The Apex Unlimited building was a spectacle but I think that was why the Venatori built it, it’s curves making it stand out against the sharp lines of Manhattan. Inside was just as grand. I headed us towards the back to the service elevators. “You remembered.” He joked.

I smirked at him. “I mean I like having you curled up against me and all but I can do without the panic attacks.”

“I can still curl up against you if you want.” He offered with a smile and it went straight to my cock.

I chuckled “Nah, that’s alright. You’re still mad at me.” It was a joke, but I knew it was the truth too. But his thoughts spiraled down and I tugged him into the elevator and against me as I backed up towards the wall, “Stop. I don’t need to hear all your down talking and neither do you.”

“Oh so it’s for my own good.” He said so close that I couldn’t help but look at his lips. Those soft precious lips.

I smirked. “Of course. I’d never be selfish.”

Nox did exactly what I wanted and pressed his lips to mine then whispered against them, “I want you to be selfish.”

I pulled him closer and our bodies pressed together. Lips, tongues, and teeth all mashed together. It was slow yet frenzied. I wanted nothing more than to go back to his room and continue what we started but Nox was on a path set ahead of him. When the doors dinged open we were heading down a corridor that was filled with chaotic kid noises. Their minds underdeveloped and lacking shields. “Off to see a kid, I guess.” He said as he took my hand and we walked down the hall.

We turned a corner and there was a class following single file down the hall. All of them were loud in their heads. One girl turned and looked at us, she giggled and turned to her friend and she giggled. Their thoughts were focusing on the color of Nox’s hair. It was blue. It looked good in with the brown. But kids would be kids. Nox was thinking they were making fun of our holding hands. I squeezed his hand and leaned into him to whisper,, “It’s not us holding hands, it’s your hair. They find the color funny.”

Nox lifted his free hand to his head and his hair magically changed colors. I’d seen him do it in the dream just as magically. It brought back memories of him doing that in the dream. Of our first kiss. Fuck.

One little girl claimed, “I can do that.” Her chilled voice pulled me from my memory as she took the brown lock of her hair and twirled it in around her finger and the end magically turned purple. “See. It’s not so special.”

Nox laughed, but her teacher didn’t find it so funny as she scolded.”Cassidy, stop fooling around, you aren’t supposed to touch the elements without your teacher. You know this.” The little girl sighed and when her teacher turned around the little girl stuck her tongue out at Nox. You got me in trouble, meanie, came flying at the both of us. I wondered who else had heard, But I had definitely heard her.

“She’s loud.” I told Nox as we rounded a corner away from them.

“What do you mean?”

“I heard what she sent you.” I clarified.

“Do you think she meant for you to hear?”

I shook his head, “No it had the flavor of being a targeted send, like it was meant for you and only you. But she hit me too. She needs some lessons.”

Nox nodded, “She’s here, she’ll get it. Though to have such strong telepathy at her age is rare. Having such fine control of her other gifts at that age even rarer.”

“I bet you had it.” I complimented him, but he shook his head.

“No. I caught things on fire at her age.” I could hear the negative thoughts.

“So where is this kid?” I changed the topic so he’d think of happier things or at the very least better things.

We stopped at the front desk and Nox asked, “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 him with a frowned. “You have to stop bring in strays?” Her frown deepened when she looked at me. I glared back at her. I wasn’t some fucking stray.

“He’s not a stray. Though I could keep him.” He almost hadn’t kept me… He was still mad but I felt he meant it. There was no lie in his thoughts – there never was.

The woman’s cheeks grew a little rosy and she looked away from me to her computer. “The boy is in a detainment room.”

She pointed the direction but Nox cut her off quickly, “I know where it is. Spent enough time there.”

I definitely didn’t like the sound of the type of room the boy was in. I didn’t like the fact that Nox had spent time in them either. This trip was causing more questions than answers. I made my comment vocal, “Detainment, they make him sound dangerous.”

“He is in a way.” Nox clarified his statement. “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 was surprised that color of the door was Nox’s favorite color as well as one of his greatest fears. But he opened it without a care and his heart immediately went out to the boy sitting in the corner. He was crying and when he looked up with orange eyes he saw Nox and ran to him. Nox picked him up “Hey little man.”

I was surprised by the little boy’s reaction. Not exactly the one I’d expect for the man who brought him into this hell hole. I asked, “Why’s he locked up alone?” I knew I sounded angry but Nox didn’t seem to mind nor did he react to it.

“They don’t know what to do with him. Do they Drake?” He curled around Nox, and Nox introduced us. “Drake, this is Alex. Alex, Drake.”

