It’s Early

Alex fell asleep and I sat staring down at him just watching his chest rise and fall. I was afraid to move and wake him but I had to go to the bathroom. Fucking biological functions interrupting things. I slide slowly off the side of the bed and he grumbled a little before I was out the door. I whispered, “I’ll be right back.”

And for all intensive purposes I was. I just went to the bathroom. I didn’t even check to see if my eyeliner was smeared. I heard Alex waking up and I didn’t want to worry him. But as I stepped back inside the bedroom I saw him looking around in a panic. “I’d never leave without waking you first.” I said. “I just had to go to the bathroom.”

He didn’t say anything as he waggled his finger and rolled over into the middle of the bed and pulled me down next to him when I gave him my hands. Alex was shaking. “You okay?” I whispered against his neck.

“A bad memory, that’s all. I’m better with you right here. Don’t do that again okay?”

I nodded. “I think I can manage that.” I smirked at up at him.

Alex smiled at me and pressed a soft kiss to my lips. The soft kiss evolved quickly into teeth and tongues and a frenzy of all the fucking times we’d stalled out in the middle things. Alex ended up lying on top of me, his body pressing into mine. Our hips pushing against the other looking for friction as we kissed deep. Alex shifted and I tilted my head so he could get at my neck and I shivered as his tongue and lips trailed down over my jaw to a spot on my neck that Alex worried with his teeth and then ran his tongue over soothing it. Sucking and biting and I couldn’t help the sounds that left my lips as my fingers dug into the skin of his back.

Alex grabbed the hem of my t-shirt and yanked it over my head, my arms above my head and he smirked as his left my arms in the shirt and I had to untangle myself but his fingers were running the length of my chest over the claw marks there. He took a deep breathe and shimmied down and kissed the marks on my chest. “You didn’t tell me the bear got you too.”

I tried to think when I had mentioned the bear. But Alex’s fingers and tongue were distracting and I couldn’t think beyond his touch. I reached into Alex’s hair with one hand and he grabbed my wrists and pressed them above my head and kissed me long and hard pinning me still beneath him. “Now I need to start all over.” His voice was deep with lust and I withered underneath him. “Stay put.” He said as he moved from my lips to my neck. He nipped at the spot he’d been playing with before and I tried not to groan at the tender spot as he moved down to pay attention to the scars along my chest. He took a nipple in his mouth and ran his tongue around hit before he bit softly at first, and then again harder, over again until I was arching my back and he moved to the other one and was paid the same through attention to it.

He worked his way lower until he was running his tongue along the rim of my belly button. I was whimpering by the time he delved his tongue into the center of my belly and it felt like he was doing the same thing to my cock each time.

Alex sat between my legs and stared at me. I met his eyes and couldn’t help the whimper that escaped as he just stared at me with that smirk. “I think I like how well you behave.”

I beamed at him and bit my bottom by lip. “Always.”

We sat that for uncountable seconds just staring at each other. The longer I looked at him the more I wanted Alex. It wasn’t just sex, he was fucking hot, something more to it than that. It was like coming home. And when Alex leaned down and kissed me, I was lost to that feeling. I didn’t care what happened outside of that moment. I was home.

Each kiss was heaven. Every touch made me moan. His hands on me, my hands on him and nothing else mattered, just me and him. It had been early when we had dinner. Earlier than usual, but by the time we were both lying in each others arms, our hearts pounding, catching our breath the sun had set and the hours grew late. I should have gone home. I knew waking up in his bed at 4am was going to cause problems, but his arms around me felt too good. I never wanted to leave. I wanted to stay this moment. Never in all my life and anyone made me feel like this. I drifted off to sleep with thoughts of blue eyes and Alex’s arms wrapped around me, his body pressed against mine and I was safe. Everything about the morning to come I’d deal with then, right now the only thing that mattered was Alex and me.

A Tour

A Tour
I finished eating and then moved into the kitchen to start cleaning up. Alex raised his eyes brow questioningly. “You cooked. I can clean up.”

I nodded. “I know you can. But I don’t take care of it, it’ll drive me nuts. The whole change thing, the patterns mess up cause it’s outta order. I’ll be better with it cleaned up, now instead of later.”

Alex sighed. “You really are a pain in the ass.” He said as he got up off the stool and started collecting the dishes.

“Not yet.” I grinned and hip checked Alex at the sink as he moved in next to me to wash the dishes.

“Go put the food away. I’ll have it later.”

“Yes, sir.” I pressed a kiss to his temple and wrapped the remaining chicken rolls in tin foil and put the pasta and pesto in separate bowls.

Alex sighed when he saw me putting the three things in the fridge. “You could have put it all in one thing.”

“No way. Then the pasta drinks all the pesto sauce. And the chicken gets all mushy. This way you can just pop the chicken in the oven for ten and warm and melt the cheese again. You can microwave the pasta and the pesto together but I’d just do the pasta and keep the pesto cold, maybe mix in some more olive oil to thin it out a little.”

Alex dried his hands on paper towels. “I’m going to go with my first statement. You are a pain in the ass.”

I smirked. “And I’m still going with, Not yet.”

Alex groaned, “Alright, come on. Tour first and then I want dessert.”

“Hey, I’m not a piece of meat.” I joked.

Alex eyed me and reached for my hoodie and unzipped it pushing it from my shoulders. “I’ll be the judge of that.”

He was obviously checking me out and I was more than happy to have his eyes all over me. Fuck I wanted more than his eyes all over me.

Alex growled. “Come on.” He stumbled away from me and grabbed his guitar. “This way.” He pointed to the door farthest from us. “That’s the spare bedroom, I use for an office.” He didn’t show it to me. He put his guitar in the other hand and pointed to the other end of the room. “The only bathroom is down this way.” He started walking in that direction.

The bathroom was nice. It had a shower and a bath off to the side of it but in a separate room for the both. It was kinda cozy. The bathroom was big comparatively speaking. We walked back towards the one door we’d walked past. “This is my room.”

He pushed open the door and I smelled him. And nothing else as he lead me inside. He didn’t shut the door as he put his guitar on the stand in the corner. His bed wasn’t made, it was a mess. But other than that it was neat and tidy. Alex sighed, “I wasn’t expecting guests.”

