The Wicked Truth

Those of you who’ve read along with most of my stuff knows that Sage is a hacker. A white hat hacker on the books. I think it might be mentioned once or twice at most that Sage has a brother he was separated from. AJ had this elaborate plan for me to trace his brother’s adoption files and find him. Something that Sage should have been able to do himself if you really think about it – he’s a great hacker, this technopath nothing should have barring his path. But even as AJ wrote this short that was the plan… see how far that went.

What had once been an everyday thing was now a special occasion. I didn’t really think about it until everyone in The Den greeted me like a long lost friend. “Truth!” like I was walking into the Cheers and I was Norm. No one at the Den knew my real name. I left my wallet at home and the only form of identification my locked phone. If someone were to murder me while leaving The Den they’d consider me a John Doe.

Doc and Rogue were the first to stop me as soon as I stepped inside the door. Doc and Rogue had been a couple for nearly as long as I had known them. They were old school hackers – like dial-up old. But they weren’t any less now than they had been then. The taught all us wiper-snappers a thing or two on many occasions. Doc clapped me on the back of the neck. “Where you been boy?”

“Didn’t you know? I have a boyfriend. Isn’t it like law you forsake your friends when you get those significant others who take up all your time?” I grinned at him.

Rogue laughed. “Darling, your boyfriend must be a catch you’ve never forsaken us for them – ever.”

“He’s not like everyone else I’ve ever dated. And he actually has me working on things with Trix. And it’s good money I can’t refuse.”

A voice from the nearby stuffed pillows called out, “I heard Trix got nabbed by the cops.”

“Not the cops. But nabbed yes, by my boyfriend and his company. She works for them now, Grim.”

“What’s he do?” Grim asked.

I shrugged and thru them the byline, “He’s a private investigator/bounty hunter.”

There was a chorus of “oohs” from those who were eavesdropping.

A voice in the far corner croned at me, “Of course Truth would be working with the law – again.” The tall thin man stood up and came out of the shadows. He was dressed in all black except for the skeleton bones on his hoodie that he said signified his name – Reaper.

Doc and Rogue moved to step between us but I held up my hand, “It’s alright.”

He was shorter than I was, but taller than Nox. And other than the height and clothes they were not very similar. Where Nox was built like an athlete, Reaper was built like you’d expect a nerd – all gangly and thin. His skin was as pasty white as the faded bones on his clothes. Reaper and I were notoriously against each other on the dark web. Wherever I was helping companies he was all the while trying to break into my safeguards. It was a game we played.

We stared at one another. It was all rather menacing, and the front room cleared out slowly as we stared. It really was hard keeping a straight angry face until the last soul left the darkened room. But when the door closed behind the last person Reaper cracked a smile and wrapped me in a hug. “Hey bro. I want to meet this boy toy of yours.”

I smiled and took my brother in my arms and hugged him tight. “Are you ready for the world to know you are my brother?”

He shook his head, “You can’t tell me the boy you are with can’t keep a secret.”

I laughed. “He can keep a secret.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

I scuffed my foot against the floor and frowned, “I haven’t been completely honest with him about the things I do. I actually lied to him.”

Reaper laughed, “He doesn’t know you are hacker – big deal.”

“No he knows that. He thinks I only white hat though.”

“So lie, Truth. Tell him that we found each other online. Hell that’s not even a lie.” He laughed, “But the idea that Truth is lying is rather funny if you ask me. Or are you Wicked still?”

I grinned at him. “He called me ‘My Wicked Truth’ when he found out the nick name. I kinda like being his.” I was grateful for the darkness so my brother didn’t see my blush.

He cuffed me on the head. “Your friend, Chevalier says I’m learning faster than you.”

I rolled my eyes. “You wish. But I’ve not had time to work with Chevalier which is probably what he was referring to. Nox really does keep me busy with Trix when I’m not working.” I shoved Reaper. “We should put on the show they expect.”

