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What Wouldn't I Give
Continued from The Brutal Reality with @"Ivan Sarkozy" and @"Lih"

The tunnels had been suffocating and dark.  The pain had been overwhelming.  There was very little blood loss thanks to the searing pain, but that didn't mean it had been rainbows and flowers.  Nox didn't really remember much after getting bitten.  It was all a bunch of hazy memories.  But mostly the blinding panic of becoming one of those things.  A hell of a way to go.

And when Nox opened his eyes everything was blurry.  The sounds of machines beeping and the clean smell told him once again he was in the hospital.  Another stupid mistake landing him in a room where his identity was best kept a secret.  But Ivan and Lih probably hadn't thought about that.  Not that it mattered either way.  He was already an enemy of the Atharim.  He was surprised they hadn't tried again.

There was no one there.  Not that Nox expected anyone to be there when he woke up.  Everyone he know had lives and families and Nova wouldn't be allowed inside.  Even if he had survived.  Nox remembered the blur of fur and flesh saving him from one of the creatures just before the one that bit him latched on.

Everything hurt.  He was starving, in a way he hadn't ever felt before. Nox tried to move but found the loss of the left arm and he stared at the bandage wrapped around it.  Fuck!  At least his allegiance to the Atharim went with it.  But now hunting was going to be limited.  Fuck getting dressed was going to be limited.  Nox growled in frustration.

A nurse passing by looked in and Nox gave her a smile.  But she didn't stop, hurried on past.  She was cute.  He wondered if his nurse was cute.  The last one had been when he was in the hospital last.

Shortly after the first one walked by another one came in with a smile, "Mr. Durante, it's good to see you awake.  How are you feeling?"

"Ravenous."  She looked at him a little concerned.  "And it hurts all over."

"That was some damage done to your arm.  Do you know what happened?"

Nox nodded.  "I had my friend cut it off."  

She laughed like it was a joke, but it wasn't.  Her face fell flat.  "Why?"

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you."  Nox squirmed to try to sit up and the nurse helped Nox readjust and Nox refrained from the urge to growl at her for her assistance. "I need to get word to the Ascendancy and whoever the fuck my boss is.  No one has touched my blood have they?"

"We drew some when you came in."

Nox growled loudly.  "You need to stop now.  It might not be safe.  I was bitten by a creature that from my assumption propagates the same way a chubacabra does, and I don't know if we cut off the bite before it spread to the rest of my body.  So from this point forward you need to treat this as a case of biological warfare.  Someone is making these things and I don't think I've stopped them."

She nodded and slowly headed for the door  "I'll go see about finding you a doctor."

Nox laughed.  "I told you, you wouldn't believe me.  Can I have my wallet?"

She sighed and went to the closet and rummaged through a black plastic bag.  She found my wallet and brought it to me.  And she left quickly.

Nox didn't really have any idea of how to really contact the Ascendancy.  He'd believe him.  The only thing Nox had was the number that had asked him to meet.  So he sent a text.

Quote:Need contact update. Got bit by a chupacabra like creature, so far with severed arm, symptoms are nil, but unknown time lapse occurred. Blood drawn - possible epidemic if not cleared of parasite.  Please assist. Likely going to psyche ward.

Nox had no idea of @"Ascendancy" or who might get it, but someone would and hopefully they'd pass it on to the right person @"Marcus Dubois"

With the important bits done Nox went to the personal bits.  He had no idea how long he had been out of it.  And no one knew where he was staying.  So Carmen and Raffe were probably wondering why he flaked after the performance had actually gone well.  Now it looked like dancing was out.

Another text was tapped out carefully with his wallet on the bed and his only working hand typing.

Quote:I'm not dead.  Probably wished I was though.  Went hunting, got hurt, woke up in the hospital.  Will send you details soon as I get them.

The next time the nurse came by Nox would shoot that information off to @"Raffe".  Hopefully he hadn't fucked that up too much.  It was his only home at the moment and just the thought of seeing Raffe made Nox smile.

