Of All My Fears

Alex drove and we sat in silence watching the trees pass with little ceremony. The sun flickered through them and the world was at peace. At least on the outside. Inside my mind was rolling over and over why that dream – that fear. And I kept landing on one thing. “It had to start with Garrett.”

“What?” Alex asked looking over at me.

“The dreams, the nightmares – they had to start with Garrett.”

“I know I should know that name but I don’t.”

I laughed, “And you aren’t reading me so… ” I smiled at him as I continued, “Garrett Spencer, he was my mentor before Dae’lin. He taught me control.”

“That fucker!” Alex growled. “What about him?”

“The dreams are the same as what he did to me. The things he made me see in my dreams so I would spark and learn to control it. You saw him. That’s what every nightmare looks like for me, down to the details all of them.”

“So you think he has something to do with your nightmares – and that thing.”

I nodded, “It’s the only explanation I have.”

“What are you going to do about it?” Alex asked as he pulled up into what looked like an old house. He smirked. “Trust me – best pizza this side of the Rockies.”

I trusted him. Alex pulled up to the front door and we got out. His chivalry never surprised me as he reached for the door. “You know one day I’m going to beat you to that door.”

Alex laughed. “And then I hope you’d wait for me to open it. It’s a gentleman’s job to treat his significant other with respect and kindness.”

“And I can open a fucking door.” I grinned at Alex and stepped inside to a warm ambience and even warmer temperature. And it smelled like an authentic bakery.

There were a few tables, most of them were occupied, but one in the corner was free. We took the seat and Alex let me sit in the corner so I could see, he didn’t much care. He heard every thought before it came at him in most cases I said to myself.

A kid with pimples all over his face came over to us. “What can I get you?”

“A pot of coffee, and lets start with your Margherita pizza with spinach added.”

“Sure. Can I get you some garlic knots, or some bread or something while you wait?”

Alex looked at me and I smiled. “Garlic knots sound good. I’m starving still.”

Alex shook his head. “You heard the man. And can I get a root beer?”

The boy nodded and left without writing anything down. There a few moments where we just stared at each other sitting opposite one another. “If you sat over here I could touch you.”

“If you touch me you’ll make me regret letting you come out.”

I shook my head. “No. I promise. It’s a thing.”

“A thing?” Alex smirked.

“I’m a needy bastard you know that. I get… I don’t know… It’s hard…”

Alex stood up and laughed. “Pretty boy, I know. Shhhh….” he said as he walked around the table, put his fingers under my chin and lifted my head back to press a kiss to my lips.

How did I ever get to be so lucky. I hummed against his lips and I felt better with him close. Alex sat down and I took his hand under the table and leaned against his shoulder and closed my eyes. Alex broke the comfortable silence when the garlic knots arrived toasty warm and garlicy. I picked one up and Alex followed suit but after the boy left he looked at me and waited.

I took a large bite and had to blow and huff around it, it was so hot.

Alex laughed. “That will teach you.”

When I finally managed to chew the hot piece of nearly liquid fire I shook my head, “Highly doubtful.”

Alex asked, “So what are you going to do about this Garrett problem?”

“I think after I get back I’ll confront him.”

“He’s in the AU building?” Alex asked.

“Yeah.”

“Dorian said you can’t go in there until after the Fourth.” Alex reminded me.

“It’s not work. It’s personal. And I’m fairly certain there are two children in there I’m not waiting to meet until then, so Dorian can just shove it.”

Alex laughed. “I want to hear you say that to Dorian’s face.”

“You think I won’t?”

Alex looked at me again as I finished my garlic knot and picked up another. “Honestly, I think you ripped Dorian a new one a time or two.”

“No. Not even when I found out he’d been lying to me my whole life.” I sighed. “Have you ever tried to yell at someone who can give you this completely disappointed look and you haven’t even said anything yet. It wouldn’t do any good. Dorian would keep his composure. If I flustered him he sent me to Marco or Angelina or back to Dae’lin.”

“I don’t want you to go near that asshole without me,” Alex said.

“I don’t want you near him Alex. He will not find out about you.” I spoke harshly and I saw Alex wince even. “I’m sorry.”

Alex chuckled, “Don’t apologize pretty boy. You’re standing up for yourself. Though I wish it wasn’t to defend me. I can take care of myself.”

