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It had been a while since Dorian had actually been home in the daylight. Or when anyone was awake for that matter. Christian watched as Nova scampered around the front yard. There was a clear line of where the pup was avoiding along the drive and the walls. Dorian crossed across the lawn towards the pup. There was a loud blaring noise and Dorian was squating in a defensive position as his son ran out of the house with a ball of fire floating in his hands. "Fuck, son put that away."

Cruz sighed and looked at Dorian with a frown. "You didn't tell him?" He looked at Christian.

"Your father moved to fast and I forgot he didn't know." Dorian watched as Cruz took him by the arm and moved in away from his current spot and squatted down in the grass and looked like he was concentrating - taking a .... Dorian let the train of thought go. He looked around the front of the estate and saw the 10 foot high stone wall erected around the yard.

Dorian asked. "Nox's handywork?"

Cruz nodded. "I helped. There are alarms unless you come down the drive. The front door is trapped when we go to sleep, same the the side door. We might lose the door if someone trips it. We might lose half the house if someone tries to come in the windows. Nox is paranoid, Dad. He's digging a fucking tunnel in the basement. We broke through yesterday and he's got a wall of air blocking the tunnel to keep monsters out."

Dorian went into the house and down to the basement and everything looked in order. Cruz said. "In here." In the room Nox had taken to living in after he and Elyse broke up there was a fucking hole in the wall and Dorian took a step but he came face to face with something blocking his way. "He's lined this room and Christian's room with more rock, says iron or lead or something. I don't know how he knows it all looks the same to me."


Cruz shrugged. "He's protecting us. He said if the alarms were tripped at night that we needed to get down here and in the room. Said the Atharim have nasty weapons. Said we might still die but it's all he can do."

Dorian sighed as his phone rang. It was Ivan and their conversation was brief. Nox had prepared for the Atharim hunting Cruz, and now they were hunting him. Fuck! The alert had barely gone out twenty minutes ago and already the most dangerous people were chopping at the bit. Just Fuck! They were all screwed.

"Talk your mother into staying down here with Christian. You can crash down here too."

Dorian sighed but Cruz nodded. "Is Nox going to come home?"

Dorian nodded. "He's with Ivan. He'll be home."

Cruz relaxed. "Good cause he didn't do whatever it is you think it did."

Dorian laughed. "Son he did exactly what I think he did and nothing more. And he'll keep doing it even after the Atharim try to kill him."

Edited by Dorian, Aug 18 2017, 02:03 PM.
Nox hoped Ivan knew what he was doing. The best they could hope for was getting out a live for a little while. The Atharim wouldn't stop hunting them unless there was some serious power behind them. But even being the Ascendancy hadn't stopped the Atharim. Aria had lead them into the depths of hell and she came out burnt and charred just like the rest of them. No one got away clean on that.

Nox wasn't delusional, he wasn't anywhere near Ascendancy in power. But he wasn't going to let some Atharim lacky come at him because they thought he was dangerous. He was only dangerous because they made him so. He'd never killed anyone with his power, he used it to help them and they still came after him.

Cruz was outside with Nova, Christian was standing back near the porch, he couldn't see the weaves lining the yard, but he knew they were there. He knew the safe places. We'd outlined everything together. Ivan could see if he looked. Nox hoped he looked and didn't just walk and think.

Cruz waved then yelled, "Dad's downstairs. I had to take the wall down he wanted to go in."

Nox nodded. "Thanks Cruz. Keep practicing and you'll get it."
I said. He appeared to be practicing some water wave dancing thing on the outside, but Cruz was playing with water, for him it was easier to manipulate and it was benign if he screwed up. He was getting good at the impractical weaves. Manipulating complex patterns of water and spirit. They didn't do anything, but they weren't hurting Cruz, and he wasn't hurting anyone.

The walls around the estate were solid rock ten inches thick. It had taken weeks to erect the ten feet high walls with smooth edges on either side. Cruz had to redo many sections as he learned to perfect his weave. He went on like Aurora did about the chemistry and physics of it all. I listened and nodded but it didn't help, I just knew how. It was like an old memory, one you don't really remember but it's there. It was hard to explain.

"Outside is hard to defend, but between the walls, and the alarm system Cruz and I set up outside they can't sneak up on us unless they know where things are. Dorian had a decent arsenal before I came, it's since gotten better when I came home from America."
Nox said as Christian opened the door.

"I'm leaving to check on Sage. Do you want me to tell him anything?"

I smiled. "Just let him know we'll talk when he gets home."

Christian nodded. "He'll be pleased to see you are home. He didn't like you turning yourself in like that."

"It had to be done."

