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Flying Solo
It was a fucked up world, Nox hadn't seen Aria since that damn Atharim meeting. Nox hadn't thought to ask Lucas if he'd seen her. He knew she was alright from the texts she sent. There is no way anyone could fake her texts, precise grammar, no short cuts, she was a technophobe if he ever saw one. But it was her, he knew that much at least. She had even left him a message while she was in the shower. Borovsky was keeping her busy with her file. He was looking for something, and Nox hoped that Aria would keep his secret. He knew she would but under the eyes of the former High Inquisitor. Nox shuddered to think what he could do to her, or was doing to her.

Nox had made two extra keys to the warehouse and dropped them off at Dueling Dragons for Lucas. He told Lucas, one was for Aria, and the other for him. There was no need for him to have to knock, Aria could be locked away in her sound proof room and never know anyone was around. And he trusted Lucas, so it was fine and well. He didn't care if the trust went both ways, he trusted Lucas.

He stared at his wallet, Bas was being a jerk and not replying. It wasn't the first time in the past week or so that Bas had completely ignored his text. Fuck him, he can go play with the lady in red. Nox wasn't about to call Pyotr, no damn way was he asking that dude out after what he caught him doing. He was cool and all, but there was no way it was going to look like a damn date. Nox felt his skin crawl at the thought.

Nox walked a while, he had no place to be. Nothing to do. He passed a window that said "Chesterfields Bar and Grill". The smell that came out made him smile, it was bar food, but his stomach rumbled.

The little blonde at the hostess counter smiled at him. "How many?

Nox grinned and looked around, like he'd missed something, "Uh, Me, myself and I, so that's 3."
He didn't claify he only needed one, he wanted to see if she was true to her hair color, or if she caught on.

She looked at him confused, she grabbed three menu and Nox laughed,l he had to make himself stop laughing to breathe. "Oh dear, Duckling, it's just me."

The blonde turned bright red and Nox grinned. "S'all right Duckling. Table please."
He looked flustered still as she put two menus back and lead the way into the rather posh looking bar. It was nicely decorated, there was enough eye candy in the waitress' but there was a sever lack of girls alone. He sighed as he took off his leather jacket and rolled up his sweatshirt sleeves. The new tattoo on his left arm didn't itch anymore, even though it was only a week or so in. Aurora had grown tired of his bitching about it itching all the time, and healed it.

Nox ordered an unopened beer in a bottle from the almost too skinny waitress with green hair. He wasn't sure what he wanted to eat. It would take a while.

Edited by Nox, Feb 2 2015, 01:56 PM.
The last few weeks had gone by quickly between work and Ayden's planning. He really had no preference for any of that stuff and they didn't really know many people so at least it wasn't gonna be big. Not like his first one. Yikes, but that had been something. But whatever Ayden wanted, that was what she'd get.

And of course, there was the shooting range. Ayden had gotten a gun with that girl Emily and given her a few lessons. Connor had planned on the same. Those Atharim were probably creeping about. That guy in St. Petersberg had been tailing them for a while, it had turned out. Connor's guard was up and he needed a way to protect Ayden. So he'd gotten his own gun, a Berreta M9 and had gone with Ayden down to the range. He rather enjoyed the feel of her as she helped him with his stance and aim. He pretended to be worse than he was- at least a bit- for the attention. Not that he needed to. But it was fun. He was getting better, though.

The concealed weapon on his ankle made him feel a bit more in control. Maybe it was an illusion- probably it was- but it was something. Ayden had far more power at her fingertips. Still, she could be surprised. He knew that. That man in the park. The few times he'd accidentally startled her. Or when they were watching a scary movie and he purposely tickled her at the tense part and she'd jump and call him dork and laugh.

No, he needed it so that he could help protect what they had. That night they headed out to eat. He'd expected Ayden would get sick of Chesterfields, having to work there and all, but she didn't. She liked the food, the atmosphere and most of her coworkers. Food was good. Reminded him of back home.

Sasha was at the hostess station and when she saw them she smiled and led them to a booth that faced the door- something he'd asked for. As had become his habit, Connor scanned the patrons- Ayden had said that Atharim had been in the place a few times- but no one stood out. Not like they had a sign over their heads, really. Still he'd keep alert.

Once they were seated Sasha stayed a moment to talk to Ayden while a waitress came over and took their drinks order. Connor just ordered water tonight. And continued to watch.
Life still was unpredictable, the hours she'd cut back to kept her home most hours, except when it was busy, those were the hours they wanted her to work, to help the gals out. Today thought was not one of those times. Her and Connor were going out on a proper date, or so to speak date. It was just dinner, but dinner was always better with Connor.

They went to Chesterfields, she liked hanging out there, it almost felt like home. Almost. Sasha was at the hostess station, where she always was. She smiled brightly at her friend, kinda. Since finding Emily her and Sasha had not hung out as often. Not that they had done much before that any way.

Connor asked for a booth, he seemed to pick up her paranoid habits without thinking, and with the Atharim around she didn't blame him.

