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Quote:Kintsugi (golden joinery) is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

After the show Nox was up early. Coffee was the first thing on his list. Well, after he checked to see if Raffe's room was still empty. He thought about taking Raffe his phone. He'd caught up on all his texts and saw the information on both Visha and Raffe's location. It took every ounce of his being not to rush to the Paragon facility and make sure Raffe was alright. He was worried for more than one reason. He'd missed something when he last saw the man, he wanted so much to take back the past few weeks. But life was the not a video game you couldn't go back in the past and retry for a better ending. It would go where it went and he'd survive -- one way or another.

Nox relayed via his ghosted connection to Sage on his phone his plans for protecting Kallisti. It was grand and going to be a lot of work. It wasn't like protecting Dorian's estate. He couldn't just raise the walls and put down traps. Kallisti was a place of business in the middle of a busy neighborhood full of other businesses legal or otherwise. He'd walk the streets and make friends with all the owners -- or at least attempt to. Sage would have to find the blind spots, and they'd get as many cams as they could without resorting to hacking unwill participants. But Nox wouldn't stop Sage.

Sage also put in an order for sensors. Nox intended to drop the line just below the surface with the power the gods gifted him, and power it with the city's grid. It was a trickle of power. Sage didn't think it would be noticed.

All of those notes took place in the wee hours of the first morning after the show. The rest was the hard work of implementing his plan. But he couldn't spend all his time focusing on Kallisti, he still had to train Domovoi and Nox spent a few hours at the precinct doing that work before he stopped outside of Paragon that first day.

Nox stared at the glass front building and wondered where in it Raffe was. Sage wasn't able to get to him, but the video footage showed he'd gone in and never come out. Nox could rush in. Make a scene and try to get to Raffe. But what was the point. Nox sighed and sat down with a rock in his hand on a bench that overlooked a small greenery in the manicured gardenscape of the Paragon building. He didn't watch the building. Just sat running the rock through his fingers with the power flowing through it. It was idle task while he thought about what to say to Raffe. How he felt. How he could make it up to him. His mind tumbled with emotions and thoughts and he pocketed the rock without looking at the actions he preformed when the sun was just about to set. He had to get to work. Kallisti shifts were still important and he was tired.

Kallisti was still rocking from the night before. People were disappointed to find that Nox wore the black t-shirt like the rest of the bouncers. But he didn't really care. He smiled and flirted and was polite, but it was all just an act.

As the club shut its doors for the night Nox made his way to the Alamaz. He needed a fight. Needed to release some of the pent of energy. All the sexual frustration from the horde and his longing for Raffe piled into the first fight. He took a beating, but thankfully the only damage was to his pride, not so much his face. His opponent learned quickly that Nox had no intention of getting punched in the face again. The hard solid block of air crushed the guys hand. Opps.

Nox wasn't really sorry though he did apologize to the guy in the back. They shared a guy moment and then they were both back to whatever they had planned on doing. Nox pulled in two fights before he slunk back into the tunnels to check if any of the residents of tent city had returned. He was surprised to find a small make shift tent in a corner with a stuffed bunny tucked into the blankets, but there was no one there to be found.

Nox pulled upon the power and made a small room out of rock and stone from the cavern itself. It would remain standing long after the tarp used deteriorated. He wove a ball of light and hung it from the roof of the make shift home and set the ball to expire in 48 hours. And before he left he crafted a fire in a box that would die in 24 hours. At least tonight they'd sleep warm, if they returned.

He checked the cavern before leaving through the tunnels back to Kallisti to catch a few hours of sleep before returning to the same pattern -- coffee, protect Kallisti, domovoi, fret about Raffe whittling away at a rock in front of paragon, bouncing, fighting, building homes in tent city much the same as he had for the stuffed bunny who was still there the next day, though tossed to the side in a hasty retreat, and sleep.

It wasn't a life, but it was at least moving forward even if it killed him every second. The horder bashed at his skull. His emotions rattled his brain. And there was only one light, but even if it went out he'd move forward.
[[ ooc: These events aren't necessarily chronological, just filling in the days between Nox's show and when Raffe gets out ]]

The coffee was hot in his hands as Nox walked down the street collecting himself. He'd spoken to several of the neighbors and most of them didn't particularly want to cooperate with his reinforcement of the neighborhood. Probably already had protection and didn't want to piss them off. Not that I was going to ask for money or anything, but whatever. Sage had already grabbed all the feeds and was compiling a list of hiding spots we'd have to add cameras to. I didn't need their permission to deposit a camera in some other location. And Sage didn't really care one way or the other if they wanted to let him in. He got in anyway. The morality of it was gray bordering on dark -- but Sage was a stalker and he was all for more access.

