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So What Now?
Alex was glad Ivan was finally coming to his senses. Both Atharim were dangerous. It didn't matter if one was a cop he had just proven he was Atharim before cop any day of the week. Alex had the right mind to call in the LT and have them both arrested as sympathizers to the killing of human beings. She was sure there was something that would link them back to the Atharim.

Alex left with Ivan grateful to be away from them, the boy's display of power had been unnerving. The shattered glass in the plaster made her shiver, imagine what breathing it in would have done. Or the pain those tiny glass shards would have caused.

But outside Alex felt like a new person away from the clausterphobia of the Ascendant power - these channelers were everywhere.

Alex laughed at Ivan's good ole boy charm his naivety to the situation. "Idealism is great. But they are Atharim. Stone cold killers."

Alex nodded to his request to walk him home, adding "You aren't some dumb kid."
She opened the door and slid into the leather seat and waited for Ivan to buckle in.

"I can't believe you let a confessed murderer walk free Ivan. He killed that man. There is no forensic data to prove him correct. Why do you trust him? For that matter what do you plan on doing to find the man who murdered those kids?"
She wasn't wrong. But she wasn't right either. Vega might be Atharim. But he was a cop too. And at least part of what he saw said they might be similar.

Part, anyway. Course why was he defending them? That, he didn't know. Anyway, no sense in arguing that.

The other tho... "Times are changing, Alex. I've seen things. Terrible things. And you just saw it. Channelers are living weapons. Registration is a good first step. Nox registered. Look at it this way. He's a gun owner who fires his weapon protecting people. We question him, we take him in, we interview, we get forensics. Absent any proof to the contrary, we just hold him? I know the law says we can do it but....heres the thing. We cant disarm him. Not in any meaningful way, not without keeping him sedated. Hes stronger than me. A lot. Im sposed to be the big bad on Domovoi....and Im a joke. Im working on it. And im gonna sign up for that theres the new consulate."

He shrugged. Not the best answer. "What were our options. No one was getting through tje barrier he made. I had to defuse the situation. And id hoped he could help."

That was what really pissed him off.

But her? He knew part of her story. His voice was mild and eyes soft. "They got your family, didnt they. You mentioned losing them. I am sorry Alex."

Hell, hed feel the same. How could he expect her to change. He wouldnt. Yeah, he had been a fool.

Edited by Ivan Sarkozy, Dec 29 2017, 04:38 PM.
Alex sighed as she turned towards the station. "We didn't need proof to hold him. He confessed!"
Alex couldn't get over that fact. Nox Durante confessed to killing the man. His wallet said his name was Seth Monroe of the United States. His CCD visa claimed he was going to school at Moscow University. There were no missing person reports matching his description, so how could this be a Stygza or whatever the Durante boy claimed it to be. "How do you know he didn't just play you. Gave you this insane story about a monster that has two souls. A monster who was killing a girl. We don't even have this girls testimony. He confessed!"

Alex had a thought as she drove towards the station, she wasn't even sure he wanted to go to the station. "Do you want to go home or the station?"
She wasnt wrong, damnit! But he couldnt tell her that. "And what about half goats half zombies! What if he'd said that? I know you wouldn't believe him. But i've seen them. And other things."
He remembered Zo. God he missed her. She was out saving the world somewhere. Caught up in it, too much to drop a line. Focus. He remembered her story about the old factory or whatever and that creature.

"What the hell is Domovoi for but to handle stuff that shouldn't exist but does? You wanna know why I trusted? My gut. The guy coulda said nothing. No one could pin anything on him. So what, he incriminates himself with a ridixlculous story when he coulda shutup and got away with it?
How does that make any more sense?"

And Nox was a channeler. And Atharim. Channeler meant he didnt kill innocent people just for what they could do. Atharim meant he knew what was out there, what they should know

"Ok look. It was a bad call. I admit that. Not protocol. But if he was right, there were 2 others there who killed to people for putting on a show. I wanted to stop them. My place is fine. Im tired. Theres a bar downstairs. Lets have a drink. Ots been a long day for both of us."
Alex nodded to the invitation to drink as she drove. She had to change direction a little but it wasn't inconvenient. And Ivan was right she needed a drink.

Alex spent her time with criminals minds. This was her thing. " You are right I wouldn't believe him. Half goat zombies you've seen with your own eyes they look like half goat zombies. This was a man plain and simple. And two other murders right along side him."

