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.