I curled up next to Alex my head on his chest and my arm draped over his chest. He wrapped his arm around me held me close. “Alex?”

Alex hmmmed in response.

“I’m sorry I always disappear. I will do better.”

“Shhhh.” Alex mumbled as he pressed a kiss to my temple. “The movie’s starting.”

I quieted down and closed my eyes and listened to the sound of Alex’s heart. I focused on his breathing.

Alex watched the movie for serveral moments as I just lisened to him. “You really don’t want to watch this do you?”

“I’m here.” I said.

“That’s not what I asked you.”

“No. I just want to be here with you. I’ll watch if it makes you happy.”

Alex shook his head and sat up pushing the button on the remote and the TV turned off. “No, what do you want to do?”

I shrugged, “I just want to be here with you. At least for a little while.”

“I’m not going anywhere, Baby.” Alex said pulling me closer and pressing a kiss to my temple.

“I hated when you called me that as a kid.”

Alex smirked as he pressed another kiss to the same spot, “I remember. You always thought I was insulting you.”

“I wasn’t used to terms of endearment. The only names I had ever been called were to be mean to me.” I said with a shrug. “I learned a lot with you. Specially about how to love myself.”

“I’m sure you didn’t need help with that.” I looked up at him and he winked at me. “So what do you want to do, and don’t say sex cause I’m not sleeping with you on the frist date.”

“This is a date?” I asked.

“First one in Vegas.” Alex said. “So?”

I curled up next to Alex, “Watch your movie. I just want to listen to your breathe.”

Alex sighed and turned on the TV. “It’s like you’re watching me.”

“I like watching you.”

“I like watching you.” Alex quipped but he settled in and started the movie again. I could have fallen asleep. I almost did, but every time my breathing evened out and my mind went blank Alex shifted and asked. “Nox you still with me?” He knew I’d almost fell asleep but he didn’t want me too. The movie was almost over when his words dawned on me. He didn’t want to sleep with me. Panic rose inside but before it grew to a crescendo Alex was pressing a kiss to my lips. When we broke apart i was breathless and helpless in his arms. He whispered against my lips, “I was teasing.”

Which I knew. “I’m sorry,” I said. I wanted to talk about something else. Anything else besides me. And I knew Alex don’t want to talk about him so I head other questions. “Why does Benji have to pack?”

“He… ” Alex studdered a little. He didn’t want to tell me.

I interrupted before he could think of a reply, “It’s alright. You don’t have to tell me. It’s none of my business.” I said curling back up against Alex and closing my eyes as I pressed my head against Alex’s thigh. He stuck his fingers in my hair and grabbed a handful and pulled gently.

I moved in the direction he pulled and was looking at him when he gave me a week smile, “It’s not that I don’t want to tell you. It’s more how can I tell you. Benj got into a bit of a jam. He asked for help. But the only help I can think of is to get him someplace safe.”

“Sounds reasonable. But where is safe? What’s he ruining from?” I asked

Alex let off a nervous laugh. “New York was the safest place I could think of. I was gonna take him and his parents there.”

“So you were coming back?”

Alex looked away, “Just to take Benji to safety. I already asked Ant to watch out for them.”

“I see.” I hadn’t wanted to hear that apparently. My mind tumbled through why Ant and not me. And then it was clear Alex really hasn’t wanted to see me. “I’m ruining all your plans. ” I shifted away from Alex to climb out of bed but he trapped me against him. I added for clarity, ” I should go.”

Alex let me roll away from him. “Look Nox, this is all before you got here. So just sit down and listen.” I was already out of the bed and getting ready to stand but I sat back down. There was no command or manipulation just me wanting to make Alex happy. It’s all I wanted – Alex to be happy, and I didn’t seem to make him happy.

“That means your head too.” Alex growled.

My instinct was to pull my shields around me tight but I knew that would piss Alex off. The only other way would piss him off too. To not think – not feel – just be. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes and relaxed. My shoulders fell away from my ears and my limbs got heavy while I waited. It wasn’t hard to fall into nothingness with Alex watching me, he’d keep me safe.

With my mind quiet and body waiting, I felt Alex shift so he could look at me, “What are you doing?”

I thought, didn’t speak, Don’t worry about it. I was angry he couldn’t have it both ways. He wanted quiet. Talk if you are going to talk. I thought at him again.

Alex sighed. “This is worse than before.” Alex got up from the bed and pushed the carts out the door before he looked at me again, I felt his eyes on me but I didn’t open mine. “I can’t do this like this. Look at me.”

My movements were slow but immediate. I opened my eyes and looked up at Alex. He was angry. “Benji needs to be kept safe. He’s an idiot and got on the bad side of a very poweerful vampire. I asked your friend to keep my friend safe. I was going to ask you when I got there. You are the fucking reason I’m taking Benji to New York. If anyone can keep him safe it’s you.”

At the outside edge of my bubble of emotions I felt the rejection, the pain of Alex’s words. I was good enough for his friend but not good enough to love. But it rolled off me like nothing. I just looked at Alex and kept my mind clear. He wanted quiet.

Alex stood there staring at me his hand jammed in his hair in fustration. “Fucking talk to me.”

“What do you want me to say, Alex?”

“I don’t know there’s nothing in your head. What are you thinking? Please just stop whatever you’re doing it’s worse than the self defacing litany in your head.”

“I’m good enough to protect your friend but not good enough for you to love. That’s whats on my mind. You can’t have me quiet and my thoughts at the same time. You are the one in my fucking head.” I had started out as if I had been talking to my dom, my top, my master, but Alex was not that, and my anger rose quickly as I told him what I thought. The emotions broke through and I felt it all again. His rejection stung. “But that’s all about me. So I shouldn’t feel it. I shouldn’t be selfish. I’m glad you feel your friend is safe under my protection. I will do everything in my power to keep him safe. Can I go now?”

Alex stepped aside, “Be my guest.”

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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.