(Invitation)  Don't Make Me Yell
tag: jeremiah // February 4, 2031

Sev rubbed the back of his neck and stretched his shoulders.  He’d just finished a meeting with several delegates from the Middle Eastern countries.  They were in the middle of doing some trade negotiations, and it was not going as well as Sev wished.  It was yet another source of stress to add to the never-ending pile lately.  Even with using his powers to calm the worst of the friction, these people did not want to bother trying to find common ground and if they didn’t have any desire to agree, there was only so much he could do to lead them to a compromise.  It was draining as hell and he wasn’t sure how much of it he could take. 

If things blew up any more than they already were, he might have to travel out there to meet with them in person.  He was not looking forward to that being the case as he hated to leave the Crystal Palace right now, especially after the attack on Saariyah and with Jeremiah out of commission for the time being.  He needed to stay near the King, and the Queen too, now more than ever.

He was headed back to his room.  He needed a shower and a nice long meditation session after everything he’d just dealt with.  If the whole situation wasn’t frustrating enough on its own, he could feel all the anger and frustration coming through from everyone else too.  He wished there was more he could do, but without crossing lines he knew he shouldn’t, it was out of his hands.  That was probably the most frustrating part.  Sitting there with a neutral expression came easily to him.  Between his past life and being a dancer, showing only what he wanted came as naturally to him as breathing.  He had more trouble showing others what he was feeling than he did keeping it inside.

His breath caught in his throat when he heard piano music.  Actually, that was an understatement.  The emotion carried in the music nearly knocked him off his feet.  He frowned and headed toward the music room.  He held his breath until he peered into the music room and saw that familiar silver haired man sitting at the piano.  Part of him wanted to be angry with Jeremiah for already being out of bed.  His teammate needed rest, but as much as he wanted to yell, he just didn’t have it in him after hearing the sounds Mia was extracting from the instrument. 

Instead of yelling, he walked in and right over to the piano.  His arms came up to embrace Jeremiah’s shoulders as he leaned in until his cheek came to rest against Jeremiah’s.  “As glad as I am to see you up, you should probably still be in bed resting.”  His tone was neutral, but he tightened his arms around Jeremiah, giving him a light squeeze.  “How are you feeling?”  He asked.

(This post was last modified: 17 Nov 2020, 11:25 PM by Sevik Kincaid.)

Something buzzed underneath Jeremiah's skin; a wealth of emotions that he could name but did not want to. If he did not name them, then he could--at least for a little while--continue as if they were not bothering him. Yet everything he had done for the day, even seeing Saariyah's corrupted Star Yell given to Queen Liuxing, was an attempt of avoidance.

... and the music he played betrayed him even more so. The silver-haired man had meant to close the doors to the conservatory but had not. If anything, the moment he had seen the piano it felt as if a siren's song echoed within his mind, pulling him towards it until he sat down and plucked the keys that cried out to him to be played. Thus he did so, the doors left open and enabling those that came close enough to hear the music that played.

The truth was that when Jeremiah played--when he really played--there was a depth to his music that others would be hard-pressed to recreate. This was, in part, because he could channel energy into it, providing a depth of feel to his music that others could not. It had been, in years past, a way that Jeremiah had bled off extra energy, especially when he was overcharged, but it was more than that right now.

Which was why, he supposed, he was not surprised that Sevik appeared. Though that had more to do with expecting that Sevik would find him eventually, the other probably displeased (both as a leader and someone close) that he was up and not still sleeping. Or, in the very least, staying to his suite (that did have a piano albeit not as large as the one he was on) to rest and relax. After all: Jeremiah had seen the tell-tale signs that Sevik had slept next to him while he had been deep in slumber, just as he knew that it was likely part of why he had slipped into an easier sleep.

As the last notes of the song faded, Jeremiah tilted his head towards Sevik and the press of his cheek. He lifted his left hand, the tips of his fingers pressed to Sevik's arm before curling around his forearm and squeezing gently. Then the silver-haired man was promptly shifting his way out of Sevik's arms, though it was only to let him sit down next to him on the piano bench.

"I had to get up to eat; you know how I can get if I've not eaten," said Jeremiah, not necessarily trying to avoid answering so much as trying to put what he wanted to say to words. After all: Sevik had a finger on his emotional pulse and that meant that while verbally lying was possible, it did not matter when his emotional state could reveal the truth.

