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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
Matalina

The First Age: Murder in Moscow (ic)

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The whole working in the light of day was always different for Nox.  Being Atharim meant hiding in the shadows to keep the world safe.  Now with his new appointment to Domovoi unit of the CCD PD Nox was working in the light of day.  He didn't have a badge, but that didn't matter he worked with either Dorian, Ivan or Lih or one of the other guys in the unit.  But usually it was Dorian - mostly because Dorian left him alone and didn't want to come with him.  Ivan and Lih were still new to the whole lets go hunting monsters in the depths of the tunnel.

 

But Dorian also insisted Nox do things top side.  Stay current with the monsters above the ground too.  So that's what Nox did.  He was wandering the streets of Moscow like he used to do with Aria.  They'd combed through the city and the tunnels the same way.  Making maps with their land warriors and cataloging the world from the eyes of the Atharim.  Possible nests, various other signs, checking out stories found in the news.  And even monitoring the police chatter of call ins.  Those were some of the best things to look through.  The cops didn't understand what they were hearing but a trained Atharim knew the signs.  And Nox knew what he was doing.  Born and raised Atharim.  Was going to die Atharim until he became a God and then decided killing gods wasn't his cup of tea and sided with them.  Choices and all that.

 

Today Nox was listening to the scanner on his wallet while walking the streets of Moscow.  Nothing new was going on at least yet.  But that was preferable.

 

 

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Moscow was a big city and Nox knew it like the back of his hand.  The scanner was a bunch of code meant to hide the actual meaning of the call.  But Nox had been learning them from Dorian.  A body had been found at one of the expensive high rises in the city.  Nox had climbed one of those buildings a several months back with a girl he'd never seen again.  She had been interesting, but after thinking about it she was just like all the others.  And he was finding himself wandering away from the soft curves of women towards the angles of men.  It was something he'd always seen, but now it was a desire he wasn't fighting any longer.  

 

The damage his father had done was slowly fading, but it would always haunt him.  Just another guy with Daddy issues.  That was supposed to be a girl thing, but here he was living it.

 

The complex was close by and Nox headed in that direction.  There was nothing suspicious about the body found.   Just a dead body.  But Nox knew first hand, that even an innocent looking death could be caused by something not quite so mundane.   He knew first hand how Aria could kill, he'd learned the hard way how to avoid her power, but she was dead now.  Lucas had died that way Nox was certain of it.  They said it was a heart attack, but Gioradano had been with him last.  Nox had listened to the message.  It hadn't been pretty.  Aria's father had been a case that had gone on unsolved, and while he had officially disappeared, Nox knew his body was in the tunnels somewhere hopefully devoured and not turned into a creature that he couldn't eradicate.  

 

Thankfully the place wasn't far and Nox didn't have much more time for his mind to wander.

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Nox opted to take the stairs.  The call wasn't too high in the sky scrappers, but it bet the confined spaces of the elevator.  Not his favorite thing in the world to ride - and these speedy elevators almost always made him sick, better to avoid it when trying to make an impression.

 

He didn't have a badge to flash when he arrived, but he had a card that said he had permission to investigate crime scenes.  And when he handed it to the man at the door he got a double take.  "Seems like it doesn't fall in your jurisdiction."  

 

Nox laughed.  "And do you know how a Sentient kills?"

 

He blinked at me, so Nox answered him.  "By pushing emotions at them until their heart explodes."  To add emphasis to his words Nox seized the power within in and a fire ball formed and popped out of existence when he mentioned exploding, the man at the door jumped and quickly moved to the side letting Nox enter.

 

"Careful don't touch anything."

 

Nox nodded, he'd seen enough detective TV to know the rules.  But he had no intentions of touching anything anyway.  Though the power still coursed through his veins as he walked into the living room where a man sat perfectly poised on his couch like he'd been having dinner only moments before.  And he had been, the dinner plate still sat in front of him, though it had spoiled long ago.  Such a waste.  The ice had melted in the wine caster.  And there was no condensation left on it either.  It had been a long time since his death and when he'd been found.

 

There was a man examining the body.  He looked up when Nox stopped behind him.  "Domovoi?"

 

"I was in the neighborhood." Nox answered with more interest in the mans expression.  "He looks almost ecstatic to be dying.  Like he wasn't in any pain.  Heart attack?"

 

"I won't know till we do an autopsy.  There are no signs of struggle.  But I've never seen a body dead after a heart attack that is still sitting happily upright."  The man stood up and gave Nox a looking over.  "He should have known who you were just by the arm."

 

Nox laughed and tucked the missing arm behind his back nervously.  It hadn't happened too long ago, and Dorian forbid him from the tunnels until he had a grasp of reality of one missing arm.  So far he had obeyed, but Nox wasn't sure how much longer.  "I'm not that well known yet.".  Nox pulled out the card and handed it to the man.  "Call me if it's a heart attack.  Anything else is likely mundane unless it strange, like excessive blood loss or unusual human behavior."

 

The man nodded.  "Will do, you think a monster did this?"

 

Nox smiled. " You said it yourself, heart attacks don't put a smile on your face."  Nox didn't elaborate as he looked around the apartment for anything else.  He made sure the landwarriors were recording everything.

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The place looked relatively normal.  There was nothing the police hadn't marked that stood out to Nox.  Investigating wasn't really his thing, but there was no sign of struggle anywhere in the house.  The man looked like he'd been having a good time, and now was sitting here dead.

 

If it were a Sentient killing someone which it could just be a heart attack but it didn't look like one.  And after Lucas' death Nox was skeptical about all heart attacks of young men.  Or women, but especially when the look happy to die.

 

There were no pictures other than of the man and his parents.  Or he had some strange kink otherwise.  No women, or other men in photos.  He was a business name from the looks of things, always busy, no time for anyone.  Nox wished for Aria's insights again, she'd know if there were any emotional hot spots, but even the bedroom was devoid of the mans habits.  There were no used condoms in the waste, and no torn wrappers lying anywhere.  This man was meticulous or someone cleaned up after him.

