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Astral Dreams
[[continued from Painted Dreams]]

The sky darkened to shades of molten gold when she finally dragged Nox into Moscow’s twilight. No real plan pulled her in a direction, content instead to sweep wherever whim took her. The city never really slept, even during the day, but its moods shifted with the sun, and freedom nosed in with the dark. Already neon washed the streets (at least these streets), and soft music pulsed a promise. Thalia hummed along tuneless. Like a dandelion amongst roses she did not necessarily suit these surroundings, though neither did she appear to notice it.

“Ooh, I love this song!” She tugged his hand with the change of current. It was still too early for security to stand sentinel at the entrance, a cavernous tunnel into the building’s interior. Sound echoed strangely, like a veil between worlds. Thalia grinned, arching her neck to watch the odd smear of lights, like sunlight on water, until they spilled into the club within.
The music thrummed as Thalia lead the way at a whim. It was not exactly his way, but his way didn't seem to be working so why not just let the music pull them in. Astral Dreams was playing loud as they moved past the door. Still too early for the bouncers to be keeping everyone out. That was good for them.

It was an interesting club. Nox wasn't sure what to expect but it didn't matter. The music flowed through him. It had been a good while since he'd been to a dance club. Sure he'd gone out with Ivan, but that wasn't about dancing - that was about drinking - something Nox didn't do. A beer here or there, that was something except that night with Jay. And while it was a great night, it had changed his life in a way that he didn't want to repeat. No more drinking.

The song played louder as they made it through the odd tunnel. Nox leaned down and spoke in Thalia's ear to be heard. "Would you like something to drink?" A drink before dancing was customary.
She didn’t think she’d been here before. Or maybe she had. The tunnel reminded her somewhat of the rushing flow of a river, though the thought soon slipped back under the waves, because she really did love this song. The club wasn’t empty, but most people were lounging by the bar or chatting in small clusters under the thump of the music. The dance floor was empty.

“Only if you need some dutch courage, duckling.” She grinned, laughing around the nickname he’d used at the cabaret. Tease lit her expression, though she didn’t think he’d need much coaxing; he was just being polite. Thalia couldn’t claim to be the most beautiful dancer, but she was free spirited in the expression. She twirled under his arm, singing the lyrics with the sort of careless abandon one usually saved for the bathroom. At least the ones she could remember. She wouldn’t force him to follow her to the dance floor, though. It didn’t much bother her if she was the only one up there.
There was just something about this woman that made him smile. She teased and flirted and it was harmless. And Nox thought at least he'd grown a little since the last girl he was with. And the one before that. Emily he'd walked out on, took advantage of her naivete and slept with her. Elyse too, that was innocence despite the dangerous life style. But there wasn't any of that here. Would he? Yes. He was still a man, he still found women attractive, but it was like a piece had fallen into place.

Thalia was already leading the way to the dance floor. Liquid courage was not needed, and he didn't need any spurring to let the music take hold. Shioban West sang for Blarney Stoned back in the day, but Nox hadn't exactly followed her much since then. Nox hadn't followed Aiden either, and he'd turned up on his doorstep a fucking god. And rumor was that she was a wolfkin too. The wolf motif was too much of a coincidence and while the general public didn't really see it, all the Atharim would. It was amazing she hadn't been targeted like Methos had been.

Nox took a mental note to tell Aiden so he could warn his friend. Sage talked a lot even if it was through typing and he had been checking on him all day. But right now was about the dancing. There was no need to show off, but the floor was empty save the two of them and there was no better time than to 'bust a move' as they said.

The music flowed through him. He had the urge to use the Methos artistry he'd done at home so many times and not that anyone would really notice, he hadn't intended to grab the power, but he did, and for the first time it hadn't burned and seared at his soul, though Nox barely noticed the difference, as he focused on moving. it wasn't not a prescribed dance, just moving as the music moved him, the light show around them was enhanced by his own power. It was more habit than anything. The two went hand in hand these days.

