I had a few hours to kill and I really didn’t feel like dealing with family matters. I was on the edge of my sanity now. I had no more appointments for the now. And my appointment with Margo was tomorrow, but I needed to be out. I needed to do something productive. I sent Sage a text – ‘going looking for Rob, if you need me Ant can bring me home any time.’ I didn’t want to seem like I was leaving them. But I couldn’t be this person all the time. I needed my time too.
Sage’s reply was almost instant. ‘okay. We are good. Dee’s going to her Dad’s and Adam is here.’
I sighed when I read Adam was at the house, Sage ignored everything when his brother was around. And I still didn’t have time to get to the data Sage had sent and I wanted to read the DNA document. Asher had said it had changed… how did he know? What did it say now? So many questions…
But Ant followed me to the doors of the Night Life building. The sun was shining and he stared into the street beyond like it was the first time. He was going to have to get used to this sooner rather than later. I grabbed his hand and I pulled him through the door. His hand tightened around mine and he shied away from the sun, but he kept walking with me. He pulled my sunglasses from his pocket and slipped them over his eyes. It took him a while but he stood straighter and more confident and he wasn’t cringing from the bright light by the end of the first block.
“I think I need a better pair of sun glasses.” Ant said.
“We’ll buy some while we are out.” I grinned at him as Ant squeezed my hand and let it go.
Before we left Ant grabbed the last reports on were sightings and that’s where we went. We started with the area we’d found his girlfriend and went to each on on the list. There weren’t many but there were also a few other places we could try. The homeless shelter a block from where they’d picked her up was a logical place for him to crash.
Walking into the building was like walking into any other place for me. It was a bombardment of senses. Sight, smells, patterns. Usually I could tone it all down, but this was different. There were no patterns of shifted objects. There were no permanent fixtures in the entire building everything was in constant flux. I felt a lot of human energy but I felt supernatural too – every where.
I walked through rows of beds in one room and not even the bed themselves left a permanent mark on the pattern of life. A homeless shelter should have some permanence that’s what makes them shelters – but there was none here.
Ant followed behind me, his sunglasses sitting on top of his head but he was on high alert.
I checked each supernatural energy I had. There were a few kids here, too young to be friends with Rob. And they were scruffy looking with ratted hair and dirty faces. I didn’t see any parents around. I stopped in front of the pair of boys. “Where are your parents?” I asked.
“Waz it to ya?” the older boy asked as the smaller one clung to him.
“Do you have any?”
The little boy shook his head even as the older boy repeated himself, “Waz it to ya?”
I grinned at them as I knelt down in front of them. “Do you have a home?”
I got the same response as I had before but this time there was a woman standing behind them. “They are in and out on a regular basis. Never see their parents. Are you looking for someone?”
I nodded and flashed her my PI badge. “Yeah I’m looking for a teen boy, his name is Rob. I might have a place for these two to stay.”
“We ain’t goin to no orphanage!” The little boy nodded his agreement to the older one.
“It’s not an orphange. I promise. They will love you and feed you and take care of you. And make sure you go to school.” I smiled but I knew the school was going to frighten them away.
Ant laughed, “Nox you don’t have room for two more.”
I looked back and up at Ant, “I always have room for more.”
He rolled his eyes, “Where are you going to put them?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know but I’ll figure it out.”
“What will the other say?”
“These aren’t some stray cats I’m bringing home, Ant.” I stood up and looked down at the two boys. “If anything, at least you’ll get a hot freshly cooked meal, a warm bed to sleep in, clean clothes and a warm bath.”
The hot food had them hooked. I pulled up a picture on my phone, “You seen him?”
They both nodded. The little one took my hand and started walking away from where they had stayed. The older boy was gathering up their things and he was soon following me. Ant taking up the tail.
In a back room in a chains was the boy I was looking for. The little boy cringed, “I don’t wanna end up like him.”
I smiled down at him. “You won’t. That’s why you two need to come with me.”
I knelt down beside Rob and his blue eyes stared back at me. “Rob, did you do this to yourself?”
He nodded. “I hurt her.”
I smiled. “You did, but she’s alright. I can take you to see her, and we can work on getting you under control.”
“You aren’t pack. But you smell like it. But you smell like him too.” he nodded towards Ant. “Like forest and death, and smokey fires. You smell like everything and nothing all at the same time.”
Ant spoke softly, “He is the Ascendant.” He said it like it would mean something to him.
All three boys looked at him with wide eyes. “They said he was Venatori.”
“You can’t not be Venatori anymore than I can not be werewolf.” Rob said.
“I exiled myself, and was reborn in a fire, removing the tattoo from my skin.”
The older boy’s voice was filled with awe, “No way!” It felt funny talking about prophecy with boys who couldn’t be more than 10 or 11 years old. Yet they knew who the Ascendant was.
“Nox, the Ascendant is part of every lore in every race including the Venatori. The Venatori choose to believe that they were the last, and the world is righted but we all know there were three prophecised before the end.
I laughed, “So the worlds ending next. Great!”
Ant smiled, “Not for another millenia or two, we’ll all be gone and dead and it will be someone else’s thing to deal with. But the prophecy changes. Will changes it you know this.”
I sighed. “Can we talk about something else?”
Ant laughed. “Let’s get the boys to the Infirmary and we’ll talk about what clothes to wear. Your boys will be home soon.”
The little one asked, “You have boys?”
“I have three adopted sons and one adopted daughter.” That seemed to make everyone happy as we headed out the back door so not to draw too much attention to all the rag tag children I was walking out of a building with.