"Let's say just he killed all of them. But he knows he screwed up. Left something that we can tie back to him. Accidents happen right? That's how most criminals get caught. He's a cocky kid thinks he's everything but he can't find this thing. He confesses to the lesser murder and claims self defense with so far unpronounceable witness'. He tells you a story that is too impossible not to be true. Because he knows all about what we do here. They have a mole after all."

Alex pulled up to Ivan's apartment building and the bar below. But she doesn't turn off the car just yet. She wants to finish first. "His mole friend gets a naive young cop to check out his story. He knows you've seen things. Knows you'll believe him. Now you let him go, he's free to take off and run. "

Alex turned off the car and opened her door. "They've been around for too many years to not have this all worked out. Dorian even admitted to it. How can you believe him after that? As for the other two - they are probably innocent bystanders he's willing to sacrifice for their greater good."

She got out of the car and hoped that a drink would calm her aggitation. This was not a good day. An Atharim in her grasp and she was powerless to do anything about it. "But that drink sounds mighty fine right about now."

Edited by Alex, Dec 29 2017, 08:41 PM.
"Well fuck me!"
He laughed but without joy. He looked at her for a while. She needed to concentrate on the road. Not like some clown fooling around with his wallet wouldn't plow into them cuz they were cops.

Anyway, back to the real issue....And she made valid points. It was his only answer. Profound? Not in the slightest. It pissed him off. Could be as he thought. Or he got played. Had he let a killer walk free? Had he failed in getting some sort of coalition?

Maybe his middle name was failure. Ivan F Sarkozy, failure at large. Wait. Throw in an Esquire. Yeah. He liked that. Stupid. He was trying to avoid the issue. He might have lost his job. Still....What was the saying? Fall upward? Maybe he could try that.

Course you kissed a lot of ass doing it that way. Which he didn't mind, long as said ass was nice, round and attached to a seriously hot girl. He looked at Alex. Or woman. Kiss. Bite. Whatever.

Whoah there buddy!! You know the rules. Workmates, no. Everyone else, tho...

Yeah. He wanted to get tanked. Long night. Long day too. Now this.

At least Alex was down. Maybe she'd wingman him. He'd return the favor. Find her some stud.

I am such a phony, he thought, tho. Retarded. He just wanted to hang with her and drink. Forget this shit had happened.

Another saying, he decided, making it up on the spot. You're not on the force if you're not punishing your liver.

Course his workout would come real early tomorrow. Maybe he'd push it back. Was in 3rd week of pyramids. Chest-shoulders tomorrow. He had 4 sets of 130 for 8 reps on incline chest dumbells. And 40s for all three angles of his delts for 4 sets of 8 each. By the end his shoulders would be screaming.

Fuck it.

They walked into the bar below his place. Heather pulled up the shoulder of her jacket as she waved at him from across the room while Sylvia gave him a hug. Hired guns, he knew. Mostly. If he worked it, sure, it might go somewhere. But like the job, you don't mess around where you eat.

After the usual chat, Georg asked his order. Tequila shots. Lime and salt. He looked at Alex for her order and when it arrived, he toasted. "To forgetting today."

It burned going down.

He felt good, what with Alex smiling at him, big dumb kid that he was.

Edited by Ivan Sarkozy, Dec 30 2017, 09:18 PM.
Ivan definitely knew this place - living above a bar had it's advantages. Alex probably would have spent too much money in a place like this. Though the wine guy down the road knew her name and what she liked so it was kinda the same.

And since Bas she hadn't really wanted to go out and meet a guy. It wasn't that Bas was a great lover, or he was some sort of love interest. It was the ultimate situation it had put her in. He was quiet - he was the type of guy that Alex was drawn to. Quiet in the mind not of the voice. God Bas could talk some shit sometimes. And Alex hadn't minded it. It had been a good ride. He had been too.

Alex smiled at the bartender. "I'll have the same."

It had been a while since she'd had tequila. "To forgetting today."

First shot went down with a tight burn and Alex tapped the bar for two more rounds. If you were going to do tequila you had to do it right. College had taught her one thing. You didn't drink anything else after tequila, you just kept on drinking it until you were done, mixing made you puke.

Alex laughed "I've not done this since college."
It was a different time. She had gone to the states to get away from things. Came back to a whole new life. Now, she was meeting with Atharim.

She pushed the thoughts away and downed the second shot. And then the third. She was feeling it. Feeling the slight buzz and ordered a fourth. There was no music playing and that was a shame, so Alex went over to the juke box and punched in a few songs.

