Upon leaving the University of London, Aidan's limousine headed for the King's Memorial Medical Center, a large complex connected to the King's Memorial, one of the finest hospitals in England and Europe. The Medical Center included a Mall and three glass-curtain facade office towers around a plaza above the Mall; the office towers held a number of exclusive private clinics and medical facilities, along with selective spa services and sport centers. The Hospital and the Medical Center were connected by a traffic bridge and pedestrian bridges from one luxurious lobby to the other. The base that held the towers, the Mall, functioned around the circular Plaza with a center fountain; the Plaza connected the different areas with wide sidewalks shadowed by beautiful trees.
The limousine stopped in a private, secluded area where Aidan got off the limo alone and waved them away. Aidan didn't like to take company to his appointments at the psychologist – not even Christopher and maybe specially not him. Aidan had his eccentricities and stuck to them without giving explanations of any sort. The rumors about the mysterious deaths of his previous doctors were part of the strange stories weaved around the baron of Cynshire. Aidan got to the private lobby and in the elevator. The baron seemed strangely calm when he got out the elevator at the private psychology clinic. The receptionist smiled warmly at the baron.
“Lord Cynric, Dr. D'Allesandri waits; you may proceed”.
Aidan nodded and flashed a seductive smile at the girl as he passed by the marble counter and on to the hall with panoramic view to the office. He knocked once and opened the door. “Good morning”, Aidan greeted.
“Morning, Aidan. Have a seat, please.” Doctor Genesis D'Allesandri motioned her hand to a couch and two chairs arranged neatly in the far corner. It looked more like a living room suite than a Psycologist's office. The room itself had a nice comfortable feel, soft muted tones of color combined with plush fabrics. Dr. D'Allesandri was always a favorite amongst patients, as her knack for putting them at ease seemed to come completely natural. The Doctor herself was dressed in a neat solid emerald suit, her hair pulled up in a slightly messy clip. A pair of gold glasses sat on the tip of her nose, as she easily pulled out a grey folder from her drawer and laid it neatly on the table. This was the third time she had spoken with Lord Aidan Cynric, quietly learning and assessing his personality each time they spoke. His tract record with other psychologists had frightened many doctors away from taking his case, however she had a special interest in this man… “Tell me how your week has been, Aidan.”
Aidan took a seat, choosing the best seat for himself. He leaned back slightly, making himself comfortable as he looked at the doctor carefully: the tailored cut of her emerald suit, the slightly messy hairdo, the shape of her eyebrows and the shade her eyelashes tossed on her cheeks beyond the gold frame of her eyeglasses. Aidan's bronze eyes seemed to scrutinize through her as if he were examining the cover of a book he was about to read. He kept his own records in his own fashion. This trips to the psychologist were exercises of the mind, for he would not openly confess all and he would at the same time twist and cover things he needed to say.
“My week… has been fine”, he softly said. “Work has gone as usual and I've acquired more companies overseas to incorporate them to MS Corp.; slightly out of schedule, for the best…” Aidan ran his fingers through his hair to get it out of his eyes. “Why are your file folders grey?”, he suddenly asked. “Grey is a color for nameless things, for the anonymous. For rows of faceless beings. I wonder what goes through your mind as your patients speak. I had a professor once who said all in his class were perfectly asexual to him – he didn't want flirts-for-grades. I was thirteen years old, I think. I tend to forget my age.”
Genesis rose a curious, and slightly bemused eyebrow as she rose from her desk, folder in hand. The man was evasive, always dodging details and cleverly changing the subject at the drop of a hat. She got the impression from his body movements that he had done something pleasurable. He seemed relaxed, more so than usual, and his question came off as more sincere than simply a way to distract her. “Grey is two-sided, a combination of both the dark and the light. The perfect reflection of emotion, I believe.” she replied with ease, moving through the room to take a seat across from him.
“Why do you forget your age, Aidan? Do you feel as if you experienced more in your lifetime than what is normal, or something else…?” It was a bold question, something she would not normally confront her patients with. But, Genesis had learned quickly enough, it took a little more too keep Aidan interested and involved in the sessions than simply nodding and asking him to continue.
“I must disagree”, Aidan said with a cryptic smile. “If emotions were grey, my life would be dull. …Experienced more than is normal…?” Aidan's eyes widened slightly in false surprise. “What would be considered normal? I am out of the average standards in many ways – it would not be strange I'd exceed limits in that field as well”, he murmured with a voice that strangely resembled the sound of fire on dry wood. “Why do I forget my age…” Aidan smiled. “I have no reasons to keep track of it. To count aging years is like collecting years you steal from the hands of Death, but in the end it's pointless as we all know”.
