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Et tu, Brute?
After walking out of the cafe Nox used every talent he had to avoid anyone getting a clear shot at him.  If the distraction of his power didn't dissuade them, that would at least keep him alive long enough to disappear.  Nox could only hope the bitch would give up.  At least long enough to disappear completely.  Money was a problem.  He had some saved up and he'd not been spending much living with Dorian, and Dorian had paid him to shepherd Cruz around, but that was over now.  Cruz would have to deal with the Atharim on his own, he was capable.  Nox wasn't going to help Dorian.  Not for the price of his own head, fuck that.

Even the walk home hadn't curbed Nox's anger, he only stewed in it.  And when no one actually tried to kill him, Nox dropped the power and everything tumbled into his head.  How could he be so stupid?  On so many accounts.  Dorian was a fucking traitor - no question about it.  The man was nothing but a selfish prick and Nox should have known.  What kinda man despises his father?  What kinda man joins the police just to spy on them?  And then he turns tail on them because his son is a god?  What was to say he'd not turn on anyone else just to save his boy.  Even the same person who was protecting him.  Fuck that!

Nox didn't know where he'd go.  But he was gone - it didn't matter where.  Nox walked up the drive way and punched in the servants code into the side door and after he pushed the door open it smashed into the wall behind it.  He was angry and it was seeping into his actions.  Nox was grateful the stairs were down close by and he hopped down them three at a time making a loud noise.  There was no question about his temper at the moment.  Dorian better not show his fucking face anytime soon, Nox thought to himself.

The cool basement air was home and there was a sense of nostalgia and loss as he stormed into his room and started thrusting clothes into his duffle bag.
Loud noises weren't uncommon in the Vega estate now that Nox had people he was actually training other than Cruz. But loud noises when no one was home was suspicious, so Cruz went down stairs to see what the racket was all about. None of the outside warning systems had gone off and unauthorized entry wasn't alerted on his computer so it was family. Mother and Christian were out doing whatever it was they did together. Dad was at work. Sage and Aiden were god knows where and Nox had gone to meet with Yun earlier in the day. So logic told Cruz it was Nox coming back unhappy. And he'd been unhappy a lot lately.

The house was quiet which is how Cruz liked it specially when he was studying for a big test. Now he might actually have to go the library to do his work, but first to make sure everything was alright. The wall near the backdoor was crushed a little which didn't bode well. And his prior assessment that it wasn't a BNE was put to the test.

Cruz opened the basement door and called downstairs. "Nox, is that you." Like any good classic horror movie when no answer came Cruz went down stairs. But he had a fireball ready just in case. The flickering light hung just in front of him ready to fling at the intruder.

Slowly walking down the stairs was no different than walking loudly down them, they would make noise either way so Cruz just walked. But he didn't see anyone in the dojo or ajoining area and headed for Nox and Sage's room - and the bathroom, though the water wasn't running so there was no chance of catching any of the men unaware. That could be dangerous.

Nox was in his room without a door stuffing his things into a bag. "What's going on? Why are you packing? Where are you going?" Cruz wanted to add can I come, but that was presumptuous. Nox thought of him as a kid, he probably didn't want some kid with him wherever he went.
Nox heard Cruz calling him but he was still so pissed off he just ignored it. Right up until the point that Cruz walked into his room and started asking a thousand and one questions. The answer to all of it was simple "I'm leaving." He kept stuffing his clothes into his bag. He'd need to take a few other things too. He'd lived out of bags most of his life, it was the first time he actually had stuff. Granted most of the stuff was weapons related and his fathers, but it was still his.

Nox pushed past Cruz standing the the door but Cruz was solid. The boy had learned to stand up for himself and Nox looked at him straight in those sparkling fucking blue eyes of his. "Please move."

Cruz laughed. "I didn't expect you to be nice about it."

"I don't have to be. I can think of several things I can do to make you move. Least of which is kiss you." Cruz winced and gave ground and Nox pushed past him. "Never thought kissing a boy could come in so handy."

Cruz stalked behind Nox as he went about grabbing his things in the dojo. "Talk to me Nox. Where are you going and why?"