It was calming. Freeing and most of all it cleared his mind of all problems - a great ending to a day of being a normal boy.
Thalia grinned brightly when he followed without protest, pleased to have guessed correctly. She was expressive in her movements; carefree in the way of the truly oblivious. Nothing self conscious tempered her and she was clearly unconcerned by who might watch, nor whether those gazes contained awe or humour. When the words struck a memory she sang, or giggled when she misstepped. Nox was far more graceful.

It took her while to notice the subtle shift of the lights play about them, but when she did something lit fascinated in her gaze. Her palms upturned like she might capture that magic. It had to be the power, but she’d never seen it used like that.

It reminded her of showering stars.

Several songs later she was grinning breathless. By now the club had begun to fill and heat flushed her skin when she brushed the hair back from her face. She made a gesture that suggested she was headed to get a drink. Was he coming? Did he want one? He had little chance of being able to hear her over the music by now, and the singing left her hoarse anyway. but he’d get the gist. 

Business hummed around the bar, though she squeezed herself a space to lean against it, sparing a smile for the person serving though they didn’t pay her much mind. Something of an argument bubbled further down, the hint of raised voices. She leaned, curious, but could barely see.
The music was mind numbing, and the partner on the dance floor was totally absorbed by the music too. Nox loved clubs, the thrum of music the pulse of the crowd. It was even better with someone who enjoyed it as well. Though it was the first time he hadn't been trying to hit on her.

Thalia was in need of a break and Nox followed through the crowd though he could stay out there without a break until he was ready to go. But he was here with someone it was better to stick together. He felt sort of protective of Thalia, even though she probably didn't need his protection. The bar was crowded and even though Thalia squeezed in between others, Nox made more room for her. "Watch it buddy." A guy said as he left the bar with his drink.

There was a storm brewing down the other end of the bar. Voices were being raised and they were getting louder as the seconds wore on. He didn't want the little fight to kill his night. Cops or bouncers could be bad. He sighed as he leaned down and spoke in Thalia's ear. "Gonna go see if I can stop it before it starts."

Nox walked down to where the argument was taking place. With a big smile, "Can ya'll keep it down? Or maybe I can help out with whatever problem you got going on here.?" Nox said with all his charm.
Thalia glanced up when Nox shouldered a little more room at the bar (earning a little enmity from those around them in response). Her eyes crimped a smile; she didn’t find the chivalry necessary, but it was nice all the same. He leaned to press words into her ear, and she nodded understanding, though leaned to poke him playfully in the ribs before he left. “You have to show me how to do that thing with the lights!”

Her gaze peered back in the direction of the arguing, though for now she held their place in line.

NPC: Carmen

Carmen’s tattooed arms folded, gaze arrowed sharply upwards. Curled red hair rested on delicate shoulders, but little else spoke of fragility despite how Vadim towered above her. He scowled down at her granite expression, cut off from the direction Amaya had fled. “I didn’t fucking touch her.”

“Does my face look like it gives a shit. You’re not supposed to be anywhere near her.” Obsessions surfaced from time to time. It was part of the job to some extent, expected collateral, but not something that would be tolerated. Amaya was a beautiful girl, the very vessel of grace, and possessed of an allure coveted from time to time with too much ardency. Kallisti's darkened doors apparently exacerbated a withdrawal. The girl's urgent message had been clear. The fuck had followed her here.

"Can ya'll keep it down? Or maybe I can help out with whatever problem you got going on here.?" 

Carmen's attention cut to the stranger who thought to intervene, jaw tight. Did the situation not look under control? A quick dissection dismissed the easy charm as a chancer on a white horse, thinking to achieve what she supposed he thought she could not. Like feminine lips were not adequate to the task. Her eyes rolled. “He’s just leaving.”

“Not your name above the door Carmen, last I checked. Call the red devils, eh? See if they care about your little Kallisti whore.”

