My Brother The Alpha

There was a lot more people in the small room than we had anticipated.  Ant did the bodyguard thing and pushed away out of the crowd that had joined us in the flight to our home to save my, our family.  I didn’t know most of them, but they waited for the core of us to rush out into the chaos.  Wolves were fighting vampires, and other therians.  Some of them were shouting at others.  

But we had only the flux of power to go with, we all flowed towards the media room where the kids had been watching a movie.

The violence got less as we neared the room.  Until we rounded the corner and the door to the room was shut and barricaded.  I knocked on the door, “Let us in.”  I said.

There was a rush of sounds on the other side of the door as someone made to unlock it.  Matt was pulling back Cass as the door was flung open.  Matt relaxed visibly when he saw me and he let Cass go and was right with her when she wrapped her arms around me.  He didn’t hesitate any with the hug around my shoulders.  Soon followed by everyone except Rider.  “Where is Rider?”  Alex asked.

“Being Alpha.”  Laker said proudly.

“Alright.”  I looked at Ryan and he smiled without even a word he pulled the children inside.

Alec and Valentine followed as did Alex.  I grabbed Alex’s hand before he was out of reach and pulled him against me tight and kissed him hard and long and there were several people clearing their throats but it was Ryan who broke it up, “Get a room.” he quipped.

We both laughed.  Alex smiled, “We got this.  You  help Rider.”

Ant and my body guards followed.  The rest that had come with us had already separated and you could hear more scuffles throughout the place.  I sighed as I pushed more power through the leaking shields.  It wasn’t really leaking but that’s how they felt.  I felt whole and full and my power washed over everyone for the top five floors.  I felt Alex in my head.  _Tell them to sleep._  No innocents should be caught here.  The top five were all locked under Cari’s personal code – mostly vampires seeking her sanctuary.

_What?_

_Focus on everyone who isn’t ours and tell them to sleep._

There was a nod of understanding in my head and I focused on my people, all who were bound to me no matter how big or small.  Everyone down the line was connected to us and anyone who wasn’t when Alex’s mental command went into them and the fighting stopped.

Everything stopped.  Everyone who wasn’t mine was collapsed on the ground.

There was a loud cheer echoing down the halls.  I could hear Rider among them.  I heard him issuing orders as he rounded the corner to and tried not to run as he wrapped his arms around me tightly.  For all his Alphaness, he was still my little brother.  _It’s safe now._ I called to Alex inside the locked room.

“You did good Rider.”

He grinned up at me and smiled, “I learned from the best.  We’ll get them all down in the cells.  Izzy can draw the runes just as easy as you can.  It’s not as cool, but she can do it.  Says she can do it better than you.  I want to see that.” Rider laughed and let me go.  “I’m glad you beat them, and thanks for that.  We have a few injured but no one dead.”

“Bring them into the media room, I’ll help them all heal.”  

He grinned.  “Cass and Hunter should help too.”

I nodded, “I’ll get them to help but I have a different plan.”

I walked back the way I had come and opened the media room door again and everyone was already helping the wounded get comfortable.  “Cass, Hunter, you think you can follow what I do?”

They both looked eagerly at me.  “You know the concept of extraordinary healing I used on Poppi?”

The both gave a nod.  “That’s what we are going to do.  Except not just on one person, the whole room.” I looked at Matt and he was already leaving.

“I’m gonna go help Rider.”  Laker was by his side in a heartbeat, “Me too.”  Fae was on their heels.  Matt knew why he was leaving the other two went because Matt was.  “Thank you three very much for keeping the little ones safe.”

Matt blushed and nodded.  “It was nothing really.”

Alex laughed as he held a shaking Quinn in his arms, “It was everything.”

I pulled all the elements around me and then let them flow into the room.  Cass and Hunter both followed what I did and they let their power go.  It was like watching three different Kaleidoscopes going off at one time.  I wavered and had to close my eyes.  Alex was there with Quinn and I wrapped my arms around both of them.  I didn’t open my eyes, the whole thing was over powering.  