Greta came over and took their order, looks like she had one or two others that were at her tables. Most of them were regulars, but one guy wasn't he sat alone staring at the menu and fiddling with the beer top. Ayden wondered why he had the top, they usually opened it for the customer, particularly that kind as they weren't twist offs.

Sasha sat down next to Ayden and leaned in. "I'm so glad you aren't here today, I think Greta's gonna have a doozy with the tall skinny guy." Sasha nodded towards the non-regular she'd noticed before.

Ayden asked softly "Why's that?"

Sasha blushed softly, "He said it was just 'me, myself and I, so that's 3'. I wasn't paying attention, I picked up three menu's."

Ayden couldn't help but giggle, until she caught sight of the tattoo on his arm. The giggle cut short and Ayden frowned. She looked over at Sasha, "Tell Greta to be careful, I don't like the looks of him."

Sasha got up and laughed. "You don't like the looks of any guy since meeting Connor. He's cute, that's why you don't like him. He's bad news, just like Bas right?"

Ayden shook her head. "No, Worse."
Sasha left shaking her head and Ayden looked at Connor. "I think we need to go."
She gestured towards the guy at the table they'd been talking about. "Look at his tattoo."

Edited by Ayden, Feb 2 2015, 02:43 PM.
<dt>Incoming Message</dt>
<dd> </dd>

To: Ayden Hayes
From: Emily Shale

Hey Ayden - check out this link

Shale Industries to Expand

[Image: 7.png]
The girl with the green hair, her name tag read Greta, she gave him the bottle he asked for unopened, she looked mildly concerned Nox just grinned. "I still need a minute."
She nodded and left as a couple walked in. Nox embraced the power and could see the contacts the woman wore were like fire. Interesting, too bad she's with that guy. He turned his attention back to his beer bottle and in one quick and unseen motion popped the top on the lid and took a swallow.

It was nice and cold, and it hit the spot. Screw Bas and his ignoring him. What the hell was up with him lately. Nox pushed him from his mind when the hostess got up rather loudly and told the fiery red head, "You don't like the looks of any guy since meeting Connor. He's cute, that's why you don't like him. He's bad news, just like Bas right?"

WHAT? The mere thought of his name brings upon girls the thug has met. Nox sighed this was his home, he supposed Bas would have girls everywhere. But Nox did wonder who they were talking about, from the scowl the red head had given him, they were talking about him. What the hell did I do to her?

The waitress came back to his table as the red head stared at him and talked to her boyfriend, her fiance, from the looks of the ring on her finger. What a loss he thought. Greta asked, "What can I get you?"

Nox looked down at the menu and pointed at something he couldn't pronounce. Russian was such an odd language, it was some kind of soup, and it looked interesting, and he was cold from his walk outside before. Nox toyed with the lid in one hand, and leaned back in his chair and relaxed. The chair was comfortable as the beer lid slid over the tops of his finger like he'd practiced the move many times. And he had. It was one of the few things his father had taught him for no reason other than it was cool.

Nox's beer sat in front of him and he sipped at it. Unlike his father he wasn't going to drown in alcohol, but he did like a good beer here and there. Probably more than he should, but he never got drunk, and he now had some lovely little tricks to hide that fact and he could still act the fool and no one would be the wiser.
Ayden and Sasha joked and Connor let them to it while he looked at the menu. Girl talk. And then Ayden's entire demeanor changed. Connor was instantly alert to the danger. When Sasha left Ayden pointed out the man at the other table. The tattoo was visible from here.

White hot rage liquefied his brain. Images flashed through his mind so fast they were only fleeting impressions, but each one left a layer, a deposit of emotion on his heart. Hayden's fevered hand in his, whimpers filling his ears. Raging impotence at being unable to save his son. Anger at himself. Crushing loss. It was his fault, his fault, he should have done something! Memory after memory, image after image, left its trace. And his rage at the Atharim burned hotter than it ever had. They let his son die. Made it impossible for Hayden to live. They had hunted them in St. Petersberg, tried to kill Ayden, his heart, to put her down like a dog. A little boy in front of him- brains and skull sprayed out across the snow, a mother and father's life suddenly destroyed in one single moment.

His guilt and hatred and rage was the core of a star, the weight of it doubling and doubling, again and again, exponentially, until like the dying star, collapsing in on itself, compressing down, down, ripping atoms apart like tissue paper, fusing nuclei, compressing and collapsing until finally the shockwave of this newly birthed energy tearing through the body of the star, blowing off the outer layers with a blast of pure energy that outshines a galaxy, burns brighter than a million billion stars, spending itself in one orgasmic release. And then, gases cleared, all that remains, at the core, spinning in the darkness, colder and denser than almost anything in existence, spins the now dead cold heart.

The quiet in Connor's mind was deafening. He was death itself. Moments had passed and only the man at the table existed, only his still beating heart sitting next to him.

"Stay here,"
he whispered. He watches the man, all the while devoid of emotion. He walks to the bathroom and enters a stall. He pulls the gun from the holster and slips it into his jacket pocket, finger on the trigger. He looks himself in the mirror and sees nothing.