Her arms unfurled like a roused viper. “This might not be my club, but don’t think for a second I won’t turf your ass straight out of here.”
She was fiery just like her hair. And Nox was 100% certain he had just pissed her off trying to be a knight in shining armor. But he hadn't come here cause of her, or him, but because he didn't exactly want a fight to break out and attention be drawn down on him. The police might draw undue attention to his capering around the city. Dorian might find him. The Atharim might find him, and he wasn't exactly sure he wanted to be back on Ascendancy's radar by making another visit to the CCDPD. Being in that deep dungeon wasn't the greatest prospect in the world.

So peace keeping was what he would do for now. "Name calling is never nice." Nox turned towards the woman though his comment had been directed to him. "Maybe I need to protect him from you?" Nox shook his head. "Nah, I think he needs to leave."

Nox turned back to the man, he was slightly shorter but much more massive than Nox was. But Nox had an advantage. He grinned at him. "Perhaps you'd like to take it outside and keep walking."

"Who the hell do you think you are, пиндос?"

Nox smirked, he actually understood it this time. It wasn't the first time some Russian thought to call him names in Russian. "Just a concerned citizen Duckling." Nox pulled the power around him and winced at the pain. It was only a fleeting moment but it was there - a reminder of all the things he hated about himself and his failures. But he ignored it as he used air to create feathers of air and used them to make the man before him uncomfortable, a tickle here, a grope there. Nox leaned into the man suggestively and grabbed him. "Not quite so fun being the object of someone's man handling is it." Nox smiled softly and whispered. "Leave before I make you." Nox wound the power around the man's neck and arms and squeezed for a reminder.

The man threw a bunch with little warning, but it was expected. Nox danced out of the way just in time for the wall of air to form in his place and the man smashed his hand into nothing but his hand shattered none the less. "I'll ask one more time. Leave." Nox looked at the red head. "You can have him next."
[Image: carmen.jpg]
The stranger didn’t take a hint. Vadim bristled, eyes swivelling to the intrusion. Carmen saw his fists clench and fought a sharp sigh of irritation. She knew her patrons. It was her job to know her patrons. She knew the mouthy ones and the violent ones and the harmless ones, and most of all she knew how to protect her girls without damaging business. Carmen took the situation now in with a wary gaze, hands slipping to her hips. The pinch of her mouth suggested a weight of disapproval, but for the time being she held her silence.

Words flew. The big man flinched like unseen hands roamed inside his clothes, until the other man stepped close. Suspicion furrowed Carmen’s manicured brows as she looked at the American, unswayed by his glib tongue and easy charm. She’d been around enough channelers to read between the lines.

A moment later Vadim shouldered his way through with a scowl. It was all over in a second.

She watched him leave, then turned to square against the stranger. Her brows rose like she awaited an explanation. Probably not the thanks he was expecting, but then she hadn’t asked for him to interfere. “You think that’s going to do my reputation any good, kid? To have him think I needed your help?”
The man walked away without more. His hand would need some attention, and Nox hoped he got it though if Aurora had been here she'd have mended him for his trouble - meaning her annoying little brother starting fights. But that was a different life - he was alone and it felt it on many occasions. Today it hadn't been so bad, but the weight of his sister's loss was always sitting at the back of his mind.

The red head's ire was raised, he'd been right, she was pissed. "I didn't do it for you, Duckling. I'd rather not be scooped up in a bar brawl he started over some girl. You can take care of yourself I can see that, I'm sure it did nothing bad to your reputation. I'd be hard pressed to tarnish the reputation of Kallisti's manager. I'm nothing to worry your pretty little head about. I just want a drama free night with a friend so I can go back to my fucked up life tomorrow without bringing the Atharim down on my head." Sure he could have left the club. But Nox wasn't done dancing. And loud people brought notice, and notice brought more people, and more people brought more loudness and so on. If this guy hadn't started something someone would have. Once the momentum got started it was hard to stop in a place like this. Nox didn't want to deal with that kinda drama. Nox gave her his most charming smile. "Unless you want a dance, or a drink, both or to tell me to fuck off, I'm gonna go get my drink and my friend and hit the dance floor again."

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