My brother laughed, it felt good to hear him again. For so many years we’d looked for each other only to find out we’d been running the same circle for years and just never physically met. He was the reason I came to the Den even though I couldn’t hack here. Though I had a connection. And on one would tell on me – well Reaper might so I never actually hacked when I came to see my brother. I fell against the door and turned the door knob like I was ready to flee and Reaper pushed me through the door his face returned to that arrogant mask he wore here. It was amusing knowing he was my fun loving big brother. I fell to the floor and there was a pile of would be bouncers – hackers who were bigger than the others who stood between us.

Reaper backed off and went back to his corner and I left. It was easier that way. Reaper and I chatted back and forth on my phone while I walked back home. We didn’t always get into fights, but it was always good to make a show of it, we were rivals after all. Not surprising since we were both techopaths and just now learning that’s what we were. I should ask Nox why I was volatile while Adam wasn’t. That was the only reason we’d been split up. He was still in that same family – loved and cared for while I bounced from home to home until Danny found me.

Nerd Fitness

Who doesn’t like a buff guy? Well maybe another guy, but then that guy is usually jealous too. I wish I were like him. I want to look like that. Ya know what dude? You could, just takes work.

Don’t think you can do it? You just aren’t ready yet. It’s not easy. It takes work. And what works for me, may not work for you, so I won’t even preach about it. Only I know that you can, people do it all the time. It takes starting a habit. It means changing the way you think and the way you eat and making small life changes. You didn’t get that way fast, but gradually over time. It won’t happen fast no matter how hard you try.

When AJ created me, she had picked out a tall thin avatar but she didn’t want me thin and skinny she tailored my current look after Steve Kamb and his progress. AJ found Steve’s site when she was doing the whole “I must get healthy” thing. Which is a continual thing and we hope to push it a little this summer, but Nerd Fitness is not only a great site for fitness, you can use a great many of the posts on habit making for many things. AJ used the habit forming ones and level up your life book for normal everyday things.

Bigger Than We Thought – Modus Interruptus

Sleep came. So did the dreams. The dreams always came, but they were different. Less vivid. The red glowing eyes weren’t quite so red. More a soft glow just barely making out a color. The pain imagined from the blows was still unimaginable. But when the face came into view and it was time to wake up, I didn’t stare into the eyes of my demon and start awake panting for breath. I opened my eyes slowly and saw Sage watching me. His eyes were wide open but there was concern written all over his face. He spoke softly, “You okay?”

I smiled at him and nodded. I didn’t want to break the spell I was under. I felt at peace seeing him in my bed. It was hard to breathe but not from the dream. I leaned forward closing the small gap between us and kissed Sage softly. “I had a nightmare, but it wasn’t as bad as usual. I’m all right.”

Sage sat up in bed and looked down at me. “That wasn’t a bad nightmare? I’d hate to see a bad one.”

I looked up at him confused.  He smiled down at me and kissed my lips before he continued. “You were holding on so tight I was afraid my fingers might fall off.” He was making light of the situation.

“I’m sorry.” I sat up and joined Sage. I found my phone nestled between the pillows where I’d lain it earlier. I glanced at the time and was surprised it was 5. I looked at Sage, “Did I sleep through the alarm?”

Sage grinned. “Yes and no. I kinda turned it off when I found it last night. You would have slept with it last night?”

“I was in bed texting you last night. I’d fallen asleep after inviting you over.”

Sage grinned. “I’m glad you did. You could have stayed at my place.”

I nodded. “Yeah, but I promised my father and Drake I’d make them breakfast this morning so Drake wouldn’t be late for school. I guess that means you can meet my father.”

“That doesn’t sound like something you want me to do.” Sage said

“My father doesn’t like that I like men. He doesn’t like that when me and my brother didn’t know we were half-brothers we kissed. We would have done more than kiss if we hadn’t gotten caught in the hall.”

Sage grinned, “You kissed your brother?” The scrunched up look on his face made me laugh. He was making fun of me.

“I didn’t know he was my brother. Since we found out who my father was we’ve gone out a couple times to pick up guys. He and I are the only two in my family that are even remotely close. Even the only biological full brother and sister aren’t close. But then when you aren’t raised together and spend 80% of your time living in the dorms you don’t become a family. And they all lived with their mothers despite being Kai’s legacy, except Iris. She’s a Monroe through and through.”

