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Ivan grimaced to himself and then squared off to face everyone. He knew Vega wouldn't be happy. Alex wasn't happy. Clearly. Johnson was confused. Cruz was inside with his mom getting chewed out still. Probably.

"Look, let's all go inside and talk."
Who knew what tools these Atharim had, especially if they had been around as long as it seemed. He knew what kind of surveillance equipment was out there. Parabolic lenses were just the tip of the iceberg.

Nox started to say something, his mouth opened but Dorian raised his hand and it closed with a click and the look shared between them was anything but friendly. Dorian's voice was stern and commanding like any father. To Nox, he said "Let's go inside, you might need a drink for this. God knows I do."

Ivan chuckled. Vega was right. "Yeah, I think we all do."

They went inside, Nox seemingly slow as he brought up the rear. He spied the security cam. Just the pin tip. "Your security is tight, right Vega? Can't be hacked?"

Nox scoffed. "Sage hacked his system in three minutes flat. The Atharim probably are already in. Sucks Sage is incapacitated at the moment."

Ivan looked back at him as they followed Vega to the study. "Anything you can do? You know, with the power?"
He thought about it. "Maybe put a light in front of the camera. Some moving air to mask the sound?"

Nox shrugged. "Maybe."

But Dorian interrupted Nox's next words. Just cut the power. Until Sage gets back to full capacity anyway, it's just a means to letting the Atharim see around my house."
Dorian didn't wait for anyone to agree and left the room, supposedly to remove power to the security system.

Vega was only gone for a moment, thankfully. Alex still seemed to seethe with hate and Calvin maybe still looked confused.

Once he returned, it was time. Crap. This was gonna sound really dumb now. But he owned it. To Alex. "Vega and Nox may BE Atharim, but they are not. At least not any more. Nox is a channeler. Atharim hunt channelers. And you saw Vega's son. I'm sure you've guessed that Vega has made a choice about his loyalties."
He really wished he could see her pretty green eyes smile about now. Prolly wasn't gonna happen, though. Not anytime soon. Maybe later, though. Maybe during a lull. They'd talk and he'd make her laugh and who knew where that could lead?.......ANNNNNNND he knew what he was doing. Stalling. Distracting himself.

To Vega. "I called Alex and Johnson because we need help if we are going to stop the Atharim from hurting Cruz or Nox or my family. Alex can help us...if she's willing. And Johnson is unknown to them."
He looked at the man. "If you want to. You don't have to stay. But these ....people kill those with special abilities."

He shrugged. Suddenly it all sounded lame to him. But there they were. "I'm not saying we try taking the Atharim down. But maybe we can protect ourselves and those closest to us. At least get some breathing room. I don't know."

Vega was a dad. He had been acting the dad. And Ivan DID not like thinking of himself as a kid. He was a grown ass man! So why did he feel so dumb, now?

[[with dorian/nox/alex]]

Edited by Ivan Sarkozy, Dec 14 2017, 05:02 PM.
The boy who'd turned himself in for murder walked freely around Dorian's property. Alex's jaw dropped at the realization that he was Atharim. The ink covering his skin didn't look like the boys arm and it was lost in the rest of the black ink covering Vega's skin. Alex would never have known. His emotions were never anything but cop related. It was then that Alex wished she saw more than just emotions. How many times had Vega lied to them thinking he was being the good guy.

Ivan took charge and the boy started to growl. Alex wasn't sure if that was his feelings or if it was a physical reaction. But she was definitely feeling him now. A tight knot of emotions. So tangled she couldn't wrap her head around him. He hadn't been this tied up before in the precinct. But here and now he was strong - felt strong.

Dorian was no nonsense with him and they walked into the house. Alex was still pissed off. Dorian had been lying. Ivan was being a fool and getting involved with these so-called Atharim. Like those people could ever change their allegiance. And Ivan said pretty much that when Dorian returned from safeguarding their conversation. What else did the Atharim do? They had been around for centuries..

