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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
Matalina

The First Age: Murder in Moscow (ic)

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                Aiden shrugged at the insistence that they walk. Whatever Nox wanted was fine by him, but it was not inaccurate to say that Aiden was a little crestfallen at the walk; he had planned on making full use of the privacy his stretch limo offered them.

 

                “Sorry for the false alarm, Coop,” Aiden said to his driver through the open passenger side window, “We’re just gonna walk over to Nox’s. Take the rest of the night off.” Cooper insisted on waiting around for them about two or three more times before finally accepting Aiden’s early dismissal. The man was dutiful if nothing else.

 

                They made their way down a few blocks and came to a strip club, turning into the alley and entering through a side door.

 

                This is where he relocated to? Aiden thought with a touch of shock. He had offered Nox a place to stay multiple times in the past. Aiden owned a 10 story condominium in Tverskaya and also had a (mostly complete) mansion in Suzdal, but Nox had turned down the offer for both buildings. Aiden could not see why Nox would opt for squalor when he could have luxury free of charge.

 

                Nox changed into a security t-shirt and Aiden drank in the sight of his bare torso, not being the least bit subtle. Staff came and went, greeting Nox with warmth and kinship. Perhaps that was it. Regardless, Nox had work to do thanks to the louts that had sauntered in ahead of him. Nova barked down from the stairs and Aiden smiled up at it.

 

                “I’ll have to bring Lasher around next time I come through,” Aiden said with a nod up towards the pup, “And if you’re gonna go play mister-strong-man, I think I’ll join you… That is, I think I’ll go enjoy a cocktail out there until you’ve had enough work for the evening.” He winked at Nox, stole another kiss and chuckled playfully, “Besides, you might need backup. Right?”

Edited by Oddpositions

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Nox couldn't fathom the idea of having the money to pay a man to drive him around.  He could tell by the way Aiden had reacted that he thought Nox could do better.  Just because they'd met in the lap of luxury didn't mean Nox was accustom to it.  Sage had understood that and Sage had money, but Sage had also taken to the basement but for his own personal reasons.  Nox had reasons outside of his comfort - mostly having to do with giving Elyse space though she left anyways.  So it didn't matter, but it was more than what Nox was used to.  Kallisti was home just as much as the warehouse had been.  Not of his own making but it was home.

 

Aiden placed another kiss upon his lips and Nox almost abandoned his promises to the promise of sex.  But family meant more.  Aiden was a friend, but he wasn't family.  The girls out there were and if those guys got handsy Nox wanted to be there for them.  It was one of the reasons Kallisti was back open because Nox had made Carmen promises and he intended to keep them.

 

"Back up." Nox grinned and added. "More like watching my back side."  Nox hadn't missed the way Aiden had looked at him, and Nox wished that he could show Aiden more.  Almost wished he Aiden had seen his show - a one time thing.  Though Nox had been back up on the stage, though just not in public.  He had a lot of balance to relearn, things that had once been easy and now were not.  Thankfully he'd gotten used to having a missing hand.  But there were still things that surprised Nox.

 

Nox walked Aiden to a comfortable spot in the room near the lobby stage but out of the way so he could stay as long as he needed to - which was as long as Nox felt the need to protect his family.  Nox stood behind him and gave the other bouncers a nod.  That had been a fun introduction before that first night, Nox might look scrawny but he was trained to kill.  If anything he rivaled the bigger men in hand to hand, they hadn't worried about him after he'd taken down the biggest of them in a friendly spar the day before opening.

 

The men who'd Nox had spied had made their way to the front and were loud and obnoxious.  But so far their hands stayed on the bar in front of them and not reaching for Candy on the floor.  Candy could hold her own, but everyone in the room was on edge with the rowdy bunch stealing center stage.

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    “You almost sound like you think that I can’t multitask,” Aiden said in a rueful tone. He gave the other man a wink and let him lead the way out to a table on the main floor of the strip club. Nox stood behind him, taking away Aiden’s fun. He found himself hoping that there was at least one male dancer performing, but it was a futile wish. Women were beautiful in their own right, he had even found a few attractive over the years, but there were no urges within to bed a single one of them. Men just had so much more to offer.

 

    With a raised hand, Aiden signaled a server and ordered a double whiskey and a beer back. She was back in record time, sliding the glass and the bottle over to him.

 

    “Hey, aren’t you-?” She began, but Aiden held up a finger to his own lips and slid a substantial tip over to her.

 

    “Yup. Keep that thought to yourself and we can take a selfie or I can autograph something for you or whatever you’d like.”


    The servers eyes lit up as she nodded enthusiastically, rushing away to tend to her other tables. Aiden figured that a word or two from Nox would keep her quiet, but that would make Aiden look like an arrogant diva- and he was not arrogant.


    Aiden threw back the double whiskey in one gulp and sighed to himself, scanning the room for the roughians. They weren’t hard to spot. The men seemed to be behaving themselves so far, but that could change quickly. 


    “Heavenly shades of night are falling, It’s twilight time,” Aiden began singing very quietly to himself, “Out of the mist your voice is calling, Tis’ twilight time.” 


