Summary: Arin’s just a normal college student. Until one day, he gets involved with people with magic blood. Especially one man with siren’s blood. The catch? Arin’s immune to all magic.
Genre: Fantasy, College AU, Mystery, Humor, Egobang
A/N: Was I planning on posting this? No. Do I regret posting this? Still no. I don’t know how often this’ll be updated, but I’m treating this like a fun project. I really enjoyed writing this concept. Please, please, let me know what you think of this!!
Arin shouldered his bag, standing from his spot in the empty library and walking out the doors. It was almost two in the morning, so it’s no wonder the college campus looked deserted.
His fingers tightened on the backpack straps, and he blew out a puff of indignation. Served him right for staying here, overworking himself by sketching designs for his latest project.
Arin set off into the night, jogging slightly since the light drizzle looked like it might turn into a downpour at any moment. Arin clutched his bag tightly, hoping the sketch designs wouldn’t get wet.
He paused as he passed the arts building. His mind kept screaming: Go to your dorm! Go to bed, you idiot! But he found himself stumbling in at this ungodly hour, his feet automatically taking him to his favorite empty studio room.
As he flicked on the lights, the familiar scene of his own private escape from reality washed over him. Countless art supplies and half-finished scribbles littered the room, and he gingerly set down his bag to rifle through the loose sketches to file away for later.
The hair on the back of his neck stood up, and he felt the urge to flee overtaking him. Arin sat up, looking around quickly, but of course there was no one else in the tiny room. He rubbed the back of his head, lips pursed in frustration.
Arin stood, shouldering the pack again as he left, securely shutting the door behind him as he tried to erase the eerie feeling from his mind. He had a sketching class early tomorrow; he needed to get some rest.
By the time he slipped quietly back into his room, ignoring his snoring roommate, Ross, he’d managed to convince himself the ominous feeling had been a product of his sleep-deprived brain.
Arin definitely regretted his late-night escapades the next morning when he heard Ross yawn and shuffle to get ready for class.
“C’mon, Arin. We both have that sketch class today, with a live model. We can’t skip or the professor will have our heads.” Ross’s slight Australian accent punctuated his words, and Arin groaned as he rolled over.
“Besides, it’s your own fault for staying up so late,” Ross decreed, throwing a shoe at Arin’s hidden form. “Get up, or I’ll leave you here.”
“Mmkay, alright,” Arin grumbled, finally pushing off the bed to get ready. He was pretty excited about sketching their first human model, so it wasn’t all bad. He hoped it was a body type that was not referenced very often, as he needed practice with certain ones.
He was an art major in his third year of college, studying animation. His best friend, Ross, was studying the same thing. They’d actually met in a class freshman year.
When the pair arrived, there was a tall, skinny man talking to the art professor, dressed only in a blue robe. Arin supposed that was the model for today. He glanced at the man’s frame. He couldn’t have been much older than him. Maybe he was just earning some cash by modeling for the university.
He got out his supplies as more students trickled in, and he was setting up his sketch pages when he felt that same prickling on the back of his neck.
His eyes immediately went to Ross, who was busy next to him setting up his own stuff, but the Australian didn’t seem bothered. Ross caught his glance. “What?”
“Nothing, nothing…” Arin trailed off as he turned, nearly jumping when he realized the model for today was standing directly in front of his easel.
The model was staring at Arin intently, his brown eyes wide. Arin bit his lip and shuffled, unsure of what to say. “Uh. Are you our model for today?”
The man blinked, as though surprised to hear Arin talk, and slowly nodded. “You’ll be painting me, right?”
Arin’s eyebrows furrowed. “Yeah, I mean, I’ll be sketching you. We’re not painting today.”
The man’s lips thinned, as though he were displeased to hear this, and seemed to think about Arin’s statement for a while. “I guess a sketch is good enough,” he mumbled, his eyes not leaving Arin for a moment.
“Um, okay?” Arin was at a loss. What’s up with this guy?
The model nodded, as though they’d agreed upon something, and suddenly looked very serious. “Sketch me as well as you can.”
