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Choices to Make
Cruz was sick. And not just any sick. Dorian was thankful Ana was off finishing her packing to return here and live with them. It had surprised him more than anything that she wanted to but Cruz was her son and where he went she was bound to follow. But now her life was in even more danger than just him being an officer of the law or Atharim. Now the Atharim could come and hunt them all down.

Dorian paced in his living room back and froth between the door to the hideous dinning room to the library just beyond which only redeeming quality was the countless shelves that could hid the hideous wallpaper beneath. He hoped Ana would redecorate soon. It was trying his patience the horrible atmosphere of his home.

Cruz would die if he couldn't figure out how to get his son help. He needed to live, Dorian couldn't even begin to think of a life without his son. To bury him for something that he had no control over. Even the WHO had no idea what caused the mutation, or whatever it was that allowed a perfectly normal child to suddenly burst with the ability to use the power of the gods.

Reborn gods were all around now. They survived somehow. Dorian had to find out how that was. But his resources were limited it's not like he'd ever helped one of them before. It had always been his job to hunt them and kill them. They were always sick and dying children on their death beds, only once having had them ever fight back. Dorian didn't which either death on his son.

His hands raked through his hair and he didn't care if it didn't fall back properly on his head. If he could only find a survivor and....

Dorian picked up his cell phone that he used for his job, not the Atharim one that was not his property technically. He had just found a survivor - two of them actually, but he only knew one personally...

Dorian prayed as he dialed the phone and waited for Ivan to pick up.
After his hunt with Nox, life became a whirlwind. Andlain and his followers were causing trouble and CCD resources were tasked with hunting them down and confronting them, including, of course, the Monster Squad, Domovoi. Ivan was not assigned to the same team as Dorian and so didn't have an opportunity to confront him over the things Nox had revealed. Oh, just a little thing like his allegiance to an organization that hunted down people like him- and had done so for a long time.

In a way, Ivan was glad that he had some time to cool off. Dorian and he shared rank but the man was older than him and had been doing this a long time. Ivan would need to get dirt on the guy- something solid and useful that he could bring to the LT. From there, perhaps they could follow him to the organization itself and begin to dismantle it. It might be old but its greatest strength was probably its secrecy. Ripping away that secrecy might wound it and make it easier to take down.

In the meantime, with people like Andlain around, Ivan needed to get stronger in the power. Now that he could use it whenever he wanted, he did so. He used it at home at every opportunity. And at work- at least with his coworkers that he'd gotten to know and trust. He'd earned a nickname that he still wasn't too thrilled with. 'Superboy'. Ok, he more than disliked it. "Boy" indeed. At least call him Superman or something. He wouldn't have minded that at all.

But it was all in good fun and the truth was they did value his being on the team. He was a cop with a good record. And it evened the playing field a bit having someone like him, though Ivan began to think that having more guys- and girls. Be nice to have their own Wonder Woman or three around, especially if they wore those outfits. Yep yep. Not very good for real police work, he knew. Or crime fighting. But pretty nice to see- Anyway, it would nice to have more like him on the squad. He couldn't be everywhere after all. Kinda like the CCD's own Justice League, even.

He viewed his use of the power as he did his workouts. An hour of weights and then an hour of the power. He pushed himself, lifting heavier and heavier with both. He also tried to learn to be delicate, using it to pick up bottle caps or coins. He still needed a proper place to practice more destructive weaves. He'd been back to the tunnels a few times and his explosive disks got better and stronger. The creatures, wherever they were, had gone, though. He tried calling Nox but the man's wallet went to voicemail. He didn't know where the man had was.

Curiously, Zo was MIA too. He hoped she was ok. He missed her. Probably out trying to rescue more rabbits or maybe adopting a bunch of puppies or something. Yeah, he missed her though, a lot. Missed that smile and the twinkle in her eyes. But he knew that she'd surface again one of these days.

In the meantime, between his work and workouts and trying to research Dorian he really had not time for anything else.

But think of the devil and there he is. One evening, while he was working out- hair drenched with sweat from his exertions, his wallet rang. He put it on speaker- he hated the feel of a sweaty ear pressed against its surface- and feigned friendliness.