 

The cops would do their thing, Nox would do his.  There was little more he could do here, so now he'd head home turn on his computer and start the real search.  He didn't have current Atharim data, and he was building up from the ground up, but now he had legit access to the police information in all it's glory.  The software his sister built for him was turning out to be more help than even she realized.  For that he was grateful for her legacy.  But he hated she couldn't see it for herself.  He missed Aurora.

 

You only miss me when you need me.  The voice said more aggressively than before, but at least it wasn't her dead visage he was hearing.  The voice was wrong and not Aurora.  His guilt made him angry and Nox knew better than to stay around innocents now.  The power was just a sludge pull away but he had more control than that.  So down the stairs he went making sure the officer in charge had his card.  He knew the coroner would call, but he had to vacate immediately or he might lose the fine control he was holding.

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Nox left the building the same way he'd come via the stairs.  He took them whole flights at a time.  Using his long legs to his advantage, and of course it was more fun than just walking down them.  Better exercise he thought to himself too.  Though he was doing it to get distance from himself more than anything.

 

The Red Light District where he lived was a bit of a walk, and it wasn't exactly the most normal place to stay, though he wasn't the only one to stay there.  Living above a burlesque house was definitely interesting, and he had worked there for a while.  He still played bouncer at times, but he'd only managed one show before losing the arm.  At least it had been a good show.

 

He did help some of the girls as often as he could.  He wasn't a choreographer by any means but he still enjoyed it.  But it was home and Carmen and the girls were great and then there was Raffe.  That was a whole other story, one that made him smile though.

 

The walk would be long, he could take the train, but walked felt better.

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                “That’s just not fair,” Aiden Finnegan mumbled as he made his way along the paved sidewalk.

 

                “What did you say, brother?” Rowan Finnegan replied without missing a beat, all toothy grin and arched eyebrows.

 

                “You heard me,” Aiden said at a normal volume, “You don’t even need a glamour. You’re not famous.”

 

                Rowan threw her head back and let out a bark of laughter, half clutching at her side. She really was overdoing it. “Little brother, you haven’t been relevant for a few years now. No one is going to recognize you in the Red Light District.”

 

                “You don’t know that,” Aiden mumbled again, eyebrows drawing together.

 

                “Neither do you. When’s the last time you left your estates? I’m still shocked I got you to come to the city,” Rowan purred. Normally she had long, blonde hair, a curvy figure, and brown doe eyes. Tonight she was sporting a black bob, slim hips, and tilted green eyes; all a product of her Channeling. Aiden could touch the Magic too, but his was different.

 

                Men and women of the world seemed to tap into two different sources, although both powers could achieve the same thing, the two halves didn’t seem to function the same way. Rowan knew how to cast Glamours and alter her appearance, but she couldn't teach Aiden how to do it; he would need another man to show him how to do so…  It was all very confusing.

 

                Aiden felt his cheeks grow hot and annoyance filling his thoughts. Rowan always knew how to get under his skin, then again, she was his twin. An orb of blue fire sprung into existence, dancing around the space above Aiden’s head.

 

                “Crap, Aiden!” Rowan erupted, “You gotta learn to control that thing!”

 

                Panic replaced the annoyance as Aiden swung his head around, looking up and down the street for any witnesses. Channelers were a new fact of life for the world, but not everyone wanted to come out of the proverbial closet. Aiden was one such individual. There were whispers of an organization called the Atharim, a cult that vowed to rid the world of ‘Gods.’ They hunted anyone that could Channel.  Aiden was no God, but the Atharim seemed to think otherwise. True, Aiden wasn’t in the limelight lately, but if the media caught wind of his… condition… Well, it wouldn’t be long before headlines everywhere read things like ‘Ex-Rockstar, Aiden Finnegan, seen casting spells in the streets of Moscow.’ Fame could be very inconvenient.

 

                Rowan shoved Aiden down an alley off to their right. The fairy fire, at least that’s what Aiden liked to call the blue flames, split in two and started swirling faster around the crown of his head.

 

                “Hey!” Aiden yelled as his twin sister jostled him.

 

                “Shut up, brother. There was some dude behind us… I don’t know if he saw… I think he was missing an arm?”

 

                “I wouldn’t have to hide if you’d just cast a Glamour on me, woman,” Aiden murmured through gritted teeth.

 

                “Fine, fine. I will. Just wait for this dude to pass us by and I’ll mold that ugly mug of yours into something Pop would be proud of.”

 

                “You do realize we’re twins, right?”

 

                “Not identical. We both know I got all the looks and you got the talent,” Rowan winked.

 

                Insufferable woman, Aiden thought to himself.

Edited by Oddpositions

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There was all sorts of traffic in Moscow.  Vehicles, bikes, tons of people walking.  But in the Red Light District you got a whole different aura of people.  The prostitues didn't hang out on corners or wave from windows like you saw in the movies of the old slums.  While the lights were case a redish glow, even in the day time, it was a pleasant enough place.  

 

It was strange how he felt at home here.  How this had been his first home, not Dorian's mansion.  A warehouse in the red light district with Aria and Aurora.  Both now dead, and the warehouse gone.  His life forever changed and he had a missing arm to prove it.  He'd made other friends, and he swore that the man in front of him was Aiden.  Not really a friend, but not an enemy.  But someone he'd rather avoid too.   But he wasn't 100% certain it was Aiden from behind.  Though the man was looking good either which way.  It was strange how the women didn't catch his eye the same anymore.  A little self awareness went along way.

 

But it was the blue fire and the menacing pretense that decided the fact.  It was Aidan Finnegan, famous rock star and author who Nox had a crush on way back when.  There may have been a stray thought or four when he last saw him.

 

The pair in front of him ducked down an alley and Nox stopped at the entrance and turned to look down it.  "Alley's in the Red Light District aren't exactly safe, Aiden."  Nox said with a smile.  He was happy to see his sorta friend.  Though the woman with him was unknown to him.  But he felt the distinct tingle of female channeling.  "Your sister?"

