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So What Now?
Alex's hand fell the moment Ivan spoke. She'd have said he startled her but he hadn't she'd felt him come up. She hadn't wanted to be surprised by it all. She felt each word, and every emotion he spoke and knew it for true. It made her feel bad.

She sighed. "It is too far to walk and it's too cold. You said you lived above the bar. Do you have anything to eat? I'm a little hungry, and I can cook if you have nothing prepared."

Alex hoped he was nothing like a regular bachelor - no food - always on take out. She sighed. "Or we could get takeout."
She wasn't sure if she wanted to talk or just get off her feet, but food right now sounded better than anything, and maybe they did need to talk. But Alex wasn't sure that they had many more topics to cover.
He grinned at her. Well at least she wasn't storming off anymore. And he decided that he liked her a lot for that reason. He knew that this wasn't one of those sitations where he could just try to smile his way out it.

For one, he'd been too mad to smile. Mad at her? Now that he'd thought about it, though he knew why he was pissed. Vega. A man he thought was a good cop.

He soooo wanted to believe that image. Yeah, he knew there were bad cops. Intellectually. But he'd never really seen anything that qualified, at least nothing that couldn't be chalked up to being nervous or stressed. Going from dealing with a dead kid in the streets immediately to a domestic disturbance or a traffic stop...well you could underatand that. Cops or no, they were still just human. He liked to believe if he saw something bad he'd stop it.

His dad was a cop and was good. End of story. So to him a cop was good. And Vega had been a good cop, he thought. So he wanted to make excuses for him. And Nox was grandfathered into all that.

Stupid. He didn't know if he could explain that to her. Maybe he didn't have to.

But it was cold. "I've some leftovers my ma forced me to take."
That he would eat with relish, he didn't say. Nobody cooked like ma. But he also knew he sounded like a kid, with no food in his fridge but beer. Still, not like he was ever home long enough to keep food that didn't go bad.

"But I got a stack of take out menus. Take you on a tour of the world without leaving my apartment."

Then he did give her that smile that either led to a laugh or a huffed stomping off. But she'd offered so he wasn't worried.

"Let me settle the bill,"
He led her inside, settled up- along with taking the rest of the bottle of tequila and limes. Georg half smiled and nodded his chin in approval. Ivan tried to ignore it and they headed up.

It was a small two bedroom. Not messy. Ma had been death on messes, dishes in the sink, dirty bathroom, even unmade beds. Habits long ingrained. Not much adorned the walls. Few pictures of his family, one or two books for a bike he was rebuilding. On one shelf was a model engine he'd built by hand. It was about as big as a basketball. The project was his final, requiring hours at the lathe and studying the mechanics of the whole thing. He was proud of it. His TV/Music wall was pretty large. The latest gaming console was built into it as well, controllers on the table. And it smelled pretty good.

Gesturing to his chairs and couch, he said "Have a seat anywhere. Here are the menus. Pick anything. Another drink?"
He was already getting the knife, cutting board, salt and shot glasses.
Alex felt the shifting emotions. Anger, pride and gratefulness followed by a little confusion and then finally dissatisfaction. This was why Alex didn't let her self feel what others did. She didn't need their emotional shit. She had her own to deal with.

But they went up to his apartment and for a bachelor pad it looked exactly as Alex would expect - sparse. But at least it was clean and smelled like it was cleaned often not covered up with some scent or another.

It showcased the difference between Ivan and Vega. Ivan came from humble beginnings. Vega's house had been grand and gaudy. The rooms she saw had been either immaculately decorated or horrid, depending on the state of them. But as Alex sat down she took comfort in the simplicity of it all. They could do left overs, but Alex was in the mood for something a little closer to home. She chose a decent Italian restaurant.

But ivan was busy getting stuff ready for more shots. "I think I'm done. Work in the morning and I've already said too much. Vega is a cop, you can't go around accusing him of things without proof. Even IA won't go for it. And you've seen his record. Nothing but his own admission gives us any reason to suspect things."
The pouring tequila splashed around the cup and he frowned at the mess. Not that that was really what bothered him. She was right.

He poured a glass of water as well, then turned, bringing over the tray with the shots and stuff. If she was done, that was fine. "Still, IA isn't gonna ignore what two on the force- three if you count Johnson- are gonna say. At the least, they'd look into it. Wouldn't be hard to find a pattern. Still..."

He sat, looking at her, drink untouched, then ran his hands through his hair. "What a fucking mess."
He paused, thinking. After a moment, "Still, better to know, i guess."

