Confronting the Betrayer

But I took the time for me.  And a little for Alex.  He was Chevalier now, his wounds healed faster and with my help they healed even faster.  He just sort of stared in awe as the cuts on his fists healed with in seconds.  Though they had already started and the bruises had already started to fade.  

I didn’t mention the fight, or the feeling good about venting some fustration.  Alex had killed with my power, that was going to take a little longer than we had right that moment to process.  And I’d help him do that.

When my food was finished and Alex helped me get dressed.  He picked out clothes that were nice but ones he didn’t care if I trashed while I went to confront Jin.  And god knew who else.  Apparently the pants I’d been wearing had been new.

Alex smirked at me, “You actually let me dress you up wouldn’t you?”

I shrugged, “I’ll wear whatever you want.  Except nothing unless it’s only in our bedroom.”

Playful thoughts drifted through my head, some mine, others were his, but we both saw them as if we were one.  I grinned at Alex, “I love you in my head.”

Alex straightened the hem of my t-shirt and smirked.  “You just love me inside you, plain and simple.”

I blushed, it was the truth.  He pressed a kiss to my lips and I groaned at the fact that I had to go be ‘king’ for another few hours.  It was too early, the moon was high and there was a moment of panic setting in.

Alex interrupted my thought, “Adrian came and collected the boys.  Rider sent me a text while I was out asking what you were doing and to tell me they were with the pack.  He didn’t want to bother you since he could feel your power all the way upstate.”

“Did Rosana feel it?”

Alex shrugged, “I’ll go ask Isabelle unless you need me to do this.”

I shook my head, “No I can do this, it’s no different than confronting a bad guy.”

Alex shook his head, “When did this become my normal.”

“When you fell in love with me.”  I said with a smile.

“No, that was a long time ago.  I just denied it.  But since meeting you, most definitely.”

I stuck my tongue out at him and pulled open the bedroom door.  Vin was outside.  “Did you do what I asked?”

He looked up almost surprised to see me.  “Damn, I…”  he blinked at me and nodded but he didn’t know what to say.  The power I was exuding was astronomical in comparison to my normal bottled self.  I wasn’t sure I liked that people could feel it all the time.  It didn’t make sense.  But then again I wasn’t hunting rogues anymore, I was protecting an entire supernatural culture.  I didn’t need to hide.

Behind us Eddie trailed and Alex broke off down Isabelle and Ant’s hall.  “Did you find anything out Vin?”  I asked.

Griffin was close on my heels.  He wasn’t going to leave me.  Too many times on his watch.

Vin sighed.  “Nothing.  Actually found nothing.”

“Like someone cleaned up her life?”

Vin nodded.  “Yeah, I asked Wicked to take a look.  You trust him right?”

“With my life, Vin, with my life.”

He nodded.  “I trust you my prince.  I will trust him.”

“But you will finish the job assigned you?”  I stopped in the hall.

“If that is your desire.”

I nodded, “It is.  You are right to question people you don’t trust.  And right now I don’t trust anyone except those closest to me.  I want you on that until it’s completed.  I want you to vet every employee we work with.  You are new head of personell.  Security clearance or whatever you want to call it.  It comes before body guard duty.”

“I enjoy the job.” Vin sounded like he was actually whining about not standing guard over me, “But, I will do the job given to me.”

“Thank you.  You can go do whatever it is you used to do, or start working on it now.  Griffin’s got me.  And Alec is lurking around the corner so I’ve got plenty of man power around me.”

Griffin added, “Jae is with Alex and Seraph is with Ant.  I don’t think it’s just you they want dead anymore.  Word is spreading.”  He laughed softly before adding, “And this new power display isn’t going to help.”

“We need to talk to Jin, and then we can deal with the Venatori.”

“What are you going to do?”  Alec asked his French accent completely gone for the moment.

“Deal with it after Jin.”  I said.  “Let’s go.”

We found Jin in the make shift office pouring over the calls she’d gotten.  I knew that from the mild telepathy I had gained.  That was on top of her thoughts.  “Got a moment?”  I interrupted.

She looked up and nodded, “Always for you.”  He smile was bright and cheerful and there wasn’t a hint of betrayal on her mind.  Nor did she look at all surprised that I was alive.

“Did Alex bring food with him when you saw him last?”

She looked at me, “I never saw him.  I’ve been in here.”

“He said he gave you the food he’d gone to pick up at Marco’s.”

She looked at me and frowned.  “He never did.  I swear I’ve not seen him.”