Genesis felt her own calm crackle beneath her cool exterior. Had she not known the truth, this enigma of a man, with his uncanny ability to draw in knowledge, she would have been unnerved. “I would have to agree. Age becomes meaningless compared to experience…” It was now her turn to change the subject. Age and Experience came with a price in her world. It was not something she wished to discuss, especially with Aidan. “What of today. I except your tour of the University was a pleasant one?”
A grin appeared on Aidan's face; strangely, it showed the most in his eyes for his lips barely curved; despite this something shifted about his aura that revealed his satisfaction. “Yes, it was”, he said, a flame dancing in his eyes. “It's an interesting project; I might… devote more personal time to it. There was a moment when Time stopped and I was able to peer into the strangest feeling… As if I were looking back into my memories at someone that wasn't me”. Aidan paused. “Sometimes I feel something is missing”, he muttered, his fingers brushing against his left eyebrow.
The scribbling in the notes in her folder suddenly stopped as a wave of realization washed over her. Memories not of your own. Something has triggered your second soul, has it Azazel? Her brows furrowed as she glanced down at her papers. Few knew Azazel had returned to the mortal world. She and Azrael had realized this first, as the soul of the child was collected, and somehow Azazel had taken in it's place. They still had not yet discovered who had helped him to break the seal of the Abyss that was created by Johnathon Morris and Samael Norse, but had watched Azazel grow from a child to the man that was sitting before her now.
The second soul that was branded to Azazel worried her the most. Though Azazel himself was a powerful foe, the mortal Lorant Riktophen was like adding gasoline to the fire. Branded together they had started a second war, parties of both sides falling. All for the need of power, and the obsession for a simple woman. To have those memories triggered again would cause havoc once again. Especially if she could not retrieve Lorant Riktophen's soul from Azazel and return it back to it's cycle…
“Often people feel as if something is missing from their life.” she replied, hoping to draw more information on his day. She needed to know what had triggered his memories, and inform Azrael as quickly as possible. “Perhaps your project reminded you of something you feel you need.”
Aidan shook his head slightly. “Perhaps your project reminded you of something you feel you need.” Genesis's voice echoed through Aidan's mind. He again touched his left eyebrow and his bronze eyes shimmered strangely. The temperature in the room seemed to raise, as if an untimely wave of heat ran over London. As Aidan's fingers rubbed his left eyebrow, a strip of a pale hue of red appeared across his eye. “There's a saying somewhere, about how things find their way back to their owners”, he said in a strange voice. “Something I feel I need… I might get it back sooner than expected”. Aidan closed a tight grip on the armrest of the couch till his knuckles went white. The ever so pale red mark across his left eye disappeared and the temperature in the room fell suddenly to its normal cool.
Aidan blinked slowly and rested his back against the couch. He seemed confused, but no more than a fraction of a second; he quickly regained his cool and collected demeanor. “I might have missed some things, but that's opened new possibilities for me”, he said with a forced smile. “May I have a glass of water?”
Her eyes narrowed a fraction as she watched his reactions. There was no doubt something had changed. There was shift in the balance, she could feel it creeping across her skin. Though she had no care for such battles this was surely going to cause… her only concern was the soul that was still trapped, and the disturbing after-effects that came along with it. “Of course.” she replied, as she rose from her seat to the desk. Pouring a glass, she turned back to Aidan and held it out for him. “I see you feel your future is looking up. It would be a good idea to remember one's own limitations before putting any new projects in to motion.” And give me time to retrieve that soul…
Aidan drank his glass of water slowly, as if tasting it. “I have no limitations for the time being”, he softly said with such uncaring arrogance it seemed entirely natural. “The future's looking up because I've shaped it. I shape it everyday”. Aidan looked at her through the glass of water. “I provide the limitations for others and they choose which limits to impose to themselves… but they all bow to my word. I bring some order to chaos; it's my job. I won't deny it can be stressing… but it's good business. Morning Star Corporation grows as we speak”. Aidan tapped his fingers on the armrest of the couch and curiously watched his doctor as if he expected her to pull a bunny out of a hat or do something equally unexpected to entertain him.
He was an arrogant bastard, Genesis could feel her patience quickly wearing thin. Her manor was always so cool on the outside, but inside she was seething. It was time to end this session before she was tempted to take steps she was not yet ready for. “That's quite presumptuous of you, Aidan. Be careful not to be too confident, as life has a way of spiting your wishes.” Rising from her chair, she scribbled a few final notes in to her grey folder before moving to her desk. “Your next appointment is next week, but don't hesitant to call any time you need council.” she dropped the folder on the desk before turning back to Aidan. “Perhaps in the next session you'll divulge this new project of yours.”