Really was amusing thinking how Sage and Aiden came to be together. Still annoyed at it, but who the fuck would pass up the opportunity to be w ith someone famous? Honestly Nox was grateful it had happened the way it had -- he might never have fallen so hard for someone who actually cared about him. And he fucked it up. So easily and so readily he'd fucked it up.

Nox reached into his pocket and pulled the lump of rock he'd been wittling at. It had started out as just an idle manipulation, but the more he thought about Raffe, and the more he thought about that grand gesture and the fixing things. There wasn't anything he could do to undo what he did. Promises were broken, yet Nox fixated on the actual problem. If it had been any other promise he'd outright broken? One that wasn't of fidelity. Of faithfulness would Raffe have needed time? This was a betrayal on top of a broken promise.

Life was barely worth getting up in the morning. But he did it. He made himself get up. Made himself follow the routine he started. It was hard knowing that the man he had taken for granted wasn't there. And he might never return. Things may never go back to the way they were. Or even close. But Nox needed Raffe. Needed that light at the end of his day. And his light was fading into his darkness. Smothering it with anxiety and the hordes desires.

They weren't going away. Each day it was harder to fight. Harder to be true and faithful. Harder to bite back the anger and aggression. He did it. Barely. Physical exertion helped. The fight helped. Eating helped. Everything he did helped just a little bit, but nothing helped as much as knowing Raffe would be there to help him through the harder times. And he'd fucked it up. Fucked it all to hell because of the horde.

Nox knew how he felt. What he wanted. But there was fear mixed in with all the feelings. The rock was taking shape, the flat slap turned circle was shaping nicely into a ring, carved with the power of the gods, sanded and shaped with earth and air. Smelted and smoothed with fire and water. It was nothing but an ordinary rock, but it would be more -- a symbol of the only promise he could ever make and never break. Even if it was over, it didn't change the way he felt.
The underground was cooler than above, Nox huddled in his hoodie as he flung the power from the earth to erect walls and floors, and makeshift homes. He couldn't give those people their lives above, but he could make coming back here more comfortable, more private. He was making presumptions that they wanted privacy and warmth. Walls made of rock were better than nothing. He'd never had a home before, never lived in a house, or something that his parents had owned. He wasn't homeless exactly, but he was without a home. Home was where the heart was.

He felt broken without Raffe. Knew that they'd talk eventually, he'd come back to Kallisti to work. Or he wouldn't, but Nox couldn't sit around and pout and wait. He'd fucked up. He knew that. He would pray to the gods if he thought it would do any good. He had nothing but his promise. And even though he'd broken an important one, Nox intended to live up to the rest. He could help protect the people Raffe cared about. Provide for them. Give them what he could. He didn't have anything to offer.

Not really.

But there were some folks living under the rooves he built. Nox had watched a pair of girls scamper away from him the past two evenings. They even followed him home some nights, watching him from the shadows. Nox left them food in the mornings, and a rechargeable speaker with music they might like in their little den. He left a glowing orb for light and a warm fire to sleep by. He also cleaned the blankets and the bunny that sat in the den each night. He'd do more if he could, but they never came close.

Nox left a note with the speaker.

Quote:Leave it outside the door when it dies and I'll charge it again. - Nox (my name by the way, what's yours?")

He hadn't expected a response but the next day the speaker sat outside their little door and scratched with dirt (he hoped it wasn't blood) was the word 'hi'. The simple words made Nox smile and with the speaker Nox left a bundle of coloring book with coloring sticks and some extra paper with them. He didn't ask for their names again, but continued leaving them small notes for the next couple days. They didn't trust him. But they were starting too. He saw them more and more on each trip.

Nox missed Raffe, but at least he had another reason to get up in the morning. Those girls made his internal darkness a little bit better.

