8 minutes

I curled up around Alex’s pillow and tried to gather my senses as I stared at the ceiling. The elements shifted and scattered around me. The sounds around me numbed my skull. At least the smells weren’t making my stomach churn. Not that there was anything left to empty.
I didn’t really feel any better except for not sicking up. I felt small. Lost in a world so large. I wasn’t myself.
The door opened and Alec came in. He smirked at me, “A sandwich?”
I shrugged as I slowly sat up. “It’s food.” I laughed softly, “I really don’t want to eat.”
Alec nodded, “I know my Prince, but eat. Your cat says to eat. I’d listen.”
“Since when do I listen to my cat?” If it had been Fee she’d have tossed her tail up but Eddie just sat there and pushed his head against my hand. A loving cat instead of the distant one I had before.
I scratched at the stiff fur at the back of his head, and ate the peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwich Alec had made me. “Hunter’s favorite.” I said.
Alec grinned, “He made it.”
“You asked my son to make me a sandwich?”
“No, I was in the kitchen staring at the things in your fridge when he tapped me on the shoulder and he handed it to me. Seeing the future has it’s advantages.”
I rolled my eyes. Alex pushed into the room hurriedly as I was licking my fingers of the goop that had been left of the last bite of my sandwich.
He frowned, “You couldn’t wait?”
“You stopped to get in a fight. I couldn’t wait, I needed to eat.” I held out my hands, I still wanted whatever he’d brought me, “But I’m still hungry.”
Now that the sandwich had been demolished I felt like I had when I had come back from the dead – famished.
“Have you been taking care of him?” Alex asked Alec. He sat down next to me and ran his fingers through my hair. He was concerned.
“Nox what are you doing? I felt your magic blocks away.”
“Eddie says I need to let it go or the magic will keep doing stupid things.”
“Who the fuck is Eddie?” Alex growled.
The cat crawled over the bag and presumed his rubbing except only against Alex. “This is Eddie. Fee has been released from her curse.”
“This is the same fucking cat.” Alex said.
Alec laughed, “Except with extra bits.”
“I’m lost.” Alex said.
I opened up the bags and containers of the food Alex brought me. It was slightly cold, like I’d mentioned earlier he’d stopped off someplace. He’d gotten in a fight – taken my way out the second time. From the look on his face he wasn’t happy Alec was still around. But I was starving again. And I didn’t feel like rolling over and puking so I was going to go with feeding the power for the moment.
Alec looked at me and then to Alex and then to the cat trying to push itself on my blue eyed love. “I’ll let the three of you get aquainted. Jae and Seraph will be outside, I’ll be at your beck and call if you need it Mon ami.” He looked to our window that even lead out our own balcony. “Don’t forget to shield the windows from entry.”
I nodded. “I will do that after I eat.” I hoped anyway. I stabbed a peice of lemon garlic asparagus and chomped on it while Alec left with Jae, who’d been in the room the whole time.
Alex sighed, “Are you mad?”
“Why would I be mad?” I asked.
“For stopping.”
I shook my head. “No. You do what you need to do Alex. Did it help?” I asked.
He shook his head this time. “No. It helped vent some fustration but it didn’t help.”
“That’s all it does.” I confirmed.
“What’s with the cat?”
“The cat is Eddie.” I said letting Alex change the subject without hesitation. “He’s part of the umbra. A spirit, a manifestation. I don’t know but he said I’m poorly lacking in training, and that the dreams won’t work because you block him from entering my dreams. And the nightmare before you. So this is his alternative method. Fee got to go back to the universe and he gets a body to be loved on.”
“So this is going to be a thing?” He nudge the cat with his hand. “All this touchy feely – is not going to go away.”
I laughed, “It’s so me. Don’t ya think?”
Alex rolled his eyes. “Yes. So what exactly is he helping you with. Why is Eddie telling you to let your power run wild.”
“Not run wild, but not trapped. It’s been fighting me by doing shit I don’t want because I keep it locked up. Is that right Eddie?
“Holy fuck!” Alex jumped from his spot on the bed. “The cat fucking talks.”
I grinned. “Telepathic connection. And that bothers you?”
“It’s a cat.”
“The umbra is magic. Where your power comes from, where mine comes from, it powers vampires, and cursed the therians. This cat is host to only a tiny fraction of the umbra.”
“You are feeling better.” Alex laughed. “All talkative again.”
He grinned at me, “Don’t be.” He picked up the bags and containers and set them on the floor and pushed be backwards, crawling on top of me and rutting against me. He was in the mood.
And it didn’t surprise either of us when there was a knock on the door just as Alex bit my neck and I groaned loudly. “Go the fuck away!” Alex growled.
“I have the information Nox wanted.”
Alex sighed. “Can’t …. ” He crawled off of me and moved to the door and flung it open. It bounced against the wall and he stared at Doc before he shoved past him.
“I’m sorry.” Doc said.
“He’s kinda upset about things.” I said.
“I have the information on how they died, and who they are.”
I stared out the door after Alex and wondered where he was going. I hated that this was happening to him. I knew he was going to leave me. He didn’t share well. And I was nothing but a sharable peice of meat around here. I looked up at Doc and picked up my food and continued eating the mostly cold entree. “Tell me, he’s not coming back soon.”
“I’m sorry. It could have waited.”
“Then you shouldn’t have said what it was.” I said.
“Cari doesn’t like to be kept waiting so… I’m sorry.”
I shook my head, “Sorry doesn’t help so just do what you came here to do.” I smiled to lighten the blow. The problem with using Cari’s people was they were used to her, and not me. And Cari was a peice of work – hard cold steel but a peice of work.
“They drowned, buried alive, and there are signs of smoke inhilation. I don’t know what killed them short of the fact that they were suffocated.”
“That’s pretty much what I thought. Alex didn’t know what to do so it did everything.”
“They were Venatori.” Doc went on.
“I don’t care who they are. Cut off their heads, send them to the Venatori in black plastic bags in unmarked boxes to Mark Green specifically. They’ll keep sending more until we make a display of power.”
Doc paled but I didn’t care as I continued, “Burn the bodies, no othe evidence left behind. Call me if you need me to do it.”
“I think Cari will enjoy the work. And the message.” Doc said. “If you don’t mind.”
“As long as the heads get sent I don’t care who does it.”
He frowned. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay. Just temper your needs to necessity if I’m behind closed doors.” I said.
“I will keep it in the front of my mind. Though I will suggest that when you build your new home that you hire your own personal retainers.”
“With what money?” I asked.
Doc shrugged. “I don’t know, Nox. But Cari…”
“If she’s tired of lending out her people she does not have to do it anymore.”
“It’s not that.” He said. “She’s doing it too often. I think she tires of us.”
“Feed her, work for me. Does it matter if you get to do things you love?”
Doc sighed, “I do more fun things with you. She knows it. But she will want her toys back.”
“Then you do what your master says. Until then I appreciate your willingness to help. But I know you are hers first.”
“Graceous as ever. If I didn’t know any better I’d think people’s fears were unfounded.” He laughed, “But now I also have to go cut off heads. And that’s not even the strangest thing I’ve had to do so I guess you two are similar.”
I laughed. “Have fun.” Doc laughed and left me to my food.

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