I heard a voice in the darkness, a voice I’d never heard. “I was the first.” A familiar voice sounded next, “I was the second.” Together they spoke, “You are the final.”
The voices echoed in the darkness and I heard things outside of me, my surroundings coming back into focus. I blinked my eyes open and saw three sets of eyes staring back at me. they reminded me of my tree in my dreamscape. “How long?” I mumbled.
Sage’s eyes sparkled in the light, “Three months, two days and fourteen minutes.”
“I call bullshit.” I croaked out.
Dee was pressing a glass of cold water in my hand while Dev helped me sit up. “What are you doing here?” I asked.
“Paying my respects to the King of New York.”
I groaned. Dev laughed, “You’ve been out for only a few hours. Ant said your power was eating at you for killing.” He wasn’t laughing anymore. “You have to stop doing that.” He grumbled at me.
I noticed Dee was standing away from us. “You can touch us. But promise me you’ll talk to Tony.”
Dee nodded. “I will. I promise.” She fell into my lap and pressed her head against my chest. “I’m sorry.”
“Me too. I’m sorry I worried you all.”
Sage wrapped his arms around us and Dev did too. “That was some hell of a call Nox.” Sage said.
“You felt it?”
“I did. I can’t imagine what it felt like up close and personal. It was like I was suffocating and the only way to breathe was to accept you.”
Dee looked up at me and smiled, “It was like a breathe of fresh air once I accepted it.”
Dev grinned, “I didn’t feel anything pretty boy, only that you were pulling power from me.”
“Why was he different?” Dee asked.
“It’s a long story.” Dev said. “And we’ll talk about it later.”
Jin walked into our shared bedroom with little more than a passing knock on the door. “Nox, there are many people in TCP that are waiting to see you. I know it’s late, but there is a matter of three children.”
I smiled, “Did they meet the boys?”
“Let them have a sleep over. I’ll deal with everything later.”
“And the baby?” Jin asked.
“Bring her here. We’ll take care of it.” I said.
Dee’s eyes lit up, “A baby?” And then it dawned on her, “Are you collecting more kids?”
“I am. Ant says I should make that orphanage and a school. Wanna help?” I asked Dee specifically. “I need someone I trust to take care of all these kids I’m getting.”
Dee smiled. “But I have a job.”
“I’ll pay you. Run it for me Dee. Make sure we have a doctor, good teachers for all the kids. Don’t let them grow up to become like me.”
Dev punched my arm, “Shut up.” He looked at Dee, “You always wanted more. Nox is giving you more kids, more responsibility, more everything. More than I could give you.”
I punched Dev in the arm like he did me, “Now who needs to shut up.”
Dev grinned, “Maybe we both have a lot to learn.”
“Maybe… I’m starving!”
And so life went on. Food and sleep for days were top of my list. Though I only really got the first. I never wanted to be King. Never wanted to rule the Venatori, or anyone. I just wanted to be me. Turns out being me – meant all those things. I was the third Ascendant since the dawning of time prophecized to die four times and rise from the ashes and ascend. I’m not exactly sure what any of that means right now. But I’m sure that will come in time. This isn’t the end of my story. No I think it’s only just gotten started.