Edited by Ivan Sarkozy, May 2 2016, 12:34 AM.
This wasn't something he wanted to talk about over the phone. He was about to put the phone down when Ivan answered with feigned friendliness - Dorian could hear the tension in his voice. They had a lot to talk about...

"It's Dorian Vega. I need.... No, we need to talk."
He hoped his voice didn't sound too frantic, but the years of practice playing unsuspecting hero to a bunch of weird cases helped. But this was his son who was still lying in bed with a fever and chills. He hated this, hated going to a god for help but this was his only option.

"Can you meet me at my place? I've got to show you something and we can talk."
Dorian shook his head. Nothing good ever comes out of the statement - we need to talk. And he was certain that this was going to go one of two ways - Ivan would agree to come and help, or he'd out Dorian to the very people he was trying to hide Cruz from. Dorian knew he wasn't the only one in the Atharim on the monster squad - or at least reported to someone on the other side.

Dorian didn't want to find the boy Atharim and his sword wielding friend, but he would if he had to. That boy was not going to tell anyone his secret - it was his own death. Ivan knew nothing of this world - nothing...
Ivan listened. There was something odd about the man's voice. He was hesitant to call him it was clear. Maybe he knew Ivan knew about him? Maybe he was scared? Did he want to confess something?

His research on Dorian only seemed to show a diligent officer who got the job done. Try as he might, he didn't see any cases where it looked like things had gotten swept under the rug. After a little trip and talk to one of the IA secretaries, a very sweet Yesenia who seemed only too happy to help "the heroic cop" after what had happened at the market, he even got a peek into the CCD-IA division's file on him. Clean as a whistle.

So the guy was careful. Or he was a sleeper agent or whatever you wanted to call it. Good until needed. Truthfully, Ivan just didn't know. But he would go. He'd be prepared though.

At the door as he knocked he seized the power- he loved that he could do that now anytime. He still resented the limitations that had been on him- and even felt a twinge of irritation over the fact that the Ascendency had left it in him while sending him out to protect the people. It seemed a strange handicap to leave a man with when he knew Ivan would need all the power he could use. Then again, the Ascendancy was busy. No doubt he'd trusted Ivan to over come it on his own. Well, he had, but not on his own. He at least owed Nox for that.

Anyway, where was he? Oh yeah, at the door knocking, now able to practically feel the warmth radiating from the door. The serving man who opened the door to him had a hint of after-shave- subtle but with the power coursing through him it was strong. He was ushered into a greeting room. The decor screamed money. Must be nice, Ivan thought, not unkindly. He never really wanted for much. He'd been happy growing up despite their not having much on pop's cop salary. The spirit of their house was warm and homey and he'd felt safe.

This was a new home to Dorian, he knew. It didn't yet have that lived in warm house feel he associated with his home. Truth was, though, coldness could exist anywhere. Sadly, he'd seen it all to often on the job.

Idly he wondered what kind of home this was.
Ivan had agreed to come. The house was barely presentable. Christian was with Ana and Pavlo while a good man still hadn't gotten in sync with Dorian and his way of things. Though he had started taking down the horrid things Dorian despised most - the animals on the wall all were gone, their only remaining linkage was the clean and bright spots on the walls where they'd hung before. Dorian didn't care what Pavlo did with them, as long as they were gone.

Dorian had been up in Cruz's room pacing back and forth thinking about what he would say to Ivan when he came. And he still hadn't formulated a plan when the doorbell rang and Pavlo had shown his fellow officer into the sitting room.

Dorian took a deep breathe and spoke to his delirious son, "I hope help is coming soon."

Dorian walked down the stairs silently. He unbutton the cuff on his left wrist and tucked the cuff link into his pocket. It was a rather large secret to share, but a rather necessary one to take and one that risked not only his life but those he loved and Ivan's as well. It was a huge risk, but his son was more important than the Atharim.

Dorian stepped into the sitting room and walked over to the bar. "Can I offer you a drink?"
Dorian poured a glass of chilled Merlot into a wine glass and turned to look at Ivan expetantly.

He didn't really wait for an answer as he took a seat in one of the lounge chairs and hung himself over it as if nothing was on his mind. Dorian saw Pavlo behind him standing and waiting for Ivan's order and Dorian smiled. He was a good man.

