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The Deep End
Ivan watched Lih, letting his irritation cool. Damn, but he seemed like a kid trying impress the adults. Felt odd saying that, given they were the same age, but there is was all the same. He agreed with Nox. He was going to have to man up. He probably had it in him. He wasn't spineless, that much he knew. Costa had the been the seasoned seen-it-all-and-didn't-blink officer. He had slipped right in to Domovoi as if he had always been there. Currently, he was with Alex investigating those rapes in the park.

Thinking of Alex caused a small twinge of...he wasn't sure what. They were friends....well with a lot on the side. Neither of them was looking for a commitment when they started. But he also knew that two people couldn't screw around on a regular basis without some messiness. They had chatted a bit the other day and she seemed happy that he had found a purpose in his life. Her looks at the bruises on his face were as bad as Danya's though. She had said he was acting like a child, running around wanting to punch things. "Tantrums" what what she called them. Well...she wasn't wrong.

Like just a few minutes ago? Ivan thought to himself with some embarrassment. Okay, so maybe he was still acting like a big dumb kid. Lih left and it was just Nox and him, now. He sipped his drink before speaking. "Yeah, I know it was dumb. But Vega hit a nerve, speaking about my father." He paused, remembering something he'd said. Perhaps this could be good. " know Yun Kao then?"
It was an unusual pairing, but there was merit in showing the rookies the ropes too. Though Nox wasn't sure he was going to like the pale man on his six if he wasn't a good aim. How could you be a cop and not have good aim? It boggled Nox's mind.

But he let it go. There was far more weighty things to do, none of which was sit around and chat. There was a performance - his first performance. Fuck if he wasn't a little nervous, and that didn't help his mood any. But again that was for later. Right now Ivan wanted to chat.

Dorian hit a nerve. He seemed to be good at that lately. Pissing everyone the fuck off. But that was Dorian. He wasn't the most compromising person Nox knew. He'd heard stories. None of which he'd ever talk to with Dorian - and certainly not now. But Ivan wasn't really interested in Dorian. He was interested in the woman who'd started the whole mess. Apparently started a whole mess with Ivan.

"I met her once. Dorian asked me to talk to her about gods. And the Atharim. It didn't end well and is the reason Dorian and I are not exactly on good terms right now." Nox sipped his black coffee. He was going to need more than this if he was going to be pulling an all nighter. He wasn't tired, not really. But coffee was a nerves thing too. "From what I gather she has you over a barrel? Dorian wasn't wrong though. He may be an ass hat. But think about it before you do anything stupid." Nox smirked. He felt like he was lecturing a younger brother or something. He sounded like Aurora....
Ivan smiled sheepishly. "Nah, I know. It's just..." He looked around- no one nearby seemed to be paying attention but he dropped his voice anyway. He couldn't hide the rage that laced his voice, causing it to shake. "That...woman is holding my family hostage." He took a breath and calmed himself with a breath. "Her men had guns to my parent's and little brother and sister's head. She showed it to me on her monitor." The memory clouded his mind and he had to physically shove it away. It resisted. "I held the power and had air wrapped around her throat, ready to...I don't know choke her or even rip her head off. She had some guys with her, but I could have easily torn them to shreds too. But the monitor..."

He paused again, taking a breath. "My other brother and sister have their own families with children. And I..." Only Alex knew, outside of his family. "And I have a five year old daughter that I just found out about. She and I and her mother...we're becoming our own family. Slowly, but there all the same. If Yun finds out..." Hot coffee sloshed over his hand, but he ignored the burning and pulled a few napkins from the dispenser to clean it up before tossing them and the crushed cup into the trash.

His voice was deadly steel. "The Syndicate did the same to my father, blackmailing him to work for them. They have me now. I won't let them hold them over me." He stopped, then went on, voice quieter. "But I have to do it smart."
Nox couldn't believe he was going to defend Dorian after what he'd done to him, but he and Ivan were on the same page. Exactly on the same page. Nox took another sip of his coffee before speaking softly. He didn't care one way or the other, but Ivan might. "While I don't like being betrayed by my friends, you can't get mad at Dorian. He's just doing what he thinks is right for his family. They kidnapped him, held his family over his head. He choose to help willingly. Moral ambiguity and all that. You're a good man, a good cop. You aren't the sort of man to let someone else hold your reins. I don't fight those kinds of bad guys." Nox admitted the last and knew he'd upset Ivan. "We can make you stronger, faster, but I can't... no I won't fight a human. I couldn't avenge my own sisters death. Aria's only dead because I made a promise, and she fell under the category of monster - in the true sense of the word."

Nox sighed. "You won't like it but Dorian asked you a question. Why did your Dad go with it? Was he a weaker man than you? Did he care less for his family? My guess is that you don't feel the answer to any of those questions was yes. So let me tell you how secret Organizations work who've been secret for years. Their tendrils are entrenched everywhere. If you've seen your girl and daughter, assume they know. You're a cop." Nox grinned. "Give me the location of your place, hers, work and any place you visit regularly. You need to assume they are always watching. I'll get you the path of least resistance - least survellence - best places to lose tails. You'll go unseen in your private time. Without the hiding tech. Don't leave a paper trail. Don't let them find you Ivan. But you are already on their radar. And you're a cop. So what I can do and what you can do are completely different things." At least that was the case. There was paperwork piling up on Nox Durante in Moscow. Very un Atharim like. Though Nox wasn't sure that was a bad thing.
Ivan listened, a feeling of disappointment forming in his stomach. He supposed he shouldn't have expected more. It was his problem. Still, "My, Nox. He was not weaker than me. I know he did it to protect us. I just..." He sighed. And how far would he go to protect them? Or Danya and Zara? He would kill, without hesitation, he knew. Which would probably make things worse. Just because he had power didn't mean he was everywhere. Fuck, he didn't even know who he could trust. Sure, a couple people. Alex. Nox. He tried to think of others but nothing came to mind. Drayson, maybe, though the man was MIA. 

He felt things spiraling out of control. There seemed to be no way out. So for now...for now, he would keep his head down. Do what he was told. But he would still see what he could do. There had to be a way out. 

He finished his coffee and stood. "You're right. Just have to suck it up, for now. And be careful. And train. Thanks for the advice."

He stuck out his hand and shook the other man's. They'd meet up later. If there was a way out, he'd find it. And in the meantime, training and growing in his power was something, at least. It wasn't just sitting there and waiting.
continued here

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