“Presumptuous? Am I supposed to fake modesty?” Aidan smirked. “I am supposed to be honest with my doctor. There's always odds against one's wishes”, he pointed out. “You words seem to imply a dark omen; not very encouraging”. Aidan rose and placed the empty glass on a side stand. “I will call… sometime”, he softly said. “We'll see about my… project”.
“Good.” Genesis walked to the door and opened it wide for him. “I look forward to hearing from you soon. Sending him away with out much more than another word, Genesis gave a relieved sigh as he left her office. The urge to stab her spikes well deep within his heart and imprison booths souls was great. However, it'd do little good to do so this soon. The Angelic Order and their damn blasted tidings of fate and destiny… Her schedule being clear for the rest of the day, Genesis was well ready to leave. It took only a few minutes to change from her neat and tidy business clothing to something completely different. She was unrecognizable from her neat and tidy professional self, to looking more like a punk teenager. Slipping out of her office, she gave her secretary a nod before taking off to find relaxing amusement…
After an evening of studying and practices, Connor had finally convinced Adriel to go out with him for a walk. It was his night out – no work at the ER tonight… Connor was in an excellent mood. He hoped no more strange things and beings would cross their path, which seemed to be free of worries. Connor had some money and his first automatic choice had been to take Adriel to an ice-cream shop. Adriel was his love interest, the object of his secret dreams which could make even himself blush, but still somehow she also made him think of flowers and sweets, plushies and birds. The moon was high in the night sky, despite the night was still young. Connor and Adriel walked down a sidewalk, watching the moon, the traffic and the beautiful lights placed beneath the trees of a nearby park, giving the park a magical air. Connor was very pleased at his route of choice. Adriel was still eating her ice-cream cone, looking at everything with her big green and gold eyes. Connor tried to think of some compliment to tell her, but he was having a hard time thinking of something appropriately nice. Cursing his sudden loss of words, Connor scratched the back of his head. “You are very pretty”, he cautiously said. How lame…
Adriel smiled, a faint blush on her cheeks at the compliment. She pulled her coat to keep herself warm, eating her ice-cream. “Thanks, Connor”, she said after a bit. “And thanks for the ice-cream, the soda and the cookies….” Adriel continued eating her ice-cream cone. “It's a nice night for a walk…” Adriel admired the park lights and the strange green, gold and blue shadows they tossed on the trees, making them stand out on the starry night sky.
Raphael was listening invisible some distance away, a naughty smirk on his face, tainted by a bit of jealousy. That Mastema, he's still biting onto Adriel refusing to let her go even when he doesn't have his memories! Raphael sucked in a deep breath, taking in the fresh air in the park. His sharp senses told him that the park was dim and refreshing with lots of trees. Nice scenery, Raphael jested to himself, how romantic. He eavesdropped on the two quietly, listening to each and every word with tentative care. He felt like eating some ice-cream suddenly. It's been quite a long time ever since he last stopped eating. Raphael shook his head. No, he was not going to let Mastema have such a good time. Raphael batted his wings slightly and flew around Connor, blowing air into his ears, making a loud hissing sound. Finally Raphael sat down on Connor's lap mischievously and turned to face Adriel with a smile.
Connor jerked back in alarm as something ominous seemed to zoom by like a nasty insect – but a really big one! Connor lost balance and fell on a bench with something heavy on him – but he couldn't see a thing! He pushed away to stand up again, but nothing seemed to get in the way, yet there was a weight on his lap. “Did you see that?”, he asked Adriel with wide open eyes.
Adriel bit her ice cream with wide-open eyes as Connor suddenly batted at the air and fell on a bench as if something had fallen on him. Sure Connor could sometimes be a little weird, but being raised in Irish traditions herself, she was used to strange, unseen things. “Umm… No”, she replied, sitting on the bench. Adriel took a small bit of her cone with a soft cracking sound, her green and gold eyes fixed on him. “It's getting a bit windy”, she said with a grin as if she were offering an explanation.
Raphael bit his lower lip in excitement as Connor began to show shock and nervousness on his part when he sat down on his lap. Raphael laughed to himself. Feeling young and mischievous again, Raphael felt around Connor's face and pulled his ears hard before he stood up a distance from Connor and gave a hard kick to where he thought were the kneecaps. Take that! I will be pestering you as long as you are a bug around Adriel!