I shrugged. “It doesn’t bother me. You leave it a mess all the time so it look fine.”

“But you make your’s.”

“But I’ve always made mine. It was a rule growing up, kinda like boot camp and the military.”

Alex nodded knowingly, “Okay, you sure.”

I nodded and sat down on top of the mussed up bed. “Yeah, no need to worry about making it messier.” I grinned at him, “I assume that is part of the goal?”

Alex shook his head and pulled me off as he tossed the blankets to the other side of the and flopped face first on top of his pillows. “I was serious, my neck hurts now.”

I rolled my eyes. “So dramatic.” I tugged at his t-shirt as he laid their. “If you want a proper back rub you need to lose the shirt.”

He rolled over and looked up and me and the view went straight to my cock. Alex smirked as he stood up and tossed his shirt into the corner after he pulled it up over his head. He reached around me and grabbed my phone from my back pocket. “I’m going to put this on Do Not Disturb” He looked at me to make sure I wasn’t panicking, “You’re alarms should still come through.”

I nodded. “I know. I use it at night.”

Alex smiled. “This okay?” He set my phone on the nightstand and set his next to it after fiddling with his own settings. I nodded when he looked at me. He smirked, “Good now you are all mine.”

“I was already all yours.” I said softly.

Alex shook his head. “No you would have left if someone told you something happened on your big case.”

I shrugged. “You’ll never know now – will you?” I shoved Alex gently and he sat down. I spun my finger so he’d lie on his stomach.

“Bossy, I swear!” He laughed as he laid down with his hand underneath his cheek He kicked off his shoes and I shoved them to the floor. He closed his eyes. “The mess isn’t gonna make you agitated will it?”

“I’ll let you know when things start getting too much, alright? You don’t have to keep asking.”

He rolled on to his side just as I was about to sit on his hot rear. He smirked up at me. “I don’t want to freak you out at all, Nox. Not even a little. I want this to go well.”

“It’s going great. I’ll let you know when it gets too much. I promise, I’m not fragile.”

Alex sighed and laid back down, “You could have fooled me.” Alex settled again and I sat down with a leg on either side of his back and sitting on his ass. I used a little fire and air to warm my hands before I touched Alex’s back. I could make them cold or use electricity to create unique effects but I figured the basics were all we needed considering I was pretty sure he wasn’t in any real pain. Though I wasn’t going to pretend that I didn’t want to be doing this. My body was almost shaking as I touched him the first time. My fingers kneading into the tense muscles of his neck.

I spoke softly as I worked the neck muscles of the man underneath me, “There has just been a lot of stress the past few days. I’m not usually quite so volatile. You make me nervous among other things.”

“Why do I make you nervous?” Alex asked in a much more relaxed voice than I’d heard from him since I’d met him. He was home. In his own space, and relaxed. I liked him like this.

“I don’t date. I don’t take guys numbers and keep them, much less call them back. I haven’t been with a guy in a few years. It’s just all new and yet you make me feel safe and like I’ve done this a thousand times before. I know it sounds crazy but you smell and feel like home.”

Alex just groaned as I hit a particularly tight knot and worked on it as I worked my way lower from his neck down his back. He’d given me a tour of his place and now I was using my fingers to tour his body. I’d done it a little before, but this was with a purpose. I was memorizing every tense spot, and ticklish spot and cataloging each groan and shift of his body. Alex was completely relaxed underneath me and I thought I heard him snore a few times before he woke

Alex’s Place

I grabbed the groceries and headed out the door before Alex. I waited for him by the elevator but didn’t say anything. He joined me after I assumed he locked up. “Nox you okay?”

I nodded. “Yeah.”

“We really didn’t do anything.”

I growled, “I know. I believe you. I don’t like that your friend knows me from my past. And the fucked up part I don’t remember her. The circle is small, the people who’d know that part I’d know.”

Alex sighed. “I’m not happy she knows you either. I don’t like knowing you had a dom.” He smirked. “From what I saw she was where she shouldn’t have been. Got a few lashes from it. She thought it was worth it.”

“You aren’t into that though?” I asked. I was hoping that he said no, I fucking prayed he said he wasn’t into it.

He stopped me and pulled me into the alley. “Nox. I told you the truth. I don’t want a sub. It’s not my thing, it’s just a job. She’s paying me to find her soul mates who were right fucking in front of her.”

I laughed. “Course. I’m not surprised, if she can’t see through you.”

He pushed me and I grabbed his hands and pulled him against me. “It’s pretty obvious you aren’t some flamboyant gay guy.”

“I’m a good actor.”

I chuckled. “We’ll see.” I pulled him out of the alley. “Show me your place. Your real place.”

He nodded and grinned. “Bossy, bossy. But I’m starving and you weren’t done shopping. I literally have nothing.”

I sighed. “Fine.” We headed towards a grocery store. It wasn’t one I knew so we wandered a little. I picked up some angel hair pasta, some fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil. I grabbed some panko and salt and pepper and a few other things for seasoning. “What do you want to drink?”

“Wine.”

“You want a fancy dinner?”

“I said dazzle me.” He smirked.

I rolled my eyes. “All right.” I grabbed a bottle of white wine. “You ready?”

Alex nodded. “I’m all yours chef. I’m starving. This won’t take long will it?”

I shrugged. “Never made it before.”

“I’m not some guinea pig!” Alex exclaimed.

“You are tonight.” I said as he paid. “But I promise it’ll be good.”

“It better be!” Alex said.

We weren’t far from Alex’s place. Hell we weren’t far from the AU building. We climbed 4 flights of stairs and Alex opened his door. The first thing I noticed with the smell. It smelled like him, and nothing but him. I took a deep breath and Alex chuckled. “Do you do that at every new place?”

I shook my head. “No.” i didn’t know how to explain it.

Alex smirked and swept out a hand. “Make yourself at home.”

I kicked off my shoes by the door and followed Alex through his house. This is what I expected of his house. The furniture was comfortable, it smelled like him. It felt like him everywhere. There was dust in places which meant he wasn’t here long.

Alex lead me through the kitchen and I put things on the counter. Alex looked at me, “You want the tour?”

I looked at him and shook my head, “No, I think I’ll feed the starving man who keeps eyeing me.”