Nox stopped in the middle of the dojo floor and rounded on Cruz who stopped suddenly and was staring wide eyed at him. Surprised? Nox didn't care as he almost yelled. "You want to know how your fucking father betrayed me? Do you? Do you really want to know he took something I asked him to keep safe and gave it to someone else to use it against me. As fucking leverage."

Nox went on. "Not only is your father now part of some crime syndicate involving the police. This group of people wants to know how the Atharim work. They want to know all about gods and how to control them among other things I'm sure. Is that really what you want to know?"

Cruz stared at him wide eyed but he could see the anger rising and Nox grabbed the power even though it hurt to do so. The power was the only thing he could count on. There was no such thing as friends. Cruz looked flustered, afraid and then the power fled from his body, the anger was still there on the edges you could hear it in his voice, "What did he take from you?" but he was non-threatening now.

Nox wasn't going to take any chances the power raged through his body and the pain lanced at his memory but he floated in nothing. "He took the EM weapon that Aria used on me before I had to kill her," Nox said in a distant cold voice. He'd never heard himself sound so focused and far away at the same time it was strange being in this emptiness but it was clear here. Nothing mattered only what him and the power.
It didn't surprise him one bit that his father had taken sided with a criminal organization. He was pretty much already doing that with the Atharim. Yet Cruz didn't feel as angry at Nox. He thought about that while he listened to his friend rant. But stealing the weapon used against him, to boil him alive, to kill him, to subdue him. And give it to the enemy? An enemy, maybe not the enemy. Cruz was angry. Who the fuck did his father thing he was?

But Nox was leaving him. Leaving him to fend for himself against the Atharim, against his father. "So you are going to leave me here? Alone?"

Nox stopped collecting his gear long enough to look at him with big sad brown eyes. "I don't want to. But I'm not staying here to let Dorian use me more."

Cruz growled. "So stay here and don't care what my father does. I need your help. Aiden needs your help. What about us?"

Nox sighed. "It's not like we can't meet someplace else to train, Cruz. Your father gave the bad guys something than can kill us. My suggestion - get as far as fuck as you can from your father before he turns on you too."

Cruz stared at his friend. He'd come here to be near his father. To get away from the constant barrage that was his grandfather, but Jivana was brancing out because of his move. He wanted to stay in Moscow. Life happened here. He'd met a girl, and friends and things he'd never had before. Where would he go? "I could ask my grandfather for my inheritence. Find a nice place, but don't suggest I go back to Madrid."
Aiden was familiar with Methos, but he had never really listened to the artist. Oh, he knew all of the man’s greatest hits, but he was not familiar with the songs that ‘hardcore fans’ knew and loved. That all changed over the course of 24 hours. Sage had supplied him with a new Wallet and it included a number of select playlists that contained songs unfamiliar to Aiden. Sharing music was just as intimate to him as sex was. That had been the first time that Sage had shared such things with him, so Aiden gobbled up every second of it; as a result, he found a new respect for Methos, despite having a musical battle with the man a few nights prior.

                The music had inspired Aiden to redecorate their room at the mansion, despite the fact that he had his own mansion to finish on the outskirts of Moscow. That project had taken a back-burner to what was happening now. True, he would have preferred to move Sage into his own abode, but they were about to leave the country for an unknown amount of time; one bedroom seemed far more simple a project than re-designing an entire wing for his boyfriend. Aiden knew that Sage needed a lot of space to set up his techno hub, and that would require hiring a whole new set of contractors and designers. That was not something they could accomplish over the course of a week… Aiden made a mental note to contact his personal assistant to begin the project while the pair galavanted with Jaxen Marveet in Ireland. Once they returned, Aiden would be able to surprise Sage with his own mini-headquarters within the mansion located outside of Moscow. Although, Aiden suspected whatever his contractors designed would be inferior to whatever Sage needed… Still, it would be a nice starting point for his boyfriend.

                Methos’ Fertile Anomaly Album blared through the speakers of the stretch limo that Sage and Aiden were currently riding in. It had quickly become Aiden’s favorite, and despite the sensual songs and the freely-flowing whiskey between the two, Aiden kept his hands to himself. They had had a particularly rousing night just 20 hours prior and he had resolved to let his boyfriend recover. Aiden still bore the scratch marks on his back from that encounter and he was not eager to acquire more. Sage was an animal once you worked him into the right mood.