Christian laughed. "He's a..." Christian paused and looked at Ivan and thought better of his word choice. "You know Sage, he has his ways." He was a hacker. He did things against the law on a regular basis. We didn't need to have the one secret weapon on our side in jail. Not that a screwed up kid with no computer in his head was much help, but that hopefully will be fixed before much longer.

Nox took Ivan downstairs. "I've reinforced all the walls down here with an iron based rock, it's the best I've got to counter those weapons."
He called out from the entrance of the room with the wall removed and the tunnel he and Cruz had dug with the power. Well mostly him, Cruz's earth skills weren't as well defined as his other elements. "Hey Dorian. Ivan's here."
He'd known Vega was rich. He was a clothes horse. Tailored silk suits, practical but clearly soft leather shoes. Fancy watch despite the fact that a wallet made them unnecessary. Detectives didn't usually run down perps. (Not that Vega was dainty and prissy, of course. They'd been together enough for Ivan to know that about him.) But he looked like money.

And still, knowing all that, he hadn't expected this. The house was huge, surrounded by a high wall. Almost a castle, really. And in a rich neighborhood. Money didn't really impress Ivan. But being in the presence of wealth was always so....alien. It was a world he'd never known. Which explained Vega's dress. You have this much money, it becomes hard to figure out what to spend it on. So weird.

Still, for all of that, his respect for Vega grew. The man never put on airs. Yeah, he sometimes seemed irritated at Ivan's exuberance. For which Ivan enjoyed ribbing on him for being stuffy and old. But the man never tried to make people seem less. It was a good trait to have.

Nox, on the other hand, seemed to give off irritation and a sense of fatality. He was gonna fight, of that Ivan was sure. But he seemed like he was already resigned to dying. And maybe that was because he had knowledge and experience with Atharim.

Then again, sometimes you could know too much. Think so inside the box- or have been trained to think so in the box- that you can't see solutions that were unorthodox.

Either way, Ivan didn't care. He liked Nox well enough. He just hoped the man would not be grumpy the entire time. He was glad to be doing something. He would not stand by and do nothing. He couldn't face the memory of inaction again. Not again.

On impulse, he seized the power and felt it surge through him. It felt good, as if he were connected to a electrical socket. Everything became brighter and more vibrant. The smells in his nose and taste in his tongue made him feel alive. And invincible. Let the Atharim come. They had faced monsters and killed children. And now they knew of their tricks and weapons.

He wasn't- something caught his attention and he studied the perimeter of the wall. Threads of....spirit? And other's wove together in an intricate lace, almost a spider web. They spun off into the distance toward some central point. And no one was there. How was that possible? No one was holding that thread.

He was going to ask when he saw Cruz and Christian, Cruz weaving water and spirit. What the hell? The kid had been sick, almost dead. He'd done well, weathered the sickness. But he was still new. Now...He looked at Nox.

"You train him to do that?"
Not just the weaves in his hands. The one surrounding the building. "What is this for, anyway?"

Nox's words were sort of an answer. An alarm. An arsenal. Ivan nodded and let himself be led down into the house. Vega was there. In a fortified castle. Anticipating Atharim.

Ivan smiled. It was stupid. What they were up against was dangerous. But they were doing something! Fighting. He nodded to Vega.
"Alright then. So, where do both think we should begin?"
Dorian had been inspecting the work Nox had done in the basement. Not only had he put together a small obstacle type course, he'd reinforced the walls with what looked like lead. Those new Atharim weapons might still do damage. They really had very little go go on, and the Little Song was so very uncooperative when it came to the things she knew.

For being Nox's friend, they hadn't seen her but the one time and then only briefly. Dorian assumed Nox was talking to her. But he never mentioned it. Not that he mentioned anything much when it concerned anything other than Cruz or the house. Dorian might have to ask Christian. He wasn't the boys father, and Nox was certainly more like Cruz' friend than a mentor or body guard. As for body guards he sucked in Dorian's opinion - always off doing his own thing.

But Nox did one thing Dorian hadn't expected and that was teach Cruz to protect himself. The floating fireball earlier was only proof of that. Nox was protecting not only Cruz but Ana and Christian and himself. He scarified himself for Dorian's career without being asked. Too bad Dorian had heard Ivan believed his story and now Nox was free to go while they looked into the murder of the monster ginger. He was implicated in the kids deaths. Which was good for Nox, but his confession still put him on the Atharim radar.

What little good that did, now they would fight tooth and nail. And his very existence in this house was proof enough that Dorian had turned traitor. He sighed as he heard Nox bellowing down the tunnel entrance. He'd done a great job of shoring up the walls so nothing collapsed. And it went into the tunnels proper. But how were they supposed to keep creatures out of the house now. Nox wasn't always going to be around. He'd move one - he had his own life. Did Nox expect Cruz to do this alone?