    Light sprung up behind his shoulder as soon as the song touched his tongue. It was both amazing and frustrating that he had a Block which required him to perform. He had met other Channelers that could not touch the Source unless they closed their eyes, those same people couldn’t do more than touch the Source since one had to actually see the threads of the Power to weave them; and then another he met had to be almost blackout drunk to do anyhthing. If he never broke his own Block, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing… so long as he never lost his voice or the ability to move and dance.


    “When purple colored curtains mark the end of day,” he went on singing to himself to hold the Power, “I'll hear you, my dear, at twilight time.”
 

Edited by Oddpositions

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Nox felt that menacing presence spring up around him.  He knew Aiden was singing or since he obviously wasn't doing much else other than watching things.  Candy's show was done and she had exited stage right and the next was gearing up.  The music had changed and Nox wished he could actually be up on stage.  He'd picked the music, done the choreography and had danced it all before losing his arm.  But the show had been eventful and there were girls who could do what he did to make it all fanciful.  The lighting wasn't the same, the girl hadn't figured it all out and Nox was no help in that matter.

 

Nox leaned down and whispered in Aiden's ear, "The girl in blue was my part."  He hoped it gave him a good reaction as the girl danced and swayed through all the motions.  It told the story of Nut (which Nox had played, the others parts were played by the girls on stage) and Ged being separated by Shu at the insistence of Ra.  And at the end a little Dory and Nemo floated by.  It was an inside joke that Nox never actually got to finish.  Though the same set of girls was working on that performance, they just hadn't gotten it perfected.  Hades and Persephone were next on Nox's list of gods to give the burlesque treatment.

 

The men in front were calling for more performances and they started shoving each other around in the chaos they were making.  Nox took a step closer to them and the other bouncers did the same.  Though they were still much further away.  And Nox didn't really need help.  Nox reached through the sludge in his head and shuddered at the sickly feeling it left behind as he pulled the power to him.  Echos of hunger, pain and mating pulled at this mind.  It raged inside of him pulsing with the power.  It hurt more but Nox wasn't drawing much power.  He'd not drawn even half of what he could thanks to the Iijraq's treatment of his body.  He was grateful never to encounter that thing again.  

 

They shouted at each other and Nox stepped up next to them.  "I think you all need to settle down and have a drink while you wait for the next show.  All on me of course."

 

[[ go ahead and make one or all react, I don't want to write all the fun ? ]]

Edited by Matalina

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    Aiden’s eyebrows shot up and he faltered in his song at Nox’s mention of dancing on stage; a great howl preceded this as the Power suddenly vanished from Aiden’s grip at the abrupt stop of his song.


    The entire room turned towards the commotion and not a few of them gave Aiden a very hard look. He mouthed the word ‘sorry’ to the onlookers and each turned back to their beers and their ogling. Aiden very deliberately avoided turning to look at Nox.


    “Oh?” Aiden asked half over his shoulder, “You’re constantly surprising me, Nox. I’m slightly offended I wasn’t invited to watch you practice.”


    Images of Nox in a revealing costume, moving to a primal rhythm flooded Aiden’s mind. His cheeks flushed as the mental scene progressed into something more raw. Throwing his head back, Aiden drank down half of his Stella and silently cursed himself for not grabbing a pack of smokes before arriving. Booze may not have been the best way to cool down, but it was the closest vice at hand. True, he had a joint hidden in his coat pocket, but he didn’t want to feel spacey or sluggish just yet.


    Shouts from the front of the room broke Aiden out of his bubble. The dancer had finished her set and the stage sat empty, prompting those men to grow impatient. Nox had walked up to the group of trash which had caused the commotion, urging them to chill out and grab another drink- for free no less.


    Aiden found his voice and started singing once more, “When the twilight is gone and no songbirds are singing. When the twilight is gone you come into my heart.”


    The light of the Power sprung up from behind. Aiden went on, “And here in my heart you will stay while I pray.”


    Raging torrents of energy flooded Aiden’s every particle, charging him with the sweet and violent power of creation. He deftly wove Air, Fire, and Spirit into a complex and sizable weave, settling the thing around his entire body, yet not completing the thing. This was his insurance policy, a nifty trick he had picked up from Jaxen Marveet’s performance those many nights ago.


    “My prayer is to linger with you, at the end of the day in a dream that’s divine,” Aiden kept singing to himself to hold the power.


    The group of men were openly sneering at Nox. The largest of them laughed heartily and downed the rest of the amber liquid in his mug.


    “Yeah, and the rest of the night will be on you if there ain’t another skank up on the stage in the next sixty seconds. We came here to see some tail, so make with it or get me drunk,” The largest of the men said. The goon turned to look at Nox and yelled, “Well, what you waiting for pansy!?” He whipped the glass mug at Nox, which narrowly missed his head.


    “My prayer is a rapture in blue, with the world far away and your lips close to mine,” Aiden sang as he let the weave settle over his body and tied the thing off. In the blink of an eye, his form and musculature swelled to four times their size- at least they appeared to. Anyone looking at him would see a man whose head brushed the ceiling and with muscles large enough to rival The Incredible Hulk. He stopped singing and let the Power wink out; the weave stayed in place.


    Aiden walked over to the group, trying his best to look as menacing as possible and spoke in a rumbling baritone, “Ya’ll are gonna have to leave if you wanna keep ya’ heads on ya’ bodies.”

 
    One of the skinnier men started yelling at Aiden, “Sit down, freak!”


