It was strange being in this dream world. I wasn’t used to it. But from afar I recognized it. The tree, the sky and everything. It was in every dream with Alex. And as if the thought summoned him I saw him crest a hill and walk towards me.
I felt foggier than before, like something else was taking hold of me. But the only thing I cared to see was the man walking towards me. I knew he wanted to rush to me, but he forced himself to walk to me. He didn’t run, that wasn’t Alex. It wasn’t a dream and as soon as he reached me I fell into him. He wrapped his arms around me and we fell to the grassy ground. I missed him.
He pressed a kiss to my forehead and held me against him. “Jesus Nox, you need to wake up pretty boy. We need you.” After a few moments Alex added so quietly I barely heard the whisper on the wind, “I need you.”
Alex held me close for an unfathomable amount of time – at least it felt like that to me in this place where time was strange.
“I can’t wake up. If I move from the tree too far it starts to burn.” I looked up and pointed into the distance at the burnt edge of the world. “It hurts.”
“You jumped off a fucking building and almost died of course it fucking hurts,” Alex chided me.
I smirked. “He survived then?” I asked carefully not looking at Alex. I knew he’d be angry.
“He did. What happened?” Alex asked. And I could tell that he was straining to keep his anger in check. His eyes were on fire and it made me afraid. The thunder sounded in the distance and I curled up against Alex’s chest.
“The demon taunted me, and then I had to make a choice. Let the man who haunted my life die, or save him. There was a moment of fear in Garrett’s eyes when he realized the demon had abandoned him after he had stepped off the edge.” I sighed. “No one should die like that. I don’t care who he is, or what he did.”
“I don’t expect you to understand Alex.”
“Explain it to me.”
The world shook as the thunder sounded again. I took a deep breathe and sat up and looked at Alex. “If he’s not worth a second chance, or a third or even a forth, then why should I be given one?”
“You aren’t a monster, Nox. He tortured kids and he gets off on it.”
“And you know this? That demon possessed him, you know without a shadow of doubt that he wasn’t coerced into hurting me? You know, Alex?”
“He hurt you.”
“I hurt myself Alex. At that logic I should die too for doing the same thing you accuse him of. I cut my wrists to die. I jumped off a building to die. I took drugs hoping it would kill me, and when it didn’t I took it again and again to dull the pain, to feel nothing for a while.” I sighed and got up from the grass and started pacing around the tree. “The demon abandoned him, didn’t care if he lived or died. Should I be like the demon? Should I let my personal feelings get in the way of the truth?”
Alex sighed and pulled me back down with him and I let him; it wasn’t worth the fight. “The Venatori tried to kill you, Nox. They gave you lethal doses of nepenthe. Even Ant is surprised you survived.”
“That explains the nothingness.” I sighed and pulled out of Alex’s embrace to look at him. I pulled my lips in and I stared at him. The picture rumbled again and I frowned, “I’m sorry I worried you.”
“You need to wake up Nox. You aren’t angry at them?”
I shrugged. “What can I do about it from in here? Or even out there.”
Alex shook his head. “We took you from them.”
“You what?” I was surprised and shocked and a little bit angry.
“They were poisoning you, killing you right in front of me. Saying they were trying to wake you up. Sage took over the system and they saw only what we wanted them too. Matt took the magic that was keeping Ant from you and he shadow walked into the room and took you out. Doc says you aren’t out of the woods yet, but the fact that I’m here with you means it’s at least working.”
“Alex, they’ll hunt you.”
He nodded. “I know. I took precautions. The kids are all in the Night Life building, so am I. So are you. When you wake up you’ll have to find someplace neutral to live because the wolves and the dragons don’t like you being in vampire control.”
I smirked. “What did you do Alex?” It was a playful grin as I crawled into his lap to face him.
“I just did what you would do.”
“You called in all my chips?”
“No, I don’t think so. I just warned them. Only Ant, Sage and Matt helped. The rest…”
I kissed Alex. “You saved me?”
He nodded and I kissed him again. “I should reward you. I don’t think the nepenthe will allow me much in the real world. I feel it at the edges, the nothingness, but here,” I squirmed in Alex’s lap. “I have all the prowess and more. The power of dreams right?”
Alex chuckled. “What did you have in mind?”