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Nox took the wallet Sage had bought for Cain and pulled the contact app from it and installed it on his wallet. He was letting a hacker behind his protection - he understood the implication. But he needed to talk to Sage. Sage had answers. He might have everything. Nox sent Sage a quick message on the app he had installed and hoped the hacker got it and understood. "Need to talk to you."

Nox gave Cain back the wallet and didn't follow anyone into the dinning room, instead he looked for Pavlo who was busy preparing their rooms. Nox found him and asked "Which one? I'm sure it's perfectly acceptable."

Pavlo lead Nox to a room. "Master Cruz is next door, and Master Cain across from you. Miss Rachel was staying across from Cruz." That begged a whole lot of questions which Nox left alone as he closed the room designated to him.

It wasn't a hotel, but it sure felt like one to Nox. Staying in someone else's home even for one night felt like he was just visiting. But this wasn't a house call. Dorian wanted Nox to stay until he was able to make it home. Nox couldn't imagine the things that Dorian was having to do. But to Nox it was clear that Cruz's father had chosen a path in defiance of the Atharim. Nox wondered if his own parents would have done the same, or would they have tried to kill him. Nox thought the latter was probably the case - Bryan Durante was not a soft man, he was born and breed to be Atharim. He was their tool - their product. His mother might have tried to stop him from hurting her babies, but Nox could see his father doing the deed anyway. Nox got lost in memories.

They permeated his mind with sorrow and loss. His world had shattered that day - the day his mother died. Everything he'd every dreamt of was gone in one horrible moment. The vision of his mother's death was seared into the back of his eyes. The blood gushing everywhere from wounds so deep he could see the bone beneath.

So mired in his thoughts Nox barely heard his wallet come to life. It flickered at first. Then the holoscreen switched on without any interaction at all. The visage of some 1980's pop culture reference flicked before him before it resolved into the 1's and 0's of a boy who had grown into a man. The avatar's mouth moved with each word, "You wanted to talk to me?"

Nox rubbed his eyes and sat up as he pulled the wallet closer. "You've grown up. Not the same dorky kid I remember."

The digital version of Sage laughed, "And you aren't so annoying."
But the laughter died quickly as Sage looked at Nox, his expression changed. "You look like shit."

Nox sighed as he rubbed his eyes again. "Lost in thought."

"Not good thoughts?"
Sage asked. "Are you thinking about Aurora?"
Sage's voice sounded almost angry to Nox.

Nox didn't let it bother him. "Among other things."

"Do you even miss her?"
Sage was clearly angry now.

Nox looked at the boy who'd taken Aurora's virginity from her. Nox wondered if he even knew what that had meant to his sister. But he didn't voice it. He wasn't angry with Sage - Aurora was a big girl she could protect her self. She was a fucking reborn god. What little good that had done her with Deigo De La Cruz. Nox only nodded and sighed fighting back the tears that were about to fall. "I miss her everyday."

Nox stood up and walked over to the window and drew the filmy curtains away and stared out. The view into Dorian's back yard was exquisite. The only thing missing was a bunch of half naked bodies sitting pool side then the image of billionaire playboy would be real. It was Moscow, but the backyard was anything but what he'd have expected of a Moscow villa - palm trees that probably cost thousands to maintain in this cold weather. "Can you show me the last time you saw her, Sage?"

Nox didn't even know a date, or time or anything else that could possibly help his sister's friend find the last image of his sister living. It was quiet in the room as Nox stared out into the backyard watching the wind blow across the top of the crystal blue water of the in ground pool.

"You don't want to know, not really, do you?"
Sage asked in the silence of the room and Nox nearly jumped out of his skin at the sound of the other man's voice. It felt like he was right there in the room with him instead of across many miles of land and water.

"Show me, Sage."
Nox turned around and the image of Sage's 1's and 0's faded into a security camera footage. It took Nox a few moments to see what was happening. To understand exactly what he'd asked for. There was a camera outside the house looking into the lake and over the drive way, but it was the small figures leaving the house that was the focal point of the scene - a man - he barely recognized in his tiny digital presence on his holoscreen carrying a limp body.