So many questions ... This war was going to break his family. And it wasn't even their fight. Why couldn't life be simple?

Dorian found Nox and Ivan in the basement. Nox explaining what things. And Ivan asked what to do next.

Dorian shrugged. "I assume you mean hunting the Atharim hunting Nox. Unless Nox objects my gut is saying we fortified the house more. The Atharim will come at him, bringing them to us to play on our terms. Going to them only gives us the element of surprise. Here we get surprise and the advantage of knowing the territory."
Ivan asked if Nox had trained Cruz to do what he was doing. He shrugged. "I taught him the basics. He's a smart kid."
He was only a few years younger than Nox but he still called him kid. But he wasn't really a kid. Not unless he was one too and maybe he was. But right now he felt very much like an adult watching over his family.

It wasn't his family but he was going to watch over it just the same.

Downstairs Nox explained a little more about what he'd done. He wasn't overly elaborate in explanation mostly because he didn't know really how. He just knew. One of those strange things. Nox had always been a fan of fire. It was destructive and powerful, but now that he'd had the chance to play with earth it seemed so much easier. He didn't have to fight it quite so hard. He knew iron. Nox was coming to understand a little about the weave he'd seen Ascendancy do back in Siberia. That seemed like such a long time ago.

But they had more important things to work on than his memories - whatever the fuck that was all about. When Sage came back he'd talk to him about it, but until then he wanted to forget about what had happened.

Now Nox agreed with Dorian. "They will come to us. Eventually, we need to be ready."

Nox sighed. "All the alarms outside are glorified flash bang bombs, light and sound meant to stun and immobilize temporarily. We could go harder but then we run the risk of hurting innocents."
And that wasn't an option in Nox's book. That innocent could be Ana or Christian. "When Sage gets back we might be able to use his skills for some silent alarms. He and Cruz were working on things but I don't know how far they got. It'd be nice if we knew where our Atharim were. We know who's hunting me. We could track them."
If only Sage were here.
Ivan listened to Nox's explanations and tried to study out what was done- for some of it anyway. A lot of it was over his because he simply didn't have the....framework, he guessed, was the best word. Like when he was working on cars with his Pop.

Back then, it was small jobs like 'hold the flashlight'. Pops wasn't tempermental at all, but he sure didn't like it when Ivan got bored and didn't hold the light right on the spot he was working. It was all just a bunch of metal to him, back then.

And then his dad showed him how to change the oil- drain out the old, replace the oil filter, and then put in the new oil. That made sense. And then his dad showed him why the oil helped, how it reduced heat from the moving parts and so on.

And then it was helping with a radiator. And once again, after it was explained (and it fit perfectly with the idea that the engine would get really hot and needed to be cooled) it made sense.

Which led to the biggest mystery of WHY the engine got so hot- all those perfectly timed explosions going off hundreds of times a minute. It was just soooo cool. From there, you go to fuel injection, starter flywheels, transmission and axels, suspension, tires and breaks. By the time he was a teenager, it made perfect sense. Troubleshooting something was a matter of determining what was failing or not working properly in the chain: fuel, air, spark, explosion, transmission.

A framework, built up little by little. Well this was gonna be the same. And Dorian and Nox were both on the same page. Which meant that Ivan was gonna learn some really cool things. Already, he was cataloging little things he noticed, questions he might ask.

"Alright. I think that's a great idea. I need to learn this stuff like you know it."[color] He smirked at Nox. "I'm your grunt. What do you want me to do first?"

Nox wasn't opposed to teaching another godling. He didn't really care, but Ivan was a cop. He was likely on the Atharim radar. He couldn't be certain and now he had to trash his device. Dorian's too. Aria and Elyse had already trashed their wallets. Nox was reluctant to do it. It was the last of his sister. The last piece he'd been holding on that reminded him of his sister. He had some of her books left but this she'd set up, encrypted, done the programming. It was hard to smash it. He'd have to do it.

"You work with me and you will definitely be on the Atharim radar. They will hunt you and your family down. Are you ready to take that risk?"
Nox sighed. "I'll be outside, talk with Dorian see what that means. If you want to stay with us here, I'll show you what's next."


Nox went upstairs and outside. Cruz was working on his water and spirit. The boy was talented. If Nox could only show him what Manix had - but Nox wasn't stupid enough to try that. Not even a little. He wanted to try but he wasn't a healer, he know that. Death was all he was capable of...