"I'm sure you have many questions. I am willing to answer to a point."
To the point just before he would condemn himself to die at the hands of his brethren. Ivan was a reborn god, he'd know too soon about the Atharim's existence, but the depths to which he would know was all in Dorian's hands and he didn't intend to reveal everything.

Dorian took a sip from the wine glass and set it down on the table next to him then leaned forward carefully rolling the sleeve of his left arm up. "Have you seen a symbol like this before?"
Dorian's Atharim tattoo was simple, but it was surrounded by a mass of black flames that encompassed the entire left side of his body. The dragon biting it's own tail was nestled inside of the flaming artwork on his body, and inside the dragon was the Chinese symbol for son. Cruz was the most important thing in Dorian's life. And he would do everything in his power to save him even if that meant condemning his soul. "It is the symbol of the Atharim - a secret society who's sole purpose is to eradicate men and women like yourself. We preform other services that the mundane world does not understand - monsters do exist and we hide the truth from everyone."

Before Ivan could panic, Dorian added, "You have nothing to fear from me. I have a need for you that outweighs my association with the Atharim. I would offer to keep your secret from them, but I fear your use of the power of the gods has likely already been noticed by others in the organization. Instead I offer you my protection from them, the knowledge you need to know an agent, the crimes to which they can be attributed to in the name of the safety of humanity."

Dorian stood slowly. "And to prove my point. I need you to meet someone. You will understand when you meet him."

Edited by Dorian, May 5 2016, 01:55 PM.
Ivan's brows drew down as he listened to Dorian's words, waving off the offer of a drink. This could be a trap. It was as bad as Ivan had feared....and yet. There was a desperation in the man's face. Fear. Determination.

If his organization was as old and powerful as he hinted, Dorian was taking a huge risk. The tattoo was intricate and seemed ancient. The man was well and truly tied up in whatever it all meant. And yet... he opened up, seemingly willing to betray all of it. Why? Why would he do that? What had happened?

It was those questions that kept Ivan from being angry. He should be. He knew that. He had every reason to be. They hunted people? Killed people like him? Without trial or charge? By what authority?

And yet. Despite all that, he felt a twinge of compassion for the man. Something was going on here.

He nodded at the end. There was not much to say. It all really depended on Dorian. Of course this could be a trap. He held on to the power, could smell the sweat from the man, was aware of the vein in his neck pulsating rapidly, the muscles of Dorian's jaw clenching and unclenching. He was ready. But he didn't suspect a trap. "Ok."

He motioned for Dorian to lead the way, curious as to who he was meeting. He had so many questions. But it all began here. if Dorian was telling the truth, the Ivan was going to dig out everything he needed to know. Drayson would need to hear about this as well, more so than LT even. If a group thought they could operate autonomously as judge, jury and executioner, they were mistaken.

Edited by Ivan Sarkozy, May 6 2016, 10:57 AM.
Dorian stood up and grabbed the wine glass that was nearly empty from the table and walked towards the stairs. "Follow me."
Dorian knew that danger followed him up the stairs. This was a dangerous game, but Cruz was worth every risk he was taking in these moments.

Dorian was glad Ana was gone. Though he would have preferred Christian's discretion when it came this his family but that was something he'd learned to deal with long ago. Christian was not here to serve him, he knew that.

The stairs felt like they were a long journey, it wasn't but Dorian felt tired. More tired than he'd been since Cruz was born and keeping them awake at all hours of the night. That seemed so far away and yet Dorian could remember it like it was yesterday.

Dorian walked silently through the halls of the second floor and turned the door knob of Cruz's room. He stepped inside and found his son where he'd left him - lying covered neck deep in as many extra blankets as Pavlo could find, but when Dorian sat down next to his son and touched his forehead he was burning up. Cruz was muttering incoherently in his sleep, it was better than the screaming when he was awake, but not by much.

Dorian looked at Ivan. "This is my son, Cruz. I'm sure you recognize the symptoms."
Dorian didn't wait for an answer as he turned his attention back to his son. He pushed the hair out of his son's face and could do nothing more than stare at the pale face of his son. "Some of you survive. I just need to know how. I will give you whatever information I can provide you as long as you keep my identity secret. It is life or death."
Dorian looked up at Ivan. "And not just mine or my families but yours and your family and anyone who might possibly conceive a child like this in your blood line."