“How many half siblings do you have?” Sage asked as he took me in his arms and cuddled while leaning against the wall behind the bed.

“I have five. Adam and Iris are both a product of the progeny program. They are official heirs to their respective families. Tobias, Marius and Nicholas are from three other women. Nick is a Hampton. My father sired an heir for Nick’s mom when she asked. Tobias, Marius and I were accidental pregnancies. None of them had been planned. My father didn’t find out about me until I was 18 years old.”

“Why did it take so long?” Sage asked as he rubbed small circles against my back.

I was lost in the sensation of his touch. I almost didn’t answer him. But I did with a shrug. “My mother told Dorian when she left me with him that she didn’t want me to know. And since she was legally my guardian, he had to listen to her. The first vacation we had was a small summer break, when Dorian contacted her she told him, she had no son, and that I was Dorian’s problem now. Dorian let me stay on his couch for the two weeks we were out of school and supposed to be spending time with our families. I spent time with his family. His mom would take me to work with her. Or Dorian would take me with him. Most of the time I after that first year I’d go home with Jace.”

Sage kissed my forehead. “I can’t wait to meet him.”

“I’m sure Jace and Mia can’t wait to meet you.” I pulled out of his embrace and crawled out of bed. “Coffee?”

Sage nodded as he snuggled down into my bed and wrapped himself around my pillow. I smiled at him as he shyly looked at me over the pillow. “You are too cute.”

Sage grinned. “Too cute? No such thing.”

I laughed, but I walked away into my kitchen and I felt Sage’s eyes following me as I turned on the dimmer lights in the kitchen and fixed coffee. It was still a little before we had to be down the hall for breakfast.

I leaned on the bar that overlooked my living space and watched my boyfriend watching me. He hid his face behind the pillow with one eye peaking out. I grinned at him and he threw the pillow across the room and it landed on the couch and no where near me.

I continued to watch him lying in my bed. Sage was trying to look comfortable, but he was failing miserably. He got up from the bed and padded his near naked body towards me in the kitchen. I watched the muscles move in his legs, the way he stepped gingerly over the cool carpeted floor. I was grinning madly by the time he stopped in front of me pinning me against the corner of the bar and counter set up. The full length of his body was pressed against mine. I could feel his breath on my cheek. He whispered, “When’s coffee going to be ready?”

I glanced at the coffee pot out of the corner of my eye. I smiled. “There is a cup in the pot now if you can’t wait.”

He grinned at me from mere inches away. “I can wait till you can have one, too.”

Sage didn’t move. He continued to press my back into the inner corner of the counter and bar. We stared into each other’s eyes sharing the air between us. I could feel the warmth of Sage’s skin through my t-shirt and boxers. The attraction was intense as we stood there as close as possible but not doing anything other than being close. I wanted so much more than what we were doing but I could feel the fear of rejection and commitment pressing against my brain trying to make me panic.

I buried my face in the crook of Sage’s neck and he pulled me against him even tighter than we had been. His arms were tight around my waist, one hand was running small circles against the small of my back. I mumbled into his skin, “I think coffee’s ready.”

Sage turned to look at me, pulling me away from him slightly, “This is good.” He gave me a peck on my lips and pulled the two coffee cups towards him and grabbed the now full coffee pot. “Don’t be afraid of this, okay?”

I nodded. “That’s easier said than done.” I smiled and sipped at the coffee Sage handed me.

Sage grinned. “As long as you hide in me, don’t be afraid of me.”

I nodded and watched over the edge of my cup as Sage drank his. We were still close but our bodies were no longer touching, I felt cold without him pressed against me. I felt more alone without him. I don’t know why, but I could feel the anchors of my soul being tied around this man. I would drown in him. I hope I didn’t make him cut the tether that was binding me too him so tightly.

Sage set his cup down on the counter next to me, “A penny for your thoughts?”

I smiled. “Same thing I think about when you are here with me.”

“And that is?” Sage asked me with a bright smile placing his hands on either side of me but keeping his body from mine.

“That I’m drowning in you.” I set my cup down on the other side. “But that’s too deep of a conversation for five days into our relationship.” I smiled at him.