I sighed, “I believe you, but you let a Venatori in knowingly.”

Her face paled and it was all the confirmation I needed, “Are you working for Poet or the New World Order?”

She blinked at me but didn’t answer either way.  “Why did you keep those calls from me?”  I asked another question.  I sorta wished I’d kept Alex with me.  But she was a vampire it likely wouldn’t work with her like it does on humans.  Vampires, especially Primeval ones like Jin, could protect against all vampire magic with training.

But she didn’t answer me for that one either.  “Since you aren’t denying it, you won’t mind accompanying me down into the cells then.”

She stood up and lunged at me with barred fangs and growing claws at her finger tips.  I wrapped her up in air with a mere thought.  “You were loyal or so I thought.  Seems you had a price.  You’ll find that reward won’t be reaching you.  I’ll let you call your master, but he won’t ever get to you.”  

I looked at Griffin and Alec who were just watching me, neither of them had made a move to save me which made me curious what they were seeing.  “Down to the cells please.”  I said to Griffin and he merely nodded, but as he turned around I saw a slip of a smirk play on his lips as he lead the four of us deep down into the depths of what was going to be Jin’s new hell.

The Price of Freedom

I woke up with a cat sitting on my chest.  “Hey Fee.”  I said.  “You saying good-bye?” I ran my fingers over her stiff coat.  “I’m going to miss you.”

She purred under my fingers and nuzzled against my hand.  “Be at peace, girl.”  I said sitting up and holding the strange cat to my chest.  

The sun had fallen, and I was a little worried about Alex.  Eddie had said he was coming back soon, but why was it so late, where was he?

_This is nice._ A strange voice in my head interrupted.  _Your lovely is at peace with the others._

I felt the tear slide down my cheek and I wiped it away with my shoulder.  “Hey Eddie.  It’s good to have you here.”  I rubbed the cat’s belly and his head and I let the power go.  My grip on the control.  I let it go.  It was probably the hardest thing I had to do.  It was like a hand cramp that came with a death grip on the steering wheel of a car just after an accident.  Or so I imagined anyway.  

My heart pounded in my chest.  My breathing was ragged but I focused on petting the cat in my lap.  It was something Fee never let me do.  She was always too human for the petting and so much like a cat.  Eddie was different.  I didn’t know what he was, but he wasn’t like anything else I ever knew – a dream come true.  I laughed, much like Alex.  I wondered how strange it might seem to others to know that I never saw the face of the man I loved even though I’d known him most of my life.  His voice and his eyes were always the same, but he’d never worn his true face.  At least not anything I would recognize now.  Maybe as a boy.  I did remember that little boy.  I loved Alex and I felt him in the elevator as he rode up.  He looked up in my direction and I felt like I could almost see him.  Ant looked in my direction when I sensed him too.

_They recognize your power._ The voice in my head sounded.  Eddie no longer sounded like Mushu and I was grateful for that.  He was just a whisper in my head now.  Like the magic of the book.  _One and the same._ he said.  And I understood better.

_Now let the rest go._ Eddie instructed and that was when the fear pushed through the calm of the petting my cat. It wasn’t easy to do but there was a sense of calm that swept over me when I saw everything, and then I jerked out of bed and lost what little food I had eaten.  When had I eaten last?

I could hear people down the hall.  I smelled the aftershave of someone three floors down.  Seeing what I saw in full effect was really what pushed me over the edge.  Eddie pounced on to my back and kneeded the back of my neck much like a human might for comfort while I vomited all over the floor of the bedroom I was in.  The smell only made it worse.

The door burst open and Alec was by my side helping me up – heedless of the newly possessed magical cat.  “What are you doing Nox?”

Alec asked.  I couldn’t answer him my stomach was still trying to empty on to the floor but I had nothing physically left to give it.  My stomach ached from the constant flexing of the internal muscles.  “Does your cat talk now?”

I nodded.  But that motion made me dizzy and I started dry heaving again.  Alec picked up me though it was more like he dragged me into the bathroom.  The tile was cold and felt good on my hands.  I laid down much like I might if I had been drunk.  It was sort of how I felt after getting drunk – or the after effects of nepenthe.  

There was a resounding thud in my head.  It sounded like I had a physical epiphany with the mental thought.  How do you get through a hang over?  You deal with it and it will pass.  _Excellent._ came the new voice in my head.  _Your vampire slave has been told to hydrate you the best he can.  Food will help, when it arrives.  You must eat!_

I groaned at the thought – it wasn’t mine and Alec ran his fingers through my hair like I had Eddie’s earlier.  “I’m not your slave.”