A rueful sigh finally escaped, Jeremiah plucking a few more keys and letting the note hover in the air as he leaned against Sevik with briefly slumped shoulders (gods forbid he had terrible posture).

"Physically, I am well-rested. Emotionally, I am still working through everything." Queerly bright blue-green eyes cut towards Sevik, his voice dropping lower. "I did not mean to worry you, Sev." Neither as the leader of the Golden Kings or any other way. It felt trite to apologize for it, however, knowing that Sevik would do the same in his position--push himself to his limits--and that Jeremiah was likely to do it again if necessary.

Even as a child, it amazed Sevik how much emotion could be transmitted through music and the arts in general. He wasn’t sure if it was part of Jeremiah’s talent or if it was because they were so close, but he always felt more when Jeremiah played, at least compared to most of the others he heard play. Jeremiah didn’t push him away, so Sevik remained with his arms around Jeremiah’s shoulders until the piece was finished.

He felt Jeremiah lean into the embrace and the gentle squeeze on his arm before Jeremiah pulled away. The corners of Sevik’s mouth turned downward ever so slightly in a barely there frown. It disappeared when he realized Jeremiah was shifting over to give him room to sit on the bench. He settled himself next to Jeremiah, their thighs touching because of the limited space on the bench.

“You could have asked for something to be brought to you.” His voice was cool as he spoke, but he didn’t say more. They both knew that wasn’t the reason Jeremiah was up out of bed. Knowing Jeremiah wouldn’t tell him was the reason he hadn’t asked in the first place. Thanks to all of his training, he could keep himself distanced from the emotional mess that Jeremiah was projecting. He could sense it, but he could differentiate it from his own emotions.

He felt Jeremiah lean against him and Sevik slipped an arm around him, holding him close. He wasn’t usually so affectionate with others, but Jeremiah was one of the few he felt comfortable enough with to let it happen. He nodded as Jeremiah admitted he was still sorting through his emotions. “If there’s anything more I can do to help, all you need to do is ask.” He didn’t expect much there. Jeremiah was as stubborn as himself and asking for help did not come easily.

“I know.” Sevik didn’t meet Jeremiah’s gaze. “I also know you wouldn’t hesitate to do it again if it came to it.” He inhaled deeply and let his breath out slowly as his mind picked out the words he needed to say. “I’m going to spare you the lecture as your leader because I know rehashing everything you already know wouldn’t change anything.” Besides that, he’d be hypocritical calling out Jeremiah on all the same things he struggled with as well. In some ways it surprised him that he hadn’t been forced to rest as Jeremiah had, considering how frequently Sevik went without sleeping.

“I have every right to be upset with you, both as your leader and your friend, but you know that already.” He finally looked over at Jeremiah. “I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you.” His eyes shone in the light. “And I don’t mean as a leader or a teammate.” His voice wavered slightly. That was the scariest part of everything that happened the past few days. It forced Sevik to admit to himself how much he depended on having Jeremiah beside him to face everything.

@Jeremiah Mercer

There was only an arch of an eyebrow, Jeremiah giving Sevik a look that said really, do I strike you as the sort that would have had food sent to me? because he might have been nobility in both of his lives but he was not that sort. (At least, in this particular situation he was not for so many reasons that involved needing to do something.)

Still, the stiffness within his posture continued to lessen with Sevik close and an arm around him. While Jeremiah kept most at a distance, did not let them within his personal space, that was not the case with those that knew him and most certainly not with someone like Sevik. Truth be told, the silver-haired man thrived on the contact from those cared about, but it was something he preferred not to be known. All the ways to get at his soft underbelly were best-kept secrets.

Sevik knew those ways but Jeremiah did not worry about it. It was the kind of trust born of two lifetimes around one another, the memories intact, and the knowledge that they had each other's backs.

"If I can think of a way for you to help," said Jeremiah, "I will make mention of it." Which was more than he could offer to anyone else. The corner of his mouth twitched downward, mostly because Sevik did not meet his gaze but then it was easy to read: the other was sorting his thoughts out much the same way Jeremiah did when he was trying to figure out what to say.

