He’s so much like her. That’s all he thinks about when he first lays his eyes on the boy. They’re twins, so that’s to be expected, but his blond hair and the way his large amber eyes sparkle when the light catches them has him feeling as though he’s momentarily gone back in time. It’s like Lumine is the one in front of him again.
They’re so alike, from the feeling of Aether’s presence to the way he thinks and views the world. With just three questions, Dainsleif is questioning if his eyes are playing tricks on him and it really is her that he’s talking to. So he agrees to go together with the boy, even if he’s just using him to find moments of peace amongst the chaos that continuously plagues him. His memories of their early travels are his favorite after all, and he can’t help but feel like he’s setting off once more with her as he and Aether step out into the world.
But while Aether is so similar to Lumine, he’s so different at the same time. He’s like a copy of her in so many ways, but the illusion is broken so easily with each passing second they spend together. Aether is tender like she was, but more expressive with his other emotions. He watches the boy banter with his own traveling companion and can’t help but remember how often she pulled her lips taut, choosing to keep the words on the tip of her tongue to herself.
He’d always hated that—wished she would have trusted him more with her thoughts and feelings. But even though they had been companions for so long, they had started as strangers and she had gone through more than he could imagine, so he understood and kept silent.
The way Aether carries himself, simply moves, is so different too. Ever so cautious, yet always moving forward with no hesitation. He wonders how different the situation is for Aether, if what he went through forced him to grow in a different direction than his sister. Lumine was too cautious, too closed off for anyone to truly understand her. Maybe that was why, when she turned her back on him, he didn’t understand it. Had he ever truly understood her?
There is nothing but understanding when he looks at Aether, peers into his golden eyes. The boy knows nothing of masking his emotions, even if he does try to put on a happy facade as guilt is so clearly tearing him up inside. Dainsleif wants to reassure him, tell him that his sister never blamed him and that she always thought of him, but was that even the truth? She’d surely mentioned him at times, but was always careful with her words.
He still wants to say it though, even if it is a lie. Because he doesn’t want to see pain in the boy’s eyes any longer.
Though they’re twins, they’re two different people. Dainsleif fully understands that now as his short journey with Aether comes to an end.
At some point, he stopped thinking of Lumine, reminiscing on the past they shared together.
At some point, he’d lived in the moment, making sure to always remember the brief respite he’d felt with Aether at his side.
He knows that he’ll never be able to forget the boy’s smile—soft and mixed with so many emotions, yet everything about him radiates light. He’s ethereal and like the sun, always burning brightly, always happy to shine on those around him. While Lumine was like the moon, offering a subtle glow yet carrying so many secrets with her in the shroud of the night sky.
He holds many regrets about his past, particularly about how he’d been unable to step off the path leading to his companion’s presumed corruption. Maybe if he’d tried harder to understand her better, tried harder to ease the suffering she so perfectly bottled up and tucked away, they wouldn’t have had to part the way they did.
But that path was what led him to meeting Aether, and as complicated as it makes him feel, he knows that he would descend down that dark road over and over again to meet the boy.
Because Aether is so much like Lumine, but the way he makes him feel something again is incomparable.