Mountainside Planetarium 
The problem with sunset so early was it crept up on her surprisingly earlier every day. Just last week she swore it went down around six or so, but being alone and locked in her circles of life and relatively out of touch with many things meant that Agostina had somewhat forgotten of daylight savings as a concept. Suddenly nowadays it was sunset at four.

That said she was in the planetarium as the sun was setting, eyes on some starry display. There was much to read here, and she wasn't sure many bothered to absorb it all. But here she was... losing track of time.

And then, naturally, there was something of a power outage. The fancy lights and lit up displays went out, the red light of exit signs being all that backup generators allowed for. Agostina was quietly alarmed, and she intended to move along to the exit regardless of the promised refund.

It would be only natural that the aging woman bumped into someone just then, and she gave a gasp and a word of apology in her surprise.

And so, his plan fell into place. A perfect opportunity to slip nearer, a force in near blinding darkness.

Absurd, of course. He was as surprised as anyone else, on his way toward the lobby as he walked a young man out of the building after a mediocre interview. Of course, a vampire could see with great clarity, the darkness hardly a concern. And as the fool who had poorly answered every possible question bumbled his way into a woman unexpectedly familiar, Beauregard was forced to ever so gently shove him to the side.

The convenience of darkness!

"My apologies," he said. "Are you alright?"

He could see her quite clearly, but he wasn't sure how well she could see him in return.

Agostina, of course, did not see the switch of bodies before her. The poor man was left to wander on, and instead there was a voice and not one she knew well enough yet to immediately place. She assumed the speaker was the one she'd bumped.

"I am alright," she assured, rendered embarrassed and shyer for it. Never mind that it was so very dark for her weak vision! "Afraid I can't see to find my way around."

One would think security would be around with flashlights, but none yet offered such guidance in the immediate area.

A hand naturally sought some support, and would find the arm of the man before her.

How lovely. Her hand found his arm, and he was content to play the perfect gentleman.

"I'm uncertain I can see much better, but-"

And then there was a bright light directly in his eyes, someone holding out a cell phone they'd somehow turned into a flashlight. He lifted his free hand up to shield his face, feeling briefly blinded for all that he'd been faking it before.

"Goodness," he complained, blinking. But it did offer a moment for him to look at her with perfect surprise. "Agostina?"

That light was equally blinding to her as well, and she flinched away from it, turning towards the gentleman whose arm she'd grabbed hold of.

Who spoke her name. She inclined her head up at him and confusion and recognition and surprise greeted him. "Oh- William again!" she huffed, much as she had last time. "We have to stop meeting in the dark like this!"

That was even a joke!

How delightful. It was difficult not to smile, and so he did, chuckling to her comment. She'd seemed so uncertain a moment ago, and now look at her simply lighting up. (If someone literally as another flashlight came on.)

There was a whirring of some greater generator kicking in, and a few dim lights were added to it all. There went his charming advantage of darkness.

"There, I turned the lights on for you," he said, taking easy credit for something obviously not his doing. A crowd was still barging rudely forward, and he sought to lead them slightly to the side and out of the way, but not immediately toward the exit.

Belatedly, beneath the layers she wore to protect herself from the inevitable cold outside, the warmth of a glowing crucifix went unheeded and the light itself was not visible through the fabric of her sweater and scarf at all. Which was good.

There was no remaining need for her hand to remain at his arm, but consciousness of that did not hit her until after she had walked with him out of the way of the crowds.

Then Agostina would mind herself, gently plucking her hand back to keep it to herself. "How kind," she answered of his quip, not at all buying that he had anything to do with it. "But you're here — consulting?"

She was not sure why he'd led her here, but it was a pleasant distraction.

Right! Beauregard was a consultant. How terribly boring. She pulled her hand away to his disappointment for all that it made sense. She was no longer quite so lost an old woman that she needed his assistance. Woe!

"I am, in fact, enjoying the local planetarium," he said, a bit teasing. "Someone teased me for visiting a giant greenhouse of sorts in Magic Hollow and so I've had to find new haunts."

There was a bench not far from them, and so if she would follow, he'd take a seat there. She was so delicate, after all, that he hardly wanted to tax her with excessive standing.

"Oh? Do you find the local planetarium holy?"

It was a tease back, wording she would never allow him to forget. Agostina would not be the lone target of this habit of banter between them.

Of course, she walked with him to the bench. She was well charged enough today that she didn't think she needed to sit, until she moved to do just that and realized how nice it was to be off her feet. So thoughtful.