 

[[ if she tied it off and isn't actively channeling let me know and I'll remove the last two sentences.  ]]

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                Aiden’s skin prickled. A telltale sign that his sister was weaving magic. She hated that he could tell. The first time it happened, he just assumed it was because they were twins, but Rowan couldn’t feel it when he worked his own magic. Neither one of them could fathom the reasoning behind it, but only men could detect women Channeling. Magic had rules just like in the stories. It was still so surreal that this was their reality now.

 

                “Alley’s in the Red Light District aren’t exactly safe, Aiden,” a voice called out from the mouth of the alleyway, “Your sister?”

 

                Rowan visibly jumped and the goosebumps along Aiden’s arms vanished. He barked a laugh and moved past Rowan. Nox had been the owner of that voice. Of course it was Nox. It was always Nox.

 

                A wide grin spread across Aiden’s face at the sight of the man.

 

                “You scared the Source out of her, Nox, you sly devil,” Aiden said as he walked up to Nox, spreading out his arms and taking the man into a warm hug.

 

                “Screw off, both of you,” Rowan stammered out behind the two of them. Aiden released Nox and stepped back, coming to stand next to his sister.

 

                Despite the greeting, Aiden was never entirely sure where he stood with Nox. The man was extremely closed off, guarding the deepest recesses of his mind and his emotions from the rest of the world.

 

                Sill.

 

                Aiden felt a kinship with this man. He couldn’t exactly explain why. Perhaps it was the Channeling? No. It ran deeper than that. When the two of them had met, Aiden had a severe case of déjà vu. Aiden never had déjà vu. Had Nox experienced the same thing? Aiden hadn’t worked up the nerve to ask him.

 

                In fact, Nox had been the man that had tutored Aiden in using magic… in a fashion. Well, perhaps he had not tutored him exactly, but he had definitely helped to show Aiden the ropes.

 

                “Nox, meet my sister, Rowan Finnegan. Rowan, this is my friend, Nox,” Aiden said. He gestured towards her, “She’s using a weave to alter her appearance. Normally we look… Well, you know. Twinny.”

 

                Rowan offered a tense smile, “Do you make it a habit of sneaking up on people like that, Nox?”

 

                Aiden rolled his eyes at Rowan’s tone. He could not blame her for being tense, but she should have had the sense to fake even a modicum of politeness. Aiden didn’t want her to upset Nox. He still had hoped to become closer friends with Nox, perhaps learn more weaves and tricks of this magic…

 

                It didn’t hurt that Nox was also sexy and mysterious.

 

                Aiden bit his bottom lip slightly at the thought.

 

                Smirking at Nox, Aiden went on in a lighter tone, “The Red Light District isn’t the safest in general. Out hunting again, Nox, or are you looking for some fun?”

Edited by Oddpositions

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Hugging Aiden always felt awkward.  And even more so now that the arm was missing.  Nox tucked his elbow behind his back.  Other than Dorian and Ivan very few knew from his past lives.  Not that Raffe and all them didn't count, just they weren't the past life he meant.  He meant his life as Atharim.

 

Rowan was different. Nox thought to himself, she wasn't exactly brimming with nice to meet you - more like wary attack dog.  But Nox put on a happy smile, "Are you in the business of ducking down dark alley ways?  I mean how do I know you weren't going to ambush me.  I mean he has that weird ass blue light popping up above his head.  Who knows what he would do?"  Nox winked at Aiden to know he was playing.

 

Aiden looked a little distracted and way more distracting now.  Biting his bottom lip.  Nox had to make himself look at his eyes.  Nox stammered at first - a little fun... no not looking for it, but... if you're offering he thought.  Nox grinned while trying to keep his mind from wandering down the deeper and darker paths.  It was difficult.  Those desires were darker and harder now to resist.  "Not looking or hunting,  actually on my way home to see if I can find any strange happenings about a case that could be weird and wacky just like Domovoi wants."  Nox wasn't sure how much Aiden knew about how things had changed with Dorian and himself.  

 

He raised an curious eyebrow, "What are you doing in the Red Light District?"

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                Aiden didn’t bother hiding his smirk over Nox’s retort. Rowan did not like surprises… Well. That was false. She loved surprise presents, just not people. Thankfully Nox wasn’t taking her too seriously.

 

                Rowan rolled her eyes, looking as pretentious as possible, “As a matter of fact, I am, Nox. If Aiden hasn’t told you, I am the Voodoo Queen of Greater Moscow. Dealing with shadowy recesses is my business.”

 

                “That means she uses a lot of smoke and mirrors,” Aiden quickly added in a wry tone. He had great respect for the religion that his sister followed, but she made such a show of it. He wasn’t sure if there really were any gods or ancestral spirits out there, but Rowan clung to the idea that Channeling was a manifestation of the Voodoo spirits, Loa’s, powers. If that were true… well, he wasn’t sure why they would bless so many individuals with these gifts, especially when you took into account the fact that less than a handful of Channelers claimed the title of Voudisant.

 

                Rowan elbowed Aiden in the ribs with a sharp jab. He winced and she smirked with an extreme air of self-satisfaction. Typical sister stuff.

 

                Nox seemed to be in a playful enough mood tonight. That boded well for Aiden.

 

                “Well, Rowan here decided to force me into a night of fun. Apparently, I’ve been spending too much time couped up in my manor… God that sounds pretentious… So, my sister thought a night on the town might remedy that hermit quality I’ve adopted… I don’t suppose I could convince you to join us? My treat?”

 

                Aiden wriggled his eyebrows at Nox and even scooted a few feet closer to the man.

 

                “Hell, I’ll send Rowan away if that’ll convince you.”

 

                “Hey!” Rowan interjected, “What happened to family first!?”

 

                “Nox is cuter than you, Row, what would people say if the paparazzi saw me with my sister on my arm?”

 

                “What paparazzi?”

 

                “Shut your face,” Aiden spat playfully, “So what d’ya say, Nox? No pressure. I think you might need a break from the monotony too, right?”

