We took the train to Sage’s house. Ant hide in the shadows but since most of it was underground it made little difference. He didn’t have to be there. But this was his contact, so he came, anyway. Even though I knew Sage would do this for me and all I had to do was ask.
We walked around the side of the house where Sage told me to meet him. I knocked and the familiar voice called, “It’s open,” from the other side.
I opened the door and walked into the cool air of the basement Sage worked in. The first room was about the size of his living room with a kitchette, much like my studio apartment, but I expected that there was a bedroom down the hall. Sage could rent this place out. But instead he used it as his work space.
Sage looked up and smiled at me. The others had followed me in but he only nodded at them. “Let me finish up with this here and we can work on that number. Though not sure why it took three of you to do this part? It’s not like you’ll be much help.” He was grinning at me, the others were looking around and didn’t see it.
Walker just chuckled. “It’s our case, and Ant feels obligated to be here because you are his contact.”
Sage laughed. “I guess. But I know Nox – rather well, actually.”
Ant nodded as he sat down in a chair at another computer. “Jack insisted.”
“Ah.” I said. “Don’t want to upset Jack.”
Ant rolled his eyes, “Don’t want to upset mother. Jack doesn’t want the Venatori hurting his friend.”
I laughed. “Did you tell Jack we were dating?”
Ant nodded. “I did. He laughed. Mother laughed and then said, Nox doesn’t date, you know this better than anyone. Nox may not hurt this boy. That was her exact command.” Ant sighed. “And since I know you better than they do, I’m only here to keep them happy. I’m not here to babysit. I will find a dark corner and sleep until evening. If that’s all right with you?”
“You can take a bed upstairs.” Sage said.
Ant was already gone. He’d slipped into his day sleep well away from the windows. “He’s asleep already. He is fine here. As a vampire he doesn’t feel comfortable above ground during the day.”
“But he was walking around outside.” Walker said.
“He’s primeval, but he’s not a day walker. He can’t stay in the sun long. You notice he stuck to the shadows, and he covered from head to to sun except for his face. Sun block helps keep his face from burning, but Ant is still not a day walker just not completely combustible under the sun.”
Walker handed Sage a piece of paper. “This is the number we need tracked.”
Sage took it and looked at the number. “What did your tech people find out?”
Walker shrugged and headed for the kitchenette. “I’ll let lover boy tell you the details.”
I sat down next to Sage and shook my head. “Nothing really. They said it bounced all over the place and that they couldn’t track it down. They’d pin it down and then it would jump again. So we got no where.”
Sage nodded as he tapped away at his computer. “Your tech guys are they trained?”
“Our tech guys go to college and learn about computers, but they don’t practice like you do. It’s rare for Venatori to get involved in human things. Venatori aren’t geeky enough to play at hacking or other such things.”
Sage smiled. “So you needed someone who cares a little more about it?”
I nodded. “Basically.”
Sage worked silently. I leaned back in the chair and watched him. Not in a curious about his work way, but in the admiration of his body. The way he moved and sat. How his face contoured into a scrunched up way when he was thinking. He smiled sideways after several minutes. “Are you going to watch me like that all day?”
I shrugged. “I like watching you. But I’m sure even your gorgeous self will become boring after too long.”
Sage chuckled. “My dad was telling me he thinks what I’m doing in my day job is linked to what you are doing. He told me to help you and to see if they were. Why would he say that?”
“If you are working something in the human realm, chances are what I’m working on are connected. They usually are. Danny is an FBI Agent so there must be something going on. If The Dragon is up to disturbing human society, it’s probably been showing up in things.”
“He said if this pans out I could tell you what I was working on.” Sage said as he worked. He waved his hand for me to come look. I got up and rested my forearms against the back of his chair. Sage leaned his head against my chest before he sat back up and pointed out things on the screen. “This is your signal bouncing around. Every time I ping it it follows this same path.” All I saw was a bunch of numbers on the screen I couldn’t see any path, but I saw the same pattern of numbers over and over again with each pass through.