Nox drew his fingers across the screen and enlarged and zoomed into the area. He watched as a half life size Diego carried his sister's lifeless form to the edge of the forest before he vanished into the thick greenery. Nox replayed the short snippet of footage again. Nox fell to his knees and could feel the tears falling down his cheeks. He'd failed her.

The screen flickered and Nox collapsed back onto the floor against the wall. The visage of Sage came over the holoscreen again. "I can show you more."
His voice was tinged with it's own sadness and sense of loss.

Nox nodded. "Show me all of it. Everything you have."
The next words came out barely a whisper, "Watch with me, please."

(( Cain modded with permission ))

Edited by Nox, Sep 1 2016, 12:25 PM.
<dt>Incoming Message From Elyse</dt>
<dd> </dd>

Hi Nox [Image: 7.png]

With things going crazy out, I thought I would let you know that I got home safe. Hope all is well [Image: 1.png] *hugs*
Nox didn't see Sage nod through tear blurred eyes but the hacker split the screen and started playing the images he'd collected over the years. The first was of his sister at the prom. How pretty she looked in her pink frilly dress their mother had bought that day for that very reason. Her blonde hair was pulled up into a bun with a small tendril hanging next to her ear. She was so young then. Sage was there in the frame with her as they danced into the crowd.

Sage found images of Nox and Aurora in a small town in the Rocky Mountains where they'd gotten supplies for the year they were hiding. They were taken from security cameras, but Sage didn't display the footage, only still images of them walking across the street holding hands. They looked happy.

Everything Sage showed Nox for the next two hours was happy. How happy the two of them had been. How much he loved his sister, how much she had loved him. Sage didn't show them fighting. He knew they fought. They fought because they were blood, it was in their blood. Aurora was like the day and he the night. Everything they did was almost always polar opposite. Where he was outgoing, she was shy. She was book smart, Nox was street smart. For two hours Nox cried happy tears. "Show me, Sage. Show me that day that changed everything."

Sage shook his head. "No. I can't."

Before Nox could reply his wallet beeped. He frowned at it as he pulled the message up on the holo screen . Who was messaging him? Elyse was home...

Sage asked, "Who's that?"

Nox looked up at the screen with a wry grin. "Would you believe my girlfriend?"

Sage shook his head. "No."

"Me either."
Nox sighed and wiped away the tears from his eyes.

"You should call her."

"And say what? I'm crying over my dead sister. I'm begging some hacker she used to know who's been stalking me all of my adult life to show me her images - to see the day she died, the day my mother died? I don't want her pity. It's bad enough she knows."
Nox felt the disgust at his own sob story. As much as he'd played it up down stairs he hated it. Hated the tragedy in his life - he hated feeling guilty for all of it. There were things he could have done. Things he should have done to stop it from happening.

Nox pulled his power around him and watched as in his anger a fireball formed. He was about to throw it across the room when Sage spoke, "Nox. Don't."

Nox blinked at the screen in front of him then at the fireball above his cocked arm ready to throw and he let the power go with a sigh. He whispered, "Thank you."

Nox sent a reply to Elyse. "Glad you are home safe. Did you get your errands done? I'm stuck at one of mine, not sure when I'll get to finish the rest." Nox pushed the send button.

Sage shook his head. "You can talk to her. If she's your girlfriend."

Nox frowned. Sage continued. "That's part of what a girlfriend is for."

Nox changed the topic, he didn't want to discuss his relationships with a guy he hardly knew. "Show me that day, Sage. You know the one."

Sage nodded but Nox knew he wasn't happy, he could see it in the hackers eyes and hear it in the sound of his voice. "I can't watch. I'll be back in twenty minutes."
Sage left the screen and the video started playing.
<dt>Incoming Message from Elyse</dt>
<dd> </dd>

All my errands are done. The fridge is full and that always makes me feel rich lol. I also got done with our special errand ;-)
The video started playing and Nox was trapped in his own memories, he didn't hear the beep from his wallet.

