I made it back to my apartment just in time for my anxiety to hit full swing. And as I opened the door Ophelia sat in front of the door with a fucking dead mouse at her feet. “Mother fucker!” I said and shut my door on the cat and walked away. I walked around the AU building. I wasn’t paying attention and walked straight into a solid mass.
I looked up and saw my father standing in front of me. “Boy….” He said before he saw the look on my face. “What’s wrong?”
I shook my head. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Kai snorted. “That’s a lie.”
I sighed. “I have a date. My cat is bringing me presents and I can’t deal with it.” I started pacing back and forth in the hall. “I’m just having issues dealing right now.”
Kai grabbed my shoulders and pushed me against the wall and I pushed him away from me in a panic. “Careful kid.”
“Don’t ever do that. Not ever.” I choked out as I slid to the ground. I wrapped my arms around my legs and dropped my head to my knees.
I could feel my father kneel down next to me, “What can I do to help?”
I rocked back and forth trying to calm down. “Get the mouse out of my apartment.”
“Really? You are afraid of a mouse?”
I shook my head. “Not afraid of it. It’s a mess and I wasn’t cable of dealing with it.”
“I don’t think Ophelia likes me son.”
I handed my dad my phone, “Call Dorian. Then we can spar.”
“That I can do.” He took my phone and stepped away from me to talk to Dorian. Then he was back in front of me. “Dorian said he’d get on it and you and me we are going to spar.”
My father lifted my by my elbow and I was on my feet in moments. I don’t think I walked more than my father dragged me down the hall and down two flights of stairs and into a training room. They were one of my favorite rooms, the weights, the big fighting area in the middle of everything. I wasn’t the strongest, hell I was probably the weakest of the Venatori. But I wasn’t bottom of the barrel. Though I still got the shit kicked out of me on a regular basis. Usually by man in front of me.
He stretched and I followed him like I was in class, stretching what he did. For the counts. The movements alone helped keep my mind off the problem off the anxiety. I focused on my body, how it moved, why it moved. I felt each muscle strain.
It wasn’t yoga, but it was calming and relaxing. I watched as my father lithe lean body stood up and he offered me a hand but I declined it and rose to my feet unfolding from the prior stretch. “Show off.” he said as he motioned to the floor.
We danced around each other testing the waters before I attacked my father. My feet bouncing forward and my right hand missing by a mile. My father was fast for an old man. I taunted in my head. I would never say it to his face, he might actually hurt me.
But I smirked and he asked, “What’s so funny?”
I shook my head and tried again. He easily dodged. But my father was predictable, and I had been practicing against vampires who were older and faster than any Venatori. And to fight them I’d learned how to use my gifts all of them. I threw three more punches at my father and let my gift do the work I needed it to do. Patterns were everywhere. We thought in patterns, we worked in patterns. They weren’t perceptible to your eyes, your mind necessarily but we all did things in patterns. Some of us the patterns were seemingly random and others like mine were completely observable by others. Psychologists recognized these mental patterns. I saw them like pieces of a puzzle to be solved.
Another three misses and my father wove between the punches. But in doing so he stopped watching my feet and I dropped to the ground and had him on his back in a quick leg sweep. I grinned down at my father. He stared up at me dazed. “I knew that was coming.”
“So why didn’t you stop it?” I asked confused.
“Because it was one of many possible outcomes, one that rarely comes to pass so I discarded it.”
“You thought because I never win I wouldn’t knock you on your ass now?”
Kai smirked as he sat up and rested his elbows on his knees as he leaned forward and caught his breath. “No. It was one of a thousand different variations. It was the only one in which you went low.”
“I only went low because you weren’t really moving, you were dodging me. But you seemed to forget your lower body.”
“I never understand your gift. Some days it’s like you are blinded by the patterns of things, and others you welcome it and see past the problems and use it to your advantage.”
I laughed. “I always uses it to my advantage. It’s those changes in the patterns that make me crazy.” I said. “A mess deviates from those patterns. Changes make those patterns look wrong. So what I see and what is, are two different things. I can tune out only so much.”
“You are… were.. In the middle of a panic attack and you used those patterns.”
“When the patterns are in alignment it’s comforting – calming. You father are predictable. Maybe not on an observational level, but your movements follow a pattern. You never deviated once from those patterns. You flow and follow with them.”
“So why don’t you always win?” He asked.
I smiled. “Because you are faster, and stronger and I can’t react fast enough when I go on the defensive. Offense is easier.”
“The old adage, the best defense is a good offense?”
I nodded. “Pretty much.”
“Are you feeling better?” Kai asked as he stood up.
“I am. Thank you.”
“I’m sure Dorian is through with your mouse problem.”
I grinned. “I could probably handle it now.” I took a deep breath. “I think.”
“Let’s not risk it Nox. I’m not sure I could take another fall like that one. These old bones and all.” He smirked at me with a wink.
“Did I say something in one of your playthroughs.”
“You called me an old man.”
I grinned. “I called you one in my head.”
And my father punched at me and we started anew.