I heard Cass squawk and I risked opening up my eyes to see Ryan pulling my daughter into his lap and covering her eyes with his hand.  And whispering into her ear.  There was a strange shimmering over the two of them, almost like I was seeing a mirage.  I blinked away the images of the two curled up together with a bouncing baby boy in their lap.  

I looked at Hunter and he was curled up with Valentina and burying his face in the vampires blonde curls.  Alec was snickering at it, but my son turned and looked at me and gave me a knowing smile and a simple nod of his head.  I wondered if I had tapped into his power a little in that vision.  Wondered if my daughter was going to fall in love with an 800 year older man who looked sixteen.

_It could be a whole lot worse._

He was right it could be a whole lot worse.  _We need to put an end to all this.  We need to talk to your friend._

Alex smiled.  “I’ll see if I can get a meeting.”

I gave Alex a nod and closed my eyes and buried my face against his neck and took comfort in the man holding me.  Alex was my everything and even as I spent the energy to heal the others, I was hoping that we’d one day have a happy life free of all this shit.

TRue Power

Alex laughed, “You didn’t even need us.”

“I did.”  I said with the stone still in my hand and blood all over the front of me for the second time that day.  As I came near Alex’s eyes grew wider.

“It’s brighter.”  He said.

I handed the stone to Alex and he took it hesitantly, watching it the whole time like it might bite him.  The stone’s glow shifted from the multi colored rainbow of mine to a different one, some colors were brighter and others dimmer.  I laughed, “See, I needed you.”

He handed it to Ant and we watched as the color’s shifted again.  Not the same as mine nor Alex’s.  Alex and I reached togehter to touch the stone in Ant’s hand and the color grew blindingly brighter.  Alec put his hand on my shoulder and it grew even brighter.

Dorian reached into the middle of us and the brightness grew again, but he plucked it from our hands and the light ceased completely. “Nox Sétanta is the new leader. ”  He smiled at me, “Is that them all now?” he joked.

Alex smirked, “The only ones he doesn’t rule is the humans.  I’m sure he’ll get them next.”

Dorian nodded, “Tomorrow is the monthly meeting with the councils human compatriots.  I will add it to your schedule.”

I looked at my former mentor and current friend and family member, “That would be excellent, I actually need to talk to them about some new construction anyway.”

“Dorian.”  I said and he looked at me, “You need to choose a new leader to rule your everyday lives with whom I will use like the others. And I need a common Venatori for that council too.  I think Walker will do.  He has potential.”

Dorian nodded, “Even after he tried to kill you?”

I nodded, “He was only doing what he was told, as was Emilio.  They aren’t strong enough on their own to do what Kai did.”

“Neither am I.”  Dorian frowned.

I smiled, “I’m strong enough for all of them.”  I said.  “No one will come to harm under while I watch over us.”

Alex added, “No more killing without a trial.  Bring them to the Night Life building, we’ll handle it from there.”  He said as if he were me.  

Dorian gave him a nod.  “As you wish it.”

I looked at Alex proudly.  Dorian was staring wide at him.  “What, we have prisoners now, we’ll keep on doing it until there is a trial.  They are well cared for.”  Alex added with confidence.

Dorian looked at me and I nodded, “As you wish.  I will make sure Jin has the information.”

“Jin is no longer with us.”  Ant said.  “You can add your meetings to his schedule as necessary.  For now until we hire someone else to do the job Jin did.”

“No more traitors please.”  Alex said with a smirk.

We’d all had enough of that.  But there was still Poet to deal with.  But right now life was better, and the threat to my life and that of my families was over.  I added one more thing as we started to leave, “And Dorian cancel all contracts on me and my own.”  I sighed, “One more thing, Dorian until you choose a leader you are in charge.”

No one balked.  I was clearly the winner.  I was clearly their leader.  “Bury Mark Green properly.”  I said before we entered the elevator.  

We stopped at each floor, the express elevator had stopped working but no one got on.  The passages outside the elevator were flooded with my people there were even Venatori mixed in the masses.  All wanting to see the winner.  All waiting.

It felt strange feeling so many people tied to my existance.  The world revolving around little old me. It felt like the end of an era.  