Vega looked torn and despite his misgivings, Ivan felt a twinge of sympathy. Something was bothering him. It did give him pause. For the man to betray a secret organization he and Nox hinted spanned centuries...well it would have to be something big. The man seemed to be throwing everything away. There was a tension, a weight on the man's shoulder, a raggedness to his breathing.

At Vega's direction he followed. He was still careful. Course he didn't put his hand on his gun. But he did continue to hold onto the power, ready just in case. 'Care and long life go together' was the saying. Ivan readied himself as the door opened.

And there, under a mountain of blankets lay a young man, writhing. Ivan understood completely. Of course Dorian would throw it all away. Any father would. Pops would have, he knew that. He looked at Dorian kindly and approached the bed, knelt down. He remembered his own time in the facility, tried to remember what they had done, the sequence of events specifically.

"Hey man,"
he said softly. The kid seemed not to hear him. Ivan gently used spirit to prod at him, not really knowing what he was doing. Of course, nothing happened. He wasn't the preacher after all.

Still crouched he looked back at Dorian. "How long has he been like this? I don't know much but I'll do what I can."
Too bad Nox was MIA. He might be able to help. He paused. "The fever will fade in and out. At least it did with me. This power is dangerous and it fights you. I think the sickness happens because you are trying to control it. When he is more....there- awake or whatever- then I may be able to help him do that."

He smiled, trying to put encouragement into his words. "We'll do it, Vega."
He hoped.

Edited by Ivan Sarkozy, May 10 2016, 11:08 AM.
A weight lifted from Dorian's shoulders when Ivan said he'd help. Dorian didn't care what it cost him as long as his son lived. He moved when Ivan approached and he paced back and forth until Ivan asked him a question.

"A few days."
Dorian paced again adding to the story. "He called me from MU's library and I found him like this."
It had been a big decision and what little Dorian knew is that his son was going to die, he might die right away or later. Dorian banked on the later as he made the decision. He had called Ivan because he knew nothing else to do. And now he knew he'd been right, but he knew that there would be a cost and he wasn't prepared to think on it right now.

He just wanted his son to be well.

Dorian stood by the door and asked, "What can I do?"

Cruz stirred and there was low groan from his bed as he stretched his lean muscles and moved. He looked so pale. Dad?

Dorian stood at the door. "I'm here. This is Ivan. He's going to try to help you."

Cruz tried to sit up but he couldn't he was too weak. "Where is Mom?"

"She's with Christian in Madrid, they'll be back in a few days."

"You sure? I had a nightmare..."

Dorian frowned. "Your mother is fine I promise."
Dorian turned to Ivan and waited for the man to do something...
Dorian seemed pent up with frustrated energy, pacing about, breathing heavily.

So....only a few days. He should be coming out of it soon. That's how it was. The first time something...strange...happened and then you got sick. Then it came and went. At that was how it was for him. Hopefully.

He looked back at Dorian with sympathy, shaking his head slightly. "Unfortunately no. Other than protect him. Let me think."
He stood and stepped back, leaving space for Dorian to go back to his son's side. Damn! What was that Ascendancy had done with him? He tried to remember everything, how he'd helped.

Ivan had been in the facility, had been sick. It seemed to have cleared at least for a while. Ascendancy had come in and begun to explain what was happening and what he had to do. And then he helped Ivan control it. It had been a gift, really. Looking back, he could guess that left alone, not knowing what was going on, things could have gotten worse.

This power was amazing- but it fought back. He had to wrestle with it, force it to submit to him. Sometimes it had worked and sometimes not. Bringing it under control first meant understanding what it was you were trying to do.

True to his expectation, the kid woke up. Still in a daze, he began speaking with his father. The hard and in control Vega was gone. Dorian was tender with his son, affectionate. Ivan couldn't help but smile at the scene.

There was something very primal about being protective. It called to him. It was why he did what he did. Seeing it in others just reaffirmed those feelings.

He stepped forward at Dorian's introduction. The kid wasn't really a kid, of course. Just a few years younger than himself. Still, given the situation, it felt that way. He knelt down. "Hey man. I'm a friend of your dad's. He asked me to help."
He paused, trying to think of how to broach the subject. "Listen, I know you're tired. But can you tell me...did anything strange happen to you a few days ago? Before you got sick? Something...weird?"

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