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.”

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