Well, given her abilities..."....or maybe not."
He was quiet, thinking about it for a moment. At the end of the day, nothing had changed. In any event....he thought about how angry she had been. No. Not just anger.
Hurt. She'd wanted to lash out in anger at the guy too. That had been obvious. "I am sorry i was an asshole to you about him. Volodin. That I accused you of anything. I think I know you better than that."

He smiled weakly. "Must be tough having to feel your emotions and everyone else's too. Sorry for adding to it."

There was a knock at the door and he opened it, paid for the Italian. Already, the place smelled good. He brought the bags over along with some plates and utensils.
Police Scanner report

A hot burning fire has been reported in the Red Light District. Sources say the fire is out and only one building was damaged. Earthquakes are now reported with an epicenter near the reported fire. Possible Channeler activity - requesting Domovoi backup immediately!
Alex laughed. "IA may look at it and I'm sure Vega's been accussed of being on the take with that inheritance of his. I doubt you will find anything. Did you think he might be misleading you at all? His cases don't cover kilkids very often and he always gives you a man. Maybe a dead man, but always gets his perp. The Atharim have been at this a long time. They know how to stay hidden."

Alex hadn't realized how hungry she was as she polished off the plate she'd ordered. "But you are right it's a mess."

Bring Bas into the conversation was a little uncomfortable. She only shrugged. It was what it was. And he was right about it, it's why she never said anything. She knew the game before she started it and had completed it none-the-less. But he was dead and there was nothing else to worry about.

"It's no more difficult than your own. My parents were like me, they taught me how to shield, how to ignore things that weren't my own. I don't even notice most of the time. But I'm a low level empath. I can't dig deep, or manipulate someone. My father might tell you a different story. The Atharim have hunted him for years and I fear they may have gotten him this time. His own fucking daughter too." Alex sighed.


Ivan frowned. His own plate was only half empty and he was kinda full. She had scarfed hers down in record time. He looked at her wondering where it all went? She was slender with all the right curves in all the right places. Must have a killer metabolism. Or else being an empath burned off an awful lot of calories. The memory of their dance, the feel of her body against his came to him. He felt foolish for ending the kiss. At the time though, it had just felt....wrong.

Which WAS wrong. It wasn't like he'd done anything wrong. He wasn't the one who had bailed with only the briefest of good byes. It hadn't been serious. At least, nothing verbal was communicated. But it had felt like home. And then one day she was gone. He shoved the feelings aside. Move on.

"I suppose you're right about Vega. And the Atharim. I suppose it's something that his cases were....what they were."
No. There he was making excuses again. A dirty cop is a dirty cop.Not like his Dad and Uncle. It was black and white. You worked within the law or you didn't.So what does that make you? He had been willing to work with Atharim. Not to violate laws or rights. But just to get the job done.

Or was that the first step? Did all dirty cops start of just trying to
do something good with questionable methods? He wanted to ask pops about that.

His eyes raised at that last bit. "Your sister? She killed your father?"
She sounded so....non-nonchalant about the whole thing. Empaths and people out to kill you and yours? Your own sister involved? And this was normal. Her eyes seemed deep and still. They had to be hiding so much more pain.

He reached out and took her hand, hesitantly. Not as a means to an end. Just as support. "I'm sorry."
He wished he knew what else there was to say.


Alex scoffed. "She is not my sister. My father gave her mother his seed because he had deluded her. It tore my family apart. He manipulated the Atharim woman into falling in love so she wouldn't kill him. He was stupid or whatever birth control she was on failed. When she found out what my father had done, and that she was with child she ran away. I was five when it all happened. The Atharim don't let us survive, he assumed they would both be dead. But Aria later found out. My father vowed to kill her himself, but I think Aria got him first."


He thought back to all the people he'd known. Seemed like they came from every kind of family. But sometimes, what they thought of as 'family' was more like a war zone. "Sometimes I feel guilty that my family life was so normal,"
he said after a moment. Maybe the wrong thing to say. He didn't know.

She didn't seem comfortable with this line anyway. Every question
seemed to bring a sharp retort. He wasn't gonna push her. They could relax and just talk. Well, he should be honest. He decided it was easier to face the other elephant in the room. "Look, about downstairs. The kiss. I wanted it to happen. I just felt guilty. I'm still getting over someone. I didn't want to treat you like a rebound."


Alex shrugged. "Family is what you make of it. Normal is good." She smiled to reassure him. It hadn't been overly unexpected for him to bring up the kiss. The emotions in the room were far too strong to not have some discomfort. They were in his apartment after all.

