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Djinn&Juice

Weak Hearts (Cradle)

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Rain's siblings had always been difficult; even when they were younger Constantine and Ursula (Later changing her name to Gold Dust) had constant spats and their arguments were legendary. Their parents hardpressed to ever find the courage to get between such potent contempt. It had grown in the years that had passed, and though they now live thousand of miles away from one another they still find ways to cause trouble for the other. Rain the only constant in their lives that they both appreciated in their unique ways. Rain often having to visit them separately which could often leave him weaker given the amount of travel time. That was the very reason that Gold Dust agreed wholeheartedly to Rain's suggestion of meeting in Cradle. Constantine unsurprisingly fought against it; Rain's implicating the importance and managed to get a forlorn yes. The date was set; they would gather at the Creams-Crop Cafe in Cradle' third ring district. Rain was left with half a day to prepare for the trip. His voice easily giving away his frayed nerves to Gold Dust who stayed on the line longer than Constantine's curt hang up. "You know you must take better care of yourself; Are you eating enough? If I have seen you lost a single pound- Well anyways I can't wait to see you Little Brother" Her voice crackling to silence as she closed the phone quickly; She couldn't help but be worried. He was the best of them and deserved to know it, even if she could dote on him too much. A sly smirk glinting underneath the lights of her vanity mirror. She had finished her set for the day; Sevra and Artemis could handle the stage while she was gone. Gold Dust marching out of her room and into Calypso' office. "I'll be off ma'am, heading out to visit family. You better make sure they don't screw up" She said with a snide expression

A sultry laugh piercing through the smoke of the hookah upon her mistress' desk. Calyspo amidst a haze of aromas and incense; her head cocked back as the more unnatural one of the pair seemed to...groom Calyspso in some strange fashion. She had grown used to these bizarre behaviors and she wondered if it was a good thing to get used to...Calypso. The Succubus rolling her head to one side as she looked upon Gold Dust finally with an almost drunken smile "Ill make sure everyone behaves; You are absolutely adorable when your serious~ Go on then, have your fun." She said waving her off as Gilandriel coiled around her form, beading Gold with slitted pupils "Open yourssself to the truth he ssshall presssent; There isss more to greed than jussst money" Gilandriel' words were cryptic as they always were, but she would take them into account as much as she could and bid them farewell as she closed the door. Sevra leaned back in a chair next the office door, snoring pretty heavily. Gold couldn't believe such a slob of a woman could exist. She waved goodbye to the rest of the staff as she now made her way to see the best thing she had in her life aside from her aspiring career. 

 


It was all such a complication in his overall schedule. Constantine could hardly make room for all these sudden interruptions. It was bad enough A well paying client had been detained and silenced by The Cradle Authority and that irritating preschool progeny, but now he had to push back two photo shoots because his family couldn't handle anything without his adult supervision. He had nearly worn out the enamel on his font pen he had been rubbing it against his thumb so vehemently, rising from his gilded desk and snapping his fingers; A maid and a butler respectively seeing to it that his sparkling double breasted suit was immaculate and without a single wrinkle. "I will traveling to Cradle for the day; Make sure everything is spotless for my return" He said, smoothing out the cuffs on either wrist before he clicked across the lavished office. The doors being opened for him as he marched through the grandiose hall. Everything built here was with his own funds; Money he had earned through blood, sweat, and tears...granted the blood hadn't been his own but such inconsequential lives mattered little in his pursuit of wealth beyond measure. Why Rain bothered to try and impart his hard earned wealth onto those who just smoke it into their lungs and inject it into their bodies; Their parents no less. Those bottom feeders were the consolidated loathing he had for people with no ambition. The men and women under his employ had more ambition. They strove to keep this manor premier at all times.

He arrived in the reliquary where his hired mage stood by. Constantine was pristine and ready for this important business although he couldn't help but wonder what had Rain under such duress. He was always nervous when it came to him and Ursula together. He had some other business in Cradle regardless so it wouldn't hurt his schedule by any means and so the mage did as he was instructed and Constantine was away to Cradle in no time at all. The Creams-Crop Cafe was A Quaint little establishment off the east end of The Third Ring; contemporary tea shoppe perfect for such an occasion.  It was more low class than Constantine would have liked but it certainly wouldn't be the death of him. There were gasps of a recognition and awe as Constantine Primrose made an appearance at an everyday cafe. One of the top models across Terrenus that had his face across news outlets and magazines. His face of nonchalant contempt one many simply couldn't get enough of. He requested a table for three as the flabbergasted staff bumbled to get their work done properly with such a customer; allowing them to push his chair up and wait upon his sister and brother as it usually went. He was always on time as it was his job to be. Rain was far more adept at Constantine's time constraints then Ursula is. The decedent man ordering an espresso as he waited 

"Let's hope this is worth my time"

@Swansong
 

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Today is the day. 

No more stalling, no more secrecy, and no more feeble excuses and laughing it off. Rain Primrose is dying, and the only two people in his life that are in his shaky orbit should know about it. They should know, even if they don't care. They should know. Rain couldn't bear the thought of suddenly keeling over and dying without a single explanation. He's always been a bit fragile in constitution, their terrible living arrangements during childhood assured that. He doesn't blame his parents though. They are sick. They need help. He's tried to give it to them, to get them to rehab and to pour money into their pockets with nothing in return. They refused his pleas, but happily took the money. It's all he can do. They did their best for them...and Gold Dust and Constantine were very successful! He suppose he was, as well...in a way.

He weakly runs a pale finger across the table, finding his throat dry and his nerves frazzled. He could do this. It would be fine. He could tell them and...and they would listen and maybe express their sympathies. No no no, of course they wouldn't. He's already been a hassle to both of them. His siblings live such active and extraordinary lives in their industries and he's already asking so much of them to both meet him at Cradle for a simple dinner. Would they care? Should he really go through with it? What would telling them the truth even do? They would just feel obligated to be a bit kinder to him. Maybe.

