Packing My Things

Packing My Things
The rock glowed in my hand and I shut my door. How the fuck was this rune supposed to help me move. Dorian said it held my notebooks. My mentor must thing I would understand how to use it but I didn’t.

I looked around again and all the boxes were scattered everywhere, what the fuck was I going to do? Moving was going to be stressful enough without all this fucking mess. I set the rune on Fee’s chair and sighed, “How am I going to move all this crap?”

There was a faint pop in the air and then the sound of a rock hitting the laminate flooring. I looked down and the chair was gone, and the rune was glowing innocently under the other bar stool. I knelt down and picked it up. “Bar stool?” I asked and pop the chair was sitting next to the other one, almost on top of it but not in the same place.

It was like I could create it. It just magically appeared. I touched the rune to the bar stool and thought ‘hide’, ‘take’, ‘move’. I don’t know which one it was but it hadn’t mattered, it popped out of existence.

It made sense. The rune stones created the apartment. They made it bigger, or smaller depending on parameters created. It was in itself a TARDIS. I pulled my lips in and hummed. I could pack everything up and move it without having to call the movers. Everything at my own pace, my own packing no jostling just me and mine. No anxiety.

Except there was a ton of anxiety coursing through my brain. I wished I had Alex here. He was comforting and distracting all at the same time. But I had walked out on him. We needed space. I shot him a text.

N: New Place got approved. I’m moving out. I’ll text you the address soon as I learn it. (I haven’t looked yet.)

I snapped a picture of moving boxes piled all over my room and attached it to the message and pressed send.

As I was pulling the photo up I saw the one Drake took. I sent another text, this time with two pictures attached – the selfie Drake took and the picture of him dancing with his stuffed Snoopy. It made me smile, hopefully it’ll make Alex smile too.

N: Drake says hi. He has his own Snoopy Dance.

So I had to work. I glanced at my watch and saw it was a few hours till dusk and Ant’s arrival. Then we’d hit Sage. I figured I’d better send him a heads up too.

N: I’ll be stopping by after Dusk with Ant, we have a favor to ask.

Sage responded almost immediately.

S: Bring me food!

N: If I must!

S: You must. And coffee.

N: Fine. See you soon.

And then I set about folding boxes so I could pack up my things. The thought of moving was making my heart race. I needed to calm down. But I focused on folding the boxes. At least it was a simple task. I wanted to call Alex – I told him I would. But he hadn’t responded to any of my texts. I didn’t want to interrupt him. But last time…

I grabbed my phone from the counter and hit Alex’s contact and called him. It rang, and rang, then went to voicemail – I could hear the smirk on Alex’s face as he recited his message, “You know what to do.”

Then there was a beep. I stalled before I spoke. “Hey Alex, I said I’d call. So there it is. Call me. Still planning lunch for tomorrow. I’ll cook. See you.” I hope I said as I hung up the phone.

The missed call didn’t help matters any as I set to actually packing things in my kitchen. The booze Alex had bought were the first to go. I packed them carefully with some packing foam that I made from thin air. I probably didn’t need to since they were going to be magically encased in a rock, but fuck if I knew how much space was in there. This was all very new – very interesting and I focused on that. Focused on the magic, on the task of packing my apartment.

The Rune on My Door

The Rune on My Door
I ran up the few flights of stairs to my own room. Which was not mine anymore. Dae’lin said everything was in my room and when I opened the door I saw that it was a lot more than I expected. On the counter there was indeed a packet of information and keys, and a letter which had me curious more than anything. But my studio apartment was filled with flat moving boxes.

They were scattered everywhere like someone just tossed them in. Fee was looking at me with disgust as she went out the door. I called after her, “Be back soon, I don’t want to have to hunt you down.” She gave me a meow that said whatever. I sighed. I was going to have to hunt her down.

I took a deep breath and grabbed the two things on the counter and went into my hopefully normal bathroom. There was only so much chaos I could handle. I was already pushing my limits today with Alex and now this. Fuck, I wish people would have consulted me before tossing things into my room.

I closed the door behind me and took a deep breath as I slid down the door and sat on the color tile floor. I didn’t really care what was in the packet, probably a lease I needed to sign and file and whatever other things they had. Probably had a thing on my official pay increase and all that.

I ran my finger under the flap of the envelope and pulled the slip of paper from the envelope. Definitely not what I was expecting from Dorian. The paper was a handwritten note in Dorian’s neat hand.