Unfortunately she'd hit the wrong number and what was supposed to be a up beat dance song turned into a slow sappy song. Alex sighed and shrugged. Make the best of it. she thought and waltzed over to Ivan and smiled more at him. He'd been watching her anyway. She held out her hand. "Let's dance."

She could put em away, that was for sure. His head was gettin a little fuzzy and he had at least 100 pounds and maybe a foot of height on her. If he was feelin it, she had to be.

Then again, she could be one of those. High functioning types.

She certainly wasn't stumbling as she went to the jukebox. He couldn't help but stare, the way she walked. Something tickled the back of his mind, something about the way a woman walked and orgasms. He wracked his brain but it refused to cooperate. He coulda looked it up, but nah. Dangerous line.

He looked around, hoping for distraction. And not hired guns either. There were a few. But she was his bro. Leave no man behind. She would have to meet someone first.

His head spun as the music came on, his eyebrows raised. Seriously? He laughed out loud. This? This was what she wanted?

She came up to him, sheepish grin on her face. She did look all kinds of sweet in that skirt. She was professionally dressed, always. But her walk had a certain girly sway. You know, it was kinda funny. She was older than him by a ways....but at that moment, she seemed like a girl his age.

Huh. Maybe there was a secret there. Maybe all women were girls.

Hah! Well he wasn't gonna say no to a dance, not with her. He slipped off the stool and took her by the hand and when they reached the floor slipped them behind her waist, her hands going behind his neck. They swayed to the music and she smiled up at him. God, her smile was so big. And she felt good against him. He bet he could easily wrap his hands around her waist and lift her into the air without trying.

Change the subject. "So I apologize now for stepping on your feet."
He wouldn't. But he was trying to lighten the mood. "I've been trying to place your accent. And I didn't want to check your file."
He winked at her. "Didn't want to read about you shoplifting birds...strange habits are hard to ignore, you know?"
Alex laughed at his words. Shoplifting birds. She never had to shoplift, it was easy enough to talk her way out of anything if she let herself go. As if it had reminded her Alex ran her fingers through the back of Ivan's hair and let her emotions go. She could read him easily enough without her gift, but it was so much more fun to do it.

She knew she was a little more than tipsy when she let herself free of her constraints but that also meant she didn't care. Unlike her father and Atharim half sister she couldn't control anyone. A fleeting thought for her father passed quickly as she felt her dance partners emotions.

She gave him a wry smile and answered his implied question. "I was born in Italy. A small community outside of Rome, until the Atharim came for my father the first time in the form of Atunna Luna - a girl. My father ruined our life and we fled to Rome then to rebuild our life. My sister was born from that reunion. But when I was away at college the Atharim came again. Killed my sister. My father got away, but Chrissy was already dead. I came home then and now I'm here in Moscow."

Alex didn't know why she was telling Ivan that. She didn't want his pity. She wanted to change the subject but her mind was addled with the tequila and her normal rules fled her mind as she laid a soft kiss against his lips.
They moved to the music. In truth, it wasn't really dancing, not after a while, just two people swaying slightly, feeling a connection to another person for however short a period of time, talking as much as anything else.

He could get lost in that smile, the way she looked up at him. He was a bit fuzzy, but warning alarms were going off. This was getting dangerous.

And then- she must have gone up on her toes or pulled his head down enough- because he suddenly felt her lips brush his. And for a moment, he let himself go.

But a part of him started to vye for his attention. This was a bad place to be. His apartment was upstairs. He saw the look in her eyes. He knew something could happen.

And what was wrong with that? Why did he feel so guilty. Another pair of green eyes haunted his memory. He felt angry. She'd just left. He joked and laughed that it was nothing. But connections like that weren't common. Not like that.

And it wasn't Alex's fault. He wanted to be here, with her. In truth, he may have even been hoping this happened. People lied to themselves more than any other person.

Still, the kiss lingered. He wasn't strong enough to end it on his own- until it ended naturally, the music dying down. And then he was breathing her breath, her lips on his cheek as they smiled.

"I think we're drunk,"
he whispered. He escorted her to their seats and got waters. He didn't want to go back to the Atharim. She'd made it clear the topic was uncomfortable. Try as he might, nothing came to him. Well, lot's of things did, but they seemed so trite. The silence was defeaning.

Finally... "You seeing anybody?"
It wasn't what he'd meant to ask. It sounded stupid after their kiss. And he wasn't implying anything about her.

But he let the question stand.

Edited by Ivan Sarkozy, Dec 31 2017, 08:30 PM.

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