    That same, little man started weaving Fire.


    Ah, crap, Aiden thought to himself as he saw the weave begin, Other Channelers.

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Nox really hated assholes.  But he gave the man a smile and was about to ask him to leave again polietly but Aiden came up in an illusion.  The menacing power had been a warning to him.  He'd apparently learned a trick or two from Jaxen.  Nox thought about it and he could probably hold the illusion too but it really wasn't worth it.  But it might make a good show.  He'd think about it later.  Right now another menacing presence erupted in front of him. 

 

The strength wasn't great in the man in front of him, and it was always harder to shield a man from the source of his power when he was wielding it, but Nox carefully wove the net of spirit and slipped it over the man.  His dark light went out and Nox smiled happily splitting his flow so he wasn't defenseless.  The man turned around and there was panic in his eyes.  "I'm going to have to ask you to leave.  If you are going to throw fireballs around endangering the girls and other guests then you must leave now."  Nox pulled the out from one of the other guests at his table.  "If you'll all come with me quietly out the door now we can let the rest of the guests see the show they came to see."  

 

Nox looked at Aiden with a smile though he hadn't really needed the help it had diffused a little of the situation.  Though apparently not enough of it one of the other men pulled the power around him.  Nox sighed even as he wove a second shield tying off the first to dissipate in a few hours.  This shield was bigger and larger than the last, the power was greater in this one.  He wove a blast of in a perimeter around him.  The shield slipped over him and Nox tied it off immediately keeping his power free for any more attacks.  "I will ask you one more time to leave before the cops are called and you are all arrested."  Nox didn't mention the fact that he'd wrap them all up in air and carry them outside.  He'd done it before and he'd do it again.

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                Aiden carefully watched Nox as he wove the shield, memorizing the weave as the thing settled upon the brute. He only needed to see a weave once before committing it to memory. Nox had shown Aiden a number of useful weaves, although most of them had been for battle and the killing of monsters. Everything else Aiden had learned was due to the observations of other men wielding the Power; Jaxen Marveet was first amongst them.

 

                There should be a book… or a website or something for us to share these tricks, Aiden thought to himself, Rowan mentioned a message board for the women… We should follow suit.

 

                Nox admonished the group of men, smiling at Aiden sometime in between. A second shield slammed onto another man in the group. Aiden moved towards the two shielded men, hands reaching out to take both by the neck. Orbs of ice materialized above the head of a third and shot out at Nox and Aiden, one of which struck at Aiden’s right hand. He recoiled at the blow and started singing on instinct.

 

                “Well, you can run like a rabbit, fly like a bee, No matter what you do, you’ll never get away from me,” Aiden sang in an upbeat voice as the light erupted behind his right shoulder. He grasped the Power and deftly began to weave Fire, “Cause I’m right behing you baby, right behind you baby, Well, I’m right behind you baby and you’ll never get away from me.”

 

                Countless fireballs erupted into being, swirling around Aiden. One shot out and struck the icemaker in the head, his hair bursting into flame. Two more found their mark on the men that had channeled earlier. The rest of the men took the hint and fled before the rest of the fireballs found their mark.

 

                “Well, you can make up your face, dye your hair, No matter what you do, turn around and I’ll be there,” Aiden sang on as he brushed away the glamour that he had taken on earlier and divided the flows, channeling Air and imprisoning the three brutes that remained with bonds around their limbs. Aiden looked to Nox and smiled, “Have you got the police on speed dial?”

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Nox was highly annoyed at Aiden's display.  He was sure it was written all over his face.  This could have been handled without hurting someone.  Now there was likely a lawsuit on hand, burning a guy yeah real great work.  Nox nodded to the bar tender and he called the cops.  Nox didn't want to answer Aiden for fear of chewing him out in front of the pricks he'd taken care of.

 

Instead Nox wrapped his own weave of air around the men and gave them a friendly smile.  "Let's wait outside so the rest of our guests can enjoy the show that's just about to start"  Nox didn't give them a choice and tugged them through the tables outside.

 

They bitched and yelled and called for abuse.  And they'd been right, but they had also started it with their behavior.  Nox wasn't sure how to get out of the problem Aiden had inadvertently caused, but that he'd deal with later.

 

The cops showed up ten minutes later.  Nox recognized one, he worked the Red Light District most evenings and had been on the scene many times.  He gave Nox a smile and when he came over to take possession of the men he had news. "So I talked with your medical examiner guy, rather he overheard the call and told me to give you the message to save him the trouble.  It was a heart attack." he said shaking his head like he didn't understand.  "He said you'd understand."

 

"I do.  Thank you."  

 

The officer cuffed and escorted the three men out to his car and off they went.  Nox frowned as he turned around to look at Aiden.  "You really shouldn't have thrown fire around."  Nox said as he grabbed Aiden's hand and pulled him towards the alley way and back in the side door.  The group he'd stepped in to gear for was gone now, he could go back upstairs.  "But thank you for your help."  Nox said as he stopped outside the club side entrance again.  "You still want to come up?"  Nox was sure he wanted Aiden too, even as he was miffed at him.  It still didn't beat out the attraction he felt.  Just holding his hand sent sparks through his body.  A fantasy lived...

