I was sitting in Nox’s favorite booth at Bonnie’s waiting on one of his best friends who had hacked his own friend for me. Made me wonder what kind of friend does that. Though I had paid a pretty penny for him to use his friend. So I guess he was better friend than it seemed.
Bonnie came over with a smile. “I haven’t seen you for a while. You and Nox have a falling out?”
I laughed. “We had a falling out, a falling in and then a fucking fall.”
Bonnie sighed. “I had heard he’d gotten himself hurt. I keep telling him this cult of his is going to get him killed, but he’s a strong kid, been through hell and back, he’ll get through this.”
“I hope so,” I said sadly.
“Sage, darling,” Bonnie chimed as the hacker walked into the room. “No little missus?”
“No she’s working. I sent her to go look in on Nox for me. I need to talk to Alex,” he said sitting down opposite me with a smile, but he didn’t say anything until after we had ordered our food. After Bonnie left he laughed, “Pancakes and icecream – Nox must love you for that.”
I smiled. “His pancakes are my favorite. What couldn’t you tell me over the phone?”
Sage slide a drive over the table. “Everything I’m about to tell you is on this, you can see for yourself. I didn’t start out looking into Nox. I swear you have to tell him I only did it because I was looking out for him. I’ve kept this from him too long, too many things, and he’ll be angry, so I need you to stand up for me. Please, Alex. Nox is ….”
“Sage, I got it. He’s like your brother, except you liked to watch him,” I growled a little at the latter bit.
Sage blushed. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. But know you won’t be doing that again. He’s mine. And I want you to give me every copy of everything you have. Don’t keep a single frame of it.”
Sage nodded. And I smiled. “So we are square. I get it – really but he’s mine.”
“Okay, but you aren’t going to like what I tell you,” Sage said.
“Did you do any of it?”
I laughed. “Then nothing to be mad at you for.”
Sage took a deep breath. “Nox has a lot of redacted files and the farther I dug the more troubling things became. But all that aside, the Venatori are trying to …” Sage cut himself short when Bonnie brought over our drinks. The tall blue eyed boy gave her a wide smile that reminded me of Nox and waited until she put things down. “Thank you, Bonnie.”
He waited until she was gone before he continued. “They are trying to kill Nox.” Sage did whatever Sage did in his head and he was accessing his phone’s memory.
He shoved it over to me and showed me a very marked up report. Most of it was marked out in black ink, so it was a public file with redacted information. But one word stared out at me ‘nepenthe’. I pointed to the word on the document and asked, “Do you know what this is?” Sage shook his head. “It’s the only drug that gets a Venatori high – it’s lethal to humans.”
Sage nodded. “Anything in the dosage and timing they are giving Nox could kill him. We have to get him out of there.”
I couldn’t have agreed more. “We can’t do this alone.”
“Who the fuck is going to help us against the Venatori?”
I laughed. “I have a few thoughts on that. Do you have full access to Nox’s phone?”
Sage nodded, “Yeah, what are you looking for?”
“Send all his contacts to my phone. I have a stop to make, I’ll call you with where to meet?”
Sage laughed, “Food, then help Nox. He’ll hurt you if you die from starvation.”
“I should do this first,” I said sliding out of my seat.
Sage rolled his eyes. “Well since you don’t have the contacts yet, sit down and eat and when I’m satisfied we can go save your boyfriend.”
“You are a fucking bastard you know that?” I growled but sat down. “Fine. I’ll eat.”
Sage was smiling happily. “You know Nox is happier with you. Even when you went awol on him. He was a mess, but he was happy.”
Sage laughed again and I could see why Nox liked him. “You do know Nox right? Tall brooding guy who is a complete and utter fake until you get under the mask. Nox was usually only ever truly happy when he was curled up in a puppy pile at my house. On the nights of the full moon, when those of us who didn’t turn because we were too young (or me cause I can’t) he’d come sit with us, and it was the only time I ever got to feel the touch of the pack. I grew up never being a part of what it meant to be pack, and Nox would hold me close protect me from the hands and feet around us while they piled around him. He loved it. Even showing us his nightmares were worth that feeling.”
“So the puppy pile at his house the past few days is likely to be a thing?” I sighed. I was never going to have any alone time with him now. What the fuck was I getting into? Why did this pretty boy make me want to do it? That was what scared me most. I wanted to be here with him. Even in Vegas I knew it. I fought it. Every picture, every text he’d sent made me angry at myself.
Sage chuckled and nodded. “If his kids and brothers are anything like him, then yes, I imagine that there will be a lot of touching.”