He thought about them, while he sat on the bench outside of Paragon's building. It wasn't enough to be that close and Nox stopped himself several times from going inside. But it was better than nothing, and he knew he couldn't sit there forever. But he came everyday at the same time, to sit and wait and watch and find the flaws in the ring he was making. It'd be perfect by the time he saw Raffe again. Or at least as perfect as he could make it.
The more time he spent around Kallisti, the more people started to notice his anger/aggression over the littlest thing. Feeding two of the three additional hungers only did so good when you still tempered both of them. Food was only so much he could eat before Nox felt like he was going to gain weight and put on unwanted pounds. Not that he thought anyone other than himself would think anything of it, but he'd notice. And he'd been noticing the changes. He neither wanted to bulk up or fatten up in any terms. He was find with how he looked without the fucking horde messing with his appetites.

And sex was totally out of the question -- at least until he figured out where he stood with Raffe. He held out hope for something going forward, but as the days drew on the harder it was to believe and it had nothing to do at all with their sex lives. Nox's doubts of himself and his worth plagued his mind and his soul. And the voice of his sister torn into him at every down moment. If he kept moving, didn't sleep or rest he could fight off the voices. Being alone was difficult and he hated being alone with his thoughts.

Fighting had become a thing to blow of steam. He missed his dojo in Dorian's basement and the warehouse. Missed the place to throw himself into with abandon and knowledge he'd not hurt anyone inside the ring. Fighting at the Alamaz he had to hold back. Sparring required holding back. But the fight was all he had to deal with pent up energy of the horde. They were few and far between, but their tiny voices beat against his walls like they beat against their enclosures wherever they were. They drew him towards them, and each day on his runs and walks around the city he followed their voices. He'd find them. Kill them to silence their din. But then it was just himself locked in his head. Forever with the fuel of the horde and no outlet. Nox didn't see anyway out of his present hell and he almost wished to end things with Raffe so that his friend and love wouldn't have to endure his ineptitude and disappoint him again and again when he failed to be the man he could be without the horde lingering in his mind. That was the ultimate depression -- the place where his heart sank and he'd reach for the ring he was making in his pocket. Always a comfort to run his fingers over the now smooth stone. His light, his hope caught up in one tiny trinket and yet that light hinged on one thing. Getting up was easy. Moving forward was hard. Moving on would be hell. Forward was all he had right now. Each day a new step. Each day a new fight.

One snap to the right ears brought him to Gracie's gym. A place he'd been to once or twice with Bas. The memories filled his mind. Another loss. Memories that bore deep scars. Nox was not one to fight with a woman, but Oriena was no ordinary woman and when she offered to put him in his place -- not those exact words. Nor exactly what she said, he took her up. If they were in the dojo it might be fun to add the power to the fight. It was a challenge fighting a woman. He knew when the power rose with in but that was the extent of his knowledge. Aurora loved besting him when they were learning. But she wasn't a fighter. She preferred the softer more subtle things. But they had learned together to fight.

The spar had one simple rule. No shots to the face. Which of course lead to Nox leaving with a bloodied nose and a busted lip. Rules weren't Ori's thing. Though he probably deserved one of them after running his mouth and shortening her name in front of others who keenly watched him get the hell beat out of him. Did he lose on purpose? Maybe -- maybe not. Part of the fight inside was his failing morale. His need to feel like shit. What better way than to be beaten into submission.

Ori dug into the visceral wounds of his mind, taunting and pushing him until he'd get up for more. It was therapy in a sick sort of way. A physical fight into his mind -- into his pain and anguish. He luxuriated in the physical pain, it beat the mental and emotional stuff. He was heading down a dark path, and the light poked through in rare glimpses. Oriena didn't show she cared in no way anyone else would interpret, but if you knew her well enough, you knew it meant something.

By the end of the day Nox was grateful to curl up in his bed. Though sadness struck again knowing it was empty. But that was for the next day.
I suppose living with an observant caring person was strange and it had been a while since I lived with Dorian, but he noticed the changes. I'm sure others did too, but no one took it upon themselves to say anything. Fear, or embarrassing me whatever the reason didn't matter but Dorian pulled me aside one afternoon I spent in the precinct looking over the papers the detectives and officers wer ehanding in. Felt very much like school. And in a way it was, but I wasn't going to hold the hands of adults while they did the work. They either did or did not and it was their lives on the line -- not mine. I didn't care if they learned how to find a Wefuke in the newspaper, or if they knew the difference between a chupacabra and a rabid dog. I didn't fucking give a shit, it was their life, not mine.

And it was boring work which was why Dorian was handling the day to day. But I wanted the more promising officers to help with taking out of the facilities in the most legal way possible -- if I could. But that was for a later date, when I wasn't distracted by my personal life -- which is what Dorian pulled me out to comment on.