“How many times can I tell you that? You want me to listen to you though?”

“Call me a hypocrite, but yes. I want you to listen.”

“And if I don’t?” I asked.

“Nothing. I would just be happier if you did.”

I took a deep breath and nodded. “I still don’t want you to come with me. What if Ant comes with me?”

Alex squeezed my hand. “We can talk about this later. Pizza is here. And I don’t want to fight about it now. Is that good?”

I nodded and pressed a kiss to Alex’s cheek. “That’s good.” The boy set the pizza down and I barely waited to pick one up before it was on the table. I did cool the pizza first this time so I didn’t burn the roof of my mouth. “So, about me shaving…” I teased as I took the first of many bites.

The Monster Behind it All

Alex brought me a heaping plate full of fish and vegetables. It looked sorta like a whole fish with saute vegetables. “What’s wrong pretty boy?” I looked up to see my blue eyed beau staring down at me with a smirk.

I shook my head. “Nothing. Did you eat this?”

“No. I’m not a fan of fish.”

I smirked as I took the plate from him. “It’s fried isn’t it?”

Alex laughed. “I told Kish you wouldn’t eat it. But she didn’t believe me.”

“I won’t be rude, I’ll eat some of it. But I’m not a fan of fried anything and fried whole fish is bottom of that list.” I grinned at him. But I was starving, my stomach rumbled. “I don’t think I can afford to be too picky.”

“Yes you can, pretty boy.” He sat down next to me and bumped his shoulder against mine. “After you get some energy back we’ll get you something more tolerable.”

I really didn’t hesitate to start eating. The vegetables were well flavored. I really liked them, and I picked at the fish trying to avoid looking at the crust covered head and the skin. The fish was tender otherwise. And not too fishy. I enjoyed what I could manage to eat. Which was a lot more than I thought as I shovelled the last bit of white flesh into my mouth. My stomach rumbled again, and I frowned.

Alex laughed, “Damn, boy. There are more vegetables. Kish was planning them for lunch tomorrow.”

“How long was I asleep?” I hadn’t thought about it.

“It’s close to three pm. You slept for about twelve hours after you passed out.” Alex said wrapping his hands around my closest one, his fingers entwined in mine. “You okay?”

“Physically I’m fine. Energy levels are better. Mentally I’m drained still, and there are so many thoughts,” I confided.

I got up and found the rest of the vegetables in a bowl and I just grabbed it. I was that hungry still. I probably needed to eat carbs to offset this. I sighed and set the bowl down, “Is there any place we can get a pizza or pizzas? Something high carb. Or I’m going to eat your friends out of house and home.”

Alex gasped, “Nox wants pizza?”

“Don’t get used to it,” I said.

“Let’s go.” Alex nodded towards the door.

“Uh, you want me to go out looking like a bum?” I asked.

“You’re fully covered,” he said with a smirk. “I could go get some pizza, and you could stay here and rest?”

“You’d leave me here alone, with your family.”

Alex smirked. “Kish and Kay are at work still. They’re working a late shift at the hospital.” I raised an eyebrow in question and Alex added, “Nurses work lots of hours I’m told.”

“Well, I’ll leave it up to you.” I grinned at Alex. “If you want me going out like this I’d be happy to join you.”

Alex grabbed my hand. “Just keep your libido in check; I don’t need the girls thinking they got a chance with you.”

“What about the flirting?” I teased.

Alex rolled his eyes but he didn’t say not to tease.

I sighed. “Does my flirting bug you?” I asked.

Alex shook his head. “Maybe.” He opened the passenger side door and I walked around the other side. “I know it’s you.The whole attention seeking so no one looks too deep. I get it, but you are mine Nox.”

I leaned over the door and pressed a kiss to Alex’s soft lips. “Always, Z.” I purred out the nick name and Alex pulled away looking at me. “Too much?”

Alex shook his head and stepped around the door and pulled me against him. He was hard in his jeans and I was having a hard time doing as I was asked with his body pressed against me. “I think not.”

One blue eye winked at me as he pulled away and nodded for me to get in. I obeyed straightening myself out as I did so. Alex was smirking at me as he walked around the other side of the car. “I was afraid that the nick name would remind me of bad things, my childhood, things my mother did. But when you say it like that, holy fuck Nox.”