Alex had no idea how Ivan thought she could help or why she would ever want to. "I don't know how I can help."
She was just a profiler. This wasn't her game. And she didn't want to get involved in Atharim affairs. They had killed her sister and probably killed her father. Luka still hadn't found him.
Dorian watched as Nox's anger with how Ivan handled things grew into a fury. Ivan was impetuous. He was spontaneous. He was causing the boy to have a coronary. Nox had laid out the perimeter in minute detail. He knew where every trap was, he had a hacker monitoring his security system. Sadly, Sage was also ill and caused problems as well. Nox knew every nook and cranny of the estate. And Ivan just introduced not one but three unknown variables to Nox's precious calculations.

Ivan wanted to take Alex and Calvin inside. Nox had already insisted we remove anyone Dorian didn't trust from his staff, and now they were letting two near complete strangers and cops into his sanctuary. Dorian knew he had all the right reasons. And honestly if Alex or Calvin and even Ivan knew the things that Nox and and he did for their cause. They would arrest them both without fail.

When Ivan said they weren't Atharim, Dorian wasn't quite so sure. Nox was born Atharim. He'd chosen the path himself, but Nox knew nothing else. He always hunted monsters. Killing men and women because they were a danger was not foreign to him. Dorian had seen his profile before he'd lost access too the servers. He was a good hunter. He had mostly monster kills under his belt but there were a few wolfkin and sentients. Humans who had caused problems to the point that the Atharim had no choice but to kill them. Dorian knew they ate at the boy, but he did his job. He was still Atharim. He would be Atharim till the day he died. Dorian was a father first and foremost.

"Before you decide know that Nox and I are Atharim, we will always be Atharim. The moral compass doesn't tilt in the same direction as yours. I am a corrupt cop. I am paid to look the other direction by a secret organization and I do so willingly and knowingly. I have steered cases away from Atharim. I have not followed promising leads. I have done things in the name of the Atharim because what the Atharim do is important. There is nothing in this world that will ever make me change my mind. I wasn't born into this like Nox was. I choose it. I choose to be this person. My son changes one thing and one thing only - I will not let them kill my son, or my wife and our family we've built here. I am Atharim. Because they hunt me does not change what I am. If the laws change and the laws will change now that the Ascendancy has revealed gods, and their powers to the world. And with them the Atharim. When they change to find us and try us for our past transgressions you all become accomplices in all that we do from this moment forward. Stay if you think we will win this war, but if you doubt we are in a war then you need to walk now."
Ivan could only stare, frustration building inside him. Seriously? Seriously? Here he was going out of his way to smooth things over between everyone- well, specifically between Alex and Nox, trying to play peace maker- and Vega of all people is the one to make it blow up in his face?

The guy was a cop. Deescalation was the name of the game for ANY situation. Nothing good happened when tempers were hot and people's egos started blowing up. Fucking idiot! he thought. Yeah, this was the time to bring your double agent past up. Of all times. We got Johnson, the new guy, just out of the academy and filled with mostly theory and idealism. And we have Alex, a profiler shrink who detests Atharim but seemed to him to just start warming up- or defrosting if you wanted another way of looking at it- to the idea that they could work together even a little bit.

Fucking moron. Yes, perfect time to remind everyone you were a liar and a sneak. The situation was in shambles. He wracked his brain, trying to think of what he might say to salvage the situation.

Nothing came to mind. Nothing. "If that's how you want it to be, Vega, then fine. But it seems to me that you have to make your choice. Shit or get off the pot. If you're Atharim then you are Atharim. What that means legally- for both of you-"
he said shooting Nox a look- "I don't know. I do know laws are changing. And that the Ascendancy has the Atharim in his sights. You may do a good and necessary job, but you act autonomously. I can tell you that will not be allowed to continue- not without causing a whole lot of trouble."

He barely paused to breath before going, he was so mad. "I'm not gonna get into a pissing match about who is more powerful, the Atharim or the CCD. But a lot of your strength comes from being in the shadows. Now that you've been outed, that's gonna change, trust me. The next few months or year is gonna get serious for you."