All the boring things that happen in hospitals Nox was waiting for the doctor and probably a psych eval.  Nox flipped through old text messages and found one from Sage with articles he thought he'd find interesting.  He'd shoved them away but now he could actually sit down and watch.  He had nothing better to do while he waited.
Nox hadn't known his Dad had a brother, but it made sense, there was always two boys in the pictures with Granddad. It had always been Chad like he had been betrayed by him when ever his father had spoken about the other boy. But he never said he was his brother nor ever acted like he cared. How had he escaped the Atharim?

But the girl who was his cousin posted a reply immediately and was asking way too many question for a public forum like that. Even if the girl hid the post now, it was too late. But it wasn't hard to get her number. Nox couldn't hack like Sage could, but he wasn't a complete idiot around a computer and it really wasn't too hard to figure out her wallet's number which she was using. It was all part of being Atharim after all. Even if he wasn't Atharim anymore, didn't mean all those skills went away. And that was just a simple task.

Nox looked up from his wallet, he wondered where the doctor was. Maybe it was taking longer for that phschye eval to get here than they thought. Didn't want to be alone with the crazy man. Nox chuckled to himself as he sent Sterling the first text. This was almost too good to be true - family in Moscow. Who'd a thunk.
The conversation went well considering he was talking to a fourteen year old and Nox had been fourteen not too terribly long ago but he was hardly a typical kid. He was hunting monsters by then. Had several kills under his belt too. Not to mention living on the road and school online. Nothing typical about his childhood. But she was supposed to be telling her parents. The last thing Nox wanted was to be arrested because of some kids parents and a misunderstanding.

But he needed to keep his mind off of things, so Nox scrolled through his texts and still found his last one to Jay unanswered. That was concerning. He could be ignoring him, but Nox didn't have any idea why. Their last messages were good. Sweet even, if you think a guy in a cowboy hat in the dark was sweet.

Nox growled and took a bed ridden selfie. He hated taken pictures of himself but maybe it would lighten the mood. His face wasn't in the shot and it was awkward as Nox tried to fidget with the voice controls. Having only one arm made the whole process all that much more difficult. The timer just wasn't cutting it.

The shot included only the hospital gown, the lost arm and the hoses and lines on the floor. It was a shitting shot. Nox sent it.

To @"Jay Carpenter" :
Quote:Taking a selfie just became that much more difficult. Lost an arm. You better be doing better than me! ... Really Jay, I'm worried. Tangled webs and all that. (with picture)

The text sent and Nox hoped that he'd get a message from Raffe or Jay soon. Raffe more so than Jay, but Jay's lack of response was concerning.

The doctor still hadn't come in...

A message from Sterling popped up just as a tall man, a blond woman, both in white, and the nurse from before walked into the room. "Mr. Durante, It's good to see you awake." He offered Nox his hand. "I'm Dr. Tkachenko Yanovich"

"Great to be awake, doc. I really need you to get your people to hold off on touching and playing with my blood."

"See I told you." The nurse said. She got a glare from Nox in return for her comment.

"Do you have some sort of communicable disease we need to know about?' He glanced at Nox's records on his tablet. "I see nothing from your prior stay."

Nox sighed, Why the fuck do you think I had my own fucking arm cut off? Really enlighten me!"

The three medical professionals looked at each other and started whispering. Nox rolled his eyes and reached for the power. But it didn't feel the same. It was like reaching through mud. The light was just the other side of the muddy puddle, but that first attempted made Nox let go as soon as he held the power in his grasp. He swore he heard the sucking sound of the hole closing back up after he let it go. Nox shuddered. "You didn't think it would be so easy to escape death did you, little brother." Aurora's voice wasn't Aurora's as it had been. The visage in his head was her dead body. "Fuck me!" Nox said out loud....
"Why did you cut your arm off, Mr. Durante?"

Nox sighed and shook me. "You won't believe me, so I'm just going to tell you, the voices told me to."

"The voices? Tell me about them."