“I-I’ll do my best?” Arin squeaked, leaning back. He considered calling the professor over.
The man looked troubled, but seemed to register Arin’s discomfort, and smiled apologetically. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to creep you out. I just want to be sure.”
“Well, I’ll draw you as well as I can,” Arin replied, but he got the feeling that wasn’t what the man wanted to be sure about.
“Awesome.” The model withdrew, going back up to the professor, and Arin felt completely unnerved. Ross nudged him.
“What a weirdo. D’you know him?”
Arin shook his head, staring down at his easel. “I have no clue what all that was about, dude.”
Arin tried to focus as the professor started class. The model slid onto the stool in front of the students, slipping out of his robe and taking a striking posture on the stool. His eyes were still focused on Arin, as though he were modeling just for him.
Arin’s face reddened, but he studied the sharp angles of the man’s body as he stilled. As he started moving his pencil over the paper, he suddenly felt all his anxiety wash away. It was like nothing existed but his art and himself.
He focused on the curves and plains of the body, lightly fluffing the model’s hair and spending quite some time on his jawline and facial structure. He traced down his arms and his willowy fingers, to his narrow waist.
He jumped when the professor stood, telling everyone their time was up. His eyes flew to the clock, astonished to see that indeed, an hour and a half had passed.
The model was still staring directly at him, and Arin studied his sketch. Not bad, he thought, pleasantly surprised. He’d captured the model’s likeness very well.
He pulled down his stuff, packing away his supplies and rolling up his sketch paper. He waved at Ross as he left, since Ross had a class right after this. Arin had just finished putting everything away and slinging his backpack on when he realized the model was standing there, studying the rolled-up sketch.
Arin picked up his sketch uncertainly, pursing his lips. “Um. Excuse me.”
The man jerked up, as if realizing he was being watched. “Sorry. Can I look at your sketch?”
Hesitantly, Arin offered the rolled sheet, and the man took it, unrolling it. “Uh, what’s your name?”
The model’s eyes flicked up only briefly as he looked at the sketch. “I’m Dan.”
He blinked. “Yeah…”
Arin waited, fidgeting, as the other man pored over the drawing. He wasn’t really sure why this guy–Dan–had such an obsession with his drawing, but he reminded himself that he just had to finish showing him the sketch and then he’d never see him again.
Dan looked at him. His eyes were shining. “Arin Hanson?”
“Can I ask you something?”
Arin blinked again. “Depends on what it is.”
“I want you to meet me in your art room tonight.”
“Wait, wait? You know about my practice room?” Arin reeled back, taking a step away from Dan. “Why do you want to meet me there?”
“Fine, fine, I’ll meet you there.” Arin grabbed his sketch back, rolling it up. “At seven. Does that work?”
Dan’s eyes gleamed as he smiled. “That works.”
Arin tossed his backpack onto his bed, stretching. It was six-thirty and he was considering not meeting the weirdo from earlier.
He glanced at Ross, who was messing around on his phone. “Hey, dude…what’d you think of that guy that modelled for us today?”
Ross glanced up, unperturbed. “What about him? He was a good model. Didn’t move an inch the entire time. Although his damn hair was hard to draw.”
Arin nodded. “Yeah, I just…did he seem weird to you?”
“I mean, besides telling you to draw him perfectly, he seemed normal.” Ross returned his attention to his phone. “Probably was just full of himself and wanted to see himself look perfect. Why?”
“No reason, I, uh, just got a different vibe from him.” Arin bit his lip. “I’ll see you later, man. Gotta, uh, pick something up from the art building.”
Ross waved as Arin headed out the door.
Arin opened the door to his unofficial practice room uncertainly, flinching a bit at the sight of Dan seated, waiting for him. Dan was interestedly studying all of the loose drawings scattered over the room.
Arin pushed the door open fully. “Hey. Why’d you call me out here?”
Dan whipped around, clasping his hands together in excitement. “I’ve been looking for you for a long time, Arin Hanson!”