I bit my bottom lip and flopped over on to Alex’s shoulder and looked up at him from across the console. “You liked the way I said Z?” The Z, soft and breathless, just a little rumble under my breath.

Alex pushed me off his arm. “Yes, now stop flirting with me.”

“That is one thing I will never do,” I said triumphantly but I did sit up and put my seat belt on. Alex’s hand grabbed mine and brought it to his lips pressing a kiss to it.

Serenity started and we started out of the gravel driveway. We rode for about a mile before I let my thoughts wander back to what was bugging me. Alex asked, “What’s wrong?”

I looked at him and he smiled. “I’m learning to read your lost in thought face. And it’s troubling you,” Alex confirmed.

“The demon represents the things that were done to me as a child. Garrett was reinforcing my fears of my mother, of him, of violence in general. So why is this creature that feeds on fears using only that fear? I have so many other fears that could be used that could terrify me. Falling out of a plane, falling in general, needles, clowns, why that dream?” I asked rhetorically, I didn’t expect Alex to have an answer.

What Happened?

As I waited in the darkness things were different. I could feel the blows land across my back. Could hear the cackle of my demon. I could feel it’s struggle. And then out of no where it dug into me. I felt the claws dig into my back and rake across my skin. It fought to hold on. It was no longer hitting me, distracted. It was a dream – my dream.

It was an fleeting thought one I was surprised had never come to me in all the years. It was my dream.

The sun rose and the nightmare screamed and lashed out one final time. “Mine!” it yelled and blows landed simultaneously over my skin all over and my eyes popped open with a sudden gasp of air. I felt more the saw the thing on top of me launch off my chest towards someone. Alex. I sat up straight. I watched in horror as this black blur of fur and teeth and claws tried to hurt Alex. There was chanting somewhere in the room but my eyes were only drawn to the creature.

There was no moment of hesitation as I reached out and surrounded the thing with air and lit it on fire with another quick weave. It screamed. I made the bubble smaller. No one hurt Alex. I squeezed and burned it. The power inside me burned, it fought and I knew I should stop. Cold blooded killing always took a toll on my body. But I didn’t stop. It had tried to hurt Alex It had hurt me for years. This was revenge.

The bubble grew smaller and smaller until there was a pop, and the screaming silence. I felt weak. I was drained of what little energy I had from my nap. The anxiety and arguments weakened the balance, and then this. Before I knew it, there was nothing but blackness…

The blackness quickly lightened I lay on the ground in a dusty field. The rains looked like they hadn’t fallen in years but the soil was freshly tilled and it was waiting. I stood up and dusted off. I spun slowly in a circle and tried to get my bearings. There was a lone tree in the middle of the field, and beyond that were more trees and pond and a sky that looked like something out of a scifi movie. The sun was setting on the horizon but the sky was full of stars. I could almost swear I recognized something in the stars. Like a message or something, but I was standing atop the lone tree in the middle of the field. I hadn’t even realized I had walked the distance while I stared into the night sky.

The tree was strange, it felt more real than anything in the whole dream. It looked familiar. I placed my hand on the rough trunk and a pair of eyes blinked back at me. I jerked my hand away and stumbled backwards, but when I woke up I wasn’t lying on the dry dusty dirt of my dream. The bed was comfortable, and not at all the one I had fallen asleep in. I didn’t smell Alex on any of it. My clothes had been changed and I was in a strange room. I felt my heart race and my breathing quickened.

The panic attack started to set in and my mind was reeling. Where was I? What happened? Where was Alex? Was he okay? Though the last thought sent my mind in another direction. What had happened? Alex? But when I tried to say something my throat was dry.

In the onset of my panic I looked around, scanning for something familiar and there sitting next to the bed was a note. In Alex’s handwriting. It was almost a comfort except I knew deep down Alex was gone. I snatched the folded paper and opened it quickly.

No need to panic. Come out when you are ready. ~ Love, Alex

It was a simple note. His hand was steady. Not forced. But it didn’t help my heart racing. My chest loosened a little as I climbed out of the warm bedding. This wasn’t Alex’s bed. Hell I didn’t even know where I was. The first door I opened was a closet door. It was filled with women’s clothes and I knew I should know where I was. But the thoughts kept sliding away.