Sage pointed at another window. “This is what I’ve been working on. This person is using the same IPs each time. The paths are identical.” Sage looked up at me with a wide grin. “You want to know what I’ve been working on? Well me and a few other guys in the company? We are taking shifts.”
I backed up and Sage swiveled around in his chair. I moved to get in my chair but Sage grabbed my hand and pulled me into his lap. It was awkward with all 6 feet of my long gangly self sprawled out on top of the man below me. His three extra inches of height only helped so much. But it didn’t stop Sage from pulling me into his arms and resting his head on my shoulder. He spoke softly in my ear, his breath tickled my ear as he spoke. “Someone’s been trying to hack into the New York Stock Exchange. So far we’ve been able to fend them off. But even with the three of us working in shifts we can’t do much more.”
Even though the words coming out of Sage’s mouth were nothing sexy, my body still reacted to his words. His voice made me want to writhe against him. His breath against my skin tightened things deep inside me and the primal urges rose. But nothing he said should elicit that reaction, yet I was still swallowing hard and taking slow deep breaths to avoid a public reaction.
I could feel Sage grinning against my neck. “You are so easy.”
I laughed. “You have no fucking idea.”
Sage kissed my neck, “Oh, I think I have an idea.”
I cleared my throat, but I didn’t move. “Back on topic, that sounds like it would disrupt human society. Are we sure this isn’t just a distraction for something bigger? Or is this their big attack?”
Sage shrugged. “I don’t know. But Danny said if I could link the two together in anyway I was at your complete disposal. I’m working for you not the government, not the company. You. Danny says if you are hunting something it takes priority over human laws. The Clandestine Providence comes first.”
“At my disposal?” I grinned.
Sage nipped at my neck in response. “I’m sure he meant business.”
I sat forward and looked back at Sage. “I’m sure he meant that too, but I like the other ramifications.”
Sage grinned, “Me too. But what can I do to help you track this dragon down?”
I stood up and paced, “Can you track either of them, or both of them?” I sighed, “If it’s a digital attack it can be from anywhere in the world. We might have to enlist more help than I like.”
Walker walked in from the back and sighed, “What’s wrong with him?” He gestured to me but was talking to Sage.
Sage laughed. “He has to ask for help, I think.”
I stuck my tongue out at Sage. He smiled at me and stood up. I was pacing back and forth and Sage stopped in my path and grabbed me by the shoulders and whispered, “What did I tell you about that?”
“You’ve said a great many things. Which one?” I asked.
Sage grinned, “About sticking your tongue out at me?”
I had forgotten he’d said something about it. I shook my head. “What about it?”
Sage raised an eyebrow, “Stick it out again.” I bit my bottom lip as he made the request which sounded more like he would not accept anything less than obedience. My body tightened and I obeyed, sticking my tongue out again slowly. Sage leaned forward and sucked my tongue into his mouth and sucked on it before biting it between his front teeth. I let out a small moan and Sage let go. “I told you what I wanted to do.”
“You can do that anytime.” I said breathless. I almost stuck it out again with childlike abandon.
Walker interrupted our moment. “Get a room.”
I’d forgotten about him. Sage turned around to him and stuck his tongue out in mockery. He smiled and turned back to me, his hand slipping from my shoulders down my chest to my waist. “What do you need me to do?”
I smiled. “I need you to find where they are located. But I don’t want to interrupt your work, they can’t disrupt things.”
Sage nodded. “Danny said I was yours. He’s got another guy to replace me. They will fight the attack, my job is to help you catch whoever is doing it and stop them.”
“If you can find the location of this phone, it would be a great help.” I said with a smile.
My boyfriend grinned at me as he gave me a flourished bow, “As you wish.”