He exhaled, the words gone. What had he been trying to say? What was his point. "I'd like to help your son be safe. And not let these guys come after any of us."
He looked at Alex. He looked at Nox. He looked at Johnson. Finally, he looked at Vega. "Come on, man. Let's avoid the drama and work on this together."

It was up to him. And the others of course. If he didn't to, well, he hoped at least Alex and Johnson would help. Alex at least.
There was no way the Atharim could function without being above the law. Do you try rougarou? Do what with them afterwards? put them in jail? There was no quarter. As it should be. Same with rogue gods, sentients and wolfkin, and any other creature disturbing humanity's existence.

Nox says "So you want to help? If they come through that door right now guns blazing, you going to let me put a bullet in their head, or you going to try to bring them in peacefully?"

Ivan looked at him. "If someone busts in a room guns raised and firing, that's called self defense. Of course we can defend ourselves."

Nox shrugged. "There is nothing 'defensive' about what I would do if someone came in here and threatened me and my friends."
Nox walked over to Dorian's bar and poured a shot of tequila and tipped it back straight. It wasn't going to do any good for his nerves but it might do something about the pounding headache he had. "You want to catch the two guys who I'm pretty sure killed those kids. That's why you are here. You, and your family are safe. You get involved now, you put them at risk. The Atharim have known about you. No one has threatened you. You're a cop. Cruz, he's not safe. He's the son of an Atharim. He should be all rights be dead right now. Dorian's right, though, I'm nothing if not Atharim. Just because I won't kill a sick kid doesn't mean I won't kill someone like the guy who terrorized the city. I'd put a bullet between his eyes. I chose a side a long time ago and I took my oaths and I will die by them. I will protect humanity at whatever costs. And I'll protect myself the only way I know how."

Nox grabbed the power while he talked and crushed the crystal shot glass in a weave of air and let it settle into another glass. A pinch of shattered crystal hung in the air and Nox threw it across the room at the place a moose head had once hung. It had been gone for awhile now, but the discolored paint told the tale of it's existence. The glass shards embedded deeply into the paneling. To make a point that he wasn't going to be nice about it all.

He continued "And that's making sure these people are safe while I hunt down those hunting me and I plan on killing them before they kill me. The Atharim aren't going to stop because you put two dipshits in jail. You catch those other two, put them in jail, for what? You have nothing on them except maybe attempted murder but no proof of it right now. The Atharim have good lawyers too, just like we have cops and politicians too. You can arrest whoever you want but they aren't going to stop hunting until they are dead or too afraid to come after me."

[[with ivan]]

Edited by Nox, Dec 22 2017, 03:19 PM.
Ivan winced as Nox hit the wall with the shot glass. Not because of the violence or threat. Because his plans had been shattered like that glass.

He'd been a grade A fool. Naive, to believe they could ever work together. Nox was good to have around in a fight. No question there. But the guy was too hot-headed. Pity. Domovoi was in its infancy. They needed people to help. These Atharim- the ones with their heads out of their asses, anyway- woulda been perfect. Abso-fucking-lutely perfect.

Apparently, though, being Atharim meant having your head jammed so far up your ass that you couldn't see how things were changing.

Of course defending yourself- even using deadly force- was acceptable. In the end, dead was dead, bullet or fireball or ice hot poker down the throat or whatever. You weren't gonna arrest those things in the tunnels.

But belief was belief was belief. And Atharim never stopped believin' like the old song said. Too bad, really. Nox was a good guy. Be nice to have him on his team. Even Vega wasn't all bad.

No, be honest. He liked Vega. That's what hurt. He liked these guys. Nox had helped him channel whenever he wanted. Showed him how to fight. And Vega was a good cop, Atharim or no.

Someone upstairs was gonna have to decide.

