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Not gawking
There weren’t a lot of brothers in Moscow.

Andre never had a problem with confidence. Chicago was his town. He knew every gutter, alley, platform and stoplight like the back of his hand. Journeying across the world where he was lost half the time and stared at the rest was getting old real fast.

He didn’t tell Marcus he was coming, but somehow it was like his baby brother sensed a disturbance in the Force anyway. Images of Consul DuBois rotated on a video screen in the subway car. His arms were folded and he wore a fine cut suit. Andre might have shivered if it weren’t for wrapping himself in the serenity of the Force. He swore those digital eyes followed him off the train.

A duffel bag was slung over his shoulders as he checked into a hotel. The skyline hovered across the river, gleaming with gold fucking streets (practically), but the neighborhood he walked felt more like Brooklyn than anything else. The serpentine river cut the two areas in twain. Might as well have been railroad tracks. At least he wasn’t stared at so much here.

He was nervous, he realized finally. He’d not spoken with Marcus in a while, and he worried the sudden visit was going to be taken suspiciously. Then again, Andre should be used to such treatment by now. It was like moving mountains to get the time off to travel anyway. There were no charges brought against him, but the c/o disapproved of the impromptu vacation yet there was no legal reason to forbid it either. Frankly, Andre was lucky to get out while he could. That shit stunk and it was a matter of time before he stepped in it real good.

He vowed to call Marcus, but not till tonight. First, he needed to look around. Get a sense of his surroundings. For a cop, that meant he had to put boots on the ground and walk the streets. For this cop, it was in an orange shirt cut with purple and blue zebra-stripes and jeans. An earring gleamed from one ear, ring and necklace glinted gold at the thumb and throat.  

Hours later he ended up in the Red Square. How could anyone not? It wasn’t really a square, he thought to himself, frowning from the edge of it. Nor was it red, which was kinda disappointing, but maybe the brick fortress walls made up for that. He wasn’t the only tourist around. Hundreds gawked at the Stalinisque architecture around them. Others posed in front of the black Archway. 

Shit. Andre did too. The horses on top were fucking outstanding.
His grandfather was always quick to motivate - specially when it came to Cruz. And finding an apartment hadn't been hard for the senior Vega once he here Cruz was in need. Though he was on his way to Moscow - going to stay with his mother, even though it was now her house. His father had left. Mother demanded a divorce. Really had been about time, and Cruz was 100% certain his father was going to get the berating of a lifetime. But Emilio Vega was in for a big surprise too if he came down on his father. Cruz wanted to see the show down, but he wanted to be as far away as possible too. He didn't envy his mother.

His apartment overlooked the red square and the giant arches the Ascendancy had made. It felt like a life time ago. The place was full of tourists - even more so now that they stood in place of the mausoleum. No one particularly stood out on the sidewalks in front of the visage, everyone was taking pictures.

Cruz stared at it in marvel. He could touch a minute fraction of what the Ascendancy had done that day, and even today as he tried to poke at it the way he and Nox had done with the healing weaves. Both of them too scared to screw things up, but spirit came in handy for looking at things. Cruz was finding all sorts of good uses for it. And today he stood in front of the structure thinking about how it was built. He stared at it like a tourist, but his power stretched into the depths of it trying to find some key - some knowledge that might one day help him.
The Force hummed uncomfortably close. For a moment, Andre worried Marcus found him by surprise rather than the other way around, but when he spun toward the sensation, he found a scrawny, baby-faced kid instead. Kid was probably a misnomer, but it certainly wasn't Marcus.

The Force turned toward the arch, and from Andre's position, he sensed the reaction. It was like a magnet turned upon itself, repulsive, but nothing Andre couldn't overcome. 

He quieted his mind until the Force wrapped him with its presence, almost like a tip of the hat to the other man, he announced his presence. "What'cha doing there?" he asked, going to stand near the kid. 

There was some motion as the crowd seemed to part. Someone was being allowed through. A moment later, a man presented himself to them both. The Force loomed like storm clouds around him, but like Andre, his posture was neutral. He was in his late 20s and wore a kickass gray and black uniform. A chain was slung across his chest. 
"Can I help you boys?" The man asked with a heavy accent. 

Andre's brows rose high. He glanced at the kid, "I'm good," he said, "There a problem?" Was this man a cop? Andre didn't recognize any of the symbols he wore other than the markings of the Ascendancy.
One voice, then a second both of whom held the power. It shouldn't surprise Cruz that there were more than one channeler here. More than one god. Cruz chuckled at his own thoughts, they weren't gods no matter what his father and Nox thought. Just a gift, no different than being a genius.

