A soul is never restricted to a single body, or a single life. The imagination of a soul as something equal to an individual couldn't be any more wrong. There merely are the many facets of a soul, magnifying life's light and creating many aspects of a single entity.
Souls aren't distributed by an almighty being, their creation and destruction happens without anyone or anything interfering. A single one of them could infuse a human, a fox, a sparrow and an ant colony at the same time, binding their fates in ways beyond imagination. Maybe they all will be united in peace one day. Maybe they will kill each other. No one could ever tell.
Sometimes, after spending some time without bodies, souls begin to change for the worse. They can be tainted by many bad influences, but are cleansed in a solar or lunar eclipse. Darkness is what makes them shine brighter, what gives them power. Souls not having been cleansed, however, are dangerous beyond words. They are the cause of hatred and hunger alike. Malevolence radiates from them like a disease, branding their bearers as outcasts amongst their kind.
And then, there are the very few immortals, who don't share their soul with anyone or anything. The different cultures believed them to be many entities. Gods, Saints, even Virtues, but also Demons, Diseases and Sins. In the end, they weren't too far off. Those souls had, and still have, a great impact on the world.
The first who became immortals were later known as the Seven Virtues and the Seven Sins. What no one knew was that the Virtues at the same time represented the Sins. They merely were two sides of a medal, tempered by many lives and the experience of million of years. Their physical form, however, is nothing a human ever could see. These souls live hidden from the world, merely watching how life blooms and withers.
How many of those souls have ceased to join the cycle of life, death and rebirth is unknown, not even the immortal beings know. It could be a myriad, it could be a handfull, no one can tell for sure. Only Death could tell how many there are, but he isn't exactly talkative.
Over the millenia they watched humans, the immortal ones began to wonder. They had witnessed how the world had changed, sometimes through a catastrophy, other times by their influence. But what the humans did was surpassing what they had done by far, angering and saddening them alike. What was it that drove them to do the unmentionable? For a long time, they couldn't name the cause. Until they found spirit sparks.
Those weak, barely visible orbs were the product of two souls fusing, a tiny fraction of the energy which came with every single soul. Their mass was frightening, allowing only one conclusion. One of the souls having been tainted and never cleansed had began to devour others. And it was rapidly gaining power.
The immortals didn't know what to do. They didn't know how to stop one of their kind, one being far more powerful than they had ever been. Their desperation about their helplessness shook the world, and a single, bright soul heard their call. It hid away from the dark cloud the ravaging entity had become. One of the dark soul's minions found the hidden flame, and sealed it deep inside a cave.
Bound and left with the knowledge that the world was falling into the embrace of taint, the small spark the soul had been reduced to could do nothing but to wait. Years passed, while the taint gripped the world, unbalancing life and death. The world was slowly, but surely, withering away, a slow painful awaiting not only the mortal shells, but also the immortal souls having watched over the world for so long. Until one day, a sacrifice was made in this very cave.
It wasn't a willing sacrifice, nor was it a peaceful one. Gripped by insanity, a tribe of humans had bound one of their kind, heartlessly mutilating him until the body laid battered and still. The sacrificed male wasn't dead, though. His body had been cleansed from its taint, and there still was a small spark of life in him. That was enough for the bright soul to grant him new life, and awaken him to a world he previously had hoped to escape.
As he stirred back to life, the memory of the horrible treatment had gone. Confused, the awoken male stared down on his body, seeing how mangled it was. Had it always been like this, or had something happened it looked like this? With a strangely choked sound, he sat up, shuddering as pain flared through his whole body, focusing in his chest. The previous soul had left traces of taint, and they currently were burned away by the bright light of the new one.
Memories, of both the soul and the body, flooded his mind. Luka. That's my name, I'm sure of it... He was feeling a little nauseous, and with a groan, he laid back down on the ground, covering his eyes with an arm. Confusion settled in, as the memories mingled and formed strange images, of events never having taken place. Taking over a body previously claimed by an other soul always was a difficult process for both sides.
Luka's eyes focused on his surroundings. The cave was rather small, the remains of blood sticking to the cave walls and making him feel even worse. What was this place? And why was he feeling like he shouldn't be here? Once more, a strange memory crossed his mind, making him sit up straight. A scream, loud and desperate, echoing through his mind, and making him feel like he was about to break apart. Someone had screamed, but where had it come from?
He couldn't relate the scream to anyone he knew, though. He was feeling the strong urge to help whoever had called out there, but he couldn't get himself to move. Something was missing, something he couldn't name with certainity. Clutching his torn shirt above his heart, he stared down on his hands. It's as if I woke from a nightmare, one of the sort feeling too real to be just a dream. What happened in here?