"You okay?"

Right as rain. But I gave him that level look and just shrugged. "Been better."

Dorian nodded and sighed. He knew he was stepping over his place and acting like the father he never was to Cruz. He ducked his head and then nodded down the hall. "The cases we work pay a toll on us. The strange and the weird. While Dr. Piroizzi is our profiler, she is also here for our mental well being. You should talk to her."

I guffawed. "You seriously think Aria's sister wants to talk to me? To fucking Atharim, with her history and with Aria." I dropped my voice "having killed her psychopathic father?"

"You don't know that to be a truth." He grabbed my shirt in a wadd and pulled me close. "His body was never found." The beast in my head growled. The blood in my veins boiled and it was everything in my willpower not to tear Dorian's hand from his arm for grabbing me.

I just nodded. I knew where he could be found. I had it on a map. That was the start of Aria's fall. He'd killed Lucas. She hunted him, killed him like the animal he was and then Dane fucking had to go and get murdered himself for Aria to lose it all. I knew a lot of secrets. Way too many to be working for the police.

"I'll think about it." I said pushing Dorian away from me with a shove. "Don't grab me like that again."

Dorian put up his hands in surrender. He didn't really know how close he'd come to losing his hand. How strong the horde really was. The simple smile hid most of it, but apparently not everything. Not enough to keep the meddling father figure out of his life. But he wasn't wrong. Maybe talking about impulse control might help. Anxiety and depression were old hats, but adding in the horde just made life so much worse. Maybe he thought. Maybe...
Nox took Dorian's advice and knocked on Dr. Pirozzi's door.

"Come in.""

Nox pushed the door open and leaned against the door frame. "Dorian says you are also a head doctor as well as the profiler for Domovoi?"

Dr. Pirozzi looked up from her work and her frown deepened when she met my eyes. "Typically. But I don't listen to Atharim murderers."

"Good thing I'm not Atharim, anymore." Nox smirked, though it didn't reach his eyes. "I know you don't like my kind for what we've done to yours. And I don't blame you. But I don't killl innocents."

"I notice you didn't say you weren't a murderer."

Nox shrugged. "That would be a lie and I do my best not to do that."

Dr Pirozzi folded her hands together and glared at me in the doorway. "What do you want, Mr. Durante?"

"Two things. If your ammenable to it I'd like to talk to you about some of the things I've seen and done since joining Domovoi as a consultant."

"And the other?"

"Does Domovoi keep any of the channeler sedation crap on hand to subdue their power?"

"We do. But why are you asking?"

"Ever since I lost the arm, I'm not the man I used to be."

Alex growled.

Nox chuckled. "Not like that. There are some anger control issues, impulsivness. I want to keep a vial at Kallisti in case someone needs to take me down." It wasn't exactly a lie. It was a partial truth, There was more to it

Dr. Pirozzi looked at me and she frowned. "I know you aren't telling me the whole truth. But it's for you? That is accurate."

Nox gave her a weak smile. "I just need a break."

"You have someone willing to put a bullet in your head, if necessary?"

He nodded. Nox didn't specifically ask Oriena, but if he threatened her family Nox knew she'd take him down without a thought. "And there are any number of people who'd do so for free too."

She got up from her desk and unlocked a box near the door and handed Nox a vial. "10 ccs at first, if that doesn't work, another 10 but anything more could kill anyone."

Nox took the vial carefully in his hand and tucked it into his hoodie pocket. "Thanks." He turned to leave grabbing the door behind him.

Dr. Pirozzi cleared her throat. "Make an appointment and we can talk. There is a lot more to talk about than just the changes if you feel as knotted as I sense."

Nox nodded. "I'll do that. Thanks. Talk soon."
There were some strange things that came back to Nox's mind while he sat honing and perfecting the stone ring. How losing the power had made him feel. First when Allan took the power from him, and then again at the club for a brief second. He'd wanted the serum for himself, but he wanted to test his theory more than to keep it for taking him down. But he'd leave the remainder at Kallisti for that job. Him -- or someone else might need it one day.

And he had the perfect place to test it. No one would get hurt.

Nox made his way into the caverns below the city, tent city was still empty and the girls didn't look like they'd skittered from their hole recently. That was nice, but also a little worrying. What would they see when they came back.

In the corner Nox errected solid perfectly unflawed pillars of rock from floor to ceiling so close that no human his size could escape. He looked at the camera he knew that would catch it all. He thought about turning it off, but that would alert Sage to his presense more than doing what he was doing.