I found the door into the hall and was greeted with a series of pictures. Mostly kids, and in there amongst all the strangers was a little boy I once knew. I ran my fingers over the picture, and those blue eyes were unmistakable. Alex had been here. Memory started to return, this was a place he’d grown up. Or at least stayed part of the time. I closed my eyes and I could feel Alex around me. Smell him nearby.

“Hey Pretty boy.” His voice called out from down the hall. I opened my eyes to see his gorgeous blue eyes staring back at me. I couldn’t help but smile. I wanted to run and hug him and never let go. But I made myself walk. I wrapped my arms around him and buried my face in his neck. “You’re alright.”

“Me, pretty boy, you’re the one who passed out. You had me worried.”

I shook my head, “I was fine.”

“You didn’t look fine,” Alex said as he navigated me around into the living room to sit on the couch. It was warm, he’d been here a while. “What happened?”

“You tell me?”

“You killed the thing. Kish and Kay said that it was nothing but ash by the time the fire burnt out. It sort of just fluttered to the floor. I was too busy trying not to panic because I couldn’t wake you up.”

“I’m sorry.” I shook my head. “It should never have tried to hurt you.”

“I’m fine. It’s just a scratch.”

My eyes immediately darted to the bandage on Alex’s hand. My heart started to pound again. It had hurt him.

“Nox, I’m fine. Are you okay? What happened?”

“I killed with my power. Being Cesari is different than being Magnus. But since I’m the only known Cesari to use his gift in the taking of lives it’s not a well known thing, other Magnus might face the same problem. But taking a life extracts energy from the person who does it. Theoretically, if someone were to kill a lot of people at the same time, you’d kill yourself in the process – or at the very least tap out your power and becoming tacet – or quiet. And not yourself.”

Alex interrupted, “It was hurting you, it had hurt you your whole life.”

“The magic doesn’t care that it was justified. It doesn’t care, it only seeks balance In taking a life not in the defence of my own life, it saps the energy required to remove life from me. So saving you was not in defence of my own life. When I killed the Dragon it was in defence of my own life. When I killed the bomber it was in defence of my own life. I don’t kill with the power I was given unless I have to. It’s easier to pull a gun.”

I smiled at Alex. “I just need to recharge. And I’m starving. There wouldn’t be any food around would there?”

Alex nodded. “Kish left some food just in case you woke up. You sit, let me get it for you.”

Inducing Nightmares

Sex took us into the wee hours of the morning, with a shower to close out the night or was it morning. Alex in all his wisdom and his obsession with not sharing me he was grumping around even though this was his idea. And in all his grumping had a thing about me being in boxers and tank top while he hunted for this nightmare. The fact that the last time he saw me naked when it sat on my chest really bothered him. So I was borrowing a pair of his sweats and wearing one of my own t-shirts. I was way too warm but Alex was happier.

“I can’t fall asleep with you watching me,” I said.

Alex smirked, “If I lay down with you then I’ll fall asleep.”

I sighed, “So what are we going to do?”

“I can go outside and let you sleep I won’t go far. I’ll open up just enough to feel you fall asleep then I’ll come inside,” Alex offered.

“Can you watch TV and just sit here with me?” I countered.

“This isn’t going to work if I fall asleep Pretty boy.”

“I don’t like going to sleep without you. This isn’t going to be easy with you right here.”

Alex smirked, “You are so needy.” He pressed a kiss to my temple. “How about I go to the main house and grab a cup of coffee while you try to sleep.”

I sat down on the bed and pressed my face into the pillows. They smelled like nothing really. “Can I ask a favor?”

“Anything, of course.” Alex chimed.

“Can I wear the shirt you wore today?”

“It’s dirty and gross.” Alex protested.

“Yes, lover, but it smells like you, and the demon comes easier if I’m thinking about you. The more you I have around me the more I’ll think about you and the faster it’ll happen.”

“Really? How long has that been happening?”

I shrugged, I wasn’t really thrilled with the idea of him finding out when it started. He saw the hesitation and frowned, “Tell me Pretty Boy.”

“Since shortly after I met Ant. We had a few nights together, and then suddenly whenever I thought about you trying to get to the dream the demon came with blue eyes. It was always worse. And then it was all I had of you I used it sometimes when I was feeling particularly down. I’d rummage through your box, which is at your apartment by the way, and think of you and I’d let it hurt me.”