“The start of a new one, pretty boy.”  Alex interrupted as he pushed me against the wall and stole my attention with a kiss.

I closed my eyes and leaned my forehead against his.  He chuckled, “He’s getting lost in the events.  We have a race to do and wolves to meet.”

“They are going to the pack tonight.”  Ant said.

“We all are.”  Alex added, “Rider suggested we all be part of the pack festivities.  Those of us who don’t change can stay at the camp fire with the rest of the young ones.”

Ant laughed, “A camping trip sounds good.”

“Hot dogs and S’mores.”  Alec agreed.  “All of us?”

Alex shrugged.  “You’ll have to ask Rider.  He’s big boss man now.”

We all laughed as we piled out of the elevator finally.  It was going to be a good night full of family.  The only thing that would make it better would be just me and Alex, but my family was the closest thing to just us.

There was a commotion ahead of us.  One of the vampires I didn’t know came up to me, “He’s been trying to get through for a while now.”

“He’s a wolf.”  I said.  “Let him through.”  The crowd parted as the wolf ran up to me, Adrian was right by my side.  

“What’s wrong Ham?”  Adrian asked.

“There is an attack.  The young Alpha is fighting them off.”

And just like that the mood changed.  And everyone with me looked at Ant and with little coaxing and effort on all our parts we shifted into the shadows and were inside the apartment, the whole floor sounded like a war zone.

Confrontation

The room on the other side of the doors was large room with a oval table in the middle. At the head of the table was an ornate chair, and an balding man with grey hair and a pattern so weak in the elements I almost laughed sat with his fingers steepled in front of him while he waited impatiently for my arrival.  He was ranked a five, but he was on the low end.  Maybe not even a five if you asked me.  Power plays weren’t uncommon in the Venatori.  And the ruling families were always getting their way.

But even as Cesari Mark was only alive because he was so nonthreatening to the dragons.  I was alive by mistake.  There was no competition here at all.

Around the table sat each of the heads of the houses, my brother, Adam, sat in my father’s spot. Kai had left of his own violation otherwise Adam wouldn’t be sitting at the table.  My half brother stood up and glared at me, “What is the meaning of this brother?”

I laughed.  “Now you claim me.”

Adam scowled.  “What are you doing here, Nox?”

“Didn’t you hear?  I yelled pretty loudly.” I quipped back at my eldest brother.  One so unlike my little brothers that he could almost be a stranger.  I’d known Rider and Laker for five or so years, and my brother for all my life, but I knew him less than I knew them.  I didn’t even know his favorite dish.

Adam drew a gun and raised it at me.  “Nox, I won’t hesitate.”

“If you interfere with the challenge issued you forfeit your life.”  Mark Green said.

I shook my head.  “No, let my big brother shoot me.  I dare you.”  I said to Adam.  Alex snorted behind me and I knew Ant was smirking.

Adam stared at me the gun pointed at my chest.  He started to lower it but Matthias Haskins grabbed the gun and pulled the trigger in the span of a second.  Apparently no one paid any attention to the show down stairs.  The bullet topped over the middle of the table.  This time Ant flung it wide with a wave of his hand.  I wasn’t sure if it was my power or his own that he used.  Or if it was all one and the same.

“Anyone else want to try?”  I asked.

“Where do you want to do this Mr. Green?”  I said politely when no one moved.  “Any special rules you want?”  I said as I advanced around the table to where Matthias was.  His son Matthew was a good man, at least so I thought.  I wondered what had turned him.  Why he was working for the blond – for Poet.  I pulled in my mental shields and I heard Alex growl at me.  It’s for the best I thought at him through our bond.  I didn’t want the Venatori to know they had been played by something bigger than them.  They might take it out on my people.  

Alex sent me a mental image and laughed, _you can’t keep me out anymore._

I smiled inside.  _Good.  Don’t let it go to your head.  Either of them._  

I had to fight the images from my head of my own making.  I needed alone time with Alex.  Just me and him.  _Always._

There was very little movement on the councils part as I walked around the table.  The smirk on the old Cesari’s face never slipped he didn’t even really look at me.  “You come with an army. Truly tells us where your loyalties lie.”  He laughed.