I know that you hate lies and secrets, and I know you’ll probably need time. But, it was a secret that had to be kept. Runic magic is particular, this is something you know. We can neither create, nor change a rune. We’ve lost the ability to create them. Part of my job in testing has been to monitor the runes and who they responded to. It was never a test, but the runes were always present. You never noticed them. I’ve never seen a rune react the way the one I’m about to give you reacts to your proximity.

When you wish to speak to me on the matter I will gladly tell you everything. No one knows of the stone’s reaction, even at a young age I should have known you’d be a thorn in our side, but I was blinded by my desire to be noticed by those on high, and thanks to you I was. You’re excellence in nearly everything you did, and the unique way you’ve seen things and done things was my career boost I had needed to find what I thought was happiness. But instead of bringing me happiness through my career you brought me happiness through love – a son I thought I’d never have, and a man to whom I could share my life with. So thank you for that Nox.

The rune on your door is an ordinary rune, however when I touched the small rune to it, they merged. It is why you can control so much of your room. The rune has more power than you can imagine and I only know the tip of it. I can’t manipulate it but I can invoke your name and it does what I ask of it, the trust you lay in me it believes in. Touch the stone, and call it to you. The rune should fit in the palm of your hand, it has a blue glow to it and the marking is not a rune we use and the translation has been lost for countless centuries. Perhaps one of your long lived friends can help you.

It is with my sincerest love and respect for you that I give this to you now. It can store all of your belongings and moving will be easy. It has always held your trunk of notebooks.

Love, Dorian

I read the letter a second time. I wasn’t sure why Dorian thought I’d be angry other than the fact that it was a secret he held. Or maybe I would be mad if I wasn’t already so strung out on my emotions that I didn’t feel it. Either way I wasn’t mad at Dorian. I stood up as I tucked the paper back into the envelop. My apartment was still a mess but I ignored it. I had something else to do.

I stared at my door for several long minutes trying to fathom why a rune would react differently to me. I wasn’t the first Minorem. I wasn’t the first Cesari. I wasn’t even the first Minorem Magnus, tho I might have been the first Minorem Cesari. Magic didn’t usual have to be strong for mothers to survive. Definitely not Cesari.

I took a deep breath and opened the door. The rune glowed as usual and I’d touched it a thousand times before. But it never did anything different. I put my hand on the glowing rune and closed my eyes and called ‘it’ to me. Whatever it was.

I didn’t feel anything, I didn’t see anything move but when I drew my hand a way a smaller orangish rune glowed back at me. I blinked in shock, but there it was, Funny thing was, the rune on it I read without a problem even though I’d never learned it. It read ‘rising power’.

Downright Weird

Charles left me sitting alone in the room while he walked around to the other side of the window. Dorian made the introductions and then left the two dragons alone. They spoke in hushed whispers, with Charles squatting down while Drake sat in the chair he’d occupied during the Magnus testing.

Dorian joined me in the adjoining room. “How did you know I was here?”

“Dae’lin called me.”

“Do you two always conspire against me?”

Dorian chuckled. “It makes life easier when we both know what the troublesome boy is doing.” Dorian nodded towards the room and Drake was standing on the floor looking at Charles. It looked like the elder dragon was inspecting Drake for a physical. I saw and felt magic being used but I couldn’t see it. Though I did try, but there was nothing.

Charles turned and looked at the mirror with a frown. Then back at the boy. He spoke loudly, “Mr. Vega, has the boy been in contact with any other dragon’s other than his mother?”

“No sir. We kept all dragons from him until you. None of our receptionists or others have been near him.” Dorian spoke clearly through the intercom.

“Mr. Sétanta?”

“Yeah. Can you come here?”

I sighed. What did I fuck up now? I walked into the room and Drake was all smiles as he looked in my direction. “Yes, sir?”

“Stand next to Mr. Pierce. Like he is, if you don’t mind.”

Okay. I did as I was instructed. He put his hand on my shoulder and I felt the hum of magic all around me but I didn’t see anything. “Mr. Sétanta.”

“It’s Nox.”

Charles shook his head. But he wouldn’t say anything else, “The boy is yours, no one will dispute the claim.”

“Was that going to be an issue?”

The man blinked at me and frowned then shook his head violently. “No, well. There could have been after his test here. The Last might have claimed him, and removed him from you, but there is no possibility of that now?”

“What changed?” I asked.

The man shook his head. “I must consult with my master. The Golden Dragon will send another liaison with answers.” He looked to the window. “Mr. Vega, might I confer with you in private?”

“Of course.” I heard Dorian over the speaker. “I must speak with Nox first, he didn’t come all this way for nothing. Nox can you show Mr. Moquin to my office, while I clean up.”

