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The surface was too bright. And they were greeted with guns and military escort. No shower. No nap. Fuck! And the longer he had to carry the guilt. Not that it wouldn’t drag him down after he told Raffe, but at least then he’d know where he went from there. Nox was never very good with change — uncertainty drew him in circles.

While in the caravan back to the bowels of the Kremlin, Nox sent Raffe a text

Ascendancy insisting on debrief now. Just fucking want to go home. Talk soon.

The exams were rigorous and Nox nearly brought down the walls once because he was tired of their prodding. He was fucking fine — short of an annihilated temper, ravenous hunger and things he didn’t want to encourage. All things he’d been dealing with, but since letting the darkness win with Jay in the aftermath of their ordeal it was never ending.

Nox refused to give up his landwarriors. Stolen property or not they were his. Jay’s collected the same information and he’d readily let them take those, they had all his other gear as well, but his set was his — more like they had been Aurora’s and he would fight tooth and nail to keep it. It was his…

In the back of his mind he felt a bit of pride, but more so in the fact that his thoughts trailed towards “precious. my precious.” A fucking old school fantasy reference that made Aurora proud.

By the time they were done talking, and running their fucking tests Nox was dead on his feet. He felt the deaths of the dying hoard much like he had felt the searing of the Ijiraq’s pull of power upon his soul across his body. An endless torment of pain — probably all self imposed. But he didn’t tell the doctors any of that. Fuck them. He was exhausted and needed sleep and a shower and just to… He didn’t really know what, not really.

As he walked carefully out of the side door so as not to attracted any undo attention he sat down on a bench and texted Raffe one more time hopefully before he saw the end of the only home he had left. Kallisti would be opening soon. And Nox barely knew what day it was, much less what Raffe’s schedule looked like — how long had he been deprived of the reality of life as they knew it with a sun, and moon and stars?

Finally done. You working tonight?

Nox tucked his phone away and waited for the reply — if it came. Nox hopped a train to the Red Light District and dozed on the way. The loud speaker in Russian waking him each stop with a nearly finished fireball at the ready.

He felt like he crawled off the train and scurried home on his hands and knees. He knew differently, but the hoard lingered in his mind. The pull to the few remaining creatures was small in comparison to what he’d been dealing with. But where he expected silence was a gnawing hunger wanting to fight and fuck and be all the things it couldn’t be.

Nox’s rations were depleted and there was nothing in the club other than what he’d brought before — and at this point was nothing. His stomach growled but there was nothing to do but walk into the side door and keep going. Pretend all was right with the world. That his life was good.

He was exhausted as he stumbled up the back stairs to his room and dropped his things. He barely remembered to grab two towels on his way to the shower. Nox didn’t even check his messages until he felt the filth had washed off of him and he was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt standing in his room wondering where the fuck his life had gone wrong. Was it watching his mother die? Finding his father dead in a pool of his own vomit?

Or was it before that? His father’s misadventures in parenting? Repressed memories aside, what Nox had remembered weren’t proud moments. His father was never proud of him.

Or maybe it was the fight he and Aurora had? Or before that — not killing himself because he was a reborn god. He and Aurora could have made a pact then, could have ended each others lives — at least then they would have been together.

Now he was alone. And the one thing he’d found that made him happy he’d fucked up. He wasn’t mad at Jay. Nox hadn’t said no. Never resisted the advances and probably had encouraged it. It was nothing more than relief — they were friends. It meant something but not more than what he had with Raffe.

And until he could talk to Raffe, make his confession the deep well of guilt would only grow stronger. He just stood in his room staring across his bed at the Lotus in the window.

A soft buzz in the lower rooms below signaling a show change was about to happen brought Nox out of his thoughts enough to look through the messages on his phone. A message from Raffe blinked and he looked quickly. He wasn't working and would meet him here. Nox sent a quick reply

I'll be on the floor

He should sleep but he didn't want to be groggy when he saw Raffe, he would survive another few hours awake. He'd slept on less before. Nox made a quick cup of coffee from the machine in his room and went down stairs and pushed open the doors from the back into the main area...

[[ Jumping into Elyse's thread while Raffe wraps up with his thread. ]]
[[Jumping back in here to wait]]

Nox walked up the stairs feeling dead tired. He wanted to talk to Raffe. He needed to, he didn't want to wait till morning. If Raffe was done with him, Nox didn't want to take advantage of the comfort Raffe could offer him. He sat down in front of Raffe's door and leaned his head against the door jamb and pulled his knees to his chest and it wasn't long before he was out. The fight over the course of the past few days seeped into his bones and sleep took him into his nightmares...
[[ Conversation with Elyse in the other thread

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