“I think that’s a good idea.” Alex said as he sat down at his bar and started unpacking the bags. “I don’t think I’ve ever cooked here either.”

“A virgin eh?” I grinned.

“You could only wish.”

I shook my head, “Virgin’s are so boring. I like ’em with a little experience, maybe a lot, show me a thing or two.”

“That’s fancy coming from you!”

I groaned, “Are you calling me a slut?”

Alex sighed, “No pretty boy. I very much want to show you a thing or two.”

“So you get fed, what do I get out of this deal?” I asked as I started beating eggs in a bowl with some salt and pepper.

Alex grinned, “Since when do I have to sing for my supper?”

“Can you?”

“Can I what?”

“Sing for you supper.”

Alex chortled. “Fuck, I’ll show you pretty boy.” Alex got up from his bar stool and headed down the hall. He came back with a guitar and sat down to make sure it was all in key.

“Okay, now I’m impressed.”

“Yeah uh, huh.” Alex said. What could I say I was a sucker for music. And I was going to keep my mouth shut while he did his thing. I’d hate to have him stop on my account. He looked up while I was dicing all the vegetables so I could use them in various place.

Alex started playing a song and started singing as I made food for him in his kitchen. His voice was soft and I was grateful for my hearing so I could hear it over the guitar. “When the night has come / And the land is dark / And the moon is the only light we see / No I won’t be afraid
No I won’t be afraid / Just as long as you stand, stand by me / And darling, darling stand by me.”

Had I been humming the song? It felt so familiar. It wasn’t one of my favorites, but it was always there on the tip of my tongue, but Alex quickly switched to another song halfway through the chorus. I don’t know why, and I didn’t ask. He looked lost in a memory too. The next song wasn’t the version I had been expecting once he started singing Baby one more time. It wasn’t Britney’s version, it was much slower and not nearly as dance worthy.

“You want something you can dance to?” Alex asked as he switched songs again. I recognized the song immediately and rolled my eyes and while I rolled the chicken cutlets with the tomato basil mixture and mozzarella cheese inside.

“You really want me flinging my hands around while I coat this chicken. There is only one way to dance to that song.” I did the classic saturday night fever movie you see John Travolta doing in the beginning of the movie, fuck if it was the only way you could dance to Stayin Alive.

Alex chuckled as he played more while I finished rolling the chicken in the eggs and panko bread crumbs and sticking them on a pan to bake.

With that going now in the preheated oven I started boiling water for the angel hair pasta and threw all the minced garlic, pine nuts and fresh basil into a blender for a homemade pesto sauce.

Alex started playing something to just play when his stomach rumbled again. He looked at me and started singing, “C is for cookie, it’s good enough for me.” He went through a few rounds of that while I snickered at him then he growled, “Alex hungry.”
I grinned at him. “I’m cooking as fast as I can.”

I was working on the sauce at the stove and watching the water for boiling so I could add the pasta when Alex started playing a familiar tune. He didn’t sing this time, but the tune was recognizable. Was one of my favorite to dance to when I was a kid – mostly because the kids in the Academy couldn’t do all the moves at the right time for Thriller. Michael Jackson had been inspirational while I was growing up. The dance moves were provocative and so very 80s but I loved it.

I tried hard not to dance, but the music swept me away and I started dancing to the music without really noticing I had started. And once I had started I was moving and I could feel Alex’s eyes on me. I had mastered dancing and cooking at the same time, it was one of my favorite things to do. I took care not to make a mess as this wasn’t my apartment but for the remainder of the cooking time I danced for Alex as he kept playing various Michael Jackson songs. Billie Jean was also one of my favorites.

The look in Alex’s eyes were hungry and at times sad. I stopped dancing long enough to pull the finished chicken rolls from the oven and drain the pasta.

I poured some wine, plated the food. It wasn’t fit to be served in Marco’s restaurant, but it was fancier than I usually did. I pushed the plate in front of Alex and one in front of the empty seat next to him and he finished his song which I gave him a flourishing finish.

He grinned at me as i stood up from the bow I’d given him and he laughed, “But can you do this.” He started in on a heavy rendition of some song that sounded great on the accoustic but was meant for the electric. He headbanged his way through the song and I couldn’t help the smirk that spread across my lips as he straightened laughing and then a groan as his hand slipped around his neck.

I rolled my eyes. “Obviously that was done so I’d touch you.”

Alex smirked, “I would never.” But I was already there pressing my fingers and thumbs into the tender flesh and he was groaning for other reasons that went straight to my cock. Alex grabbed my hands and pulled them around him and kissed me quickly. “If you keep that up your food is going to get cold and I’m starving.” His stomach rumbled as if I needed encouragement to let him eat.

I gave him a heavy sigh and sat down next to him and took a sip of the wine before cutting up the chicken rolls on my plate. After my first mouthful I asked, “Where did you learn to play?”

Alex grinned at me, “My mom taught me. It was a staple of my growing up.”

“Where did you learn to dance like that?” He asked.

“Dorian paid for my instructor. She was from Spain and Dorian liked speaking Spanish with her, if I’d thought he liked women I’d have said he was flirting, but Dorian was really just interested in the language. Though I think he did learn some to speak Italian to impress Marco.”

“What else did Dorian pay for?” Alex asked.

“Just cooking and dancing. He did it so I’d stay out of his hair. If I was too busy doing other things I wasn’t making trouble in the AU building.”

“I knew you were a trouble maker.”

I hung my head and bit my bottom lip before I looked at him. I was about to say I wasn’t, but he was shaking his head, “Fuck, pretty boy, don’t do that.”

I straightened my head and looked at him innocently, “Don’t do what?”

“You know exactly what?”

I shook my head. “I have no idea what you mean.”

Alex rolled his eyes. “Eat. Then I’ll give you a tour of the place and then you can give me a proper back rub. All that headbanging hurt my neck.”

I laughed. “Uh, huh.” But I did eat. And we made small talk along with a lot of flirting.

[[ Videos of the chosen songs after the list of scenes ]]

Groceries Round Three

I got up and took the two cups of unfinished coffee to the sink. Alex’s eyes never leaving me as I set then inside dumping the contents down the drain. He spoke softly, “Don’t forget to feed the cat. You won’t be home for a while and I think she’ll get mad if you don’t feed her.”

I smirked, “Are you chatting with Fee?”