As much as he tried to remember, Luka couldn't recall what had led to him waking up in a cave, covered in blood and looking like a damned big animal had ripped into his body. There was no panic clouding his mind, not even the slightest bit of fear to be found. Luka was all calm, too relaxed for his own liking. He shouldn't be this composed right now, that wasn't normal.
He tried to move, stiffling a pained groan as the wounds on his body burned up. Luka managed to get into a half sitting position, but not more. And even that was hard to keep up. With all of his remaining power, he shifted to lean against a rock, trembling as he could relax again. A healer or something like that would have been greatly appreciated, but how big were the odds anyone would come here?
Just as he had finished that thought, he heard voices on the outside. Rolling his eyes lightly, Luka tried to call out for help, the only thing coming from his mouth being a rasping sound. Coughing lowly, he spat out some blood, fighting to keep his conscience. He was this damned close to fainting, and he instantly hated the feeling.
"Hello? Is anyone in here?" a voice called out, sounding suspicious and alerted.
"Here..." Luka groaned, quite sure that whoever had come here wouldn't hear him.
The entrance of the cave was hidden behind a small curve, he could see the shadow of the person casted on one of the walls. Luka bit his lower lip bloody in an effort to sit up further, his body not quite managing to move however he wanted. Another pained sound, loud enough to be heard, finally lured the stranger into the cave. The shocked gasp and a loud call for whoever still was outside was the last thing Luka heard, then he slipped into unconscience.
His awakening was a little more pleasant, albeit not any less confusing than his first. Luka felt like his head was about to explode while he glanced around in the dim room. Mostly white, as far as he could tell, and comfortably warm. He was lying on a soft underground, which already was a huge plus, a warming blanket covering him from his toes up to his chin. He had been insanely lucky, that much Luka could tell. He would have died if no one had found him.
The door opened, and in came two men, both looking quite serious, as well as mildly confused. Luka didn't move his head to much, mindful of the strain he would have put on his body. There was no need for that right now. He first had to wrap his mind around what had happened, otherwise he would just end up getting into trouble.
The two men wore blue uniforms, none Luka ever had seen before. They remembered of police uniforms, especially with the caps they had pulled off their heads. It made him wonder if the black shreds he had worn once had been a uniform, too. In whatever way that would ever be relevant was an entirely different question.
"You finally regained conscience." the taller of them, a male with icy blue eyes and short red hair quietly began, looking strangely tense. "Those lunatics surely went all out on you."
"Seems so." Luka gave back, his voice still sounding like he was trying to abrade something with his tone alone.
"I guess the infiltration thing wasn't such a good idea in the begin." the other sighed, rubbing his forehead. "It almost costed us one of our best men. I wonder if they merely pretended to have accepted him."
"Infiltration?" Luka blinked in confusion, trying to figure out how that was related to him. Had he really...?
"I see that the doctors had been right." The taller one had closed his hand around Luka's, looking strangely anxious. "Your memory has been effected by what they have done to you. Or maybe something else. We can't tell yet."
Luka groaned, trying to calm his rushing thoughts down. What was this strange man talking about? Infiltration, memory loss, what 'they' had done to him, it didn't make any sense. Without going on or asking, the slightly smaller male, a brunet with quite dark gray eyes, helped Luka to sit up. His partner picked up a glass of water from the night stand next to the bed, lifting the rim to Luka's dry lips and letting him drink.
As he had downed the whole glass, the pain in his head decreased noticably. Luka let out a sigh, being leaned back against the now raised mattress. A pretty comfortable position, and it allowed him to look directly at the strangers. Or rather-
"Hey, don't give me such looks. Aaron, I'm not about to die, am I." Luka cracked a smirk at the brunet, who grinned back in relief. "And you, Sean, cheer up a little, will you."
"I knew you weren't amnesiac all the way." Sean grinned, ruffling through Luka's hair. Most of it had been shaved off, only on the right side, the blond strands had been left hanging down.
"But he still needed quite some time to recognise us." Aaron teased, punching Luka's shoulder lightly.
"You didn't wake up covered in blood and without a clue where you are."
"Which reminds me, how the fuck did you end up in there, Luka? This cave wasn't even on our maps, and they are pretty damned exact."
"To be honest, I have no damned clue. I woke up there, feeling shitty, and couldn't remember a thing. I couldn't even guess how I wound up in there."
Sean nodded slowly, leaning back in the chair he had grabbed himself. Aaron looked slightly doubtful, but as soon as Sean shot him a brief glare, he lowered his eyes and didn't bother to look back up at Luka any longer. Luka wasn't sure wether he should have felt irritated or relieved, as he was more occupied with trying to understand what had happened.