Alex smiled. "I've been treated far worse by guys worse than you Ivan. Don't think I'm some girl who is all righteous and good. I was sleeping with Bas for the simple fact that he was great in bed. In my line of work, and with my ability having more than sex usually ends badly. The guy either gets tired of me always asking him what he's feeling or asking him why he's projecting so loudly. As for getting over someone, well that will happen in time. If you aren't ready you aren't ready. I kissed you remember. Work place relationships don't work out well. So there's always that too. I'm not looking for Mr. Right. I'm not looking for a relationship. But I'm also not looking for a one night stand."


He chuckled. The ground seemed safer here. "Never said you were all righteous and good. I just don't like using people, is all. I didn't know what you were about. I know I am a flirt. And I have no issues with going further. But you never know. Everyone is different. I didn't know what you expected."

That said, he looked at her. She was straightforward and he liked
that. But there was an underlying hardness to her. She was used to
being alone. They get tired of her? That just made him sad.

Careful there Supercop. The name made him wince. He knew he had
a savior complex. And then, something occurred to him. And he felt a
sense of liberation. "So....since you already have a
good read on any room, I'm just gonna be honest with you. I am
attracted to you. Obviously. And you are intelligent and straightforward. But you also make me sad. And I feel like I wanna help you. Dumb, I know. Naive man and all that. I can be your friend, though."

His mind added the words "with benefits" but he pushed them away. She was probably aware of them, but the fact he didn't say it had to tell her that he was trying to....

what was he trying to do? Who the hell knew anymore.


Alex chuckled, he was projecting. "We are friends. I don't need protecting though." She grinned at him. "What do you want to do about this Ivan?" she said in a sultry voice.

(( let you decide what to do about the police scanner report ))

Edited by Alex, Jan 9 2018, 05:59 AM.
He raised his eyebrows. Her voice was like a purr and he definitely felt the motor running. He wasn't usually used to the girl being so....forward. But she wasn't a girl. Not in the slightest.

That added something to it all. You know. On top of the whole she is like seriously the hottest woman right now and totally sitting in my living room and purring at me. Purring! Time to step up, buddy. "Well, I know what I'd like to do..."
and he took her hand, leaned in, and kissed her deeply.

This time, he ignored the tiny voice of guilt. Nope. She wasn't some flighty girl. Neither was Zo. He shoved the thought away. And he was frankly curious. She was an empath. He wondered if that would make things different.

Alex made a soft noise as Ivan kissed her. The first touch was always surreal. Alex had to pull her shields tighter around her. They'd been freer than usual with the alcohol. Her head was fuzzy as the kiss lingered and grew heavier. The police scanner went off but Alex pressed her mouth tighter against his and pulled herself into his lap, her skirt riding up. "Bedroom."
She whispered through breaths and kissing. Whatever it was didn't need them.

He barely heard the interruption of the scanner. She was quick and it was gone and she was on him. And that's there was. Her. Him. Now. He stood and picked her up with ease, carried her into the bedroom. And let himself go. Got lost in her. The here. The now. It was all that existed.

It wasn't love. It wasn't commitment. It was connection. He hadn't felt connected to anyone in a long time. Life. Work. Loss. (Stop. Forget about her. She's gone. ) It felt like he had lost something. But at least...for now...with Alex... They were just two human beings, using each other to fill a need. Sad? Maybe. Probably. But it was also life. Glorious beautiful heartbreaking life-affirming you-are-not-alone life. And for now, that was all he needed.

And it was what he found in her arms. She was as much lover as comforter. She pushed him but also cradled him. He was by one moment passive, the next aggressive. In the end, he never had the chance to notice if her being an empath was different than any of the other times.

He felt more emotional than normal, that was for sure. Usually, at the end of the night, he felt tired and spent. But not emotional. Never. But here, with her...there had been comfort. Tenderness. Maybe that was her gift to him. What she sensed he needed. A part of him felt the tearing still, but it had lessened.

The empty ache was filled for a time.

Or maybe it was just tonight, the whole craziness. How he was feeling. Loss. Either way, he curled around her protectively. He wasn't going to get tired of her. He didn't want to be one of those guys. The ones who'd taught her that she wasn't worth being around beyond a good lay. He could give her that at least.

God, I am such an idiot!

For Alex it had been a while. Bas was her last. The new job had given her way too much work and not enough free time. This was the best of both worlds. At any moment they could be called upon and the either would understand. It was their life.

Ivan was young, strong, good looking. And if this night was anything to go by Alex could have a lot of fun with him. Maybe teach him a few of Bas' tricks.

But there was only one problem with being an Empath when it came to sex. The connection was always strong. Alex could read his moods, know what he needed and she could anticipate it. With Bas and the power it was empty for the first time. That was the reason she had clung to his bed, had called him when she needed to drain her self. He called for the passion and kink of it all. It worked for both of them.