 

 

((OOC: DM is doing that weird thing where it won't let me change text color. Sorry, Nox >_<))

Edited by Oddpositions

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Voodoo Queen eh?  Nox thought to himself.  Pompous like Aiden too.  Nox smirked. "Well Ms. Voodoo Queen, be careful in the shadow, if you put on a show like I expect you have, being his brother then the Atharim already know about you and will be aiming their targets your way sooner rather than later.  And there is nothing I can do to prevent it anymore."  Being ex Atharim and on the run himself he know exactly what they'd send, and how they'd try to kill the goddess.  Nothing he could do about it now.  

 

Aiden and Rowan were definitely siblings, they acted just like he and Aurora had and his face fell at the memory.  The dark visage loomed in the back of his mind - drowned and strangled and buried in the middle of no where for no one to find, except they had.  And the man responsible was dead.  Nox failed his sister in so many ways.  He absently nodded.  "A drink sounds good."  He grinned at Aiden who thought he was cute - cuter than his sister anyway which wasn't really saying much since you don't typically like your sister in nonsisterly ways no matter how hot she is to other men.  "Dancing too."  Nox knew several places they could go to do both, and neither of them would take him home. "Where did you have in mind?"

Edited by Matalina

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                Rowan tossed her head back in defiance, eyes fixed on Nox, “Let them come. It wouldn’t be the first time.”

 

                “It seems that my sister has already had an encounter, but we can talk more about that over drinks,” Aiden jumped in with a soothing tone. He brought an elbow into Rowan’s side, nudging her hard. “Ease up, sis. I like this one,” He whispered furiously into her ear.

 

                Rowan’s eyes shot daggers at Aiden, “I picked up on that.”

 

                The ever protective big sister… Only by 49 seconds, but Rowan loved her technicalities. She also held the stereotypical view that no one in the world would ever be good enough for her little brother. With good reason. The last man to hold Aiden’s heart in his hands did everything in his power to smash that heart to bits… In the end, Aiden couldn’t fault his ex-boyfriend over the whole spat. That seemed like a lifetime ago.

 

                Aiden elbowed Rowan again and she relaxed her tense stance.

 

                “We were gonna kinda just wander and see which place was the most poppin,” Rowan answered Nox’s question. Her tone was noticeably warmer, clearly, this was her attempt at smoothing things over.

 

                “This is my first time in the Red Light District, so I don’t really know where to go. Rowan insisted we go to her café, but I would have stayed in New Orleans if I had wanted to keep partying like every night was Mardi Gras,” Aiden added in, “Do you have a preference, Nox?”

 

                The darker the atmosphere the better, in Aiden’s opinion. That would have all but eliminated the need for Rowan to cast a Glamour upon him. The idea was suddenly unappealing to him…

 

                He eyed Nox, smirking slightly at the darker man.

 

                Aiden was very, very attractive- at least that’s what most people thought. Judging by the way Nox was looking at him, the darker man must have thought so too. Convenient. Aiden wouldn’t want to deprive Nox of the eye candy if they were gonna be getting drunk and sweaty and dancy with each other…

 

                Perhaps Rowan would find a man to occupy her attention tonight. That would have been much more preferable than to her playing third wheel.

 

                That slight smirk on Aiden’s face grew into a wolfish grin, “You lead and I will follow, Nox.”

 

                It was Rowan’s turn to elbow him.

 

                “Ouch! I mean we will follow.”

 

 

 

((it's still not letting me color my text...))

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Nox looked back at the twins and wondered if they'd ever even been to the Red Light  District before.  But then again he couldn't expect everyone to wander Moscow like he did before and after he got this job.  It was one thing Aria did - she felt it was her job.  Now it was his job.  And one of the things Nox knew was where the clubs were specially in the red light district.  Mostly because some of the monsters liked to hunt them.  Easy prey, drunk and drugged dancing fools.

 

"I'm not dressed for Manifesto but that's probably more your style Aiden." Nox grinned at the reminder of him playing piano and singing there.  "I could take you to Kallisti but that's not a place where you can dance."  And it was home, and Nox wasn't going to bring them home.  "There's a bouncing rave, a couple blocks back, surprised you didn't hear it walking by.  But there have been a few drainaka sightings there the past few times.  I think they are being picky about who they might take home."  Nox sighed.  "And there's a club a few blocks west of here where one of the entertainers uses the power to keep the show going."  Nox tapped his finger to the end of his arm absently as he thought.  "There's a gentleman's club not far from here." He looked to Rowan and grinned.  "But that won't work." Nox sighed.  "The rave is closest and probably safest.  Just stay away from strange girls that smell like death.   It's not perfume it's death."

 

Nox waved for them to leave the alley and headed up the street.  He didn't want to lead so he slowed his pace till they caught up.  The rave they were going to moved around the Red Light District.  It wasn't anything illegal, but it gave you the pretense that it was, and if you know their scheduled locations it made you feel popular or well connected.  Nox knew all the locations, all the times, and even who was usually headlining their big shows.  He didn't hit all the clubs every night to look for monsters, but he was training some street dressed cops to be able to look through the crowd and identify the monsters.  Nox had to remember that wasn't tonight's goal as they walked the few short blocks to an alley where Nox turned down.

 

You could hear the music thumping as the door opened and let in some ravers.  They weren't dressed like the rest of them, but then there was no real dress code to a rave.  Nox knocked on the door and a small sliding window opened and a man peaked out and Nox imagined he grinned.  "Well if it isn't my favorite wanna be Легавые[1] ."

 

Nox chuckled.  "Wanna be nothing.  I just wanna dance tonight Slav."

 

The man nodded and opened the door.  "Sure thing.  Don't make no trouble."  He wasn't looking at Nox when he said it but eyeing the two following him inside.

 

"Would I dream of it?"  Nox didn't get to hear the response as he headed inside and the thumbing music was too loud to hear much else.  Nox waited for Aiden and Rowan.  He wrapped his good arm around Aiden and yelled loudly in the man's ear.  "Drink? then dance?"  His severed elbow rested against Aiden's chest to steady himself, Nox wasn't sure he wanted to be this close but now that he was he didn't want to leave.