So, he had woken up in this cave. Everywhere around him, on the ground and on the walls of the cave, there had been blood. Surely not only his own blood, he wouldn't have survived such a great loss. He had worn nothing but heavily shredded clothes, which could have been anything before they had been ripped like that. It doesn't make any sense. I can't recall what happened before waking up in this cave.
Luka groaned in annoyance, rubbing over his face. Whenever he tried to understand what had happened, his thoughts were trailing off to completely irrelevant things. Was it the aftermath of whatever had happened? What does it matter anyway. I guess I need to recover first. I just hope that this amnesia shit won't last for too long.
Sean gave Luka's hand another squeeze, taking a deep breath. He had relaxed visibly, while Aaron still looked a little tense. Luka wondered about that, but not as much as about the fact that Sean had leaned closer. Aaron snorted lowly, putting on the cap again and giving Luka a slight nod.
"I'll leave you two alone now. Just don't get too loud, will you."
"Would you get your mind out of the gutter?" Sean laughed, shaking his head at Aaron, who grinned as he vanished outside.
"What was he talking about?" Luka was confused, then blushed as Sean leaned close enough for him to see some green fleck in those icy blue eyes.
"Come on, you can't have forgotten about that." Sean whispered, smirking slightly. Luka didn't feel uncomfortable with the closeness, rather happy about Sean being there. Wait a second. Does that mean-
Luka's mind went blank as Sean leaned in fully and kissed him softly. In time with the kiss, more memories came back to Luka. He and Sean, they were infatuated. They had to hide their relationship from their superiors. But Aaron, he was accepting, even covering them. Damn, I really need to remember everything soon. Else, I'll get into more trouble than is good for me.
Sean only reluctantly pulled back, stroking along Luka's cheek. He looked anxious, and barely could stop showing his affection. He was behaving like Luka had been away for several years, and honestly, Luka suspected exactly that. Who knew how long he had been away?
"Hey, don't give me such a sad look. Have I been away that long?"
"Yes." Sean muttered, leaning his forehead against Luka's. "You were away for five months. Hell, even that one month you were away for that one assignment was too long."
"Would you mind telling me what assingment that was?"
Sean shook his head, shrugging his shoulders weakly. Ah, so he hadn't told Sean about it. Luka managed a weak smile, pecking Sean's lips. He didn't want the other to worry, it gave him such a hurt look. And that didn't match Sean.
"Now cheer up. And go before Aaron thinks we are really doing it."
"Shut up, Luka." Sean chuckled, nudging him slightly and giving him another deep kiss. "Else, I might even regret to have gone looking for you."
"As if you ever would regret that."
Luka laughed, pushing Sean away lightly. They kissed one last time, then Sean put on his cap, tipping it at Luka, and left the room. Grimacing slightly at the pain in his side, he settled back in the pillows, staring up at the ceiling. This day barely had started, and he already was confused beyond words. Not that he had felt any different before.
Soon after Sean had left, a nurse was coming in, flashing him an encouraging smile and checking his IVs. Luka watched her as she changed the bags, wondering what sort of hospital he might be at. If he even was at a hospital, and not just at a wing of some other building. The whole uniform stuff, the mentioning of this assignment, it seemed possible. Or he was just being paranoid, that was an option, too.
"Are you feeling better today?"
Luka blinked slightly, considering his response. "I guess so. Kind of hard to tell if I can't remember what has happened before."
"You have been here for a week already. Your partners came every day to visit you."
"Oh. Well, in that case, I'm feeling a lot better."
A whole week already. And I can't remember one bit of this week. Luka rubbed the bridge of his nose, trying to keep himself calm. He already had trouble to remember the last few years, so another week didn't matter. While the nurse was fussing over the IV needles in his arm, Luka glimpsed to the side.
The room was small and clean, the blinds were closed. In the distance, he could hear steps on the corridor, but else, it was pleasantly quiet in the room. The nurse then left the room briefly, to carry a tray with food in. She snickered lightly as she saw how Luka's face seemed to lighten up at this sight. He hadn't even noticed how hungry he was.
While he was chewing, Luka let his mind drift about. In the few minutes Sean and Aaron had visited him, a wave of memories had flooded back into his mind. He closed his eyes, focusing on the different sequenzes he could recall.
According to what had come back to him, he was a high-ranked member of the Cevan Military, which had specialized in eliminating dangerous groups terrorizing everyone not submitting to their rules. Sometimes, they didn't even care for that, but merely killed anything in reach. No matter if animal or human, they just attacked. Sounded like some serious insanity manifestation to him.
