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Making it Official
#11
He hadn't said anything about what the tattoo meant, Lucas had figured it out, it wasn't that it was overly complicated, but he wondered how many times he'd unknowingly done so. But Nox couldn't help himself. He grinned playfully at Lucas, "Pretty and smart. Ain't Aria lucky!"


Nox looked down at his arm where Lucas had stopped in mid stroke and the irrational fear embedded it's hooks in his mind. The tattoo wasn't even halfway done yet. Nox fought every urge he had to move, it was like fighting with an oni on top of him, a near impossibility. Fear clearly in his voice. "I'll answer your question, but please for the love of god do not stop unless you have to absolutely do so."
Nox pushed himself into the back of the chair and laid his head upon the back and closed his eyes and focused on breathing. It was almost as challenging as not moving.

Lucas gave him a smirk but went back to his work.

Nox didn't open his eyes, but the hum of the gun was oddly relaxing. He ignored everything but the information he was about to tell Lucas. He really couldn't speak for Aria, only what he knew of her, and his own experiences.

Nox took several deep breaths before he started. "Would you sleep with the enemy if it meant saving your life for another day, when leaving would raise more alarms and send them hunting you only to die at their hands? Wouldn't you risk saving your own skin by taking the least risky move? For Aria, the Regus, our beloved leader,"
Nox nearly spat the word out, it made him cringe inside to think that zealot controlled his life. "He already knows what Aria is. Told her straight out she should have been drowned straight out of the womb. But her mentor took pity upon the child and raised her as something she was not. He kept Aria secret, until the day Aria confronted him, and then he threw her under the bus, like everyone who wants to save their own skin."


Disgust and anger were better than fear of things, Nox wished that he could push it all away as easily as Aria did. Wished the emptieness she tried to teach him was there, but it only came with the power, and he was not about to enhance his senses just to feel empty of emotion. "I have only been a bane to my own existence for a few years. Aria has known even less than that what she truly is. Though she has always felt like an outsider. And I cannot speak for Aria, but I mark myself with their calling card, to survive another day. Who would think that a godling knowing fully well the stance upon which the heart of the organization has taken would willingly and knowingly become one, to hunt down his brethren. To be the monster hunting the monster. It is survival and only survival that I am sitting her donning the thing that will likely be my end."



Edited by Nox, Jan 21 2015, 09:45 AM.
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#12
Nox continued to joke but it was becoming clear to Lucas that he had been right. Joking was a way to keep things manageable for him, to keep them at arms length. He supposed that was one way of handling stress, at least for a short period of time. But in the long run, he would have to deal with it.

But even as he thought it, Nox made it clear the dangerous game he and Aria and his sister were playing. Lucas ground his teeth, a sickening dread in the pit of his stomach. It wasn't enough that Aria had her internal struggles to deal with. No, she had to part of some crazy cult that wanted her dead. That she couldn't escape from.

He continued to work, listening with half an ear. He felt powerless. What was he? What could he do? What difference could he make? Nox's words pulled him out of his thoughts. Nox was trapped too. It was clear the tattoo was not something he enjoyed. There was no cathartic release in the pain. If anything, it made the relatively minor pain worse because it was coupled with an emotional one.

Despite their beginning, Lucas found himself liking Nox. He wasn't sure why the man was so loyal to Aria so quickly. Course, they could ask that about him too. Maybe she just elicited it.

Nox wasn't a rival though. More importantly, he seemed genuinely to be genuine in looking out for Aria. She needed that. She knew her weaknesses, it seemed. Or was learning them.

That was enough for him. "I think we're on the same team Nox. Whatever team that is, anyway. I don't have much to offer. But it's yours. You just keep Aria safe. I guess that extends to your sister too."


It seemed like he was just getting into things deeper when the consequences just seemed to get worse and worse. Still, what was he going to do? Just walk out on her? Valentin hadn't walked out on him. No. That wasn't the kind of man he chose to be. More than that, though. He cared.

