Ryan moved to the kitchen. “You hungry?”

“Not really, Sage made me eat before I got here.”

“Good kid,” Ant said.

“Your girl leave alright?”

Ant chuckled, “She will leave after Allison brings her a bite to eat.”

“You aren’t feeding her?”

“Allison is a better at it,” Ryan said. “Bre is used to business as usual.”

“I didn’t think he, you, fed on the same person? At least thats what I understood.”

“I don’t have a herd like my mother. I do have regulars who understand my desires and needs.”

“Desires and needs. I like that. I need to make a few calls, that alright?”

“Tell me first, then you can make your calls.”

“Sage got some information from the Infirmary. They are giving Nox lethal doses of nepenthe.”

The look on Ant’s face was angry but his words were not. “That explains the way I feel. Make your calls. We’ll meet in the conference room on the 50th floor in an hour. I will call Allison to get mother here, and do you want me to talk to Dom?”

“He’s?”

Ryan laughed. “He’s the pack leader for the Manhattan clan.”

“Uh, no. I want to do that but through Nox’s channels. He has a guy…” I said hoping they’d help me out.

Ant nodded, “Call Liam, do it right. That’s good. I will send word to Desmond and Marshall but the Creed won’t get involved.”

All these names and I was going to get lost. There was a lot going on in this city Nox didn’t tell me about. Maybe I just didn’t listen? Or listen well enough.

I gave Liam a call, I remembered the weaselly looking wolf but I doubt he’d remember me. He answered quickly, “What?”

“Is that how you answer the call when Nox calls you?”

“What’s it to you? Who the fuck are you?” He growled, literally growled at me.

“My name is Alex Kennedy, we met once, with your wonder boy. I need to speak to your boss, about something concerning Nox. It’s highly important. I’m putting together a meeting with Anthony Giovanni and some others to discuss it. I would really appreciate it if he were in attendance. In one hour in the conference room on the 50th floor of the Night Life building.”

“What’s up with Nox?” I could hear the concern in his voice.

“That’s on a need to know basis right now. Please, it’s important, I wouldn’t be calling, and I sure as fuck wouldn’t be calling his guy if I didn’t want to do this the right way. I need him to hear me out.”

“I’ll make sure he’s there,” the wolf said. Just dropping his name got things done.

Ryan laughed, “It wasn’t just that.”

“What?” I asked looking at the boy in the kitchen of their dojo. Her really didn’t look more than eighteen but I knew he was hundreds of years old.

“It’s not just dropping Nox’s name that gets things done. Most of the higher up people know your name. Mors Praetors ‘targets’ are usually well known. The fact that you were his target for another reason doesn’t escape them.”

I couldn’t wrap my head around it. “Do you have vampire powers or something?”

Ryan smirked. “Or something. Cari is down the hall, her telepathic ability is minimal, but sometimes when the signal is strong she picks it up and I hear it.” He smiled and pushed a plate of pancakes across the bar. “I know you said you weren’t hungry.”

“Do you have ice-cream?”

Ryan chuckled and went to the freezer and pulled out a pint. “Always. \ If you prefer there’s chocolate in there, but that’s usually reserved for meltdowns.”

“Tell me Ant built this room for him?”

Ant came back into the room. “Actually, I built it for Ryan and I, but it’s currently stocked for Nox.”

“Did you get a hold of Dom’s guy?”

“He said he’ll make sure he’s there in an hour.”

“Who else do you want to call?”

“I need to call Adrian back.”

“Allison can do it. Anyone else?”

“Who ever you think needs to know and whoever might help,” I said and sat down at the bar staring at the pancake and ice-cream.

Ant walked past me and put his hand my shoulder. “Nox is fine.”

“You said that drug could kill a human.”

Ant laughed. “It can. Nox isn’t exactly human. I feel lost in my own head. That’s why you can’t get to him, he’s lost. I can’t explain it.”

“Show me.”

The smile from the vampires lips vanished and the room felt colder. “That’s not a good idea.”

“Just show me. Ant, if I can feel it maybe I can reach him. I feel him calling me.”

Ant looked at me like he was boring holes in my skin trying to find something. “You can’t…” he sighed. “Fine.”

“What can’t I do?”