Connor swatted at the air as something pulled his ears hard, then he felt a kick on his knees. “Ow!” He gasped, for now he could distinctively sense a presence around them… “Adriel! There's something lurking around here!” Connor's eyes were open wide. “Poltergeist!” Connor jumped back on his feet. “We better leave”, he said with a frown, gazing around with worried eyes.
Adriel took a larger bit of her ice-cream cone, blinking as a drop of ice-cream landed on the tip of her nose. Connor was acting more odd than usual. “But Connor… it could be just the wind…” Adriel wrinkled her nose. “Poltergeist?” Adriel blinked again. “Who'd take interest on us?” She rose, however. “Well alright… let us go; I guess it's getting late. I want to go home”.
Raphael snickered at Connor's 'frightened' state, and it was a pity he couldn’t see his face. He laughed and it echoed into Connor's ears which was red from all the merciless pulling from Raphael. Pointing finger at Connor, slightly off-track he said, “You dummy! Stop bothering Adriel!” He felt silly then. Connor couldn’t hear him anyway. Raphael smirked and disappeared into thin air. In another moment, as Connor and Adriel were leaving, he appeared in his human form from behind and approached them with his stick. He smacked Connor's legs. “Hi… goodnight, dear friends.” Raphael said with a weird smile on his face as he pushed his sunglasses up.
“Home already…? But it's early…”, Connor softly protested. “I'll take you home, though…” Suddenly a guy with a walking cane appeared and smacked his legs. “Ow!” Connor winced and glared at the stranger. The Irishman's eyes flared with inner fire, yet he still wasn't sure why his anger was redirected to this strange guy who had just sprouted out of the grass. Connor flicked his hair out of his eyes and came to the startling realization that the presence he felt earlier was not gone and the only other one around that close was this stranger! Connor frowned slightly. He could be getting a wrong impression… but his fey sense never failed to him. Connor's frown deepened. “Who are you?”, he demanded.
“Connor…! It sure was an accident…” Adriel protested at Connor's fierce reaction to the blind man. When he lifted his eyeglasses, Adriel recognized him from the University.
“Mr. Raphael, isn't it? Well, it's a surprise… Connor, he was in the hall this morning, at school…” Adriel blinked at Connor's expression. She knew he was containing his anger when his eyes flared like that, giving his green eyes an eerie light. “There's no reason to be upset”, she firmly said. “Just give him some space…” Adriel pulled Connor a little aside. “There”. She smiled, conciliative. “Goodnight, Mr. Raphael”.
Raphael smiled as he turned to where he thought Adriel was. “It's all right… Miss Adriel…” Raphael said in a light mood, “He's a young man after all. Maybe he's just concerned for you.” Raphael smiled as he turned over slightly, 'looking' at Connor's direction. “Goodnight to you, young man. How are you feeling? My name is Raphael, if that's what you are asking earlier… I'm just a blind man who loves to walk around.” Raphael could sense Connor's explosive feelings and he was very amused by it, by which he obviously showed with a slight curl of his lips. He couldn’t resist.
Connor's jaw was set. “Just a blind man? Is that supposed to mean you are harmless?” Connor asked with a forced smile. “I don't know you and yes, I am concerned for Adriel – who happens to be important for me. Goodnight, however. Keep that stick of yours under control – Mr. Raphael. You could hit other people with that…” Connor showed a small smile as he saw the smirk on Raphael's face. “Have you considered taking in a guide dog?”, he softly asked.
“The stick's here so that I can feel around… it's not surprising I would hit someone accidentally… I'm blind, after all.” Raphael replied with a smile, amused by Connor. He tapped the ground with his stick again making a music like sound. “I don't need a guide-dog… thank you… I can get by pretty well by myself.” Raphael said as his face appeared a little sad, “I used to have someone who guided me around, but she's gone now…” Raphael turned to Adriel and smiled at her. “You behave allot like her.”
I am concerned for Adriel – who happens to be important for me. Adriel smiled a bit. Connor was always looking after her, ever since they met in Ireland, when he worked on the streets. He always had a fierce determination on getting what he wanted – but he was also so filled up with anger and resentment. It was bottled up, but she could perceive it. Connor could be incredibly sweet, but… Sometimes Adriel wondered how could he get rid of that painful anger. It seemed like Raphael had a trigger for it. Connor's sarcasm about the dog was too bitter to be casual. Adriel opened her lips to interfere again, but Raphael interrupted. Adriel opened her eyes in surprise and forgot what she was about to say. “Oh… I see, Mr. Raphael… I’m sorry”, she murmured.