He nibbles on his lip which is already reddened by the action he's been doing for a solid ten minutes, sore with agitation. Goldy will be mad at him. He has lost more weight. He didn't mean to, it's just sometimes he can't hold anything down. He tried to conceal his dark circles with some concealer today, and even applied a bit of blush just to make it look like he isn't a walking corpse. He has a feeling Constantine won't be fooled. Rain wrings his hands together, eyeing the calming atmosphere of the cafe with a shaky inhale and adjusting his trench coat. He's wearing a cream knit sweater and some slim fit khakis that hit at the ankle. Dark socks and stylish loafers to match. It's not a bad style, it's better then some of his other outfits his siblings have seen him in. And his braid is less messy today! He's making an effort for them so maybe they could make the smallest effort for him to not...immediately kill each other on sight. That was fair right? Maybe. Maybe...

Rain feebly sips at his water. Being so early here really isn't helping his nerves. Why did he do this? Now he just has to sit and wait while his already spastic nerves coil around his gut. A heart condition. A donor list. An unknown timeline. He fidgets, wondering if he should turn to an alternative method, see a different type of doctor. Marigold had sent him a letter after all, which meant the doctor was back wasn't he? Maybe there could be more than just resignation again. Maybe the man really had started building him a new heart. It was a strange and extreme method, not one he would have normally considered but-but he just wanted a fighting chance. That wasn't so wrong, right? He just wanted to live.

His hands tug on his coat, to huddling into its warmth a bit more.

Maybe this was a terrible idea after all.

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There was a level of tension that came with being around Constantine whether it was do to his position in society or the way he eyes seemed to look down upon everyone he came in contact with. The tension he provided Rain was of it's own caliber that didn't fall into either category. It wasn't that he looked down upon Rain, but rather the exact opposite. He sought too much from the sickly man and that often led to expectations Rain could never hope to meet. Constantine was a difficult man to please in every standard and Rain often dealt with that firsthand. The man had been so caught in his nervous cacophony of thought that the gasps and awes didn't catch his attention in time before the form of an Immaculate Constantine seated himself next to Rain, being pushed up to the table proper by one of the wait staff. His eyes overlooking Rain with but a quirk of his brow. The many fan's of Constantine's profession knew of his brother through taken photos, and even by the law Rain practiced. It always seemed a curious duo to any onlookers "For such an apparent emergency, you showed up in quite the leisurely attire" He said with a potent gaze before it swiveled to the menu that was set down; An espresso being brought to him that he then immediately sipped before continuing "Well it seems Ursula is late as usual, but I suppose it's to be expected from her by this point" He said, clicking his tongue as he sipped from his cup 

Several moments passed them by, beginning to wax in their states of tension before Gold Dust entered the cafe; a little flustered but stunning in a sun dress of glittering gem dust. Her hair a river of molten gold that wove into a similar braid as Rain's. Something she had picked up from him quite young. Her makeup perfect with shades of oranges and gold touching both her eyeliner and her lipstick as she moved toward their table and gave Rain a gentle hug; her bedazzling smile turning to a curt glare as she eyed his shoulders "You haven't been eating enough have you!" She scolded before sitting down across from Constantine. Her eyes flicking to him with a squinted glare; a tight smirk touching her lips "It seems you have eaten enough for the both of you so I wouldn't worry about his weight alone" the first crack of the whip being drawn as was custom among this trio. Gold Dust' eye twitching as that tight smile fell from her lips like bricks from a dilapidated wall "It is nice to see you too Constantine, but this is about Rain" She said, doing her best to keep her temper in check. "What is this about? If It's about mother and father I helped them all I could this month-"
"You are validating Rain's obedience to them Ursula" Constantine snapped, not pleased with hearing that she has been giving them handouts aswell. Her manicured nails digging into the table "I have asked you not to call me that, that's not my name" She began to seethe as they glared at one another

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Rain automatically straightened his posture seeing the demanding presence of his brother enter the cafe, immediately knowing that silhouette anywhere. A wobbly smile turns up on his face, and he needs to clasp his hands tightly in his lap to keep his need to greet his sibling with a hug at bay. It's always so nice to see Constantine. Rain misses his brother every day, and it's so difficult to ever see him for more than a stunted conversation before Constantine deems he's too busy to linger. The cutting words his brother greets him with after a judgmental eye quickly cuts him back into reality, revealing the truth of their relationship.

"Constantine it's so nice to see you." he smiles feebly all the same. "And ah well, I-I didn't say it was an emergency just that it was..." he trails off. Why did he say this was important? Oh gosh, why did he say that! It's not important, it really isn't. His health shouldn't be a priority to them with their busy lives and their ever-changing days. Oh no he's truly made a mistake here hasn't he?  "...Important..." he mumbles with faint dread, wincing internally at the exasperation in Constantine's eyes.

His brother did so hate it when he mumbled.

"Goldie will be here soon I'm sure. She's busy just like you, but she'll be here." he says kindly, hoping his brother would take the hint to switch to the appropriate name.

He doesn't really know why he bothers trying some days with Constantine. His brother clearly doesn't care about Gold Dust's comfort or...his. But Rain supposes that's fair isn't it? Constantine deserved to only care about himself and himself only. His brother shouldn't feel obligated to feel any other way after he worked so hard to get himself here. His face flushes in a flustered countenance, averting his eyes to his lap. Something else. He needs to figure out something else to tell them. This was a terrible idea. He shouldn't have brought them here. He can't believe after all this planning and days of psyching himself up to confess that he was already backpedaling.

Frantic thoughts and a deluded silence is broken when he hears the greeting of his sister. A relieved smile lights up on his face as he sees Gold's lovely visage come into view as she moves to hug him in greeting. Rain stands with a tad too much clumsy enthusiasm, melting into her embrace like a touch-starved puppy. She always smelled like jasmines and something fiery like sunlight itself. He always enjoyed seeing what she did with her hair and makeup even though it made him sad that she only feels beautiful half of the time with all of it on. She really didn't need it. Her and Constantine were both that way. Rain wonders if maybe he's just the one who needs to change his mindset and work a little harder at looking beautiful.