She was sharp, and it left him smirking, some hint of teeth amid the expression. Who let her be quite so rude to him, truly!

"Holier, I'd say."

Holy places were always trouble for a vampire. Lucky that this wasn't truly one. She took her place beside him, and he felt a catlike variety of please for it. A line was forming for refunds, some patrons more irate than others. Were he a bit closer, he might have sought to force some to be soothed. It was not a good look for his planetarium, but it was hardly their fault when some rude darkness fell across likely several blocks.

"Are you here looking for inspiration, then?"

Holier, but not necessarily holy. Agostina hummed, enjoying the shared joke of this jester. But last time she'd seen him, she'd crowned him a king, hadn't she? She wondered if he'd kept the crown.

"That would be a good reason, wouldn't it?" she pondered. "Not on purpose, but I'll take some. I have a few pieces with meteorites, actually."

Now she wondered if they would buy them from her to sell. Maybe if she made enough for a collection.

Meteorite. He didn't think the piece she'd unknowingly made for him contained that, but truly, how would he pick out a meteorite from a regular stone?

Clearly, a question worth asking.

"Where does one obtain 'meteorite'?" he asked, imagining she might have some flat answer about the internet he could scoff at. "How does a person even find meteorite to sell?"

Wouldn't that be something of luck, to find a stone from space?

Wasn't that a good question.

"You hope the seller is not upcharging you for a piece of Earth. But the honest ones procure them from known deposits. I don't buy from anyone claiming fresh falls."

It would be wonderful if everyone was trustworthy, and maybe a rare few were, but she didn't need to test it.

"Fresh falls!" he chuckled, marveling a bit. There was something about that phrase in regard to rocks plummeting from the heavens that absolutely delighted him.

"I suppose I don't know very much about meteorites," he said. "I didn't even consider that there were..."

A wave of his hand. Deposits! Fresh falls!

"Places you could simply mine up space rock. Does it look or work any differently?"

He was asking the wrong person, sadly. Agostina knew how to procure them, but in terms of how mining it all worked, she was unsure.

"I'm sure it's some greater effort involved compared to your local quartz," she smiled wryly. "I don't work with it often, though I can charge more for it when I get the opportunity."

Better to cover the greater cost, of course.

"Did you end up keeping the crown after the fair?"

Your "local quartz." Beauregard found this a source of amusement too. Perhaps he simply liked her.

At the question, he was nearly offended!

"As if I would discard such craftsmanship," he said. "It currently rests on a dresser, where I can consider each morning if today is the day I decide to wear a crown with a suit."

He leaned his back to the wall a bit, deliberately relaxing and sloppying his posture.

"It is likely best that day does not arrive, but I haven't yet fully discounted it."

A small twist of laughter at the idea of him, suited and crowned. It all meshed with his slouched posture and she realized slowly that she had seen him more often than she had seen most others in this part of the world.

That was something to be careful about.

"And how will I know if that day comes?" Agostina asked regardless.

That answer was easy.

"You will hear about it," he said, and then changed his voice somewhat to play the scandalized passerby. "'The other day, I saw this man going about in a suit and tie and honest to goodness a crown.'"

One hand went out dramatically as he gave his telling, palm and fingers flat.

"'He looked like a fool, though the crown was of such lovely quality I suppose I couldn't blame him for trying.'"

It was only a little smile as he teased her by teasing himself. But it was at the end, where he spoke of the crown as being of lovely quality, that Agostina found herself laughing, her hand moving to cover her smile instinctively.

"You mock me," she accused on the fading edges of it, shaking her head but the smile remaining even with closed lips.

Such modest laughter, truly. She covered her face like it was something to be ashamed of, but Beauregard was not unfamiliar with that gesture. It was something of an older time.

"You heard all of that and pulled from it that I was mocking you!" he said, incredulous. "I was mocking-"

And then, in a flash of artificial life, the lights were on, and atmospheric music played back from a stutter start.

"Look! We fixed it," he said jovially, gesturing up to the lights.

Oh, she knew who he was mocking on the surface. But he still mocked her in his answer, the roundabout way of her wondering if they could perhaps form a connection that was not of chance every time.

But maybe that was the charm in it.

Agostina glanced up with a fading smile to the lights, the music, feeling that warmth against her chest and misinterpreting it. "Very good, William," she applauded him, even if he'd applied it to her as well somehow. "You came alone here?"

Now she was mocking him when he'd tried to give them both credit. It was a constant battle of slight teasing.

"I did," he said to her question, nodding. "As did you?"

