The objective of the game was to kill all the other players or to capture their flag. The three boys on my team all looked at me, “What do you want to do mister? Those boys all like to just shoot, we could win by taking their flag.”
I shrugged, “I’m just here to shoot people.” I thought maybe I should have been on the other side and Nox on this lets plan team.
They worked as a team but I was on the lookout for only one person. The boy in the lead went down fast. His lights flickering a kill shot. But no one knew where it came from. I listened to my pretty boy snickering in his head as he relocated someplace else. The next boy went down with a blur of motion. I stood behind one of the pillars and listened to Nox’s thoughts. I got conflicting information. He was better at distracting me than I thought he was. I had to make a decision and I chose wrong. Next thing I knew Nox was face to face with me my lights were already flickering. He grinned at me even as I covered my heart with my hands in mock defeat. I was dying after all. “I thought this was your first time.” I commented.
He gave me that bright shining smile that could melt anyone’s heart, “It is. But I do this for a living, remember?” I tried not to give up my teammate behind Nox by not looking at him, but Nox pointed the gun and pulled the trigger. The lights brightened and the game was over. Nox’s teammates cried out, “Not even ten minutes,. No fair.”
“Another game?” I asked over the music blaring. I hoped the other boys would hear me. They were all vying for a rematch.
“He’s too good, it’ll just end.” one boy complained.
I snickered, “Maybe we should all go against him.” He wanted to play hunter I could best him anyway he wanted. He liked to work alone I knew that much, see how he did against a bunch of boys and someone who could read his thoughts.
He shrugged,”If you think you can beat me that way.” His wink told me that he thought he could beat me. We’d see.
“Oh I can beat you all sorts of ways.” I taunted.
Nox bit his bottom lip at my comment, though he didn’t get to respond as the other boys pushed him towards the red and we were blue. Nox was feeling a little anxious so I called out after him, “Hey pretty boy!”
He turned around and looked at me, “Yeah?”
“See ya on the playing field.” I smirked. And the comment had the desired effect, he beamed at me and he was happier. I made him smile – my smile.
Nox was hiding in the shadows when we all entered the playing field. He was waiting for me. He knew I was his biggest threat, get me out and the boys would be easy pickings. But he was so loud, I knew exactly where he was. I didn’t need to sneak up on him, but I came out of the shadows nonetheless and pressed him up against the corner he was in. It was a risky move, he could have shot me, but I was hoping that the look on my face made him forget what he was supposed to be doing. I pressed my body against his and whispered against his neck, “You just never shut up, do you?”
His mind was churning with the way I smelled. Distraction was the only way to keep him with me. Keep him readable so I kissed him. He moaned against my lips and I pulled the trigger. “I win.” I smirked. “You are so easy pretty boy.”
He stood there staring at me biting his bottom lip, his mind running through what he wanted and questions about where I had been. His mind tumbled. I took his hand and led him out of the room. We discarded our equipment and I took him down a hall – someplace quiet.
I knew he needed reassurance. Needed me to tell him things were okay. He was so fucking needy it wasn’t even funny anymore. If Poet’s offer wasn’t so fucking worth it I’d be gone. I pressed him against the wall with one hand on his chest. The ramifications of the action could be detrimental, but it was also something to calm him. Control was a thing for him, the power in submitting. I didn’t want a fucking sub, but here I was pandering to one. I reassured him, “For the record I didn’t have sex.”
“What you do in your free time is none of my business, Alex. I just wish you’d listen when I say don’t come around smelling like someone else.”
“When did you tell me that?” I dropped my hand from his chest and took a step back to stare at him. He’d never told me that. Not once, not in the real world. It had been something his dreamself told me when I’d come to the dream directly after a mark and I had been together. No shower in between. But he shouldn’t remember that.
He shrugged. “I don’t know. I thought you knew Venatori have a strong sense of smell.” He seemed lost about the conversation too. His mind was empty of whatever comment he’d held on to and confusion reigned.
“Nox. I took a shower, I changed my clothes and you still smell it on me, what more do you want?” I told him. There was nothing more. I could have taken three showers and he’d probably still smell them on me.
“I don’t know.” He shrugged and dropped his eyes.
This was getting fucking annoying. “Jesus fucking Christ, Nox. Why do you do that?”
“Do what?” He asked without looking up.
“Go all submissive and complaint when I’m angry with you.” I growled out. I hated this trend.
He took a deep breathe and looked up to meet my eyes. The only thing I saw was that little boy who I’d seen so many times in my dream. Those big brown eyes so afraid, lost and unfocused.
“Years and years of ….” His mind danced around all the things that had happened to make him this way. Memories of a man beating him, a chorus of hateful words from peers and snickering words behind teachers and peers. All leading to his own thoughts about himself. He hated himself.
“What the fuck did they do to you?” I grabbed his hand and just started walking. I didn’t care where. I didn’t want to be here anymore. I needed to get him away from this – but this was in his head. I didn’t know how to pull him from his own self destruction.
We walked several blocks in angered silence. I knew I was holding on to his hand too tight, but he didn’t complain. I was angry. I couldn’t do anything about it. Fuck! “I’m fucking hungry.” I growled, ” I want pancakes. Know a good place around here?” The question came out softer than the previous statements. Pancakes always made me feel better.
Nox shook my head. “No. I don’t ever come out here unless someone makes me. Mia and Jace live in Brooklyn but I couldn’t tell you what was there either. I can make you pancakes. I’d have to buy the ingredients, I don’t have them on hand.”
I smiled. I hadn’t thought he’d make me pancakes. Carbs and all that, and I was surprised when he offered. “Ever made pancakes before?” I asked.
“No, but I’ve made crepes, the concept is the same.” Of course, he could make fancy French pancakes. I wondered what other fancy things he could make.
I stopped and looked around. Fuck. I sighed. “I don’t know how to get home from here.” I knew my way around my neighborhood. Knew the best coffee shops, and diners and restaurants around but this wasn’t my neighborhood.
Nox grinned at my ignorance and asked, “do you want to walk farther or back the way we came is closer?” He apparently knew where he was. Made me wonder how much of the tri-state area he knew.
Closer was better I turned us around and started walking back the way we’d come. “I should think before I storm away.” I said sheepishly.
He grinned and squeezed my hand reassuringly, “It’s okay. I don’t mind storming away with you.” He was too cute.