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Sage was still getting used to the house he was staying in. Everyone seemed cool for uptight rich folk anyway. Nox seemed to fit right in, though he hung out more in the kitchen and the basemen than in the lounge or study or anywhere other than his and Elyse's room. Sage still found that fact a bit mind boggling - Nox had a girlfriend.

But it kept him in check none-the-less. At least for now. Nox was downstairs in his makeshift gym throwing fireballs... it looked more like dancing to Sage with the way his friend's body moved from position to position with the occasional fireball thrown at the opposite wall only to hit a barrier of air Nox had created.

Sage sat at the top of the stairs well away from any dangerous play as he used a laptop. There was no need for pain meds, but he was still taking anxiety meds because of the lack of connection. But the dosage went lower and lower each day as he adjusted to his new life - Sage could only hope that one day the implant would work again. Hacking by hand had proven to be difficult. Even setting up the secure line for Elyse was something he had to reteach his fingers how to do.

Sage's wallet rang and he picked it up. "Hey."
His voice was chipper and he was truly happy to hear from Sasha, but it had to be late over there.

Sasha's voice on the other hand was concerned. "You heard from Bryan?"

"No. Why?"

"He's not been around for days. Last thing I heard was he was using the collective to hack the Kremlin. Something in your honor I think. At least that's the rumor going around the dark web."


"I'll let you know what I find out but I wanted to check in with you? How's the little brother treating you?"

Sage grinned. "He's excitingly ignoring me right now."

"I'm sure you are bored out of your mind out there - no connection - no hacking."

Sage shrugged but knew Sasha couldn't see it. "Actually, I'm not. I like the view. And Nox's friends are cool. Cruz likes to play video games so I'm good."

"Alright. I'm gonna make some other calls. Find out what happened to Bryan. Call me Sage, I'm worried about you."

"I'm fine. Aurora's brother is taking good care of me. I promise - set me up in a mansion and everything."
With that little tidbit of gossip Sage hung up with a smirk.

Sage wondered what had happened to Bryan... but when Sage looked up he noticed there was no more view and Nox was standing at the bottom of the stairs looking up with a smirk on his face.

Edited by Sage, Jan 17 2017, 02:11 PM.

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Elyse was calling her parents. Cruz was studying that really left Nox with just Sage to hang out with and they had very little in common. But Sage like Nox didn't quite like the lounge or the study and tended to follow him or Cruz to more normal settings. He carried that laptop like it was his lifeline, but what little Nox knew of the hacker it probably was. They hadn't really discussed what happened or why he was here, but Nox was more than okay with being followed around. It at least insured he had company and without Aurora around it was welcome. Sage wasn't needy which Nox liked.

Nox did what he always did when he was bored - he played with the power or shadow boxed or ran or whatever physical thing he could think of. Unlike Sage and Cruz he didn't like sitting around watching TV or playing video games, though they both had dragged him along for a game or two the past few days. He couldn't say he didn't have a good time hanging out but it wasn't something he'd seek out on his own.

While Nox moved from form to form in the fight in his head Sage sat at the top of the stairs - the first fireball had sent the skittish hacker climbing for a higher ground which made Nox laugh.

Nox heard Sage's wallet ring and overheard the conversation. It was quiet and in hushed tones, but Sage wasn't very far away and his hearing was power enhanced. It was a one way conversation so it was taken out of context though a few key phrases stuck out 'excitingly ignoring me' and 'I like the view'.

That was when Nox stopped his workout and stood at the bottom of the stairs with a ball of earth and air waiting for Sage to finish his conversation and he clearly heard his comment about the mansion before hanging up with a smirk. Nox chuckled to himself as he looked up the stairs at the hacker. "You are going to make her think I'm some sort of sugar daddy or something. When it's not me."
Nox tossed the tied off ball of air and earth up the stairs at Sage - he made sure it was off to the side so if by chance the hanker sucked at catch his precious laptop would be spared. "Catch."
Nox grinned as it bounced off the stair behind Sage as he dodged out of the way tugging his laptop with him with ease. "Put that thing away and come help me. You sit there too much. You ever play dodge ball in gym class?"
Nox never had but he'd played dodge ball with his sister - after they learned they could use the power of the gods it had become a favorite game.