“You have the gift!” Dan looked almost giddy. “You have the gift; I wasn’t sure at first, but once I felt the portrait you did of me, I was certain beyond a shadow of a doubt. After all, I could feel the magic much better. I’m so glad I was able to find you!”
Arin’s eyes kept widening throughout Dan’s outburst, and he held up his hands. “Whoa, buddy, slow down. What magic? What gift? Are you feeling alright?”
Dan suddenly seemed agitated, jumping up to pace around the room. “Duh. Of course you don’t know, that’s obvious…”
He suddenly looked up. “Arin Hanson. Do you believe in people with magic blood?”
Dan scoffed, rolling his eyes. “I forget that humans think like that sometimes.” He made a face. “I can’t believe I have to explain this to you of all people…”
Arin was becoming increasingly alarmed. “Look, I’m just gonna…”
“You can’t leave!” Dan yelped, suddenly frightened. “Please! Just listen to me!”
“Alright,” Arin conceded. “I’ll listen. But this sounds crazy, you know that, right?”
“Yeah, yeah. But please, just listen.”
Arin sat as Dan began. “There’ve been a number of magic people living alongside normal humans for centuries. We inherited magic blood from creatures long, long ago, and the blood is passed down through generations. Magic blood doesn’t alter our physical appearances, but it does imbue us with a certain ability or gift. Each magic person is different, even if they have the same creature’s blood. For example, two people with centaur blood might have different abilities.”
Arin’s brow furrowed. “Okay…”
“But there’s a type of magic blood that’s much rarer than the others. It’s the blood of a unicorn.” Dan’s eyes lit up. “Around twenty years ago, a magic person was born with the blood of a unicorn. Of course, the magic community was ecstatic, since a person of unicorn blood hadn’t been alive for decades. There was fear that the bloodline was extinct.”
“But then the baby went missing. It’s still not known to this day why. The parents were slaughtered horribly, and the baby simply vanished, never to be seen again. There are rumors, of course…” Dan trailed off. “Rumors about what happened to the baby, who was responsible…” His eyes darkened.
“Ever since, an organization called the Preservation of Magical Bloodlines has been searching for the baby, even if it took years. The only problem was that the child obviously wouldn’t know their true identity if raised in a human world. They also looked exactly like every other human, so it took a long time. I joined the PMB five years ago.” Dan sat up straighter. “I wanted to meet the person with unicorn blood so badly. I wanted to know what kind of person they were. And now here you are!” Dan looked so excited, and Arin thought he might hyperventilate.
“Wait, wait, so you’re saying…that person is me?”
“Yes! Your drawings revealed your identity. They radiate magic. There aren’t a lot that are born with heightened artistic ability, but yours simply oozes with it. Only a person with powerful blood could possibly draw like that.” Dan scooted closer. “Then there’s the matter of you being immune.”
“Magic doesn’t affect you. I tried my song on you multiple times, but you simply ignored it. Extraordinary! I knew then that you were probably the one, but I wasn’t completely sure until I held my portrait in my hands and felt as though my very soul was on fire.” Dan was smiling. “Since I was the subject of your art, I could feel a connection no one else can. It cinched the matter. All that’s left is to run a test and affirm your magic.”
“Look, Dan, this sounds really cool and all, but magic doesn’t exist. I dunno if this is a prank or whatever, but…”
“It’s not! I wouldn’t joke about something like this.” Dan looked desperate, and Arin was about to apologize when the door burst open.
“Stop!” Ross yelled, falling into the room. He looked around, panicked. His eyes set on Dan, and he suddenly looked angry. “You can’t tell him!”
Dan stood, face flicking between the pair. “Why not?”
“He’s safe!” Ross looked angrier than Arin had ever seen him. “Have you already told him? You idiot!”
“Whoa, Ross, what’s wrong?” Arin placed a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “You know this guy?”
Ross deflated, groaning. “I can’t believe this. I can’t believe I didn’t put it together that you were after him.”
“Why wouldn’t I tell him?” Dan demanded. “He’s got the most legendary blood of all! He has a right to rejoin the magic community!”