The first voice was clearly American - they stuck out like sore thumbs in Moscow or any other place for that matter. Their accents their mannerisms - you could always tell. That and he'd lived with two of them for the last few months. But the second Cruz wasn't sure if he should drop the power or take up arms. The Rods of Dominion weren't police but they were Ascendancy's answer to evil channelers. Well that and Domovoi. But they weren't evil channelers. At least he wasn't

Cruz hid his smirk pulling his lips into his mouth before he smiled at the men, 'rods' were a semi-derogatory term for the new men in grey. Nox snickered more than once, but this wasn't Nox's friend. He recognized him from the fund raiser that turned horrific. Cruz still had nightmares.

There was a passing thought of being the rich brat that Nox accused him of being. The I'm not doing anything wrong card you can't stop me. Except he probably could. Cruz couldn't fight, with the power, or his fists - and Nox had tried both time and time again. He just didn't want to do it. There were better uses for his time and energy and Cruz didn't believe the adage that chicks dig scars.

"Just checking out the statue. Seeing how it's made. Ascendancy's a genius I just want to learn." Which was the absolute truth and it answered both of their questions mostly. Cruz pulled on his power a little deeper and spun up a gross exaggeration of one of the more complex structures in the arch he found and it danced in view of the other two men too - the rest of the passerbys would be oblivious to the scene before them. Not quite as good as a holo screen but it did what he needed to do. "I mean look at the beauty in that structure. I wish I could ave been here to see the weave that made it." He couldn't read what was done, only sense the patterns inside the new thing. Nox didn't care, he'd never be of much help in learning the intricacies of the power. He'd never be as strong or as good, but he'd know it inside and out like he did everything else.
The uniform accepted their answer and moved on, but not before huffing a sarcastic reply: “Learn away, but nobody can learn that much,” he hand-waved at the arch and seemingly disregarded them as threats. Andre recognized the swagger and study. They were being watched, even slightly. Shockingly, Andre was fine with it. Something kind of comforting in that.

A look of surprise flickered his face, and Andre glanced back at the arch. He’d not thought about studying it the way the joe at his side was. Was Ascendancy in the habit of teaching the newbies about this power? “Rumor says there’s schools being built. That hold any water?” he asked the other guy. “There’s some wizard running the uh, what’s it called over here? Ministry? Department?” 

Course he knew that wizard was his brother. Marcus, knight of the Jedi order, running the government. What a sight.
Cruz was happy the Rod of Dominion didn't find anything wrong with what they were doing.  The only friend he had in there was not even there.  He was off in America somewhere or so Nox said.  Still boggled Cruz's mind how they had ended up sharing a bed, but whatever, Nox was strange on the best days.  It reminded him of his father and that wasn't a good thing at the moment.

The other American standing next to him asked about the consul and the schools.  Cruz shrugged "I don't know about that.  I've seen nothing of the sort.  But if you are looking to learn I knew someone who can show you how to blow things up and fight with it.  He's proclaims not being very good with anything else, but I've seen him do some incredible things when he doesn't think about it."  Nox was a good teacher even if he was strange.  He was going to miss having them all around.  He'd never had friends like that before, and now because of his father they'd all gone their separate ways.

"I imagine Consul DuBois will start things.  There are a lots of things to take care of.  I mean it's all barely weeks since this was annoucned.  You can't start a revolution in a day."  Cruz laughed.  And it was going to be a revolution and it was likely to be a bloody one.  The weeks passed had already proved that.  So much mass hysteria between the Atharim and the fact that magic was real.  What would the world think if they knew monsters were real.
He scratched his chin thoughtfully, “nah, don’t need to learn nothing like that. I think I’m set,” he said. The poem of the Order recited in his mind and above an open palm flickered a small flame. It was snuffed quickly afterward else they draw more attention to themselves. The other tourists mostly ignored them, but that didn’t mean they’d dismiss a channeler showing off in their midst.

“Wouldn’t mind meeting anyone like that guy of yours. He sounds bad ass.” Andre laughed and offered a handshake, “I’m Andre,” he omitted the surname. “What do they say about this Consul guy? Online forums are freakishly quiet about all the government pretty boys.”    
Cruz laughed.  "Everyone can learn something."  But as usual once you tell them about Nox they want to meet him.  Aiden couldn't wait either.  "I'm sure that could be arranged, though he's being elusive but for good reason."

The American intruduced himself.  "Cruz.  And really I don't know much about him."  Cruz admitted.  "I met him sorta once.  Though he sorta captured my friend with a net taking away his gift.  I'm not exactly fond of him and probably think I'm not the best person to ask right now."  The fresh memory was exactly that still fresh.  The smoke monsters the discovery of the net he spoke of.   "Though I hear he's smart and capable of his job."
Cruz dropped a lot of uncomfortable ‘sorta’s. They crossed paths some point in the past. It didn’t sound like a happy confrontation either. Marcus the bookworm nerd? Intimidating? Interesting take on his little bro. “Heh, well thanks for the chat. Catch you around, Cruz,” he said, nodding and wandered off to catch more of the sights. Maybe even steal a glimpse of Marcus if he was the type to show himself atop fortress walls.

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