Luka's forehead creased as he thought that through. Insanity manifestation, a petty vague term for describing what had become more prominent since some years. No matter in which part of Cevan, they 'suddenly' appeared and caused unbelievable suffering amongst the inhabitants of the surrounding area. The military did its best to keep the manifestations under control, but they had become more violent with the years, to a point where only specialised forces could take over and eliminate every last member of this manifestation.
The thought made Luka cringe. He hadn't got a problem with being a killer, rather with the thought that it could become still worse. When would they need to start using heavy artillery, or even bombs to stop this madness? There already had been countless wars all over the world, but with a possible escalation of this conflict, it would mean the biggest war ever to be fought. Though this time without anyone winning or losing, as Luka remarked for himself. There would be nothing but death in the end. A dead planet, like before life had developed at all, blackened and devoid of any organisms.
He swallowed the last bits of his food, setting the tray down on the counter. The future wasn't looking too bright. He knew that he hadn't been exagerating. The many outbreaks of violence were bit by bit destroying any sense of security amongst the civilians. How much longer until they would either panic or respond with more violence? Not much longer, that much was sure for him. It just needed a single outbreak near one of the big cities, and that would be it.
Wonderful. I'm glad I remember anything at all, and at the same time hate what I remember. Half a year missing, but at least I know that everything became worse. Luka wouldn't have wanted to forget everything again right away, though. As soon as he would recover, and that was a promise, he would carry on fighting. It was all there was left to do after all.
Even as Luka had decided that, he couldn't feel good about it. He was too worried over what had happened and what was yet to come to see anything good in it. Fighting alone couldn't be a solution, but the alternatives all had failed. Either way, there would be many more deads, maybe even no survivors at all. Even so, they wouldn't give up.
The nurse came back in, fetching the tray and smiling at Luka. He didn't smile back this time, just nodded briefly as she asked if he had enjoyed his meal. A polite lie, they both knew it wasn't too good. Even if Luka had to admit that whatever he would have cooked, it would most possible have tasted worse.
His thoughts trailed off once more, this time circling around Sean. He had missed the other, and in hindsight, it shocked him how long it had taken to recognise him. Not even the most important person in his life had been immune to his memory loss. It made Luka wonder if he had forgotten more of those important people he had met in his life.
The rest of the day passed by surprisingly fast. Luka was questioned about what and how much he remembered, and he was examined if there was any injury still needing treatment. He endured the procedure without complaining, merely idly wishing that it soon was over. At least, Sean came back in the evening, which was better than any medicine could have been.
Aaron had stayed outside the room, to 'watch their damned asses like every other time', as he phrased it. Luka laughed as Sean mimicked Aaron, with a completely overdone grimace and an expression which made him think of someone who had bitten into a lemon. At least, he knew he could rely on Aaron still.
"It's good to see you smile again." Sean remarked after a while, his own smile broad and radiant.
"If I would frown too much, that face already would have gotten stuck." Luka snorted, barely holding back another laugh.
"I don't know, I think it already got stuck pretty much."
"Sure, Sean, I love you too."
"I mean it, you're always this serious." Sean wasn't, at least not as he said that.
"Ah. So that's how you think about me." Luka's sneer grew a tad, and finally, Sean began chuckling uncontrollably. "I knew it. You couldn't be serious for even one second."
Wiping his eyes, Sean then shrugged, leaning back in the quite comfortable chair. He had unbuttoned the top of his uniform jacket, revealing the collar of the shirt beneath it as well as a set of marks on his neck. Luka lifted his eyebrows slightly, reaching up to touch them. Sean looked quite proud of them for some reason.
"Where are those from?"
Sean snickered lightly. "You would never guess."
"Fine, then I won't guess and just state they are from Aaron." Luka deadpanned.
"H-How did you guess that?!" Sean looked incredibly flustered, even somewhat embarassed.
"I don't know, maybe it was the fact Aaron had his cap deeper in his face than usually. Or because he was mumbling something about a sore backside."
Sean sighed deeply, scratching the back of his neck. "I should have known it. Your ears are far too sensitive for your own good."
"Never mind that, how the Hell did you convince Mr. Iron Rod Straight to do that?"
"It was a little lonely without you, and, well. It was a drunk night, and the morning after with the known results. As soon as Aaron had forgiven me, he wanted to find out if it really feels good to be with me. That about sums it up."