He stuck his hand out to shake Nox's hand. This didn't mean they were friends. Allies for now. With a common goal. That was enough for him. "Deal?"
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#13
There was a reason Aria liked Lucas, Nox was starting to see why. He did nothing but try to help her, and he couldn't fault the man for that, he'd do the same thing. Nox swallowed as Lucas had stopped working to shake his hand. Nox took and shook firmly, but it wasn't a power play. There was nothing to gain from pushing Lucas into disliking him, they'd worked passed that initial reaction. Nox only hoped he didn't make matters worse. "Aria's family. I wouldn't have it any other way."
He'd look out for them, and Aria would watch his back, it was all part of the package. It was family and that was part of what Aria needed most of all.

But Lucas had offered help and Nox grinned, it wasn't exactly help he needed but it would go to have someone else to convince Aria to move. "I'm sure you have plenty to offer, just not to me."
He smiled to himself as he ignored what Lucas was doing, he caught a glimpse of it and had to avert his eyes, something about watching just made it worse. "I do have something you can help me with."


Nox looked over at Lucas, all humor drained from his body. "Where Aria lives is not safe, for her, her friends, or you. She lives too close to the people who could do us all harm."
He wasn't going to tell Lucas how close, or where but the danger was real. "She likes living alone, I get that, but she doesn't need it. Aurora and I have a place we are fixing up. Plenty of space, I'm working on making a space for Aria. It's slow cause the money trickles in and there are a lot of things that need doing. I would like your assistance in two things if you think you are game. The first being obvious help me talk her into moving. Pretty sure she'll like what's going on. Sound proof room, specifically sound proof bathroom, nice large bathtub like she has. Good for basic sensory deprivation."
He grinned at other implcations for their uses. "It's small but both would be only for her. She can come and go as she pleases, but it gives her human contact who aren't going to interfere, she needs people she doesn't think so though, but you prove that she does greatly."


Nox smiled, "The second, is more artistic in nature. Aria has one thing on her walls, that's the drawing you made of her tattoo. I was thinking, hoping more to the point, that you could paint something on the walls of her room. No concrete walls, no straight up flat paint. I'm not saying she needs childhood walls, with cartoon bears and the like, but she needs peaceful and colorful and something. I don't expect Aria would decorate anything, ever."


Nox quickly glanced at the tattoo, it could see it's end in sight, he sighed with relief the whole heart wrenching, soul bearing session would be over, and hopefully to good ends all around.


Edited by Nox, Jan 22 2015, 12:44 PM.
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#14
It seemed the tension between them dissipated now that they understood each other. Lucas was content with that. He doubted he and Nox would be friends. He was far too volatile. There was a random quality about him that just rubbed him the wrong way. Maybe it was the routine that he'd made his anchor as he pulled himself out of the mess when he was younger.

Course, what did that say about his getting involved in all this. Well....you did what you did. And you paid the consequences. It was worth it. He saw Aria's rare smile in his mind. Yeah. It was worth it.

To Nox's first request, "Yeah, I see your point. I can ask her. She wants this, I think, to be part of....maybe a family. I'll give it a shot anyway."


To his second, he snorted. "I've never really done any painting. At least, it feels differently than what I do. Still, hmm."
The idea of a larger canvas to work with. Ah, but he loved the fact that his work was on human flesh, that it was so intimate and personal.

Still, there were things he could do that weren't possible on skin. It was an interesting request. "Yeah. I can do it."


He did the finish up work and then leaned back to see the whole thing. It really was quite beautiful. And yet it represented such....evil was the only word he could think of. Any group that could treat Aria and Nox and his sister the way they did- trapping them with no hope- was evil in his book.

There had to be a way. "Is there nothing you can do?"
He hoped what he was talking about was clear. "There's got to be a way to change things, hasn't there?"
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#15
Nox gave Lucas a sheepish grin, he hadn't exactly asked Aria yet, "If you do that, it will be coming out of the blue, since I hadn't intended to ask her till it was done. If it's there, and hers no matter what, I think that would push her along."