Movement caught his attention. Johnson looked none too please. Yeah, not the best decision. Guy was all kinds of wet behind the ears. He still wasn't sure how he made the team. In either case, the man spoke up. "I can't help you. I'm sorry."
He looked at Alex for a moment- and not in the, hot-damn-but-is-she-fuckin'-hot kinda way most guys had. No he was all sad puppy faced and got out of there.

Yeah. What was the saying? A dog's dinner. Fitting.

"Alright. I'm done. I guess we go our separate ways. Keep them safe Nox."
To Vega he nodded. "For what it's worth, you're a good cop. I think deep down. Maybe that's why you became Atharim. I don't know. But times are changing. You need to make a decision. If I've already thought of it, the higher ups sure have. LT will be calling soon I'm sure. Hope you make a good decision."

To Alex, he said, "I'm sorry Alex. We don't have to stay."
She would need to be his ride.

He didn't speak again till outside. To her he could show a little more. "I thought we could work together. Kinda take the good from everyone. Dumb I know."
He grinned sheepishly. She was probably still pissed at him.

He wanted her to smile at least so he didn't feel like such a moron. "Can you give a dumb kid a ride?"
Car ride continued here
Nox was a little over the top but he managed to make Ivan see that this was not his war. But Dorian was sure it was a little too late for that. The Atharim knew where Nox's last known location was. The boy wasn't even hiding. The tech employed was military grade or better. They knew about Ivan already. They probably knew about Dorian and Cruz by now and even Alex was in danger. Calvin had done the right thing straight outta the gate and didn't get involved. Maybe not such a rookie cop after all.

But Ivan's words about being a good cop stung. Ivan thought Dorian had become a cop because he was Atharim. He hadn't. Dorian had joined the Atharim with the sole purpose of being a cop. The two were one and the same. He wasn't turned by the Atharim on some crazy case. Martin had recruited him for this purpose and this purpose alone. It was his rebellion against his father becoming a cop. But it was the Atharim cause he was helping not the other way around.

Dorian helped humanity. He knew he was a good cop, but he also knew that his loyalties were always Atharim - until they declared war on his family with not even a decree - just some outstanding rule that all gods die. Cruz would not die for what he was. Dorian patted Nox on the shoulder as he walked past. The boy was slumped over on the couch lost in whatever thoughts his brain sent at him. His problems weren't always life and death.
Nox hated being an asshole to Ivan. Hated that he had pushed so hard to keep the innocent safe, it felt wrong but he didn't want someone who didn't think before they jumped. It was bad enough he did it. But Ivan didn't understand this wasn't about good versus evil. It was bad versus badder. They weren't going to stop hunting him - not until they were all dead.

Nox felt a pang of relief and sat on the couch thinking about what was next, but there were so many other things to take care of Elyse was out and about god knows where doing god knows what. He couldn't protect her if she was gone. She was Atharim, but she was also small and innocent.

Then there was Aria who was off seeing a dangerous man and hunting an even dangerous one.

And Sage... and what had happened with Jay those were thoughts he didn't even want to have but they seemed to invade every other moment. Dorian's hand on his shoulder made him jump. And the buzz of his wallet made him jump even higher. Shit!

Nox pulled out his wallet and looked at the alert. It wasn't a text - it was Aria's emergency beacon. GPS coordinates sent with her last known location. The beacon wasn't transmitting anymore.


Nox caught Dorian's hand on his shoulder. "Keep Cruz inside. Turn the feeds back on and watch the perimeter. Aria's in trouble."

The look on Dorian's face was concern. "Should you go out alone? It could be a trap."

"It may be but Aria is in trouble. Dorian I can't. I need you here with Cruz. I'll be back as soon as I can."

Dorian laughed. "I can take care of my son while you are gone. On your way back you should stop and see Sage. Christian says he's awake and staying for a few days."

I sighed. "Maybe."
Dorian left the study and went in search of Cruz. Nox grabbed his gun and headed out the door with his leather coat. This was turning out to be a really shitty day.

continued here

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