So instead he waited, fingers briefly plucking out the beginning of another melody until Sevik spoke (a breath let out when his thoughts were echoed, among other things). When he was finished, Jeremiah closed the cover over the piano keys and then slid an arm around Sevik in turn.

"I know." His eyes slid shut as he spoke. "Though ..." He shook his head, silver hair falling loose as he did so. "What I did, I should not have been able to do." Raising his left hand, Jeremiah pressed it to his face and smoothed it across it before letting it fall as his eyes opened back up to focus on Sevik.

"There was so much corruption within Saariyah that in taking it, it should have ..." Jeremiah trailed off, unable to finish it should have corrupted me. He was not sure how to explain it, so he continued. "Regardless, I am not going anywhere, Sev, and that is a promise." One that he made before, that Jeremiah only reaffirmed now, though Sevik knew that promises were things he did not like to make (because it bound him, as far as he was concerned, and he would never go back on what was promised). His head briefly leaned against Sevik's shoulder, the action requiring a little maneuvering with his height (no one had ever expected that Jeremiah would have ended up an inch taller than Sevik).

"It is the only promise I can give you, considering what you've said," about how he and Sevik were both likely to repeat actions if necessary, "but I can hope that it is enough to help ease the worries and otherwise you hold." Pause. "As I would be in the same place, had you done similar, for the same reasons." As, yes, Sevik was his leader and they were teammates, but they had worked side-by-side for two lifetimes and shared a great deal between them; friendship not remotely a strong enough word.

Sevik laughed when Jeremiah raised an eyebrow at him. “Yes, I know you wouldn’t do that if you have a choice.” If he’d have known when Jeremiah was going to wake up, Sevik might have scheduled things to have a meal waiting so Jeremiah wouldn’t have to leave. He half expected Jeremiah to sleep longer, or maybe that was just a selfish wish to make sure Jeremiah was fully recovered before he jumped back into doing everything.

“Good. Thank you.” Jeremiah and Sevik were alike in that it was hard for both of them to ask for help when they needed it. Sevik was used to having to do things on his own, and it didn’t always occur to him to ask for help. He’d noticed those same tendencies in Jeremiah a long time ago.

It made him grateful that Jeremiah was so patient with him whenever he tried to express something. Sevik was used to keeping his true feelings guarded inside him that he sometimes had trouble expressing them when he chose to. The silence between them filled with music as Jeremiah let Sevik figure out what he needed to say. Sevik leaned toward his friend when he felt Jeremiah wrap an arm around him. Jeremiah then confessed that he shouldn’t have been able to do what he did. “What do you mean?” He asked, though, after a pause, Jeremiah tried to explain. Sevik heard his voice trail off, and he could guess at what Jeremiah didn’t say. It made him frown.

He raised an eyebrow at the promise. Sevik knew there wasn’t much that could be promised. Either of them could be killed at any time. They’d both fight like hell and make sure they took as many of their enemies with them as possible. He loosened his grip as he felt Jeremiah shifting next to him. Sevik waited until Jeremiah was done before he wrapped both of his arms around Jeremiah, holding him close. Even though moments like these were slightly more awkward than they used to be, Sevik wouldn’t have it any other way. Warmth and comfort radiated through Sevik as he held Jeremiah.

He kept his arms around Jeremiah while Jeremiah explained it was the only promise he could give Sevik. Sevik understood why. Jeremiah then said he’d feel the same if their positions were reversed. Sevik pulled Jeremiah closer. He brought a hand up and gently cupped Jeremiah’s jaw. Sevik’s thumb gently stroked over Jeremiah’s cheek and he placed a tender kiss on Jeremiah’s forehead. It tempted him to kiss Jeremiah’s lips instead, but that was a line they hadn’t crossed. There was always a certain amount of intimacy shared between them, but there were also certain unspoken boundaries that came with it. He knew nothing of romance and sexual relationships, but even he knew that there were certain lines that, once crossed, you could never go back to the way things were.

He shifted slightly, pushing himself up so he could swing a leg around the bench. Once he was straddling the bench, it was much easier—and more comfortable—to pull Jeremiah closer. “I couldn’t ask you to promise anything more. But thank you. It helps.” A small smile spread across his face.

@Jeremiah Mercer

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