"Hi Goldie, thanks for coming. You're looking lovely as ever" he murmurs as reluctantly steps back from the embrace, giving her a sheepish smile when he's admonished about his bony frame.

His shoulders tense, lightly raising towards his ears as Constantine's rude comment cracks across the greeting. His breath tumbles out into an inaudible exhale of resignation as Gold takes her seat and the other two siblings begin to bicker immediately. Was this how it would always be with them? All of this efforts to reach out have done nothing to help his siblings get along. If anything, it's only made it worse as they always seem to be at each other's throat. Even when they aren't in each other's presence, there's always some sort of lingering insult that is cast out into the air, as if Rain is supposed to bubble those vile words up and carry it with him.

He closes his eyes, wondering why he did this. Why did he do this..?

"Please I-" he exhales softly, shaking his head as they talk over him. "I hear the pastries are quite nice here!" he interrupts a bit louder and  forces a pleasant smile, attempting to diffuse the situation with misdirection as usual. "I hope travelling wasn't so terribly difficult for you two?" he inquires, turning the question to them so they could whine or talk about themselves all they please instead of turning on each other.

Rain feels a light wave of dizziness as his stress levels out, blinking away the light headed lethargy with a level exhale and reaching for his water. If they couldn't even listen to each other for five minutes, what would telling them about his heart condition even do? It isn't as if it'd help anything. He really has made a large error hasn't he? What sort of excuse could he try and fumble up quickly while they are talking for why he had them come out here?

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It was strange; It wasn't that they didn't hear their brother's attempts to quell their spats, much like most families, their sibling rivalry was deep seated and stubborn. Constantine controlling the situation time after time as he sat back and orchestrated Gold Dust' self destruction. It was as though he could see her jealousy so clearly and exploited it without question. The eldest brother holding a seat of power over his siblings that impeded any progress for this family to become whole. Gold Dust not without her flaws as she tried so hard to race for her brothers status that she trampled over things she wouldn't otherwise if it wasn't for this enraging man before her. The pop idol being glamorized across the magitech screens within the cafe only adding to her frustration as she was knocked a few rungs even lower. It was as though her brother knew all about this and constructed such well placed lines that it nearly caused Constantine to consider a restraining order. That would be the final nail in the coffin, and unbeknownst to them that coffin could belong to the wallflower fighting against two burning blazes. 

"Rain at least gives me compliments when he sees me; Your down a spinster's path with that attitude" She snapped back
"Oh im sure your clients give you all the compliments you need, I do not intend to water my success with those vying for my money and influence...it implies they could reach my status and while that's easily achieved in your case. It's quite the opposite for me." He quipped; An autograph being quickly signed by a starstruck customer as if on cue, looking at her with a gaze that could pierce the stars as he clicked the pen and returned it to the bashful girl. Gold Dust glaring daggers at her and causing her to shamble away in a running stumble as their brother tried to get their attention back with a diversion that used dozens of times. Gold Dust actually seemed surprised by Rain's 'outburst' as he usually kept quiet during their arguments. She knew there was something off with him, looking back at Constantine who continued to sip his tea with little interest

Rain receded into his head as he tried to come up with a backup plan; Gold Dust ignoring his diversion alltogether as she nudged her head toward Rain with fierce expectance, a painted nail pointed toward her shaking limbs. Constantine quirked a brow and looked at Rain with a decisive gaze. He knew already what she was implying and there was something different about Rain today. Gold pointing at him while nodding toward Rain once more. She hated that she knew Constantine if he showed a little compassion, could get rain to open up so easily. She hated that she was so jealous, and she hated that she was willing to use their close relationship...but she wanted to know what the hell was going on, and no amount of bickering would change her mind this time. 
"Our visits to this coffee shop are often simply informal reunions...it is not like you to use a word like important if it wasn't truly so. Speak up. What's this about. I won't take anything less than the truth; you are a terrible liar" he said, his gaze unyielding

Gold Dust wanted so badly to be apart of Rain's life more, but Constantine made it so difficult that it seems she came to these visits more to yell at Constantine then to actually spend time with him. She was struggling so dearly keeping her performance as professional and stunning as possible. She felt lack of sleep eating at her bones as she attempted lyrics constantly through the nights. How did she do it?
 

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Rain weakly stares at the glass of ice water in front of him, mind turning desperately to figure something out that won't have his siblings immediately shout at him for wasting their time. Maybe that would still be better than telling them about his condition though, at least they would be exasperated and forgive him eventually. But if they were to...feel obligated to care about his well being only because he's dying, he doesn't know if he could possibly face that harsh reality. Maybe that's on him. Being so desperate for their attention has left him content to let things be as they are. Telling them about his condition, it could changed things and upset the very precarious and unstable balance they all had with each other.

He couldn't possibly topple that over. 

Constantine's question has his mind whirring a mile a minute to try and appease the question his brother has.

"I-Isn't it...important to-to see each other every once and awhile?" Rain asks feebly, giving a small smile as he risks a hesitant glance up at his siblings.

Two unimpressed gazes staring back at him leaves his nerves rattled. Apparently that was not a good enough reason to drag them over to Cradle in their busy lives. He really did mess this all up didn't he?

"Well-Well-I just-I-" he stammers, unconsciously running finger across the cold condensation of his glass. "I just thought-think-it's just..." he flusters, knowing his face his flushed with his attempt to find the words and blundering it all up terrible.

This is nightmare level of failure right now. Sure he might be a bit of a pushover but he's never blatantly found himself at a loss of what to say. Honesty, was it worth it? To be honest? It didn't feel worth it. Oh but how he hated lying to them, and he had spent so long trying to figure out the best way to get them all together with the least resistance. He resists the urge to just bury his face into his hands and groan in annoyance at himself, instead clasping his hands back together into his lap tightly, letting the knuckles turn white in a tight grip. 

