windhover: (tactics ❧ agrias)
[personal profile] windhover
Posted previously on this journal, but now tweaked to fix some problematic phrasing and characterization (since Kyron is no longer a just-a-placeholder character).

Title: Ascension (1/?)
Word count: 3,348
Warnings: none for now
Summary: The Dark Regenerist's first day on his own.
Notes: semi-sequel to C728K.

“Kazuki…Kasahara?”

Buer looked dubiously at the ID card that had just been handed to him, carefully following Azazel’s brisk pace through the crowded streets of Anchor. He wasn’t sure when (or if, knowing Azazel) the picture on it had been taken, and it gave him a chill; he didn’t know if he could ever get used to seeing himself with blond hair. The birth-date, obviously fake, read July 29, 1858 A.F., and a color-coded line below it indicated he was a naturalized refugee-citizen.

“What’s the matter?” Azazel asked crisply, barely turning his head to look back at Buer. “Don’t you like it?”

“It’s fine, it just…” He paused to shift the weight of his too-heavy backpack to his other shoulder, and had to skip a step to catch up with Azazel. (It seemed that Azazel was so out of practice with the concept of walking that he had forgotten how to keep a normal pace.) “It just looks a little weird.”

“Why should it? It’s common enough, from my understanding.” He slowed to a stop before a small crowd of people waiting at a crosswalk, and turned back to Buer (who barely managed to stop before running smack into him), shooting him an annoyed look over the top of his sunglasses. “What are they doing?”

“It’s a crosswalk,” Buer said in an exasperated tone of voice. “They’re waiting for the light to change to green.”

“Why?”

“Because that’s when the traffic will stop, and they can get to the other street.”

“Ah—of course.” Azazel expertly pushed his sunglasses back up the bridge of his nose. “Perfectly sensible—as mortals, they have a great deal more to worry about if they’re hit by a vehicle traveling at any velocity. Oh, it turned green! Come, now, let’s hurry.”

Buer sighed inwardly, following the over-excited Azazel. It was true that the King of Grigori, more widely known throughout existence as the Destroyer, would never have had much reason to spend any great amount of time among mortals, but he certainly didn’t have much reason to act like it.

Of course, even when he was trying to pass for a mortal—nearly impossible, considering the immense power of his aura—he liked to draw attention to himself. Today he was doing so in a white Armani suit (classy enough, unfortunately, to turn heads on just about every street), complete with a red tie to accent the streaks in his loosely-tied, impossibly-long white hair. The only part of his ensemble that didn’t quite match was his pair of jet-black shades, which he only wore to hide the piercing red of his eyes.

“Hey, Azazel.”

“Hm?”

“Do you think you could tone it down a little? I mean, aren’t we trying to…blend in?

Azazel laughed. “Kazuki, my dear boy, don’t be so naïve!” he said, triumphantly thrusting out his arms. “You’d be hard-pressed to find anything that could make a native citizen of Anchor bat an eye. Our presence could be deemed practically normal.”

“If that’s the case,” Buer grumbled, still unused to being called by his new name, “then why do I need this fake ID?”

“Ah, I thought I had already explained that. But, no matter!” He kept his back facing Buer, and continued with another dramatic wave of his hand. “In Anchor, identity is everything. That card will tell everyone who you are, what you do, and where you’ve been; it will give you access to your funds and allowance to all sorts of fun restricted places, given your age. But think—how much unwanted attention do you think would be attracted to Anchor if a powerful deity, or other godlike being—say, the Dark Regenerist—were known to be residing within the city limits? Hmm?”

Buer wasn’t entirely paying attention to him, instead further inspecting his ID card and wondering if he really weighed 139 lbs. “Oh—yeah, um, that’s bad, I guess.”

“Yes, very bad. In fact, this city is notorious for evicting any citizens who are known to be deities or similarly powerful beings. It’s sort of like an unspoken ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, I’m afraid.”

He had no idea what Azazel was talking about. “Terrible.”

“Too true, too true,” the Destroyer replied with a pitiful sigh. “Beyond that, there will surely be other unscrupulous persons after your strength. And that alone is all the more reason for you to hide your identity!”

Buer quirked an eyebrow, even though he knew Azazel wouldn’t see the gesture. “Why would they do that?”