“My loyalties lie with the people of New York, human, dragon, therian, vampire, alien, I don’t give a fuck.  But they don’t deserve to be hunted down and killed because you didn’t bother to find out why they did wrong.  The humans just don’t execute, and if a cop kills someone it’s put under investigation.  Murder is murder no matter how you look at it.”

“So noble from a boy who can’t back it up.”  He said and pulled out a file.  “You’ve killed as many as most of us.”

I frowned, “I killed in self defense and only self defense.”

“So the bombmaker was attacking you.”

I nodded, “He was.  He was about to breathe fire on me and my friends.  I wasn’t going to let someone die like that – especially myself.”

“And what about The Dragon?”  He snickered.

“You pull out the only two recent ones?  What about Walker who I saved, or Trix who I caught and now use to help me do what I do best – help people.”

Alex was beside me, “Don’t talk to them, Nox, they aren’t going to listen.  They are waiting for something.”  He added the last in a whisper, but the Venatori still heard it.

“We are waiting for something.”  Mark Green said as a pile of armed Venatori and a rune stone came into the room behind us.  The guards lined the wall, and the council left – except their illustrious leader.  Adam pushed past me roughly, with a whisper, “I’m sorry it came to this.”  My brother didn’t hate me, no matter his pretense, but a show of hatred and threat was all he had.  He wasn’t my father, siding with me could mean his death.  He wasn’t my greatest fan – never had been but he at least didn’t really want me dead.  I took comfort in that.

Dorian stepped into the room, “Sir, you….”  He stood staring at me holding the rune stone close to his chest.  I felt a sort of pull towards the inanimate object he cradled like a baby.  It was like the one he had given me before.  

Mark Green smirked, “I did.  You will witness the death of the student you raised to be like this.”  He waved his hands at me like I was some sort of abomination.

Dorian nodded.  He took the stone to Mark Green in official capacity.  “This is the stone handed down from leader to leader.  It bears the mark of the Venatori, and it keeps the shroud around, only the true leader can use it.”

I recognized the runes etched into the rock.  It was just that until someone gave the rock power.  Alex smirked.  “So only your leader can make it work?”

Mark Green took the stone, and it glowed red and yellow.  “And so the winner of the challenge shall be the next.  So have the ancient laws decreed – the most powerful of us shall make the stone glow in all it’s colors and he shall lead us into the light.”

Dorian looked at me but never brought the stone near as was the custom.  It looked like he was declaring Mark Green winner, but he knew better and so did I.  He knew it had nothing to do with being Cesari or leader of the Venatori.  He’d seen the runes too, the one he’d given me.  

The rune was placed on the table and Dorian with ease shoved it to the side.  “And so shall the challenge begin.  A fight to the death.”

“One question.”  I said.

Dorian looked to me with a smile, “Anything goes?”

Mark Green laughed, “Anything goes.  What do you think to the death means?”

“It means that you will die.”  I said.  Mark’s face went fiery red and he charged me physically.  I laughed as I wrapped the leader of the Venatori in air. Only his head could move freely and he thrashed in the confines of the tomb he was about to die in.

I walked over to the rune stone and picked it up.  It glowed like the book a fiery hot red but it also came alive with other blinding colors, gold, blue, green, orange so bright it felt almost as hot as fire itself.

I smiled at Mark as I brought the bright stone to the former leader of the Venatori.  “What was it that Dorian just said?  ‘Only the true leader can use it’  Wasn’t there a little more too, ‘the most powerful of us shall make the stone glow in all it’s colors’?”  I held the stone up for Mark to see better.  “Seem that your puney red and yellow are nothing.”

“How…how are you doing that.”  Mark Green stammered.

“It is no longer any of your concern.”  I pulled Salvation from my holster at the small of my back and I drew it along the air below Mark’s chin.  Salvation was sharp, meticulous maintained even though I never used the it.  It cut deep and it cut fast. Blood splattered everywhere as the man in front of my tried to talk, but his life force was gone.  