"I-I...just wanted to say that-I won't be around much the next couple of...or rather-for an extended period of time in the...near-future?" he eventually stammers. 

It's a half truth.

"My health has been a little-finicky lately and-it's nothing to pay attention to!" he hastily reassures even if they weren't concerned. "Um you know how I am haha-but I-well. I just wanted to say this might be the last time we see each other all together for a bit." he smiles feebly. "I'm sorry, I just wanted us to...have one more get together before I limit my travelling...?"

That still wasn't a very good explanation, and all in all, it was still a colossal waste of time for the two of them to come. Parts of that were completely true, it's just the health part certainly goes passed the stage of "finicky" and goes into "fatal" territory. Rain hopes they will just take his good intentions to heart even if the execution was terrible and maybe not immediately burst into another argument. He doesn't know if his heart can take them fighting this much anymore, literally. He's just tired of seeing the closest people to him tear each other apart. Didn't family mean anything? Didn't they mean anything to each other? Didn't he...mean anything to them?Didn't they know he'd do anything for them? Why does it feel like sometimes he's the only one who would take the stars from the sky if they asked him to?  He internally shakes his head. That's selfish to think after everything...he should just be happy they are here. Even if they get angry with him, he can at least be thankful they put up with each other and him to feel that way. 

That's what family does...right?

He ducks his head back down to stare at his lap, not wanting to see their disappointed expressions.

Edited by Swansong

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Rain had always been a constant between Gold and Constantine, loving him in their own imperfect ways. they also both knew his quirks and nuances quite well giving how they only had eachother in their younger years. Constantine knew them them adamantly while gold still felt as though Rain had kept an arm's length from her. Gold Dust glancing at Constantine with a sense of worry as he stammered over his strange explanation. There was something eating at him enough that he could hardly form a proper explanation. Gold Dust lowering her head to his; trying to make his time easier. Constantine leaning back and crossing his arms as he kept his gaze upon his squirming brother. His sister's face becoming shaded with concern as he spoke of limited time and his sickness. He had always been more frail and sickly then them and she always believed it was their upbringing that stunted his overall constitution. Constantine knew there must be some underlying sickness that caused him to lose weight and give him his dizzy spells, but the implications were starting to dawn on him. Gold Dust looking at Constantine with a silent crestfallen gaze as Rain apologized for simply want to spend time with them. That one realization nearly broke her heart in two. Was she being short sighted? How many times had they visited on Rain's behalf only to drive eachother crazy for the most of it?

Constantine was silent for several moments after Rain had spoke his peace. His eyes moving from his lowered head to his shaky legs; He could feel Ursula boring into his skull with her gaze. What did this remind him of?...years long back, when all he did was work and come home to a miserable home where he studied tireless...but there was more. Moments where they would crowd around their shared bed and talk tales...Ursula making up ghost stories to spook her younger brother. Rain always their muse. A small creak groaning from Constantine's chair as he leaned forward and stretched out his hand. A light grip moving rain's chin so that their eyes met. It looked to be as though he were searching for something dwelling within those melancholy pools. "Your condition is worsening isn't it? You can't travel because it makes you too weary, am I correct? This simply won't do. I won't allow your death to make tabloids out of the Primrose reputation i've worked so hard on. You are coming to live with me so that travel will no longer affect your health. I will make all the necessary arrangements" He said, releasing Rain and standing up with a readjustment of his collar 

"Wait Wait-WHAT? Are you out of your mind-"

"Now if you'll excuse me, I have an appointment to catch" He interrupted, eyeing Urusla down as she nearly put a hole through the table. Constantine moving passed her without another as she followed him out ranting and raving at his coat tails. Urusula eventually stomping back into the cafe as Constantine vanished down the street, leaving money on the table to pay for his drink. Gold Dust grumbling before looking over Rain "I can't believe he would just suggest something like that, and then leave. He is unbearable" She groaned. It was certainly a strange request; Constantine in his lack of kindness had never offered to take Rain in and instead simply directed him on how to get a place of his own. Rain was hardpressed to mind an answer as she barked at a gawking couple. Another family get together, another disaster it seemed. 

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The hand on his cheek startled him, not expecting nor used to contact with either of his siblings. A strangled squeak tumbles out of his lips in shock along at such an intimate gesture. His dark eyes widen lightly in surprise when it's Constantine of all people that had taken the initiative. At first there's hope, happiness even. His sibling has somehow read in between the lines, or at least has come to a conclusion that isn't so terribly far from the truth. Travelling is hard. Waking up is hard. Breathing is hard. Everything is hard, but Rain never tries to let that get him down. but it is. It's hard. The relief he feels is so palpable that he's smiling without realizing it. Constantine wants him to stay at his own house! He wants him to stay closer to him! That means he cares. He cares, he cares, he cares, he really does. It's all the confirmation Rain has ever needed, finally being said at last. Maybe he really did get something out of this after all, even if he couldn't tell the entire truth.

Then Constantine finishes his sentence, and just like that everything is flipped upside down. 

Heartbreak digs its vicious claws where his relief had just been a moment ago and it tugs and buries its way deep into the core of his heart. A nuisance. Even in death? Would Rain dying really set Constantine back so badly? Would it not be enough for the man to be worried or upset that his brother died? Why did his thoughts immediately jump to his reputation and the media about how it would be portrayed? Rain knows Constantine has worked so hard for everything, but it isn't as if this condition is a choice. It isn't as if he gets to choose when he dies!

Would it be easier for them if he could...?