He walks back out into the swell of conversation and light and festivity. He is a blackness drifting along the edges. He angles to come out and heads to the bar, behind the man. Moving quickly, he walks up to the man and presses the gun in his jacket against the man's shoulder. The tattoo seems to undulate and writhe as if trapped by a fork. From somewhere deep inside, words come to him deadly quiet, the whisper of steel. "Move over or you die."

Edited by Connor Kent, Feb 3 2015, 02:53 PM.
Ayden's phone beeped, she glanced at her phone and smiled, it was Emily. She sent her a link to an article stating Emily would be moving to Moscow. Now isn't that nifty. Ayden glanced up to tell Connor and she could see the feelings roll over his mind, she could have sworn she saw steam coming from his ears before he got up and went to the restroom.

Ayden glanced over at the Atharim sitting at the table, as if he were minding his own business. He idly flipped the beer lid on his hand while he sat back nonchalantly and sipped at his beer. He looked so casual. He must have been trained well. He probably missed nothing. Ayden would like to have seen how they trained Atharim. Cold hearted deadly killers that they were.

Connor came back, his hands in his pockets and Ayden took a deep breath, she knew that stance, and she knew it well. Ayden reached for the power and held it at arms length, she was ready to catch any fall out from Connor's rash action.
This place took forever. He felt his stomach rumble and heard it like it was a giant lion just inside him stomach. The power had enhanced everything, thankfully it didn't make him much more hungrier than he already was. The red head continued to give him the hairy eye. What the hell did I do to you?

He tried to ignore her. Her man left and when he came back he could feel the hard steel of a gun pressed into his shoulder. Nox laughed inside his head. Nox casually slide over with a grin on his face. "By all means join me. Your fiance..."
A chill went up Nox's spine and he looked over at the redhead. Another fucking godling. Nox sighed and turned his attention back at the man holding the gun. "is welcome to as well, maybe she can give me that dirty look in person instead of over the distance of the floor."

The waitress took that moment to drop his soup off at his table. Nox smiled. "Thanks Duckling, I'm famished."
With little concern, Nox wove a weave of air and earth between him and the man and tied it off. He prayed that it would stop a fucking bullet. Nox took a spoonful of his soup and nearly spit it back out it was so hot. He turned to his captor with a grin. "What can I do for you kind sir?"
Nox kept the power ready and waited, he would not let this man shot him, and he hoped he could talk his way out of it, or someone was going to know very soon what he was, and then the newly minted tattoo on his arm would have been for nothing. Fucking Atharim!
The punk looked unconcerned as he moved. Another layer. Invited Ayden over like it was no big deal. Another. Joked with the waitress. Still another. Took a spoon of soup. Another.

If Connor was cold before, he was hot now. This little prick was going to be casual and flippant with the death and suffering he caused? Connor's eyes flashed fire and he pressed the gun into his side. A harsh whisper. "You think this is funny? You think you Atharim can just go around killing innocent people and there not be consequences!? Do you!!??"

He leaned in. "We are not your prey."
His smile was nasty and he glared. "The last one of you to come after us died pretty painfully. You tempting fate? Bullet to gut seems like a pretty bad way to go, don't you think?"

This was it. Connor was done. His finger itched to pull the trigger. The smirk on the guy's face begged to become shocked and terrified. He hungered to beat that face in. All the pain of the last year- the cries of his son, the lifeless hands, the fear of losing Ayden, all of it- he laid at this man's feet, on his head.

And he hungered for revenge. It was cloud that fogged his mind. And.He.Did.Not.Care.
Nox sighed this was about the Atharim. It was always about the Atharim. His life was shit now because of the Atharim. Well not really, he liked his life, he liked being Atharim. He liked having this power too. He had no doubt that power could corrupt. He didn't doubt the teachings he'd learned. But he wasn't about to think he could get away with killing innocent people without trial either.

At least the man had the common decency to whisper as he jabbed the gun into his side. Nox looked at him, humor gone. He leaned in pressing the gun into his side even farther, he knew in that moment the shield wouldn't work, not at present, he was too close. It was untested. He would have to get Aria to help him test the weave. Nox whispered back. "I killed no innocent people. Others do, but I do not!"

It took him a little while to get the understanding that this man thought they were prey, they must have been attacked. Nox looked over at the girl again. "I take it she's been attacked before."
Nox took out his wallet and set it down on the table for the man to see. "I assure you I am not here to hunt you. I just came in to eat."

Nox took a spoonful of his soup. He wasn't trying to be patronizing, he really wasn't, yet the look in the guys eye said he thought he was being mocked. His loss, if he wanted to make a scene Nox could oblige him. "If you shoot me, you'll be no better than the Atharim. I've not killed an innocent in my life. I hunt monsters, you know the ones that walk the night to prey on humans."
Nox assumed he knew of the monsters if he knew about the Atharim. Something told him he knew more than he should.

"I can look up and see what information they have on your fiance. But that means you'll have to trust me."
Nox took another spoonful of the soup, if it were not for the gun pressed into his side, he might have actually enjoyed it.

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