There was no movement.  There were no cheers.  The sound of silence was deafening.  Dorian was the first too move, “And so shall it be from this day to your last day.”  He bent the knee.

My Dad’s Best Friend

A man with blue eyes and tanned skin looked out pointing a gun.  He looked sad and reserved and my heart sank.  I reached forward and took the gun from Emilio Vega’s hand.  He didn’t resist.  “I won’t hurt you.” I said.

He frowned.  “They know that.”  His body reacted and his hand was on my wrist and he wrestled my arm behind my back at an awkward angle and the pain was there but it was mostly so the others didn’t hurt him because I was incapacitated.  “The lot of you stay here.”  He said.

“We won’t.”  Alex argued.  “You know that.”

“Stay here or he’ll die.”  Emilio pulled a blade from his sleeve and pressed it to my stomach pressing into my skin and aimed at my kidney and heart.

“Where are you taking him?” Ant asked through barred teeth.

Emilio sighed, “To the council.  I can’t kill him, but they can.”

“Why are you doing this?”  Alex plead.

I laughed.  “He’s a good little boy – always has been.”

Emilio shook his head, “Your father was once a good little boy too.  Until he met you.  You destroy everything, Nox.  My son, your father, you will destroy the Venatori if you win this.”

“I’m not going to destroy it.”  I said.

“Taking the kill orders from the hunt will destroy us.”

“Then maybe you need to be destroyed.  Like the Aeternus before you.  So stuck in your ways you can’t see that things have changed.”  I said.  “It’s why they died.  It’s why you’ll die.  Why don’t you just kill me now?  No one will stop you.”

The knife dug in further and Alex frowned, “Don’t.” He was talking more to me than to Emilio.  “I won’t watch you die.”

I smiled.  “So turn around Alex.” _Trust me!_

His frown grew deep and he turned around.  I felt him in my head.  _You better know what you are doing._

Ant growled and lunged at us. Alec and Adrian were right there with them, but  Emilio pressed the knife up into my body, lancing my kidney and I felt it pierce my heart.  There was so much pain, and yet even as I collapsed to the ground, Alex and Ant were pulling me inside the elevator.  I couldn’t see what happened to Emilio and I couldn’t say it.  But I hoped they wouldn’t kill him.  Alex shouted, “Don’t kill him!”   But we wouldn’t know till later what happened as we all rode to the top of the AU building.

Alex pulled the knife from my gut and growled. “I hate you.”  He said as he watched my blood run down his fingers.  Through the healing pain I wove the blood away and he looked at me.  

I apologized, “I’m sorry,” then leaned in for a kiss. “It could get worse than that.”

Alex nodded.  “I know.  Heal up.”  Alex sighed, “He’s radioing to the top about your death and your accomplices”

“Good.  They won’t expect me alive.”

“Are you okay?”  He asked.

I lifted my blood soaked t-shirt and showed Alex there was nothing there.  “It only hurts a little.”

“I think we are even now.”  Alex said.  “I’m not sure I’m going to get over seeing you fall like that.”

I was too preoccupied with healing myself that I didn’t notice our upwards movement until just before the doors opened.  There was a mass of Venatori standing outside the elevator.  Alec and Valentine were the first off followed by Ant, myself and Alex, Ryan followed us and the rest stayed at the elevator.  There seemed to be a hidden challenge.  “My Prince, if you could release the elevators we will insure the building is yours.”  Driver said.  

“You hear that Sage?”

There was no acknowledgment but the elevators went down and I assumed my people were going to sit by the elevators on each floor.  They better not hurt anyone.  

Sage whispered, “They won’t.” In my ear.

How he knew I didn’t know, but Alex and Ant seemed to agree so the connection to my will must be strong.  I didn’t know why and right now I didn’t care.

We walked through the crowd of Venatori and I shouted, “Mark Green.  Leader of the Venatori.  The Imperordo.  I challenge you.”

I stopped yelling knowing they could all hear me perfectly fine, the challenge was issued, no one could interfere now.  “You will stop sending assassins after me.  You will stop killing the innocent because you feel they are dangerous.  Yield now, or die.”