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                Nox… was visibly upset with Aiden. His own face fell at the look of consternation on Nox’s. The thugs were towed away towards the front and Aiden let his own Weave melt away. He looked around the room and noticed the shock and dismay on the patron’s faces, not a few of them getting up to leave. Aiden cursed himself silently as he realized his mistake.

 

                With a quick step, Aiden made his own way out to the front of the bar. A cop was loading the last of the brutes into his car, Nox was frowning. Aiden opened his mouth to appologize but shut it as Nox started to speak.

 

                “You really shouldn’t have thrown fire around.”

 

                Aiden colored at the words, his face reddening further as Nox grabbed his hand and lead him around to the side door in the alleyway. A tiny little flame sprouted above Aiden’s head ironically. They stopped just outside the door, Nox asking if Aiden still wanted to continue the night.

 

                “Oh, Lord above, yes I do- if you’ll have me,” Aiden started to babble, “And I am sorry about being so indiscriminate with my powers. I just got wrapped up in the moment and one thing lead to the next. Please, if there’s any trouble, I will take full responsibility. I’ve got great lawyers. I can pay for any damages to the building. I swear that won’t happen again and- I should shut up.”

 

                A long exhale followed.

 

                That little monologue made him sound a little too much like his sister, Rowan; she never knew when to shut up. Nox still didn’t look happy, but surely he could forgive Aiden.

 

                Crap, I hope he doesn’t feel emasculated over that… Crap, Aiden thought to himself.

 

                Aiden shook his head slightly to banish the thought. Nox wouldn’t be inviting him up if he didn’t actually want to, so there was no point in spilling out endless apologies or having such paranoid thoughts. Aiden had to live in the moment and let the past be the past. A goofy smile grew on his face and he wagged his eyebrows at Nox.

 

                “Yes. Yes, I still want to come up.”

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Aiden was respectfully chargained and he offered to deal with the problem at hand.  They'd have to wait and see but Nox didn't think they'd make any trouble. They could channel too and most people wanted to keep that under wraps.  But there was no proof any of them did anything.  That was one of the problems with channeler crimes. You couldn't prove that someone did something with it - there was no photo evidence and it could be anyone doing it.  There were only witness accounts.  But with Aiden waggling his eyebrows at him Nox couldn't think of much else than getting a famous rock star up in his room and naked.  Living a fantasy one he'd never actually thought possible.

 

Nox opened the side door and led Aiden upstairs. "I know you think it's a step down from Dorian's, but this feels like home more than anywhere else has ever felt.  Except when I was living with Aria and Aurora.  But they're both gone now. I grew up with nothing but what I could carry in two bags."  Nox smirked as he pushed open the door to his room.  Nova barked and then rushed to circle their legs. "I've never had a home before."

 

The room was sparse, Nox's things were still tidily packed in two bags, a pot and a pan sat on the desk with a plate bowl and other utensils, cooking was easily done with the power inside however hard it was to get to through the sludge Nox still used it with impunity.  And with only one arm that was his main reason.

 

Nox pushed Nova away with his foot. "Go away Nova." He turned and put his hand on Aiden's waist and pulled him close. "I have a rockstar to ravage."

 

The fantasy wasn't always the same in Nox's minds eye, but the real thing was so much better.  Hands and lips everywhere. The soft caress of skin, the moans and groans of his partner in crime. It wasn't like it had been with women.  Nox gave himself completely to a man. It wasn't a means to pleasing himself, or her, it was a bonding of sorts, something much deeper and Nox wasn't sleeping around with every dick and harry he met but the few he had were important to him.  Aiden was important to him. It was a fantasy, but it was more than that too.

 

By the end of the night, or was it now early morning Nox lay in the small bed with Aiden by his side. Nox wanted to sleep but his mind and body were still on edge.  That was the trouble with working the way he did now, too much, too often.  Even a roll in the hay, or multiple as the case might be that night, Nox hadn't really slept well since he lost the arm. There was too much going on in his life. Nox's fingers traced circles against Aiden's skin and hoped he could at least sleep.

Edited by Matalina

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                Aiden opened his eyes slowly, the darkened room coming into focus. He had nodded off in the post-coital embrace of Nox’s arms, whose fingers still danced along the small of Aiden’s back. A shiver shot up his spine and goosebumps manifested across every inch of his exposed flesh. Street lights and a hint of early morning dawn spilled in through the slanted blinds, offering up a means for Aiden to see his eager lover. He yawned slightly before lifting his head from Nox’s taught chest, turning to look at the other man.

 

                Nox wore a tense expression, despite the hours they had just spent working out all of their energy into something passionate and beautiful.

 

                “Remind me again why we waited so long to do that?” Aiden asked with a playful smirk.

 

                As so often happened in these moments, Aiden began wondering what came next? Nox could be hard to read at times. Would this happen again? Did this intimacy herald the coming of something more serious with the man? Aiden doubted that last bit; at least for the immediate future. Nox seemed to be wedded to his duty. There was no time for the follies of love when there were monsters lurking in the sewers of the CCD… But maybe Aiden could help with that? The novel he was working on had been submitted to the publishers, so there was little to do on that front until the promotional tour began. There was also the rumor going around of a Blarney Stoned reunion tour, but Aiden had never committed to anything.

 

                I’m getting ahead of myself again, Aiden thought to himself, live in the moment. Let the future unfurl as it will.