I nodded, “Yes, sir. What of Drake?”

Dorian spoke in the doorway as if he’d just appeared. “You can take him with you, I’ll have someone take him back to class.”

“Alright.”

“This way Mr. Moquin.” I waved out the door and lead us through the halls back to Dorian’s office. I nodded at his secretary who barely looked up as I walked past her desk with a little dragon on my hip and an elder following me. She didn’t seem phased.

Charles looked at me with Drake, the little dragon curled up around me like I was home. He pressed his head against my neck and I knew he was talking large deep breaths to comfort himself. We sat down across from Dorian’s desk, Charles looking nervous. “Do dragon’s have a keen sense of smell? Akin to what a vampire or therian might? Or are they creatures of touch?” I asked curious as to the little dragon’s actions.

The man next to me shook his head. “Young dragon’s are keen with sensory information, it’s how they learn quickly.”

“So he’s finding comfort in me is a normal thing?” I asked.

He looked at me long and hard. He was thinking, processing something. “Almost like you were kin.”

“What’s that mean?” I asked, but I never got an answer as Dorian stepped through the door.

“Sorry to keep you waiting.” Dorian held out his arms to Drake and the little man pressed his lips to my cheek sloppily

His little hands snaked into my pocket and took out my phone. He sat down and grinned and pressed the camera on. He captured a picture of the two of us and pressed another kiss to my cheek. “For you to remember.”

I rubbed the top of his head. “I could never forget.”

He shook his head. “Picture for our home.” He said.

I nodded in understanding. He wanted it for our home. I looked at Charles. “How long until he can come stay with me permanently?”

The dragon shrugged, “I don’t know. I have to consult my master.” He wasn’t saying something. I don’t know what it was but I knew that he was hiding something.

“Fine. Dorian, Dae’lin said you could help me move?” I asked turning to Dorian and handing the little boy to my friend.

Dorian hugged the little one and handed him to a woman waiting in the doorway patiently for us to finish. “Nox will come see you when he can Drake.”

“I know.” He said as he waved his little fingers at us and I waved back.

Dorian went to his desk and pulled out an envelope. “This is yours. Moving instructions are inside.”

“What?” I asked.

“Read it when you get to your room, you’ll understand.”

“Okay.” I said slowly. “I’ll leave you with Mr. Moquin. I’ll be in touch D.”

“I know you will. Enjoy your new place, Nox.”

I nodded. “Yeah my new place.” I said.

Testing My Dragon

Testing My Dragon

The testing rooms were down another wing from where Drake was in daycare/school. But it was on the same floor. The rooms look like interrogation rooms, and they were in a way. We sat at a metal table, in a metal chair that was bolted to the floor. And there was a one way window looking out across it. The room itself was windowless other than that. It was meant to be intimidating.

Room three was occupied as expected and Dorian was sitting across from Drake explaining how things worked. I sat down next to the observer whom I didn’t know. Which meant he was likely a dragon. Or a representative of the dragons.

He held out his hand, “Charles Moquin. I have been sent to determine the best placement for the little nether in question.”

“He’s staying with me, Mr. Moquin.” I said flatly.

He looked at me, “You must be Nox Sétanta. That is not the question I’m here to answer.”

“What do you mean?” I asked confused.

“He will stay here as per the signed documents of his mother and father. She freely admits that she was not coerced and by Dragon law her word is binding. But all Dragons, and nether dragons must be clanned. We cannot have a free agent. He is not Venatori, he is dragon and must follow Dragon law.”

I nodded as I understood, they were going to brand the little dragon soon. I sighed. “So how is he doing?”

“Mr. Vega has just started, he’s explaining to the young dragon about your elemental tests. I find it fascinating. I’ve never seen a Magnus test before. I’m told you hold the record on each test.”

I laughed, “Because I’m Cesari and I can use all the elements at the same time. Drake can be Cesari, whether or not he sees it yet himself, is another question.”

“How do you know this, Mr. Sétanta.”

“It’s Nox. I see patterns. I can tell that you are a golden dragon, I can see your rather small dragon shadow in the patterns, with the bright gold scales. The elements flow into us and out of us, a Dragon’s form their true form in that pattern. Dorian can see all the elements, he could manipulate them if he dared, but he won’t. Drake’s flows similar to Dorian’s but they are stronger, tighter and much more refined. Dorian is Erudite, where as Drake is a Natural.”

“Do you not see the little one’s dragon?”

I shook my head. “No. But I assume that’s because he’s yet to shift. My Dragon science isn’t what it could be.”

“Your dragon science?”