“No!” Ross screeched, stepping towards the other man. “Don’t you get it? He’s safe here! Humans can’t hurt him! The magic community doesn’t know where he is, so they can’t get to him, either! You think he asked for all that?”
“You knew?” Dan yelled, suddenly angry. “You, a satori, knew who he was and didn’t tell the PMB? How long have you known?!”
“Shut up, both of you!” Arin yelled, silencing the pair. They glared at each other before turning to look at Arin, contrite.
“Let’s get out of here, Arin,” Ross started, but that angered Dan.
“No! It’s selfish of you to keep him from reaching his full potential. He deserves to know who he is!”
“I said, shut up!” Arin repeated, and looked at Ross. “You knew about this? About this…magic stuff?”
Ross shifted. “Arin–”
“Just tell me, Ross,” Arin begged. “Is this all crazy? Made up? What the fuck is going on? Please, Ross.”
Ross bit his lip, and answered quietly after a few tense moments. “Yeah, Arin. I knew.”
Arin sank to the floor, shivering. “Then…then everything Dan told me is true? I-I have unicorn…blood?”
Dan squatted beside him, but Arin recoiled when he tried to pat his back. “I’m sorry, Arin. I didn’t mean for you to be so overwhelmed.” He glared at Ross. “If you knew, you should’ve fucking told him!”
Ross glared back, but didn’t answer, instead directing his attention to Arin. He knelt, too, his eyes regretful. “I didn’t want you to have to deal with this shitshow, Arin.”
Arin glanced at Ross, then at Dan. “Who…who are you, really?”
“I have siren blood,” Dan replied. “I have the ability to charm people when I sing.”
Arin nodded robotically. “Right.”
“I have satori blood,” Ross said quietly. “I can feel others’ emotions and sometimes their thoughts.” He glanced at Arin. “Except you. I met you, and I couldn’t pick up a damn thing from you. That tipped me off, and the first time you drew a silly cartoon of me, I knew for sure.”
“Then why didn’t you tell the PMB?” Dan growled. “You realize that’s against the law? To withhold that information?”
“I wasn’t about to send Arin into that mess,” Ross snapped. “He didn’t know. I wasn’t gonna make an idiot of myself and try to convince him. Even if I could, why would I? He was happy studying art and being human. Telling him would only force him into a world where he isn’t safe.”
“Not safe?” Arin repeated, his eyes darting to Dan. “What does he mean by that?”
Dan sighed, running his fingers through his hair distractedly. “Well, it’s true that…there are certain people…who want to use unicorn blood for their own purposes. There are people in the magic community who think we’re superior to normal humans just because we have a gift. They kinda…revere unicorn blood as the ‘purest’ form of magical being. They’ve been looking for you, too. They want to recruit you into starting a new age where magic people rule and all that shit. Basically, they’re tired of hiding their magic ancestry from the majority of the world.”
“Recruit me?” Arin asked. “Why would they specifically want someone with unicorn blood? Just because it’s so rare?”
“Yeah, partially, and also because unicorns are the only creatures immune to other magic. So, in a sense, you’re different than the rest of the magic community because magic can’t affect you, and obviously, you’re different than humans. So being that unique would be really appealing to people who think magic people are superior because they’re unique.”
“That’s a little confusing, but okay,” Arin muttered. He glanced at Ross, who was staring at one of Arin’s half-assed sketches sprawled across the floor. Ross looked morose. “Ross? Is this why you didn’t tell me?”
Ross’s mouth tightened. “Of course I knew about the PMB and all the shit that happened twenty years ago. But I never thought I’d actually meet the guy that disappeared.” He glanced at Arin, his face sorrowful. “Until then, I hadn’t given it much thought. But then I got to know you, and we became friends, and I suddenly realized you didn’t deserve that. I wasn’t about to pull a fuckin’ Harry Potter on you and send you into a world where everyone either adored or wanted to use you.”
Arin moved to sling an arm over Ross’s shoulders. “I get it, buddy. I probably wouldn’t have believed you anyway.” He glanced at Dan. “I still kinda think this is all some elaborate joke.”