 

                “You don’t sleep very often do you?” Aiden asked, taking note of the bloodshot eyes and dark circles that had started to form on Nox’s face. He was still sexy despite that, it only seemed to accentuate his brooding bad boy image.

 

                Aiden inched up on the mattress until his face was level with Nox’s. He placed a kiss upon the other man’s lips, nipping a bit at his bottom lip. Were that Aiden had known a sleep Weave or something else along those lines.

 

                “We can go again if you want? I know a few more tricks that might push you to the edge of exhaustion,” Aiden said in a half-serious tone.

Edited by Oddpositions

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It was nice having Aiden in his bed.  Though the mood broke a little when he teased about not doing it sooner.  There were reasons, and those reasons still existed. But ... There was no but, what happens happened and he wasn't ashamed, nor was he upset. And Sage would lilkely understand - he hoped.

 

Thankfully Aiden changed to subject to sleep. Nox grinned, "I've never slept well." Nox commented quickly hoping to leave it at that. The tenderness of the kiss sent shivers down his spine and other more intimate things.  But the words alone would have brought a smile to Nox's lips. "I'm always up for another round. I got a few hours of sleep, that's all I need. I'll nap later." That was something that worked well in the past. Two jobs was difficult but most of the time Nox enjoyed doing both.  Nox smirked, "We could..." Nox winked, "now, and later again when I need that nap. But then what ever would we do with the time in between. Nox sighed, "Tho I do have work to do, you could walk with me. If you had nothing better to do that was." Nox had assumed Aiden was his... for how long?  The morning, the night? It didn't really matter, Aiden was free to come and go and now he knew were Nox was so it was easy enough to meet up anytime.

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                “Rowan said there’s this secret message board- or group or whatever- that female Channelers use to share the Weaves they’ve developed… There’s nothing like that being run for men, is there?” Aiden asked as he propped himself up on one elbow, his other arm encircling Nox’s waist. Considering the threat that the Atharim posed, it was a risky venture to be running such an operation on the web, but Rowan was clearly benefiting from the operation. Aiden didn’t honestly think there was something comparable for men; Sage would have known about that and if Sage knew, then Nox would have too.

 

                “I was just thinking that there has to be a Weave to induce sleep… That might help you if you don’t want to take pills or anything. You need to rest regularly,” Aiden said not reproachfully.

 

                It was not really Aiden’s place to bother Nox in regards to his personal wellbeing, but it had been made abundantly clear very early on that Nox put duty above self. Aiden found that noble and endearing, but what these hero types always failed to realize is that the world needed them for the long run. It would be all too easy to burn ones self out after a few years of hard living. Another young person would no doubt take Nox’s place, should anything befall him, but it didn’t have to be that way.

 

                Aiden had taken a liking to Nox. Who knew if any of this would go past the bedroom? That was life. Although if it did, Aiden would make sure that Nox did more than ‘make do.’

 

                “Otherwise, I am down for another roll in the sheets or accompanying you on your walk… So long as we can grab me a coffee. I am utterly useless without some type of stimulant in the morning,” he said with his own wink.

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Nox grinned at the thought of another round and it would be enjoyable, but it wasn't like it wasn't going to happen again. He needed to stretch and do his thing or everything would be out of wack.  Sleep was important, but so was everything else.  Nox stood up, the sheet falling in a heap on top of Aiden.  He reached his hand to the ceiling the other arm didn't reach as high for obvious reasons but the movement itself had done it's job.  

 

"Sleep brings nightmares and unless a promised dreamless sleep is offered, I won't see my sister die again, or watch the light go out of Aria's eyes.  Or see my mother being mauled and then I wake up to my father in a pool of his own vomit dead.  Sleep brings all the failures of my life back to me, every  night."  

 

Nox found his boxers and pulled them on with the help of a weave of air. He could have asked for assistance, but Nox wasn't here to be helped.  He could manage on his own, though he did like when it was offered freely.  Nox glanced at the now closed door - something he didn't do on the regular. Closed doors were not good for his mental state most days, but privacy with Aiden was more important.  But Nox tossed Aiden his own under garments with a grin. "How about I do you one better and I make you breakfast and coffee."  Nox grabbed the pots and pans with a weave of air. "I'll be right back with what I need from the coolers downstairs." There wasn't a proper kitchen in Kallisti but the coolers kept food just as easily as other things like ice, and Carmen had granted him access to it.  Particularly when Nox tended to cook for the whole crew. 

 

Upstairs again Nox set the pan full of eggs on the top of a box of air and wove a bit of fire inside.  His makeshift cook top was perfect for eggs.  Bacon was contained inside another box of air inside the fire box crisping up nicely making the bedroom smell wonderful.  A French press bubbled away which made it look like it was some sort of magic as it was just sitting on the desk.  Nox had become proficient at cooking just about anything with the Power as his only source of energy.  It was as much a workout as going for a mile long run at top speed.  Sweat dripped from his brow while he cooked.  The slimy sludge surrounding the power within was only a nuisance, but Nox couldn't help but wonder what might happen in the long run, but then again, Nox wasn't likely to see a long run - dead was dead and he was one arm closer to the grave now.