Azazel immediately came to a halt, whirling around and giving Buer the most scandalized look he had ever seen. “Why? Why? Are you daft? You’re the Dark Regenerist, for my sake! In all likelihood, you’re the most powerful being in this city at the moment, next to myself!”

Buer, unfazed by his dramatics, only frowned. “I don’t feel particularly powerful. The only thing I feel that’s different about myself at all is the color of my hair.”

“Yes, well, that couldn’t be helped,” Azazel responded dismissively. “Power that great tends to have an appearance-altering effect. But never mind that—you’re the Dark Regenerist. Whereas even the most powerful beings like myself are strictly bound by Fate, you—you, my dear boy, and only you have the power to alter Fate. Granted, your power is somewhat limited by your means, but it’s still the power to change Fate, and that is a strength like no other. Of course there will be people seeking to take advantage of it, and you will have to take great care not to let that happen. Do you understand?”

“Yeah, yeah, I got it,” Buer said, with an exasperated roll of his eyes. It must have been the nth time he’d heard this spiel. “If I’m so powerful, then, why do I have to live in Anchor?”

Azazel shrugged, then turned and continued walking. “Why not? Although being the Dark Regenerist essentially means you are already everywhere in every time all at once, you still need a home base somewhere, right?”

Buer wasn’t sure what he meant by “everywhere all at once,” but his head hurt too much from trying to keep up with him to ask. “Uh, sure, but why here?”

“Do I have to repeat myself? Anchor is a self-billed multi-universal metropolis, the convergent crossroad for multitudes of other worlds. Where better to gain experience for living on your own?”

He thought to question him exactly why such a huge city was such a great place for something like that, until they stopped in front of a large, tall building. Buer had to shield his eyes just to see the top of it. He glanced at Azazel. “Why did we stop here?”

“This is where you’ll be living from now on. Er, not this whole building, rather, but on one floor—not the entire floor, but a part of it—you get the idea.” (Buer could have easily figured out something like that on his own, but Azazel’s ability to do so was doubtful, so he remained silent.) “I’ve taken care of everything for you, so you won’t have to worry about paying the rent or anything so dull. Ah, but you will have a roommate; that much was unavoidable, I’m afraid. Here, you’ll need this.” He pulled a scrap of paper out of his suit jacket, with a number and someone’s name hastily scrawled on it. “There’s the number of your flat, and the person you’ll be sharing it with. Your ID card will act as your key. Got it?”

“Uh…” Buer wasn’t entirely sure if he did or not, but he nodded slowly as he took the paper from Azazel’s hand.

“Good. Then I shan’t need to worry, shall I? Best of luck to you.” Azazel briskly turned on his heel and started walking off, waving behind him. “Ciao.

Buer wasn’t entirely unused to being left so abruptly, so he instead turned his attention to the badly-written—badly enough to make him wonder just how the Destroyer could write so poorly—name on the paper. It was a strange name to be sure, but, considering the strangeness of his own “name,” there was nothing he could say about it. He sighed heavily, adjusted the strap on his shoulder, and made his way up to his new flat.



“The Dark Regenerist? Are you kidding?”

Commander Rigel LI eyed his skeptical agents with a look of disdain. It wasn’t long before the familiar haughty smirk returned to his face, the same smirk that indicated he was about to demonstrate just how superior his vast base of knowledge was. “Yes, the Dark Regenerist,” he replied in a sardonic drawl. “Do you think I speak of any other?”

Konrad Sharpless, the lone agent who had voiced his doubt, shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He despised this sort of briefing, where more time was spent by Rigel making lengthy diatribes about the nature of their target than discussing the actual details of their mission.

Of course he had heard of the Dark Regenerist; it was nearly impossible for a man in his line of work not to have at least a cursory knowledge of such things. However, in most areas where talk of the “bow-lion” was common, it was treated as superstition: a red, often fiery or even devilish “Mephisto”-type character who granted wishes at certain prices, who could alter fate and perform true miracles. He was revered in some cultures, and feared in others—but he was known by all to be an immensely powerful creature who answered only to the authority of Azazel, the Destroyer Himself.

“Well, Sharpless? Did you hear me correctly, or do you still doubt me?”

He narrowed his eyes, giving Rigel a sharp glare. “A little of both. I mean, you can’t possibly be suggesting that someone commissioned a hit on the Dark Regenerist.

