I woke alone in bed. There was no warmth other than the comforter piled on top of me. I shifted to my back and I heard movemnt to my left. I turned my head and saw Dorian sitting there. “You scared everyone, my boy.”
“Is everyone okay?” I asked.
Dorian nodded. “Drake is fine. Deborah says the cut healed quickly while she was standing there watching what happened. Faelen is having a panic attack because he changed. Sage is working. Devin is making coffee for the two of us. He called in sick, refused to go to work while you lay unconscious.”
“How long have I been out?”
“It’s 2pm now. Sage called me and told me you dropped after killing a creature.” Dorian moved over to me and placed his hand on my head. “No one saw what it was but you, Nox. Can you tell me what you saw?”
“It was a creature. Give me m notebook.” I sat up and nodded towards the drawer he was sitting next to.
Dorian handed me the spiral sketchbook with the pencil embedded in the spine. “It’s not under your pillow.” He commented I took it from his graceful hands.
“Sage says it gives me nightmares.”
Dev came in bearing two cups of coffee. He smiled when he saw me and handed Dorian a cup. “I’ll go make another.”
I shook my head. “I’m alright.”
Dorian offered me his. “I’ll go make my own. You can have this one.” I took the black coffee from Dorian and smiled. “I’ll be back in a little while.”
I sipped the coffee and set it on the nightstand and started drawing. Dev sat next to me on the bed sipping his own coffee. His inky black hair was disheveld and I just wanted to run my hands through it and make it even more so. He snickered at me and placed a kiss on my neck. “I’m going to go tell Sage you are awake, and call Dee tell her the good news.”
I nodded. I was left alone in the dim light of Sage’s bedroom – our bedroom. And drew what I remembered of the monster that had attacked Drake and Faelen. I remembered the red glowing eyes. I manipulated the make up of the pencil and the color turned red as I colored in the eyes. They were flat against the paper but they felt like they were boring into my soul. It was the same eyes I saw every night. The same that had made me bloody only yesterday.
That thing and Garrett were connected. I don’t know how, and I don’t know why, but they were connected.
Sage walked into the room and flipped on the light and snuck into his room where he kept the video feeds. My watcher boyfriend had been watching me sleep. He smiled at me as he whispered, “I wasn’t recording.”
He wrapped his arms around me and I nodded. “I know. You didn’t want to leave but you had to I get it. Did you tell Dev?”
He nodded against my neck. “I told him how to turn it on, I couldn’t stand not being up here with you.” He pressed a light kiss to my temple. “Is that what hurt the boys?”
I nodded. “Yeah. And I think Garrett sent it to me. I think it’s a nightmare. I’ll have to speak with Ant about it, he’s the only one I know who knows about the old monsters of our legends.”
Dev laughed, “You mean there are things you don’t know about?”
I looked up and smiled at him. “Dee said hi, I’m glad you are awake. And she told me to hit you hard in the arm. But I’m not going to.” He sat down on the edge of the bed and pressed a kiss to my cheek.
“The Venatori don’t hunt legendary monsters. At least not most of us. There are specialized Venatori who do. They aren’t like us. They are savage and viscious and they kill whatever stands in their way, human, monster, supernatural. We call them Metus. Latin for fear and dread. Those that become metus are worse than the people I grew up with. They are like the serial killers of all things. If we find a metus in our territory we usually send an army of hunters to kill it. Metus don’t care what damage they do.” I knew I was scaring them. I meant to. Metus were real. I knew old creatures existed. This was old had to be.
Dev pulled me close and hugged me. Sage wrapped his arms around both of us and spoke softly, “If it scares you that much I don’t think I want to know more, Nox. You’ll keep us safe.”
I sighed. “I’ll do what I can Sage.” I felt safe in their arms but I had to go talk to Garrett. “I need to talk to Garrett.”
Sage shook his head. “No. I don’t want you going near him.”
Dev agreed. “I don’t think I do either, if he sends things with glowing eyes after you.”
“I have to know why.”
Sage sighed. “Be careful Nox. I have to get back to work. I’m glad you are okay. I love you.” The last he whispered in my ear then pressed a kiss to my mouth.
Dev and I watched Sage leave the room. He was tapping away at his phone before he even left the room. I asked, “Did what we do work?”
Dev smiled. “Yeah. I think that’s why it came after us. Or after the weakest link.” Dev touched my temple with both hands and he projected an image into my head. My breath caught but he pressed his lips to mine and I relaxed into the image. He was showing me my shield. He whispered against my lips, “It’s beautiful. Shimmering with reds, golds, blues, and greens.” He let go of my head and I let go of the breath I’d been holding. “I’ve never seen anything like it Nox. Not a black vein in sight. I’ll check it every night for a while. I’d almost like you to spend the night away from us.”
I shook my head. “Not anytime soon.”
Dev nodded in agreement. “I agree. Right now you need to protect your family and I get that. And I don’t think Sage is going to let you out of his sight for that long. Call me later?”
I smiled. “I can do that. You going?”
“Yeah. I have to get to work too. Dee said she’d call later check on the boys after school.” He pressed another kiss to my lips and I let out a soft moan. He laughed. “You are so easy pretty boy.”
I grinned at him. “Only for you.”
“Is that another collective you?” Dev grinned.
“Yeah I think so. I…” Dev pressed his finger to my lips and interrupted my words.
“Not yet pretty boy. Not yet. But I know.” He kissed my forehead and walked away. “Call me pretty boy.”
I listened to him walk down the stairs and close the basement door behind him. He was saying goodbye to Sage. And when I thought I might be jealous I found out I really wasn’t. Maybe there was room for all of them.