Nox growled. "There are no fucking voices." But that was a lie, he'd just seen and heard his dead sister clear as day in his head. But she had not told him to cut off his arm. "Let me explain it very. slowly. for. you. I'm an Atharim field hunter, ex actually but still doesn't matter. I hunt the things that go bump in the night. I was hunting them with Detective Ivan Sarkozy and Officer Viktor Lih on behalf of Detective Dorian Vega. I have his fucking number. We went into the tunnels under the city and ran across a bunch of creatures out of some fucked up assholes creation and they swarmed us. One bit me. These creatures look and act like chupacabar's with a lot more spreading power but they don't present as chups. It's hard to explain... again doesn't matter. It bit me they spread by parasites from fluid to fluid contact. In order to not turn into one of them I had cut off my fucking arm." As I was ranting to the doctors who were about to put me up in the loony bin I hit Dorian's number on my wallet and let him listen to the conversation going on.


I growled, "Tell these nice doctors I'm not mental."

I handed the nearest doctor my wallet...
When Dorian's wallet rang he thought nothing of it until he glanced at the number and quickly dialed it. They'd gone to the tunnels today, he hadn't expect a direct call from Nox given the past events, but there it was. Dorian answered the phone but what greeted him was Nox ranting to someone about what he was doing. Very unAtharim like. But then again neither of them were Atharim. They were out as an organization, and Nox was working for the CCDPD now. Even in his consulting compacity he had more influence - and a direct 'hire' from the Ascendancy himself. It meant something.

Nox eventually spoke to him. and Dorian chuckled.

An unfamiliar voice spoke, "Who do I have the pleasure of speaking with?"

"Dorian Vega. I'm the detective in charge of Nox's activities down in the tunnels. If he says he saw monsters he did. And whatever it is he's asking is legit."

"How do I know you aren't just a friend pretending to be a cop?"

Dorian rattled off his badge number. "I work for the Domovoi unit, and Nox is my lead source of information on the weird and crazy things that go on in this city." It wasn't exactly a lie, but it was the truth. He knew more than Dorian did. Thanks to the now deceased little song. That was sad and such a waste of talent. But crazy was crazy and monsters had to be put down.

"You won't mind if we run this number do you Detective Vega?"

"Absolutely not. Why would I give it to you otherwise? What is Nox wanting, I only got half the story?"

"He says we should treat this like an unknown contagion."

"Treat what like an unknown contagion?"

"His blood and himself."

"Nox, what the fuck happened?" Dorian didn't wait for an answer as he got up form his office chair. "I'll be right there, then you can tell me." He hung up the wallet and grabbed his coat along with the paperwork that he was working on for the hunt he'd authorized. And Nox's authority in the matter. Thankful the paperwork had come in when it had now. Nox was going to need it. The boy might hate him for what he did, but Dorian still felt responsible for him. Almost as much as he did Cruz. Whatever forced him to call Dorian was serious. The boy was a man of principle.

Dorian hurried to his car. Moscow University was his destination. Thank you Sage for your tracking software.
Quote:I'm not dead.  Probably wished I was though.  Went hunting, got hurt, woke up in the hospital.  Will send you details soon as I get them.

He read the message several times, gut swimming with the unspoken implications of hurt, given what he knew of Nox’s extra curricular activities. The light-hearted tone did little to reassure, even if it at least meant he was awake and coherent. Raffe raked a hand through his curls. Took a breath. Tried to reign in the race of his imagination.

I’m glad you’re not dead.

He hit send before he could regret how inadequately lame it sounded, and shoved the wallet back in his pocket.

“Are you going to buy that, or not?”

“Yeah. Yeah I am. Sorry.”

He dug for change, offering an apologetic smile to the woman behind the market stall. She roved a critical eye over the potted plant he had tucked under his arm, but said nothing despite that it had clearly seen better days. Not that it mattered to Raffe. Afterwards he hurried to catch the metro towards the university hospital, the plant stowed safe on a seat alongside while his knee bounced the whole journey. He’d been to the Guardian a couple of times, especially as a kid, but never here. Conscious of his scars he approached reception.

“I’m here to visit a patient. Nox Durante?”
"How dare he...." The doctor handed Nox back his wallet with a frown, "Doesn't he know who I am?"