“Why would you do that?”

I frowned, “Alex… I’m not worth anything. Some days are worse than others.”

“You hurt yourself on purpose?”

I dropped my gaze. “Usually Ant stops me, but he can’t be in my dreams – no one can.”

“I am,” Alex growled.

“You are only in my dreams now because I won’t let you go.” I sounded as sad as I felt. “If you stop touching me at night, the darkness comes. It hurts me more because I kept it waiting. I expect tonight will be exceptionally bad.”

“Then you aren’t going,” Alex said.

“What happened to one more night Alex? What happened to freedom from the nightmare?”

Alex growled. He pulled off the shirt he’d just put on and tossed it at me. “Here, wear this. I’m going to get a cup of coffee.”

“I’m sorry.” Alex looked at me and his eyes were wide.

“I’m not mad at you pretty boy.” He sat down and wrapped his arms around me. “I’m sorry. I don’t like the thought of you hurting yourself, or anyone else hurting you, but especially not yourself. Promise me you won’t do it ever again.”

I bit my bottom lip and nodded but I agreed, “I promise to try.”

Alex kissed me softly, tenderly. It was almost so light I wondered if he was really there or not. “I fucking love you Nox, please don’t hurt yourself again.”

“I love you too Alex. I won’t.”

Alex got up quickly and rushed to the door. “Sleep pretty boy. I’ll be back soon.”

I nodded and hunkered down in bed pulling Alex’s t-shirt on and wrapping myself up in his blankets. It wasn’t quite home, but it was as close as I was going to get.

My heart was racing. Even though I looked brave on the outside I knew better, I was fucking scared. It was going to know and it was going to hurt me. But I closed my eyes and I pulled Alex’s shirt up over my nose. I was stretching out the neck but I’d buy Alex a new one if I needed to. But I needed him around me. I was already missing him.

Sleep came. And I went with it. And I hadn’t been wrong. The fog rolled in quickly, there was no pretence. Alex was everything in my head and the nightmare came like I was calling it instead of him.

It was no different than the other times. The blue eyes floated towards me. I screwed my eyes shut and waited for the blows to land…

Solving Problems

Alex rolled over on to his back and now I was looking down into those beautiful blue eyes of his. He looked better, there was a smirk on his face. “I don’t know. I might forever.” He paused to gauge my reaction. “Would that be so terrible?”

I shook my head. “No. Not terrible. But I liked you knowing what was going on in my head. Not so that you can see all the crazy, but so you can help stop it from becoming too much.”

Alex sat up and I fell backwards to allow him the room. I got to stare up at him now. One of my favorite places to be. I licked my lips and Alex was shaking his head. “Is that why you are having a hard time the past few days, because I’m making it worse.”

“It’s not about you Alex. I know I’m a handful. And really all this will get better as time moves on, but when you can hear me going ape shit in my head you help me find a new path. And it might have stopped a few fights the last few days, if you could hear my thoughts, and how much I’m spiralling.” I dropped my gaze. “But it’s okay, Alex, you do what you need to do I can cope. I was just wondering is all.”

Alex shimmied down so he was lying on his side and he pressed a kiss to my lips, more of a brush of his against mine, and I looked across at him and gave him a weak smile. “I know it’s been hard. But this is working for now. You manage to know me without reading my mind. I should know you the same way.” Alex smirked. “Been many times I wanted to just reach in and listen so I could fix you, or this, or that, or whatever was going on. It’s hard for me. But you’re talking to me – really talking, and I’m talking to you. We both have to try.”

I sighed and laughed. “Fine. Fair game then.”

Alex rolled over on top of me, pressing me into the bed with his weight and looking down at me with those sparkling blue eyes his elbows around my ears propping his head up. “I’m glad we came here. I needed to talk to Kish.”

“About what?” I asked.

“About you actually.” Alex smirked.

“What about me? I could have told you anything you wanted to know.”

“It’s not like that.” Alex laughed, “It wasn’t dating advice. That black blur, the creature thing I saw.”

“You think you saw?”

Alex shook his head. “No Nox, I saw it. Real and truly, I saw it. And I told Kish about it. We flipped through some of her dads old books, and we think we might know what it is.”