 

*******

 

[1] - Legawye (pl)

Russian Легавые (sg. Легавый). Literally "gundog", "pointer". According to one of a number of theories, this was part of the logo of the Moscow Investigation Department in 1928. But the term also was in XIX century.[24]

Edited by Matalina

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                Nox started listing off clubs. The first one sounded familiar. It was probably the same one owned by Jaxen Marveet, another Channeler. Aiden had only been there once and that was the night he had outed his own self as a magic-user… sort of. There had been plenty of videos recorded by patrons on that night, but due to the manner in which Aiden had used his Channeling, there was no way to prove from the videos that he was using magic. Oh, there was definitely talk online about it, mostly confined to the fan groups devoted to Aiden and even some of the groups that adored his old rock band, Blarney Stoned. The only other people that knew about Aiden, beyond a doubt, were the other Male Channelers that had attended the club that night.

 

                “I told you we should have walked around some more, Aiden. We probably just missed that rave,” Rowan moaned with aggravation.

 

                “How was I to know? I told my driver to drop us off someplace interesting and here we are.”

 

                “That was the mistake. He’s too old to know the fun places.”

 

                “He might surprise you, Row.”

 

                With a wave, Nox signaled for them to follow out of the alley. Something inside of Aiden relaxed with Nox there. That man sure knew how to handle himself, regardless of the missing limb. Oh, Aiden could wield the Power as well, but he didn’t know half as much as Nox… And then there was the man’s ex-affiliations. Surely, there was some extra edge that Nox had due to the Atharim training. Right?

 

                After a few blocks, Nox took them down another alley. Brightly colored ravers were entering a door set a ways back. Even before they turned down the alleyway, Aiden could hear the heavy bass thumping. Oh yes. If Cooper had only dropped them off a few blocks earlier… But then, they would never have run into Nox.

 

                The bouncer eyed Aiden and his sister doubtfully as Nox talked with the man. Why would he be giving them the eye? Did he know who Aiden was? Or perhaps it was his sister that caused doubt in the man? Rowan was always getting looks no matter where she went… Although that wasn’t always a good thing.

 

                Nox lead the way in. The place was packed with sweaty bodies. Bright, strobing lights constantly broke through the perpetual darkness of the large room. Electronic music blared overhead by a DJ that wore an oversized mouse head.

 

                He’s still performing? Aiden thought to himself with some surprise.

 

                Aiden jumped a little as he felt an arm sling around him, although the scare quickly turned to pleasure as he noted the owner of the limb was Nox. He yelled into Aiden’s ear, which was more than necessary, about drinks and dancing. A wide smile broke Aiden’s face as he nodded vigorously to the other man.

 

                Rowan poked Aiden’s shoulder and gave him a little wave before disappearing into the crowd. He almost called out to her but stopped as his Wallet started buzzing in his pocket. A text message from Rowan. Aiden read it silently and quickly.

 

                Saw my old dealer off to the side. Gonna go score some X. Behave. Let me know if you two plan on leaving together ?

 

                Aiden rolled his eyes, still smiling. He looked to his left, down into Nox’s eyes. Lord, but he was nice to look at. He brought his own arm around to encircle Nox’s waist and yelled into his ear, “First round is on me.”

 

                And then they were off, Aiden pulling Nox along to the main bar with a noticeable spring in his step.

Edited by Oddpositions

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Aiden's arm around his waist made him shiver slightly.  It drew upon the dark depths that Nox had been fighting since he'd been bitten.  At least he'd never noticed them before.  And Aurora wasn't so dark before.  The power wasn't tainted with a sludge that made it hard to control.  It was like wading into a mud puddle instead of a deep ocean.  There had been other changes but Nox pushed them all away.  That was for the therapy sessions Dorian insisted he partake - all in the line of duty he said.

 

Aiden bought his first and only beer.  He couldn't have done something different but why break tradition, or habit.  And besides the dark glass would allow him to fill the bottle with water and no one but Aiden would have the faintest clue he wasn't drinking all night long.  Not that he needed to pretend to be drunk tonight.  It wasn't about getting a girl or making her feel more comfortable.  Hell it wasn't even about making Aiden feel comfortable.  They'd already shared some intimacy.  

 

It was really too loud to talk, which was a shame.  Nox liked listening to Aiden's voice.  One of the things he'd always found attractive when the man sang when they were both a little younger.  Nox sipped at his beer when it arrived and watched Aiden from over the top of the bottle.  The dark feelings were always stirring.  But Nox put on a smile and let the music flow through him instead.  It was always easy to remember what his mother told him.  Always easy to feel the music.  Nox curled around Aiden and smiled.  He knew Aiden wouldn't hear him.  "Ready to dance?"  Nox moved against Aiden with a grin and hoped he understood.  The bar was all well and good but there was more room on the dance floor.

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Posted (edited)

                Aiden tossed back a double whiskey and grabbed another from the bartender. Nox suggested the take things to the dancefloor, moving against him in a sort of half grind. That wolfish grin never really left Aiden’s face since they had entered the club and Nox’s movements had only served to make the smile grow. He winked at Nox and led the other man out into the sea of people.

 

                The air smelled warm and wet, the way all crowded clubs did, but that scent was punctuated with the scent of booze and weed. Bass thumped so hard, Aiden could feel his bones vibrating with the rhythm. Couples and groups bumped into Nox and Aiden as they navigated to the center of the dancefloor. One particular man’s pupils were so dilated, Aiden could barely see the whites of his eyes. Everyone here was on one sort of substance or another, not something uncommon since all drugs had been legalized in the CCD. Aiden didn’t mess with anything that didn’t grow out of the ground.