“But I didn’t say that, now, did I?” The smirk on his face spread to a grin. “For one, this mission is not one that has been requested of Orion—it is a mission that we are undertaking for our own sake. And for another, our goal is not to slay the Dark Regenerist; no, considering his omnipotence, that sort of thing would be impossible. We are going to capture him alive.”

Konrad groaned; Rigel was clearly egging him on. “Fine, I’ll bite. Why are we going to capture him alive? Or even at all?”

“Research,” he replied simply. “It is fitting that we should live up to our name as the Orion Research Facilities. I believe it is necessary that we properly identify the source and type of the Dark Regenerist’s power, and to see whether we can use it for our own purposes.”

He kept his ulterior motive thinly veiled, making Konrad grimace. This man’s arrogance knew no bounds. “And how do you aim to do that? If superstition is to be believed, this figure is in the direct service of the Destroyer, which is not exactly a power we want to be upsetting any time soon.”

There was a pregnant pause. For a brief moment, Konrad thought he had Rigel cornered—until he started laughing.

“Oh, Sharpless… Now I see where you’re going with this.” He smiled as though he was immensely amused. “Were you under the impression that this was going to be a top-priority mission for the whole lot of you? No, no, I did not mean to lead you to that conclusion. I apologize. What I did mean was that this shall be more of a, ah, long-term project assigned to a single agent, to be executed at their discretion through their own means. Previously, I was going to choose a volunteer to undertake this mission, but…” His smile grew wider. “Well, you certainly seem to be well-informed on the target, so you, Konrad Sharpless, shall receive this assignment.”

“What?!” Konrad exclaimed indignantly, starting to his feet. “You can’t be serious! Did I not just tell you how impossible this sort of thing is? I mean, even with a whole team going after him, you couldn’t just—”

“My decision is final,” Rigel interrupted sharply, the amusement gone from his voice. “If you have any grievances, you are advised to direct them to Saiph, not me. And let this be a lesson to you, in case you think about questioning my orders in the future.” He then turned his attention to the rest of the agents. “You are all dismissed. Get back to your business, and don’t be leisurely about it.” With that, he turned on his heel and exited the briefing room.

Most of the agents did as he said, some grumbling under their breath, others hastening back to their posts. A few, like Konrad, remained where they were.

“Way to go, idiot.”

“Ow—hey, watch it!” Konrad glared at the other agent, being unable to avoid the punch to his arm. “What was that for?”

“For pissing off Rigel, that’s what.” His fellow agent, Kyron Ziegler, had a sour look on his face, and his arms were sulkily crossed over his chest. “You know how much he hates it when somebody proves he’s wrong. Why’d you have to go and ruin it for the rest of us?”

Konrad’s glare grew even sharper. “Sorry, but I’d rather not be eaten by the bow-lion. There are some things even I won’t deal with.”

“Tch, whatever.” Kyron rolled his eyes. “If he hadn’t forced that mission onto you, I would’ve taken it in a heartbeat. I’m not afraid of a challenge.”

“Fear has nothing to do with it,” Konrad snapped. “Angering an underling of the Destroyer and getting killed for it isn’t worth the potential payoff. Anyone who would volunteer for that sort of thing must be stupid.”

“Well, I never claimed to be smart, did I?” Kyron’s sour expression briefly changed into a cheeky grin, but then shortly fell from his face. “Still, I get what you mean. If someone else commissioned this, there’s no way Rigel would risk our lives for something so obscenely dangerous. It’s gotta be for his own personal gain, and nothing else.” He turned to address another agent. “Am I right, Auster?”

The older agent only gave them a serious look, remaining as taciturn as ever. Even so, Auster had outlived the command of many Rigels, and it was widely known that he was particularly displeased with the behavior of the current one. This displeasure was clearly communicated by the look in his eyes.

Konrad sighed heavily. “Of course it’s for his own gain. Which is why I’m just going to ignore this stupid ‘mission’ and move on.”

“Ignoring it completely would be unwise,” Auster said quietly, surprising the other two agents. “He knows better than that; it’s probably what he expects you to do. You’ll only be punished for it.”

Konrad paused. “Yeah, I guess you’re right,” he grumbled, defeated. “So what should I do?”