Lucas was putting down the gun and finishing up whatever it was he was doing, Nox wasn't exactly sure he wanted to see. But he did look, the black and red dragon entwined on his forearm like it was meant to be there. A few days ago he would have worn it with a certain pride, now, now it was different. The Regus had changed all that in one foul day.

Nox whistled, "You do damn fine work. Really is a shame at what it represents."


He looked over at Lucas as he finished what he was doing. "If you just want to draw it, I can find someone else to paint it, just thought it would mean more to her if it was all your work. But totally up to you."


Nox stood up and left his sweatshirt sleeve rolled up, the tattoo was sore, and he knew it would be, there would be endless instructions on it's care, and he'd pay attention to it. But Nox reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a scrap of paper and a pencil. He'd started carrying some when he notice Aria was constantly pulling them out of her pocket, they came in handy, but he didn't typically use it, he gave it to her when she was out, the small doodles she's do and then throw away. He smiled, it was yet another thing her and Lucas shared.
Nox jotted down his address on the small slip of paper. "Here's the address to our place. Come by and take a look at the space."


He had specifically not answered Lucas question until he was near ready to go. He wasn't exactly sure how to answer it. "There isn't much I can do, but your girlfriend, she's a sneaky little minx. She's been collecting all sorts of interesting personas-non-grata as acquaintances. She has a knack for running into the likes of us in her hunts. I don't think she's formulating a plan to get us all out alive, mostly her own pretty little skin, but I think her heart won't allow the rest of us to sink in the pit anymore than she would herself. I'll follow where ever she leads, I'll protect her best I can. But in the end, she's the one protecting me."
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#16
Lucas laughed at Nox's comment. "I think I can be a bit more subtle than 'Hey Aria! You need to move!' Just knowing about it, I can be watchful."
He frowned. He remembered her kicked in door. She'd never really explained it, but he'd seen her bruises from the other night, as well as a cut. And a bullet wound. Other scars"Yeah, I'll figure something out."


He took the address from Nox. "I'll come by.
The idea of doing work that large was growing on him.

Most of all, though, he appreciated what Nox said. It was a mensch thing to say. "You're a good guy Nox. I appreciate that."
Nox was being honest with him. Turn about was fair play. "Sometimes I feel like there's not much I can do. The more I find out about this world that you all run in so freely, the more I realize that I really can't do much."


He put up his hands to stop anything he would say. "I know, I know. Just a momentary thing. I don't wallow anyway. It's unhealthy. All I'm saying is I'm glad she has a friend who can help her too."
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#17
Nox chuckled to himself mostly, his thoughts ran to places he knew he shouldn't say, to things girls boyfriends or brothers said to him when he was taking the girl out of the joint instead them doing so. It wouldn't be good to imply he had designs on Aria. He didn't, not anymore anyway. Not since she'd asked him to keep the sanity in check.

He took a deep breath and smiled at Lucas. "You do plenty, trust me. You don't need to fight her demons, you don't have be in the same room when she's falling down the rabbit hole. I see the light in her eyes, that's all you bro. All you. And you know as well as I do that she'd kick the ever loving shit out of you if you tried to do the fighting for her."
He grinned at Lucas.

Nox asked for totals and all that extra stuff and paid Lucas with a generous tip. He had no idea if that was customary or not, but really didn't matter, he had done a good job of not hurting him too much even despite his dislike in the beginning. He was happy that it was working out a little better.

"I'll catch her when she falls you have no doubt, but you are the one pulling her back up. She's changed that much in the little time I've known her, the actual fight to live, is stronger, you just keep doing what you are and we'll all survive just a little bit longer and maybe we'll get through this hell of a situation, and live happily ever after, until the next shit storm anyway."


Nox offered his hand. "Been a pleasure bearing my rambling fears to your artful hands. Look forward to showing you the space."
Nox gave a small flourish of a bow.
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