 

                It could have been a coincidence, but one of Blarney Stoned’s songs came on, a techno remix to be sure. Aiden rolled his eyes in a playful manner and grabbed Nox’s hips, pulling him in close. Aiden guided their bodies, gyrating to the music’s tempo. No one liked hearing a recording of their own voice, and the same applied to rock stars. Aiden wasn’t vain enough to listen to his own music, so it had been ages since he had heard this particular tune. The rest of the crowd seemed to lap it up. A few people around them even did a double-take when they noticed it was Aiden Finnegan himself dancing just a foot away.

 

                Without thinking, Aiden buried his face in Nox’s neck in a futile attempt at hiding from the people around them; there was no kissing, biting, or nuzzling, just hiding.

 

                It’s not that Aiden didn’t like the fame, quite the opposite… It’s just that fame had a crazy way of ruining a person’s private life. Nox and he would be forced to leave the club if the rest of the patrons decided they wanted Aiden’s autograph or a selfie or whatever. The night was too young for that and Nox was looking too tasty not to see where things went.

 

                Aiden realized what he had done. His face flushed with blood as embarrassment set in. He brought his head up to Nox’s ears and yelled, “Sorry! Some of them recognize me! Let’s run outside for a sec, see if I can bum a smoke off someone?”

 

                He pulled his head away and looked into Nox’s eyes, nodding his head towards the entrance.

Edited by Oddpositions

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There was a large sorta irony to the song that played and the man he danced with.  Nox had done the same many times over except his partner had always been of the female persuasion before, and never anyone of note, this time it was not only male but the man himself.  Their bodies moved together, there was no doubt in Nox's mind that he'd been wrong his whole life.  He'd taken the easy way out chasing girls and getting laid.  And yet here he was with Aiden Finnegan, his face buried into his neck obviously hiding from the looks he was getting.  Hiding only made it worse, the whispers grew as did the looks and Aiden lifted his head to say he wanted to go outside.  Nox nodded but was reluctant to leave the safety of the crowded dance floor.  Here he'd been able to be himself without other eyes peering over him.  The missing arm was the least of his discontent.  Being with a man was a completely new thing.  Jay had been spur of the moment, had been a drunken night of debauchery that had lead to a good friendship despite their distance.

 

Nox followed Aiden out into the cool night air.  It was less crowded, the body heat alone rising the temperature too much, Nox hadn't realized.  There were others outside.  It wasn't just them, and Nox looked back into the open door they'd left and longed to be back inside.  They'd been close, so close, so hot, Aiden had felt good against him.  Now that moment was past and reality of life came crashing back in.  But now that it was quiet again they could talk without yelling, that was a good thing.  Though Nox didn't really want to talk, those dark urges hadn't drained away.  The feeling of Aiden's body still not a distant memory.  It was everything Nox could do to keep his hand at his side.  He stuffed it in his pocket and held the elbow hooked around his back.  It was still an awkward body modification - one that had saved his life, but Nox was still uncomfortable letting friends see him dismembered.  He smiled at Aiden in the silence of the street.  "I didn't mind, back there."  Nox nodded back towards the door they'd left.  "You fit pretty well there."  

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                Aiden bummed a smoke off of the bouncer of all people. Years ago, during his band days, Aiden had been a chain-smoker. Oh, he had no business doing such a thing; cancer ran on both sides of the family. Still, he had an addictive personality and loved the act of smoking. It had been easier these last few years since he had switched to the good ole’ mary jane. The small amount of attention he had garnered in the last twenty minutes had pushed his brain back into rockstar mode and the nicotine craving along with it. They said you never truly quit the stuff… They weren’t lying.

 

                Nox and Aiden trailed off into a dark corner, away from the stream of people going in and out of the ‘secret’ rave. It felt good to be alone. It didn’t hurt that Nox was saying some pretty nice things either.

 

                “Oh?” Aiden said with a smile. Nox was around six feet tall and Aiden had a few inches on the man. By default, he had preferred shorter men. He hadn’t ever really met anyone that shared his height of six feet five inches, so most men were shorter than him. That was nice. It was easier to envelop them in a huge hug or toss them around the bedroom with ease. Nox wasn’t much shorter than Aiden, but there was enough of a difference for the two to fit together nicely.

 

                “I would’ve stayed if I had thought you’d wanted me to,” Aiden spoke smoothly before taking a drag off the menthol cigarette. He blew the smoke well away from Nox, trying to remain mindful of the fact that many people out there took great offense at being showered with secondhand smoke. Nox always tried to remain fit, due to his profession, so Aiden could only assume he would have detested the carcinogen.

 

                Note to self: grab a mint inside the club, Aiden thought to himself. Perhaps the night would involve a happy ending for the two of them.

 

                Aiden’s wallet vibrated. He flipped it open to see that his sister Rowan was leaving the club with her old ‘dealer.’ He sent a message back, reminding her to behave herself. She did not respond.

 

                Oh, yes. The night seemed to be progressing towards a very happy ending for Aiden.

 

                A crash sounded at the mouth of the alleyway.

 

                Maybe a happy ending was too much to hope for.

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Nox looked at Aiden sort of confused.  Had he been giving the wrong signals?  He would have said something but first Aiden's wallet interrupted them, And then after Aiden had put his gadget away there was a crash at the end of the alley

 

He averted his attention down the direction of the noise, and was not surprised to find another couple crashing into garbage that was leaning against the wall.  They fell crumpled in a pile tangled in the bits and pieces, but they were in good spirits - laughing as they got up.  

 

Nox was about to get back to Aiden when the woman unfurled from the man and he recognized her dark features.  They'd once left a club similar to this - fuck they'd left Kallisti together.  The memory of it all crashed into Nox and he shivered at the feat of falling only to be caught by the agile grip of the woman who was straightening herself and her partner.  

 

She looked over at them and when she recognized Nox her smile beamed and she tugged on her partners hand.  "Nox?  Is that really you?"

 

Nox had that strange feeling from her again.  The same as he'd had the first time he'd seen her.  The same that he'd forgotten when he went scaling the tall buildings.  Why had he forgotten?  She went to touch his cheek and Nox backed up into Aiden not letting the woman touch him.  It wasn't an aversion to female touch, just hers.  Something told him from past experience not to let her.  But he couldn't nail why that was the case.