“Maybe.” he grinned back.

I got some leftover chicken and cut up pieces and set it on the bar in her spot with a saucer of milk and I hoped she’d get home before it spoiled. I looked at him, “Anything else I need to do?” It was meant as a joke.

And he thankfully took it as such as he shook his head and the shoved the fallen strands out of his face. “Let’s go. Tell me where to take this so we can get it done and over with.”

“Just need to drop it off with Dae’lin.” I said.

“So back down stairs.” He nodded and headed for the stairwell. “I think I remember the way.”

I grinned and took his free hand and he yanked his fingers out of my grip and slide it around my waist. “Pretty boy, I’ll catch you when you fall. I meant it.”

I pressed a kiss to his cheek then broke apart as we headed down the stairs. It wasn’t quite so easy to descend stairs attached at the hip. Though it might have been a challenge to try.

Alex pretty much led the way the whole time. I wasn’t surprised when he knocked on Dae’lin’s door frame and stepped inside without being beckoned inside. It wasn’t that he was being rude, just overly familiar like I had been. He dropped the packet into her inbox. “Nox said he had to drop this off here.” I stood in the doorway watching him.

Dae’lin looked up with a frown, then she glanced at the packet. “You got him to sign?”

Alex gave her a shrug “It didn’t really take much.” He said. “Was nice meeting you.” He finished as he took my hand and tugged me out the door. Dae’lin’s look was one of shocked happiness from what I could tell as I followed with a shrug to answer her unasked question.

I followed him to the elevator and he smirked at me, “I’m not taking the stairs all the way down.”.

He pulled me to the back of the elevators and I pressed my body against his. Alex snaked his arms around my waist and I bit my bottom lip. “I’m okay. Specially if you hold me like this.” I leaned against him and nuzzled his neck. He smelled wonderful, safe and like home. I could stay there forever. Alex could at me.

So much for being upset at him. He played me like a dude and I didn’t care that he was, I rather enjoyed it.

The ground floor came much too fast and we were disembarking with the rest of the passengers. The lobby was filled with people and we walked out the front doors and headed down the street better I asked, “Where we going?”

“Grocery shopping. I found you have food to feed me there days in a row. And my place has no food. But we have to make a stop after we get the groceries. I told you I’d give you a taste of me.”

I licked my lips at the innuendo. “I think I’d like that.”

Alex pulled me along the street and I held his hand loosely. I didn’t want him to run away. He smiled. “So what do you want to make?” Alex asked to distract me from my thoughts.

“I don’t know what you like?” I grinned, “Short of pancakes and a well cooked steak.”

“Surprise me?” He said.

“You really want me to surprise you?”

“You were taught by a three star Michelin chef. Dazzle me.” Alex smirked.

“Alright, then we are going the wrong way if I’m going to dazzle you.”

Alex let go of my hand shrugged with his arms and shoulders. “Lead the way, chef.”

We turned around, Alex sorta swinging me past him. It was childish but it made me smile. He was distracting me. We stopped at the butcher and picked up some chicken cutlets. The farmer’s market was mostly dry by now but I managed to find the decent tomatoes, onions and garlic. The rest would have to get at a grocery story. “Is there a store close by where you live, so we don’t have to carry it all to our next stop?”

Alex nodded. “Yeah. That’s where i was heading.”

“We can go to your stop then pick up the rest of the groceries.”

“Alright.” He said and headed down the way we’d come.

It wasn’t a long walk until we were going inside the Lincoln center and up in the elevator. I wanted to ask why we were here but Alex would tell me when we reached our destination. I noted we got off on the 14th floor and Alex pulled his keys out and unlocked apartment S. Before he turned the knob, “This is not home. This is a place I use to pretend I have money.”

“Pretend?” I asked as he stepped inside and I saw the lavisous space inside. I was suitably awed.

“I mean I do have money but I don’t like to live like this. This place is just too much.”

I laughed, “No offense, Alex, looks like the easter bunny vomited all over the place.”

Alex smirked, “Brent is fashionably gay.”

I gave him a look as I set the items down by the door. “You are playing a gay guy? I mean it’s not exactly a stretch but fashionably gay? You mean stereotypical, pastels, clothing, shopping, the works?”

Alex nodded. “Yeah. This is his place. A lot of money went into making it look like easter buy vomit.” He chuckled.

“Sorry.” I laughed. “Why would you waste money on it?”

“It’s mostly in rent. I had to make a few alterations and the clothing. I really want to burn that shit, but still working the case so…”

I nodded. I didn’t want to pry. Alex wasn’t me. He wasn’t going to spew all the gorey details and it was his business and really had little to do with me.

“You can ask you know.” Alex said as he showed me the elegant kitchen. I whistled.

“You’ve never cooked here have you?”

Alex shook his head, “No, and if I’m lucky neither will you.”

I pouted. Alex laughed and pushed me up against the stone countertop in the middle of the room. “I don’t want to ruin it for the next person.” He grinned at me, “I’m only here temporarily.”

I nodded. “So you’ve never christened the house?” I cocked my head in a challenge.

Alex smirked at me and backed away. He lead me through the rest the apartment stopping at his room last. It was the only room that smelled like him, a little more fruity than usual. And I didn’t mean gay, more citrus and less Alex. Like he was even trying to make it smell like him here. “You ready to go. I’m really hungry.”

I nodded. “What no hanky panky in your room. You show it last and nothing?” I joked as I walked out of the room first.

Alex was chuckling behind me, and I swayed my hips a little which only made him laugh harder. “Fuck Nox, you keep it up and I’m going to be eating you for dinner.”

I turned around and smirked, “Is that a challenge?”

Alex growled and was pressing me against the wall when there was a knock and the door squeaked silently before they called, “Brent?” It was a woman. Alex growled.

“Fuck!” He whispered, “Stay here.”

Alex backed away from me and straightened his hair, he put on a fake smile and his walk changed. “Janice, darling, what are you doing here?”

“We’ve been calling since last night where have you been?” I heard smacking of lips and groaned at the thought of the stupid fancy people and their stupid awkward greetings. I stayed pressed against the wall and listened from the hall.

The woman’s high heels clicked on the wood floors as she waltzed into the kitchen. If she turned around she’d see him standing there. Fuck!

