I headed to the elevator to take it down to Dae’lin’s office but I didn’t make it past the stairs. Walker was standing against the wall near the door down with a smile on his face. “There still isn’t enough info. Wanna hit the ring for a bit?”
“You sure you want to be caught hanging out with me?” I teased Walker.
“I’m stuck with you till this Dragon thing is taken care of right?”
I nodded. “I guess I’m stuck with you too.”
“So we might as well be friends?” Walker offered his hand.
I took it with a grin and nodded. “Sure why not. But yes a spar sounds great.”
“You talk anything interesting with the doc?” Walker asked.
“The usual. All my murderous tendencies and such.” I grinned at him.
“I’m surprised she hasn’t turned you in with all the death and mayhem you wreak on the world.”
“Patient/Doctor confidentiality for the win.”
Walker laughed. “Anything I should worry about?”
“No. Not really. Mostly dealing with childhood issues, continual nightmares and OCPD. The OCPD causes anxiety and depression when it gets out of hand. But we have pretty much gotten that under control.”
“And your fear of heights.” Walker laughed.
“I’m afraid of a great many things, heights is only one of them. Needles are one I haven’t conquered yet. Clowns are a bit out there too. I avoid them.”
“Seriously?” Walker laughed. “Clowns. Now I know what to get you for your birthday.”
“Oh please do. I love throwing fireballs at them.” I smiled.
“Shit, forgot about that.”
“You forgot I can throw fireballs?” I asked.
“I’m rethinking this spar.” Walker actually sounded frightened.
“I will not use fire. I promise. In the ring I mostly use just air.” I assured him.
“Don’t want to hurt us non-magnus huh?”
“It’s more so I don’t get hurt from you. You hit like a truck and I’ve had my share of broken ribs and noses because I couldn’t get out of the way fast enough.” I confessed.
Walker laughed. “I can imagine. I had my own share too.”
Once we’d changed and warmed up so neither of us pulled a muscle the gym had emptied out a little more than when we started. This one was not used as often as it was actually in HQ, most people preferred to use the ones in the residences or the Academy level ones, the equipment was better in those small gyms. But we didn’t need equipment.
The ring was just a circle tapped out on the matted floor like a wrestling ring but the Venatori didn’t just learn wrestling moves, or boxing, or any one martial arts. We learned everything. What we retained was our own familiarity with our body. It was a free-for-all for the most part. Some people pursued karate, or kung-fu. Others liked straight up boxing. My father liked MMA style fighting.
I didn’t follow any one path. I used what came easily, what kept me out of the way of their feet. It was what I would have to do if I went head to head with a supernatural creature anyway. They could easily crush me. My ability to create patterns quickly was my only saving grace.
Walker and I started circling one another. There were a few people standing around watching us. They started the typical male rooting for their friend – which wasn’t me. They thought I cheated.
Walker attacked first tiring of our circling. He was a blur of hands and feet and I had to throw up a rod of air to keep them from hitting me. Walker backed off and the rod disappeared. He shook his head, “Most Magnus can’t think that fast.”
“You’ve never seen me fight.”
A voice from the far end of the gym sounded, “Most magnus don’t use their ability to fight.”
I sighed at my father’s voice. Walker took advantage of the distraction and was once again attacking me. I blocked him with my own hand and legs – avoiding getting hit in the core or head regions. I padded my arms and legs with air so that the force of his blows didn’t crack a bone. Walker was not holding back. I was grateful he wasn’t but a little miffed too.
Walker backed off again when I landed a round house against his shoulder. He laughed. “He attacks!”
My father stepped into the ring without any shoes on and beckoned both Walker and I to take him on. Walker grinned widely and I could only sigh. This was going to be a lesson in working together. Neither of had worked with partners before, now we had to work together.
Walker grinned at me, “You remember yesterday with Aaron?”
I nodded. “Alright.” We started circling each other and Walker attacked first on my father’s right side. Which left me on his left – his weaker side. I moved in quickly but my father saw me and he turned in time to catch my hand in his. He blocked Walker’s advance with his leg and tried to sweep us both from our feet in one motion.
I stepped into my father and put my hand on his chest and a bar of air under his knees and I pushed backwards. Walker kicked at my father’s chest and Kai tumbled backwards on to his back over the bar of air I’d created.