I leaned up and brushed my lips against his. He captured them in a kiss and I felt like I was drowning in him. I wanted to drown in him. He broke the kiss, his face still close to mine as we breathed the same air. “Stop trying to distract me,” Alex breathed against my lips.

“What is it Alex?” I asked curious. Though I was enjoying the man on top of me more than the curiosity.

Alex chuckled, “You’d rather be making out.”

I smiled up at him and brushed my lips against his. “I’m just happy to be here with you. I’m good, you talk, I’ll listen and I promise I won’t try to seduce you.”

Alex licked my lips, “Baby…” He pressed his lips harder to mine and I groaned against him. My fingers grabbing his hips and holding him tight against me. We kissed and ground against each other until Alex pulled away and pressed a quick peck to my lips again. “It’s something called a nightmare. You heard of it?”

I nodded. “There’s a class on folk lore, all the myths and legends all over the world so we know what’s what and who’s who sorta thing. Nightmares go by a few different names, they are supposedly a creature that feasts on fear and nightmares.”

“Any idea what they look like?” Alex asked.

I shook my head. “There were drawings and such, but no one’s really seen on in a long time, and the Venatori don’t really care.”

“That’s all that were in Kish’s books. I think there was a way to kill it. But I’d need to see it again. I don’t even know if it’ll work.” Alex sat up on my thighs and looked down on me with a frown. “You’d have to have that nightmare again. I hate seeing you like that.”

“So what’s one more nightmare, if you kill it and they are gone?” I grinned at Alex. “Lover, one more nightmare and we can dream whatever we want.”

Alex was laughing at me, “You keep surprising me baby. Always so positive.”

I grinned. “What more can I be. One more nightmare for a lifetime with you?”

“So cheesy.” Alex leaned down and kissed me. “I think I might be able to reward you for your bravery.”

I laughed, “I haven’t been brave yet.”

“You are always brave.” Alex said as he pressed a kiss to my lips hard and fast. His teeth worried my bottom lip and I let him in. Kissing went into more of a frenzied make out session until we were naked and calling out each other’s names.

Cabin in the Woods

Alex lead me through a patch of trees and down a pine straw covered path deeper into the woods. I remembered the path. I remembered the building. Alex opened the door and flipped on the light. A small lamp in the corner of the room lit up. “It’s not much.”

I laughed. “Can they hear us at the main house?”

“Why?”

I put my hands on Alex’s hips and tugged him towards me. “Maybe I want to make you scream.”

“I don’t scream,” Alex said with a bright smirk that hid the fear in his eyes. “How about I make you scream? Who the fuck cares if they hear us at the main house?”

Alex pressed me up against the door, my hands were still on his hips, his were pressed against the door above my shoulders. “So are you game?”

I smirked and spun us around pressing Alex’s hips against the door. His arms fell around my neck. “I can make you scream.”

“On another day I would so let you try.” He tried to walk away, but I pressed him against the door with my body flush against his.

“We aren’t really going to have a better time to try. It’s just us in the middle of no where, I can make it so no one can hear us. No one’s going to walk in.”

“Everything’s just sex with you isn’t it?” Alex joked, but he wasn’t into it. Nothing I was saying was turning him on, except my body pressed against him. His normal reaction to me being near.

I let him go. “No.” But I didn’t move. If Alex was uncomfortable I’d let it go. I didn’t need anything but him happy.

“You aren’t even going to ask me why?” Alex asked as he walked towards to queen sized bed on the other side of the room.

“Ask you why you don’t want me to make you scream?” I grinned at him. “Nah, I know all about my little mushu’s control issues. Screaming would mean letting go.” I bit my bottom lip and turned to look at him sitting there taking off his shoes. “One day, you’ll beg me to make you scream.”

“You don’t care do you?” he asked never looking up.

“I care that you don’t want to do something.”