Ant shook his head. “Nothing. It wasn’t you can’t, it’s that I can’t stop you.”

“What can’t you stop me from doing?” I asked curious what had the vampire afraid of me.

“Just do it Alex. You’ll understand.”

Ant let his shields down and I felt an overwhelming feeling of lust and desire and when I stepped into his head, it was almost literal. I could see and feel and I was him. This was something that had never happened before. Anthony Giovanni was an open book. It reminded me of Nox. The thought alone almost had me jumping out of his head. But there was a steady hand on my shoulder in the real world. Ryan whispered, “Just find the bond, you’ll know it when you find it.”

It wasn’t a mess in here like Nox’s head. It was neat and orderly and it was organized. Everything Nox wasn’t. The connection was a thin red line like in the dream world, why I was seeing this instead of reading his thoughts I didn’t know. There was an echo I thought I understood, ‘because you are what you are.’ I didn’t understand, what was I?

But I felt around their connection and it was strong, and it felt like Nox was in a fog, lost in the mist. It wasn’t going to help me. I already knew the mist but maybe next time I could find that bond since I can’t see my own.

I left his mind, I felt strangely alone even with Ryan’s hand steadying me. “What were you afraid of?”

But a voice from the door answered me, “He was afraid you’d see truths in the connections.”

“I only saw neat and orderly and his connection to Nox.”

The man standing in the doorway was tall but gaunt. He wasn’t very attractive yet he drew my eye too him. “Ant’s afraid you’ll figure out that other things happened.”

“What other things?”

Ryan stepped back around the counter to the kitchen side. “This is Nick. He’s an empath but like you he sees the connections others have.”

“The bond between the two of you is weak, new, but integral.”

“What bond?”

Ant sighed, “Nick, shut up and go back to your room. I can tell him.”

“Tell me what?”

“Do you believe in soul mates?”

I opened my mouth to say no, but I closed it quickly before just looking at the vampire. I wasn’t sure I liked where this is going.

“You do. Good. Souls like magic is just energy, we all go back to the same place to be ‘reborn’ again and again, though not all souls are made from the same energy as before. They take a little bit of this, and a little bit of that and make a new soul, but soul energy is uniquely tied to itself. And those like souls despite being separated are what we refer to as soul mates. The more soul energy a person has the stronger the connection. I met a woman once, she was the love of my life. I lost her, vowed to find her. Researched soul mates, learned how to find her generation after generation. I haven’t found her again since her last death. Instead I found Nox, and you. You two are soul mates.”

I didn’t even have to nod he knew the answer but it hadn’t been a question either. “Strong coming into power connection if Nox tells me right. But the moment I met him I knew he possessed a piece of my love. And then I met you.”

“Don’t fucking tell me…”

Ant laughed. “You possess a piece as well. Naturally I’m drawn to you and him. Which is why I can read you and why when I let you in you saw me the way you did If we were to forge a bond like the one I share with Nox, and you and he to form another, the ramifications are unsettling.”

Ryan shook his head. “It’s called a triumvirate of power. It’s a thing of legend and even that legend is so old no one has ever seen one. And Nox can’t know.”

“Why the fuck not? Why are you telling me?”

Ant laughed. “If Nox thinks this is part of destiny he’ll rebel against it, reject it out right. Free will and all, but he’s more than just a simple boy. Tell me you don’t feel it. The book, the shit he lives through, we don’t understand it, we aren’t supposed to. There are prophecies, and he fills each one of them as if he knows it’s written. If he knew he’d rebel.”

“And this triumvirate of power do you want it to happen?”

“That’s not for me to decide.”

“Nox… So you love him?”

“Not like you think,” Ant said. “He’s my master now. I’m drawn to him, but I’m not inclined to sleep with him. Just be the friend he needs. It’s not the first time she’s been a man. But the first she’s split between two.”

“Did you love him then?” I asked.

Ant laughed. “Not in the way you think. We were friends, good ones, but there was no sex between us, no touching, nothing more than a great friendship.”

“You know that’s kinda sad.”

“It is. But it is what it is. I’m glad it’s Nox. And I’m sure I’ll be glad to know you too.”

Holy fuck that was a lot to take in.

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.

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