“You could just be really slow about it,” suggested Kyron with a shrug. “I mean, even if you wanted to go after the Dark Regenerist, you couldn’t do it without some sort of plan. And you just pointed out that kind of plan would be impossible anyway, right?”

He gave it a moment of thought. “Yeah… Yeah, you’re right!” It was the first time in a long time he had ever heard Kyron come up with a good idea; he had a right to be excited. “That’s what I’ll do! I’ll just take my time on formulating a plan, and he has to forget about it eventually! What do you think, Auster?”

But Auster didn’t reply; it seemed as though his mind was miles away.

“Sounds great to me,” Kyron answered instead, grinning brightly. Then he clapped a hand on Konrad’s shoulder. “Hey, Sharpless, you’re free tonight, aren’t you? Why don’t you come out with me and Nieve later and hit the bars—?”

“He isn’t,” Auster suddenly interrupted, effortlessly snapping back to attention and brushing Kyron’s hand away. “I need his help finishing up some mission reports, so I’m afraid there’s no room in his schedule for getting drunk tonight.” He glanced at Konrad with a meaningful look. “Isn’t that right?”

“Er—” There was no getting out of it, now that Auster had brought it up. Not that he necessarily wanted to go out with Kyron and Nieve, though; it was just that he had other important business elsewhere.

Kyron eyed them dubiously, as though he knew what was going on between the two. “You need his help? Auster, he’s dyslexic. I think he’d be more of a liability.”

“Wha—I would not!” Konrad snapped, his face flushing in irritation.

“Really?” Kyron arched an eyebrow, crossing his arms over his chest. “Spell ‘liability.’”

The flush on his face deepened. Before he could say anything further to embarrass himself, however, Auster cut in. “He has accompanied me on several of my recent missions, however, and his memory is acute. I need him to make sure there are no inaccuracies in any of my reports.”

Kyron narrowed his eyes at them, then shook his head in defeat. “Fine, fine, whatever. Guess I’ll just see you tomorrow, then.” With a small sigh, he turned and left the room.

Auster watched him leave, making sure he was gone before speaking to Konrad. “That man is too nosy for his own good.” He glanced down at him. “So. I can expect you promptly at seven, correct?”

“Um—well, maybe not promptly,” Konrad replied sheepishly. Before the other man could object, he quickly continued, “There’s something I need to take care of first. But it won’t take long, I promise. I’ll make it up to you.”

Auster looked down at him with a hard stare, but he was forced to give in. “Fine. Do what you need to.” Then he folded his arms over his chest, looking almost as sulky as Kyron had before. “I’ll be docking your pay for each minute you’re late.”

Konrad laughed and waved him goodbye as he exited the room, sincerely hoping he was only joking. But with Auster, it was impossible to tell.



Buer—or, rather, Kazuki Kasahara—sat quietly on the couch in his flat and waited.

There was really nothing else for him to do. His sole belongings were in the bag he had carried on his back, so there was nothing for him to unpack. Furthermore, he had no idea exactly where in the flat he was supposed to be staying—it was a very large flat, after all—and he didn’t want to risk angering his roommate by snooping around in search of his area. In fact, he had yet to move beyond the living room, into which the front door opened, where he was sitting now. He was hungry, but, even though he had a good idea where the kitchen was, he wasn’t sure if or what he was allowed to take from it. The only thing he could do was wait.

He sighed. Somehow, being the Dark Regenerist, he had never imagined himself in a situation quite like this.

Just then, as he sat and wondered if he should look for something to eat after all, a small light next to the door beeped and flashed green, indicating that the lock was being activated. The door swung open.

“Sorry, sorry, so sorry I’m late…”

A man entered, quickly shutting the door behind him. He turned to look at Buer and his eyes widened. “Ah—you’re, uh… Kazuki Kasahara, right?”

Buer—or Kazuki?—slowly nodded. He was a tall man, probably taller than himself, and his muscular form was clear even beneath his black clothing; his skin was darkly tanned, his hair was long, thick, and just as black as the clothes he wore, and there was an odd glint in his dark eyes. Buer thought he had a somewhat wild look to him, and decided that his name was appropriate for him. “And you are…”

The man grinned. “The name’s Konrad Sharpless. Pleased to meet you.”
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