Luka had the hardest time to not start laughing. Aaron, of all, had slept with Sean? Damn, Aaron had to be a masochist. Luka had needed a ridiculously long time to get used to Sean's quite generous size, and as it sounded, Aaron still hadn't grown accustomed to it. He did wonder how it would be if they 'joined forces' at some point. Most possibly a very interesting experience for all of them.
"You're not mad at us?"
"No, just surprised you told me so early. And impressed Aaron could endure you, big boy."
"Stop that." Sean muttered weakly, unable to fight off a smirk. He liked it far too much if Luka called him a 'big boy'.
"I won't ever stop, and you know that."
"I'm glad you never stop fighting. Else, I would have broken down."
"I'm sure you would have gotten it up pretty soon though."
"What did you await?" Luka's grin was the very definition of perverted right at that moment.
"Nothing less from you, that's for sure. Shameless and honest as ever, that's how I know you."
Sean leaned down, giving Luka a soft kiss. Luka returned it with a low purring sound, his hand coming up to grasp the short red strands. He would have loved to spend some time with Sean, but Luka knew that there still were duties waiting for him. Sean was deliberately procrastinating, which could mean trouble at some point.
"I know what you want to say. Don't worry, I explained the situation. They understand."
"That's why I love you."
"Thank you, little moron. Never do that to me again. I was going up the walls when I heard they lost your signal."
"As soon as I'm out of here, you can begin with your disciplinary meassurements."
"Great, now my mind is in the gutter."
Luka smirked, all too proud of himself. He loved teasing Sean out of his mind, and never would have let such an opportunity pass by without thoroughly abusing it. Sean bit on his lower lip, growling a little, before he pulled back and leaned against the backrest of the chair.
They remained silent for some time, merely watching each other with content expressions. Luka was feeling sleepy, but he didn't want to rest just yet. Sean scolded him a little for that, without really being convincing. He was too glad Luka was recovering to really be mad at him.
Though, there was one thing making Sean wonder. Luka had recovered much faster from his injuries and his temporaty amnesia than anyone else. At least, the doctors were saying so, and he didn't assume they could have any reason to lie about such a thing. Sean was grateful for the fast progress, yet wary about the pace. Wasn't it a huge strain for Luka's body if it regenerated like this?
"There's something on your mind. Is it because of Aaron, or someone else?"
Sean smiled weakly, shaking his head. "It's nothing. I'm not sure why I even worry."
"Come on, you can tell me. I know that face, you are trying to understand something. Is it about the manifestations?"
"Not either. Look, you should go to sleep soon. You're not ready to get up yet."
"Sean, you're a real weirdo. I want to know still, by the way. No chance you'll escapy my curiosity."
"Luka, please, don't behave childish."
Sean looked honestly unnerved, as if he was arguing with a child and tired of it. Confused, Luka pulled his hand away from Sean's arm, not wanting to appear hurt though. He partly failed, making Sean look down on the blanket in shame. Sometimes, talking with Sean was like handling a giant child.
"Please, Sean. Don't give me your hurt puppy look. I want to know what's bothering you." Isn't he trusting me any longer? Or what is it with this expression?
"It's what might have happened out there."
"And that is worrying you right now because...?"
"Think about it, Luka. From how heavily you were injured, you should be dead, or at least in a deep coma. But you made such a progress in a week."
"Funny ... I didn't think of that as strange before."
Sean was right, there was something off about such a healing rate. Luka petted Sean's head lightly, in an effort to calm him down. It wasn't anything bad, after all. At least he hoped so.
"Don't frown, Sean. It will be alright."
"You said that before you left for this damned mission, too."
"What should I say instead to convince you?"
"That you're alright. That you'll never go on such a mission again. I sure I had lost you."
Luka wrapped his arm around Sean's shoulders and pulled him close. Gently scratching his neck, Luka attempted to calm him down. He hated to see Sean this anxious and tensed up, and he really didn't want to end this day with a quarrel.
"I promise I'll no longer go on such missions."
"At least until the general forces you to." Sean muttered, leaning his head against Luka's shoulder.
"Even if the old man tells me to, I won't go. Though I doubt he would ask that of me again."
"That's better already. Now sleep, Luka, you look like you're about to collapse."
"Only if you promise to stay until I'm asleep."
A soft smile came to Sean's face; the sort of smile Luka loved to see on him. Their fingers intertwined, resting on top of the blanket.
"Not afraid someone might see us?"
"Nope. Rather that Aaron comes in and wants to probe me."
"Sleep already, you perv."
Sean pressed a kiss on Luka's forehead, and before any protest could come, Luka drifted off and to sleep. He was back, he had Sean by his side, and felt absolutely safe. Hopefully, he soon would be fit enough to go home.