I nodded.  “And I will never make you mine.”  He added, though I wasn’t sure why he had.  

Alec’s smile was genuine and he wasn’t hiding his fangs.  His accent was all but gone, “I never thought I’d submit to one so young.  Figured I’d die before giving up my throne.”

I groaned.  He was talking seriously and I was unable to do anything but lie on the tile.  “I know.”  Alec laughed, “With you it’s hard to get a word in edge wise, so now is the time.  I am your’s because you will never make me yours.”  He said simply.  Which seemed to be the case in most things.  Because I didn’t want something was the very reason I had it.

“Find Alex.”  I muttered.

Alec laughed, “Your blue eyed dream boat has been notified of your distress and is on his way home to you.  He’d probably rather someone else look after you.”

I nodded. Alec was always going to be a threat for Alex.  He just radiated dominance and control.  And there was only room for one Alpha in Alex’s world – even if that would never be the case.

So I laid on the floor of a strange bathroom with a Master vampire playing nursemaid and a cat in my head – all because I had to wait out this fucking magic hangover.

The Prisoners

The primeval vampires with us escorted all the bad guys with Valence to the cells in the basement of the Night Life building – vampire, human, wiccan, and therian alike. Most of them were still sleeping off the effects of the magic.

I gave out drawings of runes. The rune was the power, if done in the right spot, and the Night Life building was humming with vampric energy which was all you really needed – just a source of power. Earth, air, water, didn’t really matter which ley you did – death was just fine too. Though I knew life would be better.

But this would do for now. On each wall was drawn contain magic. The ceilings and the floors were made impenatrable from magic on either side with the same rune. The doors, the windows everything was etched or drawn on with the contain magic, protection from magic. Each cell was no capable of holding any magical person ever. And if we needed more cells well I could just draw a bigger on the inside rune – or the tardis rune as Alex so lovingly called it and we could build more cells inside. We did have one that we had to do to make room for the last of the humans who’d been with Valence.

But his cell was deeper and farther down into the basement than the others. Cari had a special place in hell she called it for him. For her brother.

He was also the only of the prisoners awake. He was rattling the door on his cell and shouting. I think that was half the reason he was placed so far from everyone else. I felt magic all around me trying to get out. But no one was making any headway. And the runes were drawn with invisible ink.

When I built my building everything would be tamper proof. I’d insure that what rune I put where was intact. I smiled as we walked through the cells to find the elevator. Ryan was with me, “I think it’s time we go on that vacation now. Alex and I need some time to get things straight. Valence is under lock and key and right now the threat is neutralized. I need a break.”

Ryan nodded, “I’ll get Jin and Alison right on it. Shouldn’t be hard to get ya’ll packed up and to the beach. Just tell me who’s going.”

A Violent End

The theatrics were over and we walked into the chruch. Vin and Ant both hesitated at the threshold for a moment before their faith in me kicked back in. Doubt was a powerful thing, and with magic it could eat you alive.

It was strangely comforting that the church used wiccan magics to make their truths be reality. The whole blood dripping, the water to wine, the fish and bread from rocks. All magic and pagan to the core. But humans don’t believe in magic. They believe in God and religion and miracles. When in reality it was one and the same. And that was the Clandestine Providence – humanities innocence at all costs. We were their Gods protector. We saved them from the horrors of the world ‘he’ created. We left the blind and unknowing so that they could live in their world.

There were no people in the pews. No one at the later. The church was eerily empty. We headed down into the depths of the basement, and then the catacombs. There were no sounds of fighting. But the impending doom was thick around us.

Firelight light brightly and flames shot from no where. I threw walls of air around us and they splattered against it in those moments just before reaching us. “The boy comes prepared.”

“I’m always prepared.” I said. “Come out Valence. I don’t want a fight.”

“Of course you don’t. You’d prefer to parlay. You work with those humans like they are worthy of our power. Look at you.”

I could imagine him gesturing at me and my power. But the tunnel was dark so I couldn’t actually see him. “The power comes off of you in waves. And you are nothing but a pawn for the humans.”

“And you are a traitor to your own kind. You turn on those that made you. We both have a few faults.”

A man in a t-shirt and jeans stepped into the light of an overhead grate. His eyes were bright blue and he large ears that stuck out the side of his head. I suppressed my smirk. But Ryan didn’t. “First time I’m seeing you Valence. Cari never let near you”

“Just a boy. Always will be.”