Nox tapped Cruz on the shoulder. "We need to keep the sound and light directed outward. I can do the sound, but I've not mastered the light. I'm going to experiment."

At the word experiment Cruz stopped what he was doing, but he didn't drop the power and he got behind him but off to the side. Nox joked. "What you don't trust me?"

Cruz grinned as Nox grabbed the power and he started the directional sound. Nox clapped my hands together and it went off in front of me. Cruz wow'd and tried the weave himself but it collapsed. "Keep trying."

Nox started working on only the light portion of the bomb. It was more complicated. Earth and fire and air, spirit was even thrown in. Nox hadn't really used it for much, but it was a good binding agent. Whatever that meant. But since seeing it heal, he kept thinking to use it other things. To stabilize it.

It was like a flash light, the light was in a cone, that's what he wanted. Multiple weaves could accomplish it. But that was the route Nox went. He wondered how many he could tie together before it exploded on him. Nox hadn't gotten the cone completely tied off when Nova jumped against his leg and his concentration slipped and the sound and light weaves combined.

**Flash** **Bang**

Nova went yipping away from the sound and ran into one of the wards and more sound and flashes went off. Nox couldn't see anything. He could barely hear from the first concussive sound, but the power was still with in reach. He sent a weave of air at the pup and brought him close with a quick tug of air. Nox curled the pup in his arms and calmed him while they all got their hearing and sight back.

Edited by Nox, Nov 7 2017, 02:10 PM.
Ivan sounded ready to learn but as Nox reiterated again. This wasn't just about Ivan. It was about his family too. Dorian watched as Nox walked away. He waited until the boy was upstairs before he looked at ivan. "Before you think the boy is all doom and gloom you need to know his life hasn't been easy. His mother died from hell hound attack. His father a few years later. I'm told of grief. His sister just recently from an entirely different monster. He was born into this life. He knows the risks far better than you or I. He's not trying to scare you away because he doesn't want your help. But you have a family. He needs to make sure you understand that if you help him, your family is at risk. Because you just aren't a cop in this, you are a god and god's families are hunted and killed just the same. Brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers all slaughtered because one child got sick. If the Atharim who takes on the case is overly zealous, aunts and uncles, grandparents are all at risk. And this particular woman - she could be overly zealous."
Ivan bristled on the inside. Again, he was warned, this time by Vega. He'd already said yes how many times? They were going to come after him and his anyway? Was he going to live in hiding? Would he have to put his family in protection?

It was Pol all over again. Vendetta is vendetta. He wasn't a vigilante. He believed in the law. He believed in order. What was that saying? For evil to triumph good men must do nothing?

But Olena had died. It could have been anyone in his family, if Pop had made the stop instead of Pol. There was no buying these people off. No way to peacefully coexist.

Back and forth. What decided him was what had decided him earlier. "I understand all of that. But they are coming for me and my family anyway. I am on their radar as is Nox and you. So...what would you do? Sit and wait? I didn't ask for this fight. I am in it because of who and what I am."

Still he paused. "But maybe we don't have to face them alone."
He had one other card to play. It was a long shot. He composed his message and sent it, protocol be damned. He wondered how long it would take to make its way.

Slipping his wallet back into his pocket, he said, "I'm ready to learn. Show me the way."
Dorian started to argue with Ivan. "You've been on the Atharim radar for a while. But you haven't been attacked. You didn't know we existed save for foolish mistakes by the boy and girl who's house blew up. Ivan, you and your family were safe just by the fact you were CCDPD."
Dorian sighed. "The Atharim had no means to hide your death. They have none for mine. But Nox's he's just a boy. You get in their way and you'll..."
The basement shook and it sounded like a bomb had gone off. Dorian didn't get a chance to finish his words before he was running up the stairs with his gun drawn and out the front door.

Cruz was crouched down on the ground holding his hands over his ears. Nox was craddling the pup in his arms. Christian was no where to be seen, nor Ana. There was a small measure of panic until he felt a tender touch at the small of his back as Ana pressed passed him in her red dress and high heels and was darting towards her son.

She started shouting in Spanish, "What where the two of you thinking."

Dorian couldn't hear what Cruz replied in English. He walked towards the pair and then stopped. He didn't remember where the traps were. Were any still up? What had happened.

Nox waved his hands and series of lights floated towards Dorian. Landing lights. They faded as quickly as they lit up but they showed the clear path to his son. Dorian was grateful for the boy's clerverness despite the danger it now was causing his family.

Dorian moved out towards his son and he could hear their conversation clearly as got closer. Something about dangerous and forbidden and sending you home. Dorian stopped and walked towards Nox instead. He looked a little more addled and Dorian didn't want any part of Ana's angry side.

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