Unless there was some suitor unexpectedly lurking around a corner. The idea struck him sourly.

As did you. Such a way of talking, even the simplest questions constructed with some permanent ailment of flair.

"As did... me," she nodded, and knew it sounded wrong after. Ah well. "First time here?"

If not, maybe he wouldn't mind showing her around.

As did me. Clumsy, bordering on unpleasant, but he was amused. She had a plainness that could be charming.

"My third, or so."

The planetarium would certainly be quieter now.

"Shall we?"

He didn't intend to read her mind, but it was a natural next step. If she seemed agreeable, he would assist her to her feet with a polite hand.

His third! He was a bored and well off man to afford so many jaunts about the town. She supposed it came with the suits and the consulting.

"Yes, I think so," she smiled a small smile, taking his hand. His skin was cold, and yet she was left finding it unremarkable.

"Will you be my tour guide?"

She was prepared to follow him on this new walk through the re-illuminated planetarium.

Lovely. Beauregard would contently assist her, looking ahead to the planetarium.

"As competently as I am able," he said. The space was obviously deeply familiar, but he would do his best not to make it look as such. Museums and the like made for a very slow walking pace, better for observation, and this was no exception.

"We have first, of course..."

He looked for a sign, then gestured at it as he read it.

"Mission Moon!"

He made her smile more than she should have. No doubt by the end of all this her cheeks would hurt, and she debated voicing that accusation to him.

For now, he was animated in his introduction and Agostina looked on in surprise.

"And what is mission moon?" she asked, content to let him play the fullest extent of this role.

She was charmed by him, and no man was above feeling charming. It left him jovial, stepping forward to read a plaque and remind himself precisely the name of a certain astronaut in question.

"It's the story of... Captain Lovell! Visiting the moon. Beginning with his childhood! But more importantly, there is a place to build rockets and stomp them into the heavens."

He would lead her there, to a basket of foam rocket parts and a tall plastic launch tube beside it.

And play he did, and it seemed in his three visits he was very familiar with the attractions if this was any indication.

Agostina gave a laugh of slight incredulity. "This isn't for children?" she asked, eyes on him as she wondered if he was calling her one.

Just how old was he compared to her, anyway? Agostina wasn't sure she knew how to ask.

What a response! He was nearly insulted on her behalf. She'd made jewelry for a bird. Truly she wasn't above this.

"As tour guide, I can assure you that children are in fact banned from using it," he reassured her with blatant dishonesty given the muted instructional video showing children using it. He approached the basket and grabbed some foam section with fins on it.

"You find the next piece, naturally."

Ah, that made no sense. He was very playful for a man of his standing, but then again men of his standing did not often associate so thoroughly with her.

"Bossy tour guide," she huffed, fading the edge of a smile with it, though not because of it. Agostina reached in for a piece, and found some triangular looking frontal piece. How many pieces did a foam rocket require?

Bossy! Beauregard was certain she had close to zero fun in her spare time, if their meetings were any indication. The least he could do was force her into it when they were near one another.

It took, in fact, three pieces to make a rocket. He would grab one more to connect to the top end of his first, then reach a hand out to take the one she'd chosen.

It was a bruised thing, this foam aircraft, but it would do.

He set it onto some plastic spout within the larger launch tube, the place where air would fire up and propel the rocket.

With enough force placed onto the stomping pad, of course.

"Ladies first?"

He built it before her, and then insisted she make a mockery of herself before him. Agostina felt very aware of her typical frailty, and so she would approach.

"I don't think it will clear ground level," she warned, and proceeded to stomp with great effort, thoughflanked with uncertainty.

It managed to go just under half the height it could have gone.

"I think it will."

And, look at that! It did.

"That's at least to Mars!" he said cheerfully, leaning forward to snatch the rocket from the ground and set it back onto the platform.

"Do you think I can send it to... Pluto?"

That was the far off one, wasn't it?

Such certainty he had in her! She was smiling even as she shook her head. He was a very refined boy.

His turn came and she set herself to the side to watch.

"I think you can send it further," she decided, though what came after Pluto she wasn't sure. The asteroid belt? That didn't seem right.

It was true. Beauregard could make it strike the ceiling if he wanted to. But certainly it was improper tour etiquette to stomp like some sort of madman.

Still, he made some show of looking down at the stomping pad, then up, as if lining himself up for the shot.

In the end, he gave it an effort that felt modest, finding nothing refined in the act, but rather proud of it as the rocket went up and over the tube.

Deciding he could show off further, he made a clumsy grab for it as it fell out the side, and much to his delight, he managed to clasp it in a hand.