                The back half of the limo was stuffed full of different wallpapers, cushions, devices, and other accouterments for the new lair that Aiden had planned out for the room. They had been shopping for eight hours and Sage had politely not said a damn thing about the new space, but Aiden had suspected that he knew exactly what they were doing. It was getting late, though, so they had rerouted back towards Dorian’s mansion. Aiden would unload the parcels and begin his work in the morning.

                Aiden opened up the mini fridge and poured himself a glass of chilled whiskey, “So… Why do you think Nox has been avoiding us?”

                He wasn’t about to ask whether or not Sage would consider trying to draw Nox into their relationship, the idea was tempting, but it was purely one-sided. The urge was an old habit left over from Aiden’s relationship with Kyle, but still, it was there… Perhaps if Sage had suggested it… There was no doubt that he had a past with Nox, but closet cases were notoriously difficult. Aiden loved Sage. He did. That was a strong word, but there it was. A third always complicated things, but if Sage had feelings for Nox… Aiden did find the man attractive and intellectually intriguing…

                Time would tell.

                They were still a good fifteen minutes from the mansion.

Russian Dolls and Broken Gods, a new Fantasy novel by best-selling author, Aiden Finnegan, out this December! Preorder online and instore today!
Shopping with Aiden was fun. Tho the limo was more exiting. Sage had money so shopping was effortless as Aiden made it seem but Aiden had far more expensive test than he did when it came to mundane things. But he enjoyed spending time with him. He always had things to do any way his computer never left his head.

They were finally done and driving home drinking and talking. It was only a mild surprise when Aiden and about Nox and his avoidance. Sage snickered, "I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact he are going like bunnies."

But that wasn't likely the reason. Sage sighed, "The night we meet, me and you, Nox kissed me, said I could take him out of his fancy tux. But that didn't happen cause you were here."

Sage knew there was more to it too. "Probably had to do with the fact I slept with his sister too. And that he had a crush on you since he was a kid."

It wasn't his secret to tell but it might help Aiden understand. "Nox isn't closeted. He made himself act straight because his Dad beat the gay out of him. He's trying to figure out what he is and what he is not. Aurora confided in me when their Dad was bad. He's got a lot to process with the repressed memories coming back with the rest of them."

(( Will fix color and typos when on laptop ))

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Aiden tried to suppress his shock, but he couldn’t help the fact that his eyebrows seemed to want to climb to the top of his scalp. Sage was surprisingly forthcoming with the mystery that was Nox, but then again, Aiden had never really tried to pry. Nox seemed like the lonely, broody type; men like that didn’t normally want to get too close to people. Hearing what Sage had to say, Aiden found his assumptions to be validated. Guilt formed at the pit of his stomach over Nox’s youth… To think that there were still parents out there that held homophobic views… The world had made such strides over the last few decades on that front, but then again, when Aiden was a child, those changes were still taking hold across the globe.

                With a shake of his head, Aiden took a sip of his drink and spoke in a half whisper, “That’s horrible… A messed up childhood and an ex-Atharim channeler? I’m surprised the man is still going on. He’s made of tough stuff, that’s for sure.”

                Then came the rest and Aiden couldn’t help but feel a twinge of amusement- and regret, “So, I basically complicated things then, huh? Things might have gone differently had you and I met later? You and Nox might have had time for something to bloom.” The thought didn’t hurt and Aiden, surprisingly, was not jealous; although that might have been due to the fact that Nox had had a life-long crush on him (hence the amusement.) Memories of that first night at the mansion, Sage servicing him while Nox looked on, started to take a completely different cast. Had the man had other motives? Aiden had certainly provided him with a free show…

                A chuckle escaped Aiden’s lips, but he quickly stifled it, lest he appear insensitive. Looking out the window, Aiden noted that they would be pulling up to the mansion within five or ten minutes. Not much more time to talk. The thought of pulling Nox into Sage and his relationship pulsed at the back of his mind, but he still did not feel right suggesting it. Then again, Aiden liked to think that they were all friends. Surely friends helped each other and looked out for one another. It sounded like Nox needed to heal some old wounds. Love and sex could do that… But then again, it could also complicate things and even cause new hurts. Polyamory wasn’t for everyone and it was definitely a complicated matter… But, the truth of it was, Aiden could see himself with Nox and Sage. Those nights, so long ago, with Kyle and their ‘thirds’ were nothing more than fun. This could very well prove to be something else entirely, but that depended on Nox and Sage.

