I wondered where Sage was and Dee too, they hadn’t been with Dev and the boys. Cari and Ryan were bloodied and battered but they didn’t look worse for wear. Tony and Francesco looked even less tainted with blood when I saw them sitting on the couch in their living room. There was a wide eyed bear strung up between Tony and Ryan. Stupid bear!
Dev and the boys were curled around each other sitting on the other couch. Drake ran to me and threw his arms around my legs. Dev was pulling Drake away from me staring at the girl in my arms. I set Morana down and she clung to my legs like Drake had. “She was just hungry.” I said in explanation.
Dev stared but didn’t say a word. “She won’t hurt anyone again.”
“You can’t be sure of that.” Dev said.
I nodded. “I can.” I didn’t understand any of it. I didn’t want to do it but I needed to show Dev I could protect him. I pulled at the connection to Ant and he gave to me freely what I wanted to take. I let his necromancer power flow through me and I sent it outward from me in waves. My power and the death magic sent every vampire in the room to a knee including Francesco and Cari. Well all except Ant, he was the only vampire still on his feet when I said, “I can, Dev. No vampire will hurt my family again.”
I let it go and there was a breathe of relief from all the vampires.
Dev frowned. “So you can control supernatural creatures?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know Dev. All I know with Ant’s help I can protect my family from vampires. I don’t want this you know.”
“But you want this life?” Sage asked from the hallway.
Dev relaxed the moment he saw Dee and Sage behind me. I turned around and looked at the pair of love birds and growled to myself. There was a fresh bruise on Sage’s neck. They’d gone off after I had left. Dev’s hand snaked around my waist and he told me to calm down with a touch.
I sighed and looked at the floor. “This is all I know Sage.”
Cari stood up and took the werebear by the shirt collar and dragged him out of the room. “We’ll leave you to your family business. We’ll detain the bear until you are ready.” Everyone but the boys and Ant flowed out of the apartment. Ant stood by the door after everyone left.
Sage looked at him. “Is he going to follow you everywhere?”
I shrugged. “Probably.”
“And the woman, Jin, I think her names is.” Sage asked, “Is she going to be around too.”
I nodded. “Seems so.”
“So you are some almighty god now. What’s that mean for us?”
“Nothing has changed.” I said in my defense as I pulled away from Dev. I didn’t want him to take sides in this if he didn’t want to. I sat down on the edge of the couch closest to me. Everyone followed suit. Sage and Dee sat in the overstuffed chair, their legs pressing against each other. Dev remained standing where I’d left him. The boys and Morana sat on the other couch watching. Even Fae was curled up with the baby vampire. He trusted me. Why can’t they?
Dee sighed. “Everything has changed, Nox. Can’t you see that? We are living in a secure location surrounded by vampire guards getting attacked my vampires. You left the Venatori, we thought you were done with whatever it was you did for them. They treated you like shit remember?”
“My life isn’t going to change because you think it’s too dangerous. People aren’t going to let me be. Too many people know what I can do.”
Dev asked, “What can you do?” He smirked. “I mean other than make vampires bow to you without saying anything?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know. That’s the problem. But I died in London. Not metaphorically, I died. My body burned beyond recognition. Ryan believed in the prophecy and kept my body safe while I healed death.”
Ant interrupted. “It wasn’t a true death, it was a torpor state. You would look dead to the waking world, but you were a live on a different level. It’s how the Chevalier bond works, too. We don’t understand it fully, but Doc is always pushing his research further.”
“You fucking died?” Sage cried out. “Jesus fucking Christ Nox. You want to drag us into this?”
“No. I don’t, but the thought of living life without you, Dee and Dev and the boys scares the hell out of me.”
Dee said, “This scares the hell out of us.”
“I won’t let anything happen to you.” I pleaded.
Sage frowned. “You already did.” He looked at Dev, “Why aren’t you saying anything, you had a fucking vampire holding you hostage. Holding the boys hostage.”
Dev smirked at Sage. “Deadshot, do you remember when you got caught hacking into the government building security system on a dare? Do you remember that feeling of dread? Your life was over? The one where if Danny hadn’t vouched for you you would still be rotting in a jail cell without any internet. You’d never met any of us? Someone believed in you. I know you understand what Nox goes through on a daily basis. I know what that dream was about.”
“You made me dream it?” Sage asked Dev. Dev shrugged. “I let people die in that dream Dev. People I didn’t know. “
Dev nodded, “But you saved the rest in the end. You realized that your power was a tool for good and you could save them. Now imagine you really had the power to change the world. What would you do with it Sage? Nox didn’t ask for this. He wants to curl up on the couch with the kids and cry until the world rights itself. But is he? No. He’s sitting there fighting back the anxiety that’s building to a boiling point. He’s being that god you claimed him to be and not because he wants to but because he has to to protect us.”
Sage frowned. “I hate that you can read us.”
Dev laughed. “You hate that I can read him better than you can.”
I got up. One thing was right about what Dev said, I was feeling the anxiety pouring in. My life was one big cluster fuck. Dev and Sage continued to converse about whatever was bothering them. Their jealousy towards each other. Dee threw her two cents in. I was only mildly aware of the fighting.
I wasn’t the only one who had fled the living space. My head was swimming in everything. I felt the powers that be floating around, I saw the patterns, I saw magic I hadn’t even known existed and it was making nauseous. Two hands grabbed one of mine each and I felt the tug of their lead towards a bed room. The lights were off. The bed was huge. Matt whispered in my ear, “Lay down, Nox.” I was grateful for the instruction.
Before I knew it I was lying in the bed surrounded by the four kids, Drake lay on my chest, Fae was curled up between me and Matt and Morana was shifting on the other side, her body cool to the touch in contrast to the heat on my chest. It didn’t take long for me to drift off into the darkness of my dreams.