From the shadows in the corner Ant let out a huff of air and bit back a loud laugh that sounded more like a snort. “You are wasting your best lines on him, Wicked Truth. The boy doesn’t watches movies unless supernatural, monster hunters, hero type movies or shows.”
Sage sat down and was swiveling to look up at me, “You have never seen the Princess Bride. Like never? Not even to impress a girl?”
I shook my head. “I don’t impress girls by showing them movies. You know exactly how I impress girls.”
Sage blushed a little before he turned back around. “We will have to fix this. What was the last movie you saw?” he asked even though his fingers were clacking away on the keyboard.
“Jace took me to see Guardians of the Galaxy.” I said sitting down in the chair I had vacated before.
“By take,” Ant said, “he means, Jason dragged him out away from some case or another or from another endless night out clubbing.”
Sage giggled. “So did you at least like it.”
“Oh, I loved it. Rocket was just awesome, and one can never get enough of Vin Diesel saying ‘I am Groot’. Starlord was a pretty cool hero.” I was happy I remembered the names of the characters. It was one of my favorite movies I had seen it before Jace dragged me to it. And he only dragged me because I had hit a bad spot when I realized I was lonely.
Ant laughed. “And he goes all introspective again. What ran through your head then?”
I stuck my tongue out at Ant. He laughed again. “Don’t expect me to do what your boy just did.”
“You don’t like boys. I would never expect it of you.” I declared.
Ant sighed, “I like you. As much as it pains me to admit. Mother was right about that.”
“Your mother said you liked me?” I asked.
“She told me the first time you offered to feed me and I accepted that you would be more than a friend.”
Sage asked, “Why would she say that? You feed on random strangers don’t you?”
“Not random. But yes strangers. There are feeding clubs and that’s what I hit. Cari feeds only on her herd and her lovers. She said when I choose to feed on a person who wasn’t a stranger that person would be a strong attraction. She said because that person was against my typical attraction it would skew my attraction. I can’t say I’d enjoy the company of another man, but Nox I enjoyed the intimacy with. But to ease your fears, Sage, Nox and I have not been together for about a year now.”
Sage chuckled. “Why not? He not that good?”
Ant laughed hard. He pointed at Sage looking at me. “I like him.” He chuckled. “That’s not it. Nox hasn’t been looking for just sex for a while since he knows I’m not serious about men in general we kinda slowed down and then it stopped. We are still friends, he will still feed me we don’t have sex anymore.”
Sage frowned as he looked over at Ant. “You can still be friends after that?”
Ant nodded. “He wasn’t a serious lover, it was a fun distraction for both of us. And it was never more than it was.”
My mysterious blue eyed boy turned back to the computer screen and started working again. “I could use some coffee.”
I stood up. “I’ll get you some. If you have any, I’ll make it.”
Sage turned to me. “I don’t have any coffee.” He frowned. “I should keep more food around with you here.”
“That’s all right I’ll go get something, what do you want?” I asked Sage.
“Triple latte grande.” Sage grinned.
I nodded. “Ant you want anything?”
“I’ll take you.” He looked at Walker who had been watching things and saying nothing. “What do you want?”
Walker frowned. “Decaf.”
Everyone turned to him slack jawed as he grinned at us. “Kidding. Black three sugars.”
Ant clapped Walker on the back of his shoulder and smiled. “That’s better.”
I walked over and kissed Sage on the check. “I love the way you smell.”
Sage grinned at me. “I smell like you. And I like it.” He grabbed the back of my neck and he pulled me over his shoulder and kissed me deeply. His tongue snaked into my mouth and I let him control the kiss. I couldn’t help the small sounds that escaped my mouth. Sage hummed happily into my mouth. He pushed me away with a smile. “I like the way you taste too. But I need coffee.”
“What was it you said before… As you wish?”
Sage grinned up at me. “That’s it. Thank you, love.”
“You are welcome, love.” I kissed his cheek again, and I walked over to Ant.
He laughed. “You ready?”
I shook my head. “No. But we can go anyway.”