Rain stares blankly at his brother's retreating back, Gold Dusts' voice exasperated ringing in his ears. It's muffled, like he's underwater, a dull ringing overtaking that noises around him. He pushes himself up, the chair behind him screeching loudly as he stands. Gold's alarmed voice falls on deaf ears as his vision tunnels to the exit. His feet are already taking him briskly through the shop, his eyes never leaving his brother's slowly fading back as the man moves outside. As his hand reaches the door to the cafe, his muscles lock up. His hand is outstretched in mid motion to open the door and go outside, but it's almost as if his subconscious won't allow him to. He doesn't know what to think or feel or do. For the first time in his life he wants to follow his brother and force him to turn around and scream at his face. He wants to shout and ask why he is never good enough. Why he is seen as such a nuisance just because he wants his siblings to know he loves them.

Why doesn't Constantine love him? Why doesn't Constantine...even like him?

His hand locks up as Rain clenches his jaw. His mind chants at it to open the door, it's easy. Just open it. Stop standing there and open the door! He can't do it, he can't-he can't. Rain blinks and suddenly the world is back into focus, the sounds so much louder around him than before. A shaky inhale makes its way through his chest and he turns back to see Gold Dust staring at him in alarm. He supposes he made a bit of a dramatic attempt at an exit. He hadn't even realized. Such actions weren't like him at all, were they Rain slinks back the way he came, his hand falling back to his side limply as he approaches his sister.

"I have to go. I'm...I'm sorry. I hate to disappoint you as well..." he smiles dully, the action not reaching his eyes. "But, I have a doctor to meet." he murmurs, averting his eyes and digging out some money to tip the server.

He would have paid for Gold's drink as well, but, she hadn't even gotten the chance to order one before it all fell apart like usual.

Funny that.

Edited by Swansong

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Gold dust was at a loss for words for the first time in awhile as she watched Rain try and follow Constantine out; words falling on deaf ears as he nearly brushed through the door. Had what Constantine said affected him this much? he hadn't seen Rain so rattled in a long time. Her frustrations from this development derived from Constantine once again trying to extract her from their relationship. She loved rain dearly, but it would be difficult to even consider the notion of entering Constantine's mansion. She watched the whole external struggle Rain went through before returning to her and telling him he too had other places to be. "You never disappoint me sweet; I worry about you every day..." She wanted to say so much more, and Rain could see apprehension cross her concerned features. When Constantine left it was like Rain had no reason to stay...why would he? All he did was chase the shadow of his big brother no matter how much they quarreled. She wished she could get him to fight just as hard for her attention. It was pathetic. She could almost cry, almost. "Well whatever you decide Rain, take care of yourself. Eat more and I will visit you anywhere so long as you don't have to travel too far" She relented. A smile perking her glossy lips. She had to be there for him; she was selfish more than a little bit...but for him she always to be better. Gold adding to Rain's tip with a bit more than usual due to the outbursts and drama they usually generated. Gold hugging him again, a little tighter, resting her chin on his head as she knelt down to meet his eyes "Thinking of you, everyday" A phrase she came up when they were kids so Rain knew that no matter the troubles at least there was a single person in the world thinking of his behalf. A ring from her phone interrupting the moment as she immediately looked to see who it was and paled "It's Calypso, I've got to go; Please be safe alright?

Rain was left to his own devices once more as the prospect of seeing Marigold lightened some of the gravitas his sibling reunions usually brought. The Address listed a unique piece of tech that linked to Rain's own phone and pinpointed exactly where to go. Marigold was always one to overthink things. His trip through the third ring aiming him toward the transport hub which was the fastest way to get where he was going, and certainly the easiest on his frame. A sudden blast of spiraling purple and orange magic blocking his path several feet ahead where several bystanders gasped in surprise or gawked. Rain seeing A man who looked like he came straight from the magistrate's circle; Lavished in purple shaded robes with cerulean locks of fine hair as barked at some inhuman species laughing on the floor. He hadn't seen them very often, especially in Cradle but they were a breed of Beastfolk centralized around feline genes. This one appearing to be of the calico race.
The transport hub on the other side of these two strange individuals so he didn't have much of a choice on where to go. The feline leaping to her feet as she dusted the smoke and magic debris off her overalls. Her laughter almost infectious as it seemed she enjoyed the way the other figure was getting frustrated.

She was nearly six foot and covered completely in calico fur. oranges, grays, blacks, and browns sprawled across her fur like a haphazard paint job. She was rocking on the balls of her feet in excitement as she was being scolded by the robed man. Rain now close enough where he could see that this one was quite handsome in his own right with light elven features speckled in radiance; his eyes a vibrant and lively magenta as he eventually sighed "I asked for a demonstration after we returned. You are impossible Fye" He said, a smile curling along his lip as he shook his head. The femme feline adorned in splotchy brown overalls with absolutely no shoes on to speak of. It was a bizarre sight overall combined with the sudden waving she did to anyone who passed them by. "Greetings must be curt and profession here, just because you refuse to wear what I ask doesn't mean you can just act any way you wish dear student of mine." He said crossing his arms. Her tall ears perking curiously and immediately looking toward Rain with eyes of brilliant orange; the slits widening like dinner plates as she tried to put her master's words to practice.

"Hail and well met!" She called, trying to be professional as she hid a grin behind her hands at her own feeble attempts; her tail swaying excitedly as she bolted to the frail man while nearly toppling over several others as she did so. The energetic girl springing in place before hearing a prominent cough behind her and straightened out and attempted a bow "My name is Fyedahlia, but I go by Fye! Nice ta meetch'ya!" Her greeting falling a bit short in it's formality, but steps were steps for a reason afterall. "Please forgive her, she comes from a...small town and I've decided to try and sculpt both her magic and unruly behavior to the best of my ability. I am Valenstein. It's a pleasure" He said with a formal bow that came from years of working in The Magistrate's circle. Fye quickly taking out a notepad and writing down notes, but that quickly turned into goofy scribbles she started to snort and laugh at. An interesting pair to run into indeed. 