Alex sighed and wagged a finger in my direction beckoning me to come. I sighed and silently stood next to him while the woman poured herself a glass of wine. She turned and gasped. “I didn’t know you had company.” She looked at me as if she were appraising my worth. Here I was dressed in blue jeans, a sarcastic t-shirt and a hoodie zipped half way up. My pants at least didn’t have holes in them. But then Alex was dressed similarly, I’d never seen him in anything but that. The woman shook her head, “Slumming it Brent?”

I groaned and left Alex’s side. “I’ll wait for you downstairs.” Alex grabbed my hand, “No, Janice was leaving.”

“I just got here.” She complained.

Alex took her by the arm and dragged her to the door. “Janny, you were leaving.” He lowered his voice though it wasn’t meant to be a secret, “I can’t get him in bed with you hanging around.”

Janice chuckled. “You can just tell him what to do, he’ll do whatever you say.” She looked back at me, “I’ve seen some of the things..”

“I don’t care what you’ve seen or what you think you know about him, he’s mine until I say otherwise, got it?’ It felt like Alex should be pointing a finger at her but he had one hand jammed in his hair and the other was clutching at his pocket. Probably trying not to jam it through his hair too.

Janice sighed loudly “Fine, but when you’re done we…”

Alex cut her off. “You’re pushing your luck Janny. Time to go.”

She sighed again. “Well… it was nice seeing you with your clothes on Nox.” She walked past me curling her finger around my hoodie string, “Though maybe you could take some style tips from Brent. Bye now darling, call me!” She sashayed out the door in her high heels and her fucking high horse attitude and when the door closed behind her I froze.

“You okay?” Alex asked.

I sighed. “Yeah. I think so.”

“You were with her weren’t you?”

Alex looked at me. “When?”

“Before laser tag.”

He nodded, “Yeah, why?”

I shook my head, “I just smelled her on you before, is all.” Before Alex could defend himself, “It’s okay. I’m okay. I just wanted to know if it was her.”

“It was her, her current co-dom and their sub I was with. Lindsay was new and I was making sure they took care of her. Things got carried away. I didn’t have sex with then, they just…”

I shook my head. “I don’t want to know, Alex. What Brent does, I don’t want to know.” I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and then opened them. “Can we go now?” I asked, no I begged.

Alex nodded. “Yeah.”

Nothing But the Truth

We got to the stairwell and started climbing up to my apartment. It wasn’t too many floors. Alex didn’t say anything when I started up. So I kept going. We were alone and he asked, “So you really are going to adopt him? How long do you think that will take?”

“Officially, as soon as she signs the paperwork I could take him by Venatori law. By human law it’ll take a little while to file the paperwork as the parents are both still living and have to sign some forfeiture of rights or something. They’ll then disappear in the system and no one will be the wiser unless you dig deep.”

“You have hackers to do that?”

I shook my head. “No. It’s all on the up and up. We have people to do the job. It’s illegal in terms of we shouldn’t be doing it, but we aren’t hacking into systems or doing things the wrong way.”

Alex laughed, “You’re entire race is a hypocrite! Breaking human laws.”

I grinned. “The difference is, we don’t get caught doing it.” I sighed, “The only time the supernatural pose a problem is when they start revealing our nature to the humans. When that happens things need to stop. Murdering people because you were hungry isn’t an excuse. But the fledgling can also be trained and taught to behave. They shouldn’t be destroyed because they made a few bad mistakes.”

“You really believe that?”

“I do. We all make mistakes. Il Cane straight out of her training slaughtered an entire village of people because she was hungry. Her sires didn’t feed her properly. Expected she knew how to feed. But she didn’t. She’s clinical in her own right, much like I have my issues she has an entirely different set of them. The biggest being lack of empathy. You’d call it a sociopath. Cari Giovanni was an assassin, a prostitute and a thief before she became a vampire. She was raised by a psychopath who put her into that state of mind. And the blood lust she had as an assassin only grew worse with her embrace. She was hungry didn’t know better. She’s still a sociopath but hasn’t killed any humans since then except one, but she turned him, so not really a bad thing since it was to save his life. But that’s another story.”

I opened the door to the landing and we walked down the hall. “So yeah, if the biggest, baddest of the supernatural world can get a reprieve, however unintended it may have been and come back a better person for it, everyone deserves that chance.”

“I don’t know what to say about all that. Holy fuck, comes to mind the most.” Alex said as I pushed open my door.

I shrugged and ushered Alex into my apartment. Talking about Il Cane had reduced some of my anxiety about letting Alex back into my safety zone. But I had promised him food and the truth. I headed for the kitchen area first, “Something to drink?” I asked.

“Am I going to need something stiff or will coffee or water be fine?” He asked with a smirk on his face.

I couldn’t help but smile at his innuendo and I bit my bottom lip. “Maybe a little of both.” I said as I started making two Irish coffees. It was one of my easy go to cocktails I actually drank with my father. Though I rarely kept the booze in my apartment, but Alex had remedied that the last time he had gone shopping with me.

Alex sat down on the couch and flipped through the magazine on the table. “You read any of these?”

I shook my head as I sat down next to him bearing his cup and mine. “No. I think Dorian or Sage bought them.” Alex was flipping through one, he held up the cover to me – Glamour. “That would be Mia. The whole gay best friend thing.”

“You didn’t read it though?”

I shook my head. “They are for my guests who find my lack of a TV annoying.”

Alex looked at me and put the magazine down. “It’s not annoying, it’s unusual.”

I shrugged. “I don’t watch it, no point in it when it would just hang on the wall unused.” I took a sip of my coffee and wrapped both hands around the warm comforting cup. “So… everything.”

“I have a question first.” Alex interrupted. “What’s that packet on your bar? Looks like the packet Dorian gave you for Drake? Your copy? Already?”

I glanced back to see what he was referencing and I shook my head. “No that’s housing papers. There are a lot more people moving back into the building we are running out of space. They are offering double stipends on those who would move off campus into the human world.”

“And Dorian thinks you should?” Alex asked as he got up and grabbed the packet of information and sat down and pulled all the information out of the envelope. I saw a few documents, I actually saw more than I expected, the monetary value of my pay had gone up substantially and the place they were suggesting was far bigger than what I had.