He was obviously quite happy with himself as he offered his catch to her.

Agostina clapped, polite and yet genuinely amazed by that show. One would think she was some schoolgirl, to be so easily impressed.

He offered her the rocket as if he was some mouse caught by her cat. She gave a light chuckle and took it.

"For me?" she asked, gently mocking the schoolgirl in her thoughts. Of course, it wasn't, but she could pretend.

Beauregard rather appreciated the clapping. He was easily encouraged by positive attention.

"Of course," he said, and feeling too charming for his own good, offered a wink before turning to lead them on to the next area.

Assuming she did not promptly attempt to leave the building in the face of his dreadfully good mood, he would show her next the theater.

Oh no, what was he doing, winking at her like that. Agostina felt a warmth to her face and smiled and shook her head and glanced away. It was most likely some game to him, and not any procedural flirting.

She placed the rocket already built back in the basket and moved along with him.

Though now they were going to the central theater, and. "I didn't get tickets to the show," Agostina balked, assuming there was one. Otherwise what exactly would he be showing her?

A-whoops. Tickets, Beauregard. Customers needed tickets.

"That hardly means we can't poke our heads in," he said. There was no music within, he assumed the show interrupted or cancelled by the outage. Knowing he literally opened the place, he pulled open the door to simply gaze in, poking his upper half around the door frame like a nosy child.

Within, the dome was largely dark save for a few projected stars. An employee in the back looked his way, but paid him no mind.

Beauregard did his best not to notice.

Oh- oh, fine. Agostina was of course charmed along, if partially in bemusement for his confidence. Who knew a man who liked to sit in unholy domes to carve wooden bats and strike up conversation with tired strangers would be so free a spirit? And she was decidedly a self-grounded one, willing to stay far from even the lightest things that could hint at confrontation.

Poking her own head in while he was there would require her to get very close to him, so she neared but only to look past him from behind.

"It's very dark," she murmured, not noticing the employee.

Very dark!

"Has to be dark to see the stars," he said, a statement of face surely spattered in an inspirational poster somewhere.

"Do you think we'd get into trouble if we went in?"

Asked primarily to make her nervous, perhaps.

She could get away with rolling her eyes from behind where he couldn't see, so she did very briefly.

"If we do, I'll say it was your idea."

It was both the truth and a matter of convenient banter. But Agostina did feel a flash of nerves, because she truly did not want to get in trouble.

"I'll deny it wholeheartedly," he said, a smile and mischief in his voice as he opened the door further to step inside, one hand back to prop it open for her to follow.

But it would last only a second before a voice spoke up with "Can I help you?"

And he promptly whirled where he stood, choking out a laugh as he likely bumped into her in his haste to exit.

Cruel man. Agostina shook her head and followed him in, only for them to be immediately caught and for her to end up right with her face to his chest.

She staggered back with her arms raising ineffectively, and his laugh triggered a short surprised one from her too but it was greatly fronted with surprise for the impact more than anything.

"What happened to the denial!"

Hello, darling! Wasn't she very close. Hopefully he hadn't broken one of her tired bones with the effort of turning around too suddenly.

"You were supposed to accuse me first!" he said, because this was very obvious. To deny before being accused was suspicious work.

He would wait for her to clear away to step out, not wanting to entirely bully her from the doorway.

It was all so ridiculous a turnaround on her being at fault that she burst into another laugh out of the inability to come up with something to say in return, turning away and stepping back enough to allow him space.

"Go on with the tour!" she managed in exasperated humor, shaking her head. He was of course making her feel very special, leading her around like this. Agostina still didn't quite understand why; what his motives were.

Surely there were some.

Now he was being ordered about! How rude. Women could be so terribly pushy.

Beauregard would lead the way, winding around to an area known as Our Solar System. Above them hung massive planetary models, and as a properly uninformed tour guide, he would sweep a hand upwards and simply announce:



No, no, with more grandeur, but with a hint of derision that was possibly unintentional. She snorted softly from her nose, glancing upwards.

"Space," Agostina repeated. "Why do you think it exists?" He spoke in terms of holy and unholy, and so she suspected he was a religious man.

Something about that made him have a slightly greater appeal, though it didn't register consciously.

Good heavens, what a question. Beauregard hummed, thumbs hitching onto his pockets as he marveled up at Mars.

"There was some sort of explosion, so I've heard," he said.

Darkness loomed above and beyond the glass. He found himself looking nearly straight up.

"Humanity needed something very vast to feel at the center of."

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