 

 

 

Edited by Matalina

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                Aiden did nothing to hide his shock. It was not that he didn’t think that Nox could cook… It was just that… Well… It was exactly that.

 

                Considering how Nox lived day to day, Aiden had always assumed that he was a ramen kind of guy. Not that there was anything wrong with that. In an age where magic and the internet is at one’s palm, well, it’s no surprise that certain skills fall into disuse. Aiden knew more people that could not cook than could. The fact that Nox could at least operate a skillet only enhanced his image in Aiden’s mind. What other skills did he have hidden away? Did he only know how to cook breakfast? Or could he possibly be coerced into preparing a turkey dinner?

 

                Then there was the matter of Nox’s night terrors- so to speak- there had to be a way to use the Power to help with that. Their problem was that they didn’t network. Aiden personally knew two other male Channelers, Nox included, and knew of a handful of others. Both Nox and Jaxen had taught Aiden everything he knew of the Power, he had not the time or luxury to experiment with it like some others may have. It was a very real possibility that there were things they could do that they had not even dreamed of. Who was to say one could not bend Space and Time with the Power? What were their limits? They had the potential to change lives and they were squandering it on preparing breakfast.

 

                Not that Aiden was complaining.

 

                Sweat dripped from Nox’s forehead as he worked the skillet with the Power. Aiden cocked an eyebrow, “Are you okay, babe? You’re not sick, are you? I can run to the pharmacy if need be…”

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Babe?  Nox smiled and turned back to Aiden.  "I'm fine."  Nox wove a fireball above his hand between himself and Aiden. "Splitting flows as many times as I'm doing it a lot of work.  Almost as much work as really great sex."  Nox winked at Aiden and let the fire above his hand wink out.  

 

The food was done and Nox separated the food on to top plates and let the weaves go. "It's not a physical workout but it's physically tiring."  Nox stood up and handed Aiden a plate.  "You mentioned the message boards Rowan's using." Nox smiled around his fork and and finished chewing before. "I don't know of anything, and I really don't think you'd want to be part of it.  If your sister knows about it, then the Atharim know about it. Personal interactions are better. But I'm assuming you have thoughts that disagree with that."  That wasn't the first time Aiden had mentioned his sisters use of special message boards.

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                Splitting the flows… another skill Aiden needed to work on.

 

                Oh, he had no problem splitting it two ways, but it wasn’t easy and he had yet to achieve three ways. Nox insisted things would be easier so long as Aiden constantly practiced. So far, Nox was right. It was just annoying that Aiden had yet to master everything. He had never ever found a skill in life that he could not just pick up and perfect within a week. Channeling was different. True, Aiden could learn a Weave after witnessing it once, but that was as far as it went.

 

                Nox made a suggestive comment which earned a blush from Aiden. Honestly, the man was more eager than a choir boy in the French Quarter!

 

                Not that there was anything wrong with that.

 

                Aiden took a plate from Nox, eagerly digging into the steaming food as the message board got brought up again. Nox was probably correct in his assumption about the Atharim; at this point, Aiden wasn’t sure what the mysterious group didn’t know. Something had to be done about them. He could not imagine living the rest of his life constantly looking over his shoulder or wondering if that random waiter at the dinner was an undercover operative slipping some trace amount of nerve agent into his food.

 

                “Well screw the internet then. Let’s start a school or something,” Aiden said seriously between bites, “They’re organized. We are not. They will always beat us because of that. Imagine what Channelers could do as a group, what wonders we might be capable of. You’ve taught me so much, and I intend to return the favor if I ever meet another young Channeler, but what if we both die? That knowledge will be lost. Lord, what about the stuff Jaxen has taught me? You didn’t know some of it. How much more don’t we know? Knowledge is power and power is what we need to stop living in fear of some archaic cult.”

 

                A tangent was beginning to form, but Aiden shut it down and took a long gulp of his coffee instead.

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Aiden was eager to learn.  Nox supposed he was too, he and Aurora had spent a year alone in the wilderness learning - mostly trying not to blow himself up.  Nox didn't suppose that was Aiden's thing.  He smiled at the thought of a school.  "Li Tan.  You know the actor, he was Atharim - apparently.  He's starting a school of sorts.  We could check that out." Nox had seen the adverts on the billboards as he walked through the city.  It touted a school of the mystic arts, and it showed Li doing fanciful things as well as killing monsters. Nox had been meaning to check it out. He needed a new place to practice and relearn how to fight. He'd not been hunting for real since losing the left arm below his elbow.  He was still learning how to function like a normal person.  And if it weren't for the power he'd be lost.

 

But Aiden didn't understand the Atharim. Even if they knew everything they could do the Atharim would be a greater threat.  They conquered men who were worshiped as gods. What were a bunch of piss ant newcomers to an organization with that sort of history.  The Atharim were not to be triffled with and staying off their radar was better.  But Aiden wanted to learn, he was a social person. Nox prefered the shadows he always would.

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                Aiden spluttered at the casual revelation about Li Tan.

 

                “You’re kidding right? Dear God, they really do have their tendrils hooked into every aspect of society, don’t they?” A shiver ran down his spine as he spoke. Who else belonged to the cult? This was so much worse than Scientology. At least those freaks just tried to sue you and ruin your public life, not like the Atharim whose sole mission in the world was to enact Genocide on every human that dared touch the magic of creation.