I could feel the building filling with my people.  I knew more Venatori were trying to make a stand, but everything was in a holding pattern waiting on the outcome of the event.  I’d just declared war on the Venatori by marching my army right into their stronghold.  I was protecting me and mine, but in doing so the rest of the supernatural community said ‘we’ve had enough!’ And I didn’t blame them one bit.  

But if I didn’t win, their lives would be forfeit.  Not that I intended to lose.

The walk down the corridor to the main hall was uninterrupted.  The large double doors made of solid oak would be heavy to push open, but it was nothing to a weave of air sent at it to open as if by magic at my presence.  It was a display of power – a warning of sorts, but none of the Venatori seemed awed by it.

Journey to the Top

Outside on the streets of New York City humans didn’t know about the war going on between supernatural races.  They didn’t know about vampires and their bloodlines.  They didn’t know about the various therian packs around the world much less the types of therians there were – bears, lions, wolves and almost every predator known to man.  Maybe even some not known.  They didn’t know that dragons lived among them – as part of them.  They didn’t know about the magic around them – the most fantastical world and they were blinded to it.  

As we walked I thought about how it would be to not see this world.  I looked to Alex who had barely touched on the surface when he’d come here at first, and now, he was one of us.  Part of the bigger whole.  I couldn’t imagine how hard it must be to join this world.  But then again I can’t imagine not living in it my whole life either.  I wondered how life would be different if I hadn’t become Cesari, if I didn’t spark out of fear and violence and I joined this world like a normal hunter’s child.  

I would have had my brothers my whole life.  I might have met Alex sooner.  But there really was no point in thinking about what coulda been.  I wouldn’t be here right now, in this moment if everything hadn’t happened to me in the past.  And I was happy.  Alex was by my side and we had a loving family.  It might not be the type of family most American live for, or even any supernatural family but I was happy with mine.  It had taken years to find it and make it mine.  But it was now – mine.  And I wasn’t going to let it go.

And with each step I felt more pack, more dragons, I felt the vampires below.  We didn’t have to walk far.  Most of the humans were completely oblivious to what was going on.  The doors to the AU building were locked but that was a trivial thing.  The AU building never closed so this was a precedence and it gave us a little hope that maybe there would be no collateral damage.  I sent my magic wide through the building unlocking all the entrance so my people could flood the place.  This was a war, and I wasn’t about to lose.

A man stood standing in front of Atlas and I recognized the back of his head.  I’d worked with him before.  He’d been on my side then.  

“I just wanted to let you know, Nox.  This isn’t personal.” Walker said as he turned around to look.

I laughed.  “Killing me? Isn’t personal?”

“What’s this?”  He nodded to the crowd gathering behind me.  “Can’t fight your own fights?”

“Witnesses.”  I said.  “A display of loyalty.”

“You think this will scare them?”  He asked.

I shook my head, “It’s not meant to.  They are showing me they got my back no matter what.  It’s more than I can say about the Venatori.”

Walker sighed and changed the direction of the conversation.  He didn’t agree with them either. “You won’t make it to the council chamber.”

“I will.”  I said.

“You have to go through me.”  He said and drew a gun that pointed at my head.  I stopped where I stood and frowned.

I really didn’t want to hurt Walker, “I don’t want to hurt you.  But I will if you fire that gun at me.”

Like the word triggered his finger, he pulled and the gun went off. I heard the crowd gasp as the bullet hung in the air.  It hung halfway between the two of us.  Stuck in a pillar of solid air.  I walked up to the bullet and it fell into my hand as the air around it dissolved into the gas that it was.  I sighed, “Walker, didn’t you learn anything working with me?”

He looked at me with a sort of fear and then he turned his gun and fired at Alex.  He knew my weakness.  Ant pushed Alex out of the way and took the bullet in his left shoulder.  He hissed and bared his fangs. There was no point in giving away all our secrets today. The blood dripped from the wound and you could see the bullet working its way out like I had done earlier in the day.

Alex surprised me as I felt his mental blast. It rattled my bones as his emotions and thoughts powered through the Venatori’s shield and Walker flew backwards.

