Michaela arranged a going away party in the middle of May. Turns out that Venatori don’t need much to celebrate and have a falling down drunk time. Jesse and the boys had been invited and they all seemed to fit in just fine. But not me. I loved a good party.And I’d been to a few funerals over time. But this was not one of those. I wasn’t dead but they used it as an excuse to party hard and celebrate life. But my kinda party involved a lot more drugs, dancing and sex. There wasn’t much dancing. Mostly a bunch of people I didn’t know talking about killing things.

Me and the boys – and Charlie – hung out in my room where it was notably quieter. I had one of my play lists going and the boys were all playing video games. They dragged a TV and console to my room so we could all hang out here. I was going to miss the two rug rats. We promised to write – email these days. I had Sage set me up an account, the boys already had one, though I had sage set one up for them too. Something we could talk about monster hunting on without their school freaking out. I wanted them to talk to me and that seemed the safest bet.

We talked about what I was going to do when I got home. I never once mentioned the meeting I had planned with my mystery dream guy. Though I knew the twins heard the excitement and fear in my voice when I talked about going out on my birthday. I didn’t tell them more than that I hung out with my best friends. I wondered if Mia and Jace would be along for the ride this go around – new baby and all.

It was around midnight when Charlie left to go hit the sack. He was tired. The twins curled up one on each side of me and we watched a movie. They fell asleep early on and I sat and watched it. I didn’t feel the anxiety to move as it was time to sleep but I couldn’t just then, I wanted to. Would have loved to seen my him in my dreams, but every time I closed my eyes I saw my mother dying, or the little girl who had been abused. The magic of reliving my deeds was high on the night. How many people were celebrating my accomplishments but yet I was drowning in the horrible memories?

It was all magic. No one knew how or why, but it always happened, the guest of honor’s deeds always played out, it’s what fueled the conversations and gave power to the magic. It was good magic. There was a rune stone that let you relive every bad decision you’d ever made, and let you drown in your mistakes. That’s what my successes felt like, but to the Venatori they were grand successes. The opposite stone, the failures was kept as a means of punishment. Torture…

I laid staring at the ceiling wishing I could sleep. Minutes, or hours passed I don’t know, lost in the memories I didn’t have a concept of time, Jesse walked into my room and smiled at me. He shook Rider and then Laker and the boys both groggily looked up at their father. “Time to go.”

“Awww. Dad.” They both whined. But they wrapped their arms around me and I wrapped mine around them and we held on. These were my brothers and they were accepting of me. I was glad they weren’t afraid of me. And I’m glad they didn’t know the horrible truth about me like the Venatori.

Jesse smiled. “When will we see you again?”

I shrugged. “I’ll come visit, and you can come visit me once I have an idea of whats going to happen once I get back.”

“Oh Dad, can we?” Rider asked. Laker just gave me a grin and nodded. I knew the twins would have a good time in the City, but from the look of Jesse he was doubtful of that ever happening.

“We’ll see.” Jesse said as he ushered the boys towards the door. “Take care Nox. We hope to hear from you soon.”

I nodded. “I’ll stay in touch. I promise.”

As they left Michaela took up the doorway after them. “We missed you.”

I laughed. “No you didn’t.”

She closed the door behind her. “I missed you?” Michaela grinned as she crawled up the length of my bed on top of me.

“Did you now?” I asked.

She smiled then pressed her lips to mine. “I want to say good-bye properly.” She leaned back on her heels and unbuttoned my jeans. “I hope you weren’t planning on sleeping tonight.”

I laughed. “Not anymore.” And I let Michaela have her one last night with me. Her last shot at conception. I didn’t let it bother me. At least that’s what I told myself in the morning.