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He levels her with a tired smile, not bothering to hide his disappointment. It doesn't matter how he feels. Nothing can be done about it, and they both know as much. A soft exhale leaves his mouth as he tries to curl into the slight warmth his sister brings with her embrace. He's always so cold, and Gold's slight frame doesn't exactly envelop him in warmth, but it's just so nice to be touched. Rain murmurs a soft farewell to his sister and his well wishes on her travels before he leaves her to her call. Pushing out of the door, his eyes grow dull in weary resignation. It's tiring to be him sometimes. He wants to be angry at Constantine, but he can only really be angry at himself. It's not fair to feel anything other than grateful to his brother, who essentially gave him the stepping stones to get here in the first place after all.

He eyes the hologram on his phone blankly, looking at the address before pocketing it and making his way through the busy streets. In all reality, he's just as nervous with anticipation to see Dr. Marigold as well. The man had ghosted him after only several weeks into the process of accepting his plea for creating a new heart from scratch. If Rain never received a donor with a real heart, than his only other option had been born out of desperation and thinking out of the box. Magic should have been an option, but he had been told the degradation of his entire system could not simply be healed through magic alone as the magical feedback could interfere too much with his already fragile state. Magical kickback was never something to bat an eye at, and the doctors were worried he wouldn't be able to survive the initial regrowth of heart muscle due to the pure strain.

Rain blinks in surprise as he eyes a slightly familiar figure transport into the Outer Ring of Cradle. Valenstein...Stalonius, an adviser of the Magistrate's Circle. Rain had seem him every so often when he was visiting Mr. Locke for discussions of Cradle's rejuvenation project and safety measures for the poor and down-trod. His feet pause on reflex as the apparent pupil of the man turns her bright gaze on him and levels a boisterous greeting. He smiles softly at her, dark eyes crinkling with kindness to let her know she did a wonderful job. He gazes at Valenstein's bow, politely placing his hands on his chest and lightly bowing himself to return the greeting.

"No apologies needed at all, I thought it was a very nice and genuine greeting." Rain tells them kindly. "It's very admirable you're learning magic, I do hope your studies go well." he says politely, stepping to the side to let them pass him.

Rain missed magic. Before he started his ascension into the political world with the desire to help others, the witch that had sheltered him had told him he had quite an affinity for magic. He had learned under her as a hobby, a side study for discipline and respect. If he could allow himself a small moment of pride, he certainly hadn't been a slouch either. What he lacked in finesse he had made up for in raw potential, especially when it had come to the arcane and soothing arts. Of course, after he had started his more hefty career, he still practiced but then his health started only getting worse and worse. With time, he simply stopped with his magic practice and training due to the fear he would drain himself too dry and end up suffering from magical exhaustion. It had come too close several time due to his waning health, and he had been advised several times to step away from his practice to keep himself safe. He's glad seeing someone like Fye being able to learn under someone incredibly gifted and skilled like Mr. Stalonius, she would go very far under his care he could tell.

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There was an order to the way such formalities went in Cradle, and Rain had grown accustomed to the fleeting conversations due to most everyone being far too busy for small talk. Fye didn't quite understand these customs; Valenstein having his work cut out for him. She practically leaped off the ground as she was so politely complimented, giggling all the same as Rain tried to step away and allow them to continue on. The witch instead sidled up next to him and beamed "Ya think so? huh? Huh? Do ya? I've been learning alot! Have you lived here long? I'm new to such a huuuuge place! Oh Oh! Guess how many fingers I have??"
"Fye..."
"Eight fingers and two thumbs!" She chimed, holding up two thumbs and giggling all the same. She was a ball of endless and Valenstein pulled the reigns a bit as he rest a hand on her unkempt mop of hair "She always loves her jokes, but regardless we shouldn't keep this man from his business. It'd be bad manners. Enjoy the rest of your day" Valenstein said, moving passed Rain ahead of Fye. The girl perking up at her master's words and immediately shaking Rain's hand wildly "It was nice to meetchya mystery man! Byeeeee!" One could only hope they would meet again; a strange pair but interesting in their own right. It was then off to The Transport Hub where it took him to a sizable hamlet known as knolls. This would be the closest he could gia via transportation. The rest of way requiring him to hoof it on foot as it seemed this lab was deeper in the woods. A path leading out of Knolls helping mitigate the stress of simply pushing through the underbrush. 

The wilds of Terranus were a truly beautiful sight to behold. The birthplace of magitech still so very capable of producing awe inspiring forests that dotted it's landscape like natural blessings from Gaia herself. It was a several hour trip through the woods to where The Imperium was. the trees themselves sparse enough to walk through. The trees beginning to get more dense the deeper he traveled in; the grass reaching his ankles and the canopy nearly blocking out the sun's rays; Rain feeling the airharder to pull into his lungs through such humidity but after some difficulty. Rain saw through a break in the treeline that opened up into a spacious grove, and that's where he saw it.

The Anima Imperium

It was a half mile away from the treeline, constructed right in the middle of this grove. It was a unique sight to see such a construction of technology deep within the woods. Their eyes falling upon the facility's walls which were a crackling blue energy constructed into the shape of a grid; each side connected by tall columns of metal and crackling energy. It all gave it a very living feeling. They couldn't see what laid behind these grid walls, aside from large antenna tower at the east side of the facility. A large slowly rotating radar dish at it's peak, giving off a pulse of blue light every several seconds. Rain's exposure to such a place being dwarfed by the man himself as he immediately saw the good doctor pass through the grid walls and meet him halfway. The doctor having security capable of detecting most signatures with the security cameras that dotted the treeline around the grove. Marigold was adorned in a grey blue lab coat that covered him from from collar bone to ankles, gray boots mounted firmly on his feet. The only skin Rain could see were his face and his hands, and it was pale, almost malnourished; He possessed steely mauve hair that messily fell to his shoulders, bangs nearly covering the two blue orbs of his eyes that looked at Rain with nervous excitement. square cut glasses being pushed up back into place by his forefinger before giving a pensive greeting