                Might as well start with the basics. There was no harm in asking.

                “Let’s speak frankly, mon dieu… Do you have feelings for Nox? At all? Spare my feelings. I genuinely want to know.”

Russian Dolls and Broken Gods, a new Fantasy novel by best-selling author, Aiden Finnegan, out this December! Preorder online and instore today!
Sage shrugged at the questions about Nox and him. "Nox isn't the blooming type." He'd certainly tried to be someone different. "My feelings for Nox aren't that complicated. He's my friend, and he's attractive. Yeah I want to get in his pants, who wouldn't." He smirked at Aiden. "But until I met this guy who didn't run or bail at my appearance in his life. I figured let's give it a try."

Sage sighed, "Nox is my friend, all he would have been was a good fuck with potentially more afterwards because we both didn't want more. He just got out of a relationship his first and probably his only one."

Sage was glad they didn't drive anywhere, he was able to get into Aiden's lap and face him, a leg on either side putting him above Aiden which he really liked looking down on him. It was an almost perfect view, because Aiden was perfect anyway, but this made Sage more than eager to ignore the fact they were almost home. "If you want to play with Nox, with or without me I'm okay with either. But don't try for more with him too soon. He's already pretty broken. He won't talk to me cause he's avoiding me, and I haven't taken the time to push , but something happened to him in all this and he's not coping well. It reminds me of the time after his mother died, only worse, and he doesn't have Aurora here to help him through it." Sage missed Aurora. And that was why he hung around her annoying little brother, but turned out the annoying little brother wasn't so annoying after all.

Sage pressed a kiss to Aiden's lips. "Since he's avoiding us, maybe he'll talk to me the old way." Sage grinned and sent a message to Nox. WE NEED TO TALK.

There was an almost near instantaneous response. MAKE IT QUICK CAUSE I GOT PACKING TO DO.

WHERE ARE YOU GOING? "Nox is leaving." Sage pulled his wallet out of his pocket and showed him the messages that had been happening.

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Cruz was mad at him? Why the fuck for? Nox had invested twice now in a place to practice his skills without hurting anyone and now it was all going down the fucking tubes again. And Cruz was talking about going back to Madrid. "Why would I tell you to go there? I can't help you there."

"But you are leaving me her with fucking father who you just said was ready to kill you."

Nox's wallet beeped in his pocked and he pulled it out in case it was important. Not that there was anything more important than getting the fuck out. He saw a message from Sage. WE NEED TO TALK.

Nox quickly typed up a response. He didn't want to talk to him, didn't want to talk to Aiden either. But he did wonder what his hacker friend wanted, and why he wanted to talk now of all times. MAKE IT QUICK CAUSE I GOT PACKING TO DO.

WHERE ARE YOU GOING? Came the reply just as quickly as he sent it.

Nox growled. "Fuck!" He looked up at Cruz who was waiting patiently and expectantly. "You want me to stay here?"

"No. I'll find someplace else to live. I have the means. I'm not tied to Daddy's coat strings as much as you might think I am."

"Only your grandfathers. But Cruz, do what you need to do I'll find my way." Nox turned back to his wallet and tapped out a response.



Fuck! was the only thought as Nox found his way to his room to wait and pack but mostly be grumpy about having to wait.
Nox stomped around the basement. He was pissed. He'd never seen him like this - ever. Even after the Atharim tried to kill him. But Cruz couldn't stop his own anger, he was leaving him. But what pissed him off more was that this stupid kid was dismissing him. He could do whatever the fuck he wanted.

Cruz turned on his heels and stomped up the stairs. But each step he took slower. What if this meant they all would die now? His father had given the bad guys a weapon to kill them threw walls. Nox's little save room he built wasn't going to be enough. What was his father thinking?

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