Edited by Nox, Jan 17 2017, 05:38 PM.
Sage didn't have time to really respond to Nox's comment about being a sugar daddy before he was jumping out of the way of a ball thrown at him. Sage groaned at the thought of playing dodge ball - he'd hated gym class as a kid - he'd gotten beamed more times than he could count - just because he was the outcast of the class.

And Nox looked like the kinda guy who would be the dick and throw the ball at your head at close range just because he was stronger, and taller and better than the whole class - the fucking jock. Yet that very fact was part of the reason he liked Nox... Sage pushed the lingering thoughts away as he walked down the steps carefully folding his laptop up and setting in under the bottom stair for safety.

Nox had been friendly enough to play video games with him and Cruz, Sage could do something he wanted to do. It was only fair. And it wasn't being ignored by the other man.

"Just so you know I hated gym class. And I hate dodge ball even more. Probably as much as you hate sitting around doing nothing."
Sage laughed.

Sage looked around and saw no balls to play with, short of the one that Nox had thrown at him earlier. "Only problem. There are no big red rubber balls down here to play with."
Sage wanted to add, ' Unless you had something else in mind.' but he kept his mouth shut. Sage smirked. "Surely my sugar daddy has money enough to purchase balls to play with."

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Sage's confession about hating gym class and dodge ball didn't surprise him any. It made a lot of sense for the tall skinny hacker. Nox knew all about the tall skinny part, but he made an effort to not be so lanky and thin. Sage could build muscle if he so desired, it would probably help with his overall mood too, but what did he know - he was just some stupid jock - right?

But Sage continued on ignoring the way Nox had lapsed into his own thoughts for a moment. Nox couldn't help but snicker at his comments. "We don't need to buy anything."
Nox grinned as he held his hands up and formed three separate weaves of air and earth into perfectly round balls. They would leave a bruise if they hit you - another incentive to stay out of the way of their trajectory. Plus if he destroyed them he didn't have to replace them.

Nox tied off the weaves and created three more of varying sizes. He did it three more times, with a grand total of 15 balls of various sizes that he pushed all towards Sage. "You get to be on the other side of the dodge ball equation. They should be light enough to throw at me. I'll try not to redirect them at you."

Nox threw up a wall of air around their playing field to protect from ricochets and then backed up towards the opposite wall from Sage. "Let's see what you got hacker boy."
The phone hung up before Elyse could tell her mother that she loved her. It hurt. More than she thought it would. For a moment she had uncontrollable sobs. She had hoped that her mother would have been able to accept it - like Dorian had.

Elyse got control of herself and wiped her eyes even though they were still read and tear stains still were on her cheek. Elyse changed into a sports bra and some exercise pants and tied her hair up into a pony tail. She needed to release some emotion and going down to the gym to hit a punching bag sounded ideal. She opened her bag and taped up her knuckles before heading downstairs.

Nox and Sage were in the basement, several balls littered the floor. What shenanigans was Nox up to now. Elyse didn't want to interrupt their game. She just wanted to hit something for now. She moved to go do so and just...stopped. As if there was a wall there. She smirked, knowing Nox was actually trying probably save the house from whatever destructive thing he was doing.

"Heya, Can I get through?"
she asked with a smile she didn't feel. She didn't want Nox to know she had been crying although it was pretty obvious.
Sage watched as Nox created balls from thin air. He knew he could do things - or he suspected anyway, but to see it with his own two eyes was something else. The look on his face as he concentrated was like when he had watched other hackers working - calm and peaceful like there was nothing else better in the world.

Sage blinked at the balls lying on the floor as they rolled towards him with unseen hands and he had the urge to back up but he couldn't take his eyes of of the power being used in front of him. Sage had watched Nox before, but this was different he was in the path of them. He watched them being formed. Sage wasn't sure what to think about it.

Footsteps fell on the stairs before Sage comprehended what Nox truly wanted. He didn't want to play dodge ball, there was no volleying of the balls, it was a training exercise. Sage nearly jumped out of his skin when Elyse interrupted his thoughts asking for passage.

Sage looked around carefully and saw nothing blocking her path. He backed up and and ran into a solid barrier yet he clearly had more room to move behind him. Sage turned around and ran his fingers against the invisible wall.

He turned back to the girl standing outside their makeshift play pen and he noticed what Elyse had been wearing and couldn't help but stare. There was no wonder Nox was playing at being boyfriend. But she despite that smile she didn't look happy - red puffy eyes and tear streaks were pretty obvious.

