All three boys came with Sage and Dev. Matt was looking at me with a frown. “Why are you pulling them out?”
“Can I talk with Matt?” Everyone looked around and then left. Drake didn’t want to leave but Dev carried him out whispereing to him about how they could all go get icecream as soon as his dad was done doing something important. I wondered how much Dev had picked up from me. I could tell something was bothering him. I couldn’t read him like I could Sage, but there was something tense between all of us. And I was about to make it worse.
When the door closed behind them, Matt sat down and whispered to me, “You are leaving for good aren’t you?”
“I have to.”
He smiled. “Good. It’s about fucking time. I’m coming with you.”
“Matt. Your dad. You need to finish your lessons.”
He laughed. “No one here can teach me anything about my ability, Nox. And everything else well I can be just as human as you or Fae. Please don’t make me stay.”
I grinned at him and pulled him close for a hug. He wrapped his arms around me, “I don’t think I could have stopped you even if I wanted to Matt. But you know what this means?”
Matt nodded. “I do. Everything involved, it’s one of the first things we learn.”
“I remember.” I tried to stand up. “Help me stand up.”
The boy had grown more in the short time we’d know each other, and I swear since the last time I’d seen him. How long ago was that? I couldn’t remember.
Matt looked at Fae and smiled. “You remember that bag I packed for an emergency Fae?”
He nodded. “Go get it.”
Fae looked at him. “You are running away?” He looked sad.
“Not running away, running home.” I would be lying if I didn’t say I felt tears welling up in my eyes. Fuck I was an emotional mess. But I was done being manipulated.
“Sage can I borrow your phone?” I asked.
He nodded and handed me the phone and I called Dorian as we walked down the Infirmary. He answered, “Sage?” Any news?”
“I’m awake if that’s what you wanted to know.” I said and I heard the sigh of releif from my father figure and mentor.
“D, Can you come down to HQ and bring my dad and walker and whoever you think might care.”
“Care for what Nox?”
“You’ll see D. Please? I have to do this.”
“Nox… don’t do it. You can do more good here.”
“Sorry D. I can’t do it anymore. Trust me. Bring them please. I need you there.”
Dorian agreed and I hung up the phone. “Nox what are you doing?” Sage asked as I handed him his phone.
“I’m going to tell the Venatori exactly what I think of them.” I said as we headed down to HQ.
No one tried to stop us. Not once. It was like the world had stopped to realized they had fucked up for the last time. No one wanted to get in my way. But then again when you are surrounded by supernatural creatures with one exception, why would you want to stop me?
When we got to HQ I had the others stay near the elevevator as I walked towards Dae’lin’s office with Matt’s help. His grip on my waist was strong, and he was going to outgrow me in height in a matter of months. He had grown so much since we’d met. I whispered to him, “I’m proud of you.”
“I wish my dad could say those words, but you are a better father than he ever was.”
I smiled. “I try. But don’t do this to spite him. You can still walk away.”
He stopped in the middle of the open space before the fish bowl. They could see us at the elevator. There was a crowd forming. As with everything in the AU building, rumor flies fast.
Striding from the fishbowl was Mark Green. He was weak. I could see the patterns flickering around him but they grew dimmer with each passing day. Mark Green would die and the Venatori would pick a new leader. But his power flaired and I saw colors brighter than a few moments before. It was a brief moment. And I grinned as my leader preened like a peacock. Matt looked at me and smiled. “You could do better.”
“I know but I won’t.” I let go of Matt and stood before Mark Green.
He asked, “I hear you have something to say?”
“I do.” I shifted to stand straight and be the man they had made me. “You tried to kill me.”
“I’ve done no such thing. You aren’t worth the time to think about Mr. Sétanta.”
“I meant the collective you. The Venatori. Your scientist poisoned me while I was on suicide watch. For their researc project. I don’t give a fuck if it’s in your right to experiment on me. I’m done with you. I’m done pretending that what we do here is right. You are wrong. Killing to least of the crimes is barbaric. There are so many cleaner ways to handle this. I get death is the only sure way we can fix the worst of the worst.”
“I’m tired of fighting you.”
Mark Green smiled. “It’s about time. I think there is a pool running around here. I wonder who won it.”
“Then I’ll just go.”
Kai stepped out of the shadows of Dae’lin’s office. “Nox, why don’t you challenge him. You could easily win.”
“Why do I want to lead the Venatori, Kai? Will you follow my orders? Will you bring in the vampires who are slaughtering those frat boys. You think I didn’t know what you didn’t show me?”
Kai frowned. “Don’t leave it like this Nox. You’ll be Exuli. We won’t…”
“There is nothing in the rule book that says you can’t see the boys. We’ll make arrangements.”
Dylan stepped up next to Kai. “You’ll leave Sam and Emma to their lessons without help.”
“Garrett is dead. The demon who stole their powers and hurt them is dead. I killed it. And I’ll know if they need me again. I’ll always be there for them. Always.”
Around us security had formed and I thought at Dev, get them out of here. I don’t want you to watch what’s next. I’ll be home soon. I trusted Dev to get my… no our family out of here safely.
Matt stood next to me, “And I’m going with him. No one here can teach me. And I can’t be one of you if you can’t accept people like him or me.”
Matt’s father rushed up towards us but security stopped him. He shouted. “Matthew, your mother will be so disappointed.”
Matt sighed. “She’s dead, Dad. I’m sorry but I have to do what I beleive in. Just like Mom taught me.”
The man standing next to me. “Are you truly doing this son?”
I nodded. “I am.”
“You know what that means.”
“I do. We will go willingly.”
“It’s permanent – the world will see the tattoo etched on your temple.”
I nodded and Matt put his hand on my waist and helpd me close to his body. “I know.” I whispered. I was about to face one of my biggest fears. And I would do it just as I did when I was 18 – with fear but without giving them the satisfaction of seeing me shaking in my boots. Fuck them. Fuck the Venatori!