“But you don’t care why?” Alex growled, “You never ask…”

I interrupted fast and furiously. “Every time I ask you a hard question, a personal question. Every time I ask you to tell me something deeply personal you shut me down. So no Alex, I don’t care why you don’t want me to make you scream. I do care that you don’t want it, and if you never trust me that much I’m okay with it because something in your past made you this way. Something you don’t want to talk about something, if you really wanted me to know you’d tell me.” I backed up to the door and pressed my back into the wood to feel something solid behind me. My anger was in control. And just like every other emotion I felt it consumed me. I slid to the floor and pulled my knees to my chest but I didn’t curl up into the ball to hide from Alex. I just pressed my head and back against the wood of the door and felt solid. Felt supported. This wasn’t about me.

The silence strained my ears. The only sound was us and our vital functions. Alex cleared his throat. I looked across the room at him. His hands hung limply from his arms, his elbows resting on his knees. He looked like he was about to puke hanging his head over the bed the way he was. I wanted to go to him, but I didn’t think he wanted me to. He spoke softly, “I was young. My mother wanted something from this women, and the only play we had was sex. She was a business woman with connections and she had the names of some big money in a ledger she kept in a safe. I needed the combination. Sex was always the easiest way to get that kinda information. Mother expected she was a vanilla power slut and I could do it easily enough I was young, hot and with the right grooming I could look older – old enough for her anyway.”

Alex took a deep breath, it sounded ragged in his chest. I crawled across the floor while he continued, I was careful not to spook him. “She was into power just not the power my mother thought. I let her tie me up. She…” Alex was rubbing his wrists at the memory. I stopped in front of him and sat down. I reached up with the tips of my fingers and touched the pads of his. He took another deep breath and grabbed my hands and squeezed tightly, almost too tight, but I didn’t say anything, didn’t wince or let on I just let him hold my hands. “She gave me a safe word and brought me to the edge. And there she kept me with vibrators, totally hands free while she masturbated in front of me. I begged her to stop Only remembering my safe word at the very end, she knew I was close to breaking, she said, ‘Scream for me.'” Alex shuddered and I stood up on my knees and wrapped my arms around him. “I screamed my safe word over and over but she was lost in her orgasm and I was lost on the edge.” Alex wasn’t crying but his body shook. His heart was racing. “I can’t be what you want Nox. Not even a little.”

“You think I want that?” I asked, taking his hands in mine and sitting on my heels looking up at him. “The only thing I want is you. I won’t bring it up again.” I bit my bottom lip and tilted my head to the side. “But Alex, I like the being on the edge. I like giving you all the power. I like being tied up. But I don’t need any of it. What I need is you. I just need you.”

Alex just stared at me, I don’t think he was really there, still trapped in the memory. “Alex?” His eyes focused on me and I smiled. “How can I help?”

Alex laughed, “You can’t fix everything Pretty Boy.”

My smile widened. “I wasn’t asking to fix this, I was asking how I could help you right now, in this moment. Do you want me to hold you? Do you want me to go away? I don’t want to fix it Alex, I want to make you happy. And if right now making you happy is letting you be sad alone, then I’ll go away.”

Alex was shaking his head as he laid down and pulled me with him. “Just get up here.” I kicked off my shoes and climbed up behind Alex, my arms still around him and I was at his back pressing against him, it was such a novelty.

We laid there for a little while and I could hear Alex’s breathing getting slower, he was falling asleep and as much as I’d love to hold him I had a question, “Alex?” He hummmed. “How long are you going to stay out of my head?”

I Have Kids

My eyes were dry when the door opened and Alex came out. He was carrying a plate of food and a glass. “Figured you might be hungry.”

He sat down next me and I offered him the opened letter and took the plate. It smelled good, and looked alright. Better than lunch for certain. But looks aren’t always the right reaction, it was a wonderful flavor, mostly citrus which in the dim light of my ball it looked bland. But it wasn’t.

Alex read the letter and was quiet. The only sounds were our breathing and the clink of my fork against the plate. I finished the chicken and vegetables while Alex stared out into space. “Are you upset at me?” I asked.

“Why the fuck would I be mad at you Nox?”

“Be cause it’s a reminder of the sex I was having while I was with you.”

Alex shook his head. “We were just planning on being an item. We were a dream Nox. I was still using sex to get my marks right up until I was in New York to meet you. So don’t think I’m mad you had a life before me.”

“You okay?” he asked.

“I don’t know if I should be happy, or sad, or angry. This is too much Alex. I just want to curl up and die. I won’t, but I just want to stop the roller coaster and get off.”

