His head was throbbing. It felt like multiple voices were crashing against the walls of his consciousness, in an attempt to escape. He had no recollection of what happened, just like last time.
He didn't remember the time he went out, or where he went. The racket on the road and the sound of multiple car horns seemed so far away, until he shook his head like a puppy soaked in the rain.
He was finally able to come back to the present time, and his chocolate irises regained their focus.
On the road, in the middle of a big puddle made by the heavy morning rain, there was a boy.
He had almost caused an accident and the furious drivers were blowing their horns and screaming at him to get the hell out of the way. Now that's not something you see every day.
Alistair gave it little to no thought, and made his way through the crowd of people.
It was a good thing he was tall, 'cause most people moved away quickly when faced with his threatening posture. Right now though, he simply ignored their stares.
Something there on the road was calling out to him. The way this stranger was frozen in his spot, almost like he wasn't sure where he is. Or he didn't belong to this world.
It sounded crazy, but this presence Alistair felt, it was new. Different, to be exact. It separated him from the rest of the people in this world.
The unknown attracted him like a magnet, and Alistair found himself in the middle of the road, right behind the guy in question.
He extended his arm and caught him by the shoulder, pushing him away from the road. Upon touching him, he felt something similar to an electric wave go through his whole body.
- Hey, are you alright? - he asked once they made it to the sidewalk.
He last spoke to his boss, but with a completely different tone. Right now he was driven by tantalizing curiosity, which was quickly disturbed by the police.
Someone had called the cops, and Alistair wasn't in good relations with them. More like he didn't want to deal with them, even if he wasn't the reason they were coming this way.
- We better get out of here!
- he added quickly and with no time to lose he took hold of the stranger once more, and dragged him in an unknown direction,
despite the fact his actions looked more like a kidnapping than anything else.
He kept going without looking back, until the sound of police sirens faded completely. Only then did he check with his peripheral vision whether they had escaped without being noticed.
There were a couple of smart guys with badges in the city, who didn't take criminal pursuit lightly. They were more than familiar with Alistair and his tricks, but he also knew their ways.
When he made sure they were nowhere to be seen, he approached one of the few public places, where he could take a breather. "The tea house", that was the name of the small self-service place.
It was tucked away in one of the many monotonously grey buildings in the neighborhood.
It was on a ground level, and to get there they had to go down a flight of stairs and pass an extremely narrow corridor, avoided by people with claustrophobia.
Alistair pushed the boy forward a little bit too roughly, and that's when he felt the first wave of resistance.
He wasn't sure why the other guy was struggling, but he didn't grant him that luxury. Alistair didn't consider himself psychic, but a sixth sense called out from inside of him.
He thought this guy might be lost, and he won't be fine without his help. Not like Alistair was actually helping. More like he wanted to satisfy his curiosity.
He needed to know how it came to be in the first place...
- It's safe here. - He assured him, to calm the boy down a bit. He was like a dog on a leash, and didn't stop poking him with his elbow.
Maybe he thought Alistair was a kidnapper, but someone had to be the bad guy, and provide him with an explanation.
In the end they did go through the narrow corridor. A couple of times they had to share their personal space along with a couple of breaths.
The interior was much more comfortable, unlike the exterior which even lacked a sign with the name of the place.
Since half of it was used as an Internet cafe, most clients were next door, probably immersed in a video game.
The booths in the establishment were empty, and Alistair dragged the stranger to his favorite one.
It wasn't like he claimed it or anything; he simply adored the soft pillows with anime characters. But what he liked most was the cat talisman, always lying on top of one of those pillows.
Its name was Marvel, and every single time it filled Alistair with positive energy. Generally, this furry creature neglected human beings, but Kay was somewhat of an exception.
- Sit down. - He simply said, but it came out as more of a command.
Alistair didn't really do it on purpose. His voice was thick and slightly husky, which basically explains enough.
In his mind he was way too careful with this unknown youngster, and he didn't even know why. Above all else, he didn't even know his name.
- Would you like some tea? - He asked the first stupid question that came to mind, instead of asking for his name, which he should have done instead.
Wasn't his true purpose to satisfy his curiosity? Alistair sighed and stood up, the tips of his fingers pressing against the round table. He really sucked at socializing.
This kind of a conversation starter was a complete failure, and when he realized it wasn't going anywhere, he simply went to order some tea.
- Matcha again? - He was welcomed by the voice of an old lady, the owner of the place. Alistair didn't even get a chance to speak.
That actually made him feel quite relieved, and he simply nodded with a sluggish smile.
- I know you like making it yourself, and that's why I only soaked the chasen for you. Here you go.
The old lady placed a tray in front of him. The arrangement was perfect, as always. She didn't lack small gestures. She even added two macaroons next to the porcelain matcha cups.
- Thank you. - murmured Alistair, but his dark irises avoided her gaze.
He'd rather imagine it. He preferred to believe this was simply a sweet gesture from a widowed old woman. It was common sense, wasn't it?
In all honesty, he was shocked when he found the stranger still sitting down on the same spot. A part of him expected the opposite.
What was stopping him from leaving, and going back to where he came from? Maybe things weren't that simple for him as well. Alistair felt like the both of them had something in common.
So, that's why he was curious. Both of them stood out here, and that couldn't go unnoticed. At least not for long.
- This tea is said to be the elixir of life. - Alistair broke the silence once more.
He noticed the other man observing his actions. Kay was on the last step of preparing the matcha.
His hand was holding the chawan bowl for the tea, while the other one was mixing the green powder with careful zigzag movements with the help of the chasen.
He kept it up, until the powder and hot water mixed completely.
- To me, making this tea helps clear my mind. - He said, without breaking his concentration.
It wasn't easy, he rarely had company. And now he felt like the blue eyes were burning a hole in his arms. What was he even staring it?
- Try it. - He added, when he finally saw the thick layer of light green foam on the surface of the bowl.
Without saying anything else, he politely slid the said bowl to the blue eyed man. His curiosity was peaked, but Alistair didn't feel like asking questions.
It was clear this person came from somewhere far from here. He was probably tired and didn't feel like talking. Or maybe he got robbed on the way here? That wouldn't be much of a surprise.
The neighborhood didn't have a good reputation.