I laughed. “You know, your physiology, your gestation, the rate at which you mature, all the things that make a dragon different from a human, or Venatori.”

“You have an interest in learning such things? To better kill us, I assume.”

I shook my head with a frown. “I don’t kill my marks if I don’t have to Mr. Moquin.”

“It’s Charles.” He interrupted.

I nodded. “Charles, ” I grinned at the man, “I don’t kill if I don’t have to. Hence, Drake being here and his mother too. I want to help the supernatural creatures. I don’t believe we should kill just because, most vampires and werewolves we bring down are just kids, who made mistakes. They can be taught, and that’s what I do with the help of the vampire enforcers and the alphas in the City.”

“In that case, Nox. Most nether’s do shift, more on a human scale though instead of the Dragon equivalent. Most young dragons shift at the age of 20, but by human standards that is like a 5 year old in size. Drake will probably shift late in his teen years, puberty is likely to make that change happen.”

“So you are going to brand a three year old?” I asked.

Charles shook his head. “Yes and no. Drake is being assessed for his aptitude. I will take it to the clans and he will be given a choice of admittance. He has until his shift to decide. Naomi is of the Last Phoenix, he will have that choice, and others may make a bid. Other’s may not.”

“So you’ll fight over him? Or not?” I asked. “What if he didn’t choose at all?”

“It is not possible. A clan must be chosen.” Charles said. He looked through the window. “Look.” He pointed at the four boxes Drake had on end and together like a puzzle. They were throwing off a disco like colors and Dorian was chuckling. He turned to look through the glass. “Nox, you seeing this?”

“I am Dorian. He beat my record didn’t he?”

Dorian chuckled, “This is the only one you didn’t do, so yes.” Dorian nodded towards the little boy and smiled. “Drake, you did well. Now we have Mr. Moquin here who wants to evaluate you, if you think you are up to it.”

His orange eyes blinked at Dorian. “If mama says it’s alright.”

Dorian chuckled. “You’re mother is the one who called Mr. Moquin.”

“Is that true?” I asked the man sitting next to me.

“She did. Highly unusual for the Last to call us. But she was insistent upon it.”

“May I stay and watch?” I asked.

“Of course. You are to be his guardian. And I trust you won’t use your knowledge against us. It could mean all our deaths.

I grinned, “We wouldn’t want that.”

My Big Bad Bosses

My Big Bad Bosses
I promised Dae’lin I would come by the office when I met with Dom. I had to explain my earlier call. Thankfully it’s Dae’lin and not someone else. So I could easily tell her the truth and still stay under the radar. I headed up the stairs, two at a time. By the time I got to the HQ floor I was breathing heavy. But it was the best I’d felt since last night.

I made my way past the fishbowl and noticed that Naomi was not in there. It was empty. I wondered where she’d been taken. I felt bad. But there was nothing I could do. I could only do what I promised. That was all I could ever do. I sat down in the chair opposite of Dae’lin’s desk, she didn’t even look up, “What Nox?” She smiled.

“I figured I’d make that call I said I would in person.”

“I see that. I assume you were threatening someone and using me as the threat.” She laughed.

“Yeah, pretty much. We good?” I asked.

“I had a problem with your dragon and Gary. She’s down in a holding cell with her son, thanks to Dorian. That man is as annoying as you are.” Dae’lin laughed.

“Where do you think I learned it from?”

“Dorian, did not teach you to be a pain in my ass, boy. You learned that all on your own.”

I smirked. “Maybe, but you still love me.” I gave Dae’lin my best grin. “Do you need me for anything?”

She shook her head. “No, Nate from downstairs called with your request, your threat worked I take it?”

I nodded, “It did. Hopefully we can keep the wolves out of it.”

Dae’lin shook her head. “Gary is still pissed you got a dragon downstairs and a human to muck up things. He’s climbing all sorts of walls and ladders right now trying to get you suspended. Your application for off campus housing was quickly approved, the documents and keys are in your studio. You have two weeks to clear out. Dorian said he can help with the moving, tomorrow is your birthday, so get your shit and settle in. I can keep Gary off your dragon until you calm down with the anxiety about the move. But I expect you to solve this before I have to fight to keep you out in the field. You hate desk duty Nox. And I hate when you have it. You are a more annoying piece of shit then.” Dae’lin didn’t look up as she smiled and kept on working on her computer.

“I’ll let you get back to it and I guess I’ll go see Dorian about the help moving while I wait for sunset.”

Dae’lin shook her head, “Are you getting the vampires involved too?”

I laughed. “Tony involved himself and got Ant involved. Gonna get Sage involved too.”