Ryan laughed, “That’s an insult? You insulted Nox better.”

Valence growled.

“I hope the weather here didn’t affect your flight patterns, Dumbo.” Ryan laughed, and I put a hand on his shoulder.

“That’s enough Ry, he’s stalling us.”

“Take him alive if you can, dead is preferable.” I said.

Valence laughed.”Ditto.”

Except there were fireballs thrown in my direction, but not from Valence, he wasn’t strong in that. The European Enforcer was darker, more evil that the US one. Which was really a crock of shit if you knew Cari.

I wove a shield around us and then thought of a different plan. There were bullets and fire flying back and forth, the fight had started and there were brawls down every corridor. I drew a set of runes on my hand and watched it sink into my skin. Instead of stopping there I pushed it through my bond to my people. I heard their yelp of fear and confusion and then I sent a mass of air through the corridors. It was like a sonic boom went off without the sound. Every one of the bad guys fell clutching their heads and mine were able to subdue them.

I felt Valence building power. “You aren’t the only one who can do that.”

His power seemed to come from something else somewhere else – a conduit. I pulled the gun from it’s place at my back and I fired one single bullet and the vampire dropped and the power with him. “Does he always underestimate his enemies?”

Ryan laughed, “I don’t think he expected you of all people to pull a gun on him.”

“Bring them all in.”

Ant frowned, “We don’t have enough cells that will hold them.”

“We don’t need to I can make more. Just get them to a place we can hold them. Even him.”

Everyone was looking at me like I was crazy – except Ryan. He was smirking. “Do you always learn things when you have temper tantrums?”

I gave him a grin back. “Not usually. But I have a plan now. They want to build me a place right? But that’s for later – right now let’s get them taken care of.”

Faith

I left Alex with a long drawn out kiss. Vin, Jae and Seraph followed me through the halls. “Only three body guards?”

Vin laughed, “Ryan and Ant are coming with. Francesco and Tony are leading the vampires through the tunnels with Bernstein. Dom and Adrian are working together to coordinate the top side.”

“Where exactly are we going?” I asked.

Jae frowned, “Saint Andrews.”

“What is a vampire doing in a catholic church?” I asked.

“Not in it per-say – under it.” Seraph said, “It wasn’t even one of the hackers who saw it. Was one of the wicca’s who had visited the crypts below decades ago.”

“It’s a place of magic?” I asked.

Ryan laughed, “You know it. You and Alex alright?”

“Always.”

Ryan smiled but the other three bodyguards were looking a little lost.

Ant chimed in, “Always is their way of saying I love you. His and Alex’s.”

“So what’s the plan?” I asked.

“Well I spoke to Rosana, who saw the location about what you did earlier. She said that there are areas in the city that have more energy pockets. The AU building is built on one. There is one closer to Central Park, one in Harlem where Armande is actually, though she didn’t know it was a safe harbor. The church is another. So you’ll be at peak strength.”

“If I draw on the city magic again.”

Ryan nodded. “But we do that only if we have to. We don’t know what it’ll do.”

“How is it now I can do this?”

Ant laughed, “I don’t think it’s you. I think it’s the three of us. Both Alex and I felt that power surge. And not like you were draining us, like it was fueling us. We felt the pull to go home back to the City the moment we left.”

Rosana came into the hall way with a smile, “You are guardians of the ley now as the triumvirate. So of course you can pull on it. But it’s more than that. We’ll talk later.”

And as quickly as Rosana came she was gone – down the hall and through another bend in the path. “She’s creepy.” Jae said.

“That’s who knew.”

“That’s Rosana, Isabelle’s mother.” I said.

So Ant laid out the plan while we walked the darkening streets of my city. I let myself feel it. If it were truly mine to protect and the ley was connected then I wouldn’t hurt them. I let my senses go like I did when hunting. I wasn’t searching for anything, but I felt more than just magic around me. I felt life. The trees of central park filled my nose with their lushness. I felt the pain of the kid who wiped out on his skateboard a few blocks down. I felt the people eating dinner, and the dog barking at the cat in the alley way. I could feel the people from the edge of one shore to the end of the other. But beyond was empty.

Lost in the lives of others I hadn’t noticed when we’d gotten to our destination. The cathedral was beautiful and was a place I never went I wasn’t religious – no Venatori truly was.

“We can’t go in guns blazing.”

“Some of us can’t go in at all.”

I looked at Vin and frowned, “You were a good catholic boy growing up?”

