I took Alex through a specific memory. We were playing like every other time we’d done in every other dream. I was building towers that spelled the word monster no matter the order I placed the blocks, but the whispers had died down. I truly hated myself in my subconscious. But I was happy with the little blue-eyed boy sitting next to me building towers and then we’d smash them together.
“Alex, I’ll see you tomorrow. I got to get to class,” I said calmly. My voice drifting into the dream. And we parted ways. And the dream drifted away into the darkness into the very next sequence. I knew Alex then. Knew his name. He was my Mushu, my best friend. He was the reason I made it through Garrett’s teachings. But then something happened…
I was standing in the darkness. Hands and feet spread and pressed against an invisible wall. My demon was beating me with tentacles of fire and air, earth and water, and tears slid down my cheeks but I never sparked. I controlled my fear. I controlled my hatred of the man. I didn’t spark. In the dream world I felt everything saw everthing as if i were actually feeling it. I wasn’t standing by watching, it was me.
But there was a boy in the dream and the demon turned towards him. Took hold of my Alex. And even though I couldn’t see I knew from the screams that Garrett was holding him tight with bonds of air. And then he screamed and the pain ripped through me. I knew that pain. One lash. I was frozen in fear.
I heard the meat flayed from Alex’s back as a second strike hit. I was angry. I turned and I grabbed the fire inside. I saw it. I always saw it. I knew what to do with it. I grabbed it, I willed it into a fiery ball and as the third strike landed I threw the ball of fire at the Demon.
He laughed as he winked out and the fireball splattered across the far wall of darkness. I rushed over to Alex and he was bleeding and I wrapped my arms around him and I cried into his shoulder. He couldn’t come here anymore, if Garrett knew what he was. He’d find him. Hurt him just to hurt me. I couldn’t do that. “You can’t come back. He’ll kill you Alex. He knows what you are. You know what he is. He’ll find you and you’ll die because of me,” I whispered.
I was so afraid. I hurt so bad for Alex. He wrapped his arms around me and held me close. He was older than me. I knew that much. He acted older and was there when I needed him. Always there when I did… He was the reason I lived. There were other memories, ones where he’d saved my life just before the demon snatched me away again. But he always gave me the will to fight on. Without Alex I wouldn’t be here.
Alex spoke confidently to me, “I’ll make you forget me. I’ll make him forget me. No one will know. I’ve done it before. Kish will help me. Please don’t make me stay away.”
If I didn’t know, Garrett couldn’t use me to find him. And Alex would be safe, so I had nodded then. And my world was forever changed. I’d forgotten my best friend when I woke. I’d forget him every night and I’d bury the memories in the deep dark recesses of my mind someplace Garrett would never find him, but where I’d never forget him.
I came away gasping for air into the dim lights of Alex’s hotel room. Alex was shaking next to me. At first I thought he was crying but he wasn’t he was laughing. I crawled away from him. I didn’t know what he thought was funny – none of it was funny. I felt like puking as my alarm sounded 4am. Alex glanced at it still chuckling and shaking his head as he swiped the alarm away. “I’m sorry pretty boy. It’s not funny. I know it’s not. I can’t fucking beleive it is all.”
His laughter died away as he knelt in front of me his hands on my knees and I bent over the bed trying not to get sick. “I’m sorry. Really I shouldn’t have laughed, so fucking me. I fuck up our lives.”
“You did it to protect yourself, I was so afraid Alex. You did it for me.”
Alex shook his head, “No, Nox. I did it for me. I needed you.”
“I needed you. I confided in him. I needed you safe, and away from Garrett. I needed you so you could kepe saving me.”
Alex shook his head and pulled me down on to the floor with him and pressed a kiss to my neck. “I’m sorry I always blamed you.”
“It was not our fault.” I said.
“But it doesn’t explain everything Nox. It explains why I can’t find you. Magic is powerful, but it doesn’t explain why you are taken from me every night.” Alex sighed as he stood up and headed for the bathroom door. “You coming?”
I stood up, “Where are we going?”
“Shower, breakfast, drive home.”
“It’s 4am.” Alex frowned. He shook his head, “I … uh… ” Alex took my phone from the night stand and tossed it on the bed, and walked around the bed to the window behind me and rippied open the curtains to reveal daylight.
I grabbed my phone and looked at the time, it was 8am. “I reset your alarm to try something. Last time we spend the night together, as long as I touched you you slept fine, didn’t have a nightmare. It was only when I left you sleeping alone that you got hurt. I just wanted to see if I could keep you safe.”
I smiled at Alex. I was a little upset he’d played me, but I was okay with it. “Since you did that. I need to do some yoga, and get a workout in before I shower. Keep my schedule and coping mechanisms at peak performance. I can feel the late panic setting in even though I know I don’t have to be anywhere. We can down to the court yard and throw a few punches around. You do like to box, mma or whatever you want to call it right?”
Alex nodded. “I suppose I could get sweaty with you before we go. But you promise this is going to be alright?”
I shook my head, “I won’t make that promise to you, but I promise that it will be better if I do this than if I don’t.”
Alex seemed to think about it a little before he went into his closed and pulled out a pair of sweats and a t-shirt and tossed them at me. “I also think you’ll need more than one pair of comfortable clothes to wear on the way home. So the new plan, a workout, shower breakfast, some shopping and then drive home?”
I shrugged, “Sounds fine to me. When is Ant taking Benji and his family to new York?”
“He should be taking them tonight. I talked to the dark prince after you walked out on me, and before you came back here. He said he’d take care of them, and suggested we take it slow going home. So we could get to know each other.”
I grinned, “So all this is cause of Ant?”
“No. All this is cause of you. Ant suggested going slow. And I I trust him.” Alex said. It was hard not to beleive him, he sounded so sure of this.