Dae’lin covered her ears, “I don’t want to hear it.” She waved her hands shooing me out the door. “Get, I don’t wanna know.”

I laughed harder as I left. Dorian could be anywhere. So I went to his office first. He had a secretary, well there was a secretary for the whole Academy offices. She was nice, most of the time. But leaving Dorian a message with her was never good.

When I reached the Academy she was typing away at her computer. “Mr. Sétanta, Mr. Vega is not here. He’s testing your Dragon in room 3.”

“Thanks, Becky.”

“Anytime, Mr. Sétanta.” It seemed I was off to watch Drake get tested at the age of three.

My Nephew, The Intern

My Nephew, The Intern
I headed to the basement to see if I could get our IT department tracking the numbers that Val had given me. I could probably wait until I went to see Sage with Ant, but I didn’t want to push my luck with him. I loved Sage, but he often forget that I don’t like change so he thought he must stay the same no matter what around me, when I know he’s changed. We weren’t kids anymore. I didn’t need constant attention. But it was better to use IT as best as I could otherwise they got snippy when I used resources outside the AU building.

It was bad enough I was taking the USB drive to Sage. I’d have preferred Jack, but I hoped a favor from Cari would be enough of an incentive for Sage to do his thing.

The basement felt like a dungeon. It was dark and creepy and I felt the darkness closing in on me. I needed to go sooner rather than later. My current mood state of mind was going to flounder without sunlight. I knocked on the IT room door. It was basically a closet then it opened into more rooms behind it – the servers and such. Whatever magic the Venatori did for information. It wasn’t connected to the outside world. We were lucky even a small amount of our stuff was computerized. We were so stuck in the 80s.

I grinned the moment I recognized the boy sitting at the desk. I knew he interned for IT having a knack for computers and more importantly video games. Nate was Iris’s second youngest son and one of the few nephews who actually acknowledge that I was their uncle. But most of Iris’s children did, Adam’s not so much. But then Adam hardly acknowledge that I was his brother.

Nate looked up with a grin at me. “Hey Uncle Nox. What can I do you for?”

I pulled the napkin out of my pocket. “I need names and/or addresses for the phone numbers here.” I set the napkin on his desk and he frowned at me.

“You couldn’t have a better document?”

I laughed, “That’s how I got it. Do you need me to fill out some sort of form or something?”

Nate sighed and shook his head, “No, I’ll just have to type it all in anyway so this will work. What’s the case number?” Nate groaned, “Nevermind, I’ll just ask Dae’lin. I know you don’t know.”

I grinned. “You are getting better at this.”

“You are supposed to know these things, you are the only person who ignores protocol.”

I shrugged, “You should have a form I can fill out online so I don’t have to even come down here.”

Nate sighed, “I’m trying, seriously, Uncle Nox. I know we could make this so much more streamlined. Mom and Dad finally agreed that I can go to college after this to learn that kinda stuff. They said I could usher in a new era.”

“Sounds great, Nate. I know a few people who can help you if you need it.”

“Why didn’t you just get Sage to do this?”

“Because it needs to be official so I can hunt down the numbers ‘legally’.” I airquoted legally since we weren’t exactly legal in any sense of the word.

Nate laughed. “Alright. I see I’m just second fiddle.”

“You learn to do what Sage and Jack can do and I’ll come to you first.” I said. And it was the truth, I wouldn’t have to pay out favors if I could get the work done in house. Not that I minded the current currency I used out in the real world.

“Mom says we need to have dinner again. She wants that recipe for the lemon garlic chicken. She raves about it every time Dad’s parents are over for dinner. How it paired so well with the white wine.”

“It’s not difficult. I’ll write it down and get it to her.”

“You okay otherwise, Nox?” Nate sighed, “Mom, worries.”

“She does not. She wants to know when I’ll have little babies so Dad can dote on someone else.”

Nate grinned. “Yeah. Uncle Marius and Uncle Tobias don’t seem interested. And Uncle Nick…” He didn’t finish the sentence. Nick was with Henry and they were happy and there was no procreation going on there despite all the sex I knew they were having. And apparently Nate knew that too since he was a bright red. “Henry’s nice, though.”

I nodded, “He is.” I nodded towards the napkin, “When do you think I might get some answers?”

Nick shrugged, “End of the day, the earliest. Tomorrow morning looks better. I have to go up the chain after I call Dae’lin and get all the information entered and stuff. Someone will have to be assigned and you know how it is.”

I nodded, “I’ll let you get to it then.” I gave my nephew a grin and waved as I headed out the door. I liked Nate.