winks and your smile grows wider—always the flirt, always—and you slide off the stool to join him.

“Mhm!”

Your hand takes his without thinking, and his larger fingers wrap around yours and just like that, the dark thoughts plaguing you fade away, go back to some shadowed depth they came from, replaced by warm, fluffy feelings of love and happiness, especially as you look up at him, and he’s smiling, and he looks down at you at the same time and your faces are inches away—and he leans in to press a kiss to your lips and nuzzle your cheek, and as you return the action you think, I love you.

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Muse

A muse, hence her name. Pronounced in a way that rhymes with ‘Zeus.’ A cheerful and slightly manic girl. Seems to be between fourteen and sixteen years old, though is probably much older. Her main occupation, outside of being a muse and doing things that muses do, is having fun and acting like a child on a sugar high. Frequently seen scribbling something on the sheaf of papers she carries around. Loves cake and hates work; easy to get along with because of her childish nature, and can be very sweet. At times can be quite serious, though, and that’s when she acts almost like a different person. Thoughtful, deep, and to the point. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen very often. Has something of a rivalry with Annette; this goes back to when they first began working together and they absolutely loathed each other. Otherwise, Muse gets along well with everybody.

Muse has purple eyes and shoulder-length, clumpy black hair that she occasionally attempts to put in a bun, but it always falls out. Typically dresses in a brown skirt and shirt combination, or pajama-like clothes. Her most distinguishing characteristic, however, is probably her excited, goofy grin. [IMAGE COMING SOON]

Annette Strickley

Works as a proof-reader, though may be seeking alternate forms of employment where her skills will be put to better use than merely removing typos. As her name implies, she is rather strict and every inch that proper employee; speaks with polite formality and views the others mostly with annoyance and exasperation. However, she is very protective and even motherly, on the rare occasion. Most definitely not heartless. Somewhat famous for her incredibly sour lemonade—she adds no sugar whatsoever. A stickler for proper grammar and manners, yet has a definite weakness for cute things (e. g. Belial). Enjoys nothing more than simple peace and quiet.

Somewhat on the tall side, Annette has light brown hair she keeps in a bun at the back of her head with side-swept bangs to the left. Light brown eyes to match, and she dresses in stark gray suits, jacket and a skirt, combined with black pumps. A pair of rectangular spectacles on a chain completes her ensemble. [IMAGE COMING SOON]

Cheshire Carroll

Cheshire is... difficult to describe. His name is a good indicator of his personality; slightly mischievous with a fondness for knowledge and imparting that knowledge upon people in confusing and infuriating ways (read: Mind Screw). He has been described as, “A fascinating mess of charismatic contradictions,” which... also works. More often than not he can be seen wearing an amused smile on his face and is a bit of a flirt. And yet, while that is a very real part of his personality, the placid amusement and cheer, underneath it he is... quiet. Quiet and somewhat reclusive and perhaps even a little shy. He rarely talks about himself (though as of late he has been opening up more) and is more than a little depressed. His true name and age are unknown, as are his species/race and home world. Exceptionally skilled in magic and possesses strange eyes that allow him to see its raw nature. Models for Belial’s photographs and is in a relationship with it.

Blue-gray eyes, not steely. Tall and slender, rather willowy. Rather androgynous-looking. (Comes in handy when he cross-dresses.) Dark red hair, straight and split down the middle, cupping his face and forming a mass of curls at the tops of his shoulders. A slightly long, white cat’s tail, but no cat ears. Usually wearing some variation of blouse or turtleneck sweater in cold weather, and dark pants together with tall, lace-up boots. The one thing that never changes amongst his outfits is his relaxed, confident elegance. [IMAGE COMING SOON]

Belial Zèsilfrangür

A demon and an excellent photographer. Has no gender (though can change at will; is a shape-shifter), hence the pronoun ‘it’. Not the demon of Christian scripture, but shares the same name and happens to be from one of the high-ranking demon families. Its true form has been seen from time to time but mostly it stays in the shape of what seems to be a twelve-year-old child. Personality-wise it’s very quiet and sweet, often speaking in a near-murmur. It possesses empathetic abilities and its presence is known to be very comforting, despite having a dark, stalker-like streak; it can be devious and possessive while still being absolutely adorable. Has a wonderful, heart-melting smile. Often seen carrying around a big black camera. Cheshire’s soul mate.

Somewhat on the short side, Belial has large, striking green eyes and a mop of dirty-blond hair with long bangs that half-hide its eyes and goes down to the bottom of its shoulder blades in spiky ends. Often wears an off-white hoodie adorned has rainbow geometric, interlocking designs on the top that gradually fade towards the bottom, and beneath that long-sleeved shirts and jeans. [IMAGE COMING SOON]

Jervin Aldesworth

A third-class angel (spiritual reanimant) and ex-street fighter. He’s an upbeat, easy-going guy who is very accepting; he doesn’t bat an eye at anything. Has an fondness for piercings and nicknames, and is employed part-time at the mall, where he plays the synthesizer. Very fun to be around and almost always grinning. Cheerful and supportive. A bit of an experimental cook. Looks to be eighteen years old, and has a pair of silvery wings he can materialize at will. Due to his death he lost his memory and only regained it recently; even now he forgets things easily and often describes his recollections as “fuzzy.” Dating Tracey Danz (Cobalt) and Aaron Harchez (Rails) from The Other House; they’ve known each other from before Jervin’s death and while the beginning was rocky it is believed that at the moment the three of them are figuring out what it’s like to fall in love.

Fond of jewelry, Jervin has five piercings in each ear and one that’s healed up on his lower lip, off-center to the left—rather than putting the ring through his lip, he puts it on it. In his lobes he has a special earring from each of his boyfriends. Aside from that, he wears several bracelets, rings, and necklaces. Has fluffy black hair and golden-brown eyes, dressing usually in some combination of black and red shirts and jeans. Having lost his halo once, he now keeps it around his neck as a choker. [IMAGE COMING SOON]

Loki Laufeyjarson

Loki can be summed up in a single word: annoying. He makes it his main pastime to annoy people by pushing their buttons and getting into their faces. Not entirely surprising, given his identity; he is indeed the trickster of viking myth. Generally he is annoying, sarcastic, and more than a little devious with a strange sense of humor. Almost always at work at some thing or another, be it holed up in his basement lab experimenting with chemicals and runic magic, or designing blueprints for who knows what. Although he enjoys playing pranks on people, he mostly refrains from doing so inside the house; this is in part because everyone else would deal him terrible retribution if he did, and because it’s home and since his arrival he has been a little quieter than one would expect; grappling with personal issues. Flirts often with Cheshire, something which has earned him Belial’s bad graces, although they do seem to be grudgingly patching things up. Fond of playing with fire due to his pyrokinetic abilities; may or may not have some pyromaniac tendencies to go along with it.

A rather pointed face, with thin, faint criss-crossing scars across his lips; makes his smile rather crooked. Pale, shifty, fiery green eyes and orange-red locks that he keeps smoothed back from his forehead that form half-curly tendrils at the nape of his neck. Tall and thin, around Cheshire’s height, dressing in sweater-like long-sleeved shirts and pants. [IMAGE COMING SOON]

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July 2012

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