Nox laughed. "You never introduced yourself to my friend." Dorian wasn't a friend, or was he. Had he been too hard? Nox growled to himself. No. Dorian deserved what he got for that betrayal. No matter his reasons. This wasn't anything but work. Nox told himself that. Told him Dorian hadn't been like a father while he'd stayed with him. Fuck!

The doctor sighed and took out his stethescope. "Let's see how you are doing?" He then looked at the nurse, "Follow his instructions. If the police are involved we don't want anyone getting exposed to whatever this is."

Nox laughed, whatever this is... he was either crazy, on drugs now or he was telling the truth. At least it was just better than being crazy. He thanked god for the small leap of faith the doctor took. "It could be nothing, I hope it's nothing, but until someone who knows looks you could put your people at risk."

Nox could relax with the doctor there, but at least safety was being taken into consideration. That made him feel better as the doctor ran through all the vitals and such.
Dorian pulled into a parking spot and hurried into the hospital.  He hated coming here, it always meant bad things.  Death usually.  Though never personally - yet.  Inside, as he approached the receptionist he overheard a man asking after Nox.  A new friend?  He did make friends in the strangest places. 

“I’m here to visit a patient. Nox Durante?”

Dorian overheard the receptionist give the man a room number.  And smiled as he flashed his badge and put a hand on the man's shoulder. "I'll escort him.  That's who I'm here to see."

He turned to leave and dropped his hand from the man's shoulder.  "Don't worry, Nox hasn't done anything wrong."  Or had he?  Dorian didn't know either.    They'd both be finding out soon enough.
Raffe caught the flash of a badge as a man placed a hand on his shoulder. He knew bits of Nox’s past prior to Kallisti, but hadn’t pressed too hard on the details of how he’d found himself homeless in the first place. Something uncomfortable niggled, but only for a moment. Not that Raffe wasn’t law-abiding, but most of the kids in the orphanage had a difficult relationship with the local cops growing up, and the weight of authority still made him uneasy. Despite that Raffe offered an affable enough smile as he tucked the plant back under his arm, open in his curiosity as he followed. “Doubt you’d come alone if he had,” he pointed out mildly. Unless this man was one of the channelers Nox had previously been teaching, which was a possibility. “I’m Raffe.”
They walked in the direction of Nox's room. The man offered his name, he'd never heard of it before, so not a friend from before. A new one. Dorian offered his own with a nod to acknowledge he wouldn't be alone if Nox did something bad. If he did, Dorian had no idea who he'd bring with him. Ivan was the only one he knew who might have a chance against a man who trained himself to be a weapon with the power of the gods. The Ascendancy was fearful in his right with that power, but the things Nox did with it. And Nox was afraid of what others could do with the power. That was a sobering thought. "Dorian Vega." He didn't want to say friend, or colleague, he wasn't sure what Nox told Raffe.

"Don't tell me he saved you from whatever got you?' The boy was always saving someone - pulling in strays, making friends of those you least expected. But whatever had gotten this man Dorian hoped was dead or put away. That didn't look pleasant in the least. But he wouldn't pry into the specifics.

The door to Nox's room was open and there were three medical personal in the room, one sitting in a chair waiting while the nurse stood back waiting instructions and the other doctor was unwrapping a bandage from Nox's arm. Or what had been his arm. He stood there gawking openly at the missing limb. It looked like it had been severed with a hot blade from the way the skin was healing.

The doctor looking at the wound was nodding. "Whoever did this at least did a good job. It's healing nicely, we'll get someone in here to cleans the burn and then the surgeon will come in and make sure everything goes where it's supposed to." He turned to the open door and gave them a smile. "One of you is Detective Vega."

Dorian nodded. "I am. Tell me what's going on." Dorian let the man finish wrapping the bandage around Nox's arm and then Dorian lead him out of the room with the other doctor. The nurse followed slowly behind leaving Nox with his friend Raffe while he got a medical explanation and then he'd get the truth from Nox. He had to smooth over all the rough edges Nox was likely to have caused.

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