I looked back at Alex with a smile, but his eyes were wide he hadn’t meant to do that.  We all had a little bit of work to do.  Raw power was nothing if you couldn’t reliably use it.  Even I needed help.

Walker had tumbled over the barrier that separated Atlas from the rest of the lobby.  He leaned against the base of the man and stared at us in fear.  He lowered his gun again and fired at Alex.  He was going to take what I most loved.  And that was not going to happen.

But Alex was on it before even Walker tried again.  I felt the command, “Sleep.”  It took everything in my will power to not obey.  But Walker, with his shields already down from Alex’s blast, drifted off to sleep collapsing to the floor with loud clatter heard through out the lobby.  

Several others fell victim to Alex’s attack.  But it had been the right thing to do.  I really hadn’t wanted to kill Walker, there was so much potential there, and the Venatori had banked on that.  Which meant that every step of the way I was going to have to fight someone I didn’t want to hurt.  

I pulled out my phone and called Sage.  He picked up with a tired voice, “Yeah.”

“You still have access to the AU building?”

“Yeah.”  He said.

“I need the Wicked Truth to make all the elevators an express from the bottom to the top only.  No getting on or off until top or bottom.”

“Okay.  That’s not a problem.”  Sage sounded like he was getting out of bed and moved to his computer, which was in his basement which was unusual, but I didn’t ask then.  I’d have to check on my best friend when this was done, “Alright, Nox.  It’s done.  I don’t know what you are doing but be safe.”

“I will do my best.”  I said then hung up.  Ant and Alex were already waiting by the elevator doors.  When I joined them Ant pressed the button and stood in front of us – always the body guard.

Ryan, Adrian, Darwynn, Dom, Alec and Valentina waited to piled into the elevator with the three of us along with a dragon who I didn’t know his name.  He smiled at me, “Driver.  I’m your liason to Reginald and your Dragon advisor from hence forth.”  He laughed softly, “Though it’s really been since you took the Last Phoenix, I never saw reason till today to make myself known.  I apologize.”

I laughed.  “A pleasure Driver.  We’ll have to do introductions when this is over.”  I said as the doors to the elevator opened.

We’re Off to see the wizard

I was finishing my lunch.  Alex was watching me, “You can eat knowing you are going to fight later?”

“I’m hungry.  And since I’m now tied to a plethora of different magics I need to eat.  One of the voices in my head keeps telling to eat and I’m pretty sure I should listen.”

“He talks too much.” Alex laughed, “Eddie reminds me of someone.”  

“Ha ha.”  I smirked.  But I kept eating.  Food was important.

Ryan came back with Ant and the vampire didn’t look very happy.  “Nox, you sure you want to do this?”

I shook my head.  “Not really.  But I don’t know any other way.”

“Alex, are you sure you want to go?”  Ant asked.

Alex shrugged, “No, but Hunter says I have to go.”

“Stay with me, we will work better together.  Better than the last time.”

I smiled, “We all need to stay together.  Eddie says our power is stronger together and there is more control.  And Hunter says we need to go together.”

“When do you want to go?”  Ant asked.

“The sooner the better.” Alex said.  “I’d really like to get on with my happily ever after.”

Ryan laughed.  “Sounds like a wonderful plan.”  The smile faded and Ryan added, “I will stay here with the rest of your family.  Alec, and Adrian, and the Last Phoenix will send more bodies.  No one will get to your family as long as we stand.”

Rider stepped into the room and his alpha power flared, but I was pretty sure he wasn’t trying to do it on purpose.  “All the powers need to go Nox.  I got this.  Adrian will send the rest of the Centurions here to guard the little ones.”

Alex looked at Rider, “Centurions?”

I let out a sigh I’d been holding as Rider had given an order.  “Adrian’s been talking a lot to you.”  I looked at Alex and smiled, “The Centurions are the packs protectors.  Of which I am technically one.”

“But the Lone Wolf doesn’t have a structure like Dom’s right?”  Alex questioned.

Rider smiled, “Yes and No.  It’s a lenient pack, but still a pack, otherwise they’d be subject to Dom’s rule.  Adrian keeps them all in line.”

Alex chuckled, “You mean you keep them all in line.”