Drake blinked at me. Almost as strange as his orange eyes was the color of his hair. Like it was made of spun gold. I reached out and ran my fingers through his short cut hair, “I thought it’d feel different.”

“It’s just hair” Drake giggled.

“I wish my hair was that color.” I lied.

“I can fix that.” Nox reached up and ran his fingers through my hair. It took me a moment to realize what he was doing and I jerked away from him. He was grinning like a fool but he added, “I didn’t do it.”

Did I trust him? “Did he? I trust you.” I asked the little dragon while I glared at Nox, though it was not a real one. I heard his singular thought of wanting to kiss me.

But Drake broke us both from the staring contest we had going on. “Still bwack.” He reached up and touched Nox’s hair. “Not this.”

“You don’t like it?” Nox asked and Drake shook his head. Nox turned his gaze on me questioning whether I liked it or not.

“You heard him.” I answered him with a smirk.

Nox turned and walked the way we came and looked at me specifically as he asked. “So what color would you like it?”

“I don’t know, can you make it look flames?” I knew the answer to that was yes, but I wanted to see what he did with my request.

Nox let go of my hand and it felt cool to the air around it. I missed the feel of his fingers in mine. Drake laughed at the spectacle and I tried not to stare. It looked exactly as I remembered it. Though the hair had been darker then, but this was better, I liked it on him. Almost as much as the blue he’d been sporting before.

“I can change it.” Nox said quickly.

I must have looked off, I responded quickly, “Fuck no, it looks great.” I slid my arm around his waist. I liked feeling him next to me – for real. We’d been close once. Even if he’d forgotten me so many times. We reached the front desk and I called out, “Barbara, we are taking him to see his mom.”

There was a warm fuzzy feeling coming from Nox’s thoughts. It made me smile. But I had questions, I seemed to always have questions. “What are we going to do once he gets to his mom?”

“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?” I didn’t care but Poet might. This case was causing Poet grief and it was the reason I was here now. Making up with him, when I should run.

“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?” I asked as Nox pushed the button to the elevator. I knew he hated the elevator, “You going to be alright?”

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

“Any leads?” I asked as I wrapped my arm around him again to tickle the little dragon in his arms. He giggled and it made me smile. It made Nox smile too. I liked seeing that smile on his lips.

“Just the dragon sitting in that room.” He nodded towards a glass walled room with a single person sitting inside. “Let me take him in, do you want to go with or stay out here?” he looked at me curiously.

“I should go.” I said. He wasn’t focused on me. He was going to get sucked into work and that was the last thing I was interested in – though that was what Poet wanted.

Nox shook his head and pulled me closer “It won’t take long, please stay.”

I should stick around, see what they do to this dragon, Poet said she was a friend of a friend so he’s want to know. And I suddenly realised I was starving, that chocolate cake had barely touched the sides, I wondered what else my pretty boy could cook “Only if you make me food afterwards.” And he was a great cook.

But he started panicking. He was thinking about trust and I wanted to get angry, i wanted to growl but it just made me feel sad and I sighed. “I’m gonna go, pretty boy.”

“It’s not that I don’t want to Alex.” Nox whispered.

“I got it. You don’t trust me. No problem. I’m gonna go.” I pulled away and headed for the elevator. I knew when I wasn’t wanted.

“Please Alex let me explain.” He begged. “I want to trust you. I need to trust you. But I can’t…. ” He paused in his words, his thoughts searching for the right thing to say,. “I trust you not to hurt me. Please stay, let me show you.”

I growled to myself as I 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.” He was ready to end this, or maybe he thought I would. Maybe I should just walk away now. Tell Poet I’d failed. I could give him the information I had and then I could be out.

But something kept me here as I sighed, “I’ll stay. I still want food.”

He grinned and waved. “Of course.” I loved that smile. He was smiling at the boy, not at me, and I felt a tiny stab of jealousy. Fuck!

He said to the boy, “Drake say bye to Alex. We’re gonna see your mom now alright?”

Drake giggled and waved. “Bye, Awex. See you soon.” I hoped I would see him again. And he better be alive.

I watched as Nox walked into the glass room and he set the little boy on the table and he crawled across it to his mother. I could listen to the conversation, but I didn’t need to. I looked around the hall I was standing in, and found some chairs facing the conference room and sat down to watch things unfold.

My name is Nox Sétanta. I am first and foremost a fictional character escaped from the mind of my creator AJ. In layman's terms I'm a magic wielding monster hunter born to my human mother and my Venatori father.

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