Alex whistled. “That’s a nice place, three bedrooms, a balcony, away from the AU building. I’m betting that’s a hint.”

“So you think I should do it?”

Alex smirked. “Pretty boy, this place is fucked up, so yeah. If you can get the hell outta Dodge, then do it.” He shoved a piece of paper over to me, “It looks like all you have to do is sign it.”

“Everyone thinks it’s a good idea.” I sighed.

“You don’t?”

I laughed. “Sure, it’s a great idea. I don’t have to follow Venatori rules, my friends would be more comfortable.” I looked pointedly at him to make my point, “It’s a great idea in theory. But I know me. I don’t cope well with change. The move will upset the balance I have, it’s not just my living arrangements changing, it’s the schedule change that will come with it, the extra space I have to manage.”

Alex rolled his eyes and I knew it sounded like I was making excuses. But I never backed down from a challenge and I quickly wove a writing implement into my hand. It was just a basic ink pen with ink like an old quill. It would do the job as I signed my name neatly on the application. “I’m going to be a mess for weeks.”

Alex grinned, “You’re already a mess, what’s the difference.”

“Thanks.” I said sarcastically.

“No problem.” He smirked back at me. “Alright, pretty boy, lay it on me.”

I took a deep breath and stood up so I could walk over to my bed and grab the notebook lying underneath my pillow. I dropped it on the top of the magazine Alex and been flipping through. “Every night since I was six years old I’ve had one singular dream that I remember. I have notebooks full of drawings like that. Every dream is always the same. Everynight the darkness forms, the fog rolls in, and a pair of eyes stalks me. When I was younger, before I knew the rules, the demon, my demon would make me spread my legs, put my hands on an invisible wall. And every night it would lay into my flesh with whips made of elements – fire, water, earth and air. Each one sharp and meant to do more than flay the skin off my back. Sometimes the dreams manifest with my own power. That’s why the scars on my back. I do it to myself.”

While I spoke of the dream I made my way back to the bed and sat down on the edge and reached underneath and pulled out a plain box. I hadn’t opened it in a while. And I didn’t really want to give Alex time to comment so I kept talking.

“But after I graduated from the Academy, and on my first hunt I woke one night to the realization that I’d been having other dreams. Ones that were eclipsed by the nightmare. A trama so large that I didn’t remember anything before it. He said I had been having them for the same time. But how could a figment of my dreams be real? I don’t know if he was, or if it was my mind playing tricks on me. But I believed he was real then. I found this where he told me to. Everything in there was his except the matchbook I threw in there. I was in love with him. I didn’t know his name. Fuck I didn’t even know what he looked like. The two of you share the same eye color and I’m terrified that I’m projecting my feelings of him on to you and that in doing so you are going to get scared and run away.”

“But we said we’d met, he never showed up. And every night for two weeks when I tried to get to him in the dream, I got a nightmare. Instead of the red eyes, they were blue. When the blue eyes come it’s worse, because it happens twice. So for years I did my best not to think about it. But no matter how many times I push this box to the back, it always winds up back in the front and I stumble over it on Sunday morning. Which is why Ant started coming by Sunday evenings to pull me out of my self sabotaging funk.”

I pointed up to the camera plate that was the only thing left of the camera I’d destroyed the last time Alex was here. “I installed the camera, to see if I could figure out why my power kept being used against me. But it was a pointless endeavor, you can’t catch the invisible weaves, all we ever saw was my skin breaking open. And Sage did use it for other purposes, we had an agreement. He can’t stand to be touched, so his kink is watching others.”

“You let him watch you?”

I nodded and tried not to break eye contact, but I failed and was looking at the floor between us. “So you’ve never had sex with your friend?”

“I didn’t say that.” I sighed and looked up. “I had sex with Sage once. I was his first, his wife is the only other person he’s ever allowed to touch him like that. He wanted me to show him how to touch her. What it would be like because he was terrified of it. I was safe. But I’ve slept with Mia and Jace countless times. But I haven’t done that since well before I left the Academy. Mia was a sexual deviant and she lead Sage and I down some pretty weird rabbit holes. But I don’t hang out with them much anymore. My friends now are more productive and it’s not about sex.”

“So you’ve never slept with the vampire?”

I shook my head. “We came close once, when we first met. I remember he stopped me from finding his mother, and he bought me a drink and after Ryan left, he got too close to me. My power called to him, and his pheromones overpowered me. I made him bite me and I wanted nothing more than to be fucked by him. But that’s the call of the vampire, it’s the reason vampires can feed off of humans willingly, because they can make it feel unfucking believable. Unlike most vampires like Ant, he can’t control the lust he sheds when bites you. That part of his venom he’s incapable of changing. He’s cursed with it because he’s not quite born vampire and he’s no where close to an embraced vampire. He sits in the middle unable to tip to one side or the other.”

“It was out of your control?” Alex asked.

“It was. We stopped to go back to my room. And when we got there thoughts of my dream guy made me backup. We didn’t have sex. But it started a fucking great friendship. Without Ant I’d never have survived the loss of the idea that I was worth loving. That somewhere out there someone loved me. And then when he never showed up, I was close to doing stupid things. But Ant saved me.”

“If he hurt you so bad, why did you keep these things?” He asked, it sounded like he was almost sad. Or was it pity he felt?

I sighed. “I loved him. I still do sorta. But I don’t, if he walked into my dreams again and said I’m sorry I made a mistake, before, I might have said okay. I forgive you. But now, now I’ve met you. And I know you don’t love me, and you might never get there, but it’s real here. You’re real. I can touch you. I can remember you. You’re real.”

“This is me. The darkest parts. My life is filled with danger and threats and I’m a broken mess. But it’s what I am, it doesn’t define me, or stop me from doing what I should. I don’t have any secrets from you. Not now.” I sighed and sat back down on the couch and grabbed my cooled cup of coffee. I sent a little heat towards it while i wrapped my hands around it again and sipped from the hot cup. I needed some comfort after bearing my soul.

Alex shoved all the papers in the envelope and stood up. My heart sank as he headed for the door. He stopped and turned towards me, but I didn’t turn to look at him. “Come on. We’re getting out of here. We’ll drop this off and I’ll give you a taste of who I am.”