 

                Nox was ex-Atharim and so was Li Tan. How many more had left the cult? That would be good to know. Such individuals would be incredibly useful, if only for their intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the organization. Aiden didn’t want to go to war with these fools, but he did want to be prepared in case their eyes ever fell upon him… Which they very likely already had. Aiden was a very famous individual who could Channel. He associated with Nox and many other people that he figured the Atharim would like to see dead.

 

                Yes. He was definitely on their radar.

 

                “Let’s check it out, then, this school of his. Maybe we could learn something or maybe help? After we do your patrols, of course,” Aiden said with a smile. Giddiness started to well up inside of him at the thought of studying with other Channelers. Oh, Nox was good and fine- more than fine- but this was a chance to network and socialize. And Li Tan would be there. Aiden didn’t know him personally, they had only met once or twice at a Gala back in the states, but the man was attractive and kind; a winning combination. Did Nox know the man? Had they killed monsters and Channelers together when they belonged to the cult?

 

                So many questions.

 

                Aiden smiled wider and gave Nox a kiss on the cheek before digging back into his delicious breakfast.

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Nox smirked as Aiden was overwhelmed with the knowledge of Li Tan's secret affiliations.  He added just as casually, "The Ascendancy was once one of us as well. He bears the mark of all Atharim."  But it was Aria's prophetic vision that had clarified that to her and he knew because the had shared no secrets then. But that wasn't the case in the end.

 

Aiden was eager to learn - almost too eager.  But Nox could indulge him, he remembered being new and naive about what it meant.  It took many times blowing himself up before he heeded Aurora's warnings.

 

Breakfast was done and Nox dressed with the help of the power - even without wretching up his breakfast.  Sometimes it wasn't worth letting the power go, but holding it was intoxicating and addicting. He didn't want to trade his father's drink for the power. He would not go out like that.  He'd die fighting for his life.

 

"I have to stop by the precinct on my rounds. I need to talk to the ME. Do you want to be bored and come with me?" Nox smirked, "I could let you sleep some more and pick you up then we can visit Li Tan's dojo."

Edited by Matalina

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                “I don’t really know what to think about the Atharim anymore. The Ascendancy himself was a member? And you and Li Tan? I can only assume there are many more Channelers that left the cult. They must not be able to detect us then? I mean, other than your stereotypical espionage. They don’t, like, have a machine that tells you if someone has the gift, right?” Aiden asked in an honest tone.

 

                The fact that Aiden did not know about the Atharim until recently really made him feel stupid. How did this shadowy organization escape notice for so long when it seemed that so many people had been members? Secrets were hard to keep, especially the more you told people. They had to have some pretty severe punishments in place to keep their existence under lock and key.

 

                They finished their breakfast shortly after and Aiden watched Nox finish dressing. It was depressing to see pants back on the man, but they would serve as a reminder that Aiden would get to take them off again.

 

                “Nah, once I’m up, I’m up. I’ll probably end up napping later, but I couldn’t go back to bed right now. Let me come with you,” Aiden said as he began to dress himself.

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Nox shook his head.  "No machines.  No one can tell a man is wielding the power except another man who can wield the power.  A man can sense a woman by a cold shiver.  But that is the extent of it.  We can't see it on video - we tried." Nox and Aria had tried.  Sage had tried too.  But there was nothing visible on the camera even though Nox knew he'd been using the power.  There might be scientific ways of doing so but Nox was confident that the Atharim didn't have those tools otherwise they'd already be widely used.  That was the power of the Atharim.  But he let it go at that.  He didn't want to worry Aiden anymore than necessary.  

 

There was a crooked grin when Aiden suggested a nap later, that was something he might actually enjoy, both the actual nap and would could happen before and/or after - preferably both Nox thought to himself.  He felt like an undersexed teenager at the moment - like he couldn't get enough and he probably was as it was a teenage boy who had wanted Aiden back then.  And without really understanding what was happening, or that eve had even blocked it out.  Anything pre Methos concert was a blur, but Nox was slowly remembering those things.

 

They finished breakfast and Nox left Kallisti through the side entrance with Aiden.  "I'll start my walk now, there's have been no nests from here to the station, we'll be walking along the river today. A route I've never taken."  Nox grinned, "It's not an attempt to be romantic as much as I'd like to say it was, but it was the plan for the day without you here.  But we can make the most of it."  Once they were way from Kallisti and down several streets in the Red Light District "So this case I'm working...  Nox paused at looked to Aiden.  "Do you want to hear the details? It could make a good addition to the book you are writing about - at a bit of reality to the false things."  Nox grinned at Aiden.  And he wanted to bounce some ideas off someone who wouldn't immediately jump to the same conclusion as Nox had.

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                Nox was full of useful information. Aiden had never scene the Power being used – when it was supposed to be - in any of the videos he’d seen on the net, but that didn’t mean anything. He had read conflicting information from second-hand sources. Better to get it from the horse’s mouth and Aiden was still a foal in many ways.

 

                “Well, that’s a blessing I’m sure,” Aiden said with a shrug. He dove back into his breakfast, gobbling down the last few morsels. He caught more than a few stolen glances and suggestive grins from Nox. It was funny how quickly things had shifted over the course of one night. True, that had flirted before and toed the proverbial line, but Aiden had never thought Nox the type to become so smitten. It just went to show you how complex people were. Nox had his life’s mission but he had not become so wedded to it that he had forsaken the human experience.