Alex took the plate from me and pulled me against him. He wrapped his whole body around me and asked, “What do you need from me?”

I shook my head. “Nothing, just this.”

We sat there, me in Alex’s lap, sorta. We were both still on the hard wooden steps, his back was to the pole holding up the porch and I leaned my back against his chest. His arms wrapped around me and his legs pressed tightly against my body, I was wrapped up in my very own Alex blanket. “Thank you,” I muttered.

Alex pressed a kiss to my neck. “Always,” he said.

I leaned my head back against his shoulder, “Do you like being called Z?”

Alex rolled his eyes and I smirked. “My mother called me that.”

“That didn’t answer the question.” I tilted my head against his chin and he pressed closer to me.

“I don’t hate it If I did Kish and Kay wouldn’t call me it.”

“No one likes being on a telepath’s bad side?” I smirked.

“Something like that.” He raised his eye brow. “Why?”

“No reason. I told you I’d find a nick name.”

He laughed, “You plan on calling me Z? Just to confuse the world?”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “Maybe. Kay said my beard was millennial.”

“It is the in thing to do,” Alex agreed. “The well maintained scruff is what all the hipsters are wearing these days.”

I growled under my breath. “Should I shave?” The thought made me shiver. “I’ll look twelve.”

“Doubtful.” Alex ran his teeth along the side of my jaw. “I can see the merits of soft skin.” He rubbed his cheek against mine, “I don’t mind the scruff, though.” Alex’s hands snaked their way under my shirt and he pressed his lips to my ear and sucked on my ear lobe. He whispered, “I don’t mine hair anywhere.” His fingers ran over the smooth skin of my chest. I didn’t shave there, though hair removal was something I was fond of. His fingers trailed down towards my waist, his fingers tracing the line from my belly button down into my pants, “Don’t ever shave here, this is my favorite.”

“Mine too,” I admitted. The quiet night set on us and Alex held me. I was safe, but more importantly I was at home in his arms. It didn’t matter where I was really, just that I was with him. “Thank you for earlier. Telling me how you feel. I’m not going to be able to do any of this without you. I know that’s a lot of pressure, but it’s the truth.”

“No pressure pretty boy. I promise, I’m right where I want to be. No more talking, well one more thing.” He pressed a kiss to my lips and when he pulled back he winked, “So when do I get to meet these kids of yours?”

“Same time I do?” I asked.

Alex chuckled,”You sure you want that?”

“Are you planning on leaving me?”

“You know I’m not.”

I nodded, “Then I’m sure. I’m not hiding the fact I love a man. Anymore than I’m hiding the fact that I’m Magnus or Cesari. It’s part of me, and they will have to deal with it. And if they hate me for it, tough shit.” I grinned.

“You know it would hurt you.” Alex laughed.

The door behind us opened and Jesse spoke loudly still inside, “Thank you for dinner ladies, and thank you for taking care of my place while I’m away. I appreciate it.” Jesse turned and saw us and smiled a little surprised too. “I expected you’d be off in the spare house by now.”

Alex shook his head. “He wasn’t ready to move yet, and I’m not in a rush.”

Jesse smiled. “I’m going to fly up to New York tomorrow, tell the boys, and give them the choice. It’s okay if they stay. I already checked with Dorian, and your father and they’ve agreed to make sure they aren’t living the bachelor’s life with you.” Jesse laughed softly at his own private joke, “Dorian said he’d arrange for them school this next school year. I told him not the Academy.”

“I won’t let them join until they are eighteen.”

The look Jesse gave me said he wasn’t happy. “I suppose I can’t stop them then.”

I smiled, “Which is why I won’t let them until then. But I’m not going to say I won’t teach them about my world. Laker’s dating a teenage Magnus. And they hang out with werewolves. So I’ve got to teach them how to be safe in my world.”

Jesse nodded. “I know. Just no hunting.”

“If I can keep them from hunting I will,” I said honestly.

Jesse clapped Alex on the shoulder, “Take care of my boys. All three of them.”

Alex smiled, “I’ll do my best. Have fun, send us pictures.”

Jesse laughed, “I’ll try, those things seem to hate me.”

We watched Jesse drive off. “You said something about a room away from here?”

Alex pushed me so I’d stand and he joined me. “Come on, I’ll show you to my place out here.”