Negotiations

I carried Drake into the fishbowl and Alex waited outside. He could have come in but the fact that he was staying was all I cared about. His mother looked up and I set Drake on the table and he crawled across it to her. It was sweet and cute and they hugged which made me smile as I sat down. “How are they treating you?” I asked.

“As I expected Venatori to. I’m starving and thirsty and all they do is talk – never listen.”

I sighed. “Let me do something about that.”

I called down to the cafeteria. The kid on the other end answered. “How can we help you?”

“I’d like to order whatever you have on special today, some lemonade a bottle of gatorade and a bottle of water.”

“Who should we bill? And where do you want it delivered?”

“The fishbowl and bill it to Nox Sétanta.”

The man on the other side scoffed, “You feeding another one of your prisoners their last meals?”

“Something like that. Can you bring it up?”

“Of course Mr. Sétanta. It’ll be about ten minutes.”

“Thank you.” I said as I hung up the phone. I turned to the woman. “My name is Nox. What can I call you? Your food will be here in about ten minutes.”

She nodded. “Thank you. I don’t want to give you my name. It doesn’t matter.”

I sighed. “Fine. But you need to talk to me or things might go badly.”

“Are you threatening a dying woman?” She asked.

I shook my head. “No. You already know you are dead. Your son doesn’t. And your husband might benefit from whatever you can share with us. I know the Last Phoenix is up to something. Tell me something – anything and I’ll make sure your son has the best life possible.”

“You mean for a dragon in captivity?”

Again i shook my head. “No, ma’am. I mean the best life possible. I will personally see to his safety and well being.”

“Why would you do that?”

“Because I need the information and I don’t like seeing kids growing up without someone to love them unconditionally.”

“But he’s half dragon. You’re Feras.”

I laughed. “I’m half human too. I know what it’s like to straddle both worlds. And he’s likely going to be strong in fire.” I held my palm out and formed a flame on it. It danced in the well light room capturing the attention of the little boy. He giggled and held out his hand and did the same. I smiled. “Good job.” Then looked at his mother, “Who better to teach him?”

“Why?”

“Because you are going to help me.”

The door to the room opened and I smelled cinnamon and vanilla and turned with a bright smile on my face. “Dorian. What do I owe this pleasure?”

He handed me a form and slide one across the table. “Dae’lin told me about the situation. I had papers of adoption drawn up. I figured you’d need them.”

I smirked at him, “Perfect timing, as usual. Thank you?”

He nodded outside of the room, “Your friend?”

I nodded. “Yes. Alex.”

Dorian grinned at me. “Margo mentioned him in her notes. Do you mind if I have a chat with him?”

I shrugged. “Be my guest. Keep him company while I’m busy.”

“I will do my best.” Dorian said as he slid out the door and I assumed he headed towards Alex, but i didn’t turn around to see.

“Have you looked at the papers?” i asked.

She nodded. “Why would you do this?”

“No kid should live like I did. Human, Venatori, Dragon, it doesn’t matter to me. I’ll do what I can to make him feel loved.”

“He already trusts you.” She sighed, “What do you want to know?”

“What’s your name?” I asked

The dragon shook her head and the golden strands fell like hair around her shoulders. Such an odd thing for apparent metal to do. She sighed as she relented. “My name is Naomi Pierce, my husband is Gordon and you’ve already met Drake, my son.”

“A pleasure Naomi. I’d like to help the three of you out, but I need information.”

“I’ll tell you whatever you need to know.” She said. “As long as you promise me you’ll take care of my son.”

“I promise.” I grinned at her and took the papers in front of her and signed my name. “I’ll personally see to it he has a good life.”

She stared at my signature. When she looked up there were tears in her eyes, “I don’t know what the Dragon wants. I only know what he wanted me to do.”

“You know the Dragon personally?” I asked.

She shook her head. “No. I’ve never met him. I was recruited young, I rebelled against my parents and… joined the opposing faction.”

I smirked. I could totally understand that. “So he’s not giving you orders directly?” She shook her head, “Who’s talking to you then?”

“I don’t know. I have his number he’s a werewolf. Short scrawny guy, big nose, kinda looks like a rat.”

“I want his number. What did the Dragon want you to do?”

Naomi looked outside the walls and stared, then back at me after several long minutes. “He wanted me to expose myself and while doing so implate the bank system with some kind of code. All we had to do was stick the stick in the computer and it would do the rest.”

“Do you still have that stick?”

Naomi nodded. “It’s in the safe at our apartment.”

“What’s the combination?” I asked.

“5-35-23”. She sighed, “The number you want is in my cell phone, it’s the only unknown number on the call list. That’s all I know. I swear. You promise to keep Drake safe?”

I looked at the little boy curled up in his mom’s lap. “I do. I’ll take care of him. He’ll have to stay here until it’s official. I’m sure they’ll want to clear it with the Dragon Council. I get he’s a half dragon. But he’s under my protection now, they’ll have to go through me to get him. He’ll also need to stay in a special room until they are certain he’s not a danger to the building. They don’t trust fire starter potential. And he’s half dragon.”

She frowned. “Whatever as long as you keep him safe.”

“I promise to do that. Your food should be here any minute now and I’m going to leave Drake with you. Dorian or someone else will come collect him after I tell them where he is. It might take a couple hours.”

She smiled brightly at me and I grinned. “I’m sure they have more questions. So I need you to talk to them. This will make it all go so much quicker and they might be good with you keeping your son with you for as long as possible. I’ll see what I can do, if you talk to them.”

She nodded as i stood up. “I’ll tell them whatever they ask.”

“Thank you.” I said as I slipped out the door and waved at Alex to join me as I stepped into the doorway of Dae’lin’s office. “Dae’lin.” She looked up from her computer with a frown. “I’m leaving the boy with his mom. Give them a few hours then take him back down to the Academy. If she talks, see about getting him to spend the night with her instead of in the fire rooms. He’s three he was crying in the corner when we got there.”

Dae’lin’s frown deepened as she saw Alex. I grinned at her, “Alex this is Dae’lin, my boss and my former mentor, the only other woman who gives a fuck about me.”

Dae’lin rolled her eyes. “A pleasure I’m sure.” She looked at me, “I’ll do my best, Nox. You know Gary doesn’t like it when you bring them back alive. She’s going to be dead with in the week if the Dragon Council doesn’t step in and the boy’s going with them.”