 

               

 

                Within the hour, Nox was leading Aiden outside back through the side door of the bar. Aiden was only a little self-conscious, wearing the same clothing from the night before and not a spot of product in his hair, but then again, it was a look reminiscent of his Blarney Stoned days: rumpled Rockstar. Some even found that attractive.

 

                There was that grin again. Aiden smirked to himself and answered casually, “Oh, of course not. I wouldn’t dare suggest it. But yes, why not make the most of it?” Aiden looped his arm around Nox’s and let himself be led deeper into the city. It was forward, yes, but so was Aiden – once it was clear that his advances were welcomed.

 

                Nox broke the silence of the walk, flashing that grin again. Aiden allowed himself another smile and nodded to Nox’s questions, “Of course I want to hear about it. Don’t get me wrong, I dig the mysterious vibe, but the more I know the better. Who knows? I might even be of some help.”

 

                A giggle escaped Aiden’s throat. He was beginning to feel down- right giddy.

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The closeness was nice.  He hadn't intended for romance, but he kept himself open with the power.  Grasping the power through the sludge was still no easier.  The pain he'd imagined each time lessened, the Ijiraq hadn't been sighted in months and he was sure it wasn't around him.  He wasn't a threat - the Ijiraq's had only been sent before.  And they were gone now.

 

Nox smirked, "Just don't wave fire around unless absolutely necessary."  Nox pushed his shoulder into Aiden's with a broader grin. "So this case is not like others.  A guy is dead sitting upright like he was talking with someone, but died cause of a heart attack.  With a smile on his face." 

 

Nox let the the irony sink in.  "A Sentient can overwhelm a person with emotions so much their heart gives out." Nox shool his head.  "And then Kali shows up. Did you know she made me climb a building? I'm afraid of heights - deathly afraid since falling out of a plane. I need to know what the ME found other than that the cause of death was a heart attack, I already knew that."

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Posted (edited)

                “Hey, no promises, but I will try to do my best,” Aiden said jovially. Nox was well aware of Aiden’s block and the ‘fairy fire.’ There would be no channeling of Fire unless absolutely necessary, but if those little blobs of Fire decided to manifest overhead, well Aiden couldn’t control that. Not yet, anyway. Nox gave him a playful shove with his shoulders, returning the grin. This was nice. This was very nice.

 

                Despite the pretense, a morning stroll with an attractive man was just the thing Aiden needed. It made him feel normal. No Channeling, no Atharim, no fans, no family drama, no paparazzi. Aiden’s smile deepened. This was the closest he would ever get to feeling like a nobody and it was marvelous. No wonder so many young stars tended to retire early; Aiden had, but he was beginning to see that he had retired from the public eye in the wrong way. Becoming a hermit had done nothing for him. The peace and the quiet was nice, but it was nothing in comparison to the raw energy of human connection. He immediately began to wish for a ‘do over,’ where his early retirement was concerned. No self-imposed exile. No hiding and cowering. No job hopping. None of that escapist behavior. Night one in the CCD and he should have been out and about, finding Nox, that is what he should have been doing.

 

                Carte blanche, Aiden thought to himself bemusedly.

 

                Nox went on to describe a ‘Sentient.’ Aiden knew a little bit about them, if only thanks to Rowan. Honestly, the woman got into more mischief than the heroine of cheesy Saturday night sitcom.

Aiden knew enough to spot a Sentient, but not much more. He rarely ever took Rowan at her word, but hearing Nox describe some commonalities was enough to give Aiden pause. Perhaps Rowan was less ‘talk’ than he had previously presumed.

 

                “So, like, did she freeze him in place, sitting up like that?” Aiden asked before shaking his head and throwing up a hand, “Forget I asked that. Dumb question.”

 

                They carried on at a leisurely pace, the streets still hadn’t come to life in the day light. It was well past eleven in the morning, but the Red-Light District seemed to sleep in when the rest of the city was already approaching its lunch break. True, a few random cars and taxis roamed the roads, but not a face was to be seen along the sidewalks or in the shops.

 

                “Rowan told me about them, but she’s full of hot air in the best of times; said they could kill you with one touch. Is that how they do it then? I mean exclusively. Just an overwhelming of emotion? No extra frills? You climbed a building. Did she give you the ability to climb walls or was that your innate skill?” Aiden added a touch of heat to his voice at those last few words, if only playfully. Nox was good. Very good. Aiden continued excitedly, “You fell out of a plane!? I won’t press since you’ve got trauma over it, but if you ever want to tell that story to someone, you’ve got an eager listener right here.”

 

                Was it in poor taste to get excited over another’s source of fear? Yes – but only when you said it that way. Add five more cool points to Nox. The man had apparently fallen out of an airplane without a parachute and lived to tell the tale. Aiden could only assume it was due to the Power; perhaps an application of Air was to thank. He would probe on that later, if nothing else. Survival techniques through the One Power would be the most useful thing to learn, in light of the threat of the Atharim.

 

                “So how are we going to figure that out? What was found out before? I’m assuming we’re not looking for physical evidence. I mean – you know who was involved…”

Edited by Oddpositions

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