“It isn’t,” Dan said, his gaze fixing on Ross. “That guy still needs to face his crime of withholding information.”
Ross sighed, but Arin immediately hardened. “No! He did it for my sake. I don’t care about your stupid laws, Ross didn’t do anything wrong.”
Dan frowned. “But he–”
“If you’re gonna prosecute him, I’ll just claim he told me years ago and I just didn’t care,” Arin threatened. He wasn’t gonna give up on this. Ross was his friend, and the only person he felt he could lean on right now. He wasn’t about to let some dumb law carry his friend away.
“Alright,” Dan conceded, obviously annoyed. “I’ll let it pass. I’ll tell them he had no idea and just thought you were a really gifted artist.”
Arin relaxed. “Thank you.”
Dan’s eyebrow quirked slightly at that, but didn’t address it. “C’mon. I need to get you to the PMB right away.”
“Now?” Arin’s eyes widened. “It’s eight-thirty, man. Can’t it wait?”
“Absolutely not! Now that I’ve found you, you’re not leaving my sight for two seconds. Let’s go. You too, whoever you are.”
“My name’s Ross,” Ross muttered, but he got up with Arin and they followed Dan out of the art room.
They’d been sitting in an office for the past twenty minutes. Dan had a hand resting on Arin’s shoulder. To anyone else, it would seem casual, but Arin knew it was just because Dan wanted everyone to know that he’d been the one to find him.
He glanced at Ross, who seemed pretty zoned out. Arin couldn’t blame him. He was starting to get restless, too.
Finally, an official-looking man burst into the room with a woman right behind him. He glanced at the trio, mouth quirking when he spotted Dan.
Dan moved to shake the man’s hand. “Dr. Wecht.”
“Mr. Avidan. It’s good to see you again.” The man–Dr. Wecht–shook Dan’s hand firmly, but his eyes never left Arin’s face.
“Um. Hi.” Arin said quietly. “I’m–”
“Arin Hanson.” Dr. Wecht moved to stand in front of him. “No doubt you have a lot of questions. This must be quite the shock. However, I can assure you that you will be protected and you may carry on with your life as normal.”
“Protected?” Arin asked, but then the woman moved forward to smile and shake his hand.
“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Hanson. I’m Suzy Berhow. I work in the Concealment Department.” She motioned towards Dr. Wecht. “Brian here heads the Investigation Department. We’ve been working together to find you for a long time.”
“Call me Arin,” Arin muttered, shaking her hand. She was a stunningly attractive woman, and she seemed kind and charismatic.
“Good to see you, Suzy,” Dan said as he shook her hand. “As you can see, my efforts in Sector C4 paid off.”
“I just can’t believe you actually found him,” Suzy murmured, gaze flicking to Arin again. “He’s so cute, too. Sometimes I forget he’s actually our age.”
“Yeah,” Dan replied quietly. He, too, was studying Arin.
Arin shifted, looking away. They know I can hear them, right?
Ross turned to look at Suzy and Dr. Wecht. “Hey.”
“What is he doing here?” Dr. Wecht asked.
“He’s a close friend of Arin’s. He just happened to be with him when I revealed the truth,” Dan answered, his face hardening only slightly as he looked at Ross. Ross stuck up a middle finger in return.
Arin could’ve sworn he saw a grin flicker across Dr. Wecht’s face. “I see. He just so happened to be there.”
“Listen,” Arin blurted. “Ross didn’t do anything wrong. He didn’t know that–that I’m…whatever I am.”
Suzy nodded reassuringly. “Of course.”
“Well done, Dan,” Dr. Wecht said, turning to him. “I’ll have to speak with the higher-ups, but I don’t see any reason why you can’t just take this assignment. You did find him, after all.”
Arin blinked. “Assignment?”
Dr. Wecht motioned to Dan, and they stepped out. Suzy sat beside Arin, smiling sympathetically. “You see, Arin, Dan works for the Investigation Department. Specifically, in the Protection Agency. He’s a bit of a big deal there.”
“So his job was to investigate or whatever? To find me?”