Sage leaned against me and kissed my neck. “I like deep conversations.” The way he said it sent shivers down my spine and I had to swallow hard as he nipped at the skin on my neck. He chuckled against my skin, his breath tickling my neck. “I love that reaction.”

Sage leaned back and smiled at me. “I should grab a shower. You mind?”

I shook my head. “Not at all.”

I watched Sage collect his clothes from the floor and then walked into the bathroom to get him clean towels. I set them down next to the sink and smiled at him as he stood in the door watching me. “You could join me.”

I let out a short moan, “Oh how I would love to, but that would lead to places we aren’t prepared for.”

Sage was grinning at me as he pulled two foil packs from his pants pocket. “I came prepared.” He stepped inside and closed the bathroom door behind him and turned the lock. Not that anyone would walk in – there was no one else in my apartment. Sage set his clothes on the sink counter and hooked his thumbs in my boxers and pulled me close. “Join me.”

I swallowed hard and bit my bottom lip with a simple nod of my head I agreed. I didn’t trust my voice not to crack under the desire that was coursing through me.

We kissed and undressed each other outside the shower. For the first time since we’d met our hands were unbidden. I touched his warm skin with my hands. His fingers kneading into my back. I hid in the crook of his neck while he pulled my shirt over my head. It wasn’t the first time he’d seen my back. But it was the first time I’d let anyone remove my shirt for me. It was not something I did. Sage held me close as I got over my panic attack. He kissed and nipped at the skin on my neck while his fingers traced the mass of scars along my back. I had to focus on something other than his touch on my untouched back less I release way sooner than intended.

I pressed my body against him and he backed up against the cold glass shower wall and I reached inside to let the water warm while we continued outside. I hooked my thumbs under his waist band and was dropping to my knees when a shrill ring pierced the heat of the moment. Sage sighed, and I pressed my forehead to his thigh as he breathed out slowly then spoke, “That’s Danny. I should get it.”

I sighed and sat back on my heels letting Sage move around me to answer his phone. I didn’t pay attention to anything beyond my breathing. It was time to come down from the high, to breathe on my own again. I felt empty without his body next to mine. I wanted him in so many ways and sex was so far down the list I was lost in the feeling of it all.

I stood up and went for the door. Sage followed me with is eyes. “One second.” He said into the phone then pressed it to his naked chest. “I’m sorry. We can finish.”

I shook my head. “It’s all right. We both got work to do. I’m gonna make you breakfast.” I unlocked the door and opened it quickly and slipped out shutting it behind me. I tugged on my jeans from yesterday and a clean t-shirt. I would shower later.

The Last Phoenix (in order)

Comfortably Numb (5/12/2018)


Detonating fireworks is one way to celebrate. Here is how we do funerals.

Southern Hospitality

It had been a while since I’d been down south with Jace. Mia was home with the kids. All the kids. Faelen and Drake were staying with Mia and helping to take care of Naya. Matt was stuck in the AU building with classes. Fae wasn’t enrolled in anything yet. That was one reason he was with Mia, he was looking towards human schools. Mia and Jace had a good one nearby. It would be a pain in the ass, he didn’t seem to want to stay in Hell’s Kitchen with Sage. Maybe he was afraid of the pack not being part of it. We hadn’t had a chance to sit down and talk really.

Jace and I had flown down. Jace being the great man that he was held my hand the whole way. He sat by the window he consoled my fucking fears and he was the perfect friend. And after all that had happened, he’d forgiven me. I wasn’t sure I’d forgive myself yet for Chris’ death, but Jace had forgiven me. That was the biggest step I needed to take.

The funeral was a whole day affair. We stayed with Jace’s parents in Jace’s old room. We shared the twin bed like we had many times before. I startled awake early and rolled out of his embrace and felt the welts on my back and took care of things before anyone in the house stirred. Unlike home, I had breakfast ready before 5 when Mr. Hill came down to fetch the preset brewed coffee.

He looked at me and shook his head. “I always forget we can expect breakfast before the sun when you are here.”

I smiled. “It’s the least I can do for you in this time of loss. I’ve more than enough breakfast to feed the whole village if you need.”