"It's been awhile...i'ts...good to see you again Rain
" He said, knowing there was so much more to be said. Marigold giving him and nervous hug as he simply drank in Rain's presence. All their time together flooding back in such a short time. The doctor then beckoning him to follow "We have alot to catch up about, and I believe I am closer than ever now to finishing our project" He said, grabbing Rain by his hand and leading him across the grasslands. "I've...made some changes in the technology department and it's taken some time to get used to them but I hope it doesn't unnerve you." Rain feeling Marigold's prostethics for the first time in awhile, and it was almost surprising as they looked nearly real. A coldness of metal and synthetic material betraying the faux skin however. "You are still as handsome as ever I see"
 

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Rain gave the parting duo one last polite wave before making his way back to the task at hand. He was lucky the warp had brought him closer to Marigold's complex, but it was still a bit of a jaunt and by the time he managed to get there he was more than a little winded. All of the stress and anxiety with his family certainly hadn't helped and Constantine's offer now lingers in the back of his mind like a thoroughly distracting buzz. He didn't know what to expect seeing Dr. Marigold again. He didn't even know if he wanted to visit in all honesty. His life was on the line and the doctor simply up and disappeared on him with no word or any sort of sign when or if he'd be back. Rain didn't know if he had been scammed or if something truly had happened to the man. Reading the letter, the doctor claimed the heart was ready, could it really have been so simple?

Rain somehow can't help believing such a thing.

His feet hesitate lightly once he finally reaches his destination, lightly disturbed by the grids and the crazy energy being emanated from the gigantic building He certainly doesn't remember this place. Rain remains silent as the form of the doctor grows larger as the man steps through the security measures to greet him. Words don't come easily to him in this situation. He doesn't know what to say. The day has already been a disaster and the man seems to be playing off his disappearance like nothing happened. Should Rain be grateful that the doctor didn't abandon him after all? Or is he allowed to be upset for being left in the first place? Was his heart really completed? Could it really be so simple?

"Hello Dr. Marigold." he greets softly, not going further than a polite greeting as the man hugs him. 

He hugs back tentatively, following the man silently as they move across the fields. Rain flicks his gaze down at their interlaced fingers as Marigold guides him along. He gently disentangles their fingers from the man's grip, pulling his hand back to his chest and lightly rubbing at his wrist in a self conscious gesture. The doctor didn't look well and Rain can only surmise that the man did indeed have some sort of health or other issue he had gotten wrapped up in. Rain understands how fast life can hit, and doesn't necessarily hold the sudden disappearance him. But he had just wished he could have gotten some sort of message to know he hadn't been left or forgotten just like so many other people have done to him. His dark eyes take in the surrounding area with polite interest, trying not to show outwardly that yes, he is unnerved by all of the sudden changes, not only in the man himself, but in his very creations and buildings. Not because he finds the prosthetic of the man's hand scary or negative, but simply because he can't seem to recognize this Marigold as the same softer man he had initially met.

"You are still as handsome as ever I see" Marigold's words ring into his ears.

He is stricken with something akin to disbelief and unease at such a sentence.  Rain turns to look, to truly look into Marigold's eyes for the first time with an uncomfortable frown. Rain is well aware he is not handsome in his current state. He didn't even know if he was handsome before this all sapped him of his spark, but he certainly knows better now. Sickly pale skin and slightly red rings around his eyes with dark circles. A bony frame and a disheveled appearance most of the time. He clearly knows better than to assume he has any sort of acceptable appearance. For the doctor to say such a thing after all this time, he feels strangely exposed. 

"Dr. Marigold." he mutters softly, withdrawing his letter. "I...I received your letter." is all he manages to say.

Of course he did, that's the reason why he was here. He internally chides himself on his stupid statement, but he doesn't know what else to say. He wants to demand an explanation or ask what happened to him and why he looks so...strange. Something about the man's visage unnerves him in a way now, it didn't used to be like that. Marigold's figure seems colder, different but he doesn't know why. Rain doesn't feel safe in the man's presence like he used to.

Or maybe that's just the lack of trust talking.

Edited by Swansong

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Marigold stopped and looked at the letter as it was presented, already feeling guilt gnaw at his bones. Oh dear, he had gone about this all the wrong way hadn't he? A letter was far too impersonal for Rain. He should've gone to him in person. He chided himself on his methods. His hands digging through his hair, a familiar tick Rain always saw him doing when he ran into a dead end on a project "I understand you must have so many questions. I should've let you know in some way what was happening but I didn't know how far his reach was at the time and and- Well Can we...discuss it inside? I'm not all for outdoors right now" He muttered, approaching the deteriorated grid walls. The doctor raising his arm, moving back his sleeve and revealing a device attached to his arm; holographic images and data pulled up as he traced his finger across one of the panels. The grid wall shimmering for a moment before fizzling out, and dissipating. He led him through and immediately turned the grid back on before leading them through the facility.

It was quite impressive for such a short time, and while Marigold was the designer, and thought process of this project. It was strange to see such a place in th middle of nowhere with only a village a few miles away; Many of their laborers did a great service in it's construction. It would have taken much longer without their assistance; That wasn't something Marigold would forget so easily. He didn't have much stock in friends, but allies and assets were something that could be invaluable in the right moment. The doctor no exception. Granted Rain someone he didn't feel he had to keep up walls around....although perhaps too much time had passed "
The facility is divided up into five structures altogether. Four directly associating with the cardinal directions. North Wing, East Wing, South Wing, and West Wing while the fifth is sthe Central Research Center or simply Tripsec." He said as he continued to walk forth. The grass they had once traversed being replaced with a metal mesh grating that clicked with noise everytime their shoes hit the surface. The area around them no longer an all encompassing forest; It was a facility of magitech. Each of the 'cardinal structures' being placed on each side of the facility with them standing right next to the north wing. A large, but simplistically made structure with what appeared to be only one large shutter door entrance. Catwalks, pipes, and strange machinery connected themselves from building to building creating a spider web of tech and machinery 