“No he’s not. There should be signed adoption papers. Dorian got all the paperwork to do it right. You might need to clear it with the Council but Dorian will file it regardless of what you and they say. He’s mine – in a very short while.”

She growled and I tapped Alex on the shoulder. “Later Dae’lin. Oh, and I want her cell phone. I need it asap. Have it dropped off at my apartment.”

“Bossy, bossy!” She sighed. “I’ll see that it gets done.”

“Thank you, Dae’lin. I appreciate it.” I grinned at her.

“Yeah, yeah. Go waste your smile on someone else.” She said as I left.

I looked at Alex with a brighter smile. “I’m all yours.”

The Dragon Boy

I didn’t exactly know where Drake was. We went down to the front desk and I asked the woman sitting there. “Hi. Yesterday, last night actually, I brought in a dragon and her son. I was wondering if you could tell me where her son was. I’d like to check on him before I go up and see where things are with his mother.”

The woman looked up at me and frowned. “You have to stop bring in strays?” She looked at Alex with a frown.

I grinned. “He’s not a stray. Though I could keep him.”

The woman’s cheeks grew a little rosy and she looked away from Alex to her computer. “The boy is in a detainment room.” She looked at me then frowned and started to point the direction.

“I know where it is. Spent enough time there.” I said.

We walked in the direction she had pointed and we walked to the detention center which was also on the same level as the lower grades. “Detainment, they make him sound dangerous.”

“He is in a way.” I said. There was only one orange door closed in the corridor. The doors changed with the runes applied typically but these rooms were all designated as fire safe. “He’s half dragon, he could be in a detention room for that alone. I spent the first three days of my life in the Venatori in one of those rooms, then spend three months when I was six in one. The orange door indicates he’s a fire starter.”

I opened the door and the sight inside broke my heart. The boy was curled up on the floor in the corner. He looked up tears streaming down his face and when he saw me, he ran to me and wrapped his arms around my legs. “Hey little man.”

“Why’s he locked up alone?”

“They don’t know what to do with him” I picked him up, “Do they Drake?” He curled around me like he had before. “Drake, this is Alex. Alex, Drake.”

Drake blinked orange eyes at Alex and I was glad Alex didn’t make a big deal about it instead he ran his fingers through the boys short golden hair. “I thought it’d feel different.”

“It’s just hair” Drake giggled.

Alex said. “I wish my hair was that color.”

“I can fix that.” I said and reached up to run my fingers through Alex’s hair. He jerked away from me which made me smile. “I didn’t do it.”

He looked at Drake and asked, “Did he? I trust you.” He glared at me with a playful smirk on his lips. Fuck I wanted to kiss him again.

Drake shook his head. “Still bwack.” He reached up and touched my hair. “Not this.”

“You don’t like it” I asked. Drake shook his head. I looked at Alex.

“You heard him.” He smirked at me.

I nodded in the direction we’d come with the boy on my hip. I looked at Alex, “So what color would you like it?”

“I don’t know, can you make it look flames?” Alex asked.

I had to let go of Alex’s hand to do it the fun way so I just did it without the effect, like I did in the mirror. Flames were easy, the reds, oranges and yellows with only a few stray blues. Drake laughed and Alex looked at me like he had seen a ghost.

“I can change it.” I told Alex.

He blinked at me and then smirked, “Fuck no, it looks great.” he slid his arm around my waist and we walked to the front desk. “Barbara, we are taking him to see his mom.”

I hadn’t told Alex that what I was planning on doing, but he’d read my mind. Sometimes it was great not having to say everything – sometimes it was unnerving. Right now it was a good feeling. I liked having Alex in my head.

“What are we going to do once he gets to his mom?” Alex asked.

“I expect we’ll have to bring him back down, but it’ll show her he’s still alive, let him spend some time with his mom. I’ll figure out what is going on with his mom maybe even who she’s working for and what is going on.”

“What do you think is going on?” Alex asked.

“Well dragons around the world bearing the Last Phoenix mark are revealing themselves, testing us I bet. And the bank job wasn’t a typical one, dragon’s don’t go for money – she did something to the computer. But there has to be more to it.”

“Why?” Alex asked as we got in the plate glass elevator Or started to and Alex looked at me with a concerned look. “You going to be alright?”

I nodded. “Yeah. It’s only a few floors. But because dragons don’t just do things for nothing. They collect things, they don’t want money.”

“Any leads?” Alex asked as we stepped out on to the platform out of the elevator. He put his arm around my waist and tickled Drake’s belly on the other side.

“Just the dragon sitting in that room.” I nodded towards the fishbowl. “Let me take him in, do you want to go with or stay out here?” I looked at Alex with a smile. He could do what he wanted, he could probably hear everything anyway.

“I should go.” Alex said.

I shook my head and pulled him closer with my free hand, a little boy was between us but I didn’t want Alex to leave. “It won’t take long, please stay.”

Alex looked at me like he was considering his options. “Only if you make me food afterwards.”

Fuck! Did I trust him enough to do that. My home…

Alex had heard my thought, he frowned, “I’m gonna go, pretty boy.” He was upset I could hear it in his voice.

“It’s not that I don’t want to Alex.” I said softly.

“I got it. You don’t trust me. No problem. I’m gonna go.” He pulled away and started walking towards the elevator.

“Please Alex let me explain.” I begged. I didn’t reach out to grab him. If he really wanted to go he could, but he stopped and didn’t turn around. I started, “I want to trust you. I need to trust you. But I can’t…. ” I shook my head. “I trust you not to hurt me. Please stay, let me show you.”

Alex turned around. “Show me what.”

“I’ll tell you everything. Please, stay. Let me do this real quick and then I’m all yours. For the rest of the day let me show you what’s wrong with me. And then if you want to go I’ll understand.” I was begging. I never begged and certainly not to get my way but I needed Alex to stay, him leaving now would mean the end and I wasn’t ready for the end. We’d only just begun.

Alex sighed. “I’ll stay. I still want food.”

I nodded with a grin, “Of course.” I waved. “Drake say bye to Alex. We’re gonna see your mom now alright?”

He nodded and giggled with a wave at Alex, “Bye, Awex. See you soon.”

I grinned. I hoped he would see him soon.