I offered my hand to Walker and he shook it with a wide grin. “We work well together.”
“It would seem that way.” Walker offered my father a hand up.
“I wasn’t expecting you two to work well together.” Kai said slightly dazed. “New partners and all.”
I was sure that wasn’t the only thing my father was thinking. He figured we’d be at odds with one another, and we’d probably end up fighting each other, not working together.
“Next time won’t be so easy.” Kai said with a smile.
I looked at Walker and he smiled back. He turned to my father with that same grin and said, “You’re on.”
We started circling again. This time I took the offensive. I used a combination of kicks and fireworks to distract my father. Walker took the advantage and side swiped my father and he once again was on his back. I offered my father my hand and he frowned up at me. “That’s hardly fair.”
“You can do the same thing. It’s earth and fire.”
Kai frowned, “I can’t use them both at the same time.”
You don’t have to. I wove visible patterns for everyone to see. Earth first. “The base is just earth – it’s explosive but not potent enough to do any damage if you don’t hold it in your hand.” I tossed it in the air and light it on fire with a simple weave. And small sparks flew into the air like a fireworks outside. It made more noise than anything and it was distracting but it wasn’t going to hurt anyone if you were careful. “It’s what I did. I just did it faster.” I repeated the maneuver at my normal speed and it looked nearly instantaneous. “I didn’t cheat. If I were fighting a vamp I would have thrown a little more spark into it to blind their light sensitive eyes and I wouldn’t worry about where I threw it.”
“It won’t work more than once though.” Kai said flatly.
“You’d be surprised at what a loud sound will do multiple times particularly if they think you have a gun.” I smiled.
“So you just use tricks to fight.”
“When I have to fight yeah, Dad. I do. I don’t have super speed or super strength. How am I going to take down a wolf or a vamp if I have to go hand to hand? I’ll get my ass kicked. So I don’t fight them. If it comes down to it then I will.”
“You can’t win an honorable fight like that.”
I laughed. “Sure I can. I ask the rules. Typically they say – there are no rules. So I can weave a rope of air and strangle them till they pass out, or break their neck if I so choose. You think it’s cheating, but I asked. It’s not my fault they don’t know what I’m capable of.”
Kai rolled his eyes. “An answer for everything?”
I shrugged, “Again?”
Kai nodded. “I think Walker and I should go against you.”
I shrugged. “Okay. If you think you can both take me.” I was being cocky I knew it. I really didn’t expect to win. But both my father and my partner decided that I was being too cocky and came at me at the same time. I had a wall of air between me and then in a matter of seconds and they both collided.with it. I backed up and threw a bar of air at them and they flew on to their backs.
Walker laughed as he lay on the ground staring up at the ceiling. “I knew he’d not let us close, but I figured we’d be pounding air until we bruised our hands.”
Kai sat up with a frown that creased his forehead. “You think this is funny?”
Walker nodded as he sat up himself. “Yes, sir. He knew he didn’t have a chance. He did what any of us would have done, used our abilities to our advantage.”
I offered Walker a hand up and he took it gratefully. “Remind me not to piss you off.”
I smiled at him and offered my father a hand. He stared at it then up at me for a few moments before taking it. “If you’d done that in my day you would have been suspended.”
I chuckled. “I wouldn’t have done it in school. You forget I’m a grown man now Kai. I’m not some little boy looking for a lesson in how great a hunter you are.” I turned and walked away. “That’s probably enough for now. We have work to do.”
Walker nodded and headed back into the locker room with me. I heard my father’s heavy footsteps behind me. I always got looks when other’s showered with me. But they were the ones looking not the other way around. I knew to mind my own business or get a beat down.
My father and Walker both watched me. It would have been uncomfortable with their eyes on me but I knew they were both making sure I didn’t take a peek at what they had to show the world. Like I gave a fuck how well they were hung, or how hot they were underneath all those clothes. I smiled at the thought of the one person I wanted to see naked. Sage wore clothes that were not revealing enough, his jeans fit well and showed off his hot ass, but his t-shirts were too lose and the dress shirts hid more than they revealed. It left a lot to the imagination.