Marigold led him through the labyrinthine maze of buildings and progress before they arrived at the structure in the epicenter of The Imperium. "I know it's a bit of shock since we've last met...but it's something I've wanted to show you since I started it's construction. Welcome to the Anima Imperium" He said with the first smile he had seen as Marigold looked up at his pride and joy. His eyes glinting with a genuine pride. and with this Rain it would only get stronger. Marigold standing at a circular pad with four small pillars at each corner of the pad. Each one suddenly glowing blue and scanning him with the same grid design the walls had. The scan completing with the doors to the command center immediately sliding open as he led them through  a cylindrical room that possessed a multitude of screens decorating the walls, surrounding a holographic display of the world that Marigold has mapped out and added to his registry. It looked to be bits and pieces at most in it's current state. Doorways, and staircases leading to different sections of the building. Marigold eventually leading him to A guest room that housed several chairs with a smooth glass table adorned with curious lights and various refreshments waiting to be used. Marigold sitting down and pouring himself a strong cup of coffee as he tried to mitigate the bugs under his eyes with a thumb before flicking his grayed hair out of his face 

"I'm sorry Rain. So much happened and...none of it should be used as an excuse...I...Survived. I'm here in the flesh and that is a surprise in itself. I worked on your heart through it all and I'm just glad your still...here" He leaned back and held his face in his hands as he attempted try and explain his situation. A man who minced his words, something else familiar. 

Edited by Djinn&Juice

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Rain sure hoped they weren't going to stand outside in the first place, merely giving an understanding nod to the man as they began their trek inside. The man seems paranoid, a habit Rain doesn't recall being there the last time they had talked and visited each other. He remembers bringing the man sweets and cake out of thanks, them talking for hours in conversation. He thought he was finally making a friend that wouldn't leave him like everyone else. Maybe he just has that sort of disposition that people never really want to stick around. Still, Marigold's attitude is a bit concerning which only solidifies Rain's guess that the man must have gone through some troubling things. 

He nods politely at the doctor's explanations of the building, seeing that warm pride spark in the man's face. At the very least, he's glad Marigold is comfortable here. "It's nice. I can tell you've put a lot of heart into it. I'm sure it was a lot of work." he smiles kindly, wanting to encourage the man's happiness at his work.

The building is very large, and Rain feels like he'd be a bit too lonely in such a giant facility without company. He supposes he's needy that way though, his brother and sister certainly get along alright in their big houses and alone time. He just doesn't like being alone in his own house, so he couldn't imagine being in such a big work environment without other people. At least the guest room looked inviting enough for the most part. Rain takes a tentative seat across from the man, making no move to partake in any of the refreshments. He fiddles with his hands that rest in his lap, looking down for a moment before Marigold starts speaking which grabs which attention back to the man. Sympathy tugs at his heart, the man looks exhausted. Rain certainly understands that. 

He smiles softly, eyes still holding onto a bit of hurt that shines through. "It's alright, doctor. I'm glad you're okay, you don't need to explain." he offers to the man generously, not wanting to put him in a stressful situation where he was forced to explain his circumstances. "We're both here. That's what matters, right?"

It's not everyone's business to always know the struggles of others.

Rain doesn't need to feel entitled to an explanation. He wonders if this sort of behavior is why everyone is always so exasperated with him.

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"It's what I want to believe what matters yes...but it is unfair to you. You would've faced this all with me if you could have wouldn't you?" He asked with a shake of his head "It is easy to believe what you are doing is for their benefit but it is simply selfishness. I should've been there for you, but I am here now. The danger I had faced is gone now and I want you to see what your money has gone to" He said, running his hand across the surface of the table; a holographic display lighting up and creating screens that Marigold began to interface with. Several terabytes of information flooding the screen as he continued to work through it's code and find what he was looking for. One of his fingers revealing an elongated needle of sorts that plugged directly into the console. A few moments passing before he removed it and nodded with a few mutters. An schematic of the heart they had discussed prior being shown "The design that was agreed upon. Every detail of this project new to me and making it risky. in my time away I have done a great deal of study on anatomical hearts and heart surgery itself. I've even performed four of my own with success. I was thrown into the fray of a disaster in Ceyana as a combat medic and grained a great deal of experience. I haven't forgotten you or your heart condition in the slightest."

One of his creations marched into the meeting room; a stout bot with stubby legs and long three pronged arms that held a metallic chest with tubes of fluid connected on either side. Marigold beaming once more with delight as he immediately set the chest down and input the security code before leaning down for a retina scan. the lid popping open and revealing a housing for what appeared to be an unfinished synthetic heart. Thousands of wires, small tubes, and synthetic veins hanging loosely on it's unfinished side. A slow pump revealing that it was still partially beating. "Forgive the exaggeration in my letter but I wanted you here to see the progress that I have made...and admittedly I just wanted you here regardless" he said with a ligh chuckle "It will still take more time for me to completely finish the heart, but I have the complete left and right ventricle finished. It is too precise for any machine to just fabricate so it has to be completely done by hand" He said, giving Rain as long as he'd life with it before he eventually closed the chest. It was proof at least that it was being constructed. Marigold hadn't just taken the money and ran

"The other reason I wanted you to come here is because the risks need to be discussed in person." He said with a nervous sigh "We very well could get a famed heart surgeon to implant it for us, but the issue is that a synthetic heart of this magnitude isn't easily come by and I fear without my physical experience with the heart itself...mistakes would be made. That being said I want to lay out everything for this surgery so that when I do finish the heart there isn't any confusion. I have a better chance at a successful surgery with a heart of my own design than I believe any other would, but should you prefer a more professional set of hands I understand and that is where we will take it, furthermore in either scenario. You have always been a truly beautiful man no matter what may transpire, but your body may not be in a strong enough condition right now to even survive surgery. I believe we need to figure out a method to help strengthen your body." Marigold drinking more from his coffee as he allowed Rain to digest all this information. He hoped not to sound too clinical or vice versa, but this surgery wasn't just an idea any longer. It was becoming a reality and with it came risks all the same.

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