Rider grinned, “That’s the running theory now.”

Ant asked, “Have you been challenged yet?”

Rider nodded, “Yes.”

“And?”  I asked urgently.

“We’ll I’m still here aren’t I?”

“Wait one of our sixteen year olds has already had a death threat.  Alex was up out of his seat ready for war.”

Rider just grinned.  “He revoked his challenge with his tail between his legs when Nox was all flowy with his power.  I drew on it.”

Ryan busted out laughing.  “Timing is everything!  Good job Rider.  But we’ll start training first thing after the Full Moon’s done with you.  You need to know how to fight.”

Rider nodded, “At your convenience.”

“I got the fort Nox.  You take your base with you.  Trust me.”  Rider said.

I nodded, “I do, little brother, with my life and the lives of all our family.”  I looked at Alex and asked, “Alex you good?  Do you want need something to feel safer?”

He took my hand.  “I’m good.  I got all I need.  A gun is just going to be wrong.  And we aren’t expecting to have to fight are we until the end?”

I shrugged.  “Dunno but that is the plan.  The Venatori have clairvoyants so it’s possible they’ll see us coming.”

“I’m really going to be useless.”  Alex said.

“You aren’t useless.”  Both Ant and I said at the same time, he continued, “I’m better with my Chevalier around and it’s not a power suckng drain thing.  We watch his back so no one stabs it.  And you my friend are a strong telepath and can understand the danger long before they present themselves.  Even in the land of the Ventori they aren’t all as good as Nox is.”

“Just because you can’t fight the big bads,” I grinned at Alex, “Doesn’t make you useless.  We are stronger together. And that isn’t about power sucking either as Ant put it.  It just isn’t. I don’t know how to explain it.”

Alex smirked, “That’s okay pretty boy I understand.  Well I don’t but I understand what you are saying.”

All the kids were back in the media room watching cartoons.  It was one of the few joys they had left even as the boys grew up they still liked their cartoons so they never minded watching with the little ones.  I gave each of them a hug and so did Alex.  Rider gave us knowing looks and smiled but said nothing.  The kids just thought we were going off on some other little mission like before – no danger involved.  I had a feeling they all knew.  But they choose to ignore it and be happy knowing that I couldn’t die.  Which was sad in and of itself, I’d watch them all grow old and die and be alone again.  Well not alone, I’d always have Alex thanks to Ant.  I was eternally grateful for my friend.

Good-byes were said.  Though I wasn’t sure if they understood this could go horribly wrong.  Mark Green was the most powerful man in New York City.  It was why he was in charge of things.  He had connections around the city but he also was Cesari.  It could go horribly wrong if I under estimated my opponent.

So I didn’t under estimate Mark Green.  I took all the tools of my trade.  Before we left I stopped in our room.  Alex followed me with a smirk, “This is no time for a nap or a quicky.”

I girnned at him.  “I’m getting Salvation and Damnation.”

Alex looked at me with a curious look.  I held up a survival knife, the handle wrapped tightly with para cord and inside was more things needed for surviving in the middle of no where.  Or in the city if you went into the ghetto places too often.  “This is Salvation.”  

The gun I held up to show Alex was nothing special just your run of the mill Beretta that Dorian had taught me how to use.  “And this is Damnation.  Together they are what it means to be Venatori.  Killing damns us but surviving will save us.”  

Ant was waiting for us outside and the three of us left, with a trail of others behind us.  The only one missing was Griffin and the embraced vampires who would meet us in the lobby of the AU building when we arrived.  

Adrian and Dom nodded at me as we headed out the night life building.  I felt a lot of wolf energy floating around heading towards my home to protect my family.  I was grateful.

The Night Life was busier than usual.  Crowds of people in the lobby – almost too much going on.  Alex grumbled, “The AU mall is closed.”

“They know I’m coming.”  I said.

“That’s not a good sign.”  Alex said.  “So no surprise element.  What else do we have here.”

I shrugged, “We go to the top, I challenge  the leader and this ends.”

“Sound so simple.”  Ant said dryly.

And just like that we were off to see the man at the top.