He nodded. “Then let me be the first one to tell you, it’s is your human beliefs that burn you from the inside out. God, as you know him, doesn’t care if you are vampire – undead. Your soul stayed with you. You are not a mindless killing machine. He created vampire with man and demon and angel. He created dragon and aeternus. He created all life on the planet and you think he cares if you step foot in his place of worship. Humans tell you lies in the guise of religion.”

“But it is still my belief.”

I nodded. “You can wait outside.”

Vin growled. “If I burn to death it’s your fucking fault.”

I turned to the vampire body guard. He’d been with me since I woke now. “Do you trust me?”

He blinked at me as if he couldn’t believe I was asking him. I stepped on to the sacred ground crossed the threshold that kept vampire at bay. That invisible line from scared to unholy and held out my hand. “Trust me Vincent.”

Everyone else stepped across, though Ant hesitated a moment.

Vin laughed, “See even the big bad son of Il Cane is afraid of scared ground.”

“Afraid, but I believe.”

“In what?” Vin asked Ant.

“In Nox. I know it’s a truth but like you was raised with the belief. The fear was there – my mother believed but she walks the line all the time too. But there is always fear. What if I don’t believe enough this time. So this time I place my faith in Nox’s hands. He is not my god. He is not my king. He is my friend. And I know as long as I don’t violate his trust he will always find me – save me. Ryan’s believed for so long, I finally understand.”

Vin laughed. “Trust in the boy.” He took my hand. “They said.” He took a step across the line tentatively like he’d burst into flames at the thought of it. And then another. “You won’t burn they said.”

“You aren’t.”

Vin only nodded. “Nox.”

“Yeah Vin?”

“I swore this oath to an unworthy man once upon a time. I swear it to you know. I swear that I shall faithfully execute all that you command, that I shall never desert the service, and that I shall not seek to avoid death.”

And in that moment I knew Vin’s past – he’d been a Knight of some King in some age long forgotten before he’d been embraced. I nodded, “Formality wasn’t necessary Vin.”

He smiled, “I know.”

Making Up

Alex and I just stood there holding on to each other. He pulled away from me first and held me at arms length. “You should go put some eye liner on.”

I lifted my hand to show Alex how badly I was shaking. “Probably not a good idea.”

Alex turned my hand around, then the other then looking back at me, “What the hell did you do?”

“I burnt it away.”

“Nox you can’t go burning yourself.”

I smiled weakly at my love, “I didn’t. I forced so much magic from myself it burnt away. I don’t want it Alex. I can’t live like that waiting for the dam to break.”

“Is that what this is?” he wiped the last of the tears away as I nodded.

“I do have monsters to catch.”

“Catch being the operative word there.”

“He may not live long, Alex.”

I nodded, “I know you will do what’s right.”

“And what’s right?”

Alex shrugged, “I dunno, but you’ll know it and you’ll do it. It’s what I love about you.”

“You don’t like when I fix things.”

Alex smirked. “No, but you still always do what is right.” Alex walked into the bathroom and came back out holding an eye liner pencil. “You trust me?”

“Always.” I said sitting down on the bed so Alex could do my make up.

I closed my eyes and tilted my head up so he could do it. I felt his fingers on my chin. “You are so beautiful.”

“I look like death warmed over.”

Alex pressed a soft gentle kiss to my lips. “No, pretty boy, you don’t.” He grabbed my chin and leveled me out and I felt the pencil against my eyelid. He drew steadily across each eye and whispered, “Bottoms.” I opened my eyes and Alex applied thick lines above and below the bottom lid lashes. “Not too bad, you do it better.”

“I have more practice.”

Alex chuckled. “Yeah. Years of doing it everyday multiple times would do it.”

I stuck my tongue out at him and he pressed a kiss to the tip of it. “Are we good?” He asked.

“Always. But I’m not mad at you. I’m sorry I’m a mess Alex, that it’s always you who has to …”

“Nox, stop right there. We are good. Don’t start bashing yourself because you feel like you disappointed me. Anger makes people do stupid things, and when you feel less depressed you’ll see that I’m not disappointed. I was angry too. And there are things we can work on. But we have forever to do so. Nox. Forever!”

I smiled at him. “I have to go.”

Alex laughed, “You have to go. I will stay with Hunter and watch his nightmares. Tony will take me.”

“Actually Marie – Tony’s mother will take you. The men we trust all want to fight.”

Alex nodded. “Okay. I got the kids. You just come back to me.”

“Always.” I promised. Though we both knew I could die just like anyone else.