Ivan might be able to play part of the game, but she wanted to feel nothing of a person once again. Curled in his embrace he was lost in thought Alex spoke softly so not to startle him. "Next time, try holding your gift."

Her words were barely audible at first. And then it took him a moment to understand what she meant. And then he quirked a smile. He hadn't of holding the power during sex. How did she....Well, he knew. Duh. He should be upset. Well, not really. It was her life and all that. Still, it would be kinda something if Volodin of all people gave him a gift from beyond the grave.

He seized the power. If her skin against his was warm and like silk before, well, now...God, it was like he could feel every part of her almost from the inside. The smell of her hair against his face was intoxicating. And he felt a poweful surge of energy. If he had been seeking connection before, now it was something else entirely.

He laughed and rolled her over, a twinkle in his eye. "Like this?

Alex laughed. "Exactly like that."

Ha! So the next morning Ivan awoke, thankfully, without a hangover. Maybe the power had helped. Then again, feeling Alex all warm and soft curled up alongside him probably had something more to do with that. He almost didn't want to leave the warmth of the bed. He got up to use the rest room and take a shower, letting her sleep. It had been a good and fun night and he felt refreshed.

And...strangely, he felt free. From what, he wasn't really sure. He just felt lighter. Liberated. For a little while. It helped. He had to move on. Dumb to get so caught up. He toweled off and put on some sweats and a t-shirt, then headed to the kitchen to make some coffee. He at least had that. He wished he had some breakfast stuff. He was hungry and he bet she was too. Well, there was take out again.

He ordered from a place he liked pretty well, then went into the bedroom to get his wallet and check the feeds and scanner. She could sleep however long she wanted to.

He saw the Domovoi APB. Well, night shift had covered it, whatever it was. Not like they woulda done any good being there all drunk and all. He'd have to check and see what happened. He lost track of the time as he read and waited for the food. Finally a noise got his attention and he turned to see Alex come out of the back room.

Rounds two and three were even more interesting. Round two was blissfully quiet. The second power filled one Alex actually hinted at things to see what Ivan would do. He hadn't disappointed. It was an experience not trying to relive the good ole days. You find what you like and you go with it. If Ivan took offense, well that was a discussion they'd have to have later.

Sleep had come and taken Alex away. She hadn't meant to spend the night, but between the rousing games and the drinking it was not surprising. She'd felt Ivan get up and do his thing. Apparently, he wasn't concerned about a woman still asleep in his bed so Alex rested a while more before her internal clock and a stiff body made her get up. Clothes were hard to find so she pulled on what she could find, which happened to be one of Ivan's discarded t-shirts and walked out to where she felt his presence.

She leaned over his back and pressed her body to it as she wrapped her arms around him, "Morning Cowboy. I'm starving, what do you ha...?"
Then Alex remembered: ma's cooking or take out, and sighed. "What did you order?"
she asked as she moved around him and straddled him. Maybe a final round before work. Maybe spending the night hadn't been such a bad idea.

Ivan liked the way she felt of course. Liked it too, much now that she was all on him and stuff. But she also cracked him up.
Cowboy? He kinda liked that. Some saying came to mind...something he heard in some stupid American bar he'd been to once when he'd been seeing this girl. No. Not a saying. A song. "Save a horse. Ride a cowboy."

He laughed and brought his hands around under her thighs to cup her sweet little ass. "Saddle up,"
he whispered, biting her lip, and seized the power again before kissing her. If nothing else, he wanted to thank Nox for helping him learn to do that without having to calm down. That woulda definitely messed up the mood. And she was all kinds of frisky. Little fire cracker that one. And he hadn't realized he was still, too.

So sometime later yet again, she was sitting at the table, this time- thankfully, with his boxers on underneath his shirt this time. All he needed was to see her get up and reach for something high up so he could catch a glimpse and he'd be in trouble yet again.

So yeah, thankfully, a little more clothed. And, too, the place he'd ordered from had been incredibly slow. Like super slow. Like the food might even be cold slow. And he was pretty happy about that. Perfect timing.

They ate and drank their coffee and chatted about nothing at all. It was fun. Relaxing. It had to end, he knew. Real life was about to intrude in on them the minute they got dressed for work (or at least, Alex dressed enough to go home and change). Then it'd be back to the usual routine.

But he had a friend on the force. A real one. Someone he could hang out with. Play with. And just generally enjoy relaxing. And that was pretty fucking cool.

[[with Alex]]

Edited by Ivan Sarkozy, Jan 11 2018, 12:34 AM.

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