Nox stepped on the other side and perfected the entrance as he'd done the other pillars. He'd be safe. He prayed he'd be safe.

Nox drew 10 ccs of the serum and his wallet and gear the otherside of the wall so he didn't damage it. He undid his arm and placed it all inside a box of air he tied off with the longest knot he could manage. He had no idea how long he'd be out of it. He'd lost track of the the days he'd been under before.

With a deep breath Nox injected the serum into his arm and stuck the need the other side of the earthen cage. He felt the effects immediately and slumpped to the ground. He felt the darkness rise and he didn't care. And he tried to stave it away, but it slipped through his grasp like the power in his veins. There was no control of the power or the horde. The rage boiled in his blood and Nox beat his hand against the stone bars. There was no thought except escape.
[Image: attachment.php?aid=102]

"Morgan!" Mckenzie yelled for sister and it echoed in the tunnels. "Where are you? Olli-olli-oxen-free. Morgs, come on. I'm done. I'm scared."

A grownl and the sound of flesh hitting rock woke Morgan from her hiding spot in a corner crevice of their former home. Their new home too. The nice man kept them warm, but Kenzie hated him. He'd put a gun to their mother's head. Kenzie hates him. Morgan wasn't so sure.

She pulled Little Bunny to her chest and took a big sniff of her head. She smelled so good, so calm so relaxing. It made her smile. It really helped when she got scared and the sounds nearby were scaring her.

The pounding and growling didn't cease and Morgan stuck her head out and saw their friend beating on a cage that hadn't been here when she hid. Something was wrong.

Morgan scootted out from behind the rock to get a better view. A rock skittered across the stone and he looked at her, Mr. Nox looked at her with dark eyes. They were still the same color but that sparkle was gone. it was darkness and the look on his face was scary.

Morgan screamed.

He rushed her and Morgan swated at his face with her bunny and turned and ran to the corner, he was too big to reach.
The darkness ate at his senses. The control slipped through his fingers. His hand was covered in blood from beating against the unyielding stone. Blood dripped from his head from the head butting he'd tried. The horde's instincts overrode his own and he felt it all, saw it all and he hated himself. Hated everything about this loss of control.

A noise in the opposite corner drew his attention.

Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

Nox drew at his power, fought against the slipperiness. No. No. No. He couldn't stop the rush towards her. His feet moved without his power without his control.

Smack! Fluffy belted his face and the horde recoiled in disgust. Nox grabbed it with his bloodied hand and and held the bunny to his nose. The horde retreated into his mind, burried itself under his pscyhe burried itself.

Nox stopped his movement. He sat down on the ground of his own will. He buried his face in the stuffed toy and took in the scent. He buried himself in the scent. Whatever it was the horde abhorred, and with that he'd found a new favorite smell. The power slipped from his fingers. It wasn't a cure, but it was hope.
Nox found himself pressed against the wall with the bunny clutched to his face. He felt the horde but they avoided the surface thoughts. It made him smile as he leaned against the wall and waited for the serum to wear off. No telling when that would be.

Could be an hour, could be days. He crawled across the cage to his phone and sent Carmen and Dorian a text so they wouldn't worry

Might not be in. Experimented with the power and trapped in the cage I made till I can touch the power again.

The little girl poked her head out of the crevice she'd hidden in. Nox gave her a crooked smile and went back to the other side of the cage. "I'm gonna borrow your bunny till I can get us out of here, okay?"

She nodded and sat down near the hole she'd crawled out of. Nox introduced himself and starte tell her a story . His story. Not because he thought it was full of fun and adventure, but because it was something he could remember. He didn't say I did this, or Aurora did that. It was the adventures of the twins. They lived a grand and fun life and their parents loved them a lot. He told her about keeping the world safe without all the scarey monsters in it. The stories were ones Aurora had told him as a kid. She made up all sorts of stories about their adventures.

Nox just leaned back agains the wall with his head pressed into the wall and the bunny tucked under his chin or perched on his shoulder. The little girl moved closer with each new story. Nox felt the power at the edge of his vision edging just a little bit closer.

And by the time she made her way into his lap and wrapped up with her blanket and fell asleep the power was dancing in his finger tips and the horde was gloriously silent as long as the bunny's scent was near. He whispered to the sleeping girl. "What is in your magic little bunny?"

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