It was a security camera feed outside the store across from the motel they'd been staying in. In the parking lot, Nox's mother carried a box to the back of the Jeep and loaded it in. She turned around sniffing at the air. Her eyes grew wide in surprise. Nox watched as he saw himself come up carrying another box. He put it in the back as his mother asked him a question. Nox shook his head with his answer.

He could remember the smell and what his thoughts were. The Nox on screen turned and then with no warning his mother screamed. She fell against the back of the Jeep. Three long slash marks raked across her body by some invisible force. Nox watched himself on the screen. Frozen in fear. "Do something you idiot!"
And then his dream came back to him - he'd thrown a fiery sword at the hell hound and it pierced his mother's chest. There was nothing he could do...

Nox stared in horror at the image on the screen. He watched as his sister came into the camera frame drawing her knife. Nox saw he pulled his own, but he didn't remember doing it. Nox still did nothing on screen. He could do nothing as his father came out.

They stood outside standing over his weeping father's and his mother's lifeless corpse and they tried to figure out what was going on. Then the images looped on itself without prompting until Sage returned and the image faded into blackness and was then quickly replaced with more images of Aurora. Pictures Nox had not seen in years. Things that his mother had taken or his father. Images no one could have had, but Sage had them. Nox sat against the wall and drowned in the images. His heart broke, tears streamed down his cheeks.

Nox let the tears fall, he drowned in happy images - sad broken memories of what his life was. He didn't want to think about what it could be without her. Without his sister he was floating, fluttering in the wind with no anchor.

(( I will get a reply out again maybe this weekend, maybe not. ))
It was disconcerting watching a grown man cry. Granted the source of sorrow was death and happiness and memories that would make anyone cry. Sage didn't cry. But he felt the sorrow.

Sage could feel the loss Nox went through. He'd lost his mother in front of him and there was nothing he could do. His father drank himself to death. He lost his sister to distance. Distance they had both wanted and needed to thrive. Aurora made a poor decision in her loneliness. She fell for a man who would be her undoing. Sage didn't understand why Nox wanted to live through those painful memories.

The happy memories made Nox worse but he could see the end of tears, just the numb senses of being emotionally worn out. Sage let the image play on his screen for Nox and in a small corner showed himself. "Your girlfriend texted you an hour ago. You should probably reply before she tracks you down."

convert binary | biography
Sage's voice brought him out of his thoughts he was drowning in. All the things he had lost and all the things he could have done. Elyse... Nox sighed and typed out slowly a reply. "Sorry, I got distracted. Smile I'm glad you managed that errand. It would be disappointing."

Nox didn't look up from his wallet when Sage chuckled. "What errand was that?"

Nox grinned but still didn't look up. "One for her and I. You figure out the details."

Sage laughed. "I see. I can show you more things. Things you may not know. People who mean something to you."

Nox looked up. "Like who?"

Sage didn't answer his question, he just started a video Nox had never seen before. A body lying on the ground, a knife in hand, a girl in a black trench coat holding the knife. She turned towards the camera. Another man was there too, Nox didn't know him, but he felt familiar, but the girl's green eyes were enrapturing. He knew them. They had brought him out of his fog of amnesia. Aria....

He knew what that day was. He had only heard stories of it. Sage spoke softy on the screen. "There is more."

"How long have you been tailing Aria?"
Nox whispered.

"Since she found you in Moscow. I found this looking for her on security footage. It was in the cloud. I have the only copy left in existence."

"Why would you do that?"
Nox asked confused.

Sage smiled, "Watch the rest of it."

Nox nodded and watched as another security camera feed came up. Aria with a girl strolling hand in hand, giggling. The image stayed well after Aria and the woman and left, a figure in the shadows across the street followed. Nox licked his lips - Dane...

Sage's voice brought him out of his thoughts. "You know him. He flew you home."

"I know...."
Nox frowned, he could feel the tears turning to anger. "I know what happens next."
It came out a whisper...