 

She frowned.  Nox wrapped his severed arm around Aiden, thankful it was his left and he could keep his right free for weilding the power within, not that he needed his hands, but sometimes it was easier that way.  And in the same movement he reached through the sludge and grabbed hold of his own dangerous power.  Kali frowned and tilted her head to the side, "What's wrong sweety.  You didn't forget me did you?"

 

Nox chuckled.  "No.  I couldn't forget you Kali.  I'm just here with someone else." It was a lie, but she didn't know that.  Nox smiled at her.  "Aiden this is Kali. We had quite the adventurous encounter the last time I saw her."

 

Kali's friend seemed upset as he watched the interaction.  Nox nodded to him.  "Who's your friend?"

 

She looked back at him, squeezed, then dropped his hand.  Kali smiled and he was gone, almost like he was afraid of her.  He almost sprinted out of the alley falling over the same pile of trash they had only moments ago fallen together into. Another reason not to let her touch him.  "I guess he's nothing."

Edited by Matalina

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                “Sentient…” Aiden murmured under his breath, barely a whisper, as Nox spoke with Kali.

 

                Not good. Not good. Not good! He thought to himself. The blue fairy fire sprung into existence above Aiden’s head as the rush of emotions flooded his system. One-touch from this woman and it could be all over for the both of them.

 

                Kali’s presumed fling for the night took off down the alleyway and out onto the street after Nox inquired about his identity. The Sentient didn’t so much as flinch when the man broke away, she only had eyes for Nox. That just wasn’t going to work for Aiden. It was obvious that Nox was about to ready a Weave, so there was only once course of action that Aiden could think of.

 

                Aiden began to sing, bellowing out in a rich baritone, “Tell me something girl? Are you happy in this modern world? Or do you need more? Is there somethin’ else you’re searchin’ for?”

 

                That strange, ethereal light sprung up behind Aiden’s shoulder as he sang the first few notes to the song; this was his Block, his handicap in Channeling the forces of Magic. People like Nox could command the forces of the Gods with nothing more than a thought, but not Aiden- he needed to sing or dance to call forth such energies. Nox had insisted that one day Aiden would break his ‘block,’ but how he would do that, neither of them knew. They had tried a few months ago, but the efforts had only served to make Aiden blush. Incidentally, Aiden was hoping to recreate those efforts tonight, although his motives were purely carnal.

 

                Weaving Fire, Aiden readied a few Fireballs to launch at the Sentient if she took even one step towards them.

Edited by Oddpositions

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[[ Gonna let slide how Aiden knew she was Sentient because it works very well with the whole plot of the scene I was writing 🙂 ]]

 

Aiden whispered a single word.  A word that only he could hear.  He had no idea how he knew, or why he knew but that was the moment it all fell into place.  Kali had manipulated him.  She hadn't been dranika like he thought, she was  Sentient.  Dangerous.  Not like Aria, but... That posed a lot of other questions as to why Nox had let her manipulate him.  He'd done much training with Aria to combat that. 

 

And now that he knew Nox stepped between Aiden and Kali, his back pressed against Aiden.  "Kali can't hurt us.  But keep the power at hand to keep her from seeing you."  Nox told Aiden.

 

Kali was looking at Aiden curiously.  She hadn't taken the blue fire to be a threat, just a curiosity.  Aiden was no longer readable and she turned her attention on Nox.  "This power?  What is it?  And why can't I feel you anymore?"

 

Nox grinned at her.  "I don't know the answers to any of those questions. Where were you last night Kali?"

 

Kali's perfect eye brow rose as she smirked.  "That's none of your concern my pretty little Nox.  Go play with your new friend."  He eyes took Nox in lingering on the bulge in his pants before returning to his eyes with a renewed smirk.  "I'll talk with you at another time"  She came closer and ran a finger down his jawline.  Nox felt that sense of being in love, but he knew it wasn't real.  She was trying to convince him otherwise.  But she didn't realize she was failing. Nox just let it go, let her believe her touch had affected him as she walked away.

 

And with just as much ceremony as she had entered she'd left.  Nox stood staring after her.  She hadn't answered his question.  He should follow her, but there was a man who's body heat was starting to do a number on him.  But Nox still didn't move, afraid that if he did, it would end.

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                Kali was gone just as quickly as she had appeared. Aiden still clung to the Power, singing quietly under his breath, “I’m off the deep end. Watch as I dive in…”

 

                Nox did not move an inch. It felt like an eternity while they both stood alone in the alleyway. Aiden finished singing quietly and let the Power wink out as the song ended. He was all too aware of the way Nox had pressed against him and Aiden’s body had responded to the contact; Nox had to have noticed. Aiden took a chance and grabbed Nox’s remaining hand, spinning him around so that they stood face to face.

 

                “Rowan- she uh- I think she’s encountered that one before,” Aiden said uneasily, “Was gonna talk to you about that after the club. She’s been doing some research lately, but I didn’t really think…” He exhaled deeply and bowed his head, tightening his grip on Nox’s hand. Rowan had a few choice encounters over the last few weeks that had shifted her attention away from Voodoo; the first had been with a Sentient. Since then, she had devoted most of her time to networking with other female Channelers and exchanging information on their magic and what was going on in the unseen world.

 

                Aiden had given her the brush off.

 

                Oh, he had heard all about the monsters and the Atharim from Nox, Sage had shown him security footage of some of those things, Dorian had spoken at length on their efforts to track and eliminate the threats to humanity… But none of it seemed real. All of it just seemed like stories. Aiden did not doubt them, but he didn’t really take any of it seriously. They lived in the CCD, for God’s sake! A Channeler ran the dominion, why should they have anything to fear?

 

                That Sentient hadn’t even really done anything of substance- still- there was a wrongness that radiated off of her. Something primal, an ancient fear, had awakened in Aiden when she opened her mouth and tried to draw them in.

 

                What would he have done if she had not left them? Fireballs could only do so much. Nox insisted that she could not hurt them, but he wouldn’t have placed himself between her and Aiden if she was harmless. What had Rowan said about Sentients? Emotions… The ability to alter emotions. Could she have enslaved the two of them?