Sage's wallet chirped loudly next to his laptop on the other side of the invisible wall. He turned to the grinning fool who was watching him inspect his handy work. "I need to get that."
God he needed to get that, he was sorely missing the information rush and that was an important ring. Sage shook his hands anxiously, he really needed to get the message.

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Nox heard foot steps coming down but he smelled Elyse before she came into view. He smiled because she probably smelled him before he did her. The benefits of her ability. But she didn't look happy despite her smile. Nox sighed inwardly - another night of taking care of her. He had promised to do so and he meant it, but sometimes he wished he didn't have to.

She asked for passage and Nox thought of making her pay for it but he noticed Sage feeling the invisible wall and turned to look at the hacker and his bafflement. Nox chuckled until his friend gave him a nervous look as his wallet made a noise on the other side. He looked more like he was jonesing for drugs than just to answer his messages. Nox wondered if maybe Sage was a little high maintenance too.

Nox dropped the wall of air completely. "Fine."
he said with a faux sigh. Despite his prior annoyance he held out his hand for Elyse he wanted to give her a hug - the call didn't look like it had gone well if she'd been crying. Maybe he was wrong and those were happy tears - but not likely - you don't come dressed to hit things with happy tears. He spoke softly so only she could hear even though she hadn't moved yet. "I'm here when you want to talk about it."
Sage clearly wasn't used to Nox using his power all the time. He was stunned when he ran into the barrier. Elyse supposed it still made sense, but it hadn't taken her long to get used to Nox using magic everywhere he went.

A chirp from a wallet her side of the barrier elicited a response from Sage that reminded her of a drug addict. It wasn't just him saying that he needed to get the message, but it was the way his hand shook and the way he smelled. He was anxious - like a druggie without his fix. Elyse would have helped him by handing him the wallet after the barrier went down, but he was a hacker and hackers were finicky about the people that handled their equipment, so she elected not to.

Nox offered his hand in a gentlemanly fashion which she took, leaning in to kiss him on the cheek after he spoke. He was a sweet guy.

"I'll be okay. I just need to blow off some steam. Thank you though."
She gave him a real smile.

She looked around at the balls on the ground. "I was gonna work on the punching bag, but I'm not sure if that is safe with you throwing things around. What are you planning?"
she chuckled.
The barrier came down while Sage's hand was still touching it. It was there, and then it wasn't. It didn't crumble or disintegrate, it was just gone. Sage frowned as he walked over to his wallet hiding behind the front step with his laptop. He sat down on the third step and opened up the pinging message. He had filters set for his favored hacker forums and chat rooms to tell him when people talked about him. He wasn't surprised a message had come up. But he was surprised by what he found inside.

Sasha had called with Grim's missing and now this girl was talking like she knew what was going on. Sage frowned and gripped his wallet tighter as he read what Sasha had confirmed. His things were gone... Why the fuck didn't she call him and tell him?

Sage looked at the time stamps on the messages and they were before she had called him. She'd known. She hadn't said anything.

Nox and Elyse were talking to each other so he dialed Sasha's number furious. He got up and started pacing. He hated this. Not being connected sucked - he could have the information he wanted in seconds if he just plugged in the dongle. Sage felt around in his pocket and pulled out the small wireless dongle he used to wear all the time - now he was without it.

Fuck this - he had to know. Sage slipped the dongle into place and looked past all the thoughts he normally had and found the power switch and turned everything on. The current started flowing purposefully again and Sage smiled as the information started flowing...

Edited by Sage, Jan 19 2017, 01:01 PM.

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Nox grinned playfully at Elyse, he could think of a way to blow off steam. He pulled her in against his body and held her before he let her go to answer her question. Nox nodded towards Sage on the stairs. "If hacker boy over there, stops jonesin' I was gonna have him throw the balls at me - backwards gym glass. Not that I ever went to gym class, but that's what all those old movies show."
Nox watched Sage as he paced back and forth. "I'll put the walls back up so you won't get hit. Unless you want to throw balls.. at .. me ... too."
Sage was pulling something out of his pocket.

Nox sighed. "Just a sec Elyse."
Nox walked over to Sage as he turned around. He'd only gotten a glimpse of the smile on his face as he plugged back in. Nox pulled the small piece of hardware from the socket in Sage's head with a decided click. "Strict orders - no connectivity."
Nox sighed. "You don't tell me why but you and your doctor said no using that thing in your head."
Nox tapped Sage on top of the head. "Turn it off."

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