Getting dressed always posed an interesting situation some men liked to yammer on about things others liked to get out of there fast. I was the latter I didn’t need to sit there and talk with naked men and compare dick sizes. Or share stories to make us seem bigger. Thankfully Walker dressed quickly and was combing his blonde hair back as I finished tying my Nike’s.
Walker looked at me and laughed, “You really don’t do anything with that mop?”
I smiled as I ran my fingers through it and let the longer hair from the top fall over my Venatori tattoo. “Doesn’t need much. Unless you want to wait for 20 minutes while I style it just right so it’s perfectly messy and doesn’t move.”
“Seriously?” Walker laughed.
“No. But it isn’t something I do after a workout and typically only when I have plans to go out. I figure we are hunting today, the less product in my hair the less mess when I’m exhausted.”
“No eyeliner?” Walker pointed.
“Fat chance. Unless it bothers you that much?”
Walker shook his head. “Be my guest.”
I applied a new coating of eyeliner. The one from earlier wasn’t washed away completely leaving behind more a smokey feel but I liked the crisp dark lines. Walker watched as I applied a new fresh line. It must have been intriguing watching a guy put on make up. I watched him blink and then turn around when he realized he was watching me put on make up.
My father stood in the aisle between the lockers frowning. “You have to do that here?”
“Would you rather I do it at the sink where everyone here can watch?” I asked.
Kai frowned. “Why can’t you just be a normal boy? Stop with all the antics and the profession of your sexuality.”
I smiled. “Because then you would feel comfortable around me and we can’t have that.”
“It’s not about me boy. Everyone would feel more comfortable if you just acted like a normal man.”
“Kai. I am not a normal man. I am half human, half venatori. I don’t fit in there, I don’t fit in here. My mother and I should have both died. I am Cesari. There is nothing about me that is normal. So what? I like men. I like women too. If people would mind their own fucking business when it mattered maybe I wouldn’t be so fucked up now. I like who I am. I like the colored hair and the nail polish. I like the eye liner and lip gloss. Be grateful, father, that I don’t go the whole gambit of make up. I did once upon a time. But that’s too much fuss to be pretty. I don’t want to be pretty. I want to feel comfortable in my own skin. This.” I held up the eyeliner pencil. “Makes me feel comfortable because it makes people like you uncomfortable. I could dress in drag. Wear a skirt and high heels. It’s never been my thing but if it would make you feel more comfortable I’ll give it a shot. Actually, no I won’t.”
I got up and left the locker room and walked out of the gym. I heard footsteps behind me as Walker caught up to me outside in the hall. “Sorry man. I figured your dad would be cooler about you, since his own son is ya know…”
“I am his own son too. He blames me for Nick. Even though Nick was gay before I ever came along.”
Walker laughed. “That’s right you two got caught kissing.”
I smirked, “We were more than kissing, Walker. We were going to have sex if we hadn’t gotten caught. We were on our way to a broom closet when our hormones got the better of us and we were found kissing in the hall with our hands in each other’s pants. He’s my half brother, we could have avoided that entire scenario if someone had told us we were related.”
“Are family dinner’s awkward now?” Walker chuckled as he asked.
“Only for Kai. Nick and I are better friends now because of it. We both were deceived. We both like men. We’ve gone out a few times to find guys. But our tastes are drastically different. Besides he’s got a beau now anyway. Sweet boy a little too girly for my taste though.”
“You don’t like girly boys? Aren’t they prettier?”
“I like pretty boys, but girly boys like fashion and do the whole hand thing and talk with higher voices and to me seem a bit fake.”
“You mean they seem gay?” Walker laughed.
“I don’t mind a guy who is all out there. I just don’t like fake.” I said.
“Aren’t you fake?”
“Are you asking if I’m faking things? Or am I trying to be fake?”
“Both I guess.”
“It’s not fake anymore. I am who I made myself. I like me.”
Walker laughed. “Not many people do.”
“I know. I’m okay with that too. I’m an arrogant prick at times I get it. I understand I make people uncomfortable. It’s all that hey look here, so that they don’t look where I’m vulnerable.”
Walker nodded like he understood and he was lost in his own thoughts. Maybe we were more the same that we both had initially thought.