Sage let the show continue. The women went into an apartment. Dane followed without hindrance. The image started to fast forward. Another man crept up into the windows outside the apartment they had gone into. Nox could feel his heart race, he knew what was going on inside and he wanted to wretch.

The scene kept fast forwarding though time until Dane and Aria came out of the building. They walked around the corner lost from the frame. A second screen came up and Nox saw Aria kissing Dane, the first screen erupted into an inferno of cement and fire.

"Why are you showing me this, Sage?"
Nox asked almost angry - he knew all this. He didn't need to see it.

But Sage didn't answer. "I have the only copies left."
But the images changed. Aurora leaving the cafe with a man. Aurora going into the same man's apartment. Aurora getting into a black suv with the man. Aurora happy with him. He looked happy with her.

There was more images of Aria with Dane, inside the interrogation room, images of them getting into his car. They didn't look happy but they didn't look distant either. That was the last time Aria saw Dane.

Every unhappy image Sage had of his life flickered on the screen. Words scrolled across the screen, "I have the only copies of it all." Of every bad thing in his life Sage had erased it from existence - from Aria's life, from Aurora's. This man had the only proof that Aria had killed that reporter, that man, that she killed Diego.

"Why Sage?"
Was all he could ask.

"She is special to me. You were special to her. She is special to you. I can't see Aurora again. You will have to do."
Sage would protect Aria because of him. Aria was a murderer but she was a good person. Dane was who corrupted her.

"What do I owe you for your silence?"

Edited by Nox, Sep 5 2016, 01:45 PM.
Sage thought about Nox's question. He'd never had anyone know what information he had on them, or those that they cared about. It was almost always something he kept close to his chest - for him to use later. Why did that change anything? The knowledge that he had pricelessly devastating information. Sage could send Aria to jail for the image of the sword through a man's skull. Or the implication that she was involved in that building explosion. What other dirt could he find? Who else had Aria killed? Was about Dane? He was with Aria that night... Nox treated him with kid gloves.

Sage smiled at the man on the other side. "Nothing."
Sage paused thinking a little more. "Right now. Maybe a favor later."

Sage felt rather awkward saying things like that. He had never asked himself why he collected information. What did he gain from it other than the high that came with parsing through the information in his head. It was a new realm to think on. But he didn't want to hurt anyone...

"I just want you to be my friend."
Sage said flatly. His friends weren't like normal friends. He didn't usually speak to his friends like this. "Are you going to be okay?"

convert binary | biography
<dt>Incoming Message from Elyse</dt>
<dd> </dd>

No problem. I know you're busy. And yes it would be disappointing hehe.

Stay safe out there. It's still crazy.
Before Sage spoke Elyse's response came through, Nox smiled softly at the words. It's crazy out there, it's crazy in here. Nox was waiting for Dorian to get home and what? He was here to protect the boy from the Atharim and to answer questions. He was sitting her crying like a fucking baby over his sister.

While he knew this he couldn't make himself care enough to get up and do something else. Sage still hadn't answered him anyway and he needed to know what he owed the hacker for taking care of Aria. When he did answer Nox frowned. "You realize friends don't stalk one another."

Sage frowned. "I don't have friends like you do."

Nox laughed as he wiped the drying tears against his cheeks. "I don't have friends period."

"Is Aria not a friend? Or your girlfriend."
Sage asked.

"Aria is family. Elyse.... she's new. Until I came to Moscow it was just me, my parents and Aurora. No one else. I didn't need anyone else."

"And now?"

"I think life took a shit turn and now I'm dealing with all the shit that piled up."
Nox laughed. "Thus the break down baby moments."
Nox stood up and sighed. "I have a house to explore. Find weak points, see what defenses I can muster up if the Atharim do decide to come after Cruz or Dorian."

Nox picked up his wallet from the floor and set it on the bed immediately as he didn't like the hovering of Sage so close. It was just weird. "You can contact me anytime Sage. Though I might end up with a new wallet at some point. God knows what Aria is getting into right now. Oh, before I forget. You remember that software you were working with Aurora on - the stuff on the laptop?"
Sage nodded. "Can you send me a copy of it for a new laptop?"


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