Raphael smiled again. “It's all right… It's quite nice to know that someone who's like an old friend of mine is around. May I be your friend, Miss Adriel?” Raphael asked, not seeming to care about Connor's existence anymore. If anything were to happen, surely Adriel would help the poor helpless blind boy? “I believe I haven't catch your boyfriend's name yet… Miss Adriel… Was it Connor?” he asked with a sweet sugary smile.
Adriel was confused. “Connor is a good friend”, she murmured. “He's one of my best friends… He is a good person”. She looked at them, holding what was left of her ice-cream cone with an air like a confused child. “I have no objection, Mr. Raphael”, she gently said. “I suppose we can be friends”. She smiled a bit.
Raphael smiled happily, like a young boy who just graduated from school. “I'm glad to hear that, Adriel.” Raphael said, changing his way of addressing Adriel instantly, “You can call me Raphael or Ralph, if you like.” Raphael offered as he snickered to himself in his heart. Good, so Adriel finally said Connor's just a good friend, Raphael thought to himself. “Mr. Connor, I hope you don't mind me making friends with Adriel?” he asked Connor, in a slight sarcastic manner.
“I do mind”, Connor harshly said. “I don't trust you one bit”, he frankly continued. “Adriel! I can't tell you who to befriend or not. It's your decision and I won't interfere… about this. You know my quality of judgment”. Connor crossed his arms with a frown.
Raphael shrugged, though looking hurt. “… What can a blind man like me do? If I'm going to hurt any of you, do you think I can do that fast enough before you can stop me? I'm blind, I can't see. I feel my way around… So I don't know why Mr. Connor seems to detest me.” Raphael said as he lowered his head sadly. “I'm sorry… I didn't mean to annoy any of you… I thought… I just thought we could be friends.” Damn you Mastema. Who are you to say things like that? You stupid Fallen…
Adriel was confused. Raphael seemed to be quite saddened and concerned while Connor was indignant and concerned. Two concerned men can be a dangerous mix! Adriel didn't want to hurt anybody's feelings. She finished her ice-cream. All they needed it was to settle down their differences, maybe. “I know your quality of judgment, dear Connor”, Adriel said. “You don't need to be sorry, Mr. Raphael. I suppose… we just need to know each other better, okay? So you guys can stay here and talk – I'll see you both later. Goodnight!” Adriel waved and walked off.
“But Adriel….!” Connor watched in frustration as Adriel turned around and walked away. He turned to Raphael with an glacial stare – this guy did have managed to successfully ruin his night! However Raphael's handicap still held back Connor from introducing him to the sidewalk.
Raphael was pissed off with Connor whom he thought was responsible for making Adriel 'mad'. When Adriel was out of earshot, Raphael removed his shades and stared directly into Connor's eyes. “You are such a pest, as always.” Raphael hissed at Connor, seemingly to show his 'true colors'. “Before this, you were always interfering with Adriel and me, even when she showed you utterly no interest, and just as a friend.” Raphael's face was beginning to show deep displeasure with Mastema whom he found rather pesky. Buzzing around Adriel just like how Beelzebub used to buzz around Zeruel. Annoying pests. What I need is a special insecticide!
Then the strange man started talking a sort of gibberish that reaffirmed Connor's impression that Raphael was dangerous and insane – and he must not be allowed near Adriel by any means! Raphael claimed he knew Adriel from before – a manifest lie as far as Connor could tell – and he also claimed Connor had interfered between Adriel and he back then… Connor was very annoyed. “Stay away from Adriel!”, he growled, “or else I am going to forget your condition! Psycho! I know you hide something!”
“While you think I can't be trusted, I don't trust you either, Mastema. I thought you would at least change your attitude towards me after some years. I shouldn't have been that nice to you when you passed out of your previous body.” Raphael smiles almost sinisterly as he puts on his shades again. “Yo, I'm going, young man. See you and Adriel some other time…” Raphael said as he moves off into the night, seemingly to disappear into the dark.
Then Raphael called him Mastema and claimed he had had a previous life! This was the top of it… Raphael moved away but Connor followed and reached out to grab Raphael's collar – he wasn't going to let him go away like that! – but the man seemingly disappeared. Connor stood there with wide-open eyes. It seemed out of an episode of Twilight Zone! With a start, he turned and ran after Adriel, hoping he'd find her to walk her home – he didn't want to take the risk of that strange man to pop up in her way tonight. Everything was so creepy and strange… Besides, a voice had called him Mastema that very morning. It was sickening! And who the Hell was Mastema?! For all he could tell, it was a demon or something. Maybe he should've paid more attention in the catechism class when he was a boy. He'd have to find out, if these creepy things kept on happening.