Mr. Hill laughed. “Son, we likely will.”

I smiled. “Then I’ll keep cooking. You and your wife have family to attend. People to see to. I got the food for the day. Everything.”

Mrs Hill stepped into the kitchen on that last little bit and wrapped her arms around me. “Oh hunny, you don’t need to do that. Me and the girls got it.”

I shook my head. “No ma’am. I got this. Let me do this for you please.”

Jace’s brother came down stairs pulling on a purple jacket and a festive hat. I felt the tear run down my cheek before he was even in the room. He gave me that smile, so like Jace’s. He said, “Mama, leave him be. Chris would want everyone in town spoiled by this one.” Henry clapped me on the back and I felt another tear roll down my cheek. He pulled me in for a hug and whispered, “I know you did everything for my boy. I never once doubted it brother, unlike Jace who should know better.”

I hugged him back and whispered back, “He has his reasons for doubting me.”

Henry laughed and sighed at the same time. “He loves you more than he should, my little brother, but he always believes in you.”

“I love him too, just…”

He patted my back and squeezed me, “He knows.” He leaned away from me and took a strip of bacon from the platter. “He knows he’s just too pig headed to care.”

Jace was standing at the bottom of the stares with a wide grin and his middle finger sticking up, “I love you, too, Hen.”

The nickname prompted Henry to wrap Jace up in a head lock and the Hill parents to tell the boys to take it outside which they did. But they greeted all the folks coming down into their yard.

Venatori funerals celebrate the life of a Venatori. A southern Venatori funeral took the celebration to a whole new level. There was the usual bonfires and party, but today the Hill house was Jazz central. They had several bands playing throughout the day. The dance floor was light up and would stay on fire until well into the night. The booze were free flowing.

There would be stories of Chris and his family. There would be stories of his family’s legacy. There would be fun and sad all rolled into one, but they celebrated the death of their son.

To some it may seem outlandish, but for the Venatori, death came for us all. We knew this, we understood this, and if the universe took us from our family and friends it wasn’t predestined or ordained. It was life.

There were Magnus present at every party. They maintained a certain discretion from the outside world. A veil not only of vision but of sound. But at a funeral they did other things too, one was returning the body to the universe. Being Cesari I attended more funerals as a child than I would have liked. But being Cesari I was often given the honor of returning the body to the universe while the rest of the party celebrated the life.

I had already done that for Chris. I’d given him his burial. I’d burned his body and I sent him back. I brought the ashes back so the ceremony could be preformed, so those in attendance would get to say there goodbyes and witness the magic of life returning to the ether. No one ever saw what I did, I had asked on many occasion what other’s saw. The patterns around the ashes when dispersed with magic flitted and floated by the visible eye. The winds of the magic taking the ashes away but hat wasn’t what I saw. The ash turned to lights, turned to life itself. I’d seen the sparkling lights when I first started digging into the healing with the elements. Between each thread, each weave of a pattern between everything was life, that tiny spark that made the universe tick. It was this sparkle that allowed me to heal. But if you tried to force it, it burnt out. You had to let life do it’s thing of it’s own free will. It made us up. It gave us life, and it stayed with our bodies as we died unless we let it go back to where it came from. Human’s return the bodies to the earth. Vampires turn to dust, the life gone from their bodies when they died. They burn up their life force the longer they live after death. Therians burn their bodies to keep the taint from spreading to others. Everything returns to whence it came.

It was more beautiful than the fireworks that were going off during the ceremony. Jace wrapped his arm around my waist behind the barbecue pit I was manning. “You need to draw what you see babe. Someone will believe you one day.”

I laughed. “Someone believes me now.”

Infused oils

One thing I don’t have a lot of space for in my tiny tiny apartment is to make flavored oils for cooking. Infused oils are awesome. Garlic, rosemary, thyme, and so many other herbs and spices. If you use a great oil you are made!

But you can do a lot with oils infusing them with other flowers and make aromatherapy oils. Lavender, jasmine, beragmont, orange, lemon, rose… I could bask in those smells all day. Some of them you can even cook with, but they work better for massages and other things. wink