“Dan’s been trying hard to find you since he started working here,” Suzy said softly. “It’s all he’s ever talked about since we were kids. He’s got a bit of an obsession with unicorn blood, I think. Now, I believe they’re going to assign him to protect you. No one else is better qualified for the job.”
“Protect me?” Arin repeated.
“I’m sure Dan told you about some of the…um, others that would like to exploit unicorn heritage. But don’t worry, with Dan around I’m sure there won’t be any issue.”
Arin looked at his feet. He could already sense the great deal of secrecy this place held, and knew they wouldn’t tell him everything, despite the fact that they’d been looking for him. Suzy wasn’t telling him everything, but he’d expected that.
“No one else will know your identity quite yet,” she went on. “Of course, we have to share our findings with the community, but we’ll try to keep your name under wraps as long as we can.” She smiled.
“Thanks,” Arin mumbled.
Suzy patted his leg, standing. “I’ll go get things sorted so you can get back to campus.” She nodded at Ross. “Nice to meet you.”
After she’d walked out, Ross muttered, “Wow.”
Arin glanced at him. “What?”
“She’s got succubus blood,” Ross explained. “She was trying to use her magic to assure you they have everything under control. Anyone else would’ve immediately believed her and not questioned it. But you didn’t believe she was telling you everything. I could see it on your face.”
“This place is so mysterious,” Arin said. “Of course I know they’re keeping secrets. I’m not an idiot.”
“But her magic couldn’t make a dent on you,” Ross repeated. “She’s pretty powerful, too. It wasn’t even aimed at me and I almost fell for it.” He leaned back, a small smirk playing on his face. “I see now why unicorn blood is so cool.”
“Shut up,” Arin laughed, bumping his shoulder playfully. “You just want to read my mind.”
“Sirens are notorious for being frustrated when someone doesn’t obey their song,” Ross tossed back. “It’s Dan I’m more curious about. Especially after what Suzy told us.”
Arin went quiet, pondering that. “Yeah. I’m glad he was able to fulfill what he wanted to do, I guess.”
Ross hummed, not answering, and Arin was left to his thoughts until Dr. Wecht and Dan reentered the room.
Dr. Wecht nodded at Arin. “It was good to meet you. This is only a branch of PMB Headquarters, but with you being found I’m sure the president and such will want to meet you, as well as some of the higher officials.” He preened a little. “The PMB is the main organization of the magic community. You haven’t even heard about the government departments we have here.”
“Look forward to it,” Arin replied halfheartedly, shaking Dr. Wecht’s hand again. He noted the doctor’s strong grip. “You have a firm handshake, dude.”
To Arin’s surprise, Dr. Wecht outright laughed. “You were right, Dan,” he said to the man, grinning. “I was using my full strength on your hand, Arin. It would’ve crushed anyone else’s hand into dust–I have minotaur blood. But you just commented on a firm grip. Unicorn blood truly is remarkable.”
Arin blinked, not sure how to respond to Dr. Wecht’s giddiness. “Um, thanks?”
Dr. Wecht chuckled again, patting Dan’s shoulder. “Dan here will be watching you, as a representative of the PMB. He’s very prepared for the job and we’ll do our utmost in ensuring your safety as well as hiding your identity from humans.”
Dan had been staring at Arin the entire time, waiting for a reaction. Arin tried to smile, but felt so tired all of a sudden that he knew it was half-assed. “Right. Sounds good.”
Ross seemed to sense this, standing up. “Let’s go. It’s fucking late and Arin and I have class tomorrow.”
Dan nodded silently, and Arin felt an unfamiliar chill down his spine.
what she means:
it doesn't matter if ross and rachel WERE on a break or what being on a break even MEANS because the entire reason they were ON said break is because ross couldn't trust rachel not to cheat on him even though she never gave him a reason not to trust her which means that he just assumed she would have sex with mark just because mark wanted to, WHICH, in believing that at all means that ross doesn't see rachel as having autonomy which MEANS that ross doesn't see rachel as being her own PERSON and SO ross had NO DAMN BUSINESS being with rachel (a goddess) in the goddamn first place because FEMINISM.