The house was clear. We found some plans. And before we left the building was in flames. Ryan came with us as we walked back to the Night Life building. Everyone else disperser to the winds. No one really stayed with us other than my body guards.
“If I have body guards, how come you don’t? And the kids?” I asked Alex.
“You’re the king not me.” Alex smirked.
“But even the President’s family get secret service.”
Ryan laughed, “He has a point.”
“I have four body guards, you have what?” I asked curious.
“Alright. Fine. We’ll take one. The kids don’t need one per kid do they?”
“I don’t think we need constant companions when we are home, only when we leave.”
“You need to have your body guards. But maybe they can take turns. Jae and Seraph and Ryan and Ant.”
I shook my head, “No Ryan and Ant don’t get to be my body guards. No offense, they are my friends, and I know how to manipulate them. You need to hire two more if you want two at my side at all times.”
Serpah interjected, “One from each race would be fair. One therian, one dragon. Check and check. You need vampire, human. And whatever else comes should find a body guard to represent them. It might be prudent to have one of each on at all times.”
“I don’t need a lot of body guards.”
“But you are our leader and you lead all of the races. You can’t seem partial to one. Ant and Ryan not being on detail is good, but they are your friends and that’s going to tip the balance. Your kids are going to tip the balance. But you already have a good balance there, and with the one on the way you solidify Alex’s place by your side.”
“My place by his side is no one’s business.” Alex pouted.
“Alex is right who I spend my time with is no one’s business.” I agreed.
“That’s not how it works.” Seraph said.
I stopped and turned to look at her, “Since when have I cared about how it’s supposed to work. You, me, we wouldn’t be standing here right now if I give a fuck about how it was supposed to work.”
Alex stood by standing smug and smirking at them. Ryan didn’t try to hide it either, “And this is why he is who he is.”
“You would really fight me over him.”
“I would kill you if you were a threat to him or to my family. Straight plain and simple. I get you are looking out for me. I appreciate it, and the advice. But never expect me to follow along with the fucking rules. Because the rules were made a long fucking time ago and they need to change.”
“So you are going to make new rules.”
I shook my head, “No, we are.”
I turned around and started walking again. Alex took my hand and I fliched before realizing it was just him. He didn’t take offense but soothed me inside with a calming sound. He could easily manipulate me.
Jae chuckled, “How does he do that?”
“Do what?” Ryan asked from behind us. He was staying with the body guards giving Alex and I what little privacy we could muster.
“Go from full on bitch to holding hands like it’s nothing.”
Alex laughed, “It’s not nothing if you could hear inside his head.”
Ryan whispered, “Nox is good at putting on a front. Venatori life was not good for soft weak boys.”
Seraph laughed, “He’s not weak.”
“Not now.” I said as I kept walking. I need to get away from this.
Alex nodded. “Go. I’ll deal with this. Ryan you go with him, these two can walk me home.”
I didn’t wait for Ryan before I started to run. He followed closely behind. Thank you. I love you.
I know. Come back safely. I’ll interrogate your prisoner.
And that was the last bits of communication we shared as Ryan and I ran through the streets of New York. I was mildly curious what Alex would say to them before they got home. I wondered if he’d ditch them. I didn’t need body guards I wasn’t some vulnerable person. I wasn’t a king, no matter how many times they called me that.
Ryan huffed up next to me, “You should stop and talk to me.”
“I don’t want to talk I want to run.”
Ryan nodded and he kept pace. It wasn’t unusual. He and Ant ran with me many times over.
“This would be simpler if I didn’t need to breath.” Ryan laughed and I joined him too.
“Fine. What do I need to talk about?”
“How you are feeling.” Ryan said with a smile as we slowed to a walk.
“I’m not a king. I don’t care how many times someone says I am. I don’t rule anyone. I don’t make rules. I don’t follow them either, but I sure as fuck don’t make them.”
“That’s what makes you a great leader Nox. You know that you aren’t capable, that’s why you have a council of non-leaders – peers, pack members – normal people to guide you. That’s why you stand with the leaders and you talk it through. You didn’t go head long into this fight like most of us would have. You aren’t like us – any of us. You’ve fought for everything. And it’s been worth it.”
“What if I don’t want it?”
Ryan shrugged. “I don’t know.”
“I need a vacation.”
Ryan smiled, “That I can help you with. Mind if I give Dorian a call?”
I shook my head, “He won’t take mine.”
“I can manage that all on my own. I just wanted to make sure it was okay.”
“It’s fine. Tell him I miss him.”
“I will.” He smiled and pointed back the way we came, “Let me get you back to the work.” I followed like the good little boy I was. Ryan didn’t snicker or laugh as I lagged behind him. I think he knew it was what I needed.