 

                Aiden shivered at the idea and looked back up, eyes meeting Nox’s.

 

                “I want you to take me hunting.”

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Aiden continued to sing behind him.  Nox stood as still as a statue with Aiden's breathe at the back of his neck.  It wasn't an attempt at seduction but it was working none-the-less.  It was only Aiden's block.  He had to be entertaining somehow.  The first time..... had been interesting.  Though what happened between him and Sage was none of his business, but Nox knew Sage was not a captive man.  He wasn't monogamous and they had propositioned him at one time after that night.  

 

The moment didn't pass after Kali left, Nox's body still responding to the rock star behind him.  The touch at his hand and then the position change made sure Nox was completely into what might happen next.  There was a primal need that he eagerly wanted to fill, but something else rose inside that he couldn't explain either.  

 

Aiden said his sister had encountered Kali before, and it lessened his mood, with each word.  Nox knew he should get back to work.  But the darker desires inside made that impossible right now standing next to Aiden.  They couldn't be satisfied with a quick self release, not this time.  Not with the prize right in front of him, so close.  

 

 “I want you to take me hunting.”

 

Nox blinked at Aiden confused, "Now?"  Nox closed the distance, not that there had been much, but there was much more than there had been before.  Nox brushed his lips against Aiden's lips and spoke softly through them.  "I... But... My place isn't very far from here."  Though the thought of taking Aiden to Kallisti wasn't appealing, and having Raffe so close, but Raffe would be working right now, it was still early, and they weren't even anything other than good friends - right now, Nox heard an inner voice speaking.  It wasn't Aurora, but it scared him none the less.  Was he going crazy now? "In the morning...   Nox whispered.  

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                Nox was both startled and confused at Aiden’s statement. He then implied that the two of them would not be going back into the club, but back to his own place. Blood flushed Aiden’s cheeks as his thoughts went elsewhere. There had been another night, months ago, where Aiden had been sure he and Nox would have gotten intimate with each other; Sage had been there and he would have been included in the trist as well, but Nox denied the both of them. That night was the entire reason that Aiden had assumed Nox was untouchable- yet here they were.

 

                Aiden’s pants were growing tighter by the second as Nox kissed him and whispered in a breathy tone. With a wicked smirk, Aiden corrected himself, “I never said I wanted to hunt tonight.” He wrapped his arms around Nox, pressing into the man and feeling a physical confirmation between the two of them. Without asking, he pulled out his Wallet and sent a message to Cooper.

 

                “My driver will be pulling around momentarily,” Aiden said before kissing the other man deeply. Electricity seemed to crackle between them as their tongues met and danced about. Aiden heard a few giggles and whispers from the entrance to the club. He pulled his head away and looked over to the source of the noise. Sure enough, a group of 20-something-year-old women stood oogling their love fest, not a few of them had their own Wallets out, recording a video of Nox and Aiden.

 

                Aiden smiled at the women and tugged Nox along, making his way to the main street.

 

                “Ladies,” Aiden said and nodded to them. They tittered even more, making their own greetings, Wallets swinging around to record the pair as they left the alley. “Fans,” Aiden said with an eyeroll- oh yes- the inner Rockstar was coming out now. It always happened when he was feeling cocky; intimacy always made him feel cocky. He grabbed at Nox's back side and asked wolfishly, “How far away is your place?”

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The kiss ignited darker desires and it was all Nox could do to keep his hand on Aiden's hip.  The power made it ever so much more.  But Nox didn't drop it, Kali could still come back or be waiting, and he didn't want the woman to feel him.  She had manipulated him enough, she wouldn't do it again.  

 

Aiden said things but Nox's mind was in a haze.  A car pulled up beside them and Aiden asked how far.  Nox blinked coming out of the lust induced dark haze he'd been in.  There had only been one thing on his mind, and that carnal desire was feed by something else, something deeper and Nox didn't understand it and he didn't care in that moment, now in the cool night air being dragged in the direction of home by his once crushed on rock star Nox growled at himself.  "It's only a few blocks." Nox gestured in the vague direction of Kallisti with his free arm.  "We can walk."  The cool night air might help clear his head.

 

There was a slight echo Food.  Feed.  F**K  Though it wasn't exactly an echo a feeling, a draw and Nox couldn't shake it as they walked.  Nox refused to get in the car.  The last thing Aiden needed was for his car to be spotted outside a not-strip club with a slightly biased reputation.  It was bad enough they were going in the side door.

 

As they neared Kallisti you could hear the music from one of the girls shows loudly playing through the open front doors as a group of men piled in the door laughing slightly drunk.  It might not be a good day to take the night off.

 

Nox sighed, "Come on.  We might have to wait on the fun."  Nox dragged Aiden through the alley towards the side door.  For an alley it was clean and safe.  It was well lit, and had cameras that covered the whole length of the building.  It was where the girls came in and out.  And where he and Raffe used when they came and went in their free time.  Nox grabbed a security t-shirt from the clean pile of them sitting in the back and pulled off his own, shedding his hoodie on to the back of a chair that sat in the back of the employee area.  A few of the girls were walking around half in costume half not and gave Nox a warm smile, a peck on the cheek and tight hug.  They welcomed him like family and all in all he was.  This was his home.  

 

Nova yipped at the top of the stairs.  "You can play with Aiden later."  Nox turned to Aiden and pulled him closer planting a kiss on his lips and wishing he could just go upstairs, but that group that just came in looked like trouble. He pulled away finally and sighed. "Part of the deal is I play security on the nights I'm needed.  The group that just came in might need that little extra touch.  I'm sorry, we can pick this up another night or you can wait.  Enjoy a night here, whatever."  Nox would wait for his reply, but he was grateful for the distraction the three 'Fs' echoing in his head made Nox worry a little.  And the voracity